Shopping countdown

GIFTS READY TO GO: Your Habitat store manager Prue Badcock with a picnic hamper and boot barbie … some ideal last- minute Christmas presents. Picture: WILL SWANShoppers have spent up big this season with most retailers reporting trade on par with last year’s massive turnover, which topped $700 million Statewide.
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The Australian Retailers Association has predicted Tasmanians will spend more than $714 million this year.

CityProm director Kerry Gay said that store owners in the city had been thrilled with shopping activity.

But shoppers have ditched the plastic and have returned to cash to pay for the gifts, she said.

“There have been current affairs shows on television about credit cards and the 12-month interest-free deals that have really scared people,” Ms Gay said.

“They are dealing in cash so they know exactly how much they can afford to spend because they are quite aware of how long it can take to pay off the credit card.”

Most large retailers will be open on Boxing Day but most small businesses will reopen next week, Ms Gay said.

“Because the small businesses only have two or three staff it is difficult for them to open but large retailers with 500 staff can roster people off.”

Your Habitat store manager Prue Badcock said that Habitat stores Statewide would not open on Boxing Day because it was a Sunday.

“Harris Scarfe, Myer and other big stores are opening so we probably should but our owner (Robert Parker) believes that we shouldn’t open as a reward,” Ms Badcock said.

“And being on a Sunday it is a time for family and friends.

“We will be open on Monday with our sales.”

Ms Gay said that a free Christmas bus service from Newstead College into town and return had been received well by shoppers, especially the elderly who found it difficult to negotiate busy traffic.

LAST-MINUTE IDEASYour Habitat

Picnic hamper $79

Boot barbie $69.95

CD Centre

U2 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb $29.95

Maroon 5 $29.95

Missy Higgins $29.95

So Fresh $34.95

Petrarch’s Bookshop

In Tasmania, Nicholas Shakespeare $35

Brother Fish, Bryce Courtnay $39.95

Post Mortem, Ben Elton, $29.95

Dragon Keeper, Carole Wilkinson, $19.95

Capri Body Fashions

Simone Perele french lingerie

Bra $89.95, brief $39.95.

Charlton’s Sports Power

Air hockey and soccer tables $199.

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Dragons star Justin Poore beats the odds

Justin PooreJustin Poore will spearhead St George Illawarra’s charge for a club record-equalling eight successive victories on Saturday against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium after having a dangerous throw charge downgraded last night.The three-man NRL judiciary panel took just minutes to rule that Poore’s tackle on Penrith winger Shane Elford should be reduced to a grade one charge.Facing three weeks on the sideline if found guilty, the decision meant Poore received just 93 penalty points and is free to line up for the Dragons as they close in on the minor premiership. BLOG: Dragons fans and a painful premiership history Full coverage of The St George Illawarra Dragons”I’m very happy with the hearing I received and I’m very excited to play Canberra this week,” a tight-lipped Poore said after the hearing.Poore’s defence was based on a claim that Elford had contributed to the tackle by being off his feet before he was able to use force in the tackle – and that the Dragons prop had just broken from a scrum and had a limited time to react in effecting the tackle.Poore and the Dragons likened the tackle to a grade one dangerous throw by Brisbane prop Dave Taylor against Canberra a fortnight ago.Earlier, NRL judiciary counsel Peter Kite argued that Poore’s tackle was of the same severity as grade two dangerous throws by Bulldogs forward Greg Eastwood on Manly’s Glenn Stewart earlier this season and another made by Gold Coast playmaker Mat Rogers on Parramatta’s Luke Burt.Eastwood took the early guilty plea and was suspended for two weeks while Rogers was found guilty at a judiciary hearing.Elford was taken to Sydney’s Westmead Hospital after the Poore tackle, in the 14th minute of Friday night’s 25-6 victory over Penrith.It was initially feared he had suffered bleeding around the eye, but he was discharged later that night.Kite claimed Elford’s injuries were a direct result of the Panthers winger landing on his head after Poore had driven him into the ground, as he twisted in the tackle.Meantime, the NRL judiciary suspended Dragons centre Beau Scott for one week last night for a separate dangerous throw charge on Penrith’s Wade Graham.In Scott’s defence, Sydney barrister Geoff Bellew claimed the Dragons centre was a passenger in the tackle as Graham drove forward and second-rower Matt Prior attempted to bring the Panthers playmaker to the ground.However, it was ruled Scott had made a significant contribution to the tackle.Prior earlier accepted a one-week ban for his part in the tackle and will miss Saturday’s showdown with Canberra.Chase Stanley is expected to come into the team to replace Scott, but there is doubt over centre Matt Cooper, who is battling a heel injury and has not trained this week.However, New Zealand international winger Jason Nightingale is on stand-by for Cooper.
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Davidson gets the bounce on Behrendorff

