Brothers 4 Life founder Bassam Hamzy caught with a third mobile phone while in prison

by admin on August 24th, 2018

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Extreme high-risk inmate: Bassam Hamzy. Hamzy attempted to flush the mobile phone down his cell toilet. Photo: Corrective Services NSW

The phone found in Bassam Hamzy’s cell Photo: Corrective Services NSW

The phone discovered inside the spine of a book earlier this month. Photo: Corrective Services NSW

One of NSW’s most dangerous criminals Bassam Hamzy has been caught with a mobile phone within the state’s highest security jail for the second time in two weeks.

Hamzy, an extremely high-risk inmate who founded the notorious street gang Brothers 4 Life while in prison, was caught with the phone in his cell at Goulburn SuperMax on Thursday night.

The discovery of another phone in SuperMax has raised questions about how contraband continues to make its way into NSW prisons and has led Corrective Services to announce the introduction of mobile phone jamming at the high-security facility.

It is understood Hamzy was using the phone when corrective services officers raided his cell on Thursday night. He tried to flush the phone down the toilet but the officers had cut the water to his cell in anticipation of this.

“Staff approached the cell by stealth, which caught the inmate off guard,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Angie West said.

The phone’s discovery was made two weeks after a seven centimetre mobile linked to Hamzy was discovered concealed within the spine of a book inside the library at SuperMax.

That discovery is believed to have been of interest to national security agencies with Hamzy converting to radical Islam while an inmate.

The convicted killer is detained at SuperMax because he was caught with a mobile phone while a maximum security prisoner at Lithgow jail in 2008. He used that phone to make 450 calls a day over a two-month period to direct the supply of massive amounts of drugs between Sydney and Melbourne and orchestrate the intimidation of others.

The phone was also passed around his Lithgow cell block using dental floss.

Corrective Services said the discovery of the phone on Thursday was a result of “ramped up efforts to detect and remove” phones from the jail after the phone was found in the library on September 16.

The latest discovery was made after a hand-held mobile phone detector picked up mobile phone signals.

Acting Assistant Commissioner West said prisoners “go to extraordinary lengths to introduce contraband” and an inmate mostly likely smuggled the phone into the prison through “internal secretion methods”.

“Inmates who gain access to contraband when housed at other correctional centres have been known to secrete items internally and our staff cannot undertake internal searches,” Ms West said.

Corrective Services said it was working on a plan to introduce mobile phone jamming at Goulburn jail. The same technology, which involves dozens of antennas installed into prison cell blocks to prevent mobile signals, has been trialled at Lithgow jail since 2013.

“With funding now available to extend that Lithgow trial to Goulburn … inmates will soon not have the same incentives to smuggle mobile phones into the centre,” Ms West said.

Corrective Services Minister David Elliott said effective phone jamming technology is the “ultimate answer to this problem” and it would be in place at Goulburn next year.

“I congratulate the officers on the investigation which uncovered this latest mobile phone,” he said.

Opposition prisons spokesman Guy Zangari said the government had dragged its feet on introducing mobile phone jamming into prisons and had failed on a commitment to have full-body scanners for visitors at all maximum and medium security prisons by the end of last year.

“It is just amazing that we have one of the most notorious criminals in SuperMax having access to a mobile phone,” he said.

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Cricket: Jason Floros to lead Queensland Bulls’ domestic one-day title charge

by admin on August 24th, 2018

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Jason Floros wants the Bulls to “have some fun and do what we do best”. Photo: Robert PreziosoFormer Canberra cricketer Jason Floros has been handed the role of leading the Queensland Bulls out of the domestic one-day doldrums.

Coach Phil Jacques opted for experience in the leadership role following the retirement of James Hopes and non-selection of Chris Hartley and Peter Forrest.

After Queensland claimed just two victories to finish one game ahead of the Cricket Australia XI – a development side – Floros’ message to his players will be simple.

“Trust your skills and execute,” Floros said.

“We’ve had a long pre-season and done all the work so now it’s just time to go out there and have some fun and do what we do best.”

Floros said he has become a more well-rounded captain having worked under former Queensland leaders Hopes and Chris Simpson.

“The experience is invaluable,” Floros said.

“You can’t go wrong listening to these guys and taking their advice, especially when we do have a young group.”

Floros will take the reins of a relatively inexperienced Queensland side despite not playing a game in last season’s second-last finish.

Explosive batsman Chris Lynn will be a no-show for a large chunk of the tournament due to injury, but Queensland’s batting ranks have been bolstered by the inclusion of Joe Burns.

Floros said Burns will have a point to prove after being left out of Australia’s squad for the third Test in Sri Lanka.

“… He’s always a determined cricketer,” Floros said.

