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南京夜网.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.

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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南京夜网 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.

Throwback Thursday: Houses of the Weekphotos

10/02/2019 Posted by admin

Throwback Thursday: Houses of the Week | photos Kilaben Bay
Nanjing Night Net

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Cooks Hill

Memorial Drive, Merewether

Memorial Drive, Merewether

Memorial Drive, Merewether

Memorial Drive, Merewether

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Kilaben Bay

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

Lookout Road, New Lambton Heights

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

North Lambton

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Merewether

Fennell Bay

Tighes Hill

Paterson

Paterson

Paterson

Paterson

Paterson

Paterson

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

Tighes Hill

New Lambton

New Lambton

New Lambton

New Lambton

New Lambton

New Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

Lambton

New Lambton Heights

New Lambton Heights

New Lambton Heights

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Mindaribba

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

Bar Beach

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

The Junction

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Warners Bay.

Merewether.

Adamstown.

Adamstown.

Adamstown.

Adamstown.

Adamstown.

Adamstown.

Arcadia Vale.

Arcadia Vale.

Arcadia Vale.

Arcadia Vale.

Arcadia Vale.

Arcadia Vale.

Belmont.

Belmont.

Belmont.

Belmont.

Belmont.

Belmont.

Belmont.

Black Hill.

Black Hill.

Black Hill.

Black Hill.

Black Hill.

Black Hill.

Black Hill.

Bolwarra Heights.

Bolwarra Heights.

Bolwarra Heights.

Bolwarra Heights.

Bolwarra Heights.

Bolwarra Heights.

Bolwarra Heights.

Caves Beach.

Caves Beach.

Caves Beach.

Caves Beach.

Caves Beach.

Caves Beach.

Caves Beach.

Chisholm.

Chisholm.

Chisholm.

Chisholm.

Chisholm.

Cooks Hill.

Cooks Hill.

Cooks Hill.

Cooks Hill.

Cooks Hill.

Cooks Hill.

Soldiers Point.

Soldiers Point.

Soldiers Point.

Soldiers Point.

Soldiers Point.

Soldiers Point.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Dudley.

Hamilton.

Hamilton.

Hamilton.

Hamilton.

Hamilton.

Hamilton.

Lakelands.

Lakelands.

Lakelands.

Lakelands.

Lakelands.

Lakelands.

Lakelands.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Merewether.

Mindaribba.

Mindaribba.

Mindaribba.

Mindaribba.

Mindaribba.

Mindaribba.

Mindaribba.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

New Lambton.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

Newcastle East.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

North Lambton.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Redhead.

Stockton.

Stockton.

Stockton.

The Hill.

The Hill.

The Hill.

The Hill.

The Hill.

The Hill.

The Hill.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Tingira Heights.

Toronto.

Toronto.

Toronto.

Toronto.

Toronto.

Toronto.

Toronto.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Wallsend.

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Lorn

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

Newcastle East

TweetFacebook The houses of the Hunter: photosEvery week a beautiful Hunter home is picked out as the House of the Week.

From lakeside stunners to cosy cottages, there are some grand housesnestled throughout the Hunter.

Take a look at more than a year’s worth of shots of some of the region’s most stunning houses.

short story: Fire and The Moon by Alison Hawksworth

10/02/2019 Posted by admin

WORTH 1000 WORDS: Each day we will publish a finalist in the Herald short story competition. The winner will be announced on January 28, 2017. Picture: Marina Neil
Nanjing Night Net

Read more finalists’ stories hereIN frustration, the fiery-haired girl stormed out the front screen door, slamming it behind her.

She plonked down on the top step of the decaying, weather-beaten veranda, mulling over what had just happened. She felt totally out of control and her feelings began to boil and bubble inside of her, despite the coolness of the night. She found that sitting still was impossible, so she marched out the gate and down the tree-lined road.

She didn’t know where she was going but the act of just doing something, anything, seemed to help ease her mind a little. Her stride changed from a march to a jog and finally into a lung-busting, heart-pounding run. She ran until she couldn’t possibly run any more. When she stopped she realised she was at the edge of the village. Being quite new to the area, she came across a small lane that she had never seen before. It had a large white rose bush at the entrance and meandered down towards a paddock.

The girl wandered down the dark lane, for there were no street lights here, and started to feel cold as the exertion of running wore off. She shivered and pulled her meagre cardigan more tightly around her.

