State of emergency as bushfire conditions worsen

Residents in Springwood and surrounding areas survey the aftermath of sweeping bush fires that have ravaged the Blue Mountains this week.

NSW fires

MICK TSIKAS
HOT STUFF: A Rural Fire Service firefighter conducts a backburn in an effort to get a wild fire under control.

Premier Barry O’Farrell has declared a state of emergency across NSW for the next 30 days, which will give special powers to all emergency services to force evacuations and deal with what could be a catastrophe.

The last time such an order was used was in March 2012, to cope with devastating floods.

The entire Blue Mountains and the suburbs of western Sydney around Penrith and Richmond are in danger of burning over the next few days, as hotter and drier than expected weather conditions combine with huge fire fronts already burning, the NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has said.

The dire predictions come after it became clear on Sunday that the forecast for high temperatures, low humidity and high winds was much worse than predicted last week, the commissioner said.

“We are not in a catastrophic [weather] ratings scale [but] we are talking about fire danger ratings that will be in the severe category and you overlay that with the fires that are already burning and it’s a whole new ball game,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.

The worst case scenario, modelling suggested, was that “the communities of the Blue Mountains from Mt Victoria and Blackheath all the way down to Penrith will be affected by fire, and also the Bells Line of Road and then into north-western Sydney and Richmond”.

The official NSW property toll is 208 homes destroyed and 122 damaged. A 63-year-old man has died. There have been 610 insurance claims for damage estimated at $43 million, a number expected to rise significantly.

The worst fire disaster in NSW for at least 45 years could lead to the forced evacuations from high-population centres such as Katoomba and Leura over the next three days.

Temperatures in the 30s and wind gusts of up to 100km/h could threaten all Blue Mountains communities, Mr Fitzsimmons warned.

Mr Fitzsimmons said more firefighters were being called in.

Other fires are still burning, including in the Wyong area, the Illawarra, and Port Stephens. There is also “a fairly large fire” near Singleton and Muswellbrook. Depending on wind speeds and directions later this week, Budgewoi and Toukley could come under threat from the fire now burning around Wyong. “Under the hot, dry and windy conditions that are coming, none of these fire ground areas are safe,” he said.

But these were all dwarfed by the Blue Mountains fires, Mr Fitzsimmons said, because they did not involve mountainous and inaccessible terrain.

”I hope like hell that at the end of this week people are criticising me because we’ve acted on forecasts and it didn’t happen,” Mr Fitzsimmons said. ”But what would be worse would be if we didn’t act on the forecasts.”

The hottest day of this coming week is expected to be Monday. Tuesday might bring rain but it might be as little as 2 millimetres, Mr Fitzsimmons said – not enough to have a positive effect. The wind strengths would be worst on Wednesday.

”There is no doubt these fires will continue to grow. The only uncertainty is to what extent,” he said.

When asked why, if it was expected to be so bad, he was not advising everyone in the mountains to leave, Mr Fitzsimmons said: ”In some areas that is exactly what we are talking about [but] we cannot sensibly look at demanding [that we empty] the entire Blue Mountains of its population. It may not be necessary to do that or it may in some areas, depending on developments in the coming days.”

Assistant Police Commissioner Alan Clarke warned: “Police will be doing forced evacuations if necessary.”

“Undoubtedly that will cause distress to those people,” Premier Barry O’Farrell told a news conference on Sunday at the RFS headquarters, where he and Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher flanked the fire and police chiefs. “It may cause some wider controversy but it’s clear that at times like this that it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

After a briefing at the RFS headquarters at Lidcombe, Mr O’Farrell said the destruction of 208 homes “may not be the end of it”, so people in targeted areas would be asked to leave their homes.

That process began on Sunday when residents of the village of Bell were advised to evacuate. And residents west of Bilpin village, including the communities of Mt Tomah and Berambing, were told to leave along the Bells Line of Road towards Richmond. In Bilpin residents were told they could stay but were warned power was likely to be cut and they might be unable to leave for days because fires would block roads in and out. But Mr O’Farrell said: “If the choice is life of property, the choice clearly should be life.”

Mr Clarke said authorities would provide as much information as possible for people to save their properties but he appealed for them to evacuate as soon as that advice was issued. “At the end of the day, we hope we have buildings standing, but if we don’t have buildings standing, we don’t want bodies in them,” he said.

“It’s important to understand that the single tragedy we’ve had in these fires so far has been … where an individual chose to remain and fight a fire.”

Emergency services could not tie up resources “wrestling with one person to get off a property if they are capable and able to make a decision”. They needed to focus on people who couldn’t help themselves.

