Monthly Archives: December 2018

2018
12/21

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Cream of junior cyclists in Tamworth for state titles

THE state’s best young cyclists are wheeling their way into Tamworth this weekend for the NSW Junior Road Cycling Championships.
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It’s the first time the Tamworth Cycle Club has hosted the state titles and will see over 140 cyclists racing in age groups from U9s up to U17s.

“Some of Australia’s best male and female cyclists on the international scene commenced their careers racing in state championships so we know there will be some stars of the future racing in Tamworth this weekend,” event organiser John Saunders said.

The host club will have five riders competing, with Joshua Deasey contesting the U9s, brother Luke and Fletcher Partlin the junior men’s 15s, Ollie Saunders the junior girls’ 13s and Jess Saunders the junior women’s 17s.

They warmed up for the titles by riding in the Hunter Valley two-day tour a fortnight ago.

It was raced over the same format as this weekend – a time trial, followed by a road race and a criterium.

The time trial and road race will both be held at Loomberah today covering distances for the road race from 5km for the U9s up to 59km for the 17s junior men.

The criterium will follow tomorrow morning on a course bounded by Kable Avenue, Roderick Street, Peel Street and Hill Street, and is sure to deliver some great action for spectators.

“Criteriums are always fast and they really test the skills and strength of the riders because of the tight cornering at speed,” Saunders said.

He said riders were in for a fairly tough weekend.

“We’ve got one of the toughest time trial courses planned,” he said.

“A true time trialler will win.”

The road race course is equally as tough.

“Whoever wins will deserve it,” he said.

Not only is it hilly but, not being a hot mix surface, the bikes won’t roll over as well.

It will be a lot harder work.

The Deasey boys and Partlin are only fairly new to the sport and are improving with each event they go in.

The Saunders girls have been doing the circuit for a few years.

Ollie was second outright at the Hunter Valley tour and won the state time trial title last year.

Jess has consistently been among the medals over the years but has “hung her bike up”, John said.

She’s stopped training and is just racing for a bit of fun.

Racing will get underway at 9am today, with the first of the road racers pedalling off at 1pm.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2018
12/21

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南京夜网

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Pupils create an Amazing Race

ACTIVITY: Danielle, grade 1, Joseph, grade 2, Bec, grade 1, Heath, grade 4, Phoenix, grade 3, Ava, grade 6, Takiyah, prep, and Luke, grade 6. Picture: Kate Healy
Nanjing Night Net

CANADIAN Lead Primary School pupils were racing around the classrooms on Friday in their own take on TheAmazing Race.

Similar to thereality television game show, pupils worked in teams to complete an activity within 10 minutes and earn points, before moving onto the next challenge.

Assistant principal Clete Smith said the event was held aspart of NationalLiteracy and Numeracy Week, which is held from August 31 to September 6.

He said the race allowed pupils to work together in teams, which they received bonus points for.

“It also meant the older children could lead the younger children,” Mr Smith said.

The activities included tower building with pasta and writing alliterations for different animals.The event involved 165 pupils.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2018
12/21

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Migrant crisis: How the world’s forcibly displaced refugees add up

A child sleeps on a public park in Akcakale, Turkey, where some Syrian refugees have been staying. Photo: Alice MartinsMigrant crisis: Full coverageThe problem with the West’s refugee policies: Paul McGeough
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This tiny orange dot tells you a lot about Australia’s stance on refugees and asylum seekers. (If you’re having trouble finding it, it’s at the centre of the graphic.)

It shows the ratio of our refugee population to our wealth, expressed in terms of GDP per capita. By this measure, Australia ranked 70th out of 140 countries for its contribution to hosting refugees in 2014 – a year when the number of newly displaced hit a record high.

Ethiopia is ranked 1st. Its ratio of refugees to wealth 572 times higher than Australia’s.

We’re tiny but many other nations are barely visible. Japan, for example, has a ranking of 107 and a ratio 11 times smaller than Australia.

The next two panels on the graphic above show Australia’s contribution as a share of population and by number.

We fare slightly better by these measures, ranking 67th for the number of residents per refugee (Australia has 662 residents per refugee) and 50th for the number of refugees hosted (35,582 or just 0.25 per cent of the global total).

