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                                      How not to win friends: Facebook sneaks in fees to promote posts

                                      11/09/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Dazzle Strands has found its views on Facebook have dropped from 800-1000 to 90 per post in just a matter of months. Brands have to pay just to promote their posts to the people who “like” their page.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      It’s not just an impost on brands – Facebook also charges for promoting personal posts to friends.

                                      Facebook is being accused of an underhanded bait and switch, with brands and even personal users now forced to pay for “promoted posts” to reach all of their “likers” and friends.

                                      Evidence suggests that the algorithm that determines which posts appear in your News Feed, called EdgeRank, has been tweaked so that posts are visible for under 15 per cent of your connections unless you pay.

                                      For individuals the cost to promote a status update is $US7.20 ($A6.95) and for brands the cost depends on how many fans or “likers” they have, but is around $US20 ($A19.30) per post to reach 3000 fans and $US200 ($A193) to reach 50,000 fans.

                                      Catherine Cincotta, 33, from Melbourne, runs hair accessory firm Dazzle Strands, which has about 4000 likes on Facebook.

                                      “I was getting at least 800 to 1000 post views and then July hit and then all of a sudden it started going progressively down so I was starting to see 300, 200 and now it’s at about 90 on average,” she said.

                                      “I find this to be underhanded … all of a sudden the posts are being suppressed and you’re getting bombarded with requests to advertise with them.”

                                      Lisa Dale, 32, runs an online gift hamper business, Signed Sealed Delivered, and Facebook is one of her main avenues for promotion. She also has about 3000 fans and has noticed her post views have likewise trailed off significantly, despite her fan base growing.

                                      “They’ve sucked me in. I’ve worked so hard to build up this great page and now the only way I can maintain it now is to pay. If they were going to do it, they probably should’ve done it at the start,” said Dale.

                                      Mashable journalist Matt Silverman wrote in a recent column that Facebook’s EdgeRank was creating artificial scarcity by “rigging the game and then asking users to pay to level the playing field”. The New York Observerwrote that “Facebook is broke, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users”.

                                      Last week blog Dangerous Minds wrote a post titled “Facebook: I want my friends back”, accusing the company of turning down the volume on users’ Facebook reach. To reach the blog’s entire 50,000 fan base Facebook charges $US200 per post.

                                      “We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month … a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year — wouldn’t you know it — right around the time of their badly managed IPO.”

                                      Earlier this week Simon Dell, director of Brisbane-based marketing firm TwoCents Group, said for his firm’s page the average “reach” over the past 10 posts was 195 or 16 per cent, but at times it dropped to just 94 views.

                                      One of Dell’s clients had an average reach of just 12 per cent of their 5400 fans and another was 19 per cent.

                                      “Facebook isn’t seeing fans as a community anymore, they’re seeing them as numbers,” he wrote on MarketingMag南京夜網.au. “Being able to reach just 15 per cent of your brand advocates who have opted in to receive your communication isn’t a great ROI for your time and effort.”

                                      Facebook has been under significant pressure to turn its huge user numbers into revenue and the company is now worth a bit over half as much as it was when the company went public. Its shares are worth

                                      $US21.94 ($A21.18) down from the offer price of $US38 ($A36).

                                      In a recent blog post Facebook ads engineer Philip Zigoris wrote that any changes Facebook makes to its news feed algorithm were more to do with offering users more relevant posts than making money.

                                      “Regardless of whether you’re paying to promote a story or just posting one to your Page, the news feed will always optimise for stories that generate high levels of user engagement and filter out ones that don’t,” he wrote.

                                      The response from readers was mostly negative with most complaining that they shouldn’t have to pay in order for their posts to be visible by their friends.

                                      “So tell me, how are people meant to engage with the content if they’re not being shown the content in the first place?” wrote one.

                                      Another said: “I have to tell you the vast majority of my friends really hate this, find it very frustrating, and the only thing that keeps them from leaving Facebook is all their friends are here and there is no real option … yet.”

                                      Facebook declined to comment for this story.

                                      This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

                                      AFP ends investigation into swearing Rudd video

                                      11/09/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Kevin Rudd fluffing his lines in that video.The Australian Federal Police has closed its investigation of the leaking of a damaging video of former prime minister Kevin Rudd swearing and banging a desk.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      The release of the video, posted anonymously on YouTube, escalated the tensions between Mr Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard which contributed to February’s leadership ballot.

                                      An AFP spokeswoman said it had not found ”sufficient material or evidence to substantiate charging of any person for theft or unauthorised disclosure” of the video.

                                      ”The AFP has finalised the matter and as such, it is not appropriate to comment further,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

                                      A spokesman for Mr Rudd said he had no comment.

                                      The video shows Mr Rudd fluffing his lines while trying to record a video message for Chinese New Year in 2009.

                                      In a series of out-takes he expresses frustration at the diplomats from the Australian embassy in Beijing, who had scripted the message in Mandarin.

                                      ”Tell these d—heads in the embassy to just give me simple sentences,” Mr Rudd says in the video. ”This f—ing language… it just complicates it so much.”

                                      At another point, he appears to ask a staffer to cancel a scheduled meeting.

                                      ”Tell them to cancel this meeting at 6 o’clock will you… I don’t have the f—ing patience to do it.”

                                      The video appeared on YouTube on February 18, under the title ”Kevin Rudd is a Happy Little Vegemite”.

