The dementia cases that can be prevented

In retrospect, the signs made sense. Doug Youngloved cars, so much so that he spent his weekends restoring them.
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Fixing up a car might take Doug a couple of weekends, but he had been working onthe latest car for several years without any progress. He was also coming home with dings on the family car, unusual for a man who cared meticulouslyfor his vehicles.

Then, in 2011, Doug was diagnosed with dementia. He became one of more than410,000 Australians with the disease, which has become the country’s second leading cause of death.

At first, Doug’s decline was gradual and the typical “Aussie bloke” who was proud, and used to doing things himself and caring for his family, became frustrated as he became less able.

A “heartbreaking” decline: Doug with Nick Young. Photo: Supplied

Then, in 2011, Doug was diagnosed with dementia. He became one of more than410,000 Australians with the disease, which has become the country’s second leading cause of death.

At first, Doug’s decline was gradual and the typical “Aussie bloke” who was proud, and used to doing things himself and caring for his family, became frustrated as he became less able.

Riders before the 2016 Ride to Remember. Photo: Supplied

“He lost the ability to drive, he lost his licence – that was a huge turning point -and then over the last few years it’s been a steady decline,” 36-year-old son, Nick explains.

Doug, 74, still remembers nursery rhymes which he sings with Nick’s 4-year-old daughter Isabelle.”Otherwise there’s no awareness of where he is or recollection of his family,” Nick says. “It’s reached the point where we are now looking for permanent care.”

Nick’s mother, who has spent the last 15 years caring first for her own mother, who also had dementia, and now her husband, is “at the end of her tether emotionally, physically and mentally”.

While themajority of dementia is not inherited, Nick fears his own fate.

“I fear, I truly fear that my wife will be doing the same thing for me. I’ll forget someone’s name or I’ll forget that I had to do something and straight away, I can’t not think maybe this is the start.”

Anew paperpublished inThe Lancethas found that one in three cases of dementia can potentially be prevented and we need to start thinking about it early.

Dementia may be considered a disease of the elderly, and it is true that it usually occurs in people aged over 65 years, but what we do when we are much younger can affect our likelihood of getting it.

The Lancetrecommendations for improvingbrain health and minimisingthe risk ofdementiaare: increasing education (past the age of 15), physical activity and social engagement while reducing smoking and obesity, treating blood pressure, depression, diabetes, and hearing impairment.

Until a cure is found for dementia, Nick Young wants to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s Australia. Last September he and friend Pierre, whose mother has dementia, began a155 kilometre annual cycle, theBondi2Berry Ride to Remember.

People they had been cycling with for years signed up for the ride, revealing they also had a parent or grandparent with dementia.

“These were close friends we’d known for years and years and years,” Nick says. “At no point would we know that they had been affected by dementia, or likewise my dad or Pierre’s mum.

“That emphasised it even more to us – people everywhere are affected and noone talks about it… I wasn’t going to blurt out my dad’s got dementia and he doesn’t remember me.”

It is heartbreaking to watch, Nick says, and heartbreaking that others also have to see their loved ones go through the same thing.

“It shouldn’t be happening and it shouldn’t be happening to anyone.”

START EARLY”We should think about prevention in childhood and consider education and lay the grounds for a brain healthy lifestyle,” says lead author Professor Gill Livingston of University College London.

“The number of people with dementia is increasing due to the ageing population with the welcome reduction in premature morbidity. This is happening in all countries.

“However the rates per 1000 older people is reducing in some high income countries and this is in the more highly educated. This is probably because education confers some physical brain resilience and makes people more likely to change their behaviour in a healthy way.”

OBESITY, DIABETES AND BLOOD PRESSUREAddressing cognitive function through education makes sense, but how do factors like obesity, diabetes or blood pressure play a part?

“We think weight and other such factors work mainly by decreasing blood flow to the brain and increasing insulin resistance so the brain is bathed in excess sugar,” Livingston explains.

HEARING LOSSThe researchers are unsure about why hearing loss, which has not previously been considered a risk factor, might result in cognitive decline but say multiple studies have found “even mild levels of hearing loss increase the long-term risk of cognitive decline and dementia”.

