Daily Archives: November 19, 2015

Melbourne Victory beats Central Coast Mariners 2-1 thanks to Gui Finkler double in A-League clash


A delightful Gui Finkler brace has put Melbourne Victory back on top of the A-League.

On the evidence of their 2-1 win over Central Coast, Victory look like long-term occupants of the position.

Victory dismantled the Mariners with ease on Thursday night at AAMI Park despite missing marquee striker Besart Berisha.

Soreness was cited for the Albanian’s surprise omission but it mattered not for Victory, with Finkler stepping up ably in his absence.

A late consolation to Matt Sim gave the scoreline a flattering look but Central Coast was never in the contest.

The yellow-clad Mariners resembled butter as the A-League champions cut through their defence with ease.

Victory’s clinical opener came after a quarter of an hour.

Oliver Bozanic’s delightful backheel released Finkler, who burst through the centre-backs to roll his shot past Paul Izzo.

Three minutes later Finkler netted a trademark free kick for his second.

The Brazilian unleashed his set piece, earned after Daniel Georgievski was brought down on the edge of the box, into a conspicuously large gap at Izzo’s near post.

Finkler’s double repeated his effort from March this year, when he scored twice to defeat the Mariners on the way to their drought-breaking championship.

On Thursday night, his goals led Victory to their sixth-straight win over Central Coast, worsening the Mariners’ rotten start to the season.

Sim’s 89th minute header continued the Mariners’ record of scoring in every match but Tony Walmsley’s side are slumped at the wrong end of the table.

Without Berisha, Kevin Muscat handed teenage talent George Howard his full debut, but the striker was left in the wake of Victory’s other attacking talent.

Kosta Barbarouses was busy and Oliver Bozanic gave Victory their structure but it was Finkler who shined.

In front of 16,669 at AAMI Park, Victory ensured there was no chance of an injury-time equaliser.

Kevin Muscat’s side edge out Brisbane Roar to sit on top of the table on goal difference, with the Roar to play Melbourne City on Friday night.


Alleged Newcastle paedophile network to be exposed by royal commission


A web of child sexual abuse in the Newcastle Anglican diocese has alleged links to politicians, business people, doctors and members of the city’s legal fraternity, the ABC understands.

Inquiries into abuse incidents in the diocese are underway by a police strike force and the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.

Several alleged paedophile rings with links to local schools and children’s homes are also being investigated.
Clearly there are questions to be asked about those relationships and how they operated and how they were protecting each other.

Greg Thompson, Anglican Bishop of Newcastle

Newcastle’s Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson said there were also allegations of Anglican and Catholic clergy protecting each other.

“If your ministry team exists in a small town, they know each other,” he said.

“Then clearly there are questions to be asked about those relationships and how they operated and how they were protecting each other.”

Bishop Thompson said the size of the alleged paedophile network was disturbing.

“I think the culture is not only in the church … it is in the wider community and the relationships that people have with each other from sporting clubs, from professional associations, from going to school,” he said.

“They have held those relationships in such high esteem that they’ve not been prepared to name and own up to the abuse that’s gone on [among] their friends.

“They have been silent and not acted, and now is the time to come forward.

“I think we need to ask the good question of how people were protected, and what were the motivations of people when they heard about abuse from children.”

Some people ‘do not want the culture to change’

In a statement, Bishop Thompson said the church was committed to giving victims ongoing support.

“We are working hard to address the past culture that allowed abuse,” he said.

“We have policies and practices in place to ensure the wellbeing of all who now participate in church activities.”

However, he said some people remained opposed to change within the organisation.

“My own experience, in the past and the present, is that there are people who do not want the culture to change,” he said.

“They seek either to groom people or bully people into silence.”

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has confirmed planning is underway for public hearings to be held in Newcastle in 2016.

In February 2014, it held four days of private hearings in Newcastle, with 32 people coming forward to talk about their experiences.

