Thursday, May 23, 2013

No global warming where I live

BRISBANE shivered through its coldest May day in 33 years yesterday.  The good news is that it will be warmer today

While city-slickers reached for their winter woollies the drought-hit west rejoiced as rain finally fell.

Trinidad, a property between Windorah and Charleville, recorded 44mm and Thargomindah had 43mm.

Brisbane recorded a maximum of just 17.6C, the coldest May day since 1980 and almost 7C below average.

Weather Bureau forecaster Matthew Bass said it was the city's coldest day since June 27 last year.

It was the coldest May day on record at Coolangatta, which recorded a high of just 16.5C.

"We had a clear night, then cloud moved over so that prevented any major heating," Mr Bass said.  "Then that combined with rain and a little evaporation cooled things down a bit."

Mr Bass said temperatures would remain 5C to 6C below average in the interior into the weekend.

Brisbane is expected to reach 23C today, 1C below average.

Isolated showers are expected over the southeast and southern interior tomorrow.  It will be fine and mostly sunny elsewhere.

Cool to cold conditions should continue for most of Queensland into next week.


Rivals trying to spike Tom

Australia's biggest corporate bookmaker, Sportingbet, has backed calls for a complete ban on the spruiking of live odds in sports broadcasts and launched a withering attack on Tom Waterhouse.

Sportingbet joined market leader Tabcorp in voicing concern at the damage being done to the gambling industry by the growing public outrage at the intrusion of betting into football coverage.

Michael Sullivan, chief executive of Sportingbet, said he would support a full ban for the good of the industry, and accused Tom Waterhouse of "acting irresponsibly".

"What he's doing now is affecting all our businesses," said Mr Sullivan. "I'm the biggest consumer of rugby league in the world and it makes me sick in the guts when he comes on TV. The frequency of his appearances is what's also driving people mad and Channel Nine has a lot to answer for.

"Prohibition of advertising full-stop is going too far but there's some middle ground. If it means banning live odds on TV to sort this out then that's what should happen. I wouldn't have a problem with it."

Tabcorp, Australia's largest betting operator, has also gone public with its concern at the public outcry and a call for the Gillard government to step in with a national regulatory framework to replace state-based systems.

It is understood Tabcorp -which is the only other live odds provider alongside Mr Waterhouse on televised sport through its expert Glenn Munsie - would support a ban as long as the playing field was equal for all wagering operators.

In a statement, Tabcorp said: "Sports betting makes up a fraction of the gambling market but we acknowledge the extent and nature of the advertising is causing growing public concern. Tabcorp supports the introduction of further controls on sports betting advertising but if they're to be effective they need to be nationally applied and enforced."

Mr Sullivan told Fairfax Media from London that he had "held his tongue" on the Waterhouse issue for 12 months but had now had enough. "About 98 per cent of the gambling market has been doing the right thing for years. Tom represents probably 2 per cent of the market. He's trying to court this hype - perhaps with an eye to selling his business - and, quite frankly, I think he's acting irresponsibly," he said.

Mr Sullivan said Sportingbet had grown from a $500 million a year business to $3 billion through promotion - "and no one said a word", he said. "We've been there building our business for 12 years, as has Sportsbet, as has Tabcorp but this whole thing is about Tom. Quite frankly, it's gone too far."

Betfair said it would be comfortable with tighter controls. The company stepped back from paying for odds placement on TV three years ago as it became established in the market.


One subbie refuses to be ground down

Getting paid is a major problem for subbies and large organizations often don't give a !@#$% about them

AN angry subcontractor on the $37.4 billion National Broadband Network has carried out a threat to rip equipment out of the ground after a dispute over pay, The Australian reports.

Barry Pringle, the director of Bench Excavation, last night ordered his crews to dig up pipes they laid six weeks ago in Adelaide's southern suburbs for Syntheo.

The Syntheo group is a joint venture between major companies Lend Lease and Service Stream, which is the biggest contractor handling the NBN rollout.

The Australian revealed on Tuesday that Mr Pringle had threatened Syntheo that he would reclaim his materials if it did not pay him about $12,500 by close of business yesterday.


Patagonian toothfish launched on Australian market

IT'S Australia's most dangerous catch, a monster from the deep hauled out of our icy Antarctic waters more than 4000km from the mainland.

The journey to get to the grounds for the Patagonian toothfish takes more than a week and boats stay out for more than 70 days at a time.

Now, after battling pirate crews, government indifference and the logistics of fishing in such challenging conditions, Perth-based Austral Fisheries is taking on a new fight - convincing Australian consumers that their catch is ethically sound and delicious.

More than 10 years ago Patagonian toothfish was in the news when the Federal Government sent boats down to the ground near Heard Island and intercepted illegal fishers.

According to Austral Fisheries chief executive David Carter this has given the fish a bad name.

"It's like trying to convince people to eat pandas," Mr Carter said.

The company is licensed to take 2000 tonnes of the fish each year and has worked to gain Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainability.

Up to now, however, most of the fish has been exported to the United States and Japan where it is highly prized.

"We've treated it as a bit of a commodity. But it's time to tell our story and connect the things we do with consumers," Mr Carter said.

This weekend, at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, the fish was launched on the Australian market with the Glacier 51 brand.

Leading chefs have taken little convincing. The fish has high oil content meaning its white, waxy flesh has a unique buttery texture and also can be frozen and transported without deteriorating.

"I've never been a fan of frozen fin fish," chef and restaurant entrepreneur Neil Perry said. "But because of its oil content it freezes well and has great flavour and texture.

"And it has a phenomenal story of sustainability and the long-term vision to make it work.

"Then there is the incredible hardship of fishing in Antarctic waters. What those guys go through is extraordinary."

Italo-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco agrees.  "Because it is fished so far under the sea where it is very cold, the meat is very white and fat and when you cook it slowly on the barbecue the taste is amazing," said the head chef at Mirazur in France, number 28 on the prestigious San Pellegrino Best Restaurants list.


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