Australian game classification gets much-needed streamlining with international rating tool

The new system will result in Australian ratings being applied to games on digital storefronts, without each one needing to be analysed by the ACB.Australia’s video game developers are welcoming the federal government’s participation in a new program that could bring our classification system further into line with the rest of the world.
Shanghai night field

The program — which justice minister Michael Keenan announced last week would apply to Australia on a trial basis — allows game-makers to have their digital products classified for release simultaneously around the world by completing a free online questionnaire about the content in their game.

Currently, any game made available in Australia must be classified by applying to the Australian Classification Board (ACB), a process that can take months, cost up to $2460 and is largely impractical and unenforceable when considering the hundreds of games released on digital platforms every day.

The switch to the new online tool — run by the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) — means developers in participating countries will have their games automatically rated in Australia for free, and Australian developers can similarly use the tool to get classified in all participating regions, which includes the US and Europe.

Each participating region sets its own guidelines for classification, meaning the online tool will ideally apply the same familiar Australian classifications (from G to R18+) to each game that the ACB would have applied if its members had sat down to analyse it personally.

 

The tool applies only to games released on digital platforms, so publishers of the blockbuster games available in brick and mortar stores will still need to go through the ACB.

Leigh Harris, co-founder of Sydney independent developer Flat Earth Games, said the changes won’t have an immediately noticeable effect for consumers, but that it was a relief the government had chosen this route over more restrictive or expensive alternatives.

He said it’s widely understood that the government currently allows digital games to be sold without official classification — online marketplaces like the Apple App Store and Steam apply their own age ratings to games — but that this was merely a stopgap measure until government could find a way to easily and consistently get official ratings into the digital space.

“The government wants to have their say in the kind of content available for Australian consumers, and rather than trying desperately to contain digital games within the old legacy system they’ve made the positive step of [joining the IARC]”, Harris said, adding that replacing each digital storefront’s rating symbols with the ACB’s would make for more consistency, and hold the government accountable for making sure classifications reflected Australian values.

“It gives us [Australian creators of digital content] legitimacy within Australia. Plus it’s free, and it makes it easier to release in other countries. The government gets their say and we at least know we’re abiding by the rules to get our games out to as many people as possible.”

Harris got to know the Australian classification system well while working with developer Rockstar — makers of Grand Theft Auto — and said the expense involved in the current system would be prohibitive if applied to independent game developers.

“Even games that get huge on the App Store often come from really humble beginnings, and those are the kinds of games you would not see in Australia if the government had instituted something like the current classification system for digital games,” he said.

The new system is currently reliant on digital marketplaces opting in to co-operate with the IARC and display official classifications. This week Google Play became the first major marketplace to sign on, meaning games on Android devices will soon carry ACB classifications.

Australia’s Interactive Games and Entertainment Association said the government’s participation in the program was a good step towards fulfilling the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations, handed down in 2012, to ensure enforceable classification rules.

Minister Keenan said Australia’s trial of the IARC online tool will last for 12 months, during which time the ACB will continue to scrutinise the assigned game classifications “to ensure they reflect the Australian community’s expectations and standards”.

Follow Digital Life on Twitter

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

Liberals shy away from Newcastle Art Gallery expansion funding pledge

Labor, Greens, Socialist Alliance candidates get behind the gallery, but Liberals are a no show. Picture: Dean OslandDESPITE sitting on the backburner for the best part of two years, the cost of extending Newcastle Art Gallery has not blown out and the project remains ready to go, supporters say.
Shanghai night field

The claims were made at a rally outside the gallery on Thursday when Newcastle candidates for next week’s state election were asked to sign a pledge of support for the gallery and its expansion plans.

Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp and Socialist Alliance candidate Steve O’Brien were on hand to sign the pledge, while Greens candidate Michael Osborne has also signalled his intention to sign. But gallery supporters were ‘‘very disappointed’’ that Liberal candidate Karen Howard avoided the ceremony, earlier telling the Newcastle Herald that she would not commit to funding the gallery’s long-held expansion plans because she didn’t believe the project was properly costed or that plans were finalised.

When last costed, the expansion carried a $21 million price tag, with $14 million being sought from the state government with the remainder expected to come from Newcastle council.

Mr Crakanthorp said a Labor commitment of $14 million ‘‘remains rock solid’’ should it win government next week.

Ms Howard, who signed the pledge when she ran as an independent candidate at last year’s byelection, said she wanted to be ‘‘properly briefed ’’on the project’s status before renewing her commitment, but gallery supporters said she ‘‘already has all the information’’.

