Minjee Lee eyes Chinan Open crown

Top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee goes into this week’s n Open in red-hot form.Golfer Minjee Lee hears the hype about her capturing the women’s n Open crown this weekend.
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But she refuses to listen.

‘s top-ranked golfer says she places enough pressure on herself, let alone adding to it with external expectation.

“Pressure-wise, you put more on yourself because you have such high expectations competing in your home country and it’s your national title,” Lee told reporters on Tuesday.

The Perth-born golfer is her nation’s best chance of winning the n Open at Adelaide’s Kooyonga Golf Club from Thursday.

The 21-year-old enters the tournament in red-hot form: a Victorian Open win followed by second place in the Canberra Classic.

Hence the chatter about her chances of becoming the first n to win their national title since Karrie Webb in 2014.

Webb, who has five n Open victories, will be part of a field including four players ranked in the world’s top 10, and 15 winners of LPGA major championships.

But it’s Lee who will carry n hopes.

“I had two great tournaments prior to this week so I’m feeling pretty solid in all parts of my game so I think I had great preparation,” she said.

“My goal is to win. I don’t think anybody comes into a tournament not wanting to win, so it would be great if I could.

“(But) at this point, everybody is my rival – so many top players are here and being so competitive.”

Lee is ranked world No.17 after finishing top-five in six LPGA tournaments last year, including a tie for third at the co-sanctioned n Open.

And he had set herself a goal of breaking into the top 10 by the end of this LPGA season.

“I’d like to break into the top 10 but I have my process goals,” Lee said.

“That (top 10) is a big goal. That is a result-based goal.

“I think if you can tick off your process goals then you can probably make the end goal.

“So I try not to get ahead of myself, just go one step at a time and just try and tick off the things I am working on.”

Ex-South Korean president’s friend jailed

Choi Soon-sil, the friend of former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye, has been jailed for 20 years.The friend of former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye who was at the centre of an influence-peddling scandal that rocked the country’s business and political elite has been sentenced to 20 years in jail, a Seoul court says.
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Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of Park, was convicted of receiving bribes from South Korean conglomerates including Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of smartphones and semiconductors, and the Lotte Group.

Park was dismissed from the presidency last March after being impeached and standing trial separately on charges of bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She denies any wrongdoing.

The court also sentenced the chairman of Lotte, the country’s fifth-largest conglomerate, to two years and six months in prison on Tuesday and ordered his immediate arrest.

The chairman, Shin Dong-bin, was in court and taken into custody.

Prosecutors had sought a four-year jail term for Shin, accusing Lotte of giving a foundation backed by Park and Choi 7 billion won ($US6.46 million) for favours such as a duty free store licence.

Shin and Lotte, which has interests ranging from retail to chemicals, had denied the charge.

The jail term for Shin follows a December ruling in which the court found him guilty of breach of trust and embezzlement in a different case but suspended sentencing, leaving him free to run the group.

Prosecutors had demanded a 25-year jail term for Choi on charges including coercion, bribery, influence-peddling and abuse of authority, saying she had used her links with Park for personal gain.

Tuesday’s verdict follows an appeals court ruling last week that freed the scion of the family that controls Samsung, Jay Y. Lee, after a year in detention.

Lee had been charged with giving some of the bribes that Choi was accused of receiving. However, last week’s ruling said Lee’s bribe-giving was a “passive compliance to political power,” appearing to put the weight of the blame on Park and Choi.

Park, who is in jail, is currently being defended by state attorneys after her defence team resigned en masse last October in protest at the extension of her detention period until April this year.

A verdict in her trial is expected before her detention period ends in April.

Culture of safety key to the future

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE: Hunter Safety Awards founder Sarah-Jane Dunford is continually amazed at the improvements in WHS across Hunter-based businesses.
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The idea for the Hunter Safety Awards first occurred with founder Sarah-Jane Dunford back in 2014.

As a Workplace, Health and Safety (WHS) consultant shehad the opportunity to see up close and personal all the remarkable WHS ideas that smalland medium-sized businesses(SME)in the region were implementing.

“On a weekly basis I was seeing the positive side of WHS, with organisations implementing some amazing things, some of them incremental changes, some of them wide-scale, some to do with software and policy, some to do with culture, some to do with product creation,” Ms Dunford said.