                                      Four days later, Mr Rudd resigned as foreign minister and announced his intention to challenge Ms Gillard for the leadership. The following Monday he was trounced in a caucus ballot, 71 votes to 31.

                                      At the time Mr Rudd commented that the release of the video was ”a little bit on the unusual side”.

                                      An internal review by the Prime Minister’s department found the video had not come from within the department. At the time, Ms Gillard denied her office was involved in the release of the video, saying it did not have access to the material.

                                      Follow the National Times on Twitter

                                      This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

                                      No campaigning? Well, not much in Sandy’s aftermath

                                      11/09/2018 Posted by admin

                                      US President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may have officially suspended their election campaigns to concentrate on relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, but with just a week to go before the election, it’s clear some political footsoldiers and commentators have not got the message.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      Mr Romney five times ignored questions put to him at an Ohio event — officially a storm-relief fundraiser — about comments he once made advocating stripping funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

                                      Instead, he told the audience in a gymnasium in the city of Kettering: “We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on. I appreciate what you have done.”

                                      Reporters at the event noted women proudly showing off t-shirts that read, “Obama — you’re fired”.

                                      Having spent Monday night at the White House keeping tabs on the storm’s progress and overseeing the emergency response, President Obama today visited a Red Cross shelter in Washington, DC.

                                      “We certainly feel profoundly for all the families whose lives have been upended … The most important message I have for [those affected] is that America’s with you,” Mr Obama said.

                                      But even before the storm surge had peaked, high-profile conservative columnists attacked the President for playing politics.

                                      “He says he’s not concerned about the impact on the elections,” Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News.

                                      “I’m sure he’s very sincere on that. It is a little odd that he shows up in the briefing room, where he hasn’t shown up in the briefing room for about, what, a month-and-a-half on Libya, or for everything else for that matter? Then you get the photo-ops of him in the situation room deploying, I guess, the utility crews who will restore power all over America.”

                                      Meanwhile, a Salon南京夜網 commentator wrote that Mr Romney’s Ohio event was “surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with rubbish and paper products”.

                                      Perhaps the weirdest political comments on the storm came from Michael Brown, the Bush-era FEMA chairman who was widely discredited for that administration’s lacklustre response to Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday night, he accused the President of getting involved too soon. He stood by those comments today.

                                      One man who has garnered universal praise for his response is the combative New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is one of Mr Romney’s most high-profile surrogates.

                                      On Monday, he attacked the Democrat mayor of Atlantic City before praising President Obama for his energetic response.

                                      “I have to say, the administration, the president himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” he told reporters.

                                      Mr Christie, who many expected to run for president this year, dismissed the election as not a priority.

                                      “I’m sure that while the national election is obviously very important, that the people of New Jersey, in this moment, would really be unhappy with me if they thought for a second I was occupying my time thinking about how I was going to get people to vote a week from today,” Christie told reporters today.

                                      Mr Romney will resume his campaign events Wednesday in the US, while Barack Obama is not expected to return to the campaign trail until Thursday.

                                      How the storm will impact upon the election is unclear. Three of the eight major daily tracking polls — the lifeblood of the campaigns and the political media in the last few days of a deadlocked election — have been suspended.

                                      On a more practical level, early voting has been disrupted across the north-east, although it is impossible to predict exactly how this might affect the election. The President was thought to have an advantage among early voters until recent polls suggested Mr Romney had whittled this down.

                                      It is also unclear now whether the impact of the storm could hinder people from getting to the polls next Tuesday. If that is the case, polling places could open longer.

                                      This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

                                      Newcastle Anglican priest George Parker at centre of 2001 court controversy

                                      10/12/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Deceased: Former Newcastle Anglican priest George Parker has died only two weeks after he was charged with 24 child sex offences, including five counts of buggery, against two young boys in the 1970s.FORMER Newcastle Anglican priest George Parker has died only threeweeks after he was charged with 24 child sex offences against two young boys in the 1970s.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      Father Parker, 79, was first charged with child sex offences in 2000. But in a controversial Newcastle District Court case in 2001, four charges relating to the sexual assault ofthe young boys were no-billed after an Anglican church register was produced during the trial.

                                      No-billed matters are withdrawn from court but can be resumed at a later date if there is further evidence.

                                      Newcastle Police Strike Force Arinya-2 Detective Acting Inspector Jeff Little reinstated the no-billed offences and charged the priest with 20 fresh offences, including five counts of buggery, after travelling to Ballarat on December 23.

                                      It followed extensive investigations and new statements from the two men about multiple sexual assaults by Father Parkerbetween 1971 and 1975, from when they were 10 and eight.

                                      In 2010one of the men received a public apology from the then Newcastle Anglican Bishop Brian Farran for the diocese’s handling of the matter, including former Bishop Roger Herft writing to him in June, 2004 and incorrectly stating Father Parker had been acquitted of the charges.

                                      In the apology Bishop Farran said the man and his family “were treated inappropriately over an extended period of time by members of the Anglican Church after he reported he had been sexually abused as a child by a member of the church”, Bishop Farran said.

                                      “I wish to extend a sincere and public apology to him and his family for their situation, and the pain and trauma they have experienced.”

                                      The man, a former Newcastle Anglican church employee, said he repeatedly warned the diocese, from as early as 1984, that a “network” of paedophile priests preyed on children, but the diocese failed to act on the warnings.

                                      “I told them in 1984 that ‘You’ve got anetworkof these bastards preying on altar boys’, and I named names,”the former church employee said.

