Noosa Heads: Mantra French Quarter Resort

The basics
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Mantra French Quarter Resort

62 Hastings St, Noosa Heads

P: 07 5430 7100

E: [email protected]南京夜网.au

W: mantra南京夜网.au

Cost: The one-bedroom units can cost from $123 during the week, and rise to $181 on a Saturday night. The deluxe version, with spa, are $20-$30 more.

There are about 80 rooms in this complex, all but 20 of them newly renovated.The room

Mantra, after taking over the management of French Quarter, has spent $5 million to upgrade the rooms. Unfortunately, they’re not yet done which makes it a bit of a lottery.

Those who score one of the rooms yet to get a makeover will easily see why the new owners had to splash out. Older units have stained blinds, a couch out of the 80s, and other furniture not quite up to modern demands.

On the upside, there is a spacious balcony with dining table and sun lounges, spa bath below the shower, a fully equipped kitchen, and the price is right for a family getaway. Sure, open bathrooms are on-trend and this one is clean and tidy. In this case, however, the designers seem to have put the bedroom in the bathroom, rather than the other way around.

On the downside, if this place was to undergo a tenants’ exit inspection, it’s unlikely it would pass the cleanliness test. Dirty sliding door tracks, and ash stains in the ashtray – perhaps this isn’t the case in the newer rooms, so it might be worth insisting on one of those at the time of booking.The Food

Just outside the Hastings St entrance to French Quarter, there is an ice cream shop across the road, and within 50m of the door there is an organic foods stall full of tasty treats.

One of the main attractions to this resort is its location. Hastings St still carries plenty of charm, and there isn’t any shortage of food options. If it’s a family holiday, there’s a supermarket at Noosa junction.

For weekend getaways, however, it can be fun to explore. The cheapest option is the food court, but lunch times offer some bargains at many of the eateries. Zachary’s Gourmet Pizza Bar is well worth a try, as is the Surf Club just across the road.

At around 4pm on weekends people migrate from the beach to the street, and the footpath becomes a bustling crowd of hungry travellers, many of them perusing the menus which sit outside most of the more upmarket dining options.The Activities

Mantra French Quarter is all about location. There is a pool inside the complex, but most people venture across the road to the beach. And with the national park well within walking distance, the outdoors is very much the place to be.

Some will enjoy the boutique shopping of Hastings St. Alternatively, venture down to the wharf at the back of the Sheraton and jump on the hop-on hop-off ferry. It stops at seven places along Noosa Sound, from the tourism centre to Tewantin where there are small markets and a couple more restaurants.

The captain provides a commentary of each stop and never seems to tire of offering handy shopping suggestions.

Another option is to take the boardwalk down to the national park. It’s well worth the effort, particularly if there’s a drink waiting at the surf club at the end of the round trip.The Weekend

It’s obvious that plenty of work has gone into renovating the lobby, and when all rooms are equal, this place is sure to lift a notch. The pool is great for families, and the central location on Hastings St, Noosa Heads, is a key attraction.

For those with children, the rooms are at the right price for such a high-end location. A quick word of advice around Noosa, though – pick your weekend carefully, as there is often plenty going on in the small but vibrant beachside resort town.

Triathlons, food festivals, other events – if that’s what you’re after, book early. If not, be sure to check the calendar.Simon Holt was guest of Mantra French Quarter.View other great Queensland escapes.

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Spiro Zavos: ‘Picasso of the Pass’ paints a sad picture

QUADE Cooper grew up in the New Zealand idolising the extravagant rugby play of Carlos Spencer. Cooper has become a Spencer clone. There are the tats. And the cheeky grin when a clever play has come off. There are the outrageous passes (I once called Cooper, ”the Picasso of the Pass”), the sensational break-outs and the astounding variety of kicks that offer numerous chances for chasers to score tries. Why wouldn’t Robbie Deans pick this Wallaby wizard to bewilder the British and Irish Lions in their Test series?
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The answer to this question, perhaps, is that Cooper has another trait of Spencer in his game, which is a tendency to make crucial mistakes in big games. And Deans knows crucial mistakes lose must-win matches. Roll the tape back to the semi-final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup tournament. The Wallabies are playing the All Blacks. As the All Blacks are leaving the field at the end of their warm-ups, Deans, then the assistant All Blacks coach, takes Spencer aside for one final instruction: ”Carlos, no cut-out passes!” After surviving a torrid initial onslaught from a fired-up Wallabies side, the All Blacks force a scrum 5 metres from the try line and near touch. They have the width of the field to score an easy try, if the ball goes through the hands. Spencer fires a long cut-out pass. Stirling Mortlock races on to it and runs to glory.