Centre Larry Davidson in action against St Mary’s. Picture: SYLVIA LIBEROne trial game doesn’t make a season, but Wollongong centre Larry Davidson has the inside running to secure a starting-five spot with the Hawks.Davidson was impressive in the Hawks’ 19-point win over St Mary’s University on Monday night at the Snakepit.He gave the home side a perfect start by scoring the game’s opening five points and finished the night with 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks.In his third season with Wollongong, the 26-year-old is battling new recruit Tim Behrendorff for a place in the starting line-up.Davidson will again get the nod in the first five for tomorrow’s pre-season clash with the University of Vanderbilt in Sydney.But he understands that coach Gordie McLeod could eventually use the 211cm Behrendorff as a starter.”It’s all pretty open at the moment, which is kind of better than having it set in stone from day one,” Davidson said.”It’s nice and competitive at practice and we’ve got a group where no-one will really get their nose out of joint if they’re not starting.”We’re a pretty easy-going group and the new guys are cool dudes and they work hard, so they fit in pretty well.”Hawks forward Glen Saville played under McLeod at the AIS, but Davidson is the only Wollongong player who has been coached by McLeod in the NBL.”I enjoyed playing for Gordie in Singapore and it’s good being back playing for him again,” he said.”He’s had the experience of going to the Olympics with the Boomers (as an assistant coach) and it’s good to be back with him.”Monday night’s trial gave the Hawks their first taste of 10-minute quarters, which will replace the 12-minute periods of NBL season 2009-10.”It’s been a while since I’ve played 40-minute games,” Davidson said.”It’ll be a bit of an adjustment. But we’ve got some preseason games and hopefully we’ll have it all down pat for the season.”Davidson likes the look of the Hawks, who retained six players from last season.”It’ll definitely help having guys who’ve been together for a few years,” he said.”It’s like we’ve got the old guys, middle guys and new guys, so instead of having a lot of one and not a lot of the other, it’s a good mix with age and experience so we can all talk to each other.”
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Doreen sets visitor record

CHALLENGER: Sydney backpacker Doreen Bainbridge, 95, on a bed at Metro Backpackers in Launceston yesterday while challenging the mould of independent travellers. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON.Mrs Bainbridge is the oldest person to stay at Launceston’s Metro Backpackers, beating the record set by a 92-year-old English tourist two years ago.
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She can’t quite understand “all the fuss” but everyone at the hostel who meets her would beg to differ.

“She is quite amazing,” hostel spokesman John Bailey said.

Mrs Bainbridge started travelling with her husband Arnold in the 1950s and has explored most European and American countries.

After her husband’s death 11 years ago, she continued to travel and has been around Australia, the UK and parts of Asia by herself – despite the crippling affects of arthritis in her back and shoulders.

“We didn’t travel much when we were young with the Depression and war, but I started in 1955 when I went to England for seven-and-a- half months,” Mrs Bainbridge said during a stroll through City Park.

“When my husband retired we practically lived in tents around Australia – it was just something we wanted to do.”

While most people would be hesitant to travel by themselves, Mrs Bainbridge said she loved it, because she gets to meet some wonderful, friendly people.

“There’s nothing to be scared about,” she said matter-of-factly.

“When I was in Zimbabwe I was the only white person on the street and I had a feeling they weren’t going to kill me there and then.”

Mrs Bainbridge has been in Tasmania for a week and will visit Stanley on the North-West Coast before sailing back to NSW.

She said Tasmania was one of the most beautiful places she had visited. “London used to be my favourite but not any more,” she said. “It is too crowded and hard to get around. I like peaceful places, like here.”

The mother of three boys lives in a retirement village but spends more time travelling than sitting still.

