Heartbroken Haiti striker Fabrice Noel dreams of gold after starting Singapore chapter

He thinks about it less than he used to, but the pain will never completely go away.
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Haiti international striker Fabrice Noel is one of the new imports to Singapore’s S.League this season, playing for glamour club, Tampines Rovers, after a stint with Malaysia’s ATM FA last season.

Turning 30 in July, Noel has carved out a successful professional career after coping with the tragedy of having two of his brothers murdered in 2002 when he was a teenager at a junior tournament in the United States.

“When I call my Mum in Haiti, I think about it,” he told ESPN FC. “It affects me less now than before because it happened a long time ago. I wish I could change it but it’s already passed so I just have tried to adapt and get used to it.”

Noel was away in South Carolina in when masked gunmen entered his family’s home in Haiti. The assailants were allegedly linked to rivals of his hometown club, Racing Club Haitien, and were looking for the young striker. After the murders of his two older brothers Luckner and Kenson, his parents and younger brother went into hiding and Noel was granted political asylum in the United States.

Sitting before evening training at the Jurong West Stadium, Noel hints that he isn’t after sympathy; he just wants to get on with his career in a new country.

“What happened made me stronger in life and in general,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. If that didn’t happen I don’t where my life would take me. Now I’m used to it. It made me grow as a person.”

Noel was born in Gressier, near Port au Prince, which has been rated as one of the most dangerous places in the world. So how did he find himself in Singapore, one of Asia’s safest cities, for the 20th season of the S.League?

Playing for ATM last season, Noel caught the eye of Singapore legend V. Sundramoorthy, who was coaching Malaysian second tier side, Negeri Sembilan and is now in charge of Tampines.

“I came to Singapore because I liked the coach [Sundram] and told me he had a job in Singapore,” he said.  “The advantage of having played for ATM is that I get used to Asian players as those from Singapore and Malaysia are similar. It makes it easier to adapt to the system.”

Noel was recommended to ATM by the club’s former St Vincent and the Grenadines striker, Marlon Alex James. James was forced into retirement after breaking down with an injury late in the 2014 season and suggested that his former Caribbean international rival fill his import slot.

“He is fast and a good dribbler and has power with both feet plus he is strong, with a great leap,” ATM head coach B. Sathianathan told ESPN FC. “He plays mostly on the flanks or as a backup striker and his important goals was one of the reasons we avoided relegation last season.”

On March 2, Noel scored on his S.League debut against Albirex Niigata (S) and he helped Tampines win their first two matches of the season. But he has since been sidelined with a hamstring problem.

Singapore is the third Asian country that Noel has lived in. He also spent a season with Shanghai East Asia in the Chinese Super League in 2010, netting 10 goals in 28 matches.

He was selected for Haiti’s March 27 friendly against China in Guangzhou, but may be ruled out because of his injury. Even so, he hopes to play in his third CONCACAF Gold Cup in July with the US and China hosting the 2015 edition.

“It’s going to be exciting because I haven’t played for the national team in a long time,” he said. “We have some players in France and Belgium now so for the Gold Cup we’ll have a strong team.”

Noel holds US citizenship after completing high school in Florida and playing for the Colorado Rapids in the MLS in 2006. When the Rapids waived him in the 2007 pre-season, he joined the Puerto Rico Islanders — who played in the American second tier — and helped them qualify for the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League, in what he considers one of his favourite football experiences.

Living in a high-rise apartment at Lakeside, near the border with Malaysia, Noel says that he’s still getting to know Singapore but marvels at the efficient public transportation system and the friendly people.

He’s set himself an S.League target of 22 goals this season – and to win as many trophies as possible. But, above all else, he just wants to keep playing football, which, he admits, helps him forget some of the tough things from his past.

“When you have a passion like football, as soon as you step on the field you forget about everything,” he said. “You focus on your team, your teammates, it helps you a lot. Football is really important to me.”