Newcastle has been at the forefront of the push to expose child sexual abuse, with outspoken former Hunter region police officer Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox partly credited for pushing the Federal Government into setting up the royal commission.

If this story raises issues or concerns you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, the NSW Police on 1800 333 000, or the Diocesan Director of Professional Standards on 1800 774 945.


Sydney told to expect 41C on Friday as NSW national parks closed due to fire risk


A heatwave in NSW is expected to push temperatures in Sydney to 41 degrees Celsius on Friday, with 30 national parks across the state’s south being closed due to an increased fire risk.

Even hotter conditions are expected in inland areas, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) saying heatwave conditions were being caused by an approaching front and a slow-moving high pressure system over the Tasman Sea.

The conditions are drawing dry and increasingly hot air from central Australia into NSW, the BoM said.

BoM severe weather manager Michael Logan said temperatures were forecast to reach the low 40s across inland NSW and some coastal areas, including Sydney, tomorrow.

“The forecast for Sydney has now been updated to 41C for Friday,” he said.

“It’s a classic scenario of very hot and dry westerly winds with no sea breeze, followed by a blustery southerly change in the evening bringing relief.”

The highest November temperature recorded at Sydney’s Observatory Hill is 41.8C in 1982.

Mr Logan said the heatwave conditions would continue into Saturday in the state’s north-east.

The heatwave is already affecting the Riverina, in the state’s south, where the Rural Fire Service has declared a severe fire risk today.

Conditions have been classified “extreme” in the northern Riverina.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service closed more than a dozen parks, mainly in the south of the state, because of the increased fire risk.

However, Ben Shepherd from the Rural Fire Service said the risk was not likely to reach extreme across the whole state tomorrow.

“The recent rain will keep the fire index low,” he said.


Αντιδράσεις για τις αμφιλεγόμενες δηλώσεις του μεγάλου μουφτή της Αυστραλίας


Καταδίκασε τις επιθέσεις στο Παρίσι, αποδίδοντάς τις στο ρατσισμό και την ισλαμοφοβία

Την έντονη αντίδραση παραγόντων από όλο το φάσμα της ευρύτερης αυστραλιανής κοινότητας, προκάλεσαν οι δηλώσεις του μεγάλου μουφτή της Αυστραλίας, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, με τις οποίες καταδίκασε τις πρόσφατες τρομοκρατικές επιθέσεις στο Παρίσι.

Στην ανακοίνωση που εξέδωσε την Κυριακή, εκ μέρους του Εθνικού Συμβουλίου Ιμάμηδων Αυστραλίας, ο θρησκευτικός ηγέτης της μουσουλμανικής κοινότητας εξέφρασε τη θλίψη του για τις ζωές που χάθηκαν, παράλληλα όμως, στην προσπάθειά του να διατυπώσει ανησυχίες για τους «αιτιακούς παράγοντες» πίσω από τις επιθέσεις, αναφέρθηκε στον ρατσισμό, την ισλαμοφοβία, τα αυξημένα μέτρα ασφαλείας και την επέμβαση της Δύσης στις μουσουλμανικές χώρες.

Συγκεκριμένα, η ανακοίνωση γράφει τα εξής: «Τα πρόσφατα περιστατικά τονίζουν το γεγονός ότι η ακολουθούμενη στρατηγική για την αντιμετώπιση της απειλής της τρομοκρατίας δεν είναι αποτελεσματική. Είναι, επομένως, επιτακτικής σημασίας να αντιμετωπιστούν κατάλληλα όλοι οι αιτιακοί παράγοντες, όπως είναι ο ρατσισμός, η ισλαμοφοβία, ο περιορισμός των ελευθεριών μέσω της επιβολής μέτρων ασφαλείας, η διπροσωπία στην εξωτερική πολιτική και οι στρατιωτικές παρεμβάσεις».

