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Environmental alliance angered at Geelong Star’s dolphin and seal kill

Four dolphins and two seals have died in the nets of the Geelong Star.The controversial factory freezer trawler Geelong Star has killed four dolphins and two seals on its first fishing trip in Australian waters.
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The deaths in the ship’s trawl net off south-eastern Australia were disclosed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) on Tuesday night.

They came despite the installation of a marine mammal escape device in the big net of the Dutch-owned ship, which is opposed by a coalition of environmentalists and recreational fishers.

Geelong Star is trawling for 16,500 tonnes of redbait and jack mackerel using a 80 metre wide, and 35 metre high net, in the same offshore small pelagic fishery that was to have been fished by the banned supertrawler Margiris.

The “outrageous” toll  of dolphins and seals spurred the Stop the Trawler Alliance to call for an immediate halt to fishing, and a return to port by the Geelong Star.

“This is extraordinary news,” said the alliance’s Rebecca Hubbard.

“AFMA has repeatedly given assurances that this huge factory trawler is nothing new and does not pose an unacceptable threat to our marine life,” Ms Hubbard said.

“I don’t think the public will believe that now,” she said.

“We expect the vessel to be docked immediately, and for Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt to stop it fishing further.”

AFMA’s chief executive, James Findlay, said the Geelong Star would be required to return to port if further dolphins were killed.

“The sustainability of the entire marine ecosystem, including marine mammals, is a priority for AFMA and we take any marine mammal mortality very seriously,” Dr Findlay said.

Additional measures would be imposed on the Geelong Star including modifications to the net’s escape device, and day-time fishing only, Dr Findlay said.

The Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association’s chairman, Grahame Turk, said AFMA’s swift response to the mortalities from the Geelong Star showed the regulatory system was working.

Mr Turk said a supplier had been engaged to design and supply a barrier net to fit across the trawl net’s mouth, to prevent the entry of dolphins.

“Marine mammal interactions regrettably sometimes occur in mid-water trawl operations in Australian waters,” Mr Turk said.

“As a freezer trawler, the Geelong Star has the ability to move to new fishing grounds away from where dolphins have been sighted, reducing the likelihood of future interactions.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Couple escape death penalty over Bali suitcase murder

Tommy Schaeffer being sentenced to 18 years’ jail over the premeditated murder of Sheila Von Wiese-Mack. Photo: Amilia Rosa Heather Mack being sentenced over the murder of her mother. Photo: Amilia Rosa
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A man who bludgeoned his girlfriend’s mother to death with a fruit bowl has escaped the death penalty over his role in the grisly Bali suitcase murder.

American Sheila Von Wiese-Mack’s body was found stuffed into a suitcase in the boot of a taxi outside a high end hotel in Bali last year.

Tommy Schaeffer, 21, was sentenced to 18 years in jail for the murder, which prosecutors said was premeditated because he deliberately brought the metal fruit bowl into Ms Von Wiese-Mack’s room.

His girlfriend, Heather Mack, was sentenced to 10 years’ jail for abetting premeditated murder. She had texted Schaeffer asking him to bring a heavy object into her mother’s room.

Ten years jail was only two thirds of the sentence requested by prosecutors.

However judges took into account the fact Mack, 19, had given birth one month ago and the baby would need her care.

Outside court, Mack said she felt “emotional”.

“Everybody knows I am insane, I’m the wild card,” she said. She also said the 18 year sentence was “not fair for Tommy”.

Ms Von Wiese-Mack, 62, had opposed the relationship between Schaeffer and Mack.

She had angrily described him as a “thief” when she learned Schaeffer was also staying at the St Regis luxury resort in Nusa Dua in August last year.

The Denpasar district court heard the couple had schemed to kill Ms Von Wiese-Mack, with one plot involving suffocating her with a pillow and another making the death appear like a suicide by the beach.

But the murder implement ended up being a fruit bowl after Ms Von Wiese-Mack screamed Schaeffer was “just a nigger”.

The couple stuffed her body into a suitcase with Mack sitting on the suitcase so Schaeffer could close it. They tried to run away after dumping the suitcase in the boot of the taxi.

Judge Made Suweda said Schaeffer’s crime was sadistic and caused unease in the community.

