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Mary and Salim Mehajer quiet on charity ball with $15k seats

13/03/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

Charity event organisers are usually crying out for publicity to raise awareness and funds for their chosen cause, but not Salim Mehajer and his younger sister, Mary.
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Persistent calls and emails by Fairfax Media this week about the pair’s The Sparkle of Hope Charity Ball to take place at Paradiso in Fairfield, Sydney, on Sunday night were met with silence.

Mary, 18, otherwise known as Miss Lebanon , is organising the ball in aid of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation (SCHF) and the Ren?? Moawad Foundation(RMF) in Lebanon with help from her sibling, 30, the disgraced former deputy mayor of Auburn, in promoting the event.

They promise an “amazing night with special guest speakers, entertainers, topped by a glamorous fashion show” with a “strictly glitz and glam” dress code.

To attend alongside the controversial family, who are known for their OTT soirees, does not come cheap. A sponsorship package costs up to $15,000, while individual seats are priced between $120 and $160. The family have promised “100% of the proceeds will go towards charity”.

To encourage patrons to dig deep, Mother Theresa is quoted on the ball’s designated website: “Do small things with great love.”

It seems that collecting funds in aid of “children who are less fortunate” in the name of the SCHF and RMF was more important for the Mehajers than getting the mandatory legal authorisation to do so first.

On March 13, Salim took to Instagram to reveal that half of the 350 tickets on offer were already sold. A week later Mary approached the SCHF, when she took a tour of the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, and was given the relevant authority to fundraise application form.

On March 31, she was granted the authorisation to raise funds on behalf of the SCHF – at least two weeks after she was already doing so. Mary did not specify how much they endeavoured to raise, but a spokesperson for the SCHF said “that’s not uncommon for first-time events”.

A number of esteemed, high-profile people have helped raise funds for the SCHF in the past, including Skye Leckie, Karl Stefanovic, Lisa Wilkinson, Delta Goodrem, Jesinta Franklin and Sonia Kruger.

It was put to the SCHF if they felt comfortable aligning themselves with Salim, who in the past week alone was charged with assaulting a taxi driver and a Seven News reporter; and was mentioned in a pretrial for allegedly lodging false documents in a bid to rig the Auburn Council election in 2012.

“Our contact is with Mary Mehajer, who has shown a genuine concern for the children in the hospital,” a spokesperson for the SCHF told Fairfax Media.

While the SCHF is entitled to authorise a fundraising appeal in their name in NSW, the Ren?? Moawad Foundation is not, according to a spokesperson from NSW Fair Trading.

Multiple attempts by Fairfax Media to contact the RMF, whose mission is to “promote social, economic and rural development in Lebanon”, were unsuccessful.

“Boards of charities have responsibility for a charity’s most treasured resource – its reputation and the trust of the community. They should consider how fundraising activities will affect their charity’s reputation,” a spokesperson for the n Charities and Not-for-profits Commission said.

Flat Chat: Alarm as fireys levy sparks strata fears

13/03/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

The 21 new strata laws all NSW apartment residents need to know aboutChange to NSW strata laws to give apartment owners power to turn buildings into gold minesNew NSW strata laws, same old tricks
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A wave of panic has run through StrataLand in the past couple of weeks – hardly a tsunami but more than a ripple – with the news that the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) was going to be removed from insurances and added to your council rates.

More than one reader thought this mean that they would be paying more, based on the government’s literature which was (as usual) mostly about houses.

“I understand that from July 1st, the annual fire services levy will be collected via council rates rather than via buildings insurance,” says Kendall on the Flat Chat Forum.

“It is stated by Treasury NSW that this will amount to a saving for homeowners. However we pay $85 per unit. The average cost to individual ratepayers from July 1st is being quoted as anything from $180 to $450.

“Either way, it seems to me that if you live in a strata scheme you are going to be paying a lot more. Has anyone got further information on this?”

Well, yes, we have, but let’s take it back to basics.

The Fire and Emergency Services Levy is currently attached to a number of insurance premiums, from home and contents to car and motorbike policies.

The idea is if you have something worth insuring, you’d probably rather it didn’t go up in flames in the first place, rather than claiming for it afterwards.

“Hang on,” thought one pointy head in the government. “Doesn’t that mean that people who take the trouble to insure their goods and chattels are paying for the fire brigade and SES people to attend the homes of slackers who don’t?”

A better way to share the load was to add the levy to your rates rather than your insurance because more people pay the former than the latter.

So, from July 1, the load will be spread more evenly across a broader slice of the populace, being roughly defined as “home owners who would quite like the fireys to turn up when there’s a fire”.

