How not to win friends: Facebook sneaks in fees to promote posts

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

Dazzle Strands has found its views on Facebook have dropped from 800-1000 to 90 per post in just a matter of months. Brands have to pay just to promote their posts to the people who “like” their page.
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It’s not just an impost on brands – Facebook also charges for promoting personal posts to friends.

Facebook is being accused of an underhanded bait and switch, with brands and even personal users now forced to pay for “promoted posts” to reach all of their “likers” and friends.

Evidence suggests that the algorithm that determines which posts appear in your News Feed, called EdgeRank, has been tweaked so that posts are visible for under 15 per cent of your connections unless you pay.

For individuals the cost to promote a status update is $US7.20 ($A6.95) and for brands the cost depends on how many fans or “likers” they have, but is around $US20 ($A19.30) per post to reach 3000 fans and $US200 ($A193) to reach 50,000 fans.

Catherine Cincotta, 33, from Melbourne, runs hair accessory firm Dazzle Strands, which has about 4000 likes on Facebook.

“I was getting at least 800 to 1000 post views and then July hit and then all of a sudden it started going progressively down so I was starting to see 300, 200 and now it’s at about 90 on average,” she said.

“I find this to be underhanded … all of a sudden the posts are being suppressed and you’re getting bombarded with requests to advertise with them.”

Lisa Dale, 32, runs an online gift hamper business, Signed Sealed Delivered, and Facebook is one of her main avenues for promotion. She also has about 3000 fans and has noticed her post views have likewise trailed off significantly, despite her fan base growing.

“They’ve sucked me in. I’ve worked so hard to build up this great page and now the only way I can maintain it now is to pay. If they were going to do it, they probably should’ve done it at the start,” said Dale.

Mashable journalist Matt Silverman wrote in a recent column that Facebook’s EdgeRank was creating artificial scarcity by “rigging the game and then asking users to pay to level the playing field”. The New York Observerwrote that “Facebook is broke, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users”.

Last week blog Dangerous Minds wrote a post titled “Facebook: I want my friends back”, accusing the company of turning down the volume on users’ Facebook reach. To reach the blog’s entire 50,000 fan base Facebook charges $US200 per post.

“We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month … a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year — wouldn’t you know it — right around the time of their badly managed IPO.”

Earlier this week Simon Dell, director of Brisbane-based marketing firm TwoCents Group, said for his firm’s page the average “reach” over the past 10 posts was 195 or 16 per cent, but at times it dropped to just 94 views.

One of Dell’s clients had an average reach of just 12 per cent of their 5400 fans and another was 19 per cent.

“Facebook isn’t seeing fans as a community anymore, they’re seeing them as numbers,” he wrote on MarketingMag南京夜網.au. “Being able to reach just 15 per cent of your brand advocates who have opted in to receive your communication isn’t a great ROI for your time and effort.”

Facebook has been under significant pressure to turn its huge user numbers into revenue and the company is now worth a bit over half as much as it was when the company went public. Its shares are worth

$US21.94 ($A21.18) down from the offer price of $US38 ($A36).

In a recent blog post Facebook ads engineer Philip Zigoris wrote that any changes Facebook makes to its news feed algorithm were more to do with offering users more relevant posts than making money.

“Regardless of whether you’re paying to promote a story or just posting one to your Page, the news feed will always optimise for stories that generate high levels of user engagement and filter out ones that don’t,” he wrote.

The response from readers was mostly negative with most complaining that they shouldn’t have to pay in order for their posts to be visible by their friends.

“So tell me, how are people meant to engage with the content if they’re not being shown the content in the first place?” wrote one.

Another said: “I have to tell you the vast majority of my friends really hate this, find it very frustrating, and the only thing that keeps them from leaving Facebook is all their friends are here and there is no real option … yet.”

Facebook declined to comment for this story.

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AFP ends investigation into swearing Rudd video

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

Kevin Rudd fluffing his lines in that video.The Australian Federal Police has closed its investigation of the leaking of a damaging video of former prime minister Kevin Rudd swearing and banging a desk.
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The release of the video, posted anonymously on YouTube, escalated the tensions between Mr Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard which contributed to February’s leadership ballot.

An AFP spokeswoman said it had not found ”sufficient material or evidence to substantiate charging of any person for theft or unauthorised disclosure” of the video.

”The AFP has finalised the matter and as such, it is not appropriate to comment further,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said he had no comment.

The video shows Mr Rudd fluffing his lines while trying to record a video message for Chinese New Year in 2009.

