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Port Stephens surfers, surf life savers rescue five swimmers from near drowning at Birubi Beach on New Year’s Day

‘They saved their lives’: five rescued at Birubi Beach Scenes from the rescue. Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club members and NSW Ambulance paramedics treating the swimmers who were saved from near drowning at Birubi Beach on January 1, 2018. Picture: Glen Dunkley
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The Westpace Rescue Helicopter arriving at Birubi Beach to transport two people to hospital. Picture: Glen Dunkley

Scenes from the rescue. Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club members and NSW Ambulance paramedics treating the swimmers who were saved from near drowning at Birubi Beach on January 1, 2018. Picture: Glen Dunkley

Scenes from the rescue. Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club members and NSW Ambulance paramedics treating the swimmers who were saved from near drowning at Birubi Beach on January 1, 2018. Picture: Glen Dunkley

Scenes from the rescue. Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club members and NSW Ambulance paramedics treating the swimmers who were saved from near drowning at Birubi Beach on January 1, 2018. Picture: Glen Dunkley

TweetFacebookFIVE swimmers narrowly avoided tragedy onNew Year’s Day after being caught in a rip at Birubi Beach, with two flown to hospital after surfers and lifesavers pulled off a mass rescue.

The group, understood to have been visiting Port Stephens,had been swimming about 1km south of the flags at the popular beach about 5pmon Monday when they found themselves in trouble.

NSW Surf Life Saving duty officer Glen Dunkley said there was no doubt that the surfers who pulled the five swimmers from the water and Birubi Point surf life savers who provided immediate assistance had saved their lives.

“Surf life savers from Birubi surf club did an amazing job to stabilise them until the ambulance and other emergency services arrived,” Mr Dunkley said.

“They undoubtedly saved two lives with their actions.

“It could have easily been a much worse outcome without the actions of these life savers.”

Mr Dunkley said luck had been on the swimmers’side.

He said it was lucky a group of local surfers spotted the distressed swimmers in the water and were experienced enough to phone triple-0 and help pull them from the water.

Luckier still was that surf life savers were still on the beach. They were packing up for the day when the call to help came in at 5.05pm.

Beach patrols end at 5pm.

Mr Dunkley said two people were pulled out of the water in a serious condition. Both were unconscious when they were helped onto the beach.

The other three were in distress but not otherwise injured.

Surf life savers from the Birubi Point club provided treatment for near drowning on the beach while waiting for ambulances and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to arrive.

The helicopter landed in the park opposite Anna Bay Public School.

It flew a 27-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl toJohn Hunter Hospital for observation.

They were both reported to be in a stable condition.

The Port Stephens incident comes after a 30-year-old man was caught in a rip and drowned atFrazer Beach on the Central Coaston New Year’s Eve.

Mr Dunkley said it was important that beach-goers swim between the flags and knew their limitations.

“Even flat surf can be dangerous,” he said.

“If you’reunsure of how to swim, then don’t risk it. Know your limitations and swim between the flags and at patrolled beaches.”

The n Lifeguard Service patrol Fingal, Birubi and One Mile beaches on weekdays. One Mile is patrolled by the ALS on weekends. NSW Surf Life Savers patrol Fingal and Birubi beaches on weekends.

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A-League: Topor-Stanley focused on Jets win rather than 250 milestone

NIKOLAI Topor-Stanley doesn’t pay too much attention tohistory and milestones.
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The only number of significance to the veteran defender is Newcastle’s position on the competition ladder.

Topor-Stanley will become the fourth player in the A-League to reach 250 games when he lines up against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night. Danny Vukovic (278) has the most caps followed by Andrew Durante (267) and Eugene Galekovic (261).

“It is nice but it will mean nothing without the win,” Topor-Stanley said about the milestone.“Those are the compliments I’m looking for, and to put some light between us and the rest of the table and close the gapon Sydney.”

Lachlan Jackson to cover for Nigel Boogaard for @NewcastleJetsFC against @SydneyFC. Ben Kantarovski and Johnny Koutroumbis trained today. They will travel with final call made tomorrow. @[email protected]苏州夜总会招聘/i12hoUx6T7

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) January 2, 2018TweetFacebookNikolai Topor-Stanley will wear @NewcastleJetsFC captain’s armband against @SydneyFC in his 250th @ALeague game. pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/CnP7ssioc1

— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) January 2, 2018

“Boogswill be a loss,” Topor-Stanley said.“He is our leader and an experienced campaigner.It is an opportunity for someone to come in and do a job. So far when someone has gone down, the young players have stepped up and done that.”

