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House afloat on Lake MacquarieVideo

The houseboat that broke its tether in Toronto and floated under the bridge before coming to a stop at Fennell Bay.● MORE PHOTOS
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WATER views at Toronto may be popular, but the cyclonic storms that lifted the lake have one unfortunate home owner a little bit too close to the edge.

Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.

The house, which moves quickly along the Lake Macquarie shore in a torrent of flood water, floats past easily in footage filmed about 6.30am on Tuesday.

“I thought it was a boat or something,” Ms Brien said.

“It just looks like half a house.”

House afloat on Lake Macquarie | Videohttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd上海龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/e2028602-e53f-4e4e-8cfd-79565df1c544.jpg/r0_187_720_594_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgTORONTO: Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.news, local-news, toronto house, lake macquarie, news2015-04-21T20:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove上海龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001https://players.brightcove上海龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001While she lives on the shoreline Ms Brien said the structure was unfamiliar, indicating it had travelled a distance before reaching her.

The houseboat, which some locals said was moored at Toronto,travelledbelow the Main Road bridge before coming to rest “a fair way” along in Fennell Bay, where it was secured.

Ms Brien said the spectacle was a clear warning to anyone who thought about chancing their hand through flood waters.

Ringing police, Ms Brien said she was asked to repeat the unusual spectacle several times to authorities.

“It was going pretty fast,” she said.

“[Going through floodwater] is just stupid.”

Ms Brien’s sister Hannah and her boyfriend Khai Nilsson found the house-come-boat at the end of their street a short time later, tied up by volunteers at the end of Fennell Bay’s Margaret Street.

They said the house had travelled more than a kilometre on water, and the fact it was unfamiliar probably meant it was from even further up stream.

“I was just like, how did that even happen?” Mr Nilsson said.

Ms Brien, whose property has lacked power since 1am, said she was prepared if electricity stayed off overnight.

“We’ve got a little gas cooker so we can just make coffee,” she said.

Originally published asHouse afloat on Lake Macquarie by Newcastle Herald.

need2know: All eyes on inflation

Australian shares are poised to open lower, on a weak overseas lead, ahead of the latest local consumer price data.
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What you need2know

SPI futures down 27pts to 5850

AUD at 77.37 US cents, 92.24 Japanese yen, 71.79 Euro cents and 51.63 British pence

On Wall St, S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq +0.4%

In Europe, Stoxx 50 flat, FTSE +0.2%, CAC 40 +0.1%, Dax +0.4%

Spot gold up $US5.36, or 0.5% to $US1201.25 an ounce

Brent crude down $US1.24, or 1.9% to $US62.21 a barrel

What’s on today

Australia consumer prices; Eurozone consumer confidence; US home prices, existing home sales, crude oil inventories, Canada annual budget release; Japan trade balance;

Stocks to watch

Singtel chief corporate officer Jeann Low says its move to quit the Australian Securities Exchangeis not a precursor to selling Optus.

JPMorgan is “overweight” Asciano with a price target of $7.47 a share. “Overall, the growth rate in the 3Q15 trading update was slightly higher than we expected.”

Deutsche Bank says WorleyParsons is a “hold” with a price target at $11.02 a share.

RBC Capital Markets has a “sector perform” on Rio Tinto after the miner reported a mixed March quarter production result.

Currencies

Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group said that German 10-year Bunds were “the short of a lifetime” and that the trade could earn 10-15% over a period of one to two years.

The US dollar was mixed against major currencies overnight, with the euro pivoting to modest gains against the greenback after euro zone finance ministers moved away from fixing a deadline for Greece to come up with fiscal reforms.

Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at TD Securities in Toronto: “In rather illiquid conditions, at the range extremes, we seem to be attracting some interest. But I don’t think there’s much conviction in the market.”

Commodities

Copper prices softened as worries about weak demand from China soured sentiment. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $US5945 a tonne.

