Wine bar plan for arts centre

A COFFEE and wine bar could be opened in the Nautilus Arts Centre, adding to the revitalisation of the centre.
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A coffee and wine bar could be opened in the Nautilus Arts Centre, adding to the revitalisation of the centre.

Former local Jemma Schilling, who is returning home to Port Lincoln, and Elouise Dukalskis have approached the Port Lincoln City Council with their idea for a licenced coffee and wine bar offering coffee, light meals and a communal space for pre and post-dinner drinks.

The venue would not just be open for shows at the theatre and they believe it would have a positive impact on the centre.

It is proposed to be located in the the current box office area, small store room and kitchenette, and the office of the civic hall officer, which would be leased from the council at commercial rates.

The council voted this week to support in principle leasing an area of the centre for the business, which still has to go through the development application process and a lease is yet to be negotiated.

The proposal also has the support of the Nautilus Arts Centre Community Reference Group.

The council’s community development manager, Janet Grocke, said the reference group had discussed the proposal and was keen to have it investigated.

She said there would be issues to do with the gallery shop and office space for council staff but they would be considered further in the assessment of this proposal.

The council’s deputy chief executive Katrina Allen said a longer term possibility could be to use the courtyard between the Nautilus Arts Centre and the Civic Centre and possibly have seating in the Rotary Gallery and alfresco dining out the front of the centre.

However she said the whole concept was still subject to development approval.

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

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Joe’s flying high at just 15

HIGH FLYER: 15-year-old Joe Peter with flying instructor Earl Longstaff after completing his first solo flight.IT is never too early to start achieving your life goals according to 15-year-old pilot in training Joe Peter, who recently completed his first solo flight in a Jabiru aircraft.
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Joe, in Year 10 at the Port Lincoln High School, said he wasn’t even a little bit nervous before he flew without supervision for the first time.

Instead, he said he felt confident that he knew how to operate the aircraft.

“I knew I had the knowledge and ability to complete a circuit of the airport,” he said.

He has now done four solo flights and is halfway through completing his recreational aviation licence.

Once he sits his exam and completes the flying test he will be qualified to fly on his own.

He then intends to continue on to get his private pilot licence before ultimately becoming qualified to fly commercially.

Joe said he wanted to join the Royal Australian Airforce as a pilot flying transport aircraft after finishing high school.

His love for flying came from his father Graeme who flew gliders in Alice Springs.

Joe is also an avid model flying club member, spending hours building model planes and flying them every weekend.

His father said he was proud of Joe and said he would continue to support him in his flying while Joe still enjoyed it.

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

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Annual men’s foursome competition

THE Robe Golf Club competition on Sunday was the annual 27-hole Bruce Hinge Handicap Men’s Foursomes.
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Richard Bateman (left), Keith Couzner and Scott Sawyer have a practice before hitting the greens over the weekend.

Bruce was a valued contributor to the club as a member, volunteering his time and scooting around the course collecting green fees.

The seat up on the 15th tee block in his memory is there for golfers to take a load off as they come down from the back nine hills.

Winners on the day, by the narrowest of margins, were Sean Emery and Richard Bateman (net 108, gross 132).

David Murch and Andy Van Der Stelt were in second place (net 108.5, 140 gross) with third place going to Ian Regnier and Harold Manton (net 115.75, 139 gross).

This weekend is a stroke round, the combined first qualifier for the Handicap Championships, first round of the Caledonian Inn Trophy and also the Rymill Wines sponsored Monthly Medal.

On the following weekend is a stableford event, the first round of the John Leake Trophy on June 29.

On June 28 and 29 there is also the Robe Bridge Tournament, held at the Robe Golf Club.

Bar volunteers will be needed to assist Peter DeLaine.

July 6 is a stroke round for the second qualifying round of the Handicap Championship, Caledonian Inn Trophy and the Rymill Wines sponsored Monthly Medal.

The second stableford round for the John Leake Trophy will be on July 13, then the annual travelling round to Lucindale for the Cavpower tournament.

Come along and get your game tuned up with the mix of stroke and stableford events to suit all golfers coming up at the Robe club.

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

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Swans consider playing in Canberra

Manuka Oval. Photo: Graham TidySydney are considering playing premiership games in Canberra from 2017 as part of a move to increase the club’s flexibility with scheduling.
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The Swans say they will continue to play the bulk of their home games at the SCG, but Canberra and Spotless Stadium are emerging as contenders to play host for an “occasional game”, along with ANZ Stadium.

Sydney have not played a premiership match in the nation’s capital since 2011 but did play regular games there from 2003 against North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne – all smaller Melbourne-based clubs keen to sell home games outside of Victoria.

Swans chairman Andrew Pridham said the Canberra idea was only “exploratory” but said the ACT government was interested.

“Playing an occasional game in Canberra is an option we would look at,” Pridham said.

“It could be none, it could be one a year, one every two years, it could be a Melbourne team buys a regular slot in Canberra playing us.

“There’s all sorts of options we would look at. We have a lot of support and members in Canberra, so it’s something we’d think about, but we’re not about to play a whole heap of games there.”

The move would help safeguard the club from situations like this year when they were not able to get onto the SCG until round four due to the ground hosting Major League Baseball matches, or occasions when the season starts earlier and clashes with cricket.

The Swans are about to enter negotiations with the SCG Trust and ANZ Stadium for a new tenancy agreement after their deal expires at the end of the 2016 season. The current deal stipulates the Swans play three home and away games, plus home finals, at the Sydney Olympic Park venue.

Pridham said he was aware there were plenty of Swans members who preferred to watch games at the SCG but said the club also had members in the Hills District who preferred ANZ Stadium.

“The big thing is we need some flexibility because we need to be able to schedule games for clashes with other sports,” Pridham said.

“Part of that flexibility is we will look at the three major stadiums in Sydney and Canberra, where we have played in the past and have support and members.

“That’s something the ACT government has mentioned they would like – the occasional game.”

The Canberra revelation follows comments Swans chief Andrew Ireland made on Melbourne radio, on Tuesday night, that the club would like to return finals to the SCG.

Sydney have not played a final at the venue since 2005, when Nick Davis kicked four goals to sink Geelong in a semi-final en route to the Swans’ drought-breaking flag.

Swans forward Sam Reid was non-committal on whether he preferred to play a final at the SCG or ANZ Stadium but said the 41,317 fans who watched the club beat Port Adelaide on Saturday had created an “electric” atmosphere at the SCG.

“It’s the first I’ve played in front of so many at the SCG,” Reid said.

“It was a good experience for me. A high percentage of fans were Sydney supporters. It was one of the louder crowds I’ve played in front of and it’s really exciting.”

The Swans will travel to Melbourne on Thursday. They take on Richmond at the MCG on Friday night.

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Hawks, Pies team up to get Carter

Geelong president Colin Carter has been ridiculed as a “Hall of Fame hypocrite” and “unstatesmanlike” for accusing the wealthy clubs of hijacking the equalisation debate and shifting the burden of cost onto the middle-class clubs.
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Collingwood and Hawthorn presidents Eddie McGuire and Andrew Newbold both took umbrage at Carter’s stinging attack on the wealthy clubs after he said the Cats had been “screwed” by the rich clubs – Collingwood, Hawthorn and West Coast – who bullied the AFL into a sweetheart deal for the rich that unfairly punished the middle-class clubs.

McGuire said Carter, as a former AFL commissioner who had authored a paper on equalisation, was “becoming a Hall of Fame hypocrite” for whining about being asked to help fund equalisation.

“He used to lecture every club about the independence of the AFL, yet as soon as he gets back to club land he is singing and dancing and screaming and carrying on,” McGuire said.

“He wrote the manifesto on equalisation [when on the AFL Commission] and as soon as he has to put his hand in his pocket, suddenly he goes all cold on the idea … he [complains that he has] to put his hand in his pocket for $300,000 after everything the AFL competition has done to help Geelong … that is an insult to everybody else.”

McGuire said the Cats had been able to significantly improve their financial position because the AFL – and the state and federal governments – had significantly funded the reconstruction of Symonds Stadium, which had thus created “a revenue stream that will go on forever”.

“The question might be better asked why are they [Geelong] are only in the middle class, not in the top class as it is,” McGuire said on Triple M.

Under the new equalisation measures in which clubs will be taxed on profit, Geelong will be hit with a $300,000 tax bill. But a cap of $500,000 on the maximum amount of tax a club has to pay on its profit means the richer clubs that achieve significantly higher profits will be proportionally contributing a far lower amount.

Newbold said the criticism from Carter and the language used was “unstatesmanlike” and inappropriate, and his comments about the equalisation simplistic and unfair.

“It’s the first year of this. We don’t even know what the profits will be in 2014 and 2015. For him to come out and whinge at the beginning of year one is unstatesmanlike. You can’t go from no tax at all to uncapped tax,” Newbold said.

“This is a completely changed landscape. It is a seismic shift; we have introduced a tax for the first time on clubs and I think it would have been unfair to have gone from nothing to completely uncapped.

“Colin must have been out of the room in Adelaide when we discussed this in detail over more than three hours. The only thing that changed between the meeting in Adelaide and the meeting two weeks ago is that in the second meeting we got the figures and suddenly Colin is up in arms about it. He never said anything in Adelaide.”

Newbold said no club would be happy with the equalisation measures – the poorer clubs felt it was not generous enough, the richer clubs that it punished their success and the middle class clubs that the burden fell unfairly on them.

“At some point you have to put aside your own selfish point of view and look at the code as a whole. I thought that might have been something Colin understood from his time on the commission.

“I also thought his comments were fairly disrespectful to Brendon Gale who was on the equalisation committee and was one of the representatives of the middle-class clubs that Colin talks about being screwed.

“Brendon was on the committee on a the trip to the US. I think Colin has been disrespectful of Brendon’s role in this.”

He also challenged the idea that Collingwood and Hawthorn had hijacked the debate from being about compensating poorer clubs and into taxing clubs.

“Hawthorn and Collingwood were the last people advocating taxation. It was not hijacked by us, we never wanted taxation.

“We were talking about stadia arrangements, membership numbers. Who is he saying hijacked the agenda and put taxation on the table? It wasn’t us, why would we advocate for that?”

McGuire also challenged Carter and other club presidents such as Giants chairman Tony Shepherd – who until recently was the president of the Business Council of Australia and is the head of Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit.  As businessmen they operated as fierce capitalists yet pleaded a socialist philosophy when it suited them as club presidents arguing for a bigger hand out from the AFL, he said.

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NSW budget: Government could face $10b bill for road, rail

Projects could escalate: Premier Mike Baird. Photo: James BrickwoodThe Baird government faces a $10 billion bill for a host of big-ticket road and rail plans if a flurry of feasibility studies announced in this week’s budget lead to projects getting off the ground. However, it has emerged that the government may have about $5 billion left over from the proceeds of its proposed electricity network sale after paying for a second harbour crossing and other projects.
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The budget allocated money for studies into building the F6 extension from Loftus to St Peters, the M9 outer Sydney orbital road in far western Sydney and a tunnel from the northern beaches  – highly touted projects that promise to relieve congestion and cut travel times. It will also investigate a Parramatta light rail system. A 60-kilometre M9 from Camden to the Hawkesbury would come with a $4.2 billion price tag, if the cost-per-kilometre of the M7 is a guide. A 2008 NRMA study shows extending the F6 by tunnelling between Sylvania and Loftus would cost about $2.2 billion – or $2.5 billion, adjusted for inflation. An unsolicited proposal to the government in 2010 costed the northern beaches tunnel at more than $2.3 billion at today’s prices. It included an above-ground crossing of the Spit Bridge and a tunnel under Military Road. Parramatta City Council has put the combined cost of its two preferred light rail routes at $1.5 billion – only $400 million of which has been funded by the government so far. The council will seek private investment but is likely to seek further government funding. A spokesman for Treasurer Andrew Constance said cost estimates and funding options would not be known until feasibility and scoping work had been done. Infrastructure NSW is also due to report back on costs in November. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Brendan Lyon said feasibility work must be done on projects such as the M9 to protect transport corridors from development and avoid costly tunnelling in future. “These are very long-term priorities,” he said. “This is about stopping them being lost to other uses.” Mr Lyon said the government should move to fully privatise the state’s poles and wires assets. “The budget doesn’t have the capacity to pay for the big breakthrough projects,” he said. It is understood that at least $5 billion will be available for the second harbour crossing project from the general roads and transport budget, once the costly north-west rail link is completed. That would mean only about $5 billion – rather than the $10 billion previously thought – for the project would be drawn from the proceeds of the electricity sale, potentially accelerating other projects. Opposition Leader John Robertson claimed the budget contained 69 planning and feasibility studies “in lieu of actual construction”. “The Liberals are spending over $700 million on drawing boards and glossy brochures, when they should have been getting on with the job of delivering real infrastructure over the past three years,” Mr Robertson said.

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Bomb scare: Residents in Sydney’s inner-west evacuated

There has been an explosion inside an apartment block in Sydney’s inner-west with nearby residents evacuated and the police bomb squad called in.
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Residents said they heard a loud explosion just after 5:30pm from inside a unit on Wentworth Park Road at Glebe.

Power in the street went out immediately after.

NSW Fire and Rescue responding to the fire then made a discovery which prompted them to call police.

Police then dispatched the bomb squad.

A police spokeswoman would only say that a “police operation” was underway and that traffic was being diverted from the area.

Residents say the same apartment complex was targeted in a suspicious blaze that damaged several units a month ago.

On May 17, a fire was started in the housing complex’s courtyard and the blaze destroyed the bedroom of one unit and caused damage to several adjoining rooms.

Police at the time said they believed the fire was suspicious.

Wednesday night’s incident has again forced the evacuation of residents and lead to the light rail being stopped for a short period of time during the evening peak.

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HSU’s Kathy Jackson accuses Bill Shorten of Labor branch-stacking involvement

Bill Shorten has been embroiled in the royal commission into unions. Photo: Andrew MearesControversial union leader Kathy Jackson has accused her former friend Bill Shorten of being involved in Labor Party branch-stacking saying she had discussed the practice with the now Opposition Leader.
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Ms Jackson told the royal commission into trade union corruption that she had told Mr Shorten she had used union funds to give $7000 to Melbourne ALP figure David Asmar.

Mr Shorten, she said, laughed and said he had also recently given money to Mr Asmar and allegedly told Ms Jackson ”the bastard must have double dipped”.

Mr Shorten and Ms Jackson were once political allies but are now bitter enemies.

A spokesman for Mr Shorten said Ms Jackson’s claims are untrue.

“As Mr Shorten has previously said, this royal commission provides the platform for all sorts of people to try to settle old scores and make wild claims. He won’t be providing a running commentary every time someone mentions his name to try to get themselves on TV.”

It comes as Ms Jackson admitted that a slush fund – started through a $250,000 settlement from back-pay owed to cancer workers – was used by her to back Labor candidates, on ”various” union elections and for her own use.

In written evidence to the commission, Ms Jackson defended using the “windfall” 2003 settlement with the Peter MacCallum cancer hospital to set up her “slush fund”, the National Health Development Account (NHDA).

Ms Jackson said the HSU No. 3 branch committee of management agreed to set up the fund, of which Ms Jackson was the sole operator, and allowed her to spend it at her discretion to advance the interests of the union.

It also allowed her to spend $4000 a year “for my own personal benefit” as she had not received sitting fees from the meetings, Ms Jackson said.

She said she “did not utilise the full amount” that she was allowed to spend but her statement did not detail how much she spent on herself.

“Any allegation that I took any of the NHDA money for my own benefit without approval is false.”

Ms Jackson alleged the financial records of the NHDA, contained in an exercise book, had been stolen after her office was “ransacked” in 2011 while she was a patient in a psychiatric hospital.

Ms Jackson said a flood in March 2010 resulted in the loss of many documents and an office clean-out five months later when she was overseas resulted in a large number of documents being thrown away.

Ms Jackson broke down during Wednesday’s hearing when she described the stress she experienced as a whistleblower at the HSU, which led to her being hospitalised.

She also defended her spending on personal credit cards. The current secretary of Ms Jackson’s former Victorian branch, Craig McGregor, in a statement to the royal commission, said more than $1 million was reimbursed from the union to two personal credit cards of Ms Jackson.

In her statement, Ms Jackson said she had three union credit cards in her name and that all credit card spending by staff was in her name including travel and accommodation.

“I say that the total amounts charged to credit cards each year for the whole of the No. 3 branch expenditure by credit card, which was well under 10 per cent of total expenditure of the No. 3 branch, is unremarkable.”

Ms Jackson rose to national prominence as a whistleblower on widespread corruption at the HSU involving former senior officials Michael Williamson, now in jail, and Craig Thomson, a disgraced former head of the union and former ALP federal MP. Thomson is on bail pending an appeal against his conviction and sentence on multiple fraud charges.

In evidence she said Williamson was living an “obscene millionaire’s lifestyle” in a “palatial” holiday home that far exceeded his income before he was convicted of fraud.

Her suspicions of Williamson’s corruption “crystallised” when she visited Williamson’s new holiday house in Brightwaters, Lake Macquarie, in January 2011.

Ms Jackson said she understood Williamson had a personal loan of about $2.1 million.

“I considered that the interest accruing on that loan size, alone, would have equalled almost the totality of his then income,” she said.

The holiday home overlooked a lake and was fitted with hardwood parquetry floors, four European fridges and high-end audiovisual units, according to Ms Jackson. She said Williamson had plans to build an in-ground swimming pool, cabana and to buy a boat.

In her written statement, she said since she had exposed corruption she had been called “Judas”, a “Liberal prostitute” and “traitor”, and suffered “smears” on the internet and in the mainstream media.

She also claimed Williamson, a former Labor national president, twice offered her a seat in Parliament, in 2010 and 2011.

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James Franco, Seth Rogen’s The Room revisit gets thumbs up from ‘Mark’

James Franco and Seth Rogan take on The Room.”What happens when your dream comes true, but in the opposite way?” That’s the question posed by actor Greg Sestero about his experience on the worst movie of all time, which threw him into the spotlight but for all the wrong reasons. The Room, which has been described as ”the CItizen Kane of bad movies”, was released in 2003, reaping just $1800 at the box office (from a $6 million budget) before catching a second wind with an audience who embraced it for its endearingly relentless display of flaws.  But for Sestero, the film didn’t end a career which hadn’t yet really begun – it launched one. His role as handsome, baby-faced Mark made him part of the global cult phenomenon that emerged from this cinematic catastrophe.  And now his book, 2013’s The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, is being turned into a film by James Franco and Seth Rogen. It will star Dave Franco as Sestero, in yet another surprising twist to Sestero’s journey with The Room.  ”It was kind of a full circle moment,” Sestero, 35, says on the phone from Los Angeles. ”Of being dealt this film that people see as the worst movie ever made and [to be] able to turn it around into something that could be its own movie, it’s made all the effort worth it.’’ Written, directed and produced by eccentric Tommy Wiseau, the film is loosely hung around a love triangle. It is completely capitvating in its appallingness, from wooden acting to incomprehensible plotlines to bizarre dialogue.  While Sestero’s book touches on the hilarity of the film – he only stepped in as a favour to Wiseau, who he knew from acting classes, and never expected anyone to see the film – it’s also an interesting, thoughtful take on the quest for fame, the drive for art and the flawed American dream.  It was announced in February that James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions had snapped up the rights to the book and will direct and co-produce and star, working with Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures. Earlier this month Dave Franco announced during an LA screening of the movie that he would play Sestero, with James Franco signed up to play Wiseau.  ”I think James is passionate about the project, and that’s where it starts,’’ Sestero says. ‘‘Making a great film, you’ve got to have a vision and you’ve got to be passionate about it. And Seth Rogen is obviously one of the best producers out there, so I think the book’s in really good hands.’’
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  He says Rogen and Franco understand the humour and have a firm grasp on its meaning. ‘‘The story isn’t just kind of mocking a bad movie, it’s really getting behind what it’s like to try and make art and the struggles that come with that.  ‘‘There’s so many different dimensions to the story and they’ve done comedy, they’ve done drama – it’s a perfect mix for the film.’’ Sestero says it’s early days yet in terms of production – ‘‘it’s going to be really, really exciting’’ – but the prospect of yet another layer to The Room’s spotlight for him is something he’s taking in his stride.  ‘‘It’s just kind of like a roller-coaster,’’ he says. ‘‘I’m just happy to have the chance to be able to do something creative and that’s the kind of road that I hope to take. ‘‘I’m sure it’ll be definitely a new chapter and a very, very entertaining ride.’’

  Greg Sestero will be at a Q&A and screening at the Hayden Orpheum, Sydney, on July 10. See orpheum南京夜网.au.   

DAVY FRANCO and TOMMY WEISEAU!!!!! “The Disaster Artist” COMING SOON!!!! http://t.co/VxyrZn5kw3 — James Franco (@JamesFrancoTV) June 8, 2014

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The new blockbuster nutrient?

Turmeric: is the humble yellow spice, on the left, the ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient? Photo: Leentje photography by Helaine WThe ‘new’ blockbuster nutrient is actually really old.
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There are some fairly audacious statements being made about the benefits of turmeric.

The unassuming spice is also being dubbed as the ‘new Omega 3’ for its anti-inflammatory and fat metabolism properties.

Turmeric is said to help with everything from heart disease to Alzheimers, asthma to arthritis. A potent antioxident, it is even said to slow the ageing process.

No surprises then that hipsters have taken to juicing it and having it in straight shots or mixed with juice.

In India, turmeric has been used traditionally as a disinfectant and treatment for sore throats.

The 5000-year-old herb is so revered, it is also used as an offering of good will and, mixed with lime, to make the paint for Bindis.

One of the most researched supplements out there, turmeric, which is part of the ginger family, is one that seems to live up to much of the hype.

Omega 3s and turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, are “blockbuster nutrients”, according to professor Marc Cohen, head of Complementary Medicines at RMIT.

“Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which stops lipid oxidation and is anti-inflammatory,” says Cohen, who devoted an entire chapter to turmeric in his book, Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide.

“It is a possible aid in preventing chronic degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.”

In fact, the high intake of turmeric in the Indian diet has been attributed to their rates of Alzheimer’s disease, which are amongst the lowest in the world.

Cohen, who suffers from osteoarthritis, is such a fan of the spice that he takes it daily.

“I’d recommend half to one teaspoon daily, but there’s not a prescribed dose … and no toxicity levels.”

As well as using it in curries (where it is responsible for the yellow colour) and smoothies, he often has it with milk as the fat, he explains, helps absorption.

Absorption has been one of the issues with turmeric’s abundant benefits.

“A key challenge we have faced in the past is how to ensure curcumin is absorbed into the body to provide therapeutic benefit.”

A recently released supplement called Theracurmin, formulated from curcumin, claims to have overcome this problem, at least in part.

“Theracurmin has 27 times the bioavailability of curcumin,” Cohen says.

“I’ve been recommended to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” he says for his osteoarthritis.

“Rather than take Voltaren, I’d prefer to take theracumin … Instead of adverse side effects likely to have positive side effects.”

Not everyone is convinced however that a curcumin supplement beats turmeric, if you’re going down that route. Dr Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, picks the whole spice over isolated compounds.

“I frequently recommend turmeric supplements,” he says, “and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendonitis, and autoimmune conditions.”

Taking a natural-first approach, in this instance, is not a bad idea, says Melanie McGrice, spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

“I think it’s always great to try natural food sources before turning to medications,” she says. “Turmeric certainly has a lot of health benefits, especially because it is so rich in antioxidants.”

While Cohen says he takes the therapeutic dose specifically to help treat his condition, it isn’t necessary for all of us: “Fresh turmeric is recommended for everyday use.”

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Essendon players the pawns in a game of double jeopardy

Essendon’s decision to pursue a court injunction against the supplements investigation last week was popularly viewed as an attempt to wriggle out of a tight spot on a technicality. But should that still be the case?
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Given the events of the past few days, isn’t this now about an organisation showing understandable reticence to deal with a process flawed from the beginning in terms of evidence, procedure and, it now emerges, ethics as well?

Because what has transpired since last Thursday makes it increasingly apparent the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority – the body set to deliver judgement on 34 Essendon players – is in no position to be running a school cake stall, let alone determining the careers and livelihoods of professional athletes.

The prevailing view was that Essendon’s players should, regardless of their belief in their innocence, take the ”candy” of the six-month suspensions offered to them by new ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt.

Surely that can’t be on the basis they’ll be treated fairly, of which there’s been precious little evidence.

If McDevitt’s round of media appearances last week were supposed to give the impression of an ASADA sheriff firmly in control, they did the exact opposite.

First, McDevitt blithely announced that AOD-9604 –  the very substance upon which most of the public crucifixion of the Essendon players had rested for a year-and-a-half – was no longer part of the rap sheet.

Then, incredibly, he conceded he wasn’t even sure what the burden of proof was for ASADA to reach a point of invoking suspensions.

He went on to offer that if Essendon players accepted their guilt, they would receive a 75 per cent reduction in what for so long were being touted as mandatory maximum sentences.

That didn’t seem to betray a lot of confidence in the strength of evidence gathered.

But at least McDevitt wasn’t in the chair when ASADA colluded with the AFL to pre-determine that Essendon players would not be sanctioned individually (confirmed in leaked emails), and the basis on which they agreed to co-operate. A deal on which ASADA subsequently welched just two weeks later.

Is it any surprise given that catalogue of contradictions, ignorance and lies that the players now are reluctant to listen to anything ASADA has to say?

McDevitt’s attempt to plea bargain clearly implied guilt, something Essendon’s players still vigorously deny.

Then they were accused of holding the game to ransom, despite being the pawns in the continual blundering and politicking by a range of bodies, including their own club, supposedly looking after their interests.

Don’t they at least deserve the right to be able to view the alleged evidence against them without a presumption of guilt from the very body that would determine their fate? Not that the players haven’t already been tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion.

Ask Jobe Watson about that one. For the past year he has had to shrug not only at the same cat-calling levelled at his teammates, but demands that he be stripped of his 2012 Brownlow Medal for allegedly using a substance that this investigation is no longer interested in.

Watson was hung out to dry. Particularly by ASADA, which presumably knew for a year that it could not prosecute him for something not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency until two months after the investigation began.

That protracted confusion between ASADA and its world parent body over AOD-9604’s status serves as yet another example of the Australian chapter’s incompetence. Not that there’s not some serious doubts about WADA’s credibility either.

As sports lawyer and general secretary of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance, Brendan Schwab, said on Monday, WADA’s modus operandi is political coercion, governments and sporting bodies alike fearful of being excluded from the Olympics if they don’t comply.

WADA’s ”one-size-fits-all” code is ill-suited to team sports, particularly in this case, where Essendon’s players were following the instructions of their employer, which assured them what they were taking was both legal and safe.

No one, not even Essendon, disputes how shoddy its supplements program was run. But that lack of appropriate governance has already been dealt with via the heftiest team and club penalties in AFL history.

Why should the club’s players, kicked from pillar to post these past couple of years, be pawns yet again in a game of double jeopardy?

Essendon’s players have been the patsy in this soap opera from the word go, and ASADA has been complicit in the undermining of not only their reputations, but their mental health as well.

Take six months? Surely no one in the position of the Essendon players would be answering that question with anything other than: ”Take a hike.”

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ASADA’s delay in taking AOD-9604 off the table disappoints players

The AFL Players Association is disappointed it took so long for the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to publicly clarify its position on AOD-9604 given the scrutiny Essendon players were under last year, and is confident the players will not face any further questioning over the drug.
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While the World Anti-Doping Agency has the capacity to challenge closed matters and ask for the disclosure of any relevant information or evidence, ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt has said his organisation does not plan to pursue any alleged use of AOD-9604 prior to April, 2013.

That was when WADA clarified its position on the drug, saying that as the substance was still under clinical development and not approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority, it was prohibited under the S.O. category.

McDevitt said last weekend that pursuing athletes for their possible use of AOD-9604 prior to WADA’s statement would be ”unsuccessful and unfair” because athletes and support personnel could not have known it was a prohibited substance.

The AFLPA believes this position could have been stated much earlier in the investigation to spare the Essendon players unnecessary turmoil and scrutiny. Captain Jobe Watson was subjected to public criticism after saying he believed he had been injected with the substance as part of the supplements program run at the club in 2012, having been told it was permitted for use.

Thirty-four current and former Essendon players have instead been issued show-cause notices alleging they were administered the banned Thymosin beta 4.

”We do not believe that ASADA will take any further step through the Essendon investigation in relation to AOD-9604 given the comments of the ASADA [chief executive] over the weekend,” said acting AFLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast.

McDevitt did not clarify at the weekend whether Essendon had been given wrong information on the status of AOD-9604 and stressed the long-term effects of the drug were unclear, saying its use at the club had been ”grossly irresponsible”.

”The advice I’ve had is that we cannot take the position that prior to April, 2013, that athletes and support personnel could have known AOD-9604 was, in fact, a prohibited substance,” he said on ABC radio.

”What it comes down to is if WADA publicly stated for the first time on the 22nd of April, 2013,that it was a prohibited substance in sport, it would seem that if you pursued an anti-doping rule violation that related to the substance being administered prior to that date, then not only would it – in my eyes – be unsuccessful, it would be unfair.

“The reality is that this … is actually something that’s got huge health effects potentially on humans. It’s just grossly irresponsible in terms of the player welfare.”

Essendon chairman Paul Little said on ABC radio on Sunday that Essendon players, particularly Watson, had been ”to hell and back” over AOD-9604.

“This is another area where I firmly believe the process has been completely stuffed up and the fact that it’s now off the charge sheet, are we meant to be grateful for that?” he said.

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Council blocks Delaney Hotel Socceroos screening plan

FOOTBALL fans willing to forgo sleep and watch the Socceroos have been left disappointed, with the announcement one of the city’s pubs will not be screening the 2am match.
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The Delany Hotel were preparing to show State of Origin II tonight and remain open until 5am to show the Socceroos match against The Netherlands in Porto Alegre.

The Darby Street pub had advertised internal and externally and were planning on imposing a lock-out at 1.30am, but continuing to trade.

The Australian Hotel Association had approved all NSW hotels to extend their license, but it’s believed Newcastle City Council advised the hotelier at 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon that they could not show the game.

Hotel management issued an apology to its patrons.

The Newcastle Herald understands the pub had been inundated with calls from football fans in the lead-up to the match and were disappointed they could not show the game.

Comment has been sought from Newcastle City Council.

The Premier Hotel had been planning to open at 1.30am for the match, but have since decided against trading, after hearing what had happened at The Delany Hotel.

It’s another blow to Hunter football fans after the absence of a World Cup live site in Newcastle this year.

Wheeler Place was transformed into Socceroos headquarters in 2006 and 2010 thanks to Juicy Bean owner Peter James.

Mr James told the Newcastle Herald last week he was waiting on council approval and had a big screen ready if given the go ahead. But Mr James told the Herald this week he would not be able to show the games.

Several pubs and clubs have confirmed they will show the game, including The Kent Hotel, The Blackbutt Hotel, The Cooks Hill Hotel and Wests Leagues Club.

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