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Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Verne Troyer and Mike Myers as Mini-Me and Dr Evil in the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Picture: AP Photo/New Line CinemaVerne Troyer, best known for his role as Mini Me in the Austin Powersfranchise, has died at 49.
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The sombreannouncement of his passing came via the American actor and stuntman’s official Facebook page on Sunday morning.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” the post read.

“Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyonesmile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to anyextent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.

Verne Troyer signs autographs at Supanova in Melbourne in 2014. Picture: The Age

“He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, andattitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s& personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there toshow everyone what he was capable of doing.”

While best known for his role as Dr Evil’s protege Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series, Troyer has a long list of appearances in film and television, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,Boston Legal andMen In Black.

READ MORE:Mike Myers leads tributes to Verne TroyerHis short stature –Troyer stood just 2 foot 8 inches, or 81 centimetres–was a result of achondroplasia dwarfism.

I’m 27 donuts tall. #NationalDonutDaypic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/EGNatbiHKH

— Verne Troyer (@VerneTroyer) June 2, 2017

“Even though his staturewas small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach upand open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He alsotouched more peoples hearts than he will ever know,” the official statement said.

“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over theyears he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and foughtsome more, but unfortunately this time was too much.

“During this recent time of adversity he was baptized while surroundedby his family. The family appreciates that they have this time togrieve privately.”

Verne Troyer with Mike Myers and other Austin Powers in Goldmember principals Quincy Jones, Robert Wagner, Beyonce, Michael Caine, director Jay Roach and producer John Lyons at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles in 2002. Picture: AP

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

Cowboys find NRL form to beat Gold Coast

Jason Taumalolo has scored one of four North Queensland tries in a 26-14 NRL win over Gold Coast.Last year’s grand finalists North Queensland have snapped a five-game losing streak with a convincing 26-14 victory over Gold Coast in Townsville.
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Ben Hampton, Kyle Feldt, Jason Taumalolo and Coen Hess scored tries for the Cowboys, giving coach Paul Green exactly the boost he wanted after signing a new three-year contract.

Johnathan Thurston, helped by better play from his forwards, returned to form and was involved in each try, as well as being on hand to help deny Titans’ scoring chances on several of occasions.

After an opening half-hour, littered by penalties and handling errors from both sides, Hampton scored his third try of the season five minutes before the interval after a neat combination between Hess and John Asiata.

With five seconds remaining in the half, Feldt added to the score, this time Hampton providing the last pass before the winger dived over in the right corner for a 16-2 halftime lead.

The Titans started the second half brightly but could not apply scoreboard pressure. Taumalolo made them pay, taking an inside pass from Thurston 25 metres out and jinking inside a tackle before racing between the uprights.

Hess powered through three attempted tackles to extend the lead. The Titans’ scoreline was flattered by late tries to Ashley Taylor and Jarrod Wallace.

The only downside for the Cowboys, who move to just two wins out of the top eight, is a shoulder injury to Asiata.

The defeat is the Titans’ fourth of the season and their defence stands as the worst in the NRL, having conceded 197 points.

Thurston believed an improvement in discipline was key to the Cowboys ending their losing run.

“We had our backs against the wall but we’ll take a win any way we can get it,” Thurston told Fox Sports.

“I thought we started with a lot of energy. We were probably a bit over enthusiastic early with our ball control. It was scrappy – we had to fight for everything tonight.

“Our discipline’s put us under the pump (during the bad run). It was a lot better. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Titans coach Garth Brennan was angry his team did not play their best football until the game was lost.

“There’s some positives the way we came together at the end,” Brennan said.

“When we started to do things we’ve worked on, we looked like a football team. At other times, we looked rudderless.

“We’re better than that. We will be better than that. We need to learn from that, feel the hurt we’re hurting at the moment and turn up at home next week and put on a good performance for our fans.”

The Titans host Cronulla next Saturday, while the Cowboys are at home later that evening to Canberra.

Queen marks 92 years at star-studded show

The Queen and the royal family have attended a star-studded concert to mark her 92nd birthday.n singer Kylie Minogue has performed at a star-studded special concert before Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, as the world’s oldest and longest-reigning living monarch celebrated her 92nd birthday.
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Welsh singer Tom Jones kicked off the show on Saturday with his hit It’s Not Unusual shortly before Elizabeth appeared in the royal box of London’s Albert Hall, flanked by her family.

