NEW TO TOURING: Marcia and John Holbrook, of Hobart, with furry friend. Pictures: NEIL RICHARDSON. (1/2)”I love everything about it because it’s all different,” she said.
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Mrs Collings has been in the State for four weeks and has enjoyed the club rally.

“This is our first time down here and we have enjoyed it very much. It has all been terrific,” she said.

Mrs Collings intends to do more sight-seeing in Tasmania with her husband after the rally before returning home to NSW.

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Danish duo follow tall order

TASMANIAN LINK: Danish travellers Nina Baron and David Enghuus are finding out all about their princess-to-be’s home State. Picture: TIM HUGHESMiss Baron, 20, and Mr Enghuus, 21, are on a working holiday in the State, helping out on the tall ship Windeward Bound at Low Head.
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“We both like to sail on tall ships, and we wanted to see the world,” Miss Baron said.

“We came to Tasmania after spending half a year studying and sailing on an educational tall ship called The Denmark in Copenhagen.”

A search on the Internet for information about other tall ships they could work on led the couple to Tasmania and the Windeward Bound.

Miss Baron said that the forthcoming royal wedding in Denmark between Prince Frederick and Tasmania’s Mary Donaldson was a big event and was figuring prominently in their news.

“My grandmother was excited when she heard I was coming to Tasmania, where Mary is from,” she said.

But “the royal family and wedding is more important to the older generation in Denmark than to the younger people”, both agreed.

They knew very little about Tasmania before their arrival but have spent time travelling and sightseeing.

“It’s beautiful nature down here. You can drive for two hours and be in the bush or a rainforest,” Mr Enghuus said.

“I’m amazed how friendly the people are. You meet people on the street and they just talk to you, which is really nice.”

Miss Baron will head home to Copenhagen in August to start university study but Mr Enghuus intends to spend a year travelling the world.

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Funding to boost radio services

Senator John Watson yesterday announced that funding up to $24,590 had been approved to upgrade reception of RG Capital Radio’s radio 7SD signal into the St Helens area.
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The funding will assist RG Capital Radio with capital costs related to equipment, installation, site establishment and licence fees.

Senator Watson said that the upgrade would improve the 7SD signal into the St Helens area, which is one of the fastest-growing population centres in the State.

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Sport briefs

McEvoy returns MELBOURNE – Melbourne’s reigning premier jockey Kerrin McEvoy jets in from Dubai tomorrow keen to renew his association with star three-year-old Keep The Faith in Saturday’s $400,000 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
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McEvoy has also picked up the rides on Ain’t Seen Nothin’ ($140,000 Queen Of The Turf Stakes), Catechism ($140,000 Neville Sellwood Stakes) and Cariboo ($140,000 Royal Parma Stakes) at the Golden Slipper meeting.

Last week the 23-year-old was appointed Godolphin’s No. 2 rider and for the first time rode in that capacity at Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting.

Starcraft recovers BRISBANE – Leading jockey Glen Boss believes the relaxed nature of Starcraft will enable the colt to pass an important staying test at Rosehill on Saturday.

Starcraft’s on again-off again campaign is officially back on again after the colt recovered quickly from a leg infection that surfaced last week.

The giant chestnut will attempt a middle distance for the first time in Saturday’s Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill before backing up a week later in the AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.

Boss was aboard Starcraft when the colt won the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 6 with his ears pricked on a rain-affected surface.

Boss appeals

SYDNEY – Glen Boss yesterday lodged an appeal against a careless riding suspension incurred in the wake of a controversial protest at Rosehill on Saturday.

Boss and Chris Munce were both outed for two meetings and fined $2000 after stewards upheld a double protest by Darren Beadman who rode Great Anna in the Berjani Jewellers Stakes (1900m).

The Guy Walter-trained Vereza, ridden by Boss, was demoted to second and original runner-up Thunderosa (Munce) to third after stewards agreed Beadman’s mount would have won the race had she not suffered interference at the 200m. Boss, on the inside, was deemed to have caused the initial check with Munce and Thunderosa then shifting in, squeezing Great Anna out of a run between the pair.

Great Anna was three lengths behind Vereza at the end of the race prompting many to question the decision.

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Cycling classic has 50-50 chance

Classic organiser Tom Sawyer yesterday called on the Launceston City Council to take ownership of the event, which attracted 120 elite cyclists and generated $500,000 into the city’s economy.
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Sawyer said that Cycling Australia had offered to hold the Australian Criterium Championships in conjunction with the classic because of its standing as Australia’s premier one-day event.

“All we have to do is say yes but we can’t do that until we know exactly what is happening with sponsorship,” Sawyer said.

“We have had negotiations with the Grand Chancellor and they have shown a fair amount of interest but have not committed yet.

“The Launceston City Council has a role to play because we see it as Launceston’s own event.

“There is a trickle down effect because everyone (in the city) is doing well out of the event financially.

“At this stage it is a 50-50 chance.”

Council general manager Chris Brooks said that the criterium was an important event for the city and the council would do everything it could to ensure its survival.

Sawyer has enlisted former Australian cyclist Allan Peiper to help with promotion of the event in Europe, where he is based as a tour guide for the Tour de France.

The Victorian-born cyclist won stages in the Tour de France and tours in Italy, finished second, third and 10th in the world championships and is a member of the Tour of Flanders Hall of Fame.

Peiper said that Launceston’s criterium was the best in Australia in terms of organisation and prizemoney and said it would be devastating for Tasmania if it did not continue.

“Everyone around Australia is talking about this race … and I will do anything I can to promote it further in Europe,” he said.

He said that the calibre of cyclists competing in the Launceston event, including international stars Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen and Stuart O’Grady, would also have a positive effect on junior development.

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The State Government claimed last Friday that the delay was granted at the request of the LGAT which wanted more time to consider radical changes to the Local Government Act.
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That “was an interesting spin on things”, LGAT president Lyn Mason said yesterday.

Consultations on the Local Government Act could have been completed in five weeks to meet the October 2003 election deadline, but the State Government said that it wasn’t ready, Mrs Mason said.

On Friday, the Minister Assisting the Premier on Local Government, Jim Cox, said that the Local Government Association of Tasmania had requested the extension arguing that “because of the complex nature of the draft bill, it needs more time to effectively consider it”.

“We have agreed to extend the original five-week consultation period to a total of 10 weeks,” Mr Cox said.

Yesterday, several Northern mayors backed the line taken by Mrs Mason saying that the elections could have been held in October if the Government had the legislation ready.

Mrs Mason said that the association had asked for an extra six weeks to allow for the Easter break, but said the consultations could have been done in five weeks and the elections could have gone ahead.

“The Government said that the legislation was far more complicated than first thought and they could not get it to Parliament in time anyway,” she said.

The Government appeared keen to set a delayed election date of March 2005 but the LGAT was against that date as it fell during the midst of council budget discussions.

The Government rejected an LGAT suggestion to hold an election in October for a two-year period and that the Government have its new legislation operative for a 2006 election, Mrs Mason said.

A spokesman for Mr Cox maintained yesterday that LGAT “requested that the Government extend the consultation period for the legislation from 5 to 10 weeks”.

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Doctor’s Bali role recognised

KEY ROLE: Launceston anaesthetist George Merridew has modestly accepted a citation for his role in helping victims of the Bali bombings. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSONA citation for Dr Merridew’s commendation signed by defence chief Gen. Peter Cosgrove noted actions “of the highest order of personal achievements” but yesterday Dr Merridew brushed aside suggestions he was a hero.
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Besides being the director of anaesthetics at the Launceston General Hospital, Dr Merridew is a member of the RAAF Specialist Reserve with the rank of Group Captain.

He was a permanent RAAF member from 1970-78 and has since been deployed around the world with the military as an anaesthetist.

But one of his biggest jobs began about 7.45am on Sunday, October 13, 2002, and ended about 60 hours later, broken up by just three hours sleep.

He helped evacuate about 30 Australians and other expatriates from Bali for hospital treatment.

The Bali bombings happened when Dr Merridew was living in Brisbane and the rescue effort benefited from a list he compiled a few months earlier.

This was a detailed call-up list of trained, equipped and experienced reserve anaesthetists and intensive care specialists available in the area at short notice for urgent jobs.

Dr Merridew said that he was ringing people on the list after media reports about the bombings (which happened on the Saturday night, Bali time) to recruit rescue staff and was himself on a Qantas flight that day to Darwin, with a connecting military plane to Bali.

Nine anaesthetists and two surgeons joined 28 nurses, medical assistants and medical officers at Denpasar Airport to assess and transport the patients.

The 35 professionals arrived in two waves, with Dr Merridew in the second. The first wave had the most difficult task because of uncertainty about casualty numbers and a less favourable ratio of staff to patients.

One of the most critical decisions was how much intravenous fluid to administer to patients – too little risked worsening their kidney failure and too much would cause respiratory failure and immediate threat to life.

The patients were divided into two groups and he joined the second plane load to Darwin and then flew with 10 patients from Darwin to Perth. One patient had a cardiac arrest halfway to Perth and was revived with a chest thump.

“I have never been involved in transporting such a large number of patients,” Dr Merridew said.

“I have to conclude that people rise to the occasion.

“The injured were brave and concerned about the other burn victims.

“The staff worked hard, they gave it a good go. It was all about teamwork.

“The essence of this sort of clinical care is the insightful supervision of patients who have known injuries with known potential for deterioration.

“But I’m no hero. There were people like that at Bali, but I am not one of them.”

Dr Merridew also paid tribute to the work of Australian Army and navy personnel and many Indonesian and Australian civilians who did vital work in the bombing aftermath.

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Complaint on jail to be lodged with UN

SECRECY: Kevin TomkinsPAR spokesman Kevin Tomkins yesterday slammed Attorney-General Judy Jackson as not having a clue what was going on in the prison after she described the group’s allegations of abuse as untrue.
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The row, which has been brewing for some time over conditions at Risdon, especially of young remandees, erupted yesterday when PAR released details of Nathan Leonard, who it says is locked away 24 hours a day, seven days a week with hardly any human contact.

“He has reached the stage where he doesn’t want to live anymore,” Mr Tomkins said.

“More disturbing is the fact that he is not the only one. PAR has many documented cases consistent with the treatment that this young man is being subjected to.”

Mrs Jackson said that she had checked with prison director Graeme Barber the allegation that a young man was handcuffed to a “sorry” sign and that a young man had severely harmed himself last Friday night and had been shackled to furniture.

“These have no basis in fact,” she said.

But Opposition legal spokesman Michael Hodgman said that the Government had nearly had a death in custody when Leonard severely harmed himself.

“He had previously been on suicide watch after being found with a rope noose in his cell and two suicide notes already written, yet he managed to harm himself in prison with a piece of glass.

“As a remandee, he should not be in prison at all – he should be in the purpose- built Hobart Remand Centre.”

Mr Tomkins said that Leonard’s father and partner had seen the young man handcuffed to a wall under a “sorry” sign and had reported the officer involved.

“We are putting in a complaint to the UN Committee of Human Rights and its committee on torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment which has been in force, in Australia, since 1989,” Mr Tomkins said.

“We have a prison which is not prepared to put in a prison inspectorate. It’s a prison shrouded in secrecy. It is a police culture there, not a correctional culture.”

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Bet A Penny’s lucky strike from a second-row start

PENNY PINCHER: Bet A Penny (centre), driven by Neville Webberley, narrowly wins the Diamond Stakes at Devonport last night from Sunshines Glory (inside), driven by Darrin Denny, and Hillbilly Halo (ouHer second foal to race, Bet A Penny, kept up the family’s good record in two-year-old races when he won the $8000 Boag’s Premium Light Diamond Stakes at Devonport last night.
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Bet A Penny has now started five times for three wins and two seconds.

His half sister Fetch A Penny also made a flying start to her racing career, winning her first three starts in Hobart in early 2002, including a heat of the rich Cadbury Sweepstakes.

She is now racing in NSW and was a Penrith winner last November.

Bet A Penny and Fetch A Penny were both bred by Mrs Irene Semmens, of Hobart, and were the second and third foals of Penelope Rose.

“The mare’s first foal, which I didn’t breed, died,” Mrs Semmens said. “I’ve also got her fourth foal, a nice filly by Tiger Woods, but I’ve since sold the mare to a friend.”

Bet A Penny is trained at Glenorchy by Mrs Semmens’s husband Bill but she said much of the credit for last night’s win belonged to Reg Davey.

“Bill hasn’t been too well and Reg has been looking after the horse for us,” the owner explained.

Bet A Penny was well driven by leading reinsman Neville Webberley, who pushed through from a second-row draw to grab the one-out, one-back sit.

Webberley moved three wide at the bell and Bet A Penny worked forward to be second, outside favourite Sunshines Glory, leaving the back straight.

The two leaders were then joined by Hillbilly Halo turning for home and three horses went across the line almost together.

¤¤¤ Anthea, a recent addition to the Christian Salter stable at Brighton, led throughout for a strong win in the $8000 Harry Holgate Memorial.

Salter and partner Allison Blackwell recently took out a lease on Anthea and last night’s $5280 winner’s cheque was a handy first collect.

Anthea has won only two of her 30 starts and both have been on the Devonport track when she’s been able to dictate terms in front.

She wasn’t wanted in the betting ring last night, drifting to 14-1, but Salter controlled the race after holding out favourite Supercool at the start.

Supercool was then forced to race in the death and with second favourite Shameless Fella also having a tough run out wide, Anthea was able to kick clear in the straight for a comfortable eight- metre win.

¤¤¤ Rising star Tribesman returned a mile-rate less than a second outside the track record while leading throughout in the Peter Gilligan Free-For-All.

Tribesman rated 2:00.1 for the the 1910m and the record is 1:59.4.

The well-bred four-year-old is the first winner for trainer Adam Emery since he took over the stables of owner Mick Maxfield at East Devonport.

Rated nicely in front by the trainer’s wife, Natalee, Tribesman went to the line unextended to score by five metres from Northern Ruler and Jay Pawlak.

Mountain Glory, back after a successful Melbourne campaign, only struggled into eighth place and didn’t fire on the tight track.

¤¤¤ Stewards questioned trainer- driver Neville Webberley on the performance of Colsta after the highly-rated three-year-old was beaten in the Seaport River Cruise Stakes.

The race was won by 66-1 chance Lucyna, driven by Jason Mackrill, who trailed leader Really Ima Rascal until getting clear at the top of the straight and flashing home.

Colsta (1-2f) worked three wide early to get to the death, then only battled in third place.

Webberley told stewards that Colsta wasn’t suited on the small track and wanted to hang out for most of the race.

However, he said that he was still disappointed with the gelding’s effort, which was well below his best.

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Push for heritage to go national

BRIGHT OUTLOOK: Victoria’s Simon Molesworth views a national approach as essential for history to make financial gains.Picture: NEIL RICHARDSONAustralian Council of National Trusts chairman Simon Molesworth yesterday visited Tasmania to urge the State council of the National Trust to amalgamate with trusts in other states.
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Mr Molesworth said Tasmania’s heritage could have a much bigger impact on the State’s finances through increased tourism and other benefits if it were nurtured and promoted more intensely through a national organisation.

He said a national grouping of the trust groups would give the critical mass to lobby the Federal Government for tax breaks to promote heritage preservation, which would benefit the economy as a whole.

A meeting of the Tasmanian State Council of the National Trust at historic Clarendon Homestead, near Evandale, yesterday voted to investigate improving national cooperation and establishing a national body.

Council president Pat Woods said the proposal would be considered at the membership conference on April 18 at Longford.

Mrs Woods wrote in the trust’s March newsletter that the trust faced financial difficulties and funding was needed from the State Government. The trust’s debt in Tasmania is about $750,000.

Mr Molesworth said heritage was already big business – the combined trusts were the nation’s largest community groups and had a bigger membership than all political parties combined.

“We have a voice to be heard that has a huge economic potential and influence in this country,” he said.

“We are going to devise a way by which we will make heritage a key part of Tasmania.

“There needs to be a link with colleagues interstate to ensure it is as effective as it can be.

“We will amalgamate in the end, that is my prediction.”

Mr Molesworth said the Productivity Commission was going to review the economic value of cultural heritage to the nation, and if the result was favourable he would lead a push for tax reform to promote preservation of heritage.

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Bush to host Middle East talks
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[BB] WASHINGTON – US President George W. Bush will hold an intense week of Middle East crisis talks in April with Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the leaders of Egypt and Jordan. In what the White House yesterday called consultations “with key Middle East leaders,” Mr Sharon will visit Washington on April 14, two days after Mr Bush hosts Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak at his ranch. Jordan’s King Abdullah will hold talks at the White House on April 21.

The announcement came only four days after Israel had been widely condemned for killing Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

At least 25 dead after protests

ABIDJAN – Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has described as an “insurrection” anti- Government protests that left at least 25 dead, as opposition parties vowed to press on with demonstrations.

“These deaths are all the more tragic because nothing can justify the demonstrations … except a deliberate attempt to carry insurrection to the heart of the republic and to prolong the people’s suffering,” Mr Gbagbo said.

EU presses for Cyprus deal

SWITZERLAND – UN-led Cyprus reunification talks have focused on a statement by EU leaders urging both sides to commit to a deal, following Turkish demands for the north of the island to be exempted from some EU laws.

European Union leaders said they were convinced that a reunited Cyprus could join the bloc in May but called on all sides to make a peace deal in conformity with EU law.

US approves AIDS saliva test

WASHINGTON – The US has approved the first rapid saliva test for the HIV virus that causes AIDS, health officials said yesterday.

The test, made by OraSure Technologies, provides results within 20 minutes with 99 per cent accuracy. Other approved rapid HIV tests require blood samples.

“This oral test provides another important option for people who might be afraid of a blood test,” health secretary Tommy Thompson said.

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Langer in hot water, Sri Lanka posts 407

Langer was charged with a level- one offence for bringing the game into disrepute and match referee Chris Broad was set to conduct a hearing after play finished.
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Langer, if found guilty, risks a fine of up to 50 per cent of his match fee. Langer was reported during Sri Lanka’s innings, which ended just after tea with the home side dismissed for 407.

The incident happened in the 80th over – the 16th of the day – when play was stopped for several minutes as the umpires tried to figure out how a bail had been dislodged. Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillakaratne had played a ball from Brad Williams to fine leg and run a single.

But before the next ball was bowled, Australian captain Ricky Ponting saw the bail was down and appealed for Tillakaratne’s dismissal, thinking his rival must have knocked it off in the course of playing his shot.

The matter was referred to the television umpire and after some time vision was found showing Justin Langer knocking off the bail with his hand as he walked past the stumps on the way to a new fielding position.

During the lunch break Langer said he was shocked to learn it had been his hand which dislodged the bail and denied doing it on purpose.

Langer’s charge ended a bad day for Australia and Shane Warne, whose world record charge almost stalled.

Warne needs seven wickets in Sri Lanka’s second innings to break the world record after being restricted to just two scalps in Sri Lanka’s first dig.

Warne picked up two late wickets to finish with 2-115 off 36 overs as South Australian pair Jason Gillespie and Darren Lehmann finished with three wickets apiece to stifle their team-mate’s bid for cricketing glory.

At one stage Warne looked like going wicketless when he had 0-99 through 28 overs.

But he snapped up the wicket of Chaminda Vaas just before tea and added Rangana Herath to his list just after the break when the No.10 was caught by Damien Martyn for three.

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Auskick role for `Dipper’

HAVING A BALL: AFL Tasmania’s new development trainees Leigh Harding and Nathan Grima and AFL regional development officer Craig Notman get into the football spirit at yesterday’s Auskick launch at YoThe AFL Auskick programme is a fun introduction to the game of Aussie rules for five to 12-year-old boys and girls, based on developing skills and playing the game in a modified form.
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AFL Tasmania State development manager Daniel Smedley said that during the 2003 season, Auskick saw a 32 per cent increase in participation with more than 5500 children involved and Tasmania had seen a 100 per cent increase in the past two years.

“AFL Auskick will be provided in community, club and school-based programmes and is set to be delivered in more than 150 centres across Tasmania with about 5800 participants this year,” Mr Smedley said.

AFL footy would be the Statewide focus of Tasmanians of all ages during the week July 4-10, with consecutive AFL games played at York Park.

The two July games would be a special occasion for Auskick with more than 400 participants from all around the State taking part in curtain-raiser games as well as AFL half- time displays.

The Auskick season will be the first opportunity for AFL Tasmania’s new development trainees to become involved in football programmes.

Nathan Grima (South Launceston and Tassie Devils), Leigh Harding (South Launceston and Tassie Mariner), Jarrod Garth (Clarence and Tassie Mariners), Ryan Keely (Ulverstone senior player and Tassie Mariner) and Zane Littlejohn (Latrobe and Tassie Mariners) were looking forward to the opportunity of providing Auskick to young Tasmanian boys and girls.

AFL Auskick begins with registration days at local centres during late March. Children can also register at any time during the 12-week season that starts on April 4.

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