The air was so calm and still that as she came nearer to the paddock, she could see the exhalations of horses, rising like the puffs of old steam trains, lingering a moment before disappearing into the dark, crisp night above. The nearly full moon poked its head out from behind a cloud and bathed the paddock and the horses in a silvery glow.

The girl clambered over the rickety, wooden fence and slowly approached the large beasts, as they glanced up at her unfazed. A white horse, almost crystalline in the glow of the moon, broke away from the others and ambled up to her. It seemed to sense her sour mood and looked down at her with its long-lashed eyes, as if it were looking down deepinto her soul itself. Then it nudged her with its velvety nose and stamped a front hoof on the ground, almost impatiently.

The girl touched the horse’s cheek, enjoying the feel of the soft, smooth fur. Then she raised her hand up to stroke the horse’s velveteen neck and her hand continued on down to rub the horse’s back. Over and down, over and down, in a hypnotic rhythm. With each stroke of her hand, she could feel a small piece of the hardened rock inside her crumble away.

Suddenly, the horse knelt down with its front legs and nudged her lwith its nose, as if to invite her to climb on. The girl, as if in a dream, grabbed the horse’s mane and pulled herself up on to its back and twisted her fingers through the silky hair. The horse gave a low whinny and then took off like a tightly coiled spring towards the fence, clearing it in a soaring arc.

The clip-clop sound of the horse’s hooves as it trotted down the little, dark lane penetrated the otherwise silent night. On they travelled, girl and beast as one. They cantered down the road, passing the girl’s house, then crossed the bridge and followed the path alongside the river. The horse broke into an exuberant gallop and the girl grinned – they both felt more free than they had in such a long time. There was no destination, all that existed was now.

After what seemed like hours wandering aimlessly through the surrounding villages and countryside, both the girl and the horse were tiring. The horse turned its head for home and they made their way along the river path, back over the bridge and down the road.

The girl pulled the horse to a stop outside her house and dismounted, feeling at once cold and lonely but with a sense of calm and serenity. She gave the white horse a final pat on its ever-so-soft neck, then stumbled up the crumbling stairs to her house, watching as the horse clip-clopped back down the road and out of sight.

Dragging herself to the front door, the girl turned the handle and was grateful to find it unlocked. She tiptoed quietly to her bedroom and opened the door. The door squeaked loudly and her alarm clock glared at her – bright red numbers breaking through the inky black, as if in silent reprimand at the late hour. She threw herself down onto her bed and was asleep in seconds, exhausted.

The girl slept late and when she arose mid-morning, the house was empty, thankfully. She had a quick shower and wolfed down a hasty breakfast. She was keen to see the white horse again, so she rushed out of the house and ran back down the road to the lane.

When she arrived, there was a young man mucking out the paddock. He was handsome – tall and slim, with long white-blond hair that kept blowing across his face. As he was tucking a tousled lock behind his ear, he looked up and noticed the girl standing by the fence. She was peering around the paddock, as if looking for something. She noticed him glancing at her and climbed over the fence.

“Hi!” she greeted him as she walked over, still looking around.

“Hey!” he replied, softly spoken. “Can I help you with something?”

“Yeah, I came to see the white horse but I can’t see it here today,” she explained.

“The white horse?” the young man asked, looking confused. “I’ve worked here for years and there’s never been a white horse.”

Ben Simmons is preparing for his NBA debut

10/02/2019 Posted by admin

SHOWTIME: Ben Simmons hopes to make his NBA debut in the near future. Picture: Getty ImagesPhiladephia’scomeback win over the New York Knicks has been overshadowed by the sight of former Newcastle Hunters junior Ben Simmons training with his teammates during the pre-match warm-up.
Nanjing Night Net

In a buzzer-beating moment, TJ McConnell hit a baseline jumper to give the Sixers a 98-97 win.

But the sight of No.1 draft pick Simmons completing training drills promises to give just as much inspiration to the Sixers.

Simmons hasn’t played this season after breaking his foot in a training camp.

“To even see him today go through five-on-zero stuff, not a lot, not at a hundred per cent, but with us in a 76ers uniform, the gym got a lift,” Sixers’ coach Brett Brown said.

Simmons could be ready to play within a month although Brown is reluctant to put a timetable on a return.

When Simmons eventually makes it onto the court, Brown would like to think the 20-year-old could have the same impact as Joel Embiid who had 21 points and 14 rebounds on Wednesday night.

“We believe Ben is going to be in that same species, that same genre,” he said. “You feel like that’s going the way that we hoped that it would.”

