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‘Hell would freeze over first’: Rowe rules out Today return

Jessica Rowe has ruled out a return to Nine’s Today show, saying “hell would freeze over first” before she returned to her old breakfast TV stomping ground.

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The Studio 10 host scoffed at rumours she’d been approached to take over the spot left vacant by Lisa Wilkinson’s defection to Ten.

“No! Are you joking?” she told KIIS FM hosts Kyle and Jackie O. “I could think of nothing worse… Hell would freeze over first.”

Rowe’s stint at Today alongside Karl Stefanovic was notoriously short-lived, plagued by poor ratings, viewer criticism and clashes with the network’s then CEO Eddie McGuire.

The duo’s relationship at Nine soured over headlines McGuire had asked during a meeting, over a discussion about sacking Rowe, “When should we bone her?”

He later denied using the term, saying “I may have said ‘burned’.”

Rowe later called the media circus during her stint at the network “horrific”.

“That year was a terrible time in my life and it was not helped by public abuse, abuse from within the network that I worked at, and abuse from someone who was in charge of that particular network,” she said on Studio 10 last year.

Rowe is the latest prominent TV personality to brush off interest in the Today co-hosting role left open since Lisa Wilkinson’s shock departure last month.

Rumoured favourites Georgie Gardner, Chris Bath and Rowe’s Studio 10 co-host Sarah Harris have all publicly stated they’re not interested in taking the gig.

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

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Check out Perth’s best and most interesting buildings this weekend

Everybody loves a good sticky beak – especially Open House Perth founder and creative director, Carly Barrett – whose event will be held this weekend.

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Sandgropers can become tourists in their own town by exploring some of Perth’s most interesting examples of architecture, design and interiors.

The original Open House, which began in London 25 years ago and has since gone global, allows architecture and design enthusiasts to see their city in a different light.

“When you get to experience places that you don’t get to normally experience, it’s like being on holiday,” Ms Barrett said. “You get a sense of discovery and inspiration that you normally wouldn’t normally feel.”

For Open House Perth’s sixth year, there are more than 100 buildings and homes on show – 40 of which are new inclusions. She said the event gives the city a chance to show off its architectural diversity.

The Project 857 architect said although Perth lacks a distinct architectural style, the event challenges the myth that all Perth residents want are huge McMansions.

“While there is a market for them, because of the huge scale of Perth geographically, there is a fantastic finer grain of architecture that often gets missed,” she said.

“You get the message across by showing people good design of various types, and allowing people to experience it for themselves.” Related: Perth ranks among world’s smartest citiesRelated: Rental vacancy rate could bolster Perth marketRelated: Unit prices expected to fall in most capital cities

This year, part of the event’s focus is on homes on small blocks that maximise the potential of the space.

“One of the important things that we do is show people that it’s not about the amount of space you have, but about the quality of the space,” she said.

We asked Ms Barrett to pick five locations really worth checking out:

1. City of Perth Library, CBD Photo: Frances Andrijich 2. State Buildings, CBD

Photo: Angus Martin

3. Nature Inspired Eco-House, Perth

Photo: Dion Robeson

4. Madaschi by Iwan Iwanoff, Dianella

Photo: supplied

5. Elliot Road, Karrinyup

Photo: Jack Lovel

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Meet the new Muriel, Maggie McKenna

Altuzarra dress from Belinda. Photo: Hugh StewartGrowing up in Melbourne, Maggie McKenna suffered more than her fair share of schoolyard taunts. Singled out because her mum Gina Riley is a famous comedian and singer, Maggie was an easy target, not least because she liked to get up and perform herself.

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“I struggled through school. I was very shy and self-conscious about everything I did,” Maggie, 21, recalls. “I got bullied very early on in school, because I was known, because of my mum.”

But the experience is helping Maggie put her own singing and acting chops to the test with the character of Muriel Heslop in the Sydney Theatre Company’s musical version of the hit 1994 movie, Muriel’s Wedding. First portrayed by Toni Collette, Muriel tries desperately to win the peer approval of the mean girls who laugh at her unfashionable clothes and love of Abba.

