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Nitro Circus’ Jackson Strong injured in fireworks explosion

Original source:The Daily Advertiser
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Lockhart’s motocross star Jackson Strong is one of two menseriously hurt in a fireworks explosion at his home.

Details of the incident are still being gathered, but Mr Strong’s father, Lyndon,confirmed his son had been hurt in a New Year’s fireworks blast.

Strong has made an international name for himself in the daring motocross arena, rising from performing at the Lockhart Show as a youth to bagging swags of medals on the international stage.

PHOTOS: Jackson Strong in action

Strong, the reigning X Games Best Trick gold medalist,has ridden for Nitro Circus and most recently performed in Wagga as part of the Nitro Circus regional tour.

Ambulance media said paramedics responded to reports of a fireworks explosion on Milbrulong Road about 12.10am today.

A spokeswoman said two patients were taken to Wagga Base Hospital.

Jackson Strong, 22,is reported to be the more seriously hurt.

He suffered a serious leg injury as well as chest and facial injuries.

Pictures of Mr Strong’s facial injuries have been posted on his website www.jackostrong南京夜网.

“His left leg around his thigh is the worst part,” a worriedLyndon Strong said.

“He will pull through, no worries at all.”

He was flown into Wagga by helicopter and thenafter treatment at the base hospital was flown by plane to Sydney where he was admitted to the burns unit of St George Hospital.

A second man suffered a lower leg wound.

He is believed to be a good friend of Mr Jackson and was celebrating the new year with him.

X Games gold medallist and Nitro Circus star Jackson Strong has been injured in a fireworks explosion. WARNING: NEXT PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT

Jackson Strong posted this photo of his injuries on his website, jackostrong南京夜网

Ambulance media said he was a 20-year-old, but a spokeswoman for Murrumbidgee Local Health District said it was believed he was 28.

He is being treated in Wagga Base Hospital and is in a stable condition.

It is believed the incident happened on Mr Strong’s family property, where he regularly spends time and has filmed for a documentary,Headstrong.

In 2012, Strong became the first Australian to win back-to-back gold medals in the X Games Moto Best Trick category after creating history with the first-ever front-slip in competition and unveiling a body varial, The Jack.

Lockhart Shire Council did not have a fireworks display for New Year’s Eve.

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Baby Isaac the first of 2014

THE new year will be filled with hope and joy for Naomi and Jonathan Stucken who on Wednesdaywelcomed their first baby to the world.
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Baby Isaac, 12 days overdue when he was finally born at 1.35am on New Year’s Day, was also the first baby born at Orange Hospital in 2014.

He weighed 4.48 kilograms (9.8 pounds) and was 60 centimetres (23.6 inches) long.

“It’s been a bit of a marathon, but I’m just so happy he’s here,” Mrs Stucken said.

The first-time parents said they were a little nervous leading up to the birth, which was scheduled at Orange hospital instead of their home town in Cowra, due to a lack of an anesthetist over the festive period.

“When you know he’s so big I was quite nervous,” Mrs Stucken said.

“But I was very happy and relieved when he came out safely.

The name Isaac is an ancient translation meaning’he will laugh’, a fact the couple were aware of whentheychose the name based onone of their favourite bible stories.

Mrs Stucken said she had nothing but praise for the staff in Orange hospital’s maternity ward.

“I don’t think you’d have better service in Sydney, their standard of care is amazing,” Mrs Stucken said.

“Staff have been amazing and everyone we’ve spoken to is so helpful.”

[email protected]南京夜网.au

THE BEST NEW YEAR: Naomi and Jonathan Stucken with son Isaac, who was the first baby born at Orange Hospital in 2014. Photo: LUKE SCHUYLER

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Vansittart Park hosts thousands at NYE party

HAILED A SUCCESS: Mount Gambier Community Events Management Inc (MGCEMI) chair Steve Toope was pleased with how the fourth annual New Year’s Eve community celebrations were received. Pictures: BRETT KENNEDY NEED FOR SPEED: Cooper Bobridge (8) got behind the wheel of the go-karts, one of many amusements for the hundreds of children on site.
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VISITORS GALORE: Mount Gambier’s New Year’s Eve community celebrations attracted many visitors, including Adelaide’s Kobi, 8, and Levi Swanson, 5, and Lily Cunningham, 3, who enjoyed building a block tower.