Brown insists Embiid is a huge part of Philadelphia’s future and a big reason the Sixers have won four of five.

Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points to help the Sixers rally from a 17-point deficit.

During the dying seconds, Kristaps Porzingis found himself open for a three-pointer that would’ve sealed a win for the Knicks.

But his shot ended up being an airball which led to McConnell completing the Philadelphia comeback in grand fashion. Derrick Rose returned from a one-game hiatus and scored 25 points for the Knicks.

In other games, Russell Westbrook posted his 18th triple-double of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 103-95.

Westbrook finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for the 55th triple-double of his career.

He already has matched his triple-double total from last season less than halfway through this one.

Last year’s total was the most for a player since Magic Johnson had 18 during the 1981-82 season.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics pulled away late for a 117-108 win over the Washington Wizards.

Andrew Wiggins scored 28 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 18 rebounds, and Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 to help the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Houston Rockets 119-105.

James Harden scored 33 points and had 12 assists for Houston, which saw its nine-game winning streak end.

Rookie Dylan Phythian is in line to start season as Newcastle’s fullback

10/02/2019 Posted by admin

OPPORTUNITY: Dylan PhythianIT’S been a long, hard pre-season, but Knights rookie Dylan Phythian will be the least likely to complain.
Nanjing Night Net

Just 12 months ago, after all, he was digging ditches for a living.

As he prepared for his 2016 campaign, as a fringe member of Newcastle’s NSW Cup squad, the Belmont-born utility held down a day job installing NBN data cables.

“Cutting concrete, removing concrete, digging holes, removing cables, conduit and stuff,’’ Phythian recalled.

“It’s definitely hard work, training, but it’s better than digging holes. It’s hard on the body, but I’d rather be doing that than waking up at six o’clock in the morning to go and dig holes 10 hours a day.’’

Phythian’s life changed dramatically last August when he took a surprise phone call, informing him he had been called into Newcastle’s NRL squad for the round-25 clash with South Sydney.

A try on debut, within a minute of entering the game, and another bench cameo against St George Illawarra a week later was enough to earn the former Hunter Sports High student a contract for 2017. He is now a genuine chance of wearing Newcastle’s No.1 jersey in the season-opener against the Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium, after Jake Mamo’s decision to join Huddersfield and North Queensland’s refusal to release Kalyn Ponga a year early.

Knights coach Nathan Brown declared recently that Phythian and Peter Mata’utia were the standout candidates for the custodian role.

Used as an interchange hooker in his two NRL games, Phythian spent most of his junior career as a half or five-eighth, but has been learning the craft of fullback play from Knights assistant coach Mick Potter.

“I grew up playing six orseven,’’ he said.“I did play a little bit of fullback, but the majority was in the halves.

“I’d never really played hooker until I debuted last year. It’s not a bad trait, I suppose, being able to play a few different positions.’’

Brown said after Phythian’s promising initiation last year that theformer South Belmont Rabbitoh was a natural footballer.

“He is certainly tough and competes well,’’ Brown said.“The more of those type of people you put in the squad, the better off we will be.”

The coach has reinforced those comments by backing the 21-year-old as a possible last line of defence for the season ahead.

“It is a massive confidence booster, hearing that from him,’’ Phythian said.

“But at the same time, I just want to be out there learning as much as I can.

“Obviously the goal is to be there in round one, but if that’s not the way it works out, I just want to keep working hard and improving as a player.’’

Asked what would be his strengths as a fullback, Phythian said his ball-playing and kicking game.

“I think I can be a bit of a free-roaming half and run the ball when needed,’’ he said.

Phythian admitted his first full pre-season had taken a toll, especially at the start.

“There was a bit of wear and tear on the legs, shin splints and stuff, but I’ve got used to it as we’ve gone on,’’ he said.“I made the most of our two-week break, but now we’re back into it, and I’m feeling good.’’

Newcastle Jets: A-League critics fire up coach Mark Jonesphotos

10/02/2019 Posted by admin

Big-city critics fire up Jets coach | photos TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald this week.
Nanjing Night Net

“I think that’s complete ignorance from people that should know the game better. Very disrespectful.

“I always thought that when we got players back we’d dowell and play quite good football, and we’ve been shown to do that.

“It’s mind-blowing the comments that were made. I remember those things and weprove people wrong and we move on.”

The Jets lost twice to unbeatenleaders Sydney and fellow heavyweights Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City in their barren spell, and Jones pointed out their worst defeat in that period was 2-0.

