Nine Entertainment Co officially opens North Sydney campus


Nine Entertainment Co has opened the doors to its new offices at 1 Denison Street in North Sydney.

The television, publishing and radio company, which owns The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, hosted politicians, business executives and shareholders at an event on Friday evening to mark the official opening of the new campus which will be home to most of the $4.1 billion company.

Nine Chairman Peter Costello opens the new Nine offices in North Sydney in December 4, 2020. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Nine first announced plans to move into the tower, which is currently the biggest in North Sydney, in 2017 before expanding its 12-year-lease to include extra levels that could accommodate for its 2018 merger with Fairfax Media. Television producers and presenters have moved into 1 Denison over the last two weeks, marking an end to Channel Nine’s studios in Willoughby which had been occupied for more than five decades.

Nine’s sales team, newspapers and television network are all expected to occupy the building, which will eventually hold about 2000 of the company’s staff.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, NRL boss Andrew Abdo, Rugby Australia executives Hamish McLennan, Rob Clarke and former Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood were among the attendees hosted at the new campus by Nine chairman Peter Costello and outgoing chief executive Hugh Marks.

“From a board’s point of view an investment like this doesn’t come cheap. Willoughby was a grand dame in her day but she has faded and this was a huge investment in our future. It’s coming together and as long as we stay focused it’ll be a great future. With that I say we open the new era and I formally open 1 Denison Street,” Mr Costello said.

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Ong Vietnamese Kitchen opens on Rundle Street


The team from Noi Vietnamese Eatery has opened a follow-up venue in the city, Ong Vietnamese Kitchen, which offers the same flavours in a new bar-style eatery format.

Back in September, the hospitality family behind Shibui, Noi Vietnamese Eatery, and several other well-loved Adelaide establishments – announced a new CBD kitchen and bar on Rundle Street: Ong.

It comes as Thy Nguyen’s mum decided to step away from the Chopstix restaurant that operated in the new Ong space for 16 years prior to the pandemic.

Having now established Noi over the last 12 months, the time felt right for Thy, her husband Quang, and Thy’s siblings to remake the restaurant for a new generation.

Ong Vietnamese Kitchen officially opens tonight, Thursday, 3 December, and will offer food in a similar style to Noi – their own interpretation of Vietnamese Australian fare – but in a more relaxed and bar-oriented format.

“There’s definitely things from Noi that people love,” chef Quang Nguyen says.

“We’re bringing over the grilled rice paper, Brussels, corn, stuff like that.

“There’s definitely a few of those dishes that work really well for the style of eating we’re doing here – a little bit more of the snack, smaller dishes, that drinking eating vibe.

“The smaller size format lets us do a lot more snacky dishes that can be a bit more interesting.”

At Ong, the team hopes diners will share – in couples and in groups – a wide variety of what the menu has to offer. There are only four large dishes on the menu, with the rest of the list being snacks and smaller dishes.

“When we go out to eat, we like to order everything, because we want to taste everything,” Thy says.

“We thought, if that’s how we like to eat, surely other people eat like that too.”

The drinks menu has been developed with consideration of the food offering’s Vietnamese flavours, and Thy hopes Ong’s food and drink menus will complement their East End bar and restaurant neighbours.

“We’re very aware we’ve got really good neighbours who are bar-orientated and small eats, so we wanted to complement everyone,” she says.

“Because we’re not a bar bar, like Clever Little Tailor or anything like that, but we’re still the place where you can come and eat really, really good food, and then the drinks menu is not an afterthought. It’s equally as important as the food.

“And the more good venues there are in one space, that better it is for everybody. That was something we always kept in mind.”

Ong is for drinks, too

 

Given most of the menu consists of small dishes, it is has extensive range, with many of the recipes drawing on Quang and Thy’s sense of nostalgia.

From the snack menu, the chicken pate is made using pho spices and is layered on top of a rice cracker, which Thy says “any kid growing up with an Asian background” will find familiar.

Another dish, canh ga nhoi thịt, stuffed chicken wings, is a dish close to Quang’s heart.

