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Hodge rewarded as Rebels rest Debreczeni

Reece Hodge will start as chief playmaker for Melbourne when they take on the Sunwolves.Rest and reward are behind the decision to hand Reece Hodge the five-eighth jersey for the Melbourne Rebels’ Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves.
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Hodge will start as chief playmaker for the first time after impressing coach Dave Wessels when he shifted to the position during their tight win over the Brumbies.

Wessels says the 23-year-old has earned the start but he also wants to give Jack Debreczeni a rest after starting every other game this season.

Debreczeni has been told to take mini-break to freshen up as they push for a maiden finals berth.

“Jack is one of only two players to have started every game for us and he’s played almost every minute too,” Wessels said on Thursday.

“It’s also a reward for Reece when he did move into that position.

“He brings a nice physical presence to us, particularly in defence in that role and also a fair bit of experience.”

The match is the final audition of Wallabies contenders, with the squad to be named next week for next month’s three-Test series against Six Nations champions Ireland.

With no outstanding contender to play No.10 behind Bernard Foley, Hodge can put his hand up after a strong showing.

While the Tokyo-based side have won their past two games, only five-eighth Hayden Parker remains in the same position from last round, with 14 changes to the line-up.

The team have lost many of their top Japanese players, who remained at home to start preparations for the June internationals, giving Melbourne the perfect opportunity to try to peg back n conference leaders the NSW Waratahs.

The Rebels trounced them by 20 points back in round four but Wessels said they wouldn’t take their opponents lightly.

“They don’t have a lot to lose, which makes it a very dangerous game,” he said.

“They play the type of football that supports a good attacking style that can cause us real trouble if we’re not on.”

OpinionShould we follow other countries and legalise e-cigarettes?

HOT TOPIC: US, Britain and NZ have legalised the sale and use of nicotine e-cigarettes.Are you confused about e-cigarettes? Many people are. Research shows that many ns have heard of e-cigarettes, and some have tried them, but there is also a lot of uncertainty. Nicotine e-cigarettes are readily available in some countries but not . New Zealand has joined the list of nations allowing the sale and use of nicotine e-cigarettes including the US and UK. E-cigarettes are fairly new, and since going on the market in 2004, their use has grown significantly.
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In the US,the Centres for Disease Prevention estimate there are about nine million e-cigarette users. Given e-cigarette use is likely to increase in as well, it is important to take stock of what we know so far and where more research is needed.

E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices, which heat a liquid stored in the device that usually contains nicotine and produces a vapour (not smoke) that the user then inhales. The use of e-cigarettes is often referred to as vaping, and users as vapers. Some deviceslook like large pens, while others are slightly larger with tanks. E-cigarettes deliver the nicotine smokers crave, without the tar and many other toxic substances found in burning tobacco cigarettes.

A review published in 2016 of all the available research on whether e-cigarettes help smokers quit concluded that they appeared to be as effective as other forms of nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches. But the review acknowledged more studies were needed to confirm that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.

The evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes suggests they are likely to be much safer and pose meaningfully lower risk of harm than continued tobacco smoking. They are not entirely without risk, and the long term effects of e-cigarettes are unknown. The safest option is to not smoke or vape, but due to their reduced risk compared with cigarette smoking, switching to e-cigarettes is recommended by some health authorities, such as the American Cancer Society and the Royal College of Physicians, for smokers who find it difficult to quit smoking.

Given ’s youth smoking rates are at their lowest, there is concern legalising vaping in will increase uptake among young people and become a gateway to tobacco smoking. However, the population data from countries like the US and UK, where vaping has been allowed for years, shows that youth smoking has not increased at all in that time. Indeed the data from those countries shows that adult smoking is also decreasing, most vapers are smokers or ex-smokers and only a negligible number of non-smokers take up vaping.

The consumer popularity of e-cigarettes means it’s no surprise that big tobacco is increasing its involvement in this market. Mistrust of the tobacco industry is warranted. However, most of the current e-cigarette makers are independents. The aggressive marketing used for e-cigarettes in the US and other countries is a related concern because it is reminiscent of the 1970s cigarette advertisements, branding and imagery.

If e-cigarettes are legalised in , regulations can be designed to limit the marketability of the devices to young people and non-smokers.