Sydney boast an all-importfront three of Bobo, Milos Ninkovic andAdrian Mierzejewski.

Bobo has scored hat-tricks in the past two wins. Mierzejewski has netted five goals in four games and Ninkovic is the reigning A-League player of the year.

“Youhave to keep your discipline and not switch off,” Topor-Stanley said.“They are ruthless when you give them an opportunity to hurt you.”

Bobo (fifth minute) and Ninkovic (59th) both hit the target in a 2-1 win at Allianz Stadium in round seven in which theJets finished the stronger and went close to snatching an equaliser.

“Last time we played them, we were a bit too timid in the first half. We came back and really put them on the back foot in their back yard. We are looking to start like that.They have a huge array pf attacking weapons but so do we.”

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Soft start to 2018 for ASX

AFR photo Tamara Voninski. A reflection of passersby and the ASX stock board on Bridge Street in Sydney. generic stock exchange ASX investor shares portfolioThe ASX started 2018 on a softer note on Tuesday, as investors held back from adding to the previous year’s gains as they waited for clues on market direction.
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The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 3 points, or 0.1 per cent, to end the day at 6061, while the All Ordinaries lost 1 point to stand at 6166.

AMP Capital’s head of investment strategy Shane Oliver put Tuesday’s mildly weaker performance for the ASX down to a weak lead from overseas markets as they closed out the year on Friday.

“It’s a hangover from Wall Street and Europe,” he said.

The ASX’s 7 per cent rise last year was a reasonably good performance, according to Mr Oliver.

“There’s a bit of ‘where to?’ now. I suspect that this year is going to be bit more volatile.” He’s looking for the ASX to reach 6,300 by the end of 2018.

In contrast to the sharemarket, the n dollar had a better day on Tuesday, with the currency up 0.4 per cent at US78.39?? following an upbeat survey of Chinese manufacturing.

The survey was taken as a positive for continued Chinese demand for commodities and miners were some of the best performers in the ASX on Tuesday, with Rio Tinto rising 0.9 per cent to $76.50 and BHP up 0.4 per cent at $29.68.

Some of the most notable performances from the mining sector on Tuesday came from outside the biggest names, however, with Syrah Resources jumping 4.4 per cent to $4.71 and Lynas Corp higher by 2.8 per cent to $2.24.

Gold miners were particularly strong after the precious metal hit a three-month high on Friday, with Newcrest up 1.1 per cent to $23.08

Telecom Telstra also gained, rising 0.8 per cent rise to $3.66 on Tuesday.

Telecoms were some of the worst performers as a sector last year along with utilities, noted Mr Oliver. “Likewise health was at the top last year. It looks like a bit of a reversal of last year’s themes which suggests a bit of profit taking.”

Healthcare stocks losing ground included CSL, down 0.5 per cent at $140.55 and Ramsay Health Care, down 1.1 per cent at $69.32.

Banks and some of the heavyweight consumer staples stocks also dragged on the benchmark, with ANZ losing 0.7 per cent to $28.58 and Westpac down 0.3 per cent to $31.25. Stockwatch

PIlbara Minerals jumped 5.8 per cent to $1.18 on Tuesday, with the lithium and tantalum producer building on an advance of around 230 per cent since the start of September. Lithium producers have caught the attention of investors considering the investment prospects of renewable energy and electric cars in recent monts. Pilbara Minerals announced toward the end of December that it signed an offtake deal with Global Advanced Metals for the sale of 100,000 pounds of tantalum concentrates from its Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western over the next two years. It also told shareholders that it remains engaged with buyers in the tantalum market and that pricing is well above previous assumptions. Oil

Oil prices had their highest January opening since 2014 on Tuesday, with Brent and WTI crude prices rising to mid-2015 highs, supported by ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia as well as strong demand. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $60.64 a barrel, up 22 cents, or 0.4 per cent, after hitting a June 2015 high of $60.68 earlier. Brent crude futures – the international benchmark for oil prices – were at $67.20 a barrel, up 33 cents, or 0.5 per cent, after hitting a May 2015 high of $67.23 a barrel earlier in the day. It was the first time since January 2014 that both crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel. Aussie dollar

