Monthly archives: June 2019

Sydney man Christopher Muronzi allegedly infects second victim with HIV

A Sydney man serving jail time for knowingly infecting his girlfriend with HIV is accused of giving the life-threatening virus to another woman he had sex with.

Zimbabwean-born Christopher Muronzi, 44, was sentenced to a minimum three years behind bars after he had unprotected sex five times with his partner in 2002.

He never told her he was HIV positive, despite being diagnosed eight years before and knowing that he was legally required to disclose the diagnosis to all future sexual partners.

On Wednesday, Waverley Local Court heard that Muronzi had also knowingly infected another former partner between December 2003 and June 2005.

The former financial controller from Neutral Bay did not appear before the court but he was formally refused bail.

He is charged with maliciously inflicting grevious bodily harm on a person and is next due to appear before Central Local Court in August.

When he was sentenced for the same crime last year, Judge Penelope Hock said the emotional impact on his victim was “an aggravating factor”.

The victim had unknowingly passed the virus onto another man.

She told a court during Muronzi’s sentencing hearing that she hoped her case would encourage people to take better care of their wellbeing.

Her message for those who contract the disease was: “Act soon for yourself. Support yourself first because you’re number one in this. Care for yourself.”

Judge Hock noted that the 44-year-old had shown some contrition and remorse for his actions and found that he had “good prospects of rehabilitation”.

Muronzi was sentenced to a maximum of four-and-a-half years’ jail with a non-parole period of three years.

He will be eligible for release on September 28, 2016.

HIV is an infection that gradually destroys the immune system.

When a person’s immune system is severely damaged by the virus, they develop AIDS – acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

There are about 20,000 people living with HIV in Australia and 33.3 million globally, according to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.   

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Electricity price deregulation in trouble

A plan to deregulate the retail electricity market from next month has stalled after the NSW government failed to gain the support of the Shooters and Fishers Party in the upper house, due to concerns it could lead to higher prices.

Energy Minister Anthony Roberts now says ”a number of regulatory options” are being considered by the government to ensure the reform begins on July 1.

The government has been sending notices to customers announcing ”price relief for households from July 1, 2014” in the expectation its legislation would pass the Parliament this week.

But on Tuesday it did not proceed with the bill in the Legislative Council.

Labor and the Greens have said they will oppose the measure and it is understood the Shooters and Fishers Party – which shares the balance of power with the Christian Democrats – is concerned that deregulation would see electricity prices increase.

The Parliament rises next week for the winter recess with Thursday reserved for private members’ business, meaning the legislation cannot be passed until August at the very earliest.

About 35 per cent of NSW electricity customers remain on a regulated electricity tariff determined by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Authority. The remaining 65 per cent have taken up offers from electricity retailers.

The government’s bill removes the regulated price and instead uses IPART as a ”market monitor” to report annually on the performance and competitiveness of the deregulated NSW retail electricity market.

Customers on the regulated price will be automatically switched to a ”transitional tariff”. The government’s notice says for ”the majority of households” the transitional tariff  will be 1.5 per cent lower than the present regulated price for the first year.

The government cites a report by the Australian Energy Market Commission suggesting deregulation could potentially save customers $300 to $400 a year.

But Greens MP John Kaye said it was a ”myth” that deregulation would lead to lower electricity prices.

”The Baird government arrogantly assumed the Upper House would join them in abandoning consumers to electricity retailers who are known for their predatory behaviour,” he said.

”All that is left of the Baird government’s electricity price deregulation is a glossy pamphlet, a divided upper house and thousands of confused households.”

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BentSpoke opens in Braddon

The opening of BentSpoke brewpub, Braddon, on June 6, brings Richard Watkins’ much-loved beers back to the market.

It’s no exaggeration to rate Watkins among Australia’s most inventive and accomplished brewers. Over a period of almost 20 years at Lachlan McOmish’s tiny Wig and Pen, Canberra City, Watkins built a big and loyal following for his increasingly adventurous beers. A steady haul of trophies and gold medals simply confirmed the good taste of McOmish’s patrons.

Watkins left the Wig and Pen last year and with partner Tracy Margrain established BentSpoke in a new building on the corner of Mort and Elouera Streets, Braddon.

Watkins and Margrain offered six beers and a cider on opening day and plan to extend the range to 18. BentSpoke occupies two levels and offers food and local wines as well as beer and cider.

BentSpoke Brewing Co Barley Griffin★★★★★ $11One of six beers created for BentSpoke’s opening, Barley Griffin offers complexity and easy drinkability. A cloudy, pale-golden coloured ale, with the stunning freshness of beer direct from the tank, it features rich malt flavours cut by perfectly judged hops flavour and bitterness and the exotic spicy edge of oregano.

Bent Spoke Brewing Co Adam’s Cider★★★★½ $11 How outrageous. Cider made from apples, not concentrate. Hand-crushed Granny Smith and Delicious apples, from Batlow, give the cider its pure, generous apple flavour. However, granny does her work, injecting the variety’s distinctive, pleasantly tart finish to a delicious dry cider.

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Mourners at Tamil man Leo Seemanpillai’s funeral attack ‘cruel’ asylum policy

The funeral for Leo Seemanpillai in Geelong. His parents were denied a visa to attend. Photo: Jason South Asylum seeker Leo Seemanpillai. Photo: Jason South

Comment: Asylum seekers can be managed with cheaper and more humane options

Leo Seemanpillai wrote in his journal about bad dreams. Some nights he could not sleep at all. His stomach lurched at the looming prospect of being sent back to Sri Lanka and tortured.

“As I got to know Leo, he confided some of the horrors of his past and these came to haunt him,” a friend said at his funeral on Wednesday.

“He was frightened and increasingly anxious about being sent home to Sri Lanka … yet between the dark periods we could see the hope that shone in his eyes.”

A photo of Mr Seemanpillai, projected on a large screen at Geelong’s St Mary of the Angels Basilica, showed just that: the warm face and a winning smile that masked his fears for months.

But as hardline government rhetoric and a life in limbo eroded what hope he had left, the 29-year-old Tamil asylum seeker took his own life.

He set himself on fire and died almost three weeks ago with burns to 90 per cent of his body.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at the church to farewell Mr Seemanpillai.

Father Pancras Jordan led the service and took aim at the federal government’s “cruel” asylum seeker policies that pushed Mr Seemanpillai  to suicide.

“We are gathered to say thank you and goodbye to our brother and friend, Leo Seemanpillai, who was killed by the harsh, unjust and cruel policies of our government,” he said.

Father Jordan said asylum seekers such as Leo were being “slowly broken in a system of indefinite detention that dehumanises and disempowers”.

“People are locked into the limbo of the legislated poverty that is life on a bridging visa … [it] normalises cruelty and strips the most vulnerable people of not only their rights but their dignity,” he said.

“The current policy is not about an orderly system saving people from drowning … billions of dollars are being spent on wrecking people’s lives in detention centres and in our communities.

“Our government is proactively brutal and intentionally determined to break the spirits of people like Leo, who once imagined they would find protection from oppression in our care.”

Mr Seemanpillai’s parents, living in India, were not granted temporary visas to attend the funeral service. The family will have to wait to watch a video recording of the ceremony that will be sent to them afterwards.

Aran Mylvaganam, of the Tamil Refugee Council, said it was a tragedy that a good man had been driven to the depths of despair due to Australia’s “shameful immigration policies”.

“In his 13 months being in the Geelong community, Leo had made so many connections with people, so many friendships … he had even signed up to be an Amnesty International member, a Red Cross member, a regular blood donor and an organ donor … he was such a beautiful person, but our policies have driven him to this point.”

Mr Mylvaganam said Mr Seemanpillai’s  fears of being returned to Sri Lanka edged closer to “tipping point” after announcements by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last October suggesting all Tamils would eventually be deported.

“I received a call from Leo … his fear was real,” Mr Mylvaganam said. “He was sharing his fears with us but at the same time he was such a strong person, such a positive person. This is a very sad day for the Tamil community.”

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LIVE: Remi Kolawole’s realism in the raw

REMI Kolawole has only been rapping for three or four years, but his success has been phenomenal.

REMI, 22, said his success as Triple J’s 2013 Unearthed Artist of the Year had a lot to do with luck and timing – but countless fans and global attention seems to suggest otherwise.

‘‘I think that’s just mostly the music industry anyway,’’ said the ever modest REMI.

‘‘I think we got a bit of publicity from it but it’s hard to tell from the inside where the attention is coming from.

‘‘We live in a bubble on purpose because music comes out of your mind, whether you’re making beats or writing lyrics or whatever, and if something is affecting your mind – whether it’s your perception of yourself or what other people are thinking – then you’re not thinking straight.’’

REMI worked with Sensible J and Dutch on his new album, RAW X INFINITY. The trio, who have been recording since the release of Regular People Shit in 2012, have since embarked on a national tour.

He said inspiring writing sessions had led to an oversupply of material, and listeners could expect another release in less than two years.

‘‘We finished most of the album over the space of a week-and-a-half this year. As a result of having had to write hard to a deadline, we wanted to keep writing,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll write a whole bunch of songs and then figure out how to put them all together. You always find that after you finish an album you want to keep writing because you’re in a great head space.’’

REMI said the lyrics in RAW X INFINITY were meant to take a closer look at society and its expectations, without necessarily commenting.

‘‘It’s cool because some people find it welcome and some people don’t, but I’d prefer there to be an honest reaction to what we’re doing rather than just middle-of-the-road acceptance,’’ he said.

One of the issues covered on the album is being forced to try to choose a career or life direction by the end of high school.

‘‘I’m a rapper and there’s not a class or avenue to take that will make you become a rapper,’’ he said.

‘‘Kids are forced to make huge decisions after not even finding themselves. I went from doing nursing for half a year to becoming a rapper, and I’m one of the lucky few. Lots of people are given limited options.

‘‘My father is from Nigeria. In order for him to get out of poverty he had limited options. We have more options than that but people end up doing shit they don’t necessarily love.’’

REMI said the dream was to make rapping his career and get to a point where the music he makes pays the bills. In the meantime, he works in retail on the side.

‘‘Something I notice when I’m working my part-time job is that often, when I say ‘Hi, how are you going’ to someone, they reply with ‘work’s work’ or something like that.

‘‘I know people who want to be doctors or they want to be tradies. If you want to do one of the options we have been given, that’s great, but I’m a weirdo and that’s not how I see it in my head.

‘‘Like my song Livin’. None of these things are meant to be critiques on how shit is; it’s just stating how shit is. That’s the key to rap. Just be real. I give people the realest situation they can possibly get.’’

REMI touches on the prevalence of club drugs in his song: XTC Party. He said it’s something he noticed becoming a big thing on tour.

‘‘This is not telling people to do or not to do drugs. It’s just what we’ve seen over the last two years’ touring,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously it’s always been prevalent but the one thing that was the biggest was ice. You are at liberty to do whatever you want but ice is the one thing that – if you start it – you’re not really yourself afterwards.

‘‘A person goes from being someone you’re really good friends with and becoming completely different for life [after experiencing ice].

‘‘I was scared of drugs when I was younger and I’ve overcome that fear but I had a very vast knowledge of what this can do to you and what the side effects could be. I think a lot of people go into it blind.’’

REMI counts himself lucky to have a lot of like-minded fans: ‘‘We’re not tryin’ to sell you a gimmick, we’re just tryin’ to do the music.’’

His group have their own DIY label: House of Beige. Asked what it was named after, REMI laughed.

‘‘Sensible J is beige, the inside of his house is beige, I’m beige, all of our friends are beige, and so it’s kinda like let’s make this house beige collective,’’ he said.

Being on an independent label, he said, was liberating as an artist.

‘‘Especially being an upcoming artist, it’s quite difficult to come up with the major labels,’’ REMI said.

‘‘We had the offers and it was all very nice and all that, but at the same time you can get yourself in so much trouble. We’ve already seen how much you have to spend on a record. The beauty of this is we pay it and, yes, it’s expensive – and that’s why we work day jobs – but we pay it and then we don’t owe anybody any money.

‘‘If you do it with a label it’s like a bank. You have to pay all that back but at a very small percentage of money you’re earning.

‘‘I think it’s also the freedom to say whatever you want. I’m trying to make music that speaks to me and my friends.

‘‘A major label might stop us from appealing to our chosen audience.

‘‘My favourite part of the music industry is doing what I love with people that I f—king care about.’’

REMI, Sensible J and Dutch will be playing Newcastle’s Small Ballroom on Thursday, June 26. Tickets are $21.45 and can be purchased at tickets.oztix苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au. See page 35 of today’s Herald for your chance to win one of double passes to REMI’s show.

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