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Palfreeman jail transfer refused

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JOCK PALFREEMANNEWCASTLE pathologist Simon Palfreeman called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to intervene yesterday after his son, jailed for 20 years for murder in Bulgaria, was refused transfer to an Australian prison.
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Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor denied on Tuesday night an official request from Australia to transfer Jock Palfreeman to an Australian jail to serve the remainder of his murder sentence.

DISTANT HOPE: Helen and Simon Palfreeman hope to get Simon’s son Jock, inset, transferred to Australia from a Bulgarian prison.

The 26-year-old, who has always claimed he acted in self defence, was sentenced in December 2009 for the stabbing death of 20-year-old Andrey Monov, and for wounding another man in a drunken street brawl in the capital Sofia.

Palfreeman pleaded not guilty but lost the case twice on appeal, and Bulgaria’s Supreme Court upheld his sentence in July 2011.

Dr Palfreeman urged Mr Rudd yesterday to call his Bulgarian counterpart.

“Mr Rudd was aware of Jock and was sympathetic to what was happening to Jock and his family when he was foreign minister,” he said.

“I think now as Prime Minister I think probably it would be very helpful if there was some direct involvement from Mr Rudd and [Foreign Minister Bob] Carr.”

Senator Carr said he was disappointed that Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor had knocked back Australia’s official request for Palfreeman’s transfer.

He said the government was exploring whether the decision could be appealed.

“Jock and his family will be understandably very disappointed by the prosecutor-general’s decision,” he said.

“The Australian government will however examine whether options exist to have the matter reconsidered.”

In justifying his decision, the prosecutor said Palfreeman had served “limited” time in jail and had been “repeatedly sanctioned” for bad behaviour by prison authorities.

Dr Palfreeman said his son’s behaviour in prison had been “exemplary under extreme provocation” and accused Bulgarian authorities of being “capricious” and “vindictive”.

Palfreeman claimed he got into the brawl after trying to save two gypsies who were being beaten by a gang of local youths, but the appeal court rejected his version of events.

Bulgaria’s leading human rights group, the Bulgaria Helsinki Committee, condemned the decision to refuse the transfer.

“To me the refusal looks as a vindictive action from the chief prosecutor, which has nothing to do with the rule of law,” committee president Krassimir Kanev said.

Dr Kanev said the dead man’s father, who is now a government MP, has vowed to prevent Palfreeman from returning home and wanted his sentence increased to life in prison.

with AAP

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DJ has ‘strong case’ in lawsuit against station

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”Royal hoax” DJ Mel Greig could get a ”six or seven figure payout” from 2Day FM, legal experts have told Fairfax Media.
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Senior lawyers from Nowicki Carbone said the station appeared to have been ”playing with fire” by encouraging questionable stunts – and that Greig has a ”very strong case” against her employer.

Greig has accused 2Day FM’s parent company, Southern Cross Austereo, of ”failing to provide a safe workplace”.

She has made a general protections application with Fair Work Australia and sources say she wants to terminate her employment with Austereo, despite the company offering her several jobs over the past six months.

Greig has been off air since British nurse Jacintha Saldanha killed herself in December.

She and co-host Michael Christian duped Saldanha into believing they were the Queen and Prince Charles. Saldanha transferred their call to another nurse, who divulged private information about Kate Middleton.

Nowicki Carbone managing partner Anthony Carbone said Greig was clever in making her claim as a general protections application.

”There’s no limit on damages with general protections,” Carbone said, ”It’s underutilised in Australia because lawyers don’t understand it.”

He said Greig would probably need to be prove she had suffered a diagnosable psychological injury as a result of the prank call incident – but not that Saldanha’s suicide was forseeable.

The amount Greig is claiming could comprise medical expenses, loss of future income and damages.

”Mel might argue that her earnings have been affected by what’s happened, so she could claim the gap in earnings for the forseeable future,” Carbone said. ”And the judge could turn around and say, ‘I’m also going to give you an amount for pain and suffering.

”All up, it could come to six figures or even seven figures.”

Carbone said Austereo’s long rap sheet – which includes tricking listeners into believing a popular presenter had died, a stunt police claim encouraged dangerous driving and the notorious lie detector scandal – could bolster Greig’s claim.

”It goes to the heart of what kind of workplace Mel was working in,” he said. ”Did Austereo condone and encourage the pranks? Did they promote bad conduct?

”This doesn’t seem to have been a one-off thing; it seems to have been on-going.

”I mean, getting on the radio and pretending that someone is dead – who does that?”

Whether 2Day FM broke the law by recording and broadcasting the prank call without permission is also relevant, he said.

”They’re fostering a culture which is questionable at best. At worst, it appears they’re encouraging what could be illegal behaviour.”

The first step in Greig’s claim is a conciliation meeting, likely to occur in September. If this fails, the matter will go to court.

Carbone said Austereo will do everything it can to resolve the dispute early.

”They probably won’t want their practices and procedures exposed,” he said. ”They might want to avoid people asking, ‘Who okayed this prank call? What discussions did you have about the potential risks?”’

Carbone said Austereo’s defence will rest on the protocols it had in place at the time of the prank call and its ability to demonstrate ”how seriously it takes the welfare of its staff”.

Austereo and Greig have refused to comment.

While Greig has not returned to work since the tragedy, her co-host Michael Christian resumed his duties earlier this year and was controversially named the network’s “top jock” in June.

In April, Greig revealed she would give evidence at the UK inquest into Saldanha’s suicide. It is not known if she will appear personally or make a statement via video link.

Her legal action comes as Austereo awaits a decision from the Federal Court about the authority of the broadcasting watchdog.

Austereo claims the Australian Communications and Media Authority has no power to determine if it broke the law by recording and broadcasting the hoax phone call without permission.

If the Federal Court finds in ACMA’s favour, 2Day FM faces a hefty penalty from the regulator. Its most likely punishment is a licence suspension, meaning the station will be pulled off the airwaves temporarily.

People seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Home to Summer Bay

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Familiar: Kate Ritchie as Sally Fletcher today.First there were the fluoro tops, pigtails, and imaginary friends. Then the awkward teen years — clandestine pashes behind the bike sheds, inappropriate boyfriends (including one played by Heath Ledger), plenty of angst. And of course that puffy white wedding dress.
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No one would blame Kate Ritchie for wanting to slam the door shut on her years spent on Home and Away. Many would understand if she wanted to ”do a Melissa George” and write it off as an embarrassing life experience.

But five years after leaving Summer Bay, Ritchie is returning to the show she starred on for 20 years to reprise her role as Sally Fletcher in a guest stint.

The question is: why?

”Look, it sounds really simple, but it was just lovely,” she says. ”It’s a job that I absolutely loved. So it was so nice to be back on set, back on location in a place that I know so well, surrounded by lots of people I’ve known for many years.”

Ritchie admits it was a strange sensation stepping back onto such familiar ground for the first time in five years.

”It was a mixture of feelings,” she says. ”I was excited to be back, but it did feel a little bit strange. I was back on set and, in essence, doing the same job I have done before, but all this time had passed and so much had happened since I left.

”It felt strange. There were so many familiar things about it, but then there was so much about it that was different – perhaps because I was different, and I was seeing things with different eyes.”

Ritchie left Home and Away in 2008. At the time it was a tough decision, but the big, bad world was calling and opportunity knocked. She went on to have mixed success with roles in Underbelly, the short-lived Cops L.A.C., plus a stint co-hosting breakfast radio alongside Merrick and Rosso. She’ll also soon be seen on Peter Helliar’s new ABC series, It’s a Date.

Ritchie admits she was shocked when Home and Away producers came calling once more.

”I received a phone call from my manager one day saying, ‘You’re never going to believe this but I’ve just been on the phone with Home and Away’,” she says. ”I was like, ‘What?’ A return was something I had never considered. Not that I didn’t enjoy my time there, it was just that it had been a job that I had finally found the courage to leave, and five years had passed. It caught me off guard, to be honest. I thought, ‘Goodness, what do I think of this?’

”Of course the obvious things were, ‘Wow, isn’t it lovely that they would like me to come back’, and ‘Isn’t it great that Home and Away is celebrating 25 years’, which is part of the reason the phone call came,” Ritchie says.

What followed was a period of deliberation. ”I spent a little while thinking about it — probably overthinking it — wondering if a return would be a good idea or a bad idea, and what people would think about it,” Ritchie says.

”Then I realised that I should stop worrying about everything and just remember that it was a job I loved. And the whole point of working in this industry is that we do continue to work, and it would be crazy for me to decline.”

Unlike many of her contemporaries, Ritchie decided not to up stumps after her exit and move to LA, continuing to base herself in Australia where she lives in Sydney with her husband of three years, Stuart Webb. It wasn’t too much of a stretch, then, to jump in her car and make that familiar drive out to Palm Beach, where Home and Away is filmed.

She figured that instead of distancing herself from Sally, she may as well embrace her — and what better way than a quick trip back to the Bay?

”If I had tried to forget her, I wouldn’t be acknowledging a great deal of who I am. Leaving Home and Away, a lot of it was about trying to work out who I was without this character, and without the show, and without the security.

”I’ve realised that you can move on and do other things, but you can still appreciate where you’ve been.”

The opening scenes of her first episode back see Sally ride into town in a convertible, daughter Pippa (Piper Morrissey) in tow.

”There’s a great deal of me in Sally Fletcher, and a great deal of [her] in me. I think there’s nothing I can do about that,” Ritchie says. ”There’s no point me fighting it.”

Home and Away, Monday to Thursday, Channel Seven, 7pm. (Ritchie returns Monday).

Growing up on the box

The transition from child star to respected adult actor isn’t something many performers achieve. Kate Ritchie is the exception.

Not only has she managed a career post-Home and Away, she’s actually turned out to be – shock, horror – a normal person.

Ritchie says this may have something to do with her motivations for becoming an actor.

”What I did was a hobby for many years and I did it because I loved it, not because I wanted to work in television,” she explains.

”Nor did I want to be famous. As I kid I wanted to do it because it was fun — and because I got to hang out with Alex Papps [the teen heart-throb, now Play School presenter, who played Frank in the first season].”

Everything since has been a bonus.

”As I’ve grown the things that have unfolded, all the attention and the accolades, they’ve not been something I have sought,” she says.

And the flipside of that fame? The constant focus on her personal life, the is-she-isn’t-she speculation of a baby on the way, the analysis of her every move including this one back to Summer Bay that some have said is proof she couldn’t make it anywhere else.

”It doesn’t always sit well with me, but that’s the way it is,” Ritchie says. ”I can either give it a lot of my energy, or I can accept that it’s also part of the job.

”I want to share as much as I possibly can, but I also have no intention of giving everything. I love that the little old lady in the supermarket stops me and grabs my hand and tells me how wonderful it is to see me grow into such a lovely woman. I also love flicking through our wedding book knowing those photos only I and [my husband] Stuart have seen.”

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

Night Tests in three years if Nine gets its way

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Nine for … night: Tests will be played at night if the TV network has its way, with the possible exception of the Ashes. Photo: Craig GoldingAs cricket bids to extend its reach, a senior Channel Nine official says night Test cricket could become a reality within three years.
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Brad McNamara, the executive producer of Nine’s cricket broadcasts says the network is in talks with Cricket Australia to possibly stage a one-off Test under lights.

”We have started talking to Cricket Australia about night Tests as well, which makes sense,” McNamara said. ”The problem with Test matches, as opposed to one-dayers and Twenty20s, is the majority of the population are at work and don’t get to see most of it.

”So, with a night Test match, that once again becomes a much more valuable commodity, not only for us but cricket in general. You would be able to get bigger crowds and more people watching on TV.

”I think once it starts it will catch on around the world, for sure. I think Test cricket needs it. Test cricket is very healthy in Australia and England. They get good crowds. It’s about the only place they do at the moment.

