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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.


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.


Gurrumul album first of kind to top charts

An album in his own language by late musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has topped the ARIA chart.Even in death, indigenous n musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has continued to break new ground, with his final album becoming the first in an n indigenous language to top the nation’s music charts.
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Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) has claimed the number one spot on the ARIA albums chart on Saturday, following the album’s April 13 release.

The album, more than four years in the making, was finished just weeks before the 46-year-old blind singer, known simply as Gurrumul, died in July after a battle with kidney and liver disease.

It combines songs and harmonised chants from Gurrumul’s traditional Yolngu life with orchestral arrangements, featuring members of the n Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra among others.

Producer Michael Hohnen, Gurrumul’s musical partner and manager, says all ns can be proud of Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow)’s success.

“The history he has made taking a true n language and heritage to number one proves the strength of the underlying cultural identity of this nation,” Mr Hohnen said in a statement on Saturday.

“This album is a testament to this great n and his family, all Yolngu and the greater Aboriginal population.”

Born blind in 1971 on Elcho Island in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Gurrumul’s voice and music took him around the world, performing in places such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and at the Queen’s Jubilee Concert in London.

The singer’s family broke with cultural tradition to allow the use of his name beyond his death, in an effort to ensure his legacy lives on.


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.


Barbara Bush remembered for dignity, wit

Former US first lady Barbara Bush has been remembered for her dignity and wit at her funeral.Former first lady Barbara Bush has been remembered at her funeral as a formidable but caring figure whose devotion to her family was matched only by her commitment to public service.
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“She was our teacher and role model in how to live a life of purpose and meaning,” one of her four sons, former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush, told the crowded Houston church on Saturday.

He then drew laughs with a nod to Bush’s famously sharp tongue: “She called her style a benevolent dictatorship, but honestly, it wasn’t all that benevolent.”

Some 1500 mourners, including governors, senators and former US presidents, gathered at a televised but invitation-only service at the church to pay tribute to the matriarch of one of the country’s most prominent political dynasties, who died on Tuesday at age 92.

Bush, the wife of the 41st president of the US George HW Bush and the mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush, was lauded as an inspiration to the country and her loved ones, a woman who leavened a strong sense of decency and honour with a self-deprecating wit she employed to great effect.

“She was candid and comforting, steadfast and straightforward, honest and loving,” said the historian and author Jon Meacham, who wrote a biography of George HW Bush and was one of three eulogists whom Barbara Bush herself selected before her death.

“Barbara Bush and George Bush put country above party, the common good above political gain and service to others above the settling of scores,” he said.

Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, current first lady Melania Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama were all on hand for the service.

President Donald Trump, who clashed with the Bush family during his 2016 campaign, did not travel to Houston. The White House said this week he wanted to avoid disrupting the service with added security.

In a Twitter post, Trump said his “thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family”.

Former president Jimmy Carter was overseas and unable to attend.

Barbara Bush’s longtime friend, Susan Baker, the wife of former Secretary of State James Baker, described her in a eulogy as a “tough but loving enforcer” whose 73-year marriage to her husband was a real-life fairy tale.

George HW Bush would write a letter to his wife on each wedding anniversary, Jeb Bush said, before reading aloud one such letter from 1994, a year after his father left the White House.

“I was very happy on that day in 1945, but I’m even happier today,” he read, as his 93-year-old father squeezed his eyes shut and wept. “You have given me joy that few men know … I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.”

As the service ended, Bush’s grandsons bore her casket out of the church, with George W. Bush pushing his father in a wheelchair directly behind it.

Barbara Bush will be buried on the grounds of the George HW Bush Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station, next to her daughter Robin, who died of leukaemia at the age of three.


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