Doma Group, GWH announced as Merewether St, Darby Plaza proponents

An artist’s impression of the GWH concept for Darby Plaza. GWH and Doma Group were named successful bidders for former rail corridor lands. Picture: HCCDCDOMA Group has been named as one of two successful applicants to transform vacant lands at Merewether Street and Darby Plaza, the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC)announced on Thursday.

GWH and Doma Group’s independent tenders were named as successful pushes to develop a mix of commercial and residential projects on the site.

The Newcastle Herald reported earlier this month that tenders closed on April 6.

The Doma proposal was for “an amalgamated outcome using its pre-existing Merewether Street site” while GWH has plans for a new mixed-use development.

HCCDCchief executive and Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel labelled the announcement another push for rejuvenation in the city.

“Newcastle has been crying-out for more tourist accommodation for many years and we are pleased to signcontracts with GWH, which has the potential to realise this much-needed opportunity for the city centre, in additionto new office space and residential apartments, in a true mixed-use development,” he said.

“It will be a major catalyst for job creation and a boon for tourism.

Mr Cassel said the land for the Doma proposal “has allowed Doma to reimagine and improve a pre-existing concept for its adjacent site, which isa good outcome for the city”.

The company’s Merewether Street site will have residences above retailers facing Merewether Street.

“It is also in keeping with what the development control plans (DCP) identified as preferred result for the corridorlands,” said Mr Cassel.

RELATED: Hunter Development Corporation merges with Central Coast agencyPart of the GWH project involves the company delivering the Darby Plaza public domain in conjunction with HCCDC. It would also include commercial offices, residential apartments and potentially up to 40 serviced apartments as well as ground floor retail opening onto Hunter Street and the plaza.

“As Newcastle continues to attract investors, we are happy to continue to push the standards of architecture anddesign, to ensure outcomes are in line with what the community expects for an emerging city,” Mr Cassel said.

“Today’s announcement shows that we are also delivering on our commitment to the community to create moreattractive public spaces, new homes and more jobs all connected to improved transport options.”

Serious risk of death on Nauru: doctors

A child could die in detention on Nauru if the government does not intervene, a leading n paediatrician says.

The claims follow disturbing new reports that one-in-four children in detention on Nauru are suicidal.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says more than half of the children held on the island have been flagged for urgent medical attention, with 25 per cent acutely suicidal.

But Professor David Issacs said the reports only confirmed what he had experienced working on the island and called for immediate government intervention to prevent further trauma.

“This morning’s reports are shocking, but they are entirely consistent with what I saw when I visited the Nauru detention centre in 2014,” said Mr Issacs, a Royal Australasian College of Physicians fellow.

“The situation now amounts to nothing short of a medical emergency.

“As a paediatrician, it is my view that if our government does not act now, there is a serious risk of death.”

About 50 children and 550 adults remain as refugees on the island.

They are not detained, are free to move about the 21-square-kilometre island and have 20-year visas, the government says.

Home Affairs chief medical officer Parbodh Gogna has told a Senate estimates hearing there had been “an unprecedented jump” in people presenting to medical facilities on Nauru in the last couple of months.

ASRC detention advocacy manager Natasha Blucher believes Medecins Sans Frontieres’ expulsion from the island two weeks ago was a major factor in the situation worsening.

“The kids were left with an interminable future of nothing,” Ms Blucher told AAP.

The Nauru government was scathing of MSF, taking particular offence to their “beloved home” being labelled an “open-air prison”.

Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie, who has come into prominence as a key crossbencher following the Wentworth by-election, wants a solution to the issue.

“We will be using our best efforts in the parliament and I’m not going to rest until we can get all of those children from Nauru,” Ms Sharkie told ABC TV on Thursday.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Labor was in a “blind panic” about detainees on Nauru, and a push to send them to New Zealand wouldn’t work due to security reasons.

He said the United States had security concerns about some of the asylum seekers on Nauru.

“If you want to see kids back in detention, then Labor has the formula for it,” he told 2GB radio.

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French pastry with Chinan twist becomes a hit at the markets

IS there anything better than a flaky, buttery croissant?

The iconic and quintessentially French pastry is famous the world over, but there is a lesser-known pastry from France that is arguably more delicious.

It’s called the brioche suisse.

The indulgent pastry traditionally consists of brioche dough rolled out flat and then folded around vanilla pastry cream and chopped chocolate.

And is it better than a croissant?

Hannah and Luke Crouch of Brioche Suisse Patisserie think so.

The husband and wife team moved to Newcastle from their hometown of Sydney – via a stint in Tamworth – two months ago where they exclusively sell their range of brioche suisse at markets in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

The couple initially began baking in Tamworth 18 months ago where they sold at markets in the area, while also making the trip to Newcastle as well, with a focus on baking a brioche breads and pastries.

Among those was the brioche suisse.

“Traditional brioche is good, but the suisse is incredible,” Luke says.

“We used to make brioche wreaths which were very pretty, but I used to always wish people would just pick the suisse – which looked slightly uglier – because it’s incredibly tasty.”

Once word got out about the suisse, customers began queuing up for it – often returning for a second purchase – and the pastry became the fastest-selling in their range of brioche.

The popularity of the chocolate suisse prompted the couple to add a cherry flavour which was equally as loved.

Favourites: From front to back, Chocolate Suisse, Rose Pistachio and Hazelnut Milk Chocolate. Picture: Marina Neil

Now they have nine flavour variations of the suisse.

The sweet range consists of milk chocolate hazelnut, pear caramel and pecan, rose pistachio, apricot lemon, and cherry vanilla, along with the traditional chocolate suisse, while the savoury offerings are beetroot, spinach and feta, sauerkraut salami – which uses an apple glaze – and a mushroom parmesan suisse made on a base of béchamel.

“It got to the point where people didn’t come to buy our loaves anymore – they just came to buy the chocolate suisse and the cherry suisse,” Luke says.

It was during the drive to Newcastle early one morning that Luke jokingly suggested to his wife that they should quit baking everything else to purely focus on the brioche suisse.

“The only people that are really familiar with it are the French,” Luke explains.

“We often have French customers who are quite surprised to see the suisse in all these forms and they often ask us what the heck is going on.

“It’s almost offensive that a couple of Aussies have taken the suisse and done something new, but there’s respect when they see what we have done.”

A lot of love, hard work and dedication has gone in to what they do.

The couple’s story began when they met fresh out of high school and got married soon after.

Luke earned a living driving trucks for his family’s business, while Hannah worked as a disability carer.

Luke Crouch on the hard days of start-up Brioche SuisseBrioche Suisse Patisserie appears at Newcastle City Farmers Market, Lake Macquarie Farmers Market, Pelican Foreshore Market and Warners Bay Markets.

Schwimmer cheekily joins UK thief debate

Actor David Schwimmer has amusing plead that he’s not a beer thief caught on camera in the UK.Actor David Schwimmer has responded after social media users drew attention to an alleged thief who bears a resemblance to his character in the US sitcom Friends.

Police in Blackpool had posted on Facebook asking for witnesses to identify a suspect pictured leaving a restaurant in Blackpool carrying what appeared to be a carton of cans.

Facebook users quickly piled into the comments section, pointing out the suspect’s likeness to Schwimmer’s character Ross Geller in the well-loved US show.

Schwimmer posted a video to his Twitter account that showed him scurrying through a convenience store carrying a carton of beer before looking up furtively at a CCTV camera.

He captioned the video: “Officers, I swear it wasn’t me. As you can see, I was in New York.”

“To the hardworking Blackpool Police, good luck with the investigation.”

He added the hashtag #itwasntme to the post.

The alleged theft happened on September 20, a post by Blackpool police said.

Lancashire Police responded to Schwimmer via its Twitter account, saying “Thanks for being there for us” before adding the hashtag “#appreciatethesupport”.

Following numerous responses, Lancashire Constabulary replied: “Thank you to everyone for your speedy responses.

“We have investigated this matter thoroughly and have confirmed that David Schwimmer was in America on this date.

“We’re so sorry it has to be this way.”

A Facebook user, referencing the Friends theme song, replied: “I don’t think it’s been this guy’s day, his week, his month or even his year…..”

Another, referencing a Friends episode where Ross says he is an expert in self-defence, wrote: “Please approach with caution. He is known to have studied karate and we believe he has mastered the art of unagi, the state of total awareness.”

The fruits of a labor of love in Port Macquarie

Ricardoes … has taken ‘nose-to-tail’ to its natural conclusion.When Anthony Sarks and his brother Richard began selling excess tomatoes by the side of the road on the outskirts of Port Macquarie nearly 15 years ago, all they were after was some beer money.

They certainly had no ambitions or hopes about setting up one of the NSW Mid-North Coast city’s most important primary-industry-based enterprises.

But their tomatoes were so delicious that this result now seems quite natural. And I guess that the idea’s time had come, and that the brothers had the nous and inherent expertise to grab what seemed like a successful idea and run with it.

Regardless, the rest, as they say in the classics, is history, and Ricardoes was on the road to fame and success well and truly before the brothers even knew it First came the tomatoes, then came the strawberries, then came the Big Red Café.

Big Red Café … on just about any weekend — and during the week for that matter —the place really hums.

These days they have a plethora of hydroponic greenhouses that produce virtually year-round crops, harvest eight varieties of tomatoes and ripen some 30,000 strawberry plants.

On just about any weekend — and during the week for that matter —the place really hums.

It all seemed like a completely natural progression, and, if you listen to Anthony’s explanation, it certainly was.

That explanation is based on a couple of really simple concepts.

Firstly, what Ricardoes is all about is bringing their customers to them, rather than them taking their produce to the customer.

Ricardoes strawberries … tailor-made for the whole family.

It provides those customers with a great day out, whether they’re from Port or travelling part or all of the Pacific Highway between Sydney and Brisbane.

It means that Anthony and Richard completely bypass the middlemen who absorb the lion’s share of the profit, and that they can offer a very good product at an attractive price, pay all their staff and make some pretty useful beer money for themselves.

And it means that they can tailor the business to suit the needs of the customer, much more than can most.

“That’s why people keep coming back as a family unit,” says Anthony.

Anthony Sarks among his strawberries … the business is very much ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’.

“When they harvest from our runners, the little kids can attack the very bottom layer, the grandparents can stick to waist-and-shoulder height, and the more agile adults can pick up anything in between. Everyone has a good time and contributes to the effort.”

It also means that they avoid the expense of providing transport, storage facilities and sales space for what are essentially perishable commodities. In other words, the business is very much ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’, two absolute buzzwords in today’s environment.

Secondly, another thing that Ricardoes is all about is cutting, hopefully very nearly completely eliminating, waste.

Anthony Sarks among his strawberries … the business is verymuch ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’.

If something isn’t good enough to used for its primary purpose — mainly direct sales through the shop or via direct harvesting — it finds an application further downstream, usually in produce such as tomato relish or strawberry jam.

“We pride ourselves on using everything,” said Anthony. “I think we’ve taken the ‘nose-to-tail’ concept to its natural conclusion.”

That’s why the brothers didn’t worry about producing a bumper crop of strawberries this year. They just turned it into jam, which I can vouch for the quality of. And with which they’re doing very nicely thank you.

Just part of the story these days … Anthony Sarks and the tomatoes.

And a couple of words of advice.

One from me. Don’t get Anthony started on the major retail chains. He dislikes them with a vengeance.

And one from Anthony. Don’t forget that tomatoes are a fruit and store them in a bowl on the table or sideboard with other fruit, not in the fridge’s veggie crisper.

IF YOU GORicardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries, 221 Blackmans Point Road, Port Macquarie (just off the Pacific Highway just north of the city); phone (02) 6585 0663; visit www.ricardoes苏州美甲.Guided tours 11am weekdays.

John Rozentals was a guest of Port Macquarie Tourism

Suspicious packages ‘despicable’: Trump

President Donald Trump says a “major federal investigation” is underway into the attempted attacks.US President Donald Trump has condemned the series of attempted attacks on high-profile Democrats and others, declaring “acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States”.

Attempting a bipartisan pause during a divisive campaign season, Trump called for unity after crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, CNN and others were intercepted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Trump called the suspicious packages “despicable” and said a “major federal investigation” was underway.

Coming just 13 days before the midterm elections, the packages were directed at prominent Democrats and a cable network often criticised by political conservatives.

In his rallies and on Twitter, Trump has frequently lambasted Clinton, Obama and CNN, as well as other Democrats and news outlets, often with menacing undertones.

At a rally in Montana last week, Trump praised Republican Representative Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter, saying “any guy that can do a body slam … he was my guy”.

Trump on Wednesday did not name any of the entities targeted by the devices.

“We’re extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning, and we will get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 election, said it was a “troubling time” and a “time of deep divisions and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together”.

The president’s allies have pushed back on the suggestion he contributes to a toxic political atmosphere.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said: “I don’t see anything really wrong with the president. He’s in a tough position, attacked on all sides, and he ought to be able to express himself.”

Republicans also condemned the suspicious devices.

House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced the “reprehensible acts” as an “attempt to terrorise public figures”.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “domestic terrorism”.

Representative Steve Scalise, who was severely wounded in a 2017 shooting that targeted Republican congressmen on a suburban baseball field, tweeted that as a nation “we must agree that this is a dangerous path and it cannot become the new normal”.

Saudi prince vows justice over Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has vowed the killers of Jamal Khashoggi will be brought to justice, in his first public comments since the journalist’s murder sparked global condemnation.

Striking a defiant tone, Prince Mohammed has told international investors at a major conference in Riyadh the furore over Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul will not derail the kingdom’s reform drive.

His comments came hours after US President Donald Trump was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that as Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, the crown prince bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death.

“We will prove to the world that the two governments (Saudi and Turkish) are co-operating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail,” Prince Mohammed said to applause on Wednesday.

The world’s top oil exporter has come under increasing pressure over the death of Khashoggi, a columnist and one of the crown prince’s most prominent critics.

The crisis has strained Riyadh’s ties with the West and led dozens of Western politicians, top world bankers and company executives to boycott the Future Investment Initiative conference that opened in Riyadh on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron told King Salman in a phone call on Wednesday that Paris, in co-ordination with partners, could take action against those held responsible for the murder, the Elysee palace said.

However, French reaction has been relatively guarded, as Paris tries to retain its influence with Riyadh and protect commercial relations spanning energy, finance and arms sales.

Saudi Arabia first denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance but a Saudi official eventually attributed his death on October 2 to a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.

Turkey has dismissed Saudi efforts to blame rogue operatives and urged the kingdom to search “top to bottom” for those responsible.

Britain, also a major weapons supplier to the kingdom, said Riyadh’s explanations lacked credibility.

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that Britain would prevent all suspects in the killing entering the country.

The Trump administration and the US defence industry are scrambling to save a much-touted $US110 billion ($A155 billion) arms package for Saudi Arabia.

could follow Germany’s lead and suspend new arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the crime, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said.

Also on Wednesday, Erdogan and the Saudi crown prince had a telephone conversation about “joint efforts” to shed light on the killing of Khashoggi, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu, marking the first contact between the Turkish and Saudi leaders since the start of the case.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani called on the United States and the European Union not to back down from putting pressure on Saudi Arabia – an arch-enemy of Iran.

South Carolina waiting for US lotto winner

The winner of the $US1.5 billion lottery jackpot is yet to come forward in the US.The number of billionaires in South Carolina may have doubled overnight – at least before taxes – after a lottery ticket sold in the state won the $US1.5 billion ($A2.17 billion) Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

The ticket, sold at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, matched all six numbers drawn on Tuesday night, defying the one in 302.5 million odds to win the near-record prize.

The winner would only become an actual billionaire by taking the prize in annual instalments over three decades and hanging on to the bulk of the money. The lucky person can also take an $877.8 million lump-sum cash payment, which most winners choose to receive.

South Carolina Education Lottery officials know when and where the winning ticket was bought, but until someone turns the ticket in, they won’t know who bought it. And the public may never find out. South Carolina allows lottery winners to remain anonymous after conducting a thorough investigation to confirm their identity, lottery chief operating officer Tony Cooper said.

The name of South Carolina’s last big winner – a $399 million Powerball jackpot in September 2013 which at the time was the fourth biggest lottery prize in US history – has never been made public.

“Our message to the $1.5 BILLION# Mega Millions jackpot winner: Sign the back of the ticket, place the ticket in a safe location, speak with a trusted advisor and CALL THE LOTTERY at 1-866-736-9819. Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment!” the South Carolina Education Lottery tweeted.

The prize is extraordinary by any measure, but particularly so for South Carolina. With more than $1.5 billion, an exceedingly generous winner could shower roughly $307 on each of the state’s five million people. It’s about as much as 20 per cent of the state’s $8 billion annual budget.

“It’s a big, big win for South Carolina,” Cooper said.

Lottery officials said the state will get $80 million in taxes. The state sold around $15 million worth of tickets just for Tuesday night’s drawing, with most of the revenue going to education, Cooper said.

KC Mart owner CJ Patel will also be a winner. He gets a $50,000 bonus, and said Wednesday he will share part of it with his employees. He has owned the store not far from where Greenville’s suburbs turn rural for more than three years.

Patel said lottery ticket sales were brisk leading up to Tuesday and he has no idea who bought the winner.

“I hope he will keep coming in,” Patel said with a broad smile.

“He’d be good for the business.”

The biggest Mega Millions jackpot winner prior to this was a $656 million ticket sold in 2012, Gentry said: “so it’s a record for Mega Millions and it came very close to breaking the world record of all the jackpots.”

Facebook removes 8.7m child nudity images

Facebook says company moderators removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity during the last quarter with the help of previously undisclosed software that automatically flags such photos.

The machine learning tool rolled out over the last year identifies images that contain both nudity and a child, allowing increased enforcement of Facebook’s ban on photos that show minors in a sexualised context.

A similar system also disclosed on Wednesday catches users engaged in “grooming,” or befriending minors for sexual exploitation.

Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis told Reuters in an interview that the “machine helps us prioritise” and “more efficiently queue” problematic content for the company’s trained team of reviewers.

The company is exploring applying the same technology to its Instagram app.

Under pressure from regulators and lawmakers, Facebook has vowed to speed up removal of extremist and illicit material. Machine learning programs that sift through the billions of pieces of content users post each day are essential to its plan.

Machine learning is imperfect, and news agencies and advertisers are among those that have complained this year about Facebook’s automated systems wrongly blocking their posts.

Davis said the child safety systems would make mistakes but users could appeal.

“We’d rather err on the side of caution with children,” she said.

Facebook’s rules for years have banned even family photos of lightly clothed children uploaded with “good intentions,” concerned about how others might abuse such images.

Before the new software, Facebook relied on users or its adult nudity filters to catch child images. A separate system blocks child pornography that has previously been reported to authorities.

Facebook has not previously disclosed data on child nudity removals, though some would have been counted among the 21 million posts and comments it removed in the first quarter for sexual activity and adult nudity.

EU moves to ban 10 single-use plastics

The European Union parliament will move to ban 10 common single-use plastics by 2021.European Union lawmakers have moved to ban widely-used, throw-away plastics such as straws and cotton buds, and put a greater burden on manufacturers to recycle in an effort to clear up ocean pollution.

Under the proposal, overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament, 10 single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives would be banned by 2021.

EU states would be obliged to recycle 90 per cent of plastic bottles by 2025 and producers to help cover costs of waste management.

“We are sending a strong signal to industry,” EU lawmaker Federique Ries, a Belgian liberal, told Reuters. “There is broad and growing popular support on this issue,” said Ries, who is representing the parliament in negotiations with EU governments.

The EU recycles only a quarter of the 25 million tonnes of plastics waste it produces per year.

China’s decision to stop processing waste coupled with growing alarm over damage to oceans has pushed the continent to end reliance on developing countries to deal with its waste. Regulators hope the new rules will lead to a drop in the price of recycled plastics.

The EU’s final rules still need to be approved in talks with member states – some of which have baulked at the curbs, worried they will be too difficult to implement for industry.

But the deputy head of the EU executive, who is overseeing efforts to cut down on plastic waste, called for action.

“Europe has to come to terms with the fact that we cannot just put it on someone else’s shoulders,” EU Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told Reuters, saying he was encouraged by a shift in the private sector towards more voluntary recycling and public activism on the issue.

“It is the first strategy in the world that looks at the whole issue of the role of plastics in our economy,” he added.

“If we don’t move now, if we don’t move swiftly … you will have more plastic in the oceans than fish.”

EU lawmakers added polystyrene fast-food containers and products made of oxo-degradable plastics, which critics say do not fully break down, to the list proposed by the EU executive earlier this year.

Waste from cigarette butts, which can take over a decade to degrade in water, would also have to be cut by 50 percent in 2025 and by 80 per cent in 2030. EU countries would also have to collect fishing gear polluting beaches.

Ries said the restrictions on tobacco products and obligations on member state governments to recycle more could be sticking points.