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Ferocious roosters, flying shark, bun boycott, ship ahoy: News Bites – 11 Sept 2019

Replica of The Endeavor, Captain Cook's former ship, in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Photo: Alec Smart

Bite-sized bulletins by ALEC SMART

Deadly pecker
On 3 Sept, news sources around the world reported a bizarre Australian tragedy about a woman in Adelaide who was pecked to death by her pet rooster. The 76-year-old was collecting eggs on her farm when she was fatally pecked by the rooster, which targeted her varicose veins – perhaps assuming they were worms.
“The bird pecked her lower left leg causing significant hemorrhage with collapse and death,” stated findings published in the Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology journal.
University of Adelaide pathology professor Roger Byard told NBC News: “Two small bleeding lacerations were present, one of which was located immediately over a perforated large varix. Death was therefore due to exsanguination from bleeding varicose veins following an attack by a rooster.
“The case is significant as it draws attention to the vulnerability of elderly folk with varicose veins to minor trauma, even from a rooster peck.”

In other rooster-related news, Sydney City Roosters rugby league team, which finished a strong second on the National Rugby League (NRL) ladder, stopped pecking as they lost their final season match against arch-rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs. Roosters’ feathers were ruffled as they failed to score in the last 55 minutes, losing 16-10 by a converted try.
A few hours earlier, on Triple M Radio drive-time show The Rush Hour with MG, The Winemaker, a masked character who delivers rugby league info, reprised the claim that Rabbitohs were still pursuing Roosters’ talented 22-year-old centre Latrell Mitchell. Mitchell, whose contract expires Nov 1, is allegedly expressing reciprocal interest. Mitchell played a below-average game against Rabbitohs, including fumbling two near-certain opportunities to score by dropping the ball at the try line.

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Sharks forced inland
Whilst on the subject of rugby, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks’ fans look set to follow in the footsteps of Rooster’s fans when their home stadium, Endeavour Field, colloquially known as ‘Shark Park’, is bulldozed by developers and they’re forced to relocate during upgrades.
However, unlike Roosters’ fans, who moved to the stadium next door, Sharks and their fans will be homeless for two years and might have to share with arch-rivals St George Illawarra Dragons, who alternate between Kogarah Oval and Wollongong Stadium.
Shark Park, which was last upgraded in 2006 with a $9.6 million federal grant, is undergoing a development project that has seen several changes since its 2012 approval, including an increase in the number of residential apartments from 636 to 880, despite objections by Sutherland Shire Council.

“The Sharks were visionary when they decided to transform their landholdings into a master planned residential community and new town centre,” said Ben Fairfax, managing director of developer Capital Bluestone.
Opponents of the scheme in Woolooware voiced concerns about the height and scale of buildings, the impact on traffic and parking, and its proximity to wetlands protected by the Ramsar treaty. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of important wetlands and birdlife.
However, there is speculation the Sharks could be wound-up, or relocated to Queensland for a second Brisbane-based side that the NRL is encouraging. The Sharks, formed in 1967 and competing in just four grand finals over 50 years, have only won one premiership, in 2016 against Melbourne Storm.

Meanwhile, taxpayers kindly forked out $250 million for new Prime Minister’s jet, a 100-seater converted Qantas A330 Airbus. It replaces the two Boeing 737-700 passenger jets leased by the RAAF, which were fitted with facilities such as office suites and conference tables, but only carried 18 passengers. Morrison’s maiden voyage will be to the USA on 19 Sept, but the new plane can travel to Russia on a single trip, should ScoMo be deputised by Donald Trump to meet with his Russian handlers.
Avid Sharks’ fan Scott Morrison has named the plane after his beloved rugby team: Shark One.

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Hot dog hullabaloo
In what City Hub suspected was a ‘fake news’ story – or a paid advertorial – the Daily Telegraph reported that Harry’s Cafe de Wheels changed bread supplier for their hotdog buns, provoking a ‘bun fight’ of complaints from customers about the changed flavour – including notorious nightclub owner John Ibrahim.
Not since the existential crisis surrounding the placement of cooked onions on Bunnings’s sausage sandwiches in Nov 2018 has such a storm developed in a teacup, er, bread roll.

Is it true Harry’s hotdog buns taste different enough to warrant criticism, or did someone in Harry’s do a deal with NewsCorp’s marketing dept. to spin a non-story to attract publicity? Does anybody care?
A spokesperson from Harry’s Café de Wheels told City Hub: “We are aware of the coverage but had no involvement in its angle. If we wanted publicity that would not be the way we would approach it.”

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Glyphosate goodbye
Waverley Council is the latest Sydney council that will ban the use of glyphosate-based weedkillers such as RoundUp. The ban applies immediately to ‘sensitive’ areas, such as schools and sporting fields, with its use completely phased out by 2021.
RoundUp, made by chemical giant Monsanto (manufacturers of Agent Orange), is the most ubiquitous home-use weedkiller in the world. Yet in 2015 the World Health Organization’s international agency for research on cancer identified glyphosate as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans,” and since then millions of dollars compensation has been awarded to terminally-ill victims who claim it caused their cancers.

“While Council officers believe that glyphosate could be safely used, the review presented alternatives to chemical use and ways that the Council can continue to protect its employees, the public and the local environment,” Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said. “We will now immediately begin using non-glyphosate treatments for controlling weeds…”

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Jones’ nine lives over?
Channel Nine, which City Hub reported last week hosted a lavish $10,000-a-head corporate fundraiser for Liberal Party supporters to dine with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, may renegotiate their $114 million takeover bid for Macquarie Media.
Nine Entertainment Co, which merged with the ailing Fairfax Media last year (publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald), already own a 54.5 percent stake in Macquarie Media (which merged with Fairfax in 2014).
However, following an advertiser boycott of Macquarie-run radio station 2GB in the wake of their talk show host Alan Jones making misogynist and provocative on-air comments, Nine is anxious about the future earning potential of Macquarie.
Jones, who has lost multiple defamation cases, suggested Australian Prime Minister Morrison should ‘shove a sock’ down New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s throat, to deter her criticising Australia’s poor environmental record. Around 80 sponsors have since deserted the broadcaster, costing an estimated $1million loss in advertising revenue.

The last significant advertiser boycott of 2GB came in the wake of Jones stating in Sept 2012 that then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father ‘died of shame’ because she was a ‘liar’. That cost Macquarie an estimated $1.5million in lost revenue when Jones refused to apologise.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found Jones in breach of the Commercial Radio Code several times, including his April 2005 comments when he racially vilified Lebanese men and read out a text message on his breakfast program urging people to “Get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day”. This resulted in the infamous Cronulla Riots.
Meanwhile, Nine’s chief executive Hugh Marks conceded his company’s decision to host the Liberal Party fundraiser at its Sydney television studios last week was a “mistake”. Marks also said Macquarie Media can recover without the controversial Jones, who earns a $4 million salary as part of a recently-signed two-year contract, prompting speculation their misogynist ‘shock-jock’ might soon face an ignominious exit.

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Endeavours to find a Sandwich
A shipwreck in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island, north-eastern USA, may prove to be Captain Cook’s vessel, The Endeavour, in which he sailed to Terra Australis and around the South Pacific from 1768-71.
The Endeavour was re-fitted into a transport ship, renamed the Lord Sandwich II, and used by the British Navy against American rebels during the American War of Independence.
It was later scuttled with 12 other boats in Newport Harbour in 1778 as a military tactic to block the French Navy, America’s allies, from entering the bay. Of the 13 ships sunk in Newport Harbour, The Endeavour/Lord Sandwich II was the only one with a keel made of elm wood.
Wood samples taken by divers from the submerged wreck have been analysed and those from the hull have been assessed as English white oak – which matches historical records – but confirmation that the piece of keel sent for testing is elm will be the final proof.
Australian National Maritime Museum director Kevin Sumption told Australian Associated Press on Sunday 8 Sept, “If this particular piece of the keel turns out to be elm, that will be part of the puzzle that kind of allows us to say ‘Yes, this is Endeavour’.”
Results are expected by December.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world, disassociation with Captain Cook is still moving forward as the Cook Islands, about 5000km east of Brisbane, plan to rename their cluster of 15 islands and remove historic colonial associations.
The small Pacific nation of 240 sq km, consisting of 9 islands, 6 atolls and 2 reefs, was settled in approximately 1000CE by Polynesian seafarers. In 1773 Captain James Cook spotted the atoll known as Manuae and renamed it Hervey Island after a British admiral. On subsequent visits to chart the volcanic chain, Cook clubbed them together as the Hervey Islands, although the name Cook Islands, in honour of him, first appeared on a Russian naval chart published in the 1820s, long after Cook was murdered in Hawaii in 1779.

Up to 60 names reflecting its Polynesian heritage are being considered, including Avaiki Nui, which was rejected in a 1994 referendum. Avaiki means ‘afterworld’ – effectively heaven – in the island’s Maori dialect and combined with Nui means, roughly, the ultimate heaven.
Other islands that removed colonial associations to adopt traditional names include: New Hebrides, now Vanuatu; Gilbert Islands, now Kiribati; and Sandwich Islands (named by Captain Cook), now the Hawaiian Islands.
The new names under consideration reflect Maori heritage, national pride and the island’s Christianity. The last one seems ironic, given that the first Europeans to set foot on the islands (after a bloody encounter between sailors and islanders in Rarotonga in 1814), were English Christian missionaries in 1821, who paved the way for British colonialism.

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