However, she said, he had been polite during the trial, regretted his actions and had never previously been convicted of a crime.

Lawyers for Schaeffer are considering  an appeal to the sentence. They have seven days in which to do so.

Mack tapped her fingers nervously and cried as the judges read out a description of the gruesome murder. A friend held the couple’s baby outside court.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Fears thousands of legitimate websites could be blocked under anti-piracy, site-blocking regime

Some industry groups fear the anti-piracy regime could inadvertently scoop up legitimate websites. Photo: SitadeAustralians could be blocked from accessing thousands of legitimate websites under the government’s anti-piracy, website-blocking regime, consumer and industry groups have warned.
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In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, the Communications Alliance, which represents telecommunications providers in Australia, said the cheapest methods of blocking piracy websites under the scheme were likely to incur more “collateral damage” in inadvertently scooping up legitimate websites.

It cited the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s bungled blocking of fraudulent websites via their internet protocol (IP) addresses in 2013, which meant thousands of legitimate websites were taken out in the process.

The alliance noted the most accurate of three website-blocking methods – targeting a URL (web address) – was also the most expensive but argued internet service providers (ISPs) should be able to choose which method they employed in order to keep their costs down.

Further, it asked that the government explicitly grant ISPs “an indemnity, immunity, or safe harbour” if businesses or individuals sought legal action for their websites inadvertently being taken offline under the scheme.

The other methods the alliance cited were blocking access at the level of the domain name, i.e. google整形美容医院m.

The amendments to the Copyright Act are before the House of Representatives and give scope for copyright owners to apply for an injunction in the Federal Court, forcing Australian ISPs to block overseas websites whose “primary purpose” is to infringe, or “facilitate an infringement of”, copyright.

However, the Australian Digital Alliance, which represents both public and private interests in the copyright debate, warned of the potential for “scope creep” under the legislation, which could mean legitimate websites were lumped in with ones that had a more obvious purpose of infringing copyright.

ADA executive officer Trish Hepworth said website blocking was a “blunt instrument” and called for ambiguous terms in the legislation to be tightened.

“[Scope creep] means that [internet] subscribers may be unable to access legitimate content or legitimate tools; a potential impingement on their freedom of expression and freedom of access to information and culture, which has not been adequately recognised,” Ms Hepworth said.

Various legitimate services had been taken offline under website-blocking regimes overseas, including in India and Britain, where a trademark violation had “no recourse to parliament”.

Other services potentially in the firing line included URL shorteners, file-sharing services, cloud storage providers, Google Docs, VPNs, torrenting services, chat services, browser plug-ins, conversion tools, and blogs or Reddit threads discussing techniques or sites that may be used to infringe, Ms Hepworth said.

Consumer group Choice called the scheme an “internet filter”.

It said the Communications Alliance was right to raise the point of “collateral damage”.

“Any blocking exercise risks collateral damage,” Choice campaigns manager Erin Turner said.

“This bill is guaranteed to present problems, it won’t present solutions . . . it will only frustrate Australians.”

However, in a colourful rebuke, Village Roadshow co-chief executive Graham Burke, making a submission to the inquiry on behalf of Australian rights holders, argued blocking access to copyright-infringing material was effective.

Mr Burke cited evidence that blocking The Pirate Bay in Britain had reduced piracy more than 80 per cent, though the figure did not account for internet users in Britain potentially accessing the site from overseas using virtual private networks.

Mr Burke said Village Roadshow strongly supported the website-blocking legislation.

He said Australia’s film and television drama production industry would be “shut down” without it.

“Like a factory spilling effluent into a river, the unintended consequence of their [ISPs] business is piracy, with its damning effects on our people, our culture and the economy,” Mr Burke said.

He said Australians should ignore ISPs’ “scare tactics” that implementing anti-piracy measures would result in higher costs for consumers.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

First-time novelist Emily Bitto wins the Stella Prize

Emily Bitto says she won’t be selling copies of The Strays in her bar. Photo: Luis AscuiA Stella debut author: InterviewThe Strays review 
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Emily Bitto and her partner opened a bar about six months ago. Heartattack and Vine is a stone’s throw from Readings bookshop in Carlton and on several occasions staff there have directed customers to the bar to get their new copies of her novel, The Strays, signed.

