Infrastructure boss holds senior racing club board position, as it embarks on major development | The Canberra Times


news, act-politics, Major Projects Canberra, Canberra Racing Club, thoroughbred park, Gungahlin light rail, Duncan Edghill

The head of the ACT’s infrastructure department holds a senior committee position at Canberra Racing Club, which is embarking on a major residential and commercial development at Thoroughbred Park. Major Projects Canberra and the racing club say Duncan Edghill has made all of the necessary conflicts of interest disclosures and is not involved in any dealings between the government agency and private organisation. But the presence of Mr Edghill, who is charged with overseeing light rail’s expansion and the Canberra hospital upgrade, on the racing club’s board does raise questions, particularly given the club’s planned transformation of its Flemington Road racecourse precinct. The Canberra Times last month reported the club’s masterplan flagged up to 3200 homes on the site, as well as commercial space and possibly a hotel and aged-care complex. The racecourse would be retained. The 12-to-15-year project could inject up to $1 billion into the Canberra economy and support more than 2000 jobs, according to an internal government brief. The club has been keen to leverage its proximity to the Gungahlin light rail line to spur a redevelopment of Thoroughbred Park, which chief executive Andrew Clark said was key to the organisation and sport’s long-term future. Mr Edghill was one of the key people in charge of delivering the first stage of light rail in his previous role as Transport Canberra boss. The racing club’s records show Mr Edghill was first appointed to the committee on June 30, 2019 – about two months after light rail took its first passengers. He was elected treasurer of the racing club last year. Mr Edghill moved from Transport Canberra to head up the newly created major projects agency in July 2019, initially on an interim basis and then full-time. As chief projects officer, he is charge of the procurement and delivery of the ACT government’s infrastructure program, an agenda headlined by light rail’s second stage to Woden and the $500 million Canberra Hospital expansion. The infrastructure agency would not be responsible for assessing or approving the racing club’s masterplan or any development applications related to the Thoroughbred Park precinct revamp. Those decisions would fall to the ACT’s independent planning and land authority. The racing club plans to start community consultation on the proposal in February. It hopes to gain government approval within three years. In statements to The Canberra Times, Major Projects Canberra and Canberra Racing Club indicated Mr Edghill’s involvement with the two organisations was above board. A racing club spokeswoman said Mr Edghill, who fills the treasurer’s position on a volunteer basis, had made all of the necessary conflicts of interests to both parties and abided by confidentiality obligations. Mr Edghill hadn’t provided the club with any information which wasn’t already publicly available, the spokeswoman said. She said Mr Edghill did not represent the club in talks with the ACT government and had on a number of occasions stepped out of board meetings when discussions turned to the relationship between the two. However, she confirmed he had been involved in committee discussions about the proposed Thoroughbred Park redevelopment when there was “no conflict”, such as on matters related to club members and trainers. “Mr Edghill’s role within the ACT government does not involve any matters relating to the Canberra Racing Club, and Mr Edghill always acts with professionalism and integrity in disclosing any potential conflicts and adhering to his confidentiality obligation,” she said. “The Canberra Racing Club does not have access to information from Mr Edghill which is not already in the public domain, but values the leadership, project management and financial experience Mr Edghill brings to the committee – and by extension to the Canberra community – on a voluntary basis from his years in the private and public sectors.” A Major Projects Canberra spokeswoman confirmed Mr Edghill had made a conflict of interest disclosure to the head of the ACT public service, and did not represent the racing club in any meetings or correspondence with territory officials. ANU emeritus professor John Wanna, who is an expert in public administration, said it was reasonable, and not uncommon, for senior public servants to sit on boards of non-government organisations. What was important was how they managed potential conflicts of interest, he said. “On all of these kinds of matters there could be perceptions of too much insider knowledge,” he said. “But from my experience, they often take great steps to ensure that everything is above board.” A spokesman for Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Mr Edghill had met the requirements on senior public servants to disclose private interests.

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Boeing 737 plane with 62 people on board feared to have crashed into the ocean off Indonesia


An Indonesian budget airline plane with 62 people on board is suspected to have crashed into the sea shortly after the Boeing passenger jet took off from Jakarta airport on Saturday, authorities said. 

Flight tracking data showed the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 plunged into a steep dive about four minutes after it left Soekarno-Hatta international airport.

Sixty-two passengers and crew were on board, including 10 children, the nation’s transport minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, told reporters.

The suspected crash site is near tourist islands just off the coast of Indonesia’s sprawling capital.

This flight path of Indonesian Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 before it dropped off radar, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.

AP/Flightradar24.com

Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 was bound for Pontianak on Indonesia’s section of Borneo island, about 90 minutes flying time over the Java Sea.