E-cigarettes are a safer option than continued tobacco smoking and may help some smokers to quit. More research is needed to clarify some of the gaps in our understanding of their safety and effectiveness as quitting aids.

Professor Billie Bonevski is a researcher,Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Fishing Point residents lose on-street parking after Lake Macquarie City Council upgrades their street

Squeezed: Residents of Sealand Road, Fishing Point, say they now have no on-street parking after Lake Macquarie City Council constructed a footpath that left only a narrow gap between the kerb and centre lines. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWhat should have been a welcome improvement to their neighbourhood is a headache, say residents of a Fishing Point street who have lost on-street parking.
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Lake Macquarie City Council recently spent $2 million installing kerband guttering, a roadside footpath and double lines on Sealand Road, but residents say theynow face the looming threat of a fine if they try to park on the street.

While they argueit has made it impossible for visitors to park near homes with small or full driveways, council insists the upgrades were a high priority for drainage reasons.

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The footpath replaced a dirt and gravel verge, where vehicles could previously pull off the road.

But combined with the new unbroken double lines on the street –which require a gap of at least three metres between the centre of the road and a parkedvehicle –there’s no longer space for roadside parking.

It’sled to some residents and their visitors parking partially on the footpath and at least onewarning note from a council ranger.

Paul Collins, who has lived in the street for 52 years, will outlinethe concerns at Monday’s council meeting.

Keith McMah, Sandra McIlveen, Paul Collins. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“It leaves us with no safe, legal parking and we’re under threat of being fined every time we do so,” he said. “For 52 years that I’ve lived here, no-one has even been threatened to be booked and we now face that threat.”

Sandra McIlveen, a Sealand Road resident for more than four decades, said she’d had no luck in her attempts to get councillors to the street to see the situation.

“We’ve requested this on four occasions,” she said.

“Even if the double line was not there, we’d be able to park. We were totally unaware that we had a parking problem because in 45 years we have never ever had a parking problem.”

A council spokesperson said rangers were “working with residents in Sealand Road to understand their responsibilities when it comes to on-street parking”.

She said on-street parking was available at Arkington Avenue and Letchworth Parade.

“These works were identified as a high priority for the construction of kerb and gutter infrastructure to alleviate substantial drainage issues along this busy road, which were impacting on the existing road condition,” she said.

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“During the consultation period back in July 2016, council provided detailed information to all the property owners along both sides of Sealand Road.

“During that period council provided a sketch design with details including road width arrangements, proposed retaining wall and footpaths for owners’ consideration and comment.”

Mayor Kay Fraser said Monday’s meetingwould“provide an opportunity for councillors to ask questions … and determine whether any further actions are necessary”.

David Jones celebrates 180th birthday

Retailer David Jones has reached a world first milestone – its 180th birthday.Amid a challenging retail climate, n department store David Jones has reached a unique milestone – its 180th birthday.
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Established in 1838, more than 60 years before became a federation, the department store is older than London’s Harrods, Paris’ Galleries Layefette and US stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

David Jones was first a one-storey building located at the corner of George and Barrack Streets in Sydney but has since grown to 45 stores across and New Zealand.

It has survived the Great Depression, the global financial crisis and, more recently, the shift away from bricks-and-mortar stores.

On Wednesday, the South African owner of David Jones fired the head of its n operations, John Dixon, as part of a restructure.

It came just four months after the firm wrote down the value of David Jones by $712.5 million because of weak sales across n retail.

But those representing the department store insist it’s here to stay.

“There’s more of a demand for online shopping now but people still want the experience of going into a store, touching and feeling clothes and trying them on,” model and company ambassador Jessica Gomes told AAP on Thursday.

“One of the things David Jones does so well is the customer experience, everything from their personal shopping to the food courts.

“I remember coming into David Jones when I was younger, getting a chocolate coated strawberry from the food court and trying on all the clothes.”

David Jones has also played a vital role in putting on the map, the Perth-born supermodel said.

In a major coup, the department store hosted the first ever showing of Christian Dior’s collection outside Paris in 1948.

It then held a special tribute to the Parisian designer following his 1957 death.

When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Sydney in February 1954, an official state banquet was held at David Jones’ Elizabeth Street store.

The Queen’s favourite designer, Norman Hartnell, was even appointed a designer at the department store.

Gomes will visit David Jones’ Bourke Street store in Melbourne on Thursday to celebrate the occasion with a birthday cake and a champagne toast, and will be involved with Q&A sessions with customers.

Yet the event is far tamer than the store’s 120th birthday celebrations in 1958, when Eddie the Elephant autographed children’s books with his trunk.

Merkel talks trade in Beijing

China welcomes German firms and will protect their investments, Premier Li Keqiang has said after meeting visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said Germany supported Chinese investment there.
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Merkel faces a delicate diplomatic balancing act on her two-day China visit, which is clouded by US President Donald Trump’s trade threats and his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Germany and China, two exporting nations that run large trade surpluses with the United States, have found themselves in Trump’s firing line and are scrambling to preserve the rules-based multilateral order on which their prosperity rests.

But while Merkel’s hosts may be keen to send a message of total Chinese-German solidarity in Washington’s direction, German officials have suggested that Merkel must avoid the appearance of siding too openly with China in a confrontation with Germany’s longtime ally.

Li, in a joint media appearance with Merkel at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, said China and Germany both upheld global free trade, and stressed the huge potential for cooperation between them.

Though the two countries had problems, they could be overcome, Li said.

“China’s door is open. You can say it will open even wider,” he said.

China welcomes German producers of autonomous vehicles to invest in China, Li said, pointing out the country had already lowered entry requirements for new energy vehicles.

The two countries needed to strengthen two-way investment in an open and inclusive way, he said.

“If they come across any problems during their investment, especially when it comes to legal protections, I can clearly tell you that China is striding forward to being a country with rule of law,” Li said.

Merkel welcomed China’s recent announcements that it would further open its financial sector to foreign participation and reduce Chinese joint venture requirement in sectors such as automobiles, a mainstay of German investment in the world’s second-largest economy.

In reality, Merkel’s government shares many of the Trump administration’s concerns about Chinese business practices, including what many Western countries have complained are state-backed efforts to pressure foreign companies into giving up trade secrets.

But Trump’s “America First” trade policy, his administration’s professed disdain for the World Trade Organisation, as well as his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, have pushed China and Germany into closer alignment, German officials say.

Accompanied by an industry delegation of roughly 20 German executives, Merkel was scheduled later on Thursday to attend a dinner hosted by President Xi Jinping.

Demons’ McDonald sent for foot scan

Melbourne aren’t taking chances with Tom McDonald’s foot injury before the AFL clash with Adelaide.Melbourne plan to take Tom McDonald to Alice Springs for their AFL clash with Adelaide despite soreness in the star swingman’s troublesome foot.
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The Demons sent McDonald for scans after he left the training track early in their Thursday morning session.

The 25-year-old missed the opening five rounds of the season with a toe injury but has returned to kick 13 goals from four games.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said McDonald was still sore following their win over Carlton and while he believed he would be on the plane, they wouldn’t take any risks.

“We’ve got a training session up in Alice on Saturday so we’ll wait and see how he goes,” Goodwin said.

“We’re pretty confident that he’ll be right to play as it stands today.

“We certainly won’t be taking a risk with Tom … but in saying that, we’re comfortable it might settle down as well.”

Both teams have won four of their past five matches to sit in the top four on the ladder but the Demons’ scalps include strugglers Carlton, Gold Coast, St Kilda and Essendon.

Goodwin bristled when questioned about the lack of quality in their recent opponents, saying the teams deserved more respect.

Sunday’s TIO Traeger Park match, which is Melbourne’s home game, will be the first time defender Jake Lever has gone up against his former club following his acrimonious departure.

Goodwin said the 22-year-old had handled the build-up well.

“Obviously when a player is playing against his old club it can be a challenging week for them individually but it certainly doesn’t distract us and what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“For Jake it’s about playing his game and keeping those emotions in check and that’s all we’re asking him to do.”

Cowboys confident on Scott

North Queensland prop Matthew Scott is expected to overcome a knee injury to play against Melbourne.North Queensland have declared that prop Matt Scott should be fit to take on Melbourne in Townsville on Friday night.
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Scott limped from the field in the Cowboys loss to South Sydney last week, prompting fears he could miss up to six weeks and Queensland’s State of Origin campaign.

