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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.”

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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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Cheap ‘n’ cheerful start to Big Bash

Jolly good fun: Santa entertains at a Big Bash League match. Photo: Robert Prezioso/Getty ImagesHeading into the new season of cricket’s bite-size format, the Twenty20 Big Bash League, jibes about its validity came as often as English wickets have tumbled in the Test arena.
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Just what to make of the plethora of Twenty20 competitions around the cricketing world still remains unclear. It’s a professional business but how serious is it really? Green Guide writer Gordon Farrer made his feelings clear when he bemoaned: ”It’s just not cricket”.

Regardless of opinions of that kind, it was up to new BBL broadcaster Channel Ten to follow Fox Sports’ good work of recent seasons and provide some, er, meat on the KFC-sponsored Big Bash bone, and validate why it has opted to shell out $100 million, including contra, over five years.

”It is a legitimate form of cricket,” Adam Gilchrist, the cricketing great turned commentator, insisted on the opening night in a message for those doubters.

To that end, Ten’s coverage so far has been a mix of in-depth analysis, solid ball-by-ball play and, unfortunately, the gimmicky. Having a so-called celebrity perched on a stage in the stands, waiting fruitlessly to catch a ball that has gone for six in the hope of securing a jackpot for a viewer at home, just cheapens things.

In the commentary booth, Gilchrist and former Australian captain Ricky Ponting have warmed to their duties. Their in-depth dissection of players and captaincy tactics, and the digital images Ten has used to highlight such areas as a batsman’s hitting zones, have been excellent and add to the vibrancy that underscores the Twenty20 format.

Fabled West Indian master blaster Viv Richards, who enjoys a good laugh, has also been refreshing. He sits well alongside the no-nonsense Mark Waugh and Damien Fleming, the latter combining analysis and humour, who have crossed from Fox Sports.

Ten has also been smart in ensuring its coverage has a news bent. The day England’s Graeme Swann unexpectedly retired, host Mel McLaughlin opened by seeking Ponting’s immediate reaction.

There was later an interview with Australia’s man-of-the-moment, Mitchell Johnson.

This crossover to the Test action, even though the Ashes series is broadcast by rival Channel Nine, makes sense, and can only be a good thing for a sport that no longer can take for granted its place on the summer sporting landscape.

Where Ten, ultimately, will be judged is in the ratings. More than 1.16 million capital city and regional viewers tuned in to the opening match between the Stars and Renegades. More than 1.13 million took in the Sydney derby the following night, again more than the doubling the expectations of Cricket Australia and Ten.

Heading into the January holiday period, Ten and CA rightly believe ratings – and attendances – will only improve.

But it’s still hard to know what to make of this manufactured tournament, one that cannot yet secure the elite subcontinent players it needs to really tap into the lucrative Asian market.

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Brave new dawn for female sleuths

Repressed trauma: Elisabeth Moss faces demons in Top of the Lake.Easily the most fascinating collection of protagonists on television in 2013 were female law enforcement officers.
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From the bustling Texas border with Mexico to the pristine wilderness of New Zealand, these women redefined what it was to symbolically wear a badge. They fought their quarries, their colleagues, and often themselves. In the retirement home for old TV cops, Andy Sipowicz and Taggart must be exchanging confused glances.

The lineage of contemporary characters such as Elisabeth Moss’ Detective Robin Griffin in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, Diane Kruger’s Detective Sonya Cross in The Bridge, and Gillian Anderson’s Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson in The Fall can be traced squarely back to Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, Helen Mirren’s formidable London police officer in Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect.

Across seven series, beginning with Prime Suspect in 1991 and ending with Tennison’s retirement in 2006’s Prime Suspect: The Final Act, the character had to break down barriers that began with her own mocking, plotting male colleagues.

As Tennison earned their respect on screen, other writers found the confidence to bring forth their own female-oriented storylines.

Kyra Sedgwick’s Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson in The Closer was one example, lifting in part her no-nonsense attitude and determination from the example set by Jane Tennison. But what’s become noticeable in recent years is how the recent generation go to extremes, both within their own lives and their careers, in ways that Tennison, who struggled with alcohol, would never have allowed herself to even contemplate.

At the end of the first season of Homeland, Claire Danes’ obsessive CIA agent Carrie Mathison undergoes electroconvulsive therapy, and that image of her body convulsing as a plastic separator in her mouth prevents her from communicating is perhaps the show’s defining moment. Here is a woman whose dedication to her job leads to her agreeing, out of both regret and self-loathing, to the inducement of seizures, to the complete disruption of her own brain.

