Katie Richardson’s first day free of tiara

Katie Richardson places the Miss World Australia crown on her successor, Canberra’s Sophie Lavers. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODOAfter handing over the Miss World Australia tiara to her successor at Star City on Wednesday night, Albion Park’s Katie Richardson was more than happy to kick off her heels yesterday – she’d only been wearing them for four days straight.Canberra beauty Sophie Lavers will now carry the Miss World mantle for the next year, while Ms Richardson spent her first day free of the ambassadorship enjoying a long breakfast with her family after staying up to party most of the night. SLIDESHOW: Miss World Australia 2009 is crowned”I went back to my (hotel) suite with most of my family and we had a party and I got to bed about 3am,” she said. “I also spent about two hours just talking to people at the (Star City) ballroom.”It was fabulous, I had so many lovely comments and such nice feedback from everyone and I was brought to tears many times by such kind comments and it was really lovely.” Ms Richardson glammed it up on the night, wearing two show-stopping dresses: a yellow, one-shouldered satin floor-length frock from North Beach Boutique and a purple, high-necked Grecian style gown that was custom designed for her by Michael Challita.Placing the tiara on her successor’s head was memorable in more ways than one.”It was exciting except the tiara didn’t fit, it was too big,” Ms Richardson said.”I had to balance it on her head and because she is a classical ballerina she could stand very straight, so she was good, she didn’t let it fall off.”I was really proud of them all and willing to give advice because I kind of took on the role of mother hen … which took my mind off any disappointment that could have come.”
Nanjing Night Net

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

Read more

Original Tumbleweed line-up calls truce for Homebake

Tumbleweed are reuniting to play at Homebake.Ground-breaking Wollongong band Tumbleweed are about to play their first shows in almost a decade.The original line-up of the Australian grunge pioneers – singer Richie Lewis, guitarists Lenny Curley and Paul Hausmeister, bassist Jay Curley and drummer Steve O’Brien – will perform at Homebake in Sydney on December 5.One of the biggest bands ever to come from Wollongong, it supported US grunge heroes Nirvana on their only Australian tour, signed to a US record label when its members were barely out of high school and released indie classics like Stoned, Daddy Long Legs and Sundial. PROFILE: Taking a tumble with iconic band Tumbleweed Last Illawarra band standing opens Play Day But infighting and the acrimony created by the sacking of Hausmeister and O’Brien and, later, Jay Curley seemed likely to forever quash the idea of a reunion.It appears an Illawarra Mercury Weekender retrospective about the band published last November may have been partially responsible for the re-formation.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read more

BRIEFS

Query over cash
Nanjing Night Net

for rail project

CANBERRA – More questions have been raised about the federal regional partnerships programme after it was revealed that the Government gave $660,000 to a now-defunct rail project in a marginal Liberal seat. Opposition regional development spokesman Kelvin Thomson said the grant to the Beaudesert Shire Railway Support Group was used in a vain attempt to get the project out of receivership.

The tourist railway project, in the Queensland electorate of Forde, ceased operating three months ago and is the subject of court action by creditors.

A Senate inquiry is looking into independent MP Tony Windsor’s claim that funding under the programme was made conditional on political considerations.

Palm Island calm ahead of funeral

PALM ISLAND – The smell of the Palm Island riot still lingered in the community’s main streets yesterday on the eve of Cameron Doomadgee’s funeral.

Two weeks ago, large plumes of smoke billowed from the north Queensland island following a riot sparked by news that Mr Doomadgee had suffered broken ribs and a ruptured liver in a scuffle when he died on November 19 in the island’s police station.

But the only signs yesterday of the events of November 26 in which the police station, court house and officer-in-charge’s house were burnt was the lingering smell of ash in the main streets.

Mr Doomadgee’s dying mother Doris, 67, told relatives her only wish was to see her son laid to rest.

The second youngest of nine children, his death has become the catalyst for nationwide protests calling for an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Nolan family art feud ends in High Court

MELBOURNE – A bitter and costly family feud between the widow of famed Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan and his adopted daughter ground to a halt in the High Court yesterday.

Nolan’s widow, Mary, Lady Nolan, 78, was declared the winner of the legal tussle when the court refused to grant leave to appeal to Jinx Nolan against a ruling over the ownership of three Nolan paintings worth $1 million.

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

Read more

US mayor believes future lies with uni

Gordon Bradbery, the mayor of Wollongong with former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy. Picture: KIRK GILMOURWollongong has many pieces of the puzzle for a successful future, it’s just a matter of putting them together.
Nanjing Night Net

That’s the message from former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy, who was widely credited with turning that city from “the most environmentally degraded city in America” to being ranked by The Economist last year as the most liveable city in America.

Mr Murphy was in Australia as a keynote speaker for the Property Council of Australia’s Property Congress in Sydney last week.

The Illawarra chapter of the council invited him to Wollongong to see how another steel city could learn from him.

After a tour of the city, Mr Murphy said Wollongong’s potential was enhanced by its natural geography and the presence of the university and Innovation Campus.

“You have the pieces. It’s a question of whether you have the political will to put it together. That’s really the challenge for you,” Mr Murphy said.

“There are a lot of towns that don’t have a strong university presence like you do, or this spectacular setting. So how do you build on that?”

One of the approaches Mr Murphy took as Pittsburgh mayor was to get the city to buy the closed-down steel mills and redevelop them into riverside parks and areas where firms including Google opted to set up.

He said that, like Pittsburgh, Wollongong seemed to be “managing decline” – knowing the steelworks was winding down but not planning what to do next.

“You’ve gone from 30,000 to 3000 people [at the steelworks] so it would seem to me that the light bulb ought to go off, that we have this jigsaw puzzle and we’re losing what was historically our major employer.

“So there’s going to be a lot of land if that mill shuts down. How do we intentionally begin to reposition our city?

“Maybe all that property becomes reused for something else. But how do you position yourself in a global economy so that somebody would want to be there?”

Two big assets are the university and Innovation Campus – but the region needs to work out how to keep the new technologies it develops in the city.

“Your universities are your biggest raw material,” he said.

“Coal was your biggest raw material at one point, but universities have the intellectual ability to drive an economy – and you have the Innovation Campus as the beginning of that.

“My sense is that you’re going to grow and commercialise some of the research, but then it’s going to move.

“I don’t know that you’ve built the infrastructure you need to grow a technology economy, so you need venture capital so a young person coming out of university with a good idea, she needs some money to commercialise that.

“If she gets the money from Sydney or California, then she’ll go to Sydney or California.

“You get a fair amount of research dollars but there’s not a focused effort to commercialise that, and to keep it here.”

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

Read more

It was a good deal: Base hospital contract mired in a series of entangling decisions

SUNRAYSIA’s problems with its undersized hospital trace to a very good business deal in 2000 that has created unforeseen complications for the local community 12 years later, according to La Trobe University academic Larry O’Connor.
Nanjing Night Net

The La Trobe University accountancy lecturer suggests the district’s problems began with the Kennett Coalition Government’s decision in the mid-1990s to replace the ageing, community-operated Mildura Base Hospital with a modern, privatised hospital, and were compounded when the Bracks Labor Government allowed Ramsay Health Care, which built and operated the hospital, to sell it off to the Motor Traders Association of Australia (MTAA) Superannuation Fund in 2000.

Both decisions were now complicating the Baillieu Coalition Government’s negotiations with Ramsays in relation to the company’s application, under the Mildura Base Hospital Services Agreement, to continue as the hospital’s lessee and operator beyond 2015.

He saw “nothing sinister” about Ramsays’ decision to sell the hospital to MTAA Super in 2000, after building the hospital under a public-private partnership arrangement with the former Kennett Government.

“I honestly believe both governments and Ramsay acted in good faith at the time; they just failed to think through the long-term consequences for the local community,” he said.

The deal had been a good one for the MTAA. In simple terms, the hospital facility’s lease payments, paid by the Victorian Government, provided a guaranteed revenue stream that was actually worth far more than the hospital’s value as a capital asset.

“It also made good commercial sense for Ramsay, by freeing up the large amount of capital it had invested in the hospital, which cost about $26 million to build.

“But there are always pros and cons in such decisions, both in the short and long term, so they must be carefully assessed,” Mr O’Connor said.

The community debate over the hospital’s future had become polarised, emotive and had drifted away from key issues. His recent report, “Healthy Outcomes”, sought to bring some clarity to a debate in which key facts seemed to be poorly understood.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Tuesday’s Sunraysia Daily 06/11/2012.

Mildura base debate.