Οι δηλώσεις αυτές προκάλεσαν μία σειρά αντιδράσεων από την πλευρά της Αυστραλιανής κυβέρνησης και μελών του κυβερνώντος κόμματος, κυρίως, αλλά και από εκπροσώπους επιμέρους κοινοτήτων της Αυστραλίας. Εντονότερη από αυτές ήταν η δήλωση του διευθυντή Δημοσίων Υποθέσεων της Σιωνιστικής Ομοσπονδίας Αυστραλίας, Ted Lapkin, ο οποίος χαρακτήρισε ως επονείδιστα τα σχόλια του Μουφτή και τόνισε: «Ο προμελετημένος φόνος αθώων είναι μία πράξη αμείωτης κακίας, η οποία δεν πρέπει ποτέ να μπαίνει σε πλαίσιο, να αιτιολογείται ή να δικαιολογείται. Τελεία. Ο στόχος της πολιτικής της Αυστραλίας στην Μέση Ανατολή είναι η προστασία των αθώων και η καταδίωξη των τυράννων».

Η αναπληρώτρια υπουργός Πολυπολιτισμικών Υποθέσεων, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, εξέφρασε την απογοήτευσή της για τη δήλωση του μουφτή, λέγοντας ότι θα περίμενε μία πιο κατηγορηματική καταδίκη της βίας. Αναγνωρίζοντας ότι οι παράγοντες που παραθέτει ο Δρ. Mohamed ισχύουν, τόνισε ότι η επαύριος μίας δολοφονικής επίθεσης δεν είναι η κατάλληλη στιγμή για να ανακινηθεί αυτή η συζήτηση. «Αυτήν την συγκεκριμένη στιγμή, πιστεύω ότι είναι σημαντικό να επικεντρωθούμε σε ό,τι συνέβη και να αφήσουμε στην άκρη αυτού του είδους τα αμφιλεγόμενα ζητήματα, ώστε να επικεντρωθούμε, με βεβαιότητα, στην καταδίκη», δήλωσε στο Sky news.

«Η Αυστραλιανή κοινωνία, με όλη της την πολυμορφία, επιθυμεί να ακούσει μία κατηγορηματική καταδίκη».

Την ίδια άποψη εξέφρασε και ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης, Peter Dutton, λέγοντας ότι τα σχόλια του μουφτή δεν στέλνουν το κατάλληλο μήνυμα στους νεαρούς μουσουλμάνους και τους καλόπιστους ανθρώπους στη χώρα, καθώς δεν διέπονται από ορθή κρίση.

«Μερικοί καλοί άνθρωποι από την ισλαμική κοινότητα καταδίκασαν χωρίς περιστροφές αυτές τις πράξεις βαρβαρότητας»δήλωσε ο υπουργός. «Πιστεύω ότι ο μεγάλος μουφτής θα πρέπει να ακούσει αυτό που έχουν να πουν αυτοί οι μετριοπαθείς ηγέτες, γιατί παραμένουν η ελπίδα μας, αν πρόκειται να πολεμήσουμε αυτήν την λανθασμένη σκέψη μέσα στην κοινότητα».

Ιδιαίτερα έντονη ήταν η αντίδραση του γερουσιαστή του Φιλελεύθερου Κόμματος, Cory Berardi, ο οποίος χαρακτήρισε «ντροπή» τις δηλώσεις του μουφτή, λέγοντας: «Η Δύση δεν ευθύνεται. Ο Μεγάλος Μουφτής πρέπει να συνταχθεί με όλους τους Αυστραλούς στην αντιμετώπιση του εξτρεμισμού και όχι να απολογείται γι’ αυτόν».

Πιο προσεκτικός στις δηλώσεις του, ο υπουργός Βιομηχανίας, Christopher Pyne, τόνισε την ανάγκη να μην μετατραπεί το περιστατικό σε ζήτημα εσωτερικής πολιτικής, καθώς, όπως είπε «είναι πολύ σοβαρό για να το ευτελίσουμε σε ένα ζήτημα του κατά πόσον ο κόσμος είναι ή όχι ικανοποιημένος με τα σχόλια ενός συγκεκριμένου μέλους της μουσουλμανικής κοινότητας».

Στο ίδιο μήκος κύματος, ο θησαυροφύλακας, Scott Morrison, απέφυγε να σχολιάσει τις δηλώσεις, τόνισε, όμως, ότι πολλά άλλα ηγετικά μέλη της μουσουλμανικής κοινότητας φρόντισε να λάβει αποστάσεις: «Είναι ενθαρρυντικό το ότι υπάρχουν πολλοί άλλοι Μουσουλμάνοι στην Αυστραλία σήμερα που είπαν ακριβώς αυτά που ελπίζαμε να πουν και το έκαναν χωρίς να χρειάζεται παραίνεση».

Από την μεριά του, ο πρόεδρος του τζαμιού της Parramatta, Neil El-Kadomi, τόνισε ότι η Ισλαμική κοινότητα της Αυστραλίας καταδικάζει τη βία, και κάλεσε όλα τα μέλη της να προστατεύσουν και να υπερασπιστούν την Αυστραλία. Μιλώντας στην ιστοσελίδα Guardian Australia, εξέφρασε την στενοχώρια του για το γεγονός ότι η μουσουλμανική κοινότητα καλείται να εκδίδει συνεχώς ανακοινώσεις καταδίκης για περιστατικά βίας και τόνισε: «Μάς κατηγορούν για τις πράξεις άλλων».

Πηγή:Νέος Κόσμος

Σε επιφυλακή η Αυστραλία για την αποφυγή τρομοκρατικών επιθέσεων


Ανώτατα στελέχη του Ισλαμικού Κράτους απειλούν να «αιματοκυλήσουν» και την Αυστραλία ως «αντίποινα» για τη συμμετοχή των αυστραλιανών δυνάμεων στον πόλεμο κατά των τζιχαντιστών στο Ιράκ και τη Συρία.

Σε βίντεο που έδωσαν στη δημοσιότητα φανατικοί τζιχαντιστές, επιχαίρουν για την επιτυχία των τρομοκρατικών επιθέσεών τους στο Παρίσι, που άφησαν δεκάδες νεκρούς και ορκίζονται ότι θα εκδικηθούν όλες τις χώρες που πολεμούν το Ισλαμικό κράτος, ανάμεσά τους και την Αυστραλία.

Την ίδια στιγμή, μετά την αιματοχυσία στο Παρίσι, οι Αρχές έκαναν επιδρομές στη Γαλλία και έχουν συλλάβει 128 υπόπτους.

Συλλήψεις έγιναν, επίσης, στο Βέλγιο (από όπου φαίνεται να προέρχεται ο εγκέφαλος των επιθέσεων), αλλά και στη Γερμανία.

Παράλληλα, καθυστέρησε κατά περίπου 90 λεπτά και αναβλήθηκε, τελικά, το βράδυ της Τρίτης, ο φιλικός αγώνας ποδοσφαίρου μεταξύ των εθνικών ομάδων Γερμανίας και Ολλανδίας, καθώς στο στάδιο HDI-Arena στο Αννόβερο έπειτα από πληροφορίες για βομβιστική επίθεση.

Την ίδια στιγμή, η Γαλλία συνεχίζει να βομβαρδίζει στόχους του Ισλαμικού Κράτους στη Συρία, ενώ στη Σύνοδο των G20 στην Τουρκία, στην ανάγκη για παύση του πυρός στη Συρία και έναρξη διαπραγματεύσεων διαμέσου του ΟΗΕ συμφώνησαν ο Αμερικανός πρόεδρος, Μπαράκ Ομπάμα, και ο Ρώσος ομόλογός του, Βλαντιμίρ Πούτιν.

Οι δύο ηγέτες βρέθηκαν στην Τουρκία για τη Σύνοδο Κορυφής της G20 όπου συμμετείχε και ο Αυστραλός πρωθυπουργός, Μάλκολμ Τέρνμπουλ.