If all the revered male characters of television drama, such as Breaking Bad’s Walter White and Mad Men’s Don Draper, are anti-heroes who put others before themselves to satisfy their needs, then television’s true heroes are the underrated women who are drawn to notions of sacrifice. They’re willing to give up everything they’ve gained, and that is as deep a dramatic wellspring as the one the bad boys’ club has.

There is a risk, however, that their flaws become how they’re defined. Much was made in The Bridge, an American remake of the Swedish-Danish series that highlighted the distinction between those two Scandinavian nations, about the almost cruel commitment to professionalism of Kruger’s Sonya Cross, the El Paso police detective who refuses to even let an ambulance with a heart attack victim inside pass through her crime scene.

Although it was never stated in an episode, Kruger, the writers and the show’s viewers all believed that the character had Asperger syndrome. The show, which returns for a second season later this year despite not distinguishing itself ratings-wise in 2013, found grim reality in qualities that in certain ways are joyfully duplicated by Benedict Cumberbatch’s master detective on Sherlock. One man’s eccentricity is another woman’s struggle.

One of the fascinating elements of these female characters was how they combined a professional outlook with personal pleasure. The Fall, which was a hit for the BBC and recently screened here on Foxtel’s UKTV, followed Anderson’s Stella Gibson through an assignment pursuing a serial killer in Belfast. When she asks a local detective to her hotel room one night, she controls his hands, laying him down in scenes that were interspersed with the murderer ritualistically arranging a victim’s corpse.

Anderson, who has added layers of nuance to her technique since The X-Files era, was a typically driven outsider, but Top of the Lake turned on the repressed trauma of Elisabeth Moss’ Australian police detective, heading up an investigation in the New Zealand hometown where her high school formal ended in a gang rape. Misogyny was a violent reality in fictional Laketop, and Moss was outstanding as a character buffeted by memories.

These are the women who fought for the law, but no one won.

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Opitz loss offset by Murphy’s return

Shane Opitz has left the Canberra Cavalry. Photo: Melissa AdamsIt has taken a season-ending shoulder to finally split up dynamic duo Shane Opitz and Jon Berti.
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And while Opitz’s return home for treatment is a blow to the Canberra Cavalry ahead of its four-game series against the Adelaide Bite at Narrabundah Ballpark, starting on Thursday, the reigning Australian Baseball League champion will be bolstered by the return of catcher Jack Murphy from a Christmas break.

The Cavalry bullpen has expanded further with Baltimore Orioles prospect Matt Wilson joining it, following Gold Coast product Aaron Thompson’s addition to the starting rotation last weekend.

Opitz and Berti are both prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system and have been playing in the same team since 2011.

They’ve become good mates during that time and even field next to each other at shortstop and second base.

But Opitz has been struggling with what’s believed to be a rotator cuff problem since the Heat series in Perth nearly three weeks ago.

Cavalry coach Michael Collins has been using him as the designated hitter, hoping the shoulder would improve.

Collins said the batting order would just shift up, with Murphy slotting in to the four-hole behind Casey Frawley and Jeremy Barnes, with Berti leading off.

”[Opitz’s] arm got to a point where it just wasn’t feeling right, so Toronto decided to bring him back home,” Collins said.

”He left yesterday, which is a bit of a blow, but he’s got to do what he’s got to do for his career.

”They want to check it out and hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

Collins said Murphy’s return would be a huge boost, especially his leadership.

Murphy missed the trip to Adelaide as he returned home for Christmas.

He gets back to Canberra on Thursday morning, but he’s already reassured Collins he can slot straight back in.

”I had a couple of text messages with him yesterday about when he was coming in and I said if you need to get some rest before coming out to the ballpark do that, and he said, ‘No, I’ll be ready’,” Collins said.

”He’s a team leader. He comes to play every day and other people feed off that.”

CANBERRA v ADELAIDE: At Narrabundah Ballpark – Thursday 7pm, Friday 7pm, Saturday 7pm, Sunday 1pm.

