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  • Echo doubles profit on growth in Sydney

    2019 - 07.17

    The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie
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    The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie

    The Star lifted revenue 39 per cent compared to a year ago. Photo: Ian Waldie

    Gaming group Echo Entertainment has more than doubled its profit, soaring 110.6 per cent in the six months ended December 31 compared to the same time last year.

    Net profit after tax rose from a year ago to $97.1 million, while revenue grew 25.3 per cent to $1.09 billion, the company said in a statement to the ASX on Wednesday.

    Echo chief executive Matt Bekier said the half year finished “well ahead of guidance provided at the AGM”.

    The company forecast a normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation range of $245 million to $260 million, and delivered a normalised EBITDA $261 million.

    Reported EBITDA was $239.6 million, taking into account the $1 million after-tax gain on the sale of Jupiters Townsville and $9 million outlay in the bidding process for the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development against Crown Resorts.

    Flagship casino The Star in Sydney was the key driver of the growth in earnings, Mr Bekier said.

    “The $870 million refurbishment of the property that was completed at the end of 2011, now delivering on the board’s and management’s expectations,” he said.

    “The Star is now in line with the target of $340 million normalised EBITDA set at the start of the redevelopment in 2009.”

    The Star reported an actual EBITDA of $160.8 million, up 19.5 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

    Echo Entertainment’s VIP rebate business, tipped for strong growth in the first-half, reported a 96.7 per cent rise gross revenue to $332.2 million, with a turnover (the total amount bet) of more than $23 billion.

    The company will pay a fully-franked interim dividend of 5¢ per share on March 11, up from 4¢ a year ago.

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

    Husband charged over cold case deaths of Rita Caleo and her brother Michael Chye

    2019 - 07.17

    Breakthrough: Dr Michael Chye and Rita Caleo. Pictures: SuppliedA Ramsgate businessman has been charged with ordering the murder of his wife and her brother in Sydney’s eastern suburbs more than two decades ago.
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    Mark Caleo, 52, was arrested at his homein Sydney’s south early on Wednesday. He was taken to Kogarah police station where he was charged with two counts each of murder and solicit to murder.

    Police allege Mr Caleo, who operates a tutoring business at Kogarah, ordered for his brother-in-law Michael Chye to be shot dead in the garage of his Woollahra mansion in 1989.

    Police allege he then arranged for his wife, Rita Caleo, to be killed. Ms Caleo was stabbed to death in the en suite of her Double Bay flat. Police allege Mr Caleo wanted her dead because she “knew too much”.

    Mrs Caleo’s brother-in-law, Gerard Caleo, 42, was arrested in relation to the case at Sydney International Airport last August in what police described as a “major breakthrough”.

    Detectives from the Unsolved Homicide Team charged Gerard Caleo with solicit to commit murder, accessory before the fact to murder and accessory after the fact to murder. He remains in custody.

    Wednesday’s arrest is a long time coming for Strike Force Nichola, formed after the deaths of the siblings, whose father was a senior-ranking police officer in Malaysia.

    Dr Chye, 36, was shot three times in a gangland-style execution as he drove his Mercedes into the garage of his house in Attunga Street, Woollahra, on the night of October 16, 1989.

    An inquest into his death in 1991 found that Dr Chye, his sister and her husband had been been involved in a dispute over a $3.6 million waterfront property in Blakehurst, in Sydney’s south.

    Mrs Caleo, 39, was so worried about her brother’s death she handed her solicitor a sealed envelope that read: “To be opened only if my death is unnatural”.

    The envelope contained the names of two people she accused of organising her brother’s execution.

    She was stabbed in the stomach during the night of August 10, 1990, while her children slept in an adjoining bedroom.

    A live-in nanny heard sounds coming from the main bedroom of the unit in Bay Street, Double Bay before finding Mrs Caleo’s body at 1.30am.

    MarkCaleo, was working at one of his two Sydney Italian restaurants at the time of the killing, police said at the time.

    During an unsuccessful bail application at Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday, Mr Caleo’s solicitorSam Macedone told the court the police case was weak and based on “speculations, suspicions and assumptions”.

    Mr Caleo will appear in court again on February 17.

    Detectives anticipate making further arrests.

    with AAP

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

    Eric Fitzgibbon remembered as a man of the people

    2019 - 07.17

    Eric Fitzgibbon, pictured with then Prime Minister Bob Hawke after he was elected to Federal parliament in 1984.A crowd of 600 mourners packed St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Cessnock on Saturday to farewell former Cessnock Mayor and Hunter MP, Eric Fitzgibbon.
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    Mr. Fitzgibbon, who served as Mayor from 1981 to 1983 and as Federal member from 1984 to 1996, passed away on January 25, aged 78.

    Political identities including R.J. Brown, John McNaughton, Peter Blackmore and Graham Richardson were among the mourners on Saturday.

    On behalf of his family, Mr. Fitzgibbon’s son Joel (the current Member for Hunter) thanked all who have extended their sympathies and best wishes.

    The following is a small part of his remarks at his father’s farewell.

    Joel and Eric Fitzgibbon, in late 2014.

    “Eric Fitzgibbon – he’s one of us”. It was the perfect campaign slogan for our father.

    “He’s one of us” had previously been used by other candidates but along-side Dad’s name it seemed to magically capture who he was and what he stood for.

    And it sent the message he wanted to send – that he knew what it was like to struggle. That he understood the lot of working-class people and those on income support, and he was the bloke keen to give people a hand-up.

    There can be no doubt that our father’s working-class childhood both drew him to politics and shaped his political views. It also drew him to the Australian Labor Party. He loved his party and all it stands for.

    They are the same views he took to the 1968 council election and the same views he used to challenge and shape community opinion through the newspaper column he penned in those days for the Cessnock Eagle under the pseudonym “Aquila”.

    Back then Dad lamented the fact that Cessnock was neither reaching its full potential nor serving its mainly working-class people well.

    He was determined to drive positive change and was particularly keen to address the lack of social and recreational opportunities for the city’s youth.

    All politicians have to constantly strive to strike the right balance between what’s right and what’s popular. Driving significant change is never without its political risks. Dad understood that only too well by the time he was elected Cessnock’s Mayor in 1980.

    He took that risk on projects like the new Sulo bins, the Mount View retention basin, the purchase of the old Kurri Co-Op Store, the basketball stadium, and of course, the sale of the Cessnock Sportsground.

    History treats Eric Fitzgibbon kindly on all of these issues including the sportsground – a proposal which finally came to fruition more than 25 years later.

    But sadly, it cost him both his position as mayor and his seat on council.

    So after 18 years as an elected official, Dad’s political career appeared over.

    But then came along the 1984 electoral re-distribution and with it, an additional parliamentary seat in need of a candidate.

    A hotly contested pre-selection followed and it was not one without controversy with Dad being accused of – amongst other things – buying local party votes by arriving at the homes of voters with a six-pack of beer under his arm.

    It had a happy ending – for Eric Fitzgibbon anyway. He won the preselection and he did so without the support of the party machine which was backing another candidate – although the Party machine’s boss at the time, Graham Richardson, was sympathetic and gave him an unofficial helping hand.

    The 1984 election was not a happy election for the Labor Government. Bob Hawke had gone to the polls early and while he retained government, things didn’t quite go as planned.

    Labor lost a swag of seats and while Dad secured Hunter, it was a tough campaign and a relatively tight local outcome.

    The result left him with a political margin of just 2.4 percent but by 1993 it had grown to almost 14 percent.

    It’s important I highlight this point because he was very proud of it – over four elections his margin grew from 2.4% to 3.6%, then to 8.4% and finally to 13.9%.

    Our father went to Canberra with no objectives other than to hold his seat and to improve the lot of those he represented – the people he loved, empathised with, and championed.

    He never held any ambition to be a minister, but didn’t mind telling them how to do their job and did so to further the interests of his electorate.

    In any case his political margin demanded he give his full and undivided attention to his electorate – and he did so, with energy, enthusiasm, great skill and absolutely.

    He attended every function and every meeting. Whenever someone had a problem he was there for them. Mum shares the credit for his success, more often than not she was by his side – they were a formidable team.

    Eric Fitzgibbon – he was one of us, and we will miss him terribly.

    Joel and Eric Fitzgibbon, circa 1993.

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

    Shoalhaven Heads lifesaving looks bright

    2019 - 07.17

    Shoalhaven Heads Surf Life Saving Club members who competed at the recent NSW Country SLS championships at Mollymook, (back) Annika Janos, Leanne Janos, Karen Saad, (front) Taylah Flack, Angus Pryde, Alexis Saaghy and Kasey Flack.SHOALHAVEN Heads Surf Life Saving Clubreturned from the NSW Country Championships recently with a host of medal winners and some enthusiastic first-time competitors.
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    Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club held the championships for the second consecutive year on the weekend and the event proved to be very successful once again.

    Shoalhaven Heads Surf Life Saving Club was one of the local clubs who attended the championships with competitors ranging from nippers through to masters.

    Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club took out the carnival overall with local team Mollymook close behind in fourth.

    Fellow Shoalhaven clubs, Nowra-Culburra finished 11th overall and Shoalhaven Heads finished in 21st position.

    A shining light for Shoalhaven Heads was Angus Pryde who collected three gold medals in the under 17’s division, finishing top of the standings in each of his pet events, the beach sprint, flags and two kilometre beach run.

    It was a big week for Pryde who also competed in the eight day Trans-Tasman competition the week leading up to the Country championships at Mollymook.

    Pryde competed for NSW Country against Central Coast and Northern New Zealand at Warilla, Shellharbour and Kiama Downs Surf Life Saving Clubs.

    “The conditions for the Trans-Tasman’s couldn’t have been better,” said Pryde.

    “It was tough conditions in the water which meant it brought out the best surf life saving competitors and not just the pool swimmers,” he said.

    Pryde faired strongly in the sprints, flags and relay helping his NSW Country team to an overall win for the first time in Australia.

    “We we’re stoked to get the win… it’s the first time we have won on home soil so that was pretty special to be a part of,” he said.

    Pryde has been a member of the Shoalhaven Heads Surf Life Saving Club for a decade and remembers what it was like starting out and competing in the sport.

    “When I get the opportunity to work with the younger members and the nippers I really enjoy it because I remember when I first started competing, I wasn’t the best, I just gave it a go,” he said.

    “Sometimes some of the younger kids can get disappointed with their results and I know what that’s like, so I enjoy helping them when I’m around,” said Pryde.

    Taylah Flack, 10, took part in her first NSW Country surf life saving tournament on the weekend and said it was an enjoyable experience.

    “It was really fun and also challenging,” she said.

    “It was pretty scary and tense cause there was a lot of people there, but we got to meet people from other surf life saving clubs which was good,” said Flack.

    Kasey Flack, 8, and Alexis Saaghy, 10, have both been involved in surf life saving for two years and said that the carnival on the weekend was great.

    “There are so many different activities to do and so many different races you can go in,” said Saaghy.

    Pryde said it is important to see these juniors keep developing and participating in the sport and these carnivals are a great way for that to happen.

    “We haven’t got a lot of kids in the age groups from under 11 to under 14’s, but we’ve got a lot of juniors coming through which is great,” he said.

    “Hopefully the club sees a lot of those juniors who really enjoy the sport to progress through the grades and keep improving.”

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

    Group looking for alternate port

    2019 - 07.17

    New port: Free Eyre chief executive office Mark Rodda said all options for a new port will be investigated before consultation began.RURAL investment company Free Eyre is calling for an alternate grain handling and exporting facility on Eyre Peninsula to increase competitiveness in the region.
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    The company has argued that South Australia’s grain exporting infrastructure being owned by one organisation, Viterra, has led to escalating costs for growers.

    Free Eyre has sent a survey to grain growers across Eyre Peninsula asking if they were interested in setting up a fund or pool of money for the purpose of investing in an alternate port structure when it becomes available.

    Free Eyre chief executive officer Mark Rodda said the company had looked at alternate grain export avenues during the past eight years.

    “We’ve always believed grain handling and export on Eyre Peninsula has been important to farming in South Australia, and it’s one of the biggest expenses farmers have,” he said.

    “The storage and handling system was owned by growers until Viterra bought it, and no other trader has come in and built an alternate source.”

    In its background paper that was sent to growers, Free Eyre highlighted four possible sites where alternate grain storage and export infrastructure could be considered.

    Free Eyre has seen the bulk commodity shipping proposal for Lucky Bay as having some promise, as well as the proposals for multi-commodity exporting facilities at Port Spencer and Cape Hardy.

    Thevenard has also been highlighted as a possible area with Free Eyre arguing a modern transshipping solution, similar to the one proposed for Lucky Bay, should be considered.

    Finally the Lukin Quays Development at Port Lincoln has also been suggested as a possible site.

    Mr Rodda said all possible sites would be considered and discussed with the shareholders.

    “All have different factors to them, we know at Lucky Bay work is happening there, we’re not sure how fast but it is happening,” he said.

    “From Free Eyre’s perspective, we will look at alternate sites and if one has an economically viable future then we will be involved with shareholders and negotiate the particular outcome with them.”

    About 15 per cent of surveys have been returned so far, but there is early indication for supporting an alternate grain handling port.

    People can call Free Eyre on 8232 9266 for a survey.

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

    Rural show powers on

    2019 - 06.16

    Rocket engine: A hatchback with a jet pack will be a feature of the Luddenham Show.The111th Luddenham Show will be launching, quite literally, on February 21-22.
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    The annual country show will be returning again to give people a feel of the “old world atmosphere”.

