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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ‘could face international court’

by admin on 04/12/2018

Bangkok: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte could face international criminal charges as the death count in his relentless war on drugs tops almost 2000, human rights advocates say.
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Comments by the tough-talking former provincial mayor such as “all of you are into drugs, you sons of bitches … I will kill you” could be used as evidence to prosecute him, they say.

Sam Zarifi from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) says it is likely that as the killings continue lawyers will gather evidence to initiate legal proceedings against Mr Duterte like 9541 victims of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos did in the United States in the 1990s.

In 1995 a US court awarded the victims $US1.9 billion after finding that Marcos, who died in exile in 1989, was responsible for massive human rights abuses, including torture, murder and “disappearances of fellow Filipinos”.

At the time lawyers said the verdict set a ground-breaking precedent upholding the principle that military “command responsibility” for wartime misconduct is applicable in a class-action suit alleging peacetime human rights abuses by the agents of a political leader.

Mr Zarifi, the ICJ’s regional director for Asia and Pacific, told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that the killings in the Philippines since 71-year-old Mr Duterte was swept into office at May elections are widespread and systematic, meeting the criteria under international law of crimes against humanity that could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He said while anyone can submit a case to the International Criminal Court, prosecutors there would be unlikely to initiate proceedings unless pressed by a global political movement.

But he said criminal charges could be laid against Mr Duterte in any country.

“I am not holding my breath for international action but if these (killings) continue at the same velocity I would expect cases to start popping up,” he said.

Mr Zarifi said Mr Duterte has made many comments that could be used against him in foreign courts, including several weeks ago declaring: “My order is to shoot to kill. I don’t care about human rights … this is a war against drugs and we have to fight it.”

Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, described the first weeks of Mr Duterte’s rule as “nothing less than absolute human rights disaster”.

“We have the highest elected official of the land openly, actively, aggressively calling for the extrajudicial killing of criminal suspects,” he said.

“The numbers are absolutely shocking.”

Mr Duterte promised during the election campaign that 100,000 people would die in his drugs crackdown and that fish in Manila Bay would grow fat from eating bodies.

But amid condemnation from human rights groups, the United Nations, the United States, the Catholic Church and some politicians, Mr Duterte has in recent weeks denied security forces have carried out extra-judicial killings, saying police have only killed in self-defence.

The latest police data shows that around 1000 accused drug suspects have been killed in police operations and another around 1000 in shootings by unidentified assailants.

Opinion polls show approval of Mr Duterte continues to hover around 90 per cent in the country of 100 million people with one of Asia’s highest rates of illegal drug use and crime.

Mr Duterte claims there are more than three million drugs users in the country.

More than 600,000 have surrendered to police since July 1, packing prisoners into already overcrowded jails.

Claudia Karvan to star in new ABC drama; Are You Being Served? remake savaged

by admin on 04/12/2018

Brett Tucker, Claudia Karvan and Toby Schmitz will star in Newton’s Law for the ABC. Photo: Lachlan MooreDrama for Judge Judy
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Television judge Judy Sheindlin, who presides over the long-running televised small claims court show Judge Judy, is to become the subject of a scripted drama. Her Honor will be based on Sheindlin’s own life as a young New York judge who presides over a turbulent family court. The pilot is being developed for CBS Studios by Law & Order writer Michael Chernuchin; Sheindlin is credited as a story co-writer on the project. Though her earlier career as a serving judge was legendary, television has been generous to Sheindlin: the deal for her daily court show Judge Judy is worth more than $US50 million ($66 million) per year and is secured until 2020 under its present agreement. The 73-year-old Brooklyn-born Sheindlin has also written several books, including the memorably named Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining. (The sequel: Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever.) Spin on music awards

In a dramatic demonstration of the shifting sands between traditional and streaming television, the MTV Video Music Awards posted a steep decline of roughly a third of their television audience. The music network spun the bad news to say the streaming numbers were up, but when coupled with audience declines for the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes overall, it signals a weakening in the power of “live television events” – once billed as traditional TV’s salvation – on the digital landscape. MTV roadblocked the telecast across 11 channels and drew just 6.5 million viewers; compare that with 2013 when, with just the one channel, they managed to pull 10.1 million viewers. The good news was all social media: trending on Twitter, record Facebook streams and almost all TV-specific social media posts while they were on air. Now someone just has to work out how to turn all that noise into money. Top cast for ABC series