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Nisbet looks on the bright side

Canberra jockey Kayla Nisbet has broken her wrist but is staying positive for a bright 2014 campaign. Photo: Karleen MinneyIt finished like ’13 was an unlucky number for Kayla Nisbet, but the up-and-coming Canberra jockey says the past year has set her up to kick on this term.
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Nisbet went from bad luck to worse towards the end of last year.

She was suspended for careless riding at the start of October, missed a month of riding with a broken foot in November, then broke her wrist in a trackwork fall soon after her return.

But Nisbet, who hopes to be out of plaster by the end of January, is looking on the bright side.

She joined the David Hayes stable on a three-month loan, which went so well the Melbourne Cup-winning trainer took her on as an apprentice full-time.

Nisbet also got her first taste of the Melbourne spring carnival and rode Sanosuke at Flemington on Victoria Oaks day – one of the biggest programs of the racing year.

”It didn’t end so well, but overall I’ve been really happy with the year,” she said.

”David’s given me a great go and I’ve had quite a lot of winners.

”He gave me a ride over the spring carnival, which was really exciting, so overall it was a really good year.

”I know that when I come back David will give me a good go again and keep putting me on horses.

”I’m pretty confident I can still ride a fair few winners and come back with a good kick.”

In between her suspension and injuries, Nisbet also missed a chance to ride a winner at Caulfield.

Returning from her broken foot, she was set to ride the highly fancied Lord Of The Sky, but missed it after being stuck in traffic on the way to the course.

Lord Of The Sky went on to win easily.

”It was not a very good end to my year actually, it was pretty disappointing,” Nisbet said.

”I had my three hard-luck stories in a row – it was my foot, missing my good ride and now my wrist.

”Hopefully my hard-luck story is out of the way and I can come back and get on a roll.

”That’s the only way to look at it – that it’s bad luck.

”Obviously it’s a dangerous job and you expect to have falls and to break bones in this industry.

”Unfortunately mine happened very close to one another.”

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Canberra families on Sochi alert after bombs

Torah Bright portrait. Photograph supplied by Quiksilver. SHD Travel snow expo special report 2011.two_big_v2_simplelayer.jpg Photo: [email protected]南京夜网.auFamilies of local athletes with Winter Olympics medal hopes admit they are concerned by terrorist bombings in Russia, but the mother of defending gold medallist Torah Bright insists the snowboard champion is committed to competing at next month’s Games in Sochi.
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Back-to-back blasts in the Russian city of Volgograd have killed at least 31 people, causing anxiety among families of Australia’s winter Olympians.

Bright, from Cooma, is one of the most recognisable faces on the Australian team after winning gold in the half-pipe at Vancouver in 2010.

But the 27-year-old admitted earlier this week she would have to consider her place if threats continued.

”If the political position gets any worse, I sure as hell won’t be risking my safety just for an Olympic Games,” Bright said from her base in Salt Lake City.

”As far as I know, I think it would be OK but I guess we’ll see when the time comes.

”I’m not too worried but if it comes down to countries saying ‘go at your own risk’ I would make a decision that would keep me safe.”

Bright’s mother Marion said suggestions her daughter could boycott the Games were premature and she was merely monitoring the situation.

Torah’s brother and coach Ben also planned to be in Sochi. Her sister Rowena competed at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, just months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

”[Torah] said if these threats were to continue she would have to look carefully at what was going on, because life and limb is not worth sport,” Marion Bright said.

”Yes, it’s a worry, and I think a lot of the athletes and families are worried about the threats that have been made.

”You just don’t dwell on it … she’s quite capable of making her own decisions.”

Bright’s parents won’t attend the Games but said it had nothing to do with safety concerns.

The Australian Olympic Committee issued a statement expressing its confidence ”everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all of the participants of the Olympic Games”.

The mother of Canberra’s other medal prospect, aerial skier Laura Peel, said the situation in Russia was of ”huge concern”.

Teresa Harrington planned to leave Canberra for the US on Friday to follow the final month of her daughter’s build-up to the Games, but she would also be monitoring the situation in Sochi.

She planned to attend the Olympics, along with Peel’s father Bill Peel and her elder brother Stephen.

She said there had not yet been any direct warnings to the families of athletes, but she had faith in the judgment of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.

”I’ve been reading it the past couple of days and, yes, it’s a huge concern,” Harrington said.

”I’ll go unless there’s some really major reason to prevent me going. I will be monitoring it and I’ll talk to [Laura] at the time.

”I’m sure the Winter Institute will be monitoring it and they won’t want to put our athletes in danger, I’m quite sure.”

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The Syndicate (season premiere)

Cautionary tale: The Syndicate.Saturday, BBC UKTV, 8.30pm
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This BBC drama series falls firmly into the category of ”be careful what you wish for”, as it traces the impact on a handful of workmates of a multimillion-pound lottery win.

The first season featured supermarket workers in Leeds, while this second one follows the fortunes of co-workers at a public hospital in Yorkshire.

Created and written by Kay Mellor, each of the six episodes focuses on one of the characters and none of them could be classed as comfortable middle-class medico. The first and last episodes revolve around careworn nurse Mandy (Siobhan Finneran), wife of the abusive Steve (Steven Waddington), mother of trainee nurse Becky (Natalie Gavin) and grandmother of Becky’s young daughter. In between her bookending episodes are chapters about bubbly Becky, nurse Tom (Jimi Mistry), lively auxiliary nurse Rose (Alison Steadman) and Alan (Mark Addy), who transports patients around the hospital. Scowling on the periphery is Helen (Sally Rogers), who started the syndicate but left before it hit the jackpot and believes that she’s entitled to a share of the winnings.

Mellor has a history of developing engaging dramas about groups of characters, often with a focus on women: Fat Friends, about a slimming club; Band of Gold, about prostitutes working the same street; The Chase, about female vets. Here, she introduces the central characters and provides enough information about each of them to keep the plot cooking. Mandy, in particular, makes the heart ache.

Like all the characters, she is looking for a little luck in her life and is hoping that this windfall will alleviate some of the more pressing problems. We’ll have to wait and see, but the opener certainly suggests that it’s worth staying tuned.

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Krygios gets good injury news

Nick Kyrgios has had positive news about his injured shoulder and could play in the International Sydney qualifiers on Saturday.
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The emerging Canberra tennis star was forced to withdraw from the first round of this week’s Brisbane International, where he was drawn to play fellow Australian Matthew Ebden after getting a wildcard into the main draw.

There were fears his summer was over before it began.

It left Kyrgios shattered as he hoped to make a big impression in his first Australian summer on the senior tour.

But he received good news from the doctor in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon.

Coach Simon Rea said there was ”potentially some bursitis” (an inflammation of a fluid sac in the joint) but there was no need for surgery at this stage.

It is hoped resting the shoulder will have Kyrgios right to play by the weekend.

Rea said it was too early to say whether Kyrgios would get a wildcard into the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on January 13. The only focus was getting fit for Sydney.

”We saw our chief doctor Tim Wood and that was helpful,” Rea said on Wednesday.

”The shoulder’s in good nick structurally, which is the main thing and we’ve just got to see what plays out over the next few days.

”Potentially [there’s] some bursitis. If Nick’s right to play in Sydney that would be great, we’ll head to Sydney tomorrow night.

”And if he’s not right for Sydney we’ll aim for the Australian Open. If he’s not right there we’ll aim for something later.

”The main thing is his long-term wellbeing and what’s in his best long-term interest. The doc’s report was encouraging.”

Kyrgios had a breakout 2013 and was hoping this year he would continue his climb up the rankings.

The world No.182 beat Radek Stepanek in his French Open debut, played Davis Cup for the first time and qualified for the US Open.

But an elbow injury ended his 2013 prematurely and just when he was right to return to playing his shoulder pulled up sore.

”He was heartbroken about not being to play, he really had his heart set on playing in Brisbane and was really grateful for the opportunity and had put in a lot of hard work over the pre-season to get ready,” Rea said.

”He seems in better spirits now … he’ll bounce back just fine.”

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PM Tony Abbott under fire over looming health bill surge

Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Andrew MearesAustralian politics: full coverageCoalition set to break jobs pledgeComment: Jobs key to disability pension reform
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Decisions made by Tony Abbott when he was health minister will soon cause a blowout in healthcare costs, dwarfing potential savings from a $6 fee for GP visits, a health workforce expert says.

As health minister in the Howard government, Mr Abbott oversaw a massive expansion of new medical schools, leading to an oversupply of graduating doctors, said Peter Brooks, former director of the Australian Health Workforce Institute and now a professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Australia is expected to have 2811 superfluous doctors by 2025, according to projections in a 2012 report by the government body Health Workforce Australia. The figure assumes a modest 5 per cent increase in productivity in the healthcare system.

Professor Brooks said health lobby groups often say Australia will be short 2700 doctors by 2025, but the figure was misleading because it assumed no productivity gains would be made.

The boom in medical graduates would lead to a blowout in costs, with doctors already giving patients too many unnecessary procedures so they could earn a good living in Australia’s fee-for-service system, Professor Brooks said.

At least $20 billion of ”low-value” medical procedures were being done every year.

Professor Brooks said if Mr Abbott wanted a ”sustainable” healthcare system he should fix these multibillion-dollar structural healthcare problems rather than ”fiddling” with fees for GP visits.

The Medicare controversy began at the weekend with reports of a submission to the government’s Commission of Audit by Mr Abbott’s former health adviser, Terry Barnes. Mr Barnes said the government would save $750 million over four years by forcing bulk-billing patients to pay $6 to visit their GP for the first 12 visits a year.

A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said the Coalition ”won’t be commenting on speculation around what the Commission of Audit may or may not recommend”.

”Labor spent a lot of money on creating huge health bureaucracies,” she said. ”The Coalition government is committed to directing more of that money back to delivering and improving front-line services for patients.”

Professor Brooks said debate over the $6 fee was obscuring a more important debate over healthcare costs.

Australian governments had become ”doctor obsessed”, ignoring evidence that many tasks performed by doctors could be given to other professionals such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The healthcare system is plagued by waste, according to the CareTrack study published in 2012, with patients getting appropriate care in only 57 per cent of visits to doctors.

Another study published in 2012, led by Adam Elshaug from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, identified 156 ”low-value” medical services. Questionable, expensive procedures cited included arthroscopic surgery for knee osteoarthritis, prostatectomy for early-stage prostate cancer, upper airway surgery for sleep apnoea and acupuncture for depression.

In recent years federal governments have allowed new medical schools to open at Deakin University in Victoria, Bond, James Cook and Griffith universities in Queensland, Notre Dame in Western Australia and NSW, and New England, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities in NSW.

Health Workforce Australia reports that in 2003, 1889 students began medical degrees. By 2012 there were 3686 students beginning medicine studies.

The medical education peak body, Medical Deans Australia, says medical graduates more than doubled between 1996 and 2012, excluding international students.

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Fourteen of the best films to keep an eye out for in 2014

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as corporate hustler Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Blue is the Warmest Colour
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Movie session timesFull movies coverage

It’s true: a fourth Transformers, a third Expendables and a second 21 Jump Street are heading for cinemas this year, plus what must be an 11th Spider-Man and possibly a 17th X-Men. But not everything will be a Hollywood sequel or a popcorn movie. Here are 14 movies to catch in 2014, including some likely best picture nominees for the Oscars.Her

Director: Spike JonzeStars: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara.

The buzz has been exceptional for a futuristic tale about a professional letter writer who falls for his computer operating system, voiced by Johansson.

Prediction: Scarlett Johansson will be offered millions to voice satnavs, mobile phones and bedside digital clocks.

Out: January 16

Inside Llewyn Davis

Directors: Ethan and Joel CoenStars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake.

A struggling singer-songwriter tries to get a break in the New York folk scene in the 1960s.

Prediction: Someone, somewhere is planning a biopic of Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sons.

Out: January 16

The Monuments Men

Director: George ClooneyStars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman.

During World War II, an unlikely team of museum directors, curators and art historians heads into Nazi Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces.

Prediction: Will do for museum curators what Indiana Jones did for archaeologists.

Out: March 13

The Wolf of Wall Street

Director: Martin ScorseseStars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey.

Scorsese and DiCaprio team up again for the rousing story of Jordan Belfort, who became one of America’s great corporate hustlers in the ’90s.

Prediction: While it might be meant as a cautionary tale, many in the finance sector will see it as a training video.

Out: January 23

12 Years A Slave

Director: Steve McQueenStars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch.

An emotional drama based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, who was hijacked into slavery from Washington to the Deep South in 1841.

Prediction: Might well jag best picture at the Oscars and at least nominations for Ejiofor, who plays Northup, and Nyong’o, who plays a slave named Patsey.

Out: January 30

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Director: Justin ChadwickStars: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris

The timing could hardly be better for a bio-pic of the great South African freedom fighter who became his country’s inspirational president.

