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  • admin 13:44 on 07/18/2019  

    Sydney’s tennis facilities are in urgent need of an upgrade according to the ATP, which sees as a potential host nation of its revamped World Teams Cup in from 2020.
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    Singapore, China and the United States are all believed to be vying for the right to stage the event when it returns to the men’s calendar for the first time since 2012, but looms as the most logical location for the season-opening tournament that is set to become the key lead-up to the n Open.

    The proposed World Teams Cup is envisaged to be the biggest tennis event on the globe outside of the four grand slams, with 24 countries to be represented by most of the world’s top 100 players in a round-robin format culminating in a three-day finals series. A decision on the host nation isn’t expected until at least March.

    Securing the World Teams Cup could hinge on the NSW Government significantly improving Sydney’s tennis facilities, which have laid stagnant at Olympic Park since the 2000 Games. Should be awarded the tournament, the ATP believes Sydney should host the final given its standing on the global stage.

    Ken Rosewell Arena, which has a capacity of about 10,000 and is hosting the Sydney International this week, doesn’t have a roof, or the required corporate and player facilities to host a premier ATP event.

    Brisbane and Perth are ATP standard while a redeveloped arena in Adelaide was announced earlier this week, which places Sydney beneath that trio and Melbourne in terms of tennis infrastructure.

    The NSW Government conducted a feasibility study last year into the need for a multi-use indoor arena in the city, and says it will consider constructing one “in due course” as part of its broader stadia strategy.

    In November the Gladys Berejiklian government announced $2 billion worth of funding to rebuild Allianz and ANZ Stadiums, while construction on a new stadium at Parramatta is already underway.

    A multi-purpose indoor arena that could seat up to 12,000 people and be used for concerts alongside tennis, netball, basketball and a range of other indoor sports would cost an estimated $400 million, although that figure could change substantially.

    No public timeframe has been set on any potential new indoor arena, but the ATP is hopeful their revamped World Teams Cup will be ready to resume its place on the tennis schedule in two years.

    That leaves at risk of missing out on the tournament with the ATP keen to use Sydney to showcase the event.

    “It would be very important for Sydney to have a facility that is up to the highest standard of our sport and especially up to the highest standards of other locations in ,” the ATP’s chief player officer Ross Hutchins told Fairfax Media.

    “If we do send this event to and we are able to secure an agreement, we’d want to be in Sydney but the board and management and certainly the ATP require the levels to be very very high, and higher than what they are currently.”

    Tennis NSW has held positive discussions with sports minister Stuart Ayres over the past year about the need to improve the city’s facilities, although that dialogue is yet to progress into a planning phase.

    A second option is to upgrade the current tennis facility at Olympic Park at far less cost, before ultimately moving into the proposed indoor arena. That possibility was floated two years ago at the cost of $50m, but is yet to eventuate.

    Alison Lee, the ATP’s executive vice president international group, said Sydney’s tennis facilities were well below standard.

    “Sydney’s definitely part of the proposal but as we know Sydney’s existing venue at Homebush isn’t anywhere near up to par with the other venues around ,” Lee said.

    “Tennis in Sydney has been neglected for a long time. We moved out here with the tournament for the Olympics and I don’t think anything’s been done much to the venue out here since then.

    “Something needs to be done certainly in terms of venue as well as investment.”

    A recent Tennis study concluded hosting the World Teams Cup would inject up to $40m per year into the economy, with more than half of that benefiting Sydney alone.

    “We’ve been making the case very strongly with minister Ayres and his government colleagues that for Sydney to remain a core component of the summer of tennis, really now the time has come for us to invest in a venue,” Tennis NSW chief Lawrence Robertson said.

    “It’s not just about tennis. Tennis brings global icons and our week of tennis reaches over 200 territories worldwide and a global audience reach of over a billion viewers.

    “We believe we bring something different to the table than say NRL or the AFL or to some extent even cricket because tennis is a genuinely global sport. Sydney is seen the world over as the global city of .”

    Continue reading Sydney needs tennis upgrade to host World Teams Cup
  • admin 13:44 on 07/18/2019  

    The acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which is under scrutiny globally over its opaque ownership structure, lodged five incomplete notices with the ASX that failed to properly disclose how its major stake in Virgin was controlled.
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    HNA has told the ASX that five substantial holder notices lodged between June 2016 and October 2017 relating to its 19 per cent stake in Virgin failed to list entities that held a “relevant interest” in the airline.

    Under n corporations law, investors that control more than 5 per cent of an ASX-listed company must notify the company and the ASX when they increase or decrease their holding.

    This includes the disclosure of “relevant interest” – parties that can exercise influence over shares through ownership or other forms of control and power – that may be indirect or informal.

    HNA’s disclosure to Virgin and the ASX, dated January 2, says it failed to include several relevant parties because of “an oversight”.

    HNA said all its companies in the “chain of ownership down to the entity directly holding [Virgin] shares” were disclosed but “sister companies of those entities were incorrectly omitted as they do not directly or indirectly have an interest in those shares but instead are deemed to have a relevant interest under the Corporations Act”.

    “HNA Group is committed to complying with its ongoing disclosure obligations in the n market”, HNA said.

    HNA’s investment in Virgin was made through a Hong Kong listed entity called HNA Innovation Ventures, and its initial notice of interest lodged on June 2016 listed six other bodies that had a relevant interest in Virgin through a chain of ownership linking back to HNA Group and that two entities that own it.

    By October last year the total number of parties with relevant interests had grown to 11, and the updated Janaury 2 register lists 15 parties with relevant interests.

    The mea culpa comes as regulators and governments worldwide turn the screws on the group over its opaque and byzantine ownership.

    New Zealand’s overseas investment agency last month blocked HNA’s proposed $NZ660 million ($603 million) purchase of ANZ’s UDC Finance business because it could not determine who would ultimately control the business.

    And in November a Swiss regulator ruled it provided false information when it bought the airport services giant Gategroup.

    HNA is suing New York-based Chinese fugitive Guo Wengui over his allegations that HNA has secret ties to a high-ranking Communist Party official.

    In November HNA bought a refrigerated logistics business from ASX-listed car dealership Automotive Holdings Group for $400 million.

    The group has made more than $US40 billion of acquisitions across the globe since the start of 2016.

    Continue reading HNA Group failed to fully disclose control of Virgin China stake
  • admin 13:44 on 07/18/2019  

    MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Kylie Caro and Lisa Caro are married by Civial Marriage Celebrant Elizabeth Trevan in Wisteria Room in Centiennial Park, Sydney on 9 January 2018. Photo: Jessica HromasSame couples around the country are taking advantage of their new right and law to marry the person they choose regardless of gender. MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Kylie Caro and Lisa Caro with their baby daughter Isla, 1, are photographed on their wedding day in the pine forest in Centiennial Park, Sydney on 9 January 2018. Photo: Jessica Hromas
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    Eighteen months ago, Kylie and Lisa Caro walked down the aisle for the first time.

    Wearing white gowns, they met at Centennial Park to pledge their love for one another in a commitment ceremony watched by family and friends.

    But there was one thing the ceremony was unable to do: declare them legally wed.

    On Tuesday, the couple again donned their dresses. This time they were getting married, after the government voted last year to legalise same-sex marriage.

    Joined by their young daughter Isla, they walked down the aisle at Centennial Park in front of close family.

    “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Kylie said. “We’re both still on cloud nine.”

    The pair, who started dating in 2013 and soon realised they were “soulmates”, are among the first couples to get married after the law officially changed on December 9.

    At first, the couple had no desire to have their union legally recognised, but as debate grew they realised they were guarding their emotions in case politicians voted against marriage equality.

    “We thought maybe in five or 10 years we might renew our vows and legalise it at that point, but as the bill changed and the emotions grew we realised we actually did want this more than we were letting on to ourselves,” Kylie said.

    Kylie and Lisa contacted their marriage celebrant on December 8 and signed their notice of intended marriage the next day.

    With other couples around the country, they waited the required one month, meaning Tuesday was the first possible day they could tie the knot.

    “It feels like we’ve validated what we tried to do 18 months ago,” Kylie said on Tuesday afternoon.

    “We had a beautiful wedding and it was a day we’ll always cherish, but there was that one really special element missing from it, and that was exactly what we got to fulfil this morning.”

    Though the ceremony was small, Kylie said she allowed cameras in because it was important for her and Lisa to show their love to the rest of the country.

    “For us, it was really important to share today and the joy it brought to us with , because I feel like without the voices that were heard during the postal vote, we wouldn’t have the privilege of standing there today, saying those legal vows,” Kylie said.

    “I feel like this is our way of saying thanks and showing people that this is the joy we can now experience, all because our country had the voice to say ‘let these people have equal love’.”

    To celebrate their first night as a married couple, Kylie and Lisa planned to have dinner with family at Restaurant 317 in Parramatta, where they had their first date. They hope to conceive a sibling for Isla, to be born by the end of the year.

    Continue reading ‘Soulmates’ among first same-sex couples to marry
  • admin 13:44 on 07/18/2019  

    Eastern suburbs lothario and “playboy rapist” Simon Monteiro will be back on the streets within a month after being granted parole, despite his victims’ fears that lives could be in danger.
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    Monteiro, who has served almost 10 years of a 12-year sentence for the rape and assault of a girlfriend in Bellevue Hill in 2009, will be eligible for parole from January 30 if his post-release accommodation passes review.

    A State Parole Authority spokeswoman said Monteiro, who has changed his name from Simon Lowe, would be released under “strict conditions such as electronic monitoring, drug and alcohol testing and psychological counselling”.

    “He will remain under strict supervision until his maximum sentence expires in April 2020,” the spokeswoman said. “The offender will be required to live at an approved address and not visit the local council areas of Randwick City, Waverley and Woollahra.”

    Fairfax Media revealed Monteiro’s imminent release in September, including a chilling warning from victims of the former model and aspiring actor that they fear his release could put lives at risk.

    In a submission to the parole board last year, and provided to Fairfax Media, one of his victims, Kim Gentle, said she believed Monteiro’s offending would only escalate, and pointed to the case of Adrian Bayley, the paroled rapist who raped and killed Melbourne woman Jill Meagher.

    Simon Monteiro has been granted bail. Photo: Supplied

    “His release into society not only puts me at risk again but also many of his past victims,” she wrote in her submission. “The offender is an extremely narcissistic, violent recidivist ??? with many antisocial mental health issues that are still variously diagnosed [and] with a history of committing offences whilst on bail.”

    In custody, Monteiro has assaulted prison staff and threatened to rape a guard’s wife. He was denied parole in 2015 and 2016.

    His offences have been the subject of a petition signed by more than 30,000 ns to keep him behind bars and reform the parole system “to ensure that offenders who are not truly reformed and continue to pose a risk to the community are not released, even if their sentence is up”.

    Monteiro told the parole authority the online petition was “based on a lot of things … that are not true”, and unfairly painted him as “monsters incorporated” and “the anti-christ”.

    Monteiro, 51, had once boasted Hollywood connections, including a brief relationship with Oscar nominee Barbara Hershey.

    A spokeswoman for Corrections Minister David Elliott said the state government “opposed parole and is disappointed with the outcome”.

    “Legal advice is being sought to determine what further action can be taken,” the spokeswoman said.

    Continue reading ‘Playboy rapist’ granted parole despite victims’ fears
  • admin 13:44 on 07/18/2019  

    The first time the Ashes changed hands in 1883, they were presented by Lady Janet Clarke and her music teacher, Florence Morphy, to English captain Ivo Bligh. The backdrop was Rupertswood, the Clarke family’s elegant mansion outside Sunbury. The next year, Bligh returned to to marry Morphy.
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    For Bligh, that made it a clean sweep.

    In the most recent rite on Sunday, the prize was presented by one n captain, Mark Taylor, to another, Steve Smith. Among the accompanying party was the vice-something-or-other of Magellan, the series sponsor. I am presuming that the moment inspired you all to rush out to buy half-a-dozen Magellans in a range of colours.

    The backdrop to this presentation was a giant pair of inflatable hands, one painted in n colours holding up four fingers, the other, in English livery, clenched to signal zero. These props looked as if they had been discarded from a children’s birthday party or a Mardi Gras float. The effect was about as charming as a pneumatic cow pat.

    But, heh, we’ve got the Ashes, so stfu England.

    Bligh’s team were welcomed to with a house party, also at Rupertswood, and a social game, at which it is probable that the urn first appeared. Joe Root’s team were greeted with veiled threats, and from Cricket this subtle and achingly evocative slogan: #beatengland.

    In televised ads, beanie-clad pre-schoolers were co-opted to the snarling cause. They were about as cute as junior Chopper Reads.

    But we’ve got the Ashes, so England can sit on it. And while, they’re at it, shove fast food buckets over their heads. Wait, no, that’s us.

    In sports marketing’s race to the bottom, CA is winning ugly. At every turn, in every competition, in every format, it seeks to dumb down the game and patronise the fans. The banality would make sense only if it emerged that somewhere in a back office, gurus are running a competition not only to take the public for fools, but to make fools of them, to see how infantile they dare be before James Sutherland finally says: enough.

    The prize is a complete set of life-sized, fully refundable Magellans.

    But, look: Scoreboard. Ashes. Stick it where it fits, England.

    Monday’s garish effort was the raising of many fingers, to England, to ideals of grace, humility, taste and sportsmanship, to the respect for opposition and the game they preach about elsewhere. Not content to let Ashes victory speak for itself, CA had to bellow over the top of it.

    So what? Didn’t England celebrate in 2010 by performing the so-called sprinkler dance on the MCG, and after that in 2013 by urinating on the pitch at The Oval?

    Yes, they did. But there is no accounting for the spontaneous and sometimes misguided actions of sportspeople in their hours of euphoric triumph.

    There is, or should be, accounting for responsible governing bodies. The English heroes of ’13 would not have thought twice before pissing from a great height. CA thought for months, set their finest minds to work, set aside a budget, approved a design, commissioned a designer and builder, also made a contingency plan for 3-0, and in what should have been a memorable moment managed only to Piss From A Great Height (trademark).

    If you were to read the summer’s official hashtag as “beaten gland”, you might be close to the process that created this monstrosity.

    Still, Ashes, heh! #beatengland, heh! Four-nil, England. Shove that up your Ivo.

    Count them, one, two, three, four, nil.


    Continue reading Raised fingers make for ugly Chinans
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