As for the outlook for copper: “The major risk to our forecast remains the trajectory of demand for the balance of 2015 as a further weakening globally would greatly increase the downward risk bias,” JP Morgan said in a note. “We do not think major supply adjustments are likely until prices trade around $US4000/t.”

Oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia announced the end of its military campaign in Yemen, easing tensions in the Middle East. An updated Reuters survey, meanwhile, showed that US crude inventories likely rose by 2.9 million barrels last week, up for a 15th straight week.

United States

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as DuPont and Travelers slumped after reporting results, while a takeover offer for Mylan pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index higher.

DuPont tumbled 3% after saying the US dollar is putting pressure on full-year profit. Travelers tumbled 4% as first-quarter profit fell 21%. Biotechnology shares rallied as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries proposed to buy Mylan for about $US40.1 billion.

The S&P 500 is 0.9% away from a record reached on March 2, the same day the Nasdaq Composite Index topped 5000 for the first time in 15 years. The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% on Monday amid a rally in technology shares, recovering nearly all of Friday’s selloff.

Europe

Europe’s main stock indices have risen on mixed German data. The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute slipped by 1.5 points to 53.3 points in April, disappointing analysts’ expectations for a further increase this month.

US and British officials are preparing to announce a settlement with Deutsche Bank as soon as Thursday over allegations it tried to rig benchmark interest rates such as Libor, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Greece faces increasing pressure to come to an agreement with its creditors for more aid, without which it may run out of money as soon as next month. Euro-area finance ministers are due to meet Friday to discuss Greece’s proposals for the economic reforms that have been demanded in return for the final payments under its 2012 bailout.

What happened yesterday

Local shares bounced back into positive territory thanks to strong leads from overseas, but the midday release of the RBA’s April minutes dampened sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 39.2 points, or 0.67pc, to 5872.3 on Tuesday.

Wild weather lashes the Hunter: One in ten-year’ storm expected to worsen

NSW Premier Mike Baird, updating NSW on the extreme weather, speaking in Sydney on Monday. (Photo by Brianne Makin/Fairfax Media)●MORE PHOTOS
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● Three dead in Dungog

AN evacuation centre is being set up in Dungog amid predictions the ‘‘one in ten-year’’ storm in which three people have already tragically died is expected to worsen in the Hunter region, Premier Mike Baird says.

He has asked ‘‘bosses to be flexible’’ and allow their staff to leave early so they can get home during daylight hours, with conditions proving more severe than forecast.

Despite the battering the region has already copped, conditions are predicted to get worse in Newcastle in particular and the Lower Hunter through to midnight, as the bad weather heads south.

Mr Baird said it was too early to say how the three elderly residents had died at Dungog.

‘‘It looks very much like we have lost three residents, they are elderly residents, and at the moment those circumstances are being worked through,’’ he said.

‘‘…It is obviously a tragedy for their family and friends and all of us are thinking of them at this time.’’

Mr Baird said the area was cut off but ‘‘we are doing everything possible we can to support them’’.

‘‘There are a number of homes that have been lost in this, there’s obviously a number of roofs that have been taken off and we’ve also lost life,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a huge storm event that is wreaking havoc across NSW at the moment.’’

About 90,000 homes and businesses in the region still have no power, and several suburbs are without water.

Hunter Water is now urging customers to conserve water until Ausgrid can restore the electricity to its pumping stations and reservoirs.

At a media briefing with SES Commissioner Adam Dent, Mr Baird said more than 4500 calls for assistance had already been made across storm affected areas, and residents were asked to be patient while authorities focused on restoring power to three Hunter hospitals that were using back up generators and to aged care homes.

‘‘Clearly everyone that’s calling will be responded to but we need to ensure that is the life threatening events and incidents that are getting priority,’’ he said.

Emergency services had carried out 47 flood rescues so far, with residents reminded not to enter flood waters.

Weather forecasts suggested that between now and midnight conditions ‘‘could become more severe particularly in the Hunter and down on the Central Coast’’.

‘‘’’There is strong advice to everyone across the greater metropolitan area…to start to head home as soon as you possibly can,’’ the Premier said.

Emergency Services minister David Elliott said it was a storm the ‘‘likes of which we haven’t really seen since 2007’’.

About 500 SES volunteers were ‘‘risking life and limb to ensure the people of this state can get through this disaster like they’ve gotten through every other disaster’’, alongside 200 Rural Fire Service volunteers and 1000 Fire and Rescue.

SES Commissioner Adam Dent asked people to be patient: ‘‘we will get to you’’.

‘‘The next 12 hours is a difficult period particularly in the Hunter and those northern parts,’’

‘‘We need to limit any non-essential travel and ask that you never, ever drive, walk, play, or get into flood waters.’’

‘‘If there is flood water do not enter it– it is not worth it.’’

Transport minister Andrew Constance said 250 traffic lights in the state were out and road closures included the Hunter Expressway between Wine Country Drive and the New England Highway, due to flooding.

Mr Baird said some Hunter schools would probably be closed on Wednesday, and parents should contact schools.

Wild weather lashes the Hunter: House afloat on Lake Macquarie

The houseboat that broke its tether in Toronto and floated under the bridge before coming to a stop at Fennell Bay.● MORE PHOTOS
Shanghai night field

WATER views at Toronto may be popular, but the cyclonic storms that lifted the lake have one unfortunate home owner a little bit too close to the edge.

Tianna Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.

The house, which moves quickly along the Lake Macquarie shore in a torrent of flood water, floats past easily in footage filmed about 6.30am on Tuesday.

“I thought it was a boat or something,” Ms Brien said.

“It just looks like half a house.”

House afloat on Lake Macquarie https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd上海龙凤419/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-D8vFkr4DfTRK2kpdPpAQJC/e2028602-e53f-4e4e-8cfd-79565df1c544.jpg/r0_187_720_594_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgTIANNA Brien knew it was raining hard, but she wasn’t quite ready for a house to float past her Toronto home during her morning coffee.news, local-news, NEWCSTLE WEATHER, toronto house, lake macquarie2015-04-21T20:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove上海龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001https://players.brightcove上海龙凤419/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4185506589001While she lives on the shoreline Ms Brien said the structure was unfamiliar, indicating it had travelled a distance before reaching her.

The houseboat, which some locals said was moored at Toronto,travelledbelow the Main Road bridge before coming to rest “a fair way” along in Fennell Bay, where it was secured.

Ms Brien said the spectacle was a clear warning to anyone who thought about chancing their hand through flood waters.

Ringing police, Ms Brien said she was asked to repeat the unusual spectacle several times to authorities.

“It was going pretty fast,” she said.

“[Going through floodwater] is just stupid.”

Ms Brien’s sister Hannah and her boyfriend Khai Nilsson found the house-come-boat at the end of their street a short time later, tied up by volunteers at the end of Fennell Bay’s Margaret Street.

They said the house had travelled more than a kilometre on water, and the fact it was unfamiliar probably meant it was from even further up stream.

“I was just like, how did that even happen?” Mr Nilsson said.

Ms Brien, whose property has lacked power since 1am, said she was prepared if electricity stayed off overnight.

“We’ve got a little gas cooker so we can just make coffee,” she said.

Wild weather hammers The HunterPhotos

Wild weather hammers The Hunter | Photos A tree crashes onto a car at Parry Street. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers
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Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Souths Seas Drive, Ashtonfield. Pic: Debbie Edmunds

Singleton’s Bridgman Road is closed.

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

East Maitland court house. Pic: Clare Jordan-Wills

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Majors Lane, Keinbah (near Weston). Pic: Debbie Edmunds

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Nelson Bay. Pic: Samantha Hoggard

Woodberry Rd. Pic: Raelean Beattie-Paradis

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Maitland, Tuesday morning. Pic: Jessica Brown

Maitland on Tuesday morning. Pic: Cath Bowen

Scenes from Stroud. Pic: Julie Farley

Jesmond: Pic: Nick Kelly

Dungog’s Main St. Pic: Brodie White

Singleton’s junior rugby union ground at Allan Bull Reserve.

