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Shaming our secret HSC cheats

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 03 Februari 2013 | 23.08

HSC cheats have been caught hiding electronic devices in their clothing, concealing prepared answers up their sleeve and even attempting to get someone else to sit the exam.

One candidate smuggled unauthorised notes into an exam room where they were found on a desk and another who copied material from an electronic device claimed he had been "rote learning".

In other cases uncovered by the Board of Studies, students were caught with tiny audio players and writing prepared essays on tissues that were refolded and placed back in a wrapper. At least one HSC candidate wrote an essay in advance on similar paper to the board's exam booklets and then tried to insert it into the real answer book.

More than 2600 students - about 650 a year - were caught cheating or technically breaching exam rules during the four years from 2008 to 2011, the latest data shows.

In 44 cases, students were accused of the most serious breaches and malpractice including taking unauthorised notes or equipment into an exam with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage.

Penalties imposed include a reduction in exam marks, a zero score for a paper or cancellation of the course.

In 2011, 775 cases of cheating or technical exam breaches were recorded - up from 648 in 2010 - but board officials said the increase was inflated by breaches of a new requirement for folio page limits in the design and technology and industrial technology exams.

One student was found to have a mobile phone when it rang during the exam while another responded to an essay question with an answer downloaded and memorised from a website and a music student submitted a chord structure based on copyright material.

The board warns candidates on its website: "Students know they are taking an extreme risk cheating in their HSC. Penalties for cheating are well known and include losing all or part of the marks for a course and possible loss of the HSC."

Before undertaking the HSC, all candidates are now required to complete an online ethical scholarship course called All My Own Work which examines the pitfalls of plagiarism and other forms of cheating.

The impersonation of students in the exam room is countered by photo identification cards. Candidates in the past have been warned they could be referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption if they commit "serious and deliberate acts of malpractice".

Board of Studies chief executive Carol Taylor said the HSC was "internationally recognised for the quality of the curricula, and integrity of the examination and assessment process".

"The Board of Studies takes very seriously its role maintaining this well-deserved reputation that has been built up over many years including all students behaving in a fair and honest way," Ms Taylor said.

"Board officers investigate all breaches and malpractice including deliberate cheating."

More than 70,000 students sit the HSC every year.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Serbian PM's 'Basic Instinct' moment goes viral

The Serbian PM, Ivica Dacic, got more than he bargained for after falling victim to a stunt by a local TV station. Source: Supplied

THE Serbian government has vowed to "punish" a local production company for a stunt involving a Playboy model, Basic Instinct and the Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic.

The company hired a Playboy model to interview Dacic, while going "commando".

At one point during the interview she did the famous seat shuffle that made Sharon Stone famous in Basic Instinct.

Needless to say Dacic seemed to have a difficult time concentrating.

Since the video of the stunt hit YouTube, it has been viewed more than 5 million times.

The government says that it has been humiliated and is vowing restitution.

"This was Serbia being mocked, not the Prime Minister," Dacic's security adviser Toncev told the Serbian daily newspaper, Blic.

"The whole case will be fully investigated.

"The Prime Minister's office will not let this go unpunished."

However, the Branka Knezevic, the Playboy model who played the role of interviewer praised Dacic for his "sturdiness" and "strength".

"I have only good words for the Prime Minister," she said.

"He is strong and sturdy, a real man for that position."

"He's exactly who should lead the country."
Click here to watch the video.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Super Bawl: Inside a losing Super Bowl change room

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, whose team lost against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Picture: AP Source: AP

  • I'll never forgot what I saw there
  • "Nude, hulking 160 kilo men blubbering"  
  • Cities bid to hold the game, like the Olympics

MOST Australians watch the Super Bowl with only a passing interest in those hulking men in helmets and skin-tight lycra playing a game whose rules we barely understand.

I was one of them until I was lucky enough to cover the event for myself. And I didn't just cover the game and all the hype that surrounds it, but was one of a tiny handful of media who made it into the losers' dressing room straight after the game.