She said the secret to living a long and healthy life was not smoking or drinking and eating well.

“And don’t wear ankle killers,” she said, pointing to a pair of high heels.

With the century milestone fast approaching, Mrs Bainbridge said she would keep travelling until she could no longer manage it.

“My arthritis kills me – but I won’t give in to it,” she said.

“I think I’ll be dead by (100) but then again, my doctor has told me I have very good genes.”

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Kokoda plane crash: wreckage found in Papua New Guinea

Three search parties are their way to the site where a charter plane with 13 people on board crashed while en route to the Kokoda Track.A rescue helicopter spotted the wreckage this morning near the small village of Isurava in the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea.However the search parties face a long trek and difficult weather conditions, and there is no indication of casualties at this stage. AUDIO: Wife of missing plane passenger speaksForeign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament this morning that the site was three hours’ walk from Kokoda Village. He said the Government held grave fears for all 13 on board the plane, including nine Australians.Seven Victorians and two Queenslanders were among the 13 people aboard the plane.The lost aircraft was ferrying tourists to the village of Kokoda when it disappeared during bad weather yesterday morning.The lost aircraft was ferrying tourists to the village of Kokoda when it disappeared during bad weather yesterday morning.The wife of a Victorian man Peter Holliday, who was on the plane, said she would fly to Papua New Guinea tomorrow.Shonia Holliday, of Bendigo, has booked flights and the Australian Foreign Affairs Department has assisted with organising visas, she told Fairfax Radio.”We’ve got flights booked for tomorrow morning,” she said. Her husband Peter , 28, was on his way with his cousin to walk the iconic Kokoda Track in a tribute to his veteran grandfather.”His grandfather fought in World War II in that area, so he and his cousin wanted to go and experience it for themselves, I guess,” she said today.An emotional Ms Holliday said all the families of the missing adventurers needed positive support.”We just need everyone [to] stop talking negatively,” she said.”The best thing is to talk positively.”They are going to come home, they’re going to be fine, there might be a few cuts and bruises but that’s going to be the extent … “A large crowd of worried Papua New Guineans, fearing their relatives were on board, gathered at Port Moresby airport.More than 60 PNG porters, who assist Kokoda trekkers along the famous 96-kilometre walk, have arrived at the airport with the hope their loved ones were not on board the plane. Kokoda Track veteran Norris Selu said groups from different trekking companies gathered to find out information about the flight.”We are here to show sympathy and provide moral support.”All of us are worried someone we know may have been on board. At this stage we just don’t know and are waiting for more information.”A meeting between No Roads Expedition trekking company, Airlines PNG and the rescue team is being held at the airport to determine the next step in the operation.
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Kokoda plane crash: Queensland friends missing

A Sunshine Coast father of two and a doctor from Maroochydoore are among nine Australians missing after a plane crashed en route to the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea.The charter flight vanished yesterday with 13 people on board, but PNG officials earlier today said a rescue chopper had found the wreckageQueenslander Dr June Canavan, of Maroochydoore, had been travelling to Kokoda with a close friend from the Sunshine Coast on the ill-fated flight.The man she went with is married with children but has not yet been identified. Bendigo man Peter Holliday among the missingSeven Victorians are also among the missing.Dr Canavan’s colleague Elaine Kensett said the 59-year-old adventuress had been trying to raise money for a Tanzanian school by walking the Kokoda track.She had been practising medicine on the Sunshine Coast for 20 years and was a sports physician with Queensland Swimming and Swimming Australia and had been involved in both the Athens and Beijing Olympics.”She loved what she did. This is one of her greatest goals (to walk the track),” Ms Kensett told brisbanetimes南京夜网.au.”She wanted to help fight poverty through education.”Dr Canavan is an avid skiier and had climbed Mt Kosciuszko.Ms Kensett was contacted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade last night with the news.”I’m her next of kin,” she said. “All we can do is hope that they find survivors.”PNG Civil Aviation Authority head Joseph Kintau told ABC Radio he had just left a briefing where he learned the news.Foreign Minister Stephen Smith breaks the news about the missing PNG plane to MPs in Canberra.”They’ve located the wreckage,” he said.”I don’t have any specific details at this point in time but I have just been told it has been located.”Mr Kintau said the search started at 6.50am local time, but he didn’t know when the wreckage was spotted.He didn’t yet know if there were survivors, but said a radio signal had been received.Mr Kintau said he didn’t know how much of the wreck had been found or if there were signs of a fire there, but described the location as ”very, very difficult terrain”.Rescuers would reach the area as soon as possible, he said.Authorities were earlier investigating unconfirmed reports from villagers in the Mount Bellamy area of Papua New Guinea that there may be a plane crash site “nearby”, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says.”Our officials, PNG officials are working very hard following this information down,” Mr Smith told ABC Radio today.”We’ve had an unconfirmed reports from villagers that they heard a crash or a loud bang in the areas around Mount Bellamy.”The area was where PNG authorities had one helicopter on the ground, Mr Smith said.”We’ve narrowed it to this area, so we’re describing that as a possible crash site.””But we don’t want to be getting ahead of ourselves or confirming things we’re not in a position to confirm.”Mr Smith said search authorities were hopeful of getting “a couple of good hours in” before noon.”The anecdotal experience is the weather is better in the morning than later in the day.” brisbanetimes南京夜网.au
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Kiama councillors geared for yesteryear