He took particular exception to suggestions the Jets did not belong in the A-League.

“It drives us. I’ve always said that a team from Newcastle can do as good as anyone, and when people from Sydney and Melbourne come out with comments that we’re not good enough.

“I think there was a reflection there at one point that us and Central Coast Mariners probably shouldn’t be in the league. Ridiculous statements when we’ve won the league, we’ve got magnificent facilities, we’ve got a magnificent town.

“We’re self-sufficient. We’re a big town and a good town and a town steeped in history, and nothing better than we beat a Sydney or Melbourne team to win the league again.”

Jones was named coach in the A-League team of the week after Newcastle’s come-from-behind 3-2 win inBrisbane last Saturday.

“It’s funny–you win a game and you’re a good coach, and you lose a game and you’re a mug. I’m more than aware of that.”

With the bulk of their squad restored to health, Newcastle have claimed three wins and a draw in their past five games to surge to sixth on 16 points, one behind Perth and two in front of seventh-placed Western Sydney Wanderers, who play Sydney on Saturday night.

“Our aim is to get in the top six, but if we could get a result on Perth on the weekend and Victory do us a favour and beat Brisbane, then we’re two points off fourth, so we’ll chase that,” Jones said.

“Long way to go. We’re only halfway through the season and we need to at least duplicate what we’ve done to this point to make it.”

The cut-off point for the top six in the past five seasons has been 41, 34, 38, 32 and37 points. Newcastle are on 16 after 14 rounds with 13 to play.

Golden staph declines in Australian public hospitals.

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

Unpleasant experience: Jade Gibson, 11, of Floraville, became ill and achy and fainted after a tooth extraction and was soon diagnosed with golden staph. Picture: Marina Neil.GETTING two baby teeth removed in November ended up being more than just a pain in the jaw for 11 year old Jade Gibson.
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The Floraville resident was recently diagnosed with a staphylococcus aureus infection –otherwise known as golden staph.

While it was impossible to identifyexactly when andhow it happened, Jade’s family believe the infection got inthroughthe wounds from her toothextractions.

“It’s common to find staph in your nose or on your skin …I’ve done a bit of reading on it since,” Mrs Gibsonsaid.

“But it’s in there for good now.”

Jade had gone to bed with “a bit of a headache” after getting two teeth removed.

“I gave her some Panadol and she went to school the next day,” Mrs Gibson said.

“But I had a call from the school saying that Jade was really distressed about a sore shoulder.

“When I picked her up, I’d never seen her so upset. She was in a lot of pain, and she was complaining about a pain in her leg as well.”

Jade ended up in John Hunter Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with golden staph.

An x-ray revealed the infection had “attached” to the growth plate in her shoulder.

“I had to have canulas in my arm, with my arm straight the whole time, and I had to stay in hospital for five nights and six days,” Jade said.

“I had one canula in for a long time and one night I cried because it hurt that much.”

Jade has since been on strong antibiotics and continues to be monitored.

While Jade’s case was likely to be more of a community-based infection, theAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare has just releasedits latest report into the incidenceof healthcare-associatedgolden staph in hospitals across the country.

The report showsrates ofstaphylococcus aureus infections in Australianpublic hospitals had decreased by 17 per cent from 2011-to-2012 to 1,440 cases in 2015-to-2016.

Hunter New England Health infectious diseases physicianDr John Ferguson saidthe Calvary Mater Hospitalhad shown the biggest improvement in the region, with rates of staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections improving from 2.8 per 10,000 bed days, to 1.3. The John Hunter Hospital also had a rate of 1.3.

“Our major trouble has always been the Calvary Mater, but they’ve really gotten on top of it now this year,” Dr Fergusonsaid.

He said better hand hygiene across all Hunter siteshad contributed to the decline in staph rates, with a staff compliance of 87 per cent.

The Australian public hospital report showed handhygiene compliance in public hospitals increased from 71.8 per centto 83.6.

Coalfields residents urged to stay vigilant following spate of deliberately-lit bushfires

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

DELIBERATE: The Abermain bushfire, which tore through 800 hectares last month, was the work of an arsonist. Picture: Marina Neil.RESIDENTS in known arsonist hot zones throughout the Lower Hunter have been urged to keep an eye on suspicious activity amid concerns that Friday’s forecasted heatwave could become a day too good for firebugs to refuse.
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Authorities are convinced it was “more than just mere coincidence” that bushfires have erupted around the Coalfields towns surrounding Kurri Kurri during “perfect” bushfire weather including high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.