“Hearing loss might either add to the cognitive load of a vulnerable brain leading to changes in the brain, or lead to social disengagement or depression and accelerated atrophy, all of which could contribute to accelerated cognitive decline,” they suggest.

EXERCISE”No randomised trials are available to show that exercise prevents cognitive decline or dementia, but observational studies have found an inverse relation between exercise and risk of dementia,” the authors say, adding that its benefits include improved balance, reducing the risk of falling, improving mood, function and lifespan.

SMOKING”The association with cognitive impairment might be due to the link between smoking and cardiovascular pathology, but cigarette smoke also contains neurotoxins, which heighten the risk,” the authors explain.

DEPRESSIONThere is debate about whether depression contributes to the risk of dementia or is a symptom of dementia (it is believed that more than 20 per cent of those diagnosed have depression). While research findings vary, the authors suggest there is reason to believe it may be a possible cause.

“It is biologically plausible that depression increases dementia risk because it affects stress hormones, neuronal growth factors, and hippocampal volume,” they say. “Antidepressant prescriptions have increased in the past three decades and this increase is hypothesised to affect dementia incidence since animal data suggest that some antidepressants, including citalopram, decrease amyloid production.”

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT”Evidence is growing that social isolation is a risk factor for dementia and it increases the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and depression,” the authors explain. “Social isolation might also result in cognitive inactivity, which is linked to faster cognitive decline and low mood. All these are risk factors for dementia themselves, which highlights the importance of considering the social engagement of older people and not only their physical and mental health.”

ABOUT DEMENTIADementia (derived from the Latin words de (out of) and mens (mind)) is characterised by a decline in cognitive level that affects activities of daily living or social functioning. Itaffects about 47 million people worldwide and this number is projected to triple by 2050.

Dementia is usually preceded by mild cognitive (where complex tasks can still be completed) impairment and the boundary between the two is grey.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are many different kinds.

Healthier lifestyles are associated with declining prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia.While there is no cure, there is “good potential for prevention”.

To find out more about the Bondi2Berry Ride to Remember on September 9 or make a tax deductable donation,please visitbondi2berry南京夜网/donate

Stone’s Giant step forward

FORMER Knights coach Rick Stone has steered Huddersfield into the Super League play-offs – just 12 months after he saved them from relegation.
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Last week’s 26-4 win over Leigh Centurions was the Giants’ sixth in seven games and lifted them toseventh, guaranteeing a berth in the Super 8’s this year.

“We have probably used 34 or 35 players and everyone has worked pretty hard, diligently, over a long period of time this year,’’ Stone said.

“We’ve had some times where we thought that it’s a long way up from where we were.

“We stuck at it, we stuck together, and we’ve gradually found a bit of belief and the last 10or 12weeks have been good.”

Stone was sacked by the Knights 18 games into the 2015 NRL season –his second stint in the head-coaching role – and was working ina part-time assistant’s position with the Roosters before he accepted the job with Huddersfield.

He has spent much of the past 12 months on the other side of the world to his wife and three sons, who remain based in Belmont.

“My familyare still at home and I miss them every day,” he said. “I missed watching my young bloke [Knights back-rower Sam Stone] make his NRL debut,which was tough, and I certainly miss living onLake Macquarie.”

It was a sacrifice the 50-year-oldfelt he had to make to pursue his career.

“I have really enjoyed my time since I have been here,” Stone said.

“Great people, terrific fans and a good style of rugby leagueto coach, play and watch.

“The depth is a bit thinner, considering there is not as many kids playing rugby league over here as there is in Australia.

“Not having a reserve grade is something a bit different and we have struggled to get our young lads a game.”

One of Stone’s early decisions was to recruit formerKnights fullback Jake Mamo, who started late after ankle surgery but repaid the faith with 12 tries in eight games.

But in a devastating blow for the club, Mamo suffered a foot injury earlier this monthand was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

“Jake has done an outstanding job here since he got over his [original] foot injury,” Stone said.

“On and off the fieldhe has been a big part of our mid-season revival here at theGiants.”

Stone said Mamo was an example of the opportunities available for import players in Super League.

“It’s a great experience for young players to travel the world and experience another culture,” he said.

“But the criteria over here is strict .

“You must play a high percentage of NRL games over your previous twoyears to get a visa.”