HEAVY HITTING: The Riot City Wrestling crew was once again a smash hit with the crowd, as many cheered on GD Grimm, who outmuscled his opponent.

BUBBLE TROUBLE: Cassidy Lynagh, 5, was extra bubbly Tuesday night at the Mount Gambier Community New Year’s Eve celebrations.

NO SEATING ROOM: Adelaide-based Circus Elements entertainer Scott Griffin got the crowd involved in his performance.

VANSITTART Park hosted thousands of revellers on New Years Eveas families and friends came together to usher in 2014 at the fourth annual Mount Gambier Community New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Residents flocked into the venue from the Wehl Street entrance, making their way to the centre of the oval where jumping castles, merry-go-rounds, musicians and wrestlers waited to entertain the festive crowds.

Mount Gambier Community Events Management Incorporated chair Steve Toope said he was happy with the community response.

“I think it all went pretty well, the weather gods were definitely smiling on us,” Mr Toope said.

“You only have to look out the window today (Wednesday) to realise we were lucky.

“At the end of the day we didn’t have any hassles or hitches.

“We aim to get about 3500-4500 people and at a rough guess I’d say we were around the mark.

“It was a similar size crowd to 2012.”

Mr Toope said he received positive feedback from residents throughout the night.

“The fireworks were obviously well-received and everyone seemed happy with the range of entertainment,” he said.

“From an organiser point of view, I’ve really got nothing to complain about.”

Mr Toope said the central Vansittart Park location once again proved to be a winner.

“The one thing I see on New Year’s Eve when I’m walking about the area is that from a family perspective, it’s a good venue to go to,” he said.

“The kids can go off and parents know they will be safe and you see all the extended family catching up with a rug on the grass.

“From my point of view, I look at it as one of those events that friends and families can really come together, sit down and have a chat to catch up.

“From a parent’s perspective, if the kids are being entertained, then that can mean the parents or grandparents are in for an easier night.”

With live music a strong feature of the night, Mr Toope said the committee’s gamble on securing the services of Adelaide band Platinum Plus paid off.

“I think they went down really well, they were a tight outfit,” he said.

“We sort of punted that they’d fit the demographic and that’s exactly what happened.

“It was very easy listening and family friendly, so they were a good fit.”

While a large portion of the crowd left after the early fireworks, Mr Toope said organisers were prepared for the exodus, with other people still entering the venue right up until the stroke of midnight.

“That’s how we’ve designed the night, because we understand a lot of people have younger families,” he said.

While the committee has barely had time to celebrate the beginning of 2014 with plenty of packing up done yesterday morning, the next installment is already on their minds.

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Robbie McEwen tells UCI to deal with clenbuterol in China

Australian cycling legend Robbie McEwen says the International Cycling Union (UCI) has to take some responsibility for any positive tests to clenbuterol in China, despite the cycling body’s claims it has put measures in place to protect cyclists competing there.
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Canberra cyclist and three-time world champion Michael Rogers remains provisionally suspended after testing positive to clenbuterol at the Japan Cup in October, a week after competing in the Tour of Beijing in China.

Rogers has claimed he never ”knowingly or deliberately ingested clenbuterol” and says he fears the adverse result may be from contaminated meat in China.

Belgian cyclist Jonathan Breyne also tested positive after competing in China in October and November. He attempted suicide after being notified of the result.

The cycling union has acknowledged it knew about issues with clenbuterol in Chinese meat since the Beijing Tour began in 2011 and had put measures in place by employing a ”dedicated cook to supervise food” in the riders’ hotels.

Having originally called for racing in China to be suspended, McEwen said meat for future events should be imported.

”If they’re saying they’ve taken this precaution so it doesn’t happen, and then it does happen, then they’ve got to take some sort of responsibility,” he said. ”They’ve got to at least acknowledge there’s a bigger problem and they’ve got to look at another solution.

”Having dedicated cooks in the kitchens makes zero difference, it’s where the meat is coming from,” he said.

”Assuming the meat is the problem – and I see that as being odds-on that it is – they’ve got to do one of two things: either make races in China vegetarian, you eat meat at your own risk; or you take a bit more responsibility as organisers of the race and import meat from somewhere they know is safe.