Former Herald journalist Jason Dasey is Singapore-based Senior Editor of global football website: www.espnfc上海龙凤419m 

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Amazon rainforest soaking up almost one-third less carbon in past decade

The Amazon: not the carbon sink many had thought. Photo: BrazilPhotos The Amazon: not the carbon sink many had thought. Photo: BrazilPhotos
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The Amazon: not the carbon sink many had thought. Photo: BrazilPhotos

The Amazon: not the carbon sink many had thought. Photo: BrazilPhotos

The Amazon rainforest has long been a vital sink for the world’s greenhouse gases, but new research shows the amount of carbon absorbed by the Amazon’s trees has dropped by almost one-third in the past 10 years.

The study of 321 plots in parts of the Amazon found forest growth had flatlined in the past decade, and estimated the net amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the forest had fallen 2.0 billion tonnes a year in the 1990s to 1.4 billion tonnes in the 2000s.

“The net carbon uptake of forests has significantly weakened…The whole forest is living faster – trees grow faster, die faster,” lead author Roel Brienen of the University of Leeds told Reuters.

The implications of the study’s findings are “enormous,” said Professor David Ellsworth, senior scientific advisor for the Eucalyptus Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (EucFACE) experiment in the Cumberland Plain forest.

“It is just enormous, because the land area were talking about is huge. The tropics represent an extremely large sink for carbon,” he said, adding, “carbon that they are not storing is landing in the atmosphere and results in rising atmospheric rising of Co2.”

“We rely on plants to put the skids on the increase in atmospheric Co2, because they take up that carbon. If they are taking up less carbon than we thought we’ve got to consider other options for slowing that rise in Co2 in the atmosphere.”

The scientists of the study said it was unclear if the decline would continue and if the trend applied to other tropical forests such as the Congo basin or Indonesia.

To measure the change scientists observed 200,000 trees in 321 plots across eight countries, studying any changes in height, diameter, wood density and births and deaths.

They suggested increased tree deaths, of more than a third since the mid-1980s, could be linked to severe droughts, such as in 2005.

The paper, published by Nature, HYPERLINK, acknowledged that the behaviour was at odds with expectations, underlining “how difficult it can be to predict the role of land-vegetation feedbacks in modulating global climate change.”

Professor Ellsworth said the findings are relevant for his own research in understanding how the Australian carbon sink will change into the future.

“We would want to know, does this apply to Australian rainforests or not? The authors are very clear this applies in the Amazon region of South America,” he said.

“My research would need to dovetail the information that comes out of what I’m doing, and the carbon release from the Amazon…to understand what it means in terms of atmospheric carbon dioxide and how fast it’s rising, or whether its slowing.”

Carbon dioxide is rising at a rate greater than two per cent per year, which, “if it’s your bank account is really good, but if its not then you might have pause to think,” Professor Ellsworth said.

– with Reuters

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Kazakh uses toilets to hedge against ruble fallout

Russia has been badly affected by the slide in oil prices, and the ruble has plunged as much of Russia’s economy is based on energy. Photo: Alexander ZemlianichenkoWhen the ruble plunged 37 per cent in the first half of December, Kazakh businessman Marat Mukhamedov spotted an opportunity: Russian toilets. Realising the urinals, tiles and other bathroom accessories he needed to stock the warehouse of his office-refurbishing company were now half the cost of six months earlier, he ordered twice the quantity required for the coming year to take advantage of the exchange rate. “We spent the equivalent of about $US200,000 ($261,491) to double our stock,” Mukhamedov, 37, said from his office at MZ Gesheft in the Kazakh city of Almaty where he’s project manager for the seven-year-old company employing around 50 people. “Now, we have a price advantage against some of the competition.” At a time when President Vladimir Putin’s standoff with the West is slowing the economy and crimping sales at home, Kazakhs — the third biggest net buyers of Russian goods — are boosting orders to benefit from the 41 per cent depreciation that’s made the ruble the worst-performing currency of the past year. Purchases of rubles quadrupled in Kazakhstan in January from a year earlier to total 60 billion rubles ($1.3 billion) for the four months from October, according to data from Kazakhstan’s central bank in Almaty. Russia’s currency rout is part of the reason inflation has spiraled to the highest since 2002. It’s also helping the economy by making Russian goods cheaper to people like Mukhamedov. Even the country’s oil export revenue has remained stable when converted back to rubles despite the 53 per cent collapse of crude in dollars since last year. Samsung phones
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Bargain-hunting Kazakhs and Belarusians bought about 90,000 of the 500,000 cars sold in Russia in November and December, according to data compiled by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. That’s almost half of the total 182,000 sold domestically in the two countries in all of 2014. Gadgets are crossing the border too. One hundred kilometers from the Kazakh frontier, a unit of Media Markt, the German electronic retailer, has started taking orders online and delivering to Kazakh families. Its Russian stock of Samsung Electronics’s Galaxy Alpha phones were $100 cheaper than in Kazakhstan, according to a price comparison March 13 by Bloomberg. Chronopay上海龙凤419m, an Internet-payments operator, saw turnover from bank cards in former Soviet satellite states double in February compared with October, said Denis Dunyushkin, the company’s spokesman in Moscow. ‘Be patriotic’

President Nursultan Nazarbayev appealed last month for citizens to “be patriotic and buy Kazakh goods.” Yet demand for rubles is still rising in Kazakhstan, Moscow-based VTB Bank’s branch in Almaty said in a March 4 statement. Kazakhs bought almost 22 billion rubles ($470 million) in December and about 17 billion rubles in January, compared with 3.8 billion rubles in January 2014, according to the National Bank of Kazakhstan. “Although the volume of ruble demand from the former Soviet republics isn’t enough to strengthen the currency, it helps to slow down the plunge,” said Anton Tabakh, a director at RusRating, a Moscow-based credit ratings company. The ruble has pared its losses of 2014, climbing 2.1 per cent against the dollar for this year’s seventh-best performance among emerging- market currencies tracked by Bloomberg, The cross-border boost for retailers won’t save Russia from a recession. Gross domestic product may shrink as much as 4 per cent this year, the most since 2009, the central bank said March 13. Retail sales fell 7.7 per cent in February, the most since 2009. Car purchases dropped 38 per cent in Russia last month. Toilet hedge

Heightened Kazakh demand for rubles and Russian goods may also prove short-lived. Russia’s ex-Soviet trading partners are under pressure to stay competitive by devaluing their own currencies. Ukraine’s hryvnia is the worst-performing currency this year amid the conflict with pro-Russian separatists and Belarus is next, sliding 27 per cent against the dollar. By contrast, the tenge is little changed since a 19 per cent devaluation in February 2014. It’s costing Kazakhstan as much as $4 billion a month to keep the exchange rate at around 185 per US dollar as falling oil prices and capital flight put pressure on the tenge, Moody’s Investors Service said in a March 5 report. While Moody’s says a devaluation is unlikely before the country’s presidential election on April 26, futures traders are betting the exchange rate will weaken to 200 within three months and 231 by year-end, data compiled by Bloomberg show. With depreciation looming, Russian toilets provided the perfect solution for Mukhamedov. “We are a little bit hedged against a possible tenge devaluation by being able to save money on the cost of materials for some time,” he said.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Tony Abbott’s budget retreat rings alarm bells for business

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey during question time on Thursday. Photo: Andrew MearesCollapsing iron ore prices and an apparent U-turn by the Abbott government on tough budget repair have rung alarm bells in Australian business circles with leaders warning the problem of Commonwealth debt is growing and cannot be wished away for reasons of political convenience.
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But some business voices have also welcomed the prospect of a bit of extra stimulus in the short-term via small business tax cuts and money for childcare, which is set to provide a fillip in the next budget.

Iron ore fell to $54.50 a tonne over Wednesday night, a six-year low and nearly $10 below Treasury’s mid-year forecast price of $63 a tonne – a price Treasurer Joe Hockey said was more conservative than previous benchmarks.

It is understood that each $1 fall wipes more than $200 million off revenue flowing into Canberra.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott came under intense pressure in Parliament on Thursday after his comments on Wednesday were interpreted as suggesting that the hard work of reining in spending had been done and that a four-fold increase in the nation’s net debt-to GDP ratio was a reasonable outcome compared to other countries.

Mr Abbott had said the budget due in seven weeks would contain little of the harshness of the first budget because the main spending restraint had already been done.

This was despite the fact that only around half of the roughly $60 billion in future savings sought by the government had been approved by the Parliament.

Mr Abbott said a projected quadrupling of the debt ratio as set out in the government’s recent Intergenerational Report, while not ideal, was better than it would have been under Labor and was “a pretty good result looking around the world”.

But Labor said the blow-out would see the nation’s triple-A rating downgraded.

Mr Hockey also claimed credit for savings agreed to so far, arguing the rate of growth in projected borrowing is lower.

“What we’ve done is we have halved that trajectory,” he told Parliament.

“So we’ve halved, in our first budget we halved the amount of net debt that is going to exist in 2055.

“But there is much more to be done.”

The combination of declining revenue and a government that looks to have already shifted to a pre-election softly-softly approach, has fuelled concerns that promised budget surpluses will never materialise.

But some businesses have also welcomed the prospect of new spending with Innes Willox, the chief executive of peak manufacturing organisation the Australian Industry Group, telling Fairfax Media, it was a mixed picture.

“The economy needs a modest degree of fiscal stimulus now given the below-par conditions we are facing, but at the same time, the government needs to continue to introduce measures to fortify the national budgetary position over time,” he said.

“To its credit, in last year’s budget the government attempted to introduce measures, mainly on the expenditure side that had the potential to make very substantial headway in the critical task of longer-term fiscal fortification. Many of these measures have, however, lapsed or appear to have a low prospect of passage through the current Parliament. Further, many failed to attract the backing of the broader community.

“This highlights that the task of fiscal strengthening is undoubtedly a very difficult one politically.”

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, however, urged the government to stay the course and not to go weak on structural changes to the burgeoning expenditure areas of health-care, pensions and superannuation rules.

Economists warn the Intergenerational Report projection of an average of 2.8 per cent annual growth continuously for the next 40 years was a pipe-dream because Australia had already broken records for 24 years of uninterrupted growth.

Ms Westacott noted that with $245 billion in debt, a deficit of more than $40 billion and an interest bill of more than $11 billion, there was no time to waste because “unless you do structural corrections, the problem will get bigger and bigger”.

“We have to start now so people can make adjustments,” she said.

With James Massola

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Review: Macy Gray

Macy Gray performs at Lizotte’s. Picture: Jonathan CarrollREVIEW
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Lizotte’s Newcastle,March 17

MACY Gray never topped the commercial success of her worldwide hit I Try, the soulful ballad that earned the singer a Grammy award in 2001.

A good 15 years have passed since then and, though Gray may have fallen off the radar for some, one thing that can’t be forgotten is that unmistakable voice.

Her raspy, but equally smooth, voice has been described as “Marge Simpson crossed with Minnie Mouse” but that’s not exactly right.

She is a force, that’s for sure, and her voice really is something special.

It can be soft and delicate, then big and soulful.

And she makes it look entirely effortless.

Touring across Australia this month with her eighth album, My Way (released in October), Gray’s show in Newcastle was a complete sellout.

It actually sold so well that venue owners had to rearrange the floor plan to accommodate extra seating.

With everyone wedged in such close confines, there was a buzz of anticipation in the venue that erupted into wild cheers as Gray emerged on stage from behind the speaker stack. And, wow, she is a presence.

She is incredibly tall and with heels and a wild Afro adding a few extra inches, Gray towered over her four male band members.

She sparkled like a Las Vegas Christmas tree in a sequined floor-length gown, feather boa and elaborate fake lashes to compete the look.

Opening with Why Didn’t You Call Me? (from her hit album On How Life Is), Gray was cool, confident and irresistibly charming.

Her banter in between songs shifted from downright funny to flirty to coming up with oddball statements like “Google says the more you drink, the better we sound”.

Halfway through the set, she left the drummer to entertain the crowd for a slightly too-dragged out drum solo before returning in a new dress with a long, dangling fur draped around her body.

The set featured the hits (I Try, Do Something, Sweet Baby) and a couple of covers (Melanie’s Brand New Key and Radiohead’s Creep – the latter seemed the perfect choice for a woman who has lived a notoriously turbulent life on and off stage).

By the time they busted into her disco-flavoured groove of Sexual Revolution (fused with Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy), the crowd was up and dancing (after prompting from Gray) and the two mirrorballs on the ceiling were switched on.

Tonight it was just one big party at Macy Gray’s house.

The Shipping News: What’s the best from a multitude of best on our high seas; wonderment to enjoy

All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied
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All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied

All aboard Lindblad Expeditions with Ben Crop 1. Photo: Supplied


Avalon Waterways has unveiled its new ship Siem Reap, joining an ever-increasing flotilla heading along the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s the first of the company’s “Suite Ships” in Asia, though smaller than those in Europe, carrying just 38 passengers. Its 18 air-conditioned suites are fitted with Avalon’s signature open-air balcony with panoramic windows that have retractable screen systems and sliding doors. But its big advantage is that, at only 60 metres long, it’s able to sail both into Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City, avoiding the road transfers of other cruise itineraries.

Phone 1300 230 234. See avalonwaterways上海龙凤419m.au.


Regent Seven Seas Cruises has revealed the all-new Seven Seas Explorer’s maiden voyage: a cruise from Monte Carlo to Venice departing on July 20, 2016. The 750-guest ship, which the company says will be the world’s most luxurious cruise ship, will spend its inaugural season in the Mediterranean, calling in at ports such as Ibiza, Barcelona, St Tropez, Alexandria and Istanbul, as well as lesser-known port destinations such as Kotor in Montenegro, Koper in Slovenia and Zadar in Croatia. Reservations are already being taken on the ship, which is under construction in Italy.

Phone 02 9265 7100. See rssc上海龙凤419m.au.


Australian explorer Ben Cropp will be joining Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s “Global Perspectives Speakers” program in October for a Pacific expedition cruise between Palau and the Solomon Islands. Cropp has produced some 150 marine and wildlife adventure documentaries and discovered more than 100 shipwrecks, including the prominent Australian wreck of HMS Pandora. Guests will be able to listen to Cropp’s presentations and take daily expeditions in his company. The voyage combines ocean passage and island exploration, journeying through some of the most remote places in the Pacific.

Phone 1300 361 012. See expeditions上海龙凤419m.


Uniworld’s latest river-cruise ship SS Maria Theresa was launched this week and will mostly cruise Uniworld’s “European Jewels” voyage from Budapest to Amsterdam. The Super Ship is the  most ambitious yet for a company not shy about bold design and aims to transport passengers onto a floating eighteenth-century palace to recall the times of its famous namesake. It features a sweeping three-tiered marble staircase, tromp l’oeil murals, glass chandeliers and interiors clad in silk, mirrors and antique wood. The ship also boasts a Hapsburg Salon, Viennese-style café, 10-seat cinema and 64 staterooms.

Phone 1300 780 231. See uniworldcruises上海龙凤419m.au.


“Connoisseurs of Cuisine” cruises on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 this year are set to titillate the tastebuds. On-board experts will come from a range of culinary fields and will give gourmet-loving guests exclusive insights into their specialist fields during workshops and cooking courses that might cover Arabian cuisine on a late-2015 sailing along the Arabian peninsula, sea salt on a Dubai to Mauritius cruise, gin on a Hamburg to Lisbon cruise, and special ice cream creations on a sail along the Mediterranean coast. A June itinerary in the Canary Islands and Azores delves into sherry.

Phone 02 9977 7100. See hl-cruises上海龙凤419m

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Liberals’ tunnel vision

Transport plans in the minds of NSW voters: Gladys Berejiklian. Photo: Anna WarrCongestion might be the issue foremost in the minds of NSW voters at the March 28 poll, according to focus group research for Fairfax Media. But even though this election features some of the most expansive, and expensive, transport proposals the state has seen for many years, travelling around Sydney is not likely to get any easier for years to come.
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The promises the Coalition is making on transport are the primary selling point for its decision to lease 49 per cent of key electricity assets for a $20-billion odd return.

And they are certainly ambitious, even if they would take years to build. The largest pledge, in terms of cost to the state budget, is another $10 billion rail tunnel under Sydney Harbour and through the central business district.

This tunnel, which would be the first addition of rail capacity to the city since the construction of the Eastern Suburbs Line in the 1970s, would connect the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link, which is taking over the existing Epping to Chatswood Line, to the Bankstown Line at Sydenham, adding at least three new train stations to the city.

But if they’re not already, the government’s plans for this line are surely to become more controversial in the years to come. Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to run automated single-deck trains on the North West Rail Link, operated by a private company, means the existing Epping to Chatswood Line would need to be closed for about seven months in 2017 or 2018 to make it compatible with the new system.

Students at Macquarie University, and workers at Macquarie Park, who currently catch trains to work and school will need to switch to buses for more than six months.

And when the second harbour crossing is built, some time at the start of the next decade, there will be even bigger disruption to the Bankstown Line. The 17,000-odd commuters who catch Bankstown Line trains to the city every morning would also need to switch to buses, perhaps for longer than six months.

But the curious thing about this election campaign is that the Labor opposition has not been out picking holes in government transport policies. As Mike Baird and his ministers have been keen to point out, this election sees the bizarre situation in which the opposition does not want to talk about Sydney’s traffic and congestion.

Labor’s plans, which it has described as modest, would largely mirror the Coalition’s policies. But Labor, without the $20 billion expected to be raised from the partial privatisation of electricity assets, would delay the construction of the second harbour rail crossing, and also shave off about a third of the WestConnex motorway, the other big-ticket item promised by Baird and the Coalition.

The 33-kilometre toll road, which would also not be finished until 2023, would provide another M5 East Tunnel, a new M4 East Tunnel from Homebush to Rozelle, and then a tunnel under the inner-west to link them. Labor says it would scrap the linking tunnel, which WestConnex says is the most important element of the whole project.

And while there is plenty of controversy over whether the motorway is the right thing to be building, there is little question the roads it would alleviate – Parramatta Road and the M5 East – need some improvement. The Greens say they would scrap the entire motorway altogether, and instead build a rail line between Epping and Parramatta. What the experts say

Associate Professor Garry Glazebrook from the University of Technology, Sydney, is an experienced transport and urban planner.

Dr Glazebrook says it is unfortunate that both major parties have committed to WestConnex, or in Labor’s case most of WestConnex.

“What’s wrong with that, you might ask as you sit in Sydney’s notorious traffic?” says Glazebrook. He offers five reasons.

The first is that there has been a shift to increased use of public transport, as opposed to the car.

The second is that WestConnex would encourage more cars into Eastern Sydney, where streets can’t accommodate them.

The third is that more jobs should be encouraged in Parramatta and other western centres, and more roads in eastern Sydney would not do that.

“Fourth the development of Badgerys Creek airport, the Southern Sydney freight line and intermodal terminals at Enfield and Moorebank undermine the need for the duplication of the M5 component of WestConnex,” he says.

And fifth, the last four toll roads in Australia have gone broke, creating a financial risk for the state.

“I would suggest an alternative, multi-modal plan. This would include a much smaller two-lane tunnel linking the Airport/port to Strathfield, but limited to commercial vehicles, taxis and buses in peak hours; a West Metro built in stages between the CBD and Parramatta; and additional park and ride capacity on the East Hills line, at Strathfield near the end of the M4, and at the new stations on the West Metro.”

Professor Michiel Bliemer is chair in transport and logistics network modelling at the University of Sydney.

Professor Bliemer says that Sydney has been shaped by the Great Australian Dream, which is the belief that everyone should have access to a house and garden.

“As a result,” Professor Bliemer says, “extensive urban sprawl and suburbanisation has occurred and in order to enable travelling to these suburbs, tramways were removed in the 1950s to make way for roads for cars. Since then Sydney has seen rapid growth. Being a car-centric city with low-density housing, traffic has turned Sydney into a gridlock.”

He says the most important priority for Sydney, therefore, is to increase the density of housing in dedicated areas of the city while providing high quality public transport between those areas.

“Simply building more roads will not solve the congestion problems in the city (see California), and do you really want to live next to a big (polluting) road?” he asks.

“In the past decade there is a growing understanding that a liveable city is a walkable city, in which public transport and green areas play an important role. Living close to a train or metro station is desirable. Land prices increase as accessibility to public transport increases. If governments can capture this value and invest it in better transport infrastructure, we all gain. An important question that we have to ask ourselves is: how much are we willing to pay for an improved transport system, knowing that current tax revenues are not sufficient to achieve this?”

Sandy Thomas is an experienced consultant and one of the authors of the Herald’s Transport Inquiry of 2009 and 2010

“The saddest aspects of the major parties’ transport policies are their triviality and their similarity,” says Thomas.

Thomas is highly critical of the manner in which transport planning, under both Labor and Liberal, has been taken away from transport service planners within government and handed to a new generation of bureaucrats who prioritise building things.

He is also critical of the impending privatisation of much of Sydney’s rail network.

While the two major parties obviously differ on the future of the electricity network , they are as one when it comes to the privatisation, by stealth, of Sydney’s public transport.

“The government has already contracted to privatise the new, publicly funded $2.4 billion Epping-Chatswood railway by quietly giving it away, for nothing, to the private operator of the North West Rail Link, a consortium led by the Hong Kong-based MTR,” Thomas says.

“And now both the Liberals and Labor, in the former case as a “benefit” of the electricity privatisation and in the latter case seemingly without realising it, propose to privatise the Bankstown-Sydenham section of the publicly owned Bankstown rail line as well, as part of the “second harbour rail crossing” project,” he says.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Liza Minnelli admitted to rehab in Malibu

Liza Minnelli is back in rehab.
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The performer’s publicist confirmed Minnelli had checked herself into a treatment facility.

The Cabaret star is primarily receiving treatment for alcohol abuse, US entertainment website TMZ says.

Minnelli, who turned 69 last week, has dealt with alcohol addiction and prescription drug abuse for much of her career. She was last admitted to rehab in 2004.

Her publicist, Scott Gorenstein, told media her decision to seek help was not triggered by a specific incident.

“Liza Minnelli has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years and whenever she has needed to seek treatment she has done so,” Mr Gorenstein said.

“She is currently making excellent progress at an undisclosed facility.”

The unnamed centre is reportedly in Malibu, Los Angeles County.

Minnelli – internationally regarded as a cultural and gay icon – won a Best Actress Academy Award in 1973 for her role in Cabaret. She has also won three Tony Awards for her Broadway performances. In 1990, she was named a Grammy Living Legend.

She continues to perform and in recent years has made guest appearances on the television series Arrested Development.

Minnelli’s mother, the acclaimed singer and actress Judy Garland, also struggled with substance abuse and died of a barbiturate overdose in 1969.

According to a 2011 profile in The Times of London, Minnelli has at various times been addicted to alcohol, Valium, cocaine and sleeping pills, and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous for “a long, long time, every single day”.

She knocked back a reported $500,000 to appear in Celebrity Rehab in 2010.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

The Lowdown: Sydney FC v Melbourne City

Follow SMH Sport on Twitter
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Sydney FC v Melbourne City. 

Friday, 7:40pm at Allianz Stadium.

Live on Fox Sports 4 and SBS.

Twitter: SYDvMCY

Odds: Sydney FC $1.80, Melbourne City $4, Draw $3.50

Five to watch:

1. Marc Janko (Sydney).

Sydney’s man of the moment just can’t stop scoring. He’s hit the back of the net in his past seven games and broke a club record for most goals in a season. Another hat-trick this week and he will equal that of the league’s.

2. Robert Koren (Melbourne).

Melbourne City’s marquee has the ability to change a match. He doesn’t shy away from the physicality and adds much needed creativity to his side’s play.

3. Milos Dimitrijevic (Sydney).

The classy central midfielder has perhaps the best first touch in the competition, so expect a few moments of magic.

4. Josh Kennedy (Melbourne).

The towering centre forward will be looking to capitalise on the error-ridden defence of Sydney FC in recent weeks, so don’t be surprised to see his name on the scoresheet.

5. Bernie Ibini (Sydney).

Sydney’s winger is hitting some form whilst not the back of the net. He’s growing more comfortable with each game in his role out wide and will torment City’s defence.

In the dug-out. 

Graham Arnold. Despite steering a resurgence after the January break, Arnold is not happy with the defence of his side despite their nine game unbeaten streak. Sturdying the backline was the focus in training this week, so anything less than a significant improvement won’t be tolerated by the coach.

John Van’t Schip. The Dutch coach is under pressure at City and is at risk of failing to qualify for the top six. Although in sixth spot now, they have played two more games than Brisbane so need to win to have a hope of making the finals.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Greg Shipperd hailed for getting Bushrangers into Sheffield Shield final

Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala
Shanghai night field

Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala

Greg Shipperd. Photo: Pat Scala

Victoria veteran Rob Quiney has hailed the influence of long-term coach Greg Shipperd in helping the team emerge from the post-Christmas tailspin that threatened their Sheffield Shield title bid.

That the Bushrangers finished a game clear atop the table, earning hosting rights for the match starting on Saturday against Western Australia in Hobart, contrasts significantly with their first two performances after the Big Bash League.

Their trip to Queensland ended in an innings defeat, and in the next against NSW they were pummelled by 156 runs on a spin-friendly Wagga pitch they were unable to reach 200 on in either innings.

The then plummeting fortunes of the team coincided with Shipperd being told his role as coach of Melbourne Stars in the BBL was under review, a process which culminated in him being replaced by New Zealander Stephen Fleming.

Shipperd’s situation was complicated by the fact the 58-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season with the Bushrangers, and was in need of a significant lift in on-field results to bolster his case for a new deal.

Given Victoria finished the first half the season on top of the shield table, and had been bolstered by the addition of James Pattinson and Chris Rogers and had unfettered access to Peter Siddle, Quiney said starting February with two hefty losses was a huge shock.

“We’d had such a great start to the season, on paper we had a much stronger side than Queensland in the first shield game back – and they pantsed us,” he said.

While the Bushrangers misread the spin-friendly pitch conditions in Wagga the opener also conceded it was a factor that the NSW players “probably wanted it a bit more than us”.

“It wasn’t a crossroads, a crisis meeting or anything like that. It was more ‘Boys, we’re better than this’. We’ve got to pull our finger out,” he said.

“We had an opportunity to turn it around. We were third after that Wagga game and only a few points away from top spot. We were lucky that we’d set everything up in the first half of the season.”

Quiney said Shipperd and captain Matthew Wade were controlled, rather than apoplectic, in explaining the need for the players to make amends for those losses in their last three matches of the season. That Shipperd was able to maintain that composure during the period he was set to be axed by the Stars, and ultimately was, impressed Quiney.

“I think he kept himself in good order. Obviously it was something he wanted to continue to do and he probably felt it was a bit of a kick in the teeth, but as soon as that was done … his focus has been purely on the Vics,” he said of the coach, who took over as head coach just over 11 years ago.

“Losing those two games, it could’ve been easy for him to lose his shit, but he didn’t. He kept quite calm. He knew what the process was and the end result we wanted to get to.

“One hundred per cent [it was selfless]. He’s always been like that as well. It’s always been team first for him. That’s why he’s such a great coach, and I think a great person. Deep down he might be lying in bed going ‘Geez, I wish I had this role] and stuff like that, but he’s kept that in pretty good check, I think.

“It’s good the Stars have named their coach and everything has moved on. It means that ‘Shippy’ can just focus on us now, which is great.”

While the Bushrangers are the first team in 20 years to go from last to first in the shield, since Queensland in 1994-95, Quiney is still too disappointed about the former to take such a statistic as a badge of honour.

“Ultimately you try and forget about the past when it’s bad,” he said.

Quiney said he was proud of how his teammates had responded to the challenge of providing more rigidity with the bat since being thrashed by Queensland and NSW.

“We knew we could get 20 wickets, but initially it was our batting that let us down,” he said, explaining that he and Rogers aspired to “instead of being 3-40 and being none or one down for 60 or 70 gives us a good platform, and that’s what we’ve done in the past few games”.

“Everyone is averaging 40-plus. That is the really pleasing thing, that blokes like (Peter) Handscomb and (Marcus) Stoinis and contributing so strongly as young players,” he said.

Quiney commended Cameron White, John Hastings and Clint Mckay for their stoic reactions to missing selection in the first XI in the second half of the season. He also said it was a credit to young players – such as Handscomb, Stoinis and Scott Boland – that their form saw them keep their positions even when White, Hastings and Mckay were available.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.