Top Tassie chef launches inspired pop-up with ‘killer menu’



Prior to returning home to Tasmania at the beginning of the pandemic, chef Lilly Trewartha was spending her days manning the hibachi grill at trendy London yakitori restaurant, Peg. Having perfected the art of yakitori and inspired by multiple visits to Japan over the years, Lilly has launched her own pop-up concept, Izakaya TEMPorary, located within Templo Restaurant on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

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Footy star’s ex launches brutal take-down



The ex-fiancee of former Carlton footballer Jake Edwards has slammed the wannabe reality TV star claiming he cheated on her and broke her heart as they prepared for their wedding.

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Victorian government launches royal commission into Crown Casino after NSW’s ‘serious findings’


The Victorian government will establish a royal commission into Melbourne’s Crown Casino, it announced on Monday afternoon.

Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement the royal commission was in response to the “serious findings” of the casino’s NSW counterpart.

The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) inquiry said Crown was not fit to hold a gambling licence following a number of concerns around corporate governance.

The royal commission is due to report its findings by August 1 this year.

Former Federal Court judge Raymond Finkelstein, QC, has been appointed commissioner of the inquiry.

“Since receiving the ILGA report, the government has taken advice about the most appropriate way to proceed in Victoria,” Andrews said in a statement.

“Establishing a royal commission will ensure the most appropriate access to information regarding Crown Melbourne’s suitability to hold the casino licence given the commission’s powers to compel witnesses and documentation.

“This is about making sure that those who hold a casino licence in Victoria uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity – and that they’re accountable for their actions.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said the findings from the NSW inquiry were “incredibly concerning”.

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Qantas launches new flights to Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay


With holidays in our own backyard being more sought after than ever before, Qantas has added three new routes to its domestic flight schedule as the major airline seeks to set up new travel corridors while the international flight market remains frozen.

The airline hopes to capitalise on pent-up demand for domestic travel while overseas destinations remain off-limits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian airline announced on Friday that from next month, the three new routes will be between Melbourne and Coffs Harbour, Brisbane and Coffs Harbour, and Canberra to the ever popular Byron Bay.

The announcement comes just two months after the airline announced seven new routes in December including Melbourne to Wagga Wagga, Merimbula, Mount Gambier, Albury and Newcastle.

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According to QantasLink CEO John Gissing, the new routes will go on sale from $129 one way, and provide Australians with more options to explore more of Australia’s own backyard.

“With international borders closed, we want to make it even easier for travellers to holiday around Australia,” said Mr Gissing.

“The beautiful coastal hubs of Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour continue to be incredibly popular with travellers, so it makes sense to provide direct connections from other capital cities to make them even more accessible.

“These new flights are good news for local businesses, hospitality and tour operators, helping drive tourism and reviving the industry that has been hurting from COVID-19.”

Currently, Qantas operates up to 20 return flights per week between Sydney and Ballina Byron Bay and 28 weekly return flights between Sydney and Coffs Harbour.

The newly announced routes will have the following schedule in 2021:

– Melbourne to Coffs Harbour – flights will operate daily with Qantas’ Boeing 717 aircraft.

– Brisbane to Coffs Harbour – flights will operate four days per week with the turboprop Q400 aircraft.

– Canberra to Byron Bay – Qantas’ first ever direct service connecting the two destinations, offering two flights per week with the turboprop Q400 aircraft. Flights will initially operate in April and Qantas will look to continue the service from July in line with demand.

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Japan launches COVID-19 vaccinations as Olympics approach


Japan began administering COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, starting with hospital staff in the Tokyo metropolitan area before expanding the rollout nationwide as the clock ticks down to the Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

The country has been slow to launch vaccinations against the coronavirus, starting its program later than around 80 other countries as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga faces criticism of a sluggish pandemic response.

Kazuhiro Araki (L), head of the Tokyo Medical Center, is administered a COVID-19 vaccine at his hospital in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward on Feb. 17, 2021, receiving the first shot under Japan’s vaccination program against the novel coronavirus. Japan is starting with an initial group of 40,000 health workers before expanding the rollout to the elderly and people with preexisting conditions. (Pool photo) (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

A total of 125 staff members were inoculated at eight hospitals in and around the capital on Wednesday, with the vaccine developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE due to be administered at 100 medical facilities across the country by next week.

Speaking in a parliamentary committee meeting, Suga reiterated that vaccines will be the “decisive factor” in fighting the coronavirus and vowed to move forward with the rollout while keeping the public informed.

Of the initial group of 40,000 health workers, 20,000 will participate in a study to track side effects potentially caused by the vaccine and the frequency with which they occur. They will be asked to keep daily records for seven weeks after taking the first of two shots. The shots will be administered three weeks apart.

A health worker injects COVID-19 vaccine from a bottle into a syringe at the Tokyo Medical Center in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward on Feb. 17, 2021. Japan began COVID-19 vaccinations the same day, with the first shots given at the state-run hospital. (Pool photo) (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Twelve staffers, including three doctors and five nurses, were inoculated at the state-run Tokyo Medical Center on Wednesday. Hospital head Kazuhiro Araki, who was first in the country to receive the shot, said he hopes participating in the study will “help both staff and patients prevent infections.”

No severe side effects were immediately reported from any of the eight hospitals.

A further 3.7 million front-line health workers are to begin being inoculated in March, followed by 36 million people aged 65 or older from April.

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People with preexisting conditions such as diabetes or heart disease and those working at elderly care facilities will come next, and then finally the general population.

Japan is starting its vaccine rollout more than two months after Britain and the United States. Asked in the House of Representative’s Budget Committee session about the cause of the delay, Suga accepted the criticism and admitted that the need to conduct clinical trials domestically had held up the process.

The minister in charge of vaccination efforts, Taro Kono, said Tuesday that foreign residents will become eligible for the free shots in the same order of priority as Japanese citizens.

Japan received the first shipment of about 386,000 doses from Pfizer’s factory in Belgium last week and granted fast-track approval for domestic use on Sunday.

Kono said at a press conference that the second shipment had been cleared by the European Union under its new vaccine export controls and was expected to arrive next week but declined to say how many doses it would contain.

Late-stage clinical trials showed the Pfizer vaccine to have an efficacy rate of around 95 percent, compared with 40 to 60 percent for influenza vaccines. Japan also has supply deals with AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc. to receive enough doses for its population of 126 million.

But public skepticism could be a hurdle for Japan’s vaccine rollout, with only 63.1 percent of respondents in a…

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NYPD launches probe into ‘domestic terrorist’ cop wearing ‘political patch’ amid calls for purges & cleansing of ‘Trump’s Army’



A New York City police officer was caught on video wearing pro-Trump patches, leading to an investigation after liberals claim the entire force is “Trump’s Army” and label the cop a “domestic terrorist.”

At a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Brooklyn on Friday evening, video was captured of the officer in uniform with two Trump badges attached to her vest. One is of a skull styled after the comic book character The Punisher – which some have called for to be retired – with Trump’s hair, while the other has a similar image along with Trump’s name and the phrase “make enforcement great again.”

“Where were you on January 6?” one protester asks her, referring to the US Capitol riot. The protester then begins calling her a “domestic terrorist” as others join in. The officer does not respond, but does at one point blow a kiss to an unseen person.

The officer was identified by social media users, but has not been named by the NYPD.

Outraged liberals took to social media on Saturday to blast the NYPD, which prohibits officers from wearing anything that makes a political statement while in uniform, for employing a “white supremacist.”

“NYPD officers wearing Trump badges ? What’s up with that? Get the white supremacists out of the police force forever,” actress Rosanna Arquette tweeted in reaction to the video.

The NYPD acknowledged the video on Saturday after a wave of criticism and said the officer has “received an initial discipline” for “wearing a politically oriented patch.” They also said an investigation into the matter is underway.

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also responded to the controversy in a tweet saying officers must remain “apolitical.”

“Members of the NYPD must remain apolitical — it’s essential to public trust & officers’ ability to perform their jobs,” he wrote.

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In bid to stay relevant, media company Money Compass ventures into e-learning, launches ECF


  • Media player launches e-learning app to students to start financial planning early
  • Ongoing ECF campaign to raise US$370k for further development, expansion

According to the Financial Education Network, 2 out of 3 Malaysians are ill equipped with sound financial knowledge. About 65% of Malaysians barely have savings for retirement as most of them have less than RM50,000 within their EPF (Employer Provident Fund) account.

As the founder and chief executive officer of Money Compass Media (M) Sdn Bhd, a financial education media, Amy Seok (pic, left) has been long aware of the grim situation.

In bid to stay relevant, media company Money Compass ventures into e-learning, launches ECF She launched Money Compass 20 years ago as a publication dedicated to educating Malaysians about financial planning. Starting off as a print publication, it also runs digital versions in Malay and Mandarin.

Aiming to make a bigger impact, in June 2019 she launched ULearnMONEY as the e-learning extension of Money Compass aimed at promoting financial literacy amongst students. But it was a decision grounded in survival as much as it was about trying to make a real impact for Amy who founded Money Compass in 2001.

“A couple of years ago, we realised it was not enough to be a media only. We compete with social media platforms which are quite interactive. Our readers, subscribers and supporters are attracted by many other channels as well,” says Amy. “We had to ask ourselves how we could offer a more effective communication channel with our audience.” Hence the move into launching an e-learning service.

While the available content for sale currently consist of books and video courses around financial literacy, Amy talks of adding a learning management system (LMS) in the future which will offer customers the ability to take spot quizzes after watching videos, track progress and issue reports for users and reward them.  

To date, ULearnMONEY has reached out to over 100,000 participants offline and 500,000 online, through webinars and other events. “ULearnMONEY is an initiative in elevating financial literacy for Malaysians in supporting the Government’s National Financial Literacy Strategy 2019-2023,” says Amy. Part of the strategy involves collaborating with the Financial Literacy Education Network, spearheaded by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission of Malaysia.

To raise funds for its growth, Amy has turned to Ata Plus and equity crowdfunding (ECF), seeking to raise US$370,000 (RM1.5 million) via its campaign. “For this whole month, we are on a mission to invite discerning individuals and institution fund managers to invest in our expansion plans.”

 

The financial literacy gap among tertiary students

While universities and other institutes of higher education are busy preparing students for lifelong careers, educating them about financial education often takes a backseat. With good spending and saving habits best cultivated early, ULearnMONEY aims to offer education on the topic at this crucial juncture.

For this, it has developed a programme called Financial Literacy 123. “We have 70 short-bite videos that are three minutes each covering 20 topics. These include how to set goals, inculcate saving habits, understanding bad debt, economic cycles, inflation and cryptocurrency.”

Having visited universities throughout Malaysia in 2018 and 2019, Amy has signed 40 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), contracts and letters of interest over this period and gathered 2,000 learners on board. The ambitious plan is to capture half a million university students in the next two years.

It appears a steep goal considering the Covid-19 interruption to classroom learning at universities. However, Amy believes the government’s latest movement control order (MCO) is the perfect time for universities to introduce ULearnMONEY’s programme.

“Our platform is ready and we are now focusing on marketing. Initially, we didn’t go too hard as we were still in the midst of development. But the content is now ready,” says Amy, although she expects some delays in onboarding universities during this MCO period.

On top of the 70 bite-sized videos, ULearnMoney’s programne also offers 20 financial literacy tests, 20 financial behaviour tests and an online certificate upon completion. The website is also kept interactive with gamification features, forum discussions, private messaging and comment sections.

 

Equity Crowdfunding for Growth

Through the equity crowdfunding exercise that runs till 31 Jan, ULearnMONEY aims to raise RM1.5 million for marketing and events, technology and content development. And while there is a focus on university students, Amy believes there is also a market in the 15 million employed Malaysians and even among the estimated 300,000 financial services professionals in the country.

Raising the funding will kickstart plans to develop the LMS, more financial education content, build a network of independent financial content creators, as well as begin development of the Financial Tool Hub application.

Supported by the Ministry of Education and over 36 institutions of higher learning in Malaysia, content will be offered to university students as well as the general public to promote a mindset shift in financial management, and offer access to credible and trusted information from the coaches of ULearnMONEY.

While the platform is currently aimed at Malaysian users, Amy plans to expand into neighbouring countries in the future.

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Facebook News launches in the UK, its first market outside of the US for the curated news portal – TechCrunch


As the United Kingdom prepares to sharpen its focus on how it regulates big tech companies, Facebook is taking a big step up in the role it plays in presenting media to the U.K. public, and into how it works with the country’s media industry.

Today it is launching Facebook News in the U.K., Facebook’s first market outside of the U.S. for its dedicated, curated news portal — accessed, like the U.S. version, through a tab in the Android or iOS app menu.

The portal will launch with content from hundreds of local and national media organizations including Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and hundreds of local news sites from Archant, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midlands News Association, and Reach, as well as “lifestyle” titles GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue and others were announced as an earlier list of partners last year.

Again, as with the U.S. version, users will be provided a list of curated top stories of the day; a list of personalised stories based on news sources you might already follow or interests you have (these might be from publications you don’t already follow); and dedicated news sections for sports, entertainment, health and science and technology. Users can indicate when they like stories, or when they want to hide them to train the algorithms better.

Facebook has confirmed to us that it will be working with a service called Upday to curate the stories that appear on News. “The product is a mix of curated, top stories and personalized links chosen by algorithm,” a spokesperson said. Upday appears to be a joint collaboration between German publisher Axel Springer and Samsung, which also runs a news service on its phones powered by it.

It is not clear what the financial terms of the deal is between Facebook and Upday, but reportedly, the licensing deals Facebook is cutting with publishers to place their content in News collectively run into the tens of millions of pounds, with the biggest publishers making millions a year from the the agreements. While those figures might pale to what the company makes in ad revenues globally (which reaches into the tens of billions of dollars quarterly), they represent significant sums for the beleaguered U.K. media industry.

People have long used newsfeeds on Facebook and other social sites to catch up with news while also browsing posts from friends, Groups and Pages that they follow. Facebook News aims to take that a step further, as a curated page for links and headlines from hundreds of publications in the country to provide users of its mobile apps a one-stop place to read the stories of the moment.

Social media continues to be a major source of news for consumers, but as we’ve seen, a very skewed and flawed source at that. Within that context, Facebook says that its intention with Facebook News is to provide a more balanced and dedicated mix of news to people beyond what they might encounter in their newsfeeds, while also tailoring it to users’ interests. It also helps that Facebook News provides another way for Facebook to continue diversifying away from the Newsfeed for those who have grown bored with that: now, people can come to the Facebook app to browse news, too.

Still, this international expansion has been a long time coming: Facebook News first launched as a test in the US in October 2019 before rolling out to all users last June.

No word from Facebook on how many users or engagement the U.S. version of Facebook News has picked up, except that “it has grown steadily,” according to a spokesperson.

It’s not clear why there’s been such a long gap, but Facebook has had more going on in addition to securing those licensing deals and rolling out in its first market.

Launching a new news portal, with the message that it’s designed to “help” publishers, takes on a new dimension when you consider that Facebook has also been in the crosshairs of regulators in Europe, who have been on a long-term mission to scrutinize the reach of big tech companies. In the UK, that is soon taking the form of a new “pro-competition” Digital Market Unit that will re-examine the role companies like Facebook and Google play in advertising, media and more. 

Facebook confirmed plans last year that its long-term aim is for a bigger international expansion for Facebook News with the longer list of countries including Brazil, France, Germany, and India. In a blog post today, Facebook’s director of news partnerships in Europe, Jesper Doub, confirmed France and Germany were next in line for Facebook News, although no launch dates were specified.

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Australian Baroque launches Fringe program with coffee, cakes and a workout


What would Bach bake?

Best to ask Australian Baroque director Helen Kruger, who launches a three-show Fringe program next Friday with the master composer’s Coffee Cantata at Yahava Coffeeworks, West Swan.

“What we’re trying to do with Fringe concerts is make baroque music more accessible because we find when people hear it they are so surprised by it because it’s so appealing,” she says.

With espresso martinis on arrival, the lavishly costumed production channels Bach’s satire on the coffee house obsession of 18th century Europe, a story that still resonates.

“It’s a story about a young lady who is addicted to coffee and her father wants her to give it up, it’s an aria about love and coffee … it’s very, very light, very unlike Bach, very comic. He was inspired by the rise of the coffee house, so quite relevant to today when everyone is addicted to coffee,” Kruger says.

The Coffee Cantata is paired with Telemann’s Don Quixote, another comic tale based on the 17th century Spanish novel, next Friday and Saturday.

Australian Baroque double bass player Jacqueline Dossor contemplates coffee and love.
Camera IconAustralian Baroque double bass player Jacqueline Dossor contemplates coffee and love.

The second concert is Cakes and Corelli at The Glass Box in Newcastle Street, on February 6 and 7, with cakes by Holly Raye’s of Bassendean and quartets and quintets by Corelli, Handel and Telemann.

“Each audience member will get a box of four cakes, and each one is paired with a different piece of music, so we talk about the elements in the cakes and we talk about the elements of music, and we find that people can start to hear different things, when you relate it to something else,” Kruger says.

“It’s a more interesting way to experience a concert.”

The third in the series is Abs, Butts and Vivaldi, also at The Glass Box, on February 13 and 14, which combines a PUMP class delivered by fitness instructor and flautist Andy Skinner with concertos by Vivaldi.

“They are the high-octane works of the baroque period,” Kruger says.

“Andy’s choreographed a PUMP class to our favourite concerti from the Four Seasons and from Vivaldi’s other set of concertos called L’Estro Armonico, which translates as The Harmonic Inspiration, it’s awesome, awesome music.

“The idea is the audience is in the PUMP class, they have to wear workout gear, bring a yoga mat, and they’ll have experienced nothing like it – a full baroque orchestra for a workout.”

Andy Skinner with baroque flute and dumbell.
Camera IconAndy Skinner with baroque flute and dumbell.

It’s a completely new production, but based on the experience of Bach and Beer at last year’s Fringe.

“We had a lot of people come for the beer and a lot of people come for the Bach,” Kruger says.

“We sold out all the concerts and we did another couple of concerts last October, and they sold out.

“It’s just a surprising mix of people, because the people who come for the beer are amazed by the music. And they came up to us after the concert and said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never heard that! It’s incredible’.

“Then equally, our other audience has come for the music and they’ve never tasted beer like that.

“It’s a wonderful, interesting introduction to new things and new experiences.”

After Fringe, Australian Baroque returns to its regular concert cycle.

“Everything else is a little bit more classical, so Fringe is where we’re really pushing the boat out,” she says. “And there are so many Fringe people we can bring to this event.”

And Bach’s bake off? Baroque cakes, of course.

More details and tickets at www.fringeworld.com.au.



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India launches ambitious vaccination programme for 1.3 billion citizens – Channel 4 News


India has launched one of the world’s biggest and most ambitious vaccination drives against for its 1.3 billion citizens.

The government aims to administer 300 million coronavirus jabs by August – with healthcare workers first in line for the vaccine.

India has registered more than 10.5 million coronavirus cases, the second highest in the world, and over 150 thousand deaths – although infection numbers have been falling in recent months.

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