Fireworks crackdown ahead of New Year’s Eve CRACKDOWN: The 150kgs of fireworks seized in Sydney earlier this week. Picture: Supplied.
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TweetFacebookHunter fireworks’ enthusiasts are being advised of the dangers and illegality of the unapproved use of pyrotechnics on New Year’s Eve.

SafeWork NSW are encouranging people to stick to attending compliant and official displays, of which 211 have been approved across the state.

A fine of up to $27,500 and 12 months jail awaits anyone caught selling, purchasing or letting off fireworks without a licence.

Authorities seized close to 150kgs of fireworks from a property in Sydney’s north in recent days and initial inquries suggested they were going to be sold or used illegally.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said the products are now being held while investigations continue.

“However, it serves as a timely warning for anyone using fireworks; these items are not toys,” Mr Kean said.

“In the wrong hands they can be very dangerous and capable of causing horrific injuries, including burns, loss of limbs, or even death.”

Last New Year’s Eve, a 52-year-old man tradgically lost his life after being hit in the head by an illegal firework on the state’s Central Coast.

Read more:Tributes flow for Barry ‘Baz’ Walsh, killed in New Year’s Eve fireworks accident

“That’s why fireworks should only be set off by trained and licensed individuals who know how to manage the risks and ensure everyone’s safety,” Mr Kean said.

“We want New Year’s Eve to be memorable for all the right reasons, not because a loved one was maimed through the illegal use of fireworks.

“My message is simple: if you’re thinking about buying or selling illegal fireworks this summer, you will be caught and you will face significant penalties.”

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2017 Ashes MCG Test: Day 2 from Melbourne Mitchell Marsh. Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro
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Alastair Cook of England makes his way from the field after the end of the day’s play. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Jackson Bird. Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro

David Warner of Australia (left) and Alastair Cook of England shake hands after the end of the day’s play. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Alastair Cook in full flow. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Jackson Bird. Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro

Alastair Cook edges the ball in front of Steve Smith at first slip off Nathan Lyon in the last session. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Alastair Cook looks up towards the sky after scoring is century then returns to his crease. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Joe Root: Photo: AAP Image/Joe Castro

Alistair Cook. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Fans of England react after Alastair Cook’s century. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Pat Cummins. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Josh Hazelwood. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

Nathan Lyon catches Mark Stoneman caught and bowled in the middle session. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Nathan Lyon is given out LBW to James Anderson to end Australia’s first innings. Photo: AAP Image/Julian Smith

TweetFacebookAlastair Cook wound the clock back to post a potentially career-saving century on a day Australia’s over-reliance on Steve Smith was exposed, leaving the hosts in a grim struggle in the fourth Test.

The second day crowd of 67,882 came to the MCG expecting another ton from the Australian skipper only to see the home side crumble with the bat as England enjoyed one of its best days on what has been a miserable campaign.

Australia had been well placed to post another gargantuan first innings total but its hopes of inflicting a third straight whitewash on home soil now hang in the balance.

The visitors were 2/192 at stumps on the second day after Australia suffered a dramatic batting collapse in which it lost 7/67 to be all out for 327.

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Nat Hurst isn’t sure how long she’s got left in a Canberra Capitals uniform, so she is soaking up every moment before the curtain is drawn.
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Hurst was crowned the club’s most valuable player and the fan favourite on Thursday to cap off her return to the Capitals in stellar fashion.

The 34-year-old point guard is in the final stages of signing a short-term deal to play in Poland, after which she will step back and reassess her playing future.

It means she will be enjoying every second of Canberra’s clash with the league-leading Perth Lynx at the National Convention Centre on Friday night as she weighs up a return next season.

Hurst is the only player to have played in all seven of Canberra’s WNBL championship wins but the prospect of adding a major individual award to the mantelpiece left her speechless.

“It’s really humbling for the girls to name me MVP of the season,” Hurst said.

“I think everyone did their job this season. We didn’t get the results we wanted but we can hold our heads high and know that we did the right thing throughout the season.

“For them to name me MVP, it’s just a huge honour.”

Emerging star Eziyoda Magbegor was named Capital on the rise, American import Jordan Hooper clinched the players player award, while Chevannah Paalvast won the Kellie Abram defensive player of the year trophy.

But it was Hurst with the most impressive haul, however a middle ear infection threatens to rule her out of Canberra’s final game of the season.

An Australian Opals berth at the Commonwealth Games is on Hurst’s radar but she admits there will be a hint of sadness when Canberra’s season draws to a close.

“I’m still not feeling the greatest, but I’ll be there in whatever capacity. I just want to enjoy [Friday] night,” Hurst said.

“If that means me on the court it means me on the court, if not I will sit back and cheer for my teammates.

“We’re not happy the season is over the way it ended but like we always say, we’ve got a great group and we just want to celebrate what we have been able to do during this season, celebrate each other and the personalities we have.

“As much as we don’t want it to come to an end, being able to then just relax for a couple of days with each other and just chill, I think we’ve earned that.”

While Hurst was left stunned by her recognition, Capitals coach Paul Goriss wasn’t the least bit surprised – he says she was “the front runner all along”.

Hurst leads the league in assists per game with 6.72 and Goriss says her ability to make her teammates better players is what makes her so special.

“There’s been a lot made of her being a seven-time championship winner and I personally feel for her that we weren’t able to get back to the good old days that she first had when she was with the club,” Goriss said.

“She’s certainly said that things have changed here for the better and will continue to improve. We haven’t welcomed her back in the best way possible with our record but she’s had a huge impact both on and off the court in getting the Capitals back to where we want to be.

“She underestimates and undervalues her contribution to the team. I know she was taken aback by winning the award but in all honesty she was probably the front runner all along to win it throughout this season.”

WNBL

Friday: Round 13 – Canberra Capitals v Perth Lynx at National Convention Centre, 7.30pm.

CAPITALS AWARD WINNERS

Most Valuable Player – Nat Hurst

Players Player: Jordan Hooper

Fan favourite: Nat Hurst

Capital on the rise: Eziyoda Magbegor

Kellie Abram defensive player of the year: Chevannah Paalvast

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Emergency services personnel attend a crash scene on the Hume highway near Oolong where a female driver of a van died on Thursday morning after accidentally clipping a truck. Photo: Sitthixay DitthavongA 72-year-old woman has died after her van and a truck collided south of Gunning on Thursday morning.
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NSW Police said a white Hiace van was travelling south on the Hume Highway when it and a heavy vehicle travelling in the same direction collided about 9am.

It was the 21st death on NSW roads during what has been a horror holiday period.

Fairfax Media understands the woman from Glenmore Park in Sydney’s west attempted to merge behind the truck when her van clipped the truck, and rolled.

“The female driver of the van died. No further details are known at this time,” police said in a statement.

She was the only person in the car.

The driver, a 56-year-old man was taken to Yass Hospital.

A lane was closed in each direction on the highway for much of the day, but they were reopened as of 3pm. /*\n”,color:”caution”, title:”Fatal crash”, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.googleMaps_Icons) window.googleMaps_Icons = {};window.googleMaps_Icons[“caution”] = {“marker”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/caution.png”},”shadow”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/caution.shadow.png”}};if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap20171128104030);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/OOLONG (EAST OF YASS): 1 of 2 lanes is closed in both directions on Hume Hwy due to serious crash near Oolong Rd. Allow extra travel time.??? Live Traffic NSW (@LiveTrafficNSW) December 27, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.Read More →

A YEAR ago, almost to the day, a friendI’ll call Beryl settled on her ambition for 2017.
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She’s a teacher. She’s not given to hyperbole or hysteria.

When people put together dinner party lists Beryl’s always there as the sensible one who won’t end up in a gutter, blotto, wailing about not being 23 anymore. She’s the one who brings the perfect salad, or the just-so trifle, and who never leaves a friend’s dinner partywithout cleaning the kitchen,taking out the garbage, and even sortingbottles and cans into the recycling bin.

Beryl’s dependable. If she says she’ll meet you at 5.30 in the morning for a run she’ll be there, always, even if her leg’s in a cast or she’s running a fever.

“A commitment’s a commitment,” she said one time when we met in a carpark at 5.30am and she was wearing an eye patch after a gardening incident too weird to go into (something about a stick, a spider web, some turps, a dark shed–in other words, very un-Beryl).

“If I say I’ll be here I’ll be here, and if I’m not, well, you know,” she said.

“What, you’ll be dead?” I said.

“Well, either that or unconscious, or something terrible,” she said.

“Good to know,” I said.

Anyway, a year ago Beryl announced that 2017 was the year she would commit to yoga. And in typical Beryl fashion that commitment came with a goal.

“My aim is to do the downward dog with my heels flat to the ground,” she said, before a demonstrationof how far she had to go. Her arms were nice and straight, her backwas flat, her backside was in line with her shoulders and her legs were not shaking, but her heels were centimetres from the ground.

“It’s hard. I’ve been trying for months but I’m asflexible as a house brick,” she said.

Now some people aim high at this time of year when they’re settling onnew year’s resolutions.

Quit smoking. Quit drinking. Quit binge-watching crap television series. Exercise at least three times a week. Spend more time with friends. Take up a hobby more serious than collecting pub coasters with the word“Beer” on them.

But Beryl, as I’ve mentioned, is one of those sensible people who goes for the vaguely achievable.

“If I can just do the downward dog without falling over or groaning I’ll be pleased, but heels flat to the ground is the goal,” she said.

It’s been a big year, 2017.

Donald Trump,Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un andRodrigo Duterte have slammed any romantic notions some of us might have had about human progress and the advance of civilisation back to earth with a thud.

There’s something about big, powerful men boasting about killing other people, or being able to kill other people without consequence, or sexually assaulting women, or laughing about the annihilation of millions, or appearing in too many photographs shirtless, that has you doubting whether we really have progressed very far from 1215, despite mobile phones andFacebook.

It’sthe year when we’vesadly achieved what politicians have always urged us to achieve after terrorist attacks–we’ve gone on with our lives.

Around the world thousands of people have died in terrorist attacks ranging from barely-reported single-person deaths following suicide attacks in countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, to the killing of more than 300 people in a mosque in November in Egypt’s worst terrorist incident, and the London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster attacks in England that left more than 30 people dead, including Australians. And life has gone on.

There have been many bright spots in 2017, even on those days where it’s felt like we’re only a Donald Trump tweet away from possible nuclear armageddon, or a Kim Jong-un ego trip from some other kind of military meltdown.

Australia has provided more proof of comedian John Oliver’s assessment that we’re not only home to Russell Crowe, but we are the Russell Crowe of countries.

How else to explain the world’s dumbest constitutional crisis?

Only in Australia could a pile of politicians solemnly swear they were Australianonly to find, one by one, that they actually weren’t.

Only in Australia could the party leader who notoriously threatened to kill a couple of fluffy dogs for being in the country illegally, end up out of parliament himself –if too briefly –because he was actually a New Zealander.

Only in Australia could pollies turn their sloppy paperwork into a political bun-fight without apologising to the millions of Australians routinely threatened with severe penalties if they stuff up on the paperwork for their welfare benefits ortax returns.

And only in Australia could normal, sensible Australians –more than 80 per cent of us –turn a potential disaster like the politically-contrived same sex marriage postal survey into a triumph for democracy, at a time when democracy itself seems under challenge in too many parts of the world.

My friend Beryl tried to do a downward dog with her heels on the ground on Thursday, to show the fruits of a year’s worth of yoga classes.

“So close,” I said, as she grunted and strained to push her heels to the ground while her legs stubbornly refused to cede another millimetre of flexibility.

She’ll keep trying.

And I’ll try to achieve my achievable goals in 2018 –planting out an area of my back garden, resuming a project of taking a substantial walk in each of this state’s national parks, and reading more.

As Beryl said when she’d grunted her way to a standing position on Thursday morning, her heels-fully-down-downward-dog still a goal, “There’s always next year.”

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