Archive for December, 2018

  • Doors stay shut at Silver Dolphin

    Date: 2018.12.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    ONE of the Hunter’s best known family restaurants has closed its doors for the final time, leaving about 20 staff out of a job.

    Employees at the Silver Dolphin, a buffet-style restaurant inside Wests Cardiff, were told on Friday morning the business would close on Sunday but would not be opening on Monday.

    The restaurant has been a family favourite at Cardiff for more than 20 years and until recently employed about nine kitchen staff and 10 waiting staff.

    Wests Group chief executive Philip Gardner said the restaurant had closed ‘‘as they are in breach of their lease conditions’’. He said due to possible legal action, not involving Wests Group, he would have no further comment.

    The Newcastle Herald understands the restaurant changed hands about six months ago, a move which gave Wests Group the option not to renew the restaurant’s lease.

    Wests Group gave the new owner until November 7 to be out, but then extended that period until Monday as further negotiations took place.

    The new owner had hoped to salvage the situation, and is believed to have told staff of the closure only on Friday after a last-ditch attempt to get an extension was denied.

    Silver Dolphin supervisor Sam told the Herald the majority, if not all, of the staff were on casual contracts.

    Sam said she had worked at the restaurant for more than nine years.

    ‘‘We want to apologise to our customers, we feel so guilty that we haven’t been able to do anything for them,’’ she said.

    ‘‘The staff will miss all our customers, half our customers have been coming here since day one.

    ‘‘They will turn up next week and there will be nothing left.’’

    Sam said the restaurant was still popular and business had picked up since the new owner took over.

    It was unclear on Sunday what Wests Group planned to do with the space or whether another restaurant would replace the Silver Dolphin.

  • Attackson police and ambulance officers show disrespect for the uniform

    Date: 2018.12.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    THEY are supposed to be the people we rely on to keep us safe and alive. But more violent attacks on Hunter police officers and paramedics have added to concerns that respect for those in uniform has hit an all-time low.

    Two police officers were set upon by up to nine drunken men at Shoal Bay early on Sunday, just 13 hours after two paramedics were allegedly confronted by a drunk armed with a broken bottle at Carrington.

    The incidents have prompted senior police to question the prevalence of coward attacks on their officers as the ambulance union fears its members may need self-defence training and be forced to arm themselves with weapons.

    ‘‘It’s not just the alcohol and the drugs, there has been a gradual change to the community mindset where such disrespect has become commonplace,’’ Health Services Union spokesman Warren Boon said.

    ‘‘I fear there is a growing lack of respect for paramedics in the community as part of a growing general lack of respect and aggression.

    ‘‘The community needs to have a good look at itself and there needs to be a good, prolonged campaign to change that mindset back.’’

    A male paramedic neededtreatment after he was allegedly assaulted by a drunk 38-year-old on Young Street at Carrington about 12.40pm on Saturday.

    The officer and his partner were allegedly threatened by the man armed with a broken bottle. He was later charged with assaulting an ambulance officer, assaulting a police officer, offensive language and obstructing police in the execution of their duty.

    It follows at least nine other violent assaults on paramedics across the Hunter this year.

    ‘‘No one is happy at any level, from government to management to the paramedics themselves, to say we have to be trained to defend ourselves or even discuss options of us needing defensive equipment,’’ Mr Boon said.

    ‘‘You join the ambulance service because you care, but if nothing changes or things continue to get worse, then things are going to have to be put into place.’’

    Port Stephens police local area commander Superintendent Craig Rae has described the attack on two of his officers in a Shoal Bay street about 1.45am as ‘‘cowardly’’.

    The officers had responded to reports that a man was damaging cars in Harwood Avenue.

    It is alleged that when they attempted to arrest the man, a struggle ensued.

    He was hit with a Taser, after which up to nine other men began bashing the officers.

    Both suffered facial injuries and one needed hospital treatment.

    The men left before a 20-year-old suspect, alleged to have been the man damaging the cars, was arrested and charged with two counts of assaulting police.

    The Nelson Bay man was granted strict conditional bail.

    Superintendent Rae said detectives were looking at closed circuit television footage from nearby businesses to hunt down the men who assaulted the officers.

    ‘‘This is a cowardly attack by a group of hoodlums on two police officers who were only trying to do their job and go home safely to their families at the end of their shift,’’ Superintendent Rae said.

  • OPINION: Lessons from Rosetta

    Date: 2018.12.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    The surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as filmed by Rosetta’s lander.THE eyes of Hunter stargazers might have been on the Rolling Stones on Saturday night but in Europe the heavenly body grabbing everyone’s attention was the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, otherwise known as 67P.

    By any measure, the 10-year-flight to reach and land on a six-kilometre-long comet 500million kilometres from Earth is one of the great feats of human engineering and ingenuity.

    The images streamed back from the Rosetta Spacecraft – named for the Rosetta Stone that unlocked the keys to Egyptian hieroglyphs – are amazing in their clarity.

    In recent weeks we have learned that space could smell, given the molecular signals of rotten egg gas and formaldehyde, among other chemical compounds, detected by Rosetta.

    Then there’s the comet’s “music”, low-frequency oscillations at about 40-50 millihertz that the European Space Agency converted to human hearing range.

    Such observations are just a skerrick of what Rosetta should beam back to Earth to help us in our eternal quest to decode the universe. So many of the “facts” that are accepted as conventional wisdom in cosmology are derived by inference rather than measurement, and the Rosetta data is already challenging some of the basics of comet science.

    In its online introduction to comets, the European Space Agency describes the widely accepted 1950s theory of comet formation – known as the “dirty snowball”.

    The European agency says comets were born in the outer reaches of the solar system, 4.6billion years ago.

    “Far from the sun, they formed out of icy material as well as some rocky matter and this turned them into the ‘icebergs’ of space,’’ the agency says.

    But for a group of scientists, researchers and others who formed The Thunderbolts Project in 2004, Rosetta and 67P is the best chance yet to prove their underlying hypothesis of an “electric universe”.

    One of the Thunderbolts leaders, Australian physicist Wal Thornhill, explains the theory: “A web of electrical circuitry connects and unifies all of nature, organising galaxies, energising stars, giving birth to planets and, on our own world, controlling weather and animating biological organisms.”

    The Thunderbolts propose that most of the craters we see on the moon – and on other bodies, including comet 67P – are not left by physical impacts, but by incredibly powerful electrical discharges.

    They make a detailed case for their conclusions, but at a purely commonsense level they point to the tiny size of a comet like 67P and the massive improbabilities involved in such a small body being repeatedly hit (but not blown to pieces) in a series of physical collisions across the almost unimaginable distances of its orbit.

    Against that, if you look at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre web page, you’ll find volumes of information and images about “lunar impact flashes”, including information for amateur astronomers wanting to help NASA build its impact data base.

    Regardless of who’s right and wrong, there is little doubt that 67P has revealed a very different surface to the one postulated by science before the Rosetta flew close enough to generate images.

    First, there’s the shape. The European agency had expected a “potato” but found a “double-lobed structure with a head and a body separated by a narrow neck”.

    The Thunderbolts team has posted photos of a very similar object (but much smaller) it says was formed by an electrical discharge through a sample of haematite (iron ore).

    Then there’s the surface – charcoal black, with sharp cliffs, peaks, pits and boulders. Not quite a dirty snowball.

    More data will emerge over the coming months, especially if Rosetta’s solar panels can recharge its batteries when the comet moves into a more favourable position early next year.

    But if the Thunderbolts view gains any acceptance, it will be time to revisit the heretical ideas of the late Russian academic, Immanuel Velikovsky.

    A friend of Einstein’s, he was drummed out of academia in the early ’50s for suggesting that the “hammers of the gods” – the heavenly battles recorded in every early culture – were the collisions of comets with the solar system within human memory.

    Something to think about …

  • EDITORIAL: Labor’s Newcastle resurgence

    Date: 2018.12.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    IT was an emphatic victory.

    Aaron Buman told his volunteers they could pack up at lunch.

    Brad Luke’s challenge was over as soon as the first numbers from the booths came in.

    Labor’s Nuatali Nelmes will lead Newcastle City Council as lord mayor until 2016, continuing her party’s resurgence after regaining the state seats of Newcastle and Charlestown last month.

    Cr Nelmes’ election confirms that voters are willing to give Labor another go, but it has come on the back of many promises.

    Cr Nelmes has promised to get the expansion of Newcastle Art Gallery back on track, to reintroduce funding for war memorial services and to unwind the cuts to lifeguards at the city’s beaches.

    She has vowed to reintroduce environmental programs previously cut, to protect public pools and protect council jobs.

    Cr Nelmes’ agenda isn’t just a new direction for the council, it’s a 180-degree turn.

    This is a council that in recent years has cut services, programs and staff as it attempts to get its budget back in the black. This is a council previously run by a bloc of mostly conservative and independent councillors in agreeance that cuts had to be made.

    Cr Nelmes’ election does not simply challenge that dynamic.

    As well as increasing expenditure to improve council services, Cr Nelmes also opposes the cut to the heavy rail line into Newcastle.

    This, of course, is in direct opposition to the state government’s plan to start ripping the line up next month, which was previously supported by former lord mayor Jeff McCloy.

    Together with Newcastle’s new state Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp, the volume of opposition to the removal of the rail line has grown a little louder with Cr Nelmes’ election, providing a contrast to the previous harmony between the Coalition, its now former Liberal MPs for Newcastle and Charlestown and Mr McCloy.

    But just as voters will have another say on the state government and its MPs in March, some voters in Newcastle will also be able to express a view at the ballot box with regards to the council in the near future.

    A byelection will now be held for Cr Nelmes’ vacant seat in Ward 3.

    Voters already fatigued by the state byelection will be forced to trudge back to the ballot box again in the coming months.

    Another vote and a new councillor could alter the political dynamic in Newcastle once again.

    If voters were previously frustrated with a lack of direction for Newcastle, they will be exhausted by the opportunities they’ve had to shape their city during this period of profound change.

  • COMMENT: Fans have suffered enough – it’s time for FFA to stop the Tinkler rot

    Date: 2018.12.16 | Category: 南京夜网 | Response: 0

    ►David Lowe: Sluggish Jets a mile off the pace

    ►Middleby pleads for supporters to forgive team

    THE presence of FFA chief executive David Gallop at Hunter Stadium on Friday night was perhaps the only positive to emerge, from a Novocastrian point of view.

    Hopefully the chorus of boos at full-time, after the Jets were embarrassed 4-0 by Brisbane Roar, did not go unnoticed by Gallop or his colleagues in the corridors of power.

    FFA would be unwise to assume the frustration vented by a section of the 10,216-strong crowd was purely a reaction to a dismal on-field performance.

    This sense of disillusionment has been snowballing at an exponential rate.

    In four years under the ownership of Nathan Tinkler, the Jets are yet to feature in the finals.

    In that time, more than 40 players have come and gone – not including those on this season’s roster – and four coaches have occupied the hot seat before the appointment of Phil Stubbins.

    Friday’s performance left many long-time supporters convinced it was Newcastle’s worst since the A-League kicked off 10 years ago, and the fear is the Jets may not yet have hit rock bottom.

    Judging by their form over the first six weeks of the season, it will require a mighty revival to avoid the wooden spoon, let alone qualify for the playoffs.

    To lay the blame solely on the players and Stubbins would be unfair. No club reaches this level of sustained dysfunctionality without deep, ingrained problems – issues that can only be resolved once Tinkler has relinquished control and moved on.

    That is why Gallop needs to rethink his comments during an interview with the Newcastle Herald last week, in which he insisted: ‘‘It’s not in our plans to own the Jets or any other A-League team … we don’t want to own A-League clubs, full-stop.’’

    FFA officials seem content to bide their time after Tinkler’s decision in August to place the Jets on the market.

    But there would appear to be two compelling reasons for the governing body to be pro-active and step in to rescue the struggling club.

    Firstly, Tinkler has not been inundated with offers to buy him out, and every week this saga drags on delays the process of moving forward.

    The Newcastle Knights, in contrast, are already well advanced in rebuilding the club and reconnecting with the community after the NRL ousted Tinkler in June.

    They have appointed a new board of directors and are understood to be close to securing a major sponsor.

    Soon the tumultuous Tinkler era will be a fading memory for Knights fans.

    The quickest way the Jets can get to a similar position is for FFA to make the struggling tycoon an offer and then on-sell the franchise. If that means funding the club’s operations on an interim basis, as the NRL is doing with the Knights, so be it.

    Eventually, you would assume, such an investment will prove money well spent.

    The other reason for the FFA to buy Tinkler out is that quite simply they owe him a favour.

    When former owner Con Constantine experienced financial difficulties late in 2010, FFA approached Tinkler on spec and, despite having no real interest in the round-ball code, he agreed to take over.

    He has since spent millions on the Jets, albeit apparently begrudgingly since his unsuccessful attempt to relinquish the licence in 2012.

    Tinkler may have been a problematic type and it is unlikely there is much affection for him or his former right-hand man, Troy Palmer, behind the scenes at FFA.

    It can’t have been much fun doing business with either of them.

    But fair’s fair, FFA. Quid pro quo.

    Repay Tinkler his pound of flesh, even if that is merely helping him settle whatever liabilities the Jets may have racked up, and allow him to move on.

    While this waiting game continues, it is hard to see any winners.

    The greatest asset the Jets have is their long-suffering supporters. That they still have about 9000 members (10per cent fewer than last year) is nothing short of remarkable.

    But after every performance like the loss to Brisbane, those fans are entitled to query why they bother. FFA needs to act before the boos Gallop heard on Friday night fade into total indifference.