Claudia Karvan will headline a new Australian drama, Newton’s Law. The series, from Every Cloud Productions, the company behind the ABC’s hit series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, will also star Toby Schmitz, Georgina Naidu, Sean Keenan, Brett Tucker and Miranda Tapsell. Karvan will play Josephine Newton in the series, a “suburban solicitor with an over-developed sense of responsibility who attempts to return to her briefly glorious stint at the Bar.” The series will be produced by two of Australia’s best drama producers, Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, whose collective credits include SeaChange, Crash/Burn, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Gods of Wheat Street and The Society Murders. Newton’s Law will be filmed in Melbourne and will air on the ABC in 2017. ‘Dreadful’ remake

The BBC’s remake of the iconic comedy Are You Being Served? has made its debut in the UK to scathing reviews. The remake was one of several one-offs commissioned to mark the 60th anniversary of sitcom as a form, but even when the plan was announced last year it was met with some scepticism. The reboot was well cast – notably John Challis from Only Fools and Horses and Niky Wardley from The Catherine Tate Show – but that wasn’t enough to save it. Fans of the original series piled on social media to voice their objections (“Unfunny, canned laughter, dreadful acting. Why do they think they can do it?” said one) and London’s venerable Daily Telegraph newspaper punished it with two stars and said it was loaded with “mothball-worthy gags”. Footnote: the BBC’s comedy commissioner Shane Allen said the script was “a riot”; one imagines he didn’t mean would literally provoke one.

‘Woefully inadequate’: lack of text message policy for NSW Police criticised in budget estimates

by admin on 04/12/2018

NSW Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn leaves the Lindt Cafe siege inquest earlier this month. Photo: Michele Mossop Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn fron a budget estimates hearing on Thursday. Photo: NSW Parliament
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Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn has revealed she has a setting on her mobile phone that automatically deletes text messages.

The revelations came in a budget estimates hearing on Thursday in which Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the police force has no policy or rules to stop officers from deleting work-related texts.

Ms Burn and Mr Scipione were grilled on the subject after Ms Burn deleted two potentially-important text messages from the night of the Lindt Cafe siege.

The deleted messages became the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism earlier this month as the inquest into the December 2014 siege examined possible failings by police during the 16-hour standoff.

In an unexpected and embarrassing twist, they were discovered in Ms Burn’s email inbox on the morning of her second day in the witness box.

In several fiery exchanges with Mr Scipione on Thursday morning, Greens MP David Shoebridge asked whether the police should have a policy for not deleting work-related text messages.

“To the extent that they’re records for policing work, they could well be essential,” he asked.

Mr Scipione said officers must keep emails, under the State Records Act, but text messages are often private, short or inconsequential texts such as “see you in five minutes”.

He said it wasn’t always necessary to keep texts.

Mr Shoebridge suggested it was “woefully inadequate” for the police to have no policy on retaining text messages.

“Given the nature of the 21st century, often critical information is retained by way of text message. It may well be ‘I will see you there in half an hour’ but that may ultimately be critical information,” he said. Crucial police information is no doubt communicated in police text messages, but there is no policy to protect this information #nswpol— David Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeMLC) September 1, 2016

He then asked Ms Burn if she had a policy of routinely deleting text messages. She replied that she retains very few texts.

“Those that I retain are normally retained in hard copy or email format,” she said.

Asked why she routinely deletes messages, she said one reason was that phones can be set to automatically delete text messages.

On an iPhone, it can be set to 30 days or one year.

“I don’t keep emails either but there’s a storage system that retains them,” she said.

Mr Shoebridge suggested it was “grossly inadequate” for her to be routinely deleting text messages that may be essential.

The State Records Act does not include any reference to text messages.

Mr Scipione said he would look into whether they should be any guidance on the issue for police officers.

Lowys bring some old razzle dazzle to Westfield with acquisition of Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions

by admin on 04/12/2018

Steven, Frank and Peter Lowy at the opening of the new Westfield World Trade Centre in New York. Photo: Supplied Star Ricky Martin on the opening night of the Scott Sanders production of ‘Evita’ at the Marquis Theatre. Photo: Getty-Images
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Frank Lowy’s Westfield Corp is taking shopping centre entertainment to a whole new level with the acquisition of Broadway film and television business Scott Sanders Theatrical Productions (SSTP), which has produced shows from The Color Purple to Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance.

SSP’s founder and CEO, Tony and Emmy award-winning producer Scott Sanders, will join Westfield as the new creative head of global entertainment.