However he avoided needing scans as the Cowboys’ fear over a medial ligament tear subsided, and he trained with the club ahead of Friday’s clash.

“He got through it alright. If he just pulls up well tomorrow he should be right to go,” Cowboys coach Paul Green said.

“There is always a risk I suppose. But it’s not his first rodeo. He’s got a fair idea of what he needs to be able to do to get his job done.

“You need your best players especially against good teams like the Storm.”

Scott’s fitness is timely not just for his Origin chances in the grand final rematch.

The Cowboys are struggling with just three wins from their opening 11 games, meaning they can likely only afford to drop another three this year if they wish to make the finals.

Green was not willing to buy into the drama surrounding rival coach Craig Bellamy and his approach from Brisbane on Thursday, and was instead more concerned about the fact his team’s last five losses have come by 12 points or less.

Also crucial for Green is his team’s last tackle plays.

The Cowboys give the fourth most 20-metre taps of any team in the competition from kicks, while it was also a concern in last week’s last-minute loss to the Rabbitohs.

Johnathan Thurston and Te Maire Martin’s kicking game will take on even more importance this week, given the dangers of Storm wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr when they receive the ball in open space.

“Our kicking game needs to improve from last week,” Green said.

“Where we’re giving them the ball is really important with their wingers.

“I was happy in a lot of areas in our game last week and we need to hang onto that. An area for us to improve is definitely our kicking options and our last-tackle plays.”


* The Cowboys have lost their last seven straight against Melbourne.

* This is North Queensland’s worst start to a season since 2010.

* Melbourne have won 11 of their last 13 in Queensland.

Stats: Fox Sports Stats

Newcastle development boom spreads to Brunker Road strip at Adamstown, Broadmeadow

ON THE RISE: The Centrale apartment block under construction at 65 Brunker Road is the first in a wave of high-density developments planned for the street. Picture: Simone De PeakNewcastle’s inner-city building spree is spreading to theBrunker Road strip, where property developers are planning more than 300 new apartments across eight projects.
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The redevelopments, witha total value of $75 million, are in various stages of planning andconstruction, led by GWH Build’sfour-storey, $8.7 million Centrale apartment block emerging from the ground at 65 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow.

READ MORE: Property newsOther development applications before Newcastle City Council include the $23 million, 84-unit Foundry project next door to the Adamstown shopping precinct, an $11 million,40-unit plan for the Adamstown Motel site, and 40 units worth $10 million next door to Centrale.

Newcastle development boom spreads to Brunker Road PLANS: An artist’s impression of a four-storey, $6 million unit block with 28 apartments proposed for 21 Brunker Road, near the Premier Hotel.

NEW LOOK: The $11 million apartment development at 144 Brunker Road is on the site of the Adamstown Motel and will have 40 units.

65 Brunker Road

300 Brunker Road (The Foundry)

300 Brunker Road

TweetFacebookBrunker Road developmentNo.21: Four storeys, 28 units, $6m, DA submitted

No.65: Four storeys, 38 units, $8.7m, ‘Centrale’ under construction

No.79: Five storeys, 40 units, $10m, DA submitted

No.106: Five storeys, 20 units, $6m, DA approved

No.117: One storey, 6 units, $2m, DA approved

No.118: Six storeys, 47 units (affordable housing), $8.8m, DA submitted

No.144: Five storeys, 40 units, $11m, DA submitted

No.300: Five storeys, 84 units, $23m, DA submitted

Totals: 303 units, $75.5 million

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grants provide $800K for community groups across NSW

PRESENTATION: Cary Lee, Procare Mental Health Services; Nick Sovechles, Procare Mental Health Services; Phil Neat, Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair; Annie Miller, Director Cancer Support, Cancer Council; & Shane Connell, Cancer Council. Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation announced almost $800,000 worth of grants on Thursday for a variety of community-focused projects.
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The 15 grant recipients, which were handed between $30,000 and and $154,000 each for their respective initiatives, will injectfunds into multiple areasacrossNSW.

The fresh round of funding takes the foundation’s total contribution to the community to over $18 million since 2003.

Cancer Council NSW, who received the highest grant of $154,000, will transform their patient transport system through a centralised booking platform.


Labor says Keolis Downer contract encourages shorter bus routes in NewcastleRider, 54, seriously injured in Port-to-Port mountain bike race4000 birds to tempt you at annual aviculture showThe organisation presently uses “spreadsheets” and “phone calls” to arrange bookings.

The funding has brought their plans for the system forward “by years,” according to director Annie Miller

“For people wherever they live, we want to get them to treatment –and we need too,” she said.

“A lot of people are hours away, they might not be able to drive themselves, can’t afford the fuel, and they may not have family or friends to drive them.

“We transport at the moment, but we don’t have full state coverage.

“This is the beginning of us being able to design and have full state coverage. This grant money is going to be a game-changer for us.”

Hunter recipients include: Procare Mental Health Services ($113,300), John Hunter Children’s Hospital ($53,000),Sugarvalley Neighbourhood Advancement Group ($30,300), Caring for our Port Stephens Youth ($53,000), Centre for Hope ($40,000)and Mentor Support Network ($30,000).

STOKED: All 15 grant recipients at NEX in Newcastle on Thursday.

Phil Neat, Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation chair, said the quality of candidates made it a challenging to narrow down the grant recipients.

“Today we provided funding to four new partners and committed to working on eleven new projects with partners we’ve previously supported,” Mr Neat said.

“It’s important that we’re able to support the programs and initiatives of new partners, as well as support those partners we’ve successfully worked with in the past who are now applying for support for new programs and initiatives.

“This is evidence that the support provided by the Foundation has a real and positive impact in our communities.”

The foundation provides more than $1.5 million in grants each year to facilitate projects that address disadvantage in the Hunter, Central West, Central Coast, New England, Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of NSW.

Grants are issued twice a year.

WPL: Wallsend missing key personnel for top-four Herald Women’s Premier League match with leaders Warners Bay

KEY: Rhali Dobson, right, was away when Merewether last played New Lambton but is back for round two.Wallsend coach Marc Hingston admittedthey willbe“up against it” when they play Warners Bay in one of two top-four clashes in Herald Women’s Premier League on Sunday.
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The Red Devils are in fourth position as they travel to John Street Oval to take on ladder leaders Warners Bay.

Second-placed Merewether host third-placed New Lambton at Myamblah Oval in the other highly anticipated round-12 encounter this weekend.

The Red Devils are still reeling from the news on Tuesday that strike weapon Sass Seaborn had left theclub to join South Wallsend.

Wallsend are also expected to be without leading scorer and senior player Laura Hall, who was forced from the field in their 2-0 loss to Adamstown last round with a head injury.

Midfielder Georgia Minors is out with a hamstring injury and versatile Rose O’Connor is doubtful with a hamstring complaint of her own. Defensive midfielder Britney Duff, who has had impact the past two matches, is unavailable.

It is a game in which the Red Devils need to take points to keep the chasing pack at bay. They have 13 points, three clear of fifth-placed Adamstown and four ahead of the Wolves in sixth.

Depending on results this weekend, Wallsend could be overhauled in round 13 when they have the no-points bye.

Meanwhile, Warners Bay will be out for a strong performance ahead of their top-of-table clash with defending champions Merewether in round 13 with only three points separating the two sides at the moment.

United coach Cass Koppen was expecting a tough encounter with the Eagles.

Last time they met wasa 1-1 draw. That day, Merewether were without key players Rhali Dobson and Leah Giuffre but Koppen expected to be full strength Sunday.

“It’s a big game for us,” Koppen said. “Anything less than a win could potentially knock us off equal points with Warners Bay, who we play the following round and they still have the bye to come.

“We’re expecting a hard game. They are only one of two teams who have taken points off us this year and they had a big win over Warners Bay.”

The match will be the first for New Lambton since they lost 6-5 to South Wallsend in round 10.

They were without the experience of Joey Burgess and Stacey Day against the Wolves but both will be back on deck this weekend.

South Wallsend host winless Thornton in the other match at Walker Fields.

All games kick off at 2.30pm. Adamstown have the bye.