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Delirium Cafe, Brussels: no small beer

Posted on 29/06/2018 by

A world of choice awaits at Brussels’ Delirium Cafe, writes David Whitley.
Nanjing Night Net

The barman returns to the table looking rather disappointed. “We’ve not got any of the Angolan mango beer left,” he says, as if the news he has to break dishonours his entire family. “We’re waiting for our importer to deliver another batch.”

It’s OK though. It’s not as if we’re lacking an alternative. The beer menu at the Delirium Cafe in Brussels is a genuine epic, better measured in kilograms than number of beers listed. Even the bar’s owner, Joel Pecheur, admits that he doesn’t quite know how many beers are listed on the 240-page monster.

He estimates that the Delirium sells approximately 2000 beers from Belgium alone, and around 500 from overseas. Not all are in stock at any one time, but most are.

Indeed, the Delirium is recognised by Guinness World Records as having the largest selection of beers in the world – a total 2004 when they measured it. Of course, the mature thing to do in such circumstances would be to seek out the finest tipples and savour them. The immature thing would be to attempt to drink one beer from as many of the 78 countries represented as possible.

That’ll be one Breznak Pils from the Czech Republic and one Cubanero Fuerte from Cuba, please Mr Barman.

Some of the collection is instantly recognisable. You can have a Guinness from Ireland, a Singha from Thailand or an Asahi from Japan. You can also indulge in a truly pointless exercise by ordering a VB.

But it’s all the more exciting when you start plunging into the more obscure tipples. It’s unlikely that many visitors to Delirium have encountered Foraya Portari from the Faroe Islands, Akosombo from Ghana or Hinano from Tahiti before.

Of course, this is all a big gimmick. But it’s an excellent one that has proved exceedingly popular. The original bar opened in 2003, but the extended realm now takes over an entire alley.

There are now seven bars under the Delirium banner, each specialising in something different.

There’s a pirate-themed rum bar, a faux-Aztec tequileria, a vodka-toting “monastery” and an absinthe specialist. Each has hundreds of its chosen poison.

But beer is still the calling card, and the logistics of getting more than 2000 varieties in the same place are eye-popping. We sit down with Joel Pecheur, who is parked at a table in the alleyway, somewhat ironically sipping on a Coke.

He explains that getting the inventory in is a phenomenally difficult task – they’re reliant on several importers to bring in the obscure finds from around the world, and getting the numbers right is tricky.

Order big numbers and you’ve got to find somewhere to store them.

“We’ve got a warehouse on the outskirts of Brussels,” says Pecheur. “But we grew 40 per cent in the last year and need a new one.”

Sell-by and use-by dates are also an issue, but a small stock of one beer can end up wiped out in a session by a group developing a taste for it. Sourcing is also a big task – Delirium has 10 full-time employees devoted to finding beers, many of which come from tiny breweries.

“A new phenomenon is vintage beers – like wine, it’s the beer from a certain brewery in a certain year,” says Pecheur. “It’s very difficult to keep them the right way, but when the brewery stops producing them we try to keep some for the connoisseurs.

“There are also beers from breweries that have since disappeared. More than 50 per cent of the beers on our original list are no longer made.”

We’re given a behind-the-scenes tour. There are shelves and shelves of bottles, all divided by country and put in alphabetical order. The Belgian beers are slotted into categories and there’s a vast collection of specialist glasses.

Most breweries demand that their beers are served in a specific glass, and hundreds of these get “appropriated” as souvenirs each weekend.

The fields of crates and kegs show an almost industrial-scale operation.

Once the round-the-world challenge begins in earnest, we’re met with a few interesting novelties. The Taybeh from Palestine has an extremely distinctive spicy taste, while the Bolivar is a truly multinational effort. It’s made with rice from Thailand, quinoa from Bolivia and cane sugar from Costa Rica, but tastes heartily Belgian.

A few rounds in, the flagship Delirium Cafe gets sweatily, noisily busy, and we elect to head upstairs to Delirium’s latest baby.

The Hoppy Loft focuses on microbrewed keg beers from around the world. You could happily swat a pterodactyl with the catalogue-style menu.

Befuddled both by prior intake and choice, we end up telling the barman to just give us one from each country. The Scots, Americans, Dutch and Danes get their chance to impress, and the table fills with some dark, stormy-looking beverages.

My friend takes one look at the bottle of Rasputin from the Netherlands: “Uh-oh,” he says. “We’re on the 10-per-centers. This is not going to be pretty.”

It isn’t – and the likes of Mutzig from Cameroon and Chinggis from Mongolia are left untouched in favour of a spectacularly ill-advised jaunt through the absinthes, rums and vodkas in the other bars. As the evening goes on though, one thing becomes oddly clear. Delirium should be a paradise for knowledgeable connoisseurs, tasting their way through some of the finest Belgian Lambic and abbey beers.

But the crowd is all wrong. The later it gets, the more the alley looks like a youth club.

The local kids and the party-focused tour bus crowds are in for the famous booze theme park, and the place with the best selection of drink on the planet is filled with the people who are least likely to care what they’re drinking.

Alas, those Togolese tipples and Bolivian brews will have to remain in the backstage beer labyrinth for a little longer.

The writer was a guest of the Belgian Tourist Office.

TRIP NOTES

GETTING THERE

Thai Airways is offering flights to Brussels from Sydney via Bangkok from $1708. Phone 1300 651 960; see thaiairways南京夜网.au.

DRINKING THERE

The Delirium empire can be found in Impasse de la Fidelite, an alley off Rue des Bouchers in central Brussels. See deliriumcafe.be.

STAYING THERE

The Crowne Plaza at 3 Rue Gineste has historic charm and four-star rooms from €190.80 ($272) a night. See crowneplazabrussels.be.

MORE INFORMATION

belgiumtheplaceto.be.

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

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok: write minded

Posted on 29/06/2018 by

Colonial influences: the Mandarin Oriental Hotel spa. Mandarin Oriental Hotel executive suite.
Nanjing Night Net

Dining on the terrace.

The spirits of literary greats permeate these halls, writes Catherine Marshall.

There’s an elephant in the room – and it’s made entirely of chocolate. It carries on its back a saddle wrought from confection, and inside the saddle is a load of exquisitely crafted chocolates. Propped against a miniature easel beside the elephant’s flank is an edible painting of Bangkok’s legendary Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

I bite into the painting; it is deliciously sweet, but leaves a vaguely subversive taste in my mouth, too, for I’m standing inside the very building that I have just – metaphorically – eaten. From my suite high up in the hotel’s River Wing extension I can see the Chao Phraya River snaking languorously past the hotel terrace and meandering back towards Bangkok’s northern outskirts; the sun is beginning to sink and its rays briefly glaze the coffee-brown waters of this city thoroughfare.

The riverboats churning through it can’t have changed much since 1887, when expatriates and local aristocrats gathered here to celebrate the opening of this establishment, built in place of the original Oriental Hotel.

Grand and neoclassical, it was seen as an appropriate addition to the city of Bangkok, which by then was the fast-growing capital of Siam, as Thailand was then known, the only country in south-east Asia spared colonial rule.

But colonial influences abounded then and still do today, in the golden teak bells that hang from the vaulted ceiling in the lobby, in the white wicker chairs and lazily whirring ceiling fans in the Authors’ Lounge, in the stationery that has been embossed with my name and placed on a writing bureau overlooking the river, and, of course, in the chocolate elephant that stands on the dresser and carries in its regal bearing the memory of a time long since past.

Sitting at my bureau with its leather and teak accents, its pens and gold-stamped paper, and all of Bangkok lying sprawled outside my window as inspiration, I can easily conjure that intellectual, jasmine-scented past. The new hotel attracted visiting writers from the West who would drink gin and tonics on the terrace and imagine into being the characters who would populate their novels.

John Le Carre completed The Honourable Schoolboy here, W. Somerset Maugham recovered from malaria in one of the cool, soothing suites, and Ernest Hemingway ever-faithfully propped up the bar.

For my own part, I took afternoon tea in the Authors’ Lounge, sitting amid the ghosts of all those legendary writers as I drank my specially formulated oriental brew and nibbled tiny quiches and croissants. I could picture Joseph Conrad sitting in the corner just over there, and Dame Barbara Cartland holding court across the room, a pot of creme brulee held between her jewelled fingers. The lounge had felt like the repository of an intriguing literary history, for it takes up much of the first floor of the original wing at whose opening all those expatriates and aristocrats could be seen rubbing shoulders back in 1887; today, the upper level has been commandeered by four heritage suites named for Conrad, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and James Michener.

Their books are squeezed among countless others on shelves in the library, which is tucked just off the lounge and doubles as a reading room for guests who wish to linger.

The hotel’s later additions, separated from the original building by richly scented tropical gardens, are also appointed with suites bearing the names of literary patrons: Gore Vidal, Jim Thompson, Wilbur Smith.

But this theme is not just a marketing gimmick, for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel pinned its literary colours to the mast in 1979 when it co-founded the South East Asian Writers’ Awards (also known as the SEA Write Award).

I had briefly browsed the library at afternoon tea, but decided that too much cerebral activity was sinful in a city so attuned to the importance of holistic well-being. So I caught a teak barge – used to shuttle guests – to the other side of the river, where an annex contains the hotel’s health centre, jogging track, Thai cooking school, the Sala Rim Naam restaurant and the serene, wood-panelled cocoon that is the Oriental Spa.

Here, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s spa wellness manager, Neelam Khatri, explained that the establishment sought to maximise their guests’ experience by combining traditional massage with Ayurvedic consultation, yoga and meditation. Khatri’s gentle voice, the scent of oils and steamy Thai fruit tea and the abiding silence were already inducements to a somniferous afternoon, but I believe I may have actually slumbered when my therapist gently delivered a signature aromatherapy massage.

Reawakened, I had returned to my suite. And now here I stand, high above Bangkok, observing a city transformed by darkness and the glitter of electric light.

The writer was a guest of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok and Qantas.

TRIP NOTES

WHERE

The Mandarin Oriental, 48 Oriental Avenue. Qantas flies to Bangkok from Sydney daily. Phone 131313, see qantas南京夜网.au.

HOW MUCH

Rates for a superior room start at $362 a night. See mandarinoriental南京夜网/bangkok.

TOP MARKS

Attentive yet unobtrusive staff; daily bowl of tropical fruit with a card explaining its origins; the personalised invitation to attend cocktails; welcoming treats such as that chocolate elephant.

BLACK MARK

Watching those expansive riverside windows being cleaned somewhat spoils the romance.

DON’T MISS

Dinner at the hotel’s five-star Sala Rim Naam restaurant. Set across the river from the main compound and housed in a beautiful Northern Thai-style pavilion, it delivers a rich sensory experience of Thai cuisine.

MORE INFORMATION

tourismthailand.org; smartraveller.gov.au.

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

Hong Kong: the green unseen

Posted on 29/06/2018 by

Sai Kung East Country Park.There’s more to Hong Kong than shopping in its steamy canyons, writes Natasha Dragun.
Nanjing Night Net

Hong Kong may be one of the world’s great cities – with towering skyscrapers and endless shopping malls – but beyond the bright lights a host of fresh-air activities await. Away from the congested cityscapes hugging Victoria Harbour, more than 70 per cent of Hong Kong, hard as it may be to believe, is given over to land and water nature reserves.

And because the city is so compact, many activities are within easy reach of hotels. Here’s a look at the best ways to get a taste of Hong Kong’s surprising great outdoors.

HIKING

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy wilderness – in fact, some of the city’s top hiking trails are located on Hong Kong Island, easily accessible by public bus.

The Dragon’s Back is probably the best-known of these, the ridge sweeping down to a fishing village in Shek O Country Park. You’ll wander through groves of bamboo and woodland before emerging to open hillsides blanketed with wild azaleas and rose myrtle, offering unbroken views over Clear Water Bay, Stanley and Hong Kong’s eastern islands.

The walk ends at Shek O, where cheap-and-cheerful seafood stalls sell barbecued octopus and bottles of ice-cold beer. Dragon’s Back can be done independently, but guided hikes are also available with Walk Hong Kong. The group’s popular Deserted Beaches Hike takes you to some of the New Territories’ prettiest stretches of sand in remote Sai Kung.

Here, lush tropical vegetation and forested ridges give way to white sandy beaches, many of which you’ll have entirely to yourselves. To reach them you’ll hike through old Hakka villages, where local farmers once nurtured “feng shui woods” to preserve local flora and fauna.

In the same neighbourhood, the group’s Geopark Hiking Tour takes you along Sai Kung East Country Park, home to a volcanic column wall, one of the world’s largest examples of its kind.

KAYAKING

Junks, ferries and container ships aren’t the only harbour traffic. A growing trend is to explore the city’s waterways by kayak.

Local outfit Kayak-and-Hike offers full-day packages to the Ung Kong archipelago, part of Hong Kong’s Global Geopark in the eastern New Territories. Trips launch from Sai Kung with a junk ride through coves and past forested hills to Sha Kiu Tau fishing village. There, you’re kitted with kayak, life vest and snorkelling gear before paddling out to explore caves, sea arches and eventually Bluff Island, to see some of Hong Kong’s coral and marine life.

Work up a sweat hiking to the island’s lookout before cooling off with a swim or snorkel – the visibility is typically great, and you’ll likely spot Chinese demoiselle, clown fish and racoon butterfly fish, among other species.

You can BYO picnic or join tour leaders for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant back at Sha Kiu Tau.

BIKING

You don’t see many cyclists in congested Hong Kong city, but biking opportunities do exist.

Several organisations, including the Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association are dedicated to the development and upgrade of off-road tracks in the relatively untouched New Territories, as well as on far-flung islands.

Excellent maps and trail descriptions on the association website mean that you can tackle different trails on your own.

The organisation also offers skills sessions and, in collaboration with Crosscountry HK, guided half and full-day trips tailored to different skill levels.

Similarly, Mountain Biking Asia leads two-wheel tours of Hong Kong on sedate tracks through the New Territories. Over 35 kilometres you’ll cycle through historic villages before reaching the Nam Sheng Wai Peninsula, where thousands of migratory birds flock for the winter.

A fortifying dim sum lunch in the old market town of Yuen Long ends a half-day tour; those wishing to extend the trip can cycle on through wetlands surrounding Deep Bay, near the border with mainland China. The bird identification cards handed out en route are a nice touch.

WILDLIFE

It’s hard to believe that anything lives in Hong Kong’s heavily trafficked harbour, but the waters are home to a surprising collection of marine life, including wild dolphins – pink ones at that.

Officially known as the Chinese white dolphin (apparently constant blushing gives them a rosy glow), the cetaceans call the city’s Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park, in the western waters, home.

Hong Kong Dolphinwatch – an avid supporter of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and supporter of dolphin research – leads trips to the park with informative talks on the fragile marine ecosystem along the way.

Despite their dwindling numbers (some estimate that there are only a few hundred left), the dolphins are a resident species of Hong Kong and can be spotted year-round. But if you’re unlucky and don’t see a dolphin on the tour, you can simply join again for free on any other scheduled trip.

BIRDWATCHING

Avid twitchers descend on Hong Kong during the city’s cooler months, when migratory birds take refuge in the marshes and mudflats of the city’s wetlands and nature reserves – more than two million birds descend on Mai Po Nature Reserve in the New Territories alone.

The Hong Kong Birdwatching Society offers guided trips to the reserve, led by ornithologists who will regale you with an astounding amount of information about the 380 species of birds that inhabit the park, 35 of which are of global conservation concern, including the Saunders’ gull and the black-faced spoonbill.

Free monthly birdwatching activities, in conjunction with the tourism board, take you to Hong Kong Park, where you might spot the white-crested hornbill or racket-tailed treepie, and Kowloon Park, home to flamingos, ringed teal and tropical pigeons.

The writer travelled courtesy of Cathay Pacific and The Upper House.

TRIP NOTES

GETTING THERE

Cathay Pacific operates daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Phone 131 747, cathaypacific南京夜网.

STAYING THERE

Designed by Andre Fu, the Upper House’s 117 rooms are all about pared-back luxury. Rooms start at $HK4500 ($619) and have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Victoria Harbour, free minibar snacks, Wi-Fi and satin amenity pouches. See upperhouse南京夜网.

SEE + DO

The Hong Kong Birdwatching Society offers free guided tours. See hkbws.org.hk.

Hong Kong Dolphinwatch’s four-hour trips run on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and cost $HK380 an adult. See hkdolphinwatch南京夜网.

Bikewise courses and guided mountain-biking trips with Crosscountry HK from $HK940 for the first rider, $HK560 for subsequent riders, bike included. See crosscountryhk南京夜网; hkmba.org.

Mountain Biking Asia’s guided tours include lunch and wetlands entry from $HK500. See mountainbikingasia南京夜网.

Kayak and Hike’s day tours run from 8.45am to 4pm and cost from $HK700 a person. See kayak-and-hike南京夜网.

MORE INFORMATION

discoverhongkong南京夜网.

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

Sydney Roosters vanquish St George Illawarra Dragons in superhero stoush

Posted on 16/03/2019 by

Over he goes: Roosters rookie Nene Macdonald evades Josh Dugan to score in the corner. Photo: Getty ImagesRoosters 30 St George Illawarra 22
Nanjing Night Net

Captain America, the comic book hero, has squared off against many adversaries in his fight for justice and liberty.

On Saturday night the Roosters, the NRL team, sporting their promotional Captain America jerseys, kept their premiership defence fight alive with a 30-22 win against a willing adversary in St George Illawarra.

In a game where both teams lacked cohesion and attacking options, the Roosters got the better of a spirited Dragons outfit to move inside the top four with a five-tries-to-three win.

By no means was it a win that would fill Roosters coach Trent Robinson with a lot of confidence.

The big positive was the successful return of Origin centre Michael Jennings.

It was just like riding a bike for Jennings on his return from injury as he was involved in both of the Roosters’ tries in the first half.

He crossed for the opening try of the game after eight minutes from a James Maloney bomb.

He then was part of a slick backline move that was finished off by Nene Macdonald to give the Roosters the half-time lead.

His attacking brilliance was the highlight of the Roosters attack that lacked an X-factor and was one-dimensional at times without the injured Sonny Bill Williams.

The Dragons took advantage of the Roosters’ sloppy first half and dominated possession despite running into the wind and were rewarded with two tries.

Brett Morris was gifted a four-pointer after Roger Tuivasa-Sheck fumbled a Gareth Widdop kick to open the scoring.

Widdop then supplied the pass for the second try as Joel Thompson strolled through some uncharacteristic poor defence from the Roosters to take the lead.

The Dragons were helped by a fortunate quick tap call that allowed Brett Morris to split the Roosters defence and it never recovered.

Unfortunately the joint venture could not replicate their iron man-themed jerseys for long enough periods and were caught swapping the hard yards for sideways attack far too often.

The Roosters took full advantage.

And despite wearing the Captain America strip, the Roosters did their best superman impression by coming out of the dressing shed a different team.

It was a superhero stretch from Aidan Guerra that opened the scoring for the tri-colours early in the second half.

The Queensland back-rower twisted, turned and somehow managed to get the ball down on the try line under all sorts of pressure to extend the lead to eight.

It was fitting Jennings scored the try that put the game to bed with his second try off another Maloney kick, pushing the home team out by 14 points.

Not even a Benji Marshall special solo try was enough for the Dragons to mount a comeback and it was Jake Friend who put the icing on the cake with a well-deserved try after again topping the tackle count.

Josh Dugan, whose battle with Jennings was a highlight of the night, crossed for a consolation try to close the winning margin to eight.

Despite their 10th loss of the year and potentially dropping as low as 13th at the completion of the round, finals footy is not out of the equation for the Dragons.

Read more:http://www.smh南京夜网.au/rugby-league/league-match-report/sydney-roosters-vanquish-st-george-illawarra-dragons-in-superhero-stoush-20140802-zzuux.html

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

Commonwealth Games Day 10: How it happened for the Aussies

Posted on 16/03/2019 by

Commonwealth Games 2014 Full CoverageMeet Australia’s regional Commonwealth Games competitorsNational message wall: Cheer on your regional competitors7.47am: They’ve done it again. The never-say-die Australia’s women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos, notched up a third consecutive Commonwealth gold after a nail-biting finish. Jodie Kenny levelled scores for Australia at 1-1 with only fifteen seconds remaining in the match before the Hockeyroos snatched a 3-1 from England on penalties.
Nanjing Night Net

Celebration time: the Hockeyroos jubilant after Madonna Blyth scores the winning goal. Photo: Getty Images

6.38am:Joe Goodall, the first Australian to challenge for a Commonwealth Games super heavyweight gold, has been beaten by classy Englishman Joe Joyce in the final bout of the boxing tournament.

Aussie @Glasgow2014 boxing medallists Joe Goodall silver; and @shelleywatts87 & @Andrewmoloney52 gold #teamAUS2014pic.twitter南京夜网/g81Y2qCaZt

— Ian Hanson (@hansonmedia) August 2, 2014

6.23am:They might have been outsized and outmuscled, but the Diamonds overcame Jamaica on Saturday and set up a Commonwealth Games netball final against New Zealand.

6.09am: In time, Shelley Watts may become to Australian boxing what Annette Kellerman was to swimming and Phyllis O’Donnell was to surfing: an original whose name will forever be linked with her sport’s professional origins. There have been other Australian female boxers of note, but there will never be another first Australian female gold medallist. Watts has that for good.

5.46am: It was a loss and silver medals for the Australian table tennis duo of Miao Miao and Jian Lay fell11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5 to Singapore’s Tianwei Feng and Mengyu Yu in Saturday’s gold medal match on the final day of table tennis competition at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Sports Complex.

Miao Miao and Jian Fang Lay won a set in their gold medal match. Photo: James Brickwood

5.24am:Victorian southpawAndrew Moloney has impressed everyone with his discipline and control in the ring and needed all of his smarts to take the flyweight gold medal after a torrid bout with Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem.

Victorian mollydooker Andrew Maloney, a superb technician, won two of the three rounds. Photo: James Brickwood

5.07am:Canberra’s Andrew Charter will chase his first Commonwealth Games gold medal late on Sunday (AEST)after the Kookaburras beat England in Saturday’s semi-final.

Canberra’s Andrew Charter is now the Kookaburra’s No.1 shot-stopper. Photo: Grant Treeby

The one word you need to learn to say

Posted on 16/03/2019 by

power of no
Nanjing Night Net

David Rock spends a lot of time thinking about how we can best use our mental energy.

As director of the Australian NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Working Smarter All Day Long, he not only keeps abreast of related research, he also talks to workers about how they use their minds on the job.

“One of the questions I ask people is how much quality thinking time they get each day,” he says. “I define quality thinking time as being able to focus deeply and achieve what you set out to achieve in the time you expect.

“The number continues to decrease as I ask people. It’s not 20 or 10 or even five hours. For a lot of people it’s a couple of hours a week, if that. The downside of technology is that it’s getting harder and harder to focus.”

Part of the problem is that we are now bombarded with information.

Two researchers from the University of California San Diego, Roger Bohn and James Short, found that the amount of information – text, spreadsheet data, moving images and music – consumed per capita by Americans increased by 60 per cent between 1980 and 2008, from 7.4 hours a day to 11.8. Shockingly, these figures exclude working hours.

While information is generally useful, we also need space from it for our own thinking.”Your ability to make great decisions is a limited resource,” says Rock in Your Brain at Work. “This means not thinking when you don’t have to, and becoming disciplined about not paying attention to non-urgent tasks.”

So what is this magical skill you need to think clearly in our hyper-connected, information-glutted society?

The ability to say no.

Given that we have a finite amount of time and energy, learning when to say no will help you spend the maximum amount of both of these precious resources on activities that will help you get ahead. It will help you block out everyday distractions, keep you on track to reach your real goals, and help you develop the skills most important for your work. Here are some practical hints:

Avoid thinking during seemingly inconsequential periods. Take, for instance, your commute. Many of us find that prime time for multitasking: why not squeeze a podcast in, or write a few emails? But Rock says rest is important to fuel our creativity and suggests you just take in the scenery.

Don’t toggle your attention. Turn off your smartphone during a meeting instead of idly checking to see what emails have come in. “Once you open your email program and notice messages from people you know, it’s so much harder to stop yourself from reading them,” Rock writes. Your brain will start expending energy in one direction, and you’ll waste more energy snapping your attention back to the matter at hand.

Don’t accept unwanted emails. After getting too many emails from publicists, I spent two hours going through my inbox and unsubscribing from all the emails that I didn’t want or need, and creating filters for the most irrelevant public relations emails I received so that those now go straight to my trash. It was one big session of saying, “No, I don’t need that now or in the future.” I noticed an immediate reduction in the amount of distraction and mental crowding that email was bringing into my life.

Don’t let the outside world interrupt your rest. Institute a no-gadgets rule at night. I won’t have my phone or any other electronic device in my bedroom during sleeping hours. I have a separate alarm clock and read books instead of my smartphone. Once I implemented this rule, I immediately noticed the quality of my sleep improved.

Don’t do work inessential to your main duties.

When a task comes your way, ask yourself if it will get you ahead on your main responsibilities. If not, consider whether it needs to be done at all, or whether you’re the best person to be working on it. If you are part of a team, delegate it instead.

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

Sydney wakes up to coldest morning in four years

Posted on 16/03/2019 by

Rug up: A chilly start to August means gloves and scarves are still a must. Photo: Jonathan Carroll Snow fall on Govetts Leap Road at Blackheath on Friday night. Photo: Rose Powell
Nanjing Night Net

If you thought it was particularly cold when you got out of bed this morning, you were right.

Sydney will wake up to its coldest morning in four years today, reaching a low of 5.5 degrees.

It’s a chilly start to the day after a surprisingly warm week, which hosted the warmest three consecutive days in any July for the city, topped off with a balmy 25 degrees on Thursday.

Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said gloves and scarves would be a must for some this morning.

“It’s the coldest morning in four years but it’s also the coldest August morning in 6 years,” he said.

“There is also still a bit of a gentle breeze, which will make it feel as cold as the temperature suggests.”

Sunday is likely to reach a maximum of 17 degrees and should become reasonably comfortable as winds gradually drop off during the day.

Heading into the week the colder mornings are set to continue through until at least Thursday.

“The first half of August is going to be quite cool, as we will still have a few chilly nights and mornings and we are not going to get many days where we hit 20 degrees,” Mr Dutschke said.

However he said the latter half of the month would see temperatures warm up noticably.

Snowfall in the Blue Mountains kicked off the chilly start to the month with heavy snow around Mount Victoria and Medlow Bath.