Refugees are people who have left their country of nationality and are unable or unwilling to seek that country’s protection for fear of persecution.

The United Nations describes ours as “an age of unprecedented mass displacement”. Nearly 60 million people are now forcibly displaced people across the globe, according to the latest UN figures.

That’s more human beings fleeing conflict and persecution than at any time since World War II.

As these maps show, the forcibly displaced have spread to nearly every corner of the globe. Asylum-seekers have sought international protection but their claims for refugee status have not yet been determined.

For 33 of the last 36 years, the country taking in the most displaced people has been either Iran or Pakistan. But in 2014, the Syrian conflict turned Turkey into the world’s leading host for refugees.

More than half of all refugees come from just three countries (Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria), and one in two is a child – the highest proportion in more than a decade.

In another record high, 1.7 million individual applications for asylum were submitted last year, only 15 per cent of which were lodged via UN offices. This included more than 34,000 children who were unaccompanied as they fled their homes.  Internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been forced to leave their homes but have not crossed an international border. This map shows only include conflict-generated IDPs protected by the UN.

Last year, one in five displaced people was Syrian. So massive is the migration of Syrians that they have sought asylum in more than 100 countries.

Compare this with those displaced by Ukraine’s civil war. Nearly all of the 274,000 people who applied for asylum from Ukraine in 2014 sought it in one place: Russia, with its strong historical and cultural connections to their homeland.

The methods used to compare the contribution of each nation to hosting refugees and asylum seekers are fiercely contested, even among those with similar political views. 

The UN also compares countries by the ratio of refugees to land size; the Refugee Council of Australia advocates a comparison based on total GDP, rather than GDP per capita.

Australia’s contribution can look better or worse, depending not only on the calculations used but also, how asylum seekers and refugees are defined and counted.

For example, Australia is often cited as a world leader when it comes to refugee resettlement. In 2014, it ranked third out of 26 countries for number of resettlement arrivals and first when measured as a share of population or GDP.

The term resettlement refers specifically to refugees who have already sought asylum in one country and are later permanently accepted to a third country.

Only a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees are resettled each year. Resettlement arrivals made up just 3 per cent of refugees recognised and resettled in 2014 and less than 1 per cent (0.7%) of the refugees under the UNHCR’s mandate. 

Nevertheless, some 900,000 refugees have been resettled over the past decade. But they are excluded from UN refugee counts because they are considered to have found a lasting solution.

By contrast, refugees in many developing countries remain refugees until they return home, regardless of whether they have lived there for months or generations.

This method of defining and counting refugees in the statistics also partially explains why some developing nations have such large refugee populations: some of these populations have built up over many years. (Proximity is the major driver of refugees and asylum seekers to developing nations, which host 86 per cent of all refugees),

This graphic includes refugees who were either recognised or resettled refugees in the past decade. Here, Australia ranks 22nd by number, 27th by population and 43rd by GDP per capita.

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When it comes to defining and counting asylum seekers, there’s a similar quirk to the numbers.

Sometimes the numbers include only individual asylum applications and ignore group recognition or temporary protection.

Group recognition is used for mass displacements. It presumes every member of that population is a refugee (unless otherwise shown) because the need for protection is usually urgent and it would be impractical to assess each application.

In 2014, more than one million asylum seekers entered more than 20 countries – all developing nations – under group recognition. Around the same number applied for asylum individually. A further 1.8 million applied for temporary protection.

This is where the world’s displaced sought asylum in 2014. Australia received less than 9000 asylum applications, or 0.2 per cent of the global total.

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Australia is largely spared from witnessing the desperate march of the forcibly displaced by a vast expanse of ocean. Nevertheless, our own experience of deaths at sea shows mass movements can quickly spill over into tragedy.

In other countries bordering crisis zones, the mass movement of the displaced has become the new “normal”, with asylum seekers washing up on beaches at popular holiday resorts or perched atop the soaring wire fences that surround wealthy Europeans playing golf on manicured lawns.

Two refugees lie exhausted on the beach at Maspalomas on Spain’s Canary Islands. Photo: Reuters

Such barriers are part of a growing network. Right now, walls edged with barbed wire are being built or extended on the borders between Egypt and Israel, Serbia and Hungary, Tunisia and Libya, and the US and Mexico.

