Monthly Archives: July 2019

Leeton goes yellow for Scotty 

Yellow balloons and ribbons dotted around town are serving as bittersweet reminders for Leeton locals, as the town of no more than 7000 residents grapples with the alleged murder of one of their own.

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The community has rallied together to ensure Stephanie Scott’s family know they are not alone through the tragedy.

Fundraising tins have popped up on shop counters around town to help raise money for the Scott family, who are still waiting to find their loved one’s remains.

More than $15,000 has been raised through Go Fund Me for the Stephanie Scott Community Fund.

Locals will also take to the town’s local pubs on Friday night with their tins in hand to raise money, Leeton Shire mayor Paul Maytom said.

Mr Maytom said the council opened its doors to offer counselling to anyone who needed it on Friday, with staff from Leeton High School also there.

“We have had tragedies before … terrible tragedies,” he said as he looked over the rural location where Ms Scott’s car was found after she was allegedly murdered.

“But we have never had anything of this type.”

Mr Maytom knew of one local who had voluntarily driven around the many irrigation canals in the area as the hunt for Ms Scott’s remains went on.

The 26-year-old was due to marry her fiance Aaron Leeson Woolley in front of close friends and family in Eugowra on Saturday.

Instead, those loved ones are leaving handwritten notes, yellow flowers and lighting candles for the slain teacher at Leeton High School.

Students remembered singing a cheeky song – “Scotty doesn’t know” – to Ms Scott each time she would walk in the classroom.

“She was an amazing teacher who you could go to for anything,” one student said at the candlelight vigil.

Her absence will become achingly clear for the students, when Leeton High School returns from the Easter break later this month.

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Posted on 07/07/2019 / Posted by admin

Benaud treasured as a cricket icon 

Superlatives flowed from around the world as Richie Benaud was remembered as an Australian treasure, sporting icon and voice of cricket after his death on Friday, aged 84.

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The former Australian captain and commentary doyen died overnight in his sleep after battling skin cancer.

A pioneer on the field, off it and behind the microphone, Benaud was hailed as “the Godfather of Australian cricket” and second only to Sir Donald Bradman for his immense contribution to the game.

“Our country has lost a national treasure,” Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards said.

“After Don Bradman, there has been no Australian player more famous or more influential than Richie Benaud.”

Benaud will receive a state funeral, flags flew at half-mast on Friday and floral tributes began piling up next to the bronze statue of Benaud at the SCG.

Prime minister Tony Abbott said there would barely be an Australian in the past four decades who hadn’t listened to Benaud’s commentary.

“He has been a part of the lives of millions of Australians and he will certainly be very much missed,” he said.

Shane Warne said Benaud had been an inspiration to him.

“It was an honour and a privilege to call you a close friend and mentor,” Warne tweeted.

“We had so many wonderful times together, talking cricket and in particular, our love and passion of legspin bowling.”

Benaud was instrumental in the successful formation of World Series Cricket in 1977, a revolution that changed the game forever, and was regarded globally as the finest commentator the sport has known.

But he was a gentleman first and foremost, and one of Australia’s greatest players.

The legspinning allrounder played 63 Test matches between 1952 and 1964, becoming the first Test cricketer to take 200 wickets and score 2000 runs.

Renowned as a shrewd tactician, Benaud never lost a Test series while captain.

For all his on-field achievements, though, Benaud’s ever-lasting imprint on the game he loved came off the field.

He entertained millions of viewers each and every summer with his witty, incomparable and impeccably presented commentary while anchoring the Nine Network’s cricket coverage for decades.

“His iconic status as a commentator and the Godfather of Australian cricket, it’s just unparalleled,” said former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, who believed Benaud had deserved a knighthood.

“I think it would have been seen as a very fitting tribute … it would have been a great finish.”

Australia’s current Test captain Michael Clarke said he was a “great player and a great captain, a wonderful leader of men”.

“He loved winning. He helped the Australian team have the attitude where they wanted to win. He played the game the right way,” Clarke told the Nine Network.

Kerry Packer repaid Benaud for his commitment to World Series Cricket and loyalty to Nine with a job for life.

“Dad and I enjoyed a long, long professional and personal journey with Richie Benaud,” James Packer said.

“He was not only for nearly four decades a much-loved figure in the Nine family, but also in the Packer family.

“We never had a cross word. Richie’s word was his bond.

“A lovely, generous, caring human being who was always the very best company.”

It wasn’t just his former colleagues, teammates and friends remembering Benaud on Friday.

From actor Russell Crowe to NRL boss Dave Smith and sportsmen and women across the world from all codes and pursuits, the tributes flooded Twitter and social media.

“A sad day in cricket. I will sadly miss listening to the legend – Richie Benaud’s commentary,” tweeted Socceroos great Harry Kewell.

“His voice IS cricket. #RIPRichieBenaud.”

A car accident in 2013 effectively ended Benaud’s commentary career before he announced in November last year that he was fighting skin cancer.