The plane took off on Saturday afternoon and a search and rescue operation began with no official results available on Saturday night.

“We deployed our team, boats and sea riders to the location suspected to be where it went down after losing contact,” Bambang Suryo Aji, a senior official at the search-and-rescue agency, told reporters after nightfall.

Sudden plunge

Data from FlightRadar24 said the plane reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 metres) before dropping suddenly to 250 feet. It then lost contact with air traffic control.

“Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta,” the tracking agency said on its official Twitter account.

Broadcaster Kompas TV quoted local fishermen as saying they had found debris near islands just off the coast of the capital Jakarta, but it could not be immediately confirmed as having belonged to the missing jet.

Authorities and the airline gave no immediate indication as to why the plane suddenly went down.

But transport minister Mr Sumadi said the jet appeared to deviate from its intended course just before it disappeared from radar.

Relatives of passengers arrive at a crisis centre at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang

Relatives of passengers arrive at a crisis centre at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement offering his “sincere condolences” over the incident.

The budget airline, which has about 19 Boeing jets that fly to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, said only that it was investigating the loss of contact.

In October 2018, 189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX jet slammed into the Java Sea about 12 minutes after take-off from Jakarta on a routine one-hour flight.

That crash – and a subsequent fatal flight in Ethiopia – saw Boeing hit with $2.5 billion USD in fines over claims it defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX model, which was grounded worldwide following the two deadly crashes. 

The Boeing jet thought to have crashed Saturday is not a MAX model and was 26 years old, according to authorities.

 

“We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation,” the US-based planemaker said in a statement.

“We are working to gather more information.”

Indonesia’s aviation sector has long suffered from a reputation for poor safety, and its airlines were once banned from entering US and European airspace.

In 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed with the loss of 162 lives.

Domestic investigators’ final report on the AirAsia crash showed a chronically faulty component in a rudder control system, poor maintenance and the pilots’ inadequate response were major factors in what was supposed to be a routine flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

A year later, in 2015, more than 140 people, including people on the ground, were killed when a military plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Medan on Sumatra island.

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Australia v India cricket Third Test 2021: India on board with being bound to team hotel


“We’ve had nothing formal from the [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to suggest anything other than they’re supportive,” said Hockley, CA’s interim CEO.

“We speak to our counterparts at the BCCI daily. Both our squad and, working with the BCCI, everyone is very clear on the expectations of what’s involved.

The Indians arrive at their hotel on Monday.Credit:Louie Douvis

“The players are very clear that in Sydney and Brisbane the protocols are that they will be within our exclusive hotel and then at the grounds for training and playing the matches. Both sets of team management and the players will be working to ensure that those protocols are observed appropriately.”

The teams have only short stays in Sydney and Brisbane – they have only two days in NSW before the third Test and three days between the matches – but in reality may spend more time in their dressing-rooms at the SCG over the coming week than anywhere because of rain.

Hockley was confident India would not refuse to play the Gabba Test after the Queensland government said players could mingle in communal areas inside the team hotel rather than being locked in their rooms when not playing or training. Players will have to adhere to the same rules in Sydney, unable to leave the hotel except to travel to the ground but are allowed to mix with teammates inside their accommodation, which has been booked out completely by CA.

The Indian and Australian camps said earlier on Monday that both groups of players and staff had returned negative results for COVID-19 after being tested following a suspected breach of the bubble by five visiting players when they ate inside at a Melbourne restaurant last Friday.

David Warner walks into the team hotel with his family.

David Warner walks into the team hotel with his family.Credit:Louie Douvis

The BCCI was yet to announce any sanctions against the players – vice-captain Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw – but 24 hours after the emergence of a trip to a Sydney baby shop by Virat Kohli in contravention of the rules last month another potential minor breach of the restrictions from earlier in the tour raised its head on Monday.

An Instagram post from late November by Surry Hills restaurant Masala Theory showed Gill, Pant and Saini posing for a photograph with its owner, Yashpal Erda, inside the premises. Erda said the players had been seated outside while they ate, in accordance with the bubble rules. But according to the protocols they should have been wearing masks when they were inside.

The trio dined at the restaurant just after coming out of two weeks’ hard quarantine and at a stage when there had been no locally acquired COVID-19 case in NSW for 23 days.

CA has, however, been intent throughout on maintaining the integrity of its bubble and its sliding scale of restrictions, fearing that a player or a staff member could be deemed a close contact in the event of a sudden outbreak and the touring parties’ ability to cross interstate borders might be affected.