                                      A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to ChildSexual Abuse into how NewcastleAnglican diocese responded to allegations heard evidence in August and November about extensive church knowledge of child sex offending by priests including Peter Rushton. Evidence included church files on 36 “sexual misconduct” cases, primarily child sex allegations.

                                      Archbishop Roger Herft became the most senior casualty of the royal commission when he resigned in December, after admitting he “badly” let down abuse survivors.

                                      ‘You thought you got away with it’: Cousin claims to have overheard Samantha Kelly murder

                                      10/12/2018 Posted by admin

                                      The last independent and confirmed sighting of Samantha Kelly was on January 20 at an ATM.Related coverage:
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      Day 1: Committal hearing begins into murder of Samantha KellyDay 2: Court hears Christine Lyons thought murder victim’s children were meant to be her ownDay 3: Housemates allegedly tried to drug Samantha Kelly to death on day of murderSAMANTHA Kelly’s cousin claims she overheard Peter Arthur murder the mother-of-four, but did not report the phone call to police for 11 months.

                                      Michelle Enright gave evidence to the committal hearing of Christine Lyons, 45, and Ronald Lyons, 44, in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

                                      Ms Kelly lived in a bungalow at the rear of a Kangaroo Flatproperty shared with the three murder accused, including Peter Arthur, who has pleaded guilty.

                                      The three were charged with her murder as part of a “joint criminal enterprise”.

                                      Ms Enright claimed she was on the phone to Ms Kelly the moment Arthur entered the bungalow at the rear of the Kangaroo Flat property and used a hammer to kill her.

                                      She was asked to recite the conversation to the court without referring to her second statement, made to police on December 5. She did not mention the conversation in her first statement to police on February 10.

                                      “Sam said they have given her something funny to drink, they gave her fluid and she was feeling a bit drowsy, funny in the head,” Ms Enright told the court.

                                      “I had to keep calm when she told me that they were planning to kill her.

                                      “She knew.

                                      “She said that she overheard them and they were arguing on how they were going to do it.”

                                      Investigators uncover the body of Samantha Kelly in bushland west of Bendigo, after she was murdered in a Kangaroo Flat bungalow in January last year.

                                      The alleged conversation occurred in the early hours of January 21, when Ms Kelly was murdered.

                                      Ms Enright said she then heard Ms Kelly panic as Arthur came into the room.

                                      “I said ‘where are they now?’ and she said ‘they’re out there now arguing on how they’re going to do it’, and towards the end she said ‘here they come now’.

                                      “That’s when they’ve gone in and I heard it.

                                      “And then she’s muttered and she’s dropped the phone and he’s picked it up and said ‘f*** she was on the phone’.

                                      “And I said ‘you thought you got away with it, didn’t you’.”

                                      When asked if she heard any noise, Ms Enright said she heard a “thump, thump”.

                                      Chris Dane, acting for Christine Lyons, questioned why Ms Enright did not contact police straight away. Ms Kelly was missing from January 20 until February 11, when her body was found buried in bushland west of Bendigo.

                                      Mr Dane said it was a significant conversation to overlook.

                                      “I want to suggest to you that if that conversation took place as you claim, then it would be the first thingyou would tell a police officer,” he said.

                                      “It’s not a case of remembering, it’s a case of one of the most significant things that has ever happened in your life.”

                                      John Desmond, representing Ronald Lyons, also questioned Ms Enright about the 11-month delay in reporting the phone call to police.

                                      Ms Enright said she “couldn’t cope”.

                                      “I was going to…I just felt so upset and I cried and all I can remember, I woke up the next day just living life, and didn’t realise,” she said.

                                      “I just started living normal, I just got up the next day.

                                      “I forgot, and then things were just coming back to me.”

                                      Ms Enright was the only witness called on the fourth day of the committal hearing in Bendigo. The hearing continues on Friday.

                                      Fernleigh Track: Safety in numbers on popular pathpoll

                                      10/12/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Safe bet: Vicki Coughlan, of Adamstown, says the more people who use the Fernleigh Track, the safer it will be for everyone. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      A REGULAR user of the Fernleigh Track says the more people who use it, the safer it will be.

                                      Vicki Coughlan hopedrecent reports about people fearing for their welfare on the popular pathway would not deter them from using it, as there was safety in numbers.

                                      The Adamstown residentuses the busy track most days, and said it was never very long before a fellow runner, walker or rider appeared.

                                      But she was concerned a recent story by the Newcastle Herald, where two women describedfrightening encounters on the track, mightdeter people from using it.

                                      “If people don’t use it it becomesmore isolated, and therefore more dangerous,” Ms Coughlan said.

                                      “The more people on there the better, and the safer, it will be.”

                                      Ms Coughlan,who is also a director of theAustralian Cycle Alliance, recommended people using the track have some personal security measures in place.

                                      She advised peoplelet loved ones know when they might be home from using the track, or gowith a friend, and totakea mobile phone.

                                      Edward Hore, president of theAustralian Cycle Alliance, said there was enough usage on the Fernleigh Track to justify some solar lights and entry point security cameras to help people feel safer.

                                      “The other thing that’s really good in Victoria now is we have buzzers on posts – so as you’re walking along, if you are feeling uncomfortable, you push a button and the police are immediately notified as to where you are,” Mr Hore said.

                                      “It makes a buzzing noise as well,so the person who is following knows that someone has been notified.

