One of the state’s worst rapists and paedophiles could be released from jail next week, nine years after he sexually abused a four-year-old girl at a Lake Macquarie caravan park.
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The State of NSW has lodged an 11th-hour application to have Kevin Howard, 62, subjected to strict supervision should he be released on parole on September 3.

Even if he is not released on parole next week, Howard’s sentence for filming himself performing a series of sex acts on the girl at Teralba in 2006 expires on October 7.

Howard has spent 17 years of his adult life behind bars, the Supreme Court heard on Monday.

His sex offences date back to 1977 when, as a 24-year-old, he groped and propositioned a woman for sex while he was drunk.

Five months later, he raped a woman at knifepoint in a car park and was jailed for nine years with a non-parole period of four years.

Four months after his release in 1982, Howard and a friend went to “find a woman” in suburban Sydney when they came across a teenage couple walking along a street.

They scared off the boy and kidnapped the 17-year-old partially blind girl before repeatedly raping her in an isolated area.

Howard was jailed for 10 years with a non-parole period of five years, but ended up serving less than four years.

In 1989, while on parole, he approached three girls aged four, five and six in a Newcastle playground.

He pulled down the underwear of two of them and tried to perform a sex act on one of the girls before inviting them to go for a drive with him.

The girls said no and Howard was reported. He received 18 months’ periodic detention.

Howard was then able to abstain from his offending for more than 15 years, until he ended up living in a caravan park at Teralba.

In 2006, he lent his mobile phone to a friend who found photos of a man having sex with a child.

Howard was charged with possessing child pornography before it was discovered that the photos were of him performing sex acts on a four-year-old girl.

He was later jailed for nine years with a non-parole period of eight years.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Howard will be subjected to an interim supervision order regardless of when he is released before a hearing in November to determine whether he should be subjected to further supervision.

In the meantime, he will be assessed by two psychiatrists.

Howard has expressed a desire to live with family in Goulburn or Coffs Harbour, Justice Richard Button noted.

He has been a well-behaved prisoner and is a talented artist who has had little contact with the outside world, the court heard.

“Regrettably, the life history of the defendant demonstrates that he has an entrenched proclivity to commit very grave sexual offences against women and girls,” Justice Button said.

Newcastle Herald


Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Photo: Justin Bieber/Instagram Selena Gomez has opened up about her relationship with Justin Bieber, her friendship with Taylor Swift and her decision to take off her purity ring.
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“It’s difficult for people to separate us,” the 23-year-old singer told Britain’s Sunday Times about her relationship with Bieber. “The internet wants to freeze this moment in time and constantly repeat it.”

The pair began dating in 2010 when Gomez was 18 and Bieber was just 16. Their relationship ended last year under the intense scrutiny of the public eye.

“I didn’t think I was doing anything bad by falling in love,” she said. “There’s such an emphasis on people being the perfect thing and then destroying them because it’s good press. Throw in the fact that you’re a teenager­­­­ – it makes it more difficult.”

It was made even more difficult by the fact that, while dating Bieber she removed her purity ring, which symbolises the decision to remain a virgin until marriage.

The Heart Wants What it Wants singer asked her father for the ring when she was 13.

“I said, ‘Dad, I want a promise ring’,” she recalled. “He went to the church and got it blessed. He actually used me as an example for other kids. I’m going to keep my promise to myself, to my family and to God.”

As she grew up and then met Bieber, she changed her mind.

“I’m not embarrassed to say that,” Gomez said. “I’m also not embarrassed to say that the ring has come off. I got it when was I was 13 and I respect so much what it represented, but it isn’t for everyone.”

Although she was comfortable with her decision, she was not comfortable with the public backlash.

“Sometimes you have to lie to yourself to get through the criticism, and then you’re in your closet crying,” Gomez revealed. “It’s been like that for me a couple of times, but I only want to learn from those things.”

As she tried to navigate growing up in the public eye, the support of close friends, such as Taylor Swift, helped.

“I can count on one hand the people I could call and who would be there for me. Taylor is one of the greatest people,” Gomez said. “When I split with my first boyfriend [Nick Jonas] and I was really sad about it, she flew into town with homemade cookies and a bunch of junk food.”

Now, Gomez says she’s ready to love again and is coming to terms with that love being public.

“The next relationship will be something dear to me,” she said. “There is no way I will ever hide my life.”

Fairfax Media


Sylvia Jeffreys addresses her fashion crime. Photo: NineSylvia Jeffreys to replace Georgie GardnerKarl Stefanovic to appear in Independence Day
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Today host Sylvia Jeffreys has smacked down the Daily Mail live on air after a report the site published about an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction she suffered earlier this week.