    “It’s like a time capsule,” president of the Luddenham Show Show Society Wayne Wilmington said.

    “It’s like the country shows from days gone by.”

    The Luddenham Show began in 1891, when locals formed a committee to open up their grounds for all to see.

    The country show has come a long way since then, and new headline attractions will feature alongside the usual favourites.

    The most exciting addition to the country show line-up is a Daihatsu Mira, said Darren Adams, a member of the Luddenham Show society.

    “Now a little old hatchback may not seem all that exciting, but this is no ordinary car,” Mr Adams said.

    “It is actually powered by a jet engine.”

    The Daihatsu Jet Car has been featured on Top Gear Australia and featured at various air shows.

    For those who don’t think attaching a military jet engine on a kei car is hardcore enough, the show will also feature lawn mower racing.

    In between the burning rubber, the weekend will feature horse classes, cattle, sheepdog trials, wood chopping, home brews, and art classes.

    The Luddenham Show will also be holding a special ceremony for the centenary of the Gallipoli landings.

    The Luddenham show is one of few showgrounds in the state still owned by the community, Mr Adams said.

    “As a result the annual show is the … main fundraiser for the upkeep of the grounds.”

    The Luddenham Show will run February 21-22, on the corner of Park Road and Campbell Street, just off the Northern Road.

    Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for children under 16 and pensioners.

    Details: luddenhamshow 南京夜网.au.

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

    Second man charged over cold case deaths of Michael Chye and Rita Caleo

    2019 - 06.16

    Arrest: Rita Caleo and Michael Chye. Photo: NSW Police Media Breakthrough: Gerard Caleo is arrested on his arrival at Sydney International Airport from Kuala Lumpur on August 15 last year. Photo: NSW Police Media
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    Police have arrested and charged a second man in connection with the deaths of a wealthy doctor and his sister in Sydney’s eastern suburbs more than two decades ago.

    The 52-year-old man was arrested at his home in Ramsgate in Sydney’s south early on Wednesday.

    He was taken to Kogarah police station where he was charged with two counts each of murder and solicit to murder.

    The man, who was known to the two victims, was refused bail and is to appear at Sutherland Local Court  on Wednesday.

    The arrest comes more than two decades after Michael Chye was shot dead in the garage of his Woollahra mansion in 1989.

    The following year, his sister Rita Caleo was stabbed to death in the en suite of her bedroom in her Double Bay flat.

    Mrs Caleo’s brother-in-law, Gerard Caleo, 42, was arrested in relation to the case at Sydney International Airport last August in what police described as a “major breakthrough”.

    Detectives from the Unsolved Homicide Team charged Mr Caleo with solicit to commit murder, accessory before the fact to murder and accessory after the fact to murder. He remains in custody, AAP reports.

    Wednesday’s arrest is a long time coming for Strike Force Nichola, formed after the deaths of the siblings, whose father was a senior-ranking police officer in Malaysia.

    Dr Chye, 36, was shot three times in a gangland-style execution as he drove his Mercedes into the garage of his house in Attunga Street, Woollahra, on the night of October 16, 1989.

    An inquest into his death in 1991 found that Dr Chye, his sister and her husband had been been involved in a dispute over a $3.6 million waterfront property in Blakehurst, in Sydney’s south.

    Mrs Caleo, 39, was so worried about her brother’s death she handed her solicitor a sealed envelope which read: “To be opened only if my death is unnatural”.

    The envelope contained the names of two people she accused of organising her brother’s execution.

    She was stabbed in the stomach during the night of August 10, 1990, while her children slept in an adjoining bedroom.

    A live-in nanny heard sounds coming from the main bedroom of the unit in Bay Street, Double Bay before finding Mrs Caleo’s body at 1.30am.

    Mrs Caleo’s husband, Mark Caleo, was working at one of his two Sydney Italian restaurants at the time of the killing, police said at the time.

    Detectives anticipate making further arrests.

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

    Peter Greste flying home to Brisbane

    2019 - 06.16

    Peter Greste’s first tweet since being freed from prison. Photo: Peter Greste on Twitter: @PeterGrestePeter Greste is on his way home to Brisbane.
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    The freed Australian journalist, whose Brisbane-based family spearheaded a year-long campaign for his release from an Egyptian prison, is scheduled to touch down in the River City shortly after midnight on Thursday.

    Mr Greste was on temporary assignment in Egypt for Middle Eastern news service Al Jazeera in December 2013, when he and two colleagues, Egypt bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohammed, were arrested and charged with aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

    Following a trial widely regarded as farcical, Mr Greste was last year sentenced to seven years in jail.

    He was suddenly released this week after a concerted campaign by journalists worldwide and protracted negotiations between Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

    The award-winning correspondent was freed and deported on Sunday and he immediately flew with his brother to Cyprus.

    For the first time on Tuesday since spending 400 days in a tiny cell in Cairo’s Tora Prison, Mr Greste posted a widely shared picture of himself standing in the ocean with the words, “Free in Cyprus! Feels sweet.”

    Mr Greste and his brother Mike departed Larnaca airport early Wednesday, Brisbane time, where Mr Greste told the ABC he was “elated” to be going home.

    But he again expressed concern for the colleagues he left behind.

    The pair remain in prison.

    Mr Fahmy, a dual Canadian-Egyptian citizen, is thought to be close to release, after his family said on Tuesday he had renounced his Egyptian citizenship in a bid to pave the way for his deportation.

    At a media conference in Brisbane on Monday, Mr Greste’s elated parents Juris and Lois and brother Andrew, confirmed the long-awaited news of his release.

    “I’m ecstatic. I just can’t say how happy I am about it,” Mrs Greste said.

    “It’s also difficult to realise that this day has actually come. Even though I sort of dreamed about it quietly not daring to think about it too much, it’s arrived now.” Brother Mike and I due to head home to Australia shortly. Can’t wait for the family reunion. Keep shouting #FreeAJStaff — Peter Greste (@PeterGreste) February 3, 2015 Special thanks to all who’ve supported us over the past year. MUST NOT FORGET THOSE STILL IN PRISON @Bahrooz#[email protected] — Peter Greste (@PeterGreste) February 3, 2015This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Tea leaf readings at Immersion

    2019 - 06.16

    IMMERSION Vintage Style Wares & Teahouse is looking to the future.
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    For Valentine’s Day on Saturday February 14, Immersion is offering a special mini High Tea and tealeaf reading for $19.

    Bookings are essential so call 6586 0542.

    Choose your tea from the generous selection of black, green and herb teas.

    If tealeaf reading is not your cup of tea, come and enjoy a great coffee and a sweet treat from the homemade cakes, cookies and scones, as well as gluten free options.

    Stay for a light and healthy lunch, made in house using fresh local and organic produce where possible.

    Immersion also makes a variety of fresh juices and smoothies.

    While visiting, immerse yourself in their collection of antique and vintage furniture, china, glassware and interesting curios.

    Immersion is located at 36 Cameron St Wauchope, and is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm and Saturday mornings from 9am to 12pm.

    Saturday lunches and functions, including hens’ parties and kitchen teas are available by reservation.

    Come and join us, have a cuppa and enjoy a look in to the future!

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

    LONG BLOWS: Elvis, knighthood and the Latin language

    2019 - 06.16

    We have watched with interest the progress and subsequent success of the now famous ‘Elvis Festival’ at Parkes. Possibly some Boorowa fans of ‘The King’ may have visited Parkes during the recent festivities. While not an Elvis aficionado, your columnist has always admired the initiative and determination of the people who conceived, and then organised, the unlikely pairing of a prominent American ‘rock and roll’ singer with an Australian country town.
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    The growth of this phenomenon is highly intriguing. And we wonder, when it was first mooted, how many people at Parkes said: ‘It will never succeed,’ or ‘It will be a waste of money,’ or yet again ‘Why don’t we do what other towns are doing?’

    Whatever anyone suggests there are always the ‘knockers’, people who’ve never achieved anything themselves and don’t want anyone else to. In country towns there are those who view with suspicion anyone or anything which is different from their own narrow perception. Thank God there are people who are prepared to think outside the square and be creative. The people of Parkes enjoy the spending power of some 20,000 visitors each year because somebody was prepared, as they say, to ‘have a go.’

    *****

    We think that our embattled Prime Minister should now ‘go all the way,’ as they say and confer an Australian knighthood on the Pope. This could have some positive results for someone who is ‘on the nose,’ with voters. For instance, it would be popular in the Catholic community, and would certainly be applauded by those fond of wearing funny clothes. And no doubt His Holiness, who has a well developed sense of humour, would see the funny side. After all, in the wake of Tony’s knighting of the husband of a foreign monarch people are still laughing.

    *****

    Both the Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and our Prime Minister are no doubt familiar with the Latin language, even though it has been long dead. They might then appreciate the old Latin phrase: Vox populi, vox dei, which means: ‘The voice of the people is the voice of god.’

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