Archive for: November, 2018

Kat Mehajer’s official wedding album

Nov 20 2018 Published by under 南京夜网

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Supplied
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The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

The official wedding photos of Ibraham Sakalaki and Kat Mehajer. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd

Khadijeh ‘Kat’ Mehajer has escaped on her honeymoon to a mystery island Ms Mehajer has taken to Instagram to share photos of her special escape, it comes just one week after her $1 million wedding to Ibrahim Sakalaki. Photo: Instagram

Khadijeh ‘Kat’ Mehajer has escaped on her honeymoon to a mystery island Ms Mehajer has taken to Instagram to share photos of her special escape, it comes just one week after her $1 million wedding to Ibrahim Sakalaki. Photo: Instagram

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Chinese bomber planes from South China Sea and future missiles could threaten Australia

Nov 20 2018 Published by under 南京夜网

A Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. Photo: Xinhua/AP A photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency shows a pair of Chinese civilian jet airliners after landing at the newly created island in a test of its airstrip. Photo: Xing Guangli
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Runways and a control tower on one of the islands in the South China Sea. Photo: Supplied

Chinese bombers will be able to strike Australia from new artificial islands in the South China Sea as part of a major military modernisation that has also prompted calls for Australia to develop a ballistic missile shield.

Chinese H-6K long-range bombers can more easily target bases in the Northern Territory and even installations such as Pine Gap and Harold E. Holt naval communications station outside Exmouth by flying from 3000-metre runways being built in the Spratly Islands, senior analysts warn.

Fears will be heightened further after Chinese air force chief Ma Xiaotian​ announced on Friday China is developing a long-range bomber that will improve its ability to strike far from home.

Former national security adviser Andrew Shearer said China’s rapidly improving ballistic missiles bolstered the case for Australia to “get much more serious” about missile defence, including a land-based shield similar to US Patriot missiles or the high-altitude systems being used by Japan and South Korea.

Fairfax Media spoke to a wide range of key security experts about how China’s military growth could directly threaten Australia. Opinions varied but there was broad concern that China’s increasing ability to project military power south had significant implications for Australia, especially as its role as a US-allied base would grow if US-China relations deteriorated.

Malcolm Davis, an expert in Chinese military modernisation at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said H-6K bombers armed with cruise missiles could come significantly further south from the Spratlys.

“The Australian government should factor this in, for the simple reason that, with the rebalance to Asia, there are going to be US forces in Australia,” he said.

While aerial refuellers already allowed bombers to strike at long range, they were an encumbrance, Dr Davis said. If Beijing developed its planned H-20 stealth bomber, its ability to approach Australia without the need for easily detectable refuelling planes would provide a major advantage.

“Then it gets really interesting,” Dr Davis said. “It’s their stealth against our counter-stealth capabilities.”

Australia would send F-35 Joint Strike Fighters out of RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory to counter any bombing threat. Both Dr Davis and Stephan Fruehling from the Australian National University said Australia might require stronger air defences across the north.

Defence announced on Friday it was sending more than 1000 troops – including frigates, surveillance planes and Hornet fighters – at short notice to Derby in the north west for Exercise Northern Shield, which would test their ability to respond quickly to a security crisis.

Dr Fruehling, who was an external adviser on the recent Defence white paper, was sceptical about the usefulness of long-range bombers during a conflict, but said China could conduct aggressive patrols off north-west Australia similar to those it conducted near Japan and as Russia’s had done in northern Europe.

“China’s trying to send a signal that, if Australia gets involved directly or indirectly in joint patrols in the South China Sea, Australia shouldn’t assume that its distance protects it,” Dr Fruehling said. “Those patrols [off Western Australia] would be quite useful to send that signal.”

Mr Shearer, now at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a bigger concern for the Australian mainland was “China’s rapidly growing and modernising strategic missile force”. Alongside North Korea’s long-range nuclear missiles, these could put at risk bases in northern Australia and joint facilities such as Pine Gap.

“We are going to have to get much more serious about missile defence,” he said.

This meant upgrading the new Air Warfare Destroyer warships with ballistic missile interceptors and considering land-based missile defence.

Analysts broadly agreed that, even in situations well short of war, China could use its ability to project power south to coerce Australia, including by dissuading it from becoming too reliable a base for the US.