                                      “Those are three ideas that could help make the Fernleigh Track great. It is such a magnificent place for people to walk and ride and do all the things they want to do, and it’s away from cars.”

                                      Mr Hore said if people did have frightening incidents on the track, they needed to report them to police.

                                      “If they are not reported, they just become ‘anecdata,’ and nothing changes,”Mr Horesaid.

                                      “People shouldn’t be alarmed, just aware.We’d like to see more people using the Fernleigh Track.”

                                      Anthony Bell berths Sydney to Hobart winning yacht Perpetual Loyal in Newcastle

                                      10/12/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Super yacht’s new home?clear as a Bell | photos PORT IN A STORM: Perpetual Loyal is moored in Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      PORT IN A STORM: Perpetual Loyal is moored in Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

                                      IN HAPPIER TIMES: Anthony Bell with Sydney to Hobart winner Perpetual Loyal. Picture: Anthony Bell

                                      TweetFacebookPerpetual Loyal, two words that didn’t exactly fill Waverley Local Court on Thursday as Bell’slawyers declared he would seek a divorce from former TV presenter Kelly Landry.

                                      Look, it’s all a bit messy. There’s an AVO involved.Erin Molan’s in there.

                                      The boat’s nice, though, and pretty fast, as its record runto Hobart’s Constitution Dock in the bigrace would suggest.

                                      Bell put hissuper maxionthe market soon after its famous win, and it’s tipped tofetch $5 million.

                                      He’s been coy about it, telling the AustralianFinancial Review in October Loyalwas undergoing “modification works”.

                                      “We’ve got offices in Newcastle,” he told the Fin.

                                      “Just supporting the locals.”

                                      The locals,Bell Partners’office in Honeysuckle, politely told Topics on Thursday the boss’s boat really isn’t their department.

                                      ButNewcastle harbour will be Loyal’s“semi-permanent home”, Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club chief executive Aaron Harpham confirmed.

                                      “It is significant. It’s obviously a world class super maxi that’s earned a fairly prestigious reputation,” Mr Harpham said.

                                      “We’re very pleased to see the boat here, and we’re pleased he’s chosen Newcastle.”

                                      If you’re wondering whothese people are, it’s OK. This isone of those Sydney stories.

                                      AnthonyBell isfounder and chief executive of the accountancy firm Bell Partners, and hisclients include former Test skipperMichael Clarke, Today hostKarl Stefanovic andMorning Show hostLarryEdmur.

                                      JANE BACK AT THE DESK

                                      RETURNING: Jane Goldsmith with son James and twins Elizabeth and Lucy.

                                      YOU knowwhat’d be hardevery night?

                                      Thebanter on the TV news. Like, the“thanks Mitch, the Knights certainly are mediocre, nowhere’s Gav”, small talkquotient of the broadcast. Topics’d be out of chat by night three.

                                      One who makes it look easyis NBN’s Jane Goldsmith, who returns to the desknext Saturday and is in earnesttalks with her 10-month-old twins Lucy and Elizabeth abouta full night’s sleep beforehand.

                                      Goldsmith will helm the weekend 6pm bulletins, before taking on an extra day’s reporting from April.

                                      “I’m really looking forward to it, I’m really excited to see my colleagues again,” she tells Topics.

                                      “I’m a bit of a news junkie;Iwatchthe 6pm news as much as I can. I’ll be feeding one of the girls and have a cheeky look atTwitter.”

                                      The twins, as you’d expect,havebeenlife-changingfor Goldsmith, herhusband Neil Keene and their five-year-old son James.

                                      Short of Big Dog minding the kids, Goldsmithsays NBN has been “really fantastic” and flexible about her return.

                                      “I’ve been lucky they’veallowed me the time and I’m not rushing back, which a lot of women in the media tend to do.”

                                      Shout-outs aredue both sets of grandparents, she says, as well as Keene, who apparently will be suitablyembarrassed to be outed as a “super dad”.

                                      STING IN THE TAIL

                                      WE’VE been combingNSW Ambulance stats onbites and stings from marine creaturesforsomething to scare you with,dear reader, and it’s a bit underwhelming.

                                      But we punch above our weight in thestingray department, with15 in the Hunterstung badly enough to needan ambulance.

                                      Of four stings in the state on December 30,two werea woman,25,at Stockton and another, 19, atFingal Bay. So there you go.

                                      All roads lead to Tamworth for country musicians

                                      10/12/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Country mile of dreamers Victorian country singer-songwriter Kayla Dwyer is ready to make an impact at the Tamworth Music Festival in 2017. It will be her seventh time at the festival.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      The Hunter Valley’s Kirsty Lee Akers, who began as a child busker on the streets of Tamworth, is aiming to win a Golden Guitar in 2017 for best female artist. Picture: Gareth Gardner

                                      Tamworth’s Aleyce Simmonds will release her third album at the festival. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

                                      Tumut 10-year-old Rory Phillips, pictured in Wagga last year, will be performing and busking in Tamworth in 2017. Picture: Les Smith

                                      Tasmania’s Jean Stafford has performed at Tamworth and Nashville. Picture: Brodie Weeding

                                      Oberon country performer Mickey Pye will perform at the 45th Country Music Festival at Tamworth. Picture: TOMORROWSTRUTHS

                                      Canberra’s Jason Webb sings Johnny Cash in the band Counterfeit Cash and has previously performed in Tamworth.

