Archive For 07/28/2018

Short Takes

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AFTER the fifth negative opinion published against the Supercars, I begin to wonder what it takes to have an opinion matter? Do you have to live in Newcastle East; have some sort of professional job with letters in your name and be against the Supercars? There are people who support the Supercars whose opinion matters and we all don’t have a degree in whinging, but would just like a fair go when it comes to being heard.
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Mark Creek,AdamstownIT’S time the Newcastle Herald stopped publishing readers ‘opinions’ on the existence of climate change. We all have a right to express anopinion on fashion, music, food or footy, but climate change is an established scientific fact. It’s only a matter of ‘opinion’ on how we should deal with it.

Mac Maguire,CharlestownAS the Abbott and Turnbull feud rolls on it has become apparent the only reason Tony Abbott hangs around is because he wants another shot at being prime minister. Give him a go I say, and hopefully at the next election he will suffer the samefate as John Howard in 2007, not only lose government but his own seat. Maybe then he will disappear out of our lives. He will not be missed.

Darryl Tuckwell,EleebanaI HAVE a solution for the whingers of Newcastle East worried about the noise from the V8 Supercars, go on a holiday for a week. It’s that simple.

Danny Wilks,Hamilton NorthTHIS Sunday I’ll be going down to watch the mighty Knights get spanked again by the woof woofers. Glad the game is at Belmore, at least I can get a quality kebab. Joooeeeeeyyyy save us.

Gerard Mullit,Hamilton SouthIT amazes me the Australian public does not support Tony Abbott’s push to become the leader of the opposition.He has all the qualifications required as a great white-anter. Oh to have friends like him.The mind boggles as to what further great revelations he will come up with regarding the destruction of our Australian values and economy.

Ross Taylor,Tea GardensWHY is there always money available for sporting facilities, but not for our art gallery?

Sue Fower,WaratahWITH the removal of native vegetation in the heritage-listed Coal River Precinct, by Supercars, maybe an appropriate re-planting species would be ‘Bougainvilleas’. Spring flowering, thorny, but unfortunately goes feral when let go, out of control.

Tony Lawler,NewcastleLABOR has had some great leaders; Chifley, Whitlam and Hawke, but began to slide with Keating, and then with Rudd and Gillard the downhill move continued. With Shorten and Plibersek they have made it to the bottom rung. No ideas or personality, just whinging without a constructive thought. Let’s hope they stay in opposition.

Don Fraser,BelmontTHE POLLSWILL Australia have an electricity sector with zero emissions by 2050?

No 64.57%,Yes 35.43%

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Robert Dillon: Seven Days in League

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THURSDAY OH NO: The front page the Newcastle Herald was initially planning to publish after Origin II, before the footballing gods intervened.
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SEVEN DAYS, most people understand, is a column written tongue-in-cheek. Anattempt to find a few light-hearted skerricksamongthe winner-takes-all, blood-and-thunderintensity of modern-day rugby league.

This columnist would like to think that occasionally, perhaps once or twice a season, someof my loyal readers (Mum, Dad, the Maitland Maniac) stumbleupon a one-liner they find mildly amusing.

Today does not appear to be one such day.

Today the phone is running hot as I field a barrage of calls from elderly, private-school alumni wearing tweed jackets and RM Williams boots.

The cause of their angstis last week’s column.

In particular the entry under Wednesday, which accuses Merewether-Carlton rugby union players of being “soft” for not wallowing in a Townson Oval quagmire that has been overrun by water buffalo.

They have also been offended bymy observationthat rugby union is not so much the game they play in heaven, but rather “the game they play in skirts”.

They seem to have taken it all literally, and rather personally.

This makes me feel terrible. How could I have been so insensitive?

With a heavy heart, I start pondering a retraction, and an apology, followed by my resignation.

Then I remember that rugby union is the sport in which Alan Jones was regarded as a super coach, David Campese played 100 Tests without making a tackle, and Matt Dunning was considered an elite athlete.

I snap to my senses. Maybe it’s time to launch a Seven Days in Unioncolumn so I can take the piss out of the rah-rahs every day of the week.

Meanwhile, a reader points out that the rival publication who have left the Knights off the competition ladder for the past two weeks has ramped up themind games.

