“Fake” White Ribbon website faces legal action

A men’s rights group has been accused of “hijacking” the name of a prominent anti-domestic violence group and is using it to publish “misinformation” about violence against women.
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White Ribbon is considering taking legal action to stop the group, which uses the same name and similar branding.

White Ribbon Australia is an anti-violence organisation that appoints high-profile men to make a public stance against violence and encourage other men to do the same.

The alleged fake website is owned and operated by A Voice for Men, which claims on its own website to “expose misandry on all levels in our culture” and to “educate men and boys about the threats they face in feminist governance and to promote an end to that governance.”

The domain names are very similar – whiteribbon杭州龙凤论坛.au is the genuine Australian branch and whiteribbon杭州龙凤论坛 is registered by A Voice for Men.

It recent weeks it has posted articles titled: “Refuting 40 years of lies about domestic violence” and “Why women’s shelters are hotbeds of gender hatred”.

White Ribbon Australia national executive of engagement and partnerships, Fayssal Sari, told Fairfax Media he is aware of at least one person who wanted to donate to the organisation, but accidently sent the money to the wrong account, via the website.

“There’s potential for some serious impact and that does concern us,” he said. “Any attempt to encourage donations to this non-bona fide organisation could constitute fraud. Our legal advice is that there is possible fraud in intellectual property infringement, particularly around the branding and use of the ribbon.

“We have more than 2000 ambassadors nationwide. For this site to come up and undermine what these good men are doing is really disappointing.”

The A Voice for Men’s website was registered in 2012 but its details are hidden behind a firewall, meaning it is impossible determine where it is based.

Mr Sari believes it is Canadian or American.  White Ribbon Australian registered their website in 2002.

University of Melbourne intellectual property expert Andrew Christie said A Voice for Men website “could be in big trouble” for using White Ribbon Australia’s trademarked name and similar logo.

However, he said taking legal action against the group could be problematic because it is likely based overseas and IP laws rarely cover international websites.

In Victoria, 29 women died in 2013 in relation to domestic violence, up from 15 in 2012. Family violence was a factor in 80 per cent of child deaths known to child protection services last year, up from 62 per cent in 2010.

The organisation found out about the competing website just weeks before its annual White Ribbon Day, on November 25. Hundreds of events have already been organised to raise funds to stop male violence against women.

Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack said she was horrified when she was told of the website.

“What happens if a woman is looking for information and if she came across a website that she thought had some merit or authority, and was provided with erroneous information? It’s such an irresponsible and unethical thing to do.”

She added it was “extraordinary” for the organisation’s brand to be “hijacked” to be used for purposes opposite to what it does.

“What they claim has absolutely no credibility. The overwhelming evidence that we have from the World Health Organisation, the United Nations, from research, provides a comprehensive picture of the cause of violence against women.”

Whiteribbon杭州龙凤论坛 was contacted for comment.


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Roy Higgins and ‘Mother’ capture hearts with Melbourne Cup win

Iconic image: Roy Higgins and Light Fingers after their 1965 Cup win. Photo: Supplied
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Iconic image: Roy Higgins and Light Fingers after their 1965 Cup win. Photo: Supplied

Iconic image: Roy Higgins and Light Fingers after their 1965 Cup win. Photo: Supplied

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014

The pair of Bart Cummings and Roy Higgins won more than 100 stakes races, and they unearthed many a star of the turf. Their partnership dates back to not long after the young rider first moved to Melbourne.

The combination of Higgins’ lightning-fast instincts and Cummings’ brilliance as a trainer would reap many unforgettable wins on the track. One of the most memorable, of course, would be with the legendary thoroughbred Light Fingers.

According to Higgins, Light Fingers “felt more like a six-year-old mare than a three-year-old filly”. He nicknamed her “Mother” because she had that nature that allowed her to work as a lead pony for other horses, as well as nurturing or mothering some of the younger horses in the stable.

In the spring of 1965, Cummings not only had Light Fingers, but he had a handful of others, including his quality colt Ziema, to bolster his carnival team.

Where Light Fingers was as calm as a thoroughbred could be, Ziema was muscular and a bit wild. He would carry on, and buck, and throw his rider at trackwork. He would often only settle down when Light Fingers was brought along to lead him to the track. Higgins was aboard her when she was sent out favourite in the Caulfield Stakes, the week before the Caulfield Cup. However, 800 metres from home she clipped the champion Winfreux’s heels and almost toppled over. As her nose came dangerously close to the ground, she miraculously regained her feet and somehow managed to get herself back into rhythm in time to finish in third place.

It was a huge run, but it came at a cost. Given her great will to win, Light Fingers came out of the Caulfield Stakes stiff and sore with a ricked muscle in her neck and shoulder. She whinnied in pain one morning when a track jockey tried to get on her back to take her for a walk.