Roll the tape to the 2011 Cup semi-final. Deans is now the coach of the Wallabies. Cooper is his five-eighth. He kicks off. The ball goes out on the full. The All Blacks know this is their Mortlock moment. Then throughout the match, Cooper drops high balls under pressure.

There has been an intense Cooper v Deans debate in Australian rugby, before and after the naming of the Wallabies squad to play the Lions.

The case for Cooper: Deans has won 59.2 per cent of his 71 Tests. But this drops to 52 per cent for the 44 Tests when Cooper was not selected. The Wallabies have won 70 per cent of their matches (and 80 per cent of home Tests) when Cooper is the five-eighth.

The case against Cooper: in this year’s Super Rugby, Cooper has made 59 tackles and missed 12, for a completion rate of 83 per cent, the worst of all the five-eighths. The Reds have scored 26 tries this season. There are 9 other sides that have scored more tries. Cooper’s error rate, 29 for the season, is the highest in the tournament.

The case for Cooper is a historical argument. The case against him is a study in real time. Last weekend’s match, the Cheetahs v Reds at Bloemfontein, is instructive. We saw Cooper’s wonderful skills on display. There was a deft, exact kick early on in the match that Rod Davies chased through to score, but the try was overruled by the TMO for an obstruction off the ball that even the South African commentators disagreed with. Later, Cooper popped a slick inside-pass to Luke Morahan, for the fullback to burst through to score under the posts. Again, the TMO over-ruled the try, even though referee Craig Joubert watching the replays noted: ”Looks good to me”.

But early on in the match, the Cheetahs halfback burst clear. The commentator yelled out: ”He’s got Cooper to beat.” Moments later, with Cooper on his back after a feeble effort to tackle, the try was scored. Then towards the end of the match, Will Genia, under intense pressure, started to make uncharacteristic mistakes. Cooper was unable to hold the side together. Nor was he able to ”traumatise” the Cheetahs’ defensive systems. This was the explicit criticism of his current play that Deans made when he announced the 25-man Wallabies squad last Sunday.

Andrew Slack says Deans has not forgiven Cooper for his ”toxic environment” tweet of last year. It seems to me, though, the toxic impact of his mistakes on the field has more to do with his non-selection than his off-field comments.

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OPINION: A sustainable future beyond coal

IF this was the 1950s and a politician announced that their party was considering the future of rail haulage after steam trains, this would be considered eminently sensible.
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By the 1950s, it was clear to any unbiased observer that it was the beginning of the end for steam trains.

Yet when the politicians of today talk about the future decline of the coal industry they are called upon to ‘‘defend’’ these comments. Specifically, John Robertson, the leader of the NSW opposition, said in Kurri Kurri last weekend that the NSW ALP was developing a plan for life after coal.

He has come under fire from Labor colleagues, the coal industry and its supporters.

Mr Robertson has said his comments have been misrepresented.

I would argue that developing plans to phase out the coal industry in a just fashion is something all political parties should be doing.

The fact is the end of coal is inevitable.

Politicians that deny the decline of the coal industry in the coming decades have their heads buried in the sand.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report in April warning that the pace of the global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy was not occurring fast enough to avoid dangerous climate change.

The IEA is not alone in raising this issue.

A report released in April 2013, written by Nicholas Stern and the London School of Economics, warns that if humanity is to have an 80per cent chance of limiting global warming to two degrees, two thirds of global coal reserves will need to stay in the ground.

The term ‘carbon bubble’ is now being used to describe investments in coal reserves that are ‘unburnable.’

This has major implications for the NSW economy.

One approach is to ignore such analysis and pretend it doesn’t exist.

The danger of this approach is that when the ‘carbon bubble’ bursts and the industry enters a period of rapid decline, workers will be at the mercy of coal corporations, who have a poor track record of looking after them.

Rio Tinto – a company that posted a half-yearly profit of $5.6billion in December 2012 – recently sacked 40 workers at its Mount Thorley Warkworth mine.

This is certainly not the first time coal corporations have sacked workers when their profits are slightly reduced or threatened.

The Earthworker co-operative in the Latrobe Valley, backed by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), is an interesting example of a practical and forward-thinking approach to the challenge of moving beyond coal without economic dislocation.

The project focuses on retraining workers to manufacture solar hot water units.

Those retrained at the plant become part owners of the co-operative. Workers from various trade unions can negotiate to have the solar hot water systems installed as part of their Enterprise Bargain Agreements, which generates steady demand for the units.

There are plans to expand this project into large-scale renewable energy manufacturing hubs in regions reliant on mining.

If the CFMEU can see the value of retraining coal workers to renewable energy manufacturing, it seems obvious that responsible governments should develop policies to facilitate a just phase-out of the coal industry, rather than allowing the industry to collapse.