“But they all shared the same concept, which was to look at WHS as a positive element of their business, not a legislative requirement.”

Ms Dunford also recognised that many smaller businesses think that state awards are out of their reach, so she wanted to create an awards ceremony that was more accessible, and in that way to give them confidence to look at the state and national awards.

“We all know that it is the negative stories in the WHS space that get the most coverage and are talked about the most – but that’s not the case when it comes to these awards,” she said.

“All we can talk about is the positive! And there is so much happening, across all industries and within businesses of all sizes. This is evidenced by the diverse range of applicants, finalists, winners and sponsors that are involved in the awards.”

This year’s Safety Awards finalists haveraised the bar.

“You would think that by now I wouldn’t be surprised– but I still am!” Ms Dunford said.

“It really shows that WHS is vital in every business and there are wonderful things that can be done, no matter your product or service.”

For Ms Dunford, shifting the mindset of business owners, managers and employees to embracing WHS from a cultural perspective, rather than a legislative perspective is key to ensuring everyone goes home safe every day.

“Safety and wellbeing shouldn’t be about ticking a box or creating a set and forget procedure or policy it needs to be about creating a workplace where people are thinking and working smart,” she said.

Sydney FC put faith in Calver for ACL

Defender Aaron Calver has been picked to start in Sydney FC’s Asian Champions League opener.Graham Arnold is placing his faith in a central defender with less than 10 minutes of A-League playing time this season for Sydney FC’s Asian Champions League opener against South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings.
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The coach is adamant the defending A-League champions and current runaway leaders have what it takes to repeat their outstanding domestic form and win the ACL.

Arnold believes his club’s renowned fitness will be a big factor in Wednesday’s Allianz Stadium clash in forecast temperatures of about 30C against a side that has played just one game this year.

With Dutchman Jordy Buijs not in his ACL squad and Seb Ryall recently released, Arnold will start Aaron Calver, who’s missed a large chunk of the season due to a knee injury.

Calver made his senior comeback off the bench against Wellington on February 2, setting up a goal in a nine-minute cameo appearance.

“He’s played a lot of football in the last six weeks with the NYL and in-house friendly games, he’s always done a great job for us and the boys have a lot of trust in him, as I do,” Arnold said.

Asked what he had said to Calver, Arnold replied: “Relax and enjoy it.”

‘When you play beside Alex Wilkinson, and you’ve got players around you that he does have, then he’ll only do a great job, because whoever plays beside Wilkinson always plays great.”

Arnold had his players looking at Suwon on Saturday night soon after the Sky Blues’ 4-0 away thumping of Melbourne City.

“The players have trained the house down the last two days, you can see the excitement in the players themselves,” Arnold said.

“I expect a great performance from the boys they are fresh, they are ready, they are sharp.”

Arnold has reached the last 16 of the ACL with both Central Coast and Sydney.

“With this squad I think we can go the whole way. I honestly believe we can win it,” Arnold said.

“When you’ve got the calibre of strikers we’ve got, you are always a great chance to score goals and we’ve got a great defensive structure.”

SYDNEY FC’S 2018 DRAW

February 14 – Suwon Bluewings (H)

February 21 – Shanghai Shenhua (A)

March 7 – Kashima Antlers (H)

March 13 – Kashima Antlers (A)

April 3 – Suwon Bluewings (A)

April 17 – Shanghai Shenhua (H)

SYDNEY FC’S ACL RECORD

2007 – 2nd in group stage, exit (2 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss) Coach: Branko Culina

2011 – 3rd in group stage, exit (1 win, 2 draws, 3 losses) Coach: Vitezslav Lavicka

2016 – round of 16 exit (3-3 away goal loss to Shandong) Coach: Graham Arnold

Thaiday hopeful of another NRL season

Veteran Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday has not given up on playing another NRL season.The end is nigh for Sam Thaiday – or is it?
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In a surprise backflip, veteran forward Thaiday says he has not given up on playing another NRL season for Brisbane.

The off-contract 32-year-old had announced 2018 would be his 16th and final NRL season after coach Wayne Bennett told Thaiday he was not in his future plans.

But Thaiday said on Tuesday he would by vying for a contract extension with a big 2018 starting with Brisbane’s NRL trial against Gold Coast Titans at Toowoomba on Saturday night.

Thaiday was on Tuesday named Broncos skipper for the trial.

