Police uncover cannabis growhouse on Steel Street Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police
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Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: NSW Police

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Steel Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookCANNABIS plants the size of Christmas trees have been removed from a“complex and well-established” grow house hidden inside an inner-city Newcastlebuilding.

As office workers on their lunch break watched on,police collected at least 40 bags of buds and a large number of plants at varying stages of maturity from the Steel Streetstorage shed on Tuesday, after executing a search warrant at the property at 2am and finding an elaborate hydroponic set-up.

Newcastle City Local Area Command Inspector Shane Buggy said the operationincluded an intricate electrical system, irrigation, ventilation and a large number of chemicals including a fertiliser called “Monsta Bud”.

“It’s acomplex and well-established grow houseacross several rooms,” Inspector Buggy said.“It’s a commercial premises, so it’s quite large in the scheme of grow houses. Any situation where we have a building which has illegal wiring,unattended lights designed to produce heat and aheap of chemicals lying around, it’s potentially dangerous.”

Specialist police, including detectives, target action group officers and forensic services were at thescene until late on Tuesday and may need to returnon Wednesday.

“It’s a large operation and this type of drug house – as far as dismantling and investigation – is labour intensive.”

Inspector Buggy asked for anyone with information or who saw anything suspicious to contact Crime Stoppers.

“It might not be suspicious activity – it might be a lack of activity,” he said.

“Quite often nobody lives in these places, they’re only attended to at times when people are working there sporadically.”

Images released by police showed a large crop of plants under heat lamps.

In another room, a mess of electrical cords andextension leadswere plugged into overloaded power outlets.

The discoverycomes a month after police dismantled a sophisticated cannabis grow house in Kotara.

Detectives and specialist police entered the five-bedroom Marshall Street property on September 6 following a tip-off and found it had been completely converted into a hydroponic cannabis factory. More than 150 plants were inside.

Meanwhile, three men have been charged after police allegedly found them in possession of 18.8kg of cannabis on Monday night. They are Vietnamese nationals unlawfullyin , according to court documents.

The Anh Hoang and Hoai Nam Nguyen,both 22,and Cuong Van Nguyen, 33, faced Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday.

Each was charged with possessing a prohibited drug and supply of a prohibited drug, after police allegedly found 18.8kg of cannabis in the vehicle they were travelling in during a stop atGlebe Road, Adamstown.

Officers pulled the vehicle over around 6pm and breath-tested the driver, who provided a negative result.

Bail determination documents noted that all three men were illegally in , and were“liable for immigration detention”.

The bail determination for the older Mr Nguyen noted that he was“an extreme flight risk”.

None of the three men applied for bail on Tuesday –and it was formally refused.

According to court documents, Mr Hoang and the younger Mr Nguyen listed Teralba Road, Adamstown, as their home address, while the older Mr Nguyen was listed as living at Beaumont Street, Hamilton.

They will face court again, via audio visual link,on November 16.

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Rio Tinto’s new chief executive Tom Albanese at the Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney, 25 July 2007.SMH Picture by PETER MORRISAn American law firm based in Seattle has filed a class action lawsuit against Rio Tinto over the mining giant’s failed investment in a Mozambique coal project which cost the mining giant billions of dollars.
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The law firm Hagens Berman, which revealed the action on Monday, alleges defendants in the action made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information about the true value of Rio’s Mozambique coal investment made in 2011.

Rio acquired the coal assets for $US3.7 billion but the company’s plans for coal mining in the African country hit major hurdles, the assets crumbled in value, and the miner sold them in October 2014 for just $US50 million.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Rio Tinto’s former chief executive Tom Albanese and former chief financial officer Guy Elliott.

Hagens Berman, which describes itself as “a national investor-rights law firm”, has taken the action on behalf of purchasers of Rio Tinto plc American Depositary Receipts between October 23, 2012 and February 15, 2013.

The writ alleges: “Defendants’ wrongful conduct has inflicted significant damages on Rio Tinto investors.” The plaintiff is named as Anton Colbert.

“This action concerns a fraud previously unknown to investors and only recently revealed by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in its complaint filed on October 17, 2017,” the writ says.

The class action lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, and comes just days after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealed it had charged Rio Tinto and Mr Albanese and Mr Elliott with fraud.

In a statement, the law firm said the complaint alleges that defendants “made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding RTCM’s (Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique’s) true value,” during the period October 23, 2012 and February 15, 2013.

The writ, which echoes the SEC’s allegations, says: “Within months of the acquisition, Albanese and Elliott knew of material problems adversely affecting this asset’s (“RTCM”) multi-billion dollar publicly reported valuation. By early 2012, Albanese and Elliott knew of additional problems with RTCM requiring an impairment analysis and material reduction of its publicly reported value. Instead, Albanese and Elliott thwarted the required impairment analysis required by the relevant accounting rules and throughout the Class Period continued to promote RTCM’s worth to investors.”

The writ alleges Rio’s 2011 annual report “contained statements about RTCM that were materially misleading, and collectively depicted RTCM in a positive light that was not supported by the best information then known to Defendants and did not disclosure adverse developments at RTCM or the related valuation challenges. To the contrary, defendants falsely declared in Rio Tinto’s financial statements that the value of RTCM was the amount it paid to acquire Riversdale, i.e., approximately $US3.7 billion dollars.”

It also says: “Albanese and Elliott signed the 2011 Annual Report and were therefore responsible for the materially false and misleading statements and/or omissions.”

Rio would not comment on the class action lawsuit on Tuesday, but it is understood the miner is not surprised by the move and is confident the case has no merit.

Last week, in response to the SEC announcement, Rio and the two former executives all vowed to fight the charges.

Mr Albanese said: “There is no truth in any of these charges. I echo Rio Tinto’s confidence that these will be proved baseless in court.”

A spokesperson for Mr Elliott said: “Guy also fully refutes these charges and will be vigorously contesting them.”

Rio said it believed the SEC’s case was “unwarranted and that, when all the facts are considered by the court, or if necessary by a jury, the SEC’s claims will be rejected”.

It also said: “Rio Tinto intends to vigorously defend itself against these allegations.”

Rio said the timing of the impairment of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique had been reflected in its 2012 end-of-year accounts.

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One year ago, Alfonso del Rio was 110 kilograms and on the path to diabetes. He couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without leaning on the handrail, exhausted and gasping for breath.
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Confronted with worrying health assessment results, he was spurred into action. The 55-year-old lawyer swapped chips for fruit, steak for fish and began walking 10,000 steps a day.

“I made changes and lost 30 kilograms,” the Clayton Utz partner said. “I now ‘swim’ in my old clothes, I can’t wear them and I can sustain greater levels of intense concentration. I’ve lengthened my life.”

Mr del Rio’s transformation, as well as his ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reflects the results of a new study that shows the legal sector has the healthiest executives in , followed by the banking and consulting sectors.

Lawyer Alfonso del Rio’s headshots, before and after he lost 30 kilograms during a 12-month period. Photo: Keith Friendship

An analysis of 30,000 health assessments of senior employees at 500 organisations by Executive Health Solutions found white-collar sectors fared best overall, while blue-collar industries – specifically “transport, postal and warehousing” and “agriculture, forestry and fishing” – ranked low.

The study ranked 20 industries based on physical, mental, psychological and medical scores, which took into account blood pressure, fitness, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI).

It said it was known blue-collar workers were generally less healthy, and with promotion through the ranks into management positions being more common, there was a greater risk of poor habits being carried through to the executive level.

Blue-collar executives typically had higher-risk scores for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but some industries bucked the trend. The mining industry ranked second in psychological health.

“From the blue-collar perspective, it’s important to continue to invest in health from a culture point of view, whether hours worked or supportive environments,” said John Hall, chief executive of Executive Health Solutions.

“A healthy CEO doesn’t mean everyone in the company is healthy, but a CEO who values health will be more likely to have an environment conducive to good health, from stand-up meetings to better food in canteens.”

When it came to physical health, the “professional services and consulting” sector came out on top, while “agriculture, forestry and fishing” was at the bottom.

Those in professional services had an average BMI of 26.8, with fewer than one in five participants classified as obese.

Executives in agriculture, forestry and fishing, had an average BMI of 28.25, and were more likely to be classified obese. A “normal” range is between 18.5 and 24.99.

The report said executives at law firms were among the fittest, with only 7 per cent getting a below average or poor fitness rating.

In regards to medical health, which considered cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure test results, the legal, financial services and banking sectors were at the top.

The data showed the public sector performed poorly in both physical and medical sub-indices, with federal public sector executives ranking 15th in medical health and their state counterparts ranking 17th in physical health.

“Both industries were particularly affected by poor fitness levels coupled with elevated waist measurements resulting in lower than expected rankings for blood pressure and cholesterol,” the report said.

“This suggests the public sector may be falling between the blue and white-collar divide and would benefit from focusing on movement/activity and optimal nutrition.”

On mental health, “small business and individuals” category ranked last.

Dr John Lang from the Health and Productivity Institute of urged small business owners to not view time spent with family and exercising as a “cost in time”.

“They wear personal responsibility and their pay can be halved in tough times, so it’s more stressful for them and they may work after hours,” he said.

“But they’re junk hours that will compromise physical and psychological health and lower productivity, so it’s actually counterproductive.”

While the legal sector performed well overall, it dropped to 12th when it came to mental health. The mining industry ranked second-best.


Alfonso del Rio lost 30 kilograms by exercising and changing his eating habits. Photo: Janie Barrett

In his Canberra office, Mr del Rio said mental health issues were a “scourge” on his industry, but that firms were working to provide greater support and investing in resilience training.

“We like to win, it’s what being successful in our profession is about, and scoring a victory means there’s a winner and a loser, and so inherently there’s a cultural issue we experience that has an enormous, draining impact,” he said.

“If you’ve got a couple of things that don’t fall your way, that dark cloud can descend upon you and it’s hard to get away.”

Pauline Wright, president of the NSW Law Society, said lawyers tried to put their clients, with all their problems, first, and found it hard to switch off from work, especially with time pressures.

“We’ve researched this and our journal has done articles on stress, but a lot of it is anecdotal and we are keen to investigate further,” she said.

“We have a special webpage with Lifeline for Lawyers information and a confidential 24-hour telephone crisis support service. There is help available.”

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HAIR’S TO DAPHNE: Daphne Partridge, of Telarah, with her hairdresser Robert Threlfo. Picture: Simone De Peak.She’s 93, soon to be94, loves to get her hair “tizzed” and enjoys a goodjitterbug.
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He’s 73, has recently beatenstomach and bowel cancer and,boy, does he know how tocha cha.

Meet Daphne Partridge and Robert Threlfo, the couple whose video has gone viral after it made national television this week.

The pair was filmed at Maitland’s Inspirations Hair Design recently cutting a mean rug on the salon floor after Robert had just finished styling his long-time client’s hair.Salon manager Kira Ryan captured on video the moment Daphne asked Robert to dance to Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes.She sent the videoto Nine Network’s Today program and byTuesday afternoon it had received 218,000 views, 12,000 likes and 1500shares.

Salon owner,Mr Threlfo’s daughter Helen Stuckings, said the dancing duo wasgobsmacked with the reaction to thesalon salsa.

Daphne, of Telarah, loves dancing and often turns on the music at home and dances while she does the housework.

“I just can’t stop. I love to dance,” she said.

“I’m so surprised at how people have responded to the video. It’s just a wonderful thing to be able to dance.”

The mother of two, grandmother of four and great grandmother of six said her secret to a long and happy life was simple. “My husband John never goes out without me and we never have a cross word.” But this feel good story doesn’t end there.

Last year Robertwas diagnosed with bowel andstomach cancer.After intense chemotherapy, major surgery and a weight loss of 40 kilograms, Robert is back at the salon two days a week and, like Daphne, loving life.


The Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd with Opposition Education spokesperson, Stephen Smith and Opposition Communications Spokesperson Senator Stephen Conroy visit Hawker College, a Canberra secondary school.Photograph taken by Andrew Taylor on the 18th Jun2007.Kevin Rudd’s tome Not for the Faint-hearted shines a glaring light into the frenemy fiefdom that masquerades as the n Labor Party.
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Now the Liberal Party – or indeed any other big political party – is probably as dysfunctional, but Rudd’s autobiography, released today, lays it all bare for Labor.

The hate between MPs can be palpable. So is the distrust. And the ambition is naked and all-consuming.

On the surface, to the TV cameras, it’s all smiles. Behind closed doors, it’s all knives.

“As a people we tend to be very good at tearing down,” Kevin Rudd says. “We are not so good at building up. And this judgment is rendered most harshly, and rightly so, for those who enter public life.”

The irony is that Rudd’s assessment of some on his team, including those to whom he awarded top jobs, is ruthless.

Just take his assessment of Stephen Smith, who served as a minister for foreign affairs and minister for trade as well as minister for defence for Labor.

“Stephen Smith was the most ice-cold politician I had ever met,” Rudd says. The man shared former ALP treasurer Wayne Swan’s deep cynicism for the “business of politics” and was so neat that he would be “discombobulated if anyone disturbed the plastic folders of papers that made up his universe”.

This was Labor’s foreign minister, the person charged with selling – and his prime minister’s vision – to the world!

Swan, Rudd says, was out of his depth in Treasury and failed to improve over time.

(At this stage, you are probably wondering why he didn’t get rid of him. I’m wondering that, too).

“Years later, one Treasury official would describe Swan as a small man with a big ego and a giant chip on his shoulder who ??? was not interested in and apparently incapable of being educated in the Treasury craft by his own department,” Rudd says.

Keating’s office christened the pair the “glimmer twins’, policy-free zones and the state secretaries’ club, good for polling rotten for policy”, we’re told.

And the pair, along with Rudd’s media minister Stephen Conroy, were known as the Roosters, who were “deeply accomplished in the dark arts” and who “loathed” Julia Gillard with a passion. “Their loathing for me ran a close second,” Rudd says.

Conroy “was a mercurial personality”. “From laughter to rage, from friendship to near-mortal combat, from highs to lows, and all in an instant.”

The three of them had “painstakingly constructed” a plan over the years to see Kim Beazley lead the party first, followed by Swan or Smith. They wanted to ensure Simon Crean never did.

Rudd says it was his refusal to back a challenge against Crean that broke off his relationship with Smith, Conroy and Swan. “I had refused to act as factional cannon fodder,” he says.

Rudd’s assessment doesn’t stop there, even towards those on his own side.

Mark Latham was one of the most divisive figures in modern n Labor politics. “Even his friends from that time, including Joel Fitzgibbon – who in time became a friend of mine – would later find, to their personal distress, that Latham had no difficulty whatsoever in turning on his own, including those closest to him.”

Rudd adds that he found Latham’s “utterly impenetrable tome” Civilising Global Capital an attempt to brand himself as the “new intellectual leader of the Labor movement”.

Closer to home, here in Queensland, his view of his colleagues is no less savage.

Take Bill Ludwig, for example. “In Queensland, the main right-wing faction was the n Workers’ Union, led by Bill Ludwig, whose views of the world ranged somewhere between Neanderthal and Neolithic,” Rudd explains.

And Bill’s son, former senator Joe Ludwig? He was sent to the Senate by his father, “the Cro-Magnon man of the n Labor movement and the closest came to having a Chicago boss controlling such a large slice of the party”.

Former ALP state secretary Cameron Milner was “a young thugster in training, working hard to become a senior, respected thug at the AWU finishing school for conservative party apparatchiks”.

Of course, thank goodness, some venom is left for the other side.

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard, Rudd tells us, was an abysmal failure as a political leader and misled the public on the reason we went to war. He had also “gone after my wife because he had failed in his pursuit of me” and his dirt unit would have had to watch 6400 hours of tape to find the footage of Rudd picking wax out of his ear.

Peter Costello would never have the “gumption to challenge” Howard, who recognised that “core weakness in Costello’s character” early on.

To be fair, Rudd has also given a big tick to some of his former parliamentary colleagues.

Anthony Albanese, “firebrand of the left, is the most gifted natural politician of his time”.

John Faulkner “had a withering eye for anything resembling posturing and puffery. He was a man elementally dedicated to the Labor cause”.

Alan Griffin was one of the best marginal seats campaigners in the country and Robbie McClelland was “himself the essence of common sense, decency and reason”.

Gareth Evans was “the most effective foreign minister in n history, rivalled only by Bert Evatt in the war and immediate postwar years”.

On the other hand, Alexander Downer was the “least significant foreign minister in n history”.

Rudd’s book is written in an entertaining way and gives his views from childhood, through to the desk of prime minister.

At times it’s funny, self-deprecating and downright intriguing.

But it also shows why voters are turning against the big parties. It shows how our leaders can stand in front of a camera and fulsomely support someone they despise.

This is part one of Rudd’s two-part autobiography. And it ends with Rudd still supporting, strongly, his colleague Ms Gillard.

She’s friendly. She does her job well. She has a wicked sense of humour. And she made mistakes – like the “strange request” of wanting to sit next to him at the front table in Parliament.

“I was lost for words. Julia said it would underline the fact that this was a team from day one. I was uncomfortable with the idea. Also thought it was nuts ??? she eventually relented,” Rudd says.

It’s just a hunch, but I reckon Kevin Rudd is setting Julia Gillard up for a big fall. We’ll just have to wait for volume two, to find out.

Kevin Rudd: Not for the Faint-hearted is out today.

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