The creek near Allan Bull Reserve in Singleton.

Kimberly Rigby’s gold Subaru is under that fallen tree in Newcastle’s Laman St. Pic: Kimberly Rigby

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Maitland, on Tuesday. Pic: Cath Bowen

Floodwater at Stroud. Pic: Rosemary Laing

Merewether’s David Smith shared this close call after a tree fell.

New Lambton. Pic: Darren Pateman

Scenic Drive. Pic: Darren Pateman

Figs down in Laman Street. Pic: James Vadas

A fallen tree in Broadmeadow. Pic: Darren Pateman

The Hunter is waking up to severe storm damage. Pic: Darren Pateman

A roof lifted at Hamilton South. Pic: Darren Pateman

A damaged sign outside Hunter Stadium. Pic: Darren Pateman

Damage at Karoola Road, Lambton. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers

The Raymond Terrace Road crash scene. Pic: Marina Neil

Readers are reporting trees down and storm damage at the University of Newcastle residences. Pic: Brittany Hitch.

Pic: Jamie-Lee

Pic: Jamie-Lee

Two boats come together at Gosford breakwater. Pic: Joanne McCarthy

Damage on Zaara Street Newcastle. Front doors of no.19 and the roof off the building next door is in the pool. Picture: June Parkin

A Lake Macquarie jetty is consumed by the swollen lake. Picture: Hugh Robson

Yule Road, Merewether Heights. Picture: Darren Pateman

Hunter Street, Newcastle. Picture: Rosemary Milsom

TweetFacebookHeavy rain, strong winds and flash flooding have hammered the Hunter Valley with emergency services inundated with calls.

As people bunker down with more wet weather predicted, readers of The Maitland Mercury and the Newcastle Herald along with their photographers and journalists have taken these photos of the damage so far.

ABC 702 Sydney takes a dive in radio ratings 2015

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.
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Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Richard Glover … not a good result for 702’s Drive presenter. Photo: Marco Del Grande

Tough going … Dan and Maz are finding it hard to make an impact in the breakfast slot.

Audience drop: Richard Glover. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Ratings plunge: Linda Mottram. Photo: Ben Rushton

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson (Jackie O) continue their apparently unassailable breakfast FM lead. Alan Jones remains on his lofty perch at the top of the AM breakfast tree and Dan Debuf and Mandy (Maz) Compton demonstrate just what a hard slog it is to build a breakfast audience.

It’s situation normal with the latest Sydney radio ratings, apart from a curious trend developing at 702 ABC Sydney. Overall, the broadcaster has shed 1.7 points, down from 10 last survey to 8.3.

Leading the plunge is Richard Glover’s Drive show, which lost 1.9 points to 8.2 and Linda Mottram’s Mornings show (down 2 points), while Breakfast’s Robbie Buck also took a hit, falling 1.3 points to 10.2.

It’s a far cry from the heady days of August last year when Glover, who is also a Fairfax columnist, was riding high on 13.5 points. Since then the program’s numbers have been mostly in one direction.

However, 702’s local content manager, Andy Henley, believes many listeners may have temporarily departed to escape the station’s comprehensive coverage of the NSW election.

“You’d have to suggest that the election wasn’t great for us which is disappointing because we put a lot of effort into making it as engaging as we possibly could, given the state of the political cycle at the moment,” he said.

Elsewhere on the AM dial, 2UE, owned by Fairfax, also shed 0.6 of a point overall, with Breakfast dropping back to 4.5 from 5.2 points.

Sandilands and Henderson’s figures remained largely unmoved at 10.4, while Debuf and Compton dropped 0.2 to 2.8. It’s still early days for the 2Day FM pairing, but that performance is bound to be frustrating for management at Southern Cross Austereo, who have had to suffer taunts from Kiis 1065 owners Australian Radio Network (ARN) that 2Day FM is “no longer a competitor”.