“You have to wait and see, you never know,” Thaiday said of his future.

“Miracles happen in rugby league. Contracts are thrown around willy nilly these days.

“Over the last couple of years I have set up myself for life after footy.

“I just want to make sure my transition is good if it comes this year or if it comes next year we will see what happens.”

Thaiday currently sits on 279 games and will push toward Brisbane’s elite 300-game club in 2018, behind only Darren Lockyer (355 games) and Corey Parker (347).

The former Test backrower said he would push for another season – but only at the Broncos.

“That’s the plan. It is something taught to me at a young age, to be loyal and stay with one club,” he said.

“I could never put on a different jersey and play against the Broncos.”

Thaiday has also not ruled out breaking back into the Queensland side after the 29-game Origin forward was dropped following the Maroons’ series-opening thrashing from NSW last year.

“I am always a hope. I can only play well for the Broncos – that’s the only way I can get selected,” he said.

First Thaiday has to work out where he fits into a new-look Broncos pack that will be without Adam Blair, Herman Ese’ese and Jai Arrow in 2018.

Thaiday did not mind filling the gaping front row void created by Kiwi captain Blair’s departure.

“I am sure I won’t be playing long minutes there but if it is a job I have to do for the team I am more than happy to do it,” he said.

Thaiday will this weekend lead a Broncos side without skipper Darius Boyd (hamstring) and rested playmaker Anthony Milford.

Former Wests Tigers prop Matt Lodge will make his Broncos debut and ex-Queensland winger Corey Oates is on the bench as a backrower.

Sydney man ‘bashed before disappearance’

Four members of the Blood Brothers group have denied murdering fellow drug dealer Brendan Vollmost.A Sydney man, allegedly murdered by four so-called Blood Brothers, was bashed by the group over a debt before his disappearance, his mother has told a Sydney court.
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Giving evidence at the Supreme Court of NSW on Tuesday, Brendan Vollmost’s mother Tammy Slade said he told her “they (Blood Brothers) had bashed him and took his jewellery” when she picked him up late one night in a Sydney park.

Jamie Michael Tilley, 36, and Jack Davies, William Patrick Thomas and Mitchell James Bentley, all aged 27, have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murdering Mr Vollmost, 23, at South Windsor in March 2015.

The men, who belonged to a group called the Blood Brothers and respectively had the nicknames Coach, Captain, Medium and Smallsie, also deny assaulting Mr Vollmost’s friend Ronald Byrnes and a neighbour, Alex Gorman.

Ms Slade told the jury her son dropped off some firewood at her house on March 31 and that was the last time she ever saw him.

The jury has seen CCTV footage from outside Mr Vollmost’s home showing him running through a gate towards a back shed, followed by four men, before his body is carried out by two men.

A significant amount of his blood was found in the shed but his body has never been found.

He first mentioned the Blood Brothers around October of the year before, his mother said.

“He got caught up with some guys called the ‘Blood Brothers’, they were going to be his new family and he would belong,” she said.

But soon afterwards he told her he owed them money, she said.

“He wanted money to give to them.”

Mr Vollmost rang his mother about 2am one morning asking to be picked up from a park because he had been bashed, she said.

Mr Gorman told the jury he was woken around 11pm that night by screaming and yelling.

Annoyed, he dressed and grabbed a torch to investigate but forgot to pick up his glasses, affecting his vision of objects further than two metres away.

Mr Gorman said he started walking down Mr Vollmost’s driveway shining his torch and saw “several people”.

A man ran up to him and said “‘oi you silly prick, you should have stayed in the house'” before punching him in the face.

The trial is continuing.

Hexham Bridge crash closed the Pacific Highway for several hours

Lanes reopen after crane rollover on Hexham Bridge Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force
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Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force

Photo: Media Response Newcastle

Photo: Media Response Newcastle

Photo: Media Response Newcastle

Photo: Media Response Newcastle

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid Hexham Bridge. Picture:Traffic and Highway Patrol Command – NSW Police Force

TweetFacebookThe closure ofHexham Bridge after a crane rollover caused traffic chaos across the Hunter on Wednesday as motorists tried to avoid the area.

Police responded to reports to an eight-wheeled truck rolling on the bridge at around 6.25pm on Tuesday. They arrived to find the crane had rolled on its side, blocking traffic and wedged into the bridge.