Newcastle, courtesy of last week’s convincing win against the bye, have leapfrogged above the Tigers.

Yet in the points table published, the Knights are 15th… and 17th.

Is any further evidence needed that this is a conspiracy?

FRIDAYDEVASTATED Blues forwardWade Graham is beating himself up after NSW’s Origin II second-half collapse.

“I f—ing let in the tackle that let them back in it,”Graham tellsThe Sydney Morning Herald.

“I feel like I’ve let down the entire state. That missed tackle.

“You have to nail it and I didn’t nail it and I’ve let the whole team down.”

It’s time to let Graham in on a secret that might provide him with a measure of solace.

It wasn’t really his fault. The blame for defeat belongs entirely to the Newcastle Herald, in particular editor Heath Harrison.

Ten minutes into the second half, with NSW 10 points in front, Heath makes a fateful decision.

He sends a photo and proposed headline to artist Tracy Peters, who designs a front page celebrating a famous NSW victory: “OH YEAH! BLUE HEAVEN AS NSW END THE MAROON ERA”.

At that instant, the Blues are struck by an ancientcurse. The footballing gods will never tolerate such impertinence.

It is provenfact that any time journalists take a punt on a sporting event’s outcome, and startwriting headlines or intros in advance, disaster will strike.

The game will turn on its head, and a matchwinning try or goal in the dying seconds will punish the perpetrator.

For ignoringa time-honoured superstition, Heath paysthe ultimate price. Wade Graham and the Blues are the collateral damage.

SATURDAYIN A reminder of how overrated Johnathan Thurston is, the Cows eke out a 14-12 victory over the Pennies.

A few hours later, the Roosters beat the Storm in a golden-point thriller at Adelaide Oval, but it is surely a moral victory for Melbourne, who are without Origin stars Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers.

Not that you would have noticed.

The Storm are so impressive, in particular rookie half Brodie Croft and hooker Brandon Smith, that coach Bellamy faces tough selection decisions next week.

Maybe the Queensland quartet will have to come back though reserve grade. Alternatively, it might be a good time for them to retire, effective immediately.

SUNDAYST GEORGE Illawarra spring a cunning ambush on the Knights at Kogarah Oval.

Aware that Newcastle have been in frontat half-time in seven games this season and won only one of them, the Dragons strategically concede a 28-10 lead at the interval.

Hence the Knights are right where the Dragons want them, and the home side produce a Winx-like finish to win 32-28.

MONDAYNEWS from Brisbane catches my attention, where apparently Queensland coppershave organised a public competition to name a new police dog.

One of the favourite names tossed up is “Gagai”, after the two-try hero of Origin II.

Sounds like a fitting honour to me. Only thing is I’d suggest the great Dane is more of a greyhound than a German shepherd.

TUESDAYHALFBACKLuke Brooks provides an insight into the Wests Tigers’ mindset as they prepare forSunday’s clash with Newcastle.

“We’ve got a bye the weekend after, so it could be a four-point game,’’ Brooks declares. No point arguingwith that logic.

WEDNESDAYNEWCASTLE City Council decline to reveal if Real NRL clubs Souths and Wests have been fined for the state in which their home grounds were left after torrential rain two weeks ago. Hopefully it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that council has approved aneight per cent rise for ratepayers next financial year.

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Karen Martini’s Vietnamese chicken and rice noodle soup

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soupVietnamese chicken and rice noodle soup
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3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 cinnamon quill

2 star anise

10 cloves garlic, crushed

10cm ginger, peeled and sliced

1 red onion, sliced

1.7kg organic chicken with the breasts removed

2 tbsp salt

2 stalks lemongrass

6 kaffir lime leaves, whole

6cm piece galangal, sliced

3lt cold water

3 tbsp fish sauce

50g palm sugar

6 spring onions, sliced on an angle

1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, each sliced in half

1kg wide fresh rice noodles, rinsed in hot water

3 large red chillies, sliced

250g bean sprouts

1 bunch of mixed herbs such as Asian basil, Vietnamese mint and standard mint, left as sprigs to be picked at the table and piled into the broth

1 lemon, cut in wedges

1. In a large stockpot add the oil and all the spices and toast for three minutes over a medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and red onion and cook for three minutes.

2. Add the chicken, salt, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal and water. Bring to a simmer over a high heat, reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for one hour.

3. Lift the chicken out and strain the broth.

4. Put the strained broth back on the heat, season with fish sauce and palm sugar and bring back to a simmer.

5. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull all the flesh from the legs and carcass.

6. Drop the meat into the soup along with the spring onions, shiitake mushrooms and noodles and heat for three minutes. Ladle into bowls and pass around the chilli, bean sprouts and the herbs and lemon to squeeze over.

Serves 4

Drink Jasmine tea or lager.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Airport warns of flight path housing deferral

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Canberra Airport says the New South Wales government appears to be deferring, not banning, residential development under noisier sections of a flight path south of the airport at Tralee.
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But late on Monday a NSW Planning and Infrastructure spokesman said this was not the case.

He said housing would only be allowed well beyond the noisier sections.

Last week NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard announced Tralee’s rezoning, saying it was a win for the developer and for the airport, because it allowed 2000 homes, but well outside aircraft noise contours known as Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts (ANEF).

Set by the federal government, the restriction allows housing up to 25 ANEF.

Mr Hazzard said the NSW government had focused Tralee’s development in low noise areas outside the 20 ANEF.

Airport managing director Stephen Byron said advice he received yesterday contradicted Mr Hazzard.

”The brief letter from the acting director general of planning is the first actual formal advice we have received on the matter,” he said.

In that advice, the acting director general says: ”I have decided to defer those lands between the 20 and the 25 Australian Noise Exposure Forecast contours.”

Mr Byron said the airport had suspected from the moment the announcement was made ”under cover of Melbourne Cup Day last week” that the remaining land in the area would not be protected from development.

”And the fact that this section of the development has been only ‘deferred’ is evidence that the NSW government, hand in hand with the developer, has every intention of making it open slather in that area.”

A NSW Planning and Infrastructure spokesman said the land was currently zoned rural and environmental protection. It would be rezoned for non-residential use only.

Mr Byron said simply to defer the development would mean it would come later, and if that bit came later there would be nothing to stop the building of up to 6000 houses originally planned there.

”While making the obvious point that aircraft noise does not stop at some invisible line as the minister seems to think, the inevitable outcome will be more and more complaints about aircraft noise, noise sharing across Canberra and Queanbeyan and a curfew which will utterly curtail Canberra Airport’s long-term growth plans,” he said.

Developer Village Building still has an option, subject to planning approval, to develop Environa, another parcel of land near Tralee.

Last week Village managing director Bob Winnel said the company was not looking at it at this stage and was focused on Tralee.

”We really don’t want to get into it, if anything comes up we will debate it at that time.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Royal commission is a victory for victims and all who support justice

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THIS journalist has covered a few dead trees with ink in criticising politicians for tardy and inadequate responses to clergy sex abuse of children.
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So it is with real pleasure that I, and surely most Australians, congratulate the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and her cabinet for calling a royal commission into institutional responses to child abuse.

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who some have cruelly claimed takes his orders directly from Cardinal George Pell, also deserves credit for offering the bipartisan support needed to smooth its path.

JOANNE MCCARTHY: Let the tears flow for a pain that is too great to ignore

The details, including the terms of reference, have yet to emerge, but Gillard’s announcement of the scope it will cover – all religions, state care, not-for-profit organisations, schools, child welfare agencies and police – is highly encouraging.

It is also encouraging that the Prime Minister suggested it would take as long as it needed. In Ireland, the process took nine years, but was deeply cathartic and gave the Catholic Church a metaphorical clean slate. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission had a similar role.

The argument by Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, on the weekend that the Catholic Church was no worse than other organisations and that calls were motivated by anti-Catholic prejudice were clearly self-serving, and it is appropriate that they fell on deaf ears.

As the Victorian inquiry has been told, nine out of 10 cases of clergy sexual abuse involves Catholic priests or brothers. And the response of the Catholic hierarchy was the most malign: obstructing police, shuffling paedophile priests, silencing victims and dissuading them from going to police. But victims of sexual abuse in other institutions, whether state orphanages or Jewish schools, must also have the opportunity to tell their stories.

It is uncertain where this leaves the Victorian parliamentary inquiry and the newly announced NSW inquiry about abuse in the Hunter Valley.

But it is the result that victims, their supporters, most of the Catholic faithful, and the wider Australian community have been seeking.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Genre fatigue – Where now for driving games?

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Most Wanted is about as good as street racing games get, but where else can the racing genre go?Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a well-made and entertaining street racing game.
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Sure, it isn’t perfect. For an open-world game, the playing area feels a little small, and the races seem to loop around the same handful of streets, but what there is offers a good variety of racing styles, from broad, straight freeways to tight and fiddly back alleys. The driving physics feel great, but the world’s geometry is a little dodgy, with more than a few weird collisions with invisible objects or sudden plummets through the ground.

The car selection also feels a little pokey – while the hundred-plus vehicles we get in a Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport title might have spoiled us a little, Most Wanted’s thirty or so seems a little slim, and the inclusion of some four wheel drives and pick-up trucks feels like wasted space. Worse still is the music selection, which got repetitive so quickly that I disabled in-game music within a few hours of beginning play.

Overall, though, this is a very solid street racing title from Criterion, whose Burnout series – especially Burnout Paradise – positioned them as kings of that subgenre. Still, the mention of Burnout Paradise is timely, as it could be argued that Most Wanted does very little that the earlier game did not. Some critics have even labelled Most Wanted “Burnout Paradise 2”.

All of this got me thinking: how much life is left in the racing genre, really? The Need for Speed series has already started repeating itself – Most Wanted is of course a remake/reboot of the game of the same name from 2005, and Criterion’s first title in the Need for Speed franchise was Hot Pursuit in 2010, a remake/reboot of Hot Pursuit 1 & 2 in 1998 and 2002 respectively.

While the new Most Wanted definitely feels good to play and features beautifully detailed cars and a gorgeously rendered realistic city (if perhaps a little small) in terms of game structure, there is pretty much nothing new going on.

Electronic Arts and Criterion have been touting this idea of becoming the “most wanted” illegal street racer in the city, taking out rival drivers until you are number one. In practice, though, it is just like any other racing league. You earn points in events or through activities in the open world, and when you accrue enough points you earn the right to challenge one of the city’s most wanted drivers and steal their vehicle. In practical terms, it is effectively identical to any other ladder ranking system.

I don’t want to detract from the quality of Most Wanted – Criterion has definitely done a great job on it – but it makes me wonder just how many ideas are left in the genre. How much longer can driving games of all sorts keep introducing new features and gameplay?

Perhaps more than any other genre, driving and racing seem to be the most in danger of simply running out of ideas. Dress them up however you like – set them in a science fiction fantasy world or a dark post-apocalyptic future, place them on closed tracks or in an open world – but in the end you’re always just working your way up a ladder, earning new vehicles and improving the ones you already have.

Now, I’d like to hear from you, readers. Am I totally off the mark here? Do you think racing games have a bright and diverse future ahead of them, or do you share my worry that it’s a genre in danger of terminal stagnation? Please share your thoughts below.

– James “DexX” Dominguez

DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Local stocks set for steady start

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Join the Markets Live blog from 9.30am
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Australia shares are set for a steady start after cautious trade on Wall Street as investors awaited progress on the US fiscal cliff but European markets eased as EU ministers met over Greek debt.

On the ASX24, the SPI futures contract was 4 points higher to 4461. The Aussie dollar was stronger. It was recently trading at $US1.0431, up from $US1.0417 late yesterday. It was also buying 82.84 yen, 82.04 euro cents and 65.66 pence.

What you need to knowSPI futures are 4 points higher at 4461The $A is higher at $US1.0431In late trade, the S&P500 had added 0.06% to 1380.71In Europe, the FTSE100 fell 0.04 % to 5767.27China iron ore was flat at $US122.10 a metric tonneGold fell $US1.15 to $US1727.55 an ounceWTI crude oil fell 28 cents to $US85.79 a barrelReuters/Jefferies CRB index added 0.12% at 292.22

Making news today

In economics news:National Australia Bank monthly business survey for OctoberABS lending finance for SeptemberSpeech by Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) head of economic analysis department Jonathan Kearns to the Australian Business Economists lunch

In company news:Seven West Media annual general meetingIncitec Pivot full year results. Click here for all today’s AGMs

The dollar

The Australian dollar has risen on speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) might not cut its interest rate. At 7am the local unit was trading at $US1.0431, up from $US1.0417.

Westpac New Zealand senior market strategist Imre Speizer said the dollar had been buoyed by recent commentary suggesting the RBA would keep the cash rate on hold at its December meeting.

‘‘There’s that, then there’s recent evidence of China’s economic recovery,’’ he said. ‘‘Plus rumours that some central banks have been buying the Aussie dollar for their reserves.’’

Mr Speizer said that with scant other data due, he expected little movement in the Australian dollar for the next 24 hours.

Offshore overnight

Bonds

Spanish bonds declined, pushing the 10-year yield to the highest level in a month, as European finance chiefs meet to discuss further aid for Greece amid concern the region’s debt crisis remains unresolved.Spain’s 10-year yield increased seven basis points to 5.89%Germany’s 10-year bund yield was at 1.34%

United States

US stocks are mixed and treading water, despite encouraging China trade data that signalled renewed momentum in the economy and solid earnings from a key US homebuilder.

Key numbers:S&P 500 added 0.16% to 1382.04Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.02% at 12812.80Nasdaq Composite was down 0.10% to 2902.10

Europe

European stock markets and the euro treaded water as European Union (EU) ministers meet over Greek debt but are unlikely to release critically needed bailout funds.

Key numbers:London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.04% to 5767.27 In Frankfurt the DAX 30 added 0.07% to 7,168.76 In Paris the CAC 40 slid 0.35 per cent lower to 3,411.65

Asia

Asian markets were mixed as news that Japan’s economy shrank in the July-September quarter and fears over the US ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ offset another round of healthy Chinese data.

Key numbers:Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.93% to 8676.44 Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.21 to 21,430.30 China’s Shanghai composite added 0.49% to at 2079.27

How we fared yesterday

Australian shares have closed lower, dragged down by weakness in the mining and energy sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 14.02 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 4,448 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 12.56 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 4,469.9 point

BusinessDay with agencies

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Israel rejects Syrian ‘spillover’ as tensions escalate

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In a sign of increasing tensions between Israel and Syria as the two traded fire for a second day, Israel confirmed it no longer regarded Syria’s cross border incursions as a “spillover” from its 20-month long uprising.
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“Until 24 hours ago our assessment was that the ordinance that had landed in Israel was spillover from the internal Syrian conflict – unfortunately that is no longer our assessment,” an Israeli official said last night on the condition of anonymity.

“We are concerned that it is not stray fire,” the official said, but would not be drawn further on whether Israel had any plans to escalate its response on its northern border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was closely monitoring the situation and would “respond appropriately”.

“We will not allow our borders to be violated or our citizens to be fired upon,” he said.

Amid reports on Israeli television that Syrian soldiers had been wounded by a tank shell fired by the Israel Defence Force in response to Syrian artillery fire, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for “the utmost restraint”.

He urged Syria and Israel to uphold the Disengagement Agreement, and halt firing of any kind across the ceasefire line.

On Sunday, following a similar mortar attack from Syrian forces, Israeli soldiers fired a missile across the border in response.

The cross fire is the most serious military engagement between the two countries since the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six Day War in 1967 and has occupied the territory ever since, with the border area monitored by a United Nations observer force.

Israel filed a complaint with UN forces operating in the Golan Heights, stating artillery fire emanating from Syria into Israel would not be tolerated and would provoke a severe response.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio: “After a number of shelling incidents into Israeli territory during recent weeks, I instructed the IDF to respond in-kind should the situation recur.

“Today, another mortar shell was fired from Syria, landing on an IDF outpost. The Chief of Staff ordered the IDF to return fire on the mortar outpost [from which the mortar was fired]. This was a sign to Syria that we will not tolerate shelling into our territory.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Sesame Street stands down Elmo puppeteer after child-sex allegation

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The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on Sesame Street is taking a leave of absence from the popular childrens’ show over allegations he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
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Sesame Workshop said puppeteer Kevin Clash denies the accusations, which were first made in June by a man now 23.

“We took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action,” Sesame Workshop said in a statement issued Monday, US time. “We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation.”

The organisation described the relationship as personal and “unrelated to the workplace.” Its investigation found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. But it said Clash exercised “poor judgment” and was disciplined for violating company policy regarding Internet usage. It offered no details.

“I had a relationship with (the accuser),” Clash told TMZ. “It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not.”

Sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is at least 21. It was unclear where the relationship took place, and there is no record of any criminal charge against Clash in the state.

At his request, Clash has been granted a leave of absence in order to “protect his reputation,” Sesame Workshop said.

No further explanation was provided, nor was the duration of his leave specified.

“Elmo is bigger than any one person and will continue to be an integral part of ‘Sesame Street’ to engage, educate and inspire children around the world, as it has for 40 years,” Sesame Workshop said in its statement.

“Sesame Street” is currently in production, but other puppeteers are prepared to fill in for Clash during his absence, according to a person close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to publicly discuss details about the show’s production.

“Elmo will still be a part of the shows being produced,” that person said.

In addition to his role as Elmo, Clash also serves as the show’s senior Muppet coordinator and Muppet captain.

Clash, the 52-year-old divorced father of a grown daughter, has been a puppeteer for “Sesame Street” since 1984. It was then that he was handed the fuzzy red puppet with ping-pong-ball eyes and asked to come up with a voice for him. Clash transformed the character, which had been a marginal member of the Muppets gang for a number of years, into a major star rivaling Big Bird as the face of “Sesame Street.”

Among children and adults alike, Elmo was quickly embraced as a frolicsome child with a high-pitched giggle and a tendency to speak of himself in the third person.

“I would love to be totally like Elmo,” Clash said in a 1997 interview with The Associated Press. “He is playful and direct and positive.”

Besides “Sesame Street,” Elmo has made guest appearances on dozens of TV shows. He starred in the 1999 feature film “Elmo in Grouchland.” And he has inspired a vast product line, including the Tickle Me Elmo doll, which created a sales sensation with its introduction in 1996.

Along the way, Clash has become a star in his own right. In 2006, he published an autobiography, “My Life as a Furry Red Monster,” and was the subject of the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”

– AP

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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James Hardie directors lose final appeal

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SEVEN former James Hardie directors have lost an appeal to scrap penalties and disqualifications, ending a marathon legal battle over the board’s 2001 decision to release misleading information about a compensation fund for asbestos victims.
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But the fine for former company secretary and general counsel James Shafron was increased from $50,000 to $75,000 and a seven-year ban as a company director was kept because he held key actuarial information about the fund.

The other directors – Meredith Hellicar, Michael Brown, Michael Gillfillan, Martin Koffel, Dan O’Brien, Greg Terry and Peter Willcox – had five-year bans reduced to three years and fines cut from $30,000 to $25,000, and to $20,000 for two US-based directors.

(Former chief executive Peter Macdonald was not part of the appeal. In 2009, he was banned for 15 years and fined $350,000 for his role in forming the foundation and publicising it.)

But Justice Reginald Barrett said all company directors should make sure their opinions were noted.

”Value is often attached to collegiate conduct leading to consensual decision-making, with a chair saying, after discussion of a particular proposal, ‘I think we are all agreed on that’, intending thereby to indicate that the proposal has been approved by the votes of all present,” he said. ”Such practices are dangerous unless supplemented by appropriate formality.”

The case centred on the board’s February 2001 decision to approve a statement to the sharemarket that James Hardie would transfer two former asbestos-producing subsidiaries into a new ”Medical Research Compensation Foundation”. The statement said this was ”fully funded” to meet all asbestos claims – it ended up $1.5 billion short.

Public sentiment turned on what was seen as corporate bastardry. James Hardie had moved to the Netherlands, leaving a shrinking pot for asbestos disease victims.

ASIC launched legal action in February 2007 and in May this year the High Court confirmed the original Supreme Court ruling. The directors of James Hardie Industries were found to have breached their duty to act with care and diligence by approving the company’s release of a misleading statement to the market.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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