Captain’s knock in country opener

Captain’s knock in country opener TON: Newcastle captain Mark Littlewood (second from right) made a century in round one of the NSW Country Championships at Inverell on Friday. Picture: Heidi Gibson
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TweetFacebook NSW Country Championships – day 1Pictures by Heidi GibsonA captain’s knock from Mark Littlewood has put Newcastle on the front foot after the opening day of the NSW Country Championships in Inverell.

Littlewood made an unbeaten 116 from 124 balls, hitting six fours and five sixes along the way, in guiding Newcastle to a 59-run victory over Central North at Varley Oval on Friday.

Batting at No.3 the Belmont all-rounderput on a 142-run second-wicket stand with opener and Wallsend marquee Nathan Price, who struck 13 boundaries in his 87 from 100 deliveries.

“They both batted really well and set it up nicely for us,” Newcastle representative coach Shane Burley said.

Newcastle’s 50-over total of 8-274 eventually proved too much for Central North, who were restricted to 7-215 with Simon Norvill (55), former University batsman Aaron Mahony (52) and Hamilton-Wickham skipper Josh Trappel (42)the best in a beaten side.

Pat Darwen, named in the Australian Country XI last season, claimedtwo wickets for Newcastle while Central North’sLincoln Mills and Daniel Willis shared four between them.

“Our bowlers managed a lot of dots which helped us,” Burley said.“We picked up the bonus point as well, which is really important.”

Newcastle now meets first round losers North Coast in Saturday’s second round fixture at the same venue while Central North tackle Western at McCosker Park No.1.

Western (9-243) beat North Coast (134) on Friday.

Mace calls for change of bonus point set-up

SHOT: Charlestown captain Steve Mace out in the middle last weekend. Picture: Marina NeilCharlestown captain Steve Mace has called for a rethink of the bonus point system in one-day matches.
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The inaugural early-season, five-game, 40-over, pink-ball trial finished last weekend with Charlestown narrowly missing top spot in Pool B on quotient to Wests and consequently a Tom Locker Cup final berth.

Charlestown won four times to Wests’ three during the same period but the Rosellas collected six bonus pointsto the Magpies’ two.

Mace believes this anomaly on the Newcastle District Cricket Association first grade competition ladder needs to be addressed, especially considering the points allocated intwo-day matches which start on Saturday.

“The bonus points are too heavily weighted,” Mace said.

“If you play a two-day game over say 180 overs and have a close, hard-fought win after slogging your guts out for 12 hours you getsix points.

“In a one-day game most teams receive eight points for about 50 of 60 overs of work.

“It doesn’t seem right.”

Currently six points are allocated for a win and two for a loss in these limited overs fixtures.

Bonus points come into play, both added and deducted, depending on the severity of the result.

They are based on percentages of the first innings total–either chasing down in quick time or restricting an opposition in reply.

One if the job’s completed between60 and 80 percent and two if under 60 percent.

It meansteams can walk away with six, seven or eight points for a win and two, one or even nonefor a loss.

“It’s not necessarily the team that gets the bonus point has played really well, it’s more often than notthe team that lost it has played really poorly,” Mace said.

“I likethe bonus point because it creates a bit of interest and there’s no perfect system, but it shouldn’t be that way.Maybe one bonus point at about 65 percent. That waythere’s only one bonus point rather than two.”

Bonus point dramasaside, Charlestown sitin a three-way share of second position on the overall standings.

“You’d take that in any five-game period throughout the season let along the start,” Mace said.“It’s a good place to be and hopefully we can go on with it now the two-dayers are here.”

Charlestown host Belmont at Kahibah Oval.

Elsewhere in round six encounters winless Toronto are at home to Wests, ladder-leaders Merewether travel to meet last-placed Cardiff-Boolaroo, defending champions Hamilton-Wickham give up another home game to Wallsend, Waratah-Mayfield play Stockton-Raymond Terraceand University clash with Newcastle City.

Play starts at 11am.

Meanwhile, eight teams have entered the second season ofthe Newcastle-based Sixers Social Women’s Cricket competition which starts at Smith Park on Sunday (4:30pm-6pm).

Weeding out weaklings in pot stock sector

Australia’s cannabis companies may have exploded onto the ASX in recent years, generating bemused interest and bad media puns, but their struggle to crack overseas markets means their performance has been decidedly patchy.
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Since the federal government opened up the market for scientific and medical marijuana cultivation in February last year, at least 17 companies have popped up on the local exchange. The most recent was Cannpal, which hit the boards in October.

And despite the government legalising medicinal consumption, in November share price performance of the various “pot stocks” has been mixed.

The likes of Cann Group have done eye-wateringly well; the stock is up 200 per cent since listing at 30?? in May.

Both Zelda Therapeutics and Creso Pharma have also enjoyed solid investor attention, up 87 per cent and 138 per cent year-to-date respectively.

The sector has easily outperformed the Small Ordinaries Index, which is up 10 per cent so far this year.

But other marijuana plays are not riding the hype; Perth-based Chapmans is languishing below half a cent. Capital Mining, previously linked to Chapmans, has been stuck in a trading halt so has yet to outline how its cannabis foray is materialising.

“The volatility in the share price movements are indicative of this kind of fledgling industry,” says Matthijs Smith, senior life sciences analyst at Canaccord Genuity and recent author of a well-read report on the industry.

“They’ve been waxing and waning as attitudes are moving around, but overall people are beginning to cotton on that the most widely abused recreational drug is shifting towards genuine medical status.”

Licensing is still the most critical element in the industry, and while it’s fairly simple to get a medicinal or R&D licence from the Office of Drug Control, manufacturing entitlements are more difficult.

“The ODC is wary of any product disappearing,” says Mr Smith.

So far, eight licences have been issued for the cultivation and production of medicinal cannabis, five for cultivation and production for research purposes and four to actually manufacture cannabis products.

The market’s heavyweights, AusCann and Cann Group, have both been granted manufacturing and medicinal licences, while the Hydroponics Company (with its memorable THC ticker) also has a research licence.

MMJ Phytotech, Medlab Clinical, and Creso Pharma have import licences.

“But it’s the lack of export capability that’s really holding these companies back; it’s the next step,” says Mr Smith, pointing out that growing a full plant only takes between three and four months.

“So Australian companies could very quickly serve a global market at scale and at high quality.”

The export infrastructure is already in place, says Mr Smith, given Australia already supplies half the world’s legal poppy feedstock for opioid manufacturing.

If the Australian market mimics that of the exploding North American one, Cannacord says the wholesale value of Australian cannabis could quickly become $400 million a year.

In the US and Canada about 1.2 per cent of people use cannabis for medical purposes, which would translate to around 300,000 people in Australia.

“The economic activity that will unfold from this industry is really rich,” says Mr Smith.”It just doesn’t exist today and there are investors everywhere slowly tuning into this potential.”

A global trend unfolding across markets in Europe and South America as well, medical cannabis is big business.

Just this week, global beverage company Constellation Brands acquired a 9.9 per cent stake – worth $US191 million – in Canopy Growth, the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company.

The premise of cannibanoid drinks has analysts around the world talking, however Australia is still yet to catch up to the edibles market.

“Once edibles infiltrate Australia, I expect we’ll see local companies go into overdrive,” says Mr Smith.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Suu Kyi visits Rakhine, reduces Rohingya crisis to a ‘quarrel’

Bangkok: Ten weeks after Myanmar’s army embarked on a ruthless crackdown that has driven more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims from their homes, the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally visited the scene, telling people not to “quarrel”.
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From her helicopter, she would have been able to see scores of incinerated villages, but the military has insisted that Rohingya burnt their own villages as they fled. Burmese state media has accused them of fleeing to Bangladesh to tarnish Myanmar’s reputation.

“I hope everything will go fine as local villagers handle the rebuilding process,” Ms Suu Kyi told the residents of Pan Taw Pyin village, according to the New York Times. “We all have to try our best to live peacefully.”

The scolding from the Nobel laureate known as The Lady, came as powerful US lawmakers proposed targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on Myanmar military officers accused of orchestrating atrocities that human rights group say amount to crimes against humanity.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced he plans to visit Myanmar in mid-November when he is expected to intensify pressure on the military and Ms Suu Kyi’s government to end the violence and allow the Rohingya to return home.

“What’s most important to us is that the world can’t stand idly by and be witness to the atrocities that are being reported in the area,” Mr Tillerson said before announcing the trip.

The sanctions proposed by a bipartisan group of senators, including Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will intensify pressure on the Turnbull government to cut Australia’s military ties with Myanmar.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said Australia is “deeply concerned” about the violence that has sparked a humanitarian emergency in refugee camps in Bangladesh but has refused to directly condemn either the military or Ms Suu Kyi’s government, which claims the military has been responding to attacks by Muslim insurgents.

Senator McCain said the “systematic human rights abuses” committed against Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State demanded a strong response from the international community.

“Our legislation would hold accountable the senior military officials responsible for the slaughter and displacement of innocent men, women and children in Burma [Myanmar], and make clear the United States will not stand for these atrocities,” Senator McCain said.

Democrat Senator Ben Cardin said “never again” is happening again in Myanmar under the watch of the international community.

“This bill will allow Congress to strengthen the President’s [Donald Trump] hand by making clear to Burmese officials that there will be consequences for their crimes against humanity,” Senator Cardin said.

Xenophobic and superstitious generals ruled the south-east Asia nation with an iron-fist for half a century before allowing economic and other reforms in 2011. But the military still wields enormous powers and controls much of the country’s businesses through crony-run corporations.

Ms Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won a landslide election in 2015, has refused to publicly criticise the military, prompting widespread criticism and the withdrawal of some of her international awards.

During her visit to Rakhine on Thursday, Ms Suu Kyi met religious leaders in Maungdaw, one of the districts worst hit by the violence, according to Chris Lewa from the Arakan Project monitoring group.

“She only said three things to the people – they should live peacefully, the government is there to help them and they should not quarrel among each other,” Ms Lewa said.

– With agencies

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New NRMA chair named at first AGM held in Newcastle in a decade

Changeover: Outgoing NRMA chairman Kyle Loades with incoming NRMA chairman Tim Trumper. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNRMA has posted a record profit of more than $100 millionfor the 2016/17 financial year, members and shareholders were told at the motoring body’s annual general meeting on Friday.
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The AGM, which was held in Newcastle for the first time in a decade, was the last hurrahfor outgoing Hunter-based chairman Kyle Loades.

Mr Loades will step down on December 3after 12 years on the NRMA board –three as chairman.

His successor, Sydney-based Tim Trumper, was announced at the meeting.

“Tim is an outstanding individual,” Mr Loades told the AGM. “He has great vision of where this organisation is going.”

The meeting heard about the organisation’s focus on the future and its efforts to embrace electric vehicles and driverless cars.

Mr Loades said the key piece of feedback from members was the need for improved public transport.

“In Newcastle, we know you can complete every road but you still need public transport,” he said.

“The light rail will be outstanding here in the Hunter.

“In terms of the future, NRMA will continue to lobby for improvements to that light rail.

“We’d like to see it extended to many other suburbs, so you’ll be able to hop onto the light rail out in the suburbs, head into the city and not have to deal with any form of congestion or looking around for a park.

“It’s important that the NRMA isn’t just Sydney-centric, that we get around to regions.”

Mr Trumper’s background is in analytics, technology, the internet, financial services and media.

“I firmly believe the NRMA has a rare opportunity to deliver services to meet the individual needs of our members and customers around transport and tourism, and to continue to expand our legendary service beyond simply roadside assistance,” he said.

“Great change is coming in mobility over the next few years.

“I believe the NRMA must play a leadership role in bringing the community with us on the journey and ensuring they benefit from these changes.”