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Archive for August, 2018

Twins team up for graduation

Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Twins team up for graduation Supportive: Hannah and Emily Jordan both graduated from their communication degree with distinctions and were only separated by a mark or two in assessments.
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Masters of Theology graduate Prue Tinsey receives a congratulatory smooch from partner Cameron Owen.

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All smiles: The University of Newcastle set up a grassed photo wall for students to enjoy. Faculty of Health and Medicine students can study in areas including biomedical science, midwifery, nursing and pharmacy. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Honour: The Faculty of Health and Medicine promotes itself as “the most comprehensive health faculty of its kind in Australia”. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Pleased: Jack Garland studied biomedicine on the Gold Coast before moving to Newcastle to pursue medicine. He wore Pokemon badges to his graduation. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

Helping hand: University of Newcastle students thanked families, friends and partners for support. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Selfie time: James Wayte, from Tamworth, and Laura McKinnon, from Armidale, before the ceremony. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Walk this way: Thousands of students will walk into the front entrance door to the University of Newcastle’s Great Hall this month and leave as graduates. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Dress up: Students attended three Faculty of Health and Medicine graduation ceremonies on Thursday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Support: Yi Ren Bong from Newcastle was joined at his graduation ceremony by Denice Loo from Brisbane. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Family affair: Alison van de Werken of Ferrodale shared the special day with her daughter Kenzi, 2. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Colourful: Su Myung Lee of Newcastle wore traditional dress for her graduation ceremony and is pictured with her mother Gui Ran Han of South Korea. Graduates at the 2pm ceremony heard from occasional speaker Dr Catherine Crock AM and graduate speaker Olivia Pain. Pictures: Max Mason Hubers

One last thing: Graduate dressing assistant Merryn Stacey helped medicine graduate Hansi Pathirana of Penrith. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Friends: Sarah Grist from Redhead, Breanna Walter from Valentine and Madeline Jones from Ourimbah. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

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Bachelor of Arts graduate Tori Bennett.

Graduate Katherine Fogwell with husband Troy and children Eliza, Claire and Bailey, graduate Bec Billing with husband James Billing and sons Ryder and Coa, and graduate Alexis Conn with husband Tristan and daughters Zara and Ava.

Sumanth Murali, Asha Murali, Murali Shreenivas and Akshay Murali (Electrical Engineering).

Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Zhan Li with friend Max Guo and daughter Angela.

Heather Lang, Janet Lang (wife of graduate), graduate Anthony Lang (80 years old) and granddaughter Laura Firth.

Hayley Perry (Masters of Theology) with her dad Steven Hughes.

Masters of Theology graduates Sally Hood, Christine Kidd and Sharon Lawler.

Any Noffke (Masters of Theology) and partner David Jones.

Any Noffke (Masters of Theology) and partner David Jones.

Masters of Theology graduates (l-r) Renae Downes, Chloe Gannon and Karla Slaven. Picture: University of Newcastle

Sue Fullwood (Masters of Education) and Pina Bernard (Masters of Theology).

Electrical Engineering graduates Kurt Murray and Meagan Brennan.

Heather Lang, Janet Lang (wife of graduate), graduate Anthony Lang (80 years old) and granddaughter Laura Firth.

Masters of Theology graduate Stephanie King with parents Ed and Virginia.

Bachelor of Information Technology graduates Connor Dodd, Coen Critchley, Brendan Ng and Connor McBride.

Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Zachary Mantle.

Tasmanian and Masters of Theology graduate Karyn Kingshott with husband Garry.

TweetFacebookTWINS Hannah and Emily Jordan made the most of their decision to study the same degree, by sharing textbooks, bouncing ideas off each other and planning to collaborate on their honours project: a stop-motion animation film.

The twins each graduated with a Bachelor of Communication from the University of Newcastleat a Friday ceremony.

Despite going into separate rooms to choose their subjects and majors, both came out with the same result.

“At every instance we’ve always understood we are individuals and have lived independently, but our choices often turn out to be similar,” Emily said.

“We picked our degrees separately, but ended up settling on a Media Production major as it blended our interests in storytelling and art really well.”

Pacquiao should be applauded for fighting Horn

Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Have you heard the one about what Manny Pacquiao needs to do to beat Jeff Horn? Get in the ring! Hooooo-weeeee.
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If you’ve managed to stop slapping your thighs after that zinger, treat yourself to a few of the comments on boxing message boards about the July 2 WBO welterweight title fight at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

If you happen to be Horn, it’s either great motivation, or as uplifting as a playlist of sad cowboy tunes. Still, it happens to be a clear, unfiltered reflection of how many international boxing fans perceive not only Horn but the fight as a whole.