Minogue, Sting, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Shaggy were among those on the bill, along with stars of the stage and screen.

At the end of the night Elizabeth joined the stage with her son, Prince Charles.

He joked that she could not have predicted in 1948, when Charles was born, decades later a 92-year-old queen would be sharing a stage with her 70-year-old son.

Charles then led a round of cheers from members of the audience. The queen acknowledged them with a smile and her trademark royal wave.

The event is a break in tradition for the queen who usually spends her birthday privately with little public celebration, although there were nationwide events to mark her 90th.

The concert comes at the end of a week in which leaders and dignitaries from 53 countries came to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and featured performers from the network of mostly former British colonies.

The queen is head of the Commonwealth. The major beneficiary of Saturday’s event, televised live on BBC TV and radio, will be the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust youth charity, of which her grandson Prince Harry was appointed president this week.

Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, and became queen in 1952 at the age of 25, meaning she has now reigned for more than 66 years.

She still carries out official engagements but her husband Prince Philip, who spent 10 days in hospital this month for a hip replacement, retired from public life last year.

As is customary with monarch’s birthdays, soldiers from the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Honourable Artillery Company fired gun salutes in London’s Hyde Park and the Tower of London earlier on Saturday.

Elizabeth also has an “official” birthday in June, which is marked with a large parade of soldiers through central London, known as Trooping the Colour.

Banks shouldn’t face tax cut ban: govt

The Turnbull government says banks won’t be the only companies to benefit from tax cuts.Federal government minister Kelly O’Dwyer doesn’t agree the banks should be quarantined from getting the government’s planned business, saying it’s not a “morality tax”.
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Independent senator Derryn Hinch, whose support the government needs to pass the reduction in the corporate tax rate, says the banks should not be rewarded for their bad behaviour.

The Hayne royal commission has been hearing damaging revelations about ‘s major financial institutions, including AMP charging fees for services not delivered and Commonwealth Bank extracting fees from dead people.

But Ms O’Dwyer, the minister for revenue and financial services, says the banks, like other businesses benefiting from a tax cut, would invest and innovate in their companies and make sure they can employ people.

“We’re going to have a new taxation system that’s based on a morality tax? I mean, let’s get a little bit real here,” she told ABC television on Sunday.

But Senator Hinch is sticking to his guns, saying he will support tax cuts for companies with a turnover of up to $500 million – like the Senate did for firms with a turnover of up to $50 million last year.

“But will not reward corrupt banks being exposed daily in the royal commission. That is a pledge,” he said in a tweet on Sunday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten took to Facebook with a new attack ad, saying: “(Malcolm) Turnbull wanted to protect the banks. Now he wants to give them a big tax handout.”

The government delayed putting the remainder of the legislation to the vote in the Senate just before Easter when it became clear it didn’t have sufficient numbers from the crossbench to pass it.

Senator Hinch and fellow independent Tim Storer have so far rejected the plan, joining Labor, the Greens and senators of the previously named Nick Xenophon Team.

So far, only firms with a turnover of up to $50 million will receive incremental tax cuts over the next decade from 30 per cent to 25 per cent.

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said Ms O’Dwyer’s comments show she was “spectacularly out of touch”.

He said Labor analysis found the big four banks at the centre of “rorts, rip-offs and scandals” exposed by the royal commission would reap $13.2 billion under the government’s 10-year business tax plan.

It shows the banks will receive one in every four dollars of the $65 billion tax cut once it is fully implemented in 2026/27.

The Commonwealth Bank of would receive a tax cut of almost $4 billion while Westpac would pocket 3.5 billion, the ANZ $3.2 billion and National Bank $2.6 billion.

Labor wants the government to ditch all the unlegislated parts of the tax plan which are in front of the parliament.

“We don’t think it is a good time to shower largesse on multinationals and millionaires, but especially when we’ve got record and growing debt in the budget,” Dr Chalmers told ABC television.

Whincup calm after Supercars disaster

Jamie Whincup has dropped to fourth in the Supercars standings after a post-race penaltyJamie Whincup is not panicking after a horror weekend at the Phillip Island 500 saw him slip back in the Supercars championship standings.
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The Red Bull Holden champion headed to Victoria in the lead, but leaves in fourth after a race one penalty stripped him of a podium finish.

He never got going on Sunday, finishing ninth in the second 250km race.

The results leave him 76 points behind Ford rival Scott McLaughlin (797), who continued his love affair with the island track by claiming a pair of victories.

Whincup’s fellow Commodore drivers David Reynolds and Shane van Gisbergen have a slender hold in the top three as the series moves to Perth on May 4-6.

Whincup, the most decorated driver in Supercars history with seven titles, has belief he can respond with 12 events for the year still remaining.

“We’ve got a good crew with an excellent car and a lot of components that are good right now, so we’ll regroup and move on from Phillip Island,” Whincup said.

“It’s not our proudest result, but we worked hard and pushed as hard as we could.

“We were miles back after Adelaide (500) and got going again and now we’re miles back here so we’ll fight back.”

Whincup finished second in Saturday’s race, but his 38-second penalty for turning off his pitlane speed limiter proved extremely costly.

It dropped him back to 14th, meaning van Gisbergen earned a podium with Nissan veteran Rick Kelly.

The severity of the penalty was unexpected, according to his Triple Eight team manager Mark Dutton.

“He saw the wrong cone, turned it off, realised his mistake, turned it back on,” Dutton told Supercars苏州夜总会招聘.

“There was nothing underhand and that might not mean much to everyone, but to me it is a difference.”


1. Scott McLaughlin 947 pts

2. David Reynolds 887

3. Shane van Gisbergen 849

4. Craig Lowndes 813

5. Jamie Whincup 805

6. Scott Pye 745

7. Chaz Mostert 695

8. James Courtney 678

9. Fabian Coulthard 662

10. Tim Slade 626

The haven giving horses a second chance at life and love

HEALTHY: Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary founder Anne Young with Big Grey, who was little more than skin and bones when rescued two years ago. Pictures: Dylan BurnsHeartbreak and happiness coexist on Anne Young’s idyllic 300 acre property outside Gordon.
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The founder of the Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary has taken in scores of the most malnourished and maltreated horses and ponies that the RSPCA has come across in the past few years and done the best she can to rehabilitate them and find them new homes, or allow them to live out their lives at the sanctuary.

When her mobile phone rings, it could mean anything from one new resident at HSES to more than 100 needing care, food and veterinary attention.

In the first four months of 2016, HSES received almost 150 malnourished horses from two separate RSPCA seizures.

The first group, from a farmat Warraknear Ararat, saw 113 horses arrive as part of the largest RSPCA horse seizure in n history.

Two months later Ms Young received another call to take in 23 emaciated horses found alongside the carcasses of more than 20 others on a property at Bulla on Melbourne’s outskirts.

“When they first come off the truck your stomach goes tight and you get a shot of anger that anyone could be so cruel,” Ms Young said.

“Then the vet team kick into action and there is a lot to discover about the actual health status of the horse which determines next steps. As much as we try there are times we are just sad as we know we are too late.”

The horrific condition these types of horses come to her in –little more than skin and bone, and often unhandled and wild – pose a challenge to sanctuary staff, but theday they arriveat the sanctuary their life trajectory turns 180 degrees and they can look forward to ample food, love and attention.

Big Grey was one of the Bulla horses who has found sanctuary with Ms Young.

“When they arrived they were just skin and bone. Even now she’s hardly got any tail –the horses were so hungry they ate each others tails so it looked like their tails had been docked,” Ms Young said.

HUNGRY: Big Grey will live the rest of her life at the sanctuary because she’s too volatile to rehome, a result of her early life.

While most of the Bulla horses have been rehabilitated, retrained and rehomed, Big Grey and a handful of others will be“lifers” at the sanctuary.

Currently there are more than 140 horses on the property, some being trained and handled and others“turned out” in to the large paddocks to recover or run.

Expert horse handler and retrainer Chris Giles liveson site and has the tough job of handling and training the horses.

“The Bulla horses that were unhandled were all able to be retrained and found new homes, but those who had been started (as racehorses) were very reactive and had real problems,” Ms Young said.

“Big Grey had been started and we don’t know what had been done to her, but if you put her under pressure and she doesn’t understand what you want, she explodes soshe’s not suitable to be rehomed,” she said.

Some of Big Grey’s paddock mates weren’t so lucky.

“We had to watch those horses 24/7 for three weeks.We had volunteers come and stay up all night watching them.”

Two of the confiscated horses died that night and another a few days later from colic, but 20 survived.

DUMPED: One of the Greendale 16 – a group of 16 miniature horses dumped on the side of the road near Greendale about a year ago.

About 12 months ago the sanctuary had another mass arrival when it was called to collect 16 miniature horses dumped on the side of a road at Greendale. More than a dozen were also pregnant to the stallion running with the herd.

Outside of the big groups that the sanctuary has taken in, there’s regular calls from the RSPCA asking if Ms Young can take in one or two horses that have been neglected on individual properties.

Ms Young said the Greendale 16was one of the hardest cases she had dealt with because of the nature of the dumping.“They were literally dumped in the middle of the road, and when you think about the logistics of loading, transporting and abandoning the horses it’s such a deliberate act.

The haven giving horses a second chance at life and love TweetFacebook Meet some of the residents of Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary”I get sofrustrated that horses don’t have a microchip or need to be registered. It would make proving the owner so much easier. With the Greendale 16 the authorities have a good idea of where they came from but can’t prove it,” she said.

It’s not just horses who have a second chance at life thanks to the dedicated work of Ms Young and her small team.

WORK CREW: Two of the rescue dogs at HSES prefer to be driven around the property than travel on foot.

The sanctuary, up a quiet laneway just outside Gordon, is also home to a menagerie of other rescued animals now living out their lives in comfort.

There’s a pack of rescue dogs who trail their master everywhere she goes –ranging from a pint-sized fox terrier to an Irish Wolfhound cross that is almost as big as the miniature horses.

In fact Ms Young had to trade in her farm vehicle for a bigger model with a second row of seats to accommodate the dogs who accompany her on her rounds and prefer to travel on wheels than on foot.

There’s a paddock of rescue goats, donkeys, cats, cows ex-battery hens, geese, ducks, alpacas anda turkey

FELINE: One of the rescue cats who has found a home among the menagerie at Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary.

All that love comes at a cost: the HSESfeed bill is about $12,000 a month, and other than food the vet bills are the biggest cost. Then there’s the medications, rugs, training and everything else the animals need in their new lives.

Until recently the sanctuary was fully funded by donations, sponsorships and adoption fees but Ms Young has expanded operations to build the Horse Shepherd Veterinary Practice. Profits from private clients go back toward the sanctuary costs and it means there is a vet on site.

Through the vet practice, HSESalso runs the Mums 4 Bubs program, which last year hired out mares who have proven to be great mothers to the owners of 15 orphaned foals.“They know what being a mum is about, we bring them in to lactation and they go out to the studs to raise the foals,” Ms Young said.

ONE OF THE PACK: Jethro the five-month-old miniature pig is one of the newest members of the HSES menagerie and considers himself a member of the dog pack.

HSES is also home toone very special pig who isn’t a rescue but is Ms Young’s last birthday present –Jethro, the house pig.The five-month-old porker is house-trained, sleeps by Ms Young’s bed, can sit on command and considers himself to be one of the dog pack–especially when there’s food about.

White shark circles boat off Dunsborough

Dunsborough fisherman Warren Brown captured this incredible footage of a shark circling his boat off Dunsborough.A Dunsborough fisherman received a shock on Thursday morning when a four-metre white shark circled his boat for 20 minutes.
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Warren Brown was out fishing two kilometres offshore when the shark swam up to his boat taking a nip at the motor.

Mr Brown said the shark hung around circling the boat ‘eyeing them off’ around 7.30am.

“Bugger me, it just had a go at the motor,” Mr Brown can be heard saying in the video.

Four-metre great white filmed circling boat off WA coasthttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd苏州夜场招聘/transform/v1/crop/frm/S2kBkURjWY7PhPtZJcQ5Zm/e0d45820-a587-482c-8322-306061d8dbf0.JPG/r1_54_461_314_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgCheck out this video of a four-metre white shark circles a boat off Dunsborough.multimedia, photos-and-video, Dunsborough, Sharks, Video2018-04-22T12:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove苏州夜场招聘/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5773011696001https://players.brightcove苏州夜场招聘/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5773011696001Dunsborough fisherman Warren Brrown captured this image of a shark circling his boat.On Wednesday, the Department of Fisheries issued a shark warning around Yallingup after increased activity in the region.

Between Sunday, April 15 and Wednesday, April 18 there have been six sightings of sharks, including two reports of white sharks.

Four-metre great white filmed circling boat off WA coasthttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd苏州夜场招聘/transform/v1/crop/frm/S2kBkURjWY7PhPtZJcQ5Zm/e0d45820-a587-482c-8322-306061d8dbf0.JPG/r1_54_461_314_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgCheck out this video of a four-metre white shark circles a boat off Dunsborough.multimedia, photos-and-video, Dunsborough, Sharks, Video2018-04-22T12:00:00+10:00https://players.brightcove苏州夜场招聘/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5773017190001https://players.brightcove苏州夜场招聘/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5773017190001Dunsborough fisherman Warren Brrown captured this image of a shark circling his boat.On Wednesday at 11.24am hours was of a 3.5 metre white shark was reported by the Surf Life Saving WA helicopter.

A bronze whaler was also detected by the shark monitoring network, on Saturday, April 14 at Smiths Beach.

At beaches south of these locations, there have been significant whale carcass strandings over several weeks that could raise the risk of increased shark activity.

Two surfers were attacked on Monday.

The first attack happened in the morning at Cobblestones off Gracetown and was flown to Royal Perth Hospital for surgery.Later in the day a second man was bitten by a shark offLefthanders Beach, receiving treatment for injuries to his leg.

On Wednesday, the 2018 Margaret River Pro was cancelled.

Unfavourable conditions had paused competition during Tuesday and surfing was expected to continue later in the week until the cancellation was announced.

Competing surfersItalo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina voiced their concerns on social media, saying they did not feel safe training or competing in the location.

MsGoldschmidt said that the risk of sharks in the water was something surfers were familiar with.

“Sharks are an occasional reality of WSL competitions, and of surfing in general,” she said.

“Everyone associated with our sport knows that. There have been incidents in the past -and it’s possible that there will be incidents in the future -which did not (and will not) result in the cancellation of an event.

“However, current circumstances are very unusual and troubling, and we have decided that the elevated risk during this season’s Margaret River Pro has crossed the threshold for what is acceptable.”

Beaches in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River between Ellensbrook and North Point in Gracetown reopened at 6pm on Friday after the attacks.

“Over the past few days we’ve been working closely with relevant State Government agencies to determine when beaches can reopen,” said Shire Ranger Coordinator Mick O’Regan.

“A coordinated decision has been made to reopen beaches.Agencies will be monitoring shark activity over the weekend, and we urge members of the public to please check for beach closure signs in case new closures occur.”

THE HERALD’S OPINION: Faith and flexibility in our region’s childcare

CHILDCAREmay be the hidden backbone of the modern n workforce. Parents must weigh up its price against a day’s wages, and if that balance tips, it becomes unfeasible for them. Subsequently, the sector can help decide who does and doesn’t front up for jobs tomorrow.
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On the other hand, the sector also faces its own struggles. United Voice union members walked off the job in March to protest low rates of pay, industrial action they estimated closed 320 centres and affected 30,000 families. This offers an indication of scale.

Childcare centres are also lucrative enough to drive commercial property sales, including one at Rutherford earlier this month that changed hands for more than $3.3 million.

The agents in that sale said it was one of four childcare properties they had sold in a single auction. They said $220 million worth of commercial childcare property had shifted throughout 2017.

Perhaps it is not surprising that the Catholic system will step into this space so significantly in the future. A Newcastle Herald investigation in 2016 found that Catholic school populations were rising significantly in the region, sparking expansions on existing campuses and new ones to emerge.

The Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese’s move into childcare makes sense, given the Catholic system is already the largest non-government educator for school students. The system already holds a degree of trust in the minds of many modern parents,despite some dark chapters in the history of the diocese and its schools.

That reassurance thatparents feel is a valuable commodity when making a decision about whom to trust with taking care of their children for hours at a time.

The frenetic school pick-up is simplified with childcare for all ages basing itself on the same site. Likewise, the familiar surrounds are likely less daunting for children as they progress through the ranks of our schools towards their graduation.

Greater flexibilityfor our region’s parents ultimately gives the region a greater workforce, spilling on economic benefits across multiple sectors. While the diocese’s expansion is no doubt backed by their own business case, it will likely be welcomed by many employers further afield.

There will no doubt be a plethora of parents grateful for the option of one less stop on the way to work.

ISSUE: 37,780

O’Dwyer won’t admit govt ‘wrong’ on banks

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has defended the government’s action on banks.Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer has refused to accept the federal government should have agreed earlier to a probe into the banks, despite saying she’s appalled by revelations at the royal commission.
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Deflecting the question eight times, the financial services minister instead talked up the coalition’s efforts to boost the standards for financial advisors and increase the penalties for misconduct.

“We have done it, we have established (the commission), not only with very broad terms of reference rather than the narrow focus that some might have actually had instead, but we have also put in place a very good royal commissioner,” she told ABC TV on Sunday.

For 18 months the federal government opposed Bill Shorten’s proposal to investigate the banks.

Ms O’Dwyer described the idea of a royal commission as a talkfest five months ago, claiming it would “kick the can down the road” for a number of years.

Now, she admits to be being appalled by a number of the issues that have been aired.

“The government has been very alive to the problems in the financial services industry and we have been acting from the get-go,” she said.

Labor hit back, saying anyone watching Ms O’Dwyer’s performance would conclude the government is from another planet.

“They’ve learnt absolutely nothing from all of the scandalous revelations that we’ve heard over the last little while at the royal commission,” the party’s finance spokesman Jim Chalmers told ABC TV.

“They still can’t bring themselves to say that they were wrong to run a protection racket against that royal commission for so long.”

Crossbench senator Derryn Hinch tweeted his reaction to the minister’s refusal to accept the government should have acted sooner.

“The words “we were wrong” obviously not in O’Dwyer lexicon. (Barry) Cassidy 100, Minister nil,” he said.

Government frontbencher Ken Wyatt said the minister had made decisions based on the information and evidence she had on hand at the time.

“But the government has certainly stepped forward and taken the decision to have the royal commission,” he told Sky News.

“That has certainly thrown up a number of issues for which I have seen the Treasurer Scott Morrison make some very strong comments about the behaviour of individuals within the financial sector.”

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce admitted he was wrong in standing against a royal commission, just days before the head of AMP quit.

The commission had heard the the wealth manager had lied to regulators and charged customers fees without providing the specified service.

Mr Morrison on Friday announced tough new penalties for shonky bankers and corporate criminals, with individuals found guilty of misconduct in the finance sector to face up to 10 years behind bars.

Corporations could be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnover.

Hunter gamers embrace pop-up retro video game console arcade at Charlestown Community Centre The Place

Hunter video gamers of all ages gain window into technology of the past Get set: Jess Moore of Erina plays a Virtual Boy, a pioneering yet short-lived Japanese-market console. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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TweetFacebookGLENN Le Marchant can’t think of anything worse than keeping the60 video gameconsoles and more than 1000 games he has collected over15 yearsbehindlock and key.

“I’m not buying things to put in a cupboard never to be seen again,” he said.“Games need to be played, not squandered away.”

Mr Le Marchant has taken leave from his job as a software engineer and opened part of his collection dating back to the 1970s to the public for the first time, hosting a pop-up retro video game console arcade and daily high score competition at Charlestown Community Centre, The Place.

An average of about 20 people a day have visitedsince its Thursday opening and each paid $10 an hour –the third and any other additional players in a group pay $5 –to get their hands onmuch-loved consoles including the Atari 2600, original Nintendo and PlayStation One and rarities including the Nintendo Virtual Boy that was not sold in , the Vectrex from 1982 and the Atari Jaguar.

Games include Sega Rally Championship, Crusader and other hidden gems.

“It’s been a mix of 40-something nostalgic parents bringing their kids in to show them what they used to play and 20-something year olds who have heard of these consoles but never played them.

“Some people came in bothdays after work.”

The most popular game has been Duck Hunt on the original Nintendo console.

“We’ve had a three year old play it, as well as a 74 year old grandmother who has never played a game in her life.” Mr Le Marchant is considering renting the games out for birthday parties and team building exercises.

The pop up arcade closes on April 24.

Newcastle KnightsSkipper Mitchell Pearce suffers suspected torn pectoral muscle and could be sidelined for months.

KNIGHTS skipper Mitchell Pearce could be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a suspected torn pectoral muscle in the 22-20 win against Wests Tigers at Tamworth on Saturday.
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Pearce left the field late in the second half and Newcastle coach Nathan Brown admitted afterwards: “It’s not great.”

It’s understood the best-case scenario is that Pearce will be out for three months, but if he needs surgery he may not play again this season.

Pearce’s setback means NSW coach Brad Fittler will be forced to pick a new halfback for this year’s State of Origin series.

The interstate series begins on June 6 and ends on July 11.

Pearce’s injury comes a month after rookie candidate Nathan Cleary went down with a knee injury that initially ruled him out until round 13 – the week after the Blues go into camp for game one.

The probable unavailability of both Pearce and Cleary significantly whittles down the list of possible options to partner likely five-eighth James Maloney.

Luke Keary has been in strong form for the Sydney Roosters, while Wests Tigers No.7 Luke Brooks has also recently been tossed up as a possibility to make his Origin debut.

Other candidates include South Sydney playmaker Adam Reynolds and Cronulla link-man Matt Moylan, both of whom have previously pulled on the Blues jumper.

Brown said Pearce, who has been the NSW halfback for six of the past eight years, was in good spirits after the match in Tamworth despite his NRL season being dashed.

“It’s not great,” Brown said after Saturday’s win.

“He is disappointed. Mitch loves playing. Game day is his favourite day of the week. They are the types of players you want in your club. Whatever the result is he will still contribute while he is not playing.”

SHATTERED: MItchell Pearce

Pearce’s injury also means Brown could be forced into recalling Brock Lamb, who was dropped in favour of Jack Cogger on Saturday, for next week’s clash against Manly.

First-choice five-eighth Connor Watson is a chance of returning early from a shoulder injury.

“We’ve got Connor coming back next week, Brock played reserve grade today, (Jamie Buhrer) filled in today and did a good job in the last six or seven minutes, and came up with the kick,” he said.

“We’ve got to go into the Manly game full of confidence, that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Life as a fourth-generation jeweller

FAMILY: Josh and Neil Watson are continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler You could say a love of jewellery runs in the Watson family.
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Since 1925the family businesshas been creating one of a kind pieces and breathing new life into treasured Tasmanian heirlooms.

In February, 20-year-old Josh Watson became the fourth generation totake up the craft at the family business.

With his father and current store manager Neil Watson watching on, Josh said hehad“fallen in love” with jewellery making and was proud to be continuing the family legacy.

“It’s always something I have wanted to do, but it was more a case of timing,” he said.

“I got my first feel for it as part of a grade eight project I was assigned at Scotch Oakburn.

“I came into the workshop, got my hands dirty as they say and I just fell in love with it.

“Now that I am here I just can’t get enough of it.”

Watsons Jewellers was first established in 1925 by Josh’s great-grandfather Bob Watson.

At the time the store was located at99a St John Street, in a humble space the “size of a shoebox”.

The second generation to enter the business was Bob’s son Ray Watson, who joined his father as a 15-year-old straight out of school.

Both skilled watchmakers, Bob worked at the store for 45 years until his death.

Ray’s career as a jeweller spanned 54 years, before his retirement in2004.

He said the family craft was like the son of a farmer being born knowing how to milk a cow –you either have it or you don’t.

With his grandson now taking on the profession, Ray said the store had always prided itself on having strong family values.

Life as a fourth-generation jeweller Robert Henry Edward Watson and Raymond Edward Watson in 1950.

Neil and Carolyn Watson with Louise Snare (Watson), Tony and Phillipa June Watson.

FAMILY: Josh and Neil Watson are continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

FAMILY: Josh Watson is continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

FAMILY: Josh Watson is continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

FAMILY: Josh and Neil Watson are continuing a proud family legacy at Watsons Jewellers. Picture: Paul Scambler

TweetFacebook Watsons Jewellers through the yearsWith a near 100 year history, Watsons Jewellers has had many changes through the years. “It’sa pretty big deal, to see Josh step up,” he said.

“Four generations in one business, that is rare these days and especially for a jewellers.

“In my time at the store the emphasis was always on the service.

“All of the staff we had were like family and we treated them like family.

“Our customers always appreciated that.”

After a move to the Quadrant Mall in the mid 80s, WatsonsJewellers was established at its current sight on Brisbane Street.

For third generation Neil, he said jewellery making was in his blood.

“I think for all of uswegrew up with the store there, but it was never forced upon us as a career,” he said.

“It has happened very naturally, for me at least.

“I always knew it was something I would go into.

“I left school when I was 15, so a bit younger than Josh.

“Ijust walked straight in and have never looked back.”

With a traditional workshop located directly above the retail space,Watsons has been repairing diamonds, watches and jewellery for almost 100 years.

In that time Neil said there hadn’t been many problems they weren’t able to fix, but the family had always put an emphasis on evolving with the times.

“Jewellery stores have certainly faced their challenges over the years,” he said.

“When my great-grandfather started, there would have been 10 watch repairers in Launceston alone.

“Now there would be about three.

“It is somewhat of an ageing industry, so that’s why it’s so good to see someone like Josh just starting out.

“The jewellery side came later and became more prominent over the years than just fixing watches.

“It has been a real journey for our family and something that has evolved from the smallest store to what we have now.

“We have always been aware of the changing retail status.

“Like many businesses, it is something that is changing all the time.

“We need to be able to change with it.

“But there is a certain romance associated with jewellery making.

“I don’t think that has change over the years.”

With a full-time jewellery maker now helping to teach Josh the skills of the trade, he said the new career path was more than just a job.

“It is really hands on, that is what I love about it,” he said.

“Getting up close with the pieces – it is really intricate work.

“I am just starting really, so still have a lot to learn.

“But my family obviously means a lot to me, so it is nice to know I am carrying on that family legacy.

“This is something I am really proud of, so I suppose it is about more than just coming to work every day.”

Mike Myers leads tributes to Verne Troyer

Actor Verne Troyer, known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films, has died at the age of 49.Mike Myers has led tributes to his Austin Powers co-star Verne Troyer, who has died aged 49.
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The 81cm tall US actor known for playing Mini-Me in the spoof spy movies died on Friday, according to a statement on his social media accounts.

Troyer had openly struggled with alcoholism and had been admitted to hospital in Los Angeles earlier this month. His cause of death is not yet clear.

“Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honour of working with him,” said Myers, co-creator and star of the Austin Powers films.

“It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”

The statement announcing the US actor’s death did not state a cause, but mentioned depression and suicide and described the actor as a “fighter” who was unable to overcome his latest battle.

“Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh,” it read.

“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.

“Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”

Troyer became a celebrity and pop-culture phenomenon after starring alongside Mike Myers as Mini-Me, the clone and sidekick of villain Dr Evil, in two of the three Austin Powers films.

He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, and was recently baptised while surrounded by family, the message added.

The actor’s credits also include Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone and Men In Black.

The statement added that well-wishers should donate to the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies instead of giving flowers.

American glamour model Carmen Electra shared a snap of the two of them on Instagram in which she can be seen holding Troyer in her arms.

The Baywatch actress simply posted “R.I.P Verne Troyer” along with the image.

West Wing star Marlee Matlin took to Twitter in the wake of the news, describing him as having a “lovely smile with a caring and big heart”.

Singer Vanilla Ice and American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth also posted images of themselves with Troyer following the news of his death.

n readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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