OpinionNewcastle Legal Centre: defending the little guy

In the story of David and Goliath, guile prevails over might, against the odds. It is sometimes invoked when citizens dare to assert their rights against powerful corporations. However, in our complex world, such battles are rarely won with single, decisive acts. They more often require protracted campaigns and detailed knowledge of the system.
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The NSW Land and Environment Court ruled this month against a proposal by the De Angelis Hotels Group to build a 1700sqm pub in Casula, near Liverpool. Remarkably, the Court was not permitted to consider the likely impact of 15-30 poker machines that would operate on the site. Nor could it consider the history of the applicant, whose holdings included a pub with a dreadful record of violence.Nonetheless, the proposed development was deemed “not in the public interest” because of the high level of economic deprivation in the area, and research evidence concerning the likely incidence of harm. Commissioner O’Neill’s judgementnoted:“The existing hot spot for domestic violence which includes the site is a persuasive reason to be concerned about introducing a hotel … where there is currently no liquor outlet”.

CONCERNS HEARD: There is a Newcastle connection to a recent case in which the Land and Environment Court ruled against a proposed pub development in a Sydney suburb.

The decision stymies a development that would likely have increased violence and traffic injury, and harm from gambling. Poker machines are designed to lure users and addict them, extracting as much money as possible per hour of operation. A NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority report showed pokie turnover in Liverpool was $1.8billion in 2015-16, $1.2million a machine (in Newcastle it’s $1.7billion). Research shows that their effect on n communities is devastating, particularly in poorer areas.

De Angelis may appeal, but this decision is significant because it shows that an organised and informed community can make its voice heard. The case was covered in Sydney papers without mention of the Newcastle connection. It required three years of sustained effort from a community of volunteers, with crucial input from Newcastle advocate Tony Brown, the Newcastle Legal Centre, two barristers and expert witnesses.With the exception of the barristers, who acted for a fraction of their usual fee, the other parties made their contributions pro bono. Estimates suggest the case would have cost more than $300,000 to mount.

For me, a particularly satisfying aspect of being involved in this was working with Jacqueline Svenson, the tireless solicitor at the Newcastle Legal Centre who took on the case. Jacquie had to coordinate the efforts of a vulnerable community, a feisty advocate, busy barristers, medical experts, academics, and the demands of the Court, and all of that while using the case to train law students.

More than ever, universities are expected to demonstrate their value to society, to go beyond teaching, by bridging the gap between research and practice. In public health, an applied discipline, we are used to this demand but it is still difficult to meet the expectations of our institutions and funders while responding to the complexity of human problems.Through the Newcastle Legal Centre, the university has demonstrated its capacity for making a difference. In addition to providing a legal precedent, the case could help guide future legal practice and government policy. One of the lessons is that communities can defend themselves against incompatible corporate interests but they need the support of independent experts.

Kypros Kypri PhD is a professor,School of Medicine and Public Health at theUniversity of Newcastle


Hunter swelters through heatwave

Hunter heatwave hits 41C HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin
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HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

Artem Kusnetsov, of Sydney, at Cessnock Pool on Thursday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Charlotte, Lilah and Phoenix Upson, of Cessnock, at Cessnock Pool on Thursday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Ivy and Ashton Collins, of North Rothbury, at Cessnock Pool on Thursday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Troy Woodward’s air-conditioning and blanketed windows keeping temperatures low.

Katrina Hesketh’s car at Kooragang.

Kim Cunningham’s car on Wednesday afternoon at Rutherford.

Angela Zoe’s car at Aberglasslyn.

Suu Joy Blundell’s back deck on the Central Coast – 44C

“We escaped from Cessnock to Shoal Bay but was still scorching hot!” – Kirsty Lee O’Neill

“Stayed the hell inside!” – Mitchell Lucas

Picture: Kimberley Ellis

Picture: Kimberley Ellis

Picture: Linda Carroll

TweetFacebookEARLIER –THURSDAY 9AMA Heatwave Action Plan has been activated following the prediction of heatwave conditions in NSW this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology advises that temperatures are expected to exceed 35 in many parts of the state,with overnight temperatures above 20 degrees through to the end of the weekend.

Maitland is set for a scorching couple of days, with a predicted high of 41 degrees on Thursday; 42 on Friday, and 38 degrees on New Year’s Eve.

NSW Health says people should take simple precautions to ensure they stay healthy in the heat by;

– Staying well hydrated;

– Avoiding alcohol and hot or sugary drinks;

– Limiting your physical activity; and,

– Trying to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Everyone needs to take care in hot weather but some people are at higher risk of heat illness, especially if they are older, live alone or are socially-isolated.

Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating.

People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.

NSW Health also recommends the following actions during extreme heat conditions:

– Check on the welfare of older people or neighbours living alone

– Keep the sun out by shading windows with curtains, blinds or closing shutters.

– Keep windows closed during the day until it cools down and in early morning. If you don’t have an air-conditioner, try to spend time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema.

– Wear light, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton.

– When outdoors, stay protected from the sun by wearing a hat and sunscreen.

For more information please refer to the Beat the Heat website.

As the weather heats up motorists are also reminded that it is an offence for children or pets to be left unattended in a vehicle.

Livestock and pet owners are also being urged to ensure adequate clean water is always available and that shading is provided where possible.

Additionally, no animals should be left in confined, unventilated areas.

Intensive large animal holdings, including poultry and piggeries should ensure cooling and watering systems are functioning and backup plans are in place in case of system failures.


Police smash cocaine ring in Christmas Day raids

AFP officers stand guard over some of the 500kilo cocaine seized during the Christmas Day bust. Picture: Kate GeraghtyA former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and several fishermenare among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust.
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Police will allege the syndicate imported more than a tonne of cocaine via NSW ports and included experienced fisherman, marine workers and company owners.

n FederalPolice Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”.

He told a packed Sydney press conference that the 15 arrested men were “determined to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

Police arrest a number of alleged drug traffickers on Christmas Day. Photo: NSW Police

The seizure of 500kg of cocaine in Sydney, 600kg of the drug in Tahiti and 32kg of heroin in Fiji make it the largest drug bust of its kind in .

NSWPolice State Crime Commander Mark Jenkins said all the drugs originated in South America before being transferred across the South Pacific by ship.

Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day on boardashipping vessel named Dalrymple docked at the Brooklyn Marinaon the Central Coast.

It’s alleged the boat was used to ferry drugs between NSW ports and a larger ship stationed out at sea that held drugs smuggled from Chile.

Officers from Maritime Border Command and the NSW Police’s Marine Area Command had watched the Dalrymple dock atthe Sydney Fish Markets for a month before leaving for the Central Coast on December 3.

On Christmas night, officers watched the crew launch a small one-man dinghy which allegedly travelled toParlseyBay at Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast and met with two other men.

The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old and have all been refused bail. Photo: NSW Police

All three were arrested and about 500 kilograms of cocaine was seized from thedinghy.

Three other men were arrested on board the Dalrymple vessel as it docked at Brooklyn Marina on Christmas night.

Several other men were arrested in the Sydney suburbs ofZetland, Double Bay, Kingsford, and Greenacre. Two brothers were arrested in Ulladulla, on the NSW South Coast, and two others were arrested in Hobart and Brisbane.

Operation Okesi, comprising officers from NSW Police, n Federal Police and n Border Force, started over two-and-a-half-years after police received a “thread” of information.

Since then, five alleged importations by the sophisticated syndicate have been thwarted.

It includes the seizure of 32 kilograms of heroin by authorities in Fiji in December 2014 and the seizure of 606 kilograms of cocaine by authorities in Tahiti in March.

A police source told Fairfax Media the syndicate thought they could take advantage of the festive season by striking on Christmas Day.

Authorities valued the total amount of cocaine seized at $360 million.

Among the men arrested is former Eastern Suburbs Roosters player John Roland Boyd Tobin, who played 125 matches as lockforward in the 1980s.

Bondi entrepreneur Darren John Mohr was also arrested. He lists his occupationas the owner Martini Motors and is also theformer owner of the Bondi Rescue HQ cafe.

His Instagram profile shows a love of Harley Davidson motorbikes, Rolls Royce cars and being shirtless.

Police also arrestedReuben John Dawe, who lists his occupation as a maritime worker andcommercial fisherman JosephPirrello, 63.

Other man arrested in the sting include Simon Peter Spero, 56, Graham Toa Toa, 42, Stuart Ayrton, 54, Jonathan Cooper, 29, Richard Lipton, 37, Frank D’Agostino, 54, and Benjamin Sara, 31.

They were all refused bail in Parramatta Bail Court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two other men, extradited from Tasmania and Queensland, will appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Thursday as well as two men arrested in Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast.

Footage released by police show multiple men being arrested in the dark from on-board the Dalrymple fishing vessel.

One of the men shown with his hands tied behind his back is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts covered in cartoon pictures of crocodiles.

“This operation has been running for more than two-and-a-half years and culminated over the Christmas period,” a police statement reads.

The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old.

This article first appeared onsmh苏州夜总会招聘.au


How to chip away the weight with a potato-only diet

Andrew Taylor is nearing the end of his year-long regime. Photo: Jason SouthAfter eating only potatoes for the past year, you’d understand if Andrew Taylor ditched spuds for good.
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But he will gladly tuck in if they’re served on New Year’s Day, when he ends his slavish, self-imposed diet.

Because it’s not about the potatoes.

A year ago Mr Taylor, 36, of Elwood, weighed 151 kilograms, with an addiction to pizza, chocolate and soft drink. He had an unhealthy relationship to food. Having been an elitekayaker in his youth, he’d stopped exercising and suffered depression and anxiety.

He needed a circuit-breaker, but couldn’t just stop eating, so in desperation he tried the next best thing – focusing on one foodstuff.

Potatoes seemed to offer the most vital nutrients, including iron, protein and vitamin C, and sosince January 1,2016, he has eaten 3.5kg to 4kg of spuds per day.

Awild experiment, but a spectacular success. He has lost 52kg, feels mentally well, and kayaks or rides his push scooter one or two hours a day.

His cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar are now normal and his iron and calcium levels are “great”.

He has received thousands of emails, including from a US man who lost 30kg by eating potatoes, and appeared on TV in Romania, Poland and Britain.

Root cause: Curing a junk food addiction by eating only potatoes for a year paid off for Andrew Taylor, who lost 50kg. Photo: Jason South

His advice is to stop looking to food for pleasure and emotional support and have “a healthy detachment from food”.

“I’ve got a saying now: ‘Make your food boring and your life interesting.’ “

On Sunday morninghe will break his faston Seven’sSunriseprogram, live from Elwood Sailing Club, and doctors and nutritionists will speak.

Mangoes would be nice, but under his new ethos, he’s not fussed.”I’m looking forward more to the party and people than the food.”

From 2017 MrTaylor will eat a plant-based diet – fruit, veggies and grains and no meat, eggs or dairy.

Having quit teaching, he will be a stay-at-home father to his son Teddy, aged three, and do public speaking, health coaching and write a book.

“I want to help people get healthy and change their relationship with food in a similar way to what I’ve done.”

Lorraine Baker, the n Medical Association’s Victorian president, was impressed Mr Taylor stuck to a disciplined exercise and unprocessed food program – which included soy milk for mashing, sweet potato and B12 supplements – and sought medical advice. But the diet wasn’t recommended because a more enjoyable, varied diet was more sustainable.

Dietitians Association of spokeswoman Melanie McGrice​ said Mr Taylor’s diet was “extreme” and large quantities of potatoes were needed to meet daily nutrient requirements.

She wondered whether the weight would stay off. But the diet could be a good kick-start, and too few food choices could be more effective than too much choice, leading to junk food.


Hands-free paving has turned Newcastle landscapers into internet sensations

STARS: Landscapers Deng Amourr, Kye Nelson, Rhett Jones and Nick Davies have become internet sensations with their domino pavers. Picture: Simone De Peak.
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IT was a Monday afternoon when the crew of Newcastle landscapers decided to video a little domino trick they had performed from time to time.

The retaining wall was 33 metres long, and they needed to lay about 165 cap pavers to finish the job.

What the hell, they thought, let’s do it and see if it works.

It did, and the videos have made the Newcastle men instant internet sensations with views hitting 10 million on social media and YouTube in just four days.

“We had seen it a very, very long time ago and had tried it,’’ Kye Nelson said.

“We had done it a few times on shorter walls and just decided to film it because we had such a long, straight wall –and I wanted to show my dad.

“We didn’t think it would go off like this, it has just exploded.’’

The video is compelling, if only because it allows the viewer to watch the domino effect of the 165 pavers before the climax –where each paver slots into place in what appears to be another domino wave going in the opposite direction with no human intervention.

It works because the pavers are placed at anexact distance apart, allowing them to just lean on the next falling tile before the very last paver lays completely flat, moving a fraction of distance further away to alloweach of the leaning pavers to also move and take its position flat on the wall.

It took about 45 minutes to set up on December 19 at a worksite the five men –Mr Nelson and his workmates Deng Amourr, Rhett Jones, Col Smedley andNick Davies –have decided to keep to themselves.

“It doesn’t really take less time, or is even slower, it is just different and it just looks cool,’’ Mr Nelson said.

And it was not until one of their mate’s at Drift Bikes at Kotara shared it on the business’s Facebook page on Christmas Eve that it began to take off.

As of Wednesday afternoon, it had been watched 8.6 million times, shared more than 130,000 times with 59,000 likes and 20,000 comments.

It has also been uploaded on you tube and on other Facebook sites, taking the views to about 10 million in four days.

“It’s a bit of fun and it’s been great watching it go off online,’’ Mr Nelson, who took the main video, said.

“I think the physics of it has just played with people’s heads a bit and got them talking.’’

Four of the landscaping sensations got together quickly on Wednesday to speak about the growing popularity of the clip –Col Smedley had already taken off on a well-deserved break.

And as the clip continues to gather as much momentum as the 165 falling pavers, the rest of them are taking off on some leave too.

This article first appeared on The Newcastle Herald


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.