Father and son cleared in ‘happy hooker’ case

Vincent George jr and Vincent George sr in court in New York. The father and son, who acknowledged they were pimps, have been acquitted of sex-trafficking charges after several prostitutes testified they were treated well. Photo: Seth WenigNEW YORK: A judge who heard prostitutes testify that a father-and-son pimp team made them feel like family cleared the two men of sex-trafficking charges on Wednesday.
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The men’s supporters in the courtroom cheered the verdict, but the gallery fell silent when Manhattan Judge Ruth Pickholtz announced convictions against Vincent George sr and Vincent George jr on charges they laundered millions of dollars through music recording and car service businesses. The pair showed no emotion aside from slight smiles as they were led back to jail in handcuffs.

George sr, 56, and his 35-year-old son had faced possible 25-year terms on sex-trafficking charges accusing them of coercing women into becoming prostitutes. They still could get up to 15 years at sentencing on July 8 for the money laundering conviction.

Despite the mixed verdict, District Attorney Cyrus Vance jr called the outcome a victory.

“The goal of the prosecution was to dismantle a criminal enterprise from top to bottom,” he said. “That goal has been achieved with the Georges… There is no fairy tale ending for these defendants.”

Defence attorneys — who called the women working for their clients “happy hookers” — also claimed victory, adding that they planned to appeal the convictions.

The verdict “recognises that people have free will and the right to make choices whether or not you like those choices,” David Epstein, the son’s attorney, said of the prostitutes.

The loving relationship between pimps and prostitutes “was vindicated,” Epstein added. “It’s a moral victory as well as a legal one.”

Prosecutors had alleged the prostitutes made as much as $US500,000 a year for the Georges but got only a few dollars a night themselves and had no bank accounts or property. They were threatened with beatings when they didn’t bring in as much money as expected or were late to check in, according to wiretap conversations played at trial.

“Bring me my [expletive] money right now and get your ass back to work,” the son said to one woman.

The women painted a different picture, saying they were treated to nice cars, vacations in Florida and affection from their pimps. Some lived together as “family” outside New York, and drove in to the city at night to turn tricks for $US300 a night, they said.

One witness, Heather Keith, has Vincent George jr’s nickname, King Koby, tattooed on her neck. She testified she was a drug-addicted 19-year-old stripper from upstate. He helped her beat a cocaine habit, she said.

“I would say that I make my own choices,” said Keith, now 26. “I am not a dumb person. I know what I’m doing.”

Another witness, 24-year-old Desiree Ellis, dismissed allegations that Vincent George jr abused her, calling him a “teddy bear”.

She once thought about leaving him. But once at a bus station, she changed her mind and asked if she could come back to their “family”, He welcomed her with open arms.

“We kissed,” she said. “We made up. We had a love session.”

– AP

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Senate to debate step towards marriage equality

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says a bill to recognise same-sex marriages performed overseas is an important step to marriage equality. Photo: Randy LarcombeThe Greens’ international same-sex marriage bill faces the Senate on Thursday, with debate and a vote due on recognising the marriages of gay and lesbian Australians who wed overseas.
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”It’s an important step towards marriage equality,” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who out forward the bill, told Fairfax Media on Thursday morning.

”We have thousands of couples now living in Australia who’ve gone overseas and gotten married . . . and they arrive back home at Sydney International Airport and all of a sudden they have to check their marriage at the customs gate.”

Thursday’s bill would change a section of the Marriage Act that states that ”certain unions are not marriages”.

The Act says that foreign weddings between ”a man and another man” and ”a woman and another woman . . . must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia”.

Support for marriage equality is growing, not just in the Parliament, but significantly within the Australian public. MPs on both sides of politics support same-sex marriage but both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott remain personally opposed.

Kevin Rudd recently reconciled his Christian faith with allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, saying he had changed his mind and would now support marriage equality.

While Labor allows their MPs to vote according to their conscience on same-sex marriage, Mr Abbott has refused to allow a free vote within the Coalition.

This is despite party members including Kelly O’Dwyer, Malcolm Turnbull, Wyatt Roy, Simon Birmingham and Sue Boyce all declaring their support for same-sex marriage.

Senator Hanson-Young said the ”ludicrous thing” about the issue of marriage equality in this Parliament is that ”you have Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott effectively standing in the way of these reforms happening”.

The senator believed there was more support for the legislation in the Senate than in the House of Representatives and she hoped support had grown further since the issue was debated last year.

”I hope that we can get a few more people across the line than we did last time,” she said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Holden seeks extended warranty

Holden is stepping up pressure on the federal Coalition to commit to funding for the car industry over the next decade, with a warning it could follow Ford out of Australia.
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The company announced this week it would attempt to slash wages at its manufacturing plants.

On Wednesday, managing director Mike Devereux also indicated the company’s future in the country was not certain if government funding was not locked in over a long period.

Coalition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella, who has been in discussions with Mr Devereux, said if Tony Abbott won the federal election, she was confident the car industry would survive.