Emergency services had to wait several hours for bridge engineers to arrive and assess the incident to determine thestate of the bridge before thesalvage operation could begin. The bridge did not reopen to traffic until 7.30am Wednesday.

Morning commuters reported long delays of up to an hour in some places. Motorists on the Hunter Expressway and those crossing the Tourle Street Bridge reported the worst of the delays.

Several commuters ditched the car at Stockton, opting to use the ferry to get into Newcastle CBD. Parking near the Stockton ferry terminal was almost full by 10am.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 7.30AM

All northbound lanes of Hexham Bridge have reopened after a crane rollover on Tuesday.

The northbound bridge had been closed and there were alternating traffic conditions in place on the southbound bridge.

All southbound lanes are also now open now that repairs and clean-up have been completed.

Traffic remains very heavy on all approaches to the bridge so motorists are advised to allow plenty of additional travel time.

Route 140 busesare delayed up to 60 minutes as a result of the heavy traffic.

For the latest traffic information, visitwww.livetraffic苏州夜总会招聘

For the latest public transport information, visitwww.transportnsw.info

Video by Media Response Newcastle.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 6AM

Motorists are advised to avoid Hexham Bridge as salvage works continue after a crane rollover on Tuesday night.The northbound bridge is closed.

Motorists travelling south to Newcastle should use Richardson Rd from the Pacific Highway, then Nelson Bay Rd, then Stockton Bridge (Cormorant Rd).

Motorists travelling north from Newcastle should use Tourle St Bridge and Stockton Bridge (Cormorant Rd), Nelson Bay Rd, then Richardson Rd to continue north on Pacific Highway.

Motorists travelling eastbound to Newcastle are advised to use the M1 Pacific Mwy from John Renshaw Dr at Beresfield.

Emergency services and RMS remain on scene.

Stop/slow (alternating) traffic conditions have been put in place on the southbound bridge to allow motorists to pass in each direction, one direction at a time. This is suitable for all vehicles.

EARLIER REPORT TUESDAY 8PM

The northbound on-ramp to the Hexham Bridge is closed after reports of a crane rollover on Tuesday evening around 6.30pm.

Emergency services and RMS have responded to the incident where two of three northbound lanes have been closed.

Light vehicles have been diverted away from the New England Highway on-ramp and have been advised to use Old Maitland Road, south of the bridge, to turn around and access the Pacific Highway on-ramp to the bridge.

Meanwhile, heavy vehicles have been advised to detour via Millers Forest and Raymond Terrace. Follow the New England Highway to Chelmsford Road, Metford Road, Raymond Terrace Road, Seaham Road, William Bailey Street, Adelaide Street, and Richardson Road to return to the Pacific Highway.

Motorists have been advised to delay travel and to expect significant delays.

Police responded to reports to an eight-wheeled truck rolling on the bridge at around 6.25pm. They arrived to find the crane had turned on its side, blocking traffic. At around 8pm, NSW Police said emergency services were still at the scene waiting for bridge engineers to arrive and assess the incident to determine thestate of the bridge andhow to salvage the vehicle.

Thewere reports of spilled fuel spilled on the road as a result of the crash, but police said there were no reports of injuries nor that any other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Surgeon ‘bumped’ Vic attacker, court told

Melbourne surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann died after allegedly being punched outside a hospital.A Melbourne surgeon who died after a single punch had earlier “chest bumped” the man accused of attacking him, a court has been told.
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Joseph Esmaili, 23, is facing a pre-trial committal hearing, charged with the manslaughter of cardiothoracic surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann at Box Hill Hospital on May 30.

Corey Rogers told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday he saw the surgeon and Esmaili exchange words before the former “chest bumped” the accused.

“I saw the guy bump Joe and Joe reacted,” Mr Rogers told the court.

Mr Rogers said the surgeon was trying to intimidate his best friend.

“He’s a tall fella, the doctor,” he said.

“Joe stepped back one pace.

“It happened that quick.”

Mr Rogers said his view of Esmaili was obscured by the surgeon and he didn’t see the actual punch nor the surgeon’s head hit the ground.

He admitted lying in his police statement when he said he saw the punch.

After the incident, Esmaili was apologetic and crying “but they were tears of anger”, Mr Rogers said.

“He was calling himself a f***head and idiot and saying ‘sorry’.”