“Quang’s mum used to make him stuffed chicken wings after school,” Thy explains.

“She’s actually the reason he became a chef… She passed away a long time ago, and she used to make him stuffed chicken wings, so it’s cool that we can have this on the menu.”

Ong also deliberately plays with some very established favourites, such as their take on pho – pho dumplings.

“So, beef mince with pho spices and aromatics, then just in a pho broth. And then we’ve been really loving herbed oils, so we made a basil oil,” Thy says.

“The thought is, everything you find in a bowl of pho, the elements are here, but in a different way. So it’s kind of fun.”

Timing was an important part of the development of Ong – not only because Thy and Quang this year welcomed their first child, Blair, to the family.

Through their 12-and-a-bit months at Noi, they have felt a sense of trust build between the restaurant and the Adelaide dining public, which gave them the confidence to expand the concept into this new format.

“Whenever you do something new you don’t know how people will receive it, but we’re quietly confident as well, because I think a lot of people trust us now,” Thy says.

“[When we launched] Noi, no one had had our take on Vietnamese food before, our take on Vietnamese food, and it’s been received so well that I think we are going off Noi’s reputation.”

Ong Vietnamese Kitchen is located at 287 Rundle Street and operates Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm.



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MotoGP: Casey Stoner opens up on battle with chronic fatigue syndrome


Aussie MotoGP legend Casey Stoner has opened up on his ongoing battle with chronic fatigue syndrome, revealing he starts each day feeling only “50 per cent” energy.

The 35-year-old two-time world champion, regarded as one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all-time, retired in 2012 and first revealed his battle with the illness last year.

And Stoner has now told Spanish newspaper El Mundo things have only become worse, although he has at least getting used to managing the disease.

“It’s been months in which I felt that my body was deteriorating for no apparent reason: I went to train and came back burst,” said Stoner, who won world titles in 2007 and 2011.

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Meghan Markle opens up about miscarriage in New York Times article


“In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

The intimate details shared in the article are strikingly at odds with the usual policy of senior members of the British royal family, who reveal almost nothing about their personal lives.

Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, has never discussed her private life in any media interview in her 68-year reign.

Meghan and Harry stepped back from royal duties and moved to the United States earlier this year.

They have been trying to forge a new role for themselves outside the constraints of life in Britain’s strictly codified royal bubble.



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Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today


Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying today for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government.

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy replaces an earlier rent-support program for businesses introduced in the spring that saw little pickup because it relied on landlords to apply for help.

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms.

Federal cabinet ministers will highlight the program during a news conference this morning in which they will also open two initiatives designed to help businesses owned by Black Canadians.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents thousands of small companies across the country, is welcoming the new rent program as long overdue for firms severely affected by COVID-19.

However, it is criticizing the government for not opening it to businesses that would have qualified for the previous rent-relief program, but couldn’t access federal funds because their landlords chose not to apply.



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Corruption Trial of Ex-President Sarkozy Opens in France


PARIS — The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy appeared in a Paris courtroom on Monday to face charges of corruption and influence-peddling, as years of his drawn-out legal entanglements came to a head despite his enduring influence and popularity on the right.

Mr. Sarkozy, 65, who was president of France from 2007 to 2012, arrived at the main courthouse in Paris under tight security and without talking to a crowd of reporters gathered there. He is accused of trying to illegally obtain information on another legal case against him from a judge in return for promises to use his influence to secure a prestigious job for the judge.

Only one other president in recent French history has been put on trial: Jacques Chirac, who was convicted in 2011 for embezzling and misusing public funds when he was mayor of Paris. Mr. Chirac was the first French head of state to stand trial since Marshal Philippe Pétain was found guilty of treason at the end of World War II for collaborating with Nazi Germany.

Mr. Chirac, however, was tried in absentia because of his poor mental health.

Under French law, a person convicted of corruption can face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 1 million euros, or about $1.2 million, while influence peddling can be punished by up to five years in prison and a €500,000 fine.

The trial, initially scheduled to last until Dec. 10, could be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Lawyers for Gilbert Azibert — the 73-year-old judge who stands accused of involvement in the corruption case alongside Mr. Sarkozy and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog — say he is too much at risk from the virus because of heart and respiratory issues to attend sessions in court.

After a short hearing, the court suspended the proceedings and deferred a ruling on a potential postponement until Thursday, when a medical report on Mr. Azibert is due.

Mr. Sarkozy, a combative conservative politician who lost his bid for re-election in 2012 and whose comeback attempt failed in 2016, has denied wrongdoing in a complex web of financial impropriety cases that have plagued him since he left office.

Last month, prosecutors added a new charge in one of the longest-running and most serious cases against him, involving accusations that his 2007 campaign received illegal Libyan financing from the regime of the now-dead strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Mr. Sarkozy has been charged in that case, but leaks in the French news media indicate there is little concrete evidence so far of his direct involvement in the alleged financing scheme, and one of the key witnesses recently recanted some of his accusations against the former president.

“How long are we going to use taxpayer money to try and prove by all means possible that I am corrupt?” an angry Mr. Sarkozy said on the news channel BFM TV in an interview this month.

“The French must know, whether you like me or not — I have many flaws and probably made many mistakes — I am not a crook,” he added.

The case that started Monday, known as the “wiretapping affair,” is the first against him to finally reach trial, as Mr. Sarkozy — formerly a lawyer — has used every legal recourse available to him to draw out proceedings.

Although the cases are separate, the wiretapping affair emerged from the Libya inquiry, which began in 2013 and had led investigators to place wiretaps on phones belonging to Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Herzog, his lawyer.

Through the wiretaps, prosecutors say, investigators discovered in 2014 that Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Herzog were using secret phone lines and that the two had discussed ways of obtaining confidential information about another case involving the former president that was being handled by France’s top appeals court.

Prosecutors say Mr. Sarkozy sought to illegally obtain information from Mr. Azibert, then a magistrate at the court, including by promising to use his influence to secure a job for the judge in Monaco.

The job never materialized, but under French law, prosecutors do not have to prove that a corrupt deal was carried out to secure a conviction — only that one was agreed upon. Mr. Herzog, 65, and Mr. Azibert also deny any wrongdoing.

Paul-Albert Iweins, one of Mr. Herzog’s lawyers, said the wiretaps of the conversations between Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Herzog were a violation of lawyer-client confidentiality and that the discussions between Mr. Herzog and Mr. Azibert were mere conversations between friends.

“All of this is little bits of sentences that were taken out of context,” Mr. Iweins told Franceinfo radio on Monday.

Mr. Sarkozy is scheduled to stand trial next year in another case involving his 2012 campaign in which he has been charged with exceeding strict limits on campaign spending. Other cases against Mr. Sarkozy have been dropped, including one in which we was accused of manipulating the heiress to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune into financing his 2007 campaign.

Despite his legal woes, Mr. Sarkozy remains on good terms with President Emmanuel Macron, who has recently mirrored his tough stances on issues like crime and immigration, even making Gérald Darmanin, a former protégé of Mr. Sarkozy, his interior minister.

And while Mr. Sarkozy denies that he has new political ambitions — “politics is no longer my concern today,” he told BFM TV this month — he still holds considerable sway on the French right, with firm support from his political party, Les Républicains, and an unparalleled ability to electrify its base.

Last summer, Mr. Sarkozy’s latest book, a reflection on the first years of his presidency, was a best seller, and he is regularly swarmed for autographs and selfies during book signings.



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The NSW-Victoria border opens today after being closed for more than four months due to COVID-19


The NSW-Victoria border has reopened, 138 days after it was locked down by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to combat the spread of coronavirus.

At the main road crossing between the two states, a DJ was spinning beats and police sirens were blaring as cars crossed the Murray River between Wodonga and Albury at 12.01am.

Meanwhile, when the first flight from Melbourne touched down in Sydney shortly before 8.00am, passengers were met with drag queens, Bondi life guards and offered donuts — the treats that have become synonymous with “0” new cases of COVID-19.

The border reopening as breathed new life into one of the world’s busiest air travel routes, with a total of 25 planes due to land in the Harbour City from Melbourne today.

The changing rules mean that, for the first time since July 8, people are able to travel between Australia’s two most populous states without a mandatory two-week quarantine period.

Victorians arriving in Sydney received a warm welcome at the airport.(ABC News: Alexia Attwood)
Five life guards stand at the airport with welcome signs
Bondi surf life savers greet passengers arriving from Melbourne this morning.(ABC News: Alexia Attwood)

Melbourne resident Fiona Snape stayed in Wodonga last night so she could hit the road early this morning to pick up her 18-year-old daughter from University in Canberra.

Ms Snape booked the accommodation as soon as she heard the border was opening.

“I haven’t seen her since the beginning of July so that will be great to see her again and I’ll pick her up and take her back to Melbourne for the holidays,” she said.

“We’re all looking forward to a nice reunion.”

A smiling woman stands in the driveway of a motel.
Fiona Snape stayed in Wodonga overnight so she could cross the border early this morning.(ABC News: Jackson Peck)

The EconoLodge Border Gateway Motel booked out within hours of the announcement the border would reopen.

“We’ve had close to 150 reservations since the announcement … for a 10-room motel in a little country town that’s quite phenomenal,” manager Duncan McLaren said.

“It’s quite a good feeling to have after the last few months of very crippling restrictions.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
A DJ performed as the border reopened at Albury-Wodonga at midnight.

At Sydney Airport, passengers boarding the first flight to Melbourne for over four months were eager to get in the air.

Melbourne resident Jess McGill has been stuck in Sydney and was elated to finally be going home.

“I’m excited to go home so I’m really looking forward to seeing my family, I just got the first flight I could [as] it was really hard to get a flight,” she said.

Qantas base manager Captain Mathew Hicks said today was a huge win for the company, which recently reported a $2 billion loss due to travel restrictions.

“I’m feeling pretty positive … I think it’s going to uptick now domestically [but] still a way to go internationally.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday acknowledged how difficult the closure had been for border communities and she thanked them for their resilience.

“We never want to see this ever again,” she said.

“This is the last time in our lifetime this border is closed and we know tomorrow morning after midnight it will be a whole new era for both of our states.”

Ms Berejiklian said she felt more confident now about the lifting of the border than when she made the call on November 3, because of the number of days of no local transmissions in both states.

Crews removing traffic guides on Sunday morning at Albury.
Crews removed traffic guides at a border checkpoint at Albury on Sunday.(ABC News: Mikaela Ortolan)

Today Victoria recorded its 24th consecutive day of no community transmission and yesterday NSW reached 15 days of zero local cases.

The border between the two states has been closed since July 8, following Melbourne being hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases in late June.

Since then, only a select few people have been permitted to cross the border, including some year 11 and 12 students, agricultural workers, those seeking emergency care and those allowed to cross on compassionate grounds.

On September 4, a 50-kilometre border bubble was set up to help communities cope with the disruption.

Since July, more than 14,000 NSW Police officers from across the state have patrolled more than 27 checkpoints along the border.

They were helped by 1,200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, along with Transport for NSW staff and Victoria Police.

It was a big job: As many as 25,000 traffic movements a day were detected in Albury-Wodonga at one stage.

NSW Police said 80 per cent of vehicle movements were by local residents of border towns.

A warning sign at Albury in July.
Drivers heading to NSW were met with warnings during the border closure.(ABC News: Lukas Coch)

Ms Berejiklian had long advocated for open borders between the states and territories amid the pandemic.

However, the Premier’s was forced to change tack in July when an unknowingly infected Victorian visited the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south-west and caused an outbreak oft 58 COVID-19 cases in NSW.

Now, more than four months later, NSW is Australia’s first jurisdiction without any hard borders.



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New dog run, bird perch opens at East Coast Park


SINGAPORE: A new dog run and bird perch have been opened at East Coast Park for visitors to bring their furry or feathered friends. 

The dog run, at 0.2ha (2,000 sq m), is the largest in the east and located at Parkland Green within East Coast Park, said the National Parks Board (NParks) on Sunday (Nov 22). 

READ: New central green corridor connecting East Coast Park and Changi Beach Park to be created: Heng Swee Keat


View of the dog run at East Coast Park. (Photo: Facebook/NParks) 

Bird owners can also showcase their trained birds at the new perch located just beside the dog run. 

“Both the dog run and the bird perch were designed in consultation with the community and enhances pet-friendly amenities at the park,” said NParks. 

The perch, for example, was built using upcycled woods from East Coast Park and was designed in consultation with bird owner community Bird Craze. 

READ: New 3.5km path linking Changi Airport and East Coast Park opens, featuring dinosaur exhibits

Bird Perch at East Coast Park

The new bird perch is located beside the dog run. (Photo: Facebook/NParks) 

In addition to these amenities, NParks said it has also set up a new community initiative”to promote stewardship and responsible use of Singapore’s green spaces”. 

The Friends of East Coast Park, which includes various stakeholders and volunteers, will allow residents to play a more active role in ground-led programmes and initiatives, said NParks. 

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee has been appointed as adviser to the new initiative. 



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Jade Tunchy opens up about HPV diagnosis and motivates women to stop putting off cervical cancer tests


Jade Tunchy is best known as one of Australia’s most popular social media influencers but her decision to share a personal health journey has put an often ignored subject in the spotlight.

“So basically, I noticed abnormalities in my period as well as other symptoms, which made me think it was worth checking out,” she said.

“I also hadn’t had my pap test in a few years, so I thought I was due for it anyway.”

A trip to her doctor in August for a cervical screening test revealed she had human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease, which is usually harmless, shows no symptoms and goes away by itself, according to Cancer Institute NSW.

‘Youth was on my side’

But Ms Tunchy’s doctor detected high-grade abnormalities, which had the potential to develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.

“My doctor told me that most cases that are detected early recover, and that youth was on my side,” she said.

“I felt like I had a huge lack of knowledge about the topic and as the process went on, I was surprised to find out just how common it was.”

The 25-year-old is healing after undergoing a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) in hospital on Thursday to remove the abnormal tissue.

Over the past three months she’s documented her experience, sharing it with her more than 450,000 Instagram followers.

“I hadn’t really seen any other women speak openly about this,” she said.

Ms Tunchy said she received an overwhelming response with hundreds of messages from women in similar situations.

Many women said Jade Tunchy’s openness motivated them to get checked.(Supplied: @jadetunchy)

“The screenings are there because this is all preventative if caught early. The process isn’t half as bad as you might think … you aren’t alone in this,” Ms Tunchy said.

Sharp drop in cancer screenings

Data shows an almost 45 per cent drop in cervical cancer screening rates from January to June this year compared with 2019, according to a recent report from the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

To combat this, more than 40 organisations have pledged to give flexible leave or time off to employees wanting to have a cervical screening test.

Australian and global companies have joined a campaign called #ThePreventionPact, which also aims to start a conversation among women.

“We think there’s about a million women out there that aren’t up to date with their cervical screenings,” Leisa Ashton from the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation said.

“We’ve all got mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, friends that we know … won’t be up to date with their cervical screening tests and this is as good a time as any to go and get up to date with it.”

The pap test was replaced by the cervical screening test almost three years ago, with women encouraged to get the new test every five years from the age of 25.

The age of a woman’s first test changed from 18 to 25 because cervical cancer is rare in those aged under 25, according to Cancer Institute NSW.

While there is an HPV vaccine, which is given to most school-aged children, it does not protect against all types of HPV.

HPV-vaccinated women still need to have a cervical screening test every five years.

“As we’re now getting back to some normalcy in life, if you missed the screening test earlier in the year it’s important to catch up on that now,” Danielle McMullen from the Australian Medical Association said.

“The goal is to be looking for things before it’s a cancer because we can treat abnormalities and prevent cancers from happening.”



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