In a series of out-takes he expresses frustration at the diplomats from the Australian embassy in Beijing, who had scripted the message in Mandarin.

”Tell these d—heads in the embassy to just give me simple sentences,” Mr Rudd says in the video. ”This f—ing language… it just complicates it so much.”

At another point, he appears to ask a staffer to cancel a scheduled meeting.

”Tell them to cancel this meeting at 6 o’clock will you… I don’t have the f—ing patience to do it.”

The video appeared on YouTube on February 18, under the title ”Kevin Rudd is a Happy Little Vegemite”.

Four days later, Mr Rudd resigned as foreign minister and announced his intention to challenge Ms Gillard for the leadership. The following Monday he was trounced in a caucus ballot, 71 votes to 31.

At the time Mr Rudd commented that the release of the video was ”a little bit on the unusual side”.

An internal review by the Prime Minister’s department found the video had not come from within the department. At the time, Ms Gillard denied her office was involved in the release of the video, saying it did not have access to the material.

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No campaigning? Well, not much in Sandy’s aftermath

11/09/2018 Posted by admin

US President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may have officially suspended their election campaigns to concentrate on relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, but with just a week to go before the election, it’s clear some political footsoldiers and commentators have not got the message.
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Mr Romney five times ignored questions put to him at an Ohio event — officially a storm-relief fundraiser — about comments he once made advocating stripping funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Instead, he told the audience in a gymnasium in the city of Kettering: “We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on. I appreciate what you have done.”

Reporters at the event noted women proudly showing off t-shirts that read, “Obama — you’re fired”.

Having spent Monday night at the White House keeping tabs on the storm’s progress and overseeing the emergency response, President Obama today visited a Red Cross shelter in Washington, DC.

“We certainly feel profoundly for all the families whose lives have been upended … The most important message I have for [those affected] is that America’s with you,” Mr Obama said.

But even before the storm surge had peaked, high-profile conservative columnists attacked the President for playing politics.

“He says he’s not concerned about the impact on the elections,” Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News.

“I’m sure he’s very sincere on that. It is a little odd that he shows up in the briefing room, where he hasn’t shown up in the briefing room for about, what, a month-and-a-half on Libya, or for everything else for that matter? Then you get the photo-ops of him in the situation room deploying, I guess, the utility crews who will restore power all over America.”

Meanwhile, a Salon南京夜網 commentator wrote that Mr Romney’s Ohio event was “surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with rubbish and paper products”.

Perhaps the weirdest political comments on the storm came from Michael Brown, the Bush-era FEMA chairman who was widely discredited for that administration’s lacklustre response to Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday night, he accused the President of getting involved too soon. He stood by those comments today.

One man who has garnered universal praise for his response is the combative New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is one of Mr Romney’s most high-profile surrogates.

On Monday, he attacked the Democrat mayor of Atlantic City before praising President Obama for his energetic response.

“I have to say, the administration, the president himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” he told reporters.

Mr Christie, who many expected to run for president this year, dismissed the election as not a priority.

“I’m sure that while the national election is obviously very important, that the people of New Jersey, in this moment, would really be unhappy with me if they thought for a second I was occupying my time thinking about how I was going to get people to vote a week from today,” Christie told reporters today.

Mr Romney will resume his campaign events Wednesday in the US, while Barack Obama is not expected to return to the campaign trail until Thursday.

How the storm will impact upon the election is unclear. Three of the eight major daily tracking polls — the lifeblood of the campaigns and the political media in the last few days of a deadlocked election — have been suspended.

On a more practical level, early voting has been disrupted across the north-east, although it is impossible to predict exactly how this might affect the election. The President was thought to have an advantage among early voters until recent polls suggested Mr Romney had whittled this down.

It is also unclear now whether the impact of the storm could hinder people from getting to the polls next Tuesday. If that is the case, polling places could open longer.

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Jury in Robert Xie retrial says they are unable to reach unanimous verdict

09/05/2019 Posted by admin

Robert Xie and his wife Kathy Lin arrive at the Supreme Court in December. Photo: Jessica HromasThe jury in the retrial of Robert Xie has said?they are unable to reach a unanimous verdict after eight days of deliberations,?prompting Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton to issue a direction requiring them to reconsider the issues.
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The jury of 12 men and women sent a note to the court?about 1.30pm on Thursday advising?they had not been able to reach a verdict.

Justice Fullerton?directed them?to reconsider the issues “in order to make a further attempt to unanimous?verdicts in this trial”.

