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Salman Abedi’s third-generation path to jihadism brought terror home to Manchester

London: The third attack on British soil in as many months has raised many uncomfortable questions about the nation’s ability to combat deadly acts of terrorism.
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But none are more difficult than the issue of home-grown terrorism. In the wake of recent attacks in the UK a depressing pattern has begun to emerge with police carrying out raids in areas becoming known as breeding grounds for radicalisation. The attacks that took place near London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday were no different with police arresting 12 people in Barking, East London two days later.

But even before Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane and a third man yet to be identified, used a rented van and knives to murder seven people near London Bridge on Saturday night, the UK was trying to come to grips with how Manchester local Salman Abedi had managed to kill 22 people in his home town, less than a fortnight earlier, in the name of Islamic State.

In the days after the 22-year-old Abedi detonated a bomb at the Manchester Arena, the British press generated almost daily reports on the telltale signs that were overlooked. These included numerous tip-offs from friends to authorities, his expulsion from Didsbury mosque after a public dispute with an imam, and reports of his family’s links to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – an Islamist organisation loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda which opposed Soviet forces in Afghanistan and Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.

Though Britain’s MI5 is already conducting an internal review into how Abedi slipped under its radar, it looks increasingly clear that the signs should have been unmissable from the beginning. Particularly given Abedi’s target was his home city – one of Britain’s three major hotspots for homegrown jihadists. Birmingham and East London, where the latest raids took place in the early hours of Monday morning, are the other two areas of deep concern for security officials.

“The Abedi case is looking a lot more like an intelligence problem,” says Kyle Orton, from the Henry Jackson Society, a London think-tank.

“I know that’s said after every one of these [attacks],” Orton adds. “It’s usually not true, because intelligence agencies are very good at detecting extremists, but in this case he has been abroad many times and he comes from a background that should have been under a great deal more scrutiny.”

When petty criminal-turned-extremist Khalid Masood rammed his hired car into tourists on Westminster Bridge in March, it was the sort of crude attack carried out by a loner with prior convictions that Europe has come to expect.

But Britain reacted differently to what happened in Manchester. The scale, the death toll, the heinous targeting of children and the sophistication of the attack made the bombing particularly shocking.

“An improvised explosive device – we haven’t seen that in this country, there was a rudimentary bomb blown up in [the July 7, 2005 London attack] in the Tube, but that was a long time ago,” said Karin von Hippel from the defence and security think tank RUSI.

Last year the global coalition fighting Islamic State in the Middle East, of which is a member, warned IS would attempt further attacks in the West in retaliation for the destruction of its so-called caliphate. It quickly claimed responsibility for the Manchester carnage, saying it had been carried out by “one of its soldiers”.

“This isn’t a guy who has just ended up getting touch with a recruiter on WhatsApp and has been talked through it or provided with weapons or something by them, he’s been in theatre with them and been trained by them and it looks like the first case of a returning foreign fighter,” Mr Orton said.

Abedi is the British-born son of Libyan parents. His father Ramadan Abedi was arrested in Tripoli, along with another of his sons following the attack. He fled Libya for England in the 1990s but told Bloomberg he did not belong to extremist groups, as claimed by the Gaddafi regime.

Manchester would become home to Britain’s largest Libyan community. Arthur Snell, a former British diplomat posted to Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa, and now with security consultants PGI Intelligence, says Britain initially turned a blind eye to Libyan arrivals in Britain, believing “these people are not a threat to the UK”.

“Libya [under Gaddafi] was seen as a rogue state, so people who were in opposition to the Libyan regime were not [seen] as problematic,” he told Fairfax Media.

“Where it gets complicated is where the West’s attitude to Libya changed,” he said. “If we’re honest, the authorities in this country largely ignored the Libya issue because up until the moment of the Arab Spring, the radical threat in the UK was not seen as coming from that quarter.”

That has changed with the case of the Abedis, with reports Ramadan Abedi took his sons to Libya “on holiday” to take part in the civil war against Gaddafi.

Mr Snell said some of the groups operating in Libya at the time were at the “jihadist end of the spectrum, but the focus of their militancy was the Gaddafi regime”. NormalfalsefalseEN-GBJAX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-priority:99;mso-style-parent:””;mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0cm;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Cambria;mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Catholic sector defends ‘funneling’ money between schools

Senator Jacinta Collins spoke on the Racial Discrimination Amendment Bill at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday 2 October 2014. Photo: Andrew MearesThe Catholic school sector has reacted angrily to suggestions it is “funnelling” money away from students in disadvantaged areas to those in wealthy suburbs.
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At fiery and, at times, personal Senate hearings,Catholic education authorities also opened up a new front in the school funding debate by warning the Turnbull government’s changes could lead city dioceses to break away and form their own systems so they don’t have to send money to schools in poorer regional areas.

Catholic education commissions in each state and territory receive government funding in a lump sum, which they distribute among their schools as they see fit.

Fairfax Media revealed last month that Catholic schools in low-income areas were receiving up to $1.5 million less than they were allocated under the federal government’s needs-based formula.

Meanwhile, schools in wealthy suburbs such as Elwood in Melbourne and Pymble in Sydney were receiving funding significantly above their allocation in order to keep fees low.

The Senate hearings into the Turnbull government’s proposed new funding model became heated on Monday when Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young accused Labor senator Jacinta Collins – a practising Catholic – of running a “protection racket” for the Catholic sector.