The n dollar traded up 0.4 per cent at US78.39?? after a Caixin survey of Chinese manufacturing which showed a surprise pick-up in activity in December. In addition, a local survey showed that ‘s manufacturing sector is experiencing “marked expansion” in December, driven in part by new business from Asia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, a local survey showed. The Commonwealth Bank Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 57.1 in December, from 56.3 in November, the highest reading in a year. At the same time, the n Industry Group’s n Performance of Manufacturing Index slid 1.1 points to 56.2 points in December but still stretched its run of either expanding or stable conditions to 15 months. House prices

Sydney house prices could fall up to 10 per cent over the next two years, Corelogic head of research Tim Lawless has predicted. Corelogic’s December Home Value Index shows Sydney property values fell 0.9 per cent in December, leading a 0.3 per cent fall nationally in values, as the housing market headed into 2018 with the prospect of “lower to negative growth rates across previously strong markets”. The fall in December left national dwelling values up just 4.2 per cent in 2017 (with a median price of $549,000), well below the 5.8 per cent rise in values in 2016 and 9.2 per cent gain in 2015. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is already having a bad year. For the first time since 2015, the cryptocurrency began a new year by tumbling, extending its slide from a record $US19,511 reached on December 18. The virtual coin traded at $US13,150, down 8.1 per cent from Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s also a fall from the $US14,156 it hit Sunday, according to coinmarketcap苏州夜总会招聘, which tracks daily prices.Bitcoin got off to a much stronger start last year, and then kept that momentum going, eventually creating a global frenzy for cryptocurrencies. Dairy

According to Rabobank’s latest dairy quarterly report the global milk market will “confront a wave of exportable surplus” in coming months, estimated to be 3.2 billion litres higher year-on-year for the six month period from October 2017 to March 2018. “The recent growth in global milk supply, which peaked in the last quarter of 2017 with the Oceania spring peak and a return to growth in Europe, is taking its toll on global commodity prices,” Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey said. “Supply growth is emerging as the biggest risk for global dairy markets”, he added, with the entire dairy complex witnessing weakness.

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Double trouble: Brumbies twins to add backyard battle spice to selection

Brumbies forwards coach Laurie Fisher measures up against twins Richie and Rory Arnold. Photo: Sitthixay DitthavongIf the Arnold backyard battles are any indication, the ACT Brumbies second-rowers better prepare to spill blood in 2018.
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Brothers Rory and Richie Arnold will renew a 27-year rivalry when the 208 centimetre identical twins team up for the first time in six years when they compete for the same spot at the ACT Brumbies.

The good news is their mum and dad won’t have to play favourites after Richie joined Rory in Canberra after the demise of the Western Force.

The bad news, for the other Brumbies locks at least, is that they have no intention of showing brotherly love at training and will draw on years of backyard cricket bust ups for extra motivation.

“I would always get him out with electric wicket-keeper, but he’d never walk. There’s been some good [fights], that’s for sure,”Richie said with a grin before Rory jumps in.

“Everything always started off pretty friendly. But it didn’t take long before we were steaming in to bowl bouncers at each other,” Rory said.

“Not long after that there were the punch-ons for whatever reasons. It was pretty brutal. But it was just what brothers did and we were back out there playing again the next day.

“We didn’t think we would be here together, and thinking about how far we’ve come. I can’t wait until the New Year for when I can get out there and do some training with him.”

The Arnolds have walked very different paths since they were plucked from the pub by a club rugby team in Murwillumbah in 2010 to start their Super Rugby journeys.

Rory was recruited to the Brumbies and made his Wallabies debut two years ago, but injury delayed Richie’s rise before playing his first game for the Force this year.

The n rugby axing debacle opened the door for them to team up in Canberra, creating the confusing nightmare for commentators, fans and even Brumbies coaches.

When Brumbies coaches thought they saw Rory, who is recovering from a thigh injury, run out for full-contact training they had to intervene to make sure he had been cleared by medical staff.

“But it was Richie. He got a haircut a couple of days before that and they thought I was out there when I wasn’t supposed to be,” Rory said.

Rory reckons the brothers are easy to tell apart because, “I’ve packed more scrums than him, so he looks taller. That’s what the boys are saying anyway.”

But when Richie was in Fiji earlier this year for a National Rugby Championship game and the locals thought he was Rory, he went along with it.

“They all said: ‘You’re Rory Arnold, Wallabies player’. I just smiled and went along with it and got some photos,” Richie said.

Richie’s arrival at the Brumbies has added spice to an already intense battle for lock spots in the starting side for next year.

Rory and Brumbies skipper Sam Carter were the regular starters this year, while back-up Blake Enever made his Wallabies debut on the end of year spring tour of Europe.

Add Richie and young gun Darcy Swain to the mix and all of a sudden new Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has a second-row selection headache.

Rory is expected to return to full training duties in January after having surgery to repair his injured thigh, which was first diagnosed as a knee injury and prematurely ended his Wallabies season.

Richie has already thrown himself into Brumbies preparations and is hoping to make a name for himself, admitting he never thought it was possible he and his twin brother would be professional athletes.

“I was a bit of a mess when I finished school, I think I was 208 centimetres and 135 kilograms,” Richie said.

“Seeing Rory go well and how fast he climbed the ranks definitely fuelled the fire. I’m excited to be in Canberra, we’ve got some good depth at lock so I think that’s only going to be a good thing.

“Back when we were in the pub, I thought Rory was talking trash when he said he was going to play rugby when the guys asked him to.

“A few weeks later we went down to training and now here we are. It’s pretty crazy.”

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The pub with no roof: storm rips through north coast

A massive storm has ripped through several northern NSW towns, tearing the roof off one iconic pub and several other buildings, as thunderstorms brought “golf ball-sized hail” to the Blue Mountains.
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Wind and rain caused significant damage in Maclean, on the banks of the Clarence River, after it hit about 1.30pm on Tuesday, the State Emergency Service said.

The tin roof of the town’s iconic Clarence Hotel in River Street was ripped off the pub and flung onto a nearby street.

A State Emergency Service spokeswoman said the town’s showground and several council buildings had also suffered roof damage.

The local SES headquarters also had its doors blown in as the organisation fielded more than 60 calls for assistance for downed trees and power outages.

Neighbouring SES crews as well the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW had been called in to help.

The spokeswoman said the storm lasted for about 15 minutes before hitting the nearby town of Yamba.

A severe thunderstorm warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology remained in place at 4pm, warning of damaging winds, heavy rainfall that might lead to localised flooding and large hailstones over the next few hours.

The severe thunderstorm warning issued at 4.20pm. Photo: Bureau of Meterology

Scattered storms spread down the east coast of NSW and reached parts of western Sydney and the Shoalhaven region.

In a severe thunderstorm warning issued at 5.35pm on Tuesday, the Bureau said “severe thunderstorms” were detected on the weather radar near Richmond, Camden, Kangaroo Valley, Lake Burragorang, the Burragorang State Recreation Area and Oakdale, moving towards the northeast to southeast.

The storms were forecast to impact Narellan, Oran Park, Colo, the Wollemi National Park north of Kurrajong, Bringelly, Leppington, Menangle and Picton.

Earlier suburbs forecast to be in the storm’s path were Horsley Park, Hoxton Park, Riverstone, Fitzroy Falls, Erskine Park, Fairfield, Glenorie, Leppington, Liverpool and Karuah.

Golf ball-sized hail was reported at Bullaburra in the Blue Mountains at about 3.50pm, the Bureau said.

A video from nearby Lawson showed the large hailstones falling in a front yard. Hail in Lawson is hecticA post shared by Megan Townes (@townesy77) on Jan 1, 2018 at 8:57pm PSTSevere #storm just passed through Liddell heading NNE pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/cnFOe3EHJc??? Nick Moir (@nampix) January 2, 2018 Photo: Bureau of Meteorology

The Daily Examiner in Grafton reports that the storm had earlier passed through the town, causing localised flooding and long delays for motorists.

A fallen tree across Hillcrest Road has blocked the main entrance to Townsend, Gulmarrad and Brooms Head, the newspaper said.

The damage followed a nasty hailstorm on the mid-north coast on Monday, where two aged care facilities at Laurieton and Kempsey suffered roof and skylight damage.

The SES received 55 calls for assistance in and around Laurieton following hail damage. /**/

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Canberra home price growth among country’s strongest

Canberra ended 2017 on a high for the property market with dwelling values up one per cent over the final quarter of the year, according to CoreLogic.
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The CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index report said the capital’s dwelling prices edged 0.2 per cent higher in December and it was 4.9 per cent higher throughout the year.

