Australian fire crisis eases, blazes still threaten small towns

By Maggie Lu Yueyang

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian firefighters battled massive wildfires in bushland around Sydney on Wednesday, but hot weather that could have caused a catastrophic mega-fire did not materialize, allowing authorities to tell some evacuated residents it was safe to return to home.

However, the crisis was far from over with new fires igniting and strong winds fanning blazes in the Blue Mountains, a major commuter area of small towns west of Sydney.

Around 60 fires were still burning across New South Wales (NSW) state, with more than 2,000 firefighters struggling to contain them, with more hot and windy weather forecast.

As exhausted firefighters moved from fire to fire, residents used garden hoses to try and save their homes.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed in NSW since last Thursday, when fires tore through Sydney’s outskirts, razing entire streets. One man died from a heart attack while trying to save his home.

Earlier on Wednesday, residents in the Blue Mountains were urged to drive down to the safety of metropolitan Sydney, but by the evening some were returning home.

“If you have been someone that has chosen to depart the Blue Mountains today…(to) be out of harm’s way, then it would be safe to head back home tonight because the risk has been averted,” said Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons warned the situation could deteriorate again and urged people to be vigilant.

“There are still fires flaring up, impacting on communities this afternoon,” he said. “I won’t rest easy until I know things have settled right down over the next 24 hours or so and we start seeing some really good further consolidation of control lines and bringing these fires more under control.”

The fires have burned through more than 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) and have a perimeter of some 1,600 km (990 miles). Firefighters fear strong winds may see three major fires in the Blue Mountains join up in coming days, creating one massive wildfire.

Air pollution in parts of Sydney has spiked with some neighborhoods blanketed in smoke.

The NSW government has declared a state of emergency enabling it to order evacuations, hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2009 “Black Saturday” fires in Victoria state that killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage.

The insurance council of Australia said claims of more than A$93 million ($90 million) were expected to grow.

Police have arrested several children suspected of starting a number of different fires. Other fires were sparked by power lines arcing in strong winds, according to the fire service.

The biggest fire was started during an army training exercise when an explosion ignited bushland.


Record hot and dry weather across Australia and an early start to the fire season in the Southern Hemisphere spring have revived arguments about mankind’s impact on climate change.

Climate scientists say Australia is one of the countries most at risk from global warming, with fires, floods and droughts a feature of the continent.

But conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected any link between the Sydney fires and rising carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, a major Australian export.

“Climate change is real and we should take strong action against it,” Abbott told local radio.

“But these fires are certainly not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia.”

Elected in September, Abbott plans to repeal a carbon emissions tax installed by the previous government and replace it with a “Direct Action” scheme involving things like reforestation and financial incentives to business to cut pollution.

(Additional reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Stephen Coates and Michael Perry)

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RTL CBS Entertainment Channel Launches in the Philippines

Sky Cable Corporation and RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network have signed a deal to bring the recently launched RTL CBS Entertainment HD channel to the Philippines.

The channel features a wide range of content, including shows The X Factor USA, America’s Got Talent, Entertainment Tonight, along with popular U.S. drama series, such as Elementary and the upcoming Under the Dome.

PHOTOS: 81 of Fall TV’s Biggest Stars: THR’s Exclusive Portraits

Sky Cable is the largest digital cable TV provider in the Philippines. RTL CBS Entertainment HD will be available as an a-la-carte option or as part of the company’s various packages.

“The addition of RTL-CBS Entertainment HD to Sky Cable’s widest and still-growing channel lineup goes hand in hand with our mission to provide every Filipino family with quality entertainment. We are excited and honored to be the first cable TV provider in the country to offer this world-class channel,” said Ray Montinola, COO of Sky Cable, in a statement.

The Philippines is the fourth market to launch the channel — following Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore — since it began broadcasting in September.

STORY: CBS, Europe’s RTL Group Partner on Asian TV Channels

“RTL CBS Entertainment HD has received an extremely enthusiastic reception from all operators across the region and initial audience feedback has been very encouraging,” said Jonas Engwall, CEO of RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network. “We are delighted to bring the channel to Filipino viewers through our partner Sky Cable. The Philippines is a significant market where viewers of all ages value high quality content.”

RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network was formed in August, bringing together Europe’s RTL Group and CBS Studios International. The venture plans to distribute its two new channels – RTL CBS Entertainment HD and RTL CBS Extreme HD — in more than 20 Asian markets.

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Reporter Glenn Greenwald, eBay Founder Forming New Venture

Reporter Glenn Greenwald, who became famous reporting on NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the NSA’s government surveillance programs, is leaving the Guardian to form a new media company with eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Vincent Yu/AP

Glenn Greenwald, the reporter and blogger who broke the story on the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program, is leaving Britain’s Guardian newspaper to join a new media venture.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the project will be funded by billionaire philanthropist Pierre Omidyar. The 46-year-old Omidyar founded auction site eBay in 1995 and became a billionaire at the age of 31 during the site’s 1998 initial public offering.

Forbes estimates Omidyar’s net worth at $8.5 billion. He has funded journalism projects before through his Omidyar Network, a “philanthropic investment firm” he runs with his wife, Pamela.

However, in a conversation with NYU’s Jay Rosen on Tuesday, Omidyar revealed that the new venture will be funded outside of his philanthropy and with his own personal investment. He also said that there is no print product involved and it is an all-digital, for-profit news venture. It will also not be a niche product and will cover sports, business, entertainment and technology.

The news site, he said, will be based on a “personal franchise model.” In essence it appears the goal is to seek out more journalists like Greenwald who “have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working.”

In a statement posted on the Omidyar Group site, he said: “I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there’s more that can be done in this space, and I’m eager to explore the possibilities.”

The initial news of Greenwald’s departure and the new media site was first reported on Tuesday by Buzzfeed. In an ironic twist, the news was leaked early, before Greenwald and Omidyar were prepared to announce it, so further details were not provided at the time.

Guardian spokeswoman Jennifer Lindauer said they were “disappointed” to lose Greenwald, but that they were leaving on good terms and considered him “a remarkable journalist.”

Greenwald posted this statement on his blog on Tuesday:

“My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling: I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved.

“The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I was presented with a once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline.”

The new site also sought to hire Laura Poitras, reports the Washington Post, the filmmaker who was instrumental in linking former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Greenwald and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post.

Greenwald told Buzzfeed in August that he and Poitras will continue to be the only two people with full access to the documents provided by Snowden.

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VMware campaign to kill off desktop PCs picks up steam

News has been trickling out steadily from VMware’s Barcelona conference about its new acquisitions and network virtualization offerings. But it’s the desktop that VMware is attacking — sorry, “virtualizing” — aggressively, giving enterprises fewer incentives than ever to replace existing desktop hardware. Which, in enterprises that are fast becoming populated with tablets and smartphones, might not be such a bad idea after all.

Some of the pieces for this assault have been in place for a while now, courtesy of VMware’s Horizon View product. Back in March, the company introduced a new feature called HTML Access, which allowed people using any HTML5-compliant browser to access a Horizon View desktop: no plug-ins, nothing to download. The protocol VMware created for this — named Blast — now also supports streaming audio and works on Google Chromebooks. It still doesn’t support attached USB devices, but that’s a hurdle I doubt can be overcome without the use of a native client or, at the very least, plug-ins.

The 5.3 revision of VMware Horizon is said to bring a slew of user-experience improvements that are designed to make working on a virtualized desktop as close as possible to the real thing — such as using VMware’s vDGA technology for high-performance graphics, where GPUs on the vSphere host can be assigned to specific virtual desktops and perform direct pass-through to the host. (vDGA even supports CUDA and OpenGL.) Apparently, among the folks who gave VMware the most feedback about this were people doing CAD and other high-end graphics work on their systems, and they wanted as close to a native desktop experience as possible.

Most of the complaints about virtual desktops have revolved around end-user performance. Obviously, the best performance for vDGA comes when you use a platform-native VMware access client, but given the way HTML5 continues to advance by leaps and bounds, I wouldn’t be surprised if in time the performance available through a browser comes close enough to the VMware client to make picking one over the other trivial. What will not happen any time soon — barring some kind of major revolution in the way browsers can talk to their hosts — is, again, support for the kind of advanced hardware connectivity only possible with a native client or browser add-ons.

Still, all this adds up to one fewer reason to pick a particular kind of machine to provide access to a virtual desktop, especially if the enterprise in question happens to have plenty of tablets lying around with better graphics power than its last fleet of (now-aging) desktops. Those machines almost certainly will have native clients available for them as well.

The other half of the assault on the desktop — the admin side — comes by way of VMware’s Horizon Mirage 4.3, which makes the management process for virtual desktops a lot easier for the folks in IT. Mirage lets you split a system image into multiple layers: a base image that’s standard throughout a company, for instance, with an app image layered over that for applications, and yet another layer for a user’s initial preferences and apps. Removing the management headaches for virtual desktops makes one less reason to not use them. (It comes as no surprise that CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that VMware’s next frontiers are automation and management.

Conventional wisdom has been there would always be a reason to have full-blown desktop systems: the form factor, the local processing power, the difficulty of providing all that across the wire from a back end. VMware is not likely to ever completely displace all that — especially not in the minds of users who simply want a full desktop with none of the hitches of virtual delivery — but it’s making it that much more difficult for an organization to justify replacing or even purchasing PCs at all.

This story, “VMware campaign to kill off desktop PCs picks up steam,” was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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Fertility clinics help more gay couples have kids

BOSTON (AP) — Fertility clinics have put a new twist on how to make babies: A “two-mom” approach that lets female same-sex couples share the biological role. One woman’s eggs are mixed in a lab dish with donor sperm, then implanted in the other woman, who carries the pregnancy.

A New York doctor described 18 of these cases Tuesday at a fertility conference in Boston that featured other research on ways to help same-sex couples have children. Dr. Alan Copperman is medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates, a New York City clinic that does the “two-mom” approach.

A New York couple — Sarah Marshall, 40, a recruiter for law firms, and Maggie Leigh Marshall, 35, a real estate broker — used it to have their daughter, Graham, now 18 months old. Maggie’s eggs were used to make embryos that were implanted in Sarah, and both women are listed as parents on the birth certificate.

“It allowed us both to participate,” Sarah Marshall said. “I had to mentally and psychologically give up the idea of, is she going to look like me or my family. But from the time I started carrying her up to now, she is definitely mine.”

Maggie Marshall said she had no interest in being pregnant, but “Sarah really wanted to have the experience. We also thought it would be a great way to bond with a kid that ultimately would look a lot like me.”

It wasn’t cheap — the couple spent nearly $100,000 on multiple failed attempts before the last one worked. A single in vitro fertilization attempt can run $15,000 to more than $20,000, depending on how much embryo testing is done and whether some embryos are frozen to allow multiple attempts from one batch.

One Canadian study suggests that more lesbian couples have been seeking fertility services in Ontario since same-sex marriage was legalized in the province a decade ago. Some doctors think interest also is up in the U.S. For male couples, many clinics offer egg donors and surrogate moms, using one or both men’s sperm.

“The modern family is created in a way that would be humbled by traditional fertility treatments,” said Copperman. “We’re seeing more and more couples come in and want to share the parenting experience,” and their medical forms more often say “wife” rather than “domestic partner.”

“This is something that a lot of lesbian couples choose to do” if they can afford it, said Melissa Brisman, a reproductive law specialist in Montvale, N.J., who has advised many such couples. “Some doctors really have a problem doing this for non-medical reasons” because any medical procedures carry risks of infections or other complications, she added.

Many fertility specialists are willing, though, and see the risks as small.

“We get same-sex couples from all over the world” because some nations don’t allow surrogacy or egg donation, said Roger Good, chief executive officer of HRC Fertility, which runs nine clinics in Southern California.

In the U.S., “there is greater awareness and acceptability” of same-sex relationships, and “less prejudice has allowed them to look at what their options are” for having children, he said.

About 65 gay women and 275 gay men or gay couples have been treated at his clinics in the last year, and doctors there report that “there seems to be an increase over the past couple of years,” he said.

In the Canadian study, doctors from the CReATe Fertility Center and the University of Toronto checked patient records for the last 17 years and found that the percentage of women in same-sex relationships using the center’s donor sperm rose from 15 percent before gay marriage was legalized in 2003 to 20 percent after the change. Units of donor sperm used by same-sex couples rose from 133 before 2003 to 561 after.

The Boston conference is a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the International Federation of Fertility Societies, a group of 50 fertility societies from around the world.



Infertility info: and


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Build Your Own LEGO Easy Rider

If you’re just getting started in the world of LEGO, it’s quite easy to be overwhelmed by the medium’s near limitless potential. That’s why you start small, with easy projects like this bricked-out motorbike from The LEGO Build It Book, Volume 2 by Nathanael Kuipers. All that’s missing is a minifig-sized Star Spangled helmet.

Build the Engine Block

Build Your Own LEGO Easy RiderS

Snap Together the Seat and Front Fork

Build Your Own LEGO Easy RiderS

Put It All Together

Build Your Own LEGO Easy RiderS


Build Your Own LEGO Easy RiderS

Build Your Own LEGO Easy Rider

The LEGO Build It Book, Volume 2: More Amazing Vehicles reproduced with permission of No Starch Press. © 2013 Nathanaël Kuipers and Mattia Zamboni

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Maingear announces Nomad 15 gaming laptop: small in size, big on specs

Maingear announces Nomad 15 gaming laptop: small in size, big on specs

Power and portability is a tricky balancing act, and if you’re in the market for a gaming laptop that satisfies both, Maingear’s Nomad 15 might be the one. Apart from the 15.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 anti-glare screen, pretty much every other bit of hardware is customizable on the Windows 7 notebook. You’ll have the choice of NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 670M, 670MX, 675MX or 680M for the GPU, up to an Intel i7-3840QM quad-core beast running at 3.8GHz, and a maximum of 32GB RAM. Which optical drive it comes with is also your decision, and for storage, up to dual 256GB SSDs or dual 750GB HDDs are supported. A wireless card is optional, with Ethernet joining the stock ports, including HDMI, DVI-I and S/PDIF outs, two USB 2.0′s, three USB 3.0′s and a lone Fire Wire. The important part comes after you’ve finished selecting the guts — picking the right color finish to match your style. It might not be delivered as quickly as Maingear’s other similar sized lappy, but the Nomad 15 certainly packs a heavier punch. Unfortunately, the price is pretty weighty as well: a solid $1,549 for the most basic model.

Continue reading Maingear announces Nomad 15 gaming laptop: small in size, big on specs

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Maingear announces Nomad 15 gaming laptop: small in size, big on specs originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Don’t get cocky, Dems: GOP looks just like you did two decades ago

You?re looking at a political party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections; whose one winning presidential candidate achieved the White House thanks to a fluke; and whose prospects for the future seem doomed by demography and geography.

No, it?s not today?s Republican Party you?re looking at?it?s the Democratic Party after the 1988 elections. And the past (nearly) quarter-century is an object lesson in the peril of long-term assumptions about the nature and direction of our political path.

Consider where the Democrats found themselves that November. They had just lost their third straight presidential election, and not to the formidable Ronald Reagan, but to George Herbert Walker Bush, a WASP aristocrat prone to sitting down at a diner and asking for ?a splash of coffee.? They?d lost by more than seven points in the popular vote, and by a 416-111 margin in the Electoral College, winning only 10 states.

The most enduring element of their geographic base had vanished. The once-solid Democratic South was now solidly Republican and, for the second straight election, their candidate had not won a single state in the region.

But that was only the start of the wretched geographic picture. Four of the six New England states had gone Republican, and the plains and the Mountain West were all in the GOP?s camp. Most daunting, three big states?New Jersey, Illinois and California, with 87 combined electoral votes?had gone Republican for the sixth consecutive election. The weakness of Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis could not explain away a recent political fact: The Republican Party appeared to have ?an electoral lock? on the White House.

What had happened to the Democrats? What changed? And why is this relevant to Republican woes today?

First, crucial segments of the Democratic base?the white working class and small-town-rural voters, driven away by fierce internal rifts over race, war, crime and culture?had fled.? What Republicans appear to have lost now is a more amorphous group of voters: the middle. It must have shocked GOP veterans to see from the exit polls that among self-described ?moderates,? Barack Obama?the ?collectivist-socialist-big-government? candidate?won by some 15 points.? (The Republican dilemma here is magnified by the much-analyzed fact that the Party has managed to ignore the increasing presence of voting groups from Hispanics to the young to single women to the religiously unaffiliated.)

So how did Democrats work themselves out of their trough and pick that electoral lock? One big answer was Bill Clinton, who in his 1992 campaign staged a frontal challenge to Democratic orthodoxies. The American people, he said, trust us with neither their safety nor their money. He took on issues from welfare to free trade to the hot-button question of crime, often appearing in front of a ?wall of blue? of police officers. He embraced the death penalty, and said of abortion that it should be ?safe, legal and rare.? It was not always attractive?he went back to Arkansas to preside over the execution of a mentally challenged convict?but he did manage to alter voters? ideas of what Democrats stood for.

In this sense, Mitt Romney campaigned as the ?anti-Clinton.? Not once did he say to the base of his party, You?re wrong about this issue; here?s why. No doubt he and his campaign concluded that he could not win the nomination with a direct challenge. My strong hunch is that a GOP candidate in 2016 will have to do just that if he or she is to have a chance in November.

A second answer is that Republicans, like Democrats before them, are bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. Just as Democrats in the ?70s and ?80s competed with each other in primaries in staking out positions to gratify the party?s liberal-left base, Republican candidates in the primaries lunged for positions?from immigration to social issues?guaranteed to alienate them from the middle.

And here is a crucial parallel to what Democrats had to learn in the late 1980?s: If voters believe you do not respect their values, they will not care much about your programs. Back then, the problem for Democrats was a sense that they had contempt for traditional values. Today, the problem for Republicans is that when people hear Rush Limbaugh call a young woman a ?slut? or watch Sheriff Joe Arpaio wage a campaign against Hispanics, they think they?re hearing the voice of the Republican rank and file.

There?s one more lesson to be learned from this tale of two wounded political parties: Do not assume that the current state of the Republican Party is any guide to the future.

Few in 1988 would have suggested that Democrats would come to a commanding position in the Electoral College. And some of the more sweeping conclusions about the terminal stage of the Republicans seem overwrought. For one thing, President Obama is about to embark on a second term, which, as my colleague Walter Shapiro has noted, have often proven perilous. (Though I would not have guessed that peril, in the form of the Petraeus story, would have come quite so soon).

Second, the GOP may demonstrate that it has learned its lessons, either through the people it nominates or in the policies it follows on Capitol Hill. (Immigration reform is now an odds-on favorite to actually happen, and Sen. Marco Rubio is more than likely to be the party?s point man on the issue.)

Third, sooner or later some leading figure in the Republican Party will have to begin talking back to the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity-Dick Morris-Grover Norquist Axis of Drivel that has made the GOP so unattractive to so many who might well embrace its policy agenda. In this past campaign, the people who might have taken on that job?Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels among others?chose to stay on the sidelines. They will do so again at great cost to their party, and the country


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‘Fiscal cliff’ uncertainty keeps Wall Street subdued

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were little changed in a lightly traded session on Monday, with investors limiting bets ahead of what could be a drawn-out battle over the “fiscal cliff.”

Volume was light, with the U.S. bond market and government offices closed for the Veterans Day holiday. Trading was also affected by problems on the NYSE Euronext. The Big Board suspended trading in more than 200 stocks due to problems with a trade-matching engine, though the stocks in question were still active on other exchanges.

Major averages vacillated between modest gains and losses throughout the session.

Worry about the fiscal cliff – a series of budget cuts and tax hikes that will start to go into effect in the new year – has investors cautious because of the potential for harm to U.S. economic growth.

Barclays cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,325 from 1,395, saying “there is little basis to believe a grand compromise is in the offing.”

Though most consider it unlikely that some deal will not be reached, analysts fear going over the cliff could push the economy back into recession. There are also concerns that a protracted debate could hurt business and investment sentiment.

“The concern is there may be an impasse every bit as bad as what we had in August 2011,” Brian Gendreau, market strategist with Cetera Financial Group in Gainesville, Florida, said, referring to the last-minute agreement policymakers reached on raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

Last year’s political logjam bruised consumer attitudes and led to a downgrade of U.S. debt.

Still, some recent comments from politicians suggest a compromise might be more likely this time, Gendreau said.

NYSE first alerted traders it was having problems with one of its cash equity matching engines at 9:38 a.m. and said it would not publish quotes on a total of 216 stocks, including CVS Caremark Corp and Lazard Ltd.

Nasdaq OMX Group, BATS Global Markets, and Direct Edge exchanges stopped sending orders to the NYSE, and investors wishing to trade in those shares did so on these exchanges rather than the NYSE. The NYSE said trading in those issues would return to normal on Tuesday.

The S&P index hovered around its 200-day moving average after last week closing below the level for the first time in five months. An extended run under it could signal further losses ahead.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.23 point to 12,815.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.15 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,380.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index was off 0.62 point, or 0.02 percent, to 2,904.25.

The S&P 500 is still up about 10 percent for 2012, though recent months have eroded those gains. The Nasdaq has fallen for five straight weeks.

Merger activity bolstered the price of specific stocks. Precision Castparts Corp offered to buy Titanium Metals Corp for $2.9 billion, while Leucadia National Corp agreed to buy investment bank Jefferies Group for $3.6 billion.

Shares of Titanium surged 42.6 percent to $16.50, while Jefferies climbed 14 percent to $16.27. Precision rose 4.7 percent to $179.46. In contrast, Leucadia fell 3 percent to $21.14.

The S&P 500 dropped more than 2 percent last week, the worst week for the benchmark index since June. The drop was partly propelled by concerns about whether there will be a timely solution to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Gilead Sciences supported the Nasdaq after the company reported over the weekend a 100 percent cure rate using a combination of drugs in a small number of patients with the most common and hardest to treat form of hepatitis C. Gilead was up 13.7 percent at $73.93.

Also in the biotech sector, Celgene Corp rose 5.8 percent to $75.66 after a late-stage clinical trial showed its drug Abraxane improved survival in patients with pancreatic cancer.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)


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NRL clubs must respect rugby league fans | The Roar

Adam Blair in action during the NRL round 24, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Wests Tigers (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Robb Cox)

We are told the ARLC is poised to announce its new CEO, and if that?s the case, I offer a suggestion for the incoming boss for his first day on the job.

Put on your size 10 or 12 shoes and visit each of the league?s media managers, giving each a meaningful kick in the backside as a prompt to keep their collective minds on the job.

Over the past two weeks I have heard that media members, particularly from newspapers, were denied access to pre-season training runs of the Tigers, Panthers and Roosters.

In my mind, that is incredibly hard to believe at a time when there is little or no tangible pressure on the clubs, many of whom are currently welcoming new player recruits while all are supposedly accelerating their membership drives for 2013.

Here are some questions that demand answers from those who slammed the gates shut in front of the pen and notebook brigade:

How could any no-go zone possibly effect the clubs who have had their end of season vacations and are now back at work?

Wouldn?t the clubs? many and varied sponsors welcome a little off season publicity to keep their companies/products in the eye of the league-loving public?

Didn?t the league community learn anything from the fiasco that followed Canterbury?s PR disaster in the wake of the grand final?

Would new chum soccer and AFL clubs, the Wanderers and Giants, shun any media attention or would they roll out a red carpet of welcome to those willing to devote some time and column space to their club, their players and their endeavours?

To be fair, I did a little digging on the subject and learned that a couple of media managers were away on holidays when the media men came knocking.

But really that?s not good enough for a professional, mainstream sport that should have stand-ins available when the athletes are back on the training paddock.

I wonder if our rugby league clubs have become a tad complacent with their recent windfall from headquarters thanks to the television deal.

I also wonder if these same clubs are only willing to do what is necessary to do just enough to keep their heads above water, ignoring the big picture that maximum exposure means more dollars for the kitty.

Perhaps the clubs have decided that newspapers are no longer an important source of promotion, relying on social media such as Twitter, Facebook and their own websites to deliver their news and information.

All who read The Roar are aware there is an ongoing ?battle? between all sports for the hearts, minds and support of fans around the nation.

Media bans or media shutouts do not achieve anything, especially for a code such as League in the month of November.

I cannot speak for you, but there are a number of new coaches saddling up at clubs and even at this time of year, I?d like to know more about how they see the job ahead, and how they are assessing their player stocks.

If, for example, Trent Robinson walked down your street today would you be able to recognise him? Who is he, some might be asking.

He?s the new Roosters coach but his media staffers apparently want him to be the code?s best kept secret.


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