In his new role, Mr Sanders will oversee live events and entertainment for Westfield’s shopping centres around the world. He will also continue to develop and produce a targeted group of Broadway shows and other live entertainment and media productions.

The deal heralds are new phase for malls, which are increasingly morphing into town centres where shops are almost a secondary reason to visit a centre. Westfield has been at the forefront of combining technology with retailing and moving into the theatrical world is another realm of enticing visitors to stay longer at a centre.

Westfield’s co-chief executive, Peter Lowy, who once dabbled in television when Westfield had a stake in the Ten Network in the 1990s, said the entertainment and innovative experiences were an increasingly important part of the overall attraction of Westfield centres, especially those flagship centres in the world’s leading cities of London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and at the newly opened Westfield World Trade Center in New York.

“It’s important that as we continue to integrate our digital platform with our physical assets that we also provide vibrant, exciting places for retailers and consumers,” he said in a statement from his US base.

“Scott’s talent and experience will help us create compelling new content and entertainment.”

Mr Lowy said the deal continued Westfield’s tradition of making its centres about more than just shopping.

“Live events and entertainment have always been critical to Westfield and Scott will provide a new dimension to our approach and help us further our engagement with our consumers,” he said.

Mr Sanders’ career spans several decades across feature films, television and live events. SSTP has won numerous awards, including the 2016 Tony Award for best musical revival for the The Color Purple and the 2014 Tony Award for best choreography for the musical After Midnight.

In addition to his Broadway productions, Mr Sanders has produced globally televised theatrical events such as the Super Bowl half-time show and is widely credited with reinventing the programming of Radio City Music Hall.

Mr Sanders said Westfield was a market leader in creating and providing world-class retail experiences.

“I look forward to being part of the team that continues to expand and evolve the concept of entertainment in these flagship centres,” he said.

Australian Open 2017: Which long-serving figure will be missing next January?

by admin on 04/12/2018

Long-serving logo: the serving man will make way for a new look next summer. Photo: Jessica Shapiro The new logo hasn’t been revealed yet.
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After more than two decades, the distinctive Australian Open logo has made its last centre court appearance, with the so-called “serving man” set to join 20-year veteran Lleyton Hewitt among the familiar figures in grand slam retirement next January at Melbourne Park.

The original silhouette was believed to have been modelled on former tour player and Australian Open deputy tournament director Peter Johnston, with a stylistic nod to two-time champion Stefan Edberg. Various versions of the existing logo, including a skinny late 90s edition and evolving colour schemes, have been synonymous with the event since 1995.

“It’s a bit of a refresh,” said Jo Juler, the AO’s head of marketing. “Serving man was never made for the digital age, he was designed for print, and he doesn’t translate very well.

“And obviously having a serving man representing a tournament that is equal for men and women is no longer relevant. We are and have always been a platform about equal pay for men and women, and about 65 per cent of our attendees are women, and as you know, coming to the tennis every year, it’s not just tennis any more; our fans when we do patron research just talk about this amazing atmosphere, and how it’s fun and it’s Melbourne, it’s not just about tennis.

“So we felt for all those reasons that it was time to retire him. He will stay, he doesn’t completely disappear, he’ll make some little cameos during the tournament. He’s still part of our history and we still really love him, he’s really quirky.”

The exact origins of the logo, says Juler, have become something of an urban myth. “It’s quite funny; someone said it was Ivan Lendl, someone said Stefan Edberg and Peter (Johnston), so we actually went through all the files and to be perfectly honest, we don’t really know where he came from but he’s there, he’s part of the history.

“He’ll keep making a few appearances digitally and you’ll see him walking around the site. He’ll come to life; he’s sort of become a bit of a motif, a bit of an ambassador.”

Next: how to break the news to Johnston? The, well, long-serving tennis administrator recalls being part of the original sketch and design all those years ago. “I hadn’t heard, but, if that’s true, it had a good innings,” quipped Johnston, whose latest role is as tournament director of the Kooyong Classic. “We all have to go out to pasture some time.”

So what now for the AO brand, with serving man finally hanging up his (superceded) racquet? “Top secret, top secret – you can’t ask me those questions!” laughs Juler. “We’ve devised a system around what people think and feel about the Australian Open, and it’s just a nice, fresh new look. We’re staying with blue – it’s still our primary colour, I can confirm that. And you’ll like, I can tell you. You will like it.”

Kris and Kristy Lees launch 2016 spring carnival for Newcastle Jockey Clubphotos, video

by admin on 04/12/2018

Team Lees take centre stage TweetFacebookWho wins a race between horse and car? #FlakeTheBachelor#[email protected][email protected]@newcastleheraldpic.twitter上海m/Y7MyRmBzBD
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— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) September 1, 2016

Lees’ pairSense Of Occasion and Singing, which finished one-two at Rosehill on the weekend, will strive for Newcastle Cup (2200 metres) successin a fortnight.

The Cameron Handicap (1350m) and Tibbie Stakes (1350m) are the othergroup 3 races on Friday the 16th.Ladies day follows on Saturday the 17th.

In the meantime Lees is focused on clinching the $160,000 listedWyong Cup (2100m) with Slow Pace and Olympic Academy on Friday (4.35pm). Slow Pace has Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson on board recentlyback from injury while Olympic Academytook out the Taree Cup on August 21.

“Both of them are a chance of progressing to the Newcastle Cup as well,” Lees said. “It is a traditional lead up race.”

Down in Sydney on Saturday and Lees’Randwick Guineaschampion Le Romain will be the top weight in the $175,000 group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) after a first-up second at the same course last month.

“He has a very consistent record, but it is a really good race with five or six genuine chances,” Lees said.

“Hopefully the fence is alright, drawn barrier one, if races fair think he’ll be right in the race.

“Happy Clapperis the horse I probably have the most respect for in the race.He has run second in a Doncaster, third in the Queen Elizabeth and is very effective first up so will probably be the one to beat.”

The warm-up event for Le Romain will beAustralian track star Winx, hoping to continue a 10-race winning streak in the $250,000 group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).

“I’m glad I’m not taking her on to be honest,” Lees said.

“Happy to watch.”

Lees’ other Group 1 star Lucia Valentina trials on the Central Coast this Tuesday before targeting the Underwood Stakes atCaulfield on September 24in preparation for aCox Plate charge at Moonee Valley on October 22.

TRACKSIDE: Hunter racing couple Kristy and Kris Lees help launch Newcastle Jockey Club’s spring carnival with Flake at Broadmeadow on Thursday. Picture: Simone De Peak

Returning tothe Newcastle Cup and Lees said it was a title he would like to collect.

“Any feature race is hard to win, but it’s arace which has eluded most Newcastle trainers,” Lees said.

“Ican’t tell you the last trainer to win it.

“We’ve had five placings in the last 10 years or so, but certainly going with a couple of chances anyway.

“Singing has also been nominated for the Caulfield Cup next month, but there’s a long way to go yet.”

Lees’ wife Kristy, who has been to countless meetings,will judge the NJC fashions on the field for ladies day as part of her ambassador role.

“It’s very exciting and I’m honoured to do this job,” she said.

“I think I’ve got the background and I’m looking forward to it.”

Knights playmaker Jarrod Mullen is also an ambassador for the spring carnival.

Jockey Hugh Bowman believes Winx is now the finished product

by admin on 04/12/2018

Cruise control: Hugh Bowman and Winx romp home in the Warwick Stakes. Photo: bradleyphotos上海m.auChris Waller is once again preparing for the longest couple of minutes of the week, when Winx heads out for Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick.
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Winx has become a champion for the premier trainer but jockey Hugh Bowman believes the best is still to come from the Street Cry five-year-old.

Even though she has won her past 10 races, including five group 1s, Winx has improved with every preparation.

At a Melbourne Cup function on Monday, Bowman labelled her physically immature when she broke the track record in the Cox Plate and said she is still improving, which is remarkable given her five group 1 wins, including a Doncaster Mile victory.

“She was a stronger animal in the autumn and she is stronger now,” Bowman said. “She is a mature mare now. In fact, she was quite immature when she won the Cox Plate.

“In my humble opinion, I think she is a better horse now and I think she’s moving better this preparation than she was last preparation.

“She has strengthened up. Her attitude has developed as well. She is a very focused individual, which I like, and she feels like the finished product.”

Bowman admitted it is hard not to become caught up in the hype surrounding Winx, but it is that time on the way to the barriers where she helps him.

“I was nervous going into the race and there is an element of excitement and anticipation to say the least,” said Bowman of her return in the Warwick Stakes.

“She gives you the ability to relax when you go out on her the way she feels.

“Once I had the mare comfortable [in the race] it was really all over from the 1000-metre mark. What was impressive was she was able to sit up on the pace and be so relaxed and calm.