There was a collective sigh of relief for investigators on Thursday when four fire experts from the RuralFire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW were able to confirm that the blaze which ripped through about 20 hectares near Luxford during the heatwave conditions on Wednesdaywas sparked by an earthing wire from a power pole in bushland.

But as firefighters got the upper hand on the Loxford fire on Wednesday night, some crews were forced to rush to the Hunter Economic Zone to put out a blaze believed to have started from fireworks.

It follows a series of blazes, including last month’s 800-hectare inferno which threatened properties around Abermain and Neath, being confirmed as deliberately-lit.

It is understood Central Hunter police have identified suspects but have remained unable to lay charges because of a lack of evidence.

And no one has ever beencharged with the spate of fires around Kurri Kurri five years ago, where an arsonist is believed to have sparked at least 60 blazes in one summer including several which threatened properties.

“We always ask residents to stay vigilant,’’ RFS Lower Hunter zone manager Superintendent Jayson McKellar said.

“And with the heatwave conditions predicted, we urge people that if they see something they think is suspicious, that just doesn’t look right, then contact authorities.’’

A total fire ban has been declared across parts of NSW, including the Greater Hunter area, on Friday with temperatures predicted to soar into the 40-degree celsius range.

Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector George Radmore said rural crime investigators were continuingto look into the spate of deliberately-lit blazes, including the massive Abermain fire.

“These fires do not light themselves,’’ Detective Inspector Radmore said.

Paying for the right to celebrate Anzac Day

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

Thousands of Australian servicemen and women gave their lives defending, among other things, the democratic right to assembly and free speech.
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Their sacrifice is commemorated in towns and citiesevery Anzac Day when generations of Australians gather to remember and honour the deeds of our Diggers.

It is hard to believe that a day as sacred and significant as Anzac Day could be threatened because RSL sub-branches cannot afford the cost of providing security for their marches.

But as much as we may shudder at the thought of an Anzac Day march becoming a terrorist target, the reality is that proud symbols of freedomhave become potentialtargets for those seeking to destroy our democracy.

Melbourne police foiled a plot in which a man planned to behead a police officer during a 2015 Anzac march.

The Islamic State terrorist attack on Bastille Day celebrations in France last year served as another soberreminder of the potential threat, even if it is small, on similar gatherings in Australia.

It is logical that extra security precautions may be needed in the present climate, particularly in large city gatherings, but how much is necessary and who should pay?

Four Blue MountainsRSL sub-branches have already indicated they are unable to pay the thousands of dollars required to install additional security barriers along their march routes this year.

In the Hunter, sub-branches around Maitland are calculating how much it may cost to protectAnzac Day services. They readily acknowledge that withoutassistance these costs may be prohibitive.

In Newcastle, the city council will continue to underwrite the cost of traffic management and security measures. This will allow the city’s mainservices to continue as they have in past years.

As much as the idea of providing extra security to protect Anzac Day services will be an affront to many Australians, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Hopefully any security measures that are needed will not take away from the tradition and spirit of the services. All levels of government can playa role in sharing the costs of providing the necessarysecurity.

One thing is certain though, RSL sub-branches should not be required to pay to hold Anzac Day services.

Issue: 38,439

OpinionBe brave and speak up for your rights

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

TIME TO BE BRAVE: Human rights advocate for people with disability – and the author of this article – Leigh Creighton.Human rights violations happen only in far away, mostly war-torn countries right?
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Wrong.

In Australia, our lucky, war-free country, virtually every person with a disability experiences rights violations at some point in their life. For many, these violations occur not just once, but daily.

I know what it’s like. Born with Down syndrome, I’m a passionate human rights advocate for people with disability. I have spent my days helping people with a disability know their rights and speak up for them as a peer pentor for House with No Steps since 2013. I also serve as a member of Community Disability Alliance Hunter and the Disability Council NSW, an official advisory board to the state government.

I know – only too well – how common human rights violations are for people with disability. Multiple forms of rights violations occur every day, in every state and territory, in aspects of life most people take for granted, such as housing, employment, and access to public transport. How would you feel if you struggled to find and keep a job, due to discrimination? Or if you weren’t free to choose where to live, and who you lived with?

