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Winger leaves Wanderers after snubbing coach’s handshake

The personnel changes at Western Sydney Wanderers have continued under the reign of new coach Josep Gombau after Japanese winger Jumpei Kusukami and midfielder Jacob Melling agree to leave the club immediately.
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The departure of Kusukami comes 17 hours after he snubbed a handshake from Gombau when substituted late in the Wanderers’ 2-1 win over over Melbourne City on Monday night.

The 30-year-old came on in the 10th minute as a replacement for injured marquee Alvaro Cejudo but in an unusual circumstance, didn’t finish the match despite starting as a substitute. He was withdrawn in the 85th minute and replaced by striker Brendon Santalab.

Kusukami was visibly unhappy with the decision and appeared to brush a handshake from his coach in a curt exchange on the sideline.

It is understood both Kusukami has accepted an immediate end to his tenure with the Wanderers, having received offers to play elsewhere prior to Monday’s match against Melbourne. Kusukami leaves after making 38 appearances for the Wanderers over the past two seasons, scoring four goals. His departure means there are no Asian players in the A-League.

Twenty-two year-old midfielder Melling ends his two seasons with the Wanderers in a spell plagued by injury. It is understood Melling sought a mutual termination of his contract having accepted a deal to sign with Central Coast Mariners, set to be completed by the end of the week.

The departures of Kusukami and Melling follow former assistant coach Hayden Foxe as key figures who have left the club in little over a week.

The Wanderers are understood to be planning to use the departure of Kusukami as an opportunity to add another foreign player to their roster in the January transfer window.

Meanwhile, Gombau says he won’t deviate from his project to change the club’s football philosophy mid-season, despite making some minor tweaks on players’ advice to help snap their poor run of form.

The newly appointed Wanderers coach bought himself more time after Western Sydney fought hard to clinch a narrow 2-1 win over Melbourne City on Monday night to seal his first home win since taking charge of the club in early November.

“I don’t feel this pressure, I am very clear with what I would like to do and that’s the way I like to work,” Gombau said. “For me, at the end it’s my job. Every single coach has pressure. Every game is an exam … For me, it doesn’t change my mentality, it doesn’t change anything. I believe in one certain way to do the things, and I do the things like this but no pressure.”

Adhering to the process is the priority for Gombau who was pleased with the movement of his team on Monday night and says the target is to finish inside the top six.

“This year we need to be competitive, we have to try and finish in the top six to make the finals and after that everything can happen,” Gombau said.

Striker Oriol Riera played a pivotal role in guiding the Wanderers to a victory, scoring an equaliser before setting up the eventual winner. A determined performance from the Spanish marquee pleased fans demanding more commitment from the players and says the players spoke with coaches about tweaking their style of play, including returning to a more disciplined structure in defence.

“I think that we changed many things … the way the players and the staff think this way we’ll be very successful for us – more compact, more intensity in the fights, one v one, those moments,” Riera said. “I think today with this performance, we were very good on the field and most importantly, we must maintain this. That’s the most important.”

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New Ford Ranger ute fire wipes out 100 acres of wheat

A VICTORIANgrain grower believes more needs to be done to make vehicles safer for farm use, after his new ute sparked three spot fires on his property.
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Michael Sudholz said he was shocked after his new Ford Ranger started the fires on his property near Natimuk, in Victoria’s west, just before Christmas.

It comes afterFord announced more than 59,000 vehicles across were being recalled after a defect was discovered that could lead to fire.

“We were driving through the wheat stubble and the exhaust started three spot fires –you wouldn’t expect that from a 2017 ute,” Mr Sudholz said.

“We lost 100 acres of wheat, my son burnt his arm and our header driver burnt his fingers.

“We didn’t lose any machinery though, which was lucky.”

Mr Sudholz said he bought two new Ford Rangers last year, one in March and one in June, specifically for farm use.

He said he was lucky the fire didn’t do more damage.

“It wasn’t a bad day –it wasn’t windy at all, but if it was, it could have been a real disaster,” he said.

“We were very lucky to get away with the damage we had.

“The fire went through one paddock and into another –it was heading towards Natimuk and easily could have ended up there.

“It took out 100 acres in less than 20 minutes –we had six people in the paddock and machinery worth $2 million, it could have been muchworse.”

Read more:‘Deadly’ recalled airbags replaced with same faulty product

Mr Sudholz said he received an email from Ford about the recall the day after the fires.

“We had no information before that,” he said.

“It was a surpriseto find out that the ute started the fire and since then, I’ve heard of two other farmers in the district having the same problem.”

Mr Sudholz said more needed to be done to make vehicles safer.

“We buy these vehicles because we need to use them in dry conditions,” he said.

“Now many more utes are being fitted with new exhausts, so we could have a problem with other makes of vehicles.

“The government needs to look at these things –we need to be able to operate our vehicles in dry conditions.

“I’dnever had a fire start from a diesel ute in mylife.”

Ford Rangers sold between July 12, 2016and December 7, 2017 are affected by the recall.

The recall was made because of a defect that can cause vegetation to become stuck under the vehicle near the exhaust system, when it is driven over long grass.

Ford will write to owners of affected vehicles.

Wimmera Mail-Times

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PM bursts own ‘thought bubble’, ruling out republic vote in short term

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek during a joint press conference with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten where they announced the shadow ministry, at Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday 23 July 2016. Photo: Alex EllinghausenThe Turnbull government has ruled out holding a plebiscite or postal survey before the next election on ns’ preferred model for becoming a Republic even if Queen Elizabeth’s reign ends during the current parliament.
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A spokesman for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed on Tuesday there would be no such vote during this parliamentary term even if there is a change of British monarch, despite Mr Turnbull saying the day before that an end to the Queen’s reign would be the obvious moment at which the republic issue becomes “live again”.

Mr Turnbull had on Monday suggested that a postal survey similar to that which decided the same-sex marriage debate might be used to guide how the nation evolves from a monarchy to a republic, including how a president is chosen.

The swift walk-back prompted acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek to dismiss Mr Turnbull’s remarks as a “thought bubble” and to suggest he was bowing to conservative elements in his party.

“It looks like nothing’s changed in 2018 – just more thought bubbles from Malcolm Turnbull that barely last 24 hours. Overruled by the right wing of his party again,” she said.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, a diehard monarchist, told The n on Tuesday that Mr Turnbull seemed to be “jumping on the Keating bandwagon” by raising the plebiscite – referring to former prime minister Paul Keating’s attack on current political leaders for failing to keep the republic issue on the agenda.

Mr Turnbull said should the Queen’s reign end during his prime ministership and the republic debate be revived, “the first thing you would need to do is have an honest, open discussion about how a president would be elected”.

“It may be that a plebiscite, maybe even a postal survey, given the success of the marriage postal survey, could be one way to deal with that,” he said.

The British press seized on the comments, including The Mirror which declared Prince Charles’ future role as ‘s king has been thrown into doubt.

Ms Plibersek demanded Mr Turnbull clarify the government’s position on the republic issue.

“Let’s have a real discussion about this. What is the government actually proposing? What is the government’s position on this? There isn’t one, there’s a thought bubble,” she said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in July pledged to give ns a vote on whether to become a republic during the first term of a future Labor government.

ns would be asked to answer “Yes” or “No” to the question: “Do you support an n republic with an n head of state?”

“Perhaps the government could join us in putting that simple question to the people,” Ms Plibersek said on Tuesday.

“Labor supports becoming a republic and we are happy to work with the government on whatever proposition they have for advancing this objective.”

Labor is yet to determine if a postal survey is the best way to test public views on the issue.

Under Labor’s plan, if ns voted for a republic then work would be done to decide on the best model.

Mr Turnbull said if a postal survey or plebiscite were to be held, voters should be asked whether an n president would be chosen by Parliament or directly elected by the people.

Ms Plibersek questioned why voters would be asked about the best model for appointing an n head of state without first determining if there was majority support for a republic.

Mr Turnbull’s comments came in response to criticism by former Prime Minister Paul Keating who questioned the commitment of the Prime Minister, ‘s most prominent republican, of transitioning to an n head of state.

n Republic Movement chair Peter FitzSimons said Mr Turnbull should “commit to a national vote on an n republic during the next Parliament”.

“The leaders on both sides of politics clearly want this to happen. Now it’s not a question of if, but how,” he said.

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Model of seaplane that killed five Britons in Sydney’s north ‘reliable’: investigator

The model of seaplane that crashed and killed six people on New Year’s Eve is generally reliable, according to a transport safety official leading the investigation.
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But investigators do not know if the plane had the stall warning system recommended by Canadian authorities after the same model crashed and killed another British family in 2015.

The Sydney Seaplanes aircraft plunged into Jerusalem Bay north of Sydney, killing British chief executive Richard Cousins, 58, his sons Edward, 23, and William, 25, his fiance Emma Bowden, 48, her daughter Heather, 11, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44.

The plane remains largely intact beneath 13 metres of water.

ATSB Executive Director of Transport Safety, Nat Nagy speaks on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: AAP

“The aircraft took off in a north-easterly direction, followed by a turn to the north-east, then a subsequent right hand turn prior to impact,” Nat Nagy, an executive director of the n Transport Safety Bureau, said.

The 1964 aircraft then sank and settled on the bottom of the river in an “inverted, slightly nosedown altitude”, Mr Nagy continued. He could not confirm that the plane nose-dived before hitting the water.

Authorities hoped to have recovered the plane by the end of the week. They may attempt to float it to the surface with internal airbags, pull it up with a crane, or both.

Three investigators from the ATSB are working to piece together the plane’s brief, final flight, looking at factors from pilot history to maintenance to components.

In 2015, a plane of the same kind, a DHC-2 Beaver, crashed in Quebec, Canada, killing six on board. The Canadian Transport Safety Bureau recommended in September that all such planes be fitted with mandatory stall warning systems.

Mr Nagy said he did not know if the Sydney Seaplanes aircraft had this system but “we haven’t seen any systemic issues with this aircraft”.

Asked whether the model was reliable, he said “an aircraft that’s been used this long in this many operations, I would say yes”.

The safety bureau is appealing for witnesses to come forward, especially those who have video footage of the flight.

Investigators will try to recover any footage taken on the flight from mobile phones or body-cameras, before finishing a preliminary report within a month.

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Alison Blake was 64 when she took her own life following pelvic mesh surgery complications

SENATOR Derryn Hinch has backed calls by consumer health groups for a total ban on pelvic mesh devices in after a grim prediction following the suicide of a Queensland mesh victim.
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“This suicide is the one we know about. There will be others,” Senator Hinch said after hearing sometimes shocking evidence from women mesh victims in 2017 at a Senate inquiry he campaigned to establish. A final report will be made public in February.

“There must be 15,000-20,000 n women affected by the mesh scandal and to see those women leaning on the walls, crouching on floors, unable to sit and in obvious pain at the inquiry hearings, was truly shocking,” he said.

“What we heard at the Senate inquiry I think is just the tip of the iceberg. I think all mesh should be banned. It was hearing from women about the desperate situations they’ve been left in that hit me, about how seriousit all is.

“Women have been exploited, they’ve been abused.Doctors have profited by this. They’ve made money out of it and I think it’s a bloody disgrace.

“If this was a male problem, if this was something to do with the penis or prostate cancer, it would have been fixed 15 years ago.”

Read more: Doctor left ‘aghast’ by sex recommendations for women

Senator Hinch said authorities including n medical device regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, would be pursued after the Senate inquiry final report.

“I’ve still got my powder dry on the TGA but what it did wasapprovevarious meshes because they were sort of just like the ones that had already been approved, without requiring evidence of safety. That’s nowayto run a medical watchdog authority,” Senator Hinch said.

Primary school teacher Alison Blake, 64,was implanted with a prolapse mesh device in October, 2013 and suffered severe and immediate complications including disabling pain. Asuccession of further surgical procedures to remove the mesh and deal with the complications was unsuccessful.

In a final letter to her only childin June, 2015, Mrs Blake wrote: “I cannot bear the thought of leaving you but the emotional torment and physical pain I’m going through are just too much.”

“I simply cannot bear to be lying on a couch for months on end and to have to rely on catheters, enemas, Temazepam, pain killers and be a burden to my family and friends.”

She died on June 26, 2015. Her daughter, Leesa Tolhurst, said her mother gave up hope after a final visit to a doctor she thought would be able to offer her some relief.

“She’d gone to the doctor hoping that perhaps something could be done. She was hysterical when she came here and said there was nothing left. I just tried to comfort her. I remember her as she drove away from my house, there was just a look in her eyes,”Mrs Tolhurst said.

Senator Hinch criticised the response of health departments across the country to the desperate situation many women are in because of mesh surgery.

He supported women who have been pushing for an American doctor who has completely removed hundreds of different pelvic meshes to be sponsored to , after many women were advised by n doctors that their meshes could not be removed.

“Women want full mesh removal. They don’t want partial removal which is what n doctors seem to be offering. I back the women 1000 per cent. I want to try to get him out here now,” Senator Hinch said.

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Sixer cleared of broken leg

Sixers tweaker Steve O’Keefe has been cleared of a fractured left leg, but will not play in Wednesday’s clash against the Melbourne Renegades in Geelong.
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O’Keefe had an X-ray following Monday night’s loss to the Perth Scorchers after he landed awkwardly while fielding a ball at short fine leg, and did not fly with the team to Melbourne on Tuesday.

Instead he travelled to Sydney for an MRI scan, which will determine the extent of his injury and whether it rules him out of the Big Bash season.

The injury was a further blow to the Sixers’ horror season which now sits at four losses from as many starts, meaning the tricky Renegades’ clash has become a must-win fixture.

Veteran O’Keefe went down in the sixth over when his left leg seemed to catch in the ground under his body as the Sixers unsuccessfully attempted to defend 6-147. He eventually limped from the field with a lower leg injury.

“It almost looked like he’d blown his Achilles or something like that, it looked like someone had basically shot him,” teammate Jordan Silk said.

“It’s hard to know the full extent of it, it’s good that he’s been cleared of any breaks.

“You lose a lot of experience [without O’Keefe in the team]. He’s a high quality bowler and a great lower order batter for us as well and he’s been really effective in that part this year.

“It’s super disappointing for the Sixers and also for SOK himself, bit of a cruel blow. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and we can get him back for the back end of this tournament.”

Daniel Hughes is in doubt for the Renegades clash after missing the Scorchers game with a quad complaint, while captain Moises Henriques remains on the sidelines indefinitely for personal reasons.

The Sixers have brought in young spinner Soumil Chhibber from their academy as cover for O’Keefe.

“He’s been around in the Sixers Academy for the last three or four seasons and he’s played in a lot of our practice matches and has performed quite well,” Silk said of Chhibber.

“He gives us a different sort of option, maybe an option we haven’t really seen at the Sixers, being a leg spinner. It’s really exciting for him and if he gets the opportunity at Geelong I’m sure he’ll do well, it seems to be the theme of that leg spinners this tournament are doing really well.”

Monday’s loss to Perth marked a remarkable fall from grace for the Sixers, who just 11 months earlier travelled to the WACA to contest the Big Bash final.

Their batting has been particularly disappointing, with Silk the only played to have crafted a half century for the Sixers in four matches this season.

“We’re really close [to a win],” Silk said.

“We’ve bowled really well this year, our batting’s been a bit of a disappointment just losing too many wickets early. I thought the way we batted yesterday was a step in the right direction for our team.

“I’m sure that if we keep playing like that and we’re able to string consistent performances with bat and ball then that’ll help us register our first win.

“At the moment it’s pretty disheartening but we’ve got to turn it around quickly for the Renegades tomorrow night.”

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Codeine addiction can happen to anyone, TGA changes will bring out an influx of addicts

Dose creep: It started with back pain, but eventually university student Emma felt like she was leading a “double life” trying to hide her codeine addiction from her family and friends. She would often take a packet of 30 in one go while out on a “walk”, sometimes three times a day.EMMAwas studyinga science degree at the University of Newcastle when she began to suffer from severe back pain.
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She found some relief for it when she took Nurofen Plus –a combination of ibuprofen and codeine – and at first, she stuck to the recommended dose.

“But I started to take an extra one or two because, quite simply, it made me feel happy,” Emma, not her real name,said.

“I felt like I was a nicer person, I could cope with the stress of study better, I felt warm and fuzzywhen I took more than I should. It was fun, like a little getawayor pick me up in the middle of the day. Like a treat, almost. I really liked the way it mademe feel.”

Read more: Pharmacology professor labels codeine changes a ‘silly solution’

Within a year, her friends would roll their eyes or make a joke when she popped twotablets before a lecture.

But as her body adapted to the dose, sheneeded more forthe same effect.

She was takingNurofen Plus, Panafen Plus, or the Chemist’s Own brand of ibuprofen and codeine –anything she could that had codeine in it.

Soon, her family members voiced their concerns.

She tried to stop, several times, but each time –within days – she would start vomiting, and endure bouts of severe diarrhoea.

She could not stay still.

She was agitated, “ache-y.”

“I couldn’t get comfortable unless I was in the shower or a bath,” she said.

One GP gave her a prescription forClonidinetoease the symptoms of withdrawal. But amonth later, she was back to taking at least the same dose as before, but often more.

“At the peak of my addiction, I was taking up to 90 tablets a day on a bad day, but usually 60.

“There is 30 tablets in a packet andI would take a whole packet in one go, sometimes more because my tolerance got up so high. I would often do this twice and even threetimesa day.It was an extremely lonely andisolating time.”

Somehow, she was still doing “amazingly well” at university, getting “fantastic” marks.

“Ithink because I could stillfunction quite normally –I wasn’t passed out in a ditch or really out of it oranything like that. I looked andacted quite normally, I just had this huge secret.”

Emma’s main source of stress was always making sure she had enough tablets, and worrying that a pharmacist would question why she was buying so many.

“I had to travel to different chemists so they didn’t become suspicious,” she said.

“When this first started in 2007, you could still buy a huge packet of Panafen Plus, I think there were 72 tablets in a packet, soit was very easy to come by. After the rule change in 2009, you couldn’t just get them off the shelf, you had to go to the prescription counter and speak to a pharmacist about whatkind of pain you were having.

“Every time I went out somewhere I would be looking for a pharmacy.

“It was like I was leading a double life because I was also trying desperately to hide this from my family and my partner. I would sneak around, saying I was going for a walk andthen I’d buy tablets andtake them all before going back home.”

Read more:Codeine rescheduling will put pressure on Hunter drug and alcohol services

Emma’s addictioneventually ruined her previous relationship, and had an impact on her performance in a former job.

She found there was a stigma associated with codeine addiction, even in the medical community, having experiencedjudgment from severalGPs before getting Suboxone treatment as a codeine replacement through Dr David Outridge.

“I have been ‘clean’since January 1, 2015. Three years,” she said.

“Drug addicts aren’t all homeless andunemployed ‘bums’. They areeducated people with normal lives, supportive families, good jobs –human beingswho have made a mistake andneed help, not judgement from the very people they turn to in their hour of need.”

Emma said the new legislation coming into effect in February, when codeine would become a prescription-only medicine, was unfair on the people who used it responsibly.

“But if they were available only on prescription sevenyears ago, I don’t think Iwould ever have become addicted to them,” she said.

“I worry that Dr Outridgewill beinundated with new referrals, because GPs won’t want to prescribe these drugs, and they don’t know how to properly manage patients who present with an addiction like mine.

“If these changes can stop even one person from going down the path that I did, then it is probablyfor the best.”

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Comedy star mocks Hollywood harassment victims in Netflix special

Comedian Dave Chappelle has controversially weighed in on Hollywood’s sexual misconduct crisis in his new Netflix special, calling the allegations against friend Louis CK “funny”.
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“I shouldn’t say this but f— it, Louis’s allegations were the only ones that made me laugh,” he says in his special The Bird Revelation, released on Sunday.

“I know it’s terrible, I’m sorry ladies… At the same time, Jesus Christ, I don’t know, they took everything from Louis, it might be disproportionate, I can’t tell.”

A New York Times expose published in November saw five women accuse CK of sexual misconduct, including exposing himself and masturbating in front of them.

CK admitted to the claims in a much derided public apology, and saw a planned release of his indie film I Love You Daddy shelved by distribution company The Orchard. FX, the network who aired his hit series Louie, severed ties with the comedian’s production company Pig Newton, and Netflix announced it had canned his upcoming comedy special.

In his set, Chappelle – who was reportedly paid $US20 million by the streaming giant for the 40-odd minute special – uncomfortably mocks the comedian’s victims.

“One lady said, ‘Louis CK masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams.’ Word? Well then I dare say madam, you may have never had a dream,” Chappelle quips.

“Come on man, that’s a brittle spirit. This is a grown-ass woman… I hate to say it, [these women] all sound weak,” he adds, before imagining Dr Martin Luther King’s response to CK’s advances.

“One of these women was like, ‘Louis CK was masturbating while I was on the phone with him’,” he continues.

“Bitch, you don’t know how to hang up a phone? How the f— are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams?”

The set, recorded at Los Angeles’ intimate Comedy Store in November, also takes aim at Harvey Weinstein (“The first person that I ever looked at a photograph of and was like, ‘Yeah, he rapes,'” says Chappelle) and his accusers.

“This could have happened to any of us. It could have happened to me,” Chappelle says at one point, before re-enacting a 3am hotel meeting with Weinstein and a 4.30am “wardrobe fitting” at Brett Ratner’s house.

“Everybody gets mad because I say these jokes, but you gotta understand, this is the best time to say them,” the comedian adds by way of disclaimer.

“Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to speak recklessly.”

In a more sober turn, Chappelle – who also courted controversy last year after his Netflix comeback special Spin was accused of being transphobic – brushes away naming-and-shaming culprits as an effective way of instilling cultural change in the industry.

“Ben Affleck tried to help… ‘Oh, you grabbed a titty in ’95!’ ‘Alright fellas, I’m out’,” he says, re-enacting the actor’s very public withdrawal from the issue after speaking out against his former mentor Weinstein.

“Fear does not make a lasting peace… If you keep going after individuals, the system is going to stay intact,” Chappelle says in the set.

“You have to have men on your side. And I’m telling you, you’re gonna have a lot of imperfect allies.”

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Lace goanna, one of China’s larges monitor lizard species, freed from yabbie trap

n Reptile Park’s General Manager, Tim Faulkner attempts to free a Lace Monitor from a yabbie trap.n Reptile Park’s General Manager, Tim Faulkner received an unexpected New Year’s Day package yesterday morning from a concerned local who brought in aLaceMonitorthat was stuck in a yabbie trap.
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The goanna had wandered in through a hole at the end of the trap but became entangled but luckily for the lizard, he was brought to the right place!

Upon receiving the goanna at The n Reptile Park, Faulkner identified the lizard as ’s second-largestmonitorspecies (thelacemonitor) and jumped into action by removing the animal from the yabbie trap and releasing the goanna back to the wild.

Read more: Giant python bites keeper at n Reptile Park

“Lacemonitors are scavenger feeders,” Faulkner said.

“This is a natural behaviour that has been occurring for thousands of years but now humans are sharing their habitat at an increased capacity, more potentially harmful items start appearing and the goannas try to take advantage of what appears to be a free meal.”

“Luckily for thislacemonitorthere was a happy ending. However, more and more frequently animals are being brought in with human waste obstructing parts of their body.

“These yabbie traps are notorious for drowning platypus, but I must say, this is the first time I have seen alacemonitorstuck in one.

“We as ns need to take more care of throwing away rubbish and taking anything we have away with us like traps, trash etc – not only for the benefit of the animals, but for humankind as well.”

Read more: George the wombat is just too cute

Lacemonitors grow to between 1.5 and 2 metres in length and inhabit eastern n forests and coastal tablelands.

Much of its time is spent up fairly large trees, although they usually come down to the ground to forage for food. They will readily feed on carrion, including road kills, gorging themselves when the opportunity arises. After a large feed they are able to go for many weeks without feeding again.

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TheatrePicture-perfect Simon

DOSE OF REALITY: Maddy Lardner plays Libby Tucker in I Ought to Be in Pictures, the first Neil Simon play to explore serious social issues.AMERICAN playwright Neil Simon wasn’t sure how audiences would respond to his comedy I Ought to Be in Pictures when it premiered in 1979. People had laughed uproariously since the early 1960s at works such as Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple, but he changed his style in that show.
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I Ought to Be in Pictures is set in a rundown Hollywood cottage, opening with a 19-year-old girl knocking on the door and asking the woman who opens it, Steffy, if screenwriter Herb Tucker is at home. Steffy, who is having a troubled one-night-a-week affair with Herb, learns that the visitor is Herb’s daughter Libby, whom he hasn’t seen since she was three, when he left his family in New York to head to Hollywood to become a screenwriter.

Libby wants her father to help her get work as a film actress, despite having done little stage work. Herb, however, is increasingly finding it hard to get his own work, and it is Libby that provesthe most helpful person when she stays with her father.

I Ought to Be in Pictures was Neil Simon’s first play to use comedy to look at serious issues, and it has been a crowd-pleaser since its inaugural production. In recent years it has become one of his most-staged works, and Newcastle audiences will have a chance to enjoy the play when Newcastle Theatre Company presents it for three weeks from January 20.

The play has just three characters, putting pressure on the actors who play them. But the trio in NTC’s production – Maddy Lardner as Libby, Mark Lidbury as Herb, and Renee Thomas as Steffy – are enjoying their roles.

Maddy Lardner says that she finds it easy to sympathise with Libby, given the issues she faces.

“She has lots of artistic talent, but she’s choosing the wrong way to express it,” she said.

“And she has had to be strong-willed while growing up, having to care for her little brother. She’s come to see her father because she has been unable to express her feelings to her mother.”

Maddy also sees her as very determined and brave, because she trekked across the United States from New York to Hollywood, not knowing how she would travel each day or where she would stay each night.

Director David Murray views the three characters as very real.

“A lot of Simon’s comedies don’t have the same reality,” he said.

“And it has funny lines that come up unexpectedly.”

I Ought to Be in Pictures opens on Saturday, January 20, at 8pm, followed by a 2pm Sunday matinee, then has shows on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, at 8pm, until February 3, plus a 2pm matinee on Saturday, January 27. Tickets: $30, concession $24; bookings 4952 4958 and newcastletheatrecompany苏州夜总会招聘.

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