Where such walls have long existed, the threat of future displacement may be hidden – at least for the time being.

North Korea’s neighbours, for example, would bear the brunt of a potentially massive human displacement if its repressive regime collapsed. And the recent boats crisis in the Bay of Bengal drew attention to the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas confined within Myanmar but displaced from their homes.

Places such as these may well become the point of departure for tomorrow’s forcibly displaced.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2018
12/21

Category:
南京夜网

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MS Caledonian Sky: A small ship expedition through southeast Asia

MS Caledonian Sky panorama lounge. MS Caledonian Sky suite.
Nanjing Night Net

MS Caledonian Sky.

Flores Island rice fields, Indonesia.

Flores Island rice fields, Indonesia.

Flores Island rice fields, Indonesia.

Flores Island rice fields, Indonesia.

When the ship assumes its first drifting position of the journey, a line of people collectively forms the moment embarkation is announced. In a light swell, we step off the stern into zodiacs and are deposited on a remote island to swim in a brackish lake of jellyfish and, later, out to an ocean reef that drops away dramatically at a wall of bright coral patrolled by tropical fish and lone turtles.

Despite the matching orange life vests and string-bagged snorkelling gear, each person is on an individual journey. For some, today is exciting but relatively effortless while others are pushing themselves – either psychologically or physically or both – to be immersed in the sort of place they never believed they’d get to, especially at this shade of grey.

During our 17-day small ship expedition-style cruise through South East Asia, the associated subjects of travel and aging do get raised and kicked around more than once. Usually during the second or third glass of wine or course of dinner. Many people tell me that over time they’ve become increasingly protective of their personal safety, like to be guided when in foreign countries, have the odd health issue and feel better knowing there’s a doctor nearby, and prefer creature comforts overnight. For most, a comfortable bed, ensuite and hot shower are deal breakers.

I’m not quite there myself – three of us in our forties cruising for work-related purposes are soon referred to by the other 100 or so passengers as “the kids”. But I get it having witnessed my mother go through this process over the last decade: pull up her last tent peg, farewell multi-day cabin-based pack hikes, kiss winter campervanning goodbye. Though mum feels no regret because her adventures aren’t over – she just travels in more comfort now to far-flung destinations that rival my own.

MS Caledonian Sky is full of similarly seasoned and destination-fascinated travellers who have chosen this particular cruise because, as they say themselves, “you can get places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to go” and “you’d never get to these locations unless you were a backpacker”. Which is what this expedition version of cruising seems to be all about: offering access to remote destinations and elements of adventure many other cruises don’t, but with the cocktail-clinking cotton wool comforts of luxury travel on board.

At the initial debrief, expedition leader Jane Wilson tells us that after a few days in the Philippines and Malaysian Borneo we’ll be on “an adventure to lots of wild and woolly parts of Indonesia that most people don’t get to go to”. And, indeed, every city, island, town, marketplace, village, beach, coral reef and lake on the itinerary are brand new for most passengers including me.

On a map, if you can imagine the islands of Malaysia and the Philippines are a single central sail of a boat headed east, with New Guinea as the stern and Sumatra its elaborate up-turned bow, we embark on the journey near the top of the mast in Manila. From there we slide slowly down the sail and hit the deck then travel in an easterly direction along the porthole-like islands of Indonesia to finish in the West Timorese city of Kupang. This Seven Seas Odyssey itinerary also runs in the reverse direction.

There’s flexibility in the itinerary of this small ship expedition cruise and Wilson tells me she likes “guests to feel that they’re all part of the adventure”. When a couple of ports are cut from the original itinerary due to minor safety concerns, Wilson keeps everyone in the loop with alternatives: “this afternoon we’re adding an island” and, on another day, “Captain and I have added a couple more snorkel spots”.

Wilson is part of an expert expedition crew made up of international zodiac driving naturalists and ecologists – most with Antarctic experience – as well as two guests speakers: an archaeologist, and an ornithologist and conservationist who never twitches but calls it “birding”.