“It’s so embarrassing,” she said.

The chances are it’s something that she’ll have to get used to. That’s because on Tuesday night Bitto won this year’s Stella Prize, which is awarded to an Australian woman writer whose book is deemed to be “excellent, original and engaging”. It is open to fiction and non-fiction.

Bitto, who wins $50,000, said she was particularly pleased to win the Stella because its aims and intentions were things she believed in. The prize, which was first presented in 2013, was started in response to a perception that Australia’s most significant literary prize, the Miles Franklin, was loaded against women writers.

The Strays, her first novel, is narrated by Lily, a lonely girl who gravitates into the orbit of an avant garde painter, Evan Trentham, and his bohemian family.

Bitto says she always wanted to write an “outsider” novel because many of her favorite novels take that form. “I wanted to write about a group of people who cut themselves off from mainstream culture. I’ve always been drawn to that, maybe because I grew up in a sort of hippy community in Queensland.”

The artistic circle the Trenthams generate was partly inspired by the modernist artists who took up residence at John and Sunday Reed’s home at Heide. But Bitto didn’t want to use their stories or write a historical novel.

“The idea of the ordinary and extraordinary and that desire to be extraordinary and what that means and what it means for people who try to do that utopian society sort of thing fascinates me,” she said.

The judges said The Strays was “like a gemstone: polished and multifaceted, reflecting illuminations back to the reader and holding rich colour in its depths”. In his review for Fairfax Media, Michael McGirr described it as “an eloquent portrayal of the damage caused by self-absorption as well as a moving study of isolation”.

Bitto says she allowed herself six months guilt-free no writing to work in the new bar. Now that time has come to an end. “My dream scenario is to be writing in the morning and working at the bar at night. It’s quite nice to have that complete opposite.”

But she insists she won’t sell copies of The Strays at the bar: “If you ever see it there you can tell me I’ve sold out.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Sydney transport chaos as storm hits

Motorists drive through the flood at New South Head Road in Rose Bay, Sydney, during the storm. Photo: Janie BarrettSydney’s transport services were in chaos on Tuesday as storms led to widespread closure and delays across the city’s ports, roads and public transport.
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By the evening peak hour flooding and overturned trees and power lines had closed roads across the city including in Darlington, Albion Park and North Narrabeen, Marayla and Glenfield.

Arterial roads in and out of the city and to the western suburbs were reduced to a standstill. Motorists were reporting 10-kilometre commutes taking longer than two hours and a solid line of traffic about 15 kilometres long stretched between Five Dock and Parramatta.

Cars travelling on Pittwater Road in Manly Vale were flooded up to their tyres.

Power was cut to more than 100 sets of traffic lights across the city, Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.

Most of the city’s ferry services were cancelled, including between Circular Quay and Manly and the Palm Beach services. The Parramatta River ferry was closed between Parramatta and Rydalmere. Early morning commuters from Manly reported an intensely rough ride in eight-metre swells before the service was cancelled.

Flooding and obstructions caused the partial closure of the Central Coast and Hunter lines. An overturned tree partially closed the north shore line, between Chatswood and Hornsby, the second time travellers on the   line were disrupted by a fallen tree on Tuesday.

By 7 pm those delays had extended to southbound trains on the north shore line. Passengers said trains into the city were running slow to navigate waterlogged tracks around Town Hall station.

Premier Mike Baird urged workers to go home early, about lunchtime, to stagger the usual peak-hour strain on the city’s trains.

But passengers reported train services were heavily crowded by about 4 pm.

Buses were delayed and diverted across about 15 Sydney suburbs, many in the city’s north. Services in and out of the city and to its west were delayed by at least 30 minutes on Tuesday evening, but travellers on all services were warned to expect delays.

But the city’s light rail was listed as running according to normal schedule.

Transport disruptions began early in the day. By the middle of the early  peak hour, at 8am, authorities had already advised commuters across Sydney to cancel all non-essential travel and go home early.

But many had already been delayed for hours.

An overturned tree at Wahroonga delayed trains from the north shore into the city in the middle of peak hour.

Travel by sea was also disrupted and the city’s harbour master took the rare step of declaring Sydney closed to ships. The decision was made in response to “cyclonic” conditions and swells in excess 10 metres were recorded in seas around Sydney with winds exceeding 45 knots.

Sydney Harbour, Port Botany and Port Kembla were declared closed from about 8 am on Tuesday, for a period of up to 48 hours. Operations at the Port of Newcastle were also suspended.

That left a cruise ship, the Carnival Spirit, moored outside Sydney Heads. The ship is carrying about 2500 passengers.

“There’s a risk of ships ‘surfing’,” a spokesman for the Port Authority said. “Notwithstanding the fact we’re talking about something that’s 80,000 tonnes, in these conditions there’s a risk you lose control of the vessel.

“It’s better off staying where it is for the time being.”

No other cruise ships were scheduled to enter the Harbour on Wednesday and Thursday, the spokesman said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Peter Dutton hints at deal with Vietnam to accept return of asylum seekers

The HMAS Choules, pictured off Manus Island in 2013, is understood to have travelled south of Ho Chi Minh City to return 50 Vietnamese asylum seekers. Photo: Kate GeraghtyImmigration Minister Peter Dutton has indicated that a “bilateral” deal in which Vietnam is believed to have accepted the return of 50 asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian Navy last week includes the government not talking about the swap.
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Mr Dutton said he could not comment on reports that Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules last week travelled to a port city south of Ho Chi Minh City to hand over the group of Vietnamese.

Their boat is believed to have made it to somewhere north of Australia before being stopped.

When pressed, Mr Dutton raised the relationship with Vietnam for his inability to comment.

“I’m not in a position to comment in relation to water operational matters … we’ve been able to on a number of occasions, on a bilateral basis, deal with countries to get a good outcome [and] to make sure we meet our international obligations in screening people and we don’t send people back to a country where we think they are going to be persecuted,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

“There are many aspects to this, including the bilateral relationship, which is very strong with Vietnam, very strong with other countries in the region and we respect those friendships and those relationships very much.

“These are tough decisions to take, but the last outcome I want is for the boats to restart.”

Fairfax Media reported over the weekend that Australia’s Vietnamese community had received reports that asylum seekers had been landed in Vung Tau, a coastal city in the south.

On Friday, Thang Ha, president of the Vietnamese Community in Australia, NSW Chapter, said the Abbott government should be aware it could be “throwing people back into hell” by returning them to Vietnam.

A report published last year by the leading international group Human Rights Watch found that “the human rights situation in Vietnam deteriorated significantly in 2013, worsening a trend evident for several years”.

It said that the year was marked by “a severe and intensifying crackdown on critics, including long prison terms for many peaceful activists whose ‘crime’ was calling for political change”.

Mr Dutton also insisted on Tuesday that a delayed flight carrying refugees from Nauru to Cambodia for resettlement would go ahead and asylum seeker advocates should not try to influence those on Nauru not to accept relocation because they will never make to it Australia.

Follow us on Twitter  Australian Politics – FairfaxThe original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

NIBBLES: Coal Espresso

Coal Espresso owners Andrew Murray and his daughter Temika at their cafe in Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Picture: Phil HearneWHEN Temika Murray and her dad Andrew Murray set out to open their own cafe, there was never any doubt on the location. A longtime Hamilton local, Temika was set on opening on cosmopolitan Beaumont Street.
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‘‘I think of Beaumont Street as my domain – I love it and wanted to be loyal to my area. I wouldn’t go anywhere else,’’ Temika told Food & Wine.

Months after the idea for the cafe was first planted, Coal Espresso opened in February at 1/50 Beaumont Street, Hamilton, with Temika at the La Marzocco FB80 custom-sprayed canary yellow coffee machine and Andrew cooking up breakfast and lunch.

With seating on the footpath for people watching and inside if the weather isn’t good, Coal Espresso welcomes punters with exposed brick complemented by chic black tiling and wood accents which let the yellow coffee machine be the star. The coffee is a blend of four air-roasted beans from Allpress Coffee.

Temika and Andrew share baking duties for their changing daily selection of sweets such as dark chocolate and mixed berry, or white chocolate and salted caramel muffins. The breakfast and lunch menu also shows off their passion for simple, yet tasty food.

‘‘It all comes back to our country roots. We don’t overcomplicate anything, it’s good food and not pretentious,’’ Temika said.