”It’s fairly simple.”

McEwen took to Twitter after Rogers’ positive test and questioned whether some riders would be cautious about returning to China in 2014.

McEwen said Breyne’s story highlighted the importance of the UCI fixing the problem. ”It can spell the end of someone’s career, but it nearly spelt the end of his life,” he said. ”That’s how hard he took it.”

UCI spokesman Louis Chenaille said the union would work with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

”The Tour of Beijing organisers, the UCI, the local authorities and the teams have been discussing the issue of food safety since the first edition of the race in 2011,” he told website VeloNation.

”Measures put in place as a result of these discussions include the employment by the organisers of a dedicated cook to supervise food in all the hotels which house the riders during the race.

”The UCI will be discussing this issue with all parties concerned, particularly with WADA, to see if there are improvements which can be made to the current regulatory structure and the arrangements in place at the race.”

If you need someone to talk to, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Warrnambool Cheese & Butter takeover battle to take further twists in 2014

Unresolved: Takeover tussle.Warrnambool Cheese & Butter chief David Lord did not get his Christmas wish, with the takeover battle for his company failing to finish in 2013.
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And the cheese war looks set to heat up this year as former bidder Bega Cheese seeks the best possible price for its stake, and speculation mounts that a Chinese bidder will enter the fray.

WCB, the fourth-largest dairy processor, collecting 900 million litres of milk a year, has been the subject of a three-way takeover battle between Bega Cheese, Canada’s Saputo and Australia’s biggest dairy exporter, Murray Goulburn.

The bidding war has pushed WCB’s market value from $200 million to $520 million as dairy players jostle for position to capitalise on soaring Asian demand.

Bega Cheese kicked off the wheeling and dealing with its cash-and-scrip bid (worth $5.78 at the time) in September.

Saputo is offering an unconditional $9 a share in cash plus 20¢ a share each time Saputo passes acceptance hurdles of 50.1 per cent, 75 per cent and 90 per cent.

The Montreal-based dairy company’s offer has the backing of WCB’s board.

Murray Goulburn has an offer of $9.50 cash on the table, conditional on getting 50.1 per cent of WCB and regulatory approval from the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Bega is now out of the race after letting its offer of $2 cash and 1.5 Bega shares close on December 20.

According to its latest substantial shareholder filing, Bega is the largest single shareholder in WCB, with an 18.8 per cent stake.

Murray Goulburn and Saputo, which have respective WCB shareholdings of 17.7 per cent and 17.9 per cent, will be scrambling to sweet talk Bega’s Barry Irvin about his stake, but rumours of another bidder wading into the takeover battle mean Bega could be better off waiting.

Media reports last week said China Investment Corporation is backing a Chinese food group that is looking to acquire WCB.

Demand for dairy products in China is outstripping supply and domestic production growth.

Any Chinese bidder would have to contend with the crowded WCB register. Alongside Bega, Murray Goulburn and Saputo, Lion – a subsidiary of Japanese food and beverages company Kirin – is the fourth strategic investor, with 10 per cent.

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Retailers are expected to receive a $15 billion post-Christmas windfall in consumer spending

Clothing sales are tipped to rise by 3.9 per cent in the post-Christmas period. Photo: Max Mason-HubersRetailers are set to get their share of festive cheer this holiday season, with after-Christmas sales expected to surge past $15 billion.
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Consumers are projected to spend about $15.1 billion from Boxing Day to mid-January, a 3.8 per cent rise from last year, the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research said.

”[It’s] a positive sign for the retail sector,” said association executive director Russell Zimmerman. ”It is also great to see all states and territories predicted to experience positive growth this post-Christmas period.”

The boost to retailers’ coffers is expected to be driven by a 6.2 per cent lift in spending at cafes, followed by a 3.9 per cent rise in clothing sales.

Spending on food, the largest category in the post-Christmas sales, is tipped to increase by 3.8 per cent to $6.2 billion.

The gain is expected to be shared across the country, with the Northern Territory leading the way with year-on-year growth estimated at 6.1 per cent.

Western Australia is forecast to record the weakest growth, at 2 per cent, reflecting the effect of the peak in the resources investment boom.

