Archive For 09/28/2018

La dolce vita

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LIVING in Rome about 12 years ago, the opportunity arose to move to Naples for work.
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When I asked my two male,Neapolitan flatmates where a single, female foreigner should live in a city that gets somewhat of a bad rap for crime and its rampant garbage disposal problems, the response was underwhelming. They rattled off practically every suburb in the historic centre and warned me of the rampant schippi (pickpocketing) by thugs on vespas.

I threw caution to the wind, jagged a tiny apartment on the top of a crumbling palazzo in the Spanish Quarter -the area my flatmates hadwarned me about most -and had two of the most colourful years of my life.

Naples is a sprawling, noisy, dirty metropolis that also happens to exude raw beauty at every turn; it intoxicates and infuriates the visitor or resident in equal measures.

Did I mean noisy or nosy? Actually, both. Neapolitans are a generally squat, raucous but affectionate population who tend to believe your business is their business.

If you bypass Naples enroute to the comparatively flashy Amalfi Coast, be warned you are missing one of the most intriguing historic centres and cultural hubs in Italy.

StrollSpaccanapoli –thenarrow, cobbled street that splits the old city –and take in artisan shops, museums and churchesas you eat a folded street pizza that costs 3 euro. Stop in a bar for a caffe corretto (with a dash of liquor) and baba (rum-soaked cake) or sfogliatella (a ricotta-filled pastry).

Provided you are not wearing a Rolex or dripping in jewels, you should be perfectly safe.

If you veer off Via Toledo and walk uphill into the Spanish Quarters, you’ll pass bassi, or street-level apartments, with their front doors cast open to the world and spy old men sitting on rotting chairs playing cards.

There are many excellent museums and divine churches to visit; two highlights aretheMuseo Cappella Sansevero, home to the exquisite marble Veiled Christ; and thePio Monte della Misericordia museum, housing Caravaggio’s The Seven Acts of Mercy.

Catch the central funicularto Vomero and walk to Sant Elmo Castle to take in amazing views over the city and ask yourself why Sophia Loren has always qualified she’s Neapolitan, not Italian.

The port of Naples provides quick sea access via ferry or hydrofoil to idyllic holiday destinations favoured by the locals: Sicily and the Aeolian Islands; the Amalfi Coast; the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida.

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‘Solution is still to put light rail on the corridor’

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Transport for NSW(Transport) warned the government in Document 71 of very serious problems arising from trams in HunterStreet and actually recommended light rail should run in the corridor.
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Yet Transport’s briefing to council on June 20 proceeded on the assumptionthattrams in Hunter Street were now preferable. The extremely serious problems of space constraint,high road traffic impact, increased journey times and additional costremain.

Trams in Hunter Street will still meanremoval of street parking andloading zones,which will have on ongoing adverse impact.

Transport’s advice in Document 71 was that light rail in the corridor “would provide a faster journey, be more cost effective, would minimise impact on the traffic network and be delivered within the existing budget allocation.’’

Nothing in Transport’s presentation of June 20 suggested that any study has been done since Document 71 to overcome the problems. The solution is still to put light rail on the corridor.

The nine traffic related commitments imposed on government by a unanimous councilresolution onOctober 13, 2016,were to assure the communityand council that the very serious problems arising from trams in Hunter Street would be resolved.The Transport presenter did not mention the government’s report on these commitments.

Our submission to councillors,which included reports by experienced traffic and transportengineers, advised, before the briefing, that the governmentreport had addressed onlythree out ofnine traffic-related conditions. Furthermore, the Parking Strategy and Active Transport Strategywere unacceptable because they had not been integrated with other elementssuch as light rail, parking plan, cycleways and buses.

CONDITIONS: The author argues the council needs to amend the corridor rezoning plan before public exhibition. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Thepresenter advised that the draftGreater Newcastle Future Transport Plan would be releasedlater. However,thatdraft will still include tramsin Hunter Street, soit will do nothing to relieve the traffic and other problems created by running trams in Hunter Street.The major commitment is toconduct an evidence based study, to prove conclusively that the rail corridor is not needed for transport.Nothing was produced.

Accordinglyit would be wrong to place the plan to rezone the corridor for developmenton exhibition when the most likely outcome is that the corridor is needed for transport.The fact that the government is unable to comply with all nine conditions, is itself evidence that the corridor is needed for transport.

It is puzzling that the Lord Mayor coulddeclare on June 21 that thegovernment officials had convinced her that the rail corridor rezoning plan should be released for public consultation.

The most effective way for government to meet the commitments of theunanimous resolution of October 13, would be forcouncil to amendthe rezoning plan, before public exhibition; so that it:

[a] provides for rails to be installed on the rail corridor and for light rail vehicles to operate, not in Hunter Street but in the existing rail corridor from Worth Place to Newcastle Stationand

[b] requires any buildingson that light rail corridor route to be constructed so that all light rail vehicles wherever necessary can passunder buildings so that an effective railservice canoperate between Worth Place and Newcastle Station.

Alan Squire is theconvener, Hunter Transport for BusinessDevelopment

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Get connected to country

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UNIQUE ELEMENTS: The Conservation Land Management Diploma which has been specially tailored for Aboriginal land management teams in the lower Hunter. Hunter Local Land Services is working with the Hunter Aboriginal Community Advisory Group to develop aprogram to train local Aboriginal land management teams and team managers in conservation land management.
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The Conservation Land Management Diploma course was tailored to meet the needs of Aboriginal land management teams in the Lower Hunter.

Itincludes indigenous fire knowledge, Aboriginal cultural heritage identification and assessment.

As part of the course the students participated in a cultural burn in Lake Macquarie in 2016, with an Indigenous cultural burning expert and the NSW Rural Fire Service.

They also took part in a survey of cultural sites with an Aboriginal archaeologist on travelling stock reserves in the Upper Hunter.

“The Aboriginal students that are now completing this course have a strong connection to Country,”Hunter Local Land Services Aboriginal Land Services Officer, Toby Whaleboat, said.

“When you see them out on their Country, they want to learn and they want to do things to manage their Country properly, and that’s what this course is all about, assisting them in managing their Aboriginal lands.

“When we recruited students for the course we had seven that were keen to complete the course, and now here we are at the end of the course and those seven are still here and about to finish their diploma.

“And we’re really looking forward to them walking across that stage when they graduate and then going on to achieve their goal of working on Country.”

A new batch of students from Aboriginal land management teams are currently being recruited from the Manning Great Lakes district to undertake the Conservation Land Management Diploma.

Contact Aboriginal Land Services Officer, Toby Whaleboat on 4938 4946 or email [email protected] to find out more.

For more information about the diploma, visit and follow the link to “Training up to work on Country”.

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‘He is looking forward to his day in court’: George Pell charged with sex offences

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Victoria Police are expected to announce charges against Cardinal George Pell on Thursday. Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, will face historical sex offences.
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Victoria Police has confirmed Cardinal Pell has been charged on summons over multiple allegations and is due to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18 for a filing hearing.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton providing an update on an investigation:

A statement from the CatholicArchdiocese of Sydney said Cardinal Pell hadbeen informed of Victoria Police’s “decision and action”.

“Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name following advice and approval by his doctors who will also advise on his travel arrangements.

“He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously.

“He has again strenuously denied all allegations.”

Cardinal Pell is the third most senior Catholic at the Vatican, where he is responsible for the church’s finances. He is likely to step asidefrom his Vatican post while he fights the charges.

Victoria’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Shane Patton, confirmed in a brief press conference on Thursday morningthat Cardinal Pell had been issued with multiple charges relating to historical sexual abuse allegations.

The charges were served on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday, Mr Patton said.

“There are multiple complainants relating to those charges,” he said.

Mr Patton said there had been a lot of speculation about the process that has been involved in the investigation of Cardinal Pell.

“The process and procedures that are being followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offences, whenever we investigate them,” he said.

“Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation.”

Police did not take any questions during the press conference and did not detail what the allegations were.

Mr Patton said it was important that due process was followed.

“Preserving the integrity of that process is essential to us all and so for Victoria Police, it is important that it is allowed to go through unhindered and allowed to see natural justice is afforded to all the parties involved, including Cardinal Pell and the complainants in this matter,” he said.

All was quiet at Cardinal Pell’s Romanresidence as the news broke.

He lives in a block of apartments on a square just outside the Vatican walls, metres from St Peter’s Square, and a minute’s walk from the doors to the Basilica.

Security is tight in this part of Rome – an army jeep with two alert, armed soldiers sits on the corner of the square, another on the other side of the wall – and the police presence in this part of the city is constant.

But there are no lights on in the building and the city was quiet in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Thursday is a public holiday in Rome – the fiesta of St Peter and St Paul. It’s a day whenmany natives traditionally head to the beach.

But despite the apparent peace in Rome, the announcement is set to send shockwaves through the Catholic Church in Australia and around the world.

Cardinal Pell has retained leading Victorian criminal barrister, Robert Richter QC, and it is likely some of the argument that Mr Richter will make in court will concern the question of whether Cardinal Pell can receive a fair trial given the large amount of pre-trial publicity.

However, a legal source told Fairfax Media that the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, John Champion, has been assessing whether Cardinal Pell should face charges of rape, buggery or indecent assault.

As Australia has no extradition treaty with the Vatican, Cardinal Pell may avoid prosecution should he choose not to return to Victoria, but he is expected to come back to fight the charges.

Three detectives from Victoria Police’s Sano Taskforce travelled to Rome to interview Cardinal Pell about the allegations last year after he was declared unfit to travel to Australia.

He has repeatedly and emphatically denied all allegations, but said he would continue to co-operate with the police investigation.

Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat before becoming Archbishop of Melbourne and then being appointed as a Cardinal.

TheCatholic Archdiocese in Melbourne has been contacted for comment.

When it comes to historical sex abuse prosecutions, the charge an alleged offender faces, and the applicable maximum penalty, is determined by when the alleged offence occurred. There have been several overhauls of sexual offence laws since the 1980s.

The Age

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School’s controversial Stolen Generations lesson draws parents’ ire

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Kynan Wykes, 10, and his year 4 class thought they were starting a normal school day when a nun walked into the classroom at 9.30am on Tuesday, holding a letter that she said came from the Prime Minister’s office.
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“This is emotional abuse”: Natalie Wykes with her son, Kynan. Photo: Janie Barrett

Their parents weren’t looking after them well enough and they would be taken away, she told students at St Justin’s Catholic primary school in Oran Park. They didn’t believe it at first and some of the students went to the teacher to ask if it was true. She said it was real, and several started crying.

Some couldn’t eat their lunch and Kynan started thinking of ways to escape before the end of school day.

It wasn’t until about 2.50pm that they were told it was all part of a lesson on the Stolen Generations and were asked to write down how it made them feel.

“This is emotional abuse,” Kynan’s mother Natalie Wykes said.

“He came home and he said, ‘Mum, I got really scared at school today’. This should never happen to another child.”

Tim Gilmour, assistant to the director of schools in the Catholic diocese of Wollongong, which oversees St Justin’s, defended the activity but said the school would look at how it could be “refined”.

“This was intended to givestudents experience of a scenario that was part of our nation’s history,” Mr Gilmour said.

“We wanted to ask them how they would feel if we did that now.

“It was done without incident last year and quite a lot of parents said the activity was a good one.”

Mr Gilmour said three year 4 classes at the school had done the activity, but only two were told early on that it was role play.

“I understand that it was not done as well as it should have been in one class,” he said.

“Seven students became a bit distressed but they were reassured by their teacher and made to understand the context of the activity. [We’ll] certainly look at how it can be refined to get the best outcome.

“And if it’s deemed it’s no longer appropriate, we’ll look at whether it needs to be changed significantly or just amended to include more context.”

Mr Gilmour said he was not aware of any other school in the Catholic system that ran a similar activity.

Mrs Wykes and another parent, Mary Jane Turner, whose nine-year-old son Tyrone is in the same year 4 class and suffers from anxiety, said they were now considering taking their children out of the school because of the incident.

“Tyrone came home very distressed and he was crying,” Mrs Turner said.

“We just had to keep telling him, ‘You’re home now, we wouldn’t let something like that happen’.”

“He couldn’t eat lunch because he was so upset. The school knows Tyrone’s not your typical child and I just can’t believe they would do that.

“I get doing it for a lesson, but doing it for the whole day … building fear in children isn’t going to teach them anything.”

Mrs Wykes said she was looking at moving Kynan to the local public school after she complained to the St Justin’s principal about the activity on Wednesday.

“While we were there Kynan said, ‘The army can come and take us away at any time’. The principal said, ‘You know that’s not true’, and Kynan said, ‘No, they can’, and [the principal] just sort of didn’t say anything to that,” she said.

“[The principal] said it probably did go a bit too far but then showed me an email from a parent congratulating the year 4 teachers on a job well done. When children start crying you know you should stop. My son said, ‘I wanted to escape’.”

Another parent at the school, who did not want to be named, said she supported the aim of the activity but thought it could have been done better.

“I don’t have a problem with the idea of it because empathy’s a great thing to have,” she said.

“But I have some questions around if they made it clear that it was just a re-enactment.

“My son didn’t seem that upset when he got home but he got a bit distressed when I asked him about it.

“A lot of people were saying, ‘Can they do that, is that allowed?’”

The Sydney Morning Herald

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