I'll never forget what I saw and what I heard in there. We're talking about nude, hulking 160 kilo men sitting motionless and deathly silent, give or take the odd bit of stifled blubbering.

It was quite a scene. No one wanted to talk and who could blame them?

The year was 2009, and it was no ordinary Super Bowl from an Australian perspective. It was the year former Geelong AFL captain Ben Graham became the first Australian to play in America's biggest sporting event.

Graham was the punter for the Arizona Cardinals, a bit part player at best, but a man whose powerful left boot could still go a long way towards deciding territorial domination – and therefore the outcome of the game.

Graham had switched to the Cardinals in a midyear transfer, and most fans had no idea who he was. There are up to 53 guys on an American football team roster, so you can understand that.

The media didn't think much of him either. When I asked a question about Graham's likely impact on the game at an all-in press conference, a thousand cynical faces turned my way as if to say "who's this idiot?"

Fair question. I was, and still am, anything but an expert on the game. But American sports broadcaster ESPN is trying to change that. Each year it flies lucky journalists from around the world to cover the event.

Like most Americans, the network wants people to love and embrace its winter sporting obsession. And we Aussies are trying. American football, or "gridiron" as it's often called here, has over 2,500 registered players in Australia.

It's not going to overtake Australian rules football or the rugby codes any time soon, but the sport is growing.

American football now also gains more media coverage here these days. The NFL screens on free-to-air as well as Fox Sports, so more Australians are becoming exposed to the game.

For all that, the deeper mysteries of American football remain a secret to most Australians. That's why I couldn't believe it when I suddenly found myself in the losers' dressing room moments after the Super Bowl.

Immediately after the game, I was out on the playing field in a blizzard of confetti as the victorious Pittsburgh Steelers clashed their chests together in triumph. Oof!

They're quite a team, those Steelers. No fuss, no flashiness, just six Super Bowl wins, which is the most ever. Amazing how a sporting team's spirit so often mirrors the character of its home town or city.

But Ben Graham's team was the story of interest to my Australian magazine audience, so I quickly left the field and headed for the Arizona Cardinals dressing rooms. Somehow I got in. And then the door closed. And then, well... nothing really.

No one tried to kick me out but no one would answer my questions either. The Cardinals had pulled off a huge comeback, coming from 20-7 down to lead 23-20. Alas, it wasn't enough. The Pittsburgh Steelers scored late to make the final score 27-23.

The nature of the loss made it all the more devastating for Ben Graham and his Cardinals. Their shock and disappointment at the last minute loss was compounded by the knowledge they'd be unlikely to be there again.

History has proved that hunch right. The Cardinals have played just one post-season (playoff) game since that Super Bowl.

With seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLIII, the pass by quarterback Kurt Warner (left) of the Arizona Cardinals is thwarted by LaMarr Woodley (right) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Players often say "it hasn't sunk in yet" after big wins. Losses are much, much quicker.

It took maybe half an hour, maybe 45 minutes for the change room to stir. Eventually, players started showering and dressing and answering a few questions here and there. Their faces lacked expression and the volume of their muted answers was stuck on barely audible. But at least they spoke.

Outside the ground, it was a different scene. The Pittsburgh fans were as ecstatic as you'd expect. The Arizona fans, while sombre, were still happy enough. For them Super Bowl week had been a party in itself, win or lose.

And that's what the Super Bowl is. Like our own footy grand finals or the Melbourne Cup, it is a week long festival but with much better celebrities. Springsteen at halftime, free Kanye West concerts during the week in the host city of Tampa, Florida. It's quite the show.

The Most Valuable Player during the match, Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers kisses the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

American cities bid to host the Super Bowl, much like cities compete to host the Olympics. Right now, the Super Bowl venue is booked for the next three years. In 2015, it'll be held at the Cardinals' home ground in Phoenix, Arizona.

Don't bet on the Cardinals returning to taste glory on home turf. No team has ever won a Super Bowl when it's been held in their home city.