An outraged Senator Collins demanded Senator Hanson-Young withdraw the comment, which she agreed to.

Ross Fox, a former executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission, released a new analysis showing funding for disadvantaged Catholic schools was 54 per cent higher than for Catholic schools in wealthy areas.

But this redistribution will not be possible in the future if city dioceses break away from the state-based Catholic education systems, he said.

“There are already discussions about whether for the 11 dioceses in NSW, whether it would be in their interests to all stick together if the model is passed,” Mr Fox, now director of Catholic education for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, said.

“It may be to the advantage [of the metropolitan dioceses] to form a separate system and we would be in a very invidious position where we couldn’t benefit from the redistribution that is going on.”

Catholic authorities said they were in a better position to know which of their schools needed increased funding than the federal government’s “crude” socio-economic status formula.

Stephen Elder, head of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, said it was absurd that a Catholic primary school next to a housing commission in inner-city Melbourne was deemed to be more advantaged than the elite Geelong Grammar School.

Mr Elder said state governments redistributed funding among their schools and often over-funded selective high schools and public schools in wealthy areas.

Ian Baker, head of policy at the NSW Catholic Education Commission, said Catholic schools in low-income areas such as Punchbowl in Sydney were being given up to $1.3 million less than their federal funding allocation for the “common good” of the system.

“Our obligation is to keep all 558 Catholic schools in NSW operationally viable,” he said.

“It is about relative need.”

Senator Hanson-Young said it was “extraordinary” that Catholic authorities had prioritised keeping fees low in wealthy suburbs over sending money to their neediest schools.

Senator Hanson-Young said the Greens would only support the government’s changes if it gave more money to needy schools, speeded up its 10-year timeframe and created a new independent school resourcing body.

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Cyclist Dr Rod Little remains at John Hunter after bike dragged behind truck on Central Coast

Shocking: Emergency specialist and cycling enthusiast Dr Rod Little is in John Hunter Hospital after being dragged 200 metres behind a truck.EMERGENCY specialist and cycling enthusiast Dr Rod Little remains in John Hunter Hospital in a battered state, but lucky to be alive, after being dragged on a trailing rope behind a truck for more than 200 metres.
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Dr Little, 58, had further surgery on Monday after he was rushed to the hospital one week ago following an incident while he was on a routine ride along the Scenic Highway at Terrigal.

Shocking footage taken from a security camera outside a Scenic Highway property shows a Central Coast Council truck trailing a rope and Dr Little’s unconscious body being dragged behind it.

The footage horrified Dr Little’s wife Nicolette Gregory, who said initial reports that he had only suffered minor abrasions were not correct.

“He had several hours of surgery on Wednesday, he’s had major skin grafts and more surgerytoday (Monday) and he’s had enormous deep skin loss. He’s really messed up,” Mrs Gregory said.

She said the full extent of the horrific incident only hit after she went back to the Scenic Highway to pick up Dr Little’sbike –a handmade Clamont by Geoff Scott –and saw marks on the road where her husband had been dragged.

Horrified witnesses flagged down the driver of the council vehicle who was in shock after the incident. The Scenic Highway is a popular cycling thoroughfare between Terrigal andAvoca Beach.

Mrs Gregory said the bike’s frame was intact but part of the rope which trailed from the back of the truck for at least 30 metres remained in the frame.

“The rope’s just jammed itself under the front wheel brake,” Mrs Gregory said.

She said her husband did not recall any of the incident.

“He is actually very lucky to be alive but he has been badly injured,” she said.

Dr Little has worked as an emergency physician since 1995 after completing a medical degree at Sydney University in 1985.

A Central Coast Council spokesperson said council, policeand other agencies were investigating.

“Council understands the cyclist is recovering in John Hunter Hospital. He and his family are in our thoughts and we wish him a speedy recovery,” the spokesperson said.

A-League: Newcastle Jets to profit after Dimi Petratos exits Korean club Ulsan Hyundai

TARGET MAN: Dimi Petratos is poised to join the Newcastle Jets. Picture: Getty ImagesFIVE months after Newcastle pocketed$150,000 for the sale of Dimi Petratos to Korean club Ulsan Hyundai, the promising midfielderis poised to become a Jet again.
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Petratos, 24, has agreed to a mutual termination less than a third of the way through a three-yeardeal at the K-League club.

Pending a medical and a couple of details beingfinalised, Petratos will join the Jets on a two-year contract.

“Things are looking positive with regards to Dimi,” Jets football operations manager Joel Griffiths said.“We haveagreed on a number of things. I havespoken to his agent, Tony Rallis, but I want to speak to the boy himself. Until he signs on the dotted line, you are always a bit nervous. In terms of his football, the same things that attracted us to him before remain attractive. He ticks a lot of boxes.”

Ralis said he had promised chief executive Lawrie McKinna that the Jets would have first and last option if Petratos became available.

“I gave him my word that if Dimi was ever to come back, I’d give the Jets the last rights to sign him,” Rallis said. “Unless something drastic happens I anticipate he will be there. I will keep my word to Lawrie because Lawrie did the right thing.”

Petratos hasn’tplayed for Ulsansince starting against his former club Brisbane in the AFC Champions League on May 10.In total, hemade nine appearances in the club’s 22 matches in all competitions.

Ralis said the decision to leave Ulsan was “purely a lifestyle thing”.

