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June 24, 2017: The Sydney Morning Herald: Five people overdose at Darling Harbour nightclub, say police

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A Darling Harbour nightclub was forced to clear its patrons last night after five people were taken to hospital with suspected drug overdoses.

Ambulance officers were called twice to a venue on Wheat Rd, Darling Harbour.

NSW Ambulance said they were first called about 12.15am on Saturday morning to treat a group of women who were suspected of intoxication by overdose, and then about 1.30am to treat two men.

They did not know whether there was a connection between the two groups.

INDEX

SECTION 1 THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD ACTIVITIES

SECTION 2 THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD PROFILE

SECTION 3 BUSINESS NEWS ROUND UP

SECTION 1 THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD ACTIVITIES

The Sydney Morning Herald publishes daily newspaper in Australia. It also publishes the newspaper through Web. The newspaper features classifieds, editorials, crosswords, and national, business, and sports news. The Sydney Morning Herald was founded in 1831 and is based in Sydney, Australia. The company is a subsidiary of Fairfax Digital.

SECTION 2 THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD PROFILE

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Industry: Media

SECTION 3 BUSINESS NEWS ROUND UP

June 24, 2017: The Sydney Morning Herald: After six months, Clover Moore's council breaks up Martin Place homeless camp

The Martin Place encampment that has become a symbol of the city's homelessness problem was all but swept from the streets on Saturday by Clover Moore's City of Sydney council, in part to make way for a property development.

Underneath banners advertising a charity CEO Sleepout ("Homelessness Doesn't Have a Postcode," the banners declare) staff employed by the council moved quickly on Saturday morning to remove rows of bedding and furnishings that had built up at the north-eastern end of Martin Place.

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Nigel Blakemore, who had been living in Martin Place, cleans up belongings after the City of Sydney removed the homeless. Nigel Blakemore, who had been living in Martin Place, cleans up belongings after the City of Sydney removed the homeless camp. Photo: Anna Kucera

The removal of the camp came amid a tense morning of negotiations between the Council's director of city operations, David Riordan, and the organisers of what had become, over the past six months, a community of Sydney's homeless.

"I was a broken man when I came here three months ago," said Nigel Blakemore, one of the camp's residents. "Now I'm ready to take on the world, get back on my feet."

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The council also removed bench seating from Martin Place on Saturday. The council also removed bench seating from Martin Place on Saturday. Photo: Anna Kucera

The council nominated two reasons for removing belongings that had accumulated across Martin Place from the Reserve Bank building.

One was the need for construction hoardings in front of a building site at 60 Martin Place. The second was that the accumulation of items had been deemed a "public nuisance" in materially affecting the "reasonable comfort and convenience of other uses of Martin Place". Advertisement

Staff from both the City of Sydney, and Housing NSW were on hand on Saturday to emphasise alternative places of accommodation.

But some that had been sleeping out said Martin Place had become a more reliable option than government alternatives.

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Council staff remove items left by the homeless in Martin Place. Council staff remove items left by the homeless in Martin Place. Photo: Anna Kucera

"If you take temporary accommodation through Housing, you end up getting further behind than what you were if you had stayed here," said Mr Blakemore. Temporary accommodation tended to last for five days, he said.

Jason Nichols who, with Sandra Sheldick had been living in Martin Place for the past six months, cited the same problem with temporary accommodation.

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Sandra Sheldick and Jason Nichols on the bed they had been living on, before it was moved by the City of Sydney. Sandra Sheldick and Jason Nichols on the bed they had been living on, before it was moved by the City of Sydney. Photo: Anna Kucera

"After five days of TA, we're only going to hit the streets again," Mr Nichols said. "Every night we come here we feel like we're coming home," he said prior to the removal of the bunk bed he had been sleeping on.

One organiser of the camp, Lanz Priestley, said between 38 and 65 people tended to stay there overnight. "All levels of government should come to the party, if they were actually concerned about us, to solve the underlying problems," Mr Priestley said.

Another organiser, Nina Wilson, said they set up the encampment on Martin Place in response to safety concerns by women who had been assaulted while sleeping rough elsewhere. But that it was in Martin Place was also a factor.

"You've got all the parliamentarians and politicians across the road," Ms Wilson said. "You've got the Reserve Bank. It's in people's faces. We wanted people to see there is an issue with homelessness, and it doesn't need to be hidden, it needs to be fixed."

By Saturday afternoon, the majority of belongings had been removed to a council depot, and those that had had been sleeping there had been offered alternative accommodation.

A kitchen that had been set up outside the Reserve Bank building, however, looked likely to remain in place.

In a statement, Cr Moore said the council had worked with FACS to offer alternative accommodation to all in the area, as well as health services.

"The number of people who sleep rough in Sydney each night is very distressing," she said. "We need to work together to provide safe and secure shelter for all - one of the most fundamental human needs."

June 24, 2017: The Sydney Morning Herald: Group 4 league boss Mick Schmiedel talks tough about sport's future

A plain-talking country rugby league boss has bemoaned the dramatic drop in junior league players graduating to the senior ranks - and has laid the blame on "lazy" parents and "soft" children.

With the Group 4 rugby league competition in northern NSW in danger of becoming a wasteland in the under-16 and under-18 ranks, president Mick Schmiedel, a former long-standing player who is a veteran administrator and coach, said parents needed to get "off the couch" and get their kids involved in league.

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Group 4 boss Mick Schmiedel. Group 4 boss Mick Schmiedel. Photo: Supplied

"I put the blame, and they won't like this, squarely at mums and dads," he said.

"I think a lot of mums and dads have just got too lazy now to take their kids to training or go down to the footy to watch.

"They'd rather sit at home or ' God knows what they're doing."

Schmiedel, who coaches Collegian Warriors' first grade and under-13 sides, also unloaded on kids -telling them to harden up. Advertisement

He said years ago if a player "got a spray" from the coach he "took it on the chin".

"Now (it's), 'I'm not copping that. I'm going to another sport. I don't deserve that'," he said.

"Well, you probably did deserve it. You've been a little sh** at training, you weren't doing what you were told, deal with it ' And that's the problem we've got.

"Personally, I think we've become such a cotton wool society that we've got to be so careful of people's feelings that we don't want to upset them.

"Hang on. Little Johnny has been a sh** of a kid, so I told him to pull his head in or he's doing laps. And he goes home crying because the coach was nasty."

Schmiedel said the situation was so dire there were only three under-16 sides and four under-18 sides this season.

"So that tells you there's not a lot (of players) coming through," he said. "I think there's only four (under) 15 sides at the moment."

He added: "The thing with sport in general is we're competing in a market that everyone wants, and you've got rugby union and you've got AFL going strong and soccer going strong, basketball's strong.

"So we're all trying to dip into the same player pool ' which makes it difficult."

June 24, 2017: The Sydney Morning Herald: Woman gets $7000 but fails in bid to sue Coles over grape slip and fall

A woman who stepped on a grape in the Coles fresh produce section has slipped once and fallen twice - first to her knees and elbows and again later in her attempt to sue the supermarket giant.

Fatma Abdul Razzak's lawsuit failed on Thursday when the District Court ruled Coles had exercised reasonable care in cleaning its floors and had not breached its duty of care.

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It was not the fault of Coles that a customer slipped on a grape, a judge found. It was not the fault of Coles that a customer slipped on a grape, a judge found. Photo: Bloomberg

Judge David Russell ordered Coles to pay Mrs Razzak $7728 in damages, but this will be dwarfed by the amount she will have to pay to cover the supermarket's legal bill after her action failed.

Ms Razzak was shopping in the fruit and vegetable aisle at Coles Hurstville on a Saturday morning in April 2015 when she passed a staff member unstacking grapes onto a table.

Suddenly her feet lost grip, her right foot went backwards and she plunged forward onto her knees and elbows.