Mr Rogers said Esmaili complained the surgeon kept “pushing” him and “he tried to keep his cool for as long as he could”.

He said just prior to the incident, Esmaili was drinking a beer stubby and had a six pack of beer with him, but “he wasn’t drunk”.

The prosecution alleged the surgeon noticed a group, including Esmaili, smoking in the non-smoking area outside the hospital, and called security.

Esmaili then entered the hospital to go to the toilet and had a confrontation with Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann, who told him that smoking was banned, before asking Esmaili to leave.

CCTV footage played to the court on Monday showed the two men talking closely before the accused launches a single punch, felling Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann, who hit his head on the tiled floor.

The hearing continues on Wednesday.

Winter Olympics 2018: Emily Arthur finishes 11th in women’s snowboard halfpipe final

Emily Arthur finishes 11th in halfpipe final Emily Arthur, of , is helped off the course after crashing during the women’s halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
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Emily Arthur. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Not to be: Woronora Heights snowboarder Emily Arthur in action in the halfpipe at the PyeongChang 2018 winter Olympics. Picture: AAP

Emily Arthur, of , is helped off the course after crashing during the women’s halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo: AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Emily Arthur, of , jumps during the women’s halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

TweetFacebookAnd @Emily__Arthur#AUS is away!Into fourth after a first run of 48.25… two more to come for the youngster!Watch it on the screens of 7 and the app 👉 https://t苏州夜场招聘/5HDGT7gk34#PyeongChang2018pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/EE01nZtG7s

— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 13, 2018Still all to do for #[email protected]__Arthur after that second run… and we push on to the third!Watch it on the screens of 7 and the app 👉 https://t苏州夜场招聘/5HDGT7gk34#PyeongChang2018pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/dyCfCm0eJr

— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 13, 2018What a fighter 💪 @Emily__Arthur#AUS gave her all in that final run… the personification of the #Olympics spirit.Blood, sweat and tears.#PyeongChang2018pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/8ZcrdScNDh

— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 13, 2018When you’re so good your final run is a victory lap… AND YOU STILL SCORE [email protected]#USA is the #PyeongChang2018 ladies’ #snowboard halfpipe champion! @HarveyNormanAU🙌 🙌 🙌 pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/J1juPHmm20

— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 13, 2018

Kim had already secured the gold before herthird and final run but landedback-to-back 1080s to score an incredible 98.25 and become the youngest ever snowboarding gold medallist.

China’s Jiayu Liu won silver and American Arielle Gold took bronze.

The Leader

Bombers’ Francis takes time out from AFL

Essendon’s top-10 draft pick Aaron Francis has taken person leave from the AFL club.Top-10 AFL draft pick Aaron Francis has taken personal leave from Essendon to deal with a mental health issue.
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Teammate Orazio Fantasia has revealed Francis had sought time away from the club.

There was also bad injury news for the Bombers, with a hamstring tendon injury to sideline Jayden Laverde for 10 weeks.

Laverde was injured during Saturday’s intra-club hit-out.

Francis, the No.6 pick in the 2015 national draft, has only managed five games in two seasons.

After last season, he unsuccessfully sought a trade back to his native SA.

“He’s an interesting one – he told the boys last week that he’s just going to take a bit of personal time, away from the footy club,” Fantasia told Adelaide 5AA radio on Tuesday.

“Aaron is going to be a crucial part of this team so to get him right off the field is No.1.

“You know how hard the game can be, even if you’re in a good head space.”

The Bombers later issued a statement, confirming why Francis had taken leave.

“Aaron is a wonderful young man and his decision to speak up and ask for help is extremely courageous,” football manager Dan Richardson said.

“The club will support Aaron in any way we can, and we will give him as much time as he needs to get better.

“He has an extremely strong network of support and we look forward to seeing him return to the club when he feels ready.”

Laverde’s hamstring strain is the latest injury blow for the 21-year-old, who has played 23 senior games since his 2015 debut.

He needed pre-season ankle surgery last year and did not return to the AFL until round 18.

Last week, Travis Colyer had foot surgery that will put him out of action for the first six rounds of the season.

But there is better news on star defender Michael Hurley, who hurt his left hand during Saturday’s hit-out.

A scan has shown no wrist fracture and he could be available for AFL pre-season matches.

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