Archive for: ‘September 2018’

Tamar Valley people’s choice

16/09/2018 Posted by admin

Hillwood Berry Farm’s Stacey File… The farm is in the Tamar Valley, which has been name the nation’s best food region by Australian Traveller. THE Tamar Valley has been recognised by a leading travel publication as the nation’s best food region.

Australian Traveller awarded the region the People’s Choice 2014 award last week and noted it was no easy win.

“This category was as hotly contested as The Bachelor with votes being counted beneath sweaty brows before we finally crowned a winner,” the magazine wrote on its website.

“Day-trip out of Launceston and fill your belly along the way to the sea: stop at Hillwood Berry Farm to pick some fresh strawberries, fill up on a tasty range of yoghurts and cheeses from Meander Valley Dairy, pause at one of the wineries for a crisp white then head towards the coast for seafood so fresh it’s still flapping from George Town Seafoods.”

West Tamar Council mayor Christina Holmdahl labeled the win a “wonderful accolade”.

“We’ve always been disappointed about the fact in any major tourism promotion of Tasmania the Tamar Valley has been left off or pretty much left off,” Ms Holmdahl said.

“This really vindicates what everyone in the valley believed – everyone here’s been quietly achieving and we’ve always known how wonderful they are.”

Ms Holmdahl said most businesses in the region used local produce.

“I hope that those who promote tourism will acknowledge this wonderful accolade and in the future the Tamar Valley will be duly recognised.”

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Parade theme to stir up Christmas season

16/09/2018 Posted by admin

YOU’D better watch out, you’d better not cry – Santa Claus is coming to George Town.

The big man will trail more than 35 floats in this year’s Christmas parade.

George Town Council community events officer Rhonda O’Sign said the parade was centred around the theme ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

She said onlookers would be treated to spectacles including giant glasses of milk, walking cookies and plenty of teddy bears.

“It will be setting the scene for the Christmas season coming ahead and is a free community event,” she said.

Food and refreshments will be served in Regent Square from 5.30pm and Carols by Candlelight will begin in the same place at 7.30pm.

Local performers Jack Taylor, Breanna Phegan, Jack Fingland, Bee Bop Dance Studio and Scotty Hague will feature. Earlier in the day will be the George Town Ladies Market, held in the Graham Fairless Centre from 2pm, and the Uniting Church will hold a barbecue and market at the church between 2pm and 6pm.

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Parkinson’s disease sufferers win payout from Pfizer for drug linked to gambling, sex addiction

16/09/2018 Posted by admin

Almost 200 Australians who developed gambling and sexual addictions after taking prescription drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease will be awarded compensation over alleged failures to warn them about side-effects.

Drug manufacturer Pfizer this month agreed to settle with 160 Australians who took its drug Cabaser to treat tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease or restless legs syndrome between 1996 and 2010.

The agreement, ahead of a class action due to be heard in the Federal Court, follows a settlement last year for 32 people in a similar action against Aspen Pharmacare and Eli Lilly over their drug Permax.

Patients are expected to share in millions of dollars’ compensation, with some losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on gambling binges after taking the drugs despite not having prior gambling problems.

Both Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome are neurological disorders caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain.

“Dopamine agonists” mimic the effects of dopamine, in some cases restoring a person’s ability to control their movements.

But the chemical is also known to produce a “rush” which has been linked to risk-taking behaviours and addictions.

The class actions alleged that drug companies were negligent in selling the medicines in Australia without any or adequate warnings about side-effects.

Arnold Thomas & Becker partner Allanah Goodwin said this led people to go on “gambling and shopping binges and engage in bizarre hypersexual behaviour, without realising it was a side effect” of the medicines.

Clients who developed gambling addictions ranged from “a pensioner who might have lost a modest sum to professionals who had a lot more money to go through,” she said.

Pat Galea, 65, lost about $700,000 on poker machines after taking both Permax and Cabaser for about a decade for restless legs syndrome, which creates an urge for sufferers to move their legs.