The journalist’s white underwear was clearly visible underneath a sheer turtleneck as she posed for photos at an Ovarian Cancer Research Fund morning tea on Tuesday.

The Daily Mail wrote about the malfunction and went so far as to suggest the 29-year-old journalist was in on the act.

“She’s know [sic] for her elegant sense of style, but Sylvia Jeffreys went for more of an eye-popping look than she had perhaps planned when attending a high tea on Tuesday,” the article read.

“But the 29 year-old blonde appeared to take the minor wardrobe malfunction in her stride, shooting photographers a good-natured grin along with a look of surprise.”

Jeffreys defended herself on air on Wednesday morning with the support of her colleagues, saying she didn’t know she was flashing her underwear.

“I just want to clear up, in their report they said that I flashed a look of surprise when I realised what was going on – I had no idea what was going on. That’s just my weird resting face.”

Jeffreys’ shut down the report by pointing out she was a working woman who was clearly too busy to change.

“I was running between many commitments yesterday and didn’t have time obviously to change what was underneath every outfit.”

“It wasn’t visible to the naked eye, it was just under the photographers’ flash that that was visible, so apologies for any offence caused but I wont make the same mistake twice.”

“Thank you Daily Mail for pointing that out,” Jeffreys added sarcastically. Errrr whoops! Anything to draw attention to a good cause, I guess. Right @helenmccabe? #brafail#crazyeyes#10Hourspic.twitter杭州夜网m/hfrrWd7fOn— Sylvia Jeffreys (@SylviaJeffreys) August 25, 2015Great to join @mccabehelen for the #10Hours High Tea today. Thank you @womensweeklymag and #Loreal for inviting me to join this important campaign for ovarian cancer research.A photo posted by sylviajeffreys (@sylviajeffreys) on Aug 24, 2015 at 11:25pm PDT


Rusting away … the real last cab to Darwin in a yard in Darwin. Photo: Philip Nitschke Wants to shoot two films in Sydney … Hugh Jackman. Photo: Steven Siewert
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Thriller in Manila … Beast.

Real last cab is dying without dignity

As the film it inspired continues to perform strongly in cinemas, the real last cab to Darwin is slowly disappearing in an overgrown yard. Terminally ill Broken Hill cabbie Max Bell drove it to the Northern Territory capital in the 1990s — the journey that inspired Jeremy Sims’ film. Euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke , who was with Bell when he died, has owned the car ever since. “He left it to me, ‘To help to get the euthanasia law working’,” he says. “It became the Exit campaign car for the next 10 years till it finally died in Darwin with a failed welch plug.” Dr Nitschke says it’s sad watching such an historic vehicle slowly decay on his Darwin block. “It still has the taxi meter in it,” he says, “along with the length of chain under the seat that Max told me he used when people decided they didn’t want to pay the fare”. After a strong third weekend that saw its release widen to 247 cinemas — it started on 221 — Last Cab To Darwin has taken $4.4 million so far. It will widen again to 265 cinemas this weekend as it heads towards topping $6 million. Why Hugh Jackman won’t be directing

Hugh Jackman grabbed headlines with the big announcement this week that he is touring the country with the arena show Broadway to Oz — Hugh Jackman Live in Concert. But he also spoke about the two movies he is hoping to shoot in Australia — his final Wolverine instalment and Michael Gracey’s P.T. Barnum bio-pic The Greatest Showman On Earth. While both are dependent on locations, Jackman hopes to shoot them largely in Sydney, just as he has with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine. Other than the filmmaking incentives to shoot in Australia, the attractions include being able to have a dip at Bondi before heading to Fox Studios. But while Jackman has moved into producing his movies, he has no interest in following fellow Les Miserables star Russell Crowe into directing. “I just ran into Joel Edgerton and he said he he’s had the time of his life [directing as well as starring in The Gift] and that made me think about it. But I just feel I’m a bit too indecisive.” Jackman says the greatest directors are very definite in their vision as they make 200 to 300 decisions a day. “I think I’d just be annoying to everybody and to myself,” he says. “‘Yeah, I like the red and the yellow dress’. ‘Well which one?’ ‘They’re both great.’ It would be that all day long.” Boxing pic gets Toronto debut

The directing debut for Australian brothers Tom and Sam McKeith, boxing drama-thriller Beast, has been selected for a world premiere in the Discovery section at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Australian-Filipino film centres on a young boxer (Chad McKinney) who is forced to go on the run through the streets of Manila after accidentally killing an opponent in a crooked fight. Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave) plays his American expat father. The brothers, both graduates of the Australian Film Television and Radio School, said they were thrilled at selection for what was the perfect platform for the film. “We hope people respond to the film’s rawness and enjoy the bold performance of our lead Chad McKinney, a boxer who we discovered training at a gym in Manila,” they said. The festival said the brothers had taken “elements of classic boxing films, added thriller twists, and refracted the resulting story through the lens of social realism” to create “a heart-pounding tale”. More French films in new festival

The newest addition to the film festival calender opens next week — Alliance Française Classic Film Festival, which features six films starring the legendary Catherine Deneuve. Alliance festival manager Patricia Noeppel-Detmold expects the festival to attract both regulars at the Alliance’s French Film Festival every March and newcomers wanting to catch some classics on the big screen. The festival, which features the likes of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle de Jour and Indochine, is at Event George Street and Cremorne Orpheum from Thursday to Sunday. UnIndian heads to Montreal

The comic romance unIndian, starring former cricketer Brett Lee and India’s Tannishtha Chatterjee, has been selected for a surprising world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival. Directed by Anupam Sharma, the film has also been picked up by Scandinavian international sales agent Yellow Affair, which describes it as “entertaining and genuinely funny” as “it touches cleverly on cultural differences”. Sharma describes the selection as “a pleasant surprise” for what was never intended to be a festival film.Unindian opens in Australian cinemas on October 15. Vacation opens on top

The National Lampoon reboot Vacation opened on top of the Australian box office on the weekend with $1.68 million. Boxing drama Southpaw had a better cinema average but came in second with $1.55 million. On a low-key weekend in cinemas, Jurassic World finally slipped out of the top 20 after 10 hugely popular weeks that saw it reach $52.8 million. It became the fourth highest-grossing movie in Australian cinemas, behind only Avatar, Titanic and The Avengers.

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Tasmanian Labor leader Bryan Green Photo: Paul Scambler/The ExaminerPressure is rising on the Liberal Party over its funds scandal, with Labor asking for a cover-up of a $48,000 debt in Tasmania to be investigated by the Australian Electoral Commission.
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The personal debt was incurred by disgraced former party director, Damien Mantach, while he held the job in Tasmania.

Mr Mantach’s debt was repaid in full in 2008 before he left, later to take on the same role in Victoria and allegedly embezzle $1.5 million.

Party figures have since traded accusations over the original debt, the re-engagement of Mr Mantach, and Liberal financial governance during his employment in Victoria.

Tasmanian Opposition Leader Bryan Green told the state parliament on Wednesday that Commonwealth electoral law required disclosure of “all money” received by a political party over a $10,000 threshold in 2008.

He held up a copy of the 2008 Liberal party return, and told Premier Will Hodgman: “Clearly this is not limited to donations. Will you and can you explain… why that amount was not declared as part of the party’s return?

“The fact that the money was not disclosed on the 2008 return can only mean one of two things, either the money wasn’t repaid … or that the Tasmanian Liberal Party is in breach of the Electoral Act,” Mr Green said.

He had written to the Australian Electoral Commissioner, Tom Rogers, seeking an investigation into whether  the Tasmanian division of the Liberal party had lodged a false and misleading return.

Mr Hodgman called the questions spurious and said they should be handled by the party’s administrative division.

“As the leader of the opposition knows, those returns relate to donations…,” Mr Hodgman said. “Clearly the matters in question are not donations to the Liberal Party.”

The party’s current state president, Geoff Page, told Fairfax Media he was not sure what Mr Green was getting at.

“Our accounts are audited by professional people outside the party every year,” Mr Page said. “I’m very comfortable with that.”

Mr Green also disclosed in parliament that at the time Mr Mantach left, the honorary treasurer of the party was Launceston businessman Sam McQuestin, who is now the state director.

“It’s emerged Mr McQuestin is central to this matter, but (he) has been in hiding from the public,” Mr Green said.

He called for Mr Hodgman to require Mr McQuestin “to come out and tell the Tasmanian people why this matter was covered up.”

Mr McQuestin was not available for comment.


Newcastle,home tothe world’s biggest coal export port, hasvoted to curb its links to banks backing the fossil fuel industry in a move described by a dissenting councillor as taking the city “back to the Stone Age”.
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Newcastle City Council on Tuesday voted 6-5 to alter its policiesto steer its $270 million in funds into banks involved in “environmentally and socially responsible investments” and avoid those in “harmful activities”, such as greenhouse gas pollution.

Preferred activities included renewable energy, social housing,resource efficiency and recycling.

DeclanClausen, theLabor councillor who brought the motion to council, said the move would send a signal that it was time for the city to diversify away from coal.

“It’s foolish to believe Newcastle can ride off coal far into the future,” Cr Clausen said.

Coal exports from Newcastle rose 6 per cent to a record 159 million tonnes in 2014, and comprised 97 per cent of the port’s volume, according to Port of Newcastle data.

The council stopped short of immediately dumping term deposits and other transaction activity with the big four banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac.

However, when deposits come up for renewal, council staff will be instructed to switch funds away from the large banks – all active funders of the coal industry – provided rates of return and the ratings of the alternative banks or credit agencies are similar.

Liberal councillor Brad Lukedescribed the move as “incredible”, and one that “would punish the biggest employer in the region” and the unions.

“It sends a signal that Newcastle Council does not support the creation of jobs in this area,” Cr Luke said. “It will take Newcastle back to the Stone Age.”

Greens councillor Therese Doyledismissed the criticism.

“It is coal that will send us back to the Stone Age,”Ms Doyle said.”It’s very clear that we need to get out of fossil fuels.”

The city had seen “very little social and economic benefit” from the coal industry and instead had to suffer from the health impacts of coal dust, noise and traffic disruption from coal trains.

“Coal production is increasingly automated,” Cr Doyle said.

“The way of the future is away from coal.”

Stephen Galilee, chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, said it was up to the city council “to decide how they invest ratepayers’ funds, and to explain why, and the ratepayers of Newcastle will make their own judgement on whether it’s really the right way to go”.

Fairfax Media sought comments from the banks.

A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Bank said “we can’t really respond at this point”.

Cr Clausen, who is a member of the Labor Environment Action Network, said unions including the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Unionrecognised that the coal industry in the Hunter Valley would likely shrink in the future.

“There will be far more jobs in sustainable industries than in the traditional fossil-fuel ones,” he said, noting the CFMEU had seconded Labor’s target for Australia to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 at last month’s ALP conference.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the swearing in ceremony of the inaugural Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvliegn with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last month. Photo: Andrew Meares The swearing in ceremony of the inaugural Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvliegn. Photo: Andrew Meares
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The price of a department’s integration? $52,000 per public servant

What’s in a name? If you’re the newly created Australian Border Force, the answer is about $10 million – splashed on military-style uniforms and thousands of signs at airports and detention centres to create a fresh, hardline image.

The uniform splurge follows recent reports by former detention centre workers that detainees at the Australian-run camp on Nauru have not been provided proper clothing, forcing parents to cut holes in their children’s ill-fitting shoes.

Australia’s newly named paramilitary border force began operating in July, triggering the 10th rebranding of the immigration bureaucracy since World War II.

The new name drew ridicule when flagged last year, described variously by critics as “hairy chested”, deliberately threatening and a “marketing disaster”.

Costings supplied to Fairfax Media shows the government spent $6.3 million kitting out 4500 ABF officials with new uniforms, insignia, name badges, buttons and safety helmets.

Veteran public servants were reportedly unhappy at being forced to wear the military-style uniform to work after a lifetime of civilian service.

However a department spokeswoman said the new agency and its law enforcement officers must be “properly attired and well equipped”.

“It is custom and practice that uniforms and equipment for law enforcement operatives be provided by their employer,” she said.

At a Senate hearing last month detention centre workers described as “horrendous” the clothing situation for detainees at the Nauru detention camp.

“Parents actually had to cut holes in their [children’s] sneakers because their feet were growing too much and their shoes were too small,” said former worker Samantha Betts.

“Children would often ask us to help fix their thongs, which we tried to do on several occasions … with bread ties and bits of string.”

Another case worker said a pair of pink hotpants had been provided to an elderly Burmese woman to wear as shorts.

The government spent a further $3.5 million on other rebranding activities such as new livery for 300 vehicles, including boats, helicopters and other aircraft.

New signs were erected at 11 international airports and more than 700 signs were required for seaports, depots, offices and immigration detention facilities.

About 8000 “Border Watch” signs replaced the previous “Customs Watch” signs. Thousands of vessel port and date stamps were also replaced.

A spokeswoman said the money was sourced from the department’s budget allocations and came at “no extra expense to taxpayers”.

The government has said the creation of the ABF, which consolidated customs and immigration border operations, would save hundreds of millions of dollars to be reinvested into the super-charged agency.

Some department insiders were said to be unhappy at the “militarisation” of the new regime. The department reportedly faces the public service’s greatest executive brain drain since the 1980s after a quarter of its upper ranks were either shown the door or left after the merger.

Despite the millions of dollars being spent on the ABF, its employees are facing cuts to pay and entitlements, triggering an internal revolt.

Since 1945 the immigration bureaucracy has been known by various names including the Department of Labour and Immigration, Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Customs functions have also been rebranded, including in 2009 when the former Labor government dispensed with the Australian Customs Service, renaming it the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

At the time, the Coalition questioned the cost of rebranding, and asked why the name change was needed when the government could have simply absorbed border control functions into the Customs Service.

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Peter FitzSimons says it is ‘simply not fair’ that no Australian can become the nation’s head of state. Photo: Louise Kennerley  Five things that need to happen before Australia becomes a republic
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The ACT’s Katy Gallagher will lead a national push for an Australian republic.

She will be co-convenor of a new parliamentary group, with federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, as part of an ambitious 10-year plan for constitutional change.

The group was announced at the National Press Club on Wednesday by Peter FitzSimons, chairman of the Australian Republican Movement and a Fairfax Media columnist.

The republican movement wants a national plebiscite on an Australian head of state by 2020, followed by a referendum proposing a specific republican model by 2025.

Should a plebiscite on a republic be held within that time frame, it could be the fifth time in as many years Australians were asked to go to the polls. Votes on marriage equality and constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, as well as two federal elections, are also expected.

In 1999, a referendum on a move to a republic was defeated 55 per cent to 45 per cent. The ACT was the only jurisdiction to vote in favour of a republic.

Senator Gallagher, a former ACT chief minister, said there was acceptance of the lessons learnt from 1999, such as about divisions in the “yes” campaign.

“I think there’s also understanding now there needs to be stages about the way you progress to a referendum,” she said.

“It’s a long-term discussion for a long-term change.

“Politicians have a role to play but, ultimately, this is something the Australian community has to get behind; it has to be a much broader discussion.

“If we are looking at a five- to 10-year campaign, hopefully it is beyond the reign of Tony Abbott.”

Mr FitzSimons said support for an Australian republic was strengthening again, with 47 per cent of voters polled by Essential Media Research in favour of replacing the British monarch with an Australian head of state.

“It’s time for us to be entirely self-governing,” he said.

“We propose it starts with a simple question to be put before the Australian people some time in the next five years: do you support replacing the British monarchy with an Australian citizen as the Australian head of state?” he said.

“Bingo, simple as that. We reckon the ‘yes’ vote will look like Phar Lap at Flemington, like Bradman at Lord’s – well ahead of the field and looking good.”

Mr FitzSimons said it was essential republicans came together and agreed on a model before a referendum, rather than face a repeat of the 1999 vote, when arguments between republicans about different models contributed to the defeat of the “yes” case.

He said he favoured a minimalist model, with the head of state, who would still be called the governor-general, chosen by a two-thirds majority of Parliament.

“It is the most likely to succeed, as it addresses the foremost concern of the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it crowd. Essentially, we are not fixing it. We would be snipping one unsightly apron string,” Mr FitzSimons said.

The Australian flag would not be part of the debate.

Mr FitzSimons warned Australia would only make the change if Mr Abbott, a strong supporter of the constitutional monarchy, was no longer Prime Minister: “The reality of this is we won’t get this over the line without bipartisan support.”

A spokesman for Mr Hockey said he “has long advocated his views on this issue”.

“They are a matter of public record and those views haven’t changed.”

Earlier this year, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten recommitted Labor to pursuing an Australian republic.


Uniquely Samsung: Two new Galaxy phablets avoid many of the company’s past pitfalls. Photo: SamsungSamsung’s latest high-end smartphones, the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+, are two sides of the same coin. On paper, their specs look identical, but each phone provides a very different experience.
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The Note 5 continues the tradition of the Note line-up: a smartphone large enough and powerful enough to replace a phone, tablet or even a computer. The S6 Edge+ pushes the “edge” branding into the luxury phone market.

Internally, the Note 5 and Edge+ share the same powerful processors and an abundance of RAM. Externally, they have the same 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display.

Both have a curved body: the Note 5 curves around the back for better grip while the Edge+ curves on the front to dazzle.

If the Note 5 is the workhorse, the Edge+ is the show pony.

These massive phones come with massive batteries, easily making it through a full day of high use with power to spare. The Edge+ and Note 5 support fast charging, too, topping up a dead battery in 90 minutes. Combined, these features should alleviate battery anxiety for even the most power-hungry users.

The Note 5’s signature feature is the S Pen, a fine-point stylus that allows for digital note taking. It’s a seamless experience, with the note-taking app launching as soon as you remove the S Pen from the inbuilt holder.

The S Pen works even when the screen is locked, allowing for quick notes on the go or for less intrusive note taking: for example, in a lecture theatre or jotting down some thoughts while your partner sleeps beside you.

It works well, but I quickly realised after years of using keyboards and touchscreens that my handwriting has become unintelligible. And it turns out I’m a lot faster with a predictive text keyboard, so the Note 5 is probably not for me.

Still, I understand the appeal. Taking notes on a smartphone with a standard on-screen keyboard is still seen by many as distracting, and doing so in a meeting can give the impression you’re not paying attention. After all, no one knows if you’re taking notes or just browsing Facebook. However, when you take out a stylus, everyone assumes you’re taking notes. A pen, even when digital, lends some credibility.

The S Pen doesn’t just work with the built-in notes app either. It can be used to mark up documents, draw on photos and sign PDFs. The Note 5 comes preloaded with Acrobat and Microsoft’s Office suite, so most users will feel familiar with the apps on offer.

Powering these apps are an octa core 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM. It’s overkill, but it makes for phones that fly through mobile tasks. Both phones support the latest 4G “Cat 9” technology, promising mobile internet of up to 450mbps; that’s probably 20 times faster than a home ADSL connection.

The thumbprint reader in the Samsung line-up is as good as those in iPhones and it’s a shame flagship phones from LG, Motorola and Sony don’t feature a similar reader. Combined with a password manager like LastPass, a thumbprint reader is a killer security feature.

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is simply a bigger S6 Edge. The curved-screen Edge is still the most beautiful piece of mobile technology I’ve seen this year.

The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ have the same fantastic camera we found in the Samsung S6 this year. The camera features a fast f1.9 aperture lens, optical image stabilisation and an impressive HDR. That adds up to a camera that produces fantastic results with little effort.

It’s great to see Android phones taking on the iPhone for camera supremacy and the curved-screen Edge shows off your snaps better than anything else.

Interface design used to be Samsung’s Achilles heel, but to the company’s credit, it’s toned down much of the excess of TouchWiz. TouchWiz for Android Lollipop is a clean, light experience, made cleaner still by the use of a “stock Lollipop theme” available through the Galaxy Theme Store.

I used to spend the first few minutes with any Samsung phone replacing the default apps, launcher and keyboard; trying to hide TouchWiz as much as possible. This is no longer necessary. The built-in apps, notifications and settings are tastefully designed, but being an Android phone, you’re more than welcome to swap these things out.

For a company so often dismissed for borrowing the ideas of others, the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are uniquely Samsung. If taking notes with a stylus is your thing, no other handset will serve you as well as the Note 5, and there is no other handset quite as gorgeous as the curved screen S6 Edge and S6 Edge+.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (32GB) – $1099

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (32GB) – $1199

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (64GB) – $1299

Peter Wells is a technology commentator who works in IT at UNSW Australia.

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“I think we can build a very profitable and successful company in a world that commits itself more strongly to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees.” : BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie. Photo: Stefan PostlesBHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says he expects some level of consensus to emerge when world leaders gather in Paris in November for the United Nations climate change conference.
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Speaking from London on Tuesday, Mr Mackenzie said BHP expected to play its part in region by region climate targets, should consensus for such targets emerge from the Paris conference.

“We think there will be a degree of consensus around a range of region by region, or country by country, targets, and we will be very much part of that,” he said.

“I think we can build a very profitable and successful company in a world that commits itself more strongly to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees.”

Despite being one of the world’s biggest coal miners and a major producer of oil and gas, BHP has long accepted science that suggests humans are influencing the climate by releasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

But the company has walked a policy tightrope in recent years, and campaigned for Australia’s carbon tax to be repealed on the grounds that it harmed the international competitiveness of Australian exporters.

It has also argued that fossil fuels will continue to be the energy source of choice for many in the developing world, despite the challenges of climate change.

BHP has been investing heavily in carbon capture and storage and hopes it can be proved viable and can allow long term use of coal.

“We have a portfolio that I think can respond to whatever is the most effective way to decarbonise the energy sector and it is not just simply down to the sources of the energy but the technology that abates things and the regulation that actually encourages things,” said Mr Mackenzie on Tuesday.

“We are in everything, whether it is nuclear power (uranium), or copper which does best with windmills and solar, or of course all forms of fossil fuels and we do invest in things like carbon capture and storage so I think we are able to respond.”

Fossil fuel producers have been split in the lead-up to the Paris conference, with big energy companies like Woodside Petroleum and Norwegian company Statoil urging the world to abandon coal in favour of gas as a way to reduce emissions.

Mr Mackenzie has been one of several coal producers to criticise the comments, labelling it a “marketing strategy” and a “rich country solution”.

“I think there is a marketing ploy, which is ‘give up coal and burn more gas’,” Mr Mackenzie told the FT.

“The last time I looked there was plenty of carbon in methane and there is huge amounts of carbon in oil, and the carbon emissions from transport are just as much a problem as the carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations.”

Australia has vowed to reduce carbon emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent from 2005 levels, and do so by 2030.


Let there be no more doubt about it. China is currently the dominant, driving force behind global markets.
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And for irrefutable proof of that, look to the images the financial press is using to illustrate the latest global meltdown.

There was a time when the stock image used by news outlets for a global market crash was a floor trader on Wall Street (almost always a man) perhaps with his head in his hands, or with a kind of despair on his face that suggests he has lost a lot of money. Like this AP photo:

No more.

Consider the way the latest global market seizure is being portrayed by some of the world’s pre-eminent financial news services.

There’s a common theme in the pictures currently adorning those websites this morning: Random Chinese people looking very worried.

Take The Financial Times today:

Or The Economist, which uses this AFP shot to continue the ancient tradition of anonymous-back-of-person’s-head-looking-at-screen-with-red-on-it, only in China.

Even the website of The Wall Street Journal, that bastion of American business, is not (currently) leading with an image of the NYSE, despite the fact that the US market fell sharply overnight.

Images like this one from Getty Images are everywhere this week:

Or this one from AP:

To be clear, the old images of Wall Street traders are still being used in some places. And perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising that the world’s finance press is using a lot of Chinese images to illustrate an unfolding crisis that is clearly Chinese in origin.

But it does feel strangely significant, like the passing of the torch in the way financial markets are covered, if not how they actually operate.

Over the past decade, citizens of China have embraced the stockmarket with fervour, which is at odds with the fact that the country remains, at least officially, communist. It’s the first time really Chinese investors feel the sharemarket rollercoaster in its full force.

And in previous eras, images of Chinese citizens reactions to crises (economic or otherwise)  were relatively hard to come by.

To put it more simply, in 2015, random Chinese person looking worried is the new Wall Street guy looking worried

And that’s arguably a good thing. The images being used almost always feature ordinary Chinese folk, which is a more honest portrayal of who is affected the most than what has been used in the past.

By contrast, the use of New York Stock Exchange Floor traders to illustrate previous market crashes was always a bit misleading.

Not much actual trading takes place on America’s most historic stock exchange, which is located, literally, on Wall Street. It is mostly done by computers. This reality prompted the US website Marketwatch to declare last year it would no longer use images of floor traders in its reporting on market crashes.

It seems that is what is slowly beginning to happen the world over.


Christine Crickitt, alleged murdered by her husband Dr Brian Crickitt between 31 December 2009 and 1 January 2010. Photo: SuppliedA Sydney GP charged with the murder of his then-wife is fighting for the right to continue treating patients while he is on bail.
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Dr Brian Crickitt was charged in December with the murder of his wife, Christine, 61, at their home in Woodbine, in south-west Sydney, five years earlier.

Police alleged Dr Crickitt, who was also his wife’s treating doctor, caused her death by injecting fast-acting insulin between 8pm on December 31, 2009 and 8.15am on January 1, 2010.

In a fact sheet tendered to the court, police said Dr Crickitt had a number of motives for wanting his wife dead, such as large financial gain including a $500,000 life insurance policy, “loathing of his wife” and his affair with another woman.

He had allegedly researched insulin overdose on his computer and illegally prescribed and collected fast-acting insulin in the name of one of his patients on New Year’s Eve 2009 before “deactivating” the script on his computer to hide its creation.

He was charged on December 3, 2014 and granted conditional bail in Campbelltown Local Court the same day.

In an urgent meeting convened two weeks later the Medical Council of NSW suspended his registration as a medical practitioner with immediate effect to protect both the public and the reputation of the medical profession. At the time Dr Crickitt was working as a GP at the Campbelltown Medical and Dental Centre and had been practicing medicine for almost 35 years.

Dr Crickitt appealed the decision to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, arguing he is innocent until proven guilty and needs to earn an income. He says he intends to vigorously defend the murder charge.

In written reasons for their decision to suspend Dr Crickitt, published in January, the three-person panel appointed by the council said they had “no immediate concerns” that he posed a clinical risk to the health and safety of any person.

However, they were concerned about the impact of the allegations made against the appellant “on the standing and reputation of the medical profession and public confidence in the profession and its regulation”.

The delegates focused attention on the need for the public to be able to trust the medical profession and have confidence “that it is properly and adequately regulated”.

A coronial inquest into the death was held at the Glebe Coroners Court in May and December 2011 with an open finding. Then State Coroner Mary Jerram found on the evidence that the cause or the manner of Mrs Crickitt’s death could not be determined.

The inquest heard the Crickitts had been married for 15 years but the relationship had become “dysfunctional” and on New Year’s Eve 2009 they fought for several hours before Dr Crickitt packed a bag and left.

Dr Crickitt originally told police he was driving around Campbelltown for hours but later admitted he’d been at the home of his mistress, Linda Livermore.

He said he returned home at 8.15am on January 1, 2010 to find his wife’s body. He then went to Glebe morgue with Ms Livermore to view the body, a move that Mrs Crickitt’s son Stuart Riley told the inquest was “disrespectable [sic] and dishonourable”.

Records made available by Medicare indicate that during the period from 1988 to 2009 Dr Crickitt treated and prescribed medication for his wife, who had a range of illnesses including arthritis, Graves’ disease, depression and bipolar disorder.

During hearings before the NCAT in March, June and earlier this month, the Medical Council opposed Dr Crickitt’s appeal against suspension, saying even if Dr Crickitt is ultimately acquitted of his wife’s murder, patients might feel distress and anxiety and even fail to seek medical advice due to their lack of confidence in the medical profession. But Dr Crickitt said the suspension was depriving him of his livelihood.

The NCAT dismissed Dr Crickitt’s appeal to overturn the suspension for now. It also decided to allow the council to reopen its case and adduce fresh evidence about an alleged relationship of some kind between Dr Crickitt and a former patient, the adequacy of his clinical records and the fact that he had seemingly socialised with his patients.

Dr Crickitt’s appeal hearing will resume on September 25.

He will face a committal hearing on the murder charge in Campbelltown Local Court on October 9.


Sara Limbu initially thought a vehicle had backfired, before learning a gunman had opened fire. Photo: Peter Rae The bullet hole in the window of Billu’s Indian Eatery in Wigram Street, Harris Park. Photo: Peter Rae
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A bullet that was fired through the front window of a crowded Indian restaurant in Sydney’s west missed hitting diners by just centimetres, in what police have described as a remarkable stroke of luck.

Sara Limbu was at Billu’s Indian Eatery in Harris Park with her husband and three children on Tuesday night celebrating her husband’s birthday when a gunman fired a shot through the front window just before 9pm.

Mrs Limbu said she and her husband were standing at the front of the shop on Wigram Street ordering a traditional Indian dessert when they heard what at first they mistook for a vehicle backfiring on the street.

It was not until a short time later that they realised the noise was in fact a bullet, which had pierced the front window just centimetres from where they had been standing.

The bullet struck a shelf inside the restaurant, remarkably missing any of the estimated 40 diners and staff who were in the restaurant.

“We saw there was a hole in the window, somebody put a bullet through the window. It was cracked,” Mrs Limbu told Fairfax Media.

“We realised it was really close, it was close to us.

“It was a bit scary, I was shocked. I was with my family and three children.”

Mrs Limbu said she and her husband had been ordering the Indian dessert paan at the time the shot was fired. A sign on the front fence of Billu’s Indian Eatery says: “Keep calm and eat paan.”

Police said the gunman, dressed in a blue tracksuit, was seen running from the restaurant and is believed to have nearly knocked over a woman at a pedestrian crossing on Wigram Street.

Police want to speak to her in the hope she can help them identify the offender, who has not been caught.

Detectives are understood to be investigating if the shooting was a targeted attack, and are interviewing staff and customers who were in the restaurant.

NSW Police Inspector Adam Phillips told the ABC that it was extremely lucky no one inside the restaurant was injured.

“The frightening thing with this is that the shot that was fired … was in a particular part of the restaurant which was extremely busy,” Inspector Phillips said.

It is the second time this year a gunman on foot has fired shots in the vicinity of the restaurant.

In April, police closed Wigram Street when a man fired up to nine shots into the air on a Saturday afternoon, before fleeing.

Niti Sheh, who lives on Wigram Street, said on Wednesday morning that the latest shooting was “really scary”.

“In four months, it’s happening twice. A couple of days ago there was also a fire in the shop nearby. I don’t know what’s going on, you know?” she said.

“It’s really scary. I’m scared that I come out and I’m walking here and anything can happen.”

Ms Sheh said she was a former employee at Billu’s Indian Eatery, and was working on the day in April when the shots were fired outside the restaurant.

Ms Sheh said she saw the gunman in April stand outside the restaurant for up to 40 minutes before firing into the air.

“Me and my colleague were standing outside for half an hour and the fellow shot after some time,” she said.

She said he had fired into the air, and did not appear to be trying to hit anyone.

Ejaz Khan, the vice-president of the Harris Park Chamber of Commerce, said he believed the shootings were gang related.

Mr Khan said he ate at Billu’s on Tuesday night, but left about 30 minutes before the shooting.

“I can’t believe this. This is the third incident in the last couple of months in Harris Park, and I believe strongly that there are criminal gangs working in this area,” he said.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw the offender to come forward, in particular the woman who was nearly knocked to the ground at the pedestrian crossing.

Police described her as being Indian or subcontinental in appearance, aged between 25 and 30, and she was wearing a pink top.

Anyone with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers online reporting page. */]]>