The crew totals about 75 people and Wilson tells me “it’s rare there’s a problem we can’t fix”.

Debriefings and presentations by the expedition crew are held between shore excursions. They range from in-depth lectures on the Great Malayo-Polynesian Migration to a more easily digestible chat about What Fish is That. School’s always out by dinnertime, after which the band performs or runs a trivia night or hosts a sixties dance evening that has everyone shaking it up on the panorama deck.

Like any trip, it can take time to settle in. For the first four days the zodiacs hang on the back of the ship like inflated expectations. So although we’re doing really interesting stuff – swimming in a limestone-lined lake, being paddled into underground caves, seeing macaques and sun bears and orang-utans, visiting fish markets where locals take photos of us we’re such a novelty – to me it feels like a great cruise but not an expedition.

Then comes the day when the trip shifts into a different gear or we individually click into the groove of this type of journey.

For me, it’s jumping into zodiacs off Palau to swim with jellyfish that have evolved to be stingless and then to snorkel with green turtles. For others it’s the overnight stay in Tana Toraja with its cliff-hanging graves, deliciously creepy effigies, traditional houses with upside-down-boat-shaped roofs, and evening karaoke. Some people feel the shift walking the coconut plantation and sandy circumference of nature reserve Birah Birahan Island. For another it’s the day we see dragons in Komodo National Park in the morning, swim and snorkel at Pink Beach in the afternoon and have cocktails on deck at Kaaba as a cloud of bats fly overhead in silhouette against a prawn-orange sunset.

At only 91 metres long, 15 metres wide and with a shallow draft, Caledonian Sky can go where the bigger ones can’t. We sidle up to tiny docks like a car reversing into an impossibly small parking space, slip between turquoise-ringed coral atolls and get close enough to remote seaside villages to zodiac onto shore in minutes.

It feels we’re experiencing a more original or authentic use of this sized ship: to explore, push the limits, discover new peoples, religions, architecture, food, lifestyles.

The company brochures suggests “a good level of fitness is needed to participate in this expedition cruise” and there’s a range of interpretations on board: someone balks at walking 150 steps up to Kayangan Lake on day two while a woman who plays tennis daily back home doesn’t feel she’s really stretched her legs until the uphill gravel path and several hundred steps to the coloured crater lakes on Mount Kelimutu.

Though relative fitness is a tough one to gauge, and of course age is never a reliable indicator of ability – there are 70-somethings on board who are more physically fit than some 50-somethings on board. Yet everyone puts a hand up for snorkelling gear.

On these expedition cruises “most people are taken out of their comfort zone and we are very happy about that,” Wilson says to me over a meal one evening, “and it’s always amazing what people are capable of”.

One guest tells me she prepared for the cruise by taking Pilates classes to improve her balance for walking gangplanks, stairs and uneven ground. The group, as a whole, become noticeably fitter and more confident as the trip goes on. Pretty soon nobody questions walking those stairs, or travelling on winding roads in decoratively spray-painted public minibuses with Eminem posters inside and the doors permanently open, or landing on a beach in a zodiac hauled through the waves by burley Indonesian whalers.

Perhaps because, back on board, comfort and consistency are guaranteed: a welcome back drink in a champagne flute, afternoon tea in an air-conditioned lounge, a hot shower and a quiet private space for a nap.

My standard suite is far more a plush hotel room than a cabin, with a freestanding queen-sized bed, dark glossy panelling, curtains to the floor over a huge window and a large bathroom with a bath. There’s no room service, but there is turndown every night and my cabin attendant, Eric, puts a chocolate on my pillow and lays my pyjamas out in the shape of my body though with an unnaturally small waistline.

Yet some passengers aren’t quite ready to admit how much they appreciate the comfort. “I wouldn’t mind if it was less luxurious,” says a woman, whose past adventures can be read in the lines of her face and light in her eyes, right before she stops the head waiter to ask if they have pinot gris.

Every person is different and there are plenty of golden oldie hard-core fully self-sufficient travellers out there. Deep down I hope to be one of them, travelling independently until I drop dead on a mountain trail and petrify in the wild weather like an old tree, but even deeper down is the niggling suspicion that I’m human and will follow in my mother’s footsteps.

What I do know is that lust for travel doesn’t necessarily go away as you get older and, for many, the desire can intensify the more you do it. Expedition cruises like this, finances willing, allow an adventurous spirit to keep on wandering even when the moving parts start to slow down or seize up. TRIP NOTES

MORE INFORMATION

aptouring南京夜网419论坛

CRUISING THERE

APT is an 88-year-old family-owned business and these days sails most of the world’s seas and many of its rivers. For these expedition-style trips in Asia, Northern Europe and the Kimberley the company owns and operates three small ships: MS Caledonian Sky, MS Island Sky and MS Hebridean Sky. Fares for the Seven Seas Odyssey, which will be called 17-day South East Asia Adventure in 2016, are from $11,995 per person, twin share. APT has an all-inclusive pricing policy with fares covering shore excursions, all meals, all beverages (apart from the most premium wines and spirits), gratuities, port charges and transfers. These expedition-style trips and ships are, however, not equipped to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs. Phone 1300 196 420; see aptouring南京夜网419论坛.

The writer travelled courtesy of APT.

FIVE WAYS TO BE A BETTER EXPEDITION CRUISE TRAVELLER

1  If you want to make donations along the way, give pens and books rather than chocolates and toys.

2    Share the love when purchasing local handicrafts and buy from a variety of sellers at different ports.

3    Reduce plastic waste by drinking the tap water on board and carrying a reusable bottle on shore.

4    For a richer travel experience, learn some local lingo and try it out whenever you land.

5   Help keep the places you’re visiting healthier by using hand sanitiser as you head off on shore excursions.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2018
12/21

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Performance artist Stelarc grows an ear on his arm and connects it to the internet

Performance artist Stelarc shows off his new ear. Photo: Images courtesy of Channel Nine The ear transplant was featured in a US television show. Photo: Images courtesy of Channel Nine
Nanjing Night Net

Stelarc wants people to be able to listen through the ear on his arm via the internet. Photo: Images courtesy of Channel Nine

A performance artist has had a human ear grown on his arm and plans to connect it to the internet so people around the world can hear whatever he does.

Perth-based professor Stelarc, who lived in Melbourne up until 18 months ago, conceived the idea almost 20 years ago as a piece of art.

“The possibilities of people anywhere being able to listen at anytime to what’s going on, if I’m in Perth and you’re in London or in New York or wherever I am, you’ll be able to listen in to what my ear is hearing,” he said.

“I think that’s an interesting and somewhat disturbing possibility.”

The Curtin University professor took a decade searching for a medical team to perform the two surgeries to grow the ear.

A London-based production company funded three US surgeons to perform the operations in Los Angeles as part of a Discovery U.S. television show called Medical Mavericks.

The team partly constructed the ear using biocompatible scaffolding commonly used in plastic surgery.

Once transplanted on his arm, Stelarc’s cells were grown so it became a functioning and feeling part of his arm.

“After about six months the ear becomes literally part of my arm and it’s grown its own blood supply,” Stelarc said.

Initially he hoped to have the ear on the side of his head, but it was unsafe to do so.

He is now looking for funding to complete the final stage of the ‘Ear on Arm’ project, which will connect the ear to the internet via a wireless miniature microphone so people can listen through a website.

First, the the ear will be lifted so it further protrudes from his arm and a an ear lobe will be grown from Stelarc’s stem cells.

A microphone has previously been inserted as a test, but Stelarc developed an infection. He is positive the next time will be a success.

He said what sounds people will hear will range from the mundane to artistic expression.

This is not the first this the award-winning artist has played with the idea of extending the human body using technology.

Stelarc performance art has included using a third mechanical hand controlled by his body signals and inserting a sculpture into his stomach.

But is it art?

“Artists have always been interested in exploring new media and new technologies provide new possibilities,” he said.

“The ear is not for me, it’s for people in other places.”

Stelarc said it could be a shock to look down at his arm and see an ear at times.

“It is interesting, because sometimes you’re sitting at home and the light comes on and then you look down and there’s an ear on your arm,” he said.

“It’s interesting, because, of course, you don’t imagine you could speak into your ear or you don’t imagine being about to literally hand your ear over to someone else to examine.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.