In an email sent to Premier Mike Baird on Tuesday, Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she had been ‘‘briefed on the DA plans and I am confident council can deliver this project within the original budget constraints’’.

‘‘Given that over $300 million was allocated to Sydney arts and cultural institutions projects in the last state budget, a $14 million allocation in the next budget is a very reasonable request for the second city of NSW,’’ Cr Nelmes wrote.

Prominent gallery supporter Cathy Tate said she was disappointed by Ms Howard’s no-show, particularly given ‘‘that the Liberals in the 2012 Hunter Region Action Plan listed the expansion as a key catalyst project in the city’s revitalisation’’.

Ms Howard told the Herald that while she ‘‘supports the city’s arts and cultural centres’’, she would not sign the pledge because ‘‘this pledge is different to the last one and is a politically-motivated attempt to wedge me’’.

‘‘The last pledge was for the overall support of our cultural institutions and this one is to match Labor’s hollow promise of $14 million,’’ she said.

‘‘I reiterate my support for the arts and cultural institutions but we need to understand more about where this project is at. I’ve seen reports which put the cost at $14 million, $21 million, $28 million and I don’t know if it’s going to cost $50 million.

‘‘I have asked Newcastle council’s general manager to brief me on where the project is up to but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet.

‘‘Having said that, when I’ve been out doorknocking and talking to the community, no one has raised the art gallery expansion with me. I know it’s important that we have a vibrant and functional art gallery, but it’s not a high priority in the community.’’

Mr Crakanthorp said Ms Howard was ‘‘just playing games’’.

‘‘This project is a key catalyst project to revitalise the city,’’ he said. ‘‘Why are the Liberals ignoring it?’’

Greyhounds banned in connection with live baiting scandal have suspensions lifted for Easter Egg

Ban lifted: nine dogs have been cleared to race. The NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal has cleared nine greyhounds to race in the Golden Easter Egg carnival – NSW’s richest series – overthrowing a ban slapped on them for allegedly being connected to Victorian trainers under investigation for live baiting.
Shanghai night field

The NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal upheld the appeals of behalf of connections of the greyhounds, who had been lodging with Victorian handlers stood down for allegedly engaging in the abhorrent practice. Most had been there in preparation for the Australian Cup carnival.

Earlier this month GRNSW invoked the ban on the greyhounds after receiving information they had moved back north of the border despite no wrongdoing alleged on behalf of their NSW conditioners.

But the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal ruled the state governing body didn’t have the power to issue the suspensions.

“Since my appointment as CEO of GRNSW I have inherited a set of rules which, in my view, are deficient and are impeding the capability of GRNSW to properly supervise the industry and safeguard the public interest,” GRNSW’s interim chief executive Paul Newson said.

“This is something I will be addressing as part of my work to implement a robust governance and compliance framework. Over the coming weeks my priority continues to be enhancing the GRNSW investigative and compliance capability to ensure individuals found to have engaged in misconduct, including live bating, are held to account.”

Seven of the nine greyhounds – Awesome Project, Keybow, Over Limit, Recruitment, Zipping Saxon, Zipping Spike and Zipping Willow – were drawn in the Golden Easter Eggs heats on Saturday.

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

Motley Fool: Feeding frenzy for the telco sector

10 years ago, Australia’s telecommunications sector looked vastly different to what it does today, with many more companies.TPG Telecom’s recent bid for iiNet has certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons, coming hot on the heels of the merger between cable providers Vocus and Amcom, and raises questions about more activity in the sector.
Shanghai night field

iiNet shares are trading above the price TPG is offering, suggesting investors expect a higher bid to come over the top. That’s unlikely for several reasons, but several smaller players may well have attracted the attention of the bigger fish.

BigAir, MyNetFone, Speedcast International and Nextdc could all be on investors’ minds, and even Newsat and micro-cap Skyfii could be on the menu.

Calling all iiNet bidders

Optus appears unlikely to make any moves to mount a competing bid for iiiNet, while the corporate regulator, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) would take a dim view of Telstra bidding.

That’s the two largest Australian telco companies sidelined. Another potential bidder in M2 Group also appears unlikely. M2 is still digesting its recent acquisitions, and would have to raise substantial capital to get a deal over the line.

But clearly, size and scale are on the menu in both mergers above. And the one big-daddy driving them all is data.

Clear the pipes

Data usage is still growing rapidly, via our smartphones, streaming video on demand (SVOD) services such as Stan, Netflix and Hulu, and the continued growth of YouTube. And that’s just consumers. Corporates are ever more likely to access software and applications in the cloud, consuming and generating even more data.

Owning the data ‘pipes’ and the services that sit atop them is likely to be lucrative for many years to come.

Cheaper options?

And that’s where the smaller players mentioned above come in.

BigAir has its own unique data ‘pipes’ – being microwave transmissions. Businesses can use the microwave links provided by BigAir for high performance data transmission to both up- and download, and the company has also targeted student colleges and universities. Those customers, as well as BigAir’s technology, may well be highly attractive to the larger telcos.

Speedcast International focuses on remote or offshore locations, providing internet access to oil rigs, remote mining camps, shipping vessels and a whole range of users, via satellite. In fact, Speedcast boasts more than 1,000 customers across 4,700 separate locations, with 1,700 offshore. The company has been on a bit of an acquisition binge recently, buying Hermes Datacomms and Geolink Satellite Services in just the past month, but both purchases look like complementary add-ons.

And then there’s Nextdc, which designs, builds and operates data centres across Australia. While data centres may become commoditised products, Nextdc is virtually the only independent data centre provider in Australia – a factor that appears highly unlikely to remain as such for long – and most likely under the microscope by the combined Vocus/Amcom entity.

The others, including voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) and data communications services company MyNetFone which has diversified considerably in the past few years, potential satellite builder Newsat if it can get past its myriad problems, and Skyfii, which provides WiFi networks for small to medium businesses and the software to capture and analyse information provided by users on those free networks, could also be on several watchlists.

Foolish takeaway

10 years ago, Australia’s telecommunications sector looked vastly different to what it does today, with many more companies. In another decade, it will again look vastly different, and many of the smaller stocks mentioned above may have already been integrated into the large telco players or have gone on to become big players in their own right.

Watch this space. On your smartphone or tablet. While connected to free WiFi. Unless you are too busy watching videos or movies that is…

Investors, don’t miss out: If you haven’t taken the opportunity to view my brand-new report on Warren Buffett and 2 ASX shares Buffett could love, now is the time. Click here to claim your free copy and discover 2 top ASX picks now.

Mike King is a Motley Fool investment analyst. He owns shares in Seek, Carsales and Flight Centre. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691).

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

Reg Lindsay now standing tall in bronze and hearts of fans

BOUQUETS: Sculptor Tessa Wallis and Ros Lindsay with the Reg Lindsay Standing Tall statue.There’snow a permanent reminder of one of Australia’s country music legends standing tall at the East Cessnock Bowling Club.
Shanghai night field

Kew (Victoria) sculptor Tessa Wallis created the life-sized bronze statue of Reg Lindsay, titled Standing Tall (after one of Reg’s many hit songs).

And Reg is not alone. The cast of a horse that looks very much like old Joe, Reg’s last horse, stands alongside him.

HAPPY DAY: Bruce McCumstie, Ros Lindsay and MC Jon Wolfe with the Standing Tall statue.

“Reg used to ride old Joe in parades and he also sang from his back at many rodeos and functions,” Ros said.

“Joe was my barrel race horse. He won two state titles and travelled full-time around the rodeo circuit for over six years, taking me to the pay window on many occasions.

“When he retired, he made the perfect horse for Reg, and Joe enjoyed his new life being Reg’s mate.”

The unveiling took place on March 8, with Central Coast-based country star Adam Harvey and Aussie legend Chad Morgan removing the covers to reveal the work before a large crowd of Reg’s friends in the industry.

“We were delighted that Chad Morgan made the trip down from Queensland for the unveiling,” Ros said.

PRELIMINARIES: Just prior to the unveiling, Brad Pickford played the bagpipes, with Miss Cessnock looking on.

OLD MATES: Two country legends – Chad Morgan and Geoff ‘Tangletongue’ Mack.

“Michael Pincott and Beryl Imhoff wrote a song called Reg Lindsay You’re A Legend and they both travelled from Queensland for Michael to perform the song live.”

Ros started raising funds for this wonderful tribute to her late husband back in 2011 and decided to situate the life-sized bronze in Cessnock as it was the last home town Reg shared with her.

East Cessnock Bowling Club secretary manager Marlene Hartog and the board members have been extremely helpful with the fundraising, hosting a series of concerts at the club.