Under the Gillard government’s assistance scheme, $1.5 billion will be paid out between 2011 and 2015, and a further $1 billion over the following five years.

The Coalition will cut the first round of funding to $1 billion, but it has also pledged to leave the second round of funding in place, while simultaneously promising to hold a Productivity Commission review into car manufacturing. This has caused some doubts within the auto industry over the money.

Ms Mirabella said Labor’s plan to save the car industry had not worked.

”Ford has gone under their watch, when they’ve given more and more money to the car industry,” she said.

”We think there can be a viable auto sector, but there needs to be a change in funding guidelines to look at long-term viability of the industry.”

She said ”no car company has said to me they are going to leave the country because we have reduced the fund by $500 million”.

Following a funding pledge from federal and state governments last year, Holden said it would spend $1 billion on its Adelaide plant. But Mr Devereux said this was not certain. ”Some people think that we have already been given money to do that investment but that is a prospective investment that we have not made.”

He said the long lead-times of the car industry meant Holden needed certainty for the next decade on government funding.

The company is poised to start investing in its new Adelaide plant by the end of this year to help manufacture new-model Cruze and Commodore vehicles, but wants guaranteed funding until about 2022 before it begins spending the money.

Other industry figures said if Holden believed there was a risk to funding from the federal government, the company would simply walk away from production in Australia and import vehicles, because this would be more profitable.

The national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s vehicles division, Dave Smith, said: ”If [car makers] can’t lock in the required government funding from a Coalition government … they will leave Australia.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

REVIEW: One life of vice

PITTED AGAINST: Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane in the zombie movie World War Z.MICHAEL Winterbottom’s study on pornography king Paul Raymond is a fast-paced drama that delves into the personal life of a powerful man with so many riches he could not see his own weaknesses.
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Based loosely on a biography, Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond, by Paul Willetts, the movie is full of the business that made Raymond rich and famous: naked women, striptease joints, recreational drugs and the toys of nouveau wealth.

The Look of Love

Steve Coogan (pictured) looks extremely comfortable as Paul Raymond: confident and careless, with no remorse for his personal actions.

The movie tackles Raymond’s troubled love affairs, showing his lack of empathy or genuine love for his female partners.

His tragic relationship with his daughter, Debbie, played forcefully by starlet Imogen Poots, whom he loved dearly but hardly tried to provide with loving parental direction or advice, is the central tenet of the movie.

This movie, which opens the Sydney Travelling Film Festival program in Newcastle tonight, encapsulates the spirit of adventurous filmmaking. While the boob count is so high you stop counting, this movie is not about sex, it’s about the human condition, what drives a person, no matter the cost.

From gore to metaphor


Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Abigail Hargrove

Director: Marc Forster

Screening: general

Rating: ★★★


ZOMBIES may be mindless but they make great metaphors.

In 1968, when George Romero came up with Night of the Living Dead, the first in his cycle of zombie classics, he drew on Vietnam and the racism in America’s south to create a zombie menace that sprang from the evils within American society. His zombies were not The Other. They were Us.

And to ram the message right home, he made the mob hysteria, whipped up by some of the films’ more zealous zombie hunters, look just as ugly as the zombies themselves.

Romero’s were low-budget efforts but their special effects men delighted the fans by splashing on the blood and gore with a sure hand and an unflinching eye for detail.

World War Z, produced by its star, Brad Pitt, and directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), is definitely not low-budget.

This time round, the prevailing metaphor – predictably enough – stems from our fears of environmental catastrophe. These zombies are not risen from the dead. They have caught a virus that is likened to SARS and the influenza pandemic of the early 1900s. And they are compelled to pass it on. One bite and you know in 12 seconds if you, too, are about to become ‘‘zombified’’. The less-than-subtle inference to be drawn from this is that we are polluting the planet by over-population and it is retaliating in kind.

Prospects are bleak but we do have Brad. As Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator, he has spent a lot of time taking care of trouble in an assortment of the world’s top hotspots. Now he’s retired. But in the film’s opening scenes, the zombie hordes hit Philadelphia, where he has been living happily with his wife, Karin (Mireille Enos), and their young daughters. They escape only because his former boss has them whisked to safety by helicopter and set down on a US aircraft carrier in the Atlantic. Here, Karin and the girls can stay if Gerry will agree to head a mission aimed at tracking the virus to its cause. First stop is North Korea.

All the while, Forster wisely keeps the zombies in the middle distance, except for a climactic few moments with close-ups cut together so fast that you can’t see much.

The North Korean scenes, which take place at night in a rainstorm, are appropriately depressing. Then it’s on to Jerusalem for something genuinely weird. With an efficiency born of long years of practice, the Israelis have kept themselves safe by walling themselves off. What’s more, they have done wonders for the Arab-Israeli peace process by taking their Palestinian neighbours in with them. All is going well until the zombies – filmed in dazzling long shot – arrange themselves in a pyramid and begin swarming up the stonework.

Next to this, the denouement seems strangely restrained, set in a World Health Organisation laboratory deep in the British countryside. The script abandons large-scale action for some small-scale detective work followed by a series of stealthy manoeuvring through the laboratory’s corridors. In a blockbuster of such magnitude, it’s rare to go out with a sequence aimed at engaging you instead of blasting you out of your seat. And I found it refreshing. SMH

FISHING: Swansea Channel jumping

Browse Herald Fish File here
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PAUL Sheppard reports nice numbers of luderick lurking in Swansea Channel and throughout the lake this week, plus the odd surprise.

“I was out chasing off the point near Arcadia Vale – it beats mowing the grass,” Paul explained.

“We must have been 15 metres from shore, fishing into the bank, when I spotted five kingfish swimming by.

“They were all over 80 centimetres, all keepers, very exciting.

“I’ve also heard from a certain retired school teacher that there’s a few flathead about.”

Shane Munro hit the lake in his trusty tinnie on Tuesday and can confirm the flathead rumours.

“Me and my mate got 30 between us, all on lures in deeper water on the western side of the lake,” Shane said. He was not inclined to reveal exactly where on the western side.

“On the tide, just bang, one after the other,” he said.

“Then I headed into the shallows and picked up one about 80 centimetres. We only kept a feed and let the rest go.

“I also hear it’s been standing room only off the breakwall at Nelson Bay and in certain spots in Swansea Channel as guys go after luderick.

“They’re all spawning now so it’s red hot, although I’d prefer to eat flathead any day.”

Robert Mitchell got a nice bream kayak fishing with lures. Very tasty, by all accounts.

Secret to jew strikes

ANDREW Thompson, fresh from joining up with Redhead Fishing Club, reports there are good jew and snapper about in and off Newcastle.

“I’ve been going all right on the jew in Newcastle Harbour,” Thommo said.

“Two weeks ago I weighed a 15-kilogram mulloway, and last week I got another one the same size.

“The first one had a mullet in it, just freshly killed, looked like someone had scaled it.

“It’s amazing how they scale them with their gills.”

This led to an interesting discussion about jew fishing.

“A lot of guys will tell you that when they get a jew, typically it’ll run, then stop and give the fish a rattle before running again,” he said.

“When it stops, it’s actually scaling the fish with its gills before swallowing it.

“A lot of blokes will tell you this is the time to strike.”

But there is a risk, according to Thommo, because deciding to wait may well cost you the fish.

“I fish with a strike drag,” Thommo explained.

“It’s a dual hook set-up with one hook through the back of the fish, and one fish on a short leader that swings around the fish.

“When the fish hits the bait, it immediately hooks the fish – you usually get one hook in the corner of the mouth and the other right up under the jaw.

“It’s a high percentage hook-up and takes out that indecision of when to hook the fish.”

Low-pressure fishing

THOMMO reckons barometric plays a big role in whether or not jew will get on the chew.

“When it’s dropping, the pressure on the jew’s stomach decreases, it relaxes and it gets hungry,” he explained.

“I find the barometer is usually on the way down the day before a southerly hits, so I’ll try and go out then, at night.”

It depends on where he’s fishing, too.

“Three things come into it for me if I’m fishing a wreck, for instance,” Thommo explained.

“The pressure has to be dropping, I have to fish a north-west wind and it has to be on a low tide.

“High tides are good on reefs as the jew will come up.

“I like the low tide when it’s coming out of the river.”

Meanwhile, go to the Herald Fish File online at theherald上海夜生活m.au and check out the monster jew Whitebridge warrior John Finnie hooked recently while travelling around Australia.

Tuna and snapper tales

SOURCES within the Redhead Fishing Club (Thommo) report sightings of albacore off the shelf and high anticipation of yellowfin tuna not too far away.

Closer to shore, Thommo has been cleaning up on snapper.

“We were at Big Sandhill off Birubi last Sunday in about 25 metres and got 25 snapper, some up to three kilograms cleaned,” he said.

“Got them on baits but had more success with the bigger fish with soft plastics like Berkley gulps, particularly the four-inch minnows.”

Fighting emperors

GUYS in the know, particularly guys from Redhead Fishing Club, (again Thommo) are aware there’s spangled emperor working off the rocks up around Nelson Bay.

“They’re usually about when the water’s warmer,” Thommo said.

“But they’re there and they are a great fighting fish.

“The boys reckon a two-kilogram spangled emp goes harder than a drummer.

“There are plenty of tailor about.

“There’s been a few good ones in the lake, but outside they’re a bit smaller.

“We’ve even seen a few bar cod outside too, in reasonably shallow water for bar cod.”

It’s a full moon this weekend and the club is off in search of big trag and snapper up around Crowdy Head.

Caring for our fish

THE Department of Primary Industries is calling for people to join the Fishcare Volunteer Program.

Fishcare volunteers help promote responsible fishing practices in NSW at events such as fishing competitions, shows and field days, and the Get Hooked . . . It’s Fun to Fish schools program.