The report found houses in the capital are rising at more than double the rate of unit values, with house prices up 5.8 per cent over the year while unit prices are only just beating inflation at 2.1 per cent. !function(e,t,s,i){var n=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement(“script”);a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”,”https://e.infogram苏州夜总会招聘/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);

National property markets ended 2017 with a whimper, with half of ‘s capital cities recording falling house prices in December. These declines are likely to continue over 2018, according head of CoreLogic research Tim Lawless who said the transition towards weaker housing market conditions had been clear but gradual.

“From a macro perspective, late 2016 marked a peak in the pace of capital gains across with national dwelling values rising at the rolling quarterly pace of 3.7 per cent over the three months to November,” Mr Lawless said.

“In 2017 we saw growth rates and transactional activity gradually lose steam, with national month-on-month capital gains slowing to 0 per cent in October and November before turning negative in December.” !function(e,t,s,i){var n=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement(“script”);a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”,”https://e.infogram苏州夜总会招聘/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);

Among the capitals, the weakest conditions are concentrated in Sydney and Darwin.

Mr Lawless said, “Sydney’s housing market has become the most significant drag on the headline growth figures.”

Sydney dwelling values were down 0.9 per cent over the month to be 2.1 per cent lower over the December quarter.

Hobart, Melbourne and Canberra had the strongest growth, up 12.3 per cent, 8.9 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively.

“In 2018, the housing market performance is likely to be significantly different relative to previous years. We’re likely to see lower to negative growth rates across previously strong markets, more cautious buyers, and ongoing regulator vigilance of credit standards and investor activity,” Mr Lawless said.

– With Jennifer Duke

Follow Han Nguyen on Facebook and Twitter. !function(e,t,s,i){var n=”InfogramEmbeds”,o=e.getElementsByTagName(“script”),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?”http:”:”https:”;if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement(“script”);a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,”infogram-async”,”https://e.infogram苏州夜总会招聘/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js”);

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It’s my moment to go: Whateley explains ABC defection

Gerard Whateley has opened up about why he swapped the ABC for a much smaller audience on Melbourne radio station SEN.
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The veteran broadcaster, who announced his shock departure from Grandstand and Offsiders on Monday night, said after 13 years at ABC it was time to take a risk.

“I’m 43, I’ve been there [the ABC] since I was in my 20s,” he told Fairfax Media. “It’s my moment to go and have a crack at something else.

“I hope people will come with me and give me a chance,” he said. “I’m not changing. They [SEN] want me for who I am. I love every sport that comes through Melbourne. We’re a broad church and I want to be a conduit to that broad church.”

Eyebrows were raised on Monday night when Whateley announced he wouldn’t get to complete his Ashes commentary for the ABC. But the sports commentator said there was no bad blood between himself and the ABC.

Whateley also denied jumping ship for a bigger pay cheque, and said SEN was not a stepping stone to an ABC rival such as 3AW. The Age understands the 43-year-old has turned down offers from 3AW, which commands the largest share of Melbourne’s radio listeners, on at least two occasions.

“I’ll be in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl,” he said. “I’ll be leading that coverage on SEN. That’s serious. That level of commitment and audaciousness, that got me.”

However, sources have said Whateley will get a handsome salary and may receive other benefits such as equity. SEN’s new owner, Craig Hutchison’s Crocmedia, is looking to rapidly expand the radio station’s reach and broadcasting rights.

In addition to becoming SEN’s chief sports caller, the 43-year-old will also host a morning sports program called Whateley. His first day replacing Kevin Bartlett will be Monday, January 29. Bartlett is moving to an afternoon slot.

In the final radio survey of 2017, SEN held an 3.2 point overall share over Melbourne’s radio audience – well below 3AW’s 15 point share and ABC’s 9.3 point share in the local market.

Representatives for ABC wouldn’t be drawn on when a replacement for Whateley would be announced.

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Baklava cheesecake puts Zaaki Expresso on the map

The road to fame: Zaaki Espresso’s baklava cheesecake and Campos coffee. Picture: Marina NeilZaaki Espresso, 402A Maitland Rd, Mayfield West, Mon-Fri: 6am-3:30pm, Sat: 7am-2pm.
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Considering how many coffee enthusiasts swear by the quality of Campos coffee, it is still fairly difficult to find a café that grinds their beans here in Newcastle. The famous Sydney roastery is represented locally by two large cafes and only a couple of other smaller outlets around the entirety of our coffee-loving city.