PROGRESS: Former Knights coach Rick Stone has steered Huddersfield into the Super League play-offs. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

New Liberal line-up firms

New Liberal line-up firms MAYORAL RUN: A Liberal party internal document names David Compton, pictured left,, as the party’s lord mayoral candidate. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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‘THINKING ABOUT IT’: Newcastle communications consultant Kath Elliott is considering running for Newcastle council. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

INCLUDED: Stalwart Liberal party Newcastle councillor Brad Luke is tipped to run again at the local government elections in September. Picture: Peter Stoop

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald.

The sitting ward four councillor and owner of construction firm Compton Projects failed to make inroads contesting the safe federal Labor seat, losing by 18 per cent of the vote.

Butwith high-profile Hunter conservatives such as former lord mayorJeff McCloy and former Paterson federal Liberal MPBob Baldwin declining to enter the race so far as independents, the Liberals mayconsiderit worthwhilerunninga mayoral candidate.

The Herald madeattemptsto contact Cr Compton on Wednesday. Also among the apparent Liberalnominees areLachlan Stronach, the son of developer Keith Stronach, party stalwarts Brad Luke and Sharon Waterhouse, and younger members Taylor Wright, Blake Keating and Hannah Eves.

Missing isformer Shortland federal candidateJohn Church,anex-NBN newsreader and nowhead of marketing at Newcastle real estate firm PRD whowas said to be favouredby senior party figuresforhis name recognition and policy nous.

Communicationsconsultant Kath Elliott also confirmed she isconsidering running for council.

“Of course I’m always thinking about it, I’ve done it before, but I haven’t made up my mind,” she said when contacted.

Ms Elliott contested the ward three byelection as an independentin 2015and was defeatedby Labor’s Declan Clausen byabout four per cent of the vote.

Controversy hit that contestwhen a pamphlet authorisedby the Labor party and widely distributed on the eve of the election questioned Ms Elliott’s political ties and included a photo of her superimposed with then Prime Minister Tony Abbott and MrMcCloy.

A phone survey conducted this month forthe Australian Hotels Association polled Newcastlevoters aboutfigures it framed as being tied to the upcoming elections.

The poll canvassed opinion onGreens councillor Michael Osborne, state Labor leader Luke Foley, former NBN presenter Mike Rabbitt,independent councillor Allan Robinson,lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes,Newcastle nightlife campaigner Tony Brown, former Liberal state and federal candidate Karen Howard, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Cr Luke,Mr McCloy and Mr Baldwin.

Muriel’s Wedding leads Helpmann nominees

The musical version of popular Aussie film Muriel’s Wedding leads this year’s Helpmann nominations.Muriel is officially no longer terrible.
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The musical version of the popular Australian film Muriel’s Wedding leads this year’s Helpmann Awards with 11 nominations including for Best Musical and for its lead actress, Maggie McKenna, who made her stage debut in the starring role.

It marks a massive year for Sydney Theatre Company, which has come away with a total of 27 nods, helped in part by its staging of Muriel’s Wedding alongside Australian production company Global Creatures.

The STC’s interesting take on Bertolt Brecht’s dark play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, starring Hugo Weaving, has notched up six nominations, including one for Weaving’s tour de force in the title role.

Director Simon Phillips has also been nominated twice for Best Direction of a Musical (Dream Lover and Muriel’s Wedding) as has the STC’s Artistic Director Kip Williams for Best Direction of a Play (Cloud Nine and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui).

Actor and TV personality David Campbell has been nominated twice for best male actor in a musical for his roles in Assassins and Dream Lover.

Bangarra Dance Theatre has nine nominations, mainly for its ambitious work Bennelong, choreographed by artistic director Stephen Page and the company’s dancers.

Now in its 18th year, the annual awards ceremony recognises Australia’s live performance industry across 42 categories with genres including theatre, music, opera and musicals.

For the first time, the awards will be split over two events over two nights.The first will be a cocktail event in Sydney on July 15 announcing the behind-the-scenes awards and the second a black tie event on July 16 at the Capitol Theatre awarding the live performances.

