Daily Archives: November 30, 2015

ARCHIVAL REVIVAL: Sharks of the Hunter | photos, interactive


LAST summer was the season of the shark – but it certainly was not the first time the predators visited our region.

A dig through the Herald’s photographic archives proves Hunter fishermen and surfers have long had an ambivalent relationship with the predators, who often herald a healthy ecosystem beneath the surface.

But tensions have grown closer to shore in recent years, with a Parliamentary inquiry beginning last Thursday to examine how sharks can be managed in NSW.

Unseasonably hot November weather has driven the Hunter’s punters into the surf early this year, with few deterred by the record closures last summer.

Perhaps they are placing more emphasis on the fact Lake Macquarie beaches have had just two serious attacks in more than 50 years.

Glen “Lenny” Folkard was attacked in January 2012 and Reginald “Rex” Ogilvie in 1932, both at Redhead beach.

But those statistics seem less memorable than the attacks in recent years.

Former Newcastle firefighter Dave Quinlivan nearly died from blood loss when he was attacked at Black Head in September this year, and musicianLisa Mondy was bitten several times by a great white shark after falling from her wakeboard in March 2011 at Jimmys Beach.

Plenty were willing to brave the water even during those ten hot January days when Newcastle City Council lifeguards shut down the city’s coastline for safety reasons.

One shark, famously described as five metres long and weighing about 1700 kilograms, kept popping up.

While there have been numerous attacks in the Hunter in the past few years, the focus of the shark debate has shifted towards the state’s north coast after a spate of attacks.

Far North Coast Shark Action Group’s Don Munro told Fairfax last week that he was in favour of the new drumline technology “as a short term, interim thing. The sooner the better.”

In his submission to the committee, Mr Munro said he had “never seen a community so shaken up and cautious about entering the ocean”.


Liverpool narrow the gap with a 1-0 win over Swansea


James Milner scored from the spot for the second match running to earn Liverpool a hard-fought 1-0 win over Swansea City at Anfield on Sunday.

Milner was on target with a penalty in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League victory over Bordeaux and he proved Liverpool’s matchwinner against Garry Monk’s side after the hosts had looked set for a frustrating stalemate, handing manager Jurgen Klopp his first BPL victory at Anfield.

Liverpool were on top for large spells prior to Milner’s goal shortly after the hour but lacked a cutting edge without playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who was not risked following a hamstring problem picked up in the 4-1 win over Manchester City.

Captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge made their long-awaited returns from injury from the bench to feature under Klopp for the first time – adding gloss to a third victory in a row in all competitions that lifts Liverpool to sixth in the table.

The result means that Swansea have one win from their last 10 league fixtures.

Following back-to-back wins over City and Bordeaux, Liverpool began confidently and almost went ahead five minutes in via Kyle Bartley. Jordon Ibe burst forward and Bartley’s challenge diverted the ball onto Lukasz Fabianski’s right-hand post.

Ibe – one of two Liverpool changes due to Coutinho’s injury and Lucas Leiva’s suspension – was heavily involved in the opening stages as Liverpool dominated possession.

Missing suspended Jonjo Shelvey, Swansea gradually grew into the contest around the half-hour mark but, like their hosts, could not muster a shot on target before the interval.

Having survived early Liverpool pressure, Swansea were on top after the break but Ibe had the first effort of the second period when he forced Fabianski into a save down to his right.

And Klopp’s men broke the deadlock on 62 minutes when Taylor was adjudged to have handled Ibe’s delivery and Milner produced an impressive penalty to beat Fabianski.

Henderson was introduced soon after for his first appearance since mid-August and assumed the captain’s armband from Milner before Sturridge featured for the first time in almost two months.

The striker missed the midweek success after sustaining a knock in training but almost got himself on the end of Milner’s wayward shot at the far post shortly after his introduction.

Swansea substitutes Jefferson Montero and Befetimbi Gomis saw late shots blocked as Liverpool’s momentum continued to grow ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final at Southampton.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “It was really difficult for both teams, the wind was in the stadium more than the stands.

“Swansea defended very well. They had some problems in the last few games but they were more compact. I am proud of the lads. It is a good result in difficult circumstances.”

Swansea manager Garry Monk: “I am gutted for my players as they were excellent. I have no complaints over the performance.

“We didn’t look like a team in trouble. We are not going to make excuses, I know we need results but if we play like that it is a given. It was an excellent performance which deserved much more than it got. I take full responsibility for this period. You can see players are working hard to put it right.”


Australia:Helen Kapalos opens multicultural debate


VMC commissioner argues for new definition of ‘reductionist’ ‘m’-word

Television presenter and journalist Helen Kapalos​, chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), appealed for a deeper understanding of what has driven Australia’s multicultural success this week and called on Australians to challenge an “us and them” mentality stoked by the media.

Ms Kapalos, delivering an impassioned keynote speech at the VMC’s headquarters in Melbourne, used the event to lay out her vision for revamping not only the state’s multicultural agenda, but our use of the ‘m’-word.

Drawing on her own experience and relating a brief history of ‘multiculturalism’ as an expression across the globe, the VMC chair argued that it was time to place the word, used traditionally to describe minorities and minority issues, in the mainstream of contemporary Australia.

“I saw the term as belonging largely to minority groups … a reductionist term, reserved for more vulnerable members of the community, or the newly arrived, or for festivals,” said Ms Kapalos, before adding that as a Greek Australian such a label was difficult to identify with.

“I wondered whether it was that the term had not evolved … or maybe our multicultural policy should be a policy for all, not just for ethnic minorities, because the value which underpins it is a value we can all relate to: the right to belong.”

Relating her own experiences as a journalist with SBS and commercial broadcasters, Ms Kapalos said understanding the difference between cultural diversity as a lived experience, and multiculturalism as a political process was useful to move the debate forward.

“My constant frustration is one which still remains… how we index or rate the value of a human life, which appears to rely on how close to our culture and identity they are.”

Alluding to the Paris terrorist attacks of November 13, the VMC commissioner said media coverage of the attacks, compared to coverage of similar atrocities in recent weeks, raised questions that go to the heart of multicultural concepts.

“Did we get the same coverage about a similar strike in Beirut and why not? Why do some lives matter more than others? There’s one argument that equates it to the ‘relate-ability’ factor. ‘They are more like us’, so we’ll feel more empathy as news viewers, but why do we constantly focus on our differences and not our similarities?

“Why are some cultures and traditions ranked as more acceptable than others? The short answer is fear, fear of what we do not know.”
Ms Kapalos said the path to challenge fear and change the media’s discourse on diversity was about “reviewing our attitudes, our unconscious bias, and increasing intercultural understanding by empowering ourselves about other cultures”

“That way we can form our own perception, not one which has been filtered through the lens of the media. It means we might be less reactive and less likely to feed the media narrative.”

The VMC Chair concluded her speech by quoting Martin Luther King “who dreamt that one day his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. They are often repeated words but it’s still as prescient a vision as ever for the world”.

Source:Neos Kosmos

Melbourne:Orthodox liturgy to be delivered in English


The Greek Orthodox Parish of the Annunciation of Our Lady has announced that it will be holding a divine liturgy in English once a month, with the next service set to take place on December 3.

The service, led by newly appointed priest Father Kosmas, will give second and third generation members of the Orthodox faith a chance to experience the liturgy in their first language, making it easier for them to understand and engage.

The East Melbourne church was the second Greek Orthodox Church to be erected Down Under.

Prior to its establishment, church services were run through a small hall hired by the community, with Father Athanasios Kantopoulos named the first official priest of the parish in 1898.

source:neos kosmos

Why slain Russian pilot deserves to be honored


As a military analyst for CNN, I’ve found the anchors often ask tough questions regarding tactics, battlefield operations, strategy and political maneuvering associated with conflict. But Sunday morning, I was asked: “What is the protocol for the transfer of remains of the Russian pilot whose plane was shot down over Turkey?”

That may be the most difficult question I’ve ever been asked.

Watching an escorted fallen soldier returning home to family and friends is something I have experienced far too often. I keep a box with photos of 257 soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice under my command, and every day those pictures remind me of their service to country and of a life which ended too abruptly. That’s why I became emotional commenting on the final flight of Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov.

No matter your thoughts on Russian, Turkish or U.S. national strategy regarding the civil war in Syria and the fight against the terrorists of ISIS, Peshkov was a simple soldier — a bomber pilot — serving his state, and he deserves to be honored.

Unfortunately, given the circumstances, there really aren’t any protocols. But we’ve learned Peshkov’s body was prepared by an Orthodox priest near where he fell, and then taken on a flight from Hatay, Turkey, near where the body was recovered, to the capital, Ankara. Accompanied by a Russian military attache (who was likely a Russian colonel), he was met by the Russian ambassador to Turkey and the Russian Embassy staff upon landing in Ankara.

The flight will quickly leave Turkey for Russia, and I suspect Peshkov’s family will meet him wherever he lands. There will likely be a bevy of media and scores of Russian politicians present. This is certainly not the same protocol afforded the hundreds of Russians soldiers who have fallen in Ukraine, because those are battlefield casualties that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want publicly honored, or even known, by his fellow citizens.

Peshkov’s arrival will certainly generate more anti-Turkish fervor, more Russian nationalism and continued support by Putin of Syria’s Assad regime. The level of those emotions will be fueled by the factors associated with not just the shoot-down of the aircraft, but Peshkov’s combat death.

Peshkov was the unfortunate pilot of an aircraft that served as the final straw for Turkey’s patience. While there had been multiple incursions by Russian aircraft in Turkish airspace, and multiple warnings to desist, this Su-24 bomber would become the example for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show he was serious about Turkish territorial integrity. The flight and shoot-down have become the center of a political firestorm.

But it was what happened after the shoot-down that will contribute to complications between these two countries.

After successfully bailing out of his damaged aircraft, Peshkov was killed. According to video distributed on social media by a Syrian rebel group, Turkmen freedom fighters shot at the ejected pilots as they were landing on the border between Turkey and Syria. (CNN couldn’t immediately confirm the video’s claim.)

If the facts back up the video, they committed a war crime in their actions. Firing on an unarmed, parachuting pilot is an unmistakable violation of the law of land warfare.

There have been hundreds of political and military disputes between Russia and Turkey over the years. Some have been casus belli — justifications for possible war — while others have contributed to strained relations. The circumstances of Peshkov’s death will certainly contribute to tension between Turkey’s and Russia’s bellicose and mercurial leaders. We’ll likely see it played out in public this week in Paris.

But today is a day to separate the warrior from the war. On Sunday, Peshkov will return home to his loved ones and to the Russian motherland. For his family’s sake, I hope for a dignified transfer of remains, and for his sake, I pray he rests in peace. Because that is what a fellow soldier does.