Jesse Hogan and Wayne Milera suffer nightmare injuries in AFL pre-season


Star recruit Jesse Hogan is racing the clock to make his debut for the Giants in Round 1 of the 2020 AFL season after suffering a quad injury in training this week.

The former Demons and Dockers key forward will reportedly be on the sidelines for up to a month.

Hogan did not feature in the Giants pre-season scratch match with the Swans on Saturday.

According to afl.com.au, Hogan’s injury could also put him in doubt for the showdown against Fremantle in Round 2.

Hogan made a high-profile exit from the Dockers during the 2020 Trade Period and was eventually let go for the No. 54 draft selection.

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It is another cruel injury set back for the 25-year-old who endured a miserable two years with Fremantle where he was only able to play 19 games in two years.

With the Giants losing superstar Jeremy Cameron at the end of 2020, Hogan was the great hope to add punch to the Giants’ forward line this year.

The Giants will next weekend take on the Swans again in their only official Community Series pre-season game before their season begins against the Saints on March 21.

Hogan’s injury was followed by news Adelaide player Wayne Milera has also suffered a nightmare serious knee injury.

The Crows defender left the field during Adelaide’s scratch match with Port Adelaide on Saturday.

The club announced the injury has been preliminarily diagnosed as a patella tendon rupture.

The injury would likely see Milera miss six months of football.

He is expected to undergo scans to confirm the injury.

Clubs fared better in Friday’s pre-season action with the Magpies, Cats, Tigers and Demons all getting through their scratch matches without any serious injuries.

Collingwood was happy with what they saw from first round draft pick Oliver Henry with the teenager emerging as a genuine contender for selection in the Pies’ season opener.

Henry was the Magpies’ top selection at the 2020 AFL Draft and is the shining hope for the under-pressure club after a disastrous trade period which cost them the likes of Jaidyn Stephenson and Adam Treloar.

Taken with the No. 17 pick, Henry has already begun to repay the faith.

Magpies assistant coach Hayden Skipworth said of Henry: “He will be right in contention for that round-one spot”.

The Magpies were also excited about the return of Jeremy Howe, who slotted it nicely in the defensive fifty.

Geelong also had plenty to be excited about after superstar recruit Jeremy Cameron kicked the first goal of the match. He appeared in fine form before he was rested for the entire second half.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s experiment with Max Gawn moving forward appeared to be a success in the Demons’ win over Richmond at Casey Fields on Friday.

Gawn started in the ruck but popped up regularly inside the forward fifty arc.

The action continues when the 2021 AFL community series begins next week.

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Mitch’s Nightmare: Will Donald Trump Run for President in 2024?


Former President Donald Trump took a right-wing media trip Wednesday where he repeatedly swerved around questions over his speculated 2024 White House run, insisting that it’s “too early to say.” 

In an interview with Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly, Trump diverted questions about his 2024 presidential candidacy on three occasions and instead pointed out his mounted polling figures. 

“As far as 24, too early to say, but I see a lot of great polls out there, that’s for sure,” Trump said. 

“We have tremendous support,” he added. “I won’t say yet [if I’m running again], but I have tremendous support, and I’m looking at poll numbers that are through the roof. . . . I’m the only guy who gets impeached and my numbers go up.” 

Trump repeatedly boasted his polling support, although new polls have indicated that a slight majority of Americans backed a Senate impeachment conviction and efforts to ban him from holding office in the future.

The former president has been on a digital hiatus ever since he left the White House last month, but Trump effectively ended the break when he released a seething statement against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), noting that any Republican Senators who stick by the leader’s side “will not win again.” 

“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm. McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse,” Trump wrote. 

The former president’s remarks came after McConnell notably soured Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, distancing himself from his fellow colleague after four years of remaining wholeheartedly loyal to him. While the GOP leader voted to acquit Trump at the Senate impeachment trial, McConnell said that the former president was “practically and morally responsible” for the Capitol siege. 

But before Trump left Washington, D.C., he made it clear that “we will be back in some form.” In recent weeks, he’s stayed silent about his potential 2024 candidacy, leaving voters to question whether he will follow through with his previous teases of running for a non-consecutive term. 

“I am not sure that Donald J. Trump is really laser-focused on anything in particular at this moment other than gaining some vengeance on those he believes have betrayed him. His recent statements suggest he is angry at those, like Mitch McConnell, and other Senate and House Republicans, who were not willing to support this fantasy of the ‘stolen election,’” Audrey A. Haynes, associate professor of political science and director for the applied politics certificate program at the University of Georgia, said.  

Media reports have indicated that Trump’s current post-White House plans consist of punishing congressional Republicans who separated from him by either voting to impeach or convict him for his involvement in the Capitol riots. GOP Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) are just a few that are on Trump’s chopping block, as the two were a part of ten House Republicans who joined with Democrats to vote to impeach Trump. 

Trump’s suddenly changed approach to jumping on a 2024 presidential train could also be due to his virtual ban on social media platforms, including Twitter. 

“There could be a number of reasons why President Trump has backed off from announcing a presidential run in 2024,” Jamie L. Carlson, political science professor at UGA, said. “For one, he may have realized that such a campaign would be increasingly difficult without access to social media via Twitter. Recall that Trump received approximately $2 billion in free media coverage during the 2016 primaries as a result of his use of Twitter and roughly $5 billion in free coverage during both stages of the campaign. That would be difficult to replicate given Twitter’s current restrictions on his account.” 

At one point, Trump had more than eighty-eight million Twitter followers, an account that was used as a strong tool to communicate with supporters. 

The former president has also been hit with a lawsuit connected to allegations that he incited last month’s riot on the Capitol, with the likelihood of more to unravel in the future. 

“I think that he may be coming to terms with some of the post-presidency realities that he is facing (legally and financially),” Jacob Neiheisel, an associate professor of political science at the University of Buffalo, said. “It was also never really clear to me that he enjoyed governing as much as he did campaigning. My guess is that he may parlay the following that he has garnered into a media role as something of a kingmaker on the Republican side rather than take another run at the White House.” 

Other experts echoed Neiheisel’s remarks, noting that his tax scandal still looms and that all of these negative associations could largely impact his political ambitions. 

“But as others have noted, Trump is now unprotected by his status as president and there are numerous legal cases focused on him at this moment—from civil to potentially criminal lawsuits,” Haynes said. “He has a large loan coming due. His taxes are still under scrutiny. His actions on Jan. 6 and prior are still under the magnifying glass as well. These may certainly impact his political brand and the level of support he has. His numbers and the numbers of the Republican Party in terms of negative assessments have increased post-Jan. 6.” 

But while there are several jabs being punched at his reputation, Trump still holds an iron-like grip over the Republican Party, with his support and rhetoric dictating the popularity and presence for future GOP leaders. 

“In my view, it really depends on whether or not a charismatic Republican leader emerges that can unify Republicans,” Haynes said. “I suspect that ’22 will have some impact on which Republicans think they can run in 2024. I am sure Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, while coveting the MAGA brand, would really prefer that Trump not run so that they have a shot. They want his voters. Not him.” 

Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill. 

Image: Reuters

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Kaley Cuoco’s husband Karl Cook shares ‘nightmare’ photo of her in bed


Kaley Cuoco is not impressed with her husband Karl Cook, after he took a “nightmare” photo of her in while they were in bed together.

The 35-year-old sitcom star appeared on her billionaire husband’s Instagram page, tucked up in bed and reaching out to him while she is mid-sentence.

RELATED: Kaley reveals ‘gut-wrenching’ heartbreak

“Me trying to take a cute selfie with @kaleycuoco is a nightmare!! Dumpy is a pro but wow honey!!” Cook wrote in the caption.

“What is wrong with you?” The Big Bang Theory actress commented on the post.

Kaley and Karl spent months apart in 2020 as she filmed the incredible thriller series The Flight Attendant, and are now finally back together in their $15 million Hidden Hills estate.

While the actress wasn’t a fan of the unflattering selfie, fans were living for it.

“I love that you two are willing to humanize yourselves for your fans,” one wrote, with others calling the popular couple “hysterical”.

“So cute & real ! How refreshing.”

It’s not the first time Karl has captured unflattering photos of the star for his Instagram page either.

For Kaley’s birthday, Cook posted a photo of her passed out on an arm chair.

RELATED: Question that stumped Kaley Cuoco

“Happy birthday angel love of my life @kaleycuoco!!! You always know how to find the lens! You’re an amazing woman and I love everyday together!” he wrote in the caption.

In another post in August 2019, Cook marvelled at her beauty when she was found asleep in an awkward position in bed,

“In my just over year of marriage I have many times found myself gazing over at my wife in awe of her beauty and grace. This is not one of those times, this time makes me wonder, ‘@kaleycuoco where’s your neck?’ Omg I love you so much honey!!!”



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He’s a law enforcement nightmare


The man accused of driving a pickup truck filled with Molotov cocktails and other deadly weapons to the nation’s capital lives in a brick ranch house in the backwoods of Alabama.

Lonnie Coffman had no criminal record. No apparent social media accounts. And no city officials or law enforcement in the area had ever come into contact with him.

“I don’t know him, never heard of him and I haven’t heard of anybody that did know him,” said Ken Winkles, mayor of the 1,300-person town of Falkville, where Coffman’s mail is delivered.

More than 50 people have been arrested on federal charges in the days after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Coffman’s face was not among those that have gone viral, and it’s not even clear if he breached the building. But he stands out for the sheer amount of weaponry he brought to Washington.

The 70-year-old Alabama man with no criminal history or known extremist ties represents the worst nightmare for law enforcement, experts say — an apparent lone wolf who operated completely under the radar.

“These are the people who keep law enforcement up at night,” said Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI criminal profiler and an NBC News analyst. “I used to go to bed thinking, ‘Did I do everything I could? Have I looked for this? Have I looked for that?’ But what do you look for in a guy like this?”

Lonnie Coffman, circled in red, with Trump supporters in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, in an image from surveillance video. (U.S. Capitol Police)

The rise of right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters has become a focus of federal authorities in the President Donald Trump era. The existence of people like Coffman, loner types who amass large collections of weapons and who may become motivated to act on calls to overthrow the government, pose an even greater challenge for law enforcement.

“When you tell no one what you’re doing and do it yourself in a complete void, the only way we find you is, like this guy was found, we’re awful lucky and stumble upon you,” said Van Zandt, who was among a team of investigators that worked to identify the “Unabomber,” Ted Kaczynski.

Police officers happened upon Coffman’s truck after the authorities received reports of possible explosive devices in the vicinity of the National Republican Club and the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

While sweeping the area with police canines, two Capitol Police officers spotted what appeared to be the handle of a gun on the front-right passenger seat of a red GMC Sierra pickup truck, federal prosecutors said.

The vehicle was parked in the heart of downtown Washington, just a couple of blocks away from the Capitol.

Officers searched the truck and discovered it was equipped for war. Among the weapons found inside the interior and truck bed were: three guns, including an assault-style rifle; hundreds of rounds of ammunition; several machetes; camouflage smoke devices; a stun gun; a crossbow with bolts; and 11 Molotov cocktails in the form of canning jars with gasoline inside and a hole punched at the top.

Police determined the jars of liquid found in Lonnie Coffman's truck were Molotov cocktails. (U.S. Capitol Police)
Police determined the jars of liquid found in Lonnie Coffman’s truck were Molotov cocktails. (U.S. Capitol Police)
One of the weapons found in the truck of Lonnie Leroy Coffman in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police)
One of the weapons found in the truck of Lonnie Leroy Coffman in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police)

The officers quickly determined through a vehicle registration search that the truck was registered to a Lonnie L. Coffman of Falkville, Alabama, prosecutors said.

Surveillance camera footage recovered later in the day showed Coffman parking the vehicle around 9:15 a.m. Prosecutors said he stepped out of it five minutes later and headed directly toward the Capitol with a crowd of people. A Trump rally was set to begin nearby at 11 a.m.

When Coffman returned to his vehicle around 6:30 p.m., he was stopped by police manning the security cordon and found to be in possession of two handguns, according to federal prosecutors.

Asked about the contents of the jars, Coffman told the officers they contained “melted Styrofoam and gasoline,” according to a Justice Department detention memo. The products created an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm in that it cases the flammable liquid to better stick to objects it hits upon detonation, the memo says.

Jim Cavanaugh, a former special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the homemade devices were designed to act like miniature hand grenades.

“It’s not really going to take down a building,” said Cavanaugh, who is an NBC News law enforcement analyst. “It’s more like a weapon that if someone was in a demonstration they would throw it at the police. And whatever it hits, because of the styrofoam, it keeps on burning.”

“If he went through all the trouble to make them and transport them, he likely intended to use them,” Cavanaugh added.

Cavanaugh, who led ATF field divisions in Birmingham, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, said it was not at all surprising to him that someone from the hills of Alabama would be found with such an arsenal. He said the region is rife with people who are distrustful of government and have an affinity for weapons.

“This guy’s not unusual to me,” Cavanaugh said. “What’s unusual is the target: the Capitol. We’d see people making bombs all the time, but they wanted to kill their boyfriend or the person who cheated on them or once in a while they wanted to attack a prominent figure.”

Coffman lived along a country road in the shadow of Lacon Mountain. The heavily forested area is a kind of no man’s land between Falkville and Cullman, the 16,000-person seat of Cullman County.

Winkles, the Falkville mayor, said people in his town were not stunned to hear that someone from that area had been arrested in Washington with a large cache of weapons.

“There are a lot of problems on these mountains south of us,” Winkles said. “There are drugs. There are all kinds of stuff out there. Those people just do what they want to, or at least they think they can.”

Coffman and his then-wife purchased the 1,000-square-foot home on 3 acres for $20,150 in April 2010, records show. The house sits at the top of a long driveway with a “no trespassing” sign beside it and a couple of logs laid out across, blocking any vehicles from driving up to the house.

The home of Lonnie Leroy Coffman in Falkville, Ala. (Jamie Speakman / Cullman Daily)
The home of Lonnie Leroy Coffman in Falkville, Ala. (Jamie Speakman / Cullman Daily)

A federal agent was photographed speaking to a woman outside the house on Thursday.

During his time there, records show Coffman qualified for three tax exemptions: a homestead exemption, disabled exemption and one for senior citizens.

Public records offer a narrow glimpse into Coffman’s life.

He married his wife in March 1971 and eight years later began working for Nicholson File Co., a manufacturer of machine-made files, circular saw blades, power tool accessories and handsaws, records show.

He filed a workman’s compensation claim in 2002 stating that he had carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands that required surgery. He also had a hernia after straining himself on back-to-back days in July 2002.

The court papers say the injury occurred when he was trying to “remove a die that was stuck in a fixture” and was exacerbated the next day “lifting a hook of files weighing approximately 60 pounds.”

At the time of the accident, Coffman was making an average weekly wage of $629.05. He was ultimately awarded a lump sum settlement of $20,000 — which, after attorney fees, broke down to a weekly benefit of $14.01 for the rest of his life.

The only other court case involving Coffman that NBC News could find in Morgan or Cullman counties is his divorce, which was finalized in September 2019.

Mike Swafford, the public information officer for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, said his department has no records of any contact with Coffman.

“We responded to 80,000 calls last year in a county that has about 100,000 people,” he said. “For someone not to have any interaction with us — not a dispute with a neighbor, not a traffic stop — it’s unusual.”

Chad Whaley, the director of communications for the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, said it also has had no dealings with Coffman.

“Around here it’s very common for people to have a lot of guns, to have stockpiles of weapons,” he said. “And most people we’re not going to think about unless you couple that with odd behavior. It might be this guy was never heard from or seen from, but he was just another member of the community and blended in.”

The only publicly available indication that something may have been amiss in Coffman’s life was a probate document showing that he gave his ex-wife and his sister power of attorney in June 2020, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

It’s not clear what motivated the decision, but a court hearing last week offered a potential clue.

Coffman’s lawyer told a judge that he takes multiple drugs for mental illness, according to Reuters.

Neither his ex-wife nor his sister responded to messages left at their listed numbers. His lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Coffman’s statements to police following his arrest and some writings found inside his truck indicate he was struggling financially and fixated on right-wing views.

After he was stopped by police, Coffman told the officers he had been living out of his truck in the Washington, D.C., area for around the past week, according to his detention memo.

A crossbow was among the weapons found in Lonnie Coffman's truck. (U.S. Capitol Police)
A crossbow was among the weapons found in Lonnie Coffman’s truck. (U.S. Capitol Police)

In addition to the weapons, the officers found a handwritten note with a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln. “We The People Are The Rightful Masters Of Both The Congress And The Courts, Not To Overthrow The Constitution But To Overthrow The Men Who Pervert The Constitution,” it read.

The note went on to identify Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana as “one of two Muslims in House of Reps” and to declare the website sgtreport.com, which recently posted an interview with someone stating that the military is on the brink of carrying out a “communist purge,” as “good guys.”

Another set of handwritten messages were found on the back of a magazine. Across an ad for Motel 6 were scribblings of purported phone numbers for “Conservative Talk Show Host Mark Levin,” “Shaun Hannity” and “Senator Ted Cruz.”

Coffman was indicted on 17 separate weapons charges. The Alabama man pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bond.

Van Zandt, the retired FBI profiler, said it’s essential for law enforcement to understand what Coffman planned to do with all of his weapons and what was motivating him in order to identify others like him.

He pointed out that the purging of people with radical views from popular social platforms, which has escalated in recent weeks, deprives investigators of a crucial tool in tracking people who might move along the continuum of ideation to action.

“We know there are going to be guys out there that are not happy over the next four years with the Biden administration,” Van Zandt said. “The authorities really have got their work cut out for them to identify Ted Kaczynski-type individuals who are sitting out there planning to make a difference in the world.”

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The forestry vision that turned into a nightmare


In the late 1990s, the Howard government launched that plantation visions policy and started tax incentives for managed investment schemes (MIS). Billions of dollars poured into timberlands, as investors received huge upfront tax deductions and the promise of profits when trees were harvested ten years later. The policy turned out to be a disaster and was wound back in 2006.

But the seeds of trouble had already been sown on the western end of Kangaroo Island, where a company called Great Southern planted thousands of hectares of Tasmanian blue gum. The company also planned to build the kind of deep-sea port that 200 metre-long timber transportation vessels require, but knew it had until 2015 when the trees matured.

The island is separated from mainland South Australia by 13 kilometres of ocean and is currently only serviced by two 50-metre catamarans, which carry passengers, cars and general freight.

When the tax deduction disappeared in 2006, Australians lost interest in timber investments and the heavily indebted Great Southern struggled. It was knocked out two years later by the global financial crisis.

A few years later a small ASX-listed company called RuralAus bought the blue gums and transformed the asset from a MIS business to fully owned plantation company. In 2013 RuralAus changed its name to Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber (KIPT).

One former Great Southern employee now admits, the choice of Kangaroo Island back in the early 2000s “raised eyebrows within the company” because of the lack of infrastructure. But Great Southern had already bought up all the available flat land with high rainfall and a nearby port it could find in Australia.

“The bit that was missing on Kangaroo Island was the foresight to identify and set aside a site for a port. That was never done,” says the current chief executive of KIPT, Keith Lamb.

KIPT knew it had to solve the port problem, but always expected the trees would be harvested gradually as they matured. At least, that was until disaster struck.

Lamb’s predecessor, John Sergeant bought a site at Smith Bay in February 2014 for $680,000 on the island’s north and announced plans for a log export facility. The company purchased more plantations and by mid-2017 KIPT had forests worth $81 million. It took out a $57 million loan from the Commonwealth Bank for expansion, including $30 million for the port.

With port planning progressing, KIPT bought a used pontoon for $2.9 million and towed it from South Korea to Vietnam for reconditioning. For the next few years it chipped away at planning applications and gained Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation. The timber assets were expected to generate $850 million over 10 years.

As the trees approached maturity, KIPT welcomed new institutional investors onto its share registry – Washington H Soul Pattinson and Paradice Investments – and maintained the long-term support of Terry Samuel Asset Management. None of these investors wanted to comment on the current state of the company.

In mid-2019 Lamb took over as managing director and in one of his first letters to shareholders said wharf construction would begin in mid-2020 with first log exports in mid-2021. The company had 14,369 hectares of trees that were going to deliver $850 million of profits over the next 10 years. Many were now well past maturity.

The existing ferry terminal on the far east of Kangaroo Island.

“Irrespective of exact timing, we expect 2020-21 to be a transformative year for Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers as approval for the Seaport is received, construction commences, and we prepare to fully realise the value of the plantation assets on behalf of our shareholders,” Lamb said in the October 2019 letter.

Then came the fires

Lamb says the optimistic tone of that letter was well justified and there was no way of knowing what lay in store for the trees.

“The blue gums can be harvested really from eight years on, but the sweet spot is around 10 years of age. And the average age of the trees today is 14, so they are well and truly mature and ready to go,” Lamb says.

“Or I should say they were on the day the fire started. They were ready to go, we were just awaiting the approval to construct the port.”

On December 20, 2019 trading paused on KIPT shares at $2.50 after a lightning storm sparked a bushfire. Lamb says he was leaving for Sydney when the storm struck.

“I turned around and came back to the island and was there for the first campaign,” he says. “We had those fires out by the 24th – meaning under control – so I went home for Christmas”.

There were multiple bushfires on Kangaroo Island over the summer of 2019-20 that caused extensive damage on the western end of the island.

There were multiple bushfires on Kangaroo Island over the summer of 2019-20 that caused extensive damage on the western end of the island. Credit:Getty Images

Trading resumed on Christmas Eve. At this point about $8 million worth of timber had been damaged by fire. KIPT kept refreshing its fire fighting crew from the mainland.

“The forecast was there was going to be more heatwaves and more rolling storms, so I went back to the island on the 29th and as it turned out, on the morning of the 30th the next storm event came through,” Lamb recalls.

Shares went into another trading halt on December 30, but resumed trading on January 2. It did not last long. Another storm lit two fires in the national park on the western end of Kangaroo Island on January 3. The previous fires were in easily accessible agricultural land, but this new fire in the vast wilderness was a “worst case scenario”.

Amid temperatures of 36 degrees and strong westerly winds, flames ripped through native forests and mature timber plantations. Residents evacuated to townships in the east of the island as thick smoke blocked sunlight.

“That afternoon, all of the rest of the estate that hadn’t either been burnt through the previous wildfire or the backburning activities, was affected by the fire. As a result 95 per cent of the estate was affected by the fire,” Lamb says.

The unstoppable fire burnt half the island.

Before the fire, KIPT had 4.5 million tonnes of trees standing in the ground insured for $115 million, but with a maximum payout of about $65 million. Its trees were not incinerated, just damaged.

“We think it is possible to salvage all of that wood, but it is not all going to go into the same high value markets that it was before. We think about two thirds could go out into the higher value markets,” Lamb says.

By August 2020 the company’s properties were valued at at $59.3 million and the fire damaged trees had an estimated value of $250 million, depending on the Australian dollar. The kicker is, it will cost about $250 million to harvest the wood, build the wharf, and transport it all off the island.

“Post fire, KIPT is a land bank and cash box,” shareholders were told at the 2020 annual general meeting.

“The net tangible asset backing of $2.14 per share in 2020 Annual Report is real and productive, with an added infrastructure play.” Shares last traded at $1.20.

In late November KIPT started harvesting the worst burnt pine trees, which will be stored in water until the port is built.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber's managing director Keith Lamb (left), director Shauna Black and forestry operations manager Brian Stewart among fire damaged blue gum trees that are still growing, but need to be harvested.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber’s managing director Keith Lamb (left), director Shauna Black and forestry operations manager Brian Stewart among fire damaged blue gum trees that are still growing, but need to be harvested. Credit:Sean McGowan

Institutional investors have stuck with the company. In a recent letter to shareholders, Terry Samuel Asset Management’s Fred Woollard noted KIPT was its “biggest loser” for 2019-20, costing almost 9 per cent of the fund.

“KIPT’s outlook is uncertain, but it retains substantial asset value in land and cash. At year end KIPT was 4.6 per cent of the Fund.”

Commonwealth Bank’s loan has been repaid thanks the insurance money, and KIPT recently started planting a 24 hectare site in a ‘small but symbolic step’.

The dilemma

But KIPT still has a huge problem. And so does the South Australian government.

What about the deep water port? If it is constructed it will be busy for three years to clearing 4 million tonnes of fire damaged wood. Then, Lamb says the port would have a “hiatus period of three to four years” while the next crop matures. KIPT wants to share the port with other businesses, such as cruise ships, but not everyone shares this enthusiasm.

The current mayor, Michael Pengilly, calls the island’s forestry industry “seven decades of disaster”.

“I don’t trust anything KIPT says and have not for several years,” he says, “They are yet to deliver on anything.”

“The majority of Kangaroo Island people would just like to see the forest industry wiped out and returned to agriculture.”

He says it is “complete nonsense” that cruise ships could dock at a deep water pontoon 650 metres off shore at a remote site with no infrastructure and 22 kilometres from the main town.

“Rubbish. Complete nonsense. Bloody furphy. It is regarded as a joke by most,” Pengilly says. He also worries about the impact on a successful abalone farm already operating at Smith Bay.

But the alternative is to burn all the trees.

“If we were to chain and burn – there is four and a half million tonnes of standing timber – so the smoke plume that would arise over the next several years would be greater than the smoke that came out of the bushfires,” Lamb says. He calculates this would add 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

“The smoke would drift back across to Adelaide and the McLaren Vale to the wine growing region of Victor Harbour”.

Just before Christmas KPIT received a $5 million federal government grant to build a biomass pellet plant at Timber Creek that would convert fire damaged wood to a fuel source. But it still needs the Smith Bay port to export the pellets overseas.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber managing director Keith Lamb and director Shauna Black at Smith Bay, the site of the proposed deep-water port.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber managing director Keith Lamb and director Shauna Black at Smith Bay, the site of the proposed deep-water port. Credit:Sean McGowan

But maybe Kangaroo Island is no longer the right place for timberlands. Professor Robert Hill, a palaeontologist specialising in the long-term evolution of native flora, and director of the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide, says the island’s native vegetation evolved for cool and wet conditions. But with climate change, it is becoming hotter and drier.

“When fires do start they have the potential to be ferocious,” Hill says. “The whole environment is really vulnerable to catastrophic fires. You can’t just assume it will go back to how it used to be”.

He also is against constructing a port, saying “the one good outcome of what was a catastrophic event would be if the port was abandoned”.

The port project is now with South Australia’s State Planning Commission. Community consultation has found both strong support and fierce opposition. The state’s planning minister has the final decision.

In his latest submission in favour of the port, Lamb argued state and government policies had encouraged the plantations for many years and “KIPT had nothing to do with the failure of previous companies”.

The only options remaining now are to either burn millions of tonnes of trees, or to build the port and ramp up harvesting and trucking, which some say would damage the island’s eco-tourism credentials.

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COVID Nightmare in L.A. As Emergency System Falters


Jan. 6, 2021 — As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in Los Angeles County, first responders have been directed not to take cardiac arrest patients to the hospital if they can’t be resuscitated in the field and to conserve the region’s dwindling supply of oxygen supplies.

The Emergency Medical Services Agency of Los Angeles County issued the new guidance Monday. As of Tuesday, the county has reported 840,611 coronavirus cases and 11,071 deaths. Southern California remains at 0% ICU capacity.

The edict puts paramedics, firefighters, and other first responders in a difficult position, but one they are prepared for, says Marc Eckstein, MD, medical director of the Los Angeles Fire Department and commander of the EMS Bureau for the city of Los Angeles, which serves more than 4 million residents.

“We aren’t asking our first responders to play God out there,” Eckstein says. “We are not asking our EMTs and paramedics to determine who will live and die and who gets care.”

Rather, under the new directive involving cardiac arrest patients, “our EMTs and paramedics will attempt resuscitation the way they have always done. The only difference is, after 20 minutes and [if] not resuscitated, they will not be transported, with few exceptions.”

Before COVID, he says, ”there was a lot more discretion on the part of the paramedics to transport cardiac patients whose onsite cardiac resuscitations weren’t successful. And sometimes they didn’t stay on scene for 20 minutes, and transported [patients while] doing CPR.”

The guidelines used under the new directive are well-defined, Eckstein says.

In recent years, he says, research has shown that cardiac patients who have no pulse when they arrive at the hospital are very unlikely to have a meaningful recovery and are likely to remain in a vegetative state.

The other directive issued Monday, dealing with the region’s oxygen supply, says: ”Given the acute need to conserve oxygen, effective immediately, EMS should only administer supplemental oxygen to patients with oxygen saturation below 90%.” And when the oxygen level is below 90%, the minimum amount of oxygen needed to maintain the saturation at or just above 90% should be given, the directive says.

A saturation of 90% is deemed enough to maintain tissues normally. The directive has some exceptions, such as the use of oxygen for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), carbon monoxide poisoning, and other conditions.

”One issue is the availability of portable [oxygen] tanks,” says Marianne Gausche-Hill, MD, medical director of the Emergency Medical Services Agency for Los Angeles County. Her agency is working with vendors and others to correct the shortage.



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Gold Coast mum caught in Victorian border nightmare



Gold Coast mum Gemma Mai speaks about her trip just days before she was caught in VIctorian border nightmare

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Import Keifer Sykes puts COVID-19 nightmare behind him ahead of fresh start at South East Melbourne Phoenix


He took up one-month deals in September and October to help Turk Telecom finish their Champions League campaign, then joined Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos, but, with cases spiking, Sykes looked towards safer ground in the NBL.

“I know a lot of people who have had it [COVID-19], I know a lot of people who have died from it, so that’s why I say it is refreshing to be over here because you all don’t have many cases and I can see how active you all are [about prevention],” Sykes said.

“It’s something I’ve been scared about, it’s something I’ve been navigating through. I navigated through it in Turkey and Greece and I’m navigating through it now in Tasmania.”

The 27-year-old Chicago-raised point guard has been here for a month and is currently with his side in Hobart as they await news of whether any of their three opening-round games could be changed due to the active cases in Melbourne and Sydney.

I know a lot of people who have had it [COVID-19], I know a lot of people who have died from it, so that’s why I say it is refreshing to be over here because you all don’t have many cases.

Phoenix import Keifer Sykes

The NBL could announce changes to their round one schedule as early as Monday, as closed borders could force some games to be switched around as other codes have done.

Sykes praised how his new club has handled this disruption but he is also aware how dangerous the virus can be when it gets into a team sport setting.

“On the last couple of days of my contract [in Greece], one of my teammates, from my same locker room, had it,” Sykes said.

Keifer Sykes, right, with teammate Kyle Adnam.

“Every time you come into the locker room you are worried about what your teammates did last night. Did they go out to eat? All you have to do is go to the grocery store and you could get infected.

“That’s what made me say I would look at somewhere safer, especially as I didn’t have a long-term contract. So that led me to this little venture here in Australia.”

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Sykes arrives in the NBL with big wraps as both a harassing ball-defender and a playmaker who leads and creates for his team while possessing explosive scoring ability.

Former NBL MVP Jerome Randle, another Chicago native, and recent Sydney Kings import turned Houston Rockets signing Jae’Sean Tate both pushed Sykes towards the NBL.

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell had Sykes on his list for several years, since watching him shine during a recruiting trip. In other years it may have been tough to entice Sykes out here but not in 2021.

“He was very aware of COVID-19 and it’s something important to him to be in a place that’s safe,” Mitchell said.

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“But I don’t think COVID-19 is the main reason he is here. Despite the riches in China and Europe, I feel like the standard of basketball here and the fact he will be in a situation to display all his skill-sets, it will give him a stage to leapfrog to his ultimate goal of the NBA.

“He sets the table really well for his teammate, it’s not just the highlights you see. He is a real point guard, he wants his teammates to be successful and then he can go and do what he needs to do on his own as well.”

Sykes isn’t letting the Phoenix be distracted by the prospect of games being moved or postponed as experience has taught him that the mentally strongest sides are the ones that do best.

“I just try to tell these guys to stay positive, stay together, this is something that is really happening in the world,” Skyes said.

“It’s affecting us now but stay positive as the teams that handle it the best will be the ones you see at the end of the season.”

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Brisbane Heat defeat Sydney Sixers, upset, Joe Burns fails, nightmare, Lewis Gregory, Mark Steketee


The Brisbane Heat have knocked off the defending champion Sydney Sixers with a brilliant upset at the Gabba.

Max Bryant got the Heat off to a great start with 40 off 23 balls but it was a team effort with the bat as the Heat chased down the Sixers’ 8/165 with seven balls remaining.

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Lewis Gregory’s 16-ball 31 and Jack Wildermuth’s 10-ball 22 got the Heat over the line as the side moved ahead of the Scorchers into sixth to put pressure on the top four.

It was a major scalp for the Heat and ended the Sixers’ four-game winning streak with a solid performance in front of a vocal contingent of fans.

The only blemish was the performance of axed Test star Joe Burns who’s nightmarish summer has continued as he struggled with one off seven before holing out to Ben Manenti at third man.

Fox Cricket commentator Mark Howard said that while he tried to stay impartial, he desperately hoped Burns would score some runs.

“Say it ain’t so Joe,” Howard said.

“He’s been through a horrendous season,” Isa Guha added. “He got that 50 in the first Test match and you thought he was back. It was a really courageous knock and managed to see the side over the line and did it comfortably at the end.

“You really feel for him at the moment but hopefully he’ll be able to get himself out of this patch and that’s all you have to say to yourself.”

Andrew Symonds added: “I suppose you wonder what’s going through the poor man’s head.”

He added that if he was ever out of form, he’d go back to basics and return to what he had done successfully in the past.

He’d also speak to his old coach from when he was 13 or 14 years old and he would give him confidence to as he’d seen Symonds bat throughout his career and give him slight tweaks to his technique.

But the Heat didn’t allow the wicket to get them down as they ticked off the total.

Some sloppy fielding from the Sixers late and smart batting saw the Heat tick off the runs with good running and selective hitting as the side get the season back on track.

Earlier, Mark Steketee was the chief destroyer with the ball, taking 4/33 from his four overs, including the wicket of Daniel Hughes after Jimmy Peirson pulled off a ripper.

It looked to have beaten the man however but Peirson flew across to take the one handed grab parallel to the ground.

“That is a Superman dive,” Isa Guha said.

“He had nothing left, he couldn’t have gone much further could he? In his finger tips, that’s his unnatural side as well, he’s right handed so that’s a superb effort,” Andrew Symonds added.

Josh Philippe hit a brilliant 48 off 36 balls but was given out LBW as the Sixers struggled to build the total.

After his dismissal, Jordan Silk took over with 43 off 27 balls but the wickets kept falling as the side lost quick wickets in the middle overs that kept the scoring rate under control.

In the end 8/165 never seemed like enough with Philippe commenting that he thought the side left runs in the middle believing the side could have had “180-190”.

It sees the Sixers fall to third after the Hurricanes claimed a win earlier in the day but the Sydney side have another game in hand.

Updates


Andrew McMurtry

The Brisbane Heat are taking it right down to the wire in pursuit of the Sixers’ 165.

The Heat have had contributions all throughout the night but the Sixers have had a couple of costly mistakes.

Dan Christian dived over one ball that went for four and a second misfield in a sloppy 17th over gave away five extra runs, along with two wides in an over that went for 16.

It reduces it to 23 off 18 balls.


Andrew McMurtry

Joe Burns has been dropped from the Australian Test team but his BBL return has gone no better with the hapless Aussie opener contributing just one from seven balls before holing out to Ben Manenti off Jackson Bird.

Mark Howard said that while he tried to stay impartial, he desperately hoped Burns would score some runs.

“Say it ain’t so Joe,” Howard said.

“He’s been through a horrendous season,” Isa Guha added. “He got that 50 in the first Test match and you thought he was back. It was a really courageous knock and managed to see the side over the line and did it comfortably at the end.

“You really feel for him at the moment but hopefully he’ll be able to get himself out of this patch and that’s all you have to say to yourself.”

Andrew Symonds added: “I suppose you wonder what’s going through the poor man’s head.”

He added that if he was ever out of form, he’d go back to basics and return to what he had done successfully in the past.

He’d also speak to his old coach from when he was 13 or 14 years old and he would give him confidence to as he’d seen Symonds bat throughout his career and give him slight tweaks to his technique.

Hopefully Burns has someone like that to get him back on track.


Andrew McMurtry

BBL|10 has had some insane catches and now Brisbane Heat skipper Jimmy Peirson has added to the highlight reel.

There was Jordan Silk’s Superman fielding over the boundary rope earlier in the year, while Mackenzie Harvey nailed a stunner last night.

But Peirson has done it with the gloves on, taking a brilliant catch.

On 2, Sixers skipper Daniel Hughes went to late cut the ball down to third man but got too fine and edge on it.

It looked to have beaten the man however but Peirson flew across to take the one handed grab parallel to the ground.

“That is a Superman dive,” Isa Guha said.

“He had nothing left, he couldn’t have gone much further could he? In his finger tips, that’s his unnatural side as well, he’s right handed so that’s a superb effort,” Andrew Symonds added.

The Heat’s social media called it “an absolute hanger” and it’s hard to argue.

Jimmy Peirson is just showing off now!

What a catch! #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/9zeS8jdgMJ

— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 2, 2021

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Andrew McMurtry

Josh Philippe has the Sydney Sixers batting well against the Brisbane Heat, getting to 44 off 30 balls after 10 overs.

But last wickets in the power play has the Sixers drop to 3/84 off the 10 after Daniel Hughes was dismissed for 2.

While the Sixers have some hitting down the order, a few quick wickets could put the skids on the Sydney side.


Andrew McMurtry

Brisbane Heat stand-in captain Jimmy Peirson is adamant his side can still make a Big Bash League impact with the “cavalry coming” for their underperforming batting line-up.

Dropped Test opener Joe Burns, English import Joe Denly and injured regular skipper Chris Lynn are soon set to bolster the Heat line-up, with Peirson believing Burns, in particular, can lift the young side.

Burns is back for the clash against the Sixers.

“(He’s a) very seasoned batsman and it’ll be great to get him amongst our group,” Peirson said.

“His composure … he brings a lot of runs and nerves don’t seem to affect him as much, so it’s good having that calm, senior head in this group.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys in this group, especially with our batters, so he’ll be a good thing to have.”

The Heat crashed to 3-8 chasing the Hobart Hurricanes’ target of 150 at the Gabba on Wednesday night, and while they almost forced a super over, Peirson conceded his team’s batting needed to be much more consistent.

“We’ve got to find a way to win those games,” he said.

“I am pleased with the fight we’re showing, we’ve been quite competitive. We’re kicking ourselves in those situations, and if we do a few other little things as well we’ll start to win those games.

“We haven’t fired with the bat yet, I don’t think, and when we do we’ll be quite a tough team to beat.

“Our bowlers are standing up game-in, game-out. I’m seeing things I’m confident in, and if we put a few more little things in the batting particularly, we’ll start putting games together.

“Once we start doing that, the belief will build off that and … we’ve got the cavalry coming as well.”

– NCA Newswire





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France’s MMP Anti-Tank Missile Is Any Army’s Nightmare


At the end of the Cold War, the MILAN anti-tank missile used by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany was nearing obsolescence. While the UK and Germany replaced the MILAN with non-European missiles, opting for the American Javelin and Israeli Spike-LR, respectively, France decided to develop their own missile, the Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP).

While the process of developing a new missile made it take longer than the British and German replacements, the missile has some advanced features that the Spike and Javelin lack. But were these features worth the wait? Is the MMP really better than its competition? Could it be an export success?

Functionally, the MMP is closer to the Spike-LR than the Javelin. Like the Spike-LR, it has man-in-the-loop guidance enabled by a fiber optic link. However, it incorporates advanced features into the firing post that current versions that the Spike lack. Notably, the firing post is set up for net-centric warfare and even can fire remotely without a soldier directly operating it.

The net-centric warfare capabilities mostly revolve around the ability to use the NLOS capability of the MMP to hit targets behind cover. As with the Spike-LR, the MMP’s firing post can see what the missile seeker sees. The firing post has a GPS and compass so that it can determine the azimuth it would need to face relative to a grid and cue the gunner in.

But in addition to the seeker feed, before firing, the firing post can receive video links from other sources, including UAVs. This can give the gunner a better idea of where to steer the missile after the initial launch and lead to better accuracy.

Seeker wise, the MMP is similar to the Spike in that it features a dual CCD/IIR seeker, however, both sensors are not used at once. The mode that’s desired is selected before launch. This allows each seeker to have a wider field of view, making tracking moving targets easier.

In actual killing ability, the MMP brings some innovations versus its competitors. Like the Russian Kornet, the MMP places its rocket engine between the precursor warhead (the first one to strike armor) and the main warhead to increase the standoff distance and penetration.

It also has multiple fuzing modes, allowing it to perform limited building destruction and anti-personnel duty, although dedicated HE-FRAG and thermobaric ATGMs would be superior for that.

Interesting, the MMP also has some additional features like the ability to lock and fire the missile remotely. Such capability was present on some Soviet ATGMs like the Malyutka (albeit at a short range). This could significantly improve the survivability of an MMP team in urban combat, as the guidance team could be in a different room from the launch post in case it takes return fire.

Overall, the MMP’s long developmental cycle probably resulted in one of the best designed anti-tank missile systems concerning capability. The team was able to observe foreign developments and look at the pros and cons of other ATGMs which reached production earlier.

The missile has clear influences from around the globe. The primary guidance method and fiber-optic link came from the Spike. The warhead design came from the Kornet. It also is rather forward-facing, incorporating net-centric warfare despite the lack of other platforms in the French Army that interface with a battlefield network.

Despite its features, the MMP’s late entry onto the market will probably make it difficult for it to find sales. Cost of the missile is rather high, due to it only being recently adopted by its only user, the French Army.

Other militaries have already adopted Spike, which provides a largely similar capability. Rafael is also continually updating the Spike, incorporating seeker improvements of its own, and adding net-centric warfare capability. Nations are likely to buy these firing post upgrades rather than convert wholly over to MMP.

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The MMP’s late development cycle has been a blessing and curse to it. It’s gotten the best of many features, but it’s arrived late to a mostly saturated market. However, it may find a place in supplementing or replacing Javelin systems.

Nations that rely solely on Javelin for infantry anti-tank might find themselves in need of a longer-ranged system, which the MMP can provide. Finally, since the MMP was developed off the back of French operational use of the Javelin, it addresses many issues France had with it, such as the lack of “man-in-the-loop” control.

Charlie Gao studied Political and Computer Science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national security issues. This article first appeared in 2018.

Image: Reuters.



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