“I don’t think that is something she would have been able to have done in previous preparations. To me it just shows that next step of maturity.”

Waller described what it is like to have the best mare in the world going out on the track.

“You just try to keep yourself busy during the day because it is a normal race day, but before she races it is the longest two or three minutes of the day,” Waller said.

“For the first half of the race she is like any other horse and I am just waiting for that final 200 metres, like everyone else, to see her under pressure and that acceleration.

“I’m just desperate to see that last 200 metres and see her forge clear and to have an uninterrupted path in the race.

“And hoping there aren’t too many challengers, and most time there aren’t too many.”

Waller will supply five of Winx’s seven rivals in the mile on Saturday and they are on their way to staying events later in the spring.

“It is part of their preparations and think that horses like Storm The Stars and Spiritjim, which are in their second preparation over here, are ready to take another step as they return,” he said.

Waller is starting to get the feeling that Peter Moody had when Black Caviar went through her unbeaten career, but he pointed to one difference between the pair.

“The difference between Winx and Black Caviar is that she has been beaten,” Waller said. “We have tasted defeat with Winx, although it has been a very long time since it happened. We know the feeling and it hurts.

“We have to be mindful that day will come again and we’re enjoying her for what she is and that is an exceptional horse.”

Westfield Kotara hosts inaugural Hunter Harvest in October

by admin on 04/12/2018

LOCAL: Little Bone Broth Co is featuring at pop-up events at Westfield Kotara.
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SOME of the Hunter’s bestcreative makers and specialistproducerswill feature atWestfield Kotara’s Rooftop venue in the coming weeks.

On September 24a pop-up market,Providore J’adore,will give localartists, artisans and creators a chance to sell their authentic, locally designedand beautifully made wareson The Rooftop.

There will be handmade and unique jewellery from The Strutt Sisters, CherryCherry Boom and Jackie Smallcombe Jewellery, bespoke fashion and leather goodsfrom Vous Clothing, Hide and Seeker and I & Mine, and homewares andgifts from makers such as Colour Clouds by Leah, Pottery Ali, Where Things HappenStudio, Concrete Crush and Ritual Object.

Hunter-based businessesImbibe Water Kefir and Little Bone Broth Co will be offering samplesand you will be able to enjoya live art installation by Bridie Watts as well as a bespoke macrame demonstration by the talented MimConcepts.

At the second event, Hunter Harveston October 22, food and wine producers will begiving Westfield customers ataste of what’s on offer this spring in the Hunter Valley.

Twentyof the Hunter’s premium wineries will feature at Hunter Harvest. Some of the names already lockedin includeMargan Wines, Brokenwood,Keith Tulloch Wines, Meerea Park, Tulloch, Drayton’s Family Wines, Hungerford Hilland Pepper Tree Wines.

Many of the wineries, local food producers and chefs from the Hunter Valley will beoffering seasonal tastings and samples as well as foodandwinematching workshops and live cookingdemonstrations.

Westfield Kotara marketing manager Lillias Foster says she is passionate about using TheRooftop to host events that celebrate all the Hunter has to offer.

“We have much to be proud of when it comes to creativity and produce in the Hunterand it is wonderful to have the space to hold bespoke events such as ProvidoreJ’adore and Hunter Harvest at Westfield.

“It is great to be able tobring that relaxed market-vibe to The Rooftop, giving customers the opportunity toshop, relax, eat and chat to local producers and creatives all in the one place.”

More details to come in the Herald.

Christie Dawes will arrive at the Rio Paralympics in career-best formvideo

by admin on 04/12/2018

POSTCARD: Christie Dawes at home near Merewether Beach on Thursday’s picture-perfect start to spring before heading to Rio for her sixth Paralympic Games. Picture: Marina Neil.Christie Dawes has been there and done it all before but the 36-year-old from Merewetherwillarrive in Rio this Sunday in career-best form.
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On the verge of her sixth Paralympic Games, the wheelchair racer has claimed two prestigious national distance titles, broken long-standing course records andhit newperformance markers.

Or as fellow Newcastle-based athlete, training partner and Australian team captain Kurt Fearnley put it –“she is flying”.

Final countdown to #Rio2016 with Christie Dawes from Merewether @[email protected]@newcastleheraldpic.twitter上海m/8Nv8kfUEES

— Josh Callinan (@joshuacallinan) September 1, 2016

“At the Gold Coast Marathon she smashed the Aussie record of Louise Sauvageby almosteightminutes and then she won the City2Surf in record time as well,” Fearnley said.

“I’ve neverseen Christie push the way she is.”

This sudden surge of confidence, afterdisappointing showings at Boston and London marathons in April,has come about since changing her race position slightly.

Simply lifting her feet and shifting her weight forward, Dawes hasnoticedthe difference and significantly improvedboth her average and top speeds by almost two kilometres an hour.

“I’m able to hang with the pack for longer and itjust makes me more relaxed,” she said.

“I’m pushing well, I’m fit, I’mhealthy and confident about my position. Out of everything, it’s what I’m least worried about.

“NowIknow Ihave done every single thing I can to give myself the best chance of doing well. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Dawes will contest four events on her first visit to South America, starting on the track with the women’s1500 and 5000 metre T54 events between September 12 and 15, alongside thewomen’s4x400m T53-54 relay. The main aim of the one-time primary school teacherremains the women’s T54 marathon on the 11thand final day of competition (September 18).

And while medals aren’t at the forefront of her mind, a gold would give Dawes a full set after silver in Beijing (4x100m relay) and bronze in London (5000m).

“The marathon is definitely my main focus, but I feel like I’m agood shot at making finals in both the 1500 and 5000,” she said.

“Idon’t really like thinkingin terms of medals. It doesn’t sit well with me and Idon’t like getting my confidence up. There’s along way to go before getting that shot, so good preparation is all I need at the moment.”

Next week the mother of five-year-old Charliearrives in the village andrejoins coach and husband Andrew as well as Fearnley and Rheed McCraken, who have been training in Florida.

ANALYSIS: Move in position on Games mission

PREVIOUS: Christie Dawes seals selection for sixth Paralympics

Barking dogs are a menace

by admin on 04/12/2018

Have you ever had thefeeling that you want to throttle your neighbour?
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Surely the most common reason for such a heinous, uncivil thought is barking dogs.

Picture this: It’s the weekend. After a long, hard week at work, you find a few spare moments to sit in the garden. It’s a blue sky. The sun is shining. A cold beer is at hand. Or perhaps a cup of tea. There’s no lawnmowers to be heard. The tradesmen who’d been making a racket through the week have mercifully departed.

The kids of the neighbourhood are out playing sport. Or maybe they’re trapped in digital mania. Wherever they are, they can’t be heard screaming, whining or crying.It’s quiet. But just as you sit down in your reclining chair, it starts.

It could be the yap-yap next door. Or the beastly, guttural roar of the German shepherd over the back. It might be the dogs cruelly locked in cages across the road, whosemain purpose seems to be pumping out puppies for profit.

It’s enough to drive you back inside.But then sometimes the piercing sound of a barking dog travels through walls.Sometimes it penetrates skulls, sending people barking mad.

Have you ever noticed that cacophony of barks that sometimes occurs in the neighbourhood? It’s like a barking chorus. It’s like the dogs have joined together in a loud and obnoxious conversation about what they’ve just had to eat or who’s the toughest.

Then there’s the jealous bark. This never fails to happen when an owner walks adog past other dogs perennially stuck behind fences.

The odd barkfest is a pain in the backside, but it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes dogs bark.It’snuisance barkingthat can test the patience of the most zen-like humans.That is, dogs that bark often.

What’s going on with the owners of these dogs? They seem to be letting the dogs bark. Aren’t they bothered themselves by the barking? Or have they become immune to it –like those people who live near railway lines?

They might yell “shut up Spot” or “Fido, stop it” every now and then. Funnily enough, this doesn’t seem to have much effect.Perhaps these people tried to stop their dog barking, buthad no luck. So they just gave up.

Some councils have stated that barking dogs create more disputes between neighbours than any other issue, and result in a large number of complaints to council every year.

In February this year, a dispute about barking dogs led to a man being shot in the chest in Victoria.In 2005, a barking dog was poisoned to death in San Jose, California. The owner received a note on her gate, which said: “Your dog was barking. If you don’t do something about it, I will”.

Like I said, barking dogs make people mad.So why do dogs bark?

For instance, Newcastle council’s website says: “Barking is simply one way dogs communicate and can mean anything from playfulness to danger”.

The council says some reasons for dogs barking are: Being chained to a fixed point and not having enough room to move around; being deliberately or unintentionally provoked by people or other roaming animals; not being properly trained; being lonely, sick, hungry or generally neglected and not getting enough exercise.

Now there’s an idea. How about taking your dog for a walk every day?