ARN’s Duncan Campbell pronounced himself very happy with his stations’ results but denied the broadcaster was resting on its laurels.

“Obviously a lot of hard work goes into it, particularly in Sydney,” he said. “To bear the fruit that it has is particularly encouraging.”

Nova’s Paul Jackson was also positive about his stations’ performance, happily pointing out that Nova, which broadcasts in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth as well as Sydney, is the “most listened to” station in the country.

He also had some advice for struggling 2Day FM. “Something is not right because they have spent a fortune in marketing in every city,” he said. “The new offering has not connected. Simple as that.

“Put it this way, Hit 104.1 2Day FM has worse ratings now than Classic Rock [the forerunner of smoothfm 95.3] had when we blew it up.”

Mad Men season 7 episode 10 The Forecast recap: More than just pretty faces?

Don Draper, who lives only in the moment, with no past, is tasked with outlining the future.Mad Men … Joan and her new man Richard.
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More Mad Men recapsMad Men recaps take a picturesque turn

“What does the future hold?” That’s the question Don asks over and over in The Forecast, but he’s not having an existential crisis, or groping, like a man in a suddenly darkened room, for the edges of his own mortality. He’s been given a task for which he is the absolute wrong man, and he’s going to find some way to sell it.

Roger has received an edict from McCann on high to outline a vision for the future of the firm, and he can’t do it because he’s going away on a boozy Caribbean trip (that’s his future, but he probably won’t be able to remember much of it when it’s over).

Ted was his first choice to sip from this poisoned chalice but he begged off, pleading cold sores and a different burdensome task – performance reviews (HR people of the world take note: they sucked in 1970, they suck now). Don’s simply the lucky mug who found the cup in his hands when the music stopped.

So the man who lives only in the moment, the man with no past, is the man tasked with outlining the future. All the accusations that Matthew Weiner is being a little schematic as Mad Men winds down come home to roost here, but you can either roll with it or resist. I choose the former.

So how does Don go about this task? He asks everyone else what they think the future looks like.

It’s brilliant, and not schematic at all (well, only a little). Advertising is all about using market research to tell the client what he or she already thinks but can’t articulate, in a way they never would have imagined. And no one is better at that than Don. As Ted puts it, “You’re much better at telling a story than I am”.

Ted’s own vision of the future is bigger and better accounts. “I’d really love to land a pharmaceutical,” he tells Don, who looks mildly horrified at the narrowness of his ambition. Clearly Ted’s existential crisis never got on the plane back from Los Angeles.

Peggy takes the question seriously, even though she’s come to Don to talk performance reviews (Ted has told her to write her own – see, HR people, see; the whole thing is a sham – and she demands the real thing because she’s had “a really big year”.)

Don is amused by her earnestness, then opportunistic. “What do you see for the future?”

“Is that on there,” asks Peggy, thinking maybe this whole performance review thing isn’t quite as pro-forma as she’d imagined after all.

Peggy says she wants to be the agency’s first woman creative director. To land something huge. To create a big idea, a catchphrase.

“So you want fame,” Don says and she concedes that yes, maybe she does.

“What else?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes you do.”

“Create something of lasting value,” she says, casting her eyes down sheepishly, either because she’s admitted the thing she’s been hiding from herself or because she knows it’s a lie (it’s impossible to tell which – and maybe it’s both).

“In advertising?” smirks Don.

That’s it. Peggy is furious.

“Why don’t you just write down all of your dreams so I can shit on them,” she says.

It’s the best line of the episode, and one you might want to write down yourself just in case you need it for your own performance review.

Meanwhile Joan is being courted with a tantalising glimpse of an alternative future of her own, thanks to a fling with a retired real estate mogul in LA.

He’s divorced and determined to enjoy life; she tells him she’s divorced too.

“Boy, did he blow it,” he says.

“Yes he did,” she says, laughing, smiling, basking in the fact that someone, finally, sees her for what she is.