Canberra is experiencing an even colder start to Sunday, reaching a low of -3.2 at 8am.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

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

Welcome to boxing, where everyone believes they’ve won

Posted on 16/03/2019 by

When it comes to elite sport, the harsh truth is that there can only be one winner. Except in boxing, where almost every fighter in every bout thinks they’ve won. It’s a tradition.
Nanjing Night Net

There was barely a fight in the gold medal rounds of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where both athletes didn’t throw their hands into the air, high on the ecstasy of impending victory, when the final bell rang.

As a general rule, the charade must continue right up until the judges’ decision is revealed and a wrapped hand is held aloft. For the winner, the celebrations can start. Time to climb the ropes and salute the crowd.

For the loser, anything goes. This is the ‘Friendly Games’ but boxing has always been different. People that spend their life punching other people in the face don’t always greet defeat with the same diplomacy as a table tennis player, or a lawn bowler.

Boxing does lunatic incredibly well and even in the amateur ranks, the cannons can be rather loose and the reactions to a loss not fit for discussion at the dinner table.

When Australian Andrew Moloney took the flyweight gold in a unanimous points decision over Muhammad Waseem, the Pakistani was furious. He shook his head in disagreement before letting fly with a gold-medal spray of his own to waiting journalists.

“”F*@king crazy f&#k. He cheating. The referee, the judges they’re all cheating. Not happy with silver. Lying, f*#king cheating.” What could he possibly be getting at?

It wasn’t just the men, either. Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh couldn’t believe her ears when she lost the opening bout of the night to England’s Olympic champion, Nicola Adams. She screamed ‘No, No!” when the verdict was announced, before going on to say she was going to spray paint her silver medal gold, such was the injustice.

“In my heart I have got the gold medal. I do believe I was cheated but that’s boxing for you,” Walsh said. “I know I have got a silver around my neck but I want to spray-paint it gold, because I do believe that fight was mine.”

The previous day, Scotland’s Reece McFadden had set the bar fairly highly when he lost to cool and calm Moloney, who seems to have have had a hand in a few of the more outrageous moments of the boxing tournament.

McFadden simply said all of the officials were corrupt and the result was flat-out larceny, even if he qualified it by suggesting the robbery was on the minor end of the scale.

“That’s what happens in boxing – it’s corrupt. Everyone knows it is corrupt and I’ve been robbed quite a few times. That wasn’t a big robbery there but I still thought I did enough to win,” McFadden said.

It wasn’t all bad. Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzpatrick took the radical step of suggesting he just wasn’t good enough on the night after a defeat to hometown hero, Scotland’s Charlie Flynn.

“My tactics were all wrong. I’ll get him again and I know for a fact that I’ll beat him. For a fact. He won the fight no problem but that wasn’t even me in that ring there. I’m well better than that and I don’t know what was wrong with me,” Fitzpatrick said.

He’ll learn.

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

Rose Byrne: the getting of wisdom

Posted on 16/02/2019 by

Funny girl: Rose Byrne has been a late convert to comedy, after many years in more serious roles. Photo: Boo GeorgeRose Byrne and her boyfriend are walking towards me hand in hand. Bobby Cannavale is wearing a scarf and a beanie but there’s no mistaking the American actor’s solid frame and pugilistic good looks. She’s petite, her fine-boned face framed by a well-cut sweep of chestnut hair and a pale yellow scarf knotted around her neck.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s a paparazzi moment: the Australian star of the 2011 hit Bridesmaids with the actor who won an Emmy for playing a psychopathic gangster in HBO’s acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire. But in this self-consciously hip photographic studio in North London, where Madonna and Lady Gaga are regulars and even the guy at reception looks like a pop star, no one gives them a second glance.

Byrne and Cannavale are grabbing a few precious minutes together, she explains. He’s on his way to catch a flight to New York; she’s preparing to shoot a campaign that will launch her as the face of the Australian luxury brand, Oroton. “I won’t be long,” she says and true to her word she reappears 10 minutes later, having dispatched Cannavale to the airport.

“In this business you have to grab your moments,” she explains. “You have to organise your life or the time apart can stretch into weeks and weeks and that’s no good for any relationship.”

At 35, Byrne knows all about the perks and pitfalls of life as a successful actor. It would be easy to assume her determination to schedule time with Cannavale is informed by her break-up with the Australian playwright and actor Brendan Cowell. When they split up in 2010 after seven years together, it was speculated that her relocation to New York to film the drama series Damages, was one of the reasons they grew apart.

She and 44-year-old Cannavale are clearly very much in love – he called her “the love of my life” during his Emmy acceptance speech – and they’re displaying a talent for snatching time together in the face of hectic schedules.

Both appear in a new film version of the musical Annie, starring Jamie Foxx, and both have parts in Spy, the espionage spoof starring Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law and Jason Statham which Byrne has been shooting in Budapest. “That was really just a stroke of luck,” she insists. “We’re not a couple in either of them. But it is great, because with these shooting schedules you can go months without seeing each other.”

Byrne started acting young. She was 15 and still living with her parents in Balmain when she appeared in the 1994 Australian feature, Dallas Doll. Audiences really sat up and took notice when she appeared with Heath Ledger in the 1999 indie thriller Two Hands. But it wasn’t until 2007 that her role in Damages – the TV drama about a team of New York lawyers led by the terrifying Patty Hewes, played by Glenn Close – began to give her an international reputation.

In 2009, Byrne had a lucky break when she was cast as Jackie Q, a foul-mouthed, narcissistic pop star in the comedy Get Him to the Greek. She admits she wasn’t an obvious choice for the role; Ellen Parsons, the young lawyer she played in Damages, is a professional sad sack, a woman who seems physically incapable of smiling. But director Paul Fieg was so impressed by Byrne’s performance as Jackie Q he cast her as Helen, the too-perfect-to-be-true friend of the bride in Bridesmaids. All of a sudden the actress renowned for her melancholy beauty was being touted as a Hollywood funny woman.

I put it to Byrne that she’s an unlikely comedienne and she doesn’t disagree. As a notorious “breaker” – an actor who struggles to keep a straight face when filming comedy – she’s more likely to be laughing at jokes than cracking them. The natural humour of actors like McCarthy, a woman Byrne describes as “the funniest person in the world”, fascinates her. Byrne’s approach to comedy is the same as her approach to any drama: she tries to find the truth in the character and “play it as reality”.

“Comedy is a bit of a mystery to me because you can meet comedians and they’re not necessarily very funny,” she says. “And then you can meet a funny person who’s not a funny actor. So it’s, um, ephemeral.”

Byrne is a bit of an enigma herself. She’s polite and friendly, but somewhat guarded, too. She’s genuinely shy, something you don’t expect from the actress who humped Seth Rogen in a hilariously awkward scene in Bad Neighbours. She has a self-effacing habit of apologising – “Sorry, was that boring? I’m sure you’ve heard that a thousand times before” – more often than is necessary and admits she’s a “quiet presence on set”. Ask her if she likes being interviewed and she laughs. “I don’t want to put you off,” she says. So, that’s a no, then? “It’s, ah, part of the gig,” she replies.

Since Bridesmaids shot her up the Hollywood rankings, the gig has been spectacular. She spent three months in Budapest making Spy, adding a few action scenes to her repertoire despite a tendency to “bruise easily”. Today, she’s in London and it’s all about fashion.

We’re sitting in a big, white-walled room crammed with enough designer frocks, handbags and sunglasses to fill a Kardashian-sized wardrobe. “It’s a bit of a departure for them,” she says of her new role as Oroton ambassador. “They’ve used [Australian actress] Emma Booth in a past campaign, but they haven’t used anyone for a few seasons. It’s exciting to bring a face to the brand.”

Byrne is a favourite with the fashion crowd. Whether it’s the midriff-baring Calvin Klein gown she wore to last year’s Emmys, her “ever-changing” hairstyles or her make-up – “Did Rose Byrne just find a grown-up way to wear sparkly purple eyeshadow!” – the fashionistas appear obsessed with her. “Believe me I’ve had a lot of bad reviews as well,” she says, though she struggles to name one.

Byrne insists she was a bit of a dag in her late teens and 20s, when she rocked crochet dresses and Dr Martens. The origins of today’s immaculate A-Lister can be traced back about five years, to the moment she met British “power stylist” Penny Lovell. Lovell’s sure-fire taste and Byrne’s own blossoming confidence have turned her into a regular on the best-dressed lists.

“I know what suits me nowadays,” she says. “As you get older you get a lot more confident.” Does she pinch herself when famous designers give her clothes? “It’s a perk of the job. But it’s a bit like Cinderella, because you have to put it all back into a bag at midnight before you turn into a pumpkin. It’s part of the whole, um, charade.”

Charade is an interesting choice of word: the dictionary defines it as an absurd act or travesty. I suspect it also sums up the way Byrne feels about the scrutiny and unwanted attention that come with her job. Byrne firmly believes it’s a blessing that she didn’t become really famous until she was in her late 20s, and that she didn’t have to grow up under the kind of scrutiny directed at the young cast of Twilight or The Hunger Games, for example.

“I see myself as a character actor more than anything,” she says. “I’ve never been a tabloid favourite. I can’t imagine having all that scrutiny at a really young age. Everything is photographed and videoed now – you can’t just go out and screw up and be a normal teenager.”

Byrne has often spoken about her insecurity – “I know! I’m like a broken record,” she laughs – and her phenomenal run of success has done little to assuage her doubts. “I don’t think actors ever lose their insecurity – how could we?” she says. “It’s a freelance job and there are so many actors out there.”

It would be easy to accuse Byrne of being disingenuous, but she points out she still misses out on parts that she’s fallen in love with and has to “campaign” to get the next good role. At times, her fears about work have taken a darker turn: she’s suffered from anxiety attacks and feelings of losing control and “going insane”.

It’s a paradox, she says. Actors need a thick skin to handle rejection, but they have to maintain a certain vulnerability to expose the truth in a character. “That’s a funny thing to ask of yourself. But I’m getting better as I get older. I’m getting more comfortable in my skin.”

When the Oroton shoot is over, Byrne’s heading back to New York. She feels at home there, although she still visits Australia, her “emotional home”, at least twice a year. “I found London a bit overwhelming when I lived here – I felt a bit lost,” she says. “New York feels more compact. I’ve lived there eight years, but they say it takes 20 years to become a real New Yorker so I’m not there yet.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Living with your partner’s weird obsession

Posted on 16/02/2019 by

For the love of Alice: Julijana Trifunovic with her husband Paul Joseph.Love him, love Alice Cooper
Nanjing Night Net

Julijana Trifunovic, 46, lives in Sydney with her husband Paul Joseph, 46. Paul is a dedicated Alice Cooper fan.

I met Paul when I was 28, and on one of our first dates we talked about the types of music we enjoyed. Back then I was into Duran Duran and knew very little about Alice Cooper, other than a few songs that I had heard on the radio. Things have definitely changed now.

Paul lives and breathes Alice Cooper and has done since the age of 13. Growing up in an apartment with his mum it was all about him and Alice. He’d put his headphones on and listen until he knew every word to every song.

But it’s not just about the music. He has an amazing memory and is really interested in the trivia as well. He’s got books about Alice Cooper’s connections with other people, all the DVDs of live shows, documentaries and music, and rare memorabilia. He knows things like dates and times of events, all about Alice’s family, information about the setting up of Alice Cooper fun parks, who he has played with and who he doesn’t like.

Paul formed his first band after we got married, but started the Alice Cooper show 2½ years ago. He’s extremely dedicated and practises by himself every day and every Wednesday with the band. This is the only thing that causes tension; my biggest argument is that instead of practising, he should be getting gigs. He needs to go out and share his skills with others, not just us.

When Paul does his shows he loves getting into character and I’ve never had a problem with it. The other day I picked out some leather gloves with skulls on for him, and I’ve been shopping with him to buy tights with crosses on. I also do his make-up. Even though I’m not into it myself, I just want to make him happy, so I embrace it.

I think one of the funniest things is that Paul has started to look like Alice Cooper. He has had people ask him to sign posters, and as far as our four-year-old son is concerned, Dad and Alice are one and the same person. He’s seen Dad in his show and watched Alice DVDs, so he can’t differentiate.

When I was pregnant, we agreed that a girl would be named Alice and a boy would be Cooper. But when our son arrived we decided against Cooper because it was really popular. Instead we agreed on Zeppelin, and it’s very fitting. He knows his rock’n’roll and does air guitar to all the songs daily with his Dad. He doesn’t know any Wiggles songs but he does know School’s Out.

There’s not a day goes by without a mention of Alice, a song being played, or some association coming up in conversation, whether it’s to do with a movie, show or food. Some people ask me how I put up with it, but it’s all a bit of fun really, and people who have known us for a long time just accept it.

Both our mums say that Paul will never grow up. His mum always thought he was going to grow out of it and can’t believe he hasn’t. She tells him to cut his hair and get over this “phase”, but it has been 30 years and it will never end.

He had a school reunion recently and everyone immediately asked, “Are you still into Alice Cooper?” It’s like he’s frozen in time.

I’m sure there are lots of people who have shunned their passions because their other half has been dismissive or told them they should be “over that by now”, but I think that’s ridiculous. Why change? You are who you are.

Love him, love his Lego

Sarah Katsavos, 35, is married to Dean, 32. They live in Melbourne with their daughter Sophia.

When I first started dating Dean, he was temporarily living in Brisbane for work, and most of his things were in storage in Melbourne. I gathered he had an interest in Lego as there were a few pieces around his home, but I had no idea of the extent of his passion.

About a year and a half into the relationship we moved to Melbourne, and that’s when the Lego started to come out of storage and into our house. At that time we had a small place with a combined living and dining area and it rapidly started filling with Lego. He’d return from his parents’ with boxes of it, which he’d unpack and put together. Every flat space – benches, the top of the piano, the coffee table – had something on it. They were all filled with planes, pirate ships or a Star Wars set.

We have the Star Wars Super Star Destroyer on our dining table which, at over a metre long, is one of the largest pieces you can get. It was a wedding present from his mum, who had said when he was younger, “When you find a nice girl and get married, I will buy you the biggest set of Lego I can find.”

This, and the Lego wedding cake, were the only Lego-related things at our wedding, though. When Dean proposed, he did it with a Lego ring in a Lego box. He went to a jeweller and had the base of a ring made out of silver and then clipped a piece of clear Lego onto it to resemble a diamond. When he pulled it out of the box, I had no idea what it was. It was only as he was helping me work out how to open it, that it clicked he was proposing. I did get a proper diamond afterwards, but I still have the Lego ring and box.

When we first moved into this house, Dean had his own Lego room. But since we’ve had our daughter Sophia, he has lost it. It means we are back to sharing our space with his Lego and it’s jammed in every corner. Having said that, it’s all very organised – sorted into colours and sizes – and he cleans it regularly. I think it’s just one of the many quirks that goes with loving Lego. Like when he gets a new set and has to put it together in one sitting. He started on the Super Star Destroyer set at 8am and didn’t finish until 2am the next day.

I would say we have thousands of dollars worth of Lego, and he spends a couple of hundred dollars every few months to add to his collection. But Dean keeps telling me it’s okay because Lego holds its value, especially the mini figurines that people collect. He’s got a lot of these still in their original packaging so they don’t get damaged. He’s also got sets that you can’t easily get here because, on my previous work trips to Florida, I went to the giant Lego store at Disneyland for him.

Dean’s very dedicated to his passion and spends a lot of time and money on it, but I don’t have a problem with it and love him regardless. I am interested to see what happens when Sophia gets old enough to play with Lego. Will he share and let her play with it, or will she have to play with her own toys?

Love him, love his bodybuilding

Jane Wallace, 47, met Bruce Hatfield, 50, online and they have been dating just over a year. Bruce is passionate about bodybuilding.

I can’t remember who started chatting to whom first, but I do remember all of his profile pictures were of him working out and I thought he looked like a bit of a meathead. As far as I was concerned, it would just be one date and I would walk away with a funny story about the night I dated a bodybuilder. I didn’t think we’d have much in common, but it turned out that we did.

When I met Bruce, he had been doing bodybuilding for 12 years and been in lots of competitions. He told me it was a big part of his life and he trained all the time, in and around his day job as a personal trainer. I recall saying I was a bit intimidated because he was so into exercise and I’m not, but he just laughed.

Bruce trains every day and, because he has to work it around clients, he often won’t get home until 10.30pm. The hours don’t affect me too much because we don’t live together, but it does make socialising more difficult. And it’s not just the training timetable that affects our social life. It’s also affected by Bruce’s diet, which is often strict and set out by his nutritionist.

Before a competition, we tend not to eat out as there is no point, and we definitely don’t go to events where there is a set menu because he can’t eat anything. During those times his eating is disciplined and he will spend most of his evenings organising his food for the next day or two, measuring it all out in the right quantities and containers.

Competitions are a big part of his life and we have three coming up over the next few weekends. Turning 50 this year means Bruce has moved into a different class, and so has the advantage of being one of the youngest. This means he will compete much more, and he has some events planned for September and October. He wants to add more trophies to his already huge collection.

The first time I went to a competition, I didn’t know what to expect; it wasn’t like anything I had been to before. Everyone was an orange colour, and walking around with barely any clothes on. It was definitely an eye-opener. It was interesting to see Bruce in action as he is a bit of a performer when he gets on stage. He doesn’t just do the poses, he makes jokes and gets the crowd going and is very entertaining.

After competitions, Bruce spends a lot of time updating his Facebook page with results and pictures from the day. He will upload any professional photos, but also any selfies – it’s fair to say that he is a bit selfie-obsessed.

I have never felt that his love for bodybuilding has detracted from any attention from me as, even though he loves it, he is quite balanced about it. Obviously it is a priority for him, especially around competition time, but I accept it and will continue to support him. In fact, I am starting to enjoy the competitions – there’s something I never thought I’d say.

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

MH17 team’s grim search for ‘remaining remains’ in shadow of war

Posted on 16/02/2019 by

Pro Russian rebels negotiate a safe passage with OSCE mission leader Alexander Hug. Photo: Kate Geraghty A suitcase wrapped in red plastic is recovered from the MH17 crash wreckage. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Nanjing Night Net

Australian Federal Police and their Dutch counterparts at the MH17 crash site. Photo: Kate Geraghty

AFP MH17 site

Grabovka, Ukraine: ‘Bring ‘em home’ became more than just a slogan as Australian Federal Police teams scoured the MH17 crash site for much of Saturday, their quiet bagging of the previously overlooked remains of the victims lending the Prime Minister’s words with rare poignancy.

Previously just a quilt of fields, the site has assumed a personality; and it has its own dark moods.

Arriving ahead of the Australian and Dutch recovery teams and the rest of the media pack, we had the site to ourselves for a time.

Oddly for a place that has seen such horror, it was peaceful, even bucolic. Separatist war had raged through the night, but for now the guns were silent.

The smoke still billowing in the heavens after the guns’ exertions might have been mistaken as clouds; and a farmer herded his cattle as a gentle breeze wobbled the wheat and sunflowers.

Each visit to the wreckage reveals a detail missed previously. This time, my eye lit on a plastic economy-class coffee cup, sitting perfectly upright as though the slab of fuselage on which it sits is just another kitchen table.

Our local driver wandered into a wheat field and later reported seeing a man’s diving watch lying in the dirt – the second hand still turning.

But the site’s dark moodiness asserted itself. The Australian-Dutch recovery mission’s 20-vehicle convoy crept in from the north with its escort of rebel fighters, and while the site itself remained peaceful through the day, there was a renewed rumbling of guns – like a delinquent percussion section.

I wondered, hopefully, about any sense of comfort or peace that this operation might evince in the families and friends of the dead. Would it be more meaningful for them that after a first erratic recovery effort by the rebels and later by Ukrainian emergency services, that this one was done by ‘our’ people? Is it too soon to ask these questions?

How might they have responded on seeing the first two dogs trained to search for human remains as they scampered playfully about the site before getting down to their grim task? And would the addition of five more dogs, Dutch and Belgian, to the search on Sunday give them more hope?

How difficult might it be fore them to have observed an ambulance nosing into a field nearest to the chicken farm that has become the Dutch-led search headquarters for this part of the operation?

Then to have seen the small AFP teams moving through the fields, at times dropping to their knees, and using tongs to put their finds in specimen bags?

And later, to have seen those bags deposited in a refrigerated truck, which in the evening would head north to Kharkiv, from where its precious cargo would be airlifted to the Netherlands where a Herculean identification effort already is underway on hundreds of bodies and body parts repatriated from the crash.

And then another searing moment – members of one of the AFP teams hefted two suitcases, one of them wrapped in red plastic, onto their shoulders. Whose? Australian, surely?

Nobody was saying – just like the body parts, these cases would retain their anonymity until the formal ID process and notification of kin.

But what would family and friends made of all this? What would they think of the recovery continuing at its own pace, sometimes with just a handful in the field, as their 60 or so colleagues did who-knows-what back at the chicken farm?

These people were not trained soldiers, but they stuck to their task when, as noon approached, so too did a resumption of the encircling war; tank shells exploding smokily behind a nearby tree line and overhead, the sound of another Ukrainian fighter jet.

What might they have said to the many reformed smokers in the Dutch contingent, who are back on tobacco since having this crisis dumped in their laps? And who might they believe on an incident on which Dutch and Australian officials remained silent?

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s conflict monitors, who escort the Australian investigators and their Dutch colleagues to and from the site, said that security on Saturday was adequate and that relations with the rebel fighters were good in the vicinity of the chicken farm.

However, Alexander Hug, leader of the OSCE team, reported that incoming artillery had driven a small investigative team, which included two Australians, away from an area of wreckage near a part of the crash site that reporters have dubbed ‘the cockpit village’ rather than attempt to pronounce its name, Rassypnoe.

Mr Hug estimated that the ordinance had landed two kilometres from the team, causing it to abort its visit to a new part of the site. But Aleksandr Bayrak, one of the team’s rebel escorts, gave a more graphic account of the incident, telling us that shells had been fired from about two kilometres away, and were landing as close as 50 metres away as the three-vehicle convoy entered the village of Petropavlovska.

Sheltering under a tree on the road into the chicken farm, as much from the sun as the jet, presumably Ukrainian, still prowling overhead, he said: “We stopped on the spot. We pulled your people from the cars and escorted them to a local basement. We were pinned down for maybe 40 minutes. Some of them were so worried; they were holding their heads. Then they asked us to take them to the chicken farm”.

How would the families and friends assess the indefatigable Mr Hug who by mid-afternoon was again poring over maps spread on the bonnet of a car, with his rebel counterparts. With the rumble of incoming shelling still rolling in from nearby Petropavlovska, he needed to confirm a secure route by which to extract the investigators back to their new base at Soledar, 95 kilometres north of the crash site.

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen rising from Petropavlovska, about five kilometres to the north. But the 20-vehicle convoy’s return to Soledar was incident free – save for negotiating steel planks across a fractured bridge that 24 hours earlier had been in sound condition.

The locals have been curiously absent from this whole exercise. So what might the families and friends have made of the appearance around noon, of a local priest leading a procession of about 50, mostly women, in a prayer service next to the charred remains of the engines of MH17?

Clutching flowers and with heads covered, they gathered by a roadside crucifix where the gold-robed priest led prayers and hymns for the dead passengers and crew as they worshiped in their own little cloud of burning incense.

The priest, Father Sergiy Barahtenko, told us that the service was for “all the dead – our dead and your dead”. Showing rare courage for a spiritual leader in a time of war, he exhorted his followers: “This war is awful – it must be stopped. But we cannot take up arms, we have to stop it with prayers”.

With such a priestly admonition ringing in the ears of locals, perhaps Saturday was the right day for the OSCE to attempt a word-of-mouth campaign to have villagers return items looted from the crash site.

An OSCE official asked rebel fighters to spread the word, that stolen property should be bagged and left where it could be collected in their community – no questions asked. What would the families and friends make of that?

But what hope can there be when all that remains is body parts? When all that will come home from these fields is what one of the Australian contingent referred to as “the remaining remains”.

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

Breaking : Accident near Bakers Swamp

Posted on 16/02/2019 by

Police are continuing to investigate the accident.Police are investigating an accident that occurred at 6am Sunday at Red Hill on the Mitchell Highway 25km south of Wellington.
Nanjing Night Net

It is understood a 23 year-old Dubbo man was travelling north back to Dubbo when his car veered off the road and hit an embankment, becoming airborne before hitting the ground heavily and crashing into a tree.

Emergency services were called to the crash site by which time the driver had freed himself from the vehicle.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken by ambulance to Orange Base Hospital to be treated for internal injuries.

Dubbo duty officer, acting inspector Richard Morley said that while the cause of the accident was still being investigated he urged the public to be aware of the cold weather and drive to the conditions, as well as to regularly take breaks.

Emergency services attend the scene.

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

Balgownie service marks 100 years since the declaration of WWI: photos

Posted on 16/02/2019 by

Balgownie service marks 100 years since the declaration of WWI: photos NSW Governor Marie Bashir’s personal guard David Glass salutes the fallen at a commemorative service held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.
Nanjing Night Net

NSW Governor Marie Bashir attended a commemorative service at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie War Memorial on Monday. Picture: CAMERON CARTER

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie War Memorial on Monday. Picture: CAMERON CARTER

Balgownie Public School student Molly Drone delivers the 23rd Psalm at the service. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie War Memorial on Monday. Picture: CAMERON CARTER

Marie Austin delivers a history of her grand-uncle Sapper Thorne North. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

War historian Mark Edwell at the service. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

Robin Smith delivers a wreath for the NZ Army Corps at a commemorative service at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

Illawarra Centenary ANZAC Committee Chairman Peter Poulton at the commemorative service at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

Local Aboriginal elder Richard Davis at the commemorative service at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

A commemorative service was held at Balgownie Memorial on Monday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI.

Good Samaritan Catholic School student Cameron Carter at the service.

TweetFacebookBeneath Hill 60was based on their exploits.

Others served in light horse regiments or in the famous 13thBattalion, which fought at Gallipoli and at some of the pivotal battles in France and Belgium.

Casualties: the War Memorial at Balgownie.

Monday’s ceremony will start at 10.30am and a 50-voice choir, formed from two Illawarra primary schools, and an army band will entertain the crowd.

Dame Marie Bashir will lay a wreath on behalf of all Australians and an Illawarraresident from New Zealand will lay a second wreath on behalf of his country.

Mr Poulton said the community waswelcome to attend the ceremony and people could lay their own wreaths at the completion of the official ceremony.

While he will be busy with his official duties, Mr Poulton said he would take a little time out to contemplate the war service of family members.

‘‘My grandfather and his brother were at Gallipoli and the Western Front,’’ he said.

‘‘I will try to find a quiet moment to reflect on what they went through. My grandfather was gassed on the Somme and while he survived the war it led to his demise in the 1960s.’’

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

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