Luke Thompson referred to NRL judiciary over alleged eye-gouge


Luke Thompson has been referred straight to the judiciary after allegedly eye gouging James Tamou.

Thompson appeared to eye gouge Panthers captain James Tamou during the first half of Canterbury’s 42-0 loss to the minor premiers.

Tamou made an on field complaint – prompting referee Henry Perenara to immediately stop play – but played the incident down post match.

“I was hoping to get the penalty, but I just felt something there and my eyes were closed,” Tamou said.



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Michael Cheika to help coach Argentina, Rugby Championship, news, Wallabies,


Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has signed on to help Argentina in the Rugby Championship, the South Americans said Friday, putting him in competition with his old team.

Los Pumas said Cheika, who quit after the Wallabies’ humiliating World Cup quarter-final loss to England last year, would work as an external adviser during the tournament in Australia.

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Wallabies suffer injury blow

Wallabies suffer injury blow

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Ruck tandem key to Brisbane AFL flag quest


Oscar McInerney has welcomed Stefan Martin’s return from injury, believing the two-pronged ruck approach gives Brisbane their best chance at winning the AFL premiership.

Martin missed nine matches with a stress fracture in his back this year, giving McInerney the chance to take the lead ruck role for a large portion of the season.

The 26-year-old understudy excelled, helping the Lions secure a top-two spot and two home finals.

But he is happy to split the duties with veteran Martin again as they prepare to take on Richmond dual premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis in Friday night’s qualifying final at the Gabba.

“I’m so lucky to play almost all my games with Stef, who’s been such a great mentor for me, and now to get him back for the business end of the season is such an exciting thing,” McInerney told AAP.

“Personally I love having Stef’s experience out there and the impact he has on the game is phenomenal.

“He’s one of the best ruckmen in the competition and if the coaches keep picking us we’ll keep competing well and trying to own the competition.”

Martin returned in Brisbane’s win over Carlton in round 18 and will be better for the run leading into the finals.

McInerney, now in his third season after his 2017 rookie draft selection, believes the pair complement each other well and can play key roles in the Lions’ flag push.

“We’re quite different in our ruck craft,” McInerney said.

“I’m sort of tall and lanky whereas he’s got the great craft and great strength, the ability to combat really well with all his experience.

“Also, we both love to contribute forward, whether that’s taking marks or bringing the ball to ground for Charlie Cameron, Cam Rayner and Linc McCarthy.

“So as long as we’re contributing in multiple areas of the game I think it can really work for us well.”

Brisbane have not beaten Richmond since 2009 and wasted the two most recent chances to end the drought with poor accuracy in front of goal in round 10 this season and last year’s qualifying final.

“They’re one of the great sides of the competition at the moment and they’re travelling really well,” McInerney said.

“We’ve taken plenty of learnings from the last couple of times we played them and it will be a big test for our group to see if we can apply those and get the result we’re after.”





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SuperCoach Racing Round 7: The stable the bookies would pick


It’s your last chance to beat your mates at SuperCoach Racing and if studying the form is not your go I have done the work for you.

I ran the full Randwick field through my metric looking for the best blend of market value and SuperCoach price and adding a weighting to reflect the different points on offer for Group 1, 2, 3 and non black type races.

Below I list the top 20 horses below before running through my stable and then rate the jockeys too.

Saddle up for the final round of the SuperCoach Racing season.Source: The Daily Telegraph

The 20 top-rated horses for the round (Group One runners in bold and prices correct on Friday):



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Small modular reactors — the next big thing?


Politicians debating nuclear power as an energy source, know little of the facts that make small modular reactors a bad idea, writes Dr Caldicott.

AUSTRALIAN politicians are contemplating developing nuclear power for this country. In their ignorance, they are mooting “small modular reactors” (SMRs) about which they clearly know little. 

To partly explain their enthusiasm here is the background story. 

The so-called “nuclear renaissance” died following the Fukushima catastrophe when one-sixth of the world’s nuclear reactors closed. However, global nuclear corporations – Toshiba, NuScale, Babcock & Wilcox, GE Hitachi, General Atomics and the Tennessee Valley Authority – did not accept defeat.

Their new strategy has been to develop small modular nuclear reactors without the dangers inherent in large reactors — safety, cost, proliferation risks and radioactive waste. But these claims are fallacious for the reasons outlined below.

Basically, there are three types of SMRs which generate less than 300 megawatts of electricity compared with current day 1000 megawatt reactors.

Light water reactors designs

These will be smaller versions of present-day pressurized water reactors using water as the moderator and coolant, but with the same attendant problems as Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Built underground, they will be difficult to access in the event of an accident or malfunction.

Seven reasons why small modular nuclear reactors are a bad idea for Australia

Mass-produced (turnkey production) large numbers must be sold yearly to make a profit. This is an unlikely prospect because major markets – China and India – will not buy U.S. reactors when they can make their own.

If safety problems arise – as in General Motors cars – they all must be shut down which will interfere substantially with electricity supply. 

SMRs will be expensive because the cost per unit capacity increases with a decrease in reactor size. Billions of dollars of government subsidies will be required because Wall Street is allergic to nuclear power. To alleviate costs, it is suggested that safety rules be relaxed, including reducing security requirements and a reduction in the 10-mile emergency planning zone to 1,000 feet.

Non-light water designs 

These are high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGR) or pebble bed reactors. Five billion tiny fuel kernels consisting of high-enriched uranium or plutonium will be encased in tennis-ball-sized graphite spheres which must be made without cracks or imperfections — or they could lead to an accident. A total of 450,000 such spheres will slowly and continuously be released from a fuel silo – passing through the reactor core – and then be re-circulated ten times. These reactors will be cooled by helium gas operating at very high temperatures (900 degrees Celsius).

A reactor complex consisting of four HTGR modules will be located underground, to be run by just two operators in a central control room. Claims are that HTGRs will be so safe that a containment building will be unnecessary and operators can even leave the site – “walk away safe” reactors.  

A radioactive wolf in green clothing: Dissecting the latest pro-nuclear spin

However, should temperatures unexpectedly exceed 1,600 degrees Celsius, the carbon coating will release dangerous radioactive isotopes into the helium gas and at 2,000 degrees Celsius the carbon would ignite creating a fierce graphite Chernobyl-type fire.  

If a crack develops in the piping or building, radioactive helium would escape and air would rush in, also igniting the graphite. 

Although HTGRs produce small amounts of low-level waste they create larger volumes of high-level waste than conventional reactors.  

Despite these obvious safety problems and despite the fact that South Africa has abandoned plans for HTGRs, the U.S. Department of Energy has unwisely chosen the HTGR as the “Next Generation Nuclear Plant”. 

Liquid metal fast reactors (PRISM)

It is claimed by proponents that fast reactors will be safe, economically competitive, proliferation-resistant and sustainable.  

They will be fueled by plutonium or highly enriched uranium and cooled by either liquid sodium or a lead-bismuth molten coolant. Liquid sodium burns or explodes when exposed to air or water and lead-bismuth is extremely corrosive producing very volatile radioactive elements when irradiated. 

Should a crack occur in the reactor complex, liquid sodium would escape, burning or exploding. Without coolant, the plutonium fuel could reach critical mass, triggering a massive nuclear explosion scattering plutonium to the four winds. One-millionth of a gram of plutonium induces cancer and it lasts for 500,000 years. Extraordinarily, claims are made that fast reactors will be so safe they will require no emergency sirens and emergency planning zones can be decreased from ten miles to 1,300 feet. 

There are two types of fast reactors: a simple plutonium fueled reactor and a “breeder” in which the plutonium reactor core is surrounded by a blanket of uranium 238 which captures neutrons and converts to plutonium.

Transporting nuclear wastes across Australia in the age of bushfires

The plutonium fuel, obtained from spent reactor fuel will be fissioned and converted to shorter-lived isotopes — caesium and strontium which last 600 years instead of 500,000. Called “transmutation”, the industry claims that this is an excellent way to get rid of plutonium waste. But this is fallacious because only ten per cent fissions, leaving 90 per cent of the plutonium for bomb-making etc.