                                      TweetFacebookTHE SHINING STARMOST four-year-olds are lucky to be able to sing nursery rhymes, but not Kirsty Lee Akers.

                                      She hadn’t even started school when she was busking on the streets of Tamworth.

                                      More than two decades on the 28-year-old from Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley will be a star attraction at this year’s festival.

                                      Akers is a Golden Guitar nominee for best female artist for her album Burn Baby Burn.

                                      “I think this year will be my 27th festival,” she says.

                                      “I think I’ve only missed one or two. Country music just totally runs in my family. My Nan, my aunties, my Mum, they’re all singers. I’ve been going since I was a baby. We took my little sister [Kaitlin] when she was two weeks old.”

                                      Akers’ childhood years playing on the “Boulevard of Dreams” in Peel Street, not only provided invaluable experience, the estimated earnings of $10,000 financed her debut EP at 16.

                                      “It’s really embarrassing,” she says. “My parents would walk up to other people busking and make me take over their limelight and ask if I could get up and sing with them. They were so lucky there was nice people busking that would let me get up and sing with them. I’d sing for 20 minutes with my little hat out and move on to the next spot.”

                                      Not surprisingly, Akers’ childhood idol was country legend Dolly Parton.

                                      Her voice and songs – which include the light-hearted hits Knocked Up and In Spite Of Ourselves with Bob Evans – are imbued with Parton charm.

                                      “My Mum and Dad listened to more traditional country music, so I was obsessed with Dolly Parton my whole life growing up,” Akers says.

                                      “She was my biggest idol and I’ve been to Dollywood about eight times now. When I got older it was more about Shania Twain and wanting to be her and the Dixie Chicks.”

                                      THE LAUNCH PAD READY: Aleyce Simmonds will release her third album More Than Meets The Eye during the festival. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

                                      ALEYCE Simmonds has worn many hats, and those life experiences have helped shape a raw new album to be released at the festival.

                                      The Tamworth singer-songwriter will release More Than Meets the Eye on January 20, followed by a launchshow on January 27.

                                      More Than Meets The Eyecharts her emotional journey home to Tamworth, where she works as a live-in motel managerin betweenother jobs and her music.

                                      The album is Simmonds’ thirdand she believes it is more personal than her previous work, Pieces Of Me (2011) and Believe (2013).

                                      It was inspired by her role asambassador for the Tamworth Family Support Service and the scourge of domestic violence.

                                      The album is quite a journey because to be honest I went from a place of darkness and I found someone who changed my life,” Simmonds says.

                                      “I moved into the light, we went through the ups and downs of the relationship and spat out the other side when we broke up and into the darkness again –and finding my way back to Tamworth.

                                      “I came home and was surrounded by family and friends so that album kind of describes the happiness, the pain and the heartbreak and the happiness again, so I’m really proud of it.”

                                      THE VETERAN LEGEND: Jean Stafford has been performing at Tamworth for decades. Picture: Brodie Weeding

                                      JEAN Stafford was officially crowned theQueen of Australian Country Music in 1989 by the legendary Smoky Dawson.Decades later, sheis packing her bags to go on tour again in America next month.

                                      Staffordhas worked with the cream of musicians in Nashville where she was given the key to the city by the governor and was made an honorary citizen in Tennessee.

                                      After living away from her Tasmanian home for 20 years, including a stint in Tamworth for five years, she moved back to Burnie in 2009 tobeclose to her children and grandchildren.

                                      The glamorous Stafford believes a country entertainer should look the part and has the Stetsons, fringed outfits, wigs and gowns to maintain her immaculate stage image.

                                      “On tour you’ve always got to have your hair and make-up done because you’re meeting people all along the road,” the 67-year-old songstress says.“We wear a lot of wigs because it’s a big expense to have a hairdresser at every show.”

                                      Stafford says her American agent has booked a range of gigs for her to perform in US theatres, casinos and dance hall venues.The multi-award winning star has lost none of her passion.

                                      “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love singing and didn’t love country music,” she says.“From when I was eight or nine I took my guitar to school and the kids would get me to sing for them in the shelter shed.I was very shy, still am, and my music and my guitar were my way into people’s hearts.”

                                      Stafford started her career at 12 before gainingnational recognition with the hit singleWhat Kind of Girl Do You Think I Am?She claimedher first Golden Guitar for best female at 25 and has since won another two andbeen inducted into theAustralian Country Music Hall of Fame Roll of Renown at Tamworth.

                                      THE KID SEAT BOOKED: Rory Phillips, 10, will make his second trip to Tamworth this month. Picture: Les Smith

                                      RORY Phillips does not think of palm trees and sandy beaches when he imaginesparadise.He pictures being surrounded by music and the musicians at the Tamworth CountryMusical Festival.

                                      “Tamworth’s a music paradise,” Rorysays.

                                      The 10-year-old from Tumut in NSW is preparing to play 15 gigs and five busking sessions at his second festival.Rory has been given the chance to work with some of the biggest names in countrymusic and is honoured to be following in their footsteps.

                                      “I’m very excited because all the people I support went to Tamworth 20 years ago andhave the same story,” he says.

                                      Rory’s mum, Sam Phillips, has been busying readying her son for his hectic performingschedule.Rory will be making show appearances with artists, busking, speaking on radio andplaying on two of the festival’s public stages.

                                      THE FUTURE COUNTRY BOY: Oberon’s Mickey Pye won the 2015 Star Maker award.

