Port Stephens police commander Chris Craner appointed Chief of Staff to Commissioner Mick Fuller

MOVING ON: Superintendent Chris Craner has been appointed Chief of Staff to Commissioner Mick Fuller.Chris Craneris the new Port Stephens police commanderCollective effort to rub out domestic violenceCar a fitting tribute for Richardson | videoIt has been little more than a year since Superintendent Chris Craner took over as the Port’s police commander.
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He came to the command vowing to provide stable leadership and to address issues such as domestic violence, police proficiency and transparency.

With some major gains in those areas under his belt, it seems it hasn’t taken long for the top brass to take notice.

Last week, Superintendent Craner was appointed to fill the temporary role of Chief of Staff to the NSW Commissioner. It means the Port Stephens LAC will receive its sixth commander in nine years.

“I came here promising stable leadership and I think the command is in a far more stable position than it was 15 months ago,” Supt Craner said.

“I’ve worked to make our police officers feel valued and make the community feel valued and that brings stability.”

Top cop’s new appointment | photos TOP COP: Superintendent Chris Craner, pictured when he first became commander of Port Stephens LAC in April 2016. Supt Craner was the Port’s fifth commander in eight years. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

TRIBUTE: Superintendent Chris Craner and Sergeant Martine Morley with the new Port Stephens police car, which is dedicated to Geoffrey Richardson who died in the line of duty in March. Picture: Simone De Peak

CRAFTSMEN: Raymond Terrace Men’s Shed members Allyn Sloane and Ian Dorney with Port Stephens police commander Superintendent Chris Craner. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

KNOCK OUT: Horatius Feni (H for short) with Superintendent Chris Craner who coordinated a Port Stephens effort to deliver new boxing gear to a gym in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

AT WORK: Superintendent Chris Craner.

AT WORK: Superintendent Chris Craner.

UNITED: Senior Constable Brendan Sykes, White Ribbon ambassador Roger Yeo, Senior Constable Lisa Holloway and Port Stephens LAC commander Chris Craner. Picture: Sam Norris

UNITED: White Ribbon ambassador Roger Yeo with Port Stephens LAC commander Chris Craner, speaking at the inaugural Port Stephens White Ribbon Day march in Raymond Terrace. Picture: Sam Norris


4 tips for Chinan home shoppers buying property in the US

Maybe you fell in love with a new city while on holiday in the US. Maybe you’re itching for a new experience. Or maybe, after observing the American dream from afar, you’ve decided to pursue it for yourself.
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Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to move to the land of opportunity. But the prospect of navigating a foreign tax system, calculating extra administrative costs or learning about a completely different housing market can feel overwhelming.

For ns looking to buye a home abroad, here are tips to keep in mind. Photo: Laurent Delhourme

Talking to an expert, such as a mortgage lender or real estate professional with experience helping international buyers, can help you figure out what you need to do and what you can expect from the process. It’s comforting to have a seasoned professional on your side and can help alleviate some fear of the unknown. Use search tools, like Zillow’s Agent Finder, to choose an agent based on sales and listing activity, area of expertise and reputation.

A real estate agent is an important partner when buying a home as they can provide helpful information about homes and neighbourhoods and have an extensive knowledge of the home buying process. In the US, the sales commission is paid by the seller, so buyers do not pay to have an agent work on their behalf.Beware of scams

Some investor specialists try to take advantage of foreign investors who know little about the market. Be aware of the red flags for scams and internet fraud, and remember the key rule: it if sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Understand the requirements

In the vast majority of cases, there are no US laws that prohibit foreign nationals buying properties and owning land in the US. However, there are additional disclosure requirements for foreign buyers using cash in some cities. It’s best to work with a professional to navigate your specific needs when it comes to buying your new home.

n citizens who buy property in the US will need to complete and file a tax return annually in both and the US. Generally, US property held by a foreign investor will be subject to additional requirements as stipulated by the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act. As an n resident, you are taxed on your worldwide income, including income from offshore bank accounts, any rental income from the US property and capital gains on overseas assets.

You don’t need to be a US citizen or have a green card to buy a home in the US, but you do need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN is a tax-processing number assigned to foreign nationals, who are required to have a US taxpayer identification number, but do not have one and are ineligible for a Social Security number.

An ITIN can be issued by the Internal Revenue Service or by an IRS-approved certified professional accountant.Get financed

Using financing (like a mortgage) to buy a home is technically optional, but necessary for many buyers. US banks impose stricter lending criteria for foreign investors, which can make it difficult to obtain financing. Most banks require a hefty deposit, normally about a third of the home price. For instance, to get financing to buy a property for $US750,000, you would need a $US250,000 deposit.

Generally, qualified foreign buyers with a 30-40 per cent down payment can often obtain financing for real estate purchases in the US. Many banks require foreign buyers to have a specific amount ($US100,000 or more) on deposit with the bank, while others set loan limits of $US1 million to $US2 million. The buyer may also be required to present a minimum of three months of bank statements.

Before applying for a US mortgage, buyers must first establish credit and earn a good credit score. You can build your credit score by opening US bank and credit card accounts and paying off the balances. Buyers will also want to be sure to report all income on their tax returns. Lenders use this income information to determine how much money they are willing to loan the buyer to buy a home.

Online tools are a good way to gauge what you can afford. However, n buyers will also want to consider issues such as currency exchange rates, international wire transfer fees, multinational taxation and accounting issues, and import-export restrictions regarding currency and household goods. Photo: Spaces Images/Blend Images

‘If you think I’m not good enough’: Aung San Suu Kyi offers to resign

Bangkok: Twelve months after being swept into office on a wave of optimism, Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has acknowledged disappointment over the state of her country, saying she is prepared to step down if people end up dissatisfied with her leadership.
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“When I joined politics, I said ‘I promise one thing; that I will do my best.’ That’s all. I can’t do better than that,” Ms Suu Kyi said in a televised speech.

“So if you think I am not good enough for our country and our people, if someone or some organisation can do better than us, we are ready to step down.”

Ms Suu Kyi, once celebrated as a heroine of democracy, appealed for more time amid a myriad problems facing the country, including fighting with ethnic armed groups in border areas, atrocities on long persecuted Rohingya Muslims, a rise in hate speech and sluggish progress on reforming an economy shackled by 50 years of military rule.

“We know that we weren’t able to make as much progress as people had wanted???one year is not a long period,” she said.

Analysts say Ms Suu Kyi, who formally carries the title State Counsellor, is not facing any threat to her leadership while her opponents, comprising the military and its allies remains deeply unpopular.

Known as “The Lady” who suffered years of torment and injustice for standing up to the military, Ms Suu Kyi still draws widespread personal admiration across the country, one of Asia’s poorest.

But dissenting voices are rising as she cuts an aloof figure in office while failing to delegate authority, articulate her government’s policies and publicly confront the powerful military which maintains control of key security ministries.

“Many voters feel frustrated,” Myo Zaw Aung, an MP in Ms Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy told Reuters, citing pervasive low-level corruption as one source of disaffection among a population who also face ramshackle public services.

“People had sky-high expectations for the NLD but actually the change can’t be that dramatic – they are not seeing an obvious change at the grassroots level,” he said.

In her 25-minute speech, Ms Suu Kyi reiterated that her government will refuse to accept a United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate atrocities on Rohingya in western Rakhine state but said her number one priority is to end ethnic conflicts involving about 20 rebel groups.

“We have a lot of hope???but hope is just hope – nothing for sure yet. We have to keep trying,” she said.

Separately, Ms Suu Kyi’s government announced that five more groups had agreed to attempts to reach a landmark peace deal.

But critics say Ms Suu Kyi’s failure to speak up for the Rohingya and denials that widespread abuses have taken place in Rakhine have severely damaged her reputation as a human rights defender.

UN investigators have accused Myanmar security forces of systemic abuses in Rakhine which the UN says could amount to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Ms Suu Kyi was criticised by her fellow Nobel peace laureates in December for failing to protect the Rohingya.

Derek Mitchell, the US’s ambassador in Myanmar from 2012 until last year, said it was reasonable to question whether Ms Suu Kyi and the NLD have taken full advantage of the momentum of their victory during their first year in office, regardless of structural obstacles.

But he said the biggest question mark hangs over the role of the military which under the constitution does not allow for civilian control.

“Economic underdevelopment, civil war and degradation of virtually every institution save one – the military – over the past 50 years cannot be wiped away by a single election,” Mr Mitchell told the Nikkei Report.

“Nor can the legacies of social division, mistrust and corruption created in their wake.”

More than 70,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh refugee camps after fleeing Rakhine since October when Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown after attacks on several police border posts.

Myanmar’s military has declared that more than one million Rohingya living in the Buddhist majority country are illegal immigrants despite that they have lived there for generations.

A-League: Ben Kennedy signs with the Mariners as Jets aim to make amends against Wanderers

PLAYING FOR KEEPS: Long-serving Jets keeper Ben Kennedy has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Central Coast Mariners. Picture: Ryan Osland
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BENKennedy never imagined playing for anyone but the Newcastle Jets.

But an opportunity to re-establish himself as a first-choice keeper at the Central Coast Mariners was an opportunity too good to knock back.

Kennedy on Friday agreed to terms ona one-deal with a year option at the Mariners, bringing an end to 10-year association with the Jets.

The Jets had offered the 30-year-old, who rupturedhis Achilles in the pre-season,a one year extension.

The Jets deal was slightly less than the Mariners,but the decision to head down the freeway was more football-based.

With Paul Izzo departing the Mariners for Adelaide,Kennedy will get first shot at the No.1 spot.Jack Duncan is entrenched in goals atthe Jets and is in talks about extending his contract.

“We know how much Ben loves Newcastle and the Jets,” Kennedy’s agent Joel Grenell said.“Football-wise this makes sense.He is guaranteed the No.1 spot. The situation Ben is in. He hasn’t played football this year and Jack has done quite well.Coaches are quite loyal to goalkeepers and if Ben has two yearsin a row without playing his career could effectively be over if Newcastle don’t offer him a new contract.”

Former JetsIvanNecevski, 37, and Adam Pearce, 20, are the other keepers on the Mariners books.Another former Jet, Matt Nash, is the goalkeeping coach.

“It is all about timing,” Grenell said. The time is right for Ben to make the move and play some games.”

Jets football operations manager Joel Griffiths said they weredisappointedto loseKennedy, who made his A-League debut in 2006 and played 114 games.

“We have done everything right by BK in terms of his rehabilitation and offering a contract extension,” Griffiths said.“He has chosen to go to the Central Coast. I want himto be happy and hope he gets to be No.1. I just wish it was at another club.”

Meanwhile,coach Mark Jones is adamant a couple of bad result does not make the Jets a poor team.

After heavy defeats to Melbournce City (4-0) and Wellington (5-0), the Jets host a resurgent Wandererson Saturday.

The Jets have travelled on the edge –inside and out –of the top six for much of the campaign.

“The world doesn’t change in two weeks,” Jones. “We did a good job to get where we got too and it is extremely disappointing to miss out on the six.”

“At crucial times we haven’t beenclinical enough in front of goal and we have let ourselves down inconceding soft goals at times. A lot of those were individual errors. We work on those at training and just need to do better.That includes myself, the assistant coach … everyone.”

The Jets, who have 11 players off contract, have signed Melbourne Victory championship-winner Daniel Georgievski for two years and are in talks with several other A-League players headed by Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan.

“We want players who can play in the best teams in the league,” Jones said. “We are not after second best. We want to win the league so we want the best players. Daniel has been there and done that and been successful when push comes to shove. The more quality we get in the team, the better we will execute.”

Wanderershave gone in the opposite direction to the Jets.After 21 rounds they were on 24 points, two above Newcastle. They drew nil-all with Adelaide before consecutive 3-1 win over Wellington and City to move to 31 points, five clear of seventh placed Phoenix.

“They have gotten on a purple patch,” Jones said.“Brendan Santalab has scored five goals in two weeks. That is the difference. You haveto take your opportunities and they have done that of late. That is not to say that we can’t go and do a job.”

Santalab is out suspended but Jones remains wary of an attack which has found its groove.

“Wellington had a few out and the boys who came in stepped up,” Jones said.“They have Nicolas Martinez whois a great footballer,[Mitch] Nichols is clever as well and Jumpei is excellent. They have some dangers as does every team.Apart from Sydney FC, who have been amazing all year, everyone hasbeaten everyone.You need to step up and make sure you are on your game.”

Doncaster Mile: Le Romain on meteoric rise to become Kris Lees’ best ever

SAMANTHA Miss “was a star from day one” and Lucia Valentina lived up to her New Zealand hype for Kris Lees to deliver him three group 1 wins each.
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TOP TEAM: Kris Lees and Le Romain. Picture: Getty Images

Le Romain was third at Wyong on debut.

But just 19 months after that start, Le Romain is set to become the Newcastle trainer’s greatest group 1 horseat Randwick on Saturday.

The four-year-old, a sales reject owner-breeders offered to sell for $40,000 when unraced, was the $5 favourite for the $3 million Doncaster Mile with TAB Fixed Odds.

Already a group 1 winner in the 2016 Randwick Guineas, Cantala Stakes and 2017 Canterbury Stakes,Le Romain will become Lees’ best at the top level and move within sight of Lucia Valentina’s stakes mark of $4,354,803 with victory.Le Romain has won $2,077,075 from 16 starts and is primed to take the Doncaster first prize of $1,755,000.

“You never know where they’re going to come from,” Lees said.“Samantha Miss was a star from day one and Luciaof coursecame from New Zealand with a big rap on her.This horse just keeps coming under our guard.

“It’s very hard to pick a horse that early and say that he’s going to get to the level that he’s got to, but he’s always shownabove average ability and he’s just kept improving every preparation.

“Now he’s at the highest level and competing well.He’s a good,tough,genuine gelding. Uncompromising.”

Samantha Miss won at Randwick on debut and seven times in a 12-start career before sold for a $3.85 million record broodmare price. Lucia Valentina started her n career with third in the group 3 Surround Stakes at Warwick Farm.

Le Romain has often shown fighting qualities in tough conditions to carve out his impressive record.

“I think that’s the reasonhe’s probably right in the market,” Lees said.“He’s pretty bombproof, he handles all conditions, racing patterns, he’s come up with a nice draw [eight] and a top jockey [Hugh Bowman].”

A heavy 8 surface at Randwick only strengthened Le Romain’s claims.

“It’s a very open race, with the rain, that could change a people’s opinions, but I think it’s just a good open race,atypical Doncaster,” said Lees, whose only other runner in the event was Slow Pace [13th in 2014].“We don’t want a bog but he’s adept in all conditions, and the wet takes a few out of play.”

Lees also hasSense Of Occasion, a $51 chance.

“He’s good at the Randwick Mile, he can handle the soft ground,” he said.“He’ll be out the back and he’s a little knockout chance.”