With worsening conditions forecast, culminating on Wednesday, Mr Fitzsimmons said: “We are talking wind strengths starting at 25 to 30 kilometres [an hour] and gusting up to 50, 60 and right up to – as the days roll on – wind strengths of 70 to 100 kilometres per hour across of these fireground areas.”

Mr Fitzsimmons said the entire Blue Mountains community needed to be on alert for possible evacuations, from Mt Victoria and Blackheath to Katoomba and Leura, “right down to the fire burning in Springwood” and beyond to Kurrajong and Richmond.

“We are not talking necessarily at this stage of mass evacuations of the entire Blue Mountains community,” he said. “But what we can’t rule out is that there will be parts that may well be evacuated. We have very changing, dynamic, volatile situations that will unfold over the next three to four days.”

Asked how evacuations would work in bigger centres such as Katoomba or Leura – where the Great Western Highway, the main escape route, could be a traffic jam in the best of conditions – Mr Fitzsimmons said those strategies were being worked out.

On Sunday, an emergency warning was placed over the 37,000-square-hectare State Mine fire, which started on Defence land near Lithgow. An investigation is yet to determine whether it was ignited by explosives training.

Mr Fitzsimmons said light rain expected on Tuesday would be “inconsequential” and any marginal improvement in the extreme weather that triggered the initial disaster last Thursday would be “academic” – now that fires were burning over such vast terrain.

“When you overlay that fire weather forecast across [the Lithgow fire] … and an active fire edge of more than 300 kilometres, and you couple that with a fire only several kilometres to the south near Blackheath, and indeed a fire where we’ve seen so much devastation already down towards Springwood and Winmalee, we’ve got what would be unparalleled in terms of risk and exposure for the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury communities throughout this week.”

– Sydney Morning Herald

Cadeira Elétrica no Pici

De 2005 até agora, só Ribamar Bezerra chegou ao final do seu mandato como presidente do Fortaleza

Para muitos simpatizantes do Leão, ser presidente do Fortaleza é ser tão popular quanto o governador do Estado. Uma honra para os tricolores. Por outro lado, a outra faceta do cargo mostra um ser humano sentado como que numa cadeira elétrica ou máquina de triturar, tal a pressão que é exercida sobre ele, especialmente nos dias difíceis de permanência na Série C do Campeonato Brasileiro.

Principal cargo do clube do Pici tem sido alvo central das críticas da torcida FOTO: LUCAS DE MENEZES

Desde quando o time estava na Série A, Ribamar Bezerra conheceu os infortúnios da função, com constantes cobranças para que o time lá se mantivesse.

Vários empresários, profissionais liberais, homens de sucesso nos seus empreendimentos, foram desafiados na guilhotina das emoções dos torcedores, todos ávidos por resultados em quaisquer competições, nem que para isso se sacrificasse a permanência dos dirigentes em seus referidos postos.

Imponderável

Ribamar Bezerra, hoje responsável pelo Centro de Treinamento do Fortaleza, disse que os torcedores não levam em consideração o imponderável que é inerente ao futebol. Para ele, os dirigentes procuram fazer tudo corretamente e até o fazem, mas são traídos pelo que não pode se prever. Com isso, os resultados não aparecem e os torcedores passam a ver como vilões aqueles que entraram no clube com o status de herói. “Não é como você construir um prédio, por exemplo. Além de você precisar ter a capacidade para o cargo, tem que contar também com a sorte”, disse ele.

Para Ribamar Bezerra, há um profissional importantíssimo no clube, que normalmente é negligenciado nas temporadas, que é o contratador, o gerente que vai buscar os jogadores para a campanha de cada ano. “Quem contratar 70% certo tem grandes chances de estar trazendo um time de vencedores. Embora haja o fator sorte envolvido. Mas, quando ocorrem problemas nas campanhas, pode ver que 90% vem de falhas nas contratações. Agora, é muito difícil contratar certo, porque muitas vezes vem um jogador de fora, que você não sabe qual será o nível de comprometimento dele com a causa do clube”, disse.

20% da base

Ribamar diz que seria primordial o clube colocar nos estatutos que 20% dos jogadores do seu elenco teriam que ser obrigatoriamente das categorias de base. “Quando o treinador chegasse ele já receberia a informação de que não poderia importar 100% do elenco, pois os estatutos do clube não permitiriam”, disse.