“He started and was playing but struggled with the culture,” Ralis said. “He will solve the No.10 position for the Jets.”

Griffiths spent five years playing in Asia and wasunderstanding of Petratos’ call.

“He obviouslydidn’t enjoy his time in Korea,” Griffiths said.“It is tough playing overseas. It can be political and hard to adjust. I was fortunate to go to Beijing Guoan. Even when I was there and at Shanghai, you always get players who sign for two years and are gone in three months.”

Griffiths said coach Ernie Merrick, who along with McKinna wasdue back from China late Monday night,was excited at the prospect of working with Petratos.

“Dimi has so much potential,” Griffiths said.“He is a big-game player and is really mature for his age. He can fill a number of roles in the front third. Ernie will work with him in the pre-season and see where he fits best. It is pretty much a clean slate for everyone.”

If, as expected, Petratos signs it willleave the Jets with three places available on the roster, which could stretch to four if Aleksandr Kokko doesn’t return from Finland.

However, Griffiths ruled out making a play for Kosta Barbarouses, who on Monday was granted a release by Wellington Phoenix.

“He wasn’t on our radar,” Griffiths said.“I rate him highly, but we have identified other players who can do the job next year.I suspect he has a deal stitched up with one of the bigger interstate clubs. We are in talks with a couple of other players and hopefully can finalise them soon.”

Petratos, whosigned a three-year deal with the Jets in January before they were gazumped by Ulsan, would joinyounger brother Kosta in Newcastle.

They will be among a host of new faces, including Roy O’Donovan, Daniel Georgievski, Mario Shabow and keeper Glen Moss. The Jets had been in talks with Mark Bridge in January, but he is expected to return to Western Sydney Wanderers.

“I am really excited about how things are going,” Griffiths said.

“Hopefully in a few days there will be a couple of more players to add.

“You need luck. You need things to fall into place and you need to keep on persisting and asking the question. If they say thatthey want to go back to and enjoy the lifestyle, then great. If they want to chase the money, which a lot of the time they do, you can’t compete with it.“There is no point getting upset, I did the same thing. There are always good players coming through and there are a lot of good players we are looking at.”

The Jets start pre-season training on June 22 and have their first hit out against Chilean side Audax Italiano at McDonald Jones Stadium on July 8.

Sydney’s accident-prone sculpture finds a new home

There are new hooves that can be found on the paddocks at the Riding for Disabled centre in Marsfield Park – but not just any hooves.
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The controversial Origami Horses sculpture in the West Ryde Plaza was given its trotting orders after a handful of pedestrians were injured walking into it.

Ryde Mayor Bill Pickering witnessed a man in his 70s walk into the aluminium sculptures. The man required stitches to his forehead after a collision with one of the three horses – which range from three metres to 5.5m tall.

“My immediate reaction when the incident happened was to have the area cordoned off because it was a safety concern,” Cr Pickering said. “We needed to find a new home for the sculptures that was safe for the public and somewhere that it could still be seen.”

The structure was closed off to the public for five months, but late last week workers were seen cutting down the Origami Horses at the plaza.

They were relocated onto council land outside the Riding for Disabled Association (RDA) centre at Marsfield Park.

“The Riding for Disabled was the best option,” Cr Pickering said. “The art work is still open for public display, I’ve been assured about the safety of the public and it’s a really great organisation in our community.”

The centre was one of the proposed locations after much debate about whether the horses should stay at the plaza.

“We’re really impressed with the horses – they’re making a great statement and people are starting to notice RDA,” Barry Davis, President of Ryde’s Riding for Disabled centre said. “When we heard about the plans to remove them from the plaza we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice here?’.”

Mr Davis said there are plans to run a competition for the children to name the horses.

“A lot of people will now be able to see the sculptures more than before – there’s a lot more space for them, they’re spread out. At the plaza they were so cramped,” he said. “We can’t wait to bring the children out to see them once they’re done. We’ll need to bring the horse too – just in case they get spooked, but I’m sure there will be no problem with it.”

Barricades remain around the horses until they are made safe for the public to go near, but that hasn’t deterred locals from stopping at the new attraction.

“People are stopping to take photographs with the horses – they’re well spaced out and very pretty.”

The three aluminium sculptures designed by Milne & Stonehouse in collaboration with a local primary school were installed in 2013 to bring colour to the plaza.

Council workers sawed off the tail of one horse in 2014 due to its sharp point and potential danger to children. Pot plants and seating were also installed to deter people from walking directly into the horses.

Cr Jerome Laxale said he was concerned about how little the community had a voice in the removal of the sculptures.

“The community didn’t have a say on whether or not the horses should stay in the plaza, and now they don’t even have a say as to where they go.”

“The council has also been left in the dark – I don’t recall being advised that the horses would be moving to the centre – there were other options, including schools who wanted them.”

Shade cloths and seating areas would replace the horses in the plaza.

Your guide to the Hunter’s music, movies and theatre

GIG OF THE WEEK: Brisbane punk lads Dune Rats are headlining the party at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday.MUSIC5 Sawyers Friday, AK Morris.
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48 Watt Street Saturday-Sunday, Sarah Blasko,Cameron Avery,Fraser A. Gorman.

Albion Hotel SingletonFriday, Lee Rolfe.

Anna Bay TavernSaturday, Witchery.

Hotel CessnockSaturday, Duplexity.

Bar Petite Friday, Nano M. Saturday, Emmy Rose. Sunday, The Coconut Trio.

Battlesticks BarThursday,Richard Walker.Friday,Little Cents.Saturday,John Larder.Sunday,Wesley’s Edge.

Bay Hotel Saturday, Gen-X.

Beach Hotel Friday, Tom Blake. Saturday, The Lamplighters.

Belmont 16sFriday, Bobby C, Rave On. Saturday, The Years.

Beresfield Bowling Club Friday, Loko. Saturday, Gen-R-8. Sunday, Red Dirt Country Band.

The Bradford Friday, The Way. Saturday, Acoustic Mayhem. Sunday, Michael Passfield.

Burwood Inn Friday, Jess Holland. Saturday, Timmy Coffey.

Cambridge Hotel Friday, Dune Rats, Tired Lion, Pandamic (Glass House), The Hard Aches, The Football Club, Muncie Girls (UK) (Warehouse). Saturday, REMI, Sampa The Great. Sunday, Dustin Tebbutt & Lisa Mitchell, Alex The Astronaut.

Cardiff RSL Club Friday, Dos Eager. Saturday, 4 Letter Word.

Carrington Place Thursday,The Frenchman Street Jazz Band.

Catho PubSaturday, Lee Rolfe.Sunday, Shivoo.

Central Charlestown Leagues Club Friday, Hayden Johns. Saturday, Gareth Hudson.

Central HotelStroudSaturday, Helen O’Dee.

Cessnock Leagues ClubSaturday, Rendezvous.

Charlestown Bowling Club Friday, Mick Jones. Saturday, Joel Oakhill.

Clarendon Hotel Friday, Phil McKnight.

Club KotaraSaturday, Love That Hat.

Club LemonTree Friday, Norm Bakker. Saturday, Solid Gold Party.

Club Maitland City Friday, Chad Shuttleworth.

Commercial HotelBoolarooFriday,Darren Rolling Keys.

Commercial Hotel MorpethFriday, Reg Sinclair.

The CommonsFriday, Emma Davis.

Country Club HotelFriday, Amber Lawrence &Aleyce Simmonds, Press Play. Saturday,Bryen & The Bayou Boogie Boys, Sandra Humphries, Dola. Sunday,Kinder Danny & Eclipse.

Criterion Hotel Carrington Saturday, Roxy. Sunday, Zane Penn.

Criterion Hotel WestonFriday, Snow Party.Saturday, The Zillers.

Customs HouseFriday, Ben Travis. Saturday, Anyerin. Sunday, Bonny Rai.

Denman HotelSunday, Layth Gunn.

Duke Of WellingtonFriday,Dave Carter.Saturday, Redline.

East Maitland Bowling ClubFriday, Loose Bazooka. Saturday,The Fedz. Sunday,Roxy.

Edgeworth Bowling Club Sunday, Boney Rivers.

The Edwards Friday, James Bennett.

Erringhi HotelSaturday, Angel Gear.

Exchange Hotel Friday, 4 Letter Word. Saturday, Alias.

Family Hotel MaitlandFriday, Tim Broadway.

Finnegans Saturday, Zannon Lionette, Kidd Kaos.

FogHorn Brewhouse Friday, Marissa. Saturday, Jacob & Laura.

Gallipoli Legion ClubThursday,Fish Fry.

Gateshead TavernFriday, Paul Watters.Sunday, Kevin O’Hara.

George Tavern Friday, Matt McLaren. Saturday, Tre Soul.

Grain StoreSaturday,LoganWolfgang.Sunday,JJ King.

Grand Hotel Tuesday, A Final Recital.

Grand Junction Hotel Thursday, DJ Jakesy. Saturday, Autumn Hearts, Lennie Tranter & The Bagism Revelation. Sunday, Fish Fry & Pow Wow.

Great Northern Hotel Teralba Saturday, Ashley Knight.

Greenroof Hotel Friday, Beau Hatch. Saturday, Matt McLaren.

Gunyah Hotel Saturday, Alias. Sunday, Loko.

​Hamilton Station Hotel Friday, The Grounds, Rangers of the Universe, The Culture Industry.Sunday,Brock Henry, Lachlan X. Morris, Bofolk Ballico.

Harrigan’s Pokolbin Friday, Gen-R-8. Saturday, Tim Rossington, Sundays Record. Sunday, Grant Walmsley Trio.

Honeysuckle Hotel Sunday, Whispering Jack –John Farnham tribute.

Hotel Delany Friday, Gen-X. Saturday, Big Night Out. Sunday, Sean Andrews.

Hotel Jesmond Friday, Ryan Daley.

The Junction Hotel Friday,Tim Rossington. Saturday,Kylie Jane.

Kent Hotel Friday, Triple Zero. Saturday, The V-Dubs. Sunday, Christina Crofts Blues Band.

King Street Hotel Friday, Dillytek, Dexi.

Lake Macquarie Tavern Friday, Beth Gleeson.

Lake Macquarie Yacht ClubSunday, David McCredie.

Lambton Park Hotel Friday, Bucko.

Lass O’GowrieThursday,The Pits,Borneo,Kristian Dooley.Friday,Family Dog,East Coast Swag,The Know Goods,E4444e. Saturday, Bin Juice, The Treehouse Children, Cosmic Spice, Stranger Than Friends, Nelipot, Southern End, Arcades and Lions, Sister Rosicky, Oilbaron. Sunday,Lincoln le Fevre, Amy Vee, Scott Spencer.

Lizotte’sFriday, Dragon, Dexter Moore. Saturday,All Our Exes Live in Texas. Sunday, Killer Queen.

Lucky Hotel Friday, Kylie Jane. Saturday, Howie & Alex. Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Maitland Leagues ClubFriday,Kieran Wicks. Saturday, Gavin Scott.Sunday,National Music Academy Students.

Mark HotelSaturday, Snape Trilogy.Sunday, The V-Dubs.

Mary Ellen Friday,Arley and I. Saturday,Band Of Burds. Sunday,Ben Travis.

Mavericks On The BayFriday, Karen O’Shea. Saturday, Troy Kemp. Sunday, Mick Jones.

Mavericks On DarbyFriday,ToddSchmoo. Saturday,Arley and I.

Mayfield Ex-Services ClubFriday, Brazillian Brothers Duo.

Metropolitan Hotel Maitland Sunday, Leeroy & The Rats.

Mezz BarFriday,Motown Magic. Saturday,Incognito.Sunday,Melbourne Street.

Morisset Country ClubSunday, Jamie Martens.

Muree Golf ClubFriday, Kelly Hope.

Murray’s Brewery Saturday, Tom Blake. Sunday, Grant Walmsley Freebird & Friends.

Nag’s Head Hotel Saturday, Blues Bombers.

Neath Hotel Saturday, Jason Ray.

Nelson Bay Bowling ClubSunday, Cash Walkin The Line.

Nelson Bay Diggers Friday, Jade & Willow.Saturday, Viper Creek Band, Kristy James, The Mokos. Sunday,DJsKevin & Maria Easy, Kim MacKenzie.

Newcastle Leagues Club–The Vault Friday,Tempest Rising,Lycanthrope,Moustache Ant,Corotted,Final Form.

Northern Star HotelFriday,Sarah Christine. Saturday,Little Cents.

Pedens CessnockFriday, Kristy James.Saturday, Viagro.

Pippis At The PointFriday, Bonny Rai, Bandditts.Saturday, Phonic.Sunday, Matt McLaren.

Potters Brewery Friday, Joel Oakhill.

The PourhouseSaturday, Bonny Rai.

Premier Hotel Saturday,Jamie Martens. Sunday,The Years.

Prince of Wales HotelFriday, Bucko. Saturday, Ngariki.

Queens Wharf Hotel Friday, Tre Soul. Saturday, Jason Bone, Dean Kyrwood. Sunday, DV8.

Raymond Terrace Bowling Club Sunday, Joel Oakhill.

Royal Federal HotelBranxton Saturday, StateFX.

Royal Hotel SingletonSunday, Witchery.

Royal Motor Yacht Club TorontoFriday, Brenton Williams.Sunday, The Leadbellies.

Rutherford Hotel Saturday, Loren Ryan.

Salamander Shores Friday, Code Red.Saturday, Mick Jones.

Seabreeze HotelFriday, Counterpart.Sunday,Arna Georgia,Dos Eager.

Shenanigans at the ImperialFriday,Zac & Ben.Saturday,Greg Bryce.Sunday,Sarah Christine.

Shortland Hotel Friday, Greg Bryce. Saturday, Zane Penn.

Singleton DiggersSunday, Frets With Benefits.Sunday, Lennie & Carter.

Small Ballroom Thursday, Xenocidal Warpath, Aversions Crown,Boris The Blade, Alpha Wolf. Saturday, Clowns,Night Birds(USA),RortMenace,Wavevom.

Soldiers Point Bowling Club Sunday, Beccy Cole.

Souths Leagues Club Saturday, Boney Rivers.

Spinning Wheel Hotel Friday, Big Pete.

Stag & Hunter Hotel Thursday, Double Up Lounge.Friday,Marshall O’Kell. Saturday, Muzzy Pep, E4444e. Sunday,Alby Pool & No City Limits.

Star Hotel Friday, Spank N The Monkey.Sunday, Bruce Mathiske.

Station Hotel Kurri Kurri Saturday, Extreme Mobile Entertainment.

Stockton Bowling Club Friday, Saturday, Kevin O’Hara.

Stockton RSLClub Saturday, The Rattlesnakes.

Swansea Hotel Sunday, Todd Schmoo.

Swansea RSLClub Saturday, Sisters From Different Mr’s.

Sydney Junction Hotel Sunday, Codi Kaye.

Tanilba Bay Golf ClubFriday, Mark Lee.

Tea Gardens Country ClubSaturday, Pat Vs Cat.

Tea Gardens Hotel Saturday, Robbie T.

Telarah Bowling ClubSunday, Max Jackson.

Tilligerry RSLFriday, Frets With Benefits.Saturday, Jacob Ridgeway Duo, The Bush Happy Band, Whiskey Business.

Toronto Diggers Saturday, 40 Up Club.

Toronto HotelFriday, Frick N Orson.

Toronto Workers Saturday, Rock Factor. Sunday, Pistol Pete.

Town Hall Hotel Saturday, Kevin O’Hara.

Unorthodox Church of Groove Saturday, Bandaluzia Flamenco, Rosalie Cocchiaro,ChachyPenalver.

Victoria Hotel Hinton Friday, Mardy Leith. Saturday, Pistol Pete. Sunday, Troy Kemp.

Wangi HotelSaturday, James Naldo.

Wangi Wangi RSLClub Saturday, Rock The Mic. Sunday, Ben Woodham. Tuesday,Brian Larenze.

Warners At The Bay Friday, Troy Kemp. Saturday, Mardmax.

Wests Cardiff Saturday, Jungle Kings.

Wests New LambtonThursday, Angamus. Friday, Rubber Bullet. Saturday, The Smarts. Tuesday, Angamus.

Wickham Park HotelFriday,Shivoo.Saturday,Phoenix Pritchard,The Porkers,Local Resident Failure,Bad Luck Kitty.Sunday,Kenny Jewell,Steve Edmonds.

Windale-Gateshead Bowling Club Friday, Wayne & The Wanderers.

MOVIES20thCentury Women(M) The story of three women who explore love and freedom in southern California during the late 1970s. (Tower)

A Dog’s Purpose(PG) A dog looks to discover his purpose in life over the course of several lifetimes and owners.

A Royal Night Out (M) On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance. (Regal)

A Street Cat Named Bob (PG) Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. (Regal)

And Now For Something Completely Different (PG) An collection of the best sketches from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. (Regal)

Baywatch(M)Follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon as he butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

Churchill (M)A ticking-clock thriller following Winston Churchill in the 24 hours before D-Day. (Tower)

Diary of a Whimpy Kid: The Long Haul (PG)Greg convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday as a cover for what he really wants: to attend a nearby gamer convention.

Denial(PG)Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel. (Regal)

Don’t Tell(M)The story of a young woman who fought back after enduring sexual abuse at a prestigious private school.

Edward Scissorhands (PG)A gothic fairytale about the ultimate outsider: a half-finished artificial man with scissors for hands. (Tower)

Get Out(MA) A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2(M)The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together.

John Wick: Chapter 2(MA)After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword(M)Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.

My Cousin Rachel (PG)A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. (Tower)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales(M) Capt. Jack Sparrow feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle.

Resident Evil: Vendetta (MA)Tasked with capturing a notorious weapons trafficker,Chris Redfield of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance storms a mysterious mansion backed up by a crack team. (Event, Glendale)

Snatched(MA 15+)A young woman persuades her ultra-cautious mother to travel with her to paradise.

The Mummy (M)An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

The Shack (M) After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. (Event, Kotara)

The Spy Who Loved Me (M) James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed. (Regal)

The Zookeeper’s Wife (M)The story ofJan and Antonina Zabinski, thekeepers of the Warsaw Zoo,who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion. (Lake Cinema)

Their Finest (M) A British film crew attempts to boost morale during World War II by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg.

Viceroy’s House(PG)Lord Mountbattenis tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence.

Wonder Woman(M)An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes.

THEATREA Little Murder Never Hurt AnybodyA man’s New Year resolution to murder his wifehas her declaring that he won’t, with a mad year following; zany comedy by Ron Bernas.Newcastle Theatre Company, Lambton. Wednesday, FridayandSaturday at 8pm, until June 17; plus 2pm on Saturday, June 10.

ChicagoA woman who shoots her boyfriend when he walks out on her uses a trial topromote her show business ambitions; lively jazz age musical. Novocastrian Players andTheatre on Brunker, at St Stephen’s Hall, Adamstown. Friday and Saturday, dinner and show7pm, show only 8pm, until June 24, plus Sunday at 2pm andWednesday, June 21, at7pm.

Don GiovanniBrisk and amusing Mozart opera, with the womanising title charactercontinually eluding their menfolk; n premiere of new translation by Jeremy Sams.Opera Hunter, at Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre, Warners Bay. Wednesday and Friday, at 7.30pm, and Saturday and Sunday, at 2pm, until June25.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival RoadshowLively mix of n andinternational stand-up comedians. Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, at 8pm,and the Civic Theatre, Newcastle, nightly from Friday to Sunday, at 8pm.

Pantseat Sings: Mickey and Me – The Songs of DisneyBright songs from classic Disneyfilms and stage shows. WEA Hall, Cooks Hill. Saturday, at 4pm.

RumoursA 10th wedding anniversary party goes awry when friends arrive to find thepolitician husband with a gun wound and his wife missing; comedy by Neil Simon.Newcastle G and S Players Comedy Club, at St Matthew’s Anglican Church Hall,Georgetown. Dinner show performances on Friday, June 16, Saturdays 10 and 17, andSunday, June 11, with meal at 7pm; show only matinee on Sunday, June 11, at 2pm.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie BrownBright musical with the Peanuts comic children andpet dog, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown seeking a girlfriend. Young People’s Theatre, at itsHamilton theatre. Fridays, June 9 and 23, at 7pm; Saturdays, June 10 and 24, at 2pm and7pm, Sundays, June 11 and 18, at 2pm, and Wednesdays, June 14 and 21, at 7pm.

Grieving family seeks changes in mental health system

COMFORT: David Sessions, Jenny Allen, and Michael Sessions read a condolence card, on the death of their brother, Bernie Sessions. Bernie Sessions was never one to talk a lot. But his life and losshave in themselves become a powerful voice in calling for a greaterfocus onmental health.
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Bernie Sessions was widely known as The Man in the Doorway, as he sat outside his unit beside Maitland Road in Mayfield, greeting passers-by. Bernie Sessions died last week. His sister, Jenny Allen, said her older brother had been battling paranoid schizophrenia and took his own life.

The doorway that was the domain of the Mayfield identity has become a shrine, filled with flowersand words of sympathy and comfort. The Sessions family has been absorbingthose words.

“Fly high. Give us one last wave on your way,” MrsAllen read out from one note.

Jenny Allen reads a note of condolences placed at the doorway where her brother, Bernie Sessions, used to sit. Picture: Simone De Peak

While many have been moved by the death of the Man in the Doorway, there are also questions about what could have been done to helpBernieSessions. Jenny Allen said just twodays before her brother’s death, she and her mother had sought help from local mental health services but were turned away, being told he was not sick enough.

“It makes you wonder how many people with schizophrenia take their lives and they just disappear, and their family grieves but no one else knows,” said David Sessions.

Rob Ramjan, the CEO of supportorganisation One Door Mental Health, said he heard “all too often” stories such as Bernie Sessions’.

“We should be looking at prevention, rehabilitation, recovery in the community, not waiting until people need admission to hospital,” Mr Ramjansaid.

“It’s the only area of health that I know of where rehabilitation doesn’t commence at first contact or first consciousness; rehabilitation is an afterthought, if it’s ever a thought.”

Among those paying respects at the doorway was Allan. He said members of his family had experienced serious mental health issues.“The more we talk about it, the more people in high places willlisten,” he said.

Hunter New England Mental Health Service executive director, Dr Marcia Fogarty,said while she couldn’t provide specific details, the service would review “the circumstances surrounding Mr Sessions’ deathand look into any issues about his care”.

Jenny Allen said she had been invited to participate in the investigation of her brother’s case and see “where things can improve”. She is also waiting to speak with a representative of theNSW Minister for Mental Health, Tanya Davies.

“It’s trying to bring change to legislation, and to the policies and procedures around mental health help,” Mrs Allensaid. “We should not turn people away who need help.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Lachlan X. Morris making dad rock cool

OLD-FASHIONED SOUL: Lachlan X. Morris’ album Ouija Board Heartbreak Tambourine shows maturity beyond his years.LACHLAN X. Morris has never been one to chase trends or the latest fads in music.
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After all he began his music career at 16 playing in Chicago blues band The Navigators at pubs like The Wicko and Lass O’Gowrie, where hisbiggest fans were men old enough to be hisfather. Eight years on, Morrisis still producing music that appeals well beyond his 24 years.

On Monday the Newcastle singer-songwriterreleased his debut albumOuija Board Heartbreak Tambourine,a collection of 14 Americana and folk-rock songs. If you feel pangs of nostalgia, don’t be surprised.Morriswears his The Beatles, ELO and Wilco influences on his sleeve and in his arrangements.

“I got a bit cynical and jaded about current music and I was going through one of those grumpy old man phases,” Morris said. “Nothing was really exciting me and you can’t help but look back at some of those great records you grew up with from your parents or you just heard through your own research.”

Many of thesongs had been swirling around Morris’ head for the past two years and in order to realise his envisioned sound, he called on the assistanceof 22 other Newcastle musicians. The result is mature and lush arrangementsfull of trumpet, violin, cello, double bass, harmonies and even sitar on the closing title track.

“It feels really good to have stuck to my guns and all the arrangementsthat were in my head when I was writing them,” he said. “To have the finished product pretty much exactly like I wanted in my head, is always good.”

Lachlan X. Morris – WeightlessnessThe Americana on Ouija Board Heartbreak Tambourine is far removed from Morris’ former band The Guppies. The punk-garage two-piece enjoyed reasonable success four years ago, receiving airplay on Triple J andsupporting major acts Birds Of Tokyo and The Rubens on their east coast tours.

However, the former Lambton High student’s musical aspirations eventually outgrew The Guppies.

“I didn’t really want to be pigeon-holed just doing punk music,” he said. “I started doing solo stuff where I didn’t have a box to be put in.It was a great learning curve.”

Morris’ 2015 EP Resurrector provided glimpsesinto his songwriting talent, but it never came close to the ambition ofOuija Board Heartbreak Tambourine, where every song examines a differenttopic.

“It’s tackling something I need to talk about, whether it’s a past relationship, a social anxiety or my future situation,” he said.

“It’s as schizophrenic asthe topic of the songs are. Nothing really stays in the one theme for too long. There’s also heartbreak tied up in the album and tambourine on almost every track.”

Lachlan X. Morris performsat The Commons in Hamilton on July 7.

After Cahill, is Juric the Socceroos’ next goal man?

It’s all about goals. For years could rely on proven top performers like Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano, John Aloisi and Tim Cahill to deliver.
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But that is in the past.

The Socceroos haven’t unearthed strikers of their ilk since they all – save for Cahill – bowed out of the international game several years ago.

But the fact that the latter is still in the national team at the age of 37 could be seen as an indictment of the following generations.

have scored 11 goals in seven games in the current phase of World Cup qualifying.

That’s worse than Thursday night’s opponents, Saudi Arabia (13) while Japan, who top the table, who have scored 14 goals.

Admittedly the Socceroos have played more games away from home and in normal circumstances might regard the final match, against Thailand, as an opportunity to fill their boots.

But they have to get results against the Saudis on Thursday night and in Japan later this year to ensure that game with the Thais still is relevant.

So who is going to do the business against the men from the Middle East?

Step forward big Tomi Juric, the man in the number nine shirt, the focal point of the attack.

Can the Swiss-based striker who, at 26, has matured and sharpened as a player, become ‘s key man in front of goal?

His season with Luzern has finished and he comes into camp in in good form, having scored four times in his last five games to help them make the qualifying rounds for next season’s Europa League.

More to the point, the tall striker believes his game has gone to a higher level after a strong second half to the season, with an improved work rate and game sense ensuring he can make a bigger contribution.

“The second half of the season has been much better for me,” says Juric.

“I am really happy with the way its gone, especially these last couple of months. Looking at my stats, I played 30-35 games this year and I haven’t done that in a season in my career. That’s really one big plus for me.

“My stats in my numbers for running in each game, you could compare them to a pretty high level of football. I have improved in that aspect.

“These last few months, I really bought into how the coach has been telling me just to stay consistent.

“I have had one or two off games this second half of the season. I feel I have really been able to help the team a fair bit up front, just keeping balls that get lost.”

Juric knows that there is a weight of expectation on him. There always is for the man with the number nine shirt.

“I have expectations of myself,” he said. “You cherish every moment with the national team. It could be your last. You always want to make sure if you go out with no regrets.”

While Mathew Leckie and Jackson Irvine have scored from open play in recent matches the Socceroos have relied more than might be considered comfortable on goals coming from set pieces or penalties during this qualifying campaign.

Juric, however, does not see that as a negative.

“From the outside you would think something like that but I don’t really feel pressure because if we didn’t have any goals around the whole park, left wing, right wing, centre backs, whatever, then it would put a lot of pressure on me.

“But I know I need to be scoring. It’s down to the whole mentality of how you approach things.”

MEN ON A MISSION

Where the goals might come from:

Juric – in form, confident and ready to step up.

Aaron Mooy – midfielder who is always effective from distance or set pieces.

Mile Jedinak – penalty taker.

Robbie Kruse – skilful player, but lacking in game time and match fitness after leaving Chinese club

Mathew Leckie – goals in recent matches will have built his confidence

Jamie Maclaren – prolific in the A-League, inexperienced at international level

Tom Rogic – quality midfielder with a fine goalscoring touch for Celtic at club level

Jackson Irvine – dynamic box-to-box midfielder with the knack of getting on the end of crosses.

Ajdin Hrustic – young winger getting his first taste of senior international action.

Massimo Luongo – hard-working midfielder who occasionally pops up with a goal

Tim Cahill – great weapon to have on the bench, deadly in air.

Newcastle Council senior staffer Glen Cousins sacked

ANOTHER senior Newcastle City Council stafferhas been squeezed out.
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Glen Cousins, the head of the council’s corporate services department, had his contract terminated on Friday, the third senior staff member to leave the council since April.

In a memo sent out on Friday afternoon, the council’s new interim chief executive Jeremy Bath revealed Mr Cousins would have his contract terminated as part of a “restructure” of the organisation.

While his position will still exist, a number of departments including human resources and communications will now report directly to Mr Bath.

It comes less than two months after another appointment from the Jeff McCloy era – legal services boss Frank Giordano – also left the council. Frank Cordingley, another member of the senior staff, retired in April.

But the circumstances behind Mr Cousins’s departure have left some councillors furious.

Under section 332 of the Local Government Act, the senior staff positions within a council – and the roles and reporting lines of staff – are determined by a council “after consulting the general manager”.

Liberal councillor Brad Luke said there had been no consultation with the council about the move, and said having human resources reporting to the general manager of the council was a “governance issue”.

“I’m very concerned because if there is a restructure of council under the Act it must be set by the council as a body, not by the general manager,” he said.

“I understand he does not have the power to do this and I would be very concerned about whether they’ve breached the Act.”

But Mr Bath said the change in reporting lines “has no impact on the roles, size or composition of those business units affected by the change, except for Mr Cousins exiting the organisation under the terms of his contract”.

He said that under section 335 of the Act, he was charged with “the day-to-day management of the council in accordance with the strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the council”.

He believed having human resources report to him would mean he was “able to deliver the day-to-day management of the organisation more effectively and more productively”.

Mr Cousins departure is another flashpoint in the tension between Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and some senior staff members.

Along with Mr Giordano and former general manager Ken Gouldthorp –two other McCloy-era hires – it’s understood Mr Cousins had been at odds with Cr Nelmes.

He did not return calls for comment.

In March, he earned the mayor’s ire in a confidential council meeting after an investigation into the process surrounding the recruitment of a new chief executive – Mr Bath – was extended to include Labor councillor DeclanClausen.

The Newcastle Herald understands Mr Cousins was targeted by Cr Nelmes during the meeting because he asked Mr Giordano toseeklegal advice about a possible code of conduct breach by CrClausen.

Mr Bath and Cr Clausen both worked at Hunter Water in the same period, but Cr Clausen has played down the significance of his professional relationship with Mr Bath.

But Cr Nelmes is not the first lord mayor to look to move on staff she did not see eye to eye with.

Last week during a private function at which he did little to water down talk that he’s considering another run at lord mayor, Jeff McCloy admitted thatformergeneral manager Phil Pearce “didn’t last long” after he came into the job because, he said, “it was either me or him”. Mr Pearce quit in early 2013.

“Nice guy of course, but he was there to retire, not to change the city,” Mr McCloy said at the function.