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Ramped up circuit

Mitch Mackay flying high in the Lites class at Morris Park. Photo: JAMIE MACKAYDubbo riders will be in for a treat this Sunday at the revamped Morris Park motocross circuit.
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Despite being considered one of the premier circuits in the central west, Dubbo Dirt Bike Club members have pulled out all stops to build a national-level track in the city.

The track has been ripped, ploughed, scraped and widened with more than 500 tonnes of sand and bark chip mixed into the rich clay soil creating a perfect blend of racing loam.

The berms and starting area have also been extensively reshaped with the aim to create more racing lines and improve the action for the spectators on the hill.

Racers from around the region are expected to converge on the track to pit their skills against the local talent.

In the juniors Connor Albert and Lachlan Colbran have been showing impressive form at regional meetings and will be looking forward to stamping their authority over the track.

Trent Wheatley and Luke Holcombe narrowly missed the podium last weekend at Mudgee and will be looking to go one better this weekend at Dubbo.

There are expected to be some fresh starters in the senior classes with several veterans of the sport making a return to competitive riding.

Matt Cook will be keen for a good ride in the opens while Nigel Campbell is hoping to dominate the over 30s.

Local KTM mechanic Sam Williams will be a favourite to take out the Lites class.

Gates open at 7am on the day to check things out and sign on.

Riders briefing is at 8.45am, practice starts at 9am and racing starts at 9.30am.

The club extends a massive thank you to the following businesses who have made all the action at Morris Park possible: Hall’s Transport Repairs, EDH Hydraulic Repairs, LA Tractor Parts, Dubbo Sands, Coates Hire, Nicolson Projects and Chris Whitney MX Track Constructions.

For more information head to www.dubbodirtbikeclub南京夜网.au

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British police crack down on fake web bargains

LONDON: BRITISH police this week shut down more than 1200 scam websites that claimed to be selling designer clothes and jewellery, in what is thought to be the biggest single swoop of its kind in the world.The 1219 websites purported to sell items ranging from Ugg boots and Tiffany & Co jewellery to GHD hair straighteners. Police said the fact the sites had ”.co.uk” web addresses meant British shoppers were duped into making what seemed to be bargain purchases, but they received either counterfeit products or nothing at all.The websites are thought to have generated millions of pounds for organised criminal gangs, Scotland Yard’s Central e-crime unit said.Victims also ran the risk of the criminals stealing their identities and credit card and banking details for misuse elsewhere.The clampdown, dubbed Operation Papworth, was instigated by the unit to target the ”criminal misuse” of UK domain names with the aim of preventing harm to British consumers and making it safer to trade online. A spokesman said that, as a result, ”Christmas shoppers stand a better chance of avoiding online fraud this festive season”.The vast bulk of the sites were registered in China and other countries in Asia, mostly using false or misleading details. That meant it was almost impossible for victims to complain about poor quality counterfeit items or goods never arriving. It also made it difficult for trading standards and other law enforcement agencies to take action.One online security source said the operation was ground-breaking in its scale and in the way it attempted to protect the British system.The source said this was thought to be the biggest mass ”deregistration” of scam counterfeit goods websites anywhere in the world.It is believed that other brands targeted by the criminals include the jewellery firm Links of London and the clothing labels Vivienne Westwood and Ed Hardy.In the past 12 months, complaints about fake Ugg boots have tripled and customs officers have seized more than 20,000 pairs, the BBC reported.More than 400 of the removed sites were thought to be advertising the boots, the BBC said.The Financial Times has put the value of global internet fraud at more than $US50 billion ($54 billion) a year.Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, the head of the unit, said: ”Fraudsters target the victim’s desire to buy designer goods at reduced prices, particularly at this time of year. The risk begins when your desire to purchase blinds your judgment or leads you to illegal websites. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”The unit worked in partnership with Nominet, the body responsible for UK domain name registrations. As a result, all the sites have been taken down at the registry level to prevent re-registration.The chief executive of Nominet, Lesley Cowley, said: ”We received clear instructions from the [police] to take down the .co.uk domain names which have been under investigation for criminal activity. We worked closely with the police and our registrars to quickly carry out the instruction to shut down access.”Guardian News & Media
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Roberts keeping close eye on Star’s potential

Charmaine Roberts gives Star Keeping a well-earnt drink after winning the Coolabah Goat Company Maiden Stake over 400 metres yesterday at Dawson Park. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEWhen Dubbo greyhound identities Charmaine Roberts and Shayne Stiff sent their bitch Only Keeping to former champion race dog Pure Octane, they were a little down about only getting three pups.
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But the mood picked up yesterday when two of those three, Hypa Keeping and Star Keeping, saluted at Dawson Park.

