Nature comes to life in local exhibition

Maggie Brockie with one of her animal pieces.Maggie Brockie with one of her animal pieces.MAGGIE Brockie’s talent might have come as a surprise to her 22 years ago when she first started work in the studio.
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“I raised a family before I started playing around with clay,” the 67-year-old said.

The Stanthorpe-based sculptor will share the gallery space with Tenterfield Aboriginal painter Rod McIntosh for the Inverell Art Gallery Common Ground exhibition, opening Friday evening.

Tasmanian born, the artist said she was searching for warmer weather, but found a familiar four seasons, and inspiration in the Granite Belt.

Her work is life-like and stylised representations of birds and animals, some freestanding, others embedded in a natural setting like a piece of bark or human shoulder.

“Seeing the granite forms, and then just because I do native animals and birds, it was just a natural progression to put them into the rock forms, or the little boulder forms,” she said.

She spent years keeping artist friends company, but even after they invited her to give it a try, she refused, until one day, it was the right time.

“I’ve reared quite a few native animals, so I had that close proximity to animals and birds, and at one point a friend of mine suggested I have a go with some clay and I thought, ‘Yeah, right-o, I’m ready’,” she said.

“And after about three days, he was trying to tell me what to do and I said ‘No, I know what I want to do,” and laughed.

Maggie said her first piece of significance was a joey in a pouch.

“Because I has hand-rearing joeys and looking at them all the time,” she said.

She was advised stick to kangaroos to get a handle on the medium and her skill.

“So you could say I did my apprenticeship on kangaroos and joeys, and then one day I tried to make a possum, and it was easy,” Maggie said with a chuckle.

Her proportions, from frilled lizards, to platypus, pythons to humans, are all accurate and lifelike.

“I think I’m just a three-dimensional person, you know so I know a joey’s about that big,” she said, holding up her hands.

“I talk with my hands a lot, so it makes sense that I would work in a medium like clay in a 3-D way.”

Common Ground opens on Friday, February 19 with an opening at 5.30pm at the Inverell Art gallery. The show runs until April 7 during gallery hours.

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Australian family life clearly under attack

VULNERABLE: Jenna Price says proposed tax and childcare cuts are a threat to the Australian family way of life.If companies and corporations and businesses, big and small, could vote in elections, I would understand the government’s desire to pander to them. If it was only the wealthy who voted, I could understand the government’s desire to appease the rich.
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But what I now fail to understand is this: why don’t politicians pander to the ordinary people who vote for them in quite the same way they appease business, big and small; and the rich. Why is their approval so important to the government?

It’s become increasingly apparent that this particular government, first under Abbott and now under Turnbull, is continuing to attack Australian family life. All of us: straight, gay, well, sick, able-bodied or those with disabilities, with or without kids; born here or elsewhere.

This antagonism to all of us was clearly flagged in 2014, when failed treasurer Joe Hockey attempted to push through parliament $8.5 billion in cuts, including a limit of Family Tax Benefit Part B to families when their youngest child turns six. I’m guessing many partners of MPs are stay-at-home parents, so nice for them.

But last week, many of those attempted cuts reappeared and were passed straight through the House of Representatives.Who does that affect? Yep, about one and a half million families will lose their Family Tax Benefit Part A supplements, which is a cut of more than $700 per child every year. And 1.3 million families will lose their Family Tax Benefits, part B supplements, a cut of more than $350 per family every year. That, combined with the abolition of the School Kids Bonus, will mean single parents with two children in high school will lose nearly $5000 a year.

The good news is that, alongside the grasping nature of the ACCI’s prebudget submission, those who represent the rest of us can see what the real problems are.

The Australian Council of Social Services’s CEO Cassandra Goldie says it plainly:“Genuine tax reform is not about raising or lowering tax rates: it should begin by limiting unfair tax breaks and unintended loopholes that mainly benefit people who are on higher incomes and erode the tax base.”

Nick Hopwood, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, says it’s very important that we consider the kinds of services which support our most vulnerable. Many of those services, particularly around the area of early intervention for children, have no idea one year to the next whether they will be funded.

In ACOSS’s submission into the family payments structural reform inquiry, Goldie again pleads with those in the Senate to reject the changes to family payments. The submission says the expenditure component of the package, which boosts Part A by $5 a week, doesn’t take effect until July 2018.