Last week, the Australian National Retail Association released a slightly higher forecast of $17.6 billion for spending during the post-festive period.

Internet spending was expected to soar by 13.8 per cent to $2.8 billion.

The retail sector has had a difficult 2013. Retail sales grew strongly in January and February, but remained weak through most of the year despite two interest rate cuts in May and August.

But retail sales figures for September and October jumped a better than expected 0.9 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively. Economists said it was growing evidence that the rate cuts were stimulating non-mining sectors.

The initial boost to consumer and business confidence after the federal election, the sharemarket’s best performance in four years, and the strong rise in house prices in some capital cities also increased retailers’ expectations the sector could be recovering.

Even so, consumers continue to be cautious, with the savings ratio at its highest in recent years, and as wage growth remains slow. The household savings rate rose by almost 1 percentage point to 11.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2013, figures released by the Bureau of Statistics showed.

At the same time, credit growth remains soft. Private-sector credit rose by a weaker than expected 0.3 per cent in November, taking the annual growth rate to 3.8 per cent, Reserve Bank data showed.

”Overall, the pace of credit growth continues to run well below the longer-run average rate of around 12 per cent per annum,” Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Workman said.

”Since the [financial crisis] the new norm is for quite modest household credit growth and very weak business credit growth.”

Mr Workman said consumers and businesses were reluctant to increase their leverage as fears about job security and profitability continue. The jobless rate is expected to rise past 6 per cent this year as mining investment weakens and the economy continues to grow below trend.

The Australian Retailers Association again called for the RBA to cut the cash rate to lift consumer spending. But the central bank has appeared reluctant to ease monetary policy further.

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Forget houses; shrewd investors are turning to warehouses

The boom in e-commerce and the rising use of the internet will bring boom-time conditions to the industrial property sector in the coming year, according to logistics leasing experts.
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With internet sales tipped to top $20 billion in Australia this year, owning a distribution facility and warehouse will be a priority for many investors, from super funds and real estate investment trusts to small investors.

New research from Jones Lang LaSalle and Colliers International shows the already scarce supply of suitable industrial assets will be even tighter this year.

According to Richard Thompson at Jones Lang LaSalle, as e-commerce logistics models develop, they will drive huge changes in physical distribution networks comparable with previous changes generated by the rise of global sourcing, or the earlier centralisation of deliveries to retail stores via retailer-controlled distribution centres.

”This will give rise to a new class of logistics and distribution properties, including mega e-fulfilment centres, parcel hubs and delivery centres, local ‘urban logistics’ depots for rapid order fulfilment, and returns processing centres,” he said.

Malcom Tyson, managing director (industrial) at Colliers International, said logistics would dominate leasing in the coming year.

”During the second half of 2013, the industrial market featured some notable leasing transactions undertaken by logistics specialists,” he said.

”This occurred as retailers and logistics firms continue to come under increasing pressure to adapt to the next phase in e-commerce.”

Mr Tyson said some examples included Blue Star Logistics lease for 13,799 square metres in Acacia Ridge in Brisbane, and DB Schenker’s 31,220 sq m in Redbank, also in Brisbane, and SCF Group’s take up of 50,000 sq m in Tottenham.

”These larger transactions are set to increase in 2014 as business and transport-cost pressures continue to rise and the attraction of a tenancy in rail, road and port hubs grows,” he said.

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PTTEP in court challenge to resource tax bill ruling

The Thai company responsible for one of Australia’s worst oil spills, PTTEP, is challenging its petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT) bill in the full Federal Court.
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PTTEP, which runs the Montara oilfield in the Timor Sea, north of Western Australia, has appealed against a November Federal Court ruling knocking out tax deductions it claimed at its former Jabiru and Challis projects.

The company ran into trouble in 2009 when a 74-day spill at Montara gushed 29,600 barrels of oil into the Timor Gap, causing a 90,000-square-kilometre slick.

Despite the spill, 18 months later the then resources minister, Martin Ferguson, gave PTTEP the green light to expand its operations in Australia.

In a court case that goes to the heart of how PRRT liabilities are calculated, PTTEP claims it should be allowed to deduct about $3.7 million from its tax bill for ”interest value amounts” credited to its customer between 2006 and 2008.