NSW Governor Marie Bashir met the choir and volunteers.
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Kiama Mayor Sandra McCarthy (centre), with (from left) Lexie Wheeler, Neil Reilly, Monique Dare-Ward, Peter Bowman, Trevor Fredericks, Brian Petschler, Deputy Mayor Ben van der Wijngaart and Warren Steele. Pictures: GREG TOTMAN

Kiama Municipal Council’s 150th birthday celebrations continued yesterday with NSW Governor Marie Bashir officially opening the redeveloped Kiama Showground Pavilion.Professor Bashir and her husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, were guests of honour at the function, which celebrated the volunteers of the Kiama municipality.Entertainment was provided by the BlueScope Youth Orchestra, the Kiama Men’s Probus Choir and Kiama Primary School.Prof Bashir paid tribute to the youth orchestra’s performance, which she said had brought tears to her eyes.However, it was the unscripted performance of the building’s evacuation alarm that almost brought tears to the eyes of some proud councillors and council staff.The resilience of the orchestra during the alarm was rewarded with a standing ovation.Kiama Mayor Sandra McCarthy said the municipality was fortunate to have 60 volunteers groups and another 30 organisations that functioned on the goodwill of volunteers.”It is the most selfless contribution a person can make to the community,” Cr McCarthy said.Prof Bashir, who grew up in the Riverina and holidayed at Kiama, said the town’s volunteers had helped make the municipality a model for all Australia to emulate.She said the council’s motto adopted by the municipality’s first mayor James Colley – “we shall work, we shall live” – was still inspiring 150 years later.The new $5.4 million pavilion, positioned on the headland overlooking Surf Beach, seats up to 330 people in the facility’s main room and conference rooms. Last night Kiama council held a commemorative meeting to mark the 150th anniversary.Councillors and senior staff dressed in period costume for the occasion and a carved commemorative cedar plaque was presented to the council.Cr McCarthy said it was a privilege to be mayor of the municipality in its 150th year.”Council has come a long way from its traditional responsibilities of roads, rates and rubbish,” she said.

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Vellar company in court battle

Frank Vellar, left, and the Regent St complex.Owners of a Wollongong apartment complex are taking legal action to wind up a Vellar construction company over money it owes for repairs to defective building works.An application to wind up Oberon Property Holdings Pty Ltd, which changed its name from Vellar Constructions Pty Ltd in August 2008, was heard in the Supreme Court yesterday.The company’s two directors include disgraced developer Frank Vellar and another family member, Elide Vellar. Frank Vellar faces another legal dramaThe owners’ corporation of 7 Regent St are taking the legal action in an attempt to recover a $135,000 payout awarded by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal on March 13. The sum included the cost to repair the building and legal costs. None of the money has been paid.Owners of the 50 units took action after water began leaking into the building around 2005-06. After the tribunal ruled in the residents’ favour and the construction company failed to pay within the allowed time, the owners’ corporation took the case to the District Court. They obtained a default judgment on April 24, ordering the company to pay up. When the company still did not pay the damages, the application to place the company into liquidation was lodged with the Supreme Court.A representative for a second creditor also owed a substantial sum – Smorgan Steel – appeared in court yesterday to support the application to wind up the company.Another secured creditor, the ANZ bank, was also represented.Oberon Property Holdings’ solicitor asked for a two-week adjournment, suggesting the company was not insolvent and should not be wound up. He said it would take two to three weeks to obtain an accountant’s report into the company’s finances.Access Law Group solicitor Darrin Mitchell, representing the owners’ corporation, opposed the adjournment.He said it was “hard to believe” Oberon Property Holdings had only become aware of the legal action recently, despite the application being lodged more than a month ago. Mr Mitchell told the court he had instructions to proceed as “the defendant does not appear to be serious about this matter”.Senior deputy registrar Andrew Musgrave allowed the adjournment but said any future attempts to adjourn the case would need to be supported with evidence. The case will be mentioned in the Supreme Court on August 25.
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Young Vikings get cup of cheer