It also goes on to point out that there has been no release of an analysis of the impacts of the proposed changes.“It is vital that there is clarity about how different families will be affected, particularly given that vulnerable children and their families will clearly be affected.”

But for me, the most telling yet depressing part of ACOSS’s prebudget submission is about childcare:“The relative generosity at the higher end has increased the overall costs of the (childcare)package, which the government is now seeking to pay for through cuts to family payments.”Yes, reward those families with incomes of more than $340,000 a year. They really need it, don’t they?

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Wisos over 50s pairs set for May

WISEMAN Park Bowling Club have been forced to cancel next Monday’s popular Over 50s Pairs event with entries taken for the next tournament in late May.
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New date: Wiseman Park’s over 50s pairs is set down for May 23.

Wiseman Park greens are recovering after being struck down by ground pearls in turf grass, leaving one greennot back in action until the end of March or early April.

Some greens at other clubs have also been affected by ground pearls but Wiseman Park won’t be impacted during pennant season with two greens still operating.

But they need the third green for the Over 50s Pairs meaning next Monday’s event is off withentries being taken for the May 23 event. Cost is $20 per person, $40 a team which includes lunch. $1700 prize money.

Contact Shane Garvey on 0409 481 006 or sign up at the club. Entries will fill fast.

Garvey expects to have two young players from outside the zone in his Grade 1 side this season. Wisos have also recruited Brian Suckley, with Illawarra Zone 16 round one pennants on March 12.

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Hyland’s history re-printed

THE name of John Hyland is immortalised in several places around Warrnambool and a book about him has been re-printed for the third time.
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Hyland is a street name in the cityand his name is inscribed on the foundation stone of the former town hall, now the Lighthouse Theatre.

Re-release: James Nicolas with one of Warrnambool’s reminders of John Hyland. Nicolas’ book has been re-printed for the third time.

Mr Hyland’s story captured the attention of Melbourne’s James Nicolas and in 2014 he publisheda book, Warrnambool, a long way to Tipperary — the incredible life of John Hyland.

Mr Nicolasbecame fascinated by hisstory during a visit to Warrnambool’s History House.The book chronicles Mr Hyland’s life from his early days in Ireland, through his many careers and personal life to his death. It has been updated with additional information in the re-print.

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Saints impress with run feast

The Trentham District Cricket Club enjoyed a great day of cricket on Saturday with all three senior sides recording big scores in a prolific run feast. The Saints Firsts led the way in A-Reserve amassing a huge total of 7 for 342 against Harcourt on the first day’s play which included a fine century by skipper Harley Forgo. In B Grade, the Seconds finished with an impressive 8 for 241 at Trentham against Elphinstone and, in B-Reserve, the Colts continued their great form by scoring 7 for 181 to defeat top side Barkers Creek in a one-day game.
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The Firsts looked to be in trouble at 4 for 85 with key batsmen Chris Adams (31) and Chris Boyer (0) back in the shed. However, a brilliant partnership of 182 runs between opening batsman, Sam Bruton, and skipper, Harley Forgo, took the score to 267 before the dismissal of Forgofor a superb knock of 107. Brutonwas dismissed about 30 runs later for a terrific 91 continuing his excellent form. Dolf Reid (38) and James Fearn (22 not out) also batted well to capitalise on the great work of Harley and Sam. The boys will be looking for a strong performance in the field next week to regain their momentum going into the finals.

John McKenry laid the foundation for the Seconds in B Grade with a very well-made 84 runs which featured shots all around the ground. He was greatly supported by Jake Sartori with a typically attacking 63. Several other useful contributions saw the Saints reach a challenging total of 241.

In B-Reserve, the Colts faced top side Barkers Creek at Glenlyon Reserve. Fielding two players short, the Colts produced a very creditable team performance with the ball in keeping the strong Barkers Creek side to 173 runs. Wickets were shared around with two wickets apiece to Ned Johns, Dan Lendrec, Mitch Steen and Bryce Coffey. Despite losing a couple of key early wickets, the Colts passed the target with 4 overs to spare to record their most impressive win this season. Bryce Coffey led the way, holding the innings together and finishing with an excellent 51 not out. He was given fine support by skipper Dan Lendrec and Hayden Sundblom.

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Tiahleigh Palmer: reward offered to catch Logan schoolgirl’s killer

Tiahleigh Palmer. Photo: Queensland Police Service.Tiahleigh Palmer case prompts calls for changeCrowds gather for 12-year-old’s funeral in Logan
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Police believe they have already spoken to people who hold the key to solving Logan schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer’s murder and hope a new $250,000 reward will provide the incentive to get them to talk.

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson announced the reward on Monday, after the Queensland Government agreed to fund it, along with indemnity from prosecution for the first person person to provide information that leads to the convictionof Tiahleigh’s killer.

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said the appeal to find Tiahleigh’s pink backpack remains ongoing. Photo: Amy Mitchell-Whittington

He said the indemnity was particularly important, as detectives surmised they had already interviewedpeople who knew what happened to the 12-year-old nearly four months ago.

However, he said investigators believed they were withholding information from police, either out of fear for repercussions of their own involvement in her death or loyalty to Tiahleigh’s killer.

“Importantly, the offer, in addition to the rewardalso includes a recommendationfor indemnity from prosecution for any accomplice who didn’t actually commit the crime, who first comes forward with information,” Superintendent Hutchinsonsaid.

“We are of the view there are people out there who have information about this homicide.

“We are hoping the reward and more importantly the indemnity offer anincentive to come forward.”

The last confirmed sighting of the 12-year-old was when she was dropped at Marsden State High School on October 30, 2015.

Police and police divers search for clues in the ongoing investigation into Tiahleigh’s murder search the river where her body was found. Photo: Bradley Kanaris

On November 5 her decomposing body was found 40 kilometres away, on the banks of the Pimpama River.

Police believe the 12-year-old had a pre-arranged meeting with an unknown person the day she was dropped at school.

A team of investigators were working around the clock on her death in the wake of her body being found, however, in the past three monthsthere has been no significant breakthrough.

Tiahleigh’s pink backpack and school uniform, both crucial pieces of evidence in the case, have not yet been found.

Superintendent Hutchinson said detectives believed they knew where and when Tiahleigh was killed but would not yet divulge that publicly.

He said they were confident there was more than one person involved in the young girl’sdeath.

“Wecertainly believe there is more than one person who knows what happened,” he said.

“The indemnity isin addition to the reward and will be recommended forany person who didn’t commit the crime. But ithas to be thefirst person who comes forward, not the second.It’s not available to the second person.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or at crimestoppers苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛

Stay informed. Like Brisbane Times on Facebook.

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Parking exceptions that prove the rule

Dave, of Wallsend, has a bit of a beef with Newcastle City Council.
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He spotted a council vehicle parked in a no-parking zone at Wallsend.

“I don’t believe council vehicles or employees have special exemptions to obeying the road rules do they?” he said.

A council spokesman said “drivers are entitled to pull over in no-parking zones for up to two minutes”.This was backed by information onthe Roads and Maritime Services website.

Dave reckons the driver was “definitely there for more than a couple of minutes”.He rang the council to complain and was stuck on hold for“four minutes and 13 seconds”. The council said the average waiting time for callson Monday was “over one minute”.

Fixing The OceanRemember former Herald journo Greg Ray’s story The Ocean is Broken?

It was about Newcastle ocean yachtsman Ivan Macfadyenobservinga massive plume of garbage in the North Pacific, between Japan and the US, andwasteful industrial-scale fishing on a mid-ocean reef.

Greg’s story went viral, after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorseytweeted it. The story alsoappeared on the front page of the website Reddit.

On Tuesday, we came across a Huffington Post video about 21-year-old Boyan Slat, who believes he’s found a way to clean up the ocean.He came up with a system attached to the seabed, which uses the ocean’s currents to collect trash.

Former Herald journo Greg Ray

He said the system could clean up the so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in 20 years.He hopes to start the project by 2020.The video attracted about 35 million views on Facebook.

We asked Greg Ray if the ocean could be “unbroken”.

“Step one is stop breaking it even more.Stop making shitty products of no value to anybody from intractable substances that don’t break down easily and safely in nature,” he said.

“Put incentives and constraints on global industry to achieve that goal. Quit overfishing. Try to stop the radiation leakage from Fukushima. Just a few thoughts.”

The Chief is in ChargePaul “The Chief” Harragon is now… are you ready for it… the chief.

Shane “Warnie” Warne had been camp leader on the TV show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

But on Monday’s episode, a shock leadership spill occurred.The camp elected The Chief as its new leader.

Warnie was among those to votefor The Chief to become the new camp kingpin.But in a moment of apparent treachery, reminiscent of a Rudd or Abbott knifing, The Chief then put Warnie on dunny duty.

In truth, The Chief comes across as a nice guy.The question is, can a nice guy win a reality TV show?

A Likely StoryLocal lad Josh Neilson has been up to a bit of hijinks over in Ireland, Topics hears.

Josh usually plays in Newcastle withCentral Butcher Boys rugby league club, but he’s been playing football in the Emerald Isle and working at an eatery called Sugarcube. He ended up on the front page of Cork’s Evening Echo newspaper in a story about pancakes for charity.

Rugby league player Josh Neilson (left).

Josh was in the story’s main picture as the “head chef”flipping a pancake.A Topics spy said he was working as a dishwasher.

“How are you the head chef -you can’t cook?” a friend asked him.

Our spy told us: “The journo asked him his title and he jokingly said head chef and he believed him”.

Very cheeky Josh. Let that be a warning to journos everywhere!

Worldclass act at Candelo Hall

Worldclass act at Candelo Hall Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston
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Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

Snowies to sea: Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen draw capacity crowd at Candelo Hall last Friday February 12. Picture: Toni Houston

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Q&A recap: Tony Jones brings back program’s controversial past with simple question

Q&A host Tony Jones ramped up the debate on freedom of speech on Monday night’s program. Photo: ABC Steve Ciobo found himself in the Q&A hot seat again. Photo: ABC
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Canadian author and human rights activist Mark Steyn spoke against government regulation that impedes free speech on Q&A. Photo: ABC

Q&A host Tony Jones encouraged a spirited discussion on freedom of speech on Monday night’s program. Photo: ABC

Somewhere, Zaky Mallah’s ears were burning.

“Should people in a forum like this be able to say whatever they think?” inquired Q&A host Tony Jones during Monday night’s program.

The question seemed innocuous enough but in this instance came with an added frisson of anticipation. He was throwing it to the man on his right, a man who was sitting in the exact same spot when he last appeared on this program. On that occasion, Steve Ciobo – a government minister then toiling in the troubled ranks of Tony Abbott – found himself front and centre as the proverbial hit the fan, splattering everyone in sight, setting off a freedom-of-speech debate that ran for months and landing Q&A in the biggest crisis of its eight years on the air.

We are all older and wiser now, and Zaky Mallah – the one-time terrorism suspect whose fiery clash with Ciobo prompted that conflagration – will likely never darken the door of the Q&A studio again. As for Ciobo, he was back – now a happy warrior for Malcolm Turnbull and happy to hold forth, though perhaps hoping no one would mention his government’s efforts to cow Q&A into silent submission just seven months ago.

Fortunately Jones couldn’t resist, if only in passing, but Ciobo wasn’t biting.

“I’m attracted to the classic liberal freedoms as a starting point but it doesn’t apply carte blanche,” he began.

Jones: “Didn’t apply to Zaky Mallah, for example.”

Ciobo waved the interjection away, as he did sniping from other members of the panel. “I am attracted to the principle but there does need to be limits on it. I think that’s a reasonable position.”

The Mallah matter might have taken this discussion down an interesting path – for example, would the storm that engulfed Q&A under PM Abbott have happened under PM Turnbull – but neither Ciobo nor Jones seemed to have the heart to go there, perhaps wisely in both cases. On a hiding to nothing, the discussion moved on – from freedom of speech to freedom of drinking, otherwise known as the lockout laws currently roiling politics in NSW.

Questioner Margot Davis, lamenting the rise of the nanny state, wanted to know of the panel: “What are you going to do to stem what’s quickly becoming an insult to the vast majority of Australians who are intelligent, progressive and responsible members of our country before it ends in civil unrest and a fight for our independence?”

Steve Ciobo, a Queenslander, thought the NSW laws went too far.

“I know here in NSW it’s currently in place and the Premier Mike Baird has said assaults are down 44 per cent. How does that sit with the way in which patronage is down? I heard someone quip there were zero assaults in the Simpson Desert, too.”