The PRRT, introduced in 1987, applies to the production of oil and gas. The Rudd government initially modelled its controversial mining tax on the PRRT, but it was heavily altered before being introduced in 2012 and the Abbott government has promised it will be repealed.

In appeal notices filed with the Federal Court last month, PTTEP said between 2006 and 2008 it sold about $293 million worth of crude oil from Jabiru and Challis to Singaporean-registered company Petro Summit, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo.

The price paid by Petro Summit was based on the expected number of barrels to be shipped and the average Tapis crude price for the month in which the oil was supplied.

But the price for each shipment was then adjusted using a complex formula that took into account the actual number of barrels supplied.

If the calculation revealed Petro Summit had paid too much, it was entitled to interest on the overpayment amount of 2 per cent above Libor, the London interbank offered rate.

PTTEP told the court the ”interest value amount” was ”an expense incurred in connection with the actual sale process” and therefore should be allowed as a tax deduction under the PRRT law.

Justice Michelle Gordon rejected the submission, saying the law required a ”close connection between the expense and the sale transaction”.

She said the interest value amounts ”were the cost of obtaining an advance of funds based in anticipated sales, not an expense in relation to a particular sale”.

PTTEP has asked the full Federal Court to set aside Justice Gordon’s ruling, saying the payments ”constituted expenses payable … in relation to the sale of a marketable petroleum commodity” under the PRRT law.

”The interest value amounts were incurred by the appellant [PTTEP] in carrying on the project,” it said in its notice of appeal.

A preliminary hearing is set for February 2.

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Revlon ceases operations in China costing 1100 jobs

Cosmetics maker Revlon will cease operations in China and eliminate about 1100 positions, including 940 beauty advisers, as it restructures its struggling business.
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China makes up about 2 per cent of Revlon’s net sales. The restructuring would result in about $US22 million ($24.7 million) of pre-tax charges, the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The changes are expected to reduce costs by about $US11 million a year.

The company, which posted profit declines in 2011 and 2012, has been making acquisitions and introducing products as sales in some of its larger brands slow.

Early in 2013, it bought Colomer Group, giving it Creative Nail professional and Shellac nail polishes, as well as American Crew men’s hair-care products.

”Revlon was unable to gain scale and relevance in the important Chinese beauty market,” said Connie Maneaty, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

Colomer chief executive Lorenzo Delpani took over as Revlon’s CEO in November. The reorganisation was not related to the acquisition, Revlon said.

The addition of Colomer helps Revlon expand sales in the more-profitable salon sector, an aim shared by competitors such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever. Revlon rose 1.6 per cent to $US24.96 at the close in New York on Tuesday. The shares surged 72 per cent in 2013, outstripping the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which rose 30 per cent.

China, where skin-care products are in particular demand, is an important yet challenging market for many Western beauty companies.

In its third-quarter sales release on October 30, L’Oreal called China’s market ”slowing, although still dynamic” and said sales in the quarter grew 11 per cent.

Procter & Gamble said in May it had been losing market share in China. Avon Products said in October that possible fines related to bribery probes in China and elsewhere might hurt its profits.

In 2012, 44 per cent of Revlon’s revenue came from outside the US.

Bloomberg

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Bumper coffee crop to cut prices further after three years of falls

Global coffee production is set to push inventories to a five-year high. Photo: Jane DysonCoffee futures lost further ground this week, capping the longest run of annual declines since 1993, on concerns that a global glut will increase as crop conditions improve in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer and exporter of arabica beans.
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Arabica coffee for March delivery fell 3.5 per cent to $US1.107 a pound on the ICE Futures in New York, the biggest drop since November 22. The price fell 23 per cent in 2013, the third straight annual decline. The commodity is now down 54 per cent since the end of 2010.

Widespread rain in the next several days in Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Parana states would aid plants by increasing soil moisture, MDA Weather Services in the US said.

Brazil’s crop is expected to reach 49.2 million bags (a bag weighs 60 kilograms), higher than a previous estimate of 47.5 million bags, according to Conab, the government’s forecasting agency.

Global production is set to exceed demand for the fourth straight season, pushing inventories to a five-year high, the US Department of Agriculture says. The glut is helping to cut costs for US cafe chains, such as Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

”There’s just too much coffee around,” said Michael Smith, president of T&K Futures and Options in Florida. ”A better crop outlook in Brazil is certainly pushing prices lower.”

Global production, including the robusta variety that accounts for about 42 per cent of supply, would exceed demand by 6.04 million bags in the 2013-14 season, compared with a surplus of 11.06 million a year earlier, the US Department of Agriculture said. Inventories would reach 36.33 million bags, the highest since the 2008-09 season.

Arabica, grown mainly in Latin America, is brewed by specialty companies, including Starbucks. Robusta, used in instant coffee, is harvested in Asia and parts of Africa.

Robusta futures for March delivery fell 0.6 per cent to $US1683 a tonne on the NYSE Liffe exchange in London. The robusta price dropped 13 per cent in 2013 after climbing 6.3 per cent in 2012. Vietnam is the biggest producer, followed by Brazil.

The arabica premium to robusta averaged US42.41¢ a pound in 2013, down from US84.16¢ in 2012.

Bloomberg

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Stars fight back to quieten Thunder

The Sydney Thunder’s lot could be summed up in one cruel moment.
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Defending a moderate score but very much in the hunt against the powerful Melbourne Stars, Brad Hodge smashed one back towards Thunder import Tillakaratne Dilshan.

The Sri Lankan veteran had had a tough debut, out for a duck in the home side’s 6-155. But in this instant he grabbed the ball, turned, and threw down the stumps behind him, catching David Hussey just out of his ground.

The light on the bail went off, as it does in this rock and roll form of the game when stumps are struck. But, unbelievably, the bail fell back into place, rendering the appeal null and void.

They say you make your own luck. But the Thunder was a bit stiffed in this clash. Playing a team consisting of 10 international players, the battlers were on the receiving end of another crucial moment, when Matt Wade stood his ground and was given not out after a huge appeal from Dirk Nannes for a catch by wicketkeeper Ryan Carters when Wade was on zero.

Wade went on to make 44 to get the Stars to within 67 of victory with 6.4 overs remaining. He later admitted of the Nannes appeal that he “smashed it, but I’m not walking”. The Thunder was left to take on Hodge and Hussey after Wade left if it were to gain its first win since December 2011 in front of a small crowd of 10,902.

Then came that cruel moment and another case of so close yet so far for the men in green.

Hodge continued his classy knock and chipped away at the target, bringing up his 50 of 30 deliveries, including four sixes and three fours.

He smashed another six over cover from Scott Coyte and then another boundary to take the wind from the Thunder’s challenge and hit the winning run off Dilshan with five balls to spare to ensure a seven-wicket victory and finish with 64 not out.

The win gave the Stars a clean sweep of the Sydney teams and put them on top of the league table with three wins from three matches. After winning the toss, Thunder’s top order frailty continued when they lost 2-27, including Dilshan, whose hyped arrival faded away with a four-ball duck when he thick edged John Hastings to wicketkeeper Wade.

Sydney Thunder D HUGHES c White b Hastings 16 T DILSHAN c Wade b Hastings 0 M HUSSEY run out (Wade) 66 E MORGAN c Maxwell b Bird 31 K PATTERSON c Maxwell b Hastings 18 J FLOROS c Hastings b McKay 18 R CARTERS not out 3 S COYTE not out 0Sundries (1b, 1lb, 1w) 3Total (6 wkts – 20 overs) 155Fall of wickets: 6 (Dilshan), 25 (Hughes), 82 (Morgan), 123 (Patterson), 135 (Hussey), 153 (Floros)Bowling: J Bird 4-0-17-1, J Hastings 4-0-31-3 (1w), G Maxwell 3-0-17-0, L Malinga 4-0-33-0, C McKay 4-0-43-1, L Wright 1-0-12-0

Melbourne Stars L WRIGHT c Morgan b Nannes 9 C WHITE c Patterson b Feldman 21 M WADE c Morgan b Sandhu 44 B HODGE not out 64 D HUSSEY not out 16Sundries (1lb, 1w) 2Total (3 wkts – 19.1 overs) 156Fall of wickets: 17 (Wright), 51 (White), 89 (Wade)Bowling: D Nannes 4-0-15-1 (1w), L Feldman 4-0-34-1, G Sandhu 4-0-31-1, S Coyte 4-0-45-0, T Dilshan 3.1-0-30-0Result: Stars won by 7 wicketsMan of the Match: Brad Hodge (Stars)Points: Stars 2 Thunder 0This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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High climbers destined to meet in treetops

IT’S been dubbed Tarzan in the boardroom – or having a business meeting in a treehouse.
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TreeTop Adventure Park is branching out to build a ‘‘suspended conference room’’ between three trees.

The park operates three sites – at Minmi, Sydney and Wyong Creek on the Central Coast.

The conference room will be built at the Wyong site early this year.

Park operations manager Scott Browne said the floor height would be four metres above the ground and the conference room would hold a maximum of 30 adults at a time.

As well as business meetings, it is planned to be used for birthday parties.

‘‘Once a climbing group finishes, they can go up there and have their cake,’’ he said.

‘‘Corporate and team-building groups can use it as a meeting area and have lunch after they’ve done their climb.’’

Activities at the parks include climbing, swinging, leaping and flying on rope networks among the trees.

There are flying foxes, rope bridges and ladders between tree platforms and participants are carefully locked in to harnesses to ensure safety.

Park co-owner Sandrine Gaymard said more than 100,000 children had completed courses at the three parks.

She said parents ‘‘typically raise children in cotton wool, but the challenge is to find ways to get them life skills in a safe way’’.

‘‘I’ve found that kids learn best when they’re out of their comfort zone.’’

While some people were sitting around drinking beer and watching the cricket over the festive season, others were testing their limits at the parks.

Steve Webb, of Kotara, took on the Minmi site for the second time on an outing for a friend’s birthday.

‘‘It gets pretty scary sometimes, but it’s good fun,’’ Mr Webb said.

Mr Browne said the park allowed people to face their fears.

‘‘They’re getting scared, which is what it’s about, but in a safe environment.’’

The Minmi site was the only park with night climbs, Mr Browne said.

‘‘People can come out at sunset and climb in the dark.’’

He said the parks offered courses for everyone from three years old.

BRANCHING OUT: An image of a suspended conference room that will be built at Wyong Creek. Picture: Ryan Osland

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Fireworks explode in man’s face

A HUNTER man could lose the sight in both eyes after fireworks exploded in his face during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
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The 24-year-old was taken from a property on Bullen Bullen Road, Waukivory, to Gloucester Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital after 10.30pm on Tuesday with serious facial burns and two large cuts above both eyes, a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said yesterday.

It is believed that the fireworks exploded when the Gloucester man was attempting to light them, police said.

He was flown to John Hunter Hospital by the Westpac rescue helicopter before being transferred to the Sydney Eye Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery yesterday afternoon amid fears that he could lose the sight in both eyes.

Manning-Great Lakes duty officer Inspector Allan Fidock said the incident was a sad reminder of how dangerous fireworks could be.

‘‘Fireworks are prohibited articles in NSW requiring permits to possess them and permits to use them,’’ Inspector Fidock said.

‘‘They are very dangerous and this is a classic example of what can happen with them when things go wrong.’’

Police will continue to investigate the incident including the source of the fireworks, Inspector Fidock said.

It was one of several incidents involving fireworks across the state during the last night of 2013.

At Lockhart in the state’s south, motocross star Jackson Strong was one of two men seriously hurt in a fireworks explosion at his home.

An ambulance spokeswoman said paramedics responded to reports of a fireworks explosion just after midnight yesterday and took two patients to Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.

Strong, 22, suffered serious injuries to his leg, chest and face.

‘‘His left leg around his thigh is the worst part,’’ his father, Lyndon Strong, said. ‘‘He will pull through, no worries at all.’’

Strong, who was selected as a 13-year-old to perform with the world-famous motorcycle stunt show Crusty Demons, was flown to the burns unit at St George Hospital.

The former best tricks medallist at the X Games recently performed in his home town of Wagga Wagga with the Nitro Circus Live regional tour.

At Kanahooka near Wollongong, a 31-year-old man suffered a serious hand injury when a firework exploded about midnight.

He was initially taken to Wollongong Hospital before being transferred to a Sydney hand clinic.

Crusty Demons stuntman Jackson Strong, pictured in hospital, was hurt in a fireworks explosion at his home on New Year’s Eve.