December, 2018

A life, almost lost, reborn

Before: Craig, 43, three months ago after being bashed by a woman he knew. After: Craig in a recent Santa photo with Wollongong Homeless Hub manager Julie Mitchell. He’s now in rehab and getting his life back on track.The firstphoto shows a man who’s been bashed and battered –mentally as well as physically.The second, a clean-cut man getting into the spirit of Christmas.
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It doesn’tlook like the same man, which is fitting because Craig doesn’t feel like the same person either.

Seven weeks sober, the 43-year-old is confident he can finally change his life around –a life that has been plagued by alcoholism, homelessness and violence.

He started drinking at nine years old, was living on the streets by 13. He’s tried to get clean before, but ended up back on the drink to ‘’forget the bad times’’.

Then three months ago, Craig was bashed by a woman he knew on his birthday. After he was discharged from hospital, and back sleeping rough, a gang attacked him and broke his toes with a hammer.

It was then that he decided he’d had enough of that life, and withhelp from the Wollongong Homeless Hub and Wollongong Hospital he’s making a new life.

Now in rehab interstate, Craig wanted to share his story to let others in the grip of addiction,homelessness or at risk of violenceknow that help is available.

‘’It’s hard living on the streets –you’ve got to be careful where you sleep or you might get robbed or bashed where you sleep,’’ he said this week.

‘’You drink a lot to keep warm, to forget the bad times. But living rough, bunking in this house or bunking in that house, it’s not a life and I finally realised that that’s not the life I wanted anymore.’’

His transformation bringsJulie Mitchell -the manager ofWollongong Homeless Hub and Wollongong Emergency Family Housing –to tears.

It was Ms Mitchell, and her team, who picked Craig up –time and again –and who never gave up on him.

‘’I met Craig a year ago –he’d been assaulted then and his jaw had been broken and he came in one day and I gave him baby food to eat,’’ she said.

‘’Wetried to get him into rehab many times –it wasn’t that he failed, it was the system that failed him. He steadily went downhill and told me that he wouldn’t be alive by Christmas.

‘’We’ve finally found him the help he needs. However Craig’s story only highlights the absolute need in Wollongong for more housing, more crisis accommodation, and more money forrehab services.’’

Ms Mitchell hopes Craig stays on the right path; she’s pretty sure he will.‘’I’ve seen thechange in him –this time he’s really focused.’’

He recently came back for a visit to thank Ms Mitchell. They saw Santa in a shopping centre and decided to have a bit of fun and pose for a photo.

‘’I felt like a kid again,’’ he said. ‘’I’m not sure I ever got a photo with Santa before.’’

Illawarra Mercury

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Big Picture competition 2015: Winner and finalists announced

The winning picture for the Big Picture competition 2015. Photo: Sally HintonSelecting from the best of travel images submitted, Fairfax photographic editors Mags King, Leigh Henningham and Fairfax photographer Steven Siewert have chosen a winner in the latest round of Traveller’s The Big Picture competition in association with Fairfax Media’s Clique Photographers Association.
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The shortlisted images for this round of judging in The Big Picture competition were nothing short of refreshing, according to the judges.

“There is a sense of the natural without being contrived and indicative of people being more comfortable with photography and in a world with temptations such as Instagram and filters there was very little trickery in terms of manipulation of the images.”

Thanks to all of our readers for the hundreds of entries, some of the best of which are shown here.

Congratulations to Sally Hinton, who will travel with a partner or friend to Japan, courtesy of Singapore Airlines (economy class), staying three nights at the Conrad Tokyo and two nights at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto with all breakfasts and a seven-day JR Rail Pass (ordinary class), courtesy of Singapore Airlines Holidays.

Keep reading Traveller and see 梧桐夜网traveller南京夜网419论坛 for more information about our next competition.

Jane Reddy, deputy national editor, travel.THE WINNERDATELINE BOTSWANA, AFRICA

These impala bucks were frisky one winter’s morning, entertaining a baboon as they leapt about the water hole in the Mashatu Game Reserve. Sally HintonJUDGES’ COMMENT

Titled A Leap of Faith by its author, this image is playful and dynamic. It’s not unexpected to see a dramatic wildlife scene of a stampede, for example, entered into a photographic competition so it is quite refreshing to see a wildlife image that is clearly of a moment, an impala in flight with a single baboon as a spectator. The image creates a light-hearted scene that is balanced in composition – as though it was contrived, yet we know it could not have been. The frame is panoramic in shape which, if cropped, could have accentuated the moment but we feel that the space on the right balances the jaunty leap. The photographer has captured a great moment of travel. THE SHORTLISTED FINALISTSDATELINE: HIMBA VILLAGE, NORTHERN NAMIBIA, AFRICA

Photo: Jenny Fowler

“A fascinating image and interesting play on perspective with the hairdo and the wall.” DATELINE: ARNARSTAPI, ICELAND

Photo: Gordon Shaw

“So bleak and beautiful. The solitude and the placement of the house is a good composition and a nice change of pace in travel photography when there is often a bombardment of activity.” DATELINE: UOLEVA ISLAND, TONGA

Photo: Seb Maupas

“Physically and technically this can be a very difficult image to capture and the photographer has done very well. There’s emotion in the eyes of the calf. The serenity and beauty of the whale up close has been captured.” DATELINE: VARANASI, INDIA

Photo: Jane Sheers

“An intimate moment captured. Compared to the,usual rich colours of Varanasi it’s a beautifully sparse image.” DATELINE: SKAGAFOSS, ICELAND

Photo: James Stone

“Beautiful use of the shutter speed with a sense of scale and perspective.” DATELINE: ANTELOPE CANYON, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES

Photo: Todd Kennedy

“It’s a good use of colour at the right time and would’ve been helped to have a person or object to give a sense of size and scale.” DATELINE: LAKE CLARK NATIONAL PARK, ALASKA

Photo: Kathryn Soddy

“A playful and different wildlife pic showing another side of a wild animal’s life. The image is to the point with nothing to detract from it, with just the animal, grass and horizon.”

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Teenager drowns after work Christmas party on a houseboat

Bailey Maher, 18, who drowned during his work Christmas Party. Photo: Facebook “Rest easy up there big fella:” Friends remembered Bailey Maher, 18, in messages on Facebook, after he drowned in the Hawkesbury River. Photo: Facebook
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Friends have paid tribute to an 18-year-old man who drowned in the Hawkesbury River during a work Christmas party on Friday night.

Bailey Maher, a roof tiler from Camden, was on a houseboat with his family and colleagues when he went swimming just before 8.30pm.

His family called triple-zero when he failed to return, and police helicopters, divers, state emergency services and NSW Marine Rescue combed the area on Friday night and Saturday morning.

But more than 14 hours after he went missing, his body was found.

As the news of his death broke on Saturday afternoon the heartbroken friends of Mr Maher, a former Camden High School Student, took to social media to pay tribute to the teen.

School friend Greg Bentham wrote “there is nothing that can explain the pain it feels to lose a best friend”.

“You were the closest thing I had to having a brother and will be dearly missed by all who loved you,” he said on Facebook.

Another friend, Connor Bates, said on Facebook “rest in peace Bailey Maher you will always be my best mate and I will never forget the memories we’ve shared together, rest easy up there big fella”.

Just after midday on Saturday the NSW search and rescue helicopter, Westpac Life Saver, tweeted that it was returning to base.

Hawkesbury Police acting inspector Andrew Martignago said that Mr Maher’s family were devastated.

“One man dived in to the water and then another person saw that he was having difficulties in the water,” Hawkesbury Police acting Inspector Andrew Martignago said.

“Other witnesses dived in to assist, but they lost sight of him.”

At about midday on Saturday the Westpac Live Save helicopter Tweeted that the body of Mr Maher had been found.

“Sadly, the body of the missing 18-year-old male has been located. RIP,” the rescue service wrote.   UPDATE: Lifesaver 21 returning to base. Sadly, the body of the missing 18 year old male has been located. RIP— Westpac Life Saver (@Lifesaverhelo) December 12, 2015

At the time of the man’s disappearance a southerly change with winds of up to 50 km/h was making its way down the coast.

NSW Police are preparing a report for the coroner. 

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Cronulla riot put to rest: Shire looks forward to Australia Day

Picture: John VeageUpdate Monday:
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Police and Sutherland Shire residents have been praised for their response to the activities of extremist groups on the tenth anniversary of the Cronulla riot.

Cronulla MP and Environment Minister Mark Speakman said residents made a strong statement by boycotting the so-called anti-Islam and anti-racism events on Saturday, which he described as “fizzers”.

Mr Speakman suggested the community’s stand would help lay to rest images of the 2005 violence.

‘‘Hopefully, now the community has voted with its feet and said, ‘We are beyond those events’, we can have closure, and people can recognise what a predominantly tolerant, decent and harmonious community Cronulla is,’’ he said.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said, from the briefings he received in the lead-up to the anniversary, he was always certain police were prepared.

‘‘Everything I was told went to plan,’’ he said.

‘‘I thank the police and other emergency services, and council staff, as well as the community for their co-operation, which resulted in there being no major incidents.

‘‘We can now look forward to our celebration of Australia Day, which shows what the shire is really made of, with a great range of events at Illawong, Engadine and Cronulla.’’

See more in Wednesday’s Leader.

Do you think the situation was handled well?

Anti-fascist activists from the Antifa group confronted anti-Islam protesters in Don Lucas Reserve in Cronulla. Photo: James Brickwood.

Saturday3.30pm: The tenth anniversary of the Cronulla riot was markedby more violence, but on a much smaller scale than seen 10 years ago and local residents stayed away.

A group of about 150 anti-racist protesters verbally abused and jostled people theyconsidered to be anti-Islamic, and there were clashes when police intervened.

Two people were arrested.

However, the protesters on both sides were gone by 3pm and Cronullawas back to normal.

Police ensure protestors leave by train peacefully.

Cafés were packed, the mall was busy, surfersdefied a cool breezeand kites flew over Elouera Beach.

The barbecue held by the extreme right wing group Party for Freedomhad finished, and the anti-racist protesters had gone home by train.

Protestors arrive. Picture: John Veage

Residents heeded the pleas to stay away from Wanda, making the task ofpolice much easier.

Police remained vigilant, but it appeared there would be no further disruption.

Cronulla MP Mark Speakman said the so-called “anti-Islam” and“anti-racism” events were complete “fizzers”.

“They were organised by vocal outsiders and poorly attended'” he said.

“Locals stayed away from both events. I haven’t come across a singlelocal who said they attended, or were planning to attend, eitherevent.

Pro-Islamic protestors.

“Cronulla has moved on from 10 years ago. Sadly there’ll probablyalways be pockets of hatred and bigotry on the far right and the farleft. Cronulla, however, is predominantly a tolerant and cohesivecommunity, which I’m proud to represent.

“I thank the NSW Police, other State Government agencies andSutherland Shire Council for their comprehensive efforts over severalmonths to protect the local community and maintain public safety.

“We’re enormously fortunate to have such competent and dedicated police in NSW.”

2pm:

Flankedby police, the protesters marched along the Esplanade toCronulla, changing slogans such as, “Say it loud, day it clear,Muslims are welcome here”.

They made their way past the scene of the riot in 2005, past the rockpools and up through Cronulla Park, where children were playing.

Police and protestors.

Police were waiting for them at every point, and kept them in a tightcorridor as they progressed to the railway station, where they were marshalled on to a train.

There were a few heckles along the way, but there appeared no be nofurther incidents after initial skirmishes with police at Wanda.

Fortunately, the Party for Freedom was well away, having theirbarbecue at the northern end of Don Lucas.

At Wanda, some people regarded as anti-Islam protesters were set uponby the pro-Islamic group.

The anti-racist group included members of Antifa (anti-fascism), dressed in black with black face masks.

Some anti-Islam protesters were shoved and abused as “f— fascists”.

One middle-aged woman draped in an Australian flag caught in the crowd was surrounded by 20 to 30Antifamembers who shouted at her to “take that fascist flag off now”.

A man in the crowd yelled “burn that flag and burn that woman”.

Police arrested two pro-Islamic demonstrators.

1.30pm:

Pro-Islamic supporters clashed with police when they staged a rival rally to the group commemorating the Cronulla riot.

While only about 60 people attended the barbecue in Don Lucas Reserve that replaced the rally organised by the right-wing Party for Freedom,a group of about 150 pro-Islamic supportersgathered in the park above Wanda surf club.

Police formed a cordon around them, but they staged a rolling protest,heading along the Esplanade towards Cronulla.

11.30am:

By 11am senior police had formed the view the gathering at Don LucasReserve would be “a non event”.

Only a small group of supporters were present when Nick Folkes arrivedat Don Lucas Reserve dressed in a burqa, which he removed as soon ashe finished a media conference.

Security: Police on patrol on Saturday. Picture: John Veage

As he did when he woreIslamic clothing during a court appearanceearlier in the week, he denied he was mocking Muslims but was “justmaking a point about the way Australia is headed”.

Chief Inspector Mark McGrath gave Mr Folkes instructions on what hecould and couldn’t do as a result of the court orders.

Nick Folkes and supporters. Picture: John Veage.

11.15am:

Chief Inspector Matk McGrath questioned Sergio Redegalli, who arrived with a spit and a pig to roast.

Cronulla riot put to rest: Shire looks forward to Australia Day Chief inspector Mark McGrath with Nick Folkes, wearing a burqa.

Nick Folkes after the press conference.

Sergio Redegalli, who arrived with a spit and a pig to roast.

Party for Freedom barbecue.

Police at Crinulla station as protestors arrive.

Police patrolling Cronulla on Saturday morning..

Residents were out walking their dogs.

Residents walking their dogs.

Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce was an early starter and asked residents to stay Way later in the day.

Police patrolling Don Lucas Reserve.

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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group buys South China Morning Post

Beijing: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has acquired the South China Morning Post, a move which simultaneously signals its intention to expand its media influence beyond mainland China while sparking fears around editorial independence at the venerable Hong Kong newspaper.
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Announcing the deal on Thursday night, Alibaba, founded by one of China’s richest and most recognisable billionaire businessmen, Jack Ma, pledged to uphold editorial independence while leveraging the group’s digital expertise to transform the 112-year-old English-language newspaper to a media entity with global reach.

But in interviews, Alibaba Executive Vice-Chairman Joseph Tsai hinted at a desire to improve China’s image in what he considered a “negative” portrayal of the company’s home country in western press.

“Today when I see mainstream western news organisations cover China, they cover it through a very particular lens,” Executive Vice-Chairman Joseph Tsai said in an interview withthe Post. “We believe things should be presented as they are. Present facts, tell the truth, and that is the principle that we are going to operate on.”

Mr Tsai denied the Chinese government played any role in Alibaba’s decision to acquire the media assets of the Hong Kong-listed SCMP Group, which include other smaller fashion and lifestyle publications. The purchase price was not disclosed.

But mainland ownership of one of Hong Kong’s most recognisable mastheads comes at a politically delicate time in a city where many are concerned about encroaching mainland interests and a perceived decline in its free press. The territory of 7 million also remains sharply divided after last year’s citywide pro-democracy demonstrations, which were imbued with strong anti-mainland sentiment.

Hong Kong’s relatively free press is not subjected to the same strict government oversight and censorship the Communist Party requires in mainland China. And while the Post has come under criticism in recent years for its increasingly pro-Beijing stance under recently departed editor-in-chief Wang Xiangwei, it has produced powerful and award-winning coverage of issues which were censored heavily in the mainland, including extensive reporting of the Occupy protests and last year’s 25th anniversary of the military crackdown of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

The paper also reports on human rights abuses and sensitive political scandals in mainland China in consistent detail, all of which may prove awkward, if not untenable, under the ownership of Alibaba and Jack Ma, known for his close ties with China’s central leadership.

“We’ll let the editors make their judgment on what to publish and not to publish,” Mr Tsai told the New York Times. “I can’t think of anything being off-limits.”

In 2013, a Post reporter was forced to apologise and resign after Alibaba complained she had misquoted Mr Ma. The story said he had compared the tough decision-making skills required to run Alibaba with the Chinese government’s crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 by saying: “As the country’s most senior decision-maker, he had to be stable and he had to make cruel decisions. It was not the perfect decision, but it was the best decision, and it was the best decision at that time.” The reporter was suspended and subsequently resigned.

Like most traditional media companies, the SCMP has struggled with declining profitability amid a fragmenting readership and advertising market, and some analysts said the injection of Alibaba’s undoubted financial heft and innovation could benefit the flagging title.

Alibaba, best-known for its online shopping platforms Tmall and Taobao Marketplace, has pledged to invest in the business, hire more staff, and leverage its digital expertise to grow its global audience. It will remove the website’s paywall.

In recent years, Alibaba and Mr Ma have made extensive investments in social media platform Weibo, the YouTube-like Youku, and various domestic media outlets including China Business News.

Mr Ma and fellow billionaire tycoon Wang Jianlin, founder of Wanda Group and also known for his close ties with the Chinese government, have also invested heavily in areas favoured as a priority in the Communist Party’s global soft-power push, including in film production, the arts and football.

The Post was once part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire but since 1993 has been in the hands of Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok.

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