It is no surprise the coal industry and its supporters oppose a planned phase-out and over-emphasise the industry’s contribution to the Australian economy.

The reality is that coal is not as important to the economy as its proponents suggest.

More importantly, it is inevitable that the industry will end over the next two decades, as renewables replace coal. It would be irresponsible of both major parties not to be planning for life after coal.

Annika Dean is the president of the Hunter Community Environment Centre

Moorish delights

Spiced chicken with pearl cous cous, dried fig and coriander. Frank Camorra MIDDLE EASTERN recipes for Spectrum and Good Food. Photographed by Marina Oliphant. Photographed April 29, 2013. Spiced chicken with a versatile marinade. Photo: Marina Oliphant
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When I was a young chef, I went to eat at the restaurant where Greg Malouf was cooking. I remember that the beautifully simple style of food he served fortified my desire to be a cook and helped me keep going on the journey I’m still on. The region of Spain I come from has a Moorish history and even my name, Camorra, has its roots in this culture, which might explain my great love of vibrant Middle Eastern flavours.

The marinade for this chicken is versatile; it can be used for quail and even pork. It’s so simple, you can make a double amount and leave half of it in the fridge for another time, as it will last for a month.

Pearl couscous, or moghrabieh, is an excellent alternative to normal couscous. Once cooked, you can add different flavours. I have tried dried apricot and cumin, with fresh mint and parsley folded through at the last minute.

SPICED CHICKEN

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

180ml olive oil

6 chicken Maryland fillets, skin on

Put all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and mix. Add chicken, coat in marinade, cover bowl with cling film and marinate overnight. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Heat a heavy-based pan, seal chicken skin-side down, then transfer to roasting tray and cook in oven 15 minutes. Rest in a warm place for five minutes. Slice and serve on warm pearl couscous with tahini yoghurt.

PEARL COUSCOUS WITH DRIED FIG AND CORIANDER

Good pinch salt

2 cups pearl couscous

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup dried figs, chopped

Zest from ½ preserved lemon

1 cup coriander leaves, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add salt then couscous and cook until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drizzle couscous with one tablespoon of olive oil and quickly toss to coat. Spread couscous on a large baking sheet to cool. Meanwhile, finely chop onion and garlic. Heat remaining olive oil in a fry pan over a high heat. When oil is hot, add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it browns, three to five minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook for five minutes. Add couscous and one cup of water and stir well – this will start to form a sauce. When warm, add figs, preserved lemon and coriander. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Serves 6

TAHINI YOGHURT

500g natural yogurt

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 tbsp tahini

1 lemon, juiced

Pinch ground allspice

Mix all ingredients then add 100 millilitres water to make a smooth sauce. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving to let the flavours mingle.

Serves 6

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WikiLeaks documents ‘errors’ in US film

US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning arrives at the courthouse for a motion hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland. Manning, 25, is accused of providing diplomatic cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website. Photo: JOSE LUIS MAGANAWikiLeaks has released what it says is an annotated transcript of a documentary that takes a critical look at the anti-secrecy group ahead of the US film’s premiere.
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WikiLeaks said it had not participated in the making of We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a film by Alex Gibney that focuses on the website’s founder Julian Assange and its main source of leaks, Bradley Manning.

Manning, a US Army intelligence analyst who admitted to leaking hundreds of thousands of secret military logs and confidential embassy cables to WikiLeaks, faces possible life imprisonment in a military trial to resume on June 3.

Assange, the Australian hacker who founded the site, has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for nearly a year, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in a sexual assault case.

WikiLeaks said late on Thursday that the film “portrays Manning’s alleged acts as a failure of character rather than a triumph of conscience”, and said the film’s portrayal of his relationship with Assange was “grossly irresponsible”.

The portrayal “suggests – erroneously and when evidence is to the contrary – that Assange may be guilty of conspiring with Bradley Manning to commit espionage or similar offences.”

The WikiLeaks statement added “neither Julian Assange nor anyone associated with WikiLeaks over the past two-and-a-half years agreed to participate in the film”.

It then posted what appeared to be a full transcript of the documentary with copious notes alleging factual errors and misrepresentations.

Gibney could not immediately be reached for comment.

But in a recent interview with CBS news, the director said the film, which premieres on Friday, is concerned with “both the abuse of power and hubris on the part of the US government, but certainly also on the part of Julian Assange”.

“At his moment of greatest fame, (Assange) ends up becoming all too much like the enemies he sought to take out or expose,” Gibney said.

Gibney told CBS he engaged in “endless negotiations” with Assange, but his requests to interview the WikiLeaks founder were ultimately denied.

He was also unable to interview Manning, who has been in military detention since his arrest in 2010.

AFP

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