Οι Ομπάμα και Πούτιν συζήτησαν για 35 λεπτά περίπου για την ανάγκη να μπει ένα τέλος στον εμφύλιο της Συρίας και συμφώνησαν ότι η χώρα πρέπει να μπει σε μια περίοδο πολιτικής μετάβασης που θα ορίσουν οι ίδιοι οι Σύροι.

Για να καταστεί αυτό δυνατό, πρέπει να προηγηθεί κατάπαυση του πυρός και έναρξη διαπραγματεύσεων με διαμεσολάβηση εκ μέρους του Οργανισμού Ηνωμένων Εθνών.

Σύμφωνα με την ίδια πηγή, οι δύο ηγέτες συζήτησαν και για την κατάσταση στην Ουκρανία, ενώ ο Μπαράκ Ομπάμα εξέφρασε τα συλλυπητήριά του στον Βλαντιμίρ Πούτιν για τη συντριβή του ρωσικού αεροσκάφους στο Σινά.


Στη Μανίλα (όπου διεξάγεται η Σύνοδος Κορυφής του APEC) ο Αυστραλός πρωθυπουργός, Μάλκολμ Τέρνμπουλ, είχε την πρώτη του επίσημη συνάντηση με τον Αμερικανό πρόεδρο, Μπαράκ Ομπάμα. Ο Αυστραλός πρωθυπουργός δεσμεύτηκε, ότι η Καμπέρα θα στηρίξει «μια ενιαία συμμαχία» για να εξολοθρευτεί το Ισλαμικό Κράτος.

Ο Αμερικανός πρόεδρος δεν παρέλειψε να επαινέσει την Αυστραλία για τον «σταθεροποιητικό της ρόλο στο Ιράκ και σε άλλες χώρες».

Πάντως, σύμφωνα με τα όσα μεταδίδουν τα ξένα πρακτορεία, οι ΗΠΑ και Αυστραλία δεν δείχνουν πρόθυμες να στείλουν χερσαίες δυνάμεις στην εύφλεκτη περιοχή «ειδικά μετά το πάθημα των Αμερικανών στο Ιράκ».

Την θέση ότι η Αυστραλία θα στηρίξει μια ενιαία συμμαχία στην αντιμετώπιση του ISIS, μετέφερε ο κ. Τέρνμπουλ και στον Ρώσο πρόεδρο, Βλαντιμίρ Πούτιν, στην κατ’ ιδίαν συνάντησή τους στην Τουρκία.

Καθώς, λοιπόν, η Αυστραλία ετοιμάζεται να «αναβαθμίσει» την εμπλοκή της στον πόλεμο κατά του Ισλαμικού Κράτους, αυξάνεται και ο κίνδυνος να δεχθεί τρομοκρατική επίθεση στο έδαφος της.

Αυτός είναι και ο λόγος που οι αρμόδιες Αρχές λαμβάνουν έξτρα μέτρα ασφαλείας και συσκέπτονται ώστε να πάρουν ακόμα πιο αυστηρά μέτρα.

Η μεγαλύτερη ανησυχία για τους Αυστραλούς είναι οι δεκάδες Αυστραλοί που πολέμησαν με τις δυνάμεις του Ισλαμικού Κράτους και κατόρθωσαν να επιστρέψουν στην Αυστραλία χωρίς να εντοπιστούν.

Υπάρχουν φόβοι ότι κάποιοι απ’ αυτούς θα μπορούσαν να τολμήσουν την οργάνωση τρομοκρατικής επίθεσης.

Πηγή:Νέος Κόσμος

Tsipras calls for Turkish cooperation in fighting migrant smugglers


Greece and Turkey must step up cooperation in the fight against smugglers who are transporting hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants to Europe from Turkey through the Greek islands, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday.