“I’d go any spare moment I was not working. If it was pay day I’d put most of it through and then realise I’ve got bills and rent and petrol to pay. As soon as I had any money it was gone,” Mrs Galea said.

She separated from her husband and gambled away half the proceeds from the sale of their house, also selling her car to fund her addiction.

It took years for evidence to emerge about the drugs’ side-effects and as soon as Mrs Galea stopped taking them, she lost the urge to gamble.

She has since reunited with her husband and enjoys time with her three adult children and four grandchildren. Asked whether the settlement came close to repaying what was lost, she laughed.

“It’s a drop in the bucket. And that’s just the money. What about years of life for my family? What about their suffering, let alone me?” she said.

Salvation Army financial counsellor Maria Turnbull was among the first to ask questions about a link between dopamine agonists and compulsive gambling after a bankrupt woman in her 60s came to her seeking food vouchers in 2006.

The woman told Mrs Turnbull that drugs she was taking for restless legs syndrome had led her to gamble, and she started looking into a possible link.

Mrs Turnbull has since met more than 100 people involved in the Australian class actions, including a man who developed compulsive sexual behaviour and is now on the sex offenders register. He needs permission to see his grandchildren.

“There are people I’m sure who have committed suicide over this. They haven’t known it was the drug doing it. There are families that have been ripped apart,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Pfizer Australia said that while the parties had agreed on a proposed settlement, this was subject to Federal Court approval, and the drug company was therefore unable to provide further comment.

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Five things we learnt in the A-League this weekend

16/09/2018 Posted by admin

Perth Glory players celebrate a goal by Andrew Keogh in the A-League match against Sydney FC. Photo: Mark Nolan

1. Perth are the real deal.

It has taken nine games but any doubt that Perth Glory are genuine title challengers were washed away with the storm that preceded their comeback victory over Sydney FC on Thursday night. The league leaders cemented their spot at the top of the table and underlined their title credentials with two goals in seven minutes against another pre-season favourite for the ring. Often this season they have displayed genuine quality but this round they finally matched that with the mentality required to go far in this competition.

2. Owners aren’t ready to have controlling stake.

They may have improved revenue streams at their clubs and, sure, there is an argument that they should have a greater say in operations – but this was a week we learnt A-League owners still haven’t shown the pragmatism to have a controlling stake in the competition. The handling of the Mariners’ one-off game at North Sydney Oval along with the Wanderers’ approach to player payments again highlighted how a league run by owners would be fraught with danger. The Wanderers’ management of the Club World Cup prizemoney dispute has been diabolical and could undermine Tony Popovic’s season while the Mariners continue to alienate rusted-on fans in pursuit of a historically nonchalant supporter base.

3. Wellington Phoenix are in the entertainment business.

No club in the A-League has to work as hard to capture fans’ attention than Wellington Phoenix. Few in Australia care too much for the New Zealand club and results alone aren’t sufficient enough as a history of being erratic is well ingrained in viewers’ minds. Instead, they have to entertain when they win. Much like their Rugby League brethren, the New Zealand Warriors, they have to possess flair to make Australian’s stand up and victories have to be emphatic. This season, they’re doing that. The pace of their attack, the skill of their forwards and the creativity of their midfield might just make them everyone’s second favourite team this season.

4. Sydney FC need reinforcements.

It is no indictment on the present crop of players but the two long-term injuries at Sydney FC have crippled their chances of clinching the premiership. They were strong against Perth Glory, close to a win even, but they were visibly slower without the nimble duo of Corey Gameiro and Ali Abbas. Now void of their work rate and speed on the left flank, the club appear somewhat vulnerable. A breakaway is appearing with the Glory joined by Melbourne Victory and Adelaide and if the SKy Blues hope to close that, at least one good signing is required.

