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  1. Number of homes lost in bushfire rises to 49

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    The number of houses destroyed in this week’s devastating bushfires near Coonabarabran has been revised up to 49, as firefighters brace for another wave of heat to hit the area on Friday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Rural Fire Service said the number of homes razed when a fire tore through the Warrumbungle National Park on Sunday had risen from an initial estimate of 33 to 49 on Thursday morning, and there was a possibility it could rise further.

    “As people are allowed to return to their properties, they’re identifying whether their houses have been destroyed,” an RFS spokesman said.

    “Obviously it’s very hard to determine initially between houses and sheds that have been destroyed in a fire.”

    The grim news comes as firefighters prepare for more extreme conditions on Friday, with the temperature expected to soar to 39 degrees in Coonabarabran. A change in wind direction is expected to hamper firefighting efforts and potentially expose more properties to the threat of fire.

    Sydney also is expected to swelter, with a forecast top of 38 degrees in the city and 42 degrees in the west on Friday, before cooler conditions for the weekend.

    On Thursday morning, the fire in the Warrumbungle National Park was burning in the Bugaldie area, one kilometre south of Bugaldie village and eight kilometres west of Coonabarabran.

    More than 200 firefighters are battling the 42,000-hectare fire, the worst in NSW for more than a decade.

    “Currently the fire is moving slowly to the east through private property under moderate winds,” the RFS said in a statement.

    “Firefighters are backburning to strengthen containment lines in the south-eastern part of the fire between Timor Road and Baradine Road. This is to protect isolated properties on the outskirts of Coonabarabran, as well as the Needle Mountain Communication Facility, ahead of deteriorating weather conditions today and into Friday.”

    By Thursday afternoon, properties in the Bingie Grumble Road and Carrington Lane areas, along with isolated rural properties along Tanabah Road, may be threatened due to increased wind speed and a change in wind direction.

    Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Francois Geffroy said north-westerly winds of between 20-30 km/h were forecast in the Coonabarabran area on Friday, before a south south-westerly change was expected to move through the area some time on Saturday morning.

    “Temperatures are going to be pretty warm at this point in time across most districts,” he said.

    Isolated showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop in the west and south of the state, extending to central parts by Friday evening.

    Increasing showers are forecast in Coonabarabran throughout the weekend.

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


  2. Gillard visits charred ‘moonscape’ of Coonabarabran

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    Click here to learn how to help the fire recovery effortPrime Minister Julia Gillard today flew into Coonabarabran to witness first-hand the devastating effects of the bushfire that claimed at least 51 homes.
    Nanjing Night Net

    She drove through the Timor Road in Warrumbungle National Park, the epicentre of the inferno, which opened Wednesday for the first time since the fire for residents to see the extent of their losses.

    Ms Gillard surveyed the charred countryside and blackened forests described by the Rural Fire Service as a “moonscape”.

    She saw the ruins of the home in which Bob and Jeanette Fenwick had raised four children.

    The Fenwicks also lost 33 cows and 250 sheep in the blaze.

    Their property is in the valley below the Australian Astromical Observatory where accommodation was destroyed, the site of which the Prime Minister also visited on Thursday.

    Mr Fenwick told Ms Gillard that when he arrived at the property there was nothing to be done to stop the flames.

    “We couldn’t do anything here. It was over. It was so fast,” he said.

    “Unbelievable really, isn’t it,” the Prime Minister replied, touching his arm.

    “I was up at the [Siding Springs] Observatory talking to people up there about how they looked out to see a narrow plume of smoke and then it’s just – whoosh and they are leaving as quickly as they can with flames at the height of the observatory tower. It was an amazing firestorm.”

    She said it was clear that sometimes residents just needed to get out and look after themselves.

    Ms Gillard added: “I have been looking at some of the houses as we have been coming up including ones that obviously had a huge firestorm behind them but because of the wind they have survived. There is just a randomness to it. It is hard to explain. You need to know a lot more about fire than I do to explain it.”

    Asked what they needed, Jeanette said, “Rain. Gentle rain.”

    HOW YOU CAN HELP

    Warrumbungle Shire Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal: Warrumbungle Shire Council has set up a bushfire appeal to ensure donations from the community reach their intended target. Donated money will be used to help residents who have lost everything as a result of the fire.

    The council has set up a special purpose bank account to accept donations via EFT:

    Account Name: Warrumbungle Shire Council Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal

    BSB: 062-524

    Photo: JACKY GHOSSEIN

    Vincent Morrissey surveys the damage in front of what used to be his home in Timor Road, Coonabarabran. The fire front now extends for 158 kilometres. Photo: JACKY GHOSSEIN

    Account: 10133579

    Bank: Commonwealth Bank

    Donations will also be accepted by cheque or payment at the council’s Coonabarabran and Coolah offices or at all Commonwealth Bank branches.


  3. Stosur slammed out

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    OH DEAR.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Oh, really. Just, oh. Sam Stosur’s latest Australian Open has ended early, disastrously and distressingly for another year, the ninth seed losing the last five games and her second-round match, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to China’s Zheng Jie. Did she choke? There could be no denying it, and she didn’t. ”I don’t know. Whatever word you want to put on it, at 5-2 up in the third, double-break, probably is a bit of a choke, yeah.”

    Stosur twice served for the match after leading 5-2 in the third set, but tightened up horribly when the finish line was within stumbling distance. Not for the first time, but this was awful to watch, and the double-fault to end – her ninth, among 56 unforced errors to 29 winners – was truly hands-over-the-eyes ghastly.

    And so, after a torturous two hours, 42 minutes, another summer ends for Stosur, in shockingly disappointing fashion, with one scrappy win from her four matches in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The same tally as last year, but with a similar, perhaps even more discouraging, lament.

    ”You make an error and you tighten up a little bit, but you try and reset and refocus before that next point,” she said of her third-set disintegration. ”Unfortunately, it just kept happening, point after point after point. Then crazy things start popping into your head, and before you know it, you’re back on even terms and really lost a lead that with two breaks in the third should never go away. Oh, I think it’s a hundred per cent [mental]. I got tight and then you start missing some balls. You probably think a little bit too much. You do it over and over and over again, and then, yeah, you start not wanting to miss rather than wanting to make the winner. Instead, it’s, ‘I don’t want to make the error’.”

    History suggested the match was decided early, for Stosur has won all 54 of the grand slam singles matches in which she has won the first set, but only six of the previous 37 in which she has fallen behind. This time she trailled, then levelled, then led, handsomely. But, for the second consecutive week, was unable to finish off her persistent Chinese opponent after leading 3-1 in the decider.

    The Queenslander had conjured an unconvincing straight-sets win over Kai-Chen Chang in the opening round, but met a higher-calibre opponent in Zheng, the world No. 40 and two-time grand slam semi-finalist. It was thought that the Chang win, just that, might be enough to help restore Stosur’s shaky confidence. Instead, it will be Zheng who plays German 18th seed Julia Goerges in the third round.

    ”Today I feel Sam Stosur is play much better [than] last week,” said Zheng. ”Kick serve and the big forehand. Also backhand slice is give me the big trouble. But today I try to play more aggressive. I try to go to the net, give her some pressure. I think this is my coaches tell me, give her some [of] the pressure, and this way is the key [to] win this match.”

    Stosur has reached a French Open final and two semis, and won the US Open just 16 months ago, beating the great Serena Williams in New York. But the 28-year-old now has two fourth-round appearances to show from her 11 Australian Opens, and it seems there will be no dislodging the hefty rhinoceros from her muscular shoulders any time soon.

    ”It’s difficult,” she admitted. ”It’s just hard no matter where you’re playing. You obviously want to play your best. I know I haven’t been playing my best. I’ve been trying to get to that point. Now, unfortunately, the summer is over as quickly as what it started again.

    ”I’ll do what I always do and keep playing and keep trying hard. I know I’m going to get over it. It’s just you want it now, not tomorrow.”

    So no happy ending. Just a terrible emptiness. And another chance gone.

    Oh. Just oh.

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


  4. Ben Stewart’s Italian dream

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    WINDSOR footballer Ben Stewart grew up playing rugby league with the Windsor Wolves, not knowing his family heritage would one day give him the chance to play international football.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Stewart has been representing the Italian national rugby league team for the past five years after former NRL player and Italian coach David Riolo asked him if he’d like to represent an Italian side at a rugby league carnival in Sydney several years ago.

    From there, he has gone on to help the national team to qualify for the World Cup later this year.

    Stewart’s Italian blood lies in his mother’s side of the family and he said playing international rugby league was the furthest thing from his mind while growing up as a youngster with the Wolves.

    “I never really gave it a thought because I didn’t even think Italy played rugby league, I just assumed it was all soccer and rugby union.

    “They’re trying to promote the game in Italy through the Australian-based players which will help strengthen the game over there and help the guys in Italy who aren’t too familiar with the rules of the game.

    “When we go overseas we get together with a lot of the Italian boys to show them a few skills and techniques so we can promote the game as much as possible.”

    Stewart was a part of the successful World Cup qualifying campaign that took him throughout Europe, playing against other hopeful nations in a bid to play on the world stage – and against the best players in the game.

    The Windsor Wolves club captain said making the World Cup had given the game a massive boost as it tries to compete against the might of football and rugby union.

    “We’ve probably advanced the game in Italy by 10 years just by making the World Cup. In the qualifiers we had one game in Italy and it was good to see the crowd out there supporting us,” Stewart said.

    “If we can get enough interest in the game it can be massive over there. Just by making the World Cup, it’s going to be in the newspapers in Italy and it will be in the news.

    “I’ve been able to play over in England, Wales, Scotland, Serbia and we went over to Italy twice, so it’s been a good way to see parts of Italy and the world while doing something I love.”

    Stewart played his role in the qualifying process – scoring a crucial try in Italy’s 19-all draw with Lebanon which was enough to see them through to the World Cup.

    Now that they’ve qualified for the tournament, Italy is going about strengthening its team even further and Stewart even predicted they could surprise a few of the more fancied sides when the tournament kicks off in England in October.

    “Because we’ve made the World Cup, they’ve scouted all the NRL, Queensland Cup and NSW Cup players that are Italian so they can get the strongest side,” Stewart said.

    “There’s a lot of good players in the NSW and Queensland Cups in the squad, along with a few NRL players.

    “Depending on how many NRL-based players they get, I think there’s a dozen eligible to play, I think they have a really strong chance and could make the quarter-finals.”

    Stewart urged any footballers to check up on their heritage, believing there was plenty of players out there who don’t realise the opportunities the modern game is providing them with.

    “Italy has an under-16s team and they’re really trying to promote the game and get the young Italian players together so they can start representing Italy,” Stewart said.

    “A lot of the other European countries are starting to do it, too, and realise there’s an avenue for young players to represent their heritage. It’s helped me play better. Being around NRL players and seeing how they conduct themselves at training and before games and seeing the environment has helped my game.”

    Ben Stewart helped Italy qualify for this year’s rugby league World Cup. Photo: Kylie Pitt

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


  5. Free ride could be their last

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    September 21, 2019 by admin

    tSource: The Advocate
    Nanjing Night Net

    Train surfers are at serious risk of being crushed to death within seconds, a Tasmanian train driver says.

    “It can only take one moment,” TasRail driver Grant Youd said.

    Mr Youd was speaking out after a recent incident that saw two train-surfing teenagers caught hitching a ride on a Burnie to Ulverstone train on Sunday.

    Mr Youd was not driving the train on this occasion, but it triggered a stark reminder of a similar incident when he was behind the controls.

    “I was driving south from Burnie and I had a notification from train control that there was a chap riding on the train,” he said.

    Mr Youd said the train surfer jumped off the train after it had been brought to a controlled stop, knowing he’d been spotted.

    “They jump into the scrub when the train stops and then when you take off, they jump back on again,” he said.

    “It is very frustrating because we are just trying to do our job.

    “We have different terrain and geography to negotiate, there are so many variables and we don’t want to have to contend with this as well.”

    Mr Youd said train surfers would normally hop on a train when it was travelling at a slower speed, therefore miscalculating the danger.

    “They have no knowledge of the trains and they don’t realise the carriages can move quickly and violently,” he said.

    “If they (the train surfers) fall, they will be run over.”

    He warned that trains were similar to cars in some ways, in that varied speed limits applied in different sections of the track, ranging from 15km/h to 60km/h.

    “At 50 or 60, there are some fearsome forces built up.”

    Mr Youd said drivers were instructed to bring trains to a controlled stop when required.

    “We can’t just slam on the brakes because trailing loads are not conducive to slamming on the brakes _ it could cause a derailment,” he said.

    Mr Youd said it was concerning there were still people who were struggling to grasp the message of safety around trains.

    He had experienced a number of near misses in his time as a train driver, he said.

    He said drivers reported all incidents, including the registration numbers of cars where possible.

    Mr Youd was at a loss to explain what further action could be taken to try and minimise these incidents.

    Mr Youd encouraged members of the public to continue to speak out if they saw incidents of dangerous behaviour.

    “I would ask the public to keep reporting these incidents,” he said.