Blessed with impeccable timing, Benaud’s 84-year innings ended somewhat fittingly less than a fortnight after Australia won the World Cup for a fifth time.

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North drop three for AFL clash with Lions 

North Melbourne have axed three players after their woeful 77-point loss to Adelaide in round one of the AFL season.

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Ben Jacobs, Sam Wright and Ryan Bastinac will miss Sunday’s clash with Brisbane at Etihad Stadium.

Coach Brad Scott promoted key forwards Mason Wood and Ben Brown, plus former Richmond speedster Robin Nahas in place of the dumped trio.

The Lions will be without key defender Daniel Merrett (hamstring) and captain Tom Rockliff (broken ribs), while James Aish has been dropped.

Aish will come off contract at the end of this season and has been linked with a move back to his home of Adelaide.

Brisbane recalled Matt Maguire, Michael Close and Zac O’Brien.

Hawthorn confirmed triple-premiership player Grant Birchall would return on Sunday, with Jono O’Rourke to make his club debut.

The reigning premiers dumped Taylor Duryea from the side that thumped Geelong, while hamstrung midfielder Liam Shiels will be unable to take part in Sunday’s clash with rivals Essendon.

The Bombers will be minus defender Dustin Fletcher (groin) and utility David Myers shoulder), with former Saint James Gwilt and young gun Jason Ashby stepping up to the side.

Geelong will be without two of their prime movers against Fremantle on Sunday, with 2007 Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel joining Steven Motlop on the sidelines.

Bartel, knocked out in the Cats’ 62-point loss to Hawthorn on Easter Monday, has been ruled out due to concussion, while Motlop is serving a one-match club ban for disciplinary reasons.

Veteran Andrew Mackie, who missed Geelong’s season opener due to a quad injury, and midfielder George Horlin-Smith were promoted.

Fremantle made one change to the 22 that pipped Port Adelaide in round one, with Tendai Mzungu coming in for Tommy Sheridan (calf).

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Woman isolated for possible Ebola 

A health worker recently back from west Africa has been admitted to a Canberra hospital after displaying symptoms which could be the deadly Ebola disease.

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The unnamed woman returned to Australia on April 5 after working in an Ebola treatment centre in Liberia.

That country hasn’t had any cases recently and she hadn’t actually treated any Ebola patients.

Health officials say it’s most unlikely she has Ebola and her symptoms – a fever and stomach upset – are consistent with many other conditions.

But she’s being treated in complete isolation under the hospital’s Ebola protocol.

She is in a single room with doctors and nurses wearing full protective clothing.

Professor Frank Bowden, chief medical administrator for ACT Health, said this was a precautionary measure with strict protocols to protect the patient, staff and the community.

“We believe that this patient has an extremely low risk of having Ebola,” he told reporters.

Professor Bowden said it would be 72 hours before her diagnosis was definitely known.

He said the community should not be alarmed.

“We are taking every precaution,” he said.

“Here where the patient has an extremely low risk of Ebola, we know there is no risk to the public of Ebola.”

Dr Andrew Pengilley, acting ACT chief health officer, said this could be a normal stomach bug, malaria or a viral illness which affected people in West Africa as they did in Australia.

“Ebola is not a particularly transmissible infection under normal circumstances. It’s transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids so we are confident there is no risk to the wider community,” he said.

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Jobs go as iron ore miner halts production 

More than 500 people are set to lose their jobs as Atlas Iron suspends all mining operations because of plunging iron ore prices.

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The West Australian miner will cease all operations by the end of April, as aggressive cost cutting has been unable to offset the financial impact of steep falls in the price of Australia’s largest export.

“To suspend our operations, with the impact that will have on so many committed and talented people, is an extremely difficult decision,” managing director Ken Brinsden said.

“I sincerely thank all those who have worked so hard to build Atlas’ production base and those who have worked furiously to maintain Atlas’ competitive position over the past 15 months, in the face of increasingly oppressive market conditions.”

Approximately 500 people work at the company’s mines, including direct employees and contractors, with a further 75 staff in its Perth office.

The price of iron ore has more than halved in the past year, and Atlas Iron’s break-even price remains well above the current spot price, which recently hit a 10-year low below $US50 a tonne.

All of its mines will be put on care and maintenance, pending future market conditions.

“Atlas expects prices will ultimately increase,” the company said.

“However, the timing of a recovery is unclear, leaving Atlas with little choice but to take decisive action to protect its balance sheet and resource position.”

Discussions will be held with the company’s banks to ensure its projects can be re-started when either costs can be further reduced, or prices rise, Atlas said.

Analysts are increasingly predicting iron ore prices to stay low, precipitating a rash of collapses among small and mid-sized miners.

The decision by Atlas will have other workers in the industry worried, particularly those employed among similar sized companies such as Mt Gibson Iron and BC Iron, also believed to be losing money at current prices.

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