City gets into the groove with festival

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The Dubbo Jazz Festival got underway last night with more than 10 bands performing for enthusiastic audiences.

Dubbo MP Troy Grant opened the festival before local groups Chalkies Jazz and the Footwarmers showed off their skills in the Club Dubbo Jazz Basement.

Later in the evening groups like Rags N Riches, the Steve Jewell Trio and the Fedoras kept the mood going.

The Pastoral Hotel also got into the groove with the Macquarie River Mudflappers and the Double Shadows hitting the stage.

The festival kicks up a gear today with a full 12 hours of jazz at the Club Dubbo basement but there will also be plenty of entertainment at the Dubbo Golf Club, Dundullimal Homestead, Lazy River Estate and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

It will conclude with another busy day tomorrow, including the closing act of the Festival, a performance from the Jeff Dunn Trio, which organisers promise will be a special occasion.

Dubbo Jazz Festival president Susie Gratton is predicting a great success.

“The line-up we have is fantastic. We have artists coming from far and wide for the festival and it doesn’t matter whether you are 20 or 80, there is something for everyone,” she said. For a full schedule of locations and performers, visit www.dubbojazz苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au.

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Concern as 14 cancer nurses sent to Orange

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PLACEMENT of prostate cancer nurses have been announced at Orange Base Hospital, forcing patients from Dubbo and further to travel once again.

Fourteen specialist prostate cancer nurses will provide support for patients, their families and carers, particularly in rural and regional areas.

Orange is only about a one-and-a-half hour drive away for Dubbo residents, but John Allen facilitator of the Prostate Cancer Support Group said he worries for those who have to travel further.

“For example patients in Bourke are already four hours away from Dubbo, traveling to Orange means they have to travel six hours,” Mr Allen said.

“It’s not a short trip.”

Mr Allen is disappointed Dubbo is continually overlooked for updated cancer services.

“We had a feeling it wasn’t going to come to Dubbo,” Mr Allen said.

“I don’t think it’s fair, we need a prostate cancer nurse that can travel to Dubbo.

“There should be one in Dubbo really, but there should be one that can at least travel.”

Doctors can be difficult to contact at times but Mr Allen, a prostate cancer survivor himself, said patients needed support.

“Some men need to be able to speak to someone when the doctor is unavailable,” he said.

“That’s one of the things the prostate cancer nurses do.”

Mr Allen said there were 21 percent more prostate cancer-related deaths among rural patients than those in metropolitan areas.

He added Dubbo still needed a lot of improvements to be on par with urban hospitals.

“There’s a big difference between here and Sydney,” he said.

“We’ve got good services here in urology, but there should be more government help for those that have to travel.”

The nursing placements are part of the Prostate Cancer Federation of Australia’s (PCFA) Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Program.

A total of $6.2 million was committed by the federal government to the PCFA from 2013 to 2017 to select sites, facilitate training and fund the placement of the positions.

Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the new positions were a positive for the area.

“Increasing the number of specialist prostate cancer nurses means more men will have access to nurses, who will provide vital information, care, and practical and emotional support to men diagnosed with prostate cancer, their families and carers.”

The funding means the program can continue operations and continue to assist patients and their families, Associate Professor Anthony Lowe PCFA CEO said.

“Today’s announcement about the latest nurses inducted into our program will change the lives of many Australians who are dealing with a prostate cancer diagnosis,” he said.

“These specialist nurses form a critical aspect of ongoing prostate cancer care that helps families navigate around difficult areas such as treatment and ongoing hospital visits.”

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On the Pulse

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No change at the top

On the Pulse was left feeling the pain for Anthony Michael this week. You see, Anthony was supposed to be the former president of the Inverell Chamber Of Commerce by now.

It was his plan to step aside as president at the chamber’s AGM and give someone else a run at the job. No doubt Anthony had his sunscreen ready and his tickets booked, but the best laid schemes of mice and men, as they say.

On the Pulse can only imagine Anthony’s anticipation during the AGM.

After all, someone could put their hand up on the night.

One would think perhaps there might have been a feeling of sadness, with just a little sigh of relief. However, what transpired may have been worst than a federal ban on imported leather for him.

No one was nominated for the president’s position!

Nominations were called from the floor, still no one.

So guess who the current president of the Inverell Chamber Of Commerce is?

You got it, good, old, reliable Anthony Michael.

