. .
Comments Off on WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

WorleyParsons shares surge as Dubai-based Dar Group snags stake

Worleyparsons said it had received a “confidential, highly conditional” proposal for all its shares in November. Photo: James AlcockShares in WorleyParsons surged to a two-year high after a Dubai-based consulting group emerged with a 13.35 per cent holding and confirmed it had made an indicative bid for the engineering contractor last year but was knocked back.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

WorleyParsons confirmed on Tuesday it had received a “confidential, highly conditional indicative proposal” on November 14 from Dar Al-Handasah Consultants Shair and Partners (Dar Group) to buy all its shares for $11.80 each.

But after reviewing the proposed scheme of arrangement with its advisors, the board came to the view that it materially undervalued the company and wasn’t in the best interests of shareholders.

“The proposal was highly conditional in relation to financing, due diligence, process, regulatory and other conditions, which created significant execution risk and uncertainty for the company,” WorleyParsons said in a statement.

“The board’s view on value took into account the quality and global platform of the WorleyParsons business, the current low point in oil industry activity, the historical trajectory of previous cyclical recoveries, the cost reduction program that had not yet been fully reflected in earnings and the low operating risk profile of thr WorleyParsons business.”

Dar Group, a privately owned global network of architecture and engineering firms, said its exposure to WorleyParsons comprised of physical shares of 8.61 per cent and a cash-settled equity swap exposure of 4.74 per cent.

WorleyParsons’ shares closed 31.97 per cent higher at $10.65 on Tuesday.

It had bought the stake with a “long-term strategic perspective” and looked forward to being a “supportive shareholder”.

There had been no further discussions between Dar Group and WorleyParsons since the latter rebuffed its proposal in November and Dar Group had “no present intention of initiating discussions with WorleyParsons [over] a change of control transaction”. ​

The company last week posted a $2.4 million interim net loss – its first ever – due to declining sales, restructuring charges and late-paying government clients, sending its shares on their biggest decline in nine months.

Revenue fell to $2.7 billion from $4.2 billion, a result chief executive Andrew Wood said was “in line with market conditions and comparable with our peers in our market sectors”. It said the full impact of cost reductions and improving market conditions were not reflected in current earnings.

‘s mining contractors have been hit by a downturn in the prices of iron ore and other major commodities which has seen major resources firms curb spending.

with Reuters

Comments Off on State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

State starts consultation on Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan

A VISITING British planning expert and the state’s chief planner have both described Newcastle as a place on the verge of great things at a planning workshop at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

London-based Professor Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White spoke at length about the opportunities and challenges facing Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region at the workshop, hosted by Department of Planning and Environment deputy secretary Brendan Nelson and attended by about 80 people.

On his first visitto Newcastle, Professor Clark said he was surprised by what he’d seen, compared withwhat he’d heard beforehand.

“I thought I was coming to see a city in decline, full of challenges, but when you look at all of the things that are happening right now, it’s already full of opportunities,” Professor Clark said.

Brendan Nelson, NSW Planning and Environment

Mr White, who took the top planning job in NSW after a long career in local government in Queensland, said Newcastle was in effect the opposite of Canberra. Whereas Canberra had been “planned to death, Newcastle had no metropolitan plan”.

Both men talked about a need to develop long-term plans that could be broken down into phases, and which took notice of change as it happened.

Mr White said planners had done quite well until about 10 years ago in managing cycles of change, but the big “structural disruptions” caused by digital technology were creating “change on a scale we have never seen before”.

IMPRESSED: British planning expert Greg Clark and NSW chief planner Gary White extolling Newcastle’s virtues at a workshop on the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday.

Both men said the old method of planning, where industry, residential, health, education and retail were each concentrated in their own zones was no longer working.

There were limits to what planning could achieve but a Greater Newcastle Metropolitan plan –together with a single regional voice to backit – was a necessary first step in promoting the region to governments and employers, as well as potential residents and visitors.

The workshop heardProfessor Clark would return to Newcastle later in the year as work on the metropolitan plan continued.

Asked about better rail links to Sydney, he said there was a risk they might initially suck jobs out of Newcastlebut the benefits would eventually work in both directions.

Light rail and theCBD university campus meantNewcastle was already on the path to renewal.

Comments Off on Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

Commonwealth bout big chance for Rocky

WAIT OVER: Rocky Jerkic at Steel City Boxing in Hamilton North. Picture: Michael Parris n champion Rocky Jerkic will end a long and frustrating wait when he fights for the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight title in Melbourne on Friday night.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The Newcastle-trained boxer from Brisbane will have the chance to “open doors” to bigger fights if he overcomes unbeaten Victorian Anthony Buttigieg at The Melbourne Pavilion.

The 28-year-old mandatory challenger won a purse bid last year to host a Commonwealth title bout againstLiam Williams, but the Welshman relinquished his belt instead of travelling to .

Jerkic has a 15-0 record, including 12 knockouts, and scored a celebrated comeback win over Shannon King to win the national title in late 2015.

He has struggled to find willing opponents in since then, but trainer Rob Fogarty said a win on Friday would help establish him in the international arena.

“I don’t think Williams wanted to take the risk on an undefeated kid,” the Steel City Boxing trainer said on Tuesday before flying to Melbourne with his charge.

“No one else in wants to fight him.

“We’ve put the challenge out to Mundine, everyone, and they’ve all knocked it back.

“At least Buttigieg, you’ve got to give him props for stepping up.

“I know for a fact he’s primed, ready to go.

“This is the first guy in well over 12 months who has even put his hand up to fight Rocky.”

Fogarty said he had watched Jarrett Hurd score a ninth-round technical knockout of fellow American Tony Harrison to win the IBF super-welterweight world title last weekend at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, and said Jerkic was “definitely on a par” with both fighters.

He said Jerkic would challenge Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation champion Yutaka Oishi if he beat Buttigieg.

“Without a doubt this is the biggest fight of Rocky’s career. This will open some doors for him,” he said.

“Within 30 days we’ll know if we fight the guy in Japan or we can bring it back here.

“After that, that should put him in the top 15 in the world in the WBC.”

Buttigieg, at 171cm, is giving away 12cm in height to Jerkicbut has won all 12 of his fights, three by knockout.

He has won four of those fights by split decision, but Fogarty said Buttigieg had taken two months off work to prepare for the 12-round fight.

“He’s short, nuggety, got a walk-up style. Good defensively,” Fogarty said. “I’ve watched plenty of tape on this kid. He is strong.”

Comments Off on OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

KICKING ALONG: The proposed reconstruction of a lake swimming area at Belmont has created considerable interest.Swimming is a survival skill.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Swimming in Lake Macquarie, similar to swimming in the ocean is a significantly different experience and skill to swimming in the closed environment of a public pool.

Lake Macquarie City Council is considering the installation of a new finger jetty and an enclosed swimming area with eco shark barrier netting in Belmont.

This issue has been kicked along for many years and I want to see people enjoying a swim in the natural environment with peace of mind in Belmont.

Belmont does not have any public pools, with the nearest council owned and operated pools located in Swansea and Charlestown.

If this infrastructure project is successful, it might provide an opportunity to redirect some funding from public pools towards other similar facilities around Lake Macquarie in the future.

It is important to note the significant costs of building, refurbishing and maintaining public pools, as opposed to providing infrastructure that leverages all that is great about the natural environment like this initiative.

By delivering this type of community infrastructure, it provides swimmers with a unique experience that we as a council have not offered in many decades.

There will be no barriers to entry in terms of swimming fees.

The facility will be easily accessible to people from all walks of life through sufficient access to public transport, with numerous bus stops located in Belmont within close proximity to the foreshore.

Advancements in technology will be utilised by providing eco shark barrier netting, which will ensure that there is no damage to the environment.

By providing this crucial infrastructure, swimmers can enjoy the largest salt-water lake in .

This infrastructure enhances all that is great about the natural environment and encourages swimming with peace of mind.

I envisage that Lake Macquarie Council City Council councillors will accept the recommendation by staff in relation to a swimming facility in Belmont.

This includes a new finger jetty and an enclosed netted swimming area (including the eco shark barrier).

Having served on council only for the past five months, I am incredibly proud to be standing with the Mayor, Kay Fraser, and delivering this core infrastructure together with our councillors.

This is a significant new policy direction that Lake Macquarie City Council is taking and, if patronage is high and the facility is well utilised, it could act as a catalyst to provide similar swimming facilities at other locations in Lake Macquarie in the future.

I look forward to donning my bathers in Belmont and I hope that the community will get behind this initiative and make this unique swimming facility part of the fabric of our area.

Some in our community contend that this facility doesn’t go far enough.

They argue that we need to build the ‘Taj Mahal’ of facilities in order for people to start swimming in the lake.

I say to them, put on your bathers once this unique swimming facility is built and together let’s ensure that patronage is high and it is as popular as we all hope it will be.

Together we will deliver this infrastructure to Belmont and make the area everything that it can be.

Adam Shultz, is a councillor on Lake Macquarie City Council (east ward)

Comments Off on Man arrested on terror offences after AFP counter-terror operation in Young, NSW

Man arrested on terror offences after AFP counter-terror operation in Young, NSW

Man arrested on terror offences after AFP counter-terror operation in Young, NSW

One man has been arrested in an n Federal Policecounter-terror operation in the NSW town of Young.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Haisem Zahab, 42, fromCherry Vale Road,Young, has been arrested and charged with a number of offences relating to terrorism.

Mr Zahab did not apply for bail when he appeared before Young Local Court on Tuesday afternoon, and it was formally refused by magistrate Peter Dare.

Mr Zahab will be held in custody before appearingin the Paramatta Local Court on Wednesday, March 8, via audio-visual link.

Mr Zahab has been charged with giving and receiving goods andservices to promote commission of section 119.1 offence between 12am on December 1, 2014 and and February28, 2017 at Young.

He was also charged with intentionallyperforming services for a body, being Islamic State with the research, design, and modelling of a long-range missile and a guidance system for the missile with the intention of supporting or promoting the commission of an offence against section 119.1 of the criminal code and for the research and design of a laser warning receiving with theintention of supporting or promoting the commission of an offence against section 119.1 of the criminal code.

Magistrate Peter Dare said these charges could carry life sentences.

The Commonwealth prosecutor Ms L Thompson would not confirm if the appearance via audio-visual linkwas for security reasons, only saying it was the instructions she had been given.

https://t苏州夜场招聘/KR6KDb4RzJpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/mYrIB219GB

— Bec Hewson (@bec_hewson) February 28, 2017

It is alleged the man, a 42-year-old n-born electrician, attempted to research and design a laser warning device and missiles for Islamic State.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said: “With these offences, we will allege that he has utilised the internet to perform services for ISIL, activities in the Syria and Iraq conflict, from in the following ways.

“Firstly, by researching and designing a laser warning device to help warn against incoming guided munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq. And secondly, we will also allege that he has been researching, designing and modelling systems to assist ISIL’s efforts to develop their own long-range guided missile capabilities.”

Mr Colvin said the alleged advice provided by the “technically-trained” manwas “fairly sophisticated and well-planned”.

“We will be alleging that the material that he was intending to provide to ISIL, the research he was doing, was credible,” he said.

Dozens of officers descended on a semi-rural property in Cherry Vale Placeearly on Tuesday morning and began a search.

Some were seen to use metal detectors to search the ground, while NSW Police officers from the dog squad stood nearby.

Mr Colvin said it is believed the man acted alone. No further arrests are expected.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the arrest highlighted a need for ns to remain vigilant.

“This highlights thatterrorism, support for terrorist groups, and Islamist extremism is not limited to our major cities,” he told a briefing at Parliament House in Canberra.

“This is yet another example of the excellent work the men and women of the n Federal Police and all our security agencies are doing in identifying and disrupting alleged assistance to ISIL.”

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Tuesday’s raid, carried out by NSW Police in conjunction with the AFP, came after a year and a half of investigation.

“The arrest today is the result of an 18-month-long operation and it reminds us that whether you are in a capital city planning an attack on home soil or whether you are in a small country town, trying to assist the terrorist state in the Middle East, you will get caught,” he said.

More to come

Comments Off on It’s a first for Paddy

It’s a first for Paddy

It’s a first for Paddy

Carry on Jake (Jackson Murphy) returns to scale after an easy Armidale win. Picture by Bradley PhotographersGlen Innes trainer Paddy Cunningham will have his first ever runner in the Country Championships at Scone on Sunday.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The likeable Cunningham will be travelling nearly eight hours return trip with his charge Carry on Jake who is entered for the $150,000 *H&NWRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m).

“I did have Hula Girl entered for a Country Championships race previously but she was an emergency and didn’t get a run,” Cunningham said. “I’m hoping this bloke gets into the field.”

Cunningham has had Carry on Jake for 13 starts after the galloper did his early racing in Queensland, but has done well with the five-year-old winning three races and being placed twice.

The gelding won two races at Armidale (1900m) during November, the latter by a widening eight lengths after leading the entire journey. Carry on Jake then led but was grabbed late when third (half a length) to Jimmy Hoffa at Grafton (2200m).

Cunningham has had this race in mind since, giving him an 11-week break before starting Carry on Jake at Grafton in a much shorter 1100m race on February 20.

“We bought him to try and win the Guyra Cup (run at Armidale this Saturday) but then realised he was still eligible for the Country Championships, so we thought we’d have a crack at it with $120,000 more prizemoney.

“He was a funny horse when we first got him but as we increased his distances the better he became. He has now got more confidence and has turned into a pretty fair galloper. He blitzed them when he won at Armidale that day.”

Carry on Jake was well back and wide yet caught the eye when he came from last for fourth (beaten a length) to Rothbury starting a $26 chance.

“He has improved since that run and no doubt the step up to 1400m will also be up his alley.”

Tamworth trainer Lesley Jeffriess will rely on Lonely Orphan in the Qualifier. The mare raced with distinction in three city runs at Rosehill Gardens between October and December.

A winner of four races from 17 starts, Lonely Orphan has not been seen since finishing a close second at Armidale (1900m) on December 19.

Scone Race Club was delighted to receive 28 nominations for the Country Championships Qualifier.

*H&NWRA: Hunter & North West Racing Association

This preview of The Championships is brought to you by Racing NSW. Mark Brassel writes for Racing NSW Magazine, racingnsw苏州夜总会招聘.au and thechampionships苏州夜总会招聘.au

Comments Off on EDITORIAL: Newcastle’s future depends on proper planning, say international experts.

EDITORIAL: Newcastle’s future depends on proper planning, say international experts.

EDITORIAL: Newcastle’s future depends on proper planning, say international experts.

AT a presentation by the University of Newcastle on Monday night, economist Antoine van Agtmael and journalist Fred Bakker – authors of The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation –explained how the city could bestfind its “technological niche” for the future.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The next morning, at a Department of Planning and Environmentworkshop at Fort Scratchley, NSWchief plannerGary Whiteand London-based cities specialistGreg Clarkwere equally enthusiastic about the opportunities opening up for Newcastle and the broader Hunter Region.

On his first visit to Newcastle, Professor Clark was pleasantly surprised by the amount of progress already under way in the rebuilding of the regional economy. Based on what he heard, he had come to Newcastle expecting some sort of “rustbelt” destination. Instead, as he told his audience, manyof the building blocks of a successfully rejuvenated, post-industrial city were already in place, or on the way there.

This bodes well for the future, but as Professor Clark made clear, there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to decision-making in regional cities.

As this week’s visitors –and others before them –have made abundantly clear, the globalised nature of life in the 21stcentury meansthat Newcastle is one of many cities taking part –consciously or not –in an international struggle to attract people, capital, companies and institutions.

Key to success in this struggle –according to the futurists and planners –is the ability to present a unified voice to the outside world when it comes to telling the decision-makers, the keepers to the treasury keys, what it is we want. Newcastle has long had a reputation for fractious politics, for having an unnecessary number of representative bodies, all claiming to speak for the region:and all guilty, to some degree or other, of failing to co-operate with each other. According to Professor Clark, decision-makers in successful emerging cities have found ways to put aside their internal differences, and to co-operatein ways that benefitthe broader community, and not just their individual bits of it.

The question is, can we do this here? It might be a cliche, but Newcastle has natural assets that cities around the world would kill for. Are we ready to capitalise on them, to work together, and to take that next step?

ISSUE: 38,478

Comments Off on TheatreDraculaKen Longworth

TheatreDraculaKen Longworth

TheatreDraculaKen Longworth

STIRRING: Experience the shake & stir treatment of Dracula at the Civic Theatre on March 17. WHEN Brisbane theatre company shake & stir staged a new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s vampire novel Dracula in 2015 many audience members went online saying they’d had “a bloody good time”.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

While that was intended as a joking response to the show, it also reflected the enthusiasm this Dracula produced among those who saw it. The season quickly sold out.

shake & stir is remounting the show for a seven-month tour that will take it to 44 venues throughout , including Newcastle’s Civic Theatre on March 17.

The company, which specialises in developing stage works from demanding stories, previously brought acclaimed versions of George Orwell’s novels Animal Farm and 1984 to the Civic, with those watching riveted by the onstage action.

The story was adapted by two of the actors, Nick Skubij and Nelle Lee. Skubij plays Count Dracula, a Transylvanian autocrat who buys properties in London and journeys to there in search of new blood. Lee is Mina, a London teacher and the fiancée of Jonathan Harker (Tim Dashwood), a young lawyer who goes to Transylvania to discuss the management of the properties and finds himself as being more than just a guest at dinner. Harker barely escapes with his life.

The other characters include Mina’s friend, Lucy (Ashlee Lollback), who is stalked by Dracula, and John Seward (Ross Balbuziente), a doctor and one of Lucy’s suitors. David Whitney has won praise for the two very different people he plays: Abraham Van Helsing, a doctor, lawyer and professor who joins Seward, one of his former students, in hunting for vampires, and Renfield, a mentally disturbed patient of Seward whose behaviour includes eating insects he captures and who comes under the influence of Dracula. Renfield’s habits contribute dark humour to the story.

Bram Stoker’s novel was written in 1897 and Dracula’s director, Michael Futcher, has retained the late 19th century setting, with the actors wearing the era’s elegant garb and a much-praised set showing how swiftly a performance can move from one venue to another.

And, as Tim Dashwood noted in an interview, the idea of vampires is not common knowledge in this story. “So when peoples’ blood is seemingly sucked, and they are pale and have bite marks on their neck, our characters look to natural causes,” he said. “Part of the play is convincing them that there are darker things in the realms of man.”

Dracula has performances at the Civic Theatre on Friday, March 17, at 11am and 8pm. Tickets: $48, concession $42, subscriber $38, youth (15-21) $30, family (two adults, two children $140. Bookings: 4929 1977.

Comments Off on Bennett’s final Scone fling

Bennett’s final Scone fling

Bennett’s final Scone fling

Back to back Country Championships would be the ultimate swan song for veteran trainer Greg Bennett.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The day after the $400,000 race is run, he is shutting down his Scone stables to take up a role at Queensland-based breeding facility, Aquis Farm, and he’s keen to go out with a bang.

Bennett has three strong changes for the Hunter and North West Country Championships qualifier at Scone on Sunday – a race he won last year with Clearly Innocent who then went on to claim victory in the final.

Leading the charge is All Summer Long who is back for a second tilt at the title.

The Snippetson gelding qualified for the final after finishing second behind Clearly Innocent last year, but was scratched.

“We decided straight away we’d like to target this race again so he has been held back on purpose,” Bennett said.

“We gave him a good long spell after his last preparation and I am very happy with where he is at now.”

Tommy Berry Greg Bennett and – Bradleys

He ran a strong race for second in the Country Championships Prelude at Scone on February 17.

He lumped 62kgs in that race and won’t know himself when he drops down to 56kgs as a class three horse in a set weights race.

“He gets in good at the weights and with a trial and two races under his belt, he is cherry ripe,” Bennett said.

“All we need now is a soft surface and a barrier inside eight to give him the best chance.”

Invienna is also back for round two after finishing fourth in the Scone qualifier and fifth in the wildcard.

“She was really unlucky not to get into the final last year,” Bennett said.

“Obviously she had Clearly Innocent and All Summer Long to contend with at Scone and was caught wide at Muswellbrook.”

Invienna was only a length behind the winner in the Country Championships Prelude while carrying 61kgs. In the start before that she recorded an impressive win in a Class 3 1100m race at Scone while carrying 62kgs.

She too will appreciate a turnaround in the weights, dropping to 57.5kg in the Country Championships.

“She’s race fit and is deserving of a spot in the final,” Bennett said.

“She needs a good surface and will try and settle midfield but that plan might have to change when the barrier draw comes out.”

Sassaby rounds out the Bennett trio and while his last run yielded a disappointing result, he says it should be forgotten.

“He’s stripped fitter for the run and I’m happy with him.

“It’ll be a good strong race though. There are more than a few smart horses in the mix,” Bennett said.

Comments Off on Three inner-Sydney districts contributed a quarter of China’s GDP growth in 2015-16

Three inner-Sydney districts contributed a quarter of China’s GDP growth in 2015-16

Three inner-Sydney districts contributed a quarter of China’s GDP growth in 2015-16

Things are pretty great … as long as this is where you work. Photo: UnknownThree Sydney districts contributed nearly one-quarter of all the growth in ‘s economy last financial year as inner-city job hubs power ahead of the rest of the nation.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

New analysis of district-level economic performance has revealed huge variations across the country.

Sydney’s CBD area, the inner northern suburbs and the Ryde district together delivered 24 per cent of gross domestic product growth in 2015-16, research by consultancy group SGS Economics and Planning shows.

All three districts are within Sydney’s “global economic corridor” which arcs from Macquarie Park through the CBD to Kingsford Smith airport. Many high value, knowledge-intensive industries have clustered in that corridor including finance, IT, professional services, engineering, research, healthcare, marketing and media. The Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury district also registered very strong growth.

Terry Rawnsley, an economist at SGS Economics and Planning and the report’s author, said the city’s booming construction and finance industries underpinned the strong performance.

“Inner Sydney is not only driving the Sydney economy but also the national economy,” he said.

Inner Melbourne also stood out – it contributed 11.4 per cent of ‘s GDP growth last financial year.

But the report warned that the disparity in growth rates across the country was now greater than at any time during the mining boom.

The economies of five statistical districts in regional NSW contracted in 2015-16 including Riverina (-0.6 per cent), Murray (-0.5 per cent) and the Central West (-0.3 per cent)

While there were patches of strong economic growth in Western Sydney, it was hampered by the ongoing decline in manufacturing, one of the region’s major employers. Manufacturing’s share of Sydney’s economy hit a record low of 5.7 per cent in 2015-16.

Comments Off on Hunter headache sufferers finding relief with neck therapy

Hunter headache sufferers finding relief with neck therapy

Hunter headache sufferers finding relief with neck therapy

Mayfield nurse Alison Wright . . . ‘Within the first two or three treatments I was starting to feel better already.’ Picture: Jonathan CarrollI can sense Greg Cleveland’s burden, his 51 years of suffering, when I meet him at a Newcastle cafe. He is tall and thickset, but his every word, every laugh and gesture, is careful, muted, as though he is secretly deactivating a bomb while he talks.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The Adamstown Heights man is a long-term migraine sufferer. He was first diagnosed and hospitalised in Scone at age seven, 12 months after being involved in a car accident. By the time he wasa teenager, they became severe enough to make him throw up. Sometimes they literally leave him tearing his hair out. Not surprisingly, he has sufferedfrom depression.

Somehow he found the strength to complete an engineering degree at the University of Newcastleand workaround as a consultant and project manager. Wherever he went, the headaches went with him.

“I remember my wife came home one day and thought I’d had a heart attack,” he says. “I was on the floor. I couldn’t move, and it was because my headache was that bad.”

Now 58, Cleveland has tried “everything you can think of” to find relief: neurology, chiropractic medicine, brain scans, X-rays, massage, acupuncture, medication.

“I’ve been suffering basically on and off for 51 years. There’s heaps of people that claim to be able to cure headaches.”

His is a harrowing story. It doesn’t have the happy Hollywood ending: there is no miracle cure. But Greg has found a good deal of relief in the past two months – enough to make his life “manageable” – since his GP referred him to Damien Cummins, one of a handful of physiotherapists in who specialise in treating headaches using manual therapy on theupper neck.

“I was getting two to three bad migraines a week, to the point where they were debilitating,” Clevelandsays.“So I had an appointment with him, and basically right from the very first treatment there was a marked improvement in my migraines.”

Greg Cleveland has been living with migraine headaches for 51 years. Picture: Michael Parris

He says he still gets headaches – “he never promised to cure me” – but they are less frequent and far less severe.

“I suffer from depression. I went to my doctor and said, ‘Do you know what’s going on? I have a good job, good house, good family. I have nothing to be depressed about.’ And she said it was just from putting up with pain for so long.

“If I woke up with a headache previously, by the end of the day I’d be that crook that I wouldn’t be able to drive or do anything. Now I can do a few exercises and by lunchtime or mid-afternoon it’s faded.

“I was a bit sceptical when I went because I’ve been to that many people. You just grin and bear it. You get to the point where no one’s going to help and this is just the way it is and there’s people who are a lot worse off than I am.But it’s improved my life to the point where I can start doing more stuff in my time off.In the old days it would be get home, take more than the prescribed dose of tablets and then go to bed and not move. Now I can go home and still function.”

Cummins has been focusing on headache treatment for the past five years and set up the Newcastle Headache Clinic as an offshoot of his Mayfield physio practice.

A fit, angular 47-year-old with an enviable sweep of dark hair, he talks excitedly about his work, leaning forward, imploring you to share his enthusiasm.He is quick to point out that he is no miracle worker, that his clinic is one of several treatments available to patients, and that he can’t help everyone, but even Newcastle pain specialist Dr Anthony Schwarzer says his colleague has a “specialability” for diagnosing and treating headaches through manual therapy.

“We see amazing results with some people who are struggling,” Cummins says. “The person often doesn’t realise their neck is such a big part of the problem. And it doesn’t seem to matter how chronic the condition is.”

He and Dr Schwarzer presented a talk to Hunter doctors on Tuesday about establishing a pathway for treatment starting with GPs, via physiotherapy assessment and therapy and then on to pain specialists if the manual therapy does not work.

Cummins, who is undertaking his own research through the University of Newcastle, says there is “slowly mounting evidence” suggesting a link between neck stiffness or tenderness and many headaches, and that manual therapy can help.

He says research has showed that about 20 per cent of headaches are cervicogenic, or neck-related, and that manual therapy can offer clear benefits in these cases.But clinical practice is indicating that such treatment can also help migraine sufferers if their neck is one of the triggers for their pain.

“What we think is going on is the brain stem is sensitised, so the brain stem gets signals from the upper three neck joints, as well as signals from lots of other places.

“There’s some early research that’s coming out that we can use neck mobilisation – we can normalise the neck movement – and it can have a desensitising effect on the brain stem. We don’t know how it works yet.

Damien Cummins at his Mayfield physio practice . . . ‘You just change their lives. It’s unbelievable. It’s great. It’s fun.’ Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“Neurologists treat this sensitisation with the use of medications to desensitise the brain stem. That’s established. We know migraine is to do with this sensitisation issue, but we didn’t know that the neck treatment can have a desensitising effect. There’s reallystrong evidence to suggest we’re having an effect on the nervous system. We just don’t know why.”

DrSchwarzer, who trained as a rheumatologist and pain specialist, has a PhD in spine medicine and a masters degree in pain management from Sydney University. He is aformer senior lecturer in anatomy at Newcastle University and has fellowships with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Faculty of Pain Medicine in then and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Australasian Faculty of Musculoskeletal Medicine. He is also an original member and former president of the US-basedSpineIntervention Society. It’s fair to say he knows what he’s talking about.

He says Cummins has developed a special interest in the management of neck pain and headaches and is seekingto add a scientific foundation to his work.

Dr Schwarzer, whose research on spinal pain has built on the work of celebrated Newcastle spinal pain specialist and anatomist Dr Nikolai Bogduk,regards Cummins’ treatmentas a valuable option for some of his patients.

“He’s helped in the management ofpatients with neck pain and headaches,” Dr Schwarzer says. “He sorts out whether the patient is mechanically responsive. If he gives them relief long-term, they stay with him. If it’s short-term, then he can actually identify a source of pain we can do something more with using injections and other treatments.”

“Likewise, if I do the nerve blocks and radiofrequency treatment, which we offer for neck pain, they’ll come back to Damien for further treatment.It was probably not mainstream 20 years ago, but it’s probably more sophisticated and accepted now.

“Damien is enthusiastic about ensuring what he does is backed up and validated by my diagnostic work.”

Dr Schwarzer says most specialists in the field are keen to avoid long-term medication and invasive procedures when possible.

“They would all be supportive of what he [Cummins] does. I don’t know how many of them know he exists, to be honest. Again, they would have the view that anything to avoid surgery would be the way to go.”

Another of Cummins’ patients, Katerina Mudd, a 54-year-old legal assistant from Maryland, says her headaches had turned her into a “cranky pants”, avoiding family events, movies, restaurants and her musician sons’ concerts. She was taking Voltaren every few days to alleviate her symptoms, but the pain would cycle back. Her doctor referred her to a neurosurgeon, who in turn suggested physiotherapy as a first alternative to desensitising injections in her neck.

“I left his office that morning and I rang Damien’s office as soon as I got out the door. I was desperate. I really needed something that day. I was disappointed I didn’t get a jab, but I know you have to try other things.

“I still had a headache when I went and saw him the next day. The day after that I woke up and there was no headache. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘Oh my god. I’m so onto a good thing here.’

“And then the first eight days I went four times. Each time I went it felt better and better and he gave me exercises to do, which I did religiously.I’m over the moon. I haven’t had a headache since.”

Mudd, who has arthritis in her fingers, feet, shoulder and neck, says the treatment has transformed her life.

“I can look over my left shoulder now when I’m driving. Just the little things that bring joy to my psyche now, whereas before it was like, ‘I can’t–I’ve got a headache. I can’t do this and I don’t want to do that and I don’t want to go there, and I don’t want to go to the movies because it’s too loud.’

“It’s unbelievable, and I said to my husband, ‘I wonder how many people out there are suffering?’ We need to get it out there.”

Cummins has trained under n physiotherapist Dean Watson, the founder of the Watson Headache Approach and a researcher at Perth’s Murdoch University.

He says he is far from a saviour, despite the messianic way some of his patients talk about him.

“I’m not. There’s other people who can do this, and the goal is to train other physios. I’m training other people at work, and they’re gettingbetter at it.I’m treating 40 necks a week, and that’s all I’m doing.”

Charlestown neurosurgeon Dr Richard Ferch says he often sends patients to Cummins due to his specialisation and expertise.

“Headaches are commonly associated with neck problems, and treatment of the neck problem can improve the headaches, and surgery doesn’t generally improve them,” Dr Ferch says.

Mayfield nurse Alison Wrightsays it did not occur to her there could be a link between her neck pain and headaches until a GP colleague suggested she see Cummins.

The 38-year-old had an operation two years ago on a shoulder she injured playing rugby, then began to feel increasing pain in her neck. About the same time she started to suffer regular headaches, from behind her left ear to her left temple.

“I was probably taking at least a day off work a month. I was having them a couple of times a week. I thinkwithin probably the first two or three treatments I was starting to feel better already, hadn’t had a headache for probably a couple of days. He’s able to manipulate a spot and replicate a headache. He’ll push a spot and I’ll go, ‘Yep, that’s it.’

“I even get the occasional migraine which is actually completely on the other side of my head, and I must say I’ve had nowhere near the occurrence that I’ve had since we started doing this.”

Wright, whodoes her daily neck exercises sitting at traffic lights on the way to work,says she is down to monthly visits to the clinic and Cummins is “weaning me off him”.

Cummins says he can tell within four or five visits if his treatment is working.

“You can’t help everyone, either. It’s not like a cure-all.If we can’t change anything in four or five goes, you’re wasting your time. I usually say, ‘I’ll sack myself from treating you.’But with many patients certainly there is a clear effect. You just change their lives. It’s unbelievable. It’s great. It’s fun.”

Alison Wright.

“He’s able to manipulate a spot and replicate a headache. He’ll push a spot and I’ll go, ‘Yep, that’s it.’

“It was all related to that musculoskeletal positioning. He had me doing strengthening exercises and realignment, and it’s just been amazing.

“I even do get the occasional migraine which is actually completely on the other side of my head, and I must say I’ve had nowhere near the occurrence that I’ve had since we started doing this.”

Alison, whodoes her daily neck exercises while sitting at traffic lights on the way to work,says she is down to monthly visits to the clinic and Cummins was “weaning me off him”.

Cummins says he can tell within four or five visits if his treatment is working.

“You can’t help everyone, either. It’s not like a cure-all.If we can’t change anything in four or five goes, you’re wasting your time. I usually say, ‘I’ll sack myself from treating you.’

“But with many patients certainly there is a clear effect. You just change their lives. It’s unbelievable. It’s great. It’s fun.”