Um dos homens mais preparados para o cargo – dada a sua vivência no mundo do futebol, o advogado Marcello Desidério passou 19 meses à frente do Fortaleza, na gestão 2007 e 2008, mas não resistiu aos maus resultados do time em campo, durante o período da Série B.

Desidério conseguiu recuperar o estádio Alcides Santos para jogos oficiais, porém o torcedor não perdoou as falhas do time. Sob forte pressão, ele entregou carta-renúncia ao Conselho Deliberativo e passou o comando para o vice, Lúcio Bomfim.

E olhe que Desidério e Bomfim foram da época em que o Leão ganhou os estaduais, sedimentando o caminho para o tetra que viria sob o comando de Renan Vieira em 2010. Como o time não foi bem na Série B, escapando de cair em 2008, mas caindo em 2009, a torcida fez de tudo para mudar as diretorias.

Paulo Artur veio em 2011, tendo como vice, Osmar Baquit. Paulo pediu licença de 90 dias e depois não retornou mais à administração do Tricolor.

Paulo Artur diz que, para um presidente ter sucesso no clube, é necessário dedicação de 100% do seu tempo, pois os problemas são muitos. Com isso, aqueles que estão em plena atividade nas suas atribuições profissionais não podem se dedicar integralmente e aí começam os insucessos no futebol.

O QUE ELES PENSAM

Por que é tão difícil tirar o Fortaleza da Série C?

“O momento atual do Fortaleza preocupa muito. Só tem uma forma de sair dessa situação que é a união de todos os tricolores e acabar com as divisões. Para se ter sucesso como presidente do Fortaleza é preciso trabalhar com planejamento, competência e também ter um grupo à frente de tudo. Vejo que a diretoria ficou apenas com o Osmar Baquit e o Daniel Frota”.

Lúcio Bomfim
Ex-presidente do Fortaleza

“A responsabilidade que se coloca nos ombros da diretoria é muito grande. Essa responsabilidade reflete também no campo. O Fortaleza não poderia ficar nem um ano na Série C e já estamos indo para o quinto ano, por conta dessa ansiedade, dessa pressão para sair. Por conta de tudo isso, o Fortaleza vive um de seus piores momentos, mas em 2010 para mim foi até pior”.

Renan Vieira
Presidente do tetracampeonato do Fortaleza

“Não dá para julgar muito os dirigentes atuais. Quem está lá é que sabe onde o sapato aperta. Mas eu diria que a bola não entrou, apesar de os dirigentes terem feito tudo para tirar o time da Série C. A ansiedade que existe não é boa em nenhuma atividade do homem e isso atrapalha. Mas eu e um grupo de amigos estamos buscando saídas para ajudar o clube”.

Marcello Desidério
Ex-presidente do Fortaleza

“O Fortaleza tem feito um time de Série A ou de Série B para disputar a Série C. Acho que um dos problemas pode ser esse. A Série C tem que ter jogadores com perfil de Série C. Quando você traz muitos jogadores de fora eles acabam tirando o pé das divididas, o que não faz um atleta da casa. O ideal é mesclar a base com alguns experientes para tentar sair da Série C”.

Paulo Artur
Presidente anterior a Osmar Baquit

Ivan Bezerra

Repórter

 

Diário do Nordeste-Jogada-20/10/2013

The woman most likely

October 20, 2013

Erin O’Dwyer

If Labor is to make its way out of the political wilderness, deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek will be a key player.

Order in the house … Tanya Plibersek has become adroit at balancing work and family demands.

Order in the house … Tanya Plibersek has become adroit at balancing work and family demands. Photo: Hugh Stewart

Tanya Plibersek has a gift for doing many things at once. “My personal favourite was writing a speech, talking on the telephone and breastfeeding,” says Labor’s 43-year-old MP for the federal seat of Sydney, whisking egg yolks, lemon juice and olive oil into a home-made mayonnaise.

It’s lunchtime at Plibersek’s inner-city home and the mother of three is rallying the troops. “Yes, you can have a baguette, Joe,” she says to her hovering eight-year-old. She calls upstairs – “Mum, would you like a sandwich?” – and then says to the photographer, “Are you sure I can’t offer you anything?” He declines politely, then tosses over his shoulder, “Don’t ask her why she’s not running as leader of the opposition.”

Why not indeed? Within hours of the ALP losing government in September, Plibersek emerged as a potential new leader. A few weeks later, BRW magazine described her as a “powerful candidate” due to her “warmth, intelligence … and, let’s not be shy, her undoubted charisma”. Then former PM Julia Gillard all but endorsed Plibersek, calling her one of the most gifted communicators in politics.

Role model … Plibersek with her daughter Anna, aged 12.

Role model … Plibersek with her daughter Anna, aged 12. Photo: Hugh Stewart

So when Plibersek offered herself as deputy – leaving two men, Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese, to contest the Labor leadership – political observers were left asking why she didn’t step up for the top job. “Are there many working mothers asking that? I don’t think so,” says Plibersek, who was elected deputy leader last week. “I’m away a lot already, at least one or two nights every week, and if it was the leadership as well I’d be away every weekend.”

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Juggling work and family has been the mainstay in Plibersek’s life since she entered Federal Parliament in 1998, aged 29. In that time she has had three children – Anna, 12, Joe, 8, and Louis, 3 – and breastfed each of them for the first year. Her family loyalty has only strengthened her public image as a capable and compassionate politician. “If you were to draw up a shortlist for the next PM, it would have Tanya Plibersek’s name on it,” says political commentator Lachlan Harris, a former press secretary to Kevin Rudd.

If the ALP has taken hits on its credibility and standing up for its ideals, then Plibersek is crucial to rebuilding. “What Tanya has in spades is a real decency and dignity,” Harris says. “It shines through whether you see her on TV, meet her in an airport lounge or watch her on the floor of Parliament.”

On election night, former PM Bob Hawke came under fire for suggesting that Plibersek could not lead the party because she had a three-year-old child. When it emerged that Bill Shorten also had a three-year-old, the backlash was swift, with feminist action group Destroy the Joint launching a Twitter tirade and an internet meme. “I felt a bit sorry for Bob Hawke,” says Plibersek. “He asked me, in this incredibly supportive and encouraging way, ‘Why don’t you run?’ And at that stage Louis wasn’t quite three and I said I couldn’t imagine it.”

Hawke remains a firm believer in Plibersek’s ability to lead the party. “She’s got everything it takes,” he says. “She’s intelligent, articulate and committed to the values of Labor.”

Amid the conflict and chaos of the Rudd-Gillard era, Plibersek emerged unscathed. She’s one of a number of unassuming female Labor MPs – Michelle Rowland in NSW, Kate Ellis in South Australia, Kate Lundy in the ACT – determined to trample over gender politics and make a fresh start with rolled-up sleeves.

Plibersek, especially, manages to sidestep internal party politics and the machinations of the “faceless men”, yet retains the respect of the party’s king-makers. In her own electorate of Sydney she is much loved. “It’s a very demographically diverse seat and she manages to cover a wide spectrum of people, from working-class families to the first- and second-generation migrants to the über-trendy latte drinkers,” says Harris, who lived for many years in the electorate.

Long-time Canberra press gallery journalist Kerry-Anne Walsh describes Plibersek as a “straight shooter. She stands out in the Labor male ruck. She’s a genuinely compassionate person, a good policy driver, and she doesn’t play nasty political games.”

Adds Harris, “What makes Tanya interesting goes beyond the fact she’s a woman. It’s her political skills and her character … that make her a strong force in politics.”

Plibersek sets out a light lunch for our interview. There’s organic olive bread, hard-boiled quail eggs, poached salmon and lettuce from the garden. On the bench is home-made banana bread next to a folder marked “school notes”. The fridge is plastered with wedding invites, photos and a timetable of before- and after-school activities.”I love cooking and I find it really relaxing,” Plibersek says. “It’s different from what I do the rest of the time.”

In the office, too, Plibersek’s hospitality is legendary. On sitting days in Parliament she’ll often cook – grilled chicken on the sandwich press or soup in the rice cooker. “It’s quicker and healthier than a trip to the Parliament House cafeteria,” she says.

Even at home, Plibersek never stands still. She darts around her kitchen, barefoot and relaxed, in white linen pants and a yellow striped T-shirt. She seldom has time to shop, and asks if she can buy the canary yellow top she is photographed in. “It’s either buy it here or buy at the airport,” she laughs. “The last time I did any clothes shopping was because I was on my way to Brisbane and had to stay overnight. I had to buy undies and a fresh shirt for the next day.”

Plibersek is one of the most invited guests on ABC TV’s Q&A program (along with Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne) – known for her calm, thoughtful answers and occasionally sharp tongue. In person, she is warmer, more personable. Still, she relishes the opportunity to spar on television, despite getting the jitters each time she steps in front of the cameras.

Plibersek is strikingly handsome, with angular features that reflect her Slovenian heritage. Her father Joseph was one of hundreds of migrants who worked on the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme, then returned home on weekends. It was a close and happy upbringing.