Australian Associated Press

Socceroos allay injury worry over duo

Defender Trent Sainsbury says the Socceroos will be fit and firing for their next World Cup game.The Socceroos have allayed concerns over injured duo Josh Risdon and Tomi Juric after both missed a World Cup training session.
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Juric, who didn’t play in Australia’s tournament opener against France, continues to battle a knee ailment while Risdon also sat out the Socceroos’ training session on Sunday in Kazan.

But defender Trent Sainsbury says both will be available for selection for Thursday’s fixture against Denmark.

Risdon suffered a knock in Australia’s 2-1 loss to France on Saturday.

“He picked up a corkie on his hip and it was just precautionary to pull him out yesterday,” Sainsbury told reporters on Monday.

And Juric’s absence was part of his scheduled program to ensure his recovery from a knee concern.

“Everyone knows that he has had a bit of a problem with his knee,” Sainsbury said.

“But … he will be fine for the next game – just rest up now and get himself right.”

Sainsbury, making his World Cup debut, was Australia’s standout performer in the loss to France.

And the 26-year-old, who has played at four different clubs in four different countries in the past three years, hoped his assured display in central defence would help trigger another club move.

“My ultimate goal was to come here and play a good tournament and just get out of the group stage with this team,” Sainsbury said.

“And that is still the goal now.

“Whatever comes of it, so be it. It’s a nice place to put yourself out there in the shop window.”

Sainsbury has been playing the the Swiss Super League for Grasshoppers, on loan from Chinese club Jiangsu Suning, and also had a loan stint with Inter Milan in Italy last year.

In 2016, he played for Jiangsu Suning, in 2015 with Dutch outfit PEC Zwolle – a club he joined in 2014 from Central Coast Mariners in the A-League.

Now, Sainsbury said he eyeing a long-term move.

“That’s the idea now, to get myself to a club now that is winning more games than losing, get settled and stay there for as long as possible,” he said.

“f I can stay at one club for the rest of my career, I would be very happy to do that.”

Australian Associated Press

Klemmer ready to lead Blues pack again

David Klemmer wants to show the way for the NSW pack in Sunday’s second Origin clash in Sydney.NSW mightn’t know who’s starting in the front row, but there’s no doubt who’ll be leading from the front.
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As the Blues continued State of Origin II preparations with a barefoot session on Monday, coach Brad Fittler is yet to confirm whether Ryan James or Matt Prior will replace the injured Reagan Campbell-Gillard (broken jaw) at prop.

While both uncapped players bring different skills to the table, starting front-rower and Australian representative David Klemmer is aware of what he needs to deliver.

“I’ve been here before,” Klemmer told AAP on Monday.

“Freddie gave me a role and I just try my best to help the team out.”

And Klemmer deliver in Melbourne, showing his inexperienced teammates how it’s done with an impressive 100 metres in his first stint alone as arguably their best forward.

It was a strong statement from the Canterbury star, who not only was starting his first match for the Blues since his debut in 2015, but playing for the first time without partner-in-crime Aaron Woods.

In fact, across his 24 games for NSW and Australia, he has been without Woods just twice and the pair were critical in the Kangaroos defending their World Cup crown last year.

So when it comes to rookie experiences in Melbourne, Klemmer was learning on the fly as well.

“It’s all I’ve known, playing with Woodsy. Especially coming into these teams, I always had Woodsy to help me out with my game and help me outside of football as well,” Klemmer said.

“I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve had to sort things out myself, especially because I’m a big thinker when it comes to training and how I prepare. He was always someone I asked to help out.

“I’ve had to do it myself. It was weird at first, but it’s part of footy. I’ve got to grow up.”

With the Blues just 80 minutes away from claiming the Origin shield, Klemmer needs no reminding of how easily a series win can be snatched away.

He described last year’s deflating game-two loss in Sydney as a pivotal moment in his career.

“It’s something in my career I’ll never forget. We had a good win up there in Queensland and then we come down here and played just 40 minutes of football and lost,” he said.

“I’ll take a lot out of that game. I know what game two is about. Queensland are coming down here with a job to do. They’re going to come out firing. We’ll prepare well for it.”

All 20 players – including a hampered James Maloney and Latrell Mitchell – participated in Monday’s walkthrough at Coogee Oval, but will ramp up preparations with their first proper hitout on Tuesday.

