Monthly Archives: August 2016

Melbourne once again ranked world’s most liveable city

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For the sixth year running, Melbourne has secured perfect ratings for healthcare, education and infrastructure

Melburnians are sure to be feeling a little pleased with themselves today after the city topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Liveability Index for the sixth year in a row.

The prestigious EIU index is a survey of 140 of the world’s best cities, with Melbourne emerging with perfect ratings for healthcare, education and infrastructure and a score of 97.5 out of 100.

One point below Melbourne in second place was Austria’s Vienna, followed by Canada’s Vancouver and Toronto.

Adelaide tied with Calgary, Canada in fifth place, while Perth ranked seventh, and Sydney ranked seventh last year, dropped out of the top 10.

So how has Melbourne managed to maintain its title at the top?

Known for its multiculturalism, the city also ranked highly with regards to culture and the arts, and maintains its national title as the sporting and events capital with the Australian Open, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and the Spring Racing Carnival amongst others.

It’s easy to see why international visitation has grown by 9.2 per cent annually.

Meanwhile more than 175,000 international students are currently studying across Victoria, which boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, leading the way in full-time jobs growth.

“This is a result all Victorians can be so proud of,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

“We’ve once again outperformed some of the world’s best cities when it comes to healthcare, education, infrastructure, culture and environment, and sport,” he said, adding that “it’s just more proof there’s no city on earth quite like Melbourne.”

In a bid to avoid getting complacent and to maintain the city’s ranking, the Andrews Labor Government is about to embark on various major infrastructure projects including the Metro Tunnel, the Level Crossing Removal Project and the Melbourne Park upgrade.

source:neos kosmos

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‘A beautiful partnership’ as Cahill joins Melbourne City

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Melbourne City and the A-League have finally got their man, ending months of speculation

When Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip says it’s a beautiful partnership, he’s referring to the prospect of City’s prized recruit Tim Cahill joining forces with last season’s Golden Boot winner Bruno Fornaroli. But one could imagine the same sentiments expressed by FFA CEO David Gallop, who is hoping that Cahill and the A-League form a beautiful partnership, one that will reap rewards in terms of viewing audiences, attendances, sponsorship and TV rights.

Melbourne City and the A-League have finally got their man, ending months of speculation on Thursday, when the club announced that Cahill will join the club on a three-year deal after he successfully completed a medical in New York with Melbourne City’s sister club New York City FC.

The FFA took steps back in May to put in place and set in motion the pulleys and levers necessary to get Australia’s highest profile player to return home to the A-League. It was then that the FFA announced changes to the regulations governing the recruitment of marquee players by A-League clubs. It introduced a new category of Full-Season Guest Marquee, enabling A-League clubs to recruit an additional marquee player above the two marquee spots they are currently allowed outside the salary cap, providing the player in question meets stringent footballing and marketing criteria.

“When FFA announced the 2016-19 Strategic Plan in May, the marquee player issue was front and centre to rejuvenate the Hyundai A-League, and Tim Cahill was top of the wish-list,” said FFA CEO David Gallop.

“We’re really pleased that Melbourne City has taken the opportunity of the new regulations and the marquee fund to bring Tim home. Importantly, all clubs have recognised the importance of this initiative and some are actively pursuing other Full Season Guest Marquee options.

“Tim’s arrival is the biggest transfer move in the A-League’s history because no player is more popular or has had a bigger impact on the modern game in Australia than Tim Cahill.

“Today’s news fits perfectly with our new marketing campaign to appeal to young families and convert more football participants into A-League fans,” said Gallop.

“Tim Cahill’s debut season will give millions of fans a compelling reason to watch the A-League, get to a match, pick a team and become a member. I know this signing will be a huge boost to the profile and reach of the A-League, which is already a globally recognised domestic competition and among the best in Asia.”

Cahill’s contract is a three-year deal with a two-part structure. The first part secures his playing future for two years in the A-League, taking him up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The final year of his contract will see him become part of the City Football Group’s coaching team, and enable his transition into a post-playing career as a coach.

For Melbourne City fans, it means they can again look forward to watching their team top the goal-scoring charts, with the Socceroos’ all-time leading scorer Cahill joining forces with last season’s Golden Boot winner Bruno Fornaroli.

“We have very ambitious targets at Melbourne City,” Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip commented on the signing. “We want to win every time we step on the pitch, and in doing so we want to bring success for our fans who have been so loyal to us. Tim is an important part of realising that ambition. The depth and breadth of his experience will be very important to us on the field and also in the dressing room.