With her campaign in disarray, and battling a muscle injury, Light Fingers was only allowed to be slowly walked or swum in the Maribyrnong River, which runs adjacent to the Flemington Racecourse. Higgins wasn’t allowed to sit on her back until she got over her pain.

Her stablemate Ziema continued in his campaign towards the Melbourne Cup. He was unlucky in the Caulfield Cup, being severely interfered with before running second to Bore Head, before also being runner-up the following week in the Moonee Valley Cup. Meanwhile, with so much doubt over Light Fingers’ place in the Cup, Higgins was offered the ride on Matlock, who had shortened into Cup favourite. After a quick think, Higgins refused the offer, claiming that he couldn’t bear the thought of Light Fingers running and someone else on her. “My filly’s so good that if she gets to the post she just might win, and if she does it would break my heart not to be her rider,” he reiterated to the press a few days later.

A Melbourne Cup start was still up in the air and this remained so right up to the race, as Cummings was desperate to see more improvement. At dawn on Melbourne Cup morning, Higgins gave her another light jog over a furlong. Higgins said he felt that Light Fingers was two to three days off her best, but was still adamant that Light Fingers was well enough, and fit enough, to run in the Cup.

“It was that close,” Higgins recalled in a later interview. “She still needed a few more days to be 100 per cent, but Bart took the punt and ran her and I’m forever thankful that he did.”

Like most Melbourne Cups, that year’s race was two miles of incessant jostling and bumping. Higgins was wary of over- taxing Light Fingers by forcing her into unnecessary bumping duels. He had her in the front half of the field, with the plan of following Ziema, who was ridden by the then Adelaide-based jockey John J.J. Miller. Because Higgins knew how fit Ziema was, he was certain it was a winning strategy to trail Ziema and then have a late run at him and hope Light Fingers could outstay him. For Miller, his plan was to go ahead and wear Light Fingers down.

As the field straightened for home, three of the fancied runners, Yangtze, Ziema and Tobin Bronze, were sharing the lead until about a furlong and a half out from the post when Miller took Ziema past Yangtze, as that horse and Tobin Bronze both began to fade. As Ziema was going for home, there was only one horse emerging from the pack. It was Light Fingers.

With half a furlong to go, Ziema was still leading Light Fingers by three-quarters of a length, but Higgins suspected he had an ace up his sleeve. Ziema was bigger and no doubt fitter, but he felt that Light Fingers enjoyed a class and psychological edge over her rival.

Light Fingers moved up to Ziema’s girth, before moving up to his neck. The filly knew who she was chasing; after years of working as the lead pony for Ziema to calm him down and allow him to run past her in trackwork, here she was chasing him down, but the post was going to come too soon. However, Higgins felt that when Light Fingers got closer to Ziema, the colt became aware of her presence, and the jockey then knew he’d get to the post first.

“I realised I had it won about 30 yards from the winning post,” Higgins said later. “When suddenly Ziema changed stride, as a tired horse will do, and his tail sort of started to wave. I thought, ‘Well he has got nothing left and I am going strong’.

Miller, who had been riding for Cummings and for the emerging Colin Hayes in South Australia, said he thought he might have won but was happy to save on the result with Higgins after the line. “A stride past the post, Roy turned to me, he says, ‘What do you reckon?’ ” he recalled. “And I say, ‘I think I beat you, but I’ll save the monkey’. And he said, ‘No, no, no’. He relates the story later on and he said he knew he had got the money when I went to save the monkey.’

Cummings later said that he wouldn’t have minded a dead heat. But the developed print came up, and the course announcer said Light Fingers had won by a half-head. Higgins came in and he looked at Cummings and grinned, “Sorry I pipped you, Bart.” The picture of Higgins cradling Light Fingers’ head on their return to scale has become an iconic image of Australian racing. Australians quickly warmed to the country jockey made good and the little mare that beat them all with limited preparation.

As for Higgins’ connection to his horse, it is telling that in later years he refused to have any more than a few modest pictures in his house of any of the horses he rode, but he proudly displayed a large one of Light Fingers.

Edited extract from Roy Higgins: Australia’s Favourite Jockey by Patrick Bartley, Penguin, $39.99.

 The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.


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OPINION: The science behind Melbourne Cup winners

Melbourne Cup 2013 winner Fiorente with trainer Gai Waterhouse and strapper Des Fisher at Flemington. THOROUGHBRED racehorses have unique anatomy and physiology that suits them well for racing at high speeds. There are very few 3200m thoroughbred races in Australia, and the horses making it to the final 24 in the Melbourne Cup are truly elite.
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They have superior oxygen transport and an ideal mix of muscle fibre types, and are able to efficiently gallop at high speed. But winning the race also depends on how the horse behaves on the day, the jockey, and good luck.

Horses in the Cup will have big hearts with exceptionally high capacity for pumping blood to muscles. During the race, each horse’s heart rate will hit 220-230 beats per minute, with each beat pumping around 1.3-1.4 litres of blood. About 300litres of blood will be pumped to each horse’s muscles and tissues during each minute.

That blood also has an extraordinarily high concentration of haemoglobin – its oxygen-carrying component – much higher than that of elite human athletes.

These factors combine to enable an elite racehorse to consume 250litres of oxygen during the race.

Horses will consume oxygen at maximum rates of 180ml per minute for each kilogram of body weight after the first minute of the race.

Better race results could be expected in horses with the highest oxygen-consumption – but a win depends on more than just higher aerobic capacity. At some stage in the race every horse will do a short sprint, and must also possess the anatomy and physiology needed.

These horses will have the right combination and number of types of muscle cells to provide the ideal mix of endurance and acceleration.

The best have higher proportions of fast twitch oxidative muscle fibres, well suited to fast contractions, oxygen metabolism and fatigue resistance. Slow twitch fibres are better suited to endurance races.

Training for the Cup needs a mix of slow and fast gallops and short distance sprints of 400-600m.

The trainer has the challenge of making the right decisions each morning to promote fitness without overtraining and tiring the horse.

The art of the trainer is still important in preparing the horse to be at peak physical fitness and emotional state on the day.

The horse will have its final sprint or fast gallop workouts three to five days before the race, and be maintained with slow exercise until the race – much like a human athlete tapers before a marathon. This may include treadmill training.

Feed is decreased on the day of the race – having a big mass of food in the intestines isn’t ideal.

A horse’s emotional state is also important. Poor behaviour before or during the race can seriously impact performance. Horses with over-excitability before the race, shown by agitation and excessive sweating, tend to perform less well than their calmer race mates.

Horses that do not relax during the race pull hard against their jockeys, costing energy, so efficiency of galloping is decreased, resulting in poor performance.

The best horses win the genetic lottery, respond to training and racing programs over years and are in the right mental state on the day.

David Evans is adjunct associate professor in equine exercise science at Charles Sturt University. This ran on The Conversation.


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OPINION: When is private also public?

QUICKSAND: Senator Nova Peris, whose private emails were leaked.
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THE publication by media outlets of leaked emails purportedly written by Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris and Sydney University Professor Barry Spurr raise numerous issues around public interest and privacy.

What is the public interested in? What is in the public interest? Are the two mutually exclusive?

Publication of subject matter and content that is in the public interest can be poles apart from – and even diametrically opposed to – subject matter and content that the public are interested in.

Salacious stories are more likely to grab public attention than stories that are in the public interest. Salacious stories involving public and powerful figures are even more alluring.

When sex gets into bed with the information necessary to properly participate in a robust democracy, sex always takes the blankets and gets the mouse clicks. Quality and accuracy are often the first casualties of the clickbait ruse.

Last month, a story about a dwarf stripper getting a bride pregnant on her hen’s night went viral. A clickbait masterpiece, the story first appeared in Spanish publication Las Cinco Del Dia.

Web aggregator Inquisitr claimed that while there was nothing to positively verify the yarn, “the story is too interesting not to pass along”.

In other words, don’t let the facts get in the way of a clickbait masterpiece. But while there can be no doubt it was interesting to the public, it was hardly in the public interest.

Perhaps it may be of more use and provide additional clarity if matters that publishers argue as being in the public interest were redefined as being of public benefit. A public service ethic underpins all serious journalism.

Public interest and privacy are at the centre of the email leaks involving Senator Nova and Professor Spurr.

From his University of Sydney email address, Professor Spurr sent emails to friends and colleagues over a two-year period. The emails contained racist and sexist diatribes. One email attributed blame to a victim of brutal sexual assault.

Professor Spurr maintains that the emails were a ‘‘whimsical linguistic game … trying to outdo one another in extreme statements’’, and the emails were largely restricted to a bit of ‘‘one-upmanship’’ between himself and an old friend.

It seems the spirit of that game was to see who could be the most outlandishly offensive and politically incorrect. The “I was only joking” line is the go-to defence of those accused of bullying, racism, homophobia and sexism. Yet though Professor Spurr’s defence is not palatable, it is plausible.

Professor Spurr has launched a Federal Court action against New Matilda for publishing the emails. The argument against the online news site includes Professor Spurr’s right to keep his emails private. Australians have no right to privacy under law, but they can and have taken successful legal action against breaches of confidence.

Emails have been considered by the law to be like letters. Letters are treated as confidential between the sender and recipient. Unauthorised publication may breach the confidence implied in email correspondence if the information is confidential.

Some emails contain advice at the bottom of the email advising information contained in the email is or may be confidential and subject to copyright.

The defence for publishing Professor Spurr’s emails may include argument that to do so was in the public interest.

Part of the problem for the Federal Court may be that there is no black-and-white definition of what constitutes public interest. Is it in the public interest for Australians to know the nation’s only professor of poetry shares anachronistic and abhorrent views that he sees as playfully quaint amusement?

Senator Nova Peris has also had confidential emails published. In her case, the information may be considered even more private because it refers to an intimate relationship. The NT News has already argued it published the emails because it was in the public interest to know that public money may have been used inappropriately to facilitate a personal relationship.

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2014 report Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era makes it clear that the defence of public interest is unclear in Australia. Accordingly, the commission has recommended a public interest defence be built into a new privacy law.

But there is little interest from government in this recommendation and the media certainly aren’t backing any new privacy laws.

The issues around the right to publish and the right to expect an email to remain confidential are struggling in a quicksand of ambiguity.

The Federal Court’s ruling may throw one of the two a lifeline, but the battle to stop from sinking may require a once-and-for-all ruling by the High Court.

Paul Scott is a lecturer in the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle


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Melbourne Cup 2014: Fawkner poised to repel international invasion

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep
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Fawkner is clearly the best performed Australian runner in Tuesday’s $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup and is poised to follow the path of last year’s winner Fiorente and repel the international invasion.

Both Fawkner and Fiorente went into the Cup on the back of top Cox Plate runs, great form for a handicap and the lead-in Cup run for the past two winners as Green Moon (2012) also contested the weight-for-age race.

With the wave of internationals – they have 11 of the 24 runners – Australian owned and trained horses are in danger of being overwhelmed when it comes to our iconic race.

The raiders have won the two majors so far this spring, the Caulfield Cup to Japan’s Admire Rakti and the Cox Plate with Adelaide to Ireland.

But suddenly the local contingent is shaping up with a strong Melbourne Cup hand.

Fawkner is exclusively Australian – bred, owned, trained and ridden – while Signoff is English bred with a Brazilian jockey but Aussie owned and trained.

Fawkner’s owner Lloyd Williams is an old hand at winning the Melbourne Cup – he’s part-owned four winners – while Signoff’s trainer Darren Weir prepared 2003 runner-up She’s Archie when he was an emerging trainer from Ballarat. Now he’s the state’s leading trainer.

While Fawkner (No 3) ran a brave, strong-finishing sixth in last year’s Melbourne Cup when connections were critical of the ride and is the class horse, he pays the penalty with 57kilograms.

That’s where Saturday’s Lexus winner Signoff  (No 24) comes into contention as he has just 51kilograms, or 51.5kilograms as jockey Joao Moreira will ride a half kilo overweight.

It’s no more than he deserves on his record to date but there is a sense of timing eerily reminiscent of Shocking who won the Cup in 2009.

They have followed almost identical paths into the Cup running well in lower key handicaps without winning and therefore keeping their weight down and relying on a Lexus win to force their way into the Cup field.

Weir shrewdly held back blinkers until Saturday and the booking of world class jockey Moreira is a plus.

Of the internationals Admire Rakti was hugely impressive in the Caulfield Cup but the query is can he back up that supreme effort 17 days later against a better class field?

Also history says the 58.5kilogram is a stopper, the last Cup winner with that weight was Think Big in 1975.

If Signoff is a significant player so must be the German raider Protectionist, lightly raced and with his best still to come.

Protectionist impressed the way he powered home for fourth in the Herbert Power Handicap where Signoff ran second.

The fact he has had a lead-up run is significant.

It’s a proven formula for international Cup winners.

Media Puzzle (2002), Delta Blues (2006), Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) all had a preparatory run in Australia before going on to win the Cup.

Betting strategies for backing the Cup winner are many and varied – form analysts rely on speed maps, times, weights, jockeys. Once-a-year punters might prefer lucky numbers, favourite colours, or quirky names.

Exotic bet types – quinella, exacta, trifecta and first fours offer huge value with the option of flexi bets (a percentage of a $1 unit) ideal for a modest outlay.

Often a roughie fills a place in a Melbourne Cup (last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux was $61). So for your exotics include Gatewood (No 10), Mutual Regard (No 11), Opinion (No 20), Araldo (No 21)  and how could you leave out the marvel Red Cadeaux (No 4) in his fourth Cup start.

SUGGESTED BETS for $50: Fawkner (No 3) $20 to win, Signoff (No 24) $10 to win; $20 first four flexi bets (5.95 per cent) 3 and 24 to win, 1, 3, 5 and 24 for second, with 1, 3, 5, 10, 11, 20, 21, 22, 24 to run third and fourth.

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.


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