In keeping with their love of Hamilton, Temika and Andrew also source as much as they can for the cafe from fellow Beaumont Street storeholders including fruit, vegetables, milk and meat.

Coal Espresso is open Monday to Thursday 6.30am to 5pm, Friday to Sunday 6.30am to 3pm. Visit Instagram @coalespresso.

RESERVE Wine Bar is going Spanish on Sunday.

The Newcastle CBD bar has teamed up with Fourth Wave Wines for the event which includes Spanish winemaker Javier Murua (of the Rioja wine making region) pouring many of his own wines accompanied by some tasty tapas provided by the Reserve kitchen.

Wines to be poured on the day include Elefante Blanco 2013, La Senda Verdejo 2012, Elefante Tempranillo Shiraz 2013, Rey Del Mundo Tempranillo 2012, and Marques d Elciego Limited Edition 2010. Spanish Sunday runs from noon to 3pm on April 26. Tickets: $50 a person. Bookings: [email protected]整形美容医院m.au.

MURRAY’S Craft Brewing Co. is marking Anzac Day by raising funds for charity Mates4Mates through the sale of a specially brewed In Bloom wet hop IPA.

Mates4Mates provides physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who are wounded, injured or ill.

‘‘The Anzac centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians. Join us at Murray’s Brewery on Anzac Day in support of Mates4Mates, and importantly, you can enjoy a great day out plus do some good for our ADF mates at the same time,’’ brewery owner Murray Howe said.

The In Bloom wet hop IPA is described as ‘‘the freshest, greenest, cleanest beer’’ Murray’s has brewed, made with the first hop flowers of the season picked fresh from a Tasmanian farm and shipped to Bob’s Farm the next day.

Murray’s, Bob’s Farm, is open this weekend from 10am to 6pm. Bookings are recommended for the restaurant on 49826411 or by visiting murraysbrewingco整形美容医院m.au.

There will also be a concert from 1pm on Saturday from Cathy Cannon. A shuttle bus from Nelson Bay is available, $5 each way.

Former Liberal senator Brett Mason named as Australia’s ambassador to the Netherlands

Former senator Brett Mason Photo: Andrew Taylor Former senator Brett Mason replaces Neil Mules as Australia’s next ambassador to the Netherlands. Photo: Rob Homer
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Former senator Brett Mason Photo: Andrew Taylor

Former senator Brett Mason Photo: Andrew Taylor

Former Liberal senator Brett Mason has been named as Australia’s next ambassador to the Netherlands, just six days after resigning from the Senate.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the appointment of Dr Mason, who served as her parliamentary secretary for the first 15 months of the Abbott government before a demotion in December’s reshuffle, on Tuesday afternoon.

Fairfax Media reported at the time that the Queenslander was tipped to be offered a posting following his move to the backbench.

Dr Mason’s appointment is the latest in a string of diplomatic postings handed to former Liberal MPs, though when Labor was last in government it took a similar approach.

Former Liberal foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer was named high commissioner to London in February 2014, with former Labor South Australian premier Mike Rann who was previously in the position moved on to Italy. Similarly, former Victorian Labor premier Steve Bracks was blocked from taking up the post of consul-general to New York. The plum posting was instead given to former Liberal finance minister Nick Minchin.

And former Liberal MP Barry Haase was appointed administrator of Christmas Island, replacing another former Labor politician in the shape of ex-ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope.

Labor also appointed former leader Kim Beazley as ambassador to Washington when in power, a posting the Coalition government has since extended.

Announcing the appointment, Ms Bishop praised her former colleague’s service in the Senate from July 1999 to April 15, 2015 and highlighted his experience as a lecturer in criminology lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, a human rights officer with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia and as Commonwealth prosecutor.

She said he would be Australia’s permanent representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the nation’s diplomatic representative to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and to other international legal bodies in The Hague, including the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

Dr Mason will take up the job in mid-2015, replacing Neil Mules.

Fairfax Media has contacted Labor and the Greens for comment on the appointment.

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Follow us on Twitter  Australian Politics – FairfaxThe original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Quade Cooper reportedly signs two-year deal with Toulon

The Wallabies and Queensland Reds can start planning for life after Quade Cooper, with the five-eighth set to sign a two-year deal with French Top 14 giants Toulon.
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Cooper had been in talks with the Top 14 glamour club and reportedly liked what he saw during a visit to France this week. French paper L’Equipe on Tuesday night reported that the deal was done, however Fairfax Media understands that the contract has not been finalised yet but is likely to happen soon.

Cooper’s manager Khoder Nasser had been involved in advanced talks with Toulon and a tour appears to have made up Cooper’s mind in a move that will rob the Reds of a member of the fabled 2011 championship side. 

It sets up an emotional end to the season at Ballymore, with fellow stalwarts Will Genia and James Horwill also departing for European rugby after the World Cup.

Cooper remains sidelined with a broken scapula. He’s barely thrown a pass in anger this season, with back-to-back injuries restricting him to just a game-and-a-half for the struggling Reds, who host the Hurricanes on Sunday.

But he has still presented as a prime target for both European and Japanese clubs, who believe the 27-year-old has a great deal to offer despite recurring injuries.

Cooper has put his inner-Brisbane home on the market and after spending eight years at Ballymore, where he has become a fan favourite for the once-destitute franchise, will finally break his ties with his home city.

Whether he goes out with a second World Cup berth under his belt remains to be seen, with his lack of activity restricting him from putting any sustained pressure on the Wallaby five-eighth, NSW playmaker Bernard Foley.

All Black great Ma’a Nonu has already committed to join Toulon, while former Wallabies Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell are already on the roster.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

TOPICS: Walk down memory lane

The strong winds flatten a no walking sign at Newcastle Beach as walkers pass by. Picture: Simone De PeakSURE, Topics is tucked up with a hot water bottle and a Herald mug of Lemsip now.
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But yesterday. Tell ya what. We were out finding all you need to know about the storm situation, and here it is, just a day after you needed to know it. Ready?

Caffeinated comfort for the masses was available from a few cafes that opened, including Ground Up at Carrington and Side Pocket Espresso in Maitland.

‘‘We have just gone down to the shop and at this stage we have power so we are opening for those who need a coffee,’’ Side Pocket told customers.

‘‘Oh my god, you’ve got no idea how happy this makes me,’’ said Leah Kiem on Facebook.

The giant Australian flag that flies from the tax office building in Newcastle was ripped ragged by the wind and rain.

Travis Megale wanted to know, ‘‘Do you deliver? I’m not leaving the house but I’d like a soy flat white.’’

Really, Travis. That sounds gross.

Reader Jude wasn’t sure if it was mere coincidence, but her inbox blinked with a friendly reminder from her car insurer to renew her comprehensive. Probably an idea.

A musical act called Sun Rai scheduled to play at Newcastle’s Grand Hotel was, symbolically, cancelled, and coal trains headed for Port Waratah were halted after trees fell on the tracks.

Everyone with a mobile got a text from the SES about flood safety, a whiz-bang trick that was one: impressive and two: must never fall into the hands of telemarketers. Ever.

Speers Point Park five-a-side soccer, meanwhile, was off. It sounds like they had little choice.

‘‘Football FIVE5 wishes to advise you that due to power outtages, trees down and damage to the main entry as a result of the current storm, we have made the decision to cancel all matches tonight,’’ read an email to players.

Some took it hard.

‘‘I can’t believe they cancelled the game,’’ said a spokesman for five-a-side outfit The Fleshy Tortoises.

‘‘We come into our element in the wet. It’s a shame really.’’

The giant Australian flag that flies from the tax office building in Newcastle was ripped ragged by the wind and rain, but academic and Herald contributor Paul Scott was optimistic.

‘‘Looking worse for wear,’’ tweeted Scott.

‘‘But Aussie flags are a resilient lot.’’

Spare a thought, also, for the spokespeople whose job it is to brief reporters on what’s open and what’s not. Topics knows at least one who was flooded into his house yesterday, and continued to take calls.

PREMIER Mike Baird has been all over the news during the unfolding emergency, and so has his Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

Mr Constance has only been transport minister a few weeks, and maybe that’s why we’ve only just realised he has a doppelganger.

It’s dead-set the Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, aka The Doctor from Doctor Who, aka Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It. We’re pretty sure about this one. Have a look.

​Email Tim [email protected]整形美容医院m.au or tweet @TimConnell or phone 4979 5944