This commitment to exclusive supply is not unusual in the coffee game. Established roasting houses like Campos always make sure that their clients – that is, the café – can serve their customers – that is, you and me – a coffee blend that no other place on the block can get their hands on. In a larger coffee market like the Sydney CBD, this can often present impossible problems. In a single kilometre radius surrounding the Centrepoint tower, Campos roasters currently supplies their beans to 11 different espresso bars.

Magic happens: Zaaki Espresso barista Penny Saris. Picture: Marina Neil

In Newcastle we don’t have anything like those sorts of issues. Over in Mayfield West, Zaaki Espresso owner Penny Saris does not just have the Campos Superior Blend all to herself, but she is pouring her coffees as skilfully as any inner Sydney barista. Her latte art is the obvious product of a good few years of experience behind a machine and is definitely impressive. The service is warm and professional. My double shot flat white ($4) arrives at a perfect temperature and has everything that a flagship blend from a famous coffee roaster should have.

If this was all that was on offer at this cafe, it would be more than worth a visit. But only some of the story of Zaaki Espresso actually revolves around the coffee and the warmth with which it is served. Some might say that an even better tale can be told by the blends being put together in the kitchen.

It is in here that the Greek Pennyand her Jordanian husband Aras Ezmigna have united to create flavours that may not be on any other menu in Newcastle. Aras only uses spices imported directly from Jordan and when sprinkled over Shakshuka ($14) – a Middle Eastern dish of eggs baked in chilli and tomato – or tossed through his house made felafels, they bring a freshness and authenticity of flavour that is instantly recognisable.

Penny is equally guided by her heritage when creating her Greek-inspired sweets. Regular Zaaki customers will not hesitate to tell you about the house-madebaklava ($3.50)Turkish delight andher sumptuous pistachio cheesecake (both$6).

Yet Penny can bake you something that has become more famous than all of these combined. It may be because it’s a cake that in itself is a combination – the nutty and crunchy sweetness of a classic baklava baked atop a smooth and creamy cheesecake base. If Penny has become famous for something apart from her coffee, then her baklava cheesecake ($6 slice/$45 whole) is undoubtedly the culprit. Unique, inventive and a very different type of exclusive blend.

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Note leads man to find red-bellied black snake in car engine

The car, the snake and the note. Photos: supplied”This afternoon a red belly slithered up into your front left tyre. Please be careful,” the note read.
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Despite the warning, Michael Garbutt was still caught by surprise when he found a venomous snake under the bonnet of his car.

Out for an evening walk at Kurnell on December 28, he returned to his car parked next to the skate park to find the note on his windscreen.

“So I popped the bonnet and there it was coiled up underneath,” the high school teacher said.

“To say I was shocked is an understatement. On reflection I don’t think I would have put my hand out to pop the bonnet if I had known it was there.

“My main concern was how do I get rid of it?

“I looked at Google to find a local snake catcher and called him up.”

Michael found the number of Andrew Melrose of Shire Snake Catchers of Engadine who headed straight out to Kurnell.

“By the time he got there the snake had slithered down into the engine,” Michael said.

“It took about an hour for the snake catcher to coax it out.

“The snake was trying to bite the snake hook. The guy ended up catching it with his hand and just chucked it in a bag.”

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Mr Melrose said red-bellied black snakes are common at Kurnell.

“I had the contract to catch snakes with the Caltex oil refinery and I’ve [caught] hundreds of black snakes out there,” he said.

“Because the peninsula is swampland the snakes live there because they eat frogs and eels. They are out there but they are quite inoffensive unless you touch them.”

Mr Melrose said it is common to find them in cars.

“If they get startled they look for the first place that is safe.

“The place I found it was very bare. There was no place for the snake to escape. People would have startled it and the only place for it to hide was the car.

“The driver could have driven off unaware and parked and the snake would have left the car when it felt safe.

“Snakes will do anything to stay away. That’s why they get into a car.

“It was in the guard of the the wheel. I tapped the metal to make it move. It went under the motor to the front bumper.

“I tapped that area and it climbed up into the guard. I tapped the metal again and it crawled into the end of the coil suspension in the right-hand font wheel. And that’s when I tried to gently coax it out by touching its body.

“Its head came out and it started biting the tyre. It slid down onto the ground and that’s when I got it.”

Mr Melrose said he wasn’t worried.

“I’ve done it my whole life. I can read the animal. It looks simple but if you haven’t done it before you can get killed real quick.

“I touch it gently because I don’t want to hurt the snake. That’s why I use my hands and not gloves. The less pressure on it the less likely it is to bite.