In rehearsal for the musical, written by the film’s creator, P. J. Hogan, Maggie laughs at a memory: “You know, this is sad. I spent a lot of lunchtimes alone. But it’s made me understand a character like Muriel so much better than other people might.”

Just as Muriel fled Porpoise Spit to reinvent herself in Sydney, so too did Maggie fly to another city, Los Angeles, to make it on her own, in a place where her mum, who played spoilt daughter Kim in the sitcom Kath & Kim, is not so well known.

Two years studying in LA toughened Maggie up, but her quirky essence remains unchanged. “I’m very much an introvert,” she says. “I feel finally like I’m coming into my own as a person.”

I meet Maggie at the bar at the end of the wharf at the Walsh Bay home of the Sydney Theatre Company. Dressed in a dark green skirt and a blue denim jacket, her brunette hair long, she comes across as a confident young woman. When she gives her toothy smile, you can see traces of her mother.

Maggie grew up an only child in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick. A cassette of the Abba Gold greatest hits compilation, constantly played in the family car, underpinned her lifelong love of ’70s music, matching Muriel’s taste.

Maggie cannot recall her dad, TV producer Rick McKenna, ever singing, but she would sing along to the super Swedes with Gina, whose Shirley Bassey-sized pipes were famously put to use in the Kath & Kim theme, The Joker.

At age 11, Maggie won a national songwriting competition through Mushroom records. The song was called People Say. “I listen back to it now and think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I wrote that.’ But it was a really great experience because I’ve been writing music my whole life.” (She has just released her first single, Psychopath, on Triple J Unearthed.)

The year after she won the songwriting contest, Gina took Maggie on a holiday to Los Angeles, where they saw the musical Wicked. It was then that Maggie, who related more to the misunderstood witch Elphaba than to the goody-two-shoes Glinda, fell in love with musical theatre and decided she wanted to sing and act. But her parents dissuaded her from attending casting auditions back home. “They said, ‘Go and be a child first,’ ” says Maggie.

At 13, she wrote a song called Maggie for her then bestie, Maggie Rowsthorn, daughter of actor Peter Rowsthorn (who played Gina’s husband Brett in Kath & Kim). Being friends with the daughter of another comedian created a sanctuary of mutual understanding. One of the lyrics is: “It sounds like I’m singing to myself and that’s creepy.”

While she struggled academically with subjects like maths, and socially with mean girl peers who seemed to be suffering a dose of envy, Maggie found her tribe in year 9, when she joined the performing group Stage Masters.

“I would recommend it to any young person,” she beams, “because I found my best friends of all time, who are still my friends today. We did musicals, and it was the first time I felt I was accepted somewhere. That’s when I started finding my feet and going, ‘Hey, I can do this as a career.’ ” One look at the comments on Maggie’s Instagram feed confirms how loyal those friends have remained.

In 2012, Gina and Rick relented and gave Maggie a tiny role in the feature film Kath & Kimderella. She played Spitting Girl, who had to spit on a king. She also worked as a production assistant and dabbled in writing for the short-lived sketch comedy, Open Slather, starring her mum and Magda Szubanski, which aired in 2015. That same year she decided to study her craft on foreign soil, making good on an ambition she had held for six years.

Macgraw “Cathedral” dress. Photo: Hugh Stewart

Aged 18, Maggie flew alone to LA, auditioned for, and was accepted into, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. “I got on a plane and stuck out the two years by myself out there. It’s the best thing I could have done,” she says.

Why the US and not Australia?

“I wanted to grow up and have a big experience, to see America, because I do want to end up working there and here. And just to be out of my comfort zone.”

It was a steep learning curve. She was confronted by the sight of Hollywood’s homeless and felt unsafe out alone at night. She lived in dormitories with fellow wannabe actors. “To be nice, I bloody hated it,” she says, laughing.

“Dorm experience is awful and I wouldn’t recommend it, because there are people in your room constantly. People just take your stuff. For an only child, it was very confronting. But I made lots of great friends through it.”