Bum. Joke. Soft option. It’s not pretty for “The Hornet”, who has managed to secure a scarcely believable opportunity after just 17 professional fights but remains regarded as an imposter for those that wanted Pacquiao to tackle a higher-profile (read: American, British) opponent.

Nor does the immediate reaction read that well for Pacquiao, who stands accused of ducking the best in the division as he begins to wind down his brilliant career in the ring. At 38, and with a political career in the Philippines already in motion, his retirement looms large on the horizon.

Some of it stems from a desire to see Pacquiao, one of the modern pound-for-pound greats, back in the ring against top-shelf opposition one more time. Since the retirement of Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao remains one of the greatest global drawcards in the fight game since his comeback against Jessie Vargas late last year.

He’s been in with them all; Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales, Mayweather. He’s won 11 world titles across eight divisions. He will walk into the sport’s Hall of Fame when it’s time for his ballot.

And now … Horn? The 16-0-1 prospect from Brisbane that only gave up teaching a few years ago? It doesn’t take a genius to see why Pacquiao and his management team are taking some flak for the direction they are taking come the Australian winter.

Indeed, it’s a route down which they have largely been shoved. If Pacquiao and his advisor Michael Koncz had their way, this fight would be in the Middle East, against Amir Khan. But the proposed $38 million figure was fantasy. In Brisbane, Pacquiao will make at least $10 million for what he believes will be a short, sweet trip.

But rather than be lambasted for fighting the lesser known Horn, Pacquiao should be applauded, even if it’s a bout he was hardly enthused about accepting. Australian fans can thank Bob Arum for that. Arum didn’t waver from a fight with Horn even in the face of supposed Middle Eastern megabucks.

For too long in modern boxing, fighters have stayed either at home or in the familiar venues; Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles. Often, they recycle the same names; three of Pacquiao’s past seven fights have been against Tim Bradley. Should he make it four just for good measure?

It’s been a criticism of Wladimir Klitshcko, in particular, whose reign at the top of the heavyweight charts rarely extended past the borders of Germany. Even his own camp wanted him to campaign in more exotic climes and use his profile as the undisputed champion to bolster a fading sport that struggles to see past its own pockets.

On the weekend, he will face the young English champion Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium. The final tickets were sold in February and the two giants will clash before some 90,000 fans. Boxing can still draw a crowd when it’s done right.

And so will be the case in Brisbane on the afternoon of July 2. Rarely do athletes of Pacquiao’s profile visit Australian shores and only those that have been to or covered elite fighters can envisage the size of the impending production. He will arrive on Monday for a promotional tour, before returning to the Philippines to begin his training.

For those expecting a lopsided result, it’s worth going back through Pacquiao’s record to examine his first fight in Las Vegas and his first outside of his native country. It was against South Africa’s Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight title in 2001.

Pacquiao took the fight on two weeks’ notice. One of the commentators, heavyweight legend George Foreman, had no idea how to pronounce his name, while the most curious part of his background story was that he was somewhat of a pool shark.

Given virtually no chance against Ledwaba, whom Foreman relentlessly described as a “master boxer”, Pacquiao dominated from the opening round before it was finally stopped in the sixth. He didn’t lose again until 2005, when he was on the wrong end of the scorecards against Morales.

Trainer Freddie Roach walked him to the ring that day and will do so again at Suncorp Stadium. For all of the dismissive comments from fans and pundits, he will know as well as anyone that the script can deviate in a hurry once the bell sounds.

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

Nothing between Swans and Giants in 12th derby

Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Saturday’s derby between the Swans and the Giants is looming as the closest contest ever played between the sides as a desperate Sydney look to kick-start their faltering season.
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Barely a struck match separates the two teams in the 12th edition of the derby in terms of experience – the Swans’ 22 named for this weekend have racked up 2056 collective games, just 13 more than the Giants.

That’s an average of 93.45 AFL games per player for the Swans, and 92.86 for GWS.

Had returning trio Kurt Tippett, Isaac Heeney and Gary Rohan not made the team sheet, the Giants would’ve boasted a more experienced roster – almost an unfathomable possibility in their debut season five years ago when GWS played a record 17 debutants in the round-one opener against Sydney.