This year's Super Bowl is between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. It will be held in New Orleans. Coverage on Australian TV starts 10am on ESPN and One HD

Continue the conversation @antsharwood  @newscomauHQ

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Watch the proposal that stops traffic

The moment Californian bikers stopped traffic for a marriage proposal has gone viral. Courtesy YouTube/Rudy Cadena

IT'S NOT everyday a marriage proposal stops traffic, but a bikie in California may face charges for holding cars at bay while he asked that all-important question.

Hector 'Tank' Martinez led a group ride of over 100 motorcycles down freeway 10 in West Covina at around 1.30pm last Sunday as part of a plan to propose to his girlfriend. 

The group appeared to suddenly slow down and then come to a complete stop before he asked his girlfriend Paige Fernandez to get off the bike as a plume of pink smoke appears from out of nowhere.

The line of traffic behind the romantic scene builds as Martinez makes his pitch to his lady love.

Several bike do wheelies or circle the pair while the group hold cars at bay while Martinez pops the question and she appears to say "yes" before he removed her helmets and kiss.

The bikes all slowed down and stopped so the proposal could take place.

While the unique proposal got a rousing reception from the bikers on the road, authorities are less than impressed.

"There's emergency and non-emergency stops," Kerri Rivas, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol told ABC News.

"They could be charged with impeding traffic, some infractions and some misdemeanours. They will determine what charges should be."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Cruise ship worker found dead in cabin

POLICE in Darwin are investigating the death of a 24-year-old cruise ship employee found dead on a boat in Darwin.

The young woman's body was found in her cabin today, Commander Richard Bryson of the Territory's Crime and Specialist Support Command said.

"The woman was a staff member on a cruise ship which is currently moored in Darwin Harbour," Commander Bryson said.

In a statement to the media Commander Bryson refused to release any further details about the case, but did confirm that a crime scene has been established.

"A crime scene was established as the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident continues."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

States gang up over power prices

THE eastern states have thwarted attempts to stop electricity generators exploiting the market to push up prices and electricity bills.

At a national meeting of energy ministers NSW, Queensland and Victoria joined forces to block attempts by the South Australian Government to ban the so-called "gaming" of the wholesale electricity market.

Uniting Communities advocacy manager Mark Henley said the electricity generation companies should be stripped of their profits and fined if they were found to have falsely inflated prices on the electricity spot market.

"There needs to be some strong action, including fines, because it is cheating and against the spirit of the rules," Mr Henley said.

"This fight has been going on for four years because generation capacity can be withheld from the market deliberately to force up the price," he said.

Studies have shown SA is the worst-affected state because of our small number of generation companies and heatwaves which create almost as much demand as generation capacity.

During one extreme heat day in SA this summer, electricity generators were paid the maximum allowable amount for their power, $12,500 per MWh, when the normal average price is less than $100.

These costs are then passed on to consumers.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said South Australia was bitterly disappointed that the bigger states had thwarted a national approach to preventing power companies rorting the energy market.

The Advertiser has learnt the matter was raised at the December meeting of energy ministers but rejected, including by the NSW government which owns generation assets which stood to lose from the reform.

Mr Koutsantonis said: "South Australia is doing everything it can to ensure that reforms to the energy market ease the cost-of-living pressures on electricity customers."

"NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and his power generators are gaming the market at the expense of South Australian consumers and that simply can not go on."

Mr Henley said the role of NSW in rejecting the reform should be reviewed by Federal Government regulators.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

'Most lethal sniper ever' shot dead

Ex-Navy SEAL and author of American Sniper has been fatally shot along with another man at a gun range in Texas. The shooter fled the scene. Picture: AP Source: AP

  • Kyle was also the best selling author of American Sniper
  • Guns in America: An interactive look at the shocking facts
  • Kyle was being sued by Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura

FORMER Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle was fatally shot along with another man at a Texas gun range.

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said Kyle, 38, and a second man were found dead at Rough Creek Lodge's shooting range west of Glen Rose, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Stephenville Empire-Tribune. Glen Rose is about 80 kilometres southwest of Fort Worth.

The second victim was identified as 35-year-old Chad Littlefield of Midlothian, Texas.

WFAA-TV is reporting that Eddie Routh, 25, has been charged in relation to the shootings.

The station says that Routh is a former Marine and expert marksman who is said to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Routh reportedly left the scene in his pickup truck but police found him at his home in Lancaster, south of Dallas.

"They had like four shotguns on him, I believe," said neighbour Carolyn Greathouse told WFAA. "Next thing I know, time passes... he starts up the truck... then all of a sudden he rushes down the road and they all take off after him."

The two victims were shot at point blank range at around 3.30pm Saturday (8.30am Sunday AEDT) but it took two hours until their bodies were discovered.  Routh was captured at about 9pm.

The motive for the shooting was unclear.

A news release from Travis Cox, director of FITCO Cares, a nonprofit Kyle helped start, said Kyle served four tours of duty.

"Chris died doing what he filled his heart with passion - serving soldiers struggling with the fight to overcome PTSD," Mr Cox said in the release. "He will be forever missed."

Kyle is survived by his wife, Taya, and their children, the nonprofit's release said.

Kyle wrote the best-selling book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History, detailing his 150-plus kills of insurgents from 1999 to 2009.

Kyle was sued by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura over a portion of the book that claims Kyle punched Mr Ventura in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks. Mr Ventura says the punch never happened and that the claim by Kyle defamed him.

Kyle had asked that Mr Ventura's claims of invasion of privacy and "unjust enrichment" be dismissed, saying there was no legal basis for them. But a federal judge said the lawsuit should proceed. Both sides were told to be ready for trial by August 1.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Abbott in pole position to win election

Tony Abbott has started the 2014 election campaign in pole position - according to a new Galaxy poll. Source: news.com.au

  • 55 per cent back decision for election to be held on September 14
  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard's satisfaction rating is 38 per cent
  • Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's satisfaction rating is 36 per cent

TONY Abbott is in the box seat to become the next prime minister, according to the first major opinion poll since Julia Gillard announced that the Federal Election will be held on September 14.

The Galaxy Poll shows the Coalition leads 54 per cent to Labor's 46 and it could win 14 seats if that result is repeated on election day.

A majority of voters back Ms Gillard's decision to have a September election rather than an immediate ballot but do not believe her reasons for announcing the 227-day countdown to polling day.

The poll also reveals that both Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott are still deeply unpopular.

The national phone poll of 1015 voters shows that Labor's primary vote is at 35 per cent - down three points from the 38 per cent achieved at the 2010 election.

Support for the Coalition has climbed from 43.6 per cent at the last election to 48 per cent. The Greens, facing their first poll under new leader Christine Milne, have dipped from 11.8 to 10 per cent.

The Galaxy survey was taken between February 1 and 3 after Ms Gillard's surprise decision to name the election date and after former Labor MP Craig Thomson was arrested.

Two Cabinet ministers, Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans, also announced their retirement, causing a shock reshuffle during the period of the poll.

The Galaxy Poll reveals 55 per cent of people back the PM's decision to hold the election in September, compared with 38 per cent who want it held now.

But only 41 per cent believe her explanation that the date was announced early to provide certainty for the nation and end speculation. About 53 per cent do not believe that was the reason.

Ms Gillard's satisfaction rating was 38 per cent, while 57 per cent of voters were dissatisfied with her performance.

Mr Abbott's score was almost identical. Only 36 per cent were satisfied with his performance and 57 per cent were dissatisfied.

Ms Gillard was more popular with Labor voters (65 per cent) than Mr Abbott was with Coalition voters (58 per cent).

Galaxy Research director David Briggs said voters were "not in a rush to get to the ballot box" but "most voters do not believe Julia Gillard's explanation for the long campaign".

"This poll confirms that the Coalition commences the campaign with a handy lead and Labor can be grateful that their horror week has not put them further behind," he said.

Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne came under fire after he said the Government was unravelling and compared it to a movie about the final days of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

"The Government is starting to resemble a scene from Downfall and the Prime Minister is presiding over a divided and dysfunctional government," he said.

New Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who once compared Mr Abbott to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, called on Mr Pyne to apologise for his immature comment.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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