Australian Associated Press

‘Name and shame’ posts could complicate a possible future trial, lawyers warn

FILE IMAGEPEOPLE using social media to“nameand shame”an accusedman as a show of support for an 11-year-old alleged child sex victim in Newcastle could complicate a possiblefuture trial, lawyers have warned.
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People also risked prosecution for making some social media posts.

Further posts about the man or descriptions of him as guiltyrisked a possible trial being moved from Newcastle to another area, said criminal law specialist Manny Conditsis.

Protracted and extreme social media commentary also risked an application from the man’s lawyer for a permanent end to proceedings because he couldn’t get a fair trial, Mr Conditsis said.

RELATED: Read this before you share that post

“That’s a very extreme scenario and highly unlikely to happen but the accused’s lawyer couldapply for it,” Mr Conditsis said.

Social media posts in the past 24 hours have carried photos and namedthe man charged by police with abducting the girl on June 12 on her way to school and sexually assaulting her over a number of hours.

Many of the posts were written and shared after a court registrar made a non-publication order on Sunday prohibiting publication of information that would identify him.

The order was made after his defence lawyer argued identifying him could threaten his safety while in custody. The order was opposedby prosecutors and the media and remains in place until he appears in court on Wednesday.

Mr Conditsis said people who continued to identify the man on social media despite the order risked prosecution themselves.

“Contempt of court applies to everybody, therefore anything that is said or done leading to the identification of this person is a contempt of court, with a potential jail sentence,” he said.

People posting and sharing social media commentary after people are charged also risked identifying the wrong person, with potentially “horrendous” consequences, Mr Conditsis said.

Australian National University college of law Professor Mark Nolan said people who said they were supporting victims of crime when they made social media “name and shame” posts needed to consider the possible consequences.

“Are you supporting the complainant if your actions may actually prevent the prosecution from pursuing a jury trial in Newcastle? That’s the paradox of trial by social media,” Professor Nolan said.

People making social media posts risked prosecution, but jurors who carried out internet searches also faced potential prosecution, Professor Nolan said.

At least one jury in a high-profile trial has been dismissed after allegations a juror conducted internet searches.

Prior shares keys to locking up Ponga

NSW will look to Cronulla’s defensive secrets as they hope to shut down Kalyn Ponga in Origin II.NSW will look to Cronulla’s defensive secrets as they go about attempting what few others have done this year: Shutting down Kalyn Ponga.
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Ponga’s elevation to the Queensland team represents a significant threat to the Blues in State of Origin II, after the Maroons could only penetrate them via an intercept and kick in the series opener.

But Ponga has proven himself to be something else in the NRL this year.

He leads the competition for tackle busts (85) and line-break assists (18), prompting retired Queensland captain Cameron Smith to declare him a must-pick for Origin II.

That dominance has extended into almost every game this year for Ponga, with the notable exception being round 12 against Cronulla where he ran just 66 metres and failed to have an impact via a try or linebreak for himself or one of his teammates.

And Sharks prop Matt Prior – who has been called into the Blues squad for game two – said Cronulla had found the key to shutting the dangerous 20-year-old’s attack down the left edge in that match.

“That was a big focus for us, Kalyn Ponga and how good he’d been playing,” Prior said.

“We went in there with a plan, every time he had the ball to have numbers around him and pressure him.

“Just don’t give him any time, that was the main thing. And it did seem to work.”

Where Ponga will line up for Queensland remains an unknown.

If Billy Slater fails to prove his fitness by Wednesday he’ll likely start at fullback, otherwise he could come on anywhere in the backline or as a roving man in the middle late.

Prior’s own future is also uncertain, with it unclear whether he will work his way into the Blues’ 17 for the clash.

Regardless, he said he was ready to help crack the code of shutting down Ponga with his own experience at Cronulla.

“That will be one of our key goals during the week,” Prior said.

“He’s electric. Coming into this year everyone had massive expectations on him and he has lived up to them and done even more in his first full year in first grade.

“We will probably look at that game and other games that he has been shut down and look at what teams have done well to shut him down.”

Australian Associated Press

Frank Fawkner takes the 2018 Food Fight crownFood Bites

Hunter chefs continue Food Fight winning streak | Food Bites Food Fight 2018. Picture: Dominique Cherry
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Food Fight 2018. Picture: Dominique Cherry

Frank Fawkner’s winning scampi dish. Food Fight 2018. Picture: Dominique Cherry

Nagisa at Honeysuckle.

Nagisa at Honeysuckle.

Nagisa at Honeysuckle.

Andrew Thomas.

Alex O’Hara.

TweetFacebookA class actIt’s hard to believe that Nagisa is now in its 15th year of trading. Time flies. The Honeysuckle restauranthas just released a new seasonal menu courtesy of head chef Chris Schofield who has added exciting new dishesand revisited some old favourites. Highlights include the Beniaka lamb which is marinated in Japanese craft beer and miso paste;the pork belly Kakuni featuring braised, skinless pork belly on a bed of green tea soba noodles; andthe Tako Karaage: deep-fried baby octopus pieces coated in savoury batter.

As for dessert, newcomers include the Tea and Coffee: a fusion of espresso, miso caramel jelly, black sesame sponge, sencha tea and basil-infused cream; and the Matcha Lime Cheesecake: green tea and lime combined with azuki red beans, white chocolate and berry compote.

Manager and wine expertYohei Nambahas curated a wine list that won two glasses at theGourmet Traveller Magazine awards for 2017 and can be paired with every dish on the menu.

On the moveThe Anchoragehas a new food and beverage manager inAlex O’Hara. His face might be familiar –that’s because he owned and ran Cazador in Newcastle’s Hunter Street Mall for several years before selling it in March 2017.

FRESH FACE: The Anchorage’s Alex O’Hara. Picture: Supplied

In more recent times he has managed The Anchorage’s two on-site restaurants: The Wild Herring and The Galley Kitchen.

“It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” O’Hara said. “Having worked for myself for the past few years, it’s probably one of the very few roles that I’d actually take on. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Woman vs wasteDon’t forget,Food Fighterhas its final Newcastle screening tonight, 7pm,at Tower Cinemas. The documentary tells the story of OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn and is followed by a Q&A with restaurateur Neil Slater.

Know your wineBecome a wine judge for the day this Saturday, June 23, when winemaker Andrew Thomas guides you through a tasting of Australia’s iconic wine Penfold’s 2011 Grange against Brokenwood’s Graveyard, Thomas’ Kiss and Peppertree’s Limited Release Shiraz.

Andrew Thomas.

Thommo, as he is known, is originally from McLaren Vale but has called the Hunter Valley home for the past 20 years, 13 of which have been spent as a winemaker at Tyrrell’s. In 1997 he started Thomas Wines with a view to making single vineyard semillon and shiraz that would rival the Hunter greats. In 2008 and 2014 he was named Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year. Tickets to Saturday’s masterclass at Pokolbin’s Small Winemakers Centre cost $84 per person and includetastings at the cellar door for no extra charge. Bookings essential atsmallwinemakers南京夜网419论坛

Made By MikeMike De Iuliis is kicking off a series of wine events under a new “Made By Mike” mantra.

A Cork & Pork Wine and Butchery Workshop will be held at Branxton Quality Meats on July 7 and 8, 2pm to 4pm. Limited to just 15 people, the hands-on workshop will teach you how to break down a pork shoulder, brine a ham hock for smoking and make sausages.You’ll be able to take home your creations, too. Tickets cost$150 per person; book at dewine南京夜网419论坛

And on Saturday, August 4, De Iuliis Winery will host aCork & Pork Wine and Butchery Lunch from 11am to 4.30pm. The festival-style event will feature salumi, share plates, live music, butchery workshops and, of course, wine. Tickets $150 per person (children under 12 just $25).Watch this space for details of a Sydney version of both events in October.

Mawson opensA new cafe/restaurant is opening in Caves Beach tonight. Mawson, at 5/3 Mawson Close, Caves Beach, is named after theoriginal Mawson Hotel. It will offer, its website says, a “casual fine dining experience”.

Meghan cried over dad missing wedding

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, cried when she was told her dad would not be attending her wedding.The Duchess of Sussex’s father says his daughter cried when he confessed he would not be attending her wedding to Prince Harry.
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Thomas Markle said he had broken the news to Meghan in an emotional phone call just days before she was due to walk down the aisle in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.

The 73-year-old watched the wedding from California, where he was recovering from heart surgery.

