Trains will not cross Sydney Harbour Bridge for first 10 days of January

Trains will not be able to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first 10 days of next year, with the structure’s 88-year-old rail corridor to be completely replaced.

The timber deck will be traded for a concrete structure; the replacement of which will see no trains run across the bridge for the first 10 days of January.

The acting chief executive of Sydney Trains, Suzanne Holden, said the mammoth project had been five years in the making.

“This is a very innovative approach to dealing with our iconic bridge and making sure that we extend the life of the railway for 120 years,” she said.

“It is a huge piece of work. We will be working around the clock to make sure that we really maximise the use of the 10 days.

“We really have choreographed this down to the last minute.”

In a tip of the hat to the bridge’s history, the new concrete sections are being put together at the Chullora Railway Workshops — the same facility used to assemble components of the bridge in the 1930s.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said a downturn in bridge use over the New Year period provided an ideal window of opportunity for the work to be completed.

“Typically in the first two weeks of January patronage is down by 40 per cent, and of course with COVID the numbers are down even further,” he said.

“We are going to be running bus services from North Sydney through to various points across the city and replace the trains which would otherwise cross the bridge.

“This is also against another backdrop where we are providing across the entire summer period an additional 1,200 services across the week.”

He said the Harbour Bridge rail shutdown would not impact revellers returning home from New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Obviously we’re going to provide the necessary transport services based on the restrictions that will be in place in terms of New Year’s Eve, recognising that there is going to be a requirement for people if they are coming to the city to be booked into functions and what have you.

“We’re working closely with NSW Health in the design of that response.”

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Nanoparticles could cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs to the brain — ScienceDaily

Researchers from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) have shown that nanoparticles could be used to deliver drugs to the brain to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

The blood-brain barrier is the main obstacle in treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson. According to a recent study conducted by Jean-Michel Rabanel, a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Professor Charles Ramassamy, nanoparticles with specific properties could cross this barrier and be captured by neuronal cells. Researchers are confident that these results will open important prospects for releasing drugs directly to the brain. This breakthrough finding would enable improved treatment for neurodegenerative diseases affecting more than 565,000 Canadians.

“The blood-brain barrier filters out harmful substances to prevent them from freely reaching the brain. But this same barrier also blocks the passage of drugs,” explains the pharmacologist Charles Ramassamy. Typically, high doses are required to get a small amount of the drug into the brain. What remains in the bloodstream has significant side effects. Often, this discomfort leads the patient to stop the treatment. The use of nanoparticles, which encapsulate the drugs, would result in fewer collateral side effects while increasing brain efficiency.

Efficient on an animal model

To prove the effectiveness of this method, the research team first tested it on cultured cells, then on zebrafish. “This species offers several advantages. Its blood-brain barrier is similar to that of humans and its transparent skin makes it possible to see nanoparticles’ distribution almost in real time,” says Professor Ramassamy, Chairholder of the Louise and André Charron Research Chair on Alzheimer’s disease, from the Fondation Armand-Frappier.

Using in vivo tests, researchers were able to observe the crossing of the blood-brain barrier. They also confirmed the absence of toxicity in the library of selected nanoparticles. “We made the particles with polylactic acid (PLA), a biocompatible material that is easily eliminated by the body. A layer of polyethylene glycol (PEG) covers these nanoparticles and makes them invisible to the immune system, so they can longer circulate in the bloodstream,” he explains. After several years of research on effective and safe nanoparticles, the research team will continue laboratory testing, targeting the delivery of active ingredients to other animal models with ultimate clinical applications.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Institut national de la recherche scientifique – INRS. Original written by Audrey-Maude Vezina. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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UPDATE – The Royal Canadian Legion announces 2020-2021 National Silver Cross Mother

OTTAWA, Nov. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Royal Canadian Legion is proud to present this year’s National Silver Cross Mother, Mrs. Deborah Sullivan of Summerville, New Brunswick. She will represent Silver Cross Mothers across Canada until the end of October, 2021.

“The role and symbolism of the National Silver Cross Mother is important to the Legion and to other military families in our country,” says Thomas D. Irvine, CD, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion. “As a Veteran herself, Mrs. Sullivan and her family have served our country with strength, and sacrifice. We salute them during this Remembrance period, and beyond.”

Mrs. Sullivan’s son LT(N) Christopher Edward Saunders was a Naval Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, an enthusiastic submariner trained as a Combat Systems Engineer. Born on April 7, 1972 in Saint John, NB, Chris was killed during a tragic fire while serving aboard HMCS Chicoutimi. The submarine was underway from Scotland to Canada when the fire broke out on October 6, 2004.

Read more about Mrs. Sullivan and her son Chris at

As the National Silver Cross Mother, Mrs. Sullivan will place a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on November 11, 2020. She will do so on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a son or daughter in action, or over the course of normal duty. From November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021, Mrs. Sullivan will also perform a range of duties honouring Canada’s Fallen.

The Memorial Cross – more commonly referred to as the Silver Cross – introduced on December 1, 1919, is a symbol of personal loss and sacrifice on behalf of widows and mothers who lose a child on active duty, or whose death is later attributed to such duty.

The Royal Canadian Legion’s Provincial Commands and individual Canadians submit nominations for the National Silver Cross Mother each year. The final recipient is chosen by a Dominion Command selection Committee.

AboutTheRoyal Canadian Legion

Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. With close to 260,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.

Public Relations / Media Inquiries: 343-540-7604

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:

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Brandon Smith, Melbourne Storm celebrations, Matthew Johns, radio cross, Cameron Smith retirement prank

After one of the craziest NRL seasons in memory, there’s no doubt the Melbourne Storm deserve to go big in their 2020 NRL premiership celebrations.

The side ended Penrith’s 17-game winning streak with a brilliant 26-20 victory in Sunday night Grand Final to take out the trophy, after a season spent away from home on the Sunshine Coast.

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So five months worth of pent up partying have turned into an epic bender for the champion side with larrikin Brandon Smith continuing his fine form.

At full-time in the Grand Final, Smith delivered one of the great post Grand Final interviews with Channel 9’s Brad Fittler.

“It was pretty good, I mean I played pretty s**t tonight but I got the ring,” Smith said.

“It’s for sale, I need to pay for all the beers I’m about to drink.

“I can’t wait to take this home to my mum and dad, they sacrificed to put me in this position I’m in so this is definitely for them.

“I can’t wait to get on the piss with all the boys. I’ll take anyone as long as they’ll drink a lot.

“We’ll get Christian Welch too drunk to play Origin … (Cameron Munster) will probably do something stupid.”

He went on to add that he wanted to share some drinks with his captain and coach, adding “Craig (coach Bellamy), he does nothing pretty much all year. Smithy does all the coaching, (Bellamy) is getting paid lots of money to do piss all.”

And he’s a man of his word, getting on the drinks in celebration with Storm teammate and the son of Matthew Johns, Cooper, joining his dad’s new SEN radio show Morning Glory with Matty Johns.

“I told him three days ago, Friday 11 o’clock book it in, and basically I’ve got a text at 6 o’clock in the morning and I can’t uncrack what the text means, I can’t decipher it,” Cooper said. “He hasn’t rocked up at our Airbnb so I don’t know where he is,” Cooper revealed.

“It’s been a big week, we were in the sheds until the early hours of the morning, we went back to our resort and kicked on there for a few days.

“Then me and Brandon (Smith) drove down on Wednesday afternoon to Byron, and then the whole team jumped on board, there’s 15 of us here, it’s a good time.

“I’m going to easily give (best on ground) to Brandon Smith, Cameron Munster was very good too.

“The only one who was pretty reluctant to go to Origin camp was Cameron Munster, I can confirm he called Mal Meninga for an extra 48 hours in Byron.”

But better late than never, Smith joined the appearance.

“Never been better,” Smith laughed when James Hooper asked what sort of shape he was in.

After some banter, the audio feed went quiet before Johns revealed what happened.

“We had to dump Brandon there for a second,” Matty explained.

“He said something starts with an f ends with a k.”

Hooper said: “Rhymes with Donald Duck”.

It definitely sounds like the Storm are enjoying the spoils of victory.

Smith wasn’t the only one to have some fun with Johns.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith made a cameo after a bunch of squad members started calling Matt in the middle of the night.

The last three or four nights I’ve got about 16 FaceTime calls from Cooper, Munster, all those guys,” he said.

“It got to the point after a long period of time I just had the light off. They’d go ‘turn the light on, turn the light on’, which I wouldn’t. They knew my sweet spot.

“Out of the blue comes Cameron Smith and he goes: ‘Matty, turn the light on, I’ve got a big announcement to make’.

“Of course, he didn’t.”

In the lead up to the Grand Final, he even took a shot at his former club North Queensland, after they let both he and Viliame Kikau go.

Expect to see and hear more of the “The Block of Cheese” in the future.

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Philippines’ Duterte promises payment as Red Cross stops COVID-19 tests

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday his government will pay the 931 million pesos ($19.25 million) it owes the Red Cross after the humanitarian agency stopped conducting COVID-19 tests.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which has conducted 1.1 million swab tests and accounts for quarter of the country’s output, on Friday stopped providing testing services until it gets paid, prompting the country’s limited number of laboratories to fill the gap.

“The president has given his commitment that the government will pay its obligation to the PRC,” Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said in a statement. The government is calling on the PRC to resume its testing services, Roque added.

Returning overseas Filipino workers, frontline healthcare workers and individuals in large swabbing facilities benefit from free COVID-19 swab tests by the PRC. Testing cost is charged to Philippine Health Insurance Corp (Philhealth), the state health insurer.

But PRC said Philhealth had 931 million pesos in overdue obligations as of Oct. 13, hampering its ability to replenish test kits and pay for laboratory workers.

Returning Filipino workers need to test negative from COVID-19 before being allowed to leave quarantine hotels. The presidential office asked for patience and understanding of stranded overseas Filipino workers as it resolves the issue.

PRC said it would still conduct swab tests for paying clients.

With 365,799 confirmed infections and 6,915 deaths, the Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia.

($1 = 48.36 Philippine pesos)

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Cross code star Charlotte Caslick has two fractures in her back and is out for the rest of the season

The Sydney Roosters’ NRLW premiership aspirations have copped a major blow with star signing Charlotte Caslick ruled out for the season with a fractured spine.

The Roosters confirmed the terrible news on Wednesday that cross-code star Caslick has sustained two small fractures in her lumbar spine.

The gold medal winning Olympic Sevens Rugby player copped an accidental knee in the back during the Roosters’ 22-12 win over the Warriors last weekend.

The injury setback is a devastating way for Caslick to end her maiden NRLW season.

She backed up the hype moving across from rugby union to excel in her two games for the Roosters.

Caslick didn’t score a try, but she averaged 141 running metres while she proved that she belonged on the rugby league stage with her speed, vision, and toughness.

She was particularly impressive on debut playing at five-eighth in a big win over St George Illawarra.

Caslick thoroughly enjoyed her transition from union to league when asked after his maiden NRLW appearance against the Dragons.

“Obviously at the start it was really intense and pretty fast, but I felt like there was a bit more space towards the back end of the first half so, yeah I had fun,” Caslick said.

“[Rugby 7’s and League] are definitely completely different sports. I think just the patience and kind of…going through your systems in rugby league is probably different to Sevens where we kind of just take our opportunity every single time we get it, so that’s something that I’m definitely learning.”

Caslick’s injury continues a difficult week for injuries in the NRLW.

St George Illawarra centre Isabelle Kelly was ruled out for the season with an ankle syndesmosis injury after an ugly tackle from Broncos forward Amber Hall.

Kelly will be joined on the sidelines by Dragons captain Kezie Apps, who suffered an MCL injury.

Caslick has commenced a recovery program and will remain with the Roosters NRLW squad in a support role as the Tricolours take on Brisbane on Saturday before preparing for next Sunday’s grand final also against the Broncos.

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BREAKING: Southern Cross University announces job cuts

SOUTHERN Cross University has announced they will cut as many as 63 full-time positions in an effort to balance the books.

Like all universities, SCU has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and today Vice Chancellor Tyrone Carlin addressed staff regarding major reforms.

In a statement this afternoon, the university referred to the reforms as their ‘road map to a stronger financial footing’, necessary to establish a foundation for long term success.

“Unfortunately this also involves some job losses as the University adjusts to a series of external shocks,” Professor Carlin said.

“This is, in part, a response to the really challenging and significant impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, including the loss of international students,” Professor Carlin said.

It is unknown how this will effect the Coffs Harbour campus, which has only just opened $3.2 million training hub for health students.

The reforms will reduce six academic schools to four academic faculties – Health, science and Engineering, Education and Business, Law and Arts.

SCU says the changes will bring together expertise, reduce duplication and ensure the very best teachers interact with as many students as possible.

“The proposed changes are also designed to take account of an additional set of forces that will be brought to bear on the University as a result of recently legislated changes to Commonwealth funding arrangements for education and research.”

Southern Cross staff are now invited to provide feedback on the proposals as they move through the consultation process over the coming months.

The proposed reforms would ultimately result in the reduction of about 63 full-time equivalent staff. The University employs about 1700 people.

“There is no easy option for Southern Cross and we have done all we can to minimise job losses. Wherever appropriate staff will be offered redeployment opportunities but there will be some roles that are no longer required,” Professor Carlin said.

“Importantly, our commitment to our three main campuses at Lismore, Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast remains steadfast.

“This has been a challenging year for almost everyone in Australia but these reforms will make Southern Cross University stronger and more viable as we step into an ever more competitive higher education landscape.”

Southern Cross announced earlier this year that the COVID-induced crisis had created a budget shortfall in 2020-21.

Initially forecast at $38 million, that figure has been revised down to $33m and non-salary savings of almost $10 million have been made so far this year.

A proposal in July for salary savings that would have saved the University another $5.6 million was voted against by staff.

Southern Cross is teaching all classes online at present, with most staff working from home and only limited access to campuses as the COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact

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Inside the LA-inspired mansion of Manpower founder Billy Cross

An aerial view of 297-299 Monaco St, Broadbeach Waters (far right).

FOR a fun-loving social couple with two young boys, home for Billy and Jackie Cross has been as much a space for family as for entertaining.

Having purchased their Broadbeach Waters plot with a knockdown house in 2009, the couple worked with Bayden Goddard Design Architects to bring their vision to life.

The house is well designed for entertaining, relaxation and play.

Their sprawling LA-inspired mansion, at 297-299 Monaco Street, has a relaxed elegance about it, with multiple areas for rest, exercise and play.

“It’s a big house with a lovely open plan, but the spaces still feel intimate,” said Mr Cross, who credits wife Jackie for the styling.

“Having two young boys, it’s been an amazing place for them to grow up in.”

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The LA-inspired design gives off a relaxed sense of elegance.

There are multiple areas for relaxation and low-key socialising.

Full height stacker doors allow the indoor living areas to flow easily onto alfresco entertainment spaces, where the aspect takes in a pool, a tennis court and main river.

“We’re on nearly 2600 sqm of land with a park across the road and the main river at the back,” said Mr Cross.

“Laying out there watching the boats and jet skis go by on main river is a really relaxing place to be and a great space for entertaining.”

A tennis court, pool, gymnasium and river frontage create opportunities for recreation.

An outdoor kitchen is equipped with teppanyaki facilities and three wine fridges, in addition to the temperature controlled 2000-bottle cellar inside.

Entertaining is second nature for the vivacious entrepreneur, who shot to fame in the 1980s as the founding member of hit male stage show Manpower.

The outdoor areas offer views of the river and city skyline.

Mr Cross went on to run a string of nightclubs in Surfers Paradise and Las Vegas, where his Thunder from Down Under show has been a roaring success.

Waking up to a gym, steam room and massage room have made home workouts a breeze, while sons Nick, now 17 and Josh, 21 made the most of the tennis-come-basketball court over the years.

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The man cave has been a favourite feature for Mr Cross.

But the hands-down favourite feature goes to the man cave, which Mr Cross describes as “one of the best on the Gold Coast”.

It’s kitted out with a bar, wine fridges, classic pub pool table and seven televisions for the ultimate sporting feast.

“You can watch the races, footy and AFL at the same time,” Mr Cross said.

“It has been a great space to have the boys over for punting sessions on a Saturday or late night parties.”

Wide glass windows allow for a connection with the outdoors.

An annual Australia Day gathering has been a longstanding event on the Cross social calendar, but with their sons now grown up, life is moving into a new phase.

“We’ve bought the penthouse in White at Main Beach, so we’ll be starting a new chapter close to the restaurants and cafes there,” Mr Cross said.

“I’m excited and emotional. I love the aspect of walking to the shops to grab coffee and bagels from the bakery in the mornings, and late night Thai or Italian.

“But at the same time we’ve spent 12 years in this house so we will miss it.”

Michael Kollosche is taking expressions of interest until October 7.

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