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

Read more

Villa Verde’s Cup day quest 

BENDIGO trainer Shaun Dwyer is confident he can start Melbourne Cup day the best way possible – by training a winner.
Nanjing Night Net

Dwyer’s two-year-old filly Villa Verde is the early favourite for today’s opening race the $120,000 7News Plate (1000m).

The daughter of Not A Single Doubt couldn’t have been more impressive in winning on debut at Caulfield a fortnight ago and Dwyer expects her to be in the finish again today.

“We’ve just ticked her over. She’s only had a couple of serious gallops since her win,’’ Dwyer said yesterday.

“She’s nice and happy, eating well and working well.

“She’s a laid back filly, so she can be hard to gauge. All you can go on is her eating and her work and both of them have been fine.”

Villa Verde officially doesn’t turn two until Thursday and will go to the spelling paddock after today’s run.

“On the face of it you’d expect her to race well again,’’ Dwyer said.

“If she is ready for the paddock she’ll run fifth or sixth.

“It’s hard to tell with two-year-olds, but from what I’ve seen of my filly I’d be happy for her to run even if this was her first start.”

Villa Verde will start from barrier 14 in a field of 15 and has the services of star jockey Michael Rodd.

“Racing down the straight for the first time is a slight worry, but all the field has to do it,’’ Dwyer said.

“Michael Rodd has had a good think about it and he expects the field to angle to the left and go to the rail.

“He wants to follow them over and slot in midfield with cover somewhere. He won’t go too early on her. We’ve worked her down the middle of the course proper at Bendigo a couple of times and she hasn’t had any issues with that.’’

BIG IMPRESSION: Villa Verde will start favourite in today’s first event at Flemington. Picture: FAIRFAX

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

Read more

HVTC’s new head has ‘ideal range of skills’

Hunter Valley Training Company has appointed Sharon Smith as its new CEO.
Nanjing Night Net

Chairman Bob Cameron AO made the announcement after last Thursday’s board meeting at its Telarah headquarters.

Mr Cameron said Ms Smith had more than 20 years’ business experience in a broad range of roles including finance, human resources, information technology, procurement, business development, strategic planning and communications.

“Ms Smith brings the ideal range of skills and experience in business and Government that HVTC needs to ­continue with its exciting development and expansion plans,” Mr Cameron said.

Ms Smith will take up her appointment in mid December.

Her previous position was general manager business strategy and communications with Hunter Water Corporation. Prior to that, Ms Smith was general manager of finance and corporate services at the utility.

She has held the position of company secretary at Hunter Water, Hunter Water Australia and Regional Land Management Corporation.

Ms Smith said it was a wonderful opportunity to lead HVTC.

“I know the organisation is well ­positioned to prosper in the group ­training industry,” Ms Smith said.

“I look forward to working with the team to further develop quality training and education for our young people which, in turn, better supports business across the regions we serve,” she said.

Ms Smith is a non executive director and chair of the audit committee at both Hunter Development Corporation and Newcastle Grammar School.

She has a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Newcastle and post graduate qualifications in Applied Finance.

She is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Smith is also an executive coach, accredited by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership.

Hunter-based HVTC was established in 1981 and has provided employment and training to more than 18,000

people.

It has 11 offices across NSW and employs 90 staff.

perfectly suited: HVTC chairman Bob Cameron with newly ­appointed CEO Sharon Smith.

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

Read more

Crane winches 300kg man from Brisbane bridge tower

A 300 kilogram man who suffered an asthma attack had to be winched from his apartment in a Brisbane tower today.The 57-year-old man, who is a resident in the Walter Taylor Bridge, between Indooroopilly and Chelmer, remains in intensive care in hospital.Police ordered the closure of the bridge just before 5pm yesterday after paramedics were called to assist the morbidly obese man, who was experiencing breathing difficulties.Taringa fire brigade station officer Steve Marmotta, who helped coordinate the rescue operation, said medicos rendered treatment at the scene but a decision was made to remove him through a third-floor window using a crane.The bridge has two towers, each with their own apartment.The man was taken to the Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he remains in a critical condition. It is believed he suffers from a number of health complaints unrelated to his obesity.”We got the call to assist the ambulance guys about 2.30pm…but being inside a bridge and given the age of the structure, there are two flights of concrete steps that were deemed too narrow and too difficult to manoeuvre a stretcher down,” Mr Marmotta told brisbanetimes南京夜网.au.”A decision was made to cut out a window in the room where the patient was and get him out and on to a crane.”It all went pretty smoothly.”Dozens of emergency crews, police, crane contractors and a council engineer took part in the rescue.Mr Marmotta said in a stroke of good fortune, the crane company had been carrying out maintenance work on the bridge at the time.”It only took about 30 or 40 minutes to get it in place which minimised the amount of time we had to close the bridge to traffic,” he said.”To us, the cost of something like this doesn’t matter. It’s about getting the patient to safety as quickly as we can.”The rescued man is known to locals as a reclusive person who has shunned the attention brought by living in the former toll bridge.The apartments in the tower are owned by Brisbane City Council.It was built using suspension cabling used in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. brisbanetimes南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

