Month: July 2019

Sydney Now: What you need to know on Thursday, December 29, 2016

Good morning.
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The really hot day is upon us. It is expected to reach 37 degrees in the city today and 42 in Penrith. And it will only be a little cooler on Friday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

NSW Health has advised anyone showing signs of heat-related illness should attend their GP or emergency department. The signs include: confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating.

Sydney will register its hottest year in more than a century-and-a-half of records. No camping out

People camp out at Blues Point Reserve last year. Photo: Wolter Peeters

If the heat wasn’t enough to put you off, authorities are not allowing revellers to camp out to secure a good spot ahead of the New Year’s Eve fireworks for security reasons.  Last year the Herald caught people camping from December 29. Here’s how to make the most of your NYE this year whether the city or suburbs is your choice. What’s for dinner?

Zeus Street Greek general manager Costa Anastasiadis likes our Thursday laziness. Photo: Ben Rushton

If you haven’t thought about what you might cook tonight, you’re not alone. Turns out Thursday is the day we are over it enough to order takeaway. Kim Arlington reports here. Cocaine ring smashed

The accused men have been refused bail. Photo: NSW Police

Police say they have smashed a major drug smuggling syndicate allegedly smuggling cocaine via the Sydney Fish Market. Which level of government do we not need?

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Photo: James Jessup

“The simple fact is the states should be abolished.” Those are the words of former prime minister Bob Hawke, who has urged an unemotional discussion about removing our middle layer of government. “What we have today basically represents the meanderings of British explorers across the n continent more than 200 years ago,” Mr Hawke said. It’s a similar line to that of the Premier, Mike Baird, selling council mergers to  a local government conference in 2014. “That 19th century boundaries, that’s something that needs to be challenged,” Mr Baird said. Students left in limbo

Beauty college owner Maureen Houssein-Mustafa Photo: n Financial Review

A Sydney beauty college run by a prominent political donor  has gone into administration, leaving hundreds of students in the dark and up to 80 staff rocked by dismissal letters on the day before Christmas Eve. Follow us on Facebook for the latest Sydney newsSydney Now


Xinjiang attack: vehicle rams into government compound killing several

Thirty-one people were killed in May in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China. Photo: Sanghee Liu Police stand guard in a Uighur neighborhood in the Xinjiang region, which experienced an outbreak of violence in 2013. Photo: New York Times
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 Beijing: Five people have been killed in China’s far-western Xinjiang region after attackers drove a vehicle into a government compound and set off a makeshift explosive device, in an incident the country’s official state media have described as a “terrorist attack”.

The five dead include the four attackers, who were shot dead in the incident in the remote county of Karakax on Wednesday afternoon local time.

One other person died and three people were injured, the local government said late on Wednesday, without providing further details.

It said the four “thugs” drove a vehicle into a yard at the county Communist Party offices and detonated an “explosive device”.

Violence and ethnic unrest has plagued Xinjiang in recent years with the Chinese government blaming the rise of radical Islam among ethnic Uighurs who call the region home for a series of deadly attacks in the region and in other Chinese cities, most notably a mass stabbing at a railway station in Kunming in 2014.

Uighurs – a Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic minority whose culture and language sets them apart from the majority Han Chinese population – in turn say the Communist Party’s repressive rule and restrictions on their religious freedoms have exacerbated the unrest.

Beijing has increasingly grappled with what it says are significant numbers of Uighurs travelling to Syria to fight alongside Islamic State. In September, Kyrgyzstan state security officials said Syrian-based Uighur militants were behind a suicide bombing at the Chinese embassy in Bishkek in late August.

Last month, Chinese authorities ordered Xinjiang residents to begin turning in their passports to police. The new regulations require all residents to hand over their travel documents and then apply to get them back if they wish to travel overseas. Chinese state media said the policy was designed to “maintain social order” amid the rising spectre of terrorism in the region.

Last week, a van drove into a market in northern Beijing killing four people in an incident authorities said was not terrorism related.


Chinan honey is at least as potent as New Zealand manuka, study finds

Samples of honey from n leptospermum, or manuka, bushes being tested. Photo: UTS Co-authors of the study: Professor Elizabeth Harry (left), Shona Blair and Nural Cokcetin (right) from the University of Technology, Sydney. Photo: Vanessa Valenzuela/UTS
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Sampling nectar from a leptospermum ‘manuka’ honey bush. Photo: Vanessa Valenzuela/UTS

n manuka-style honey is as least as medically powerful as New Zealand manuka honey, a study has found.

Research by Nural Cokcetin at the University of Technology, Sydney, shows that more than 16 per cent of n manuka-style honeys she tested were actually more potent than the Kiwi product.

However, New Zealand honey producers don’t seem worried. John Rawcliffe from New Zealand’s UMF Honey Association said that the global demand for manuka honey is so great it outstrips current supply.

Manuka honey has properties that mean it can be applied to burns, cuts and other injuries to fight infection. The honey is also used in cosmetic and other products.

Some claim it is useful for treating acne, gingivitis, sore throats, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome and other ailments. However, these have not been tested clinically and those claims are not supported scientifically.

The active antibacterial agent in the honey – methylglyoxal – is proven to be highly effective in dealing with infection.

Dr Cokcetin, a lead author of the study, said: “One of the really special things about manuka honey is that it kills superbugs like golden staph.”

Professor Elizabeth Harry at UTS, one of the authors of the study, said: “Antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis. Honey not only kills bacteria on contact, but we have shown previously that bacteria don’t become resistant to honey.”

The study shows that n honey produced by bees using the nectar from leptospermum, or manuka-type, bushes can produce concentrations of methylglyoxal higher than two control samples of “hospital-grade” New Zealand manuka honey.

It also shows a direct correlation between antibacterial activity and methylglyoxal levels and that these honeys can be stored for up to seven years without losing their efficacy.

Dr Cokcetin said: “The most exciting thing about this research is that it puts n manuka honey on the international radar. Lots of people have heard of New Zealand manuka, but not many are aware that we have more than 80 species of the same plant in .”

In New Zealand, manuka honey is made by bees from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium, known locally as the manuka bush. It is the only leptospermum species in New Zealand. The same species is also native to .

However, there are 82 other leptospermum species native to , some of which also produce medically active honey.

Use of the name “manuka” to describe these honeys is controversial. Mr Rawcliffe has said New Zealand manuka deserves the same protection as champagne.

Trevor Weatherhead, executive director of the n Honey Bee Industry Council, said New Zealand doesn’t have a monopoly on manuka.

“If someone tries to put a trademark on it for exclusive New Zealand use, we’ll likely object,” Mr Weatherhead said.

Victor Goldsmith, general manager of Maori organisation Ngati Porou Miere said: “Manuka is a Maori name. [We will] resist any attempts by non-Maori, both domestic and international, to bastardise our names.”

Ngati Porou Miere has recently entered into commercial manuka honey production.


RIP Brangelina, Hiddleswift, James and Mariah: Biggest celebrity splits of 2016

Karl Stefanovic and Cassandra Thorburn separated after 21 years together. Photo: Cole BennettsTerror attacks; Donald Trump; deaths of Prince, David Bowie and Alan Rickman; Zika; Brexit; police shootings; Harambe shot – if 2016 wasn’t bad enough, it was also the year that love died when a number of our favourite celebrity couples decided to call it quits.
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Actors Brad Pitt, 52, and Angelina Jolie, 41, was the highest profile split of the year and one that no one really saw coming – not even Pitt himself, it seems. There is no sign of an amicable divorce between Hollywood’s former golden couple, dubbed Brangelina, who were together for 12 years and married for two.

He was accused of child abuse after an incident on a private plane with their oldest son, Maddox, 15, but cleared by the FBI. He has since applied for joint custody of their six children.

While it wasn’t a major shock that highly unlikely pair n billionaire James Packer, 49, and megastar Mariah Carey, 46, aka Jamiah, didn’t last the distance. But the singer ain’t having no Breakdown over her failed engagement to the casino mogul, and has either gone public with her new man, back-up dancer Bryan Tanaka, or is showing off her shrewd business skills by staging a new relationship to help promote her E! reality TV show, Mariah’s World.

Taylor Swift, 27, had an admirably strong boyfriend game this year when she left one high-profile relationship with Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, 32, for another – The Night Manager’sTom Hiddleston, 35. Neither Brit worked out for the Bad Blood Queen, but she’s all good with her her girl squad and it gives her plenty of song material.

Channel Nine Today show presenter Karl Stefanovic split from his wife Cassandra Thorburn after 21 years together. The 42-year-old moved out of the family home he shared with Thorburn, 44, and three children in around August and moved into best friend, James Packer’s Bondi Beach apartment. He has recently been linked to engaged food blogger, Sofia Levin, 27, but both have denied those claims and say they are just “good friends”.

The break-up of Naomi Watts, 48, and Liev Schreiber, 49, was another sore point. The pair, who never wed, were together for 11 years and have two children, Alexander “Sasha”, 9, and Samuel, 7. They have been pictured hanging out together with their boys in New York.

Fifteen months after their Bahamas wedding, Amber Heard, 30, filed for divorce from Johnny Depp, 53, in May accusing him of domestic abuse throughout their four-year relationship. Days later, she attended court with a bruised face to obtain a temporary restraining order against Depp, alleging he had repeatedly hit her and thrown a mobile phone at her during a fight.

See what other couples didn’t make it to 2017 by checking our “Love is dead: Celebrity break-ups 2016” gallery.


Food delivery apps are changing the way we eat and how restaurants are run

“They’ve definitely taken us out to a much broader market”: Costa Anastasiadis. Photo: Ben RushtonThere’s a point in the week when even dedicated cooks get fed up with making meals at home.
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Weekends are when we “play MasterChef” or go out, said Martin Kneebone, managing director of food market research and analysis firm FreshLogic.

At the start of the working week, we tend to be organised and cook at home.

“By Thursday, you’ve had enough,” Mr Kneebone said. “You want a break.”

That’s where food ordering apps come in.

In the competition for a slice of the dining dollar, online ordering platforms such as Menulog, Deliveroo, UberEATS and Foodora are putting increasing pressure on the big supermarkets.

It’s what Mr Kneebone calls “the battle for Thursday night”, with “share of stomach” the prize.

“Every meal that’s ordered … means there’s another one that doesn’t have to be purchased in ingredient form and prepared at home,” Mr Kneebone said. “[Ordering apps are] combining convenience with a quick meal and that’s hitting the right spots in terms of lifestyle priorities at the moment.”

In a country where one-quarter of homes are single-person households, and 40 per cent of people say they always or often feel pressed for time, convenient meals are big business. As one report put it, takeaway food sales in “are going bonkers”.

Figures from National Bank show that in the year to June 2016, takeaway food sales rose 56.1 per cent to account for 5.8 per cent of ‘s total online spending of $20.1 billion.

n market leader Menulog was such an appetising prospect that British rival Just Eat bought it for $855 million, leaving Menulog co-founder Leon Kamenev a spare $80 million to drop on property in Vaucluse.

Menulog in and New Zealand facilitated $260 million worth of orders for restaurant partners in the first half of 2016; its latest half-year results reported revenue growth of 77 per cent year on year.

Mr Kneebone said all the ordering platforms had to do was match time-poor consumers with good quality restaurants. “The normal constraints around growth, typically related to bricks and mortar, are not there. It’s only constrained by people adopting an app, and that can happen overnight.”

The rise of online ordering is not just changing how we dine, but how restaurants operate.

They are adjusting their opening hours, creating delivery-only menus and opening pop-up stores, while shifting their marketing online and to social media. Retail leasing agents report a surge of interest in premises on the city fringe and in the suburbs, and those offering parking for delivery bikes and cars.

Hospitality consultant Tony Eldred said opportunities were emerging for fledgling restaurateurs to open delivery kitchens without the high cost of restaurant fitouts.

“There’s a lot of young people in the industry who’d like to own their own restaurants or business but now the barrier to entry’s about a million dollars or more,” he said. “Why pay retail rents in the CBD at $3000 a square metre when you could remove the kitchen to a low-cost area … and deliver to a 10 [kilometre] radius around you?”

On the downside, Mr Eldred said, delivery commissions of up to 30 per cent were eating into restaurants’ profits.

Costa Anastasiadis, general manager of Zeus Street Greek, said the commission was a necessary concession for businesses wanting to reach new customers without the effort and expense of running their own deliveries.

“With the whole outsourcing experience, you literally plug and play,” he said.

Zeus, which will soon have more than a dozen stores in three states, has partnered with UberEATS and Deliveroo.

“They’ve definitely taken us out to a much broader market,” Mr Anastasiadis said. “We assumed we actually had a decent saturation point in many of these markets we’ve already got stores in, and it was surprising seeing a lot of new customers coming through.”

UberEATS has rapidly expanded to other mainland capitals since launching in Melbourne last April.

“People are really seeing UberEATS as a replacement for cooking at home,” said UberEATS Asia-Pacific general manager Simon Rossi.

“Rather than going to the grocery store to buy food, they can push a button and have their meal delivered in around 30 minutes from some of their favourite restaurants. We’re really starting to see people embrace this and use it as part of their everyday life.”

Menulog, which recently paired with delivery partner Drive Yello, boasts more than 8000 restaurants and 2.6 million active customers.

“With an increasingly fast-paced lifestyle and reliance on digital technology, we’re seeing greater demand for simple and easy services that can provide consumers [with] what they need in an instant,” managing director Alistair Venn said.

There is also a greater demand for choice. Mr Venn said “our fastest growing category is vegetarian food, which has increased by 1000 per cent year on year, followed by salads and health foods”.

Next year, Menulog will focus on personalising its experience based on customer preferences. But further changes could be just around the corner; parent company Just Eat is trialling robot deliveries in London.