SNAP THAT: Peter McIntosh, from Maitland, wins the Jarvis Walker tackle box and Tsunami lure pack for this 75-centimetre, 7.5-kilogram snapper caught off Port Stephens.

See dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/info/fvp#Want-to-apply?

Smith’s team ready to repay stable clients’ loyalty at HQ

Chew on this: Chewychop wins at Newcastle for Glyn Schofield, who sticks with the gelding in the fifth race at Randwick on Saturday. Photo: Brockwell PerksNewcastle trainer Darren Smith this week brings a trio of horses to Sydney that could go to the next level for deserving owners.
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The horses of long-time stable supporter Bruce Mackenzie would be well known to punters as they all carry Oakfield in their name, while the quirkily named Chewychop carries the memory of late Port Macquarie trainer Noel Hazlewood, as he is raced on by his son and daughter under the endorsement of their father, who said: “This is the one for us.”

The three-year-old posted a couple of wins to start his career before running third in the Scone Guineas and third at Rosehill last time. “I’m very happy with him,” Smith said. “This will be it [the last start] for him this time in.

“It would be good if he could go out a winner because, if we can, his rating would make it easier to get into better races next prep.”

The Oakfield horses have been the mainstay for Smith’s stable for more than a decade. The mostly home-breds have won more than 100 races in that time, but there hasn’t been a “really good one”.

Oakfield Commands and Oakfield Comet are in at Randwick, and the former is on track for a start in next month’s Ramornie Handicap at Grafton if he can win the Winter Dash on Saturday.

“This could be that horse, that goes to the next level,” Smith said. “Bruce has never had a black-type horse, and it would be great if we could get one. It is race by race with him at the moment but the Ramornie is there for him, should things go right on Saturday.”

Oakfield Commands has scored two dynamic wins over the Randwick 1200 metres this preparation. Should the five-year-old continue on a mission to Grafton, he will be attempting to put right a wrong in the Ramornie for owner and trainer.

“We took Oakfield Duke there about 10 years ago for it, and I thought he was a real good chance,” Smith said. “But the track was like concrete, and he blew out his legs. The Ramornie is one of races you just want to win because of its history. Everyone knows the race, and it is probably the best country sprint in the country and the hardest to win.”

Oakfield Comet, which races later in the afternoon, does not carry the high expectations of her stablemate and half-brother.

“She has just come back from a spell and is second-up,” Smith said. “She went OK first-up and will go better on Saturday.”

While it is a family affair among the Oakfield team, Chewychop carries memories with him every time he runs. The son of Bradbury’s Luck was a $14,000 buy at the Scone yearling sales but the driving force behind the bidding never saw the grey race.

“I was hesitant when the bidding kept getting higher but dad said, ‘Keep going, love, this is the one for us,'” co-owner Cheryl Oliver said before the gelding’s third at Scone.

”When we got the horse out of his box to inspect him before he went into the ring [at the sales] , dad [Noel Hazlewood] was that sick he had to sit down and just watch the youngster walk.

”He was impressed, and that is why we went for Chewychop. That was in May, and dad died in October that year. He never got to see his beloved horse race.

”He just knew the horse would be good, and Chewychop is living up to dad’s belief in him. It has been very emotional watching the horse race and win. I know dad was riding along with him.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Waller doubles up for final group 1 shot

Tracer bullet: Red Tracer (centre) beats Floria and Arctic Flight to the line in the Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm earlier this month. Photo: Tertius PickardIngham Racing linked with Chris Waller in 2008, before his stable became an irresistible force, but the famous cerise colours have not been worn to group 1 victory for the chosen horseman.
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“He is our only trainer for a reason,” Ingham Racing’s Debbie Kepitis said. “He just gets it right and won’t stop until he has got it right. That is why he is getting all the success.”

Waller’s roll towards a record for Sydney winners won’t stop on Saturday at Randwick, where he has 10 runners, but it is the Inghams’ She’s Clean and Red Tracer, owned by Geoff Grimish, which will draw the trainer to Eagle Farm as they try to add to his eight group 1 wins for the season in the $500,000 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400 metres).

Red Tracer’s owner echoed the Ingham Racing view.

“Meticulous,” Grimish said of Waller. “Everything is planned and taken care of, he is so driven.”

Grimish, unlike Ingham Racing, spreads his horses around a few trainers, but admitted Waller was near the top of the list.

“You want to have your horses with the best and give them the best chance,” he said. “I have a Redoute’s Choice colt, which is a half-brother to Red Tracer, Shellscrape and Green Tracer, and it went to him.”

Red Tracer has given Grimish everything but a group 1, and last start overcame a wide draw to win the Dane Ripper Stakes under 59.5 kilograms a fortnight ago. She has drawn wide again (16) but, with rain forecast, Red Tracer could start favourite on Saturday.

“I’m just hoping I can have a beer with Chris after the race with the trophy,” Grimish said.

Meanwhile, Ingham Racing, which was established after selling its Woodlands Stud to Darley, is chasing its first group 1 since the sale. Kepitis’ father, Bob Ingham, had to choose a trainer for the new venture, and came up with Waller, who had impressed him on television. “Dad just wanted someone who was very professional, and Chris was the man,” Kepitis said.

Ingham Racing continues the family’s passion, and Waller is a key part of it. The venture, including Ingham’s children Lyn, Robbie, John and Kepitis, began at the 2008 sales. “Lloyd Williams helped us buy there,” Kepitis said. “We didn’t buy in 2009 really, and then in 2010 Chris and his team helped us buy [at the sales]. She’s Clean is one of those horses, so it would be good if she can win that group 1.”

While Red Tracer is a top-liner, She’s Clean is the mare on the rise. She has won a couple this preparation to earn her way to Brisbane, including the June Stakes at Randwick a fortnight ago.

Kepitis said it was always Waller’s plan to be at Eagle Farm.

“He said to me we might have a go at the group 1 with her,” she said. “I just said, ‘Go for it.’ He knows his horses so well, and won’t push unless he thinks they are up to it.

“She has drawn well [in four]. You never go into a group 1 confident but we are very hopeful.

“It is only thing Chris hasn’t achieved with us yet. He has trained more than 100 winners for Ingham Racing, and this is the final thing he needs to do.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Spoiler alert: top full-backs kicking on

Plenty say that centre half-forward is the toughest position to play. Forget that. Full-back is.
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It’s also the loneliest spot on the ground. You are totally exposed. One mistake and the immediate consequence can be a goal to the opposition. There’s nowhere to hide. After kicking a goal, the forward struts around high-fiving all within reach, and waits in keen anticipation for the next centre bounce. All his opponent can do is follow him about, head bowed, hoping there’s not going to be a fast centre break coming their way.

No one wants to play full-back. Even those who are good at it don’t enjoy it and crave to be played up field. In my playing days at Carlton and Fitzroy, I played with two of the very best, Geoff Southby and Harvey Merrigan. Both fancied themselves as forwards.

Thankfully, I only played a few games at full-back. It was late 1967 and I was 17, scared and skinny. Scared, because in successive weeks I faced Collingwood’s Peter McKenna at Victoria Park and Hawthorn’s Peter Hudson on the Glenferrie Oval glue pot. They each kicked four goals, which was less than their career averages (4.58 and 5.64, respectively). So it could have been a lot worse. Nevertheless it was a role I never wanted to experience again. From the start of each quarter you just wanted to hear the siren to end it, so that goals couldn’t be scored against you.

As a coach, the first player selected at match committee was the full-back. If you had a good one, it gave confidence and a solid base to the team. If you didn’t, the whole team looked fragile. I was fortunate. At Fitzroy, Laurie Serafini played with dash and authority, and a young Gary Pert quickly became an All-Australian full-back. At Carlton, Stephen Silvagni was to become “full-back of the century”, so say no more. In the early days at the Brisbane Bears, Mark Zanotti filled the role until he hurt his neck. He said it got cricked as he watched ball after ball sail over his head. Richard Champion then did the job for a decade, even though he would have much preferred to have been elsewhere.

Most of the full-backs who played in the ’90s are scarred by the experience. Week-in, week-out, they came up against the likes of Tony Lockett, Gary Ablett, Jason Dunstall, Tony Modra, Stephen Kernahan, Wayne Carey, Sav Rocca, Peter Sumich, Matthew Lloyd and Matthew Richardson.

There was no respite. It was a nightmare for the likes of Silvagni, Mick Martyn, Ben Graham, Ben Hart and Andrew Dunkley.

On Friday night, two of the best full-backs of the past decade will be at opposite ends of Etihad Stadium. Brian Lake will be playing just his seventh game for the Hawks, while Eagles skipper Darren Glass will run out for his club for the 253rd time.

It’s unusual for a 31-year-old to be chased by a top club, but the Hawks knew that after last year’s grand final loss, they had to add height and experience to the back line to help the undersized Josh Gibson and the young Ryan Schoenmakers. So Lake was lured from the Western Bulldogs after being in the kennel for 11 years.

Last week against Carlton Lake played his best game for his new club. He took the most contested marks for the match (five) and several times in a tight last quarter stood firm to mark and halt the Blues’ attack.

Leading the play, knowing the angles of where to run to intercept marks, having the confidence and courage to fly for and hold pack marks are the assets that have made Lake one of the best full-backs in the business. Being at a new and successful club will get the best out of the two-time All-Australian defender. In his 11 years at Whitten Oval, injuries and attitude made some think he too often switched to “cruise control”. Now the spotlight will be on him every week as he works to earn the respect of Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Brad Sewell and co. He looks fitter than in past seasons. Despite having missed five games, he is second in the league for intercept marks and his average of six spoils a game is a career high.

The highly-respected Glass is now into his 14th season at the highest level, and his sixth as captain. Four times an All-Australian, three times the club’s best-and-fairest winner, and a premiership medal in 2006 means that the 32-year-old has done it all.

His coach for most of his career, John Worsfold, knows the value of having a cool head on the last line of defence and that is where Glass is played. Rarely does he come up field and, with his speed and height, is able to play on opponents of all sizes.

Like Lake, he has the confidence to back himself in marking contests, has quick closing speed when he has to spoil an opponent on the lead and is a sure kick when a switch of play is on.

Because quality full-backs are hard to come by, their coaches do all they can to extend their careers. Because they play at the pointy end of the field, they do less running than others. That helps. Keeping the mind fresh for the pressures of match day means the best full-backs are not pushed too hard at training. They say Essendon’s Dustin Fletcher hasn’t raised a sweat at training in the past decade; at 38, he is still going. Glass is 32. Lake and Luke McPharlin are 31. Ted Richards and Ben Rutten are 30. Matthew Scarlett was 33 when he retired last year, Silvagni was 34. As the saying goes, when you are on a good thing, stick to it.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Milne will return: Saints avert player rebellion

St Kilda has thwarted a potential player rebellion by assuring its senior group that it had every intention of clearing Stephen Milne to play, potentially within the next four weeks.
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A deputation of senior players including Milne, his captain Nick Riewoldt and Jason Blake met a group of club directors early on Thursday seeking urgent clarification of Milne’s status as a St Kilda player.

Coach Scott Watters also held talks with the board members in a bid to learn their position on Milne’s future after telling his players on Tuesday he would back the 33-year-old.

Milne is understood to have had his fears allayed that his playing career was finished. Placed on indefinite leave by the club after being charged on Tuesday with four counts of rape, he released a statement saying he would be contesting the charges. Milne’s first court date has been set on July 5 with a committal hearing not expected for some months.

Club president Greg Westaway confirmed the crisis meetings. He told Fairfax Media: “We had enough regard for the players to make sure they fully understood the process that we went through in reaching the decision that we did.”

Asked if he could place a time frame on Milne’s potential return Westaway said: “That’s a matter for the coach and for Stephen’s welfare.”

Milne, along with concerned senior players and with the strong backing of the AFL Players Association, held talks with Westaway, football director Andrew Thompson and board newcomer Ian McLeod, the managing director of Coles. Westaway was due to hold talks with AFL chief Andrew Demetriou on Thursday night.

The players had been disenchanted after the club appeared to shift its position on Milne after several directors had a change of heart on how to handle his immediate playing future. Some within the club also believed subtle pressure had come from the AFL.

With that crisis averted but the AFL closely monitoring St Kilda’s handling of Milne following the police charges, club chief executive Michael Nettlefold is understood to have cut short his holiday and was returning home from Italy in time for Saturday’s clash with Melbourne. Riewoldt and Nick Dal Santo are due to become the 10th and 11th St Kilda players respectively to reach the 250 game milestone.

While Milne and his team-mates appeared comforted after the board meeting that the Saints has every intention of ending Milne’s enforced absence within the month – and perhaps by round-15 after Women’s Round for round 15 – the final decision on Milne’s selection and playing future could come from the AFL which has reserved the right to take action on the player pending further developments.

The AFL Commission met on Wednesday night to consider its position but in the short term backed the move by St Kilda to remove Milne from playing for an indefinite period. In 2009 Adelaide suspended Nathan Bock indefinitely after he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Bock returned to the senior team after one week.

Milne released a statement through his management Stride Sports.

“Stephen is taking the legal matter very seriously and has engaged lawyers to represent him to contest the charges,” said his manager Tom Petroro. “Like every citizen, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. It is requested that the privacy of Stephen, his wife and his family be respected during this time.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Darley’s Approach strikes gold at Ascot

Royal Ascot cemented its place as one of the world’s great meetings on opening day on Tuesday when one of the many highlights was unquestionably Dawn Approach regaining his pedestal in the group 1 St James’ Palace Stakes as Europe’s champion three-year-old.
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The son of Darley’s New Approach failed in the Epsom Derby, refusing to relax in the run, and Jim Bolger’s turnaround to fit him for the St James’ was a training triumph. A year earlier, New Approach sired a Royal Ascot hat-trick of juvenile winners from his first crop, including Dawn Approach, which was a huge kick-start for his career in both hemispheres.

Dawn Approach’s win in the metric mile on Tuesday was not a walk in the park as he had to work hard throughout and suffered interference at a crucial stage. He was able to overcome those to score narrowly and his stud career with Darley is a formality, as it is almost impossible to get a service to New Approach. The St James’ Palace win took New Approach’s progeny earnings to £1,182,803 ($2 million) this season, second only to his illustrious father Galileo, which has a figure almost double at £2,053,103.

Godolphin bought New Approach from Bolger, who bred the chestnut, and has a half stake in Dawn Approach. It was hardly surprising that during Royal Ascot week Godolphin announced the purchase of another New Approach three-year-old in Epsom Derby runner-up Libertarian.

The latter will have his first run in the all-blue Godolphin silks in the Irish Derby at The Curragh on June 29.

Other notable achievements from day one at Royal Ascot were:

❏ Aidan O’Brien’s double with Declaration Of War (Queen Anne) and War Command’s six-length Coventry Stakes success to take his overall tally of Royal Ascot wins to 39. He had another win on Wednesday to give him 40.

❏ A double by jockey John Murtagh took his Ascot winners to 41.

❏ A double to US sire War Front after O’Brien’s two successes above, both bred by Florida’s Joseph Allen, who sold shares in both horses to Coolmore.

❏ War Front is a son of sire of sires Danzig and stands at the famous Claiborne Stud in Kentucky for $US80,000 ($86,000). His recent claim to fame is that Zenyatta has just tested in foal to him.

Declaration of War’s group 1 success in the Queen Anne will probably result in the galloper heading Down Under to stand at Coolmore’s Hunter Valley base next year.

Unfortunately for the John Messara-Arrowfield group, there was little joy surrounding Animal Kingdom’s failure in the Queen Anne. However, the defeat should not detract greatly from his stud career, which begins in September. Animal Kingdom’s form had been superb and he would be a welcome addition to any stud throughout the world. Arrowfield recently bought him in the US.

Day two at Royal Ascot featured Cox Plate invitee Al Kazeem, a son of Darley sire Dubawi, winning the group 1 Prince of Wales’ Stakes (about 2000 metres) in an amazing effort after conceding a five-length start at the furlong peg (200m).

Al Kazeem scored his third win from as many starts this year and it was his second group 1 success. The jockey was James Doyle, who landed his first winner at Royal Ascot, made it a hat-trick during the afternoon in the most memorable racing day of his career.

There are several big races on the home front for Al Kazeem and it’s unlikely that he will come here.Broodmare injection

On the local front, Darley has revealed it has 21 racemare retirees making their stud debuts later this year. Each season Darley culls several older mares to make way for a an array of its beautifully bred three- and four-year-olds, which will be mated with top stallions. Peter Snowden will bid farewell to Lonhro’s sister Shannara after she contests Saturday’s group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm. Shannara’s earnings going into the race are $423,000 and she meets a fabulous field of fillies and mares in her swansong run. Detours is another off to the breeding barn and goes out a winner after her June 1 success in black-type company at Eagle Farm, which followed her Silk Stocking win on the Gold Coast. She won $451,000. Raspberries, a daughter of Lonhro, won more than $530,000 from seven wins and six placings in 28 starts. Altar ($375,000), Anise ($294,000), Classics ($248,000), Meidung ($253,000) and Quidnunc ($305,000) were other great Darley money-spinners.Meteor still rising

Northern Meteor’s surge of two-year-old winners continued at Canterbury on Wednesday when Bart Cummings produced Eurozone for a stylish first-up victory, giving his sire his 14th win for the season. Eurozone was a $110,000 yearling buy last year. Northern Meteor is trailing his Widden Stud barn-mate Sebring in the juvenile winners premiership by one, but leads on prizemoney for freshmen sires.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Chase for big fish spawns idea

Stable return: Geoff Grimish’s Galaxy winner Shellscrape. Photo: Jenny EvansVietnam veteran Geoff Grimish is set to use his racing interests to fund a project to help East Timor people.
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A successful businessman, Grimish is starting a fish farm in East Timor, and hopes he can find a new sire in coming years to supply some cash for his project.

“They helped out our boys in World War II, so I would like to give something back, and this project can help in some way,” he said. “Now I’m retired I have a little more time to put in to this, and racing might be a way to fund it.”

His racing interests have a big weekend ahead as Red Tracer chases an elusive group 1 in the Tattersall’s Tiara. Her brother, Galaxy winner Shellscrape, continues his racing comeback in Melbourne and Green Tracer runs in Singapore.

“They are all Dane Shadows out of the same mare [Kisma], so we could have a big weekend for the family,” he said. “Red Tracer gets her chance in Brisbane to win a group 1, Shellscrape is the best he has been since coming back [from stud] and Green Tracer can hopefully win in Singapore. It is amazing because I had a couple out of the mare before she went to Dane Shadow and they weren’t that good, but these three have all been great horses.

“Something clicked there.”

Grimish has Redoute’s Choice colts out of Kisma coming through, and hopes they have the talent to become stallions.

“That’s the dream,” he said.

Shellscrape, of course, has been to the breeding barn, but when some of the foals were born without tails, he was no longer viable.

“There was something wrong there, so you can’t keep him going,” Grimish said. “I sent a couple of my mares to him, and the reports I’m getting are they are all right. I’m hoping eventually he might be able to go out to stud.”

Grimish decided to send Green Tracer to Singapore, where the Sydney metropolitan winner will make his debut on Sunday.

Singapore trainer Shane Baertschiger is looking forward to seeing how he shapes up.

“He’s obviously not in the same league as Red Tracer or Shellscrape, but he’s done nothing wrong since he came here,” he told the Singapore Turf Club ”… I’m not expecting much, but at least it will give us a better idea how to line up his form here.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

TOPICS: Fun police hit geographical names board

NOT HERE YOU DON’T: This sign could get the kiss off. POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman
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POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

POPPING QUESTION: Daniel Eason proposes to Abbey Ellis with a flash mob in attendance. Picture: Darren Pateman

NOBBYS Road. Blackbutt. In the Hunter, we seem to give names to our prettiest places that sound borderline rude.

But the state’s road naming policy is in for an overhaul, and such fun could be a thing of the past.

The Geographical Names Board is reviewing which new street names it will allow, which are too hard to pronounce and which might flat-out offend.

Titswobble Road, Tuncurry might be a one-off, then.

At a more basic level, the definite article ‘‘the’’ is set to be discontinued, meaning the likes of The Terrace, Newcastle (near The Hill) are an endangered species.

Flannel Flower Fairway at Shoal Bay, on the other hand, could be deemed too hard to say. Topics tried. Our screen is covered in spit.

Do you know a Hunter road name that’s fun? Or dodgy? Or inspired? Share it with Topics – it could be a dying breed.

Some flash proposal

CLOSE your eyes.

Imagine the one you love, moving in slow-motion through that warm, soft light they use on daytime TV, like in that show 7th Heaven.

Now imagine your beloved delivering your dream marriage proposal. Are you at Charlestown Square? In the foodcourt, with a flash mob? Er, probably not.

That’s how it happened on Thursdayfor Abbey Ellis, whose partner Daniel Eason popped the question as part of a radio prank.

The Metford pair were the latest participants in NX-FM breakfast crew Heidi, Heath and Normy’s Indecent Proposal segment. Daniel knew what was happening, but Abbey was surprised. She said yes. It would be hard to say no to a flash mob.

Footloose, fancy-free

TOPICS introduced you to Stumps, a Newcastle seagull without feet.

Reader Glen Fredericks adds: ‘‘We’ve got a one-legged Indian myna bird around our place on Beaumont Street’’.

Asked if the myna has a name, Glen pointed out he doesn’t know its gender.

‘‘If it’s a girl, then I’m calling her Eileen.’’

Loathsome lasagne

WE asked what you hated as a kid but like now. Ken McInnes, of Harrington, has changed markedly. ‘‘When I was aged 12 and under I didn’t like females,’’ says Ken.

‘‘But now I have grown quite fond of them!’’

Reader Michael sounds like he was one fussy child.

‘‘When I was a kid, I hated the one food that no kid hates – lasagne!’’ says Michael.

‘‘Whenever mum was dishing that up for us, I would bung on the sore tummy routine.’’

Take note, young readers. A bout of ‘‘that bug going round at school’’ can get you out of dinner. Just don’t go to the well too often, and don’t ask for dessert.

Michael’s battle with lasagne, meanwhile, took a twist.

‘‘It wasn’t until about age 10 when I had a sleep over at a mate’s house and we had lasagne for dinner that I learned two things: lasagne is actually awesome and some mums just can’t cook.’’

So happy endings for all, unless you’re Michael’s mum reading this.

Have you grown to love something you loathed as a kid?

OPINION: China leads way on emissions

LAST year, in Colorado, I met up with Hunter Lovins from Natural Capital Solutions.
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His company is prominent in sustainability, energy efficiency and creating the next industrial revolution.

Hunter was upbeat about emissions trading schemes and spoke of how Australia was a leader but that China, Quebec, California and Brazil were not far behind.

China has now announced a trial carbon trading market, starting this month, which will be huge.

However, there are many in Australian politics who are determined to abolish our carbon trading scheme.

China has also announced massive reduction targets and expects to reach its carbon emissions peak by 2025.

In contrast, Australia uses three times as much energy per person compared to China.

Australia has to do more than just plant some trees and research the effects of carbon in soil strategies to be credible in a warming world.

Coal in China is a significant source of energy. It is used in homes, factories, power stations and by street vendors.

The smell of sulphur and the ever-present smog affects many cities and a massive area of the country. Modern Beijing is a magnificent city with wide boulevards and great architecture.

However, the health and smog problems are terrible, with estimates of up to 1million people affected in China annually by air pollution.

Australia is going to have real difficulties if it abolishes carbon trading just as our major export partner starts a scheme.

China is important to Australia and it is not that long ago that some of our leaders were arguing against carbon trading due to claims that China was taking no action.

Where are these people now? Why don’t they explain their strategy now that China has announced a trial carbon market?

Again we see that, while coal miners and governments argue about the economic impacts of taking action on carbon pollution, it is people, not profits, that must be the priority.

Everyone is entitled to be assured of good health, a safe environment and the well-being of their children. China’s leaders are taking action on a massive scale. They are also devising low-cost manufacturing for renewable energy with improved solar technology.

It will be a sad indictment of Australia’s politicians if their only response to atmospheric warming is to point to an ever diminishing circle of like-minded nations who do not have a trading scheme.

John Asquith is chairman of the Community Environment Network

The chimneys from a coal-burning power station are seen on the outskirts of Beijing.