Vikings juniors (left to right) Ethan Hall (white shirt), Finn Noonan, Reece Hewat (behind), Nicholas Jones, Josh Debbes (obscured), Aubrey Duncan, Sebastian Hewat, Ian Duncan (coach), Josh Noonan, Thomas Petchler and Liam Moore. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI”Wallabies, Wallabies,” chanted a band of keen Vikings under 10s rugby players as they got their hands on the iconic Bledisloe Cup at Vikings Rugby Field yesterday.This is a lot closer than the Wallabies have done for quite a few years – six, to be exact.Unfortunately the trophy that symbolises trans-Tasman rugby supremacy was on loan from holders New Zealand and not in Australian possession for the Bledisloe Cup Roadshow which rolled into town yesterday.If enthusiasm is any gauge of how the 2009 Bledisloe Cup series will finish, Australia may well snatch the trophy back from the All Blacks, who are 1-0 up with three games remaining.The roadshow visited Mt Ousley Primary, St John Vianney’s and Fairy Meadow Demonstration schools as well as Vikings.”This is quite a big opportunity for the boys and girls to get their hands on it, so to speak,” Illawarra Rugby development officer Sean Barrett said.”With the help of Vikings, Tech Waratahs and Wollongong TIGS/Uni clubs, we tried to do a recruitment program and those three schools were involved in that and they’re actually going to be involved in our Ed-Rugby Program in the next couple of weeks as well.”Among the kids may be some future Wallabies running around. “Hopefully we can pick them out,” Barrett added.Australian Rugby Union retention manager Steve Frost is in charge of the roadshow.”This is the fourth year we’ve done it,” Frost said.”I went over to New Zealand last Thursday and picked up the cup.They were a bit less confident this time that they were going to get it back.”However, New Zealand only have to draw the series to retain it. So Australia have to win the last three Tests.”If the kids have their say, the Wallabies will win – now it’s up to the players.
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Libs want tougher laws

The calls follow Monday’s sentencing of a Tasmanian man, caught during the national crackdown called Operation Auxin with more than 37,000 images of child pornography.
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Under the current legislation, he was given the maximum one-year jail term and will serve nine months.

Deputy Premier David Llewellyn said the State Government intended to toughen the penalties next year.

Mr Llewellyn said they were working with all other states and territories to develop uniform penalties.

“It is important that all states and territories have consistent penalties for possessing child pornography,” he said.

However, Opposition justice spokesman Michael Hodgman said several other states had already dramatically increased their penalties since the Operation Auxin raids.

“In the last couple of months, the Northern Territory increased its maximum penalties for possession of child pornography from two years to 10 years,” Mr Hodgman said.

“Queensland doubled its maximum penalties from five years to 10 years and South Australia, only 11 days ago, passed legislation increasing penalties for possession of child pornography from one year to five years.”

He said that offenders in Victoria, WA and ACT already faced a maximum penalty of five years.

Law Society of Tasmania president Daniel Zeeman supported the State Government’s move towards tougher penalties.

“It is my view that consideration ought to be given to making it (possession of child pornography) an indictable offence under the Criminal Code,” Mr Zeeman said.

“Twelve months’ jail is inadequate for the type of crime that’s been committed.”

The offence is now prosecuted under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act and attracts a maximum 12 months jail, a $5000 fine, or both.

Under the Criminal Code, the punishment for an offence is jail for up to 21 years according to the judge’s discretion.

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