Comments Off on Down to a fine art

Down to a fine art

Down to a fine art

Winning return: Ben Looker returns to the winner’s stall with Art D’Amour after the gelding produced a stunning run to win Friday’s Country Championship Preview at Scone.Unbeaten four-year-old Art D’amour will be chasing his fifth win in a row when he lines up in the $150,000 Hunter and North West Country Championships qualifier at Scone this Sunday.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The Cody Morgan-trained gelding is coming off a strong first-up win in the 1300m Country Championships Prelude at the same track on 17 February.

He missed the start and sat third last for most of the race but flashed home to snatch the win from All Summer Long who was runner-up in the 2016 Scone Qualifier.

“That run exceed my expectations,” Morgan said.

“I thought 1300m would be too far, especially first up, and I would have been happy with a top five finish.

“He’d had enough by the time he hit the line but he has this incredible will to win.”

Distance is the only query for Art D’amour heading into the 1400m Country Championships qualifier.

He is a small horse who prefers 1200m or shorter but for Morgan, a shot at the Country Championships was too good to pass up.

“It’s a $150,000 restricted race and there have been plenty of 1000m and 1200m horses who have given it a go and performed well,” he said.

“He has his whole career to drop back if this doesn’t work.

“I’m hoping natural improvement will help him find the line strongly.”

Morgan decided to aim Art D’amour at the Country Championships after his hard-fought win over 1150m at Newcastle last November.

“I’d always thought he would be a 1000m horse but when he won sitting outside the leader I thought we could have a chance,” he said.

“I had a runner in a maiden on Country Championships day last year and I stuck around all day to watch the qualifier. I’m a big fan of Clearly Innocent and he had a huge win. It was a great atmosphere.”

Morgan concedes Greg Bennett’s horses will be hard to overcome but remains upbeat about his chances.

“For Art D’amour to win I think he will need to be in the second half of the field,” he said. “He isn’t strong enough to sit in the first few and kick away against good horses.”

“Missing the kick last start actually helped him by enabling a soft run.”

A former jockey, Morgan rode more than 150 winners during his four-year apprenticeship but like many, was forced to give it away when he was unable to keep his weight under control.

Shortly after that, he applied for his trainer’s license and has being doing that from his Tamworth base for the best part of the last decade.

He stills rides a lot of his own trackwork though and says it’s a great advantage.

“It’s handy to ride every day because it gives me a better understanding of the horse and allows me to notice any changes or issues,” he said.

He also broke Art D’amour in.

Owners, P & L Moore, took the horse to Morgan’s stables after they purchased him from the Scone Inglis Yearling Sales for $14,000.

“They’re great people,” Morgan said.

“I’ve done a lot of breaking in for them but this is the first time they’ve entrusted me with a horse to train.

“They’ve been very patient with Art D’amour and allowed him to flourish in his own time.

“He is very small but he is very fast and tries very hard.

“He is constantly surprising us and maybe he will again in the Country Championships.”

Comments Off on MWC 2017: Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium the first phone with a super slow-mo camera

MWC 2017: Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium the first phone with a super slow-mo camera

MWC 2017: Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium the first phone with a super slow-mo camera

The Xperia XZ Premium has a lot going on. Photo: SonyAt Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sony has unveiled the Xperia XZ Premium, a monster of a phone that seems designed purely to fit as many high-end specs as possible into a single handset.
SuZhou Night Recruitment

The Premium is a bigger, bolder version of last year’s XZ flagship, adding a 5.5-inch screen that can display 4K and HDR content and covering the whole thing in a mirrored chrome finish (not unlike 2015’s Z5 Premium, which was the first phone to pack a 4K screen).

Driving the huge number of pixels is the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (which should also make it compatible with the new generation of super-fast mobile internet) and an Adreno 540 graphics processor, backed by 4GB of RAM and a big 3230mAh battery, but Sony spent most of its energy promoting the device’s new camera.

Dubbed ‘Motion Eye’, the system behind the 19MP Exmor RS sensor can capture video in a ridiculous 960 frames per second, making it the first mobile phone capable of producing super slow-mo. For context, most phones can shoot as fast as 240fps.

The camera also has ‘predictive capture’, which apparently starts capturing images before you’ve even hit the shutter button to make sure you get the shot. It also has the same triple sensor array and hybrid autofocus first seen on the standard XZ.

The Premium is plated front and back with Gorilla Glass 5, and on top of the new screen, internals and camera it packs many the same features as the standard XZ, including the rounded-edge ‘loop’ design, Hi-Res audio, water resistance and adaptive charging.

While it remains to be seen if consumers need or even want the level of screen resolution or cinematic fidelity offered by the XZ Premium, Sony hedged its bets by also introducing updates to its mid-range line. The two Xperia XA1 phones — one with a 5-inch screen and one with a 6-inch — keep the XZ aesthetic but feature considerable lower specs.

Local pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed.