Health and Fitness: Ways to get the kids moving during school holidays

FUN AND PHYSICAL: Bubble Soccer is one way to get the kids moving these school holidays. But there are plenty of other options that don’t include a cost. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers“I’m bored.”“I’m hungry.”“Can I watch TV?”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this in the past few weeks then I would have a good little savings account going.

Keeping the kids amused and out of each other’s hair during the school holidays requires planning and mental stamina.

It is easy to clock up the screen hours and I have to admit my kids have been watchingmore TV than normal, butI don’t feel too bad about it if they have been out and burned off some energy for a few hours in the morning then again in the afternoon.

My mantra during this timehas been: ‘Get them out to wear them out.’

We have been hitting the pool, beach or park most days and last week we took ona trampoline park which gave us all a good workout.

One thing I have found though is it can get pretty costly going to places like the pool and trampoline park.

If you are looking for ways to get the kids moving these holidays here are a few suggestions that carry a cost:

■Trampoline parks. One hour here and the kids, and you, will be ready for an afternoon nap.

■Ice skating. It provides a cool option on a hot day and requires the use of many muscles.

■Ninja Parc or Climb. The Parc in Cooks Hill offers holiday sessions to get the kids moving through ninja obstacles courses or challenging themselves on the new climbing zone.

■Hit a pool. Call your local pool to see if they have any activities scheduled such as inflatable zones. Another option is booking the kids in for some intensive swimming lessons.

■Sporting clinic. There are a range of sporting clinics available through the holidays, such as InZane Football which offers full day or full week camps. Surfing lessons are another option.

Free activities include hitting the beach, going for a walk, ride or scoot along the Fernleigh Track, Bathers Way, Nobbys Breakwall or around Lake Macquarie, bushwalking through Glenrock, Mount Sugarloaf or Blackbutt, taking on a parkrun at one of the 12 locations in the Hunter region or just heading to your local park.

According to aNSW Government article( I read recently,only 26 per cent of children areactive enough.

So getting them moving any way you can is good I think.

The article also said 62 per cent of children eat enough fruit but only five per cent eatenough vegetables.

I have three kids who all want to eat different things so I have tried to get a bit more creative with snacks in the holidays.

I have been making breakfast smoothies and afternoon fruit frappes. Slipping a good handful of baby spinach in with frozen banana and frozen mango or berries has been one way I have been getting more vegetables into them. I also adda cup of oats to morning smoothies to give us all some sustained energy.

SNACK OPTIONS: Adding baby spinach or kale to frozen fruit smoothies is a good way to get more vegetables into yours and your kids’ diet.

Sizzling Summer SessionsIf you are looking to improve your fitness it is always helpful to do some standard tests that you can revisit down the track.

You may not notice differences during your program so this is a good way to see results and stay motivated.

Some ideas includea 20-minute walk/run. Use the same course and measure how far you make. Do it again after four weeks, eight and 12 to gauge improvements.

Do one minute of short shuttles at a good pace and record how many you can do.

You could also do a set time in the pool, on the rower or on a bike.

Upcoming fitness eventsAcross the Harbour swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26:Choose from a 1400-metre return swim from Queens Wharf to Stockton and back, or theone-way option of 700m starting on Stockton side. This iconic Newcastle event has proven popular in the past and returns tothe calendar after an absence.

Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim, Nobbys beach, January 27:A2km ocean swim fromNobbys to Newcastle beach.

NewRun, Newcastle Foreshore, April 15:One for the whole family with races ranging from 2km for kids to 21.1km. The good news is you still have three months to prepare.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. [email protected]苏州楼凤.au.

Barbarouses seals a dramatic late win for Victory

A cool late finish by Kosta Barbarouses with less than a minute of normal time remaining was enough to give Melbourne Victory a nerve-wracking 3-2 win over Perth Glory in a dramatic finale at a rain-lashed AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Spanish striker Diego Castro looked as though he had rescued a point for the visitors when he sprang Victory’s defensive line with five minutes remaining to lob an equaliser over Victory’s stand-in goalkeeper Matt Acton. That would have been a result which Victory boss Kevin Muscat would have seen as an injustice after his side bounced back strongly after conceding a goal in the second minute of the game.

But Barbarouses’ late strike, when he finished from a superb cross field pass from Leroy George, restored Muscat’s smile and left Glory boss Kenny Lowe cursing his luck.

Lowe had delivered his players a huge serve in full view of the cameras at training last week, and if he was looking for an immediate reaction he got it in the shape of a goal within 90 seconds.

Victory failed to deal with a corner from the Glory right and when the ball fell out wide on the left to Walter Scott the youngster needed little invitation to whip a cross back into the danger area.

Defender Scott Neville escaped his markers and flashed a header past Acton, who was forced to pick the ball out of his own net less than two minutes into his first appearance of the season.

Acton was playing because regular goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas suffered a foot injury in Victory’s controversial 2-1 loss to Wellington, but he wasn’t the only change to Muscat’s line up.

Muscat also shuffled his midfield to include new signing Terry Antonis for his first start in a Victory shirt.

Like the rest of his teammates he began this game slowly and Victory collectively looked like a team coming to terms with being caught so cold so early.

But Antonis was quick to stamp his influence on the game. Two footed and with good vision and control, he showed that he wanted the ball as much as he could get it, and displayed an impressive range of passing both left and right, short and long as he tried to kick-start his new team’s revival.

George, the Dutch winger who has been a shining light in an otherwise rather dull season for Victory, also got into the groove and began to create space and opportunities on both flanks as he ranged from left to right.

Antonis’ clever flighted ball set up Barbarouses in the 16th minute, but the Kiwi winger’s fierce drive flew across the face of goal. Minutes later the same two players linked again, Antonis once more the provider, before Barbarouses’ cross was headed to safety by Neville.

George then switched to the right and glided past Scott and Xavier Torres before feeding James Troisi, but the latter could not get his cross over.

Antonis linked well with full-back Jason Geria before George, back on the left flank, skated past Glory full-back Jeremy Walker to set up Barbarouses, but he put his effort straight at goalkeeper Liam Reddy.

Victory got the goal their pressure deserved approaching the half-hour mark, and George was heavily involved yet again.

The Dutchman intercepted a lazy pass in the centre of the field by Castro, burst forward and played a one-two with Besart Berisha which left him clear in space. George’s initial shot was blocked by Reddy, but he managed to scramble the rebound into space and Troisi reacted quickest of all, smashing the ball home to level the score.

After the restart, Victory got their noses in front, with George again playing a major role.

The Dutchman whipped in a tantalising, curling cross from a free kick wide on the Victory right which Milligan, reacting quicker than the Glory defence, got to first before lashing a shot past Reddy on the half-volley.

With 19 minutes remaining Leigh Broxham eventually made his 250th appearance, replacing Dino Djulbic in the middle of the back four, and, after a topsy turvy finale, was able to celebrate in style.

Amateur drone photographer off to a flying start

Luke Keesmaat has owned a drone for four months. In his spare time he fliesas much as he can. Drone class.

“I‘d been considering buying a drone for 6 to 12 months beforehand.”

The 30-year-old marketing officer from Albury iskeen to take his video skills to the next level.

“I’vealways done video as a hobby. I work with a university so I do video forthem occasionally. With my job, I’m hoping to be able to incorporate that into what we do.”

And frankly, he’s surprised at the results.

“The weir [Lake Hume] – it kind of impressed me. I wasn’t expecting to it look so epic. It almost looked like something out of a movie.”

Imposing structures and drones go beautifully together and Luke has captured this at 1:21 when the drone scales the weir floodgates.

All up this package took Luke about a day to put together. He chose a quiet afternoonto go out to Lake Hume and was there for an hour and a half. Then there was a few hours editing time. Luke uses the video editing software Premiere Pro but saysiMovie is just as good at times and quicker, especially for titles.

That flying feeling

Luke says seeing things from a new perspective keeps drone cinematographyexciting.

“It’s interesting to get perspectives on things that you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to see.”

“When I take footage of people’s houses – they don’t even recognise their own houses. Being able to see things from unique angles.”

Amateur drone photographer off to a flying start GREAT WALL: Luke Keesmaat captures the weir wall with his drone at Lake Hume.

UP AND AWAY: Luke Keesmaat has been flying his drone for four months. Photos: supplied

IMPOSING: The weir wall and the drone captured by Luke Keesmaat at Lake Hume.

UP AND AWAY: Luke Keesmaat has been flying his drone for four months. Photos: supplied

SUN DOWN: Luke Keesmaat’s drone panorama at Lake Hume.

UP AND AWAY: Luke has been flying his drone for four months. Photos: supplied

TweetFacebookThere are cheaper drones on the market. These are Luke’s start up costs:

Invested between $1,700 and $2,000 for the drone.Uses an iPad mini as a screen.Spent another $500 to $1,000 to get properly set up.SET UP = $2,300

For Luke the drone decision was about investing in the future.

“I didn’t want just get something lower quality and then upgrade. I had the idea in mind to gohigher quality and do it for business in the future and not upgrade later.”

Portability was also a key criteria.

“I wanted to theability to take it travelling – it folds up into a little bag and I took it on as carry-on to America and Holland.”

“The Mavic Prostood out – you can fold it down and take it with you.”

Advice for others eyeing off a drone

“Do yourresearch and make sure youare buying the right productfor youas it is an investment.Ensure that it is what you want to do and get on forums and discuss with the experts first and work out what you’re wanting to do and what yourrequirements are.”

And practice!

“I just took it out into an open space and had a practice. That’s how I’ve been learning. There’s a lot of stuff online, forums as well where you can get a lot of information so that part ispretty easy.”

Drone licensing and the flying rules

It’s important to note you need a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) licence if you want to fly commercially and charge clients.

“I’m in the process of getting a CASA License – you need that if you want to do it commercially,” says Luke.

“The weir is okay because the local laws are five kilometreswithin the airport and 30 metres from people.”

“It’s down the track as to whether I do it personally or a longer term goal do videos for other people.”​

Cricket China closes Big Bash League loophole

Cricket has quietly closed a loophole that could have allowed Big Bash League clubs to change their captains mid-season purely for the sake of avoiding a suspension for slow over rates.
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Perth Scorchers captain Adam Voges missed Saturday’s game against the Adelaide Strikers after incurring a second strike for his team having slow over rates. Four other BBL captains, as well as five Women’s Big Bash League skippers, are at risk of being banned for a match after already receiving strikes for slow over rates, which have also led to scores of players being fined in both competitions.

In 2013, then Melbourne Stars captain Shane Warne was fined $5000 for breaching Cricket ‘s code of behaviour after the Stars opted to put James Faulkner’s name on their team sheet for a semi-final against Perth, with Warne sitting on one strike. CA had issued a memo to all BBL clubs the previous month stating: “If a team’s official captain is selected but not named as captain this … may attract a code of behaviour charge,” with Warne’s behaviour deemed to have been against the “spirit of cricket”.

With little fanfare, CA subsequently tightened the situation surrounding tactical captaincy changes, enshrining a provision deep in its WBBL and BBL playing conditions.

Under clause 12.7.6 of the playing conditions, “if the player nominated as captain at the start of the season is in the starting 11 but not listed on the official team sheet as the captain … any previous strike will carry over to the player nominated as captain for that match; and should another over rate breach occur in this situation, both the originally nominated captain and the player nominated as captain for that match will incur an automatic one match suspension.”

George Bailey (Hobart), John Hastings (Melbourne Stars), Moises Henriques (Sydney Sixers) and Shane Watson (Sydney Thunder) are the BBL captains who face a late-season ban should they again transgress. Brisbane Heat captain Brendon McCullum was suspended last season for over rate breaches.

Under the added provisions, if Hastings played in the same game where both he and a new designated match captain played, both players would incur a suspension for another strike.

‘Helpless’: Chinans’ 38 minutes of terror in Hawaii

Danielle Smith was standing on a beach in Hawaii with her husband and two children when a sea of mobile phones around her buzzed with the news that a ballistic missile attack was imminent on Saturday morning.
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A moment of dazed silence ensued as those on the beach processed the news, followed by a terrifying scramble for shelter.

“Suddenly about 50 phones went off around me on the beach,” Ms Smith said from Hawaii on Saturday afternoon.

“Everyone’s just looking around me going, ‘What do you do? What do you do?'”.

The shore at the Banzai Pipeline was busy on Saturday morning, with those eager to watch the huge swell coming in at the famous surf break.

It was 8.07am local time when the alert came through. It read: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

Ms Smith, who works as a photographer for Fairfax Media in Sydney, had been on holiday for about a week-and-a-half with her husband, Nick Conrick, their eight-year-old son, Nixon, and 13-year-old daughter, Ebony.

The family drove from their accommodation at Waikiki at 6am to catch a glimpse of the famous swell.

“We were pretty much helpless, standing on the beach just going, ‘What the hell do you do?'” Ms Smith said.

As reality set in, they desperately sought out locals for advice on what to do, but many were just as clueless. Eventually someone herded them into the local school, Sunset Beach Elementary School, where they “bunkered down”, with nothing left to do but wait.

“We were just sitting in there and literally it was just silent, no one was talking,” she said.

“It was just fingers crossed, I guess, just sitting there waiting.”

Ebony had received the alert on her mobile, and Ms Smith was able to screenshot it and send it on to her father in .

At 5.10am her father woke to the news, with two short messages from his daughter, “Check news”, then, “We can’t”.

Ms Smith’s father scoured the internet and turned up nothing, assuring his daughter that it was a false alarm.

But even though “things weren’t adding up”, there was still no formal confirmation that the missile threat was not real. It was about 35 minutes of waiting for Ms Smith before another text message came through to confirm the alert was false.

Shock was the main reaction to the alert being cancelled for those in Sunset Beach Elementary School. For 38 minutes, people around Hawaii earnestly believed their world was about to be turned upside down.

“It was still a bit of disbelief,” Ms Smith said of the moment the threat dissipated in the same way it had arrived, on phone screens around her.

Rumours flew about what had happened, and Ms Smith said it took a while longer to find out “it was human error”.

David Ige, the governor of Hawaii, told reporters on Saturday someone at the state emergency management centre pushed the “wrong button” during a shift, CNN reported. The US Federal Communications Commission said it would launch a “full investigation” into the accidental alert.

The incident took place amid mounting international tensions over North Korea’s development of a ballistic nuclear weapon.

“I’m glad it was human error, but how could this happen?” Ms Smith asked.

“My eight-year-old son was just sobbing, I’ll never forget the look on his face.

“All my son wants to do is go home – he’s asked a lot of questions about North Korea today.”

Ms Smith said it’s been “the talk of the town”, and despite the trauma “there’s a lot of grateful people today”.

As the sun went down over a beach at Waikiki on Saturday evening, people clapped, glad to have made it through the day.

with Reuters

Retaining George should be high on Victory’s wish list

Soccer fans and pundits alike have been salivating for much of the season about the impact made on the A-League by Sydney FC’s Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski – and with good reason.
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The frontman had scored eight goals in 12 games leading up to the round 16 clash with Adelaide United on Sunday night as well as being credited with five assists, proving his all-round contribution to Sydney’s terrific season.

But Mierzejewski might not necessarily be a lock for the “best new foreign player” of the season title, despite the huge impression he has made with the league leaders.

Leroy George, Melbourne Victory’s Dutch winger, has been chalking up a similarly impressive pile of statistics for himself in the Victorian capital, an arguably more difficult task given that his team has not been playing with anything like the fluency or success that Sydney have enjoyed so far this campaign.

George, a junior international for the Netherlands, has played more often, having played in all 16 of Victory’s matches.

His goal-scoring ratio is well down, George having netted three to Mierzejewski’s eight before Sunday night’s game.

But he is far ahead on the assists ladder. He had been credited with seven going into Saturday night’s dramatic win over Perth Glory, but he lifted that tally to 10 by creating all three Victory goals, all in different fashion.

He arrived late, just before the season started, and has had to work his way to full fitness, which makes his numbers even more noteworthy.

Now Muscat and the Victory board know they really do need to make him the sort of offer attractive enough to retain him in Melbourne and to persuade him to relocate his family from Amsterdam.

His partner and young son live in the Dutch capital, while another son with a different partner is currently starring in the Ajax boys’ team, so Victory would need to be persuasive to get him to commit beyond this season.

Muscat, for one, knows just how important he can be.

It was his one-two with Besart Berisha and then his shot that set up Victory’s opening goal for James Troisi against Perth, his free kick that created Mark Milligan’s chance to put Victory in front and his lovely crossfield pass that allowed Kosta Barbarouses to fire home a last-gasp winner.

Although nominally a wide man, George has shown his versatility by playing as an attacking midfielder and as a central striker at times this season.

“It was fitting in the end that Leroy sets up the [winning] goal. He set up all three and he deserved to be on a winning team,” Muscat said after the game.

“We spoke at the start [when he joined the club] that it would take him a little bit of time because he joined us late and didn’t have a full pre-season.

“But he has played in every position in that front third of the park while he’s trying to get used to the way we play and the intensity.”

He has also had to adapt to the vagaries of n weather and lengthy travel for away games.

“One week it’s 41 degrees and four days later you are playing in cold conditions. There’s a lot to get used to for foreigners who come over, but he has adapted unbelievably well.

“Three games in a week he has played now, down in Geelong (in heat on January 6) in different conditions to Wellington (January 10) and different conditions tonight (torrential rain).

“He is certainly enjoying himself here. I think he understands how he is appreciated by his teammates, myself and the club. Certainly by our fans and members.”

Muscat also paid tribute to Leigh Broxham, who came off the bench in the second half against Glory to register his 250th appearance for Victory, the most by any A-League player for a single club.

“He has earned everyone of those 250 games he has played for this club; he has had no handouts, he has had no chopouts.

“I could not have been happier for him that he was out there at the end with the boys as they kept pushing, it was fitting that the team and everyone out there showed a typical Leigh Broxham attitude to keep going and get a winner.”

Muscat is due to submit an Asian Champions League roster on Monday, and it is expected that Argentinian Mathias Sanchez will be the foreigner who will miss out as the club can select only three visa players.

short story competition finalist 2018: Ready

WORTH 1000 WORDS: Each day we will publish a finalist in the Herald short storycompetition. The winner will be announced on January 27. Picture: Simone De PeakI AM out of the passenger door before the monotone voice of the sat nav had finished saying “You have reached your destination”. Sam leans over, ducks his head to meet my eyes and asks me if I’m ready.
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I’ve been ready for this my whole life. Long before my father gave me the address for this place lost in the middle of somewhere. Long before Sam and I pleaded with our tired car to please get us here in time. Long before I dispatched my memories of a waif-like woman with dark eyes to the furthest corner of my heart.

“I guess you are,” he says, pulling himself upright in the driver’s seat. “I’ll be back at that town we just passed through, booking us a room. Ring me when it’s over.”

As if I was about to murder someone or something. Perhaps I was. Murdering the memories I’d found again, dragging them back to the forefront of my vision, just so I could replace them with a new one, the most important one.

“Okay, but I don’t know how long …”

“It doesn’t matter. Just ring me.”He gives me a patient smile.I stood and watched our car vanish into the dust then turned toward the crumbling farmhouse beyond the trees. Clouds surrounded its fragile frame. Inside my mother lay dying.

A woman stood in the doorway, arms behind her back holding the screen door ajar. Before I could decide if she was a nurse or a friend, she had thrust one strong hand toward me.

“I’m Neridah, a friend of Barbara’s.”

“Your mother,” she inserted into the silence.

The weight of those two foreign words hung there, impatient, brooding.

I followed her inside to a sparse room containing a two-seater lounge and a small coffee table with an old battered transistor radio sitting dead centre.

“Barbara doesn’t like a lot of stuff.”

Or people either, I thought. I also thought I was done with judging her a long time ago.

“Are you ready?”

“My boyfriend just asked me that before he left me here. I wouldn’t have come if I wasn’t ready.”

“Right. This way then.”

She gave the bedroom door one short sharp knock before opening it to reveal a shell of a woman hiding under a light blanket. My mother. What was left of her.

“Come in. Sit down.”

The voice came from the gap that was her mouth, her lips dry, brittle.

Neridah closed the door on us as I sat on the corner of the bed, my clasped hands hidden in the folds of my dress.

“Don’t be afraid, Sarah. It’s just cancer, nothing contagious.”

I went to speak but she cut me off with a wave of a bony hand, the gesture light but heavy.

“Sarah. Your father picked that name. I didn’t care one way or the other.”

“I know. He told me.”

“I’m sure he did. What else did he tell you? That I didn’t care about you. Anyway, it’s true. Well, mostly true.”

She stopped then, waiting for me to answer but all I wanted was for her to speak, to tell me her truth. An exhalation of breath and she ploughed forward.

“I didn’t want children, not even one. They always say it’s different when it’s your own. But it wasn’t for me. From the moment that I saw you, I knew.”

I wasn’t ready at all. Not for this. I’d wanted regrets, apologies, even excuses. Not these sharp words slicing through my heart.

“If you came here for an apology, I can’t give you one. The best thing I did for you was to leave.”

“Well, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I came.” I got up to leave but that bony hand of hers commanded me to sit down again.

“Oh Sarah, it’s nearly the end. Stay. Make this the best thing you can do for me. The only thing.”

Confessions wear people out. The release of my mother’s confession had been like the last flash of a long-burning flame. Now she was just embers, waiting for me to put her out.

I started to talk then, to tell her about my life, not because I wanted or expected her to change her mind but because I wanted her to know that I had made a life without her. Meeting my best friend in high school, learning to sew, making my first dress, opening my own shop, selling my creations, my first kiss and all the kisses after that. Nothing extraordinary but she had missed it all.

My mother sunk into a deep sleep as I spoke but it didn’t matter. I’d been saving all this up for now. This was for me, not for her.

Night came and so did the rain. It scratched at the window. A tree creaked outside in the wind. The house answered back.

I kept talking until every memory had poured out of me and into my mother. Just when I thought it was over, an image of her the day she left pushed itself forward. Standing in the rain at the end of our driveway, a wet slick of hair and sad clothes, her empty eyes gaining more distance. She turned and she was gone.

Now she’s gone for the last time. Her final breath came right before my confession but there was no point stopping now. I told her I was pregnant. I told her she was the only one who knew. I told her she had left me again, left me to make sense of this bleak emptiness growing inside me, left me with the weight of not knowing if I would ever be ready.

Camp making its rocking debut in Sydney

For Sydney teen Mia Betteridge, music has always been very important to her.
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“It makes me happy. When I am upset I use it almost as a way to calm myself down,” she said.

Mia, 13, will be a part of this year’s Girls Rock! camp cohort as it makes its rock and roll debut in Sydney this January.

“My mum found out about it on Facebook and I wanted to join because of my love of music and I want to build on that passion,” Miss Betteridge said.

Established in Portland, Oregon in the US in 2001, the week-long day camp aims to inspire and empower 10- to 17-year-old girls, transgender and non-binary youth by providing a space for marginalised youths who are wishing to explore the world of music and themselves.

“On a psychological level, music is important for everyone, specifically for female, trans and non-binary youth as so much of the world is built to make identity really hard for teenagers of any gender,” said Girls Rock! Sydney’s director and music teacher Mara O’Toole.

The music program has successfully expanded internationally, first taking place in in Canberra in 2016. It has since rocked its way through the hearts of Brisbane, Melbourne and Wollongong.

“After going to the first Canberra camp I realised that music education was my passion and I had just finished my masters of teaching so I am now a music teacher and it’s come from me being involved in the Rock camp,” said Ms O’Toole.

At Girls Rock! Sydney, run at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville, the young musicians will be taught how to play an instrument, and to develop their singing and songwriting skills. They will also form bands with their fellow campers throughout the duration of the program.

Aria Award winner and singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko, and up-and-comers Okin Osan’s Rose Chan and Madeleine Er from the band The S-Bends are among the mentors at the camp.

For Chan and Er, the program is a step in the right direction in tackling the many forms of discrimination that exist in the music industry.

“My lived experience as a female musician hasn’t been smooth sailing. I would really love to see a change in the music industry, see it less male-dominated and see more women coming to the front,” Er said.

Chan conferred the camp’s importance in encouraging music for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Music is a way to self-identify and if there is no representation of your identity in music it is really hard to self-identify with it.”

The final day of the camp on Saturday will include a showcase, featuring a collection of the participant’s songs and tracks.

“The showcase will be all of the camper bands performing all of their original pieces that they have written throughout the week and everyone is invited,” said Ms O’Toole.

“I hope that this camp helps to build my skills and to maybe find people that I can be in a band with,” Betteridge said.

Big Pharma spends big on doctors, reaps profits

The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on a medication package in a pharmacy in London April 28, 2014. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc is working on its next move in a potential $100 billion bid battle for Britain’s AstraZeneca Plc after having a two bids rejected, as deal-making grips the healthcare industry. Pfizer said on Monday it made a 58.8 billion pounds ($98.9 billion) bid approach to AstraZeneca in January and had contacted its British rival again on April 26 seeking further discussions about a takeover. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN – Tags: BUSINESS HEALTH) The Hilton hotel 255-269 Pitt Street, Sydney. 27th March, 2012. Photo: Kate Geraghty
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Sponsoring “educational activities” for doctors is so financially lucrative that pharmaceutical companies are spending upwards of $200,000 on a single event, sparking fresh calls for a ban on industry funding.

The latest sponsorship disclosures from industry body Medicines show drug company AstraZeneca spent the biggest amount on a single event – $241,000 – followed by Celgene and Novartis, between November 2016 and April 2017.

In terms of total spend on all events in the half-year period, AstraZeneca came second to Roche, which saw fit to splash $877,000 on 64 meetings, from breakfast symposiums to journal club meetings.

“Sponsorship is a key part of a company’s marketing strategy, and we know industry money can lead to increased prescribing of drugs that tend to be newer, so there’s less data on safety, and more expensive,” said Alice Fabbri, an expert on corporate influence at the University of Sydney.

“They’re profit-making multinationals, not charities, and if they’re spending huge sums of money, it means they’re getting a good return.”

AstraZeneca spent $241,000 as the sole sponsor of the Lung Foundation’s Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group (ALTG) Lung Cancer Symposium in 2016, covering accommodation and meals at Hilton Hotel in Sydney, as well as airfares, transfers and other event costs.

The industry’s code of conduct states the sponsor must not select the speakers, but Fairfax Media found the international guest speakers – Professor Keunchil Park from South Korea and Professor Glenwood Goss from Canada – have ties with AstraZeneca, accepting its research grants and holding advisory roles.

Both AstraZeneca and the Lung Foundation rejected suggestions the pharmaceutical giant had a say on the selection of speakers, with both saying an organising committee independently chose the speakers, attendees and educational content.

The two professors did not respond to a request for comment.

Dr Fabbri said that even if an independent committee made the final decisions, in such situations it was likely the sponsor could still be “subtly” exercising influence.

“The problem is that with industry funds, there is an implicit understanding that additional funds won’t be offered in the future if the event doesn’t present topics of interest to the company or the speakers aren’t favourable,” said Dr Fabbri.

“A recent analysis has shown that even a single sponsored meal worth $20 is associated with increased prescribing of the promoted medication.”

The new data shows 33 drug companies shelled out $8.6 million on 1302 events attended by 231,000 healthcare professionals, including students and nurses, in the six-month period.

The Lung Cancer Symposium was the most expensive event, yet it only offered 12 hours of educational content over 1.5 days to 126 oncologists.

In contrast, the next three most expensive events – each topping $100,000 – offered on average 30 hours of educational content over four days to about 960 attendees.

The Lung Foundation said it was aware of concerns about undue risk of influence, but insisted industry funding was necessary because lung cancer was the leading cause of death from cancer, yet research funding for it was disproportionately low.

“This is the only national lung cancer research meeting of its type and is crucial to facilitating lung cancer research, developing stronger clinical research collaborations and designing new studies which will ultimately deliver better lung cancer care in ,” said Professor Christine Jenkins, respiratory clinician and the foundation’s chairwoman.

Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis, chair of ALTG, added: “The importance of attracting research funding and contributions from interested commercial and non-commercial entities ensures a sustainable lifeline to lung cancer research.”

Dr Fabbri said one option was for the industry to place funds in a blind trust that could be controlled by an independent group.

“The end goal is a ban on industry funding, but there are some steps that can be taken in the meantime,” she said.

A separate database shows 20 companies provided 145 sponsorships worth more than $200,000 each between October 2011 and September 2015.

Overseas, AstraZeneca forked out $US5.5 million in 2016 to settle charges following allegations it paid bribes and conveyed gifts, trips, and hard cash to healthcare officials in China and Russia.

In 2010, the company paid $US520 million in fines for illegally marketing to and manipulating American doctors with cash and luxury trips in order to increase sales of an anti-psychotic drug.

And in 2003, it paid $US355 million for defrauding the US Medicare system with a cancer drug marketing scam that involved bribing doctors.

Inspirational Newcastle triathlete returns to racing after freak training accident

RACE RETURN: Newcastle triathlete Lauren Parker in action on Sunday during the Paratriathlon Continental Championships in St Kilda. Picture: Delly Carr, Triathlon Poor conditions caused the cancellation of the swim leg but Lauren Parker could not have been happier to be racing again on Sunday, nine months after a life-changing accident left her paralysed from the waist down.
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Parker’s efforts in theParatriathlon Continental Championships in St Kilda could be enough to earn her a place in the n team for the Commonwealth Games in April.

The course was changed on the morning of the race to instead comprise 2.5 kilometres in the racing wheelchair followed by a 20km hand cycle then concluding with another5km in the racing chair.

The Newcastle 29-year-oldofficially finished second in herrace but there was some confusion over the changed course with the rest of the field doing four kilometres less of the hand cycle.

Parker’s times were enough to put her in the frame for Commonwealth Games selection with two possible spots available but the team will not be announced until next month.

“Aside from the drama that went on I had a great race and was so excited to finish,” Parker said.

“Idefinitely need to work on the racing chair a lot to get big improvements in that area but I know my swim is there and my hand cycle is there. It’s exciting.”

If she does earn selection, Parker will line up for her country at the Gold Coast games 12 months after a freak cycling accident turned her world upside-down.

“It was so good to be back racing,” she said.“I was out on the hand cycle and just loving it.

“I was lovingthe feeling of racing again and I had a huge support crew down here, it was amazing. I wouldn’t have been here without the team behind me. I felt really special and really good that everyone was there at the end cheering me.”

Parker has only been training on hand cycle and in a racing wheelchair for the past six weeks.

Horse Racing: Kris Lees-trained Lomazzo put down after Magic Millions Country Cup

PUT DOWN: Lomazzo winning at Newcastle. Picture: Lees Racing websiteKris Lees-trained Lomazzo wasput down on Saturday after fracturing a seasmoid in theMagic Millions Country Cupat the Gold Coast.
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The five-year-old Newcastle-basedgelding, by Magic Albert from Graphite Lass, was taken from the trackto the nearby Gold Coast Equine Hospital after pulling uparound 250 metres from the finish line and falling behind the field to runlast.

Lomazzo, with $117,080 prizemoneyfeaturing two wins from 22 starts, did not recover from the injury.

He could fair dinkum ride a broomstick home at the moment. Jason Collett brings up another win, this time on Zafina in front of a wall of horses for Matty Dale! pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/iAuyYJ3n9U

— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) January 13, 2018

A woman was later arrestedafter attempting to steal the ambulance that took Lomazzo to the hospital.

She was charged with offences including unlawful use of a motor vehicle and public nuisance.

Reportedly she was drunk and not a protester.

The incident delayed the next race.

Zafina won the $242,500 Country Cup (1200m) by 0.2 lengths from Suggan Buggan and He’s A Moral.

Not Surprising, Lees’ other horse in the same race, was fourth.

Elsewhere on the card for Lees, chestnut filly Sasso Corbaro ran sixth in the $2million 3YO Guineas (1400m) while Powerline was 13thin the $1million Magic Millions Cup (1400m).

The Hunter’s hope in the $2million 2YO Classic (1200m),David Atkins-trained Jonker, ended up last after being controversially knocked into the rail early in the contest.

Meanwhile, Singleton-raised and Lambton-based jockey Aaron Bullock claimed his first metropolitan winneron Saturday.It was on board Lees-trained Sugar Bella.

Jarrod Woodgate and Keira Maguire together at the polo

Before Channel Ten has even set an air date for its upcoming, highly anticipated Bachelor spin-off, The Bachelor in Paradise, it seems that the cat might be out of the bag when it comes to the outcome for at least two of its contestants.
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Jarrod Woodgate and Keira Maguire, the stand-out stars during their respective seasons – Woodgate coming runner-up last year alongside Sophie Monk on The Bachelorette and Maguire in 2016 on Richie Strahan’s season of The Bachelor – have been keeping each other company ever since they landed back in after their jaunt to Fiji, where filming took place late last year.

Despite signing Ten’s notoriously strict contract that bans them from being seen in public so as not to spoil the ending for fans, it seems that Woodgate and Maguire just can’t bear to be apart.

They have been spotted kissing on set in Fiji, meeting up for multiple secret weekends away, and on Saturday, they attended the annual Alfa Romeo Portsea Polo on the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, with the same group of friends.

Standing side-by-side in the exclusive, Italian summer-themed, Alfa Romeo marquee, Woodgate denied they were together, explaining that their appearance in the same place at the same time was nothing but a coincidence.

When asked by Fairfax Media about the rumours that they were a couple, Woodgate said: “No comment on Keira Maguire.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he added.

Maguire has had her eye on Woodgate since his passionate stint on The Bachelorette, where he was labelled by fans a “stage five clinger”.

Woodgate confessed his love for Monk, but she chose millionaire Stu Laundy as “the one”, leaving Woodgate in tears.

But Maguire need not worry about Monk as Woodgate said that’s all water under the bridge.

“I realised now that I loved Sophie as a person and I think I was being very protective because the other guys were around and it took me a while to realise that,” he said.

Woodgate believes that he acted more like himself on The Bachelor in Paradise as he felt more at ease around a mixture of male and female contestants.

“The Bachelor in Paradise is better with the pressure because you are there with a mixed variety of people. When I was stuck in a mansion with 20 other blokes when I had no idea who they are or what they want, it’s harder,” he said.

Woodgate has no regrets about his time on The Bachelorette, with his appearance helping to triple visitors to his family’s vineyard, Toms Cap Vineyard in Gippsland.

“Life since The Bachelorette has been epic,” Woodgate said.

“We get people calling up to find out if Jarrod from The Bachelorette will be there and then they come down to get pictures with me, just because of the show.”

Despite the downpours on Saturday, the stars still turned out in their Sunday best for what has become one of the most stylish events on Melbourne’s social calendar.

Actor and director, Gracie Otto, Offspring’s Asher Keddie and her artist husband Vincent Fantauzzo, and fashion influencers Clementine McVeigh and Rozalia Russian were all special guests of the main sponsor, Alfa Romeo.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Bec Judd, Lindy Klim, Georgia Love, Sam Wood and his fianc?? Snezana Markoski??? were also in attendance.

Fairfax Media has asked Channel Ten for comment.

Brumbies women’s coach backs Super W to become professional

New Brumbies women’s coach Tony Doherty and player Jane Garroway. Photo by Karleen Minney.ACT Brumbies women’s coach Tony Doherty has backed Super W to become a professional league in the coming years on the back of the n women’s sport movement.
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The inaugural Super W season kicks off in March but first the women will play in conjunction with the men at the Brisbane Global Tens on February 9-10.

Female players were the biggest winners when rugby’s new collective bargaining agreement was announced last week, with entry-level full-time minimum salaries for Super Rugby and male and female sevens players.

The Wallaroos will receive Test match payments for the first time and Doherty believes Super W players are next in line for a pay day as the competition grows.

“We have a few Wallaroos in the squad, so if they’re selected again this year they’ll get paid but it would be great to get all the Super W players paid,” Doherty said.

“We hope that will be the situation soon as it would put everyone on level pegging, currently most have to rely on their jobs for income and it would be awesome to have a professional income through rugby.”

The Brumbies held an open trial on Saturday which attracted more than 60 players from the ACT region, before Doherty named his 30-player squad on Sunday.

“We put the girls through fitness and skills sessions then had a few trial matches and it was an arduous task coming back to 30 names,” Doherty said.

“It’s great for the sport to have so much competition, we’ve selected a squad with some experienced players as well as some new and exciting talent.”

After the Brisbane tournament the women will play in a four-game round robin Super W season, with the top two teams playing a grand final.

“The NRL, ALF, Cricket and the W-League are all growing women’s sport and it’s great rugby is providing another platform for women’s sport to be on the big stage,” Doherty said.

“For our girls it’s about being competitive in all our games and the players are really excited for the opportunity and to be a part of n rugby history.”

ACT Brumbies: Emerena Aviga, Brittney-lee Bedford, Kate Brown, Louise Burrows, Skye Churchill, Peta Cox, Harriet Elleman, Charlene Gubb, Jess Howard, Anna Korovata, Michaela Leonard, Irene Macarthur, Shellie Milward, Georgia O’Neill, Tayla Stanford, Merrin Starr, Violeta Tupuola, Tania Afamasaga, Izzy Atkinson-Smith, Kiahan Bell-Chambers, Kasey Dragisic, Courtney Frankl, Jane Garraway, Ash Kara, Paremo Marsh, Kiara Meredith-Brown, Michelle Perry, Darcy Read, Cecelia Smith, Talei Wilson, Remi Wilton.