“He always turns up ready to go and he’s one to put his best foot forward. He’s a proud Queenslander and I’m sure he’ll do his best throughout the tournament.”

And the Canberran anointed to lead Burns “definitely” considers himself a Queenslander.

“I’ve been here for seven years so I’ve definitely embraced the culture and can’t see myself going anywhere in the near future,” Floros said.

“It’s a complete honour having to do the job, especially meeting a few of the guys that have done it over the years and seeing what they’ve contributed to Queensland cricket.”

The Bulls get their tournament under way against the Cricket Australia XI at Allan Border Field on Saturday – their first home one-day fixture in two seasons.

The past three competitions have been held almost exclusively in Sydney in a shortened format designed to replicate an international tournament.

Cricket Australia has cast a wider net this season in taking games to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Floros said one of the issues with the format is big venues such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground or the Sydney Cricket Ground are unavailable due to football commitments.

“I think we had a comment from a few players that the first time some of these guys play at a one-dayer at the MCG is when they’re sent up to play for Australia,” Floros said.

“So you don’t really get that exposure to big grounds before you’re on the big stage.”


Jason Behrendorff – WA

Nathan Lyon – NSW

Ryan Carters – NSW

Alex Ross – SA

Jason Floros – QLD

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Sydney Swans: Carolyn Cummins remembers how the bloods legend was born

by admin on August 24th, 2018

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Swans coach John Longmire speaks to the players at half time during the round 20 match against Port Adelaide Power. Photo: Brett Hemmings/AFL MediaEvery time I watch the Sydney Swans play, I think of my grandpop, Frank Cummins.

He was in the squad for the South Melbourne Football Club’s 1918 Premiership team and usually played centre half forward, as he was a very good runner.

I adored my grandpop and loved hearing some of his tales, like most young kids. He didn’t talk much about his short football career but I could see the passion in him, even in my young years.

In the days he was with the team the jumper was white with a red sash, the same as the current Richmond and Essendon jumpers.

But one story that stands out that grandma often told me was how the “bloods” legend was born.

According to her, it was a Catholic priest in South Melbourne who said at the mass the week before the Grand Final, “I bless you blood-stained angels to win next week”.

Being Australian, that has now been shortened to the bloods, which is now referred to by the Sydney Swans as the bloods culture: that never-give-up attitude.

In 1933 the grand final between South Melbourne and Carlton was ferocious and has also been called a bloodbath, adding to the bloods myth.

But in 1918, it was the team’s second grand final victory and as Grandma, Olive, once told me, cold and wet, “typical football weather”.

Souths played Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 7, 1918, and beat the pies by five after trailing in the final minute of the Grand Final.

Grandpop ran on the field on the day, but was later on the bench with a niggle, as he used to say, and stayed there to cheer on his mates.

Back then, as now, football engaged all the family.

Grandma was a knitter and once told me that all the “girls” would meet and swap wool to knit the footy socks. That’s why in older photos the hoops are not even, as some people had more red or white wool. Pity a player running around on a wet field with drenched woollen socks.

I would have loved to go to the grand final with him to see how he liked the modern game: he died in 1971, and grandma in 1974, and I’m sure he would be proud to know his grand daughter is a Sydney Swans Ambassador and never misses a game.

We may be a split state team, but the red and white army are united once more and be warned we will take on the doggies with full force.

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Hunter pair to tour with Wallaroos

by admin on August 24th, 2018

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OUT FOR IMPACT: Sarah Riordan and Alanna Patison are in the Wallaroos squad bound for New Zealand this month. Picture: Marina Neil

Sarah Riordan feels it has taken her “a little longer than normal” while Alanna Patison’s rise has been meteoric.

Both will be out to make the most of any field time they get when they embark on a three-game tour to New Zealand this month with the Wallaroos.

The tour includes a Test match against the Black Ferns at Eden Park which is part of adouble-header with the Wallabies and All Blacks.

The selection forRiordan, 24, comes seven years after she was first picked in an Australian rugby union squad.

The Hunter women’s captain said it felt “pretty good to finally crack it”.

She credits the past two seasons playing in England’s top-tier league to her national inclusion.

“When I first got in the squad seven years ago it was more about trying to get in and get that jersey,” Riordan said.

“Butsince going overseas, it made me realise I enjoy playing rugby.I didn’t have to have a jersey, I just enjoyed my rugby.

“It was a big relief though to be named and a big surprise; I didn’t think I’d done enough.”

Riordan grew up in Raymond Terrace playing rugby league with her brothers and first played rugby union with Wanderers women when she 16.

She is a Hunter and NSW Country representative and has traditionally been a ball runner.

During her time in England, Riordan was used in several positions and believes her new-found versatility helped secure her national jersey.

“I think that worked well with this selection because the coach has got me down for a few positions, which is a good thing that I’m quite versatile,” Riordan said.

“The level of rugby over there is really good … I worked on parts of my game which I couldn’t really work on here.”

Patison grew up surfing, doing tae kwon do and playing football and this is just her second year of playing rugby.

She represented Australia this year in theWorld University Sevens Championship and is still pinching herself to have been named in the Wallaroos already.

“It’s very exciting,” Patison said.

“It’s my first year of selection and first year in the squad, so I don’t expect a huge amount of time but even just to get a few minutes would be amazing.”

The Wallaroos go into camp on October 15 before heading across the Tasman.

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A nation of food wasters, oblivious to how it’s produced

by admin on August 24th, 2018

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In Sydney the average family is spending $163 a week on groceries, while Canberra and Queensland families average $154/week, while Tasmanians spend just $136, waste the least and buy more fruit and vegetables.Australians spendmore than $720 billion ingroceries every year, but those born in the 1980s or early ‘90s are likely to be wasting about 20 per cent of their weekly food purchases.

In fact, on a national scale we throw out an average 14pc of our groceries, which equates to $10b wasted annually.

A national financial health barometer survey by online banker RaboDirect, has found Australian families are wasting about $1100 a year, with Generation Y shoppers the worst culprits.

Generation Y consumers also admit they know least about farming and food production, particularly if they come from NSW or the ACT.

The survey of 2300 financial decision makers aged from 16 to 65 found NSW has the most wasteful consumers overall, and also those who spend the most on their weekly shop.

About 18pc of the state’srespondents said they binned more than a fifth of their their food purchases each week.

In Sydney the average family is spending $163 a week on groceries, while Canberra and Queensland families average $154/week and regional NSW $152.

RaboDirectfound consumers living in capital cities were generally more wasteful than those in regional areas, while shopperswho believed there would always be an abundance of natural resources were mostlikely to waste food.

A staggering 75pc of those surveyed in NSW and the ACT confessed they knew “hardly anything” or just “a little bit” about farming and food production.

“Australia’s abundance of food seems to have made a surprisingnumber of people, particularly in city areas, oblivious to the resources, energy and passion required for food production,” said RaboDirect’s Australia and New Zealand head of market research, Glenn Wealands.

He said the fact food production appeared much less appreciated than the way it may have been 50 years ago was possibly a reflection of so much variety now being available at comparatively lower prices.

RaboDirect’s Australia and New Zealand head of market research, Glenn Wealands

While a third of “Baby Boomer generation respondents felt they knew quite a bit about food production, levels of understanding slumped to just 15pc for Generation X and Y age groups (born between 1960 and 1995).

Typical of the disconnect between consumers and food production reality was the fact most shoppers estimated an individual meal required less than 50 litres of water to produce.

In fact, a single meal is more likely to require about 1000 litres of water to grow, process and prepare – a truth recognised by just 3pc of respondents.

However, about 80pc of respondents agreed farming and food production were highly important for Australia’s economy.

“The 20pc who didn’t understand the value of agriculture in the domestic economy or as an export earner were those most likely waste food – they threw out about 25pc of their purchases,” Mr Wealands said.

He was surprised Gen Y consumers were so wasteful with food, given they tended to be good savers, socially aware and optimistic thinkers.

“It seems thinking about agriculture just isn’t on their busy lifestyle radar,” he said.

“If every household reduced weekly waste by just one third we’d not only collectively save almost $4b each year for our own back pockets, but we’d contribute to long-term food and water security for future generations.”

The RaboDirect financial health barometer has also noted Australians who feel informed about the value of food production and take steps to reduce wastage tend to beconsiderably less financially stressed than those who are wasteful.

Mr Wealands said the barometer’s new Food and Farming Report aimed to encourage Australians to to review their food spending and waste habits to make positive changes for the future.

“This goes beyond the obvious benefit to the hip pocket,” Mr Wealands said.

“When we reduce the amount of food that’swasted, or reaches landfill, there are significant environmental, economic and social benefits to be realised.

“These findings have generated quite a bit of reflective discussion about the broader environmental cost of food wastage.

“It becomes especially relevant when you realise Australia will have a population of 9b in 35 years – a 75pc increase – and there’ll be a lot less arable land and water to grow our food.”

Tasmanian families rate as Australia’s least wasteful food shoppers according to the survey, which also found they spend the least on groceries ($136/week) and have the bestfruit and vegetable buyinghabits.

Victorian and Queensland families also rated strongly on fruit and vegetable purchases, while NSW, ACT and South Australian consumers were least likely to makehealthy grocery choices.

Meanwhile, those who wasted more than half their food each week were more likely to indicate they “always feel like they’re in the red or need to scrimp and save to make ends meet”.

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