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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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US lawmaker’s bill forces men to get note from wives before purchasing Viagra

Viagra Photo: Supplied Mary Lou Marzian, a member of the Kentucky General Assembly, is putting fellow legislators’ family values to the test. Photo: Kentucky State Legislature

Tired of what she considers the government inserting itself into women’s private lives, a Kentucky lawmaker has decided to return the favour.

Louisville Democrat Mary Lou Marzian has introduced a bill that would force men who want to use erectile dysfunction drugs to jump through a series of humiliating hoops beforehand, such as visiting a doctor twice and getting notes from their wives.

“I want to protect these men from themselves,” Ms Marzian, who is a nurse, said.

“This is about family values,” she added.

Ms Mazian told broadcaster WDRB that House Bill 396 would also require that someone seeking Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Avanafil “make a sworn statement with his hand on a Bible that he will only use a prescription for a drug for erectile dysfunction when having sexual relations with his current spouse”.

“I started thinking, ‘How would this body of men feel if the government was injecting [itself] into their private medical decisions,’ ” she said.

Ms Marzian’s proposal arrives a week after Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed a bill requiring women to consult a doctor at least 24 hours before an abortion, according to the Courier-Journal. The “informed consent” bill, as it was labelled, passed with 92 “yes” votes on January 28, according to WDRB. Ms Marzian was one of three members of the Kentucky House to vote against the law, the station noted.

An abortion rights supporter, Ms Marzian has argued that government should not be able to interfere with people’s medical decisions. She told WDRB her proposal was also inspired by her fellow lawmakers’ values.

“We are very ‘family values’ in the Kentucky General Assembly – they are all awash in Christian family values – so that’s why I put that part in there that [erectile pills] can only be used in a marital relationship,” she said.

Ms Marzian admitted her bill was more symbolic than serious and she did not expect it to receive much support. And yet, she isn’t done introducing provocative proposals.

The lawmaker told a local newspaper she intends to introduce a bill that would require gun buyers to get counselling from victims of gun violence 24 hours ahead of a firearms purchase.

“I’m just making sure the government is taking care of your safety,” she said.

Washington Post

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Man skulks in dam after driving van into water to escape police

The man refused to emerge from the water. Photo: Sunrise The man in the dam after driving a stolen vehicle into the water. Photo: Sunrise

Police kept their guns trained on the man as he remained in the dam. Photo: Sunrise

A 45-year old man drove his van into a dam at Penrith early on Tuesday morning, and then skulked in the weedy water and refused to emerge even when police drew their weapons.

Police from Penrith Local Area Command were racing to the scene of another crime – an alleged robbery of a bobcat – with lights and sirens blaring when they saw a white Toyota van strike some debris, travel through a fence and eventually stop in a dam.

As the officers stopped their vehicle to check on the driver of the van, he got out and swam to the middle of the dam.

Officers attempted to negotiate with the man – who can be seen submerged in water on video obtained by Sunrise – but he refused.

He allegedly threatened police when they drew their firearms, police said.

As police organised for a boat to be delivered to the area, the man left the water and was arrested, wrapped in a towel and bundled into the back of a police van.

The man was allegedly driving a stolen van. He was taken to Penrith Police Station where inquiries into the van and the incident continue.

Another man was arrested nearby. He is not believed to be linked to the van but is being spoken to in relation to other alleged offences.

AT 2pm on Tuesday, police charged a man with allegedly stealing a bobcat at Glenmore Park earlier this morning..

Meanwhile, officers are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a nearby incident at Orchard Hills, where a man crashed a stolen vehicle into a dam.

The man was arrested and remains in custody at Penrith Police Station but no charges have yet been laid.

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

Kanye West probably isn’t in $US53 million debt

Kanye West claims in his latest outburst he’s $74 million in debt, but he probably isn’t. Photo: Kevin MazurHe made headlines this week for claiming to be $US53 million ($74 million) in debt, but maybe Kanye West shouldn’t be passing around the collection plate just yet.

The 38-year-old rapper, who simultaneously launched his new album and fashion collection at NYFW last week, lamented to his Twitter followers that he had incurred a significant “personal debt”, tweeting billionaires including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to help him out, but it seems unlikely that West has incurred a debt anywhere near the figure quoted.

According to a TMZ source, the $US53 million figure just refers to West’s investment in his music and fashion empires, not actual debt.

The source said that, although his artistic outlay had been significant (the source said West had spent $US40 million on his Yeezy fashion empire alone, which he originally funded entirely from his own pocket) it was unlikely that it had sent the rapper into that level of debt.

The expenditure seems paltry when you consider West’s net wealth (widely estimated to be north of $US100 million) as well as his annual income (which Forbes put at $US22 million in 2015 and $US30 million in 2014), making it unlikely that the $US53 million figure is debt in the traditional sense of the word.

West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, is also not exactly what you would call a low-income earner, having an estimated net wealth of $US50 million.

The TMZ audit comes after West took to Twitter to express alleged financial struggles on Sunday.

Following a series of tweets about his new album, The Life of Pablo (which he said is named after Paul the Apostle), West revealed it costs a lot to be the self-professed greatest artist of all time.

“I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt … Please pray we overcome … This is my true heart,” he wrote.

The rapper went on to encourage his followers to subscribe to artist-owned music streaming service Tidal, which he is a shareholder in, saying that he would not release his new album on any other platform for a week.