But life has not been without tragedy and turmoil. She watched Joseph succumb to cancer at age 80 last year and she lives with the painful memory of the murder of her brother Phillip 16 years ago in Papua New Guinea. Her husband Michael Coutts-Trotter was in the news for all the wrong reasons when, after he was promoted to the post of Director-General of the NSW Education Department in 2007, the press revealed that he had served three years of a nine-year jail sentence for conspiracy to traffic heroin when he was 21 – before he and Plibersek met. Her husband was an addict at the time, and she says, “I think it’s clear that it was a pretty miserable life for Michael and he paid a very high price for it. I hope [the children] will see his experience as instructive.”

Always, family comes first for Plibersek. When Louis asks her for help to get onto the trampoline, she scoops him up in her arms and disappears outside. She returns a few minutes later and picks up our conversation exactly where she left off. “One of the most sustaining parts of my life is my family life,” she says. “For all of the disadvantages of my work, the upside is my children see a much broader cross-section of life and think more deeply about it than many kids their age do.”

On weekends, the children go with her to work. A nanny cares for them through the week and she and her husband’s extended families fill in the gaps. Any downtime is spent at home – bike riding, bushwalking, swimming laps with the kids. “Between us all, we work it out,” she says. “We’re a very close family and it makes a huge difference to have grandparents around. I don’t feel guilty asking my brother [Ray] to look after the kids because he’s forever saying, ‘Why don’t you go out on Saturday night?’ ”

The marginalised and disadvantaged are the focus of Plibersek’s work. As housing minister, she drove a reform agenda that saw $31 billion invested in new public housing and spearheaded a white paper which aimed to halve homelessness by 2020. As health minister, she introduced free dental care for children. Real, tangible wins are what inspire and motivate her.

Plibersek does not shy away from the controversy of Kevin Rudd, acknowledging that the party was “destabilised from within”. Equally, she describes the sexist campaign against Julia Gillard as “beyond the pale”. “Australians shocked themselves by how vicious some of the treatment of the PM was,” she says. “She certainly ran up against some people who never imagined a woman in that leadership role.”

Asked how future female leaders might learn from Gillard’s experience, Plibersek replies, “It’s not a question of how a woman would do it or a man would do it, it’s a question of how a person should do it in a way that reflects their personality. Ego can be a problem. False modesty can be a problem. You need to be true to yourself. Looking back, there were so many things I disagreed with John Howard on, but what you see is what you get with John Howard. And that’s a good way to be.”

Plibersek is appreciating the extra time she has with her children now she’s no longer in cabinet, and doesn’t miss having to get up and dress in the dark. But she is brutally honest that she hates being back in opposition. “It’s devastating to see the things you’ve worked for destroyed. I spent 10 years in opposition, I know what it feels like. You feel impotent and frustrated. You see the things you have worked for being unwound.”

Unlike those who believe the Labor Party has run its course, Plibersek is passionate about its future. She has never thought about running as an independent, and despite her outspoken support for same-sex marriage, she believes in working for change from within, rather than “throwing rocks from the outside”. “It will depend on us behaving ourselves and working closely together,” she says. “How competitive Labor is in three years is completely up to us.”

If a week is a long time in politics, then 15 years as an MP is an eternity. Plibersek is a survivor, a stayer, a new hope for Labor. Bob Hawke says it’s because she’s interested in people. “It’s who she is,” he says simply. “Politicians are about representing people and that’s what she does very well.”

 

Styling by Sarah Bonnett. Hair and make-up by Erin Shaw. Lead-in and top image: Tanya wears Esprit shirt, Bianca Spender pants; Anna wears Witchery 8fourteen dress; Joe wears Country Road shirt, T-shirt and chinos. Above right image: Tanya wears Country Road shirt, Bianca Spender pants; Anna wears Witchery 8fourteen dress.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Presença de Gugu Liberato no Teleton 2013 continua incerta

Divulgação/ TV A CRÍTICA -1993

 

Permanece o suspense. Até agora não existe uma confirmação oficial do Gugu Liberato, se ele participará ou não do Teleton do próximo fim de semana. O convite foi feito, mas por razões particulares ele ainda não respondeu.

Ficamos assim. Mas amanhã tem mais. Tchau!

 

Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carloa Nery

Globo manterá Renata e Tadeu sozinhos na apresentação do Fantástico

Divulgação/TV VERDES MARES

 

A ideia da Globo, pelo menos até abril do ano que vem, é continuar com Renata Vasconcellos e Tadeu Schmidt na apresentação do “Fantástico”. Só os dois.

 

Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery