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Herald Breakfast – December 9 2015

Morning Shot: Instagram’s @cheyne333 shared this photo. Weather: Showers and developing storms in Newcastle (27 degrees), Maitland (33degrees) and Scone (32 degrees).

Traffic: Heavy traffic is slowing progress in the eastbound lanes of Newcastle Link Road after a car and truck collided. Police said two women were taken to hospital but their injuries were not life-threatening. One of three lanes is closed at Woodford Street.

Beachwatch: It’ll be warm and cloudy and although there’s a good chance of a shower it’s still going to be a pretty good day beachside.We should see a bit of north-west in the wind for some of the day but it will be mainly north-east.The swell is from the east around half to one metre but there is the chance of a few bigger sets at some of themore open stretches.

Trains: Good service on the Newcastle and Hunter lines.

Morning Shot: Instagram’s @cheyne333 shared this photo.

Wednesday’s headlinesSplash leads to drug stash:PHOTOS:A MAN allegedly found with 1700 MDMA tablets in a runabout on Lake Macquarie came to the attention of police after he fellinto the water.

Premier ‘missing the bus’ in Newcastle:STATE government plans to privatise the city’spublic transport services have come under heavy fire from Newcastle council which has voted to oppose any such move.

Christmas lights destroyed:THEY were designed to bring a bit of festivespirit to his new home but Michael Rankin’s Christmas lights instead attracted a grinch.

Council forges ahead withshow holiday push:NEWCASTLE council will push ahead with its plans for a Newcastle Show public holiday next year despite show organisers withdrawing support for the bid.

Eland’s double duty to continue:DAVID Eland will continue to run theNewcastle Jets and Northern NSW Football at least until the end of the A-League season.

Kitto aims to follow in Leo’s footsteps:RYAN Kitto is not Leonardo.But 21-year-old Jets attacker is doing everything he can toadd bits of the Brazilian’s game to his own.

Goulburn prison officers fear leaked lists circulating jail

Photos: Darryl Fernance, Goulburn Post.A UNION is calling on Corrective Services to fully investigate how a list of prison officers’ names found its way into Goulburn Jail’s Super Max unit.

Chair of the PSA’s Prison Officers Vocational Branch Steve McMahon said his union has placed full pressure on management to investigate and act.

“It is of major concern to us and the Department has responded by investigating. We are trying to find out how that came to be in the High Risk Management Unit.”

Mr McMahon did not have the full details on what the list contained, besides names, but he feared inmates could easily capitalise.

“Some prisoners have quite a lot of resources available to them to seek and get any further information they’re looking for,” he said.

“We deal with them every day. They are among the most dangerous criminals in NSW and it is not beyond their capacity to get the private details of prison officers … They have money behind them.”

Mr McMahon said the Public Service Association was doing everything it could to ensure officers were protected and that it didn’t happen again.

On Saturday, Assistant Commissioner for Custodial Corrections, Kevin Corcoran said he understood the list was prepared to go to the Ombudsman’s office.

“Presumably an inmate intends to lodge some sort of complaint about staff,” he said.

Mr Corcoran denied claims a staff roster had also been found in the High Risk Management Unit, or that the list included officers’ home addresses.

But on Monday a Corrective Services spokeswoman said an inmate allegedly had access to a roster sheet containing staff names only.

“It was inadvertently given to him with other documentation. The staff affected have been notified and assured of their safety,” she said.

Meantime, Mr McMahon said the Department had freed up more resources to ensure officers could fully respond to inmates’ “bad behaviour.”

On Monday the jail was back to normal operations, in contrast to the weekend lockdowns.

He confirmed Sunday’s lockdown, which lasted until 9am Monday, was sparked by “a demonstration of the very worst behaviour”.

“Gas was used to safely remove two inmates from their cell when they lit a fire inside,” the Corrective Services spokeswoman said.

“This was after one of the inmates was found in possession of a SIM card and drugs during a strip search.

“In a separate incident two inmates became violent and assaulted staff during the removal of a television from their cell. Force was used to subdue the men with no injuries to staff or inmates.”

Mr McMahon said the same inmates who had refused to muster on Friday, prompting Saturday’s lockdown, were involved.

They also flooded several cells by leaving taps on and blocking drains, he claimed.

“(They did it because) we dared to tell them that enough was enough and that they had to follow the rules,” he said.

“It’s exactly the type of recalcitrant, bad behaviour we see from these people, the very same ones that assault police on the outside. When they come into custody they refuse to follow the rules.”

Four inmates were placed in segregation as a result and another two under review. No visitors were allowed into the jail.

Hume Local Area Commander Chad Gillies said police were investigating, but no charges had yet been laid.

They had received allegations of malicious damage by fire, assault of a prison officer and possession of a prohibited drug in a cell.

On Monday talks between the union and local management resumed about added interim and long-term security measures at the jail.

Mr McMahon said while the Department had provided many additional resources, within existing capacity, officers didn’t need the added headache of alleged Super Max security breaches over the Christmas period.

Originally published as Goulburn prison officers fear private lists circulate cellsby Goulburn Post.

Canberra family’s moving random act of kindness

The card Canberra’s Latoya Marks gave to a “well-behaved little girl” that has captured the attention of Canberrans online. Photo: Supplied.A Canberra family is on a mission to spread a little extra Christmas cheer throughout the capital this month.

As tragic news from around the world leaves many feeling a little deflated, EllieMarks and her partnerLatoya’s”Operation Christmas Spirit” is gradually lifting the spirits of a growing number of Canberrans through random acts of kindness.

One gesture in particularhascaptured the capital’s attention: a Christmas card congratulating a young girl on her good behaviour at anorthside cafe.

The Marksfamily noticedthe young girlpatiently waiting for her foodinside Westfield Belconnen’s Max Brenner and decided topass on the Christmas card with an enclosed $5 note and a special message:

“Santa is always watching. He sends people to let you know that you are on the ‘nice’ list. Here’s a reward for being so good!”

Little did they knowthe young girl who received the card had been recentlyseparated from her birth family.

Thechild’sfoster carer took to Facebookto thank “Santa’s Little Helper”.

The post hasbeen shared more than 1700 times, received more than 14,000 ‘likes’ and more than 300 heartfelt comments, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Many commentators said they were brought to tears after reading the post, including the young girl’sfoster family.

“I could not hold back the tears when I opened the card you left and read your thoughtful words,” the foster carer’s postread.

“You acknowledged the beautiful behaviour of my child, who sat quietly eating chocolate strawberries and chatting to me and my friend.

“What you couldn’t have possibly known, is that the child you took the time to acknowledge has recently been [separated]from their birth family.

“Life for a foster child is not easy, but through your kindness you have shown this amazing child the spirit of community.

“As a foster carer, I can’t tell you how much your gift of kind words (and $5) means to us.

“Your random act of kindness towards us complete strangers has touched me deeply. I will treasure this memory for my lifetime.”

Ellie said her family, including her four children,had been “completely overwhelmed” by the community’s response to the gesture.

“As parents you’re often judged on how your children behave,” she said.

“We thought it would be nice to recognise just how well she had been behaving.

“We didn’t ever do this with the intention of being recognised for these deeds; we just wanted to teach our kids about Christmas and how to give.”

Ellie said Operation Christmas Spirit had replaced the family’s advent calendar as a way to encourage her children to pay it forward.

“We’ve been watchingall the horrible things happening around the world and have realised our kids are so lucky to have the life they have,” she said.

“We thought it was a better way of trying to teach our kids the spirit of Christmas.”

Other random acts of kindness undertaken by the Marksfamily have included paying for an elderly woman’s groceries, writing Christmas cards for people who “looked like they needed a little Christmas spirit” and donating change to charity.

“Just little things that don’t cost very much but make a big difference to those receiving them,” Ellie said.

“That’s our message: it’s really simple to pay it forward.”

Foreign prawns linked with human trafficking and environmental havoc, says Greenpeace

Hawkesbury River fisherman Gary Howard catching school prawns using low impact methods. Among the best rated by Greenpeace are these prawns from the Hawkesbury. Photo: Greenpeace/James Alcock Gary Howard trawls for school prawns using inshore trawl and static nets. Photo: Greenpeace/James Alcock

They might be cheap and perfect for a Christmas feast, but shoppers are being urged to do their research and avoid buying imported prawns linked with human trafficking, environmental damage and spread of disease.

A new report and prawn shopping guide from activist group Greenpeace shows one of the worst choices is the vannamei prawn that is pond-farmed in Vietnam, China and Thailand.

At present, cooked and frozen vannamei prawns are the cheapest option at $19 a kilo at Coles’ online shop.

But the production of these non-native, fast-growing prawns in ‘s top three prawn supplier countries is linked with human trafficking and slavery, destruction of mangroves, spread of disease and chemical and antibiotic use, according to multiple United Nations’ International Labour Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization reports.

Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said weak seafood labelling laws made it difficult for consumers to always make ethical purchases, with restaurants and takeaways, except in NT, not required to declare the country of origin or species.

“We’re eating in the dark. There are great prawns, readily available that are responsibly farmed and caught, but there are also many dodgy prawns and you won’t know just by looking at them,” he said.

“We need rigorous national laws requiring proper seafood labelling, explaining what species we’re getting and where and how it was produced.” Trawl for the right prawn

He said the prawn guide allowed consumers to make informed decisions, dividing popular prawns into four categories – from the most responsible to the most damaging.

Among the best rated are Hawkesbury River school prawns, as well as Naturland and Blueyou-certified black tiger prawns from Vietnam.

About two-thirds of the 49,800 tonnes of prawns consumed in in 2014-15 were from overseas, according to the Department of Agriculture. The amount of imported prawns has doubled in the past 15 years.

Norman Grant, executive chairman of the Seafood Importers Association of Australasia said many of the environmental destruction, chemical use and human rights abuse problems in overseas farms were being addressed.

He said export farms and factories are regularly audited by third party certifiers to international standards – as demanded by big buyers such as Coles and Woolworths.

He said the destruction of mangrove and coastal forests had been addressed by countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, and the bigger issue was now about water quality and disease control.

He conceded there were ongoing issues with trafficked crew on fishing boats, especially in Thailand, but said big progress had been made by local authorities and NGOs.

“The situation is getting better and it is the revenue from the sale of prawns that is enabling the industry to make these massive investments in social restructuring. Boycotting these prawns, on the other hand, is simply turning away from the issue and will bring this progress to a standstill,” he said.

Gary Howard, a Hawkesbury River prawn fisherman from Lower Portland in NSW, whose school prawns are rated among the “most responsible choices” in the guide, urged shoppers to look beyond the prices and consider the livelihoods of n producers.

“We have imported prawns coming into this country for probably $5 a kilo being sold for $10 a kilo, and we want to try and get $25. The quality can be vastly superior, but at the end of the day, people are going to say, ‘Am I going to pay $10 or $25?'” he said.

“It’s because our wages are higher, our running costs are higher, our standard of living is higher, so whilst we import so much seafood into our country at cheap prices, it’s very difficult for us to compete.”

The latest seafood labelling bill, which would have required restaurants and takeaways to declare the origin and species of seafood, was shot down in the Senate in August.

The setback has not deterred sustainable seafood advocates, including Matthew Evans, chef and the face of the Label My Fish campaign, in their demands for stronger labelling laws that at least match the requirements in the European Union.

“I want to know the prawns I choose aren’t responsible for destroying mangrove habitat, indiscriminately racking the sea floor, and that they were not caught using slave or child labour,” Mr Evans said.

“We need to be able to choose sustainably farmed or caught seafood, whether we buy them from supermarkets and restaurants, or fishmongers and cafes. Labelling laws are needed now.” Seafood company pinged for dodgy packaging

The n Competition and Consumer Commission said on Tuesday it had fined major seafood company Kailis Bros $10,800 for attempting to pass off Thai prawns as n.

The company embellished the packaging with an image of the n flag, a map of , and the statement “n caught raw prawns”.

The fine print on the back said the prawns were packed and processed in Thailand. The “raw, deveined, tail off” prawns were being sold on the Woolworths website at nearly $40 a kilo.

“Consumers are often prepared to pay a premium for n made products, so any ‘n made’ representations must be accurate. Businesses cannot rely on fine print disclaimers to correct or qualify a prominent country of origin representation that is false or misleading,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling says Donald Trump is worse than Voldemort

Harry Potter’s nemesis Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes in the film franchise. Photo: Supplied JK Rowling declared the presidential candidate was much worse than her own fictional villain. Photo: Supplied

JK Rowling declared the presidential candidate was much worse than her own fictional villain. Photo: Supplied

Trump calls for Muslims to be barred from entering US

New York: The mogul turned reality star turned presidential hopeful Donald Trump is a figure almost beyond parody and caricature – his comments so outlandish, his self-belief so inflated.

But after ramping up his anti-Muslim rhetoric this week and calling for all Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, one comparison in particular has begun to dog him. People are likening him to the evil, racist arch-villain of the Harry Potter novels, Lord Voldemort.

However, it’s a comparison that the outspoken author of the beloved books says is unwarranted – because Mr Trump, she believes, is worse.

JK Rowling injected herself into the US presidential race on Tuesday when she responded to the meme comparing Mr Trump to Voldemort.

“How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad,” Ms Rowling wrote in response to a story about Mr Trump’s latest comments.How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad. https://t杭州龙凤论坛/hFO0XmOpPH— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 8, 2015

Headline-grabbing sound-bites about race and immigration have been a staple of Mr Trump’s campaign, drawing the ire of many, while evidently helping him stand out and become a front-runner in a crowded Republican field. He kicked off his tilt at the presidency by declaring that Mexicans coming into the United States were bringing “drugs and crime” and were “rapists”. Later, he called for a database for Muslims in the US.

But this week his rhetoric took a more extreme turn. In the wake of the San Bernardino massacre, which was carried out by a couple believed to hold radical Islamist beliefs, Mr Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.

It’s the focus of his campaign on race which has led to the mostly tongue-in-cheek Harry Potter meme.

Voldemort is not only the power-hungry, militaristic and cartoonishly evil bad guy of JK Rowling’s universe, he’s also fixated with “race” or a literary analogy for it.The only way to stop Donald Trump is to destroy his Horcruxes. The wig is definitely one. If you need me I’ll be finding the other six.— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) December 7, 2015

In the novels, Voldemort and his followers are obsessed with the superiority of “pure-blood” wizards, denigrating and targeting “half-bloods” and Muggles. Rowling herself has previously described Voldemort as a racist, and acknowledged the parallels with the rhetoric and beliefs of Nazi Germany.

Rowling is a well-known as a supporter of left, liberal politics, donating to the Labour party in the United Kingdom, criticising many of the policies of Conservative UK Prime Minister David Cameron and saying in 2008 she wanted to see a Democrat in the White House.

Mr Trump’s comments this week have been defended by his most ardent supporters on the right, such as pundit Ann Coulter, but many on his own side of politics, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and fellow candidates Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham, have declared he has gone too far.is that donald trump or lord voldemort pic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/r63ZtgARgB— luke pls (@daydreamIukey) October 27, 2015But imagine a fanfic where Voldemort swallows a tiny bit of his hatred for muggles to team up with Donald Trump and ruin everything.— Imperator Lex (@Alexes_C) December 5, 2015