Why are people with disability so much more likely to experience rights violations? For one thing, often they can’t be involved in decisions in their own life – from what they have for breakfast, to what they wear, to which doctor they see. This means they’re especially vulnerable to rights violations and abuse. Research has shown that more than a quarter of people who report sexual assault have a disability.

The fact that human rights violations still remain common in a lucky country like Australia is a tragedy. Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. Our country even has a Disability Discrimination Act, which is meant to protect people and promote equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal access for people with disabilities.

Despite these protections, in 2015 the United Nations Human Rights Council raised serious concerns about human rights violations against Australians with disability, in a periodic review of human rights in our country. As part of this review, local not-for-profits flagged a range of issues -including forced sterilisations, violence against people with a disability, and the indefinite detention of people with disability in the criminal justice system, as urgent concerns that need addressing.

It’s especially upsetting that, often people with a disability may not even realise that their rights are being violated, as they don’t know their rights. Worse,many do know but are too afraid to speak up, fearing they will get into trouble.

It’s time this changed. The tragedy of human rights violations in Australia must not be ignored. We need to be brave and speak up about the situations of abuse and neglect affecting some people with disability.

We need to help people with disability to know their rights, and give them the support they need to speak up, and make a complaint if they feel their rights are not being respected. People who can’t speak up, for whatever reason, can get someone to do so for them but unfortunately help isn’t always nearby. This is why we really need more advocates and self-advocacy groups, to make sure help is available for everyone.

Everyone has the right to speak up, speak loud and clear, no matter what the issue is.

Leigh Creighton is a peer mentor forHouse with No Steps

Strike Force Raptor: Sawn-off firearm and ammunition found during search of Telarah home of Bandidos associate

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

CRACKDOWN: The Hunter-based Strike Force Raptor has charged an associate of the Bandidos bikie gang after allegedly locating a sawn-off rifle during a search of a Telarah property as part of the region bikie gang operation. A MANwith close ties to the Bandidos hasbeen charged over a stolen sawn-off rifle allegedly found during a search of a Telarah property by the Hunter’s anti-bikie squad.
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Police said officers had issued a 48-year-old man with a firearms prohibition orderon Thursday before a search of the property allegedly uncovered the loaded shortened rifle and more ammunition at the Brooks Street address.

The man was taken to Maitland police station where he was chargedwith possessing an unauthorized firearm, possessing an unregistered firearm, possessing a shortened firearm, possessing ammunition without licence or permit, not keeping a firearm safe storage, and possessing a stolen firearm.

Police will allege the firearm was stolen during a break-in in 2011.

Strike Force Raptor police will allege the man was a close associate with the Bandidos bikie gang.

It came as officers also searcheda Barnsleyhome belonging to the Telarah man’s son, who is also suspected of having links with the Bandidos.

Police allegedly seized a .45 Colt revolver, ammunition, a BB gun, a replica pistol, cannabis and steroids.

The son, 24, was arrested at the location and taken to Belmont police station, where he was charged with possessing an unregistered firearm-pistol, possessing a prohibited drug, and possessing ammunition without licence or permit.

The searches were the latest in almost 30 firearms prohibition orders planned to be handed to bikiesand associates as part of a Hunter-wide crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Fairfax Media has revealed the Hunter-based squad had already seized at least 18 firearms from registered owners.

It also comes a day after the arrest of high-ranking Finks bikie Adam Luke Gould, who walked into Newcastle police station after being hunted by police investigating a wild brawl between the Finks and Nomads at Wallsend last month.

Mr Gould, 32, was charged with affray and using an offensive weapon after a baseball bat was allegedly used in the Thomas Street melee on December 9.

The brawl erupted after gang members coincidentally arrived at service stations across the road from one another.

At least one Nomads member, 26, needed treatment in John Hunter Hospital for his injuries.

Mr Gould, who was a high-ranking member of the Comanchero, had “patched over” to the Finks before becoming an office bearer with the gang’s Newcastle chapter.

In doing so, he had cut off a tattoo above his right eye whichhad read ACCA –Always Comanchero Comanchero Always.

Facial tattoos including “Fear None” remain across his cheeks.

Mr Gould was refused bail in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday on the charges.

He will also need to answer to an 18-monthgood behaviour bond he had received over his participation in a brawl in a Kurri Kurri hotel in 2015.

Police have also handed a court attendance notice to a second Finks member over the Wallsend brawl.

The Cessnock man will face a charge of being in custody of an offensive implement in a public place.

He will face court on February 23.

The Strike Force Raptor crackdown will continue across the Hunter for at least another six weeks.