”I think it might be a bit of a shot in the arm, a bit of revival in as far as crowds and interest go in the game. That’s not to say there isn’t any, but it could in other countries.”

The idea of night Test cricket has been floated for several years, but the stumbling block has always remained finding a suitable Kookaburra ball. The traditional red ball cannot be seen properly under lights.

McNamara, a former first-class cricketer with NSW, said a pink-lacquered ball might work.

”That’s the sticking point. It’s amazing – all the technology available to man at the moment but we can’t get a cricket ball that works at night,” McNamara said.

”I think they have got to the stage with the ball that it’s workable. I actually played in a lot of day-night Shield games and we tried all sorts of colours, and they all had their problems. I never actually played with the pink ball but they felt the pink ball was the best.

”We have done a few trials for Cricket Australia under lights with different balls a couple of years ago. The best one to see was the orange ball but on TV it was a bit too fluoro, and it had a tail on it.”

CA trialled pink balls in state second-XI matches in 2010 but they did not last as the paint came off the ball after hitting the pitch. There have also been issues with the seam. A pink ball had to be changed four times in an English county game. At one stage, Lord’s had been slated to hold the first night Test.

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Bin the biff urges NRL doctor

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NRL chief medical officer, Ron Muratore, has urged State of Origin players to abandon any thoughts of fisticuffs, warning: ”Punching people can cause terrible injuries, if not death.”
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The caution comes as respected Roosters medico John Orchard called for players suspended in Origin matches to serve their time in the marquee interstate games rather than NRL rounds.

The issue of fighting is again in the headlines following Parramatta forward Mitchell Allgood’s attack on Manly’s Steve Matai, an attack that will cost him two matches on the sidelines. And players from the NSW and Queensland sides have refused to back down despite the fallout from on-field stoushes in the opening two games.

Muratore said he was stunned that players continued to threaten violence despite the NRL’s edict that players throwing punches would be sent to the sin bin. ”These guys need to be protected from themselves,” Muratore said.

”It needs to be pointed out to them what a punch can do. Our game is hard enough without resorting to thuggery and I can’t see any doctor condoning fighting because we can see the damage that a punch can do to anyone.

”These guys have got to understand that if they punched someone on the street, they would end up in jail. They need to not even think about it. They can play the game as hard and tough as they like but they don’t need to be thugs.”

As the players continue to talk up the prospect of more violence in the Origin decider, Muratore warned a single blow could be fatal.

”They need to be more educated so they understand that punching people is not on. Punching people can cause terrible injuries if not death,” he said.

”If somebody punched someone who got badly injured, they wouldn’t feel good about it. The idea is to stop that from happening. We all know the effect a punch can have, we’ve seen it umpteen times. Especially not on a football field where there is just no call for it.

”For some reason, the players believe the rules are different in State of Origin. They’ve got to be told the game is the same, no matter what it is. [Origin] may be harder and faster but the rules are still the rules.”

In recent days, St George Illawarra forward Trent Merrin – the man who sparked a brawl which resulted in four players being sin-binned in Origin II – said he wouldn’t back down in the series decider. NSW enforcer Greg Bird also admitted ”I don’t mind seeing a good stink every now and then” and claimed he was frustrated by the ARL Commission’s new edict.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Orchard spoke out against the players’ attitude towards violence.

”Origin suspensions must count for Origin games. Then talk of ‘sometimes you can’t stop yourself from throwing a punch’ would stop,” Orchard tweeted.

That was followed by: ”Merrin throws punch in game 2 and is playing game 3. Knowing there is a loophole, NSW players are now trash talking the NRL CEO & crackdown … Let’s see how many guys would throw a punch in game 3 if it meant being disqualified from 2014 Origin series 11 mnths in advance?”

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

Is this the man to stop Greg Inglis?

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Many have tried and failed before. But having nominated James McManus as the man to take on one of the toughest jobs in rugby league – NSW’s right-side winger – Blues coach Laurie Daley said he had every confidence the newcomer would handle the role.
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Daley confirmed on Wednesday that McManus would play on the right wing, thrusting the Newcastle player into the position that has spat out many before, including him. McManus is one of 12 right-side wingers NSW have used during Greg Inglis’ time on Queensland’s left side, having first tried in 2009.

McManus’ combination with Josh Morris will also be the 17th centre-wing combination the Blues have employed to contain the Queensland superstar in his 20th outing on the left edge. McManus has replaced South Sydney winger Nathan Merritt, who became part of a long line of NSW right wingers to be given one or a handful of matches, before being moved on. Hazem El Masri, Steve Turner and Michael Gordon have played a solitary match on NSW’s right wing, while McManus’ club teammate Akuila Uate had huge problems last year.

The pattern is that NSW’s right wing is a position with rather poor job security. McManus played his solitary State of Origin on the right, yet he has produced his try-scoring feats this year for Newcastle on the left side.

Daley had a critical decision to make – shift Brett Morris to the right or place the newcomer in a position he has been unaccustomed to for some time. He confirmed he had opted to give McManus the job of marking his Newcastle teammate Darius Boyd – which of course includes the job of watching Inglis.

“James has played on the wing before,” Daley said. “He can play both sides. It doesn’t worry him. He’s played Origin on the right wing before, he’s played club football on the right wing, and I’ve coached him for Country on the right wing. There are no issues there.”

The Queenslanders think differently. Captain Cameron Smith said: “He [Inglis] is the best ball carrier in the game. It doesn’t matter who they put out there – they are going to have a tough time on Greg. He hasn’t played in the centres for a while now but he still has the strike power to do some damage to whoever is in front of him.”

Daley, though, said the Blues could get caught up in the hype around Inglis, and needed to avoid the trap of concentrating solely on him, given the firepower elsewhere. “We’ve got to be strong all over the paddock, not just on GI,” Daley said.

“He’s a freakish player, but we’ve got to stop the whole team. You can’t focus on one player.”

Daley has taken some of the blame for Merritt’s performance in game two, saying he had told the debutant to push in on Inglis. Despite the Blues’ problematic past, Daley said McManus could handle the job. “It just comes down to working together and making sure that everyone understands what type of defence we’re looking for, when certain plays are run,” he said.

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Church collusion evidence rejected: inquiry

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STATEMENT: Donald Mark Brown leaves court in Newcastle yesterday. He denied suspecting collusion among priests over the James Fletcher case. Picture: Darren PatemanARCHIVE of Herald reports
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A FORMER police officer has denied allegations he was concerned about collusion between Church figures, while a serving officer was grilled over her investigatory methods in the early sessions of yesterday’s hearings.

Donald Mark Brown, who left the force in 2010, took a statement from a Nelson Bay priest that whistleblowing Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox had previously described as “watered down”.

Yesterday, Mr Brown said he knew Mr Fox expected the statement to mention paedophile priests, but that Mr Fox did not question him as to why the statement he obtained did not.

It then emerged that Mr Fox had used Mr Brown’s name in a statement to the NSW Ombudsman, saying he and Mr Brown had been left with “a strong impression of collusion” between Church figures over the James Fletcher case.

Asked to read witness statements by five priests including Bishop Michael Malone from 2003, Mr Brown said: “I can’t form that opinion.”

He said he did not know that Mr Fox had used his name without asking.

Next in the witness box, Detective Senior Constable Jacqueline Flipo was asked about efforts in 2002 and 2003 to find paedophile priest Jim McAlinden, who was believed to be moving between Western Australia and Ireland.

It also emerged that Ms Flipo’s case file included a reference number for another investigation into McAlinden, led by Inspector Mark Watters.

Though Ms Flipo said it would have been her practice to look up that case, she agreed there was no record she had.

She acknowledged that knowledge of the Watters case would have been useful, as would knowing that McAlinden had beaten a charge of child sexual assault in 1992 in WA.

Ms Flipo also confirmed that checks were not made of government agencies such as Medicare or Telstra for a McAlinden address, despite a passport check revealing he had returned to Australia.

Outteridge laments Cup farce

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NONE TO BEAT: Team New Zealand races alone in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Picture: Getty ImagesTHE America’s Cup has been plunged further into crisis as a leading challenger continues to boycott the event and Lake Macquarie Olympian Nathan Outteridge, the skipper of a rival boat, admits he’s unsure when they’ll start racing.
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The prestigious America’s Cup has been veering from tragedy to farce since May when Artemis Racing’s Andrew Simpson drowned during a training accident.

The British Olympian’s death sparked 37 new safety rules, including a fresh rudder design over which the Italian team Luna Rossa launched a race boycott.

The new rules, recommended by Australian regatta director Iain Murray, were designed to make the Cup’s super-fast AC72 catamarans far easier to control.

But with the Louis Vuitton challenger series under way – three boats are supposedly fighting for the right to race Cup holders Oracle in the September finals – there have been ridiculous scenes on San Francisco Bay.

For the second time in three days yesterday, Team New Zealand competed against itself as the team it was meant to race, Artemis, continued rebuilding and modifying its boat. Team New Zealand also raced itself on Sunday as Luna Rossa started its boycott.

An international jury should rule on Luna Rossa’s rudder protest this week, potentially leading to the team rejoining the event.

But Artemis Racing’s skipper, Olympic 49er champion Outteridge, is still unsure when his team will be back.

“Here we are as a team, busting to go racing. All we want to do is compete in this America’s Cup,” he said.

“It’s pretty obvious they overstepped the mark with the equipment. It was a little bit outrageous for the venue.

“The concept is great and our whole team just wants to go racing, but we’ve got an issue and we can’t get there.

“Then you see other teams who are really ready to go – they’ve got boats – and they’re refusing to go racing.”

Outteridge said he was confident Artemis would race, but only once their new boat was launched and had “five, six or seven” days of tests.

Artemis Racing boss Paul Cayard suggested it might be late July by the time their boat sailed again.

Vital new parts were expected to be delivered in the “next week or so”.

That will leave Artemis only a handful of Louis Vuitton Cup races to qualify for the finals series against Oracle.

But Cayard insisted Artemis had the talent to make the team competitive once they returned to the water. AAP

Hunter hospitals fail staph standard 

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THREE Hunter hospitals have not met national benchmarks for minimising serious staph infections despite a general drop in the number of cases across the region.
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Details of public hospital infection rates have been published on the federal government’s MyHospitals website.

It comes after Australia’s Chief Scientist yesterday warned urgent action must be taken to address the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, which leads to more cases of hard-to-treat infections such as golden staph.

Professor Ian Chubb’s office released a paper that said overprescribing of the medication and its use as a growth promoter in animals was leading to increased resistance.

They were also concerned pharmaceutical companies had abandoned or reduced development of new anti-biotics because it was not profitable.

World Health Organisation director-general Dr Margaret Chan has said the world could enter a post-antibiotic era where a strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could kill.

The Australian benchmark for public hospitals is no more than two staph cases per 10,000 days of patient care.

Three Hunter hospitals, Calvary Mater Newcastle and Singleton hospitals failed to meet the benchmark in 2011-12.

John Hunter had 55 cases of the bug, up from 52 the previous year, which equated to 2.05 cases for 10,000 days of patients care.

The Mater recorded 13 cases, or 2.15 cases per 10,000 days of patient care.

Three cases occurred at Singleton, equating to 2.95 cases for every 10,000 days.

Hunter New England Health Infection Prevention and Control director Dr John Ferguson said staph infection numbers were trending downward.

John Hunter Hospital’s figures for the first quarter of 2013 were well below the national benchmark, with 1.3 cases per 10,000 bed days.

“This improvement reflects the hard work of our staff at John Hunter Hospital, which treats more than 72,000 patients each year . . . many of which are more susceptible to infections.

“Our staff work continuously to improve and strengthen processes to manage infection risks,” Dr Ferguson said.

Giant caught in the web of a dreamer

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Ron Perlman in Melbourne for Comic-Con. Photo: Wayne Taylor”Guillermo dreams big,” says Ron Perlman, ”and big dreams require a lot of moving parts.” He’s speaking about director Guillermo del Toro, and it seems as if he could talk about him forever – he can’t say enough about the filmmaker he credits with changing his life and his view of the world.
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Perlman – who was in Australia for Comic-Con – has a deep, distinctive voice and a vivid turn of phrase. He’s a character actor with a varied CV that embraces big-budget blockbusters, TV series and independent features.

He has worked with Jean-Pierre Jeunet in City of Lost Children and Alien: Resurrection, Jean-Jacques Annaud (Quest for Fire, The Name of the Rose), he was a cult romantic hero in the 1980s TV series Beauty and the Beast and he is currently starring in the hit series Sons of Anarchy. He has a cameo role in del Toro’s new film, Pacific Rim, and it’s a memorable one.

Pacific Rim is a lavish, neon-soaked fantasy adventure of creatures, machines and human loss. It’s a film in a very different register from a del Toro film such as Pan’s Labyrinth. Yet it’s very much part of the filmmaker’s fascination with the nature of the monstrous, and with his love of distinctive physical detail.

In an evocative and deftly realised opening sequence, Pacific Rim sets up the story of a world on the brink of destruction. The Earth is under threat from giant alien creatures, or kaiju, who come from beneath the sea. Huge robots, known as jaeger, are created to fight them. When the film begins the jaeger program is in crisis, unable to battle a new form of kaiju.

Perlman’s character, Hannibal Chau, is a wealthy black-marketeer who specialises in harvesting and selling kaiju parts. ”He’s the only character in the movie who has allegiances to nothing and no one, who has no past and future – everything is about the creation of wealth, right now,” Perlman says. It wasn’t hard to imagine how to play him, he adds. ”My whole character was built when I walked into the costume designer’s lair and saw all these magenta things laid out, great sunglasses and 24-carat gold shoes. I said, OK, I know exactly how Guillermo sees this guy to be.”

Perlman has made five films with del Toro: they first worked together 21 years ago, on the Mexican director’s debut feature, Cronos, a clever and unnerving tale of vampires and the quest for eternal life. According to Perlman, ”Guillermo had to learn about special effects and make-up, and there was no one in Mexico doing it,” so he had to come to America to study with experts such as make-up artists Rick Baker and Dick Smith.

Perlman presents a self-deprecating version of why he was cast in Cronos. He had made films with Baker and Smith, and with other well known make-up and special effects artists such as Chris Tucker and Stan Winston. ”So when Guillermo was studying their films and learning that craft, he was forced to watch my work,” Perlman says. ”I think he invited me to be in Cronos as more of a good luck charm.” In Cronos, Perlman is the only American in a Spanish-speaking cast, playing the thuggish nephew of a wealthy man drawn to the prospect of living forever.

”The bond formed between him and me was from my point of view rather profound, and changed the trajectory of the whole second half of my life,” Perlman says. ”I became obsessed with, number one, independent cinema. I became kind of obsessed with Mexican culture. And I thought I was the luckiest guy to be in the right place, at the right time, for the birth of this genius. I could see it immediately; I … knew that I was looking at the work of a singular eye.

”Since then I have done about 45 films for first-time directors, hoping that lightning would strike twice. I’ve never found another del Toro, nor will I, but there’s no reason not to keep trying.”

In the meantime, he’s shooting season six of Sons of Anarchy, which goes to air in September. ”One of the great things about it is that we only do 13 episodes, a five-month commitment each year, which leaves me seven months to my own devices. And with that time I can do one really big movie or three or four smaller ones. I usually fill the hiatus with soul food. I can dabble in edgy, original non-commercial things, which is where my taste lives.”

When he’s working out what he’s going to do, Perlman says, ”I read everything that’s sent to me, personally. No one makes my choices for me. The minute I read something that’s smart and cool and tickles my fancy, I start to explore who the filmmaker is, and whether he has the resources commensurate with what he is trying to put on the screen. And if he doesn’t, that’s an even bigger adventure for me!”

Pacific Rim is on general release. 

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