“We need to take more steps towards coordination, understanding in order to effectively hit the smuggling rings which are an insult against human dignity,” Tsipras told a joint press conference in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

About 650,000 refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty have reached the European Union through Greece so far this year, risking their lives in overcrowded, flimsy boats. Thousands have drowned.

Speaking on the Cyprus issue, Davutoglu said the two neighbors have a window of opportunity to act on the partition of the Mediterranean island.

“There is a window of opportunity right now over the Cyprus issue. The negotiations are going on. We have a common approach with Greece to contribute positively to the talks,” Davutoglu said.

Cyprus has been split along ethnic lines since a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief, Greek-inspired coup.

Davutoglu added he believed Athens would increase support for Ankara’s bid to join the EU.

Tsipras said Greece views Turkey’s bid to join the bloc “in a positive light” provided certain conditions are met.


Newcastle:Williamtown toxic water test results a big blow


STRANDED water on a property subject to flooding from Williamtown RAAF Base has concentrations of a known contaminant more than 100 times higher than the accepted health risk limit, tests have shown.
The shock results left property owner Kim-Leeanne King, the daughter of a former base commander, sobbing on Wednesday.

“I thought there would be some level of contaminants, but not that. Not what we got,” Mrs King said. “They build this thing so they’re high and dry and let their waste flow over us. They just do what they want to do.”

The results will increase pressure on the Department of Defence to meet its own policy that the contaminant perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) – in fire-fighting foam used extensively on Defence bases for decades – “not be released into the natural environment under any circumstances”.

This follows Defence evidence to a Senate committee in October that contaminated surface water was still “exiting the base”, with a known exit point at Lake Cochran near Mrs King’s property and the adjoining property of her mother, Ruth Facer.

The unlined man-made “lake” was designed to take run-off, including from a part of the base that recorded the highest readings of the contaminant perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in May 2012, at more than 1000 times the accepted health risk limit of 0.3 micrograms per litre.

Mrs King’s property recorded a reading of 38.2 micrograms per litre from samples collected by a University of Newcastle wastewater specialist, paid for by Williamtown and Surrounds Residents Action Group, and tested at a recognised laboratory.

On September 3, the NSW government suspended fishing and oyster harvesting, created a contamination zone around the base, and issued warnings about water and food because of elevated PFOS readings outside the Williamtown base.

Mrs King, 48, has lived on the property for 41 years, her husband Colin for 30.

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For the past few years they have battled Defence and the Port Stephens Council over run-off that has reached thigh height during extreme weather events.

“We have surface water from the base across our property for nine months of the year,” Mrs King said.

“Up until a couple of years ago we used to grow vegetables, but the land isn’t the same now because the surface water is so bad.”

As well as an extremely high PFOS reading, the stranded water on her property has also recorded elevated hydrocarbon levels due to its position beneath the base flight path.

“Mum is just devastated. The drain from the base runs through both properties. Lake Cochran is about 200 metres behind mum’s boundary.

“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I have a referral to get a blood test but I don’t want to do it now because I’m frightened of what they might tell me.”

University of Newcastle wastewater specialist Dr Steven Lucas said the RAAF base needed a comprehensive water management plan so that water from the site was contained and managed on the site.

“They’re going to have to come up with a plan for zero discharge from that site, and that’s going to cost them.”

At a parliamentary public works committee hearing in July considering a $274 million redevelopment of the Williamtown base, former commander John Donahoo said drainage beyond the base was a serious issue and Defence needed to pay for any additional infrastructure required and the maintenance of existing drains. Defence said maintaining drains was “a matter for Port Stephens Council”.

Defence did not respond to questions.


Newcastle:Victoria Theatre to be restored after sale


NEWCASTLE’S historic Victoria Theatre will likely be restored and revived as a grand entertainment hub after selling pre-auction to the Sydney-based Century Venues group.

The heritage-listed building was due to go to auction on Thursday, but veteran hotelier and building owner Arthur Laundy accepted an offer and exchanged contracts late on Wednesday.