5. NSW Coasties out at sea.

The capitulation of both Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners said just as much about them as it did about their opponents. Sadly, neither of the two look like making their mark on the season even with the generosity of the A-League finals series. The Jets crumbled like a cellar dweller after the Phoenix equalised, so much so the New Zealanders netted two more in 10 minutes. Tellingly for the Mariners, they fought hard for a 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory. Without direction in attack and leadership in defence, it could have been much more ugly. Days at the beach.

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Michael Lynch: Postecoglou confident for Asian Cup

16/09/2018 Posted by admin

Eyes on the prize: Socceroo Mark Milligan and coach Ange Postecoglou with the Asian Cup. Photo: Greg Briggs Eyes on the prize: Socceroo Mark Milligan and coach Ange Postecoglou with the Asian Cup. Photo: Greg Briggs

Eyes on the prize: Socceroo Mark Milligan and coach Ange Postecoglou with the Asian Cup. Photo: Greg Briggs

Eyes on the prize: Socceroo Mark Milligan and coach Ange Postecoglou with the Asian Cup. Photo: Greg Briggs

When you are trying to rebuild a team, regenerate its playing style and reboot its off-field organisation, it’s hard to set immediate goals and priorities.

For Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou everything is important and success needs to be achieved as soon as possible. That is unless, of course, the headlong drive to remake and remodel the Australian national team compromises the ultimate goal, which is a competitive, sustainable side that can compete at the highest levels in the next four and eight-year World Cup cycles.

The Asian Cup is the challenge that looms now, and with critics starting to circle following a run of disappointing results, Postecoglou knows he needs to do well in the premier continental competition on home soil next month.

But, he says, planning for a medium to long-term future does not mean that a serious challenge for the Asian Cup cannot be made.

“I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. We have been working towards those goals from the moment I have been appointed,” he told a news conference on Monday as he unveiled his squad of 46 candidates for a place in the final 23-man party.

“It’s a big tournament, we are at home and everything we have done post-World Cup is to make sure we are ready for January 9th [when the Socceroos open the tournament against Kuwait at AAMI Park] and we will be. Hopefully that will create a strong foundation for what goes on in the next four years as the World Cup cycle  begins in the middle of next year [2015].”

The Asian Cup has rather crept up unheralded, but with the A-League due to shut down in January to accommodate the competition, attention will gradually focus on the tournament.

It  features leading Asian nations such as Japan, South Korea and Iran, as well as the Socceroos and a number of less-well-known countries. There the teams are rapidly improving as money is invested in the game and foreign expertise is brought in to accelerate development in places such as the Gulf states and China.

For better or worse, the Socceroos’ performances in the tournament will have a major impact on the perception of the sport in this country, certainly among the mainstream population who are only casual followers of the game.

“It’s helpful when you have success, [but] nothing has really changed. We want to be ready to try and win it,” Postecoglou says.

Australia’s results under his stewardship have been poor, with the team winning only two out of 12 games and its ranking plunging to a low of 102 in the FIFA standings. But the coach has always maintained that he has chosen difficult opposition to expedite the development of his inexperienced squad, and that he should be judged on the progress they make in the Asian Cup.

“Everything has been about building a squad of players who, to be fair to them, I have given them some really tough challenges in the past 12 months. Many of them are only just finding their feet [at international level]. We have thrown them some unbelievable challenges, but that’s been for a purpose, so that when this tournament comes along, we would like to think they are battle-hardened enough to be able to handle whatever pressure is put upon them.

“But it’s not just about this tournament. If we are successful in this tournament, it doesn’t mean it all stops, we need to build on it. I still think in the next four years we will keep improving … we have obviously changed things very radically in the last 12 months.

“I reckon if we win the Asia Cup our ranking will improve. I am doing what needed to be done [and] that’s affected results. I will take responsibility for that. I will not shy away from the fact.

“But I would rather be constantly reiterating  what this mission was about than sitting here having people ask me why aren’t I doing what we said we would do as an organisation in October and November last year [when he took charge], which was to regenerate the team and rejuvenate the way we play our football. I have ultimate faith and confidence we will get to where we want to and that will begin in January.”

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