Geoff and Tabbi Mack, who made a generous donation at the beginning of the venture, enjoyed seeing the statue finished and were thrilled to be part of the event. Allan Caswell performed after the unveiling andwas very well received.

SNAPPY DRESSERS: Chad Morgan catches up with the ever-elegant Tabbi Mack.

Bob Morton and The Summerland Kings were the backing band and enjoyed working with The Crosby Sisters and other artists on the day.

Auriel Andrew received a standing ovation after her dynamite

performance.

Among the guests was Frances Little (Jimmy’s daughter), who was there to represent her late father.

A booklet has been produced, along with post cards and a Standing Tall wine, which are now available from the club.

It was a big weekend in Cessnock, with the annual Reg Lindsay Rodeo attracting large crowds who were treated to action aplenty, the day before.

Ros is planning a huge concert for the 2016 Tamworth Country Music Festival with lots of Reg’s mates being invited to share the bill.

GIDDY-UP: Danny Searle in action on El Paso in the novice saddle bronc at the Reg Lindsay Rodeo.

Raywood murder accused hearing begins

Maxwell John Pain, accused of the murder of David Paris in Raywood last year.A MAN accused of murder sent his victim atext stating “I’m coming for you Davey boy” half an hour before the alleged shooting at Raywood, a court has been told.
Shanghai night field

Maxwell John Pain, 53, of Neilborough, faced the first day of a three-day committal hearing at the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with the murder of David Parison June 10 last year.

The court heard Painwas convinced his wife was having an affair with Mr Paris, 36, who was her son-in-law.

Mr Paris and his partner Rebecca Lambert – the daughter of Pain’s wife Tracy Bush – had moved to Victoria from Western Australia in 2009 to assist on Pain’s farm at Neilborough.

Ms Lambert gave evidence that she believed Pain had been physically and verbally abusive towards her mother, including verbally threatening to shoot her and injuring her jaw in one attack.

Mr Paris’ mother Deborah Paris, of Western Australia, also gave evidence she believed Pain had been abusive towards Ms Bush since 2013 and “she was scared of him”.

During a visit to the family in April, Ms Parislearnt that Painbelieved her sonwas having an affair with Ms Bush.

“We just laughed, it was ridiculous,” Ms Paris said.

Ms Bush also gave evidence at the hearing, stating the abuse from Pain started four years ago.

She said Pain accused her of having an affair with three different men, including with his best man one month after their marriage in 2002.

Ms Bush said Pain was “too smart” to leave bruises or blood when he attacked her and she never sought medical attention or contacted police.

She said Pain had threatened to “punch the f*** ” out of her and break the hands of Mr Paris should he find out the two were having an affair.

The court heard Pain believed he smelt the body odour of Mr Paris in the house and on his wife.

Ms Bush left Pain on June 10 last year to live with her daughter and Mr Paris at Raywood, the day of the alleged murder.

They were cooking dinner at the property,along with Mr Paris and Ms Lambert’s young son,and family friend Don Romey when Ms Lambert heard Pain’s utilityapproaching the property about 7pm.

The court heard she ordered everyone inside the house,in particular her mother.

Mr Paris remained outside and confronted Pain, who drove past the house on the propertybefore performing a U-turn and pulling up alongside him.

Pain is then accused of shooting Mr Paris in the stomach while still inside his utility.

Mr Romey approached Pain and told him to go home, while those inside the house called police and ambulance.

Paramedics confirmed Mr Paris dead shortly before 8pm.

The court was told Pain made full admissions to police later in the evening.

Police found a phone on Mr Paris which contained an unopened text message from Pain, stating he was coming after him.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

Tasmanian teen spreads word about road safety

Whitney Carter, who was cut free from her car after an accident at the weekend.A SHEFFIELD woman had to be cut from her car after a single-vehicle accident at the weekend and now the 18-year-old wants to spread the message about driver safety.
Shanghai night field

Whitney Carter was driving home to Sheffield from work at Tasmazia on Saturday afternoon when her car slid out of control in the wet and slippery conditions.

Miss Carter was navigating a small bend in West Kentish Road travelling towards Sheffield when the incident occurred.

“I’ve never had that kind of thing happen to me before,” Miss Carter said.

“There was a four-wheel-drive coming in the opposite direction and my first thought was ‘I’m going to hit them’ and then my second was ‘I can’t control this car’,” she said.

As she attempted to correct the slide she lost control of her car and ended up sideways in the ditch off the side of the road.