The sale price has not been disclosed, but it was considerably higher than the auction’s $1 reserve and believed to be less than the $1.1 million Mr Laundy paid for it back in 2004.

Century Venues is well known in theatre circles, operating the Enmore Theatre and The Metro in Sydney, The Factory at Marrickville, The Comedy Store at Moore Park and The Vanguard at Newtown, among others.

Company boss Greg Khoury was unavailable for comment late Wednesday, but told the Newcastle Herald last week that he wanted to see the Newcastle theatre restored to its former glory.

‘‘It is a building of profound importance,’’ Mr Khoury, who inspected the building last week, said. ‘‘It is a similar scale and size to the Princess Theatre in Melbourne and would complement the Civic Theatre.’’

Built in 1890 in Perkins Street, opposite the historic David Jones building, ‘The Vic’ theatre has sat empty and boarded up since 1999. Mr Laundy’s hotel group, which also owned the neighbouring Crown and Anchor Hotel, had plans for the site but Mr Laundy recently decided to sell his Newcastle landholdings.

The last curtain was drawn on a performance at the theatre in 1966, but not before the stage had been graced by some of the country’s biggest theatrical legends including June Bronhill, Joan Hammond and Lily Langtry.

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Before the sale, Mr Laundy said he saw the $1 reserve as a ‘‘philanthropic move’’ which he hoped would attract someone with enough money to restore the building to its former grandeur.

Colliers International, which handled the sale, also ‘‘donated’’ the sale marketing campaign. Agent Adam Leacy, who originally sold the building to Mr Laundy in 2004, confirmed that contracts had been exchanged.

‘‘We had some really good groups show interest in the property, but Century Venues really stood out,’’ he said.

‘‘I know that everyone, including Mr Laundy and us at Colliers, wanted a really good outcome on this sale and I think we’ve got it. It’s a great old building and I think it’s got a great future.’’

Mr Khoury told the Herald he believed the theatre could play a key role in the city’s revitalisation.

‘‘Theatres are great catalysts for urban renewal he said.

‘‘You just have to look at the Phantom (of the opera) led recover that occurred at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.


He added that Sydney’s Enmore Theatre, which he took on in the 1980s was now part of the city’s cultural landscape.

‘‘It’s been a long, slow slog, but it is now worth about $23 million in additional elective spending per year,’’ he said.

News of the sale and possible restoration will excite many in Newcastle’s theatre and entertainment industries.

One group, a collaboration of people within the city’s entertainment industry, had rallied in the hope of acquiring the theatre. Shane Bransdon, a spokesman for the Revive The Victoria Theatre Newcastle group took to Facebook to say he was ‘‘very pleased that the new owners have a track record of restoring old theatres and operating them as live performance venues’’. He said he hoped the group would be able ‘‘to share our research and be involved’’ in the theatre’s future.

The Victoria Theatre company first operated in Newcastle in 1870 before moving into the building in 1890. In its heyday, it rivalled the best theatres in Sydney and attracted huge crowds with seating for 1340 people. The theatre itself is now the oldest theatre still standing in Australia.


Barcelona’s Luis Suarez says Real Madrid won’t target Lionel Messi in El Clasico


Luis Suarez doesn’t believe Real Madrid will target Lionel Messi in Saturday’s Clasico, if the Barcelona forward is fit to take part.
Messi hasn’t played since a late September knee injury against Las Palmas but is back in training and reports from Spain say he’ll be involved to some degree.

“Whether he plays or not is his and the Coach’s decision. The feelings are good but we have to wait,” AS reports Suarez saying at a Wednesday Press conference.

“Leo is above the rest and Neymar is behind him as the second best. It’s enjoyable to have them around and I’m proud of my teammates. Messi can change anything at any time.

“We knew we wouldn’t be able to count on him for a few weeks and with Madrid’s defeat at Sevilla we took advantage [to go top]. We’ve done well without Messi.