“We’ve still got a few months of the snake season to go and we are coming into a time when they are on the move.”

Mr Melrose reminded people that snakes only bite out of defence.

“No snake ever attacks,” he said.

“The snake doesn’t need rescuing. It’s the people that need rescuing.”

The Leader

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Chinan child sex abusers on notice in Thailand

Girls working in Pattaya, Thailand.n Tony Kirwan, 47, has overseen the rescue of more than 1,400 children from sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Mr Kirwan established Destiny Rescue in 2001, his team works undercover with anti-trafficking police, rescuing children, making arrests and closing brothels. DR has worked with police on numerous raids, including three successful raids in 2015, which saw 12 girls rescued and six pimps arrested. Those children have been cared for in one of Destiny Rescue??????s 13 homes around Southeast Asia.Pattaya: n paedophiles hoping to stay under the radar in Thailand are facing tougher scrutiny from a Royal Thai Police-led unit tasked with policing sex crimes against children.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Up to 180 suspected foreign child sex abusers, including ns, regularly visit or live in Pattaya, a city notorious for its seedy nightlife, according to a child protection organisation.

Supagon Noja, director of Thailand’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Centre, says most of the suspects escape justice using increasingly sophisticated ways to interact with children, including through the internet.

“They are very clever and difficult to catch,” Supagon told Fairfax Media while flicking through files on almost 700 suspects that he has collated over years. Among the suspects in his files are ministers of religion, entertainers, retirees and school teachers.

“They move frequently – often between Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia,” he said.

But Supagon, whose centre is caring for 41 abused children aged between seven and 17, said he expected to see increasing prosecutions after the establishment of Thailand’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (TICAC), with backing from Interpol and other international police agencies.

Thailand’s military government set up the taskforce in January last year after experts warned that rising internet use in south-east Asia was fuelling the spread of material that is abusive and sexually exploitative of children.

Internet availability in the region has grown to about 50 per cent of the population but the figure rises to 58 per cent in the Philippines, where there is a booming cybersex industry.

In partnership with Philippine law enforcement agencies the International Justice Mission (IJM) has rescued 1275 children and women from sex trafficking over several years. The most notorious case there is that of former Melbourne businessman Peter Scully, a master of the “dark web” who is facing trial on 75 charges, including directing a video involving horrific torture and injuries to an 18-month-old baby.

In Thailand, where the problem is growing, internet availability reaches 67 per cent.

Neil Walsh, who heads the global cybercrime program of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said last year paedophiles were spreading, at a “phenomenal” rate, sexually exploitative materials through an overlay of online networks that cannot be easily accessed.

“The more we work harder to remove the contents, the more they make it harder to find,” he said, adding that Thailand had become the “webcam centre for child pornography,” stripping the Philippines of the title.

Speaking on the sideline of a conference on child sex abuse in Bangkok, Jon Rouse, a member of a Queensland police unit that targets online child sex abuse networks across the world, warned the sharing of abusive and sexually child exploitation material will continue to increase in south-east Asia.

He cited a survey last year which identified 3600 individual internet addresses in the Thai capital as having shared child exploitation material over just seven days.

last year legislated to stop registered child sex offenders travelling overseas in what officials called a “world first” in the fight against child sex tourism.

The law will affect an estimated 20,000 registered offenders who have served their sentences but are still under supervision and must report to authorities.

But 46 year-old Supagon, who has been tracking child sex abusers in Pattaya for 27 years, said he believes ns who have never been caught are among foreign predators in Pattaya, where there are several hundred street children.

“We will not stop working to expose these people who come to Thailand to hurt Thai children…they have gotten away with it in the past but their time is coming,” he said.

Supagon, who is known as Kru Ja, said the abusers account for only a fraction of the millions of visitors to Thailand each year “but they damage our reputation as a good place to [visit].”

He said the victims were often street children recruited by Thai brokers who operate in an area of South Pattaya.

“I speak with the children and they tell me how they have been abused,” Supagon said.

“But it is very difficult to get them to testify in court. They are afraid.” Almost all the victims were boys, he said.

Supagon said only about 10 foreign child abuse suspects were prosecuted each year in Pattaya, where local authorities have been working to clean up its reputation as a sex tourism destination.

Interpol too has expanded its presence in the country to fight child sex abuse, recently hiring former Thai police Lieutenant-Colonel Apichart Hattasin, who for years led undercover operations in northern Thailand targeting foreign paedophiles.

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