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Falcon GT back to Broadmeadows

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 17 Februari 2013 | 23.08

The new Falcon GT, which returns to Fords Broadmeadows production line on Monday 18 Feb. Source: Supplied

EXCLUSIVE: THEY do make 'em like they used to. The iconic Falcon GT returns to Ford's Broadmeadows production line today for the first time in 37 years.

Australia's most powerful V8 sedan has been brought in-house after the company that did the final assembly work for the past 21 years closed its doors in December.

The last time a Falcon GT went down Ford's main production line was in June 1976. It cost just $6200, a fraction of today's $70,000 price tag.

Buoyed by a string of Bathurst victories Ford sold more than 12,000 Falcon GTs in the eight years from 1968 to 1976. As a sign of the changing market, however, it took 21 years to sell the same number of Falcon GTs from 1992 to 2012.

The GT's return to Broadmeadows is an important and symbolic boost for the Falcon but it is unlikely to be the car's saviour. The Falcon's tally of 14,000 sales last year including approximately 1500 Falcon GTs and other performance models is the lowest since Falcon production began in 1960.

"The investment and effort we've put into bringing FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles) back in-house proves our dedication to the brand and our customers in this segment,'' Ford Australia President and CEO, Bob Graziano, told News Limited.

"We know they're incredibly passionate and we know that there is still a market for these vehicles, which is why we stepped up and took the actions necessary to retain FPV and these iconic vehicles.''

Despite the new arrangements, the Ford Performance Vehicles branding and the cars are unchanged from last year's models. Broadmeadows will initially fit the supercharged V8 engines stockpiled by the former firm until workers at the Geelong engine factory start building them by hand in April.

"Ford's history with performance vehicles goes back a very long way and the FPV range of vehicles are warmly welcomed back in-house,'' Graziano said. ``FPV is the ultimate version of the Falcon and we are very excited to have taken over full production of these performance machines for our customers.''

Ford has made adjustments to the Broadmeadows vehicle assembly line to allow for the detailed fitment of the Falcon GT's performance parts. But the company says the extra work will not slow down production of regular models. Instead, Ford has set aside an area at the end of the line to add the finishing touches.

An updated Falcon is due next year but no plans have been announced beyond 2016.

Ford Falcon GT: making them like they used to

XR GT (1967).
596 built
Price: $3890
Engine: 4.7-litre V8 (168kW)
Bathurst: 1st and 2nd place

XT GT (1968). 1415 built
Price: $4050
Engine: 4.9-litre V8 (172kW)
Bathurst: 7th place

XW GTHO Phase I (1969). 260 built
Price: $4495
Engine: 5.8-litre V8 (216kW)
Bathurst: 2nd place

XW GTHO Phase II (1970). 402 built
Price: $4830
Engine: 5.8-litre V8 (224kW)
Bathurst: 1st and 2nd place

XY GTHO Phase III (1971). 300 built
Price: $5250
Engine: 5.8-litre V8 (283kW)
Bathurst: 1st, 2nd, 3rd (1971), 2nd (1972)

XA GT (1972 to 1974). 1868 sedans, 891 coupes built
Price: $5100
Engine: 5.8-litre V8 (224kW)
Bathurst: 1st (1973 and 1974)

XB GT (1974 to 1976). 1950 sedans, 949 coupes built
Price: $6203
Engine: 5.8-litre V8 (224kW)
Bathurst: DNF (1975), 31st (1976)

Ford Falcon GT (2013)
Price: $70,790
Engine: Supercharged 5.0-litre V8 (335kW)
Ford Falcon's most recent Bathurst 1000 victories: 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Approximately 3000 built between October 2010 and December 2012.

Did you know
The Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III driven to Bathurst victory in 1971 by Allan Moffat cost $5250 when new, then a hefty sum. Moffatt told Ford executives at the time "no-one will ever pay that for a Falcon''. Decades later immaculate GTHO Phase IIIs sold for up to $700,000, although prices have settled back to about half that in recent years. Today, the racing legend says not buying a Phase III GTHO is his biggest regret.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Anti-booze pill could reduce liver damage

SCIENTISTS have developed a pill that could lower blood alcohol content (BAC) and reduce liver damage.

A US study on mice was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology today.

During the study researchers intoxicated mice with alcohol, and then fed them enzymes encapsulated in a thin polymer shell.

They found that the BAC of the mice given the antidote reduced by 10.1 per cent at 45 minutes post feeding.

The BAC continued to drop by 31.8 per cent at 90 minutes and 36.8 per cent at three hours.

The control group, who did not consume the antidote, had much smaller declines in BAC.

Researchers said the pill could provide a method for preventing liver injury arising from the overconsumption of alcohol.

Authors said while, various antidotes have been developed for drug overdoses, such antidotes may not be sufficient to treat alcohol intoxication.