In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Thomas said: “They were disappointed.

“Meghan cried, I’m sure, and they both said ‘Take care of yourself, we are really worried about you’.

He added: “I absolutely wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle.”

Adding that he was recovering well from his surgery, which saw him have three stents fitted, Thomas said he was “honoured” that the Prince of Wales took on the job of walking Meghan down the aisle instead.

“I can’t think of a better replacement than someone like Prince Charles,” he told the program.

Thomas’ operation came shortly after allegations surfaced that he had staged photographs with the paparazzi.

He told GMB he had apologised to Harry and Meghan, adding: “I realised it was a serious mistake. It’s hard to take it back.”

The retired TV lighting director confessed he had cried as he watched the royal ceremony on TV, describing his daughter as “beautiful”.

“It was incredible watching her,” he said.

“I was very proud. I was very upset that it wasn’t me (walking her down the aisle) but the whole world was watching my daughter. I was very happy about that.”

Australian Associated Press

NZ PM’s stand-in takes centre stage

NZ’s deputy PM Winston Peters has taken the reins as PM Jacinda Ardern awaits her baby.With New Zealand’s heavily pregnant prime minster now out of the capital and past her due date, one of the country’s most enigmatic political veterans has slipped into her shoes.
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Jacinda Ardern is in Auckland awaiting the arrival of her first child and Deputy Prime Minster Winston Peters – although still not officially acting prime minister – was running the show in Wellington on Monday.

“Well, you could say it’s a bit of a curtain raiser, couldn’t you?” the 73-year-old gleefully told reporters as he held the PM’s weekly press conference, foreshadowing his soon to-be six-week stint at the top.

The half-hour the followed was a sampler of the traits that have served the former lawyer through his four-decades in the house.

Seamlessly transitioning from quick retorts and tongue lashings to his cheeky, knowing smile, Mr Peters fended off questions about a lawsuit he launched last week against a government department, his criticism of a boss of NZ’s biggest company – and, of course, the government’s business.

While Ms Ardern is notable for her cheery disposition with the press, Mr Peters has no qualms about pulling out criticisms and taking on a grumpier posture.

“I’m not going to come down here to a press conference and start talking about a private conversation,” he bluntly interrupted as a reporter asked about his communications with the prime minister.

And then with an abrupt, Elvis-like “thank you very much” he left the stage – before stopping in the aisles for one last exchange with a reporters still shouting questions.

“Look, I’ve answered all those questions. I’ll see you next time … I’m answering up there (the stage), not over here,” he answered across the room.

Sometimes described as a populist, the leader of the minority NZ First Party – a part of the coalition government – is the most experienced hand in the country’s political landscape, albeit a polarising one.

He’s formed coalition governments with both the centre-left and centre-right (earning resentment from some for his role as “kingmaker”), and since entering parliament in 1979 has held numerous senior cabinet posts, including deputy PM in the 1990s.

“Winston could have been prime minister, but for want of himself,” former prime minister Jenny Shipley told the 9th Floor documentary series.

“His complexity often got ahead of his capability… but on a good day he was brilliant.”

Australian Associated Press

Knights dynamo Kalyn Ponga will make his State of Origin debut for Queensland … but how will they use him?

MASTER AND APPRENTICE: Cameron Smith tackles Kalyn Ponga.THE chosen one has arrived on the State of Origin stage.
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Now Queensland have to decide how to best deploy Kalyn Ponga, as they desperately try to beat NSW at ANZ Stadium on Sunday and keep the series alive.

The 20-year-old Knights dynamo was named on the bench for his Origin debut in game two.Queensland coach Kevin Walters was confident veteran Billy Slater will overcome a lingering hamstring problemto take his place at fullback.

If Slater plays, that leaves the Maroons facing the dilemma of how to get Ponga into the game.

In his brief NRL career, he has played three times on the wing and 21 games as the last line of defence.

He also played occasionally as five-eighth in North Queensland’s under-20s.

The most likely scenario would appear to be that Walters will switch Ben Hunt from halfback to hooker at some point in the match, allowing Ponga to enter proceedings with a roving role.

That option would provide Queensland with extra threat in attack but also mean that Ponga has to defend in the front line. Whatever tacticsWalters has devised, he clearly has no intention of revealing them in the lead-up to a do-or-die encounter.

“We’ve got some plans around how we want to use Kalyn,” Walterssaid.

“We’re very grateful we’ve got him into the side this time around … I think we’ve proven in the past with Queensland teams how we can use our utilities in certain ways.”

Walters said Ponga has “been a standout” in the NRL this season, and statistics support that opinion.

The fleet-footed No.1 has made the most tackle breaks (116), most kick-return metres (871) and most line-break assists (13) in the competition, as well as scoring five tries himself.

“The best thing for us is that Kalyn has got some ability… and it’s time for him to get his opportunity and show what he can do,” Walters said.

Knights coach Nathan Brown had no doubt Ponga would have an impact and handle whatever job he was assigned.

“I’m sure that Queensland will have some sort of plan to use him and use him well, as they seem to have done very well over the past 10 or 15 years,” Brown said.

“They seem to have a utility player on the bench, and a lot of us New South Welshmen think: ‘Why did they pick that bloke on the bench, and how are they going to use him?’

“Then they generally put them out there and they generally do well. I just hope he backs himself and I’m sure he will.”

Queensland’s chairman of selectors Gene Miles said Ponga had been “very level-headed” when he joined the Maroons in camp before Origin I and was ready to take the next step.

“His time has come,” Miles said.

“It would be nice [if he could break the game open]. The expectations on the poor kid are great … if he can weave a bit of magic, great.

“But don’t be overawed by it. Get in, get a touch of the ball, get hit a couple of times and welcome to State of Origin footy.”

Walters said that“everyone here has seen how good he’s been for the Knights”, which augured well for a successful Origin career.

“We understand he’s going to be a long-term player for Queensland,” Walters said.“I think he’s earned the right to put on the Maroons jumper.”

Ponga will become only Newcastle’s seventh Queensland Origin representative, following Michael Hagan, Mike McLean, Adrian Brunker, Robbie O’Davis, Darius Boyd and Dane Gagai.

Over the corresponding period, Newcastle have produced 23 NSW representatives.

He will be the youngest Origin rookie since former Canterbury centre Jamal Idris debuted for NSW as a 19-year-old in 2010.

He also joins a select group to appear at Origin level before their 21stbirthdays, which includes Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Cameron Smith, Slater, Greg Inglis, Laurie Daley, Brad Clyde, Brad Fittler, Israel Folau and Ben Ikin.

Vandals in the velodrome

Vandals in the velodrome COUNTING THE COST: Newcastle Velodrome Trust chairman Neil Robinson says vandalism at the Adamstown track was spoiling a ‘great facility’. Picture: Marina Neil
Nanjing Night Net

COUNTING THE COST: Where a solar panel used to stand. Picture: Marina Neil

COUNTING THE COST: The broken security fence. Picture: Marina Neil

COUNTING THE COST: The cinder block used to break the fence. Picture: Marina Neil

COUNTING THE COST: Inside the canteen. Picture: Marina Neil

COUNTING THE COST: Newcastle Velodrome Trust chairman Neil Robinson. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookWe’ve got this great facility here … but it just attracts this vandalism

Newcastle Velodrome Trust chairman Neil Robinson

The trust has given up on removing graffiti.

“We’ve got this great facility here, and it is a great facility, but it just attracts this vandalism,” Mr Robinson said.

Neil Robinson inside the canteen. Picture: Marina Neil

“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve just been hit and hit. They are a determined little bunch; they come in here to destroythe place. It’s almost like it’s payback for putting the fence up.”

Mr Robinson estimated that damage to the venue was more than $25,000.

He said that the trust could not afford to maintain security services at the facility as it was reliant on government funding.

Both the fence and patrols were funded through grant programs.

“For a while we had been successful [in being awarded funding]. Not anymore,” Mr Robinson said.

The trust hopes that drawing attention to the velodrome’s plight will put pressure on government departments to restore funding.

Trust treasurer Craig Chapman said the facility was popular enough to be a worthy recipient of funding.

“The facility has become a hub for people young and old to come and train and ride it should be done in a safe environment,” Mr Chapman said.

“We are hoping to raise awareness to our cause in an attempt to inform our users and government departments of our situation.”