It seems much fairer but, as in everything, there will be winners and losers. The winners will be renters who will no longer have to pay the levy on their insurance and won’t have to pay the increased rates (because that goes to the landlord).

And those of us who own our homes and are insured to our eyeballs will also benefit from a lower levy on our rates than we pay on our insurance.

The losers will be the great uninsured home owners as well as landlords who will take at least one rent rise cycle before they can shift the load to their tenants.

As for strata residents, a nice young man from Treasury assures me that some unit owners will pay a little more and some a little less but it won’t be anything too dramatic, either way.

We shall see. There’s more official information on this here. And you can tell us which way your charges go on flat-chat苏州夜总会招聘.au/forum.

A dying man’s wish: ‘We’ve been 2nd class citizens for 50 years’

13/03/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

SAT/SHD NEWS: gay marriage. (L-R) Peter Bonsall-Boone and Peter de Waal, gay couple who marched in first Mardi Gras. Bonsall-Boone is very ill with cancer and will likely die in coming weeks. It was his last wish to marry the man he has loved all his life and it is now clear that wish won’t come true. Photograph by Edwina Pickles. Taken on 7th April 2017. Photo: Edwina PicklesWhen Peter de Waal and Peter Bonsall-Boone went on their first date in the spring of 1966, they never conceived they might one day tie the knot. They fought to have homosexuality struck off the Crimes Act and removed from the manual of mental illnesses but marriage was on nobody’s mind.
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“It was just beyond our imagination that the subject would ever be broached,” says Mr Bonsall-Boone, known as Bon.

In their 50 years together, the two Peters have seen almost every barrier of discrimination against them collapse. But the last one – the one that seemed impossible to the two Balmain boys all their lives – now sits tantalisingly close and yet tragically out of reach.

Bon, 78, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer two years ago that has proven impenetrable to two rounds of chemotherapy and other drugs. He is already on borrowed time, having been given months to live in November, and is now preparing to die without his last wish being granted.

“For us, it’s a really urgent matter,” says Mr de Waal. “We’ve been second-class citizens for all of the 50 years we’ve been together. I would feel pretty awful if Bon were to die as a second-class citizen.”

The two men say they haven’t given up hope of the winds changing in Canberra and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull moving to allow a free vote on same-sex marriage but they concede it seems ever more unlikely.

Mooted attempts to bring the issue to the fore within the Liberal Party have twice been abandoned this year, including a proposed letter-of-demand to the PM that would have been signed by upwards of a dozen MPs.

Supportive Liberal MPs stress the timing has to be right for any push. But for couples like Peter and Bon, time is fast running out.

“In looking forward to dying, one of my sorrows is that I’m not taking Peter with me,” Bon says in a video to be published by the Equality Campaign this week. “I am going to miss him like crazy. Marriage for Peter and me would be a great sort of fulfillment of many years of association and love.”

Mr Turnbull and other ministers who support marriage equality have frequently argued gay weddings would already be taking place if the Labor opposition (plus Greens and crossbenchers) had not blocked the government’s planned plebiscite on the issue, which had been slated for February 11.

But Peter and Bon are far from bitter about the plebiscite’s demise. Having been at the forefront of the gay rights movement for 50 years, including the famous 1978 protest that became the Sydney Mardi Gras, they say they have a reasonable idea of the “hate and misinformation” that would accompany a public campaign.

“The plebiscite, to us, was absolutely horrific,” Peter says. “We’ve lived through all those eras and we know what it is like.”

Instead, the two men are pinning their hopes on a change of heart.

“It should just be waived straight through,” says Bon. “It is so insignificant on the whole, but absolutely vital to people like us.”

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Man at scene of underworld shooting caught trying to leave country with thousands in cash

13/03/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

One of several men involved in a violent gunfight that sparked Sydney’s ongoing underworld feud tried to flee the country with tens of thousands of dollars stashed in his shoe.
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Steven Fawaz Elmir was one of up to a dozen people involved in the heated and eventually fatal confrontation outside A Team Smash Repairs in Condell Park last April.

His brother-in-law Safwan Charbaji was shot dead during the midday melee between members of his family and the notorious Ahmad crew.

As police worked to piece together who played what role that Saturday afternoon on April 9, Elmir boarded an Emirates business-class flight to Dubai.

The 29-year-old has yet to return but was fined in his absence in the Downing Centre Local Court last month for failing to declare he was taking more than $10,000 cash out of the country.

Alarm bells rang when Elmir presented his passport to border control at Sydney Airport on April 13.

He had been identified as someone potentially present at the fatal shooting days earlier and NSW Police placed a border alert on his name.

The alert was triggered and n Border Force (ABF) officers whisked the Picnic Point man away to search him and his bag.

They found $20,000 cash stashed in one shoe, according to a statement of facts tendered in court.

In his carry-on bags, the officers uncovered $11,950 and a Westpac cheque for $14,002.85.

Quizzed about the cheque, Elmir claimed it came from a stroke of good luck on the pokies at the Revesby Hotel.

His lawyer Leonie Gittani told the court there was no “good reason” as to why her client didn’t declare the money – more than $45,000 in total.

“He left with some urgency,” she said.

Magistrate Susan McIntyre acknowledged that Elmir, who had a criminal record a “mile long”, wasn’t in court.

“Mr Elmir is not here, which is not particularly encouraging but hopefully he will be back at some time to meet his obligations,” she said.

Elmir, who is understood to still be in Dubai, was fined $3500 in his absence.

Elmir, who is the son of fugitive Fawaz Elmir, 48, turned up at A Team Smash Repairs, owned by rival crime figure Walid “Wally” Ahmad, to settle a lucrative dispute last April.

A war of words played out between the two sides before guns were drawn in the middle of Ilma St.

Elmir’s relative, Mr Charbaji, 32, was killed after being shot in the head and chest.

Wally’s younger mate, Abdullah El Masri, was shot in the jaw but survived after weeks spent in a coma.

The shooting, involving multiple guns and players from south-west Sydney’s powerful families, was the beginning of a bloody string of tit-for-tat violence.

During the past 12 months, there have been multiple shootings, including four deaths, potentially linked to animosities between a handful of well-known crime figures.

Elmir was one of many people who fled in the days following the Condell Park shootout.

Among them was Elmir’s father, Fawaz, who has a warrant out for his arrest.

Police initially suspected he might have been hiding out in Melbourne.

Wally’s brother, Mahmoud “Brownie” Ahmad, boarded a flight for Lebanon last April, returning only this month.

As soon as he touched down in Sydney, he was arrested and charged with murder.

Four days after his brother-in-law was shot dead, Elmir left Sydney for Dubai, which police say is becoming the holiday destination of choice for many n underworld figures.

Dutch backpacker ‘raped in Surry Hills laneway’ speaks of her miracle escape

13/03/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

A Dutch backpacker who was allegedly raped in a Surry Hills laneway last Friday has described how she miraculously escaped by pretending to play along with her attacker.
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The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be identified legally, was allegedly attacked by a stranger as she walked home from the bus stop just before midnight on March 30.

On Wednesday, police charged 22-year-old Jerome Mundine, from Waterloo, with aggravated sexual assault – deprive liberty, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Mr Mundine, who once featured in a news article on how boxing was helping to steer him away from petty crime, allegedly “had sexual intercourse with [the victim] without consent [and] deprived the liberty of the victim for a period of time before the commission of the offence,” according to a police charge sheet.

The backpacker has told Fairfax Media of her terrifying ordeal, saying it happened close to her home so her flatmate was able to hear her screams.

She had only been in Sydney for a few weeks as part of a gap year after finishing high school in Holland.

After a night out in Newtown, she caught the bus to Surry Hills and had to walk about 15 minutes home via Cleveland Street and Marlborough Street.

Along the way, she realised a man was walking about two metres behind her.

After a few minutes, he caught up beside her and asked: “What are you up to tonight? Do you have a boyfriend?”

She said “yes” and kept walking. He then allegedly grabbed her by placing one hand on her throat and one hand on her mouth, saying “shut up or I will kill you, I will rape you”.

He allegedly dragged her down Christie Lane and pressed her up against a parked car and began to kiss and touch her.

“I was thinking, ‘I could stab you right now’ because I had my house key already out in my hand,” she said. “But I thought maybe that’s a stupid thing because he’s stronger than me.”

She then decided to play along in an attempt to get him to relax and let go of her throat so she could scream for help.

He fell for the ploy and asked if she would go home with him, to which she replied, “yes, why not?”

However, as soon as they walked down the laneway, he grew suspicious and again grabbed her by the throat and allegedly threw her to the road, leaving her with a large gash on her knee.

“I screamed the lungs out of my body,” she said.

Her flatmate heard and ran outside, scaring off her attacker.

Police were able to take DNA from the woman’s neck that allegedly matched Mr Mundine’s, resulting in his arrest less than a week later.

“I was so lucky,” she said. “I didn’t know if he had a knife, I was so lucky I was close to home.”

“I felt guilty because I didn’t want to kiss him back, it was a disgusting feeling. But after I spoke to the police and a psychologist, they said it was the best idea you could have had.”

She said she has had continual nightmares and has been on edge in public places but is trying to keep a positive attitude.

“I’ve accepted it, I just want to move on and enjoy the rest of my time here,” she said.

Aboriginal Legal Aid solicitor Luke Noonan did not apply for bail for Mr Mundine and it was formally refused in Central Local Court on Thursday.

In 2012, Mr Mundine featured as a participant in the widely-lauded Clean Slate Without Prejudice program, aimed at helping vulnerable youths in Redfern through boxing with police officers.

In 2013, he featured in another article as a participant in a local program to rehabilitate young Aboriginal men by helping them complete short skills courses.

In the article, he spoke of how proud he was to be a cousin of Tony Mundine, the Redfern boxing legend and father of boxer and former rugby league star Anthony Mundine.

The wind beneath Hanson’s wings

13/02/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

Bill McNee???, the reclusive Melbourne millionaire developer at the centre of a political storm over Pauline Hanson’s aircraft use, failed to tell a potential buyer the true value of a multimillion-dollar rival bid and the fact it had been withdrawn.
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In a civil proceeding in the Victorian Supreme Court Mr McNee and two real estate agents were the subject of scathing comments on their negotiating tactics and commissions of fact used to induce the buyer into a contract that resulted in a successful claim for misleading and deceptive conduct and damages of almost $3 million.

In 2014 Justice John Digby made a finding against Mr McNee and two real estate agents over the $5.93 million purchase of a commercial property at 255 Chapel Street, Prahran.

The court heard that Mr McNee and colleagues failed to tell purchaser Thi Huong Nguyen??? that an offer by another bidder of $5.92 million was in fact $5.57 million and it had lapsed the day before.

Justice Digby found Mr McNee and others had made or implied a number of misleading and deceptive statements, adding that the developer had made alleged statements “with no honest belief in the truth of those statements”.

A subsequent valuation found Mr Nguyen had paid $2.1 million above the market price. Justice Digby made a finding of fraud against Mr McNee and others. He assessed damages at $2.8 million. Justice Digby ordered Mr McNee and another pay 85 per cent of the damages. An appeal against the finding was dismissed last year.

The low-profile Mr McNee came out of nowhere in the early 2000s to turn himself into Melbourne’s $100 million man courtesy the boom in off-the-plan units but he has been rudely thrust into the national spotlight thanks to a snowballing story surrounding a cute Jabiru 230-D two-seater aircraft Hanson used to reboot her political career in the run-up to the 2016 federal election.

Labor has referred Ms Hanson’s One Nation party to the n Electoral Commission over allegations the purchase of the aircraft breached political donation laws.

The first indication Ms Hanson and Mr McNee were close came as Ms Hanson delivered her first speech to the Senate last September.

Mr McNee was sitting in the public gallery with his partner, and Ms Hanson’s latest svengali and personal pilot James Ashby, when she made a cryptic reference to the Jabiru 230-D.

“A couple of strangers came along at the right time, helped me spread my wings and gave me the support and assistance I needed that now sees me standing on this floor today,” Ms Hanson said.

“These people are no longer strangers but dear friends, welcome at home any time for another lamb roast. Thank you, Bill and Renata.”

Mr McNee refused to talk about his relationship with Mr Ashby or the money allegedly contributed to buy Ms Hanson’s campaign plane, when contacted by Fairfax Media. Mr Ashby failed to return calls.

Mr McNee has donated generously to political parties: Since 2014, he has given about $150,000 to the Liberals, $80,000 to the ALP and $70,000 to Hanson’s One Nation.

No longer.

“We will never, ever make a political donation again. In hindsight it’s something we probably shouldn’t have done,” he told Fairfax Media.

“We are constantly approached by people for donations. We have stopped making political donations. Everything that I’ve done has been publicly disclosed,” he told Fairfax Media.

The son of British migrants, Mr McNee was born in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Frankston in 1972 and grew up in the hardscrabble housing commission estate The Pines.

After a building apprenticeship, he started renovating suburban homes before moving into property development and speculation, registering a small South Yarra-based company A.K. Smith Pty Ltd. in 1998.

Six years later he hit Melbourne’s CBD.

His first project was a renovation job in the old Kings Street night club strip. He moved on to the RACV building, South Yarra, Richmond, Fishermans Bend. His current big project is a 38-story apartment block on the former site of The Age newspaper in Spencer Street. Mr McNee’s property speculation and development outfit VicLand Property Group is run by a handful of workers from a rented South Yarra office.

As his wealth was turbo-charged thanks to the apartment boom, Mr McNee astutely appeared in real estate stories but never allowed photographs.

(Until the Senate public gallery photograph, the only publicly available shot of Mr McNee accompanied his website testimony to Finnish lifestyle coach Tomi Kokko under whom he trained in Melbourne: “I reached my target weight, I feel happier, my blood pressure is back to normal and I now make better business decisions for the company – Bill McNee – CEO of Vicland Property Group.”)

One story captured the man’s mercurial talent or luck: A property deal to buy 62 Hopetoun??? Road, Toorak, saw Mr McNee flip the 4000 square metre block of land he purchased from Toll Holdings executive Mark Rowsthorn in 2006 for $11 million to three Chinese buyers two years later for more than $20 million.

Peter Janson???, Melbourne’s man about town and nationally famous party host, recalls Mr McNee moving next door circa 2004 when he arrived in the CBD and meeting him when a burst water pipe flooded his cellar.

“Couldn’t have been nicer,” Mr Janson said. “We became quite good friends. I showed him how to deal with the Melbourne Council and hosted a party for his building mates and a planning minister. He liked taking photos of himself with friends.”

Mr Janson also says he helped Mr McNee obtain his first Rolls-Royce.

“It was a Silver Spirit but he was short of cash so I held it for him until he was in a better position. I must say, the impression that lingers was how hard the man worked.”

‘Extreme case of dirty laundry’: Siblings’ fight over will turns ugly

13/02/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

The court warned the Barbanera children about the consequences of not resolving a dispute over the will of their father Antonio.
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“The findings in this case, whatever its outcome, would be unlikely to make comfortable reading for any of them or for any of their acquaintances,” according to NSW Supreme Court judge Michael Slattery.

However, the three siblings could not co-operate to prevent the public airing of their acrimonious family history.

John Barbanera took his siblings Nancy and Peter to court after he was left out of his father’s will. He sought up to $300,000 from his father Antonio’s estate, which included a house worth more than $2 million and $50,000 cash.

Antonio Barbanera attached to two of his wills a detailed explanation of why he had excluded his oldest son.

“While living at the family home at Haberfield, he was constantly abusive towards me, my wife and his siblings,” he wrote. “He was often physically violent towards his siblings, beating each of them on a number of occasions.”

In deciding he was not entitled to a portion of his father’s estate, Justice Slattery found John’s relationship with his parents was “extremely turbulent and volatile” and was characterised by abuse, threats and intimidation.

The judge said John behaved in a controlling manner towards his siblings, detailing an incident involving his deceased sister Angela.

“I accept that on one occasion in 1983 when John discovered that Angela had a boyfriend, John became enraged and punched Angela very hard in the face, causing her to fall to the kitchen floor with her face heavily bleeding,” the judge said. “He then stepped on her and kicked her while she lay motionless on the floor.”

On another occasion, John chased Angela with a firearm, threatening to kill her, after she ended a relationship with one of his friends.

Justice Slattery said the three siblings’ evidence “was profoundly distorted by their personal prejudices”.

The judge criticised John’s obsession with Nancy’s romantic life as a teenager, and his claim that she had an affair with a married man.

“He demonstrated an unshakeable sense of entitlement to judge the private life of his female siblings that was difficult to comprehend,” he said.

The judge was also critical of Nancy, who he said displayed “profound revulsion” and an “uncontrollable courtroom abhorrence” of John.

“At one point in her testimony, Nancy turned to John in the court room, ignoring both counsel and the court, and delivered an obscene and vitriolic rant directly towards John,” he said. “She accused him of many things, but in substance of ruining her life.”

Justice Slattery said Peter nursed a “powerful resentment” against John based on their childhood and a falling out over business that involved Peter attempting to hit his brother with a crowbar.

The judge said Nancy and Peter tried to keep John away from their dying mother. They also humiliated John and his wife Pina at their mother’s funeral by hiring security guards to watch him.

“The other major act of humiliation was the complete deletion of John’s name from mention at the funeral,” Justice Slattery said. “So effective was this that I accept Pina’s evidence that after the ceremony, the priest conducting Maria’s Requiem Mass approached John and her to apologise.”

But Justice Slattery rejected John’s claim for family provision because of his “comfortable” financial position of more than $5 million as well as his “capacity and a propensity to work” despite health issues. Other family members, in contrast, had “real and oppressing financial concerns”, he said.

The judge also pointed to the “tumultuous family history”, describing John as “the prime aggressive mover in creating family chaos and disharmony over the years”.

Prue Vines, a professor in the University of NSW’s Faculty of Law, said John’s history of violence did not necessarily mean he should be cut out of his father’s will.

“In this jurisdiction the testator is supposed to be wise and just, and sometimes forgiving as well,” she said. “It is the combination of the violence, unwillingness to end the estrangement along with the fact that he was clearly the best-off sibling that meant there was no evidence that he had been inadequately provided for.”

Professor Vines added: “This is an extreme case of a family’s dirty laundry being exposed. It is extremely sad.”

Phillip McGowan, the director of De Groots wills and estate lawyers, said taking a wills dispute to court can be highly emotional and is usually expensive.

“While a legal resolution may be obtained, this is often at the expense of personal or family ties or emotional wellbeing,” he said.

Climate challenges line up in China’s front and back yards

13/02/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

As Rockhampton residents braced for a nine-metre-high major flood this week, efforts were bolstered by some of the 1600 n Defence Force troops deployed to help cope with Cyclone Debbie and its aftermath.
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In the past fortnight, the military dispatched helicopters, four landing craft, two larger naval ships and conveys of heavy vehicles to deliver water, medicine and other emergency supplies after the category four storm hit.

“Only the military has the large-scale capability of relief response,” Michael Thomas, a retired army major, said.

It’s a capability that has been tested in recent years, whether from category five Cyclone Winston that smashed Fiji last year or the huge El Nino which brought severe drought to Papua New Guinea.

And the challenge might have been made even tougher had Cyclone Ernie – which rapidly intensified this week into a category five tempest – not turned away from the n continent when it formed off the WA coast this week. A weaker but still dangerous cyclone is heading towards Vanuatu this weekend.

“Disaster relief is increasing in frequency and scope and scale,” said Mr Thomas, who will publish a book on the US and n readiness for climate change in June. ‘Disaster alley’

lies in the midst of what Sherri Goodman, a former Deputy Under Secretary of Defence for environmental security in the US, dubs “disaster alley”.

The region is home to large and swelling populations in coastal and delta regions exposed to cyclones and other extreme weather. These events are predicted by scientists to worsen with global warming.

Ms Goodman, who met senior n military members during a visit this week to Canberra, noted admiral Samuel Lockler III, the former head of the US Pacific Command, had described climate change as the biggest long-term security threat in the region.

“The n military and the Department of Defence are very interested to be leaders” on this issue, she said. “They know it’s the right thing to do.”

Fairfax Media sought comment from the ADF.

Ms Goodman coined the phrase “threat multiplier” a decade ago as the Pentagon stepped up efforts to focus on planning for the consequences of a warming world.

Among the challenges is the vulnerability of military assets themselves, such as naval bases that are at risk from rising sea levels and storm surges, she said.

Armed forces must also prepare for greater instability as fragile nations become more unstable through crop failure or forced migration within and across borders.

And militaries such as ‘s will need to be ready to divert more personnel and equipment to meet disaster relief needs both at home and abroad, Ms Goodman said. ‘Significant impacts’

David Titley, a retired US admiral, said regions between 30 degrees north and south of the Equator are among the most vulnerable on earth to climate change.

“[It’s] where precipitation is likely to decrease, temperatures will increase in some places to near lethal levels, and potentially stronger tropical cyclones will come ashore on an ever-higher sea level,” Admiral Titley said.

Much of falls within that zone “so there will likely be significant impacts to your country – but there will be large impact throughout South and Southeast Asia”, he said.

Mr Thomas, who last year inaugurated a week-long climate change and security course at the n Defence College, said Cyclone Debbie also served as a reminder that military bases “are not islands”.

They remain reliant to varying degrees on civilian infrastructure such as electricity, water and sewerage systems that could be disrupted by big storms.

Similarly, their staff, whether civilian or military, “have to be able to get to the bases” – something that’s not always possible when bridges or roads are damaged or destroyed by extreme weather, he said.

Film shows how to overcome our obsession with phones and other screens

13/02/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

Sexting, online bullying, video game addiction, obsessive checking for messages, disruptions to lessons and sleep, anti-social behaviour.
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Three years ago, American doctor and filmmaker Delaney Ruston started grappling with how much time her children spent on screens and all the issues that threw up.

Her daughter Tessa wanted her first smartphone at age 12. Son Chase was heavily into playing video games at 14.

“I was really struggling with my daughter who wanted more social media and my son who wanted more video games,” Ruston said. “I was completely at a loss at what to do and frustrated with all the tension in the house.”

When Ruston began investigating, she discovered the medical consequences of constant immersion in screen technology, which one study showed was 6.5 hours a day for an average teenager.

“Excessive screen time can lead to problems such as decreased attention span, problems with developing social skills and a risk of real clinical internet addiction,” Ruston said. “These can affect kids currently in their studies but also in the future with their careers.”

Ruston, who has made the documentary Screenagers about her own family’s struggles with technology, believes we have accepted screens into our lives without enough questioning of the negative effects.

“When I was making the film, people would say to me ‘the cat’s already out of the bag. Screens are everywhere. We should just accept that our kids are going to be glued to devices’,” she said.

“I just didn’t buy that. We’re still their parents and frankly if you talk to kids, they want our help in setting boundaries.”

The documentary shows that companies that want us to spend more time on our screens, including Facebook and Google, often stop their own staff using phones and laptops during meetings so they are not distracted.

“All of us think we can multi-task but the data consistently shows that our performance is degraded on both things that we’re doing,” Ruston said. “There’s also human decency – a society that allows us to disconnect when we’re in the same space as others is frightening.”

In the film, Ruston and her husband realise how much they are distracted by their own phones, tablets and computers, even while criticising their children for being too focused on their devices.

“Now I work to have two nights after dinner when I’m not on my devices for at least two hours and my kids help me with that,” she said.

While Ruston agreed there were benefits for teenagers from smartphones and video games, particularly access to information and connecting with friends, she is opposed to phones in bedrooms when it’s time to sleep.

“A major study showed that just having devices in the bedroom can affect critical sleep cycles,” she said. “You can imagine that if kids have their smartphone, they might start to wake up and quickly want to check it, as opposed to finishing that sleep cycle.

“We see that even when kids have to get up super early for school, they will get up earlier to be able to check their device.”

Tessa, now 15, said making the film opened her eyes to the problems that she and her friends faced because of their phones.

One of the big changes has been stashing her phone in another room while doing her homework.

“I couldn’t really sit through all my homework before without my phone,” she said. “Now I take breaks on my phone and that’s a better balance.”

The documentary showed one student who became so obsessed with video games that he had go to an internet addiction rehab centre.

“Even as a physician, I didn’t know about true clinical internet addiction before making the film,” Ruston said. “Studies show anywhere from 5 to 15 per cent of young adults have serious problems with their internet use.”

Screenagers is getting community-organised screenings in . Details at fan-force苏州夜总会招聘.

THE DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION FOR LIMITING SCREEN TIMEDr Ruston suggests putting phones and other devices away at meal times, in the car and during family outings.While studying, teenagers should put their phones in another room but can take “tech breaks”.No phones, tablets or other devices in the bedroom when it’s time to sleep.Rather than relying on your phone, buy an alarm clock and a calculator. Limit interactive video games to certain times – the weekend, for example – especially for younger children.Try what a group of teenagers do in the film: when they eat out, they put their phones in the middle of the table. First to check their phone pays for dinner.Set aside regular time to calmly discuss any issues about mobile phones and other devices rather than letting them spark arguments.Parents worried about their children’s screen usage should think about what they are doing themselves.

Red tape increasing for DIY super trustees

13/02/2019 | 苏州桑拿会所 | Permalink

???In regard to “limited financial advice provided by accountants”, I went to my accountant the other week to discuss a re-contribution using the bring-forward rule. She informed me the only way this can be completed since the rules changed on July 1, 2016, is if she does a “statement of advice” that will cost me $1500 plus. She did a recontribution for me last year costing significantly less. I suggested I do it myself using last year’s re-contribution as a template and she thought it was not a good idea. I just want the paperwork associated with the recontribution, not superfluous paperwork costing an arm and a leg. This sly bit of legislation will affect every self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustee, if my accountant is right. Is she? Should I find another accountant? Finally, is completing a re-contribution strategy oneself fraught with problems? P.F.
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You accountant is correct in that the law changed last July. Since then, an accountant must be licensed to give advice on establishing or winding up an SMSF, and other advice such as when to start a pension or make additional contributions.

Once a person is licensed, they then have to follow ASIC’s onerous requirements, which include writing a report or “statement of advice” each time. So, to that extent, your accountant is following the law.

That said, the information you want is fairly simple and can be found on the n Tax Office’s website by Googling “ATO non-concessional contributions cap”. The major trap for novices is the danger of making an “excess contribution”. As explained by the ATO, if you haven’t made a non-concessional contribution exceeding $180,000 in each of the past two financial years, and are under age 65, you can “bring forward” three years’ contributions or $540,000, before June 30 this year, after which the caps are to be reduced. Then make no further non-concessional contributions until July 2019.

Note also that, if you make a deductible (“concessional”) contribution and, by mistake, no tax is deducted, it is then treated as a non-concessional contribution and this together with a $540,000 non-concessional contribution can push you over the cap. You then have to withdraw the excess and pay tax on it amid much paperwork.

If you’re unhappy, try using one of the many SMSF administrator companies, they’re very competitively priced. On the other hand, if you don’t understand simple rules regarding super, why do you want to run an SMSF? Why not just use a low-fee, public super fund with a myriad of investment options? You’re quite likely to earn more on your savings, even after fees.

I have had difficulty trying to ascertain my tax liability, if any. I have not filed a return for some years, having given up full-time work in 2012. My income for the last 2?? years has been my age pension, plus wages, currently $179 a week – no tax paid; interest on an investment of $20,000 plus an income stream of $5360 annually. I spoke to an ATO rep in a shopping centre last year and he said my income was not taxable but I am not sure I told him about the allocated pension. What is the work bonus and how does that affect my tax situation, if relevant? P.B.

Your allocated pension would be tax-free and you can earn up to $32,279 without paying tax, assuming you claim both the $445 low-income tax offset and the $2230 single senior ns and pensioners tax offset. The ATO offers a calculator on its website, Google “ATO Do I need to submit a tax return”.

Under Centrelink’s work bonus scheme, the first $250 a fortnight of employment income is ignored by the income test. Sign up ASAP!

I am 85 and my wife is 86 and we have received a part pension since December 2008. In October 2016, we submitted our periodic details to Centrelink showing assets of $771,463. In December, Centrelink advised our fortnightly pension would be $7.50 each plus supplements of $59.70 each. This $15 combined fortnightly pension means we are only $5000 (viz. $5000 x $3) under the cut off which therefore, must be $776,000, not $816,000. It seems to me that Centrelink have used the pension rate plus supplement for one calculation, yet pension only for another. I spent 1?? hours on the phone to Centrelink, finally got a lady, then her supervisor, both of whom agreed with me, but could not give an explanation. I have often stated, much to the amazement of others, that we do not need what we were getting from Centrelink but, as we were entitled, we accepted. All I want is an explanation that passes the factual and arithmetic test. Do hope you can help. N.T.

Note that your assets of $771,463 would be rounded down to $771,000. This is $396,000 more than the $375,000 lower threshold. As you note, the full pension of $1339.20 (since March 20) reduces by $3 for every $1000 above this, resulting in a combined fortnightly pension of [$1339.20 -($396 x 3)=] $75.60 combined.

The pension supplement of $49.70 a fortnight per couple is comprised of a “minimum amount” of $26.70 (which you can elect to receive quarterly), a “basic amount” of $18.90 and a “remaining amount” of $4.10.

The “basic amount” and “remaining amount” can be reduced to nil by the means tests. For example, where a pensioner is eligible for the pension supplement, the means tests will first reduce, in the following order, your basic pension, then the pension supplement’s “basic amount”, then its “remaining amount”, rent assistance if payable, energy supplement ($10.60) and finally the pension supplement minimum amount, the latter being payable in full or not at all.

It could be the existence of this final amount that confuses you.

Since you don’t need the pension, you can end the confusion and the anxiety by telling Centrelink to go away and keep their pension, to the cheers of taxpayers like me!

Concerning health care cards available to eligible persons, you said that the low-income health care card (LIHCC) provides benefits to eligible persons that are not otherwise available under the Commonwealth seniors health card (CSHC) “such as energy bills, public transport costs, council rates, healthcare costs, including ambulance, dental and eye care”. I recently sought advice from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Society about applying for a LIHCC and was advised that I would be wasting my time as it was only applicable to people who have dependants. Your comments would be appreciated. T.R.

The CSHC doesn’t cover dependants, nor utilities. The LIHCC nominally covers both while some services, such as ambulance, are covered by both cards.

The Victorian Department of Human Services prepares a chart showing the LIHCC brings with its concessions for water, gas, power and utility relief grants. NSW has similar schemes (Google “NSW utility relief grants”) as do other states. However, I get sporadic reports, that such concessions are not always offered by differing utilities.

As we discussed on March 12, what we need is an under-worked civil servant with the time to put together a table, or a series of tables, to answer such questions.

If you have a question for George Cochrane, send it to Personal Investment, PO Box 3001, Tamarama, NSW, 2026. Help lines: Financial Ombudsman, 1300 780 808; pensions, 13 23 00.