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    Forgacs boss says strike is taking toll

    29/12/2018 - Author: admin

    NCH NEWIN FAVOUR: Forgacs workers at a mass meeting in Hexham vote for strike action yesterday. Picture: Dean Osland DANIEL WALLACE
    Nanjing Night Net

    Campaign extended

    FORGACS workers have voted to extend their campaign of industrial action after a mass meeting of about 250 union members at Hexham on Thursday.

    Day shift and afternoon shift employees at the company’s various workplaces in Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane voted to strike for another four hours today.

    A further 16 hours of industrial action is possible over the coming fortnight.

    Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Daniel Wallace said the industrial action was having an impact on the company’s efforts to load naval destroyer hull modules scheduled to go by barge from Newcastle to Adelaide.

    Yesterday’s mass meeting was a robust affair at times, with plenty of calls for the union to “get tough” with the company.

    Afterwards, workplace delegates, including union state councillor Greg Duncan, defended the strike campaign, saying pay and conditions at Forgacs were clearly below those at comparable companies.

    “They have publicly applauded us for the quality of our work yet used a supposed lack of quality against us in negotiations for a new enterprise agreement,” Mr Duncan said.

    Forgacs chief executive Lindsay Stratton said he was disappointed with the vote to extend industrial action but thanked “the 170 employees who are covered by the enterprise agreement and who chose to work through the stoppage to minimise the impact on our customers”.

    He said Forgacs’s customers in mining and other industries were also affected by industrial action that was costing “hundreds of thousands of dollars a day”.

    He said the 250 or so people who voted to strike were only about one-third of the enterprise agreement workforce.

    “We believe our wage offer is appropriate in today’s environment and remain committed to achieving a balance between what the union wants and what we can afford to pay,” Mr Stratton said.

    The company was offering two annual increases of 3.5 per cent and a third-year increase of 3.75 per cent.

    Mr Wallace said major sticking points over shift penalties and overtime rates needed to be settled before the union would look closely at the percentage increases.

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    Man pleads guilty to role in murder

    - Author: admin

    THE man who helped dispose of Jay Riley’s body and the murder weapon pleaded guilty yesterday to accessory after the fact to murder and will face a sentence hearing later this year.
    Nanjing Night Net

    William Hamilton lived in a shed at the rear of Adam Thompson and Jade Fennell’s Greta home when Thompson told them that he had shot and killed Mr Riley, a statement of facts said.

    Thompson and Mr Riley had met at Mount Sugarloaf on the evening of December 14, 2009, where Mr Riley was to sell Thompson some drugs before Thompson produced a gun then fired it from close range.

    Thompson, who is serving 20 years for murder, stole Mr Riley’s cash and drugs then put Mr Riley’s body in the boot of Mr Riley’s car before Thompson drove home.

    He told Fennell and Hamilton what he had done and the trio returned to Mount Sugarloaf the next night after Fennell and Hamilton threw the shotgun into the Hunter River.

    Thompson drove Mr Riley’s car to Minmi where he dumped the body in a creek bed.

    They then drove to bushland near Abermain and torched Mr Riley’s car before driving home.

    Mr Riley was reported missing by his family three days after the killing.

    Police quickly identified Thompson as a suspect after linking their mobile phone records.

    He and Fennell were arrested in May 2010 and Fennell quickly confessed.

    When police informed Thompson about what Fennell had told them he admitted shooting Mr Riley, but said Mr Riley had lunged at him before the gun went off.

    Hamilton was in jail in Queensland for a robbery when he was extradited in late 2010.

    He pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court to being an accessory after the fact to murder and was committed to the Supreme Court next month.

    Fennell was jailed for two years with a non-parole period of one year, which expired in March last year.

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    GALLERY: Gatsby red carpet 

    - Author: admin

    Carey Mulligan at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith Danielle Spencer at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith
    Nanjing Night Net

    Tobey Maguire at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Actress Elizabeth Debicki at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

    Joel Edgerton at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

    Directer Baz Luhrmann at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

    Catherine Martin at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Alexis Blake at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams Getty Images

    Emma Freedman at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Danielle Spencer at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Team Joel members on The Voice, Danny Ross(left to right), Kiyomi Vella, Michael Paynter and Michael Stangel at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Deborah Hutton at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Barry Otto with daughter, Gracie at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Tobey Maguire at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Elizabeth Debicki at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Kate Ritchie at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Delta Goodrem at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Joel Edgerton, Baz Luhrmann, Elizabeth Debicki, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Catherine Martin at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Joel Madden at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Marco Del Grande

    Catheine Martin at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Crowds gather at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Crowds gather at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Carey Mulligan at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    Danielle Spencer at the red carpet premiere of The Great Gatsby in Sydney on Thursday night. Picture: Danielle Smith

    IN New York they draped feather boas from crystal chandeliers at The Plaza Hotel, in Cannes they sipped Moet under an art deco dome overlooking the Cote d’Azur, but it was in Sydney that Baz Luhrmann really let his hair down.

    Last night the red carpet snaked its way through Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter for the Australian premiere of Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the final stop in a two-week global promotional campaign.

    Despite the chill and wet, with a guest list of 1200, the Sydney premiere and after-party eclipsed those in New York and Cannes.

    Dancers dressed as flappers shivered through the Charleston and champagne flowed as the VIP guests, who ranged from Ricky Martin to Kate Ritchie, made their way down the ruby pile.

    For just one night, New York in the Roaring Twenties had been re-created in Sydney, complete with jazz bands, dancers hoisting giant bottles of Moet and models dressed as elegant flappers dripping in Tiffany diamonds.

    At the after-party, guests were greeted with a 10-metre Moet champagne tower, a replica of the one featured at Gatsby’s hedonistic parties. In all 700 magnums were on hand to keep the guests watered. Guests included Barry O’Farrell, Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch, Gillian Armstrong, George Miller, Barry Otto, Seal, Skye Leckie and Ryan Stokes.

    It was a way for Luhrmann to thank the city in which he created Gatsby, a $180 million production, underwritten by taxpayers to the tune of $40 million, but which had managed to keep Sydney’s struggling film industry ticking over.

    It had also provided one of the greatest celebrity conga-lines Sydney has seen in years, with daily sightings of Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio filling gossip columns for weeks, from his late-night partying to cruising on the harbour with a bevvy of beauties. Notoriously camera-shy during his four months in Sydney, DiCaprio lived life to the full, just as his character Jay Gatsby does on screen.

    However DiCaprio was missing from the Sydney premiere, having pulled out at the 11th hour citing a ‘‘scheduling change’’, only to have been spotted in a Cannes nightclub.

    The absence of DiCaprio, who reportedly earned $12 million, was evident among the media pack covering the red carpet, but also resulted in co-stars, including Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Debicki, Jack Thompson and Joel Edgerton being able to bathe in the limelight.

    Luhrmann, and his creative collaborator wife Catherine Martin, hired events supremo Tony Assness to recreate Jay Gatsby’s West Egg party mansion. Assness used many of the props, costumes and sets featured in the film which had been created by Martin, following years of researching the period.

    And while some critics have savaged Lurhmann’s take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, the film has knocked off spectaculars such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness in box office. As Luhrmann arrived at the premiere it emerged The Great Gatsby had taken $135 million worldwide, and on track to eclipse Moulin Rouge!, Strictly Ballroom and Australia as Luhrmann’s most successful film in his 22-year-career yet.

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    Syrian war spilling over borders

    - Author: admin

    Tensions are rising along Syria’s borders as government forces battle to regain control of a strategic border town from rebel fighters.
    Nanjing Night Net

    An exchange of fire between Syrian and Israeli forces on the Golan Heights lent weight to warnings the civil war could become a regional conflict. It is feared this could draw in Israel and Iran, which sponsors the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, and harden the fault line between Shiite-ruled nations backing President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Sunni-led Arab nations that support the rebels.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Jordan for a meeting of the Friends of Syria group of nations in Amman on Wednesday, to press leaders from 10 other nations to back a US-Russian effort to end the conflict with peace talks next month.

    Intense fighting continued for a third day in Qusayr, held since February by the Free Syrian Army.

    The border town of 25,000 has been a key rebel supply route. Videos filmed by activists showed the now familiar images of streets reduced to rubble, residents digging for survivors and the bloodied bodies of children. At least 64 civilians had been killed and hundreds wounded, local activists said.

    Although Syrian state media reported gains by government troops, with support from Hezbollah, it was clear they also suffered significant losses. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicated at least 31 Hezbollah fighters had died.

    The US has expressed concern about Hezbollah’s involvement.

    ”It is the most visible effort we have seen of Hezbollah to engage directly in the fighting in Syria as a foreign force,” a State Department official said. ”We understand there are also Iranians up there.”

    ”The Assad regime is regaining ground,” a Syria analyst who did not want to be named said. ”If things continue as they are now it is quite possible that Assad will stay in power.”

    Others urged caution, with Mona Yacoubian, a senior Middle East adviser at the Washington-based Stimson Centre, warning that Syria would likely be trapped in a ”deadly stalemate”.

    ”To view this as a turning point where the revolution will wither on the vine … would be wrong – this is offensive and counter-offensive and what this means is more misery and more death,” she said.

    Some were using the regime’s gains to argue for military intervention by the West – a move Ms Yacoubian said would only result in more civilian deaths and casualties.

    The obvious presence of Hezbollah fighters alongside Assad regime forces did, however, mark a turning point, said Shlomo Brom, a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies and a retired Israel Defence Forces brigadier-general.

    ”Hezbollah have been helping the regime for a long time but … this is a new thing. Their involvement earlier was not so blatant,” he said.

    Israeli forces returned fire into Syria after a military jeep was damaged by shots fired overnight, prompting armed forces chief Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz to warn Dr Assad: ”If he disturbs the Golan Heights, he will have to bear the consequences.”

    More than 80,000 people have been killed, according to the UN, and 1.5 million people have fled since the conflict began.

    with agencies

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

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    Pope’s laying on of hands stirs devil of a debate

    - Author: admin

    Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
    Nanjing Night Net

    The question has bubbled up ever since the Pope laid his hands on the head of a young man in a wheelchair after celebrating Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, shook, then slumped in his wheelchair as the pontiff prayed over him.

    The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference reported on Monday it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed there was ”no doubt” that Pope Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil.

    The Vatican was more cautious. On Tuesday it said the Pope ”didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone who was suffering who was presented to him.”

    Fuelling the speculation is Pope Francis’ obsession with Satan, a frequent subject of his homilies, and an apparent surge in demand for exorcisms among the faithful despite the irreverent treatment the rite often receives from Hollywood.

    In his first homily as Pope on March 14, he warned cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel the day after he was elected: ”He who doesn’t pray to the Lord prays to the devil.”

    He has since mentioned the devil on a handful of occasions, most recently in a May 4 homily when in his morning Mass in the Vatican hotel chapel he spoke of the need for dialogue – except with Satan. ”With the prince of this world you can’t have dialogue: Let this be clear,” he warned.

    Experts said Francis’ frequent invocation of the devil is a reflection of his Jesuit spirituality and his Latin American roots, as well as a reflection of a Catholic Church weakened by secularisation.

    In recent years, Rome’s pontifical universities have hosted courses for would-be exorcists on the rite, updated in 1998 and contained in a red leather-bound booklet.

    AP

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

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