Rising to her feet, she detected squashed grapes on the floor. Advertisement

Ms Razzak sued Coles for compensation in the NSW District Court, alleging injuries to her neck and lower back, claiming negligence and seeking damages of at least $35,000.

Her claim was far short of the $580,299 awarded to Kathryn Strong in 2012, who suffered a serious spinal injury after she slipped on a greasy chip in Woolworths.

The High Court ruled in that case that reasonable care would require the supermarket to check the floors at intervals not longer than 20 minutes.

Ms Razzak's legal team tendered evidence that showed there had been 16 slips or falls in the 12 months leading up to the accident, including three that involved grapes, one a cherry pip and another when a customer slipped the residue from a bean skin.

But Judge Russell found the grape could not have been on the floor longer than 10 minutes, with four staff spot-checking the floor every seven to 20 minutes, and it was not realistic to expect every piece of vegetable matter which fell to the floor be picked up instantly.

In spite of efforts by staff to contain spills with mats, checks and cleaning, organic matter still ended up on the floor and customers did occasionally trip, he found.

"Coles is not bound to ensure the absolute safety of entrants to its stores," he said.

"It must take reasonable care.

"Coles could not have been expected to ensure safety by, for example, having several staff in every aisle doing nothing but watching for dropped vegetable matter, or by allocating a staff member to 'shadow' every customer as they walked around the store."

Mrs Razzak had a lengthy history of pain and told the court she always told doctors about her problems if she was worried about something.

But her medical records showed she did not complain about neck pain until 10 weeks after the incident, nor about back pain until four months later, although she had visited her doctor immediately after the incident and numerous times since regarding her knees and elbow.

She was awarded $978 for past medical expenses, $750 for future analgesics and physiotherapy and $6000 for non-economic loss associated with injuries.

But Judge Russell ordered in favour of Coles and ordered her to pay its costs.

June 24, 2017: The Sydney Morning Herald: Coroner to determine cause of Scott Johnson's death after original investigation inadequate

The heath on the clifftop at North Head provided enough cover to keep the sound low and afford some privacy to the men who went there for sex. Not that there was a lot of modesty going about. Clothes were entirely optional. They came in groups or alone, with a picnic or only a towel, picked out a rock and sunbaked with an open mind to something more. Mostly they parked at Shelley Beach, walked up the goat tracks and climbed through a hole in the wall, but those who wanted discretion could park at the hospital. A sunny day attracted them to the beat in scores.

This was the place where Scott Johnson spent his last moments. Fishermen discovered the 27-year-old's body at the foot of the cliff on December 10, 1988. His clothes were neatly folded at the top. Police swiftly determined death by suicide. No witnesses have come forward.

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Scott Johnson about four months before his death. Scott Johnson about four months before his death.

But NSW Coroner Michael Barnes concluded hearings on Friday for an exceptional third inquest into the circumstances of Mr Johnson's death, which exposed for the first time a more sinister undercurrent to the activity on the headland.

During the 1980s, the Northern Beaches were in the grip of AIDS panic, stoked by the grim reaper advertisements running on television and an inherent prejudice against gay men. Heavily tattooed skinhead gangs prowled public toilets and gay beats and went "poofter bashing" for sport. One member of the group was known to have beheaded cats and microwaved his mother's budgerigar. Another set his dog on a cat. Their names cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

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Michael Noone gave evidence at the inquest for the first time since his former partner's death in 1988. Michael Noone gave evidence at the inquest for the first time since his former partner's death in 1988. Photo: Peter Rae

Many people who did not actively assault homosexual men - referred to as "poofs" or "faggots" - at least turned a blind eye.

"Anyone classed as a poof was weak," explained a gay basher whose assault of another man resulted in his death.

June 05, 2017: The Sydney Morning Herald: Further delays to Sydney CBD light rail construction leave retailers struggling

Construction of Sydney's $2.1 billion light rail line along much of George Street in the central city has missed completion deadlines for the second time.

And retailers whose turnover has tumbled since work began more than 18 months ago in the CBD are concerned the disruption from construction will drag on for months.

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