Prediction: Screenings for the deaf will not be using the sign language expert from Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

Out: February 6

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Director: Abdellatif KechicheStars: Adele Exarchopoulos, Lea Seydoux.

A teenage girl meets a blue-haired lesbian in a French film that won the top prize at Cannes and famously features a graphic seven-minute sex scene.

Prediction: While his sister might see it, the Prime Minister is unlikely to take the family.

Out: February 13

Wolf Creek 2

Director: Greg McleanStars: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn.

Nine years after Wolf Creek became a cult hit, Mick Taylor is back terrorising tourists in the outback.

Prediction: A singalong to Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport in the film will not revive Rolf Harris’ career.

Out: February 20


Director: John CurranStars: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver.

Adaptation of Robyn Davidson’s famous book about her epic trek through the outback with camels in the 1970s.

Prediction: Taking a cue from the dancing Spanish horses of El Caballo Blanco, watch for the launch of El Camello Blanco.

Out: March 6


Director: Darren AronofskyStars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins

In a year when Hollywood aims to cash in on biblical movies, Noah builds an ark to protect his family from a coming flood.

Prediction: Bunnings will do a roaring trade in DIY ark kits.

Out: March 27

The Rover

Director: David MichodStars: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy.

After impressing the world with Animal Kingdom, Michod’s follow-up is a futuristic drama about a loner who tracks a criminal gang in the outback.

Prediction: Twilight fans who go will spend the entire movie wondering if RPatz is still with KStew.

Out: July 31

Untitled Lance Armstrong Movie

Director: Stephen FrearsStars: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Dustin Hoffman, Guillaume Canet

The rise and fall of the champion cyclist, drawing on David Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong.

Prediction: Will do nothing for sales of Armstrong’s books.

Out: Possibly October

The Hobbit: There and Back Again

Director: Peter JacksonStars: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen

The final instalment of the Hobbit trilogy.

Prediction: It will the biggest Boxing Day in Australian cinema history as fans flock to see how the story ends.

Out: December 26


Director: Angelina JolieStars: Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney.

The story of Italian-American Olympic distance track star Louis Zamperini who became a hero during World War II.

Prediction: Will be popular in Sydney, which co-stars as ”background”.

Out: December 26

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

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Tour Down Under cycling: Drapac’s Tom Palmer gives GreenEDGE a warning

Drapac-Skoda cyclist Tom Palmer. Photo: Jeffrey ChanHe’s a little known rookie preparing for his first pro event, but Canberra’s Tom Palmer refuses to be intimidated by the prospect of racing European big names Thomas Voeckler and Andre Greipel at this month’s Tour Down Under.
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Palmer is part of the Australian-based Drapac-Skoda team, which has moved up to Pro-Continental level for the first time.

He declared reputations will count for little as the team looks to rival Australian powerhouse Orica-GreenEDGE.

Palmer is the team’s longest-serving rider, having joined it seven years ago while still at school, but at 23 is also its youngest.

”You need to step on the gas straight away,” he said.

”If you let yourself be intimidated by those bigger teams you’re going to run into trouble.

”If you look back at the history of the race it doesn’t necessarily favour the big names and famous guys from Europe. I think we’re in with a really good chance.”

The all-Australian team, headed by world tour veteran Jonathan Cantwell, will finish its preparations at next week’s national road championships at Ballarat.

”We’re not going to sit back and think we’re the underdogs and we’re happy to come second, we’re going to be up there trying to prove ourselves,” Palmer said.

”It looks to be a team which isn’t hedging its bets on stage wins or breakaways, it looks like a team which wants to be able to go for everything.”

Palmer raced for a composite team in 2012. Usually in the thick of sprint finishes, Palmer will be the lead-out rider for Cantwell. He believes this role suits his style.

”That’s definitely my role – to look after Jonny and try and lead him out in those sprint finishes,” he said.

”It’s going to be a massive thrill to have someone like him, with that experience and speed. He’s been good for the confidence of the team and is giving everyone the belief we can do it.”

Palmer said Drapac was relishing the Australians’ team mentality. ”At our first camp a lot of the guys who have been with foreign teams before were really happy to be surrounded by Aussies again.”

Fellow Canberra riders Michael Matthews and Mathew Hayman have also been named in GreenEDGE’s seven-rider Tour Down Under team.

Meanwhile, a host of Canberra riders, led by Gracie Elvin and Chloe Hosking, will continue their national road championship preparations at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, from Thursday.

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