Fellow Queenslander Terri Butler, the Labor MP on the panel, saw the argument in favour – including their proposed adoption on her home state. But it fell to visiting Canadian Mark Steyn – a renowned conservative commentator based in the US – to offer the most provocative if mostly sensible perspective: give a government a centimetre and it will take a kilometre. Or as he put, in assessing government regulation of our lives:

“If the state treats you like a child in every other area of life, then it can’t let you stay out drinking until four in the morning.

“It’s different for me to watch grown men wearing a helmet to ride a bicycle around a Sydney park,” said Steyn, who lives in New Hampshire – state motto, “Live Free Or Die”.

“It is a different way of looking at things. I think if you look to the government to insulate you against risk in that way, like riding a bicycle round a park on a Sunday afternoon, it’s very difficult to argue that untrammelled access to liquor until four in the morning should be an exception to that.”

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Advocating for western Sydney since 1973

Councillor Tony Hadchiti is the president of Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and a member of Liverpool City Council. Picture: Simon Bennett
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Councilsdo more than just emptygarbage binsandrun the local library.

Witha fingerfirmlyon the pulse of local issues,councilsare key toensuringcommunity needs are metat thestate and federal level.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) is a platform through which10 western Sydney councilscome together todiscusskeyregional issues.

WSROChas successfullyadvocatedfor western Sydneyresidentsfor more than40 years.

From its1970s ‘‘Beds for the West’’ campaign,tothe1980s pushfora University of Western Sydney.

In the ‘90s WSROC was integralto installing aMinister for Western Sydney,andin the 2000slobbiedto fast-track theM7.

It has been alongcampaign to get western Sydney on the map,butwe havefinally watcheditrocketonto bothstate and federal agendas.

Unprecedented investmentinthe regionmakes itessential that councilscollaborate in ordertoensureinvestmentis channelled into projects that best serve community needs.

ThePowerhouse Museumrelocation,South West RailandParramatta Light Railhaveallbeen propelled bysolid lobbyingfromWSROC councils.

This just the beginning.

Booming western Sydneyneedsbetter connectionsbetween its emerging growth centres toattract investors, jobs, and make it easier for residentsto move around.

The first step is a raillink to the proposed Badgerys Creek airport site.

A link the NSW governmentis now scoping thanks tounited lobbying frommany western Sydneyvoices.

Butour jobis not finished. We need to ensure the routeschosenarerightfor westernSydney.

Routesthat links our economic hubs, business parks and commuters.Routesthatlessenthe north-south divideand freeuptravelwithin the region.

As president of WSROC, it will be myongoingmission to ensurethese projects are wellplanned and that any future and ongoinginvestment in western Sydney serves to benefitwestern Sydney and all the residents within.

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Prices surge by 20c/kg at Wagga sale

NUMBERS GAME: Big yardings continue to go under the hammer at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre. Picture: Nikki ReynoldsPRICES soared by as much as 20c/kg at the Wagga cattle market when 3885 head sold.
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The market gained strength due to support from northern buyers.

Yearling cattle benefited from stronger demand from northern buyers over all categories.

The cow market also enjoyed stronger competition from Queensland and northern NSW which pushed up to 10c/kg higher.

The yarding contained mostly yearling cattle more suited to restocking and lot feeding. All major export companies and feedlots were present and active.

The limited supply of vealers sold to stronger bidding from southern domestic processors with veal to slaughter making from 292c to 330c/kg.

Restocker demand had the greatest influence over vealer steers and heifers lacking finish, which pushed both store and feedlot prices up by 10c to 20c/kg. Well-bred secondary vealer steers made from 316c to 378c/kg. Once again there was limited numbers of prime C3 medium weight trade steers purchased by domestic processors. The better shaped steers to slaughter made from 296c to 322c to average 318c/kg.

The lack of quality steers to slaughter meant domestic buyers shifted their attentions to the medium weight heifer portion, which resulted in a dearer trend of 5c to average 291c/kg. Secondary weaner steers to turnout sold to strong northern competition selling at 313c to 341c/kg.

Strong bidding from Queensland and NSW feedlots lifted price by 10c/kg. Medium weight C2 feeder steers average 325c/kg. Lighter weight heifers 330-400kg sold to solid competition from the north making from 290c to 310c/kg.