“He is without doubt one of the most loved sports stars in this country, and I think the fact that he is back in his home country is important to the fans, and is fantastic for us as a club. I see in Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli a beautiful footballing partnership – we are very focused on our pre-season preparations and the time that the team have together now is very important.”

Cahill gets to meet his new team-mates when he starts pre-season training with Melbourne City on Monday 15 August.

 

Source:Neos Kosmos

Liverpool edge Arsenal 4-3 in seven-goal thriller

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Philippe Coutinho brace and Sadio Mane debut goal helps Merseysiders stun Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool got their 2016/17 Premier League campaign off to a wonderful start by edging a pulsating encounter at Emirates Stadium winning 4-3 at Arsenal.

Despite falling behind to Theo Walcott’s strike, Jurgen Klopp’s side raced into a 4-1 lead thanks to a Philippe Coutinho brace and goals by Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane. With the Merseysiders threatening a rout, the Gunners responded with two efforts of their own from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers, but the visitors held on for a memorable victory in north London.

Arsenal began the first half well, dominating possession and playing on the front foot, and should have taken the lead on 28 minute, when they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Alberto Moreno on Walcott, whose feet were too quick for the Spaniard’s lunge.

Walcott elected to take the spot-kick himself but was denied by Simon Mignolet, who guessed right to parry the ball away.

However, Walcott did not have long to wait before making amends, latching on to Alex Iwobi’s pass to drive low across Mignolet and into the far left-hand corner.

Arsenal’s makeshift central defensive pairing of Chambers and summer signing Rob Holding had been largely untroubled until Coutinho’s moment of magic, but there was nothing any of the Arsenal defenders could do when, from 30 yards out, the Brazilian planted a curling free-kick into the top left-hand corner of Petr Cech’s net.

Liverpool began the second half as they meant to go on, Lallana giving his side the lead after chesting down Georginho Wijnaldum’s cross and slotting past the advancing Cech four minutes after the restart.

Just six minutes later it was 3-1 as a delightful team move found Nathaniel Clyne haring down the left and picking out Coutinho to score again with a fierce, first-time finish.

Arsenal appeared to be unravelling as Aaron Ramsey went off with a hamstring problem and moments later Sadio Mane scored a wonderful individual goal, powering down the right flank, cutting inside three players and firing emphatically into the top corner.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the home fans faint hope with a mazy individual goal which left four opponents in his wake and Mignolet fooled by his low shot on 64 minutes, and within 11 minutes that hope became more real as Chambers rose to glance in Santi Cazorla’s free-kick.

Now the Gunners’ tails were up but, try as they might, they could not match Liverpool’s four goals.

source:premierleague.com

Ancient teenage skeleton unearthed on mountain top could confirm darkest Greek legend

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Archaeologists have made a sinister discovery at the top of a Greek mountain which might corroborate one of the darkest legends of antiquity.

Excavations this summer on Mount Lykaion, once worshipped as the birthplace of the god Zeus, uncovered the 3,000-year-old skeleton of a teenager amid a mound of ashes built up over a millennium from sacrificed animals.

Greece’s Culture Ministry said Wednesday that the skeleton, probably of an adolescent boy, was found in the heart of the 30-meter (100-foot) broad ash altar, next to a man-made stone platform.

Excavators say it’s too early to speculate on the nature of the teenager’s death but the discovery is remarkable because the remote Mount Lykaion was for centuries associated with the most nefarious of Greek cults: Ancient writers — including Plato — linked it with human sacrifice to Zeus, a practice which has very rarely been confirmed by archaeologists anywhere in the Greek world and never on mainland Greece.

According to legend, a boy was sacrificed with the animals and all the meat was cooked and eaten together. Whoever ate the human part would become a wolf for nine years.

“Several ancient literary sources mention rumours that human sacrifice took place at the altar, but up until a few weeks ago there has been no trace whatsoever of human bones discovered at the site,” said excavator David Gilman Romano, professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona.

“Whether it’s a sacrifice or not, this is a sacrificial altar … so it’s not a place where you would bury an individual. It’s not a cemetery,” Romano told The Associated Press. A very unusual detail, he said, was that the upper part of the skull was missing, while the body was laid among two lines of stones on an east-west axis, with stone slabs covering the pelvis.

The mountaintop in the Peloponnese region is the earliest known site where Zeus was worshipped, and even without the possible human sacrifice element it was a place of massive slaughter. From at least the 16th century B.C. until just after the time of Alexander the Great, tens of thousands of animals were killed there in the god’s honour.

Human presence at the site goes back more than 5,000 years. There’s no sign yet that the cult is as old as that, but it’s unclear why people should otherwise choose to settle on the barren, exposed summit.

Pottery found with the human remains dates them to the 11th century B.C., right at the end of the Mycenaean era, whose heroes were immortalized in Greek myth and Homer’s epics, and several of whose palaces have been excavated.

So far, only about 7 percent of the altar has been excavated, between 2007-2010 and again this year.

Source:ekathimerini.com

Sydney Opera House gets $202m renovation in first big facelift since 1973

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Concert hall will have to close for almost two years but Sydney Symphony Orchestra conductor says it will be ‘as amazing inside as it is from the outside’

Multimillion-dollar upgrades to the Sydney Opera House will make the concert hall “inside as extraordinary and as amazing as it is from the outside”, the artistic director and chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has said.

David Robertson welcomed Thursday’s announcement of the most substantial changes to the building since it opened in 1973, which aim to improve the acoustics, accessibility and versatility of the concert hall, and to improve disabled access to the whole building.

The chief executive of the Opera House, Louise Herron, said technical systems and equipment “that, frankly, have reached the end of their working life” would be replaced. The concert hall will have to be closed for almost two years.

A 3D sound system and drapes – currently put up for individual events – would be installed for amplified performances, as well as quieter airconditioning. The acoustic reflectors resembling glass doughnuts above the stage would be replaced by a concert ceiling to better contain the sound.

Herron said the concert hall renovations would be the most disruptive stage of what was likely to be a four-year process, and as such would not begin until mid-2019, with view to completion in early 2021.

The $202m investment from the New South Wales government was essential for the building’s future, Herron said.

The upgrade was expected to be substantially completed in just over four years, although work would be staggered to allow the Opera House to remain open throughout.

New lifts and an escalator to the foyer would be installed to improve access and more of the building would be opened to the public.

A tunnel cutting through the northern foyer, beneath the stairs to the concert hall, would be “revolutionary” for people with disabilities, Herron said. Up to 26 wheelchair-accessible seating positions would be added to various parts of the concert hall.

A call centre and legal office on the north-western corner of the site would be transformed into a creative learning centre for children for workshops, talks and performances. There would also be a separate, permanent “digital classroom”. Construction on this space would begin late next year and finish mid-2018.

A function centre on the ground floor would be able to accommodate 190 seats and 500 people standing, and enable the “very ugly” marquee on the northern broadwalk to be removed, Herron said.

A new lounge and cafe and more seating would be added to the box office foyer in two stages, beginning in 2017 and 2019. From 2018, the space under the stairs would be renovated to be made more pedestrian-friendly, with seating and “digital art walls”. The bitumen would be removed to connect the area with the forecourt.

The plans released on Thursday were only working designs, Herron stressed, to allow more consultation and to ensure the process was as smooth as possible.

Bistro Mozart would close at the end of this month and be replaced by more seating and food options.

Herron said the upgrades were governed by the design principles of Jørn Utzon, the late Danish architect who designed the building – as evidenced by the inclusion of his son Jan, also an architect, on a panel approving the changes.

“It’s balancing our heritage and our future and that’s what we’ve tried to do with the utmost respect,” she said.

All $202m of the upgrades are paid for by the state government, which deputy premier, Troy Grant, said was “honoured” to play such a key role.

 

“The Sydney Opera House has played an important role in our nation’s history and embarking on these renewal projects will ensure that it continues to be relevant for generations to come.”

The Opera House itself has already invested $43m into renovating the Joan Sutherland theatre.

But Labor’s arts spokesman, Walt Secord, said the government was spending money on the Opera House while neglecting less prestigious projects in western Sydney.

“While the Sydney Opera House needs some improvement, a fair share of the $600m arts infrastructure fund must be spent on arts in western Sydney,” he said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, there is a massive funding imbalance towards Sydney’s east – with western Sydney arts receiving very little. Western Sydney deserves its fair share.”

Utzon was 38 when he won the international competition to design an opera house on Bennelong Point in 1957. After a series of delays in construction and a change in government, he resigned from the project and returned to Denmark in 1966.

The Opera House was completed by an Australian architect, Peter Hall. Utzon eventually returned to the Opera House fold, contributing to recent redesigns. He died in 2008.

Source:theguardian.com