The home stretch

Reaching out: Lleyton Hewitt stretches for a shot at Kooyong on Wednesday.LLEYTON Hewitt will spend the year travelling with his pal Peter Luczak, the promoted hitting partner who will effectively co-coach the dual grand slam champion in tandem with the more stay-at-home veteran Tony Roche. There will be golf (Hewitt off a handicap of seven, Luczak off nine), dinners, practice. It will be comfortable, and fun.
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As an end approaches for Hewitt that will arrive sometime in the next few seasons, he is fit and pain-free enough to enjoy his tennis again, and looking optimistically ahead to a season in which the popular Luczak will be his on-the-road partner, as he has often been on the practice court.

”It’s always important to have people around you that you trust and get along well with, and he knows my game and what makes me tick as well,” Hewitt said after his 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7-3) defeat of world No. 15 Milos Raonic at Kooyong’s AAMI Classic.

”So I have a lot of confidence in him with that. Plus, he knows my strengths and weaknesses and how to get the best out of me. He’s a very positive guy as well, which is a good thing, so it’s going to be a bit of fun. I’ve always got along extremely well with ‘Looch’, tried to help him out as much as possible when he was playing, and obviously we’re pretty close family friends, too.”

Roche will continue to travel to the Davis Cup ties and grand slam tournaments, and to help Hewitt during the grasscourt season. ”So I get both of them, and they get along extremely well, which is great for me,” he said.

Much has been written about Hewitt’s fused big toe, which has left him with ”a lot of metal plates and screws in there and I can’t move it”, but there is also a load off his mind to be playing without the need for a pain-killing jab before he could even warm-up.

”I don’t know how many injections I had last January; it was just getting out of control. So in terms of mentally, I can just focus on that I need to do and my game, which is a lot. It’s refreshing,” he said.

”There’s no stress or extra pressure about my body at the moment, which just leaves me with a clear mind. It just makes you happier to be out there doing the hard work and not grimacing every time you’ve got to do something.

”I’ve always prided myself on being pretty tough mentally – even when I was 20 and world No. 1, I felt like I won so many matches through mental toughness back then, and doing the right things, and those one-percenters really got me across the line in so many close matches. I don’t think that’s changed that much; I still believe in myself and back myself out there. But I feel like when the going gets tough I’m there, and I enjoy those moments.”

Yet if it is more than a decade since Hewitt won the second of his two singles grand slams, and there will not be another, one of the only other two men not named Federer, Djokovic or Nadal to own a major out of the past 27 – Juan Martin del Potro – can appreciate even more the size of his achievement in claiming the 2009 US Open. Del Potro has since suffered wrist, knee and hip injuries but returned to a world ranking of No. 7, and although he is yet to reach another grand slam final, ”maybe in this tournament or in this year, another name can win,” he said after a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Paul-Henri Mathieu in difficult, windy conditions at Kooyong.

”I need many things to be there, but I am working to be a better player day by day,” said del Potro.

”I found the experience against them in the grand slams, I made semi-finals in [the ATP World Tour finals] London. I got the bronze medal in the Olympics and I know it’s very tough to beat them in grand slams.

”But I have confidence in myself to try to do it again in this tournament or the future.”

Earlier, world No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic succumbed to a tendon injury in his right arm that had been bothering him during his run to the title in Chennai last week, and left for hospital for an MRI scan after retiring at 0-1 in the second set against Marcos Baghdatis, having dropped the first 6-1.

From the original field, Juan Monaco (hand) withdrew on Monday and Kei Nishikori (knee) on Tuesday night.

Tennis Australia has secured an extension of its sponsorship deal with Kia Motors, for a reported $50 million over five years. The original contract was for $36 million from 2008.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Wal King asked to join right royal battle over Indonesian coalminer

In demand: Wal King.FORMER Leighton boss Wal King has found himself at the centre of what is shaping up as a fierce battle to seize control of a listed miner in London, with shareholders set for a showdown next month.
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Mr King, who retired from Leighton Holdings two years ago, has been approached to chair listed coalminer Bumi Plc pending the outcome of a proposal to oust the incumbent board and chief executive and buy out a key shareholder.

An extraordinary general meeting has been requisitioned for early February after Bumi Plc’s share price fell 70 per cent last year.

It is believed that financier Nat Rothschild, who co-founded Bumi Plc in 2010 with Indonesia’s high-profile Bakrie family through its shareholding in Bumi Resources, approached Mr King to help spearhead his push to sever Bumi Plc’s relationship with Bumi Resources. Mr Rothschild wants to buy out the Bakrie family’s stake by raising between £200 million ($305 million) and £300 million on the London sharemarket.

It is believed that Mr King’s experience in Asia and contract mining was behind the decision to offer him the role as chairman. He was chief executive of Leighton for 23 years. During his reign he took the construction company from a market capitalisation of $70 million to $10.3 billion by expanding into Asia and creating the biggest contract miner in the world.

Mr King left in January 2010 after a bitter falling out with Leighton’s major shareholder, Hochtief.

Mr Rothschild and Mr King are believed to be acquaintances, along with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Between now and Bumi Plc’s EGM there is expected to be a dogfight as Mr Rothschild pushes forward his proposal and the Bakrie family puts forward its proposal to buy all of Bumi Plc’s coal assets.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Rothschild has won the support of Schroders and some other key investors to replace the board. He needs 50 per cent to win control of the company, while the Bakrie family is believed to have about 30 per cent support.

Bumi Plc was created in 2010 when Mr Rothschild, who had a cashbox company in London, was approached by the Bakrie family to take a cross-shareholding as part of a plan to give the Indonesian coalmining company access to the British market. Bumi Plc ended up with a 29 per cent stake in Bumi Resources and 85 per cent of Berau, another Indonesian coalminer.

The tie-up was a disaster and the relationship between Mr Rothschild and the Bakries disintegrated. Mr Rothschild, who holds more than 12 per cent of the voting rights in Bumi, resigned from the board late last year.

On Monday he put forward a proposal for a new board with Brock Gill as chief executive, Mr King as chairman and himself as an executive director. He also wants to bring a former British ambassador to Indonesia on to the board.

For the first three quarters of last year Bumi Resources posted a loss of $US633 million and must pay off $US3 billion in debt by 2017.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Lleyton keen to bring Tomic back to cup

HAD anyone predicted just a couple of years ago that Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic would become friendly Davis Cup teammates and regular practice partners, they would have been laughed out of Melbourne Park.
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But Hewitt plans to speak to Tomic about the Queenslander’s decision to boycott Australia’s second Davis Cup tie this year, and perhaps try to use his new-found influence to prompt a rethink.

Captain Pat Rafter, with Tennis Australia’s backing, suspended Tomic from next month’s opening Asia/Oceania tie against Taiwan for his unprofessionalism and questionable efforts at times last year. In Perth and Sydney in the past week, Tomic has countered by declaring himself unavailable for the second tie, in April. After his opening win at Kooyong’s AAMI Classic on Wednesday, Hewitt admitted he was disappointed to hear it.

”I’d like to have a chat with him obviously at some stage about it more, and just see, because I know Pat, he’s pretty frustrated,” Hewitt said. ”For one, he wants to have the best possible team he can have, and Bernie’s in that, there’s no doubt about it, so it’s a tough one.

”Obviously he had to work on a few things before he got back in the tie, and whether that’s had any influence on him missing the second tie, I don’t know. I personally haven’t spoken to Bernie about it; but I feel like the last year-and-half, two years, I’m probably the closest out of anyone with him, which a lot of people would find amazing after a few years ago.”

So the chat will come, but not immediately. And the next selection call, whenever it is made, will involve Rafter, new Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle, and veteran mentor Tony Roche, said Hewitt, Australia’s most successful cup warrior. Tomic himself has declared he will not be back until the world group play-off round in September.

”I’m not going to talk to him right now about it – it’s not the right time,” said Hewitt, the former world No. 1. ”So it’s disappointing that he’s not playing the first tie, but that’s for other reasons than Bernie missing it himself … So there’s still a bit of time before the second one; we’ll have to wait and see.”

The previous ill-feeling between Hewitt and Tomic can be traced back to a practice incident at Wimbledon in 2009, when the senior player’s invitation to Tomic to hit was rejected, and the then 16-year-old approached Juan Carlos Ferrero instead. ”To say that we were less than impressed would be an understatement,” said Hewitt’s manager, David Drysdale, at the time. Things, clearly, have changed. And, in the interests of Australia’s Davis Cup prospects, something else might soon need to.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

& Other Stories: H&M targets upmarket shoppers

Hennes & Mauritz, Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, will start selling its newest brand in stores and online simultaneously for the first time in the company’s history.
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The “& Other Stories” brand of women’s shoes, bags and accessories will go on sale in the spring, the Stockholm-based retailer said overnight. It will be available at seven new stores dedicated to the label in European cities such as London, Paris and Milan, as well as online in 10 European countries, H&M said.

“The key difference is that ‘& Other Stories’ is online from the outset, which in theory brings it to a wider audience,” Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow said. In terms of stores, it is a similar approach to the introduction of the retailer’s COS brand, she said.

The Swedish retailer is diversifying with a sixth brand after falling behind larger competitor Inditex in the race for the price-sensitive fashionista’s euro. Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, has been pushing online business for brands including Zara. Last year, Inditex shares gained 67 per cent, while H&M rose 1.5 per cent.

“This diversification into other brands is nothing new for a lot of retailers and H&M is following in the footsteps of Inditex, which has diversified a lot,” said Planet Retail analyst Isabel Cavill. “They’ve needed to do this for some time because it was over-reliant on the H&M brand. They need to extend their reach to different shopper groups and create buzz and interest.”

Chelsea boots

Prices for “& Other Stories” clothes will start where H&M store prices end, chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in September.

H&M, which opened its first store in 1947, introduced the higher-priced COS chain in 2007. COS sells jacquard trousers for 79 euros ($98) and heeled Chelsea boots for 150 euros.

“They’re looking for a different angle to the COS price range,” said Ms Cavill. “COS has a very distinct look and doesn’t necessarily appeal to everybody.”

H&M, which also owns the Monki, Weekday and Cheap Monday brands, is looking for more locations in major European cities to open “& Other Stories” stores, Kristina Stenvinkel, a spokeswoman for the clothing retailer, said.

H&M delayed the start of its online operations in the US in September last year after adapting to the market took longer than expected, Mr Persson said at the time.

Zara online

“It’s beyond me why they haven’t launched online operations in the US yet,” Ms Cavill said. “In Europe, the service they offer online still doesn’t compare” to services offered by companies such as web retailer Asos, she said.

Despite a recent influx of overseas retail brands such as Zara into Australia, H&M is yet to open a store in Australia.

The fashion chain said last year that it would open an outlet this year in Santiago, Chile, its first shop south of the equator. At the time, Mr Persson said: “We see great potential for further expansion in this fashion-conscious region.”

Inditex introduced Chinese internet sales for Zara in September last year and started online operations in the US for Zara Home and Massimo Dutti in October. The Spanish retailer gets more than 35 per cent of revenue from non-Zara brands, which also include Bershka, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius.

“Multi-brand strategy is definitely going to be a key point for H&M if they want to close the gap with Inditex,” said Ashma Kunde, an apparel analyst at Euromonitor in London. “It’s quite interesting that they have chosen to invest in an entirely new brand rather than pushing existing brands further. ‘& Other Stories’ seems to focus a lot on details and craftsmanship and really showing a more artistic approach to fashion, which is a complete paradox to H&M, which is all about fast fashion.”

Bloomberg

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Big Bash bolters

Alex Hales smashes one for the Renegades.Whether you praise the Big Bash as a revitalising novelty, or loathe it as a mutant abomination, Australia’s major Twenty20 tournament may deliver its cricket-lovers an unexpected benefit – helping the development of a pavilion-full of fringe players.
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Across the BBL, the forgotten, unknown and neglected are taking the opportunity to ply their wares against internationals. Even in the abbreviated form of the game, such competitive moments harden youngsters and offer redemptive opportunities for previously ignored journeymen.

High-profile veterans Shane Warne, 43, and Brad Hogg, 40, continued to make an impact, but other greybeards have graced the BBL. Spinner Brad Young, 39, had been retired so long that he had never played a T20 match. Dimitri Mascarenhas, 35, was plucked from playing club cricket for Prahran to replace the league’s best bowler Lasith Malinga in the Melbourne Stars line-up. And the Perth Scorchers became the 11th franchise to use the talents of South African veteran Alfonso Thomas, 35.

But its the younger guns who benefit most from exposure offered by the Big Bash. A succession of players who are striving to consolidate state or national roles have shown off their talents this season.

Here’s a few of the up and coming lesser-lights who have shone brightest so far in the Big Bash:

* Englishman Alex Hales, called in by the rampant Melbourne Renegades as a replacement for the injured Marlon Samuels, hopped off a long-haul flight, was bamboozled for the first two overs he faced, then pummelled the Sydney Sixers to the tune of 89 runs off 52 balls, with a tournament-high eight sixes.

Tall and athletic, he strikes the short ball with fearsome power, and proved he had mastered the slog sweep with four sixes in an over from left-arm tweaker Steve O’Keefe. An improving first-class player for Nottinghamshire, Hales is quickly becoming a fixture in the English short-form middle-order. Greater things could await in longer forms if his defence matches his shot-making.

* Renegades all-rounder Will Sheridan, 25, has played nine first-class games since his debut in 2009. He is tall and athletic, bowls briskly with his left arm (nine wickets so far in the BBL, including 3/28 against the Sixers) and gives the ball a hiding with the bat.

He has bamboozled sloggers with an impressive array of slower balls, and helped whack the Renegades to an unlikely victory against Adelaide when the run-rate appeared insurmountable. Averaging 43 with the bat and 20 with the ball in T20s, Sheridan has the raw ability to push higher, particularly in short-form cricket.

* South Australian (and Dutch) middle-order right-hander Tom Cooper and keeper-batsman Peter Nevill have been consistently handy for the league-leaders, but NSW middle-order stalwart Ben Rohrer and South Australian tweaker Aaron O’Brien have been the standouts for the Renegades.

O’Brien doesn’t spin the ball wildly or make it dip dramatically, but the left-armer’s clever variations have baffled opponents, even without boundary protection when bowling in the opening overs.

Rohrer’s clean ball-striking and composed decision-making have kept the Renegades’ run-rate ticking over, often in partnership with dominant Aaron Finch, leaving the 31-year-old left-hander anchored in the top three performing batsmen in the competition with 253 runs at 50 per knock.

* Burly Queenslander Luke Feldman is yet another capable paceman who would not be out of place at the highest level. He has been perhaps the most consistent quick of the BBL, with 10 wickets in eight games for the Sydney Sixers, at less than seven runs per over. He hits the pitch hard, but possesses a dramatic slower ball, which stymies even the fiercest hitters.

* Hobart Hurricanes boast the BBL’s most effective Australian-born bowler, Ben Laughlin. The son of former Victorian all-rounder Trevor has an ever-changing array of slower balls which have tied opposing sloggers in knots, yielding 13 wickets at 13. Further international opportunities surely beckon.

* Tasmanian Melbourne Renegades all-rounderJames Faulkner, already something of a veteran, but still only 22, has taken 10 wickets and often scored handy late-order runs. The canny left-arm quick has a full range of short-form tricks, and needs only to add a yard of pace, or an irresistible inswinger, to ensure a lengthy international career.

Notably, he has proved himself when games are on-the-line, bowling with calm assurance against desperate hitters, and choosing the right ball to whack himself when chasing down a total.

* Sachithra Senanayake bowled one of the more intriguing spells of the BBL for the Sydney Sixers against Brisbane Heat.

The whippet-thin Sri Lankan finger-spinner opened the bowling with his innocuous-looking high-armed tweakers and an odd-seam-up “back-spinner”, which swerved like a swinging delivery. The Heat batsmen, including veteran James Hopes, had no idea which way the ball was going to deviate.

Senanayake bowled a tournament-high 17 balls which were not scored from, and followed up with 1-19, including 15 dot-balls, against the rampant Renegades, including Alex Hales, who savaged other Sixers bowlers.

* Another spinner creating interest is diminutive 20-year-old Sydney leg-spinnerAdam Zampa. Having bowled only once at first-class level (when he took five wickets on debut), Zampa has been one of the few encouraging performers for the Sydney Thunder, with five wickets from six matches, including 3/26 in Hobart. Possessing a similar style to Shane Warne, he doesn’t get huge turn, but proves difficult to counter when he hits a length, troubling such spin-savvy strikers as David Hussey.

* Former Victorian wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman has prospered since switching to South Australia, his 71 not-out for the Strikers against Sydney placing him in the top 10 competition scorers. His acrobatic effort to catch Heat’s Thisara Perera off Kieron Pollard exemplifies his agility. Any further improvement in his batting consistency will bring him into contention for greater honours, but at 25, he has time on his side.

* One of the few wicketkeeper-batsmen ahead of Ludeman at the moment is luckless Tasmanian starTim Paine, whose performances in the BBL show he is finally on the way back after two years of injury woes.

Paine has scored 237 runs atop the Hurricanes’ batting order, consistently compiling solid scores including a match-defining 74 not-out against Perth Scorchers. With his glovework as reliable as ever, Paine’s improving batting will surely see him back in contention for international duties.

* Considered “too orthodox” for T20 cricket is Test candidateAlex Doolan. His 30 off 28 balls, which helped set up the Renegades’ win over the Melbourne Stars, was an illuminating cameo.

Mentioned in dispatches as a long-form power after an impressive 161 not-out for the Chairman’s XI against South Africa in November, Doolan had been a victim of the Sheffield Shield hiatus as the BBL was granted centre-stage.

But this knock showcased his poise and power. Suffering an injured ankle, he played the shot of the match off the back foot through the covers, a superbly-timed drive that sped past cover-point. Then he smashed a succession of short-balls to the mid-wicket fence. Sometimes a glimpse of class is all the public and selectors need to remind them a potential star is within their grasp.

* Another young bowler taking advantage of the Big Bash to raise his profile is 21-year-old South Australian quick Kane Richardson. The right-arm paceman took 3/9 for the Strikers against Thunder in Sydney, and has snared eight wickets in seven innings overall. His brilliant diving catch on the boundary line against Hobart showcased his athleticism, and his yorker and change of pace have won rave reviews from former Australian stars Jason Gillespie and Mark Waugh.

Under-publicised overachievers

A Big Bashers 2013 XI

Alex Hales

Tim Paine

Ben Rohrer

Tim Ludeman

Will Sheridan

James Faulkner

Aaron O’Brien

Sachithra Senanayake

Ben Laughlin

Adam Zampa

Luke Feldman

It is a team light-on for batsmen, reflecting the predominance of bowlers of late in T20 games. Most innings totals have battled to reach 160, previously considered “par” for BBL games. But add an attention-hog such as a T20 superstar and BBL-leading run-scorer – say, Aaron Finch, Brad Hodge or Shaun Marsh – and it would take a power of beating.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Leslie preparing to help victims of fire

As firefighters across the country work tirelessly to protect lives and assets, there is another special group of people who are preparing to help wildlife and other animals affected, ConnectPink’s Monique Patterson writes.
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When I speak to Leslie Kurek by telephone you’d never know that she has been living with the very prospect of having to evacuate from her home in Tasmania’s White Beach for the past week or so.

She tells me that she is sitting on her verandah as there is less smoke than other days and staying by the phone for news (mobile phone reception is in and out, but she has landline reception, for now).

Leslie expresses deep sympathy for the people in Dunalley, about one hour away by car, who have lost their homes and all of their belongings, pictured is one of the burnt out homes.

“Our hearts go out to them,” she said. “We know a lot of people who have lost their houses.”

It seems that Leslie is a person who always puts others first.

She is preparing to help wherever she can in the coming weeks to care for wildlife and other animals affected by the fires.

Leslie, who has had an association the Bonorong Wildlife Shelter as a wildlife carer for the past 20 years, believes she may be called to help burnt and injured animals.

Sadly, she knows there will be casualties.

“I would assume there may be wallabies affected, if they ran ahead of the firefront, possums could be affected because they’ll go up a tree, which may burn, and wombats go down their burrows, but then smoke can affect them greatly,” Leslie said.

She has had many phone calls from people who are worried about pets or stock who are missing in fire affected areas.

“A lot of people are in deep shock and devastated their pets or stock are in the fire zone,” Leslie said.

“People are wanting to get back in there but it’s too dangerous.”

It’s not until I ask Leslie how things are for her that I find out that she has no power.

But she’s quick to assure me that she and her husband are coping just fine.

Leslie then tells me about a red heeler that went missing in nearby Murdunna when fires ripped through there.

The poor dog had burnt paws and was suffering respiratory issues due to smoke inhalation.

Leslie was able to treat the dog’s paws with burn cream.

She said the dog was obviously in pain, but lay still while she tended its feet and when she was finished, the dog turned around and licked her.

“I nearly cried,” Leslie said.

She added that the dog’s owner was distraught his dog was missing and was delighted to be reunited with it.

Leslie said offers of medical supplies (in readiness for helping wildlife) and help had been overwhelming.

“We’ve been inundated with hurricane lamps, torches and there is a load of food coming in to the peninsula. We want for nothing – the generosity has been incredible.”

Anyone who finds hurt or injured animals in Tasmania can contact the Orphaned and Injured Wildlife Hotline on (03) 6268 1184, the Department of Primary Industries on (03) 6233 6556 or Leslie directly (for the White Beach area) on (03) 6250 2516 or 0407 502 099.

Leslie Kurek is preparing to care for animals affected by bushfires in near-by Dunalley.

Have your say on the bushfires – visit www上海夜网nnectpink上海夜网m.au

Daily horoscopes: Thursday, January 10

ARIES: January 10, 11 is a great time to escape from the harsh realities of life and indulge yourself in the fulfilment of personal needs. There are others who are willing to assist you.
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TAURUS: Your dreams inspire new goals during January 10, 11 and are more achievable because you possess the skills and desires to achieve them. This is a very creative time.

GEMINI: Beauty, compassion and humanity will guide you on your life path during January 10, 11, with many incorporating such elements into their career path. Artistic and creative trends assist.

CANCER: Beautiful and dreamy thoughts tend to weave a magical spell in Cancerian lives during January 10, 11. This makes for delightful interactions on a social level.

LEO: Things tend to run smoothly during January 10, 11 for Leonine individuals, ensuring the easy management of personal relations as well as financial interests. Plans run smoothly.

VIRGO: Beautifully romantic trends weave magic into the lives of Virgoans and their partners during January 10, 11. An empathic bond ensures understandings are reached.

LIBRA: Libran individuals are at a creative premium during January 10, 11, ensuring that any work produced is outstanding, particularly if elements of design are important factors.

SCORPIO: There are so many ways in which love can touch your life during January 10, 11, whether romance casts an enchantment over you or idealistic involvement with a child fills your heart with joy.

SAGITTARIUS: Your home is a place that you can truly relax during January 10, 11, with the predominant mood there being compassionate and quiet; an aura of safety envelopes you.

CAPRICORN: Gentleness characterises most of your interactions during January 10, 11, whether you are talking with a neighbour or relative, or sauntering along a boulevard and engaging absolute strangers.

AQUARIUS: You’ll particularly enjoy those activities that earn you money during January 10, 11, for you are surrounded by both opportunity and ideal circumstances; you do things with style.

PISCES: Pisceans seem to be at peace with the world around them during January 10, 11 as harmonious influences gently sweep them along in their wake; you are buffered against adversity.

LUCKY NUMBERS: Aries: 1, 3, 4, 9; Taurus: 5, 8; Gemini: 6, 7; Cancer: 3, 4, 7, 9; Leo: 1, 3, 4, 9; Virgo: 6, 8; Libra: 5, 7; Scorpio: 2, 3, 7, 9; Sagittarius: 1, 3, 4, 9; Capricorn: 5, 6; Aquarius: 5, 6; Pisces: 2, 4, 7.

Read Alison Moroney’s daily stars for Thursday, January 10, 2013.

Stoush over wedding smooch shot

‘Not artistic’ … Jarrad and Sheree Mitchell say their wedding photos were not up to scratch.IT comes down to this: is the wedding kiss the money shot of wedding photography?
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Narre Warren newlyweds Jarrad and Sheree Mitchell had thought they were entitled to the kiss shot, but photographer George Ferris said they did not linger long enough to get it.

And the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled that the kiss cannot be a guaranteed staple of every wedding album.

The Mitchells married in Nathania Springs, near Belgrave, on August 28, 2011, and engaged Studio Edge & Multimedia, of Beaconsfield, to photograph the day.

But after paying $2210 of the $2600 contract, they refused to pay the outstanding $390. They argued the company failed to deliver the photographs in an ”artistic” style found on their website.

They argued company director Mr Ferris had failed to capture pivotal moments such as ”the kiss”, the cutting of the ribbon and the signing of the wedding certificate. They said the pictures were poor with blurred movement and the wrong lens hood had caused shadow in the pictures.

The Mitchells claimed $6400 in damages, including the cost of restaging the wedding photos, saying the company failed to deliver a boxed photo album, proof album, three large wall prints and a micro wedding website.

Mr Ferris argued the kiss had been ”just a peck” and not all moments could be captured at every wedding. He also argued a flowered archway and ”bounce” from the flash had produced shadowy pictures.

Mr Ferris said the Mitchells only complained about the photographs after Mr Ferris’ wife, Joanne, sent 639 high-resolution ”proof” images to the couple by mistake.

Mr Ferris said the couple had received the value of a ”shoot and burn” package where a photographer shoots the pictures and then burns them to disk.

He showed VCAT member Dr Rebecca French a mock-up digital wedding album as an example of how it might have looked if the Mitchells had paid in full.

Studio Edge & Multimedia counter-claimed for $5700, including the balance of $390, costs for bringing the VCAT case of $4500, $60 for a meal that was not supplied, and a penalty fee of $750 because a second professional photographer was at the reception.

Dr French found Mr Mitchell did not prove Mr Ferris’ work was substandard, but said weddings were ”moving feasts” without the pristine conditions of a photographic studio.

”It was put to me that it was ‘just a peck’ and while it was not discussed at length in evidence, I accept that it is quite difficult to capture the moment of a kiss,” Dr French said. ”Nor is it always possible to capture other precise moments and doing so can be problematic,” she said.

Dr French said the company had not delivered value for $2210 already outlaid and ordered it to pay $710. She ordered the Mitchells to pay $60 for the meal.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Winehouse tragic death verdict

“A lovely, funny girl” … Amy WinehouseShe sang about having to wake up alone, but tragically that is how she died instead.
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Famous for the defiant song, ‘Rehab’ Amy Winehouse died alone, at home, watching YouTube clips of herself after drinking two bottles of vodka.

An inquest into the troubled singer’s death found what has already been widely reported; that the 27-year-old died of alcohol poisoning in her London home on July 23, 2011.

Miss Winehouse drank so much that she stopped breathing and fell into a coma, The Daily Mail reported.

While her live-in body guard was home and had seen the Grammy-award winning singer earlier in the evening, he insisted to the courts that she was her ‘usual, bubbly self’ and while he could tell she had been drinking, she ‘wasn’t completely drunk’.

According to the body guard, Winehouse, who was struggling with alcoholism, bulimia and who was a recovering drug-addict, spent the night watching television and listening to music in her bedroom.

In a statement read out at court, he said he had left her around 2.30am before checking on her again at 10am. Lying fully-clothed, face-down in bed, he believed she was sleeping. He realised there was a problem when he found her in the same position at 3pm that same day and alerted emergency services.

She was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics arrived.

Pathology tests showed she had 416 mgs of alcohol per decilitre in her blood – 350mg is enough to kill.

The death was described as a ‘misadventure’ by the coroner.

This was in light of a statement by Winehouse’s doctor, who said: “In the course of the last consultation, Amy did not appear to be depressed at any stage… She specifically said she did not want to die.”

This was the second inquest into the singer’s death. The first inquest was rescheduled after it was found the original coroner was underqualified.

Winehouse wrote her first song as a 10-year-old and learned to play guitar when she was a teenager.

She went on to win six Grammys from her album Back to Black which documented her personal problems.

Her father Mitch has previously said she was working hard to overcome her troubles and described his daughter as “a lovely, funny girl.”

www.smh上海夜网m.au

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

As public fumes, AIGwon’t sue America

Facing anger from Congress and the American people, AIG says it won’t sue the US government over terms of the company’s multi-billion dollar bailout.
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Insurer American International Group had been weighing whether to join a lawsuit filed by its former chief executive Hank Greenberg and his company Starr International, which owned 12 per cent of AIG before its $US182 billion rescue that started in 2008.

Mr Greenberg claims the rescue was unfair to shareholders and that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York charged an excessive interest rate on its initial loan. He is seeking billions of dollars in damages.

AIG said its board had carried out its legal and fiduciary duty to consider joining Mr Greenberg’s lawsuit before making its decision. Mr Greenberg has a case pending in the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC, and is also appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit in the federal court in New York.

AIG chief executive Bob Benmosche said in an interview with CNBC that ultimately the public had to trust the company.

“It is not acceptable socially for AIG to have taken this money and to think we can go back and sue the government,” Mr Benmosche said.

AIG said it would not pursue Starr’s claims nor would it allow Starr to pursue them on AIG’s behalf, setting the stage for a fresh legal fight between Mr Greenberg and the company.

The idea that AIG might sue the government struck a raw nerve with the public, which took to the Internet to vent its anger at what it viewed as the company’s audacity. The volume of AIG mentions on Twitter rose more than 50-fold on Tuesday, according to Topsy Analytics.

Starr’s attorney, David Boies, said in a statement that AIG’s effort to block Starr from pursuing claims was contrary to shareholders’ interests.

“Whether or not the AIG board will be successful in blocking Starr’s efforts to recover damages for their shareholders will ultimately be decided (by) the court,” Mr Boies said.

Emotions run high

Former Obama administration adviser Austan Goolsbee said “GO SCREW YOURSELVES” in a multi-tweet tirade. Comedian Andy Borowitz drafted a mock letter from the company to taxpayers, asking for more bailout money to pay for the cost of the lawsuit. Dozens of obscene comments made descriptive references to the anatomy of chief executive Robert Benmosche.

And those were the gentler barbs. The New York Daily News ran an editorial cartoon in which a lifeguard saves a drowning man with “AIG” on his belly. When the lifeguard asks the man how he feels, the victim says, “Like suing you.”

The vitriol was just like it had been in late 2008 and early 2009 when, with the United States deep in recession, AIG employees hid ID badges and their families were threatened amid an uproar over bonuses.

A group of congressmen led by Vermont Democrat Peter Welch sent AIG’s chairman a letter late on Tuesday, advising, “Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it.” Other members of Congress threatened hearings.

AIG took to Twitter to defend itself, saying it was legally obligated to at least consider action, but its defence mostly fell on deaf ears.

The US government rescued the company from the brink of bankruptcy in September 2008 with a bailout that ultimately topped $US182 billion. After a recapitalisation deal closed in early 2011, the US Treasury owned 92 per cent of AIG.

The Treasury sold the last of that stake in mid-December 2012. The government has said it earned a return of $US22.7 billion on the rescue.

AIG shares rose 0.3 per cent to close at $US35.76. The stock lost half its value in 2011 but then rose more than 50 per cent in 2012, as it showed consistent profitability.

Reuters

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

2013 BAFTA Award nominees

Hugh Jackman. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Director Tom Hooper. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
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Bradley Cooper. Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Actor Alan Arkin. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival

Eric Fellner. Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Universal

Writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Photo by Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images

Director Steven Spielberg and Producer Kathleen Kennedy. Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images

Producer Dimitri Doganis. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Director Bart Layton and producer Dimitri Doganis. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

John Madden. Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Actress Jessica Chastain. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actress Amy Adams. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Actress Jennifer Lawrence. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Actor Suraj Sharma. Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Marion Cotillard. Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Actres Emmanuelle Riva. Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Director Michael Haneke. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Elizabeth Olsen. Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

Actor Tommy Lee Jones. Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Actress Sally Field. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Actress Helen Hunt. Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images for BFI

Actress Anne Hathaway. Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Producer Graham Broadbent. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Actor Javier Bardem. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sir Cameron Mackintosh. Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

BEST FILM

ARGO – Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

LES MISÉRABLES – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

LIFE OF PI – Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

LINCOLN – Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

ANNA KARENINA – Joe Wright, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster, Tom Stoppard

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL – John Madden, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Ol Parker

LES MISÉRABLES – Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh, William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin

SKYFALL – Sam Mendes, Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

BART LAYTON (Director), DIMITRI DOGANIS (Producer)- The Imposter

DAVID MORRIS (Director), JACQUI MORRIS (Director/Producer) – McCullin

DEXTER FLETCHER (Director/Writer), DANNY KING (Writer) – Wild Bill

JAMES BOBIN (Director) – The Muppets

TINA GHARAVI (Director/Writer) – I Am Nasrine

DIRECTOR

AMOUR – Michael Haneke

ARGO – Ben Affleck

DJANGO UNCHAINED – Quentin Tarantino

LIFE OF PI – Ang Lee

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Kathryn Bigelow

DOCUMENTARY

THE IMPOSTER – Bart Layton, Dimitri Doganis

MARLEY – Kevin Macdonald, Steve Bing, Charles Steel

McCULLIN – David Morris, Jacqui Morris

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN – Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

WEST OF MEMPHIS – Amy Berg

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

AMOUR – Michael Haneke

DJANGO UNCHAINED – Quentin Tarantino

THE MASTER – Paul Thomas Anderson

MOONRISE KINGDOM – Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Mark Boal

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

ARGO – Chris Terrio

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD – Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

LIFE OF PI – David Magee

LINCOLN – Tony Kushner

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK – David O. Russell

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

AMOUR – Michael Haneke, Margaret Ménégoz

HEADHUNTERS – Morten Tyldum, Marianne Gray, Asle Vatn

THE HUNT – Thomas Vinterberg, Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Morten Kaufmann

RUST AND BONE – Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux

UNTOUCHABLE – Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun

ANIMATED FILM

BRAVE – Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

FRANKENWEENIE – Tim Burton

PARANORMAN – Sam Fell, Chris Butler

LEADING ACTOR

BEN AFFLECK – Argo

BRADLEY COOPER – Silver Linings Playbook

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS – Lincoln

HUGH JACKMAN – Les Misérables

JOAQUIN PHOENIX – The Master

LEADING ACTRESS

EMMANUELLE RIVA – Amour

HELEN MIRREN – Hitchcock

JENNIFER LAWRENCE – Silver Linings Playbook

JESSICA CHASTAIN – Zero Dark Thirty

MARION COTILLARD – Rust and Bone

SUPPORTING ACTOR

ALAN ARKIN – Argo

CHRISTOPH WALTZ – Django Unchained

JAVIER BARDEM – Skyfall

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN – The Master

TOMMY LEE JONES – Lincoln

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

AMY ADAMS – The Master

ANNE HATHAWAY – Les Misérables

HELEN HUNT – The Sessions

JUDI DENCH – Skyfall

SALLY FIELD – Lincoln

ORIGINAL MUSIC

ANNA KARENINA – Dario Marianelli

ARGO – Alexandre Desplat

LIFE OF PI – Mychael Danna

LINCOLN – John Williams

SKYFALL – Thomas Newman

CINEMATOGRAPHY

ANNA KARENINA – Seamus McGarvey

LES MISÉRABLES – Danny Cohen

LIFE OF PI – Claudio Miranda

LINCOLN – Janusz Kaminski

SKYFALL – Roger Deakins

EDITING

ARGO – William Goldenberg

DJANGO UNCHAINED – Fred Raskin

LIFE OF PI – Tim Squyres

SKYFALL – Stuart Baird

ZERO DARK THIRTY – Dylan Tichenor, William Goldenberg

PRODUCTION DESIGN

ANNA KARENINA – Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

LES MISÉRABLES – Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

LIFE OF PI – David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

LINCOLN – Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

SKYFALL – Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock

COSTUME DESIGN

ANNA KARENINA – Jacqueline Durran

GREAT EXPECTATIONS – Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

LES MISÉRABLES – Paco Delgado

LINCOLN – Joanna Johnston

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN – Colleen Atwood

SOUND

DJANGO UNCHAINED – Mark Ulano, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Wylie Stateman

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – Tony Johnson, Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Brent Burge, Chris Ward

LES MISÉRABLES – Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John Warhurst

LIFE OF PI – Drew Kunin, Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton, Ron Bartlett, D. M. Hemphill

SKYFALL – Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES – Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Peter Bebb, Andrew Lockley

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White

LIFE OF PI – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer

MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE – Nominees TBC

PROMETHEUS – Richard Stammers, Charley Henley, Trevor Wood, Paul Butterworth

MAKE UP & HAIR

ANNA KARENINA – Ivana Primorac

HITCHCOCK – Julie Hewett, Martin Samuel, Howard Berger

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – Peter Swords King, Richard Taylor, Rick Findlater

LES MISÉRABLES – Lisa Westcott

LINCOLN – Lois Burwell, Kay Georgiou

SHORT ANIMATION

HERE TO FALL – Kris Kelly, Evelyn McGrath

I’M FINE THANKS – Eamonn O’Neill

THE MAKING OF LONGBIRD – Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson

SHORT FILM

THE CURSE – Fyzal Boulifa, Gavin Humphries

GOOD NIGHT – Muriel d’Ansembourg, Eva Sigurdardottir

SWIMMER – Lynne Ramsay, Peter Carlton, Diarmid Scrimshaw

TUMULT – Johnny Barrington, Rhianna Andrews

THE VOORMAN PROBLEM – Mark Gill, Baldwin Li

EE RISING STAR AWARD

Elizabeth Olsen

Andrea Riseborough

Suraj Sharma

Juno Temple

Alicia Vikander

Fires burn family’s treechange dream

Geoff and Nicole McKenzie with their three children, Tyler, Elizabeth and Connor.Source: The Cooma-Monaro Express
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A young family of five are picking up the pieces after their home was the only major property loss in this week’s NSW bushfires.

Geoff and Nicole McKenzie have lost everything except the clothes on their back and what items they could squeeze into the boot of their car after the bush fire at Mount Forest Road destroyed their home on Tuesday.

The family, Connor, 8, Tyler 6 and Elizabeth, 2, had moved from Nowra to the 30 acre property about 20 minutes from Cooma on Mount Forest Road Carlaminda six months ago.

“We were looking for a bit of space. A country change. Some peace and quiet,” Mr and Mrs McKenzie said.

They had owned the property for just over a year. They had a shed, two caravans and a shipping container set up on the property and were planning to build a house there.

Now all that stands is an empty shell, ash and a generator that survived the blaze.

“We are gutted. It is not so much the shed. It’s the possessions that we have lost.

“Like my great grandfather’s war medals and Christmas presents the kids just got,” Mr McKenzie said.

The family fled their home on Sunday afternoon when a bush fire started in the area.

Mr McKenzie said they could see the fire two properties away. When it was safe, at about 6pm, they packed the car with clothes and important documents, drove to town and stayed in a motel.

“We couldn’t get out before that,” Mr McKenzie said.

“When it cleared we got straight out.

“When they started the water bombing it became a bit more serious.”

On Tuesday morning Mr and Mrs McKenzie drove to Pambula to drop the children their grandmother’s house, while they went out to the fire and watch it from a neighbour’s property.

“The wind was just crazy out there,” Mr McKenzie said.

“It was swirling around.”

With crews defending the property throughout the day, the couple decided to come into town about 5.30pm for dinner when it looked like their home would be safe. After dinner they received a call from a neighbour who told them the news.

“We went up there but couldn’t see because of the smoke,” Mr McKenzie said.

Mrs McKenzie said she was too upset to look.

“It was all gutted. All gone,” Mr McKenzie said.

“We put all the more important stuff in the shipping container but it blew apart.”

The couple went back to their property on Wednesday morning to have a closer look.

They described what was left as an “empty shell” and “ash”.

“The odd thing is the generator out the back survived, out of everything,” Mr McKenzie said.

“The hardest part is telling everyone. As soon as you try to say anything the tears swell up,” Mrs McKenzie said.

Despite the loss, Mrs McKenzie said they still planned to build at the property.

“We will be back,” she said.

For now, the family is staying at a motel and have been offered accommodation at the Cooma Martial Arts Centre by Sensei Jim McDonald.

There is a kitchen, laundry and bedrooms for the family to stay.

Sensei McDonald is also organising an appeal for the family, to help them get back on their feet.

Details are still being finalised but in the meantime Sensei McDonald said donations such as food were welcome. To make a donation call Sensei McDonald on 0419993449.

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

Photos: Kirrily Carberry

US website ‘outs’ gun owners

GAWKER, the Manhattan-based gossip site, has posted a searchable list of licensed gun owners in New York City, following a move last month by a newspaper in nearby Westchester County to publish a map of pistol permit holders.
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The information was obtained from the New York Police Department via a Freedom of Information Law request in 2009, Gawker writer John Cook said yesterday in a posting on the blog. The 446-page list dates from 2½ years ago and contains names but not addresses.

The move thrusts Gawker into a growing debate over gun control and the privacy rights of firearms owners, sparked by the shooting deaths of 20 children at a Connecticut elementary school on December 14.

It comes as Steve and Amber Mostyn, wealthy Texas trial attorneys, said that they are giving $US1 million to help start the gun-control advocacy group formed by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.

Steve Mostyn, who has a shooting range on his ranch in west Texas, is listed as treasurer of Ms Giffords’ new political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions.

‘‘It’s time to stop the [National Rifle Association] from bullying common sense out of the discussion,’’ Mr Mostyn said. ‘‘There are more options than just ‘guns or no guns’.’’

The White Plains, New York-based Journal News drew outcry last month when it published a map showing the names and addresses of handgun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties, seeking to better inform readers about firearms in their neighbourhoods.

Other community newspapers have criticised the Journal News for singling out people who have obtained permits legally and putting them at risk.

‘‘While the information is public record, what they’ve done is point out all these homes to criminals and burglars and also point out all those homes that don’t have weapons that they could target,’’ said William Pape, the editor and publisher of the Waterbury, Connecticut-based Republican-American.

Unlike New York state, Connecticut prohibits the names of gun permits owners from being released. In New York, the names must be requested at the county level.

Last week a group of Rockland County lawmakers held a press conference vowing to make New York gun information confidential.

The elementary school shooting took place in Newtown, Connecticut, about 30 kilometres from the border with Westchester County.

In the wake of publishing the gun map, the Journal News has hired armed guards to protect itself against threats, according to the New York Times.

Gawker said in a separate post yesterday that its staff began receiving death threats after its gun list was posted.

Bloomberg

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.