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23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Winning Block room 'took 18 years'

Mark and Duncan's winning kids room on The Block. Picture: Channel Nine Source: news.com.au

Mark and Duncan's winning kid's room on The Block. Picture: Channel Nine Source: news.com.au

THE 'two fat tradies' Mark and Duncan say their winning room on the latest episode of The Block: All Stars took them 18 years to design.

The pair wowed the judges with their children's room, one-upping their second placed room from the previous week.

"We were pretty surprised how well we did with the first one, absolutely thrilled," a chuffed Duncan told news.com.au, "and to win the second won, what can we say, we were absolutely speechless.

"It was a room that I guess you can say took us 18 years to design, because we've got eight kids between us so if we were going to get a room right, it had to be a kid's room."

The room as it was before the makeover. Picture: Channel Nine Source: news.com.au

Duncan, who said he was made Chief of Design, used the experience of his four boys, aged 18, 16, 14 and 12 as inspiration for the room.

"I did it more as a boy's room than a girl's, obviously having four boys myself I knew what boys liked and what should be on the shelves and what they like to look at and the best thing about it was that it was appreciated by the judges too. 

Mark and Duncan's winning kids room on The Block. Picture: Channel Nine Source: news.com.au

"Some of the things that are in there are exactly the same as I've done at home - the skateboards for art, I'd done that for one of my other boys, the lego play table, I built one five years ago for my boys and it's probably the most used item in our house.

Duncan says he and Mark have enjoyed a resurgence of confidence since their first stint on the show in 2010.

Mark and Duncan's winning kids room on The Block. Picture: Channel Nine Source: news.com.au

"In two weeks we went from 'oh my God, are we going to totally embarrass ourselves?', to 'hey, we can actually win this.'"

Josh and Jenna won the first room reveal in last week's episode.

"To get a second and a win, has been a fairytale script so far," added Duncan.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Sonny's body not up to NRL

Sonny Bill Williams starts his first official day at Sydney Roosters, saying simply: "It's good to be here."

Mystery still surrounds the Sonny Bill Williams v Francois Botha fight as to why it was reduced to 10 rounds.

Sonny Bill Williams hit by Francois Botha in their recent bout. Source: The Daily Telegraph

ONE of the most respected coaches in the NRL says Sonny Bill Williams will be flat out lasting the season at the Roosters.

He's not suggesting the superstar forward will walk out again, it's more a question of whether his body is up for 26 punishing rounds of brutal contact sport. Look back at Sonny Bill's record at Canterbury between 2004 and 2008 and you can understand what this coach is talking about.

Sonny Bill played in only 60 per cent of games and was out injured for the rest of the time.

His magnificent-looking physique can be misleading.


So too can the fact that he survived two years of Super 15 rugby union almost injury free.

What I'm about to tell you won't go down well with the leather-patch brigade but we've got statistics to prove rugby league is a far more demanding sport than union. In the Super 15s, Sonny Bill averaged just eight runs with the football in each game.

In rugby league at the Bulldogs in 2007, he averaged double that - 16 runs.

In rugby union he was required to make just eight tackles a game.

A back-rower in rugby league these days has to make around 25.

What you have to remember too is that Sonny Bill is five years older than when he last played in the NRL. He turns 28 this year and is heading towards an age when injuries can occur more often.

The coach I referred to in the lead paragraph didn't want his name mentioned. He doesn't want to fire up the big guy before his team plays the Roosters.

But he insists Sonny Bill will be a marked man.

"Everyone will be out to smash him," he says, "He'll know he's back playing rugby league."

Roosters coach Trent Robinson is reluctant to talk about his plans to manage the workload of the superstar forward.

We do know he has been recovering from a serious pectoral muscle injury and has done virtually no rugby league training.

Up until last Monday, he'd spent the previous six weeks preparing for a heavyweight fight.

Anyone will tell you a boxer's training sessions are vastly different to a rugby league player's pre-season preparation.

Because of the pec injury, Sonny Bill has done no wrestling. He has done no contact work in defence, either.

Robinson is being carefully guided by his medical staff.

"He has definitely done a different preparation to our off-season program," he says.

"We're working hard on his pec and shoulder to make sure he's ready to tackle.

"We're not going to rush that and we're not treating him any different to another player with the same injury.

"When he's ready we'll put him into some wrestling and then some tackling and contact."

It sounds like the game's biggest off-season signing for years will only just be ready for round one of the competition.

The big minutes of game time he averaged in rugby union are out of the question, at least for the first half-dozen rounds.

Robinson might be happy about that anyway.

"I've been avoiding a lot of the talk about Sonny," he said. "It's about making him part of the team, not trying to make him separate.

"It will be the team that decides whether we go well this year or not.

"It's really important for us that everyone contributes."

And even more important if the coach is right, and Sonny Bill doesn't last the season.

NRL 2004-2008
Avg games: 14.6
Avg minutes: 61
Avg runs: 14.6
Avg meters: 124
Avg tackles: 19.5

Super Rugby 2011-2012
Avg games: 16.5
Avg minutes: 73
Avg runs: 8.9
Avg meters: 75
Avg tackles: 8

Same old Eels

NOTHING appears to have changed at the Parramatta Eels.

The only difference to last year is that Ricky Stuart has replaced Stephen Kearney and Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt are no longer there.

Rugby league trial form and results are always misleading. There are no competition points up for grabs and players just want to escape uninjured. But there is nothing misleading about a 41-4 scoreline. According to those at the game, the Wests Tigers flogged them.

Sure, there was no Jarryd Hayne. And sure, the result meant nothing.

But the scoreline did. No team should be getting beaten by almost 40 points in trial matches.

Security for players

PLAYERS didn't get the big pay increases they were looking for from the new NRL television deal.

The game's TV income went up 100 per cent from $500 million to $1 billion yet the salary cap was increased from $4.4 million to only $5.2 million.

The biggest victory for the players in the new collective bargaining agreement is long-term contract security. If a player suffers a career-ending injury, he gets paid 100 per cent of whatever is remaining on his contract. It used to be 25 per cent.

If a club goes broke and loses its licence, the independent commission will now guarantee the contract.

The minimum wage has also gone up from $55,000 to $75,000.

The absolutely stunning return of sportswoman-of-the-year Black Caviar at Flemington on Saturday afternoon.

The poor trial form of the once traditional powerhouses Manly and Parramatta. Both will be flat out making the finals.  

Details are beginning to emerge of player unrest at the Broncos. I'm hearing it might be worth having something on Anthony Griffin to be first coach sacked this year. The fact he signed a new deal last season means nothing.

And still on the Broncos, there's very strong mail utility Corey Norman is not the only player who wants out. Norman, once earmarked as a replacement for Darren Lockyer, is heading to the Parramatta Eels.

This writer is no expert on the round ball game, although I once coached under 9's at Lilli Pilli. The good judges are predicting the Western Wanderers are a serious chance of winning the A League this year.  

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Newton says he's a changed man

Matthew Newton speaks to 60 Minutes in an exclusive interview.

Matt Newton talks for the first time about his arrest in Miami and his stay in the Betty Ford clinic.

Matthew Newton on how the feeling that he's 'about to die' makes him lose control.

Matthew Newton has recorded a new interview with Australia's 60 Minutes. Source: Supplied

Matthew Newton has recorded a new interview with Australia's 60 Minutes. Source: Supplied

ACTOR Matthew Newton has opened up about his violent past, saying his outbursts were provoked by a "wave of terror" and "hopelessness".

The troubled star said his erratic behaviour was also brought on by his mental illness and a feeling that he was "about to die".

"That's when I end up running out of options, feeling like I don't know what to do," he told the Nine Network.

Newton, 36, was charged with the assault of his former girlfriend, Australian actress Brooke Satchwell, in 2007.

In 2010, he allegedly assaulted his then-fiancee, actress Rachael Taylor, in the lobby of a hotel in Italy.

Newton was also charged with the assault of a taxi driver in Sydney in 2011.

The actor said he knew he hit "rock bottom" when he was arrested for hitting a hotel clerk in the face in Miami, USA, last year.

"I was put in the back of the police car and I realised I was completely alone. I realised there were two choices: there was help, there was honestly opening myself up and asking for help, or there was nothing, there was the end," he said.

Newton also admitted he had never been given an official diagnosis on his mental illness, despite repeatedly avoiding conviction on the grounds of mental health, specifically bipolar disorder.

He said he was completely at fault for assaults on his former girlfriends.

"It's never okay to hit someone," he said.

The actor stressed that he's on the mend and is working through his issues without being on "addictive" medication which he had been using to help with his mental illness.

"I'm now doing everything in my human power to make sure that any events of the past don't occur again."

Newtown is hopeful of getting back to acting and said offers of work in America and Australia were re-emerging.

"I want, in the second half of my life, to be an exemplary citizen, a successful professional and one day a really good parent."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Volvo offers first pedestrian airbag

The new Volvo V40 hatch is the first car in the world boasting a pedestrian airbag. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

THE first car with a pedestrian airbag goes on sale in Australia today - and it's made by the same company that invented the three-point seatbelt 54 years ago.

The Volvo V40 hatch has sensors in the front bumper that detect when a pedestrian has been hit. They trigger a giant U-shaped airbag that inflates near the bottom of the windscreen.

The airbag and bonnet, which pop-up in milliseconds, are designed to prevent head injuries - the single biggest cause of pedestrian deaths.

The latest figures show that pedestrian deaths across Australia have fallen over the past five years, but still account for 13 per cent of all road fatalities, down from 20 per cent in 2009.

"It's fantastic technology and every car should have it," road safety campaigner and the chairman of the Pedestrian Council Of Australia Harold Scruby said.

"But the question is: Why don't more cars have it?"

Mr Scruby said federal regulations lagged behind the world's best automotive standards.

"Seven years after Europe adopted regulations for pedestrian protection, the Australian government still hasn't adopted mandatory standards for frontal protection systems," he said.

But bumping into a pedestrian won't be a cheap for Volvo drivers. The airbag and its deployment system - two pyrotechnic bonnet struts - are estimated to cost about $3000 to replace.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Assange Senate bid his ticket out

Julian Assange gave an address from the Ecuadorian Embassy last August. The WikiLeaks founder is hopeful of being elected to the Australian Senate. Source: AFP

JULIAN Assange is banking on being elected to the Australian Senate as his ticket to political freedom, saying he is sure his new WikiLeaks Party will "easily" attract the numbers to launch ahead of the federal election.

In an in-depth interview to be published on website The Conversation this morning, Assange said he was counting on public support from Australians to help catapult him into the Senate and out of Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has been holed up since June to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sex crimes.

According to the article Assange, who last week applied to be on Victoria's electoral roll in order to qualify for political office, will field WikiLeaks Party candidates for the Senate in several states, most likely including himself as a candidate in Victoria.

If he were elected, Assange said, the US Department of Justice would back down from its espionage investigation in order to avoid sparking an international incident, with the British government following suit.

Swedish authorities' case against him is "falling apart'', he says.

Under Australian federal law he would then have to take up his Senate seat within two months, which would require his freedom.

"In that case, the Senate could vote to evict me, but that would trigger a big political row,'' he is quoted as saying.

"Australians probably wouldn't swallow it. They've learned a lesson from the controversial dismissal of Gough Whitlam.''

Assange said if not immediately freed after his election, he could take his oath before the Governor-General "for the first time ever, by video link''.

He said he was "sure'' his WikiLeaks Party would "easily" attract the minimum 500 paid-up members required by federal law to launch, and says any technical objections to him standing for office "aren't real''.

"I've had to deal with the FBI, the British press and more than a few rank functionaries,'' he is quoted as saying.

"The Australian press are decent by comparison. No doubt the Australian Tax Office will show an interest in our campaign. Old enemies may make an appearance.''

Describing Assange as "calm, witty, clear headed'', the article reveals the former hacker's fondness for Rachmaninov, Tim Tams, Violet Crumbles and South Australian shiraz, and says he is taking boxing lessons several times a week with "an ex SAS whistleblower'' to help relieve the "visual monotony'' of life in prison.

When asked how allegations of his misogyny might affect his political campaign, Assange said his new party would be popular with women.

"I'm not interested in softening my image by planting attractive women around me,'' he said.

"I like women. They're on balance braver than men. ... Our WikiLeaks Party will attract the support of many women.''

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bloody bat 'found in Pistorius home'

Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp. Source: AFP

SOUTH African police have found a bloodied cricket bat at the home of Oscar Pistorius, a local newspaper is reporting, following the death of his girlfriend.

The star Olympian and Paralympian was charged on Friday with the Valentine's Day murder of  29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp who was shot dead at his luxury Pretoria home in a case that has gripped the world.

One source close to the investigation told the independent City Press newspaper "there was lots of blood on the bat".

Police are investigating whether the bat was used to assault Steenkamp, who was shot four times in the early hours of Thursday, or if she used it to defend herself.

Police have dismissed initial suggestions that Pistorius, 26, could have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend.

Steenkamp's family now says her body is back in her hometown of Port Elizabeth and a private funeral has been planned for Tuesday.

Adam Steenkamp, the late model and law graduate's brother, said "Reeva is back home".

The family said Steenkamp will be cremated in a ceremony closed to the public and the media in the city on South Africa's southern coast.

The 29-year-old Reeva was seen laughing and smiling on South African television Saturday night after national broadcaster SABC chose to air the first episode of a reality TV show she featured in.

Oscar Pistorius weeps in court in Pretoria, South Africa at his bail hearing in the murder case of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Antione de Ras - Independent Newspapers Ltd South Africa/AP

Pistorius - a national icon who inspired people around the world when he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympic Games last year - is spending the weekend in a police cell after being charged with murder.

He is due to apply for bail at a new court hearing on Tuesday, the same day a memorial service will be held for his slain girlfriend.

Pistorius, who had been going out with Steenkamp since late last year, faces a life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder, as alleged by state prosecutors.

His family have indicated that the star athlete, who broke down sobbing during his initial court appearance on Friday, will plead not guilty.

"We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all," his uncle Arnold Pistorius said in a statement on Saturday.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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