The Swans are slowly but surely becoming a younger club then the Giants.

Lewis Melican will become Sydney’s sixth debutant already this season when he runs out on Saturday night, joining Oliver Florent, Robbie Fox, Will Hayward, Nic Newman and Jordan Dawson.

Ten of the Swans in action this weekend boast less than 50 games of AFL experience as opposed to just five for the Giants.

“Every player who’s come in and debuted for the club has played their role and had a real impact and it’s great to see,” said Swan Harry Cunningham who debuted in the first Sydney derby in 2012.

“Off the back of last year where we had six or seven debutants as well and to be able to debut six already and we’re at round five, it’s great signs for the club.

“We think we’re in a really good position. Those guys to their credit have come in and played some really good footy, and had an impact straight away which is positive for both themselves as an individual and the club.”

GWS have won the last two derbies, but Sydney still boast a dominant 8-3 record over their fiercest rivals and will be boosted by the inclusion of Heeney, Tippett and Rohan at the SCG where the Giants are yet to win.

The closest margin between the two sides since GWS became the AFL’s 18th club in 2012 was 21 points in round three of 2015.

And while the Swans are underdogs for the first time heading into a Sydney derby, their 0-4 start is somewhat offset by a 4-0 record against the Giants at the SCG.

“They’ve come into this season after a great year last year, going deep in the finals and they’re going to look to go even better this year,” Cunningham said.

“They’ve started off the year really well so we’ll have to be on our game and play some really good footy against a quality outfit if we want to get the win.

“We’ve still got a strong belief and strong confidence to be able to go out and play some really good footy and play some finals footy.

“We’re looking forward to this weekend back at the SCG against the GWS Giants and we’ll be doing everything we can to get the win and we’ll go from there, we can’t look too far ahead.”

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

ReviewRent

Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

RentPantseat Performing Arts, at the Civic Playhouse, Newcastle. Ended Saturday.AMERICAN composer Jonathan Larson’s ambitious reworking of Puccini’s opera La Boheme as a virtually all-sung rock musical set in a New York downtown area among people trying to establish careers in performing arts has deservedly won praise since it premiered in New York in 1996.
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Larson, who died from an aortic aneurysm a few weeks before the show opened, based the characters on himself and people he knew, and substituted AIDS for the tuberculosis that afflicted people in the opera. Director Riley McLean mostly moved the principal figures around the well-designed set that showed the graffiti-covered wall of a rundown building, though the numbers that involved the ensemble would have worked better with fewer people on the small stage area.

Liam Bird’s would-be songwriter Roger was a standout, and his Christmas Eve duet, Light the Candle, with visiting erotic dancer Mimi (Konstanze Koedam, colourfully clad and emoting seductively), captured the mood of the time and place. Gabrielle Bock’s bisexual Maureen delivered an amusing Over the Moon, and Alex Foster’s anarchic professor, Collins, and Cassie Hamilton’s transgender street performer, Angel, movingly confessed their love for each other in I’ll Cover You. The other principals, Christopher Shanko, as Mark, a would-be filmmaker who shares Roger’s apartment, Aretha Williams, as Joanne, a lesbian lawyer who has become Maureen’s partner, and Andrew Wu, the demanding landlord of the apartment occupied by Roger and Mark, likewise gave good performances. Williams and Shanko, as former lovers separated by Joanne’s attraction to Maureen, presented a spirited Latin beat in Tango Maureen. And the ensemble members showed their skills in scenes such as a police raid on an unruly protest meeting and their bright and moving delivery of songs such as Seasons of Love.

Musical director Brent Hanson and four other musicians skilfully delivered backing from a bandstand in the lobby below the auditorium.

Why Mike Pence visited Indonesia

Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Jakarta: A day after Jakarta’s Christian governor was ousted in an election riven with religious tension, US Vice-President Mike Pence pronounced that “Indonesia’s tradition of moderate Islam frankly is an inspiration to the world”.
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“In your nation, as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn’t divide,” Pence gushed inside the presidential palace in Jakarta.

To be fair, a version of these words is parroted by most Western leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, when they visit Indonesia.

But the remarks were jarring given the timing.

“That Pence should be saying this after the most divisive and sectarian election in Indonesian history is flabbergasting,” says Australian National University associate professor Greg Fealy.

Timing aside, Pence’s comments and his visit to Istiqlal, the biggest mosque in South-east Asia, suggest his trip to Indonesia was in part to reassure Indonesians concerned about the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the Trump administration.

Fealy says they echo similar mollifying statements made by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to other foreign leaders.

The message seems to be, Fealy says, that while US President Donald Trump might say one thing to a domestic audience, the administration provides a more reassuring version to an international audience.

Despite having the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has not been in the new US administration’s crosshairs, although it was among the 16 countries named on Trump’s trade hit list.

For example, Indonesia was not listed in the travel ban order that sought to block new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries.

The speaker of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, Setya Novanto, who Trump described as “one of the most powerful men and a great man”, made a bizarre appearance at a Trump press conference in New York in late 2015.

“Do they like me in Indonesia?” Trump asked, to which Setya gushed: “Yes, highly.”

Trump’s company has also paired with Indonesian magnate Hary Tanoesoedibjo to build luxury resorts in Bali and Bogor.

Still, Lowy Institute research fellow Aaron Connelly says any visit by a senior US official is going to have to do some remedial work in terms of interfaith relations, given Trump’s reputation on these issues.

“I think that is why we saw him visit Masjid [mosque] Istiqlal and also why he attended an interfaith discussion, to assuage fears America is waging a war against Islam,” Connelly says.

“I think Vice-President Pence realises the harm that impression could do in Indonesia.”

Economic issues were also behind the visit. Connelly says every senior US official who visits Indonesia raises the issue of US mining giant Freeport, which operates the world’s largest gold mine in Papua and is currently embroiled in a contract row with the Indonesian government.

However Connelly believes the primary reason Pence chose to visit Indonesia rather than Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand on his tour of South-east Asia was because it was the headquarters of ASEAN.

Pence announced Trump would attend an ASEAN summit in the Philippines in November and to Connelly’s surprise, the Vice-President even met with young people from the Young South-east Asian Leaders’ Initiative, a signature Obama program.

“This shows their commitment to this very ASEAN-centred strategy of engagement with the region,” Connelly says.

“To a large extent the choice of Jakarta was about ASEAN, rather than economic issues or Indonesia as a Muslim country.”

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

What Tim Minchin and Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt have in common

Friday, 3 August, 2018

Dr Emma Johnston at lunch with Mark DapinPhoto Nick Moir 28 july 2016 Photo: Nick MoirA list of scientific luminaries and their supporters have signed a letter in support of international scientific endeavour on the eve of the Global March for Science on Saturday.
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Entertainer Tim Minchin has joined Australian of the Year Alan Mackay-Sim, Nobel Laureate and ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt, University of NSW science dean-elect Emma Johnston and broadcaster Adam Spencer to “call for a world that supports, celebrates and learns from science”.

The March for Science will take place in hundreds of cities in more than 50 countries on April 22, Earth Day. The focus will be on Washington DC, where science advocates will rally in response to proposed budget cuts to science announced by US President Donald Trump and what many perceive as his interference in independent climate science research.

Australian of the Year Professor Mackay-Sim is a leading expert in stem cell research at Griffith University. He said: “Scientists must publicly discuss the importance of science in political decision-making and convince politicians of all parties to keep investing in science is as important for our future as spending on health and defence.”

The letter is signed by 45 leading scientists and public figures and was organised by Science & Technology Australia, the country’s peak body for science representing more than 60,000 scientists and technologists.

Science & Technology Australia chief executive Kylie Walker said: “We are extremely fortunate to have solid support for science and technology in Australia, but with a growing distrust and disregard for science around the world, we think it is time to speak out.”

Proposed changes to Australia’ 457 visa system have drawn criticism from the scientific and research community, which has said it will weaken the international nature of scientific endeavour in Australia by making it much more difficult to attract post-doctoral scientists to Australia.

University of South Australia deputy vice-chancellor Tanya Monro said: “The news around 457 visas is serious issue for us. At a time when other countries are looking inwards Australia has the opportunity to build on the excellence of our scientific research base to attract the best minds to Australia. “

University of Sydney physicist Michael Biercuk said: “On a strict interpretation [of the proposed changes], we are not able to hire people who are coming out of their PhDs internationally,” he said. “We really need to sort out this issue.”

However, Professor Biercuk has expressed reservations about the March for Science. He said this week: “I fear that scientists protesting in support of their own disciplines may inadvertently reinforce dangerous perceptions that scientists are part of a detached elite.”

This sentiment is shared by a number of scientists, including the Australian Academy of Science.

The secretary for science policy at the Australian Academy of Science, Les Field, said: “The academy strongly supports US scientists who have established the March for Science.

“Science in Australia is in a different situation and while it is good to show solidarity with our US colleagues it’s unclear what the Australian marches will achieve.”

In Sydney the march will be addressed by former Liberal leader John Hewson and health advocate Simon Chapman. Professor Chapman this week described the Academy of Science as “spineless” and “naive” for not endorsing the march.

However the academy is relaxed about its staff and fellows participating.

Australian biologist Hugh Possingham will attend the march in Washington DC and is a co-signatory to the open letter.

Professor Possingham said: “As we celebrate Earth Day this year, science and hope are firmly at its core. Tens of thousands of people around the world will take part in the March for Science on Earth Day, calling on our elected officials to continue investing in scientific research that serves as the foundation of a strong, healthy and productive society.”

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

Why Phil still believes in the power of people

Friday, 3 August, 2018

DETERMINED: Phil Mahoney, who was essential in the fundraising campaign to secure Newcastle’s oncology clinic in the 1970s, is still giving back today.A FULL of life raconteur, performer and community contributor, Newcastle’s Phil Mahoney is the man you call on when you want something done.
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And, beaming with pride as he stood at Calvary Mater’s oncology clinic on Sunday, the proof is in the pudding.

Mr Mahoney – who has been involved with fundraising initiatives in the city for four decades –raised the first dollar for the clinic in the mid-1970s, and eventually went on to convince NBN Television that it should host a telethon to secure themuch-needed service in 1979.

By 1985, with the telethon proving a huge success, the cancer clinic opened, meaning those who were receiving treatment no longer had to travel to Sydney.

“It was a dream that became a reality,” Mr Mahoney said of the oncology clinic’s opening day.

“I’d been involved with charity events for a long time, but that one really sticks in my mind –you could see the difference the efforts of the Newcastle community made.

“It spared cancer sufferers the trauma of having to travel down to Sydney and stay there for six weeks, being away from their family when they needed their support the most.

“So when it opened, it was a great moment. Itwas something you never forget.”

Mr Mahoney, who still performs to this day, has been a member of several Newcastle bands in his decades-long on-stage career.

Most notably, Mr Mohoney was a lead vocalist with tribute rock ‘n’ roll band Blackstone Myth, which was popular on the Newcastle circuit in the 1970s.

At its peak, the band attracted Molly Meldrum’s attention, and was profiled in the veteran music journalist’sTV Weekcolumn Meldrum’s Humdrum.

The band was also invited to perform on the ABC’sCountdownprogram.

Mr Mohoney used his music background to propel fundraising initiatives in the city, and has been involved in countless appeals in his years.

Drawing on a community spirit he says is “very much still alive”, the musician’s latest project is envisaged as a screenplay to raise funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Asked what drives him to keep helping out, Mr Mahoney said it was “drummed into him” at school.

“There’s always someone who’s worse off than yourself,” he explained.

“You’ve always got to pitch in and help out when you can. And I’ve always enjoyed it.”

Reflecting on the community’s support with the oncology clinic, Mr Mahoney said “people power” was as vital then as it is today. “The government isn’t always going to come to the table, and we still see that,” he said.

Fear and loathing in Washington DC as ‘Trumporrhoea’ takes hold

Friday, 3 August, 2018

A strange new condition seems to be afflicting many of her journalist friends in Washington DC, says Lissa Muscatine, Hillary Clinton’s long-time friend, former aide and chief speech writer.
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“One friend’s doctor jokingly called it Trumporrhoea – they [the reporters] are all exhausted, coming down with insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, these physiological reactions – it’s not just the one thing that happens in a day, it’s five things a day, every time you look up there is another controversy or tweet that has gone out, some other insult or some other regulation that’s been overturned – it’s hard for people in other countries to fully grasp just how insane it is.”

Muscatine, 62, is a core member of what’s known in the United States as “Hillaryland”, a term originally coined to describe the dedicated group of women staffers who moved into the White House with Hillary after husband Bill first won the presidency.

It will also be the title of Muscatine’s recently commissioned first book, news of which broke in the US this week.

Her publishers are promising it will be “the 25-year journey of Hillary and her closest advisers at the intersection of politics and gender dynamics”.

Clinton was a type of First Lady America had never seen before, says Muscatine, who’s visiting Melbourne and Sydney as a guest of Rhodes Scholarships Australia to mark the 40th anniversary of women becoming eligible for the renowned academic award.

Muscatine herself was in that first intake of female Rhodes scholars in 1977, later becoming a Washington-based journalist before applying to Bill Clinton’s speechwriter for a job in 1992.

She started off writing for both Clintons before swinging in behind Hillary full-time.

“We were an unprecedented group of women in that White House,” she recalls. “She was the first First Lady to have her own full office in the West Wing, to have a staff as large and policy-oriented as hers.”

Muscatine has walked alongside Clinton for much of the 25 years since, collaborating on her 2003 memoir, writing speeches for her when she became secretary of state under Barack Obama, and becoming senior adviser on her unsuccessful and bitterly fought bid to win the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.

As Clinton’s primary speechwriter, she experienced a kind of “mind meld: you really do have to have an intuitive sense of the person’s voice…how she thought, how she would make a case.”

The loss to Trump in 2016 was personally devastating, says Muscatine.

“For me, it was the worst political event of my lifetime,” she says.

“Its just kind of disgraceful that somebody could assume the presidency with so little regard for our foundational democratic institutions, or the constitutional requirements of the office he holds as well as the offices around him, the separation of powers, the role of the press, the role of the intelligence community, the role of the judiciary. And he has done absolutely nothing to heal this immense and raw divide that opened up in our country, a divide he played on by sowing fear in people of other people.”

Like her former boss, Muscatine has felt the hot breath of far-right conspiracy theorists breathing down her neck, courtesy of the bizarre saga that became known as pizzagate.

Fuelled by social media and pushed along by the likes of pugilistic far-right radio host Alex Jones, rumours started circulating that Clinton and her associates had been involved in a murderous child sex ring, supposedly operating from underground chambers beneath a pizza joint in Washington DC called Comet Ping Pong.

Muscatine and her husband, former Washington Post journalist Bradley Graham, got drawn into the chaos by virtue of co-owning a famous Washington cultural landmark, a bookstore called Politics and Prose, which was on the same block as Comet Ping Pong.

When a gunman showed up one day to “free the children” supposedly held captive beneath the restaurant and nearby stores, “the whole block went into meltdown”, she says.

“There were SWAT teams rushing down the sidewalk, it was really unnerving.

“I personally got trolled, ‘how many children have you and Hillary raped today’, that kind of thing. We had to take extra security precautions, meet with the chief of police, the FBI and others.”

The silver lining has been how strongly their local community has since mobilised in support of the bookstore and other shops along the strip. Politics and Prose has become a kind of resistance headquarters, she says, hosting among other events a series of “teach-ins” on issues like migrants’ rights, women’s rights and climate change, modelled on the famous civil rights teach-in movement of the 1960s.

“Since the election, we have never felt that our mission is as important as it is now” Muscatine says.

Clinton has taken the 2016 defeat in her stride, better than many of her close supporters, according to her former staffer.

“But then she has always been this extraordinarily resilient person, who has this capacity to power through and move on.”

“Could she have run a better race? Yes, no doubt about it. Did she misread the electorate in certain important ways? Yes. But Trump turned out to be a perfect vessel for this very fervent nationalist angry feeling that’s overtaken a certain segment of our country … Everybody misread these populist, nationalist fear-filled movements that have been taking place around the world. And our country was no exception.”

Even after many years of close association, Muscatine continues to be fascinated by Clinton, whom she describes as a “kaleidoscope of a person”.

“Like all great and compelling people, she is not easy to label,” Muscatine says. “It’s a disservice to women who are smart, strong, ambitious and brilliant to oversimplify them.”

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

Government has no plans to block internet pornography

Friday, 3 August, 2018

There are no plans for Australia to follow the UK policy of requiring internet service providers to offer network-level filters that block online porn.
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The option isn’t part of the government’s response to a senate committee inquiry into harm being done to children through access to pornography.

The government will wait instead for new research and will support continued education for parents and teachers.

The inquiry received 416 submissions, many of which proposed filtering pornographic content to make it inaccessible for children.

Britain introduced optional filtering for new ISP customers at the end of 2013 and it’s been extended to existing users on a rolling basis.

The committee reported that between six and 40 per cent of UK customers [depending on the ISP] had taken up filtering by June 2015.

The Australian Christian Lobby recommended blocking pornography at ISP level by default, requiring adults to opt in.

The Burnet Institute argued ISP-level filtering was unlikely to succeed for technical reasons and the committee heard that parental control tools currently exist.

The government acknowledged evidence that pornography harms children.

The Royal Australian College of Physicians submitted that one study found 28 per cent of 9-16 year-olds had seen sexual material online and 73 per cent of 15-16 year-olds.

A 2013 UK study revealed 11 as the average first age of exposure to pornography.

Evidence to the committee showed harm included pornography being used as sex education; distress for young children; addictive behaviour; changing sexual practices; consequences for body image and self-esteem; viewing women as sex objects and potential sexual offending.

The Australian Medical Association submitted the proliferation of online pornography was shaping social norms in relation to sexuality.

“The AMA believes that children viewing highly sexualised pornographic material are at risk of negatively affecting their psychological development and mental health by potentially skewing their views of normality and acceptable behaviour,” the submission said.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists told the inquiry that children exposed to pornographic material could exhibit inappropriate and distorted sexual behaviour.

“Anecdotally, exposure to pornography is an element of some presentations at child and adolescent mental health services, however more research and data is needed in this area,” the college said.

Professor Freda Briggs [dec], foundation chair of child development at the University of South Australia, submitted last year that child sex offenders used pornography to seduce targeted victims.

“There is research evidence that pornography affects the brain in much the same way as drugs,” Professor Briggs wrote.

“It can become addictive.

“There is international evidence that some children become addicted to downloading pornography and rape younger children.

“… clearly we are paying too high a price for adults’ right to view whatever they wish regardless of the consequences for young people and society.”

The committee concluded more research was needed and suggested a national forum to “build consensus on whether a problem exists that warrants government intervention, and if so, the policy options that should be pursued”.

The government’s response says having the right policy settings and programs in place is critical.

It says in July 2015 the government established the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner to take a national leadership role with education resources through a web portal.

“While significant progress has been made to increase the protection for vulnerable Australians on the internet more can always be done,” the response says.

“The government is committed to further consultation and research to ensure that our future policy responses can be even more effectively and efficiently targeted.”

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

Canberra teachers reduce hours to deal with workload stress

Friday, 3 August, 2018

Some Canberra teachers are reducing their hours to better cope with a workload the education union has labelled a major threat to the workforce’s health and wellbeing.
Nanjing Night Net

One long-serving secondary school teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said the increasing expectation that teachers would complete administrative work without recognition of what they already did left her feeling like she was “drowning”.

Teachers in Canberra preschools and primary schools may teach up to 21 hours and 30 minutes face-to-face each week. In high schools and colleges, teachers may be asked to teach up to 19 hours weekly, averaged over the year.

As well, teachers are expected to undertake curriculum planning, assessment, student supervision, reporting, professional learning, parent-teacher interviews and “activities to enrich the educational experience of students”, an Education Directorate spokeswoman said.

The Canberra teacher said “intrusive” administrative work was unable to be completed during school hours and had eaten into family life.

She this year reduced her workload from full-time to .8, a reduction of one day per week, and said several others she knew had done the same.

“It’s not about the stuff that I really love which is preparing, and I even enjoy marking kids’ work and reporting,” she said.

“It’s filling out online surveys and the burden of administration stuff about TQI [ACT Teacher Quality Institute], it just sort of seems that instead of having a couple of jobs you have to do a day it seems that it’s job after job after job.

“You can’t breathe.”

Australian Education Union ACT branch secretary Glenn Fowler said excessive workload was a threat to the sector’s ability to attract and retain quality staff.

“We hear anecdotally from teachers who have regrettably chosen to go part-time and thereby reduce their income in order to cope with demands,” he said.

“Hours of 50 per week for teachers and more than 60 per week for school leaders are unsustainable and cannot continue.”

The union welcomed recent government initiatives that recognised teacher workload. The Education Directorate allocated $6 million to address workload issues in 2016-17.

“Each school has an established workload committee to monitor, review and address local site workload issues,” the directorate spokeswoman said.

“In addition, the directorate has established a system workload leadership team to support schools to develop and implement workload reduction plans and drive sustainable workload reduction to enable teachers’ time to focus on their core role of improving student learning in the classroom. Teachers are required to participate in approved professional learning and time is allocated to this.

“The ACT government is committed to supporting teachers through a range of measures including employing support staff to provide administrative support for teachers.”

Classroom teachers in their first year of teaching have reduced face-to-face teaching loads, the directorate spokeswoman said.

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