Chooks and memories

THE Taj Mahal of chicken coops is perched on a little promontory overlooking the bush.

It is a thing of beauty.

It has multiple levels, a penthouse with views, a viewing platform where the chooks can be the mistresses of all they survey, and a large lower lounge area where they can sun themselves and scratch in the dirt to their hearts’ content. It has two hay bales for the fastidious, a baby mulberry tree and a pot in which a very healthy succulent is growing. No spa though, I noted to the owner.

If there was aVogue Livingfor chook pensthe Taj Mahal would be featured in a spread, with the chickens draped across their little wooden benches sipping martinis andeating worm mousseon crackers.

The coop is home to eight bantam hens of different colours. I first saw them a few months ago when they were tiny puff balls in the frontyard, before the Taj Mahal was built. I wasn’t the only one who worried for them as they wandered and scratched near the road, as quiet as the road usually is. But they were street-smart chooks, their owner assured me this week after I dropped in to admire their home.

The chickens didn’t cross the road, in other words.

They were out of the coop the other day when I dropped in, fluffed-up and scratching in bushes beneath a large tree. They weremoving as a loose group in that endearing way little chooks do, looking self-important and determined in the never-ending search for worms and bugs, and hunkering down every so often when a noisy miner bird buzzed them.

The chooks have elaborate names -so elaborate that I can only remember one of them. Shake ‘n Bake. I laughed when I heard. But before I had the chance to ask “Why Shake ‘n Bake?”, with a tiny alarm bell ringing in the back of my headabout the answer, I was introduced to the next which had an even more improbable name –something like Lady Penelope Blinkington-Phelps, and we moved on.

A quick Google search turns up a product called Shake ‘n Bake,a “flavoured breadcrumb-style coating for chicken” which comes with a bag that you shake the crumbs and chicken in, so I’m glad I didn’t ask.

The chickens’ owners are a young woman and her husband who built the Taj Mahal using materials recovered from family, friends and neighbours.

The young woman, and I’ll call her Belle,is 12 days younger than my middle son.

Belle’s mother, and I’ll call her Joy,and I were pregnant together and ourbabies were born in 1987.

Our eldest children –a girl for Joy, a boy for me –were born six weeks apart in 1985, my son first.

Joy, my former husband and I first met a year or so before we became pregnant. She was one of the sweetest, most beautiful women I have known, with a radiancethat came from herinner goodness. I can hear her voice as I write this –soft and with a lovelylilt from her home country.

We hit it off. When she introduced us to her husband we became friends who spent a lot of time together. I have photos of those years when our children were young –of us camping, sharing holidays, eating at each others’ homes, spending Christmas together.

I had a third and final son. Joyand her husband had another three children –two boys and a girl.

Her youngest daughter was born the day Joydied of a cerebral haemorrhage in the mid 1990s. She was in her late 30s.

Like a lot ofshocking events it is remembered as separate, vivid images and phrases –turning my car too quickly into adriveway while crying and hitting a median strip; the tightnessin my husband’s face when I told him, and the way he didn’t respond at all for quite a few seconds while he struggled with disbelief; standing in the kitchen with Belle and her older sister that night and talking about food we had no stomach to eat; seeing Joyin the hospital, kept alive by the drugs she was given for her daughter’s birth; seeing her newborn sleeping baby in a crib in the nursery, surrounded by other babies.

She had her mother’s dark hair. She was beautiful and healthy and in that setting with its lowered lights, the babies wrapped and mainly sleeping, she looked like the others. But her life, only minutes old, was already very different.

In two weeks I will be a grandmother for the first time. A little baby girl. My youngest son and his partner are prepared and live a few streets away. I have been the butt of every joke going around about what deals were done to ensure I am the closest grandparent.

I have photos of my youngest son when he was barely two, walking around the backyard of the house we had at the timecarrying a big fat black chook in his arms. She wasone of four we kept in a largepen where they produced big brown warm eggs.

Our sonsnamed them. Thus we had four chooks called Joanne. I was the butt of the joke back then as well and my children hadn’t even started school. It was my youngest son’s greatjoy to walk around the yard carrying the chooks, one at a time. The chooks must have felt supported because they sat in his arms until he plopped them down, and went off to get another one.

Joy did not live to see her grandchildren. She now has four. There was an echo of grief all over again, even all these years later, as I left her daughter’s house and headed in the direction of where my youngest son now lives. Her youngest daughter –the baby whose head would turn a certain way and cause a pang for those who saw it, because she was so much like her mother –is a mother.

Joy is gone but not gone.

I stood in that yard the other day talking to Belle’s husband while the chickens clucked and scratched, and Joy was there –in the love of that home and the sense of welcome. Which is how we should remember.

Attempted DNC voter database hack thwarted

An attempt to hack the Democratic National Committee’s US voter database has been thwarted.An attempt to break into the Democratic National Committee’s voter database has been thwarted, two years after Russian operatives hacked into the organisation’s systems and facilitated the release of tens of thousands of emails amid a US presidential election.

A cyber security firm uncovered the plot, which involved creating a fake login page to gather usernames and passwords in order to access the Democratic Party’s voter database, a DNC official, who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter, said.

The voter file contains information on tens of millions of voters and the FBI has been notified of the attempt to access it.

Government and tech officials say it’s too early to know who was behind the attempt.

The attempt came as Democrats gather for their summer meeting.

The party’s cybersecurity has been an issue since the 2016 presidential election, when Russian hackers compromised DNC servers and revealed internal communications that exposed divisions between Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns as they vied for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Hackers also accessed the email accounts of Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and systematically released the contents throughout the campaign.

Bob Lord, the DNC’s chief security officer, said the attempt showed how serious the cyberthreat is and why it’s critical that state and federal officials work together on security.

“This attempt is further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm elections and we must remain vigilant in order to prevent future attacks,” Lord said in a statement, adding US President Donald Trump was not doing enough to protect American democracy.

Previously, Trump has mocked the DNC’s cybersecurity and cast doubt on US intelligence officials’ findings that Russia was involved.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Wednesday the quick response to the attempted hack showed the system was working.

In Tuesday’s incident, a scanning tool deployed by the security firm Lookout detected a masquerading website designed to harvest the passwords of users of the login page of NGP VAN, a technology provider used by the Democrats, Mike Murray, the company’s vice president of security intelligence, said.

The tool, which leverages artificial intelligence, has been in development for a year and wasn’t tasked to scan any sites in particular but instead to identify phishing sites based on typical attributes, Murray said.

“This is the beauty of AI: It finds things that humans don’t know to look for,” he said.

“As soon as we realised how fast it was developing, I decided to reach out to contacts that I know at the DNC.”

Murray also contacted the website hosting company, Digital Ocean.

When one chocolate biscuit turns into a whole packet

When one chocolate biscuit turns into a whole packet Dr Libby Weaver.

Dr Libby Weaver.

Dr Libby Weaver.

TweetFacebookThere is no such thing as junk food,celebrity nutritionistDr Libby Weaver says.

“There is just food and there is junk,” the author and speaker, known as Dr Libby, said.

Dr Libby is on a national tour, titled The Hormone Factor.

She’llspeak at a public event at the University of Newcastle on Wednesday nightaboutthe powerful effect that “hormones have on your body and your health”.

When it comes to nutrition, she said “people in the Western world tend to refer to foodas ‘whole, real food’when really this is just food. It’swhat we have evolved to eatfor eons,” she said.

She’s no fan of diets.

“A diet is something someone forces themselves to do untila certain point at whichit becomes unsustainable.

“It’s a mentality that the person has to restrict, deprive or control themselves,and it’s something that seems to be all or nothing – they’re either onthe diet or they’re off it.”

If they’re offit, they might feel likethey’ve “fallen off the wagon or they’ve failed”.

“It is this kind of thinking that can really sabotage our health efforts,” she said.

“The truth is, there is no wagon to fall off, there is just life.”

In simple terms, when it comes to food, she said people “either make choices that are more or less nourishing”.

“It is whenwe judgeourselves for a poorfood choicethat theone chocolate biscuitwe atetends to turn into the whole packet.”

She said losing weight wasn’tas simple as “calories in versus calories burned, as the calorie equation would have you believe”.

“It saddens me that many people are still told to eat less and exercise more.

“Of course, the way we nourish ourselves does play a big role and many people would benefit from moving more, but there are numerous other factors that influence our body shape and size.

“These include our gut microbiome and various hormonal systems, so if one of these factors is out of kilter, eating less and exercising more is not necessarily going to be the answer.”

Dr Libby’s anti-ageing tips includeeatingwhole, real foods – mostly plants – for their antioxidant and nutrient properties.

She suggests that peopleminimise highly-processed foods,high in refined sugars or artificial substances,which“don’t offer the body much in the way of nourishment”.

Additionally, she urged people to “build muscle and maintain mobility”.

“From the age of 30, if we don’t actively maintain our muscle mass we gradually lose it,” she said.

To age well, people should make water theirmain drink.

“And consider your perception of pressure and urgency and have strategies in place to help you manage your stress response.”

Dr Libby urged people to believe that “itis possible to slow down”.

“You can live a complete and fulfilling life without driving your health into the ground,” she said.

“It is possible to slow down your pace and accomplish what you set out to do.”

Tickets are availablehere.

Downsizing could be the super option

THINKING of downsizing and putting some of the proceeds of the sale of your former home into superannuation? Here’s what you should know.

The new measure, which came into force from July 1, allows people who are 65 and over to make a contribution of up to $300,000 (for an individual) or up to $600,000 (couple) into their superannuation from the proceeds of the sale.

The change has been made because under existing contribution rules there are limited opportunities and amount restrictions for individuals 65–74 years old to contribute into super. Individuals 75 years and older are not able to contribute into super.

From 1 July 2018, eligible individuals 65 years and older (with no maximum age limit) will have the opportunity to contribute proceeds from the sale of their home into super. A new fact sheet from the Australian Taxation Office is a must for anyone considering taking advantage of the measure.

Build up your super: From 1 July 2018, eligible individuals 65 years and older can contribute proceeds from the sale of their home into super.

The downsizer contributions will not count towards your concessional or non-concessional superannuation contribution caps.

However, when your total super balance is recalculated at the end of the financial year, the downsizer contribution amount will count towards your total super balance.

Downsizers need to make their contribution within 90 days of the change of ownership, however in some circumstances you may be able to request a longer period.

The new measure does not apply to caravans, houseboats or other mobile homes.

You or your spouse must have held an ownership interest in the home for 10 consecutive years andyour home must be exempt or partially exempt from capital gains tax (CGT) under the main residence exemption, or would be entitled to an exemption if the home was a CGT rather than apre-CGT asset (acquired before 20 September 1985).

You should seek financial advice before entering into the arrangement, as the downsizing contributions will count as an asset for the age pension assets test. Also check that your super fund will accept a downsizer contribution.

Care and the silent hero

Expertise: Dr Anne Capp is a radiation oncologist at Genesis Care in Newcastle, where a personal approach is taken to treat patients with cancer.

Termed as the silent hero, radiation therapy is an often misunderstood treatment used to treat cancer patients. 40 per cent of all patients cured of cancer will have received radiation therapy as a part of their treatment plan and 16 per cent of all cures can be attributed entirely to radiotherapy. It’s been in existence for nearly 100 years, with significant advances made via research and technology in the last 20 years.

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy as it is often known, uses high energy x-rays produced by a machine called a linear accelerator to target and kill cancer cells, avoiding healthy tissue.

“Cancer cells are more vulnerable to radiation than normal cells and we exploit this by delivering targeted beams directly at the site of the cancer,” explains Dr Anne Capp, a Radiation Oncologist at Genesis Care Newcastle.

Radiation therapy may be used as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Around half of all cancer patients receive some form of radiotherapy as part of their overall treatment plan.

Like cancer treatments radiotherapy has some side effects, however the advances in treatment technology means some side effects have been reduced and with better understanding can be well managed. Side effects occur only at the site of treatmentand may vary from patient to patient but will be discussed with the Radiation Oncologist, along with the expected length of treatment.

“Radiation therapy is often delivered in more than one treatment,termed as fractions with the averagetreatment around 15 minutes,

“The number of fractions a patient receives is confirmed by their consultant Radiation Oncologist. A specialised form of treatment called stereotactic radiotherapy may only require 1 to 5 fractions whereas other treatments may require 20-30,most commonly delivered daily,”

The radiation oncologist and commonly a multi-disciplinary team, will consider the role of radiation therapy for each patient and determine the best approach. This way the radiation therapy forms part of comprehensive cancer care plan.

“We aim to care for the patient not just treat the disease, this is achieved through partnership and innovation to continue to deliver better care.”

Approximately 50 per cent of all patients with cancer will require radiation therapy as part of their overall care. Personalised care provides patients with the best chance of cure or symptom control includingradiation therapy.

Genesis Careofferimmediate access to radiation therapy for all patients and providethe latest technology, tailored to each individual, as well as access to world leading clinical trials and research. All patients require a referral froma GP or specialist. For more information visit: targetingcancer南京明升m88官网官方网站.au orgenesiscare南京明升m88官网官方网站

QC says I’m eligible to be an MP: Dutton

Peter Dutton says a former solicitor-general has advised him he is eligible to sit as a member of parliament, putting to rest “spurious and unsubstantiated allegations” about his eligibility.

Late on Thursday Mr Dutton tweeted a three-page document signed by David Bennett QC that states the opinion that Mr Dutton is “not rendered ineligible” by section 44 of the constitution.

“Today I received advice from former SG David Bennett AC QC which clearly states I am eligible to sit as a Member of Parliament,” Mr Dutton tweeted.

“Mr Bennett was successful in the High Court in Re Canavan and provided advice to Malcolm Turnbull on the eligibility of Justine Keay, Susan Lamb & Rebekha Sharkie, later confirmed by the High Court,” he continued.

“…Mr Bennett’s unequivocal advice puts to rest the spurious & unsubstantiated allegations raised against by (sic) eligibility.”

Mr Dutton is gunning to replace Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister but has been facing questions over his interest in two Brisbane childcare centres through his family’s RHT Family Trust.

From July this year, childcare centres receive a direct subsidy from the federal government, raising questions as to whether Mr Dutton could be under a constitutional cloud.

Section 44 of the constitution bans people from parliament who have “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the public service of the commonwealth”.

Mr Dutton initially relied on legal advice from December 2017 to say he was eligible, but his lawyer Guy Reynolds then updated the advice to include the recent law changes.

Mr Turnbull is awaiting advice from the current solicitor-general on the issue, and says it needs to be seen by Liberal MPs before another leadership spill.

Mr Turnbull said if the solicitor-general’s advice cleared Mr Dutton on Friday morning, there could be a partyroom meeting and a spill motion, but he also wants to see the letter purportedly signed by 43 Liberal MPs calling for the meeting – to be held at noon.

“You can imagine the consequences of having a prime minister whose actions and decisions are questionable because of the issue of eligibility,” the prime minister told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Labor MP Tony Burke moved a motion on Thursday to refer the matter to the Court of Disputed Returns, which if proven could have led to Mr Dutton being disqualified from parliament.

The lower house vote was narrowly lost 68-69.

Mr Dutton queried why the story came out as he was challenging the prime minister.

“The timing on the eve of current events in Australian politics is curious,” he said in a statement.

“There has never been any doubt about my eligibility to sit in the parliament and I attach the unequivocal legal advice I obtained in 2017 to that effect.”

Former finance minister and close friend Mathias Cormann believes Mr Dutton has nothing to worry about, backing him as the best person to lead the Liberal Party.

“Peter Dutton is a validly elected member of parliament – that’s a distraction,” Senator Cormann said.

Dutton needs his supporters to go public

Peter Dutton believes he has the numbers to kick Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull out of the job but now he needs his supporters to go public.

Mr Turnbull is refusing to bring on a meeting until Mr Dutton can show him a letter with 43 signatures from Liberal MPs – a majority in the partyroom – who want him gone.

“I wouldn’t have contacted the prime minister if I didn’t believe that I had the majority of support,” Mr Dutton said in Canberra on Thursday.

The former home affairs minister lost a challenge 48 votes to 35 on Tuesday but now wants to have another go at toppling his leader.

Mr Dutton is facing a potential three-way contest against Treasurer Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who are testing the waters for support.

But the Dickson MP is also under pressure to show he is eligible to sit in parliament after questions were raised over his interest in two Brisbane childcare centres through his family’s RHT Family Trust.

From July this year, childcare centres receive a direct subsidy from the federal government, potentially making Mr Dutton in breach of section 44 of the constitution.

The section bans from parliament anyone with “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the public service of the Commonwealth”.

Mr Dutton relied on legal advice from December 2017 to say he was eligible, but his lawyer Guy Reynolds has now updated the advice to include the recent law changes.

Mr Turnbull has asked the solicitor-general to reveal if Mr Dutton has a case to answer before the Friday meeting.

“You can imagine the consequences of having a prime minister whose actions and decisions are questionable because of the issue of eligibility,” the prime minister told reporters.

Labor on Thursday narrowly lost a motion to refer the matter to the Court of Disputed Returns, which if proven could have led to Mr Dutton being disqualified from parliament.

Former finance minister and close friend Mathias Cormann believes Mr Dutton has nothing to worry about.

“Peter Dutton is a validly elected member of parliament – that’s a distraction,” Senator Cormann said.

Labor also referred Mr Dutton to a Senate inquiry over his decision to intervene to grant visas to two foreign au pairs in 2015.

The inquiry will look into allegations concerning the inappropriate exercise of ministerial powers and report by September 11.

In the first case, an au pair whose visa was cancelled at Brisbane’s international airport in June 2015 was able to make a phone call, and within a couple of hours, Mr Dutton, as immigration minister, approved a new visa for her.

In November the same year Mr Dutton granted a visitor visa to a second au pair.

Mr Dutton has said he doesn’t know the two individuals involved and they didn’t work for his family.

PM Turnbull faces fresh challenge

Malcolm Turnbull may be facing another challenge to his leadership as a partyroom meeting looms.Malcolm Turnbull faces a fresh challenge to his leadership, with former minister announcing this morning that he will try to take the leadership.

Mr Dutton said he had spoken to Mr Turnbull, telling him that he did not believe the PM had the support of the party.

“Accordingly, I have asked him to convene a party room meeting at which I will challenge for the leadership of the parliamentary Liberal party,” he said in a tweet.

But new polling shows a Dutton government would crash at the election to Labor’s Bill Shorten, with voters picking the Labor leader over the former Home Affairs minister.

A defiant prime minister is holding on to his leadership with support from his two key lieutenants, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Mr Dutton’s supporters circulated a letter on Wednesday night calling for the party room to meet.

“I understand there’s a petition. I understand that a couple of hours ago there were nine signatures on it,” Liberal MP Jane Prentice told reporters on Wednesday night.

It was unclear how many MPs had actually seen and signed the letter and if any cabinet ministers were willing to shift their support from Mr Turnbull.

Mr Dutton admitted he’s calling Liberals to win support for a second challenge after failing 48 votes to 35 in a snap leadership ballot on Tuesday.

The electorate, however, appears to be supporting Mr Turnbull.

A Morgan poll of more than 1200 voters picked Mr Turnbull as the better prime minister over Mr Shorten, 52 per cent to 44.5 per cent.

But Mr Shorten thumped Mr Dutton 59 per cent to 36.5 per cent when voters were given the chance to pick between them.

“The iron laws of arithmetic confirmed my leadership of the Liberal Party,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

He was flanked by Mr Morrison and Senator Cormann, who gave him public votes of support.

“This is my leader and I’m ambitious for him,” Mr Morrison said, giving Mr Turnbull a hug.

“I support the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull,” added Senator Cormann.

Mr Dutton launched a media campaign on Wednesday morning, going on Melbourne radio to call for a royal commission into fuel and energy prices.

But Mr Morrison unleashed on Mr Dutton’s plan to take the GST off electricity prices, calling it a “budget blower” that would cost $7.5 billion over four years.

Mr Dutton’s push for another challenge lost some steam amid questions about his parliamentary eligibility over the public funding of childcare centres held under a family trust.

A parade of ministers who voted against Mr Turnbull were asked in parliament whether they supported him, and all answered yes.

Thursday is the last day of parliament until September 10, with the next scheduled Liberal partyroom meeting on September 11.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Argento accuser tried to keep story quiet

An actor says he tried to keep his accusations of sexual assault against Asia Argento private.Actor Jimmy Bennett, who The New York Times reported has accused Italian actress Asia Argento of sexual assault, says he tried to handle the matter privately and felt “ashamed and afraid” after the story was published.

The Times reported on Sunday that Bennett had accused Argento, an outspoken advocate in the #MeToo social media movement against sexual misconduct, of sexually assaulting him in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37.

In a statement issued through his lawyer, Gordon Sattro, on Wednesday, Bennett said he initially chose to handle the matter in private, but he said when Argento publicly accused movie producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, his “trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself”.

It was Bennett’s first comment since the New York Times story.

Argento’s agent did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The Times reported that Bennett had sought a payment from Argento in November 2017, shortly after she accused Weinstein. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Bennett said he “tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public.”

“At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society,” he said. “I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Argento denied having sexual contact with Bennett. She said she and her then-boyfriend, the late culinary television star Anthony Bourdain, had “decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him.”

In the past 10 months, numerous men in the entertainment industry and in politics have been accused of sexual misconduct, forcing some resignations, helped by the #MeToo movement.