“The strategic purpose of the ADF for the future will be to protect Australia as a base for long-range allied operations,” Dr Fruehling said.

Alan Dupont, chief executive of the security consultancy the Cognoscenti Group, said: “We are a redoubt or a sanctuary if you like for the US. China’s strategy, I have no doubt, is to prevent any increased use of Australian facilities by the US.”

Dr Davis agreed: “China is not going to permit this without responding.”

Several experts, including Benjamin Schreer from Macquarie University, said the artificial islands were too vulnerable for launching long-range bombers during a conflict.

But Professor Schreer said they would create a naval “bastion” in the South China Sea “from which you can project naval power, particularly submarines, towards the Indian Ocean including towards Australia”.

Former Defence official and now head of Strategy International, Ross Babbage, said the US had limited basing options in Asia. “As a consequence, the Chinese know damned well they can target these facilities and do a lot of damage in the early hours of a clash. That could include, and many people think would include, some places in Australia.”

Paul Dibb from the ANU said Chinese military technology, while improving, was being widely overhyped. Euan Graham of the Lowy Institute was also cautious, saying it would be “extremely audacious” for China to try military action against a high-end power such as Australia given it hadn’t performed combat operations since its brief border war with Vietnam in 1979.

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NSW Liberals defy foreign policy on Taiwan by supporting Beijing’s man

Nov 20 2018 Published by under 南京夜网

William Chiu built close relations with NSW MPs on both sides of politics. Photo: Andrew Darby Bob Carr with China’s “living buddha” Tudeng Kezhu (wearing a robe). Photo: Fairfax
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There were clashes as thousands of Chinese people and hundreds of Tibetans watched the 2008 Olympic torch relay in Canberra. Photo: Jason South

Premier Mike Baird attends the 15th anniversary dinner of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (ACPPRC) in March 2015. Photo: Andrew Darby

Bob Carr with Chinese official Zhu Weiqun (also standing next to the scroll) and “living buddha” Tudeng Kezhu (wearing a robe). Photo: People’s Daily

Enjoying a glass of red wine, Chinese businessman William Chiu announced he would donate $25,000 if the NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith sang him three songs. Mr Smith obliged with Elvis and Sinatra.

How did a student Maoist, arrested by the Malaysian government, imprisoned and tortured for his links to Communist insurgents, come to have the NSW Liberal government singing his tune 40 years later?

In 1974, Mr Chiu was known in Australia as Khoo Ee Liam, a cause celebre for left-wing activists who protested in the streets, calling for the Malaysian to be freed. Wikileaks documents revealed US State Department cables monitoring the international tensions his case ignited.

When he died in June 2015, he had become the NSW Liberals key link to Sydney’s Chinese community. Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian expressed her sadness at the loss of NSW Parliament’s “very close friend”.

Mr Smith, along with other NSW Liberal MPs to benefit from Mr Chiu’s donations, or sponsored travel to China, told Fairfax Media this week they had no idea of his previous identity.

“Maybe it is a good idea that political parties ask more questions,” said the Liberal MP for Oatley, Mark Coure, who received $1990 from Mr Chiu for the 2015 election.

The Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, founded by Mr Chiu in 2000, attracted scrutiny this week because its new president, Huang Xiangmo, complained that Australian politicians treated the Chinese like “cash cows”. Mr Huang vowed to extract some political return.

But Mr Chiu was the model for Mr Huang’s recent large donations to universities and charities, as he skilfully cultivated close relationships with NSW politicians over 16 years in the deploy of Beijing’s “soft power”.

Condolence motions in the NSW Parliament had MPs from both sides warmly espouse Mr Chiu’s work for “the peaceful reunification of China”, flatly contradicting Australian foreign policy on Taiwan.

He donated big to universities, gave to NSW politicians’ election campaigns, and sponsored MPs travel to Tibet and China with his medical charity. They reciprocated by becoming ACPPRC “advisers” (Liberal MPs Jonathan O’Dea, Daryl Maguire, Mr Coure and Labor’s Sonia Hornery and Ernest Wong), attending dinners, and making Mr Chiu a life member of the NSW Parliament’s Asia-Pacific Friendship Group.

Mr Chiu gained regular access to NSW Parliament to launch events promoting China’s “peaceful reunification” in front of Chinese government TV cameras.

The term is offensive to Taiwanese Australians, and the council’s activities – exhibitions promoting China’s control of Tