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Stick: Why you should actually love Love Actually

Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon both appeared in Love Actually. Photo: Universal Studios Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman in a scene from Love Actually (2003) Photo: Supplied.
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Olivia Olsen belts out Mariah’s hit ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ in Love Actually. Photo: Love, Actually

Bill Nighy as Billy Mac in Love Actually.

‘Tis the season.

And no I don’t mean for puddings, colourful lights and manic crowds at discount outlets.

I mean ’tis the season for watching Love Actually as many times as I can between the end of November and the end of Boxing Day.

‘Tis also the season where I brace myself to defend this cinematic masterpiece against the naysayers and grinches who hate happiness and probably eat kittens.

I still struggle to understand why people hate Love Actually, despite my Facebook wall and email accounts being flooded with think pieces about how crap it is. (You can read them here and here if you need an antidote to this love letter to Richard Curtis).

But even as I trawl through the endless tomes of hate and bile, I still can’t really understand what they are going on about and why they find the whole thing so offensive.

Sure, it is saccharine and some of the storylines are a little uncomfortable, but from the moment Hugh Grant discusses the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, through to the cheesy wedding scene where Keira Knightley looks like a goddess, Rodrigo Santoro’s brooding graphic designer Karl, to Rowan Atkinson’s career defining performance behind a shop counter, to Bill Nigh’s Billy Mac accusing the members of Blue of having small willies… it’s just endless fun and happiness.

Love Actually pretty much sums up every Christmas experience I have ever had (except for acting as a stand-in for a skin flick… but I’m still young).

Avoiding the flirtatious advances of a slightly over-zealous co-worker at the office Christmas party, watching my partner do the same at theirs, being hopelessly in love with someone at Christmas and finding the most awkward and embarrassing way imaginable to tell them, helping friends through heartbreak, dashing overseas to find love there…

All wrapped up in festive paper and a killer soundtrack, Love Actually is, actually, a deeply fascinating exploration of the human condition.

For many of us, this is the time of the year where you reflect on the state of affairs in your platonic, familial or other love life.

And if you can’t connect with at least one of the storylines in Love Actually you either have the most blessed life or mind-numbingly, bone-achingly boring one.

Moving away from how the film accurately holds a mirror up to life, there is the fact that this film is just bloody brilliantly written.

If you don’t snort with laughter when Alan Rickman’s Harry is buying a fancy necklace for his mistress Mia while his wife shops nearby and Atkinson puts the final flourishes on the wrapping and Rickman rolls out that classic line “what are you going to do next, dip it in yoghurt?” there’s no hope for you.

If you don’t feel a surge of unentitled parochial pride when Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister stands up to Billy Bob Thornton’s sleazy POTUS or get a lump in your throat when Emma Thompson sobs in her bedroom to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now (famously, she cried through all seven takes) then you might need to check the hole in your soul.

I couldn’t count the number of times I have watched Love Actually, it is my own private tradition to watch it as many times as I can around Christmas. I actually have the film’s theme song as the ring tone on my phone.

What makes this obsession even more surprising is that I normally have a strong allergic reaction to rom-coms, often resulting in hives and hyperventilation… or just leaving the room when one comes on.

I prefer superhero movies or spy films, the only other rom-com I could say I seriously enjoyed was Amelie.

But Love Actually stands out, its head way above the crowd, it is funny and charming and easy to watch and you finish the film feeling better than you started.

If you don’t think that, fine, you probably don’t like baby seals either.

Stick: Codeine crackdown: Common painkillers will require prescription from 2018

Painkillers containing codeine, such as Panadeine and Nurofen Plus, will require a prescription from 2018 to help prevent ns getting addicted to the drug.
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In response to growing concerns about addiction, overdoses and other harm caused by codeine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has decided to re-schedule the drugs so people cannot buy them over the counter in a pharmacy from February 2018.

The controversial decision, which will anger drug companies and pharmacies that sell the products, is being introduced with a year-long lead time so people with chronic pain conditions can adjust their pain management plans with doctors.

While an original decision on the re-scheduling of codeine products was meant to be made by November last year, Fairfax Media has previously reported on a quiet push by three large pharmaceutical lobby groups for a regulatory impact statement, which delayed the decision for 12 months.

A TGA statement released on Tuesday morning said there was evidence that misuse of codeine contributes to liver damage; stomach ulceration and perforations; low blood potassium levels; respiratory depression and death.

“Low-dose codeine-containing medicines are not intended to treat long-term conditions, however public consultation indicated that many consumers used these products to self-treat chronic pain. This meant that consumers frequently became addicted to codeine,” the TGA statement said.

The regulator said there was also little evidence that low-dose codeine medicines were any more effective for pain relief or coughs than similar medicines without codeine.

The decision comes after reports of codeine addicts swallowing up to 100 tablets a day, and people “pharmacist shopping” to get around rules introduced in 2010 that restrict purchases of more than five days’ supply of the drug at one time.

In 2013, Monash University researchers reported nine deaths over a decade linked to toxicity from codeine-ibuprofen medicines such as Nurofen Plus.

Government agency data also shows the number of ns being treated for codeine addiction more than tripled over the decade to 2012-13, from 318 to more than 1000 a year.

Matthew Frei, an addiction-medicine specialist and clinical director of Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, told Fairfax Media last year that this figure probably vastly underestimates the number of problem users as many patients who abused drugs were not detected.

Other countries including the US, Japan and most of Europe have already stopped codeine-containing products from being sold without prescription.

Despite the international trend towards removing codeine from chemist’s shelves, Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis​ said the final decision was “short-sighted” and could limit access to the medicines for people with “genuine medical needs”.

“The decision has purportedly been made to help stamp out abuse of these medicines by some people, but in reality this measure will only encourage vulnerable patients to doctor shop and try to find ways around the system,” he said.

“Shifting it to prescription only without a mandated real time recording system or any screening program will simply bury the problem even deeper in the overwhelmed system and cost shift it to an already bursting MBS [Medicare Benefits Schedule].”

With Daniel Burdon

Stick: Sydney terriers terrorise cyclist and cost their owner more than $105,000

It wasn’t me: Two “small terrier-like dogs” terrorised a woman pushbike rider and cost their owner more than $100,000 after the bike rider sued for damages. The un-named dogs – similar to the pictured terrier – continued to “nip and bark” at the woman even after she fell.
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TWO terriers who terrorised a woman on a pushbike have cost their owner more than $100,000.

The “two small terrier-type dogs” barked and nipped at Deborah Coleman on October 12, 2014 as she rode in a Sydney parkuntil she lost control, hit a fence and landed heavily on the road, cracking her helmet and fracturing a vertebrae.

Although a stunned and injured Ms Coleman was unable to move, the terriers “continued to nip and bark at her while she was lying there”, NSW District Court Judge Judith Gibson said in a decision awarding Ms Coleman $105,564 damages.

The figure could be even higher after Judge Gibson ordered the terriers’ owner, Leonie Wood, to pay Ms Coleman’s legal costs, but left open a chance to argue against the costs order in a Newcastle District Court hearing in March.

In October Judge Audrey Balla made a default judgment against Ms Wood after she failed to file a defence against the claim her unleashed and uncontrolled dogs caused Ms Coleman’s fall and injuries, including a fractured vertebrae and “deep gouging puncture wound” in the abdomen requiring two days in hospital.

Ms Wood failed to appear at the hearing before Judge Gibson on December 12, without an explanation to the court, and despite being “an employed person in a position of some responsibility”.

“This is not a case where the defendant (Ms Wood) is under any intellectual or physical disadvantage of the kind that would excite the Court’s concern,” Judge Gibson said.

The hearing included photos taken by Ms Coleman’s husband and stepdaughter, who were riding in the Sydney park with her, showing Ms Coleman on the ground after the fall with the terriers barking and nipping at her.

Ms Coleman was “unable, because of the severe pain inher left knee and right shoulder, to get up”, Judge Gibson noted.

Ms Wood “made no attempt to come towards the terrier dogs or restrain them and they were eventually restrained by the plaintiff’s step-daughter”.

Ms Coleman and her husband gave evidence that the dogs chased and barked at all three bike riders, and when Ms Wood was asked to control the dogs she replied that the park was a “leash-free” area and did not respond.

Judge Gibson accepted Ms Coleman’s evidence that she was “likely to have some difficulty getting back into full time work” in the community management sphere because restrictions on her neck made computer work, sitting for long periods and driving difficult.

Judge Gibson accepted that the accident had had “asignificant impact on her capacity for work and life generally”.

The $105,000 damages order included $52,000 as a “buffer for future economic loss”.

Lego Wonders of the World and Sand in the City exhibitions open in Sydney

Lego builder Ryan McNaught with his King Kong atop the Empire State Building creation at the convention centre. Photo: Steven Siewert Lillian Marsh and Alice Lambert playing in the augmented sandpit at the Sand in the City exhibition. Photo: James Horan
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9 year old Elias Jose Raish looking at one of the Lego constructions showing the famous painting of the Mona Lisa in the Wonders of the World on show at the Exhibition halls in Darling Harbour. The costruction has more than 27,000 pieces and took 102 hours to build. Photo: Steven Siewert

Ryan McNaught, ‘s Lego certified professional, has been busy. So busy, in fact, he has two exhibitions this summer.

Lego models of the Mona Lisa, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Empire State Building with King Kong at the top are part of the new ‘Brickman Wonders of the World’ exhibition at Darling Harbour.

Mr McNaught – the “Brickman” –  became the only Lego certified professional in the southern hemisphere “by accident” after collaborating with Lego on an IT project in 2008.

“The whole reason why we do what we do is to inspire people,” Mr McNaught said.

The world exhibition took Mr McNaught’s team more than 5000 hours to build and uses two million bricks. It doubles as a “stealth education” experience where visitors learn about the wonders of the world.

“Kids don’t really want to learn about the ancient wonders of the world, such as the Temple of Artemis, but because we are using a medium that’s awesome and kids love, they are actually interested in that,” he said.

A “key component” of the exhibition is an additional two million Lego bricks that visitors can use to build their own creations and add them to various exhibits.

“We’ve got the Arc de Triomphe and around the Arc is a massive pile of Lego and everyone gets to build the traffic jam that goes around the outside of it,” Mr McNaught said.

“Another one, we’ve built the Great Pyramid of Giza and people get to make their own pyramid and add it to the exhibition.”

At the Museum of Sydney, the ‘Sand in the City’ exhibition features more of the Brickman’s work – and another two million bricks.

Celebrating ‘s “love affair” with the coast, Mr McNaught built famous Sydney coastline landmarks such as the Bondi Pavilion, Macquarie Lighthouse and Freshwater Surf Club out of Lego.

The exhibition has been “incredibly popular” and follows two other successful Lego exhibitions at the museum, according to the Director of Curatorial and Public Engagement, Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon.

“Summer time is a chance for children and parents and carers and others to play together,” Dr Butler-Bowdon said.

The exhibition uses an augmented sandbox, where visitors can create their sandcastles or Lego creations and their creations will interact with topographical imagery projected from above.

“You have the projected scenery that changes as your busy hands shift and sculpt a playful sandy landscape,” she said.

Visitors can create sandcastles from the 1.8 tonnes of sand or create their own beachside landmark from 300,000 Lego bricks.

The Sand in the City exhibition at the Museum of Sydney runs until July 23, 2017. General Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for concession and $30 for a family ticket.

The Wonders of the World exhibition at the convention centre in Darling Harbour runs until February 5, 2017. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for kids and $95 for a family ticket.

Fairfax’s online boutique The Store nearing $1 million of sales in first quarter

The Infinity scratcher and lounge available on The Store from D&C Lifestyle. Photo: Supplied Fairfax digital commerce director Trudi Jenkins and Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood at the October launch of The Store. Photo: Anna Kucera
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The Sun-Herald City to Surf is one of many events hosted by Fairfax’s Life & Events division, a new source of revenue for the newspaper publisher. Photo: Anna Kucera

Fairfax Media’s online store is on track to sell $1 million of goods within its first quarter, with $130 infinity cat scratchers among the most popular items consumers are buying.

Fairfax Media recently launched online boutique The Store, which has been heavily advertised in key mastheads such as The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The n Financial Review.

Its products range from scented handmade candles to skateboards to original art work.

According to digital commerce director at Fairfax, Trudi Jenkins, the surprise best sellers are high-quality pet beds and toys.

“We have sold 186 cat scratchers and lounges in 20 days,” Ms Jenkins told BusinessDay, which is owned by Fairfax Media.

Glass bird feeders have also been popular, along with wine selections and art works. The Storerecently commissioned new artwork from Kathryn Del Barton that will be available next year.

The Store does not hold any stock, but sends orders directly to sellers who then package goods for delivery.

It earns a small profit from each sale that will be counted in Fairfax’s Metro Media division, which had earnings of $39 million in 2015-16 from revenues of $574 million.

Other unusual items include a $91 kitchen cleaning pack, $40 tea scoops and $120 yoga mats.

“Readers of Fairfax’s metro dailies are also more likely than the average n to be employed, and have higher incomes – and so they spend more on discretionary products and luxuries,” Roy Morgan’s chief executive Michele Levine says.

“This is just the sort of high-value audience that any new online boutique would be keen to reach, giving Fairfax a clear head start with The Store.”

Nearly half the audience of its main papers are classified as “big spenders” by Roy Morgan research.

According to Steve Allen, managing director at media analysis firm Fusion Strategy: “All Fairfax is doing is saying: we do believe in newspapers, we do believe they generate customers and merchandising. And so we will set up our own shop and sell our own stuff.”

Find a link to The Store here.

China vs Pakistan: Hilton Cartwright called into squad for Boxing Day Test

Test chance: Hilton Cartwright bowling for Western . Photo: Paul KaneNic Maddinson’s loosening hold on a position in the Test side hinges on ‘s fast bowlers making a swift recovery after selectors resurrected their all-rounder policy on Tuesday.
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Unheralded West n all-rounder Hilton Cartwright is tantalisingly close to collecting a baggy green in the Boxing Day Test after being drafted into the squad to ease the burden on ‘s weary fast bowlers.

Pakistan may have left Brisbane without the win but the visitors have potentially forced a major change in ‘s game plan for the rest of the series.

It would not have happened if not for their gallant performance with the bat in the fourth innings, which forced Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc to run on empty as a desperate clung on for victory.

The pair have come through the game uninjured but Cricket will be monitoring their workloads very closely in order to avoid running their pace aces into the ground. Even if the NSW duo make it to the start line on Boxing Day, their chances of getting to their home Test in the new year will hinge on how much energy is expended in a bid to wrap up the series in Melbourne.

Maddinson needs them to be fit if he is to be any hope of holding his place in the side for the summer’s two marquee Tests. Selectors can afford to be patient after two victories but scores of zero, one and four make for terrible reading for Maddinson, who many believed was lucky to get a call-up in the first place.

“We’ve had two pink-ball Test matches, so red-ball Test coming up and we know he’s a fine player. He’s just got to believe at this level,” coach and selector Darren Lehmann said.

“I actually thought he did a really good team thing the other day, just coming in. I know there was some talk in the commentary and media that he probably could have gone up the order and done that, but Steve’s really strong on keeping the batting order very similar.

“So he came in for two balls, tried to get the game moving as quickly as he could, so I disregard the second innings of this one.”

Cartwright, who once batted for WA after tearing a muscle off the bone, is the major beneficiary of Pakistan’s plucky resistance in the first Test. Although he beat a wide field, it may also have been a case of right place, right time for the Zimbabwean-born 24-year-old. Mitchell Marsh is short of first-class runs, Moises Henriques has a side strain, while James Faulkner’s maiden shield ton was not enough to earn him the nod.

His selection will come as a shock to many however selectors signalled he was on their radar by naming him in the squad for the Chappell-Hadlee one-day series. If picked, he would likely bat at No.6 or seven.

“The bowlers got through a high workload in Brisbane and although everyone has pulled up OK, on reflection we wanted to give ourselves the option of including an all-rounder in Melbourne to ease that workload somewhat,” interim head selector Trevor Hohns said.

“To do that we wanted a batting all-rounder, someone to bowl seam-up and capable of batting in the top six as well, and after considering several names we came to the conclusion that Hilton fits that bill. We have seen plenty of him, he has performed well this season and we believe that if called upon he will do an excellent job.”

Cartwright’s first-class numbers are steady rather than spectacular. He boasts just two centuries from 16 games though his average of 44.5 is well above that of the man he would most likely replace in Maddinson.  Cartwright averages 42 with the ball but has taken only four wickets at 75 this season.

“I feel it’s been very up and down,” Cartwright said of his bowling, which held up during the A series in winter but has fallen away this summer.

Doctor who prescribes lethal drugs to dying patients ‘not a risk to public’

Dr Rodney Syme (left) and Bernard Erica, who is dying of cancer. Photo: Penny Stephens Dr Rodney Syme is vice-president of Dying with Dignity. Photo: Simon Schluter
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A Melbourne doctor who has given scores of sick people a lethal drug has won a fight against the medical board, with a tribunal ruling his practise is consistent with other forms of palliative care.

In an extraordinary decision that could set a precedent for other doctors wanting to help patients die, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled Dr Rodney Syme does not pose a risk to the public, even though he has given about 170 people a drug that they used to end their own lives.

In January, the Medical Board of took urgent action against Dr Syme after it was told he was planning to give Nembutal to Bernard Erica, a 71-year-old Brighton man who was dying of tongue and lung cancer. Mr Erica had sought Dr Syme’s help because he wanted to die at home and have control over his own death.

Upon learning of this, the board ordered Dr Syme not to “engage in the provision of any form of medical care, or any professional conduct in his capacity as a medical practitioner that has the primary purpose of ending a person’s life”.

The order was made on the basis that Dr Syme, an 81-year-old urologist and vice-president of Dying with Dignity, posed a serious risk to people, including Mr Erica.

But Dr Syme challenged this in VCAT last month, arguing that his provision of Nembutal to people with intolerable suffering was not done with the primary intention of ending their life, but rather to relieve suffering and to give people control over their death.

His lawyers argued that this was consistent with the doctrine of “double effect” in medicine which permits doctors to administer drugs or other treatments to relieve symptoms even if there is a secondary consequence of hastening death.

Dr Syme told the tribunal he had counselled about 1700 people with terminal illnesses or intolerable suffering over many years, and had provided about 10 per cent of them with Nembutal. He estimated about 40 per cent of them actually took the drug to end their life, and that all of them benefited from knowing they had the option.

Two palliative care specialists backed Dr Syme in the hearing, indicating that it was only their understanding of current law that kept them from doing what Dr Syme does. One said that it if was legal to prescribe Nembutal, a drug used to put animals down, he would do so for some people.

After hearing evidence from Dr Syme, Mr Erica, and the two palliative care experts, the tribunal ruled that Dr Syme’s intentions were consistent with the n Medical Association’s advice to doctors that all patients have a right to receive relief from pain and suffering even where that may shorten their life.

It also said that Dr Syme’s provision of Nembutal to patients he deems to be rational was analogous to the process of terminal sedation where a mixture of opioids and sedatives are used at the end of life. This is sometimes done by palliative care doctors and is not considered to be physician assisted death or euthanasia.

The tribunal said it accepted Dr Syme’s “frank and comprehensive evidence” and said he demonstrated extensive and relevant experience and expertise in counselling terminally ill patients; was relevantly informed about palliative care; and knew when to refer people to psychiatric care.

The tribunal accepted Dr Syme’s evidence that when promising or actually providing Nembutal, his intention was not for the primary purpose of ending that person’s life, and that if they do ingest it, it is a secondary consequence consistent with the double effect.

“In the tribunal’s view, consistent with the opinions of both experts, the choice of a rational patient who elects to end their life rather than endure intolerable suffering and an uncertain death by means of other palliative care options, is not a death which can be described as harmful for the patient,” it said.

“In the tribunal’s view, on the evidence there is no basis to form a reasonable belief that Dr Syme poses a serious risk to persons.”

It overturned the order on Dr Syme’s medical registration. Dr Syme welcomed the finding and said it “completely vindicated” his work. He urged Victorian MPs to read the judgment ahead of a conscience vote on an assisted death law for Victoria due to take place next year.

If you are troubled by this report, you can call Lifeline on 131 114 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.

Josh Pickering secures permit to race speedway in the United Kingdom in 2017

SUCCESS: Heddon Greta rider Josh Pickering has qualified for a permit to race in the UK next year. Picture: Hope PhotographyHeddon Greta rider Josh Pickering has won the chance of a lifetime after qualifying for a permit to race speedway in the United Kingdom next year.
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The 20-year-old travelled up tothe Queensland titles on the weekend, and raced his way through to the A-final which qualified him for the permit.

But it wasn’t as easy as that, Pickering had to compete in five races against 17 other riders just to qualify for the heats, and then finish in the top four of the heats to make it to the final.

“It was a big day,” Pickering said.

Pickering won three heats and came away with a second and a third in the other two, which put him in third place overall and qualified him for the permit.

A bike malfunction meant Pickering finished last in the final, but he said he didn’t care as he had already won what he was really after…thechance to race overseas.

“I wasn’t focused on the race,” he said. “If I got first or if I got fourth it didn’t really matter.”

Pickering said winning the permit was an overwhelming experience as it had been his goal “since day one” of riding speedway almost three years ago.

He had previously competed on both road bikes and dirt bikes, and said he always wanted to make a career out of riding, no matter what the avenue was.

“When my dream stopped on road bikes, it pushed on to speedway,” he said.

“The plan was to [get the permit] in three seasons, which was setting the bar pretty high.

“But you’ve got to do that if you want to get somewhere.”

Winning the spot was also redemption for Pickering, who just missed out on on qualifying for a permitat a Victorian meet a month before.

IronicallyPickering beat the same rider on a count back in Queensland who beat him on a count back in Victoria.

It has taken a lot of sacrifice for Pickering and his family, travelling to every meeting possible as well as working full-time to fund his dream.

“I’ve done 40,000 kilometres in the car since January,” he said.

“I’ve just been racing here, there and everywhere.”

He’s also had to balance 10-hour shifts as a carpenter andhourstinkering withhis bike with the helpofengine builder Mark Penfold.

But all the hard work has paid off, and Pickering is one step closer to his ultimate dream of racing in the Speedway World Championships.

He is in talks with a few clubs in the UK to determine who he will ridefor next year andhopes toventure into racing inSweden, Denmark and Poland.

But the 20-year-old said he doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself.

“I’ve got to keep a cool head and not get too excited,” he said. “I’m not planning to go over there and set the world on fire straight away.

“I just want to race over there and keep impressing the right people.”

It’s also going to be tough for Pickering to be away from his family who have supported him through his racing journey.

But he said he was thankful he was taking his partner Brooke, who has been by his side at all meets.

“It’s a big step obviously, I’ll have to leave a lot offamily behind.

“But hopefully I can make a living out of it. I’m really looking forward to going over.”

Pickering’s next meet will be the first round of then Speedway Senior Solo Championship in South on January 4.

Bob Hawke says Donald Trump not as scary as he sounds I photos

LEADING MEN: Bob Hawke on course with Frank Barrett at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic in the vineyards on Tuesday. Picture: Michael ParrisBob Hawke came face to face with Donald Trump on Tuesday, but the former prime minister said the US president-elect was not as scary as he appeared.
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Mr Hawke, 87, played in the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic golf tournament on Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, where he ran into former Knights media manager Frank Barrett dressed as the controversial Republican.

’s longest-serving Labor PM, puffing on a trademark cigar, posed for photos with “Trump” and said the real thing was “potentially dangerous, yes, but I don’t think he’ll be as dangerous as he sounded on the campaign trail”.

Mr Hawke’s government created Medicare and APEC, initiated universal superannuation and floated the n dollar.

When Bob met The Donald I photos Bob Hawke tees off on the first.

Bob Hawke with Frank Barrett.

Batwoman Chloe Thornton on the first.

TweetFacebook Jack Newton Celebrity ClassicMr Trump may be on the other side of the idealogical spectrum, but Mr Hawke said it was still important for to “hold out a hand to him and try and help”.

Mr Hawke, who said he was upset when Mr Trump won,regarded the Republican leader’s attitudes to free trade and China as troubling.

“But he’s won, and that’s over. We should keep a good relationship, and with China. We won’t always agree with him. Sometimes we’ll agree with China rather than him, but we’ll play it as it comes.”

Mr Hawke has been a regular at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic since 1983, the year he was first elected as prime minister.

The two-day event ends tomorrow.

Ryan Callinan looks to 2017 revival after season-best result at Pipelinevideos

COVER STORY: Newcastle’s Ryan Callinan finds the exit on a barrel during finals day at the Pipe Masters on Tuesday. Picture: © WSL / Kelly CestariFor Merewether’s Ryan Callinan, “it was a pretty good way to go out”.
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Going head-to-head with 11-time world champion Kelly Slater in round five at the Pipe Masters, an event the American legend has won on seven occasions at the iconic Hawaiian break, was a memorable finish to a difficult maiden year on the championship tour for the popular 24-year-old.

The first Newcastle surfer on the elite circuit since Luke Egan in 2005, Callinan will not be back on the CT next year after finishing 34thin the standings and 17thon the qualifying series, where top-22 and top-10 finishes respectively guarantee places.Callinan, though, knew his fate before the season-ending event, where he producedeasily his best result of the year.

The goofy-footer had not been past the third round in the 10 CT contests before the Pipe Masters but showed his barrel-riding prowess to eliminate Caio Ibelli and 2014 world champion Gabriel Medina on Monday.On Tuesday, he was second in his non-elimination round-four contest to set up the clash with Slater, who prevailed 14.34 to 10.17.

After a slow start to the 25-minute heat, Callinan rode a 4.5-point barrel with just over 13 minutes left. Slater, though, was into the next barrel and earned a 6.17. He backed it up a minute later with a 4.43 and,with nine minutes to go,came out ofa deep tube ride foran 8.17.Callinan neededa 9.84 and cut the deficit with a5.67to leave him hunting an8.67 in the final seven minutes, but the right wave didn’t come.

Regardless, it was a satisfying finish for Callinan to a challenging year which included the deathof his father, Garry, a beloved member of the Newcastle surfing community, in February.

“Yeah, definitely, for my last heat, I think it was a pretty good way to go out,” Callinan said.“I didn’t really have the opportunities that I would have liked but,I just kind of wanted a few more sets like the heat before, but itwas fun to surf and the conditions cleaned up a lot more which was cool and, yeah, time to relax.”

BARREL OF FUN: Merewether’s Ryan Callinan charging at Backdoor Pipeline on Monday on his way to round four. Picture: © WSL / Cestari SOCIAL

Asked what he had learned on tour, he said:“I think everyone’s just really good, obviously, but a lot better and they surf out of their skin in heats.I just learned that I have to surf my best all the time, not just when I think I do, but actually just step it up every time. I think it’s just adapting to heats and trying to do my best surfing in the heats.”

As for 2017, he said: “I’m going to try and do a lot of trips and main goal is to requalify for the tour, that’s No.1, but Iwant to get some good waves in and just enjoy myself.”

Michel Bourez beat Kanoa Igarashi in the final.

MONDAY: Merewether’s Ryan Callinan was glad to put on a show for friends, family and some unexpected Newcastle support at Pipeline on Monday as he powered to his best performance on the championship tour.

Callinan defeated Brazilians Caio Ibelli and Gabriel Medina, the 2014 world champion, to move past the third round for the first time on his maiden CT campaign.

The 24-year-old, who has fallen short of qualifying for a second year on the CT,took down Medina 15.34 to11.43 in round three at the season-ending Pipe Mastersin Hawaii after earlier knocking out Ibelli 12.16 to 4.43.

Callinan, who has been beaten twice by Medina this year on the CT, led 9.77 to 4.33 early courtesy of a 6.67-point ride.Medina hit back with abarrel ride just before Callinan pulled off his own with 16 minutes remaining. Medina was given an 8.6 and Callinan an 8.67.

Callinan was wiped out and had his board broken with less than two minutes left, giving Medina, who needed a 6.75, the chance to steal the win. Callinan watched on from the beach as no waves came through and he progressed to a round-four contest, possibly on Tuesday,against countryman Josh Kerr and American Nat Young.

“I guess it’s a good end to the year already,” Callinan said after turning the tables on Medina.“I haven’t made it past the third round, it’s kind of got me, and I think the two guys that I’ve beaten today have kind of got me most of the events, so it’s good to get a bit of payback.

[email protected] upsets and eliminates @gabriel1medina in #BillabongPipeMasters Rd 3, Heat 7 https://t成都夜场招聘/fGxd8GzEaXpic.twitter成都夜总会招聘/Z8vYlT69ww

— World Surf League (@wsl) December 19, 2016Who did it better? @[email protected]#BillabongPipeMasters Watch live NOW! 👉https://t成都夜场招聘/fGxd8GzEaXpic.twitter成都夜总会招聘/tDDmuyFuEN

— World Surf League (@wsl) December 19, [email protected] eliminates @CaioIbelli in #BillabongPipeMasters Rd 2, Heat 6 https://t成都夜场招聘/fGxd8GzEaXpic.twitter成都夜总会招聘/XyxFd7Wc6e

— World Surf League (@wsl) December 18, 2016

“I just let Kerrsy [Josh Kerr] goand I think he got a seven, which would have been a good back-up, but I thought‘I haven’t made many heats and I’d like to make another one, so I’ll hold priority while he’s comboed’.

“I don’t know, it’s tricky and I think you’ve just got to hunt around a little bit when there’s no priority, and there’s not that many waves out there but when they come, they are pretty good.

“But I think the last 20 minutes was pretty crucial.”

Narcos and Pablo Escobar – real-life agents tell it how it was

Art meets life: Boyd Holbrook, Steve Murphy, Javier Pena and Pablo Pascal. Photo: Eric Charbonneau/Netflix Javier Pena and Steve Murphy in Colombia in the late 1980s.
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Before Javier Pena signed on as a consultant to the hit Netflix TV show Narcos he made one thing very clear to the producers.

Pena, a former DEA agent and veteran of the Colombian drug wars who spent five years hunting Pablo Escobar, could never countenance the drugs kingpin being presented as a champion of the people.

“The condition we had was that they wouldn’t glamorise Escobar,” he says. “We didn’t want people to see him as a Robin Hood hero. He was a deadly mass murderer.

“We told them the real truth about what happened during the search for Escobar and we taught them the history.”

So far, there have been two series of Narcos chronicling the extraordinary rise and ignominious death of the world’s most notorious narcoterrorist.

In the show, Pena is played by Pedro Pascal, while Boyd Holbrook plays Pena’s DEA colleague Steve Murphy.

Initially, Pena had his doubts about the show but it became a breakout hit for Netflix, garnering two Golden Globe nominations.

“We’re happy with the way it came out,” says Pena. “When it first came out I said no one is going to watch this and all of a sudden it was one of the best-watched shows.”

Pena was 32 when he and Murphy were dispatched to Bogota in 1988 to take the lead in bringing down Escobar.

“I didn’t know who Pablo Escobar was but I was a fast learner,” says Pena. “He was at the height of his power. He had all the money he needed – he was responsible for about 80 per cent of the cocaine reaching the United States.”

That money – by some estimates more than $US20 billion a year at its peak – allowed Escobar to buy the loyalty of a small army of sicarios, or assassins.

“He would recruit these young kids – 14 and 15-year-olds,” says Pena. “They worshipped Escobar. He gave them money and that made them loyal to him. They would kill anybody at his orders.”

More than one thousand police fell victim to Escobar’s hired killers.

Pena and Murphy were under constant threat throughout their five years in Colombia.

“My biggest fear was car bombs – being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” says Pena. “He planted a lot of bombs outside the old police base where we lived.

“I remember when I first landed in Medellin the cops there said, Javier, have you got a gun? I said yes. They said pull it out. We used to drive around with our guns by our seats.”

Escobar was finally killed on a Bogota rooftop in December 1993. Who fired the fatal shot is unclear, but there is a now notorious photograph of a grinning agent Murphy crouching behind Escobar’s bloodied corpse.

Pena was chasing up other leads during the dramatic rooftop chase, which he regrets.

“I wish I had been there,” he says. “It’s a great photo. We are happy that the guy responsible for killing thousands and thousands of people is finally dead.

“If you look at that picture of Escobar on the roof you have to remember this guy used to be a billionaire with hundreds of bodyguards. Towards the end he had one bodyguard, he was out of money. In the picture he is unkempt, he’s barefoot he has a beard and his hair is all over the place.”

In a curious case of life meeting art, Pena and Murphy will come to next year for a short speaking tour called Capturing Pablo.

Pena says they tell true story behind the hunt for Escobar, shorn of the dramatic liberties of the Netflix series.

“Obviously they took artistic licence to make it interesting,” he says.

And there is one particular detail Pena takes exception to.

“Pedro’s a great guy,” he says, “but I think I was a little bit more handsome than him.”

Capturing Pablo, An Evening With Javier Pena and Steve Murphy, Sydney Opera House July 11 and Hamer Hall, Melbourne July 13

The 10 best places for food in Asia

Yaowarat Road is a street food haven by night. Photo: iStock Cooking Pad Thai in Yaowarat Road in Bangkok. Photo: iStock
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KYOTO FINE-DINING

Can food become art? In the case of Kyoto’s kaiseki cuisine, you’ll never have cause to doubt it. This is fine-dining finessed to its most delicate degree, the food of emperors tempered for modern palettes. A Kyoto kaiseki meal is a multi-course extravaganza of meticulously prepared and beautifully presented cuisine.

Eat it: Ishibekoji Kamikura, Kyoto  BANGKOK STREET FOOD

Every Asian city has its street food specialties – from spiced potato cakes in Mumbai to fried octopus balls in Osaka – but the hub with the widest range of roadside delights is Bangkok. Yaowarat Road in the Chinatown district offers a range of cuisine so mouth-watering, you’ll never visit a proper restaurant again.

Eat it: Yaowarat Road, Bangkok SOUTH INDIAN SMORGASBORD

One of Asia’s truly great meals is served not on a plate, but a banana leaf. In southern India, a thali – a traditional meal of various curries, rice, bread and sweets – is often served on nature’s plate, a vegetarian feast of local specialties that’s expected to be eaten by hand.

Eat it: Ananda, Hyderabad PHO, GLORIOUS PHO

There are few things better than a bowl of steaming, fragrant pho, and there are few better places to eat it than Ho Chi Minh City, perched on a plastic chair, slurping hot broth and noodles, taking in the sweaty, honking bustle of one of south-east Asia’s most vibrant cities.

Eat it: Pho Bo Vien Thap Cam, Ho Chi Minh City DINNER AND A SHOW

Some restaurants, you go for the food. Others, it’s the atmosphere. In the case of a small Tokyo eatery called Kagaya, you’re there for the pure insanity that unfolds over a few hours of drinking and dining. This is part restaurant, part performance art, and you will probably finish the night dressed as a giant green frog.

Eat it: Kagaya, Tokyo DIM SUM RIOT

You want dumplings at Lin Heung? Then go and get them. Diners at this no-frills Hong Kong dim sum joint stalk the kitchen staff, chasing down food carts and waiving stamp cards in the air to ensure they get the best dishes. It makes for a riotous and delicious dining affair.

Eat it: Lin Heung, Hong Kong KOREA’S ‘LIVE’ OCTOPUS

Sannakji is a traditional Korean dish of raw octopus tentacles that are so fresh, they’re still moving. That’s right: diners are presented with a plate of writhing, wriggling legs that have to be chewed quickly lest they attach themselves to the inside of your mouth. It’s … challenging.

Eat it: Norjangin Fish Market, Seoul SINGAPOREAN FEAST

There are plenty of amazing high-end restaurants in Singapore, but still, the best food is at the hawker centres. Each of these food court-style eateries plays host to old-school vendors dishing up Malay, Chinese, Indian and Singaporean cuisine that has been perfected over generations.

Eat it: Tiong Bahru Food Centre, Singapore HOT UNDER THE COLLAR

There’s competition in both Thailand and India, but Asia’s spiciest food is probably Chongqing hot pot, a beloved staple for residents of this Chinese metropolis, and a serious challenge for everyone else. These bubbling vats of soup are loaded with Sichuan peppers and chillis, resulting in tongue-singeing deliciousness.

Eat it: Cygnet Hot-Pot Palace, Chongqing ON THE NOSE

Most people have a love-hate relationship with durian: love the taste, hate the smell. These spiky, football-sized fruits give off a seriously rank pong – to the point where commuters are banned from eating them on public transport – that is still worth powering through to taste its sweet flesh.

Eat it: Durian King, Kuala Lumpur; durianking成都夜总会招聘.my

Sick of politics: Ten charts that show why Donald Trump and Brexit could happen in China

shortenns’ satisfaction with democracy has collapsed to its lowest level since the Whitlam dismissal, according to a major study that shows the country in an increasingly dark and distrustful mood about politics and the economy.
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The survey, conducted by the n National University, portrays a populace that is increasingly disdainful of government, lacks allegiance to the major political parties and has little trust in politicians’ abilities to improve the country’s economic performance.

The researchers who conducted the 12th n Election Study said the findings were a “wake-up call” that the conditions that led to recent political upheavals seen in Britain and the United States also exist here.

“Public satisfaction with our democratic processes and public trust in the politicians we elect are at some of the lowest levels ever recorded,” lead researcher Ian McAllister said.

“You are seeing the stirrings among the public of what has has happened in the United States with the election of [Donald] Trump, Brexit in Britain and in Italy.

“This is the start of something that has happened overseas and it’s coming here.”

The study, based on interviews with 2818 people in the three months following the July poll, has been conducted after each election since 1987, with some issues tracked since 1969.

These 10 charts demonstrate the size of the problem: 1) Satisfaction with democracy

n politicians are increasingly viewed as out of touch with the concerns of voters. Fifty-two per cent of respondents said politicians don’t know what ordinary people think, the highest result since this question was first asked in 2001. 3) Trust in government

Just 12 per cent of ns believe government is run for all the people, the equal-lowest on record. A striking 56 per cent of people think government is run for a few big interests, a dramatic increase on 38 per cent in 2007. 5) Interest in the election

Lack of interest in the election led ns to turn off their TV screens during the campaign. Twenty-one per cent of respondents said they watched the leaders’ debates – the lowest on record. This is significantly down on 32 per cent in 2013 and 47 per cent in 2010. 7) Voting volatility

ns voters have never shown such dislike of the major political parties. On a scale of zero to 10 (zero being high dislike and 10 highly liked) respondents scored Labor a 4.9, the Liberal Party 4.8 and the Nationals 4.4. 9) Government’s effect on economy

Although asylum seeker boats have stopped arriving in , the issue has spiked to its highest level of importance to voters since the Tampa election of 2001. But other evidence shows n attitudes to migrants are softening. Forty per cent believe the number of migrants in has gone too far, down from 52 per cent in 2010. More ns support boat turnbacks than not, but support is at its lowest level on record.

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