“Please for all music lovers. Please subscribe to tidal I decided not to sell my album for another week. Please subscribe to tidal.” I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt… Please pray we overcome… This is my true heart…— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 14, 2016Mark Zuckerberg invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 14, 2016Please for all music lovers. Please subscribe to tidal!!! I decided not to sell my album for another week. Please subscribe to tidal.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 14, 2016Man thank you so so so much everyone for signing up to Tidal. Tidal is now the number one app in the world!!! pic.twitter南京夜网/O3r9DkX03R— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016

Fairfax Media

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need2know: ASX poised to rally

Local shares are poised to open higher as base metals and oil advance. Results pending from NAB, among others.

What you need2know

SPI futures up 35pts or 0.7% to 4820

AUD 71.43 US cents, 81.85 Japanese yen, 64.04 Euro cents and 49.48 British pence

Wall Street is closed for a holiday

In Europe, Stoxx 50 +2.8%, FTSE +2%, CAC +3%, DAX +2.7%

In London, Rio +0.19%, BHP -0.34%

Spot gold -2.3% to $US1209.10 at about 7am Sydney time

Brent crude +1.4% at $US33.83 at about 6.30am Sydney time

Iron ore up $US2.61 or 6% to $US46.26

What’s on today

RBA latest meeting minutes, lending finance.

Overseas economic data: UK January inflation, German February ZEW index, US February Empire State manufacturing, US February homebuilder sentiment, US Treasury December net foreign securities purchases.

Central banks: South Korea rate decision. US Fed speakers: Philadelphia president Patrick Harker, Minneapolis boss Neel Kashkari, Boston chief Eric Rosengren.

Germany’s constitutional court holds a hearing in a lawsuit against the European Central Bank’s Outright Monetary Transactions program. UK Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the leaders of political groups in the European Parliament in a closed session in Brussels.

Overseas earnings: Hormel Foods, Vornado Realty Trust, Express Scripts Holding, Public Storage, Zoetis, Devon Energy, FMC Technologies, Cimarex Energy, Air Liquide, HeidelbergCement, Electricite de France, Orange.

Stocks in focus

Local earnings: NAB, Bradken, Cash Converters, Challenger, CSL, G8 Education, Greencross, Invocare, Pacific Brands, Paladin Energy.


The European Central Bank will take measures to ensure its monetary policy reaches the real economy if that appears threatened by financial-market turbulence, president Mario Draghi told European lawmakers. The euro fell. The Frankfurt-based bank faces its next policy decision on March 10.

China’s currency appreciated 1.2 per cent, the most since July 2005, to 6.4962 a US dollar as of 11.29pm in Shanghai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The offshore yuan rose 0.08 per cent to 6.5035, broadly in line with the onshore rate. The People’s Bank of China raised its daily fixing against the greenback by 0.3 per cent, the most since November.

“In the near term, the stronger fixing and Zhou’s comments reflect the PBOC’s consistent view of stabilising the yuan,” said Ken Cheung, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Mizuho Bank. “Containing yuan depreciation expectations and capital outflows remain top-priority tasks.”


Iron ore imports by China dropped last month from a record as steelmakers in the largest producer reined in output before a national holiday. Overseas purchases fell to 82.19 million metric tons from 96.27 million a month earlier, according to customs data on Monday. In 2015, imports rose 2.2 per cent to 952.72 million tons.=

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister plans to meet with his Russian counterpart in Doha on Tuesday to discuss the oil market, according to a person familiar with the talks. Ali al-Naimi, the most senior oil official of the world’s biggest crude exporter, will speak with Russia’s Alexander Novak in the Qatari capital.

United States

Wall Street was closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.


The optimism that swept through European equities entered a second day as lenders and carmakers further rebounded, while investors bet on additional central-bank stimulus.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 3 per cent at 4:31 p.m. in London, taking its two-day gain to 6 per cent. Italian and Greek lenders led a bank rally, while the region’s automakers advanced, helped by a weakening euro. Miners are close to a 20 per cent rebound from their January low.

Greece’s Eurobank Ergasias, Piraeus Bank and National Bank of Greece surged more than 26 per cent, while Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena rallied 9.2 per cent after hitting record lows last week.

Danske Bank, which this year surpassed Deutsche Bank in market value, advanced 6.3 per cent after renewing a pledge to retail clients that they won’t foot the bill for Denmark’s negative interest rates.

Credit Suisse Group, which also tumbled to the lowest ever, rebounded another 2.6 per cent, while HSBC Holdings rose 1.5 per cent as it said it will keep its headquarters in the UK after considering a relocation to Hong Kong.

What happened yesterday

Australian shares on Monday bounced from recent losses, pulled higher by Friday’s global equities rally, firmer oil prices and a relatively serene return of Chinese markets after the Lunar New Year holidays.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 4765.3 points, up 1.64 per cent, or 78.2 points, on the day. The broader All Ordinaries Index was ahead 1.6 per cent, or 76.8 points, at 4893.4.

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

Team up with your neighbours for garage sale initiative

Environmental initiative Our Super Street Sale has arrived in the Cessnock local government area.

Originally developed by Lake Macquarie City Council, the Our Super Street Sale initiative aims to help residents to reduce landfill, clear out storage space and to sell unwanted items.

Cessnock City Council is encouraging residents to hold a garage sale with two or more of their neighbours, and council will promote the sale across its website, social media and with a coloured classified ad in the Advertiser.

“Our Super Street Sale will provide an opportunity for residents to be part of the drive towards reducing waste, while building better relationships with their neighbourhood,” Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said.

“It is a fantastic initiative and we’re anticipating a great response from the community.”

Residents are invited to register their on Cessnock City Council’s website to receive a free garage sale kit.

Visit council’s website or call 4993 4203 to register.

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