The mixed quality supply of heavy grown steers sold to solid competition to sell 5c/kg dearer.

Prime C4 Angus bullocks were in high demand and export processors paid up to 313c/kg. The bulk of the bullocks sold from 278c to 311c/kg.

Cow numbers eased and quality was mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Well finished heavy cows sold 6c dearer to average 240c/kg.

The bulk of the better covered lean types sold to robust competition northern export buyers to sell 10c/kg dearer.

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Rivervale rooftop stand-off: knife-wielding man charged with string of offences

30-year-old man in police custody after rooftop stand-off in Rivervale. Photo: FFX A 30-year-old man, wielding a knife in a rooftop stand-off in Rivervale on Monday night, has been charged by police with a string of offences, some dating back five years.
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Police were called to a two-storey unit block on Salisbury Road around 8pm after a number reports of a man jumping onto roofs in the area.

Police allege the man had a knife and was refusing to come down.

A police negotiator managed to coax the man down around 12.30am and he was taken into custody without incident.

The 30-year-old homeless man has been charged over a number of alleged crimes related to multiple incidents in Binningup and Capel, in the state’s South West in February 2011.

These include burglary, breach of a violence restraining order, aggravated assault, trespassing and possession of illicit drugs (methamphetamine and cannabis).

He has been refused bail and was due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday. Follow WAtoday on Twitter*/]]>

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Japan pushes for contract to help Australia build $50-billion submarine fleet

Tokyo: Japan has urged Australia to award a contract to build its new $50-billion submarine fleet, emphasising the strategic imperatives of such a deal as both countries seek closer ties amid growing security tensions in the region.
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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop received the strategic pitch from her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida during a two-and-half-hour meeting in Tokyo which also canvassed tackling China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, potential sanctions against North Korea, and Australia’s opposition to Japan’s resumption of whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The fleet would not just amount to a transfer of defence technology and capabilities, Japanese officials say, but lead to greater operational cooperation which would help bolster maritime security in the region – a counterweight to China’s efforts to transform its navy into a global maritime power.

The potential co-development of the new submarine fleet, amid the broader deepening of security ties with Japan, is viewed with suspicion by a Chinese government convinced the United States and its allies are intent on containing its rise.

Ms Bishop, speaking to reporters after her meeting with Mr Kishida at the official Iikura Guest House, stressed a decision would only be made after a competitive evaluation process, with the winner announced later this year. France and Germany also remain in the running for the order, which will replace Australia’s diesel and electric-powered Collins Class submarines.

“I note Japan has emphasised the strategic importance of their bid, but likewise the other two bidders have emphasised what they perceive to be their strengths,” Ms Bishop said on Monday night, the first of a five-day visit to Japan and China.

“What Australia is seeking to do is look at ensuring that the international partner can meet our needs in terms of capability, quality, reach and also the needs of Australian industry.”

Foreshadowing the potentially delicate talks awaiting her next leg in Beijing, Ms Bishop said she discussed with Mr Kishida ways to ensure China embraces the international rules based order “under which so many countries in this region has prospered” when it came to the South China Sea.

China has ignored calls for it to halt its programme of island-building in the South China Sea, which has included the construction of military-grade airstrips and naval berths, citing its right to do so on sovereign territory and that similar reclamation was being carried out by rival claimants Vietnam and the Philippines.

“It’s not a question of Japan wanting us to do more, it’s about what Australia wants to do and Australia has already made it plain that we will continue to advocate for peaceful resolution over the different claims over the South China Sea,” Ms Bishop said.

On North Korea, Ms Bishop said China could use its influence as a key trade partner and energy supplier to curb its neighbour’s behaviour, following separate nuclear and ballistic missile tests in recent weeks.

She said Australia was considering whether to take autonomous sanctions against North Korea, noting Japan this week announced a blanket ban on shipping from the country and barring all North Koreans from entering. South Korea and the United States have also announced its own measures as the United Nations Security Council debates a resolution to impose sanctions.

“The international community must send a strong message” against North Korea, Mr Kishida said at the start of Monday’s meeting, adding that North Korea’s actions pose a “direct and grave” threat to Japan’s national security.

Ms Bishop is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defence Minister Gen Nakatani on Tuesday.

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