                                      COUNTRY music has always been part of Mickey Pye’s life.

                                      “I grew up on country music, living on a property at Oberon with trucks, horses and rodeos,” the 25-year-old says.“I had a lot of respect for Slim Dusty growing up, but over time I became inspired by contemporary country guitarists like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.”

                                      It was always Pye’s ambition to enter the country music industry andhe began playing guitar at nine.

                                      Oberon RSL hostedBeccy Cole and Adam Harvey when Pye was young and it forgedhis love for country music and his aspirations to be a musician.

                                      Those aspirations were given a dramatic boost when Pye wonthe 2015 Star Maker competition.

                                      “It shows you that youcan achieve big things, by starting small and chipping away year by year at it,” he says.

                                      Pye isinvolved with the Bathurst Academy of Music, where hepasses down his knowledge to the next generation.

                                      THE OPPORTUNITY CAREER MOVE: Kayla Dwyer plans to record an album this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

                                      IT’Snosurprise Kayla Dwyer hasTamworthhigh onher2017 agenda.It will be thesinger-songwriter’s seventh trip tothecountry music capital.In that time, the 25-year-old has learnt the value of continuity.

                                      “I went a couple of years in a row and then had a break for a year,” Dwyer says.“The thing with Tamworth is it is all about the connections you make and missing that one year put me back in line a little bit. Now with this being my fifth year in a row coming up, I have developed a really strong network which allows me to play at some great spots.”

                                      Originally from Warrnambool, Dwyer recently made a strategic moveto Melbourne.

                                      “The move to Melbourne was very much about opening up more doors for my music,” shesays.

                                      And it has. Dwyer will record an album this yearafter a successful crowdfunding campaignraised $20,000.

                                      “I have worked hard, I have done the four or five shows a week on the pub circuit,” shesays.“I will keep working hard and developing my own style, which hopefully will give me a point of difference.”

                                      THE FAN MAN IN BLACK: Jason Webb’s love of imitating Johnny Cash began on the karaoke circuit.

                                      JASONWebb was helping a mate withkaraoke at Canberra’sCalwell Tavern 10 years ago and after listening to people wreck some of his favourite songs he swore he would never sing himself.

                                      “I said to my mate you’ll never hear me speak on that microphone, let alone sing,” Webb says.“And sure enough, six months later I was up singing.”

                                      Webb is happy to admit he doesn’t have a musical background, he doesn’t play an instrument, had only sung in the shower before going public at karaoke.

                                      However, Johnny Cash alwaysintrigued Webb. The early stuff from his hey days tothe later music when he teamed up with rock producer Rick Rubin and covered the Nine Inch Nails’ song Hurt.

                                      It was Webb’s love of singing Cash during karaoke sessions that eventually led to his big break.After getting in contactwith some experienced musicians who had played in bands across the country andshared a love of The Man In Black,Counterfeit Cash was born.

                                      The band also features Vinny Hellen (guitar, harmonica, mandolin),Pete Redding (bass) and Noel Walker (drums).

                                      Webb also performs with Brew’n, a country rock act based in Canberra, and has been to Tamworth the past four years with them.

                                      He is working on an original single called 50 Years, about a Vietnam veteran still having dreams about the war, 50 years on. It was inspired by the Redgum song I was only 19.

                                      “If I get that song up I’d love to head back to Tamworth next year with that,” Webb says.

                                      And the idea of taking Counterfeit Cash there one day appeals too.

                                      “You never know, we’d have to see how it all played out, but that would be a bit of fun.”

                                      Our country correspondents: Josh Leeson, Haley Craig, Libby Bingham, Bradley Jurd, Nicole Barlow, Anthony Brady andKaren Hardy.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

                                      AGL fined $124,000 for failing to disclose donations

                                      10/11/2018 Posted by admin

                                      AGL has been fined $124,000 for political donations.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      AGL Energy and its subsidiary AGL Upstream have been fined $124,000 in the Land and Environment Court today for failing to disclose political donations when making planning applications.

                                      The applications include the Newcastle gas storage facility.

                                      The judgment is a result of a prosecution brought by the Department of Planning and Environment after a compliance investigation was undertaken following complaints from community groups.

                                      This is the largest total penalty imposed since the provisions were introduced in 2008.

                                      AGL Energy was fined $112,000 and AGL Upstream $12,000.

                                      The company made$73,800 undisclosed donations across a number of the planning applications, including a$13,750 donation made to NSW Laborand an $11,000 donation to the Liberal Party, both in 2011.

                                      In addition to the fine, the companies have been ordered to pay the department’s legal costs.

                                      AGL Energy pleaded guilty to 10 charges and AGL upstream pleaded guilty to one offence of failure to disclose political donations under section 147 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

                                      The charges related to AGL’s coal seam gas projects in Gloucester and Camden; the Newcastle Gas Storage Facility; the Broken Hill solar plant and the Dalton Power Station.

                                      General counsel for the Department of Planning and Environment James Hebron said the company cooperated with the Department’s compliance investigation.

                                      “Under planning legislation there is an obligation on a proponent when making a planning application to report political donations” Mr Hebron said.

                                      “This is to ensure transparency in the planning process.”

                                      Community members in Gloucesteruncovered undeclared donations from AGL to major political parties in 2014. With the assistance of the NSW Environmental Defenders Office, they complained to the NSW Office of Environment.

                                      “We were looking at something in the original planning documents because we always thought there was something not quite right about it,” Gloucester Groundswell member Jenni O’Niell said.

                                      AGL’s Newcastle 1.5 petajoule gas storage tank was commissioned in May 2015.

                                      It provides storagecapability for up to two weeks ofgasfor greater Newcastle.

                                      AGL said the project would have an economic benefit of about $2 billion.AGLsupplies naturalgasto 700,000gasusers in NSW, including hospitals, schools, businesses and homes.

                                      Kuta dog-paddles with the dolphins in Esperance

                                      10/11/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Kuta prefers to swim alongside owner Erin Cummings in the crystal clear waters of the Esperance coastline rather than catch a ride on the paddle board.Erin Cummings and her dog Kuta madewaves online when sheposted a video on her Facebook pageof the pup playing with a pod of dolphins.
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                                      The 21-year-old took the footage on her GoPro camera while paddle boarding with her dog at West Beach.

                                      The pair have often frolicked with dolphins around Esperance but this was her first attempt at filming the display.

                                      Ms Cummings said she originally filmed Kuta and the dolphins for an international Go Pro competition.

                                      “That was the first time I tried it and I got really lucky -it’s hard to get them on film,” she said.

                                      Erin Cummings and Kuta swimming with Esperance dolphins.Post by Erin Cummings and Kuta swimming with Esperance dolphins..

                                      “I’m still getting messages about it from people saying how much they loved the videoorasking if they can share it. People just don’t believe it, that it’s something we get to do.”

                                      Ms Cumming and her boyfriend found Kuta and her sibling at eight-weeks-oldon the side of the road, malnourished and covered in fleas. The couple welcomed Kuta to the familyand their friend kept the other puppy.

                                      A pod of dolphins visiting West Beach is a regular sight for long-time local Erin Cummings and her rescue dog Kuta.

                                      “She’s the perfect dog for me, she loves the water and would happily swim all day,” Ms Cummings said.

                                      “Afterwards I’ll take her home and she’ll just sleep all day, she’s a very easy dog to maintain.”

                                      MsCummings said the rescue dog wouldride on the paddle board with her but prefers to jump in the water and swim alongside, especially when the dolphins appear.

                                      “It’s the chase I think,she seesthe fins andjust takes off after them,” she said.

                                      “These massive pods of dolphins will hang around us and they love her.”

                                      The Bay of Isles Leisure Centre lifeguardhas lived in Esperance since she was four andtries to get down to the beach at least once a day, sometimes before and after work.

                                      Kuta has even had the chance to play with a seal down at Blue Haven Beach.

                                      “The seal would swim under herand pop up behind her, it looked like they were playing chasie”

                                      Internet sensation: This photo by Erin Cummings has gained attention for capturing a hidden view of Kuta the dog playing with dolphins at West Beach.

                                      Timothy Weeks, Wagga man abducted by Taliban, pleads for help in video

                                      10/11/2018 Posted by admin

                                      A man identified as Timothy Weeks pleads for his release in a video released by the Taliban. Picture: Screengrab/YoutubeThe Taliban has released aharrowing video of kidnapped Wagga man Timothy Weeks, who was abducted in Kabulin August,pleading for the United States government to arrange a prisoner exchange before he is killed by the terrorist group.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      The teacher, who was one of two people snatched near the American University campus in the Afghan capitalon August 7, has been held hostage for almost five months.

                                      The first public sign of Mr Weeks since that day came in a 13-minute video released on Youtube on Wednesday, allegedly shot by the Taliban on New Year’s Day.

                                      Seated in front of a light backdrop, a visibly-distressed man identified himself as Timothy John Weeks, as well as the names of his parents.

                                      “My name is Timothy John Weeks …I am a teacher at the …American University in Kabul,” he said in the video.

                                      “It’s the first of January. We are now here hostages of the Taliban. We have been here for five months.”

                                      The Wagga man had been teaching high-level English at the American University of Afghanistan for less than a month when he was snatched, along with American Kevin King.

                                      A man identified as American Kevin King pleads for his release in a video released by the Taliban. Picture: Screengrab/Youtube

                                      Mr Weeks directly addressed his parents, urging for his family to make contact with the American embassy, and pleaded with US president-elect Donald Trump to intervene.

                                      “People have promised to take care of us and to help us when something went wrong and they have forsaken their promise,” he said in the footage distributed on Youtube.

                                      “We are here with no help and no hope.I don’t want to die here alone.

                                      “My mother, I know you are sick in hospital and I may never see you again.I ask Dad, please, I want to come home, please speak to the American government.

                                      “If we stay here for much longer, we will be killed.I don’t want to die here – I’m alone and I’m scared and I don’t have anybody to help me.”

                                      After the August kidnapping,American Navy SEALs stormed a Taliban compound in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan as part of an unsuccessful rescue mission.

                                      The SEAL team, supported by American Army Rangers, engaged in a deadlygun battle with dozens of insurgentsbut reportedly missed the Wagga man by a matter of hours.

                                      In the newly released video, Mr Weeks addressed Donald Trump directly, and said the Taliban has asked for prisoners held at Bagram Airfield and Pul-e-Charkhi prison to be exchanged for himself and Mr King.

                                      “They are being held there illegally and the Taliban has asked for them to be released in our exchange. If they are not exchanged for us then we will be killed,” he said.

                                      “Donald Trump, sir, please, I ask you, please, this is in your hands.

                                      “I ask you please to negotiate with the Taliban. If you do not negotiate with them, we will be killed.”

                                      A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Australian government “has been working with other governments to secure the release of an Australian man kidnapped in Afghanistan in August 2016”.

                                      “We have also been providing consular support to the man’s family, who have requested privacy,” the spokesperson said.

                                      “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, and in the interests of his own safety and well-being, we will not be commenting further.”

                                      This article was first published on The Daily Advertiser

                                      NSW and ACT General Practice of the Year award recognition of “quality care we provide”

                                      10/11/2018 Posted by admin

                                      WELL-DESERVED: Scone Medical Practice manager Ross Higham (centre) with Dr Edward Rice and personnel manager Lyndal Buckley on Thursday.PLENTY of boxes have to be ticked in order to win a prestigious award.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      And, Scone Medical Practice has done just that.

                                      Quality training. Check. High retention rate. Check. A commitment to the health and well-being of its patients. Check.

                                      These are just some of the positive aspectsthat helped Scone take out the NSW and ACT General Practice of the Year award.

                                      Practice manager Ross Higham said it was an honour to receive the award.

                                      “You’ve got to nominate for it, but we were encouraged to do so because of the high standard of our facilities and our records and services offeredto patients,” hesaid.

                                      “It is recognition of the quality care that we provide, which is very important in a rural community.

                                      “We try and save people from having to travel to specialists for their care.

                                      “[Winning this] is also testament to the quality of our medical and support staff, plus our commitment to trainingboth medical students and doctors as well askeeping administration staff up-to-date with skills.”

                                      PrimaryHealth Network CEO Richard Nankervis said Scone was thequintessential general practice.

                                      “Since 1934 the practice has been providing continuing, person centred, comprehensive and coordinated health care to people living in Scone and the surrounding districts,” he said.

                                      “One of the many challenges facing rural practices and their patients is the large distances needed to access health care.

                                      “Scone Medical Practice has helped to alleviate this issue by providing a comprehensive range of medical services on site which help reduce the stress and costs for patients by minimising travel times.

                                      “GPs working at the practice have a wide range of expertise and have gained specialised skills in areas such as obstetrics, anaesthetics, paediatrics, skin cancer, mental health and chronic disease management.

                                      “The practice also arranges for visiting specialists in a variety of areas such as cardiology, endocrinology, physiotherapy, psychology and dietetics to provide services on site at the practice’s purpose-built medical facility.”

                                      This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

                                      Graeme Mudd signs first World Cup downhill mountain biking contractphotos, video

                                      10/11/2018 Posted by admin

                                      Mudd signs first pro mountain bike deal | photos, video Graeme Mudd practising in the Awaba State Forest on Thursday.
                                      Nanjing Night Net

                                      Graeme Mudd practising in the Awaba State Forest on Thursday.

                                      Graeme Mudd competing in the Awaba State Forest in 2012, the last time the national series was held in the Hunter.

                                      TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald on Thursday after a practice session on the Awaba State Forest track near Cooranbong.

                                      “Bikes have been my life since the get-go.

                                      “I started racing BMX as a six-year-old and then sort of worked my way up to downhill mountain biking by the time I was 16.

                                      “I did my [fitter and turner] apprenticeship, but the whole time I was rocking up to work frustrated because I wanted to be out riding my bike.

                                      “I’d see all my riding buddies on social media overseas riding in the world circuit and riding in all these mad places and doing well, and I was stuck at work, but I’m glad I still did my apprenticeship. It’s definitely been a good asset to have, thinking ahead.”

                                      The World Cup season also includes rounds in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, England and Andorra before ending in Canada in early August.

                                      Awaba State Forest downhill track preview (rider Joel Willis)Mudd’s best World Cup result was an eighth placing in the second round last year in Cairns, where he had more support from family and friends.

                                      “Last year I did the World Cup season as a privateer, and I went over and bought a van, did all the work on my bike and sort of just gypsied my way around Europe.

                                      “This year we’re going to have a semi-trailer, I’ll have a mechanic, team manager, physio. To be able to just rock up to an event and do what I need to do and race my bike will be a huge advantage.

                                      “Obviously, in the right circumstances, I know what I’m capable of, and I’m pretty stoked to have the opportunity to be put in that position again.”

                                      Downhill mountain biking is big business in Europe, where the top riders are on lucrative performance-based contracts.

                                      “The size of the hills over there, you wouldn’t call them a hill –they’re mountains,” Mudd said.

                                      “One downfall of being in Australia, our tracks are on smaller hills. They tend to make them zig-zag down the hill to get the time out of the track, ducking and weaving through the bush.

                                      “Over there you can pretty much point the track down the hill. It’s a lot faster pace, bigger features, bigger jumps. It’s pretty cool. Same bike, but definitely a different set-up on the suspension.”

                                      But, before Europe, Muddwill contest the Mountain Bike Australia national series, in which he is the two-time defending champion, starting on his home track.

                                      “A lot of people would agree with me that this is one of the tougher tracks in Australia. It’s quite a steep track and it’s very rough the whole way. There’s a lot of rocks and some big features.

                                      “It’s a good drawcard for big events like this. It brings in the quality in riders, puts on a good show, and puts the amateur riders to the test as well.They like to come here and see how they goon a track like this.”

                                      This weekend’sround includes practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and men’s and women’s finals from 1.30 to 3.30pm Sunday across a range of age and ability categories.