Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paydirt at Mars Hill Cafe Tonight 8.30pm

We dont know much about PayDirt other than they started over ten years ago, have taken a break for the past ten years and and have just gotten back together in the past 2 months. Who knows how long they have actually played together, but we do know that they are experienced musicians who have been playing music on other projects, so this should be a treat.

 Mars Hill Cafe

331 Church Street Parramatta


Monday, December 13, 2010

Generation Binge - top cop's fears over drink-until-you-drop culture

A GENERATION of young people will be wiped out if their obsession with alcohol and binge drinking is not curbed, the state's top cop has warned. 
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione issued the stern warning yesterday ahead of the official launch of Operation Unite - a statewide blitz against drunken violence.
With alcohol-related violence spiralling beyond control, Mr Scipione pleaded for an immediate cultural change regarding drinking.

"If we do nothing, we run the risk of losing a generation of young people who think it's the norm to drink until you drop," Mr Scipione said. Police will saturate NSW on Friday and Saturday, targeting unlawful and reckless behaviour on the streets, in pubs, on the roads and in every alley.
Despite a recent drop in the number of assaults in licensed premises across NSW, Mr Scipione said there were still too many "senseless attacks".
"We've just got to fall out of love with the booze," he said.
Police will do everything in their powers to end alcohol-fuelled mayhem, he said, but it came down to a matter of "personal responsibility".

"If you drink yourself into a stupor you are asking for trouble ... this is supposed to be a peaceful, enjoyable time of year but there's nothing enjoyable about being arrested," he said.

Anon's WikiLeaks hackers could face charges

AUSTRALIANS who helped launch cyber attacks on the websites of firms refusing to process donations to WikiLeaks face the possibility of criminal charges, a Sydney expert says.
WikiLeaks' supporters managed to temporarily bring down Visa and MasterCard websites earlier this month by overloading them with requests from individual computers.

PayPal, which also put a block on WikiLeaks' account, crashed days later.

University of Sydney Professor Michael Fry said a hacker network which orchestrated the attacks commanded thousands of members to bombard the sites after the companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks, which released thousands of classified government documents in recent weeks.

Those who responded to the call were potentially in breach of computer crime laws, he said.

"If readily identified, the owners of the machines participating in this ... could see themselves charged with abuse of computer facilities," said Professor Fry, a cyber-security expert with the university's School of Information Technologies.
But whether or not legal action will be taken against offending participants is a thorny issue.

"This cyber war is gathering pace and prosecutions could generate another round of attacks," he said.

"Either way we are seeing the beginning of a new era in political cyber-warfare with the widespread use of botnets."

Professor Fry said it was "fascinating and novel" that thousands of willing participants allowed their machines to be infected so they could take part in politically motivated attacks.

"This suggests a huge level of emotive support for WikiLeaks and its activities, but also a level of naivety," he said in a statement.

"It seems members of the group downloaded publicly available ... code, but took no steps to evade discovery and identification, unlike criminal botnets, which use sophisticated evasion techniques."

"This makes members vulnerable to detection, potential prosecution and counter-cyberattack(s) ... (which) have indeed happened today, initiated by US political groups."

An internet group operating under the label Operation Payback claimed responsibility for the MasterCard and Visa problems in messages on Twitter and elsewhere.

Read more:

Australian Govermnent Supports Hezbolah - Operated TV station.

A HEZBOLLAH-AFFILIATED satellite TV station is allowed to operate in Australia despite screening racist material in breach of national broadcasting codes. 

The Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council has welcomed criticism of the TV station al-Manar, made last week by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

But the council's executive director, Colin Rubenstein, urged ACMA to go further and ban the TV station, which is associated with Hezbollah, the Lebanese group proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the federal government.

"Any media organisation owned and/or operated by any banned terrorist organisation should also be banned in Australia, and the federal government should take measures to bring this about," Mr Rubenstein said, adding that "anti-Jewish hatred has long been a feature of the station".
Following an investigation into al-Manar, ACMA has proposed changes to Australia's broadcasting regulations to "prohibit content that is likely to advocate the doing of terrorist acts".

Lawyer Mark Leibler, AIJAC's national chairman, said his organisation was "concerned that ACMA apparently ignored evidence that ads of a particular charity, al-Emdad, a front for Hezbollah, breach the anti-terrorism standards".
Al-Manar, owned by Lebanese Communications group, is broadcast in Australia in Arabic from Lebanon, via an Indonesian satellite company.
AIJAC is calling on Canberra to press upon the Indonesian government "the true nature of the station, particularly the danger al-Manar poses vis-a-vis the radicalisation of Indonesian Muslims".
Read more about t
error channel 'inciting racism'

Read more:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A very deadly Christmas indeed

Source: The Daily Telegraph
THERE are knives and nunchakus, knuckledusters, imitation guns and grenades, and slingshots that could do their target serious damage.
These are just some of the deadly presents that won't be under Christmas trees this year after being seized by Customs in the run-up to the festive season.
Officers intercepted a record number of prohibited items, among the weirdest being snake wine, a stuffed baby crocodile, a cobra in a jar, pens that give an electric shock and even a elephant hide diary.
Much of the growth in the amount of mail is believed to come from Aussies going online to do their Christmas shopping.
"Online shopping is a great way to find unique gifts at a competitive price, but consumers should make sure they are making wise purchases that will be allowed into Australia," Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said.

"Websites sometimes claim that their products can be brought into Australia but this isn't always correct, so it is important to check with Customs before you buy.
"Australia applies importation restrictions and bans on some products that are dangerous or illegal," he said.
Consumers are warned to be particularly wary when it comes to buying online clothes as these may be counterfeit, replica weapons including toy guns and some ornamental knives, laser pointers and wildlife souvenirs.
Customs encourages consumers to check their website if they are unsure whether their gift can be imported

Assange's accusers are 'jealous liars' says lawyer Bjorn Hurtig Read more:

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange's lawyer said he has seen secret police documents that prove the whistle-blower is innocent of sex assault claims made against him by two women.
Lawyer Bjorn Hurtig, representing Assange in Sweden where the charges were laid, said the papers reveal both women had "hidden agendas" and lied about being coerced into having sex.
The Australian-born Assange is being held in a London jail while fighting extradition to face the accusations, which his defenders said are part of a plot to stop him releasing more embarrassing information on his WikiLeaks website about governments.

Assange, 39, met both women at a seminar in Stockholm last August. He strenuously denies the allegations and has not yet been charged.

"From what I have read, it is clear that the women are lying and that they had an agenda when they went to the police, which had nothing to do with a crime having taken place," Mr Hurtig said.
"It was, I believe, more about jealousy and disappointment on their part. I can prove that at least one of them had very big expectations for something to happen with Julian."
Mr Hurtig said he had asked Swedish prosecutors for permission to disclose more "sensational information".
"If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade," he said. "If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
"But at the moment I'm bound by the rules of the Swedish legal system, which say that the information can only be used as evidence in this country.
"For me to do otherwise would lead to me being disbarred."
One of the women, a political activist in her 30s, claims she was unlawfully coerced and subjected to sexual molestation and deliberate molestation.
The other woman, who is in her 20s, has alleged he had sex with her without a condom while she was sleeping.

Mr Hurtig, a top defence lawyer, is ready to fly to London and present the evidence when Assange appears in court this week - if given the all-clear.

Mr Hurtig said when he met Assange the accused "gave off an aura of someone who was very self-assured and comfortable with himself, the way famous people do".
"He denied vehemently that he had raped or in any way indulged in non-consensual sex,

Read more:

Man sentenced to be blinded with acid by Iranian court

IRAN'S supreme court has upheld a sentence of blinding with acid for a man who blinded his lover's husband, under the Islamic "eye-for-an-eye" justice code, a government daily said today.
The convict, named only as Mojtaba, 25, threw acid in the face of Alireza, 25, a taxi driver in Iran's clerical hub city of Qom, after an "illicit affair" with the victim's wife, Mojdeh, also 25, said the newspaper Iran

The supreme court has upheld a lower court ruling that Mojtaba be blinded with drops of acid, in line with Islamic justice, which allows for "qisas," or eye-for-an-eye retribution, in cases of violent crime, it said

Qom prosecutor Mostafa Barzegar Ganji said the victim had used his right to qisas. "We have asked for forensic specialists to oversee the blinding of the convict," he said, quoted in Iran.
Several acid attacks have been reported in Iran.
In February 2009, Majid Movahedi was sentenced to be blinded in both eyes for having hurled acid in the face of a university classmate, Ameneh Bahrami, who refused a marriage proposal.

Fury over $500 KFC gift cards as nation battles obesity crisis

FAST-food giant KFC has sparked outrage from health experts by offering Christmas gift cards worth up to $500 as the nation battles an obesity crisis.
KFC outlets have been promoting the cards, ranging in value from $10 to $500 and to be used within 12 months,  as a "thoughtful gift idea for any occasion''.

A $500 card could purchase a fat banquet of 14 buckets of "Original Recipe'' chicken pieces, containing 4.5kg of fat and 1.8kg of saturated fat; 63 maxi serves of "Popcorn Chicken'' (2.8kg of fat and 1.25kg saturated fat) or 78 "Original Works Burgers'' (1.6kg fat, 592g saturated fat).

The "tasty new gift idea'' has attracted outrage and disbelief from health experts in Queensland struggling to combat a growing obesity epidemic.
About 55 per cent of adult Queenslanders, and about a quarter of children aged five to 17, are considered obese or overweight.

An average of 60 people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every day around the state.

Preventative Health Taskforce chair Professor Rob Moodie said he was shocked when he learned about KFC's latest marketing ploy.

"It's marketing gone berserk,'' he said. "This stuff is fine if it's just once a month. But if it's twice a week, or $500 a year, it's completely different.''

Prof Moodie said aggressive fast-food marketing was the last thing parents needed as they struggled to teach children proper eating habits.

"We know that advertising for fast food just works. Never before in the history of man has so much food been made so available for so many. We're shoving more calories down our throats than ever before.''

Brisbane-based nutritionist and dietitian Trudy Williams said the gift cards were "worrying''.

"There are much healthier choices that parents could be guiding their kids with, like a voucher to go indoor rock-climbing or sports gear. Clearly, we're eating far too much food as it is.''

Ms Williams, who wrote the award-winning nutrition guide This=That Child Size, said parents should think twice about fast-food Christmas treats.

"Certainly, the rates of obesity in kids appear to be increasing,'' she said. "Parents are really bad judgers of whether their child is overweight or not. They're too close to the coalface, particularly if they are overweight themselves.''

Diabetes Australia Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said gift cards made poor eating choices easy.

"I would still remind people that food like KFC is occasional food,'' she said. "Having a gift certificate that you know you can redeem at any time just makes it easy to make bad choices.''

Robot waiters give customers the human touch

The Dalu Rebot Restaurant

A NEW restaurant where all of the waitresses are robots has opened in China. 

The Dalu Rebot Restaurant, in Jinan, northern China's Shandong Province, has six robot waitresses and can cater for up to 100 diners.
The 21 tables are set in circles and the robots follow a fixed route to serve diners in rotation, website Orange reported.

After serving, the robots return to the kitchen to refill their cart for the next round.
Restaurant spokeswoman Wang Xianwei said that all of the waiting on tables was done by robots.
However, the food, mainly the Chinese version of fondue, was prepared by humans in the kitchen.
And people were also employed to welcome customers and explain to them how the restaurant worked.
The restaurant was developed by the Shandong Dalu Science and Technology Company which plans to further develop the concept.
"Next, we'll develop robots which can climb stairs and help with kitchen chores like washing the dishes," said spokesman Zhang Yongpei.
"And our waitresses will become more sophisticated so they can go direct to a customer's table and even refill diners' drinks."

Read more:

Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks site back after domain 'killed'

WIKILEAKS is back with a new Swiss address - - six hours - after its previous domain name - - was shut down. 

"WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland," the group declared on Twitter, although an Internet trace of the new domain name suggested that the site itself is still hosted in Sweden and in France.
Webusers accessing the address are directed to a page under the URL which gives them access to the former site, including a massive trove of leaked US diplomatic traffic.

The original domain was taken offline today by its US domain name system provider,, following reports of massive cyber attacks on the site.
"The interference at issue arises from the fact that has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks," said in a statement.
Classic DDoS attacks occur when legions of "zombie" computers, normally machines infected with viruses, are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming servers or knocking them offline completely.
The latest techological setback for the whistleblower site came after Amazon booted it from its computer servers on Wednesday following pressure from US politicians, prompting the site to move to a French server.
"Free speech the land of the free - fine, our dollars are now spent to employ people in Europe," WikiLeaks said.
"If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the First Amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books."
On Sunday, WikiLeaks began publishing the first batch of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables, many of them classified as "secret", that the website is believed to have obtained from a disaffected US soldier.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said last month that he was considering requesting asylum in Switzerland and basing the whistleblowing website in the fiercely neutral country.
"That is a real possiblity," Mr Assange said when asked whether he and the website might relocate, adding that Switzerland, and perhaps Iceland, were the only Western countries that his outfit feels safe in.

Mr Assange told the TSR television that Wikileaks was examining the possibility of creating a foundation that would allow it operate out of Switzerland, and confirmed he might apply for asylum.

The latest development comes the law tries to close in on Mr Assange.

Swedish authorities won a court ruling yesterday in their bid to arrest the WikiLeaks founder for questioning in a " rape" case, British intelligence is said to know where in England he's hiding, and US pundits and politicians are demanding he be hunted down or worse.

Sweden's Supreme Court upheld an order to detain him - a move that could lead to his extradition.
Mr Assange is accused in Sweden of rape, sexual molestation and coercion in a case from August, and Swedish officials have alerted Interpol and issued a European arrest warrant to bring him in for questioning.

The 39-year-old Australian denies the charges, which his lawyer, Mark Stephens, said apparently stemmed from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex". Mr Stephens said the case is turning into an exercise in persecution.

While Mr Assange has not made a public appearance for nearly a month, his lawyer insisted authorities know where to find him.

"Both the British and the Swedish authorities know how to contact him, and the security services know exactly where he is," Mr Stephens said.
It was unclear if or when police would act on Sweden's demands. Police there acknowledged yesterday they would have to refile their European arrest warrant after British authorities asked for more details on the maximum penalties for the three crimes.

Scotland Yard declined comment, as did the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, responsible for processing European arrest warrants for suspects in England, where The Guardian claims Assange is hiding out.

Read more:

Bankrupt India cant offord Olympics Bill - Now stealing Aussie Equipment

Australian companies owed millions for Delhi Games
Louise Hall November 27, 2010 

INTERNATIONALLY renowned major events producer Ric Birch says India should not be allowed to host the Olympics because the organisers of the Commonwealth Games have failed to pay millions of dollars in fees to several international contractors, including three Australian companies.
Almost 100 shipping containers of lighting, audio, pyrotechnic and staging equipment are stranded on Indian docks or at the main stadium as customs and the official freight supplier, Agility, refuse to process the necessary paperwork.

Mr Birch said the Delhi Organising Committee was a disgrace for ''basking in the praise of world media'' for the spectacular ceremonies while failing to pay the creative and technical crew who made it possible.

Mr Birch's Spectak Productions is owed 15 per cent of its fees for creative direction, choreography, and design, but numerous attempts to extract payment have been met with silence.
Sydney-based fireworks company Howard and Sons is owed $300,000 and is unable to export about $1 million of equipment used to create the glittering grand finale.

''All I'm after is what I'm legitimately owed but [the Indian government agencies] are sitting on their hands,'' company director Andrew Howard said.

The chief executive of Norwest Productions, Chris Kennedy, said he received payment only by threatening to pull out all the audio equipment the day before the closing ceremony. He is still waiting on his 10 per cent performance bond and equipment worth about $1.25 million to pass through Indian customs.

The contractors wrote to the the chairman of the Delhi Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, demanding immediate payment on November 10.
Two days later Mr Kalmadi stepped down from a senior post in India's ruling Congress party, amid a probe into alleged corruption around the event.

The Australian government has raised the situation with the Indian government through Austrade. The Commonwealth Games Federation and the Delhi Organising Committee did not return calls or emails.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Assange the people's hero

Updated Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:05pm AEDT
Founder of the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, speaks to the media
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may just be the Hero we need to keep the multinational empires honest - He says the website's next leak could take down a major bank or two.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed a fresh "mega leak" will target a major US bank early next year.

Speaking to Forbes magazine, Mr Assange said he was ready to unleash tens of thousands of documents that could "take down a bank or two".
Comparing the documents to the emails that exposed Enron's dealings amid its collapse, the controversial Australian said an existing "big US bank" was the subject of a pending data dump.
Asked about any future leaks, he said: "Yes. We have one related to a bank coming up, that's a mega leak.
"It's not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it's either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it."
The interview was conducted in early November, before Sunday's publication of around 250,000 leaked US embassy cables from WikiLeaks that have caused consternation in Washington and capitals around the world.

As international investigations are fired up following the latest leak, Mr Assange has been offered residency in Ecuador with "no questions asked".

Earlier this month an international arrest warrant was issued against him on suspicion of rape and sexual molestation of two women in Sweden.

But he said the bank leak would "give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume".
"Usually when you get leaks at this level, it's about one particular case or one particular violation."
Amid the economic crisis a handful of too-big-to-fail US banks have come under scrutiny for their dealings, particularly with mortgaged-backed securities that helped fuel the meltdown.

Executives from Goldman Sachs and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns have been hauled before the US Congress to explain their banks' actions.

Mr Assange mentioned Goldman Sachs by name in the interview, but did not confirm the Wall Street giant will be the target of the leak.

Goldman recently agreed to a $US550 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle fraud charges.

Facing allegations of defrauding investors, the storied investment bank admitted it had made a "mistake" and given "incomplete" information to clients.

Mr Assange said "about 50 per cent" of the documents WikiLeaks holds relate to the corporate world.

Meanwhile, Ecuador's deputy foreign minister has offered the WikiLeaks founder residency.
"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," Kintto Lucas told the internet site Ecuadorinmediato.

"We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the internet but in a variety of public forums."
Ecuador's leftist government is one of several in the region that has often been at odds with the US.

Mr Lucas said even though Ecuador's policy was not to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, it was "concerned" by the information in the cables because it involved other countries, "in particular Latin America".

Ray White axes branch amid phoenixing claims

Randwick Ray White
Former directors of the service company remain principals of the now-terminated franchise. (ABC News)
A fortnight ago, the real estate giant Ray White was doing its best to distance itself from one of its own franchises in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.
Now it has cut Ray White Randwick loose.

The case hit the headlines when an ABC investigation revealed that the franchise had liquidated a service company used to pay staff and other businesses costs.
Some experts described the liquidation as an apparent case of phoenixing, where a company is liquidated and another company takes its place but free of debts.
Ray White's chairman, Brian White, spoke to the ABC about his decision to take the famous name away from the franchise's three principals.
"Well we have terminated the relationship we had with that independent business. The franchise has now been formally terminated," he said.

"The relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee is highly regulated, and there's very specific conditions and a number of those were in breach.

"The key, in a group such as ours, [is] the relationship of all people within each business - that's the owner, the salespeople, the property managers, the back office staff, receptionists, people doing the loan market et cetera. It's enormous teamwork and there has to be a lot of trust in how those relationships are going to prosper and take that business forward.
"I came to the conclusion that there'd just been a complete breach of faith in how those relationships were handled."

However, a fortnight ago, Mr White said he had confidence in the principal, in the majority shareholder.
"Since then I've had the opportunity of meeting a lot of people," Mr White said.
"I put my phone number out into the market, I went to the office itself and wrote my mobile number up on their noticeboard. Information was also given that I'd be happy to speak with people.
"Since then I've met something like half a dozen people who used to be employed by the business. I've heard their stories and that led to that decision.

"The staff continued on, and one of the - well, the key priority is to have our staff, present and past, properly paid or to receive their entitlements. And I've had a number of calls from existing staff thanking me for the efforts that I took and the results that were achieved.
"So there's no evidence that we have that the business was giving poor service to its clients, or there was malpractice in the way that the public were being treated.

"It purely became the way that people within that business ended up - the fact that, as I said, there was a breakdown in faith between all parties."
The former franchisees declined the ABC's offer of an interview and instead issued a statement.

4WD occupants nearly become croc food

A vehicle is stranded trying to cross the East Alligator River at Cahills Crossing
The water pinned the four-wheel drive against a rock wall. (NT Police: NT Police)

Northern Territory Police say it is lucky five people, including three children, did not become "crocodile food" when their car got stuck on a remote river crossing in Arnhem Land.

The group were trying to cross the East Alligator River at Cahills Crossing.

More than one metre of water was flowing over the crossing at the time and their four-wheel drive was quickly pinned against a rock wall.

It was nearly high tide and the water levels continued to rise.

Police and rangers had to launch a boat and pull the group out one of the car's windows.
Brevet Sergeant Adam Russell says he spotted several large saltwater crocodiles near the car.
"There were quite a few around the area, so we weren't too keen to get too far into the water either," he said.

The 51-year-old man driving the car did not have a licence.
The car blocked the crossing until police were able to tow it to the nearby community of Gunbulunya on Wednesday.

Pakistan nuclear fears detailed by WikiLeaks

Pakistan nuclear fears detailed by WikiLeaks

Pakistani policemen stand guard at a security check point in Karachi
Some of the leaked documents describe Pakistan as suffering from inflation, unemployment and deteriorating law and order. (AFP: Asif Hassan)
Fears that Pakistan's nuclear material could fall into the hands of terrorists have been discussed in secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

The latest tranche of the US documents also discuss concerns over Pakistan's nuclear program which is producing weapons faster than any country in the world.
WikiLeaks has been drip-feeding the 250,000 cables to the media since the weekend and a picture is emerging of the threat posed by Pakistan's nuclear program.

Last year the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, repeatedly raised the alarm.
In February she wrote: "Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in government facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon."

Later she upped the ante, saying there was a stockpile of highly enriched uranium which had been sitting for years near an ageing research reactor.
Ms Patterson said there was enough material to build several dirty bombs or an actual nuclear bomb if the material fell into the hands of people who had the right expertise.
The stockpile is still there.

more :

Complaints about Cityrail network increase

Passengers have voiced their frustration with Sydney's train network, with Cityrail recording an increase in complaints.
Railcorp's annual report for the last financial year has been released.
It reveals that more than 26,000 people were unhappy with the level of comfort and the convenience of the train network - 5,000 more than the previous 12 months.
Most complaints were about the lack of airconditioning on trains, however, changes to the timetable also sparked a flurry of phone calls and emails to Railcorp.
Timetable complaints alone rose 400 per cent while other complaints relate to staff and late trains.
But it was not all bad, feedback with compliments up 13 per cent.
The annual report also reveals a slight drop in the number of people catching a train.
Cityrail has blamed the GFC for the fall.
But the State Opposition says people are just fed up with poor service.