Hockley said officials and health experts overseeing the guidelines had throughout the summer “made sure the protocols were appropriate for the situation” in order to give players a level of normalcy, enabling them to dine and go for a walk outside, order a coffee and pick up shopping for most of the time.

According to Australia’s most capped Test player in the current side, Nathan Lyon, it has been a small price to pay.

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“I know there are a few people from both squads that have been in a bubble for close to six months now,” said Lyon, who is in sight of taking his 400th Test wicket in Sydney in what will be his 99th Test.

“But in my eyes, it’s a very small sacrifice for us to get out there and play the game we love and put a lot of smiles on a lot of people’s faces around the world.

“We just have to suck it up and get on with it and get out there and play cricket for our respective countries and make sure we are playing a really competitive brand of cricket.”

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8 best 2-player board games for 2021


Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, your typical game night is probably looking a lot smaller these days. But fewer people doesn’t mean less fun. In fact, many board games are designed with only two players in mind — they’re best, or even only playable, with two players. And they’re a diverse set of games, too, including elements of strategy, cooperation, puzzling and much more.

So, turn off the TV and check out our picks for the best two-player board games. You’re sure to find a new favorite game among these options. As you duel your opponent and become immersed in these worlds, you’ll wonder how you ever passed time without them. 

Read more: Best cooperative board game

Renegade Games

The Fox in the Forest is a simple trick-taking game like Rook (or Tichu, from above), with a few special cards mixed into the traditional format — but unlike almost any other trick-taking game, it’s built for two players.

What makes The Fox in the Forest a great game is the unique card powers and the scoring system. Rather than trying to take all the tricks to win the game, you’re trying to take certain numbers of tricks for certain point values — and if you narrowly miss those ranges, you often miss out on a big bonus.

In many ways, The Fox in the Forest is a fairly traditional, simple game. But it’s well-balanced and the perfect length to pick up and play for 20 or 30 minutes.

GMT Games

Twilight Struggle balances the strategic complexity of a “big” game with the simple mechanics of a traditional conquest game like Risk. One player takes the role of the United States, and the other person plays as the USSR as you struggle for presence, domination or complete control of various battleground regions around the world. Both sides race to put a man on the moon, degrade the DEFCON status through military operations, while carefully avoiding the devastation of nuclear war (an instant loss) and spread their influence across the globe in a tug of war for global power.

Twilight Struggle won’t be for everyone — this strategy board game is a time investment and your brain may feel like mush after playing it the first time. But few games on this list feel as satisfying to play, win or lose.

David Priest/CNET

Tile-placement games are a mainstay for many board game enthusiasts, in part because of the fun of building a unique board each time you play. Many people have played Carcassonne, one of the most popular entries of the genre, but it’s actually not the best example of the game — and certainly not the best for two players. For me, it’s a toss-up between one of the best board games around in all categories, The Castles of Burgundy, and a solid game with killer two-player tile-laying action, Kingdomino. In both games, players take tiles from a central space and add the tiles to their personal princedom or kingdom board (depending on the game). Both games perfectly balance the competition for tiles with the personal satisfaction of building your personal province without direct interference. The two games seem similar but feel dramatically different. For the shorter, simpler game, go with Kingdomino. For playing a deeper, more complex game, opt for The Castles of Burgundy. Either way, you won’t be sorry.

Lookout Games

If you’re in need of a simple puzzle game that’s easy to learn and soothes your anxieties, look no further than Patchwork, a game in which you “sew” your own quilt and race your competitor to collect buttons. The game is fast paced, the racing and patch-buying elements satisfy competitive spirits, and the Tetris-like quilt-sewing mechanism is as gratifying as finishing a puzzle.

Repos Production

If you want a little more bite in your competition, try playing 7 Wonders: Duel, a devious little card-drafting game. Both players are attempting to build civilizations across three eras, drafting various cards that help players pursue military or scientific dominance, grow their resources and build various Wonders. The competitive game moves more quickly than bigger strategy games like Twilight Struggle, and the card-drafting mechanism introduces surprising opportunities to block or trap your opponent. If you’re looking for a well-balanced game with many game play sessions, this is one of the best out there.

David Priest/CNET

Deception games are popular for parties, but tough to find for small crowds. Luckily, Mr. Jack is here to save you! In this fun game, one player takes on the role of Jack the Ripper, a murderer on the loose, while the other person takes on the role of the detective responsible for investigating his heinous crimes. Eight unique townspeople from the Sherlock Holmes universe — any of whom could be the murderer — wander the streets. Each round, players move townspeople toward or away from street lamps and use their special abilities. Both players can control any character on the board, with opposite goals in mind to win the game: helping Jack leave town or catching the murderer before they can get away. 