But does he? Richard (Bruce Greenwood) has a fantasy of Joan, and it’s all about the way she looks. He wants to take her to a resort so he can see her in a bathing costume; he’s delighted when she suggests he meet her at the restaurant, because then she can “make an entrance”. She’s a picture, only there’s a few inconvenient truths that don’t sit so well within the frame he’s constructing. The fact she works (even if it’s because she wants to, not because she needs to); that she lives with her mother in a small apartment downtown; that she has a four-year-old son.

“I had a plan,” he rails when she tells him all this. “It was no plans!”

The next day he apologises, flowers in hand. “I was a cad,” he says.

Joan tells him she’s been thinking about what he said, and she’s realised she has to choose, and so she’s sending her son away. “I like you too.”

He’s shocked, which is her intention. He says he’s going to buy a place in New York. By the way, where do you live?

“Twelfth street.”

“Oh,” he says, aghast. “I’m not going to buy property down there. I’m going to get a place in a nice neighbourhood near the park and you’re going to visit. All of you. I don’t want to be rigid. It makes you old.”

He’s seen the future, all right, but not all of it. If he’d bought a slab of the Meatpacking District in 1970 rather than a sliver of midtown he’d be richer than Croesus now. Of course, he’d also be dead.

Or at least very old and wrinkly.

That’s where we’re all heading, of course, and it’s the unspoken thing on everyone’s mind: the passing of time and what it does to our bodies, our faces, which for the likes of Don and Betty are also their fortunes.

Betty is surprised when Glen Bishop (Marten Holden Weiner, son of series creator Matthew), the weird creepy neighbour kid who asked her for a lock of her hair in season one, pops in to visit. “Sally, aren’t you going to introduce your friends,” she says, ignoring the hippy chick in the foyer but practically devouring the little man in front of her.

Sally and Glen share a knowing smile.

“I’m Glen Bishop,” he says.

“My goodness. How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“You’ve changed so much.”

“You haven’t changed at all.”

There’s so much heat between these two you could barbecue a leg of lamb in the foyer, if only Sally would get the hell out of the way so they could start making all kinds of weird inappropriate love on the tessellated tiles.

Later, Glen comes back when Sally’s out, and tries to make that little dream a reality. He’s off to Vietnam, and a quick roll with Mrs Francis-nee-Draper “is the only thing that would make it all worthwhile”. He doesn’t get what he came for, but she does take his hand and put it on her face, giving him a small incandescent flame of hope, desire, longing and memory to carry with him through the jungles. And maybe to make her own beauty immortal, in one devoted mind at least. Just so long as he can stay alive.

Back in the office, hollow man Don is called big time by John Mathis (Trevor Einhorn), one of Peggy’s junior creatives. Two of them have argued over a line in front of the client. Pete wants them sacked. “A word beginning with F was used,” he tells Don. “Have you ever heard such a thing?”

No one is getting fired, Don says. “It was a crime of passion.”

The foul-mouthed creative takes this to mean Don is an ally. He knows he’ll have some advice about how to deal with it. And he does.

Don tells him a story about having messed up in front of Lucky Strike, and handling it by telling the clients he was “amazed to see you two have the balls to come back in after the way you embarrassed yourselves”. A heartbeat’s pause, then laughter all round. Ice broken.

Don also tells the young tyro he might try turning up to the meeting with a bar of soap and offer to wash his mouth out.

The doofus takes the Lucky Strike option. It doesn’t go down well, and he blames Don for giving him bad advice.

“Take responsibility for your failure,” Don snaps at him. “That account was handed to you and you made nothing of it because you have no character.”

“You have no character,” Mathis shoots back. “Stop kidding yourself. You’re just handsome.”

Clearly, this final season is going to be all about Don being called out. Over and over people are pointing to the fact he is all surface, no depth. He’s suffering from a severe case of veneer-ial disease.

Sally calls him on it too, when he takes her and three school friends to dinner in a Chinese restaurant before they get on the bus that will take them across country.

Sally’s friend Sarah is a 17-year-old flirt monster. “When I watch television the commercials are my favourite part,” she tells Don, drawing on the cigarette she’s just taken from his packet.

He doesn’t bite – though who knows what might have happened had Sally not been there – but his daughter is unimpressed all the same.

“You can’t stop yourself,” she tells him. “And neither can Mom. Anyone pays attention to you, and they always do, you just ooze everywhere.”

She’s right, and Don knows it, but he thinks she’s only seeing half the equation.

“You are like your mother and me, and you’re going to find that out,” he tells her. “You’re a very beautiful girl. It’s up to you to be more than that.”

And that’s really the question mark that hangs over the future, isn’t it? Will Don Draper ever find the core of humanity that would make him more than just a pretty face?

As the episode ends with Don standing outside the apartment he’s just sold, Roberta Flack’s ode to beauty, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, plays on the soundtrack. It’s a song about a love that lasts forever. Don should be so lucky.

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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.

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Immigration officials screened Vietnamese asylum seekers aboard navy ship

The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty
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The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Immigration Department officials evaluated and rejected the asylum claims of 46 Vietnamese aboard an Australia navy vessel before the entire group was handed back to the Communist government last week, Fairfax Media has learned.

The on-water processing represents a new development in the Abbott government’s hardline approach to border control.

A large group of Sri Lankan Tamils who were kept at sea for a month on the Customs ship Ocean Protector last year had their claims heard over the phone.

The screening by department officials aboard HMAS Choules is believed to have happened over a number of days after a single boat carrying 46 Vietnamese was intercepted north of Australia.

They were returned to southern port city of Vung Tau, south of Ho Chi Minh City last weekend. Two Defence sources confirmed to Fairfax Media that the Choules, which has been moored at Manus Island, was used in the operation.

Australian Vietnamese community leaders have warned that the Abbott government would be “throwing people back to hell” by returning asylum seekers. There were reports last year that an asylum seeker from the ethnic minority Montagnard hill tribe was badly bashed by Vietnamese government officials after being returned by Cambodia.

Amnesty International said on Wednesday that the claims of persecution by the Vietnamese cannot have been adequately assessed by government officials at sea.

“These reports are extremely concerning and represent a fundamental violation of refugee rights by the Australian government,” said Amnesty refugee campaign co-ordinator Graeme McGregor.

“To prevent refugees from being returned to persecution, all asylum claims should be subjected to a fair and rigorous assessment process, with translation and legal representation offered. Basic screening procedures at sea cannot be relied upon to make such life and death decisions.

“The government has repeatedly excused its secretive boat turn-backs by trying to claim that they save lives. The return of Vietnamese asylum seekers – possible refugees – to the very country and government that they have escaped from, exposes the truth about the government’s polices: that they do not save people, but repel people who may need our help.

“Instead of digging itself deeper into disrepute by negotiating secretive deals to return asylum seekers, Australia should be helping those in need and identifying safe, practical ways for refugees to reach safety.”

The Human Rights Law Centre said Australia should “respect democracy and respect the rule of law” by fairly and transparently assessing asylum claims rather than “operating behind a veil of secrecy that is a deliberate subversion of both”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has refused to comment on the return of the Vietnamese to Vung Tau.

But on Tuesday he hinted at a “bilateral” deal with Vietnam that he did not wish to break by speaking publicly on the asylum seekers’ fate.

“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Mr Dutton has appeared in a video to be shown to asylum seekers on Nauru, urging them to take up the offer for them to resettle in Cambodia.

“Cambodia provides a wealth of opportunity for new settlers. It is a fast-paced and vibrant country with a stable economy and varied employment opportunities. It is a diverse nation with a blend of many nationalities, cultures and religions,” Mr Dutton said in the three and a half minute video.

Immigration officials have established a hotline on Nauru for families to talk about joining the delayed flight to Phnom Penh.

Mr Dutton thanked the asylum seekers who have already agreed to resettle.

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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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