Miss Carter walked away from the incident with only minor bruising to her legs and some neck pain, but said she had to be cut from the car as a precaution in case she had a spinal injury.

“I wasn’t trapped. I could have climbed out easily, but the car could have rolled on top of me and killed me,” she said.

“They [emergency services] had to cut the roof off my car because I might have had a spinal injury. “They weren’t sure, so they didn’t want me to move.”

Miss Carter was taken to the North-West Regional Hospital as a precaution, but was later discharged and said she wanted to raise awareness of how easily an accident could happen.

“People should just take care on the roads; don’t be an idiot, basically,” she said.

Miss Carter said her mother and her friends had also had trouble on that corner and said while she wasn’t speeding it was just unlucky circumstances that her car ended up where it did.

“If that other car hadn’t been coming the other way I think I might have been able to correct it,” she said.

Fresh ideas for paint and windows

Fresh ideas for paint and windows DESIGN: Go green with Dulux Affinity and Porpoise Place for an earthy look. Stylists: Bree Leech and Heather Nette King. Photo: Lisa Cohen.
Shanghai night field

DESIGN: Dulux Domain is teamed with Armada, with a vertical garden completing the earthy look. Stylists: Bree Leech and Heather Nette King. Photo: Mike Baker.

TweetFacebookPartnering dark shades with lighter earthy-based hues not only is a liveable scheme that is timeless; but creates a space with depth.

Andrea Lucena-Orr

“It’s deep, romantic qualities will give your home a soulful and seductive edge, so expect to see more of it pop up across homewares and fabrics,” Jenny says. “If you want to play to this, look to the introduction of the latest Silhouette Shadings Designer Series fabrics in classic neutrals to evoke classical elegance in a contemporary and striking way.”

The bright and bold blues of Dulux Affinity and Dulux Porpoise Place work well to highlight key architectural features, Andrea says, with a patterned carpet or rug to set off the wall colour.

For a more calming feel and look, offset a moody blue with the rich neutral to create a sedate and tranquil atmosphere.

“Partnering dark shades with lighter earthy-based hues not only is a liveable scheme that is timeless; but creates a space with depth,” Andrea says. “Furnishings in multiple textures, from leather to wool, softens the imposing colours which in turn relaxes the space.”

For colours that are easy to scheme together or with white in a casual or formal room, there’s the palette drawn from greens and mineral hues. Finish windows with shutters for a crisp and classic look. Interior designer Georgia Ezra from GABBE says Dulux’s earthy deep-green Armada and grey-green Domain are the colours to watch and use. Georgia says emerald is a spot-on choice for a pop of colour, while Domain offers a moody look. “It works well with interiors and I am seeing it on doors for a point of difference,” says Georgia, with pastels her other on-trend choice for this year.

“These greens create a tranquil and serene setting, and can blend seamlessly between indoor and outdoor spaces,” Andrea says.

Adds designer and stylist for Dulux, Bree Leech: “Domain is a mid green with the perfect amount of grey undertone to soften its boldness. This relaxed calming colour works effortlessly with many other hues and the warmth of natural timber. It has the power to create beautiful casual spaces, formal rooms and bedrooms.”

Police investigate after body found in Wollongong Harbour: photos

Body found in Wollongong Harbour | photos Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR
Shanghai night field

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have set up a crime scene at Wollongong Harbour where a body was found on Thursday morning. Picture: ANDREW PEARSON

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Police have established a crime scene after a body was found floating in Wollongong Harbour. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

TweetFacebookPolice are investigating the circumstances surroundingthe discovery of a man’s body floating in Wollongong Harbour early on Thursday morning.

Two women on their early morning walk made the grisly discovery at about 6.30am.

Wollongong policeduty officer Detective Sergeant Kevin Balesaid police hadrecovered a deceased male floating just behind Wollongong Fishermen’s Co-op.

“Around 6.30am two ladies walking, saw him floating face down in water called emergency services,”Detective SergeantBale said.

He said policehad found clothing nearby, howevernone of it contains any identifying material.

Detective SergeantBale said according to witnesses the man wasseenrunning around between 6am and 6.30am in just his underpants.

He described the man as being in his mid-30s andcaucasian. He said the man was still wearing socks when his body was found.

“At the moment, police don’t know if his death was result of misadventure or suicide,”Detective Sergeant Bale said.

“No-one has actually seen him going into the water.”

“At this stage there’s no identification,” Detective SergeantBale said.

“We’re investigating the circumstances behind it.”

Police are calling for anyone who might have seen anything to contact Crimestoppers.

Police will useCCTV to help with their investigations.

“There were a lot of people around at the time and anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Wollongong police,”Detective Sergeant Kevin Bale said.

Aaron Schock resignation: The spectacular fall of Republican rising star

Aaron Schock’s Instagram feed.Aaron Schock was seen as one of the rising stars of the Republican Party in the US.
Shanghai night field

The 33-year-old fresh-faced congressman seemed to have it all. He had looks, money, success. He took risks. He was bold.

He was physically fit and had an enviable six-pack, once even appearing on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, his shirt and tie loosened to reveal a set of tanned, washboard abs.

When Mr Schock was first elected congressman for Illinois in 2008, he became the youngest member of the House of Representatives, and the only one born in the 1980s.

But his startling rise to political prominence all came crashing down this week, when he abruptly resigned from office following a month-long cascade of revelations about his business dealings and lavish spending.

The unravelling of his political career began with a Washington Post report last month about his “Downton Abbey”-style office refurbishment on Capitol Hill.

The $US40,000 ($50,000) redecoration, replete with 1920s-era touches and a red colour theme, said to have been inspired by the British television period drama, was charged to his office. Faced with questions, Mr Schock repaid the expense.

But it led to further questions about everything from his overseas travel expenses to his alleged spending of taxpayer and campaign funds on flights aboard private planes owned by some of his key donors.

Mr Schock announced his resignation less than a day after news organisation Politico this week raised further questions about tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements Mr Schock received for his personal vehicle.

Politico reported that Mr Schock had billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 270,000 kilometres on his personal car over a four-year period. But when he sold that vehicle in July 2014, the vehicle had just 128,000 kilometres on the odometer.

“I do this with a heavy heart,” Mr Schock said in a statement about his resignation.

He said he had given the people of his Peoria-area district his all since his election in 2008, “but the constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself”.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Schock had a lifelong determination to be big and brash, and always pushed for more, and to be the youngest to have it.

By the time he was in year 5, Mr Schock said he was already planning big things. He did database management for a Peoria book chain, he told the Daily Caller news website.

After a stint of online trading, he got in with a ticket brokerage firm called VIP Tours and, at the age of 12, reportedly started running four phone lines into his family home to facilitate his many business calls. But that wasn’t enough, he said.

The phone company informed him that four lines was the limit, he told the Daily Caller.

“But my neighbour had two lines and so I’d use their portable phones. So when I was in sixth and seventh grade, I had six phone lines and 13 credit cards and I’d buy these tickets every weekend, usually a couple hundred tickets for everything.”

Mr Schock was keen to graduate from high school early, in just three years. But the Peoria school board rejected the idea, the website Parentadvocates上海龙凤419 reported.

He had to graduate in four years like everyone else. So he did, grudgingly, but then he ran for the Peoria school board.

Parentadvocates上海龙凤419 said, “the bureaucracy took him as a threat” and removed him from the ballot, so Mr Schock organised a massive write-in campaign and got elected to the board that way at the age of 19. By age 22, he was the school board president.

“There he was: a CEO of the third-largest employer – the public schools – in Peoria,” the website raved, calling him a “brilliant young school board president”.

At the same time, Mr Schock was looking to be brilliant in other areas.

While getting through Bradley University in two years, he bought 43 hectares of land for $US63,000 and sold them two years later for $US170,850.

He also bought properties and sold them to Bradley University. In all, he pocketed more than $US230,000 profit in four years, the Journal Star in Peoria noted.

“When other kids in high school were buying toys,” Mr Schock boasted, “I was buying real estate.”

As a congressman, he used Instagram the way older politicians relied on press releases.

He posted photographs of himself sitting in the front row at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas; seeing Justin Timberlake at the Verizon Centre in Washington, DC; and skiing in Utah, skiing in Vail, skiing in Jackson Hole, The New York Times reported.

His trips to Sicily, Montenegro and Croatia were all documented, as was a trip to Hawaii, where he was pictured surfing, again with his shirt off.

“My congressman is like a thousand years old and never does stuff like this,” one admirer wrote.

Following Shock’s resignation, his father, Dr Richard Schock, said his son was  “broken” but a “fighter”.

“Two years from now he’ll be successful, if he’s not in jail,” Dr Shock told ABC News in the US.

“He’s had a good run. He’s done a lot of good. He’s helped a lot of people.”

Fairfax Media with Washington Post and AP

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