“Messi needs to tell me how to play this kind of game. I’m in different form from last year and I’m certain I can do well.

“I’m fine, happy and in good shape. I’m eager to get the win, of course. You always want to go home with the victory.”

Suarez was asked if Sergio Ramos’ shoulder injury is something he’d look to exploit, and if the six-point gap that would arise if Barca won would be decisive for the title.

“I won’t go for Sergio’s shoulder in the same way they won’t go after Messi’s knee,” he confirmed.

“But if Ramos does have a pain-killing injection, I’ll push him hard.

“The League isn’t decided by leading Madrid by six points in November. There’s too much of the championship to go to think it’s finished. And there is Atleti, who will eventually fight for the League.

“Favourites? You never know what can happen and the opposite can happen when you’re favourites. You have to concentrate, to the utmost, to aspire to the victory. The Bernabeu is always imposing.

“Playing there is always special, for the importance. I’ve got good memories of my debut there, in the Barca shirt, but bad for the result.”

Read the original article on Football Espana – The ultimate website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football


Islamic State reveals ‘how it brought down the Russian plane in Sinai’

ISLAMIC State has shared photos of a homemade bomb it claims it used to bring down a Russian passenger plane over Sinai in Egypt last month, killing 224 people.

The latest edition of propaganda magazine, Dabiq, claims an improvised explosive device was hidden in a can of Schweppes Gold pineapple juice. The picture’s authenticity could not be confirmed.

According to the publication, the militants smuggled the bomb on board the airliner after discovering a “way to compromise the security” at the Egyptian airport, but did not elaborate.

They claimed they had initially planned to down a plane belonging to a country from the US-led coalition targeting militants in Iraq and Syria.

They instead decided to target the Metrojet airliner departing the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on October 31 after Moscow began an air campaign in Syria in late September, the magazine said.

Another photograph purported to show passports belonging to Russian passengers killed in the bombing, with the documents allegedly obtained by Islamic fighters.

Entitled “Just Terror”, the magazine’s cover shows the victims of last week’s Paris attacks being treated by the emergency services.

The Russian Federal Security Service announced on Tuesday that a terrorist attack caused the A321 plane en route to St Petersburg to crash in Sinai.

It claimed traces of explosives have been found in the wreckage, which included passengers’ belongings and parts of the plane.

“During the flight, a homemade device with the power of 1.5 kilograms of TNT was detonated,” FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov said, adding that “traces of a foreign-made explosive substance” have been found.

Although Egypt has not confirmed the findings, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has agreed to co-operate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“In the context of the efforts to find the criminals involved in the terrorist act against the Russian airliner, close co-operation was agreed on between the security services of Russia and Egypt,” the Kremlin said in a statement after the leaders spoke by phone.

The intention is to put in place “additional measures to assure the maximum security of air traffic between the two countries in order to re-establish it as soon as possible,” the statement said.

Cairo has insisted it is waiting for the results of an Egyptian-led probe before giving a definitive verdict on what caused the crash that killed all 224 people on board.

Egyptian authorities said that they were enhancing security in airports around the country over the possibility the plane was “targeted by a terrorist attack.”

Moscow suspended all flights to Egypt on November 6 citing the need to bolster airport security, but at the time it played down growing Western suspicions that a bomb had blown its plane out of the sky.

Mr Putin has pledged to find and “punish” those responsible for the attack — the bloodiest against a Russian target since the Beslan school massacre in 2004 — and his security service has offered a $50 million reward to help find the culprits.

While Moscow has not explicitly blamed any specific group for the attack, jihadists linked to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility and Russian jets stepped up air strikes against IS targets in Syria after confirming the bombing.

Moscow launched a massive operation to repatriate tens of thousands of stranded holiday-makers after cutting air links with Egypt and Russia’s state tourism agency told TASS news agency that the last of those planning to come back would return home on Wednesday.