There were many teary phone calls home to Melbourne. Gina and Rick would tell her it was her decision whether to stay or come home. “I definitely toughened up and got a thicker skin.”

Unsuccessful auditions were enlightening, revealing the sexism in the industry. “You feel like you have to walk a certain way and act a certain way as a young female,” she says. “A lot of the roles I was up for in LA were ‘pretty girl number two’. There would be a casting list saying, ‘She is incredibly stunning and skinny but doesn’t know it.’

“I’d walk into these auditions and, of course, everyone would be thinner than me, or everyone would be prettier, or blonder, and you couldn’t compete. You started to feel not human, like, ‘Oh, I am an object.’ “

Throughout it all, Maggie continued to write songs. “A lot of poetry comes from you and your own experiences,” she says. One recent poem she posted on Instagram hints at heartbreak. It reads:

“I conformed to the idea / Of how a girl should act / Soft and gentle / Quiet and beautiful / Though inside / My thoughts echoed like a football stadium / I thought that was what you wanted / Who I should be / But you didn’t want me when I did all of this / And I no longer recognised my soul.”

So is there anyone special in her life? “There is not,” she says. “I’m loving being single at the moment because I’m so busy. I don’t have time to see my friends, or breathe. It’s great to take this time and enjoy the moment, and not have to worry about someone else.”

Had the Muriel role not come along, Maggie might now be working as a princess at Disneyland in California. She reveals that while she was in training for the gig, her jaw would hurt from all the smiling she had to practise.

Fortunately, on her audition tape for Muriel’s Wedding, Maggie nailed Dancing Queen, a difficult song with a two-octave range, its pitch alternating between deep lows and great heights.

While the role establishes Maggie as a performer in her own right, comparisons with her famous mother are inevitable. Having proved she can sing, Maggie is reluctant to say whether her sense of humour is the same as Gina’s, though they do often laugh at the same things: “She and I will make each other cry with laughter in the street at something stupid one of us has said.”

Gucci dress; Zara shoes. Photo: Hugh Stewart

If Muriel’s Wedding the Musical is a hit here, with a national tour a possibility, Maggie might be playing the 22-year-old tearaway who steals her parents’ money to reinvent herself in the emerald city for some time. Of course, Muriel craves the moment she can get married. But as a millennial who wasn’t even born when the movie came out, marriage is not on Maggie’s agenda. “I have never been the type of person to think about marriage,” she says.

“Maybe one day. But my parents aren’t married – it’s a marriage in people’s minds, but they never did the official ceremony.”

Both Maggie and Gina are, to borrow a Kath & Kim catchphrase, conscious of the “look at moi” factor. “We don’t like much attention on us, when it’s us,” she says. “We love dressing up and being other people but, as ourselves, the idea of putting on a big, white, goofy gown and walking down the aisle with everyone looking at you? That’s terrifying.”

Muriel’s Wedding the Musical is on at Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, until January 27.

Fashion editor, Penny McCarthy. Photography, Hugh Stewart. Hair, Anthony Nader using David Mallett. Make-up Aimie Fiebig using Tom Ford. Fashion assistant, Archie Pham.

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Why Bitcoin’s bubble might not burst just yet

OK, we can all see it: bitcoin looks a lot like a bubble. It stinks of irrational exuberance: it is incredibly volatile, and not only does its price continue to increase, but it is doing so at ever accelerating rates.

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It took 1789 days for bitcoin to go from nothing to $US1000. Then 1271 days to get from $US1000 to $US2000, and just 13 days to jump from $US6000 to $US7000, its latest milestone.

Individuals are selling their houses and giving up their life savings to put everything into bitcoin, seemingly more out of speculation that its price will continue to rise than because of any serious belief in its intrinsic value.

Many of the characteristics of a classic bubble – the fact that everybody is talking about it, extreme predictions about its future price, and the parabolic price curve – appear to apply to bitcoin.

For the record, I have no idea where bitcoin’s price is going to go, and in no way do I endorse it. It is very possible – likely, even – to believe this craze won’t last. But is the only way down? There are reasons to think not. Everybody thinks it’s a bubble

When a lot of bubbles pop – the real estate crash of 2007, or the dotcom crisis of 2000 – the aftermath is often characterised by complaints that nobody saw it coming.

But there is a cacophony of senior figures in the finance industry – including JP Morgan’s chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon, Tidjane Thiam, the boss of Credit Suisse and the much-followed veteran investor Warren Buffett – warning that bitcoin is a “fraud”, “the very definition of a bubble” and “doesn’t make sense”.

This isn’t a situation where there are no safety warnings, almost everybody who people would usually listen to on this stuff say bitcoin’s out of control. And yet, people are willing to ignore them. If nothing else, it suggests that the market is not easily spooked. It’s all a matter of timing

Bitcoin has been called a bubble for most of its lifetime. In 2011, when it dropped from a measly $US33 to $US2.51, The Economist noted that “the currency’s rise was the result of a speculative bubble”.

The arguments advanced against it were eerily similar to those now. The same happened in 2013, when it peaked at slightly over $US1000 – a seventh of where it is today.

Bitcoin has crashed before, in 2011 and 2013, but on both occasions, its price rapidly rose again. Looking back, you can hardly say now that it was a case of the bubble bursting.

One can argue it’s only a matter of time, but on a long enough timescale, so is everything.

Kodak had a long and illustrious run before it went bust in 2012 – was it in a century-long camera bubble?

The total value of bitcoin, around $US100 billion, is tiny compared with other assets, so it might run for some time yet.

Indeed, the floodgates are only just opening to institutional cash. There is some value to it

Critics of bitcoin say that apart from wild price swings and speculation, there’s nothing to it: it’s not a great way to pay for things, for example.

But it isn’t exactly useless. The blockchain technology that underpins it is (at least in theory) useful for all kinds of things. Its decentralised nature makes the currency itself nearly unhackable.

And “initial coin offerings”, a way for companies to raise funds using cryptocurrencies, do have some benefits (albeit a series of scams, hacks and raised eyebrows have not enhanced their reputations).

Admittedly these are uses for blockchain and cryptocurrency in general – not bitcoin – but as the best known and original implementation of the tech, it has the position of being a barometer for the rest of the industry. Believe it or not, it is more stable than other assets

Bitcoin might look like nonsense compared to the (relative) stability of the US dollar or the British pound. But this isn’t the case everywhere.

Google suggests that the countries with some of the most interest in bitcoin are Bolivia, Columbia, Nigeria, Slovenia and South Africa – countries that have been hit by inflation, falling currency values or expensive money transfer services.

For many people in these countries, bitcoin may represent a safer, more stable and more convenient store of value than local currencies.

The Daily Telegraph, London

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Taylor backs Wade and Maxwell for first Test

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor is backing both Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell to be selected by Australia for the first Test of the Ashes series at the Gabba in a fortnight’s time.

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The battle for the wicketkeeper spot appears to be a four-horse race between Wade, Peter Nevill, Tim Paine and Alex Carey.

Wade, who is Australia’s incumbent Test keeper, has been criticised for his glove work in recent times.

However, Taylor believes the 29-year-old has improved enough to warrant another chance in Brisbane against England.

“I watched quite a bit of the Indian series that Australia played in during the winter months and there’s no doubt in my mind that Matthew Wade did improve as a keeper, but it’s tough over there,” Taylor told SEN on Friday.

“I haven’t seen the blokes in recent times but if Matthew Wade has improved his keeping, which he did a little bit in India, well then I think he’s the man for the job. But the selectors see more of the game than me. If they don’t think he’s the best keeper then they should get the best keeper.

“I’m a bit of a believer that the incumbent should almost lose the spot first, but I’m also a great believer that with that bowling attack, Australia need to pick their best wicketkeeper.

“There will be some edges flying around at the Gabba and if I’m the skipper I want them hung onto. So I think if the keeper does his job and holds the catches for Australia, or the stumpings from Nathan Lyon or whatever comes along, that’ll go a long way to helping Australia win a Test match.”

Taylor also believes his theory on incumbency should apply to Maxwell when the selectors sit down and decide who should take the number six spot.

“To be totally honest I think Glenn Maxwell has got the lead-in at the moment,” he said.

“I know he hasn’t made huge runs in recent times, but he’s made a couple of 60s, he is the incumbent and I suspect if he has a reasonable Shield game over the next week or so, he’ll be the number six.”

Taylor reckons Australia’s bowling attack, which consists of Mitch Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Lyon, will tilt the series in the hosts’ favour and he suspects the Aussies are more settled than the English.

“We’ve got a good pace arsenal, Nathan Lyon I think really has improved as a spin bowler so it’s always good going into a series when you know who your four bowlers are going to be. So that’s a real advantage for Australia,” Taylor said.

“So Australia’s side is pretty well picked. So they’ve got good bowlers and a side that pretty well knows what it’s going to be going into the first Test and that’s a nice place to be.”

The same couldn’t be said for England, according to Taylor.

“There’s no doubt England have their concerns at the moment with their side but you just never know with these Ashes contests,” he said.

“England have got to find a couple of blokes to bat in that middle order and if they can uncover someone over the next three months, they’re a chance. But they’re going to have to find someone very shortly.”

Taylor conceded there was a chance star all-rounder Ben Stokes could feature for England in the Ashes if he wasn’t charged over his involvement in a late-night brawl, but he probably wouldn’t be available until the third or fourth Test.

“So between now and then, England have to play some good cricket against Australia who seem to be getting their ducks in line so we’ve got a good series.”

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Move to salvage Trans-Pacific Partnership gathers steam on APEC sidelines

Danang, Vietnam: Trade Ministers of 11 countries have reached agreement on a pact to salvage a Pacific Rim trade deal rejected by the United States that Australia has been lobbying for on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

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But several countries, including Japan and Canada, disagree on how fast the agreement should be progressed. They differed, too, on what had been agreed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters after arriving in the Vietnamese seaside city of Danang the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will bring together economies with a collective GDP of about $US10 trillion.

“So that is a huge market,” he said.

Mr Turnbull began lobbying hard for the TPP after arriving in Danang, telling an APEC leaders’ reception the pact “creates rules of the road to match the new economic world in which we’re living.”

“It aims at old hidden trade barriers like corruption and new ones like data protectionism,” he said.

“It works to level the playing field for non-state companies and is designed to defend and extend the freedom to explore, share and capitalise on new ideas.”

Japan’s Minister for TPP negotiations Toshimitsu Motegi described the agreement reached after days of intense negotiations in Danang as a “high standard and balanced agreement.”

“The agreement has a great significance in creating free, fair and new rules in the Asia-Pacific region where growth is robust,” he said.

However Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne later said on Twitter: “Despite reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP.”

Canadian officials have insisted Canada, the second largest economy among the TPP nations after Japan, would not be rushed into reviving the pact.

A Canadian official said ministers from different countries may have different interpretations of what ministers have agreed on.

Mexico officials said agreement had been reached but gave no details.

Mr Turnbull and leaders of the other 10 nations are tentatively scheduled to meet at APEC to discuss the proposals of ministers.

Backed by Australia, Japan has lobbied hard to proceed with the pact that is seen as a way to counter China’s regional dominance.

US President Donald Trump, who abandoned the TPP days after taking office, is scheduled to make a keynote speech at the annual 21-member APEC talk-fest that will be carefully examined for clues as to how his “America first” mantra will guide US engagement in Pacific Rim countries.

Leaving behind escalating tensions with Opposition leader Bill Shorten over the citizenship crisis, Mr Turnbull turned to trade at APEC, saying he will be urging 20 other APEC member countries not to turn their backs on protectionism.

“The region cannot close the door to the flow of goods, services, capital and ideas,” he said.

Mr Turnbull announced a new trade agreement with Peru, one of the world’s fastest growing economics that will generate more exports, including for farmers who have been effectively shut out of the country’s market.

It will eliminate 99 per cent of tariffs that exporters face to the country.

There will be immediate duty free access for Australian sheep, kangaroo meat, most wine and most horticulture products, including wheat.

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said concluding the agreement at APEC sends an important message to the world that “Australia embraces trade because we know it creates jobs and drives economic growth.”

Peru’s GDP is similar to that of Vietnam and its population is similar to Malaysia.

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Women’s Ashes Test delicately poised after opening day at North Sydney Oval

Women’s Ashes Test delicately poised after day one Australia’s Ellyse Perry (centre) celebrates with her team mates after taking the wicket of England’s Sarah Taylor. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

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Australia’s Megan Schutt celebrates her catch of England’s Georgia Elwiss, bowled by Ellyse Perry. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Australia’s Megan Schutt catches England’s Georgia Elwiss. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Australia’s Ellyse Perry (right) reacts during the Womens Ashes Test between Australia and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney.

Australia celebrates Amanda-Jade Wellington’s wicket, England’s Tammy Beaumont caught by Alex Blackwell off McGrath for 71. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Sunset during the Women’s Ashes day/night Test between Australia and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Shadows cast across the field during the Women’s Ashes day/night Test between Australia and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Australia’s Jess Jonassen celebrates her LBW wicket of England’s Heather Knight for 62. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

England’s Heather Knight in action. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

England’s Tammy Beaumont runs in safe to bring up her half century. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

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facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappEngland blew a golden opportunity to assert themselves on day one of the Ashes Test as Australia produced a flurry of late wickets to leavethe visitors 7-235 at stumps.

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry claimed a pair of final-session wickets while debutant TahliaMcGrath chipped in with her secondscalp of the day to put the brakes on what had been apromising English start, which earlier on sat comfortably at 1-129.

Most of the damage came once with the second new ball under lights in front of 2805 fans at North Sydney Oval, most of whom hope to witness a win for the home side which would mean Australia retainingthe Ashes.

As expected, the pink ball started swinging around in the evening session after Australia had toiled earlier in the day on a dry wicket all but devoid of grass.

“I’ve found this using the pink ball a little bit in training, some swing more than others and I don’t think the first one really swung all that much and the wicket probably wasn’t hugely responsive either,” Perry said.

“The second one definitely swung a bit more, obviously we were under lights as well but I think the seam was a little bit more raised on that one so it tended to swing a bit more.

“It’s pretty even conditions out there for the bat and ball. England batted well at different times, there’s definitely enough there to take 20 wickets.”

English opener Tammy Beaumont and captain Heather Knight took charge before tea having won the toss and batted, and the pair put on 104 runs for the second wicket, patiently but confidently stroking the ball around the picturesque suburban ground.

It was another debutant in Amanda-Jade Wellington who broke that stand when a sharply turning leg break shaded Beaumont’s outside edge before landing snugly in Alex Blackwell’s grasp at slip.

Wellington was one of three Test debutants for Australia, alongside McGrath and Beth Mooney who will open the batting with Nicole Bolton.

That meant Sydney juniors Lauren Cheatle and Ashleigh Gardner both missed out on selection.

No Cheatle meant the Aussies had just the three seam options. Megan Schutt was economical and produced her trademark in swing under the lights, but bowled without luck.

Perry and McGrath were complemented by the attacking Wellington, and the metronomic orthodox tweaker Jess Jonassen who grabbed a couple of wickets herself.

She trapped Heather Knight LBW to remove the dangerous stroke maker, before the English middle order failed to take advantage of their solid start.

Georgia Elwiss faced 95 balls for her 27 before skying a ball to square leg, unravelling all of her hard graft.

The classy Natalie Sciver (18) never quite found her rhythm while Sarah Taylor’s 29 was effortless but over far too quickly.when she belted one back to Perry who managed to snaffle a catch in her follow through having seemingly not sighted the ball until it struck her on the arm.

“I just slipped a little bit in some footholds on that delivery and my head went down and I lost all sight of it,” Perry said.

“I kind of looked up and the lights were a little bit in my eyes. The first time I spotted the ball was just before it hit my arm,rather embarrassingly I managed to catch it.

“It provided a lot of entertainment for everyone and I lost all composure and I’m really glad [captain] Rachael [Haynes] took me off after that.

“Every now and then you bowl some bad ones or you have a bit of luck or something obscure happens and that’s what makes the game so fun and entertaining.

“You’d happily get her [Taylor] out any way possible. I don’t think it had anything to do with my skill or ability.”

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Keeping fun safe

STAY PROTECTED: Having a personal flotation device near the pool can help in an emergency situation when a life is at risk. ADVERTISING FEATUREMore than 150 Australian children under the age of five have drowned in the past five years.

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With half of these drownings occurring in backyard pools, now is the perfect time to assess how safe your pool is.

If you’re not sure where to start look to the experts, the Royal Lifesaving Society Australia has put together a checklist for all pool owners to follow.

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following business. Click the link to learn more:

Swimform Constructions:This comprehensive guide looks at the pool gate, fence, around the fence, supervision, pumps grates and suction, emergency preparation, chemicals and electricity.

With the weather starting to warm up now is the perfect time to check over your pool and surrounds.

To read or download the entire guide go to广州桑拿网royallifesaving广州桑拿广州桑拿论坛.

An app, PoolSafety, has been developed based on the checklist to give you an interactive version on your smartphone.

Once your pool and surrounds has been checked now is the ideal time to have a look at yourself.

All members of the family should have an understanding of basic first aid, CPR and rescue techniques.

It’s also a good idea to complete the bronze medallion if possible.

The course is run by the the Royal Lifesaving Society and covers lifesaving techniques.

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“A couple of them didn’t make it out”: World War II veteran John Fenwick speaks of importance of Remembrance Day

A day to remember: WWII-veteran John Fenwick, who turned 96 this year, will take a moment to remember the sacrifice of friends and family on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersIt’s a day that John Fenwick thinks every young Australian should always recognise.

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On Saturday November 11, Remembrance Day, John will do what has been doing for decades.

He’ll head out to the Maitland RSL Sub-Branch service before taking a few solemn moments to remember the effortsof thousands of young men and women who have served in Australia’s armed forces –including his own, his father, his son and his mates.

“On Remembrance Day we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country,” John, of East Maitland, toldThe Mercury.

“In my opinion it’s a good day. It’s a day whenyoung people should remember these gallant young men who gave their lives for their country.”

He’ll remember his own service, too, which included a 14-month stint in Darwin when it was a constant target forJapanese bombers.

“A couple of them didn’t make it out,” he said of mateswho lost their lives on Australian soil to the raids.

A special day like no other for WWII veteran John TweetFacebookMORE GALLERIES

facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappcommentCommentsA 21stbirthday at warJohn Fenwick can still remember the panic that came over Darwin every time the Japanese bombers flew over.

“Every time the moon was out, over came the Japanese,” the 96-year-old from East Maitland recalled.

He spent 14 months in Darwin during World War II, including a hectic year-long period whenthere were 65 Japanese bombing raids.

There were plenty of close calls for the 21-year-old.

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Memories of sacrifice resonateLegacy’s helping hand“The Japanese came in low flying when we were in the shower one day,” John said.

“A couple of them (his mates) didn’t make it out. They were a little late getting out of the shower.”

Thosesacrificeswill be among the many he’ll quietly commemorate on November 11, Remembrance Day.

John’s time in WWII is nestled among a long family history of service, which includes his father who fought in WWI and his son who served in Vietnam.

His father, an Englishman who moved to Australia to work in a Kurri coalmine, signed up to the Australian war effort in 1916.

“My father dug tunnels under the German lines at Hill 60,” John said.

“He got gassed twice and shot once. He was never the same when he came back.”

John said he could still clearly remember sitting up in the early hours of the morningwith his father.

A day to remember: WWII veteran John Fenwick and wife Muriel met when she was working at a munitions factory in Adelaide during the war. They’ll celebrate their 74th anniversary next week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

“When he came back, he couldn’t sleep,” John explained.

Those experiences pushed John to fulfilhis “life’s ambition” to help other returned soldiers.

“When I saw my Dad like that, I thought I wanted to help any other soldiers who’d come back,” he said.

He has certainly done that, racking up decades worth of service for both Legacy and the Maitland RSL Sub-Branch, where he was president for seven years.

“I feel like I’ve done my bit for the community,” he said.

“I just wanted to give back.”

He’ll give again on Saturday, laying a wreath on behalf of Legacyat the Remembrance Day ceremony held in Maitland Park.

And he’ll take a few moments to pause and reflect on the service, and sacrifice, of mates and family.

The Maitland Mercury

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Australian pelvic mesh victims want to sue state health departments and regulators

Inquiry: Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who is chairing a Senate inquiry into pelvic mesh devices in Australia.WOMEN victims of pelvic mesh surgery are investigating legal action against not only device manufacturers and surgeons, but statehealth departments and Australian regulators they hold responsible forfailingto protect them.

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The Western Australian Health Department isalready a focus, said solicitor Adrian Barakat of AJB Stevens Lawyers in Sydney, afterwomenalleged a cover-up of mesh device surgical trials in WA public and private hospitals.

This followedNewcastle Heraldarticles revealingtwo senior Western Australian doctors releasedresearch papers from 2005 about surgical trials in Western Australian public and private hospitalsusing apelvic mesh device invented by one of the doctors, and a secret settlement in 2013 paid by WA Health to a woman implanted with the device in a public hospital in 2003.

Although the research papers stated the trials had ethics committee approvals,WA Health said it could not locate records of ethicsapprovals for trials of the device.

“The majority of the cases we have at the moment are in Western Australia so that’s our focus, but we have a large number of clients and they’re from all over the country. We’re definitely looking at health departments in each state,” Mr Barakat said.

TheHeraldhas also revealed research papers citing ethicsapproval of a surgical trialusing the device at a Victorian public hospital. Victoria’s new health care watchdoglaunched an investigation in June after Health Minister Jill Hennessy was told there wasno record of the trial,ethics approval or hospital credentialing of the device inventor who assisted with surgery on some of the women.

Lawyer Adrian Barakat on pelvic mesh device legal action

Mr Barakat said hisfirm had engaged a senior barrister to advise how Australia’sdrug and device watchdog, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, could be sued after multiple pelvic mesh devices were registered for use more than a decade ago with little or no evidence of safety and efficacy.

“Somebody needs to find a way to make the TGA accountable. We really think that’s one of the most important ways forward,” Mr Barakat said.

The TGA’s role in the pelvic mesh scandal led University of Canberra academics Dr Wendy Bonython and associate professor Bruce Arnold to call for a complete overhaul of the regulator, in a submission to a Senate inquiry on pelvic mesh devices.

They argued there were legislated indemnity provisions that protected the TGA from being sued for negligent performance of its regulatory functions, which was “problematic because it removes any incentive towards carefulness”.

More than 1350 Australian women are now registered in legal class actions against major mesh manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and American Medical Systems, with an unknown number ofindividual settlements after legal suitsby women against doctors who implanted the devices.

Mr Barakat said his firm, which has successfully litigated child sexual abuse cases against institutions, would run individual cases against device manufacturers, doctors and regulators, rather than class actions.

“We’re looking at the women individually because they’ve all suffered immensely, in different ways. I’ve got women who have had to give up their businesses and jobs. Most of them have suffered in terms of their marriages. Some have lost their marriages because of this. Most of them can’t have intercourse.”

Women implanted with Intra Vaginal Sling (IVS) and Tissue Fixation System (TFS) devices have engaged the firm, along with others considering action against American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson.

WA Health did not respond to questions about the 2013 secret settlement or how public hospitals responded to complications experienced by women during an early pelvic mesh trial.

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