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

Read more

The Ashes: Peter Siddle leads the charge at The Oval

Andrew Flintoff ignited neither his own farewell nor England’s middle order in his final Test, joining colleagues in throwing away their wickets as Australia forcefully took ascendancy on day one at The Oval on the back of four wickets by Peter Siddle.However, spin is set to play the decisive role in this fifth and deciding Ashes match with the pitch already deteriorating to a point where it resembles a day-four strip, breaking up and losing turf with each bowler’s follow-through.Australia retained their four-man pace attack for the game and do not have a specialist tweaker. Click here for the full scorecardWhile debutant Jonathan Trott proved he is made of stern stuff with 41, England were guilty of gifting their scalps to Australia, rather than losing them to outstanding deliveries to reach 8-307 at stumps.This was Australia’s day, no doubt, but concern will remain of Graeme Swann’s potential impact on their batsmen. The English off spinner hardly injects fear with his efforts thus far this series – six wickets for 409 runs at the horrendous average of 68.16 – but on this deck it is he, and not Flintoff, for whom the stage is set.”If your job in the side is bowling spin, you couldn’t ask for better conditions,” Shane Warne salivated from the commentary box.”What a time to make a name for yourself and put your hand up.”Siddle (4-63 from 18.3 overs) has become the leading wicket-taker of the series with 20 and dismissed Swann with the final ball of the day, caught behind for 18.Every English dismissal except Trott’s came as a result of batting carelessness, prodding too often at wide or probing balls that reached delighted fielders.Trott was run out superbly by a fast-reacting Simon Katich at short leg in one of the finest plays of the series, while Stuart Broad (26 not out) was lucky to see the day out after two near misses off his bat just defeated the clutches of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.Trott jumped forward to a Marcus North delivery that was edged to Katich, who rose and threw down the stumps in a seamless motion as the batsman dived in too late.England’s top scorer Ian Bell, with 72, clipped a Siddle delivery onto his off-stump immediately after tea, giving the Victorian his third wicket.Bell had survived a spirited first spell from Mitchell Johnson, who frightened him so with short deliveries that the batsman – who will age to look like Richard Branson – fended them like a virgin, with eyes closed. Yet he steered the ball without control to safe areas and then proceeded to score deceiving quickly.Johnson (2-69) was costly but bowled a wicked last spell by taking 2-8 in 18 balls including the prized catch of Flintoff, who slashed at a wider ball but gloved it to Haddin to score seven uninspiring runs.Despite the half-centuries by Bell and England captain Andrew Strauss – who had earlier won his fourth toss of the series on a darkly overcast morning in London – the home side failed to take full advantage.The billiard table outfield offered countless boundaries and patience was rewarded but England showed none, losing wickets each time they threatened to produce a meaningful partnership.Paul Collingwood (24) had opened the door for Trott by whipping his bat at a wide delivery from Siddle, edging the ball to gully Michael Hussey. His weakness for wide deliveries was exposed again.Trott took 12 balls to get off the mark as Australia crowded his bat and searched him with bouncers, but received a rousing ovation when he flicked Marcus North for two runs.He showed poise and commendable temperament in his 81-ball innings, far exceeding the best score from predecessor Ravi Bopara in the previous four Tests.Ponting had earlier taken an offensive stance when questioned about Trott, as the two teams approached the match locked at 1-1 – the first time since 1966 the fifth Test is being played to break that deadlock.”I think there’ll be huge pressure on him to tell the truth,’’ Ponting said.”It’s always hard making your debut in a Test match against Australia, let alone being in such a big game, as this one is. We’ve had the chance over the last few days to have a good look at how he plays, we spoke to a few of the Australian guys in the county circuit as well about how he plays and we’ve got some footage from one-day and Twenty20 stuff he’s played earlier this season.”There’s no doubt that middle order, the three they’ve got there in Bell, Trott and Collingwood, will be under some sort of pressure at different times in this game.” smh南京夜网.au
Nanjing Night Net

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

Read more

Ferocious Shamrocks make finals

The Illawarra Rugby Union final five has been decided ahead of this weekend’s season-ending round after Shamrocks romped to a 44-8 trouncing of University in Wednesday night’s deferred match at Ziems Park.Shamrocks’ win assured them of either fourth or fifth spot, while Uni’s sixth straight loss means they can finish no higher than sixth.The Rocks take on wooden spooners Vikings at home tomorrow and will meet Engadine in the minor elimination semi-final the following Saturday.With their season on the line in Wednesday’s clash, a desperate Uni threw everything at their opponents in the opening 20 minutes. Shammies defiantly kept their line intact, even when they were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes.They built a 23-3 half-time lead and snuffed out any hope of a Mallee Bulls comeback with an equally dominant second-half display.”Our defence was the best I’ve ever seen on a rugby field. It was ferocious,” Shamrocks coach Barry Jones said.”Uni had all the ball and territory for the first 20 minutes and kept pressing our line and they couldn’t crack us. I was so proud of the effort the boys put in. From one through to 15, nobody went missing.”If the Rocks dispose of Vikings as expected, they will storm into the finals series with a full head of steam.Since a May 23 home loss to Engadine, they have not been beaten.Jones said there was no reason why his side couldn’t win the premiership. “It’s good to know we’re in and we don’t have to wait until the last round and rely on other teams losing,” he said.”There were some tough times early in the season when we weren’t winning, but the boys turned that around and there’s such a strong bond in the squad. “It’s not like there’s going to be any added pressure because we’ve been playing must-win games for a few months now.” Table: Tech Waratahs 63, Avondale 56, Shoalhaven 52, Engadine 46, Shamrocks 44, University 36, Kiama 28, Camden 19, Vikings 11
Nanjing Night Net

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

Read more

BRIEFS

Driver hits brakes as
Nanjing Night Net

mouse finds trousers

BERLIN – A mouse was blamed for a two-car accident in southern Germany after it crawled up a motorist’s trousers. As the rodent squirmed up his inside thigh, the driver slammed on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision with a car driven by a female motorist.

When the woman got out to give him a piece of her mind, the man opened his trousers and hauled out the wriggling mouse, according to a police spokesman.

Superheroes battle

for the last burger

LONDON – Their fictional counterparts might be tireless battlers for truth and justice, but when three British men dressed as Spiderman, Superman and Batman came to blows the reason was far more prosaic – a shortage of burgers.

Police were called to the superhero bust-up after the three men in fancy dress traded punches in front of a fast food van in Canterbury, southern England.

It was believed the fight began early on Christmas Day because of a shortage of food at the van.

A 23-year-old man suffered facial injuries but declined to press charges, Kent Police said.

Rebel army to sign

Ugandan ceasefire

KAMPALA – Uganda’s Government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army are to sign a landmark total ceasefire today, opening the way for an end to a bloody 18-year insurgency, negotiators said.

The LRA, whose only stated aim is to rule the east African country by the biblical Ten Commandments, has rampaged through the north of Uganda, attacking civilians, kidnapping children and forcing 1.6 million people to flee to refugee camps.

Both sides expressed hope the ceasefire would bring an end to the war after talks at Kitgum district.

Victorian push for

code for dance raves

MELBOURNE – Dance party operators in Victoria have been urged to adopt a new code of practice aimed at making raves safer.

The Victorian Government yesterday released what it says is Australia’s most comprehensive code of practice for running safer dance parties.

The code is voluntary and is not enforceable.

State Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Daniel Andrews, said the code was a collaborative effort of the State Government, police, Metropolitan Ambulance Service, the entertainment community and other interested groups.

“I think this code of practice stands apart on the basis that we’ve had a really positive partnership from a whole range of different stakeholders,” Mr Andrews said. “We are confident that it will be taken up by a whole range of large and small events.”

He said the code was an effective tool for making events safer and covered a whole range of issues including fire safety, emergency services, checklists and risk management strategies.

The code includes guidelines on how many toilets to have on site, the use of strobe lights, the supply of free or cheap cold water, ensuring there was adequate shade and shelter, and allocating chill-out zones.

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

Read more

Most read Mercury stories online

Darius Boyd’s bizarre interview; a Dapto wrestler with a love of crumbed fish; and a man’s unfortnate run in with a metal fence. These are among the most viewed stories on illawarramercury南京夜网.au in the past week.Each Friday we will re-visit the top 10 stories of the week, as clicked on by you, our readers: 1 – Wayne Bennet apologises for Darius Boyd interviewSt George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett took the unusual step of apologising to journalists following Darius Boyd’s performance at a press conference. 2 – The Dapto wrestler behind TVs new cult hero Iron Jay A wrestler with signature moves, including the Benny Splash and No Refunds, has emerged as Dapto’s newest cult hero after appearing on national TV ads for crispy battered fish. 3 – Biker dead, another injured in Royal National Park carnagePolice urged motorcyclists to take care when travelling through the Royal National Park and along Lawrence Hargrave Dr following the death of one man and serious injury of another. 4 – Man’s leg impaled on fenceGraphic pictures show how a Wollongong university student was impaled on a steel fence in the city’s CBD on Thursday night. 5 – BLOG: The knives have come out for the Dragons So Darius Boyd didn’t want to talk to the media. Whoop-de-doo, says Glen Humphries. 6 – Tourists fly to Sydney in Canada, not Australia When Dutchman Joannes Rutten and his grandson boarded a Sydney-bound flight last week, they were looking forward to a few weeks’ rest and relaxation Down Under. Instead they were left scratching their heads when their plane touched down on an island off the north-eastern coast of Canada. 7 – Wollongong mother, daughters out on the street Housing NSW will force a Wollongong mother and her daughters on to the street today to provide accommodation for elderly people. 8 – Worker thought body was dumped asbestos A Gujarat mines employee has told how he made the gruesome discovery of a body at Mt Ousley after initially mistaking it for a load of dumped asbestos. 9 – World’s biggest waterslide stunt a fake?A video on YouTube apparently showing a man riding down a waterslide, launching off a ramp and landing in a tiny paddling pool has become an online hit. But is it a fake? 10 – Sand artist a YouTube hit after winning Ukraine’s Got Talent First there was Susan Boyle. Now Kseniya Simonova has become an internet phenomenon after taking out the top prize on the television talent contest Ukraine’s Got Talent
Nanjing Night Net

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

Read more

BRIEFS

Warning over biblical frauds
Nanjing Night Net

JERUSALEM – Experts advised world museums to re-examine their Bible-era relics after Israel indicted four collectors and dealers on charges of forging some of the most important artefacts of recent decades. The indictments labelled as fakes perhaps the two biggest biblical discoveries in the Holy Land – the purported burial box of Jesus’s brother James and a stone tablet with written instructions by King Yoash on maintenance work at the Jewish Temple – and many other “finds”.

The forgers “were trying to change history”, said Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The forgery ring had been operating for more than 20 years, Mr Dorfman said.

Princess will marry commoner

TOKYO – Japanese Princess Sayako’s engagement to a Tokyo city bureaucrat, a commoner, became official yesterday with an announcement by Japan’s Imperial Household Agency.

Japan had eagerly awaited word of the engagement between Sayako, 35, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and Yoshiki Kuroda, 39.

The wedding would probably take place in the latter half of next year, newspapers said.

North Korean defections up

SEOUL – Some 1890 North Koreans have defected to South Korea this year, nearly 50 per cent more than in 2003, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said yesterday.

The defections in 2004 included some 480 North Koreans who arrived in South Korea in August in two plane loads in an operation shrouded in secrecy.

In 2001, 583 people fled the North, increasing to 1139 in 2002 and 1281 last year.

Laser beams worrying pilots

WASHINGTON – The pilots of six jets flying into US airports have noticed mysterious laser beams while attempting to land, CNN reported yesterday.

Authorities said terrorist groups have shown an interest in using laser beams to try to bring down airliners. Six commercial airliners have experienced the laser beams in the past four days, said a Government official.

All the flights landed safely.

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

Read more