The other out of the litter, Pure Keeping, was scratched from Star Keeping’s event.

Roberts has 11 dogs in racing work at the moment and was delighted with the performance of Star Keeping, which survived a heavy mid-race cheque to win the Coolabah Goat Company Maiden (400m).

After jumping fairly from box two Star Keeping ($1.90 fav), which was having just its second race start, was able to muster speed to sit near the front of the field.

Just as the black bitch was about to run away from her rivals, American Storm cramped the leader and almost dragged her down.

But Star Keeping was able to regain her composure and speed and hold of Violet Kimpton in the run to the line.

At the post Star Keeping had a three-quarters-of-a-length margin over Violet Kimpton ($5.20) with Myalla Miss ($20.30) a further two-and-a-quarter lengths away in third.

The time for the 400m trip was 23.55s however given the interference it’s fair to assume the bitch can go quicker.

After the race Roberts said she was extremely happy with the bitch’s constitution, saying she was entitled to give up when she was checked.

“A lot of dogs would have turned it up but I was really happy with her for fighting on and fighting on to win,” she said.

“We only got three out of the litter which was a bit disappointing but they are all bitches so we can have some fun with them along the way.

“We’ll look for another race here at Dubbo and take her through her grades but she gives me the impression she has some ability.

“At the moment she doesn’t look like she will get much further than 450m but today was only her second start so who knows where she will end up.”

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Man of the people Putin woos millions in TV marathon

MOSCOW: Vladimir Putin attacked the tasteless extravagance of Russia’s ”nouveaux riches” in a marathon question and answer session on state television designed to bolster his already strong popularity ratings.Casting himself as a modest man of the people who had singlehandedly saved the country from financial meltdown in the past year, the Russian Prime Minister said that the gap between the haves and have-nots was too wide and criticised greedy businessmen.”Some businessmen have no sense of social responsibility and just want to squeeze as much money out of people as they can,” he said.Mr Putin’s performance in the live four-hour program on Thursday gave viewers the impression that he and not the President, Dmitry Medvedev, ran the country, reinforcing Mr Putin’s status as the front-runner in a presidential race still three years away.The Prime Minister said he would think about standing for the presidency in 2012 depending on the state of the nation nearer the time.”I will think about it. There is plenty of time,” he said.Mr Medvedev has said he would not rule himself out. Both have made it clear that only one of them will stand, but analysts say Mr Medvedev is struggling to step out of Mr Putin’s shadow.Sat before a hand-picked audience fielding carefully screened questions, Mr Putin said it was too early to think of electioneering.Yet his performance was a populist one aimed at wooing millions who have lost their jobs or seen their incomes plunge over the past year.Mr Putin therefore reserved his harshest criticism for a social group many Russians love to hate: the rich. He suggested that Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed oligarch who used to be Russia’s richest man, had ordered contract killings to eliminate people who got in his way.Mr Khodorkovsky has denied any involvement in the murders.Mr Putin also fumed about a recent scandal in Switzerland in which a group of Russians including the two sons of the billionaire oligarch Telman Ismailov were accused of organising a road race in sports cars that ended in a crash.”The nouveaux riches got rich very quickly but cannot manage their wealth without showing it off all the time. This is our misfortune,” Mr Putin lamented.”In Soviet times some of our rich showed off their wealth by having gold teeth put in, preferably at the front.”Lamborghinis and other pricey trinkets – they are simply today’s gold teeth to be shown off to everybody.”Allegations have been made that Mr Putin himself is fabulously wealthy, but he has denied it.Telegraph, London
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GOING ONE BETTER: Colts chasing seventh consecutive title

Wes Giddings and the RSL-Colts will be chasing their seventh consecutive title this weekend when they take on Souths in the Whitney Cup grand final. Photo: CHERYL BURKEStar Colts cricketer Wes Giddings is staring down the barrel of a seventh consecutive Whitney Cup win, but in all these years, his famous sense of humility hasn’t changed.
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“I still get nervous and never write it off as a sure thing,” he said, when asked about the prospect of another victory.

“Just because you’ve won six in a row doesn’t mean you’ll win seven.”

He said with every championship the team develops more confidence, but the formula for success is still hard to pinpoint.

“I guess it’s the belief in yourself and your abilities that gets you across the line.

“Our team has become a little bit stronger every year and we’ve learnt to do the simple things right and not take anything for granted.”

Giddings shares his “slice of history” with just three other players – Chris Morton, Aaron Morris and Brad Cox. Together, they recorded their first cup win in 2005.

Between 2002 and 2004, the team had made it to the final stage, only to lose three times in a row.

But post-2005, the RSL-Colts have been unstoppable, knocking the Colts’ previous record – of four consecutive premierships in the 1950’s – out of the park.

“It’s now become something really special,” Giddings said.

“We’d love to take that chapter one step further.”

After this year’s cup, Giddings couldn’t say how long he’d continue playing for, but said he can see his retirement date on the horizon.

“I’m starting to feel a lot older after a day’s play,” the cricketer, who will turn 34 next week, said.

“When we won our first, our average age was 22 or 21, now we’re pretty much all in the 30’s.”

The veteran player said the Colts’ first grade team has almost stayed the same for the last six years – with only 24 players over that period.

“It’s been pretty stable the whole way through, so it would be nice to step aside and a few more juniors step up.”

And for younger cricketers who want to make the first grade, Giddings’ had two pieces of advice – respect your opponent and never become lackadaisical.

“The thrill of a big win is something you can’t really compare to anything else,” he said.

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Appeal by Bin Laden son to enter Britain fails

LONDON: An attempt by one of Osama bin Laden’s sons to visit Britain has been rejected by an immigration tribunal amid questions about his proposed marriage to a British woman and his attitude to his father.Omar bin Laden, 28, lost his appeal against Britain’s refusal in April last year to allow him to immigrate with British-born Zaina Alsabah, 54, whom he claimed to have married in his homeland of Saudi Arabia in 2007.The deputy president of the asylum and immigration tribunal, Mark Ockelton, said their union ”was not to be regarded as valid in English law”, partly because they were both married to other people at the time.Mr Ockelton added that he was ”not satisfied” that the pair, who met in 2006, had any intention of marrying or living together.In rejecting Mr bin Laden’s request last year, British authorities in Egypt, where the couple were living, cited as one reason his ”continuing loyalty” to his father and said his presence in Britain could cause ”public concern”.Mr Ockelton said a person’s parents should not count against them in deciding whether or not they were allowed into Britain, but said Mr bin Laden’s view that his father was not a terrorist ”might cause concern”.”It seems to me that the presence in the United Kingdom of a person closely related to Osama bin Laden and expressing the views that the appellant does express would be likely to cause public disquiet and perhaps public disorder,” he said.Omar is the fourth of 11 children by his father’s first wife and one of reportedly 19 fathered by the man who claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.He has claimed not to have seen his father since 2000. Zaina, formerly known as Jane Felix-Browne, had been married at least five times before, the tribunal ruling said. She was described as ”in poor health, suffering from multiple sclerosis”.Agence France-Presse
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Book sheds light on organised crime by putting Mafia on the map

ROME: The Mafia is one of Italy’s most famous exports; now it even has an atlas.In a book published in Italy this week, Francesco Forgione, the president of the Italian Anti-Mafia Parliamentary Commission from 2006-2008, has used thousands of pages of court documents and judicial acts to create a map of global Mafia hot spots, or what has been dubbed the Italian atlas of organised crime.And Australia gets rather a large mention.The Mafia represents three criminal organisations – the ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria, Cosa Nostra from Sicily and the Camorra from Naples. It has become a multinational enterprise with ”branches” all over the world.Mr Forgione said Australia was ”colonised” by the ‘Ndrangheta, who used the proceeds of kidnapping in southern Italy to fund their legitimate and illegitimate business interests in Australia.In the 1980s the continent was divided into six ”territories” that were controlled by a central council in San Luca, Calabria, he said. But that could all change.”The Calabrian Mafia have a historical presence in Australia, but more recently the Napolitan Camorra has gained an important foothold in the counterfeiting of electrical appliances and clothing,” Mr Forgione said.Much in his book is known in Australia: Robert Trimboli and the Griffith marijuana trade, the expulsion of Domenico Barbaro, and more recently the scandal involving Francesco Madafferi, whose extradition order was annulled by the former immigration minister Amanda Vanstone.However, Mr Forgione goes further. Cities and suburbs that make the map include: Sydney, Helensburgh, Five Dock and Griffith in NSW; Melbourne and Wonthaggi in Victoria, Adelaide in South Australia; and Perth, Harvey, Bunbury and Hidden Valley in Western Australia. Also included are the names of those who have been convicted of, or associated with, Mafia-related crimes in Italy, and those who remain at liberty in Australia.The difference in law enforcement between the two countries was a problem, Mr Forgione said. “What is a crime in Italy is not automatically a crime in Australia. Australia for example doesn’t have a law making Mafia association a crime, as we do in Italy.”In Italy more than 8600 people were arrested between 1992 and last year for mafia-related crimes, with confiscated assets totalling more than â?¬1.3 billion ($2.2 billion), says the National Anti-Mafia Investigations Directorate.Mafia assets have been estimated at up to â?¬1000 billion, invested in legitimate and illegitimate activities across the globe, making them very difficult to track.The seizure and confiscation of Mafia assets is central to the fight against organised crime in Italy.Libera, the principal network of anti-Mafia organisations in Italy, oversees many of these projects, including the redevelopment of Mafia assets such as property, buildings and vineyards into functioning businesses whose profits are fed back into the community.A controversial proposal before the Italian Senate, however, could mean these assets are sold off at auction. Anti-Mafia campaigners say this is good for the state coffers, but too easy for the Mafia to buy back what was once theirs.But the director of Libera International Network, Tonio dell’Olio, said there had been a big rise in grassroots anti-Mafia activism in Italy. Groups such as Addio pizzo (Goodbye protection money) were being set up mainly by young people in the south.This week the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Pawel Samecki, announced that the European Union would give Italy â?¬64 million to redevelop confiscated Mafia assets in the country’s south.
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$150m DOES IT: Fardell calls on Coalition to commit to Dubbo hospital

Dubbo MP Dawn Fardell is calling on the NSW Coalition to commit before the election an additional $150 million towards the full redevelopment of Dubbo Base Hospital.
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Ms Fardell claimed recent federal government funding announcements had freed up this money which the Coalition had committed to Port Macquarie and Tamworth Hospitals.

If diverted to Dubbo Base Hospital these funds could see the redevelopment completed within five years, she said.

Opposition spokeswoman for health Jillian Skinner did not respond directly to Ms Fardell’s overture.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals are committed to providing $50 million towards the staged redevelopment of Dubbo Hospital,” Ms Skinner said.

“The sitting member has failed to get Dubbo Hospital the funding it needs.”

In the lead up to the election the Coalition pledged $75 million to an upgrade of Port Macquarie Base Hospital and $100 million to stage one of the redevelopment of Tamworth Hospital.

Afterwards Ms Skinner wrote to federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon asking for Canberra to provide additional funds to NSW. In March the federal government announced it would deliver $96 million to Port Macquarie Base Hospital and $191 million to Tamworth Hospital from its $1.8 billion Health and Hospital Fund.

Ms Fardell said the full redevelopment of Tamworth Hospital would cost between $200 million and $215 million but other estimates put it closer to $300 million.

“So there is as much as $175 million available to redevelop hospitals in our electorate properly and completely,” she said.

“That frees up an additional $150 million to Dubbo Base and an extra $25 million for Parkes and Forbes hospitals above what

the Coalition

has already committed.”

The NSW government allocated $22.7 million for the first stage of

a Dubbo

Base Hospital redevelopment in last year’s state budget.

The $200,000 masterplan for the redevelopment was completed last month.

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Underdog just raring to unleash the Mongrel within