However, the jury sent another note shortly before 3.30pm reiterating that they could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Justice Fullerton directed the jury a?majority verdict of 11 would now be accepted by the court.

“You should clearly understand that there are only two ways verdicts can be delivered in this trial: one, by unanimity, that is by all 12 of you, or by majority of 11 of you. No other numerical configuration will suffice,” Justice Fullerton?said.

Mr Xie, 53, is accused of murdering five members of his family on July 18, 2009.

The bodies of his brother-in-law Min “Norman” Lin, 45, Mr Lin’s wife Yun Li “Lily” Lin, 43, her sister Yun Bin “Irene” Lin, 39, and the Lins’ two sons Henry, 12, and Terry, 9 were found in their North Epping home.

He has pleaded not guilty.

After a six-month trial in the NSW Supreme Court, the jury of nine men and three women started their deliberations on Friday, December 30.

“Thank you for your jury note in which you inform me that you have not been able to reach unanimous verdicts in the trial at this time,” Justice Fullerton told the jury shortly after 1.30pm on Thursday.

“While I have the power to discharge you … that power will only be exercised by me if I am satisfied that after further deliberations?there is no likelihood of genuine agreement being reached and verdicts returned.”

Justice Fullerton said “it is the experience?of our criminal justice system that juries can often reach agreement if they are given more time to consider the issues”.

She?“unreservedly” accepted that the jury had given their “focused and careful consideration” to the evidence over the past eight days but invited them?to “retire again and to continue with your deliberations?to examine the issues that are the subject of disagreement in order to make a further attempt to unanimous?verdicts in this trial”.

Shortly before 3.30pm, the jury sent a further note saying they were still unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Justice Fullerton said they should continue trying to reach a unanimous verdict but a majority verdict of 11 jurors would now?be acceptable.

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AGL slapped with $124,000 in fines for breaching political donations laws

09/05/2019 Posted by admin

AGL ?says it adopted a new policy in 2015 prohibiting political donations with AGL funds. Photo: Rob HomerEnergy giant AGL has been fined $124,000 in the NSW Land and Environment Court for failing to disclose political donations when making planning applications in the state.
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The Department of Planning and Environment brought the case against AGL and its subsidiary AGL Upstream after a compliance investigation was undertaken following complaints from community groups led by Groundswell Gloucester.

The department said on Thursday that?the fines were the largest imposed since?the provisions were introduced in 2008. The companies were also required to pay the department’s legal costs.

The?11 breaches, to which AGL pleaded guilty in February, involved failures to properly disclose donations as it applied for?coal seam gas projects in Gloucester and Camden,?the Newcastle Gas Storage Facility, the Broken Hill solar plant and the Dalton Power Station, the department said.

The fines were welcomed by John Watts, a spokesman for Groundswell Gloucester, who said it was “pleasing to see that AGL has finally been held accountable for its failure to comply with its political donations obligations”.

Mr Watts, though, said it was concerning that it required the diligent work of its volunteer members to unearth the breaches.

“The government itself seems to never bother checking that the law has been complied with,” he said, adding that the fact companies were not required to immediately report?political donations made breaches harder to uncover.

“The?penalties for such offences are woefully small having regard to the huge amounts of money involved in the large projects that companies such as AGL undertake, and having regard to the importance to communities in knowing what is being donated.”

At the time of the breaches, AGL had been pursuing development of a $1 billion-plus coal seam gas field near Gloucester in the state’s mid-north coast. The company abandoned the venture in February after a slew of mishaps and attempts to dump waste water into Hunter Water’s network despite being told in writing not to do so.

AGL said in a statement?it accepted the judgment of the court, adding it had adopted a new policy in 2015 prohibiting political donations with AGL funds.

James Hebron, general counsel for Planning, ?said the company had ?co-operated with its compliance investigation.

“Under planning legislation there is an obligation on a proponent when making a planning application to report political donations,” Mr Hebron said. “This is to ensure transparency in the planning process.”

Follow Peter Hannam on?Twitter?and?Facebook.

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Pensioners’ payments reduced amid anger over politicians’ entitlements

09/05/2019 Posted by admin

Judith Daley is angry about changes to the aged pension. Photo: Brook Mitchell “The only sure thing that comes out of it is that the general public is disadvantaged,” says Judith Daley. Photo: Brook Mitchell
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Judith Daley is one of the unlucky ones. Amid simmering anger over politicians’ entitlements and the government’s Centrelink debt clawback, the Sydney retiree is one of about 327,000 pensioners to have had her pension reduced?or cut altogether this year.

Ms Daley, 72, has lost?her part pension and health benefits under changes to the aged pension introduced on January 1.

“I have lost the health benefits that come with the age pension card,” Ms Daley said. “I don’t quite know at this stage what that means. I have serious ongoing health issues and they will be degenerative as I age.”

The federal government insists its pension reforms, which it passed last year with the support of the Greens, are necessary to secure the long-term viability of the pension.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told 2GB radio in Sydney last month the cuts would bring in “around $1 billion a year” in savings, and the changes were necessary to keep the pension sustainable.

“When you are faced with an ageing population, let’s not forget the pensions that are paid out today are paid for by today’s taxpayers – the people who are paying taxes today,” he said.

Ms Daley?was on a small part pension and received $230 a fortnight but has lost this as part of the federal government’s change to the assets threshold.

“I seem to have approximately $34,000 more than the cut-off for an aged person, so I have lost 100 per cent of the part-pension fund.”

She is angry about the loss of health benefits and the lack of detail about the federal government’s Low Income Health Care Card.

“As an aged pensioner I got significant discounts on prescribed medications and most GPs are bulk billed,” Ms Daley said. “I don’t know what the new Low Income Health Care Card is going to involve, because I haven’t received any information.”

Pensioners losing payments face a double whammy; once they lose their pension card they will also be stripped of a range of state-based pensioner discounts, including reduced council rates.

In a statement, Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the changes “only affect those with significant levels of assets other than the family home and who receive a part-pension”.

“The family home remains exempted from the assets test and the changes have been designed so that they only impact pensioners with significant assets outside the family home.”

Under changes introduced in the last budget, which came into effect on January 1, pensioners who own assets above increased thresholds – not including the family home – may receive a reduced fortnightly pension rate.

Single homeowners can have $250,000 in assets, not including their home, before their pension rate is reduced, while homeowner couples can own up to $375,000 in assets before their pension rate is cut.

After that threshold is reached, pensioners will lose $3 for every $1000 they own over the limit, up from $1.50.

The changes will leave about 171,000 pensioners better off; on average $30 a fortnight.

But Labor and the unions have come out swinging against the changes, which will see about 236,000 pensioners lose part of their payments, and another 91,000 lose their pension entirely.

They come into effect amid protracted complaints about the government’s handling of the “clawback” of $4.5 billion in supposed debts, with about 232,000 people served with notices that they owe Centrelink money. It has been estimated that at least one in five of those contacted did not owe a debt.

ACTU assistant secretary Scott Connelly said the government could look elsewhere for cuts, pointing to its proposed corporate tax cuts, which Treasury has estimated will cost the budget at least $48.2 billion over 10 years.

“The politicians that have made this choice are so far disconnected, as we’ve seen in recent days,” Mr Connelly said. “We don’t accept that this is the right decision for the times.”

Council On The Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said there were mixed views on the reduction among members.

“We’ve never advocated a reduction in the pension, but at the time we said this is the least worst of the options around,” Mr Yates said.

Opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said pensioners were now aware of the “real” impact of the pension cuts. “Mr Turnbull just doesn’t get fairness. He’s taking money off pensioners and at the same time he’s trying to give big businesses and the banks a $50 billion handout.”

Ms Daley said that it was “no wonder people are disillusioned and fed up”, citing the furore surrounding Health Minister Sussan Ley’s travel expenses.

“The only sure thing that comes out of it is that the general public is disadvantaged,” she said.?“We can’t point to anywhere that the general public have been advantaged in one of these things.”

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Assessments get most attention but have least importance in teaching: survey

09/05/2019 Posted by admin

Primary school students learning to read using phonic sounds. Photo: Justin McManusIt’s a frustration commonly voiced by teachers and educators: the media dedicate far more coverage to issues that are often the least important when it comes to effective teaching and learning.
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Now there’s a measure of that priority gap.

A global survey by the US-based International Literacy Association asked more than 1500 teachers, policy-makers and literacy academics to rate 17 literacy topics as either “hot” or “important”.

Hot was defined as trending –?debates or issues that receive the most attention in the classroom, in conversations with other educators, and in the media.

Important was defined as those topics most critical to advancing literacy for all learners.

The survey found that educators believe standards and assessments (including national tests and the global PISA tests) get far more attention than they deserve, while early literacy is actually the most important topic when it comes to boosting literacy skills.

Parent engagement was considered the most important topic that gets the least emphasis.

But the survey report’s authors were surprised that there was not more importance attached to digital literacy, with 37 per cent saying it was not at all, slightly or moderately important in their country, despite being an extremely hot topic. That meant it was ranked less important than early literacy, professional learning and development, diversity, parent engagement, independent reading and several other topics.

The five hottest topics were assessment/standards; diversity; digital literacy; early literacy and disciplinary literacy (which includes STEM literacy).?

Australia contributed the third-largest response to the survey, after the US and Canada.

Respondents to the survey included classroom teachers and reading/literacy specialists teaching 5-14-year-olds, academics and people working in government,?with an average of 11 years of professional experience.

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Graham Arnold boasts of Sydney FC’s defensive record ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers clash

09/05/2019 Posted by admin

Possible call-up: Sydney FC Youth player George Timotheou could be on the big stage. Photo: Melissa AdamsSydney FC coach Graham Arnold brushed off concerns over his club’s defensive crisis for Saturday night’s derby, suggesting Western Sydney Wanderers will struggle to get a shot on target against his high-flying side.
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Never one to shy from pre-game mind games, Arnold deflected concerns of fielding an inexperienced defender in the biggest home game of his club’s season – instead heaping more pressure on the Wanderers’ problematic attack that has plagued their season.

A 19-year-old untested central defender could be thrown into Sydney FC’s starting line-up due to injuries, suspension and player sales depleting their back line, but Arnold believes it won’t have much of an impact on his team’s collective defensive shape.

Whether?teenagers Patrick Flottmann, George Timotheou?or 21-year-old Aaron Calver partner Alex Wilkinson on Saturday night, Arnold doesn’t envisage the reshuffle causing a busy night for goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who has leaked fewer goals than any other shot stopper this season.

“Our defence starts from the front, we’ve got a brick wall, we’ve conceded seven goals in 14 games and again our defence starts from the front, we’ve had many games where Danny Vukovic hasn’t had to make a save and the same will happen on Saturday night,” Arnold said.

The Sky Blues are holding out little hope of signing a foreign defender in time to face the Wanderers and are set to continue their search for Matt Jurman’s replacement into another week. An injury to Seb Ryall is expected to sideline the defender for a number of weeks and prompted Sydney to fast-track their recruitment of another central defender.

The club was linked with Czech international defender Tomas Sivok, former Newcastle United man Steven Taylor and Australian-born Greek international Avraam Papadopolous. Sydney will instead look at other options during the January transfer window including their ongoing bid to sign Australian international Rhys Williams, who won’t be released by Perth Glory despite being on the outer.

“It seems that Rhys is unhappy. It’s clear he’s not playing over there and for me Rhys is a national team player,” Arnold said.?“Would we like to have him? Yeah if they don’t want him we’d love to have him, but it’s out of our hands.”

The inability to bring in a visa-player in time for Saturday’s derby hampered Sydney’s hopes of deploying midfielder Brandon O’Neill?as a makeshift stopper with his regular partner Josh Brillante suspended,?leaving the club’s midfield stocks?bare. O’Neill played the majority of last week’s match against Central Coast Mariners at centre-back and, while earning praise from his coach, Arnold reaffirmed his faith in his young central defenders?Flottmann, Timotheou and Calver – who only recently returned from a lengthy injury layoff – to step into such a big occasion.

“We’ve got some fantastic under-20 kids. Patrick Flottmann and George Timotheou ?who are international players. They’ve been waiting for their?chance for a long, long time. They’ve worked extremely hard in training. They’re part of the youth team that won six trophies last year. They’re very successful in what they do,” Arnold said. “Brandon O’Neill played in the back line showing what he can do,?Aaron Calver is back who’s got a lot of experience in the A-League for his age.”

Sydney are in a rich vein of form in front of goal having scored 13 goals as they won their last four games, three of which were away from home. Their attacking stocks are set to receive a further boost with the return of?captain Alex Brosque?to the starting line-up after serving a one-game suspension.

“Alex Brosque, our captain, is back and he’s such a wonderful leader, such a wonderful player. He brings another 10-15 per cent out in all our players. We’re down one player suspended, they’re down two players suspended. They’ve got a couple of injuries, we’ve got one injury so were in good shape,” Arnold said.

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Selena Gomez’s date with The Weeknd was the Disney romance of your dreams

10/04/2019 Posted by admin

In a modern day version of Disney’s Lady and The Tramp, hitmakers Selena Gomez and the Weeknd have unexpectedly?been spotted sharing pasta in the rain before locking lips outside one of LA’s hottest celebrity spots.
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An eyewitness told People that the pair shared a three-hour private dinner at Giorgio Baldi and, while they are yet to confirm their budding romance, it seems like Gomez can’t keep her hands to herself in 46 different intimate shots?snapped outside the restaurant.

The dinner seemed to be a low-key affair with Gomez opting to wear frayed jeans and patent booties, while The Weeknd?wore a cap and hoodie.

In many of the images, Gomez, 24, is smiling towards the camera with her arms wrapped around the 26-year-old Starboy crooner.

“It was a romantic dinner date in the rain,” a source told People. “They acted like a couple. They ordered pasta and shared the food. She seemed very into him — she was smiling a lot. They left holding hands.”


Gomez and The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) have known each other for over a year, with the pair both performing at the 2015 Victoria’s Secret show. After the runway show Gomez took to Instagram to gush over the experience.

“This show was a dream to be on. Thank you so much @victoriassecret and all the angels for being SO nice, warm and fun!!” she wrote. “And looking at you guys all day wasn’t hard to do at all. Abel killed it as usual and Ellie [Goulding] was shining brighter than ever! I’m done. What is life? Love you!” Selena Gomez and The Weeknd Making Out (PHOTO GALLERY)— TMZ (@TMZ) January 11, 2017

While this could be a more-than-friendly meal shared between collaborators (ahem, we are looking at you Drake and J-Lo) there is a high possibility that they are dating, perhaps confirmed in the most modern form of shading by the Weeknd’s former flame, Bella Hadid.

Hadid has followed in Rihanna’s footsteps, tactically unfollowing Gomez – who happens to be one of her sister Gigi’s best girl-pals – on Instagram (considering Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram she is probably yet to notice).

Fans of The Weeknd and Hadid have taken to social media to express their sadness over their hopes for the couple getting back together being dashed. The pair were briefly reunited at last year’s Victoria’s Secret Show, making headlines for their awkward meet-up on the runway. The couple dated on-and-off until they pulled the plug last November after 18 months; Gomez has not been officially linked to anyone since her relationship with Justin Bieber.

Gomez?returned to the spotlight?in November to accept the award for Favourite Female Artist Rock/Pop at the American Music awards, following a?three month break?she took to deal with depression and anxiety stemming from her battle with Lupus.

Taking to social media at the time, she wrote, “my year has been the hardest yet most rewarding one yet. I’ve finally fought the fight of not ‘being enough’.”

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Months of work and worry to end when Divine Ten makes it to Flemington

10/04/2019 Posted by admin

Astute trainer Kelvin Bourke hopes Divine Ten can find his best form after injury. Photo: Damian White?While trainer Kelvin Bourke is excited by the challenge of resurrecting one-time world-class sprinter Divine Ten he is under no illusions that to repatriate an injured tendon in any racehorse is not easy.
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Patience, horsemanship and an understanding of the work required to bring large long striding horses back from the tiniest of tendon tears is painstakingly difficult.

A former champion jumps jockey,?Bourke?will see first hand at Flemington on Saturday what months of work have done to the seven-year-old sprinter when Divine Ten runs in the Arbroath Handicap at Flemington.

Divine Ten broke down in late September 2014, and midway through 2015 the sprinter was brought to Australia and spelled at The Nook Stud at Nagambie, north of Melbourne.

After that the horse was sent to Bourke, who has excellent? swimming ?facilities ?for his team.

“I probably spend 45 minutes a day with him either riding him or walking him in the salt water. That’s the best cure and he hasn’t looked back since he got off the float last year,” Bourke said.

“When he’s at his best he’s a serious racehorse. One day in Hong Kong he ran under 56 seconds for a thousand metres and that’s really moving.”

Divine Ten will race at ?Flemington having had just eight race starts for five wins and two placings, only missing a stake money cheque on one occasion –?the day he broke down.

During his time in Hong Kong Divine Ten scored over 1000m on five occasions from six attempts. Before going amiss he was earmarked as a potential world-class sprinter.

As an example of his brilliance, Divine Ten defeated Aerovelocity, who just last year took out the Sprint Championship in Hong Kong.

“The horse is owned in Hong Kong and they know the battles that lay ahead when you’ve got a horse in rehab attempting to come back from a tendon but I can honestly say we haven’t had one moment’s concern,” Bourke said.

“We’ve taken him to the Ballarat veterinary clinic for scans and we’ve had scans done here locally and they’re spot on.

“Of course it’s exciting if I can get him back. We’re under no illusion that it’s been a bit over two years and they sometimes need racing but he’s galloped up well in the jump outs and because of a bit of a mix up with the horse being under an embargo back in Hong Kong I’ve had to trial him.

“It meant that I had to scratch him from a race at Moonee Valley and take him to Terang to trial. I think it was a pretty good standard trial as horses like Palentino were in our heat. But he wasn’t asked to do much, but what he did I liked.”

Bourke laughs when he recalls Divine Ten’s life story, as the horse was sold as a yearling at a Victorian sale and was then taken to New Zealand where he ran in the Breeze Up Sales and was then bought again by a bloodstock agent for Hong Kong and he’s now on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria.

“He’s been around but that won’t stop him, he’ll enjoy the straight track on Saturday and we’ve got Damien Oliver on him so I couldn’t ask for much more. Everything going well he should be hard to beat, but with horses like this you’re always worried in the back of your mind that he hasn’t been to the races for two years and they often need a bit more time. We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.

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Kris Lees has Sense Of Occasion ready for Gosford Cup

10/04/2019 Posted by admin

Cup bound: Sense Of Occasion scores a shock win in the Villiers Stakes. Photo: Anthony JohnsonWizard?of?Odds: Live odds,?form and alerts for all?racing
Nanjing Night Net

Kris Lees has learnt to stick with his plans and even winning the Villiers Stakes didn’t change the goal for Sense Of Occasion, which has always been Friday’s Gosford Cup.

“It is the race we had in mind for him because he gets to this sort of trip and performs his best,” Lees said. “He got a few things in his favour in the Villiers – the wet track and got a great run though – and got the win. It was a nice surprise.

“It means we get a free kick at the Doncaster, which you would be mad not to take, but this race was always in my mind when he came back.

“He gets a bit more weight because of that win and the six-horse field makes it a bit tricky but he is going to run well and then we will mark out a preparation to get to the Doncaster.”

Lees is on the Gold Coast, like most trainers looking for the next star, and will have five runners on Magic Millions day.

“Upstart is probably our best up here, he was good first-up at Newcastle and comes into this race on the way up. These country cups are very hard to line up in terms of form because they are coming from everywhere but I think he has the right form and barrier,” Lees said.

The Lees stable also has a strong hand at Randwick where ?Admiral Jello and Awasita will look to continue their?good campaigns.

“They are both into their preparations and racing well,” Lees said. “Admiral Jello is a stayer and stepping to 2400 metres will be good for him. He won a couple of runs back and is very consistent.

“Awasita has been racing well and has got a soft draw [in gate one]. If she gets any luck at the right time she should go close.

“It is the right time of year for both them to come through the grades and they should get a win in their next couple of runs.”

Lees’s autumn team will have a low-key start to their campaign on Monday as Danish Twist and dual group 1 winner Le Romain have their first barrier trials at Wyong.

“We are looking towards the Doncaster with Le Romain and the Coolmore [Classic] and Queen Of The Turf with Danish Twist,” Lees said. “They will have a soft trial?on Monday and than another one before returning.

“We have to work out which way to go with both of them but Le Romain will probably have to run into Winx along the way.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

John Thompson’s winners look to continue their good runs at Randwick

10/04/2019 Posted by admin

On a roll: John Thompson. Photo: Darren PatemanWizard?of?Odds: Live odds,?form and alerts for all?racing
Nanjing Night Net

John Thompson declares?Thewayweare?and Invincible Knight are the sort of horses you like having in the stable: “They are winners.”

The pair head to Randwick on Saturday for their biggest tests but Thompson is confident there might be better things in store for both.

“While they keep winning you keep getting excited,” he?said. “Not too many?horses string wins together like that and they look to have the potential to keep winning.”

Thewayweare, a brave front-running stayer, will take on a similar field to which he beat on Boxing Day, his third win in four starts,?for twice the prizemoney while Invincible Knight looks to continue his?great form since joining the Thompson yard.

“Thewayweare?just gets out in front and breaks their hearts by the turn,” Thompson said. “He will just?run along and make them chase. He is starting to creep up in the weights but Blake [Spriggs]?has a very good record on him and rates him very well.

“He is stepping up in grade but the way he races he makes his own luck.”

Spriggs has had four rides on Thewayweare?for three wins and a third when he was a $91 hope at Hawkesbury earlier this preparation.

“We could look to black-type sort of races if he goes well on Saturday,” Thompson said.

Invincible Knight has been a revelation for Thompson since joining his stable from the Peter Moody camp. He put together three wins on end before a midfield finish in the Queensland Guineas in the?winter carnival.

“I just went a run too far with him,” Thompson admitted. “He came back and missed the start first-up and was still good enough to win.

“I have a couple of horses for the owner, him and Signposted, and they have both won four races, which is good for business.

“He is the sort of horse that is going to get to black type but we want to see him do it again and keep coming through his grades.

“He is getting up in the weights but Blaike [McDougall] rides all his work and can claim three kilos on him on Saturday, so that helps.

“I’m mindful that he might be a carnival type, so I have been trying to space his runs because it is still a little way away. We are going to work out a target for him after this run.

“Whether that will be in Sydney or Brisbane [is undecided] but he has got that sort of ability.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

AusOpen champ Kerber to play like she has nothing to lose

10/04/2019 Posted by admin

Garbi?e Muguruza at an Adidas promotional event for the Australian Open. Photo: Adidas/Supplied Angelique Kerber is going to play like she has nothing to lose. Photo: Adidas/Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber started 2016 match-point down to Misaki Doi in the first round of the tournament, staring at a big flame-out.

Kerber, the seventh seed, had lost just one game to the 64th-ranked Doi when they met. She lost a lot more, and quickly – losing the first set 7-6 and trailing 6-5 in a second-set tie-break on the 2016 Open’s first Tuesday.

That was the moment, the 28-year-old said on Thursday, when her career changed.

She won match-point, and swatted away Doi in the third set. But she thought her tournament was done.

“After this match I had no expectation at all,” she told media on Thursday.

Sometimes, for elite athletes – especially in so singular a game as tennis – that lack of expectation can be freeing.

“I was just feeling free, I was playing good tennis, and I was enjoying every single match,” Kerber said.

It worked. Last year Kerber played the best tennis of her career by attacking the ball, going for her shots and swatting away opponents.

Playing that way she won the Australian and US Opens, and was a beaten finalist at Wimbledon. She beat Serena Williams in three sets in Australia, Karolina Pliskova in three in America, and then lost in two to Williams at Wimbledon.

She enters 2016 the woman to beat, holding tight to the No.1 ranking after ending Serena’s record-tying 186 consecutive weeks in the top spot.

But she remains determined to play like she has nothing to lose.

“I have to go back to this feeling, to having no expectation, just going out there playing match by match and enjoying the feeling.”

“I am confident, I know how to win Grand Slams now. This year’s a little bit different, it will be a new challenge for me, but I’m ready for that new challenge.

“I’m feeling the pressure by myself as well, because now I know how good I can play. But the most important thing I have learned is to go out and have fun on court.”

The other non-Serena grand slam winner of last season, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, believes this year’s Open field is more, well, open, than the past few in which Williams started as the clear title favourite.

“I think today it is a little bit more equal than last year’s,” said the French Open champion and world No.7. “There are a lot of girls that can hold the trophy.”

A key to it being Muguruza, she thinks, is the greater calmness she has been working towards after some rough patches post-Roland Garros. Expectations inevitably rose after the 23-year-old’s maiden major, but she did not pass the second round at either the Wimbledon or US Open that followed. She is yet to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.

“As soon as one person makes a great result [people] think ‘she’s going to eat the world’,” said Muguruza, “It is not like this. There’s a lot of girls playing incredible and they’re going to beat me sometimes. I’m trying not to really hear [that].”

A thigh injury and fatigue after several lengthy matches at the Brisbane International prompted Muguruza’s retirement just five games into her semi-final against Alize Cornet, and she admitted she was still not back to full fitness.

“I did have a lot of hours, it was crazy,” Muguruza said. “It was a very good tournament at the start of the year I had great three matches and I struggled to recover a little bit because it was very tough but I’m happy to be here in Melbourne already.

“I think [I am] not 100 per cent yet but I still have four more days to recover.”

Simona Halep will be seeded fourth, two spots lower than last year, when she was upset by China’s Shuai Zhang in the opening round. Now working with Australian coach Darren Cahill, the Romanian said she had deliberately avoided setting goals for 2017.

“I think I focused too much on the result before and it didn’t work that well. So now, I’m just relaxing and enjoying,” said the former French Open finalist. “I’m excited, but I’m nervous, too, because it’s the first grand slam of the year. But I am prepared. I worked hard in the off-season and I’ve worked hard since I have been here so I’m just waiting to start the official matches and to give my best.”

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