And why has that happened? The answer is simple really, Anthony was prepared to fill the position rather than see the chamber without a president. Now that’s dedication.

In the meantime, On the Pulse suggests the position could be filled by a Work for the Dole participant should Anthony want to step aside. It would surely be more worthwhile for the jobseeker than simply standing around waiting for equipment.

Driving along

On the Pulse Team came into work yesterday morning very chuffed, knowing that they are in the mile-high club.

Well, they must be since they drove for 45 minutes.

On the way in, they passed many drivers, all rolling along like the road was paved with gold.

Considering we live in a regional community, it didn’t take long for us to feel much better about our own state of affairs up here in Inverell after Treasurer Joe Hockey’s comments on Thursday. Mr Hockey insisted that his numbers were right when he said that poor people just don’t drive cars.

Well, OTP wouldn’t say we’re poor, personally (touch wood) but it begs the question – just how wealthy are all these rural folks, hit by the drought, living without a wage for months or years at a time, battling deficit on the farm to make a life for their families?

Maybe they are stealthy billionaires?

What about the people who can’t afford to live in town because prices are too high or housing isn’t available, are struggling to find work in a regional town and rely on a vehicle to get them to a job, kid to school?

Swiss bank accounts? Interesting.

At the end of the day, OTP felt much better about the fact the Treasurer seemed so certain we were doing much better than we thought we were when we had to budget to buy school uniforms, cut corners to pay some medical bills or do without so could pay our electricity bill. Or maybe we should just catch the bus. When does the next one go out to Graman anyhow?

On the road again

On the Pulse has to congratulate the Member for New England Barnaby Joyce (BJ) for his foray into cycling and the wonderful world of lycra, through his participation in the Pollie Pedal.

Wasn’t it fantastic to see the Prime Minister hurry home from overseas when he found out BJ was about to upstage him in the sportswear department, while our maroon clad Member pumped the pedals to raise funds for charity?

The PM was one of the event’s initial founders back in 1998, and since then it has raised more than $3 million for charities including the Flying Doctor, Ronald McDonald House, the Manly Women’s Shelter. This year the chief beneficiary will be Carers Australia.

On the Pulse thinks BJ deserves a very big Yay For the Day, if only for the seat ‘adjustments’ he must have constantly suffered, nevertheless, one thing remains apparent; the red budgie smugglers have definitely ‘fallen fowl’ of the maroon cane toad rambler.

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Surrogacy crackdown: Thai authorities holding babies ‘to ransom’, says lawyer

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Surrogate mother Pattharamon Janbua with Gammy. Photo: EPA Nannies hold some of the nine babies alleged to be the surrogate children of one Japanese man, after a police raid at a Bangkok apartment. Photo: EPA

Bangkok: Thai authorities have been accused of holding the babies of Australian biological parents to ransom amid a crackdown on Thailand’s booming commercial surrogacy industry.

Three Australian couples carrying their babies born to Thai surrogate women have been turned away from Bangkok international airport, leaving them ”extremely distraught”, surrogacy industry sources say.

Up to 150 Australian couples with existing surrogacy arrangements in Thailand face months of agonised waiting before they learn if they can take their babies home.

”They shouldn’t be holding these kids to ransom,” Stephen Page, a leading Australian surrogacy lawyer, said. ”These distraught parents entered into arrangements in Thailand in good faith … they thought they were coming to Thailand for four weeks at a time and they now face six months, and possibly losing the house back home.”

Thailand’s military rulers have declared the couples will have to obtain an order from the country’s Family Juvenile Court before they can take the babies through Thai immigration channels. The order will have to confirm the birth mother has given up her rights to custody of the child.

Mr Page appealed to Thailand’s military regime to make a clear statement about where the parents stand. Many of the parents are believed to be in a state of near-panic, their dreams of a baby shattered.

”There should be an open process, rather than doing it by smoke and mirrors,” Mr Page said.

He said that under Thai law the birth mother is the legal mother and the intention of the Thai Juvenile Court in dealing with the Australians with existing surrogacy arrangements is unclear.

”Let us assume the intention of judicial oversight is to facilitate the children being able to leave. How long will it take? Is it going to be a quick process, while still thorough, or is it going to take many months?”

Mr Page said he is worried that if the Australian parents fail to meet the court’s criteria for parental rights and the surrogate has gone back to her home, babies could end up in Thai orphanages.

”The agreement always was that the parents would take the babies,” he said.

Eleven babies born to a Japanese businessman who fathered 15 babies to surrogate mothers are being cared for in a Bangkok orphanage, their future uncertain.

Two Australian same-sex couples with surrogate babies were turned back from the airport on Thursday, the ABC reported. The surrogate of one of the couples was with them.

It was earlier reported that another couple with a baby was turned back from the airport late last week after being detained for hours.

Thai immigration authorities have advised the Australian embassy that as well as a court order, parents will be required to provide immigration officials with the child’s birth certificate, a copy of the mother’s identification card, a copy of the intending parents’ passports and the surrogacy contract.

”We strongly urge Australians entering Thailand for the purposes of commercial surrogacy to seek independent legal advice in both Thailand and Australia before doing so,” a spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs said.

”While regulation of surrogacy in Thailand is a matter for Thailand, we continue to encourage Thai authorities to adopt appropriate transitional arrangements for any new measures they may introduce, so concerned Australians are not unduly affected.”

Under a sweeping crackdown imposed after Fairfax Media revealed the plight of baby Gammy, the six-month-old boy with Down syndrome left in Thailand by his Australian biological father, fertility clinics have been raided, and documents and frozen embryos of Australians seized.

Thailand’s military rulers are fast-tracking legislation that will ban commercial surrogacy except for family members, with violators of the law facing up to 10 years in jail.

Amid a furore over the baby Gammy case, authorities in Bangkok have accused Pisit Tantiwattanakul, the most popular doctor for Australians coming to Thailand for surrogacy, of violating the law by providing services for customers who were not relatives of one of the commissioning parents, as required under Medical Council of Thailand regulations.

Dr Pisit operated the All IVF Centre, which has been forced to close, leaving about 50 Australians couple in limbo, some of them unable to contact their surrogates.

Dr Pisit could not be reached for comment.

Police and public health officials have raided and shut down New Life IVF, another Bangkok clinic popular with foreigners, for allegedly violating the law governing healthcare institutions and medical ethics. No one was available at the clinic for comment.

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Rain and storms to make it a wet weekend in Sydney

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Sydneysiders should brace themselves for a very wet weekend and the rain will set in for days.

While no warnings for the five-day rain event have been released yet, thunderstorms and heavy rain are expected throughout eastern NSW.

The storm will reach Sydney by Saturday evening.

It will be the second spurt of heavy rain the city has experienced this week after a cold, wet start to the week with a top rainfall of 28mm.

“For inland parts today we’re expecting to see the higher rainfall totals and tomorrow along the coastal areas and particularly in between the Illawara and south coast northern parts,” said a a spokeswoman at the Bureau of Metereology.

“We’re expecting a bit more rain and wind than thunderstorms to begin with,” she said.

“We could see rainfall totals around 30-60mm more widespread but a little bit higher in localised areas in those parts.”

Helen Kirkup, a meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the rain event began on the western side of the Great Dividing Range on Friday afternoon.

“There’s a massive cloud out there that’s heading this way. We’ve already had solid rains of more than 35mm out west,” Ms Kirkup said.

A deepening trough will cause constant rain throughout the weekend and into early next week.

The first downpour should narrowly miss the game between the Swans and St Kilda on Saturday afternoon but could arrive just in time to drench the first match of the Bledisloe Cup in the night.

The focus of the storm is likely to be along the NSW south coast.

“Exactly where and how intense it’ll be is still too early to forecast but these storms often build up a focal point of up to 200mm of rain,” Ms Kirkup said.

Temperatures in Sydney are expected to reach a maximum of 18 on Saturday and 17 on Sunday, dipping to 14 overnight.

Despite relatively light rainfall across the state, the bureau would not rule out the possibility of minor flooding.

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Canberra tipped to receive average monthly rainfall in 48 hours

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Heavy rainfall is expected in the capital this weekend. Photo: Melissa Adams. Meteorologists have urged Canberrans to make the most of drier conditions with the territory tipped to exceed its average monthly rainfall within a 48 period from Saturday evening.

Weatherzone meteorologist Sam Brown said conditions should remain dry in Canberra until late on Saturday afternoon when showers would develop before “dumping” rain into Sunday morning.

“We’ll see up to 10mm on rainfall on Saturday evening with anywhere between 20 and 40mm on Sunday and up to 10mm on Monday morning easing into the afternoon,” he said.

Mr Brown said thunderstorms were a possibility on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon although this was only a small chance.

“Winds should remain light to moderate over the weekend although they may become a little gusty on Monday but nothing too significant,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Sean Carson said there was a good chance Canberra would receive more than the August average rainfall of 45.9mm by Monday afternoon.

“The rainfall is not likely to start in Canberra until late Saturday round sunset and the bulk of the rain should fall overnight and on Sunday morning – that’s a solid 12 to 18 hours of soaking rain,” he said.

Mr Carson said the weekend would bring the largest amount of rainfall to drought-stricken parts of New South Wales and Queensland, providing much needed relief for farmers and communities.

“Most of inland New South Wales and southern Queensland are looking at similar figures where they may reach their average August rainfall in just a few days,” he said.

Mr Brown said this weekend would bring the most rainfall Canberra since the 10.8mm recorded on July 16, with small showers of less than 1mm  recorded on August 2, 5 and 9.

“Temperatures should increase overnight on Saturday to about 3 degrees by Sunday morning although temperatures should stay around freezing on Saturday morning,” he said.

“Daytime temperatures on Saturday should hover around 15 degrees before rain and cloud appear late in the afternoon, dropping to 13 degrees on Sunday with cloud cover.”

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NSW minister Dominic Perrottet endorses Uber and Airbnb

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NSW minister Dominic Perrottet has endorsed Uber and Airbnb.A senior NSW cabinet minister has endorsed ride-sharing service Uber and home-sharing app Airbnb by saying “governments should not stand in the way” of them despite both services being under scrutiny by his government.

NSW Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet said in a speech on Thursday night at Sydney’s Intersect showcase that the apps – part of what he called the “collaboration economy” – were a good thing for society.

“As someone on the Liberal side of politics, we should welcome the sharing economy as something profoundly conservative,” Mr Perrottet said.

He’s even asked the Office of Finances and Services to consider using a car-pooling scheme for government employees using such apps and services, because he said they could help “drive savings”.

“This is the free market on steroids. It’s individuals, or businesses, seeking to make the best use of their existing assets, for a profit. It’s being an entrepreneur at a grassroots level. It’s a mix of technology, trust and low-cost options to effectively meet demand – and it’s all done without government intervention.”

The sharing economy was “here to stay”, he added.

“The more people move online and take up social, mobile and reputational platforms, the more this is going to grow. It’s an efficient use of resources and the uptake so far already shows that the market has spoken. My view is that governments should not stand in the way of this change but seek to facilitate it.”

Mr Perrottet’s comments came after NSW Roads and Maritime Services began cracking down on Uber by issuing fines to drivers. The City of Sydney has also warned residents they risked fines by sharing or renting out their home for money on Airbnb without approval.

On Friday, Roads and Maritime Services confirmed it was continuing enforcement action for drivers who are found to be breaching the Passenger Transport Act 1990.   “Fines already issued have been paid,” a Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said.

It is understood Mr Perrottet is making his views known to cabinet colleagues, including Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian.

Mr Perrottet said it was no surprise that “most left-wing jurisdictions like New York” cracked down on sharing economy companies. He did not mention the NSW government was cracking down on them too.

“This is because they are stuck in the old world of heavy regulation, union dominance, high fees, high taxes and inflated prices that please no one but those at the top who reap a profit,” Mr Perrottet said of New York and other governments that had not embraced the new services.

“The sharing economy presents an opportunity for conservatives, if they are savvy enough to see it.”

Mr Perrottet also noted and welcomed news the Western Australia Liberals passed a motion to consider the regulations surrounding companies like Uber last weekend.

Despite endorsing the apps, he said they should still be regulated.

“Some have argued that governments should play no role in regulating these new app businesses,” he said.

“I disagree. I think we very much have a role in ensuring that the public are safe and things like health and safety are considered.

“These are paramount. Even the freest of markets requires some regulation to function.”

The question for government should not be “should you regulate”, he said, but “with what mindset do you regulate?”

“Do you regulate to stifle innovation? Or do you regulate to ensure certain basic principles like safety are met – and let the free market take care of the rest?”

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Life’s good for Logan: Emus mentor nominated for nationwide coaching award

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JUST REWARD: Orange Emus coach Andrew Logan (pictured with Wallabies mentor Ewen McKenzie) has been nominated for the Asteron Life Community Coach of the Year award.AFTER Orange Emus’ 2013 season many could be forgiven for questioning head coach Andrew Logan’s influence on the club.

However, those people have since had to break out the fine china and serve themselves a slice of humble pie just about every Sunday since April.

Logan has taken Emus from the outhouse to the penthouse in the space of 12 months – in 2013 the greens finished last, now, with one game left in the 2014 Blowes Clothing Cup regular season, Logan’s side is equal first.

As a result, Logan has been nominated for the inaugural Asteron Life Community Coach of the Year award – a nationwide award to recognise coaches across the country at the grassroots level.

“I can’t believe I’ve been nominated. This is a real honour,” Logan said.

“[After 2013], there was definitely a show of faith. In a way I’m seeing the benefit of a lot of people’s hard work.

“I’ve always said any success we have as a club is the result of an ensemble effort. Guys like Paul Ringland (Emus’ forwards coach), Graydon Staniforth (backs coach), Jeremy Wallace (strength and conditioning) and Mitch Dansey (reserve grade) all put in a lot of effort, and deserve recognition too.

“I don’t know who nominated me, but it’s very gratifying that people have noticed what we’ve done as a club.”

Emus’ turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. The greens won just five of 18 games in 2013, in 2014 they have lost just two.

“We always thought we were on the right track, “ Logan, a former Sydney University second XV coach, said.

“But it doesn’t mean much if you aren’t winning football games. We’d like to think this season has justified the decisions we’ve made [throughout the last two seasons], but no one will remember it if we don’t take it all the way [this year].”

Emus skipper Nigel Staniforth said the nomination was just reward for Logan, who “puts everything into it”.

“He has turned a lot around at the club, he’s very passionate and behind the scenes he does a lot of work people don’t see,” Staniforth explained.

“He often does too much in fact, which is a good thing. He definitely deserves it.”

The award will be presented at the John Eales Medal ceremony at Randwick Racecourse on Thursday, October 23.

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Sharks still have some fight in them

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Cronulla head to AAMI Park tomorrow, Saturday, for a 5.30pm kick-off against Melbourne Storm.

Talent: New Sharks winger Valentine Holmes. Picture: Chris Lane.

The Sharks are desperate to avoid the wooden spoon and are at the bottom of the competition.

But the Sharks have showed plenty of fight this season with a shocking injury roll and coaching staff changes.

What could have gone wrong this year for the Sharks, has gone wrong.

Only last weekend, prop Andrew Fifita broke his arm and is out for the season and had surgery last Tuesday.

Luke Lewis, Anthony Tupou, Jacob Gagan, are all sidelined with hamstring injuries.

Their stocks have been stretched, but still the Sharks have ‘‘aimed up’’ and tried hard each week.

Lock and skipper Paul Gallen is back after bicep injuries and missing the Warriors’ game with a bad virus which floored him.

But they have unearthed several new young players in the NRL competition who look to be genuine prospects.

One of those is 19-year-old Valentine Holmes, who has graduated from their under-20s team.

The Queensland speedster debuted against Parramatta and played with courage and skill against the powerful New Zealand Warriors last Sunday in Auckland, in the 16-12 loss.

Melbourne have dominated the Sharks in recent times winning seven of the past eight games between the two clubs.

What do you think the Sharks chances of winning are?

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Little advance on Merimbula CBD landscape plans

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In January 2014 Spiire Landscape architects engaged by the council published a CBD Landscape Master Plan – design vision and options report for Merimbula.

Merimbula was one of four urban centres in the shire to be the subject of a townscape analysis undertaken by the consultants, the others were Bermagui, Bega and Eden.

Council has earmarked $1 million for Merimbula works and the same for Bega, while Eden and Bermagui have been allotted $500,000.

But don’t count on there being much action in Merimbula’s CBD for some time as the plans have still to go through a number of council processes.

The draft masterplan is to be the subject of a councillor workshop, what it determines will then be a matter for community consultation via the public exhibition process and the outcome of that will then go to a council meeting for ratification.

When the News Weekly asked how much the Spiire consultancy was costing the ratepayers a council spokesperson said:“No can do with the Spiire costs. The costs are part of a bigger contract and commercial in confidence.”

Merimbula’s CBD is long overdue for a makeover.

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