JUST one day after the Liberal Party impetuously decided to elect him leader, Tony Abbott has not had time to develop a plan.”I have an instinct rather than a plan,” he confesses cheerfully.The overriding instinct guiding the alternative prime minister so far? Combativeness.Malcolm Turnbull was an aggressive Opposition leader.But Abbott, the onetime Oxford boxing blue, is so full of fight he sets a new benchmark.Until now, the Opposition was anxious to avoid an election on Rudd’s emissions trading scheme. Turnbull was afraid the Coalition would be smashed if it blocked Rudd. The scheme, according to this week’s Herald poll, has the support of two-thirds of the public.The Rudd Government loomed big and imposing. Turnbull, trembling, negotiated terms. He was happy to agree with Rudd and pass the scheme into law.Yesterday we saw a role reversal. The Abbott Opposition exuberantly killed the scheme in the Senate. He wanted to follow the instinct to fight.And Abbott has dared Rudd: “I am not frightened of an election on this issue.”Now it is the Government that is hesitating. Does Rudd really want to call a double dissolution to win his emissions trading scheme? Does he want to take the risk?Julia Gillard yesterday issued an implied threat to call an election. But this is the third time the Government has issued deadlines and ultimatums to the Opposition on the matter.The Government threat is reminiscent of the scene from the satirical movie Team America, where the UN sends its chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, to warn the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, to submit to inspections.”Or else what?” challenges Kim.”Or else we will be very angry with you … and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.”The Rudd Government is risk-averse. Yesterday’s declaration was a play for time. Now Rudd will weigh the risks – and the polls – with extreme care.Abbott, by contrast, is raging with political testosterone. Yesterday he told the Herald that, in addition to the stoush over the emissions scheme, he was prepared to fight the Government on two more of its biggest policy initiatives. The Opposition would campaign to re-introduce the individual work contracts known as AWAs, on proviso that there is a safety net for workers.And the Abbott Opposition was prepared to fight Rudd over any move for the Commonwealth to take control over hospitals from the states.He knows full well that the odds against him are enormous. He wrote in July that an election on an emissions trading scheme was, for the Coalition, “a fight it can’t win”.But he is an underdog who, as Mark Latham said yesterday, has “mongrel” in him.
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Animated western love letter has more for adults

Sheriff Rango leads a posse in search of water-stealing bad guys in Gore Verbinski’s animated feature Rango.Rango (PG)
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When will we stop trying to fool ourselves that kids movies are expressly for kids these days when movies like this clever and entertaining celebration of the western are directed at those who have long since cast off childhood.

Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski joins forces Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), which may explain a glaring Star Wars reference, to produce the George Lucas-created company’s first stab at animation.

Rango, like Blazing Saddles, exposes a deep, abiding love for and knowledge of the western.

Verbinski, screenwriter John Logan and composer Hans Zimmer have developed a tapestry that’s stitched together using references to every great movie to come along during the western’s heyday.

The dialogue incorporates lines (or variations) from the past, shot selection mimics classic moments and the music utilizes recognizable cues and, at times, imitates entire themes.

All of the Western motifs and clichés are employed, from the showdown at high noon to the lonely tumbleweed being hurried along by a dusty wind. And even The Man With No Name makes a cameo, with Timothy Olyphant doing a passable Clint Eastwood imitation.

Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) is a chameleon living in a home aquarium until an accident strands beside a highway in the middle of a desert.

Seeking water, he strikes out into the forbidding territory and finds Dirt – the town of Dirt. It’s a miniature version of an old west frontier settlement for talking animals and Rango fits right in.

There are badgers, toads, owls, and possums. The mayor (Ned Beatty) is a turtle. The most fearsome gunslinger is a snake with a gattling gun in place of a rattle .

Rango establishes his reputation as a hero through a combination of bluster and happenstance. In a showdown with a hawk, he gets lucky when an accident brings down a disused water tower on top of the bird.

However, Dirt’s problems are not solved.

As the new sheriff, it falls to Rango to discover what has happened to the town’s water supply, which has dried up, leaving fields and mouths equally parched.

It’s all good fun and quite entertaining but not as much as the makers would have hoped, it’s a little paunchy for a ‘kids’ film and a few of the younger ones at my viewing were restless as the comic elements went on pause for a while.

It also doesn’t help that the constant referencing to other films would fly straight through to the keeper past younger viewers up to their teens, if not older.

Although Rango’s primary mode is western, it occasionally branches out to touch on other famous moments. One high octane scene begins with bats replacing Apocalypse Now gunships to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries before transforming into a version of the aforementioned iconic Star Wars death star trench.

The voice acting is pretty damn cool, with Johnny Depp taking top billing as the occasionally wisecracking Rango. He, maybe appropriately for his character, has a chameleon-like voice and is not easily recognisable.

Support comes from an eclectic group that includes Isla Fisher (as Rango’s tart-tongued love interest Beans), Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Ray Winstone, Ned Beatty, and Bill Nighy as Rattlesnake Jake.

Rango’s adventures are related by a Greek, make that mariachi, chorus of birds, playing appropriate music and wondering out loud how long it will be until Rango dies.

So there you have it a kids movie for adults that entertains but not quite as much as its aim.

Still the value is there, though parents may want to take something to keep the younger kiddies amused when the dizzying action sequences and sight gags take a breather.

Rating: 7

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