Czech Games

Codenames is a super-popular small party game, but there’s a two-player version of this great game that’s just as fun — if a little less satisfying, since you can’t rub your victories in as many of the vanquished players’ faces. The players set up a grid of cards, each with a single word on them. Then one player is tasked with using single-word clues to get the other player to guess a certain number of “correct” cards. It’s a game of word association, shared knowledge and trust. It’s fun, and as a bonus, it’s good for couples because it teaches you to communicate very efficiently with your partner.

Feel free to reach out on Twitter or in the comments with your own recommendations of fun board games for couples and roommates. I’ll be looking for new two-player games and cooperative board games to occupy my time in the coming weeks.

More games and entertainment recommendations

Originally published earlier and updated periodically.



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Think COVID’s killed the cruise ship? Now there’s one with a roller coaster on board


There’s also the issue of persistent border closures and the fact that virtually no ship that has left its port has made it back without a confirmed case of COVID-19 on board – or at least a good scare.

The most tricked-out ship

Regardless of when it makes its maiden voyage, and whether Carnival Corp can shake its reputation of being a superspreader early in the pandemic, this ship is sure to be the most tricked-out new cruise ship for 2021.

Five luxury cruise ships are seen being broken down for scrap metal at the Aliaga ship recycling port in Turkey in October, as the global coronavirus pandemic pushes the industry into crisis.Credit:Getty

Besides the top deck roller coaster, the $US950 million ($1.25 billion), 180,000-ton vessel, which is 1.5 times the size of Carnival’s next-largest ship, has two theatres, five waterslides, a zipline, and a 1972 Fiat parked strategically for Instagram-posing purposes in an indoor “piazza”.

It will also be the first cruise ship in North America to run on liquified natural gas, which reduces particular matter by more than 95 per cent and eliminates up to 20 per cent of carbon emissions compared to marine diesel fuel. That gives Mardi Gras bragging rights as the “greenest” megaship (eco-bona fides being relative in this segment) sailing from the US to the Caribbean and Mexico.

For typically egalitarian Carnival, which has always been everyman’s and everywoman’s cruise line, this ship is a step in a fancier new direction. Gone from all cabins are floppy plastic shower curtains, replaced with glass shower doors. And those who want to splurge may do so to the tune of $US7000 a week for two in new Excel Suites that come with their own outdoor plunge pool-style hot tubs-plus access to a private sundeck with plush loungers and cabanas.

It’ll also come and go from a new glass-walled, $155 million terminal at Port Canaveral, an hour east of Orlando, Florida, which represents the largest single construction project in the port’s 65-year history.

So far, the ship’s pandemic-proofing plans include a state-of-the-art medical centre, the largest in Carnival’s fleet. But guests looking for specifics on additional precautions will find that there’s not yet much concrete information available.

Instead, the company is focusing on bells and whistles.

‘Going turbo’

The rollercoaster known as “Bolt: the Ultimate Sea Coaster” will carry two passengers in motorcycle-like cars down an 800-foot track, with dips, twists, and hairpin turns around the ship’s giant funnel. The attraction can be customised for kids or experienced thrill-seekers: a throttle inside the car lets riders control the speed. Going “turbo” gets you up to 65km/h.

There’s good reason nobody has tried to build a rollercoaster on a cruise ship before this.

Cruise ship Queen Victoria anchored in the English Channel off the Dorset coast as the industry remains at a standstill.

Cruise ship Queen Victoria anchored in the English Channel off the Dorset coast as the industry remains at a standstill.Credit:Getty

“At New York, New York in Las Vegas, by the pool, you can hear the noise and vibration of the [Big Apple] roller coaster. We didn’t want that on a ship,” says Ben Clement, Carnival’s senior vice president in charge of shipbuilding who helped hatch the idea.

Then Clement came across Maurer Rides, a German company with unique self-propelled systems to make roller coasters practically inaudible. “Instead of working with chains and rigs, it uses an electrical motor on a track,” explains Clement.

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“It was much more silent than anything else we had seen, and had a lot of great acceleration-and it was safe and lightweight enough to put on top of the ship.”

Bolt was built, assembled, and tested on land in Germany, reassembled on the ship in Finland, and then tested during intense sea trials. Ten companies and consultants worked on safety, vibrations, backups, certifications, and other areas. Rolling, pitching, and corrosion caused by saline air all had to be examined.

“We did a lot of modification, customisation to make sure it would stand to the conditions of the ship,” Clement says. “As an engineer, it has been an incredible adventure, and we’re very proud of what we’ve done.”

COVID safety?

With up to 6500 guests on board, finding a way to spread out the crowds was always going to be a key concern. In the era of COVID-19, that logic takes on additional relevance. The design, drawn up five years ago, features six themed “zones.” It never even had to be rethought for social distancing.

The French Quarter has a live jazz club, a voodoo-themed bar serving colour-changing cocktails, and a resident “ghost” whom you’ll hear about only by asking the bartenders. Guests willing to pay a la carte prices at celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s first shipboard bistro will be able to dine on raw oysters, jambalaya, and cochon de lait (suckling pig) po’ boys.

At the top of the ship is the Ultimate Playground, which in addition to the roller coaster has five waterslides, a dangling ropes course, mini-golf, and a basketball court. Other zones are themed after summertime, Italy, the South Pacific, and Grand Central; the latter is less a tribute to New York than a truly grand and central space with an unusual atrium that features three decks of floor-to-ceiling glass that showcases the sea. By day it will serve coffee and cocktails; at night it will transform into a theatre with aerialists floating from triple-height ceilings.

Dispersed throughout the public areas are dozens of restaurants and bars, including an outdoor Street Eats area meant to evoke a food truck festival, with open-air kiosks serving bao, falafel, and kebabs. “We didn’t want food service with long lines,” Clement says of the decision to provide so many different establishments.

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One thing that will likely be missing, on account of the pandemic, is the classic self-serve buffet. The Carnival HUB app, which guests on all Carnival ships are encouraged to download before cruising, may be the encouraged way to order food and drink wherever reservations can’t be made.

As for the name? It’s a tribute move. The first ship in Carnival’s history was the 1240-passenger TSS Mardi Gras, which launched from Miami in 1972 and promptly ran into a sandbar, where it got stuck in view of the city.

A front-page newspaper headline called the event “Mardi Gras on the Rocks.” Carnival hopes the roller coaster will be the talking point this time.

Bloomberg

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Fortune Brainstorm: Why investors jumped on board the SPAC ‘gravy train’


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Indigenous leader appointed to Murray-Darling Basin board


The legislated position for permanent Indigenous representation on the board of the Murray Darling Basin Authority has finally been filled after more than a year’s delay.

Rene Woods has been appointed to the position by Water Minister Keith Pitt. Mr Woods was chairman of Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN), which is a confederation of Indigenous Nations or traditional owners in the southern part of the Basin. He stepped down from the role to serve on the MDBA board.

Rene Woods has been appointed to the board of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the first appointment since legislation was passed a year ago requiring indigenous representation. Credit:Annette Ruzicka

Mr Woods said Indigenous representation was a “step in the right direction” to improving the influence of First Nations on water management.

“It’s my hope that there will be more First Nations representation in coming years that will continue to take our voices to the Authority, improving their understanding of First Nations water issues,” Mr Woods said.



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New electronic board to be erected at Goulburn East Public School | Goulburn Post


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Goulburn East Public School are grateful to receive some funding from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust. Some $12,000 was given to the school so they could upgrade their school sign to an electronic sign. Goulburn East Public School principal Charmian Cribb said the project was a necessity and was expected to be completed by February next year. READ ALSO: Firies save vintage cars after Middle Arm house burns down “The school sign at the moment relies on plastic letters and manually putting them in one at a time,” Ms Cribb said. “The front of it has become crazed, so you can’t read it well at all. READ ALSO: Wild weather wreaks havoc across the region with more to come “The frame has become warped, so it isn’t safe for the kids to use either. “We are going to add an electronic sign to the frame, so that we can use photos to promote our school. READ ALSO: Taralga water plant purchase paves way to permanent solution “We can change the message without physically having to go outside.” The aim of the sign at the front of the school is to help them maintain contact with the community more regularly to keep them updated with what’s happening at the school. The school was one of 18 local organisations to receive funding. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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NSW public sector pay limit is hitting wages across the board


A cap on public servants’ wages growth imposed for almost a decade by the NSW government has stifled pay increases for a host of private sector workers across the state.

A study by analytics firm AlphaBeta reviewed wages growth in private sector occupations which have a “high connection” to the public sector – such as jobs in education and health – and compared that to wages in occupations with less connection to the public sector – such as construction and retail.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defends public sector wage caps but a new study finds they suppress wages across the economy Credit:AAP

It revealed that since a 2.5 per cent annual growth cap on public sector wages was introduced in 2011, private sector workers in occupations with a high connection to the public sector had wages growth one third slower than jobs with little connection to the public sector.

Private sector occupations affected by slower wage growth due to the public sector cap included private school teachers, vocational trainers, child carers, personal carers, administrators, information officers, security workers, nurses, midwives and other health workers.



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