Three small plutonium fast reactors will be grouped together to form a module and three of these modules will be buried underground. All nine reactors will then be connected to a fully automated central control room operated by only three operators. Potentially then, one operator could simultaneously face a catastrophic situation triggered by the loss of off-site power to one unit at full power, in another shut down for refuelling and in one in start-up mode. There are to be no emergency core cooling systems.

Fast reactors require a massive infrastructure including a reprocessing plant to dissolve radioactive waste fuel rods in nitric acid, chemically removing the plutonium and a fuel fabrication facility to create new fuel rods. A total of 10,160 kilos of plutonium is required to operate a fuel cycle at a fast reactor and just 2.5 kilos is fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Thus fast reactors and breeders will provide extraordinary long-term medical dangers and the perfect situation for nuclear weapons proliferation. Despite this, the industry is clearly trying to market them to many countries including, it seems, Australia.

You can follow Dr Caldicott on Twitter @DrHCaldicott. Click here for Dr Caldicott’s complete curriculum vitae.

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Great Tips for Buying Your First Home


Owning a home has long been considered the American dream. Having a place to call your own is a reason to celebrate. However, before you sign your name on the dotted line, you should make sure that you have done your homework. Since most mortgages are a 30-year commitment, you want to get the best deal possible.

The real estate market goes up and down. One minute it can be a buyer’s market with multiple homes to choose from. Consequently, things can change to a seller’s market on a dime. When you’re trying to purchase in a seller’s market, you need a knowledgeable realtor that knows the fine art of negotiations. It can make all the difference in the journey.

If you feel that you are at the stage in your life that you’re ready to dive into homeownership, then here are some tips to help you ensure you know what to expect and what to avoid.

1. Know Your Credit Score

Before you start shopping for a home, you need to know your credit score. You must know what you can get before you begin the difficult task of finding the perfect place. If you have a FICO score under 650, then you should raise the score to 680 or above to get a better rate. Even a few points on your interest rate can increase your payment significantly. Buying too soon can be a costly mistake.

You can get a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com once a year. For an extra fee, you can have them add your credit score from the three bureaus on there. Go through the report and make sure that everything is accurate. If you see anything that is in error, take the time to get it fixed before you start the process of buying a home. You need to keep your score at a prime rate to get the best offerings on a mortgage.

2. What Can Bad Credit Home Loans Cost You?

If your credit is not stellar, it doesn’t mean that you cannot buy a home. Many programs will put a person with a 580 FICO score into a home. While it allows you to make a purchase, the monthly mortgage is often on a variable rate. If you can raise your score within a specific time, then you can refinance and get out of the variable rate and into a fixed-rate mortgage.

Variable mortgages fluctuate based on current interest rates. If you cannot raise your credit score and refinance promptly, then it could cost you big time. The housing market crash of 2008 had a lot of people that fell into this horrible situation. They couldn’t pay their mortgages because the payment rose to an unaffordable rate.

Another thing to consider is that prime banks don’t work with people who have low credit. These loans are usually done by predatory lenders who put substantial interest rates and tons of other fees on loans. The result is you have a monthly mortgage payment that is way above what you should pay. Still, if it’s your only option for homeownership, then there are ways to work these programs and refinance into a better rate later.

3. Get Pre-Approved First

Since you have your credit report, it’s time to get a pre-approval. Did you know that many sellers won’t even allow people to look at their homes unless they are preapproved? It’s essential to take care of this step first because it helps to shorten the process for the buyer and seller when it comes to closing. That approval is a verification of what you can afford and what the bank is willing to back you on.

4. Do You Have a 20 Percent Down Payment?

The standard down payment requested by most lenders is 20 percent. There are a few exceptions to the rule, such as those who use FHA, which has different requirements. If you don’t have the full down payment, then you will need to pay PMI.

PMI or private mortgage insurance is a safeguard to protect the lender. If you should default on your loan, they at least have a percentage of the loan paid in full. PMI is an extra payment that goes with your monthly mortgage amount. It allows you to make your down payment slowly over a period. The PMI premium can be removed once you reach the 20 percent down payment. Still, it’s best to have a suitable down payment to avoid the higher monthly mortgage amounts.

5. Set a Realistic Budget

Numerous online calculators will tell you how much of a home you can afford with your budget. However, what these tools don’t consider are all the little extra things that aren’t considered part of your outgoing. For instance, if you need to pay $50 a month for your child’s band enrollment, $80 for sports, and $100 for a rideshare program, these are not considered expenses that mess with your debt-to-ratio.

Each family across this country has different spending habits. An online calculator can’t estimate accurately for everyone. These tools are just a general guide. Only you know what you can genuinely afford. Remember, your mortgage should be no more than 28 percent of your income.

Keep in mind; if you have vehicle payments that go above the 10-15 percent allotted, then it can mess with the percentage the bank will finance. Buy a home that you can genuinely afford, not one the bank says you qualify for as there is a big difference.

6. Hire A Good Realtor

Many people try to avoid going with a realtor because they feel they can handle the journey alone. However, when you live in a market where homes go into a contract as soon as they go on the market, having that inside advantage is helpful.

A great realtor often knows of houses that are going to come on the market before anyone else. They may be able to give you inside tips and tricks to help you find your dream home. They also work with a wide variety of lenders, so they know what it takes to get you financed.

When it comes to negotiations between buyers and sellers, they are the expert. They act as a mediator between the two parties. Sure, they want to get the home sold or help their buyer make a purchase, but they know how to appease the two by using their shrewd negotiation tactics.

A realtor can show you any home regardless if they are the listing agent. They work hard to help you find the best home for your budget.

7. Always Get the Inspection

Depending on the area and the dollar amount of the home, you may not be required to have an inspection. However, the investigation is a vital part of the process. The inspector is well trained in spotting potential problems. You don’t want to pay full price for a home that has termites or a roof that is sagging in spots. The inspection gives your realtor negotiating material.

Additionally, if there are things wrong with the home that are costly to repair and could change your mind, like a cracked foundation, then you have the right to get out of the contract.

Becoming a Homeowner

Few people don’t want to own a home. There’s something beautiful about putting down roots and being able to change the paint color without consulting a landlord. Still, you need to make sure you are well schooled in this process and don’t make any mistakes. Consequently, having a realtor walking alongside you is one way to ensure that the process is smooth.





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N Korea accuses S Korea of intrusion to find official’s body


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea accused South Korea of sending ships across the disputed sea boundary to find the body of a man recently killed by North Korean troops, warning Sunday the alleged intrusion could escalate tensions.

South Korea said earlier that North Korea sent a message including a rare apology by leader Kim Jong Un over the shooting death last week of a South Korean government official found on a floating object in North Korean waters. Officials in Seoul say the 47-year-old was likely attempting to defect to North Korea but little else is known about his motives.

“We urge the South side to immediately halt the intrusion across the military demarcation line in the West Sea that may lead to escalation of tensions,” the official Korean Central News Agency said. “It arouses our due vigilance as it may lead to another awful incident.”

It confirmed North Korea notified South Korea about its account of the incident on Friday. But it didn’t say whether the notification included Kim’s apology.

South Korea didn’t immediately respond. But it earlier said that coast guard ships searched waters near the boundary on Friday and Saturday in case the man’s body drifts back.

The poorly marked boundary is a source of animosities between the rival Koreas. They’ve fought at least three bloody naval skirmishes since 1999 and attacks blamed on North Korea killed 50 South Koreans there in 2010.

According to Friday’s North Korean message publicized by Seoul, North Korean troops shot the man because he refused to answer questions and attempted to flee. It also said the troops burned his floating object in line with strict anti-coronavirus rules, after failing to find his body.

South Korea said Saturday it would request North Korea to launch an additional investigation.

Kim’s apology was seen as an attempt to soothe anti-North sentiment in South Korea that could make it him difficult for him to win concessions in any negotiations. Kim is currently struggling to overcome worsening economic woes caused by U.S.-led sanctions over his nuclear program and the pandemic that forced his country to close its border with China, its biggest trading partner.

While Kim’s apology could help reduce the risk of escalation of tensions between the rivals, conservatives in South Korea have launched a political offensive on liberal President Moon Jae-in for failing to prevent the man’s death.



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Investor buzz around cannabis stocks with new treatments


Last week ASX-listed Zelira Therapeutics, formerly Zelda Therapeutics, scored a new substantial shareholder when billionaire investor Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group upped its stake from 2 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

Earlier this month Zelira confirmed its cannabinoid insomnia medicine Zenivol had been made available in Australia under the nation’s special access scheme for cannabis products.

Thorney bumped its stake after a private placement of 37 million shares at 5.4c each.

“The strategic focus on intellectual property protection, together with its capital light business model we believe positions the company strongly as it commences revenue generation,” Mr Waislitz said.

Meanwhile, former Ellerston Capital chief executive Glenn Poswell has seen opportunity in fellow pot play Incannex, which is aiming for FDA approvals for its cannabis based products.

Incannex is progressing trials for its major research programs and is hopeful of soon being able to show one of its flagship products is effective in protecting the brain against secondary injuries in the days and weeks after a traumatic brain injury or concussion.

The ASX-listed company launched an animal study for this concussion research earlier this year and is hoping to launch in-person trials when COVID-19 restrictions ease.

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Mr Poswell has an investment in Incannex through his personal investment vehicle and said the company’s plan for regulatory approvals was unique.

“There is no other company doing what they are doing…I like the way they have gone about everything – it has been diligent and incredibly protected,” he said.

Incannex chief medical officer Dr Sud Agarwal said the company was pushing ahead “full blast” with research looking at specific treatment applications.

Aside from concussion treatment, it is looking at applying its cannabinoid products to treat acute respiratory distress and sleep apnoea. Last week the company got approval to launch a sleep trial in partnership with Melbourne’s Alfred hospital.

“They’re all

for specific indications, which is quite unusual in the cannabis world. They’re all unmet needs, where there is zero pharmacotherapy for them,” said Incannex chief medical officer Dr Sud Agarwal.

Dr Agarwal said the shift to reclassify CBD products to over-the-counter would have implications for how Australians — and their doctors — think about the sector.

“It’s a major move…and it’s one showing cannabis products are safe. It will socially normalise cannabis prescribing.

“It will be the first time that the generally healthy and well public will start accessing CBD for minor complaints.”

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Victoria records 16 new coronavirus cases and two deaths as Melbourne 14-day average falls


Victoria has recorded 16 new coronavirus cases and two further deaths overnight, as Melburnians prepare for the next step of restrictions being eased in the city.

Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day daily case average dropped again overnight, from 23.6 yesterday to 22.1 today.

Regional Victoria’s rolling average is now 0.6, a slight drop from 0.8 yesterday.

Melbourne is set to progress to step two of the ‘roadmap’ out of restrictions from tomorrow, with announcements about what rules will change expected later today.

Premier Daniel Andrews’ coronavirus press conference has been scheduled for 12:30pm AEST.

The criteria for Melbourne’s second step was recording a 14-day average between 30 and 50 before September 28.

From tomorrow, people from a maximum of two households will be allowed to gather in groups of up to five, and outdoor exercise with a personal trainer will be permitted.

Some industries will be allowed to move from “heavily restricted” to “restricted” environments, which will allow an estimated 101,000 people to return to their workplaces.

Earlier in the week the Premier indicated he was considering making more announcements than initially planned, however experts have said they are are not expecting dramatic changes from the existing roadmap.

On Friday, Mr Andrews flagged that the third step of Melbourne’s roadmap of restrictions, which is currently scheduled for October 26, might be able to happen sooner.

“The positive thing out of these last few weeks since we announced the roadmap is we are ahead of schedule,” he said on Friday.

Yesterday the Premier said there was a “a lot of work going on” to finalise today’s announcements.

“We are going to have not only a situation where we can make announcements [on Sunday] — then, with the trajectory that we are on, through the hard work of Victorians, we will be able to take further steps next month,” he said.

But Mr Andrews said Melbourne “won’t be throwing the doors open” yet.

“The place is not opened up tomorrow. I will be clear about that,” he said.

“People can be optimistic and positive about the fact the numbers are coming down.”

More than 150 coronavirus fines issued overnight

A man who said he was not carrying a mask “because it was too heavy”, and a woman who was reported to police for visiting western Victorian city Horsham every two weeks, are among those who were fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions overnight.

Victoria Police issued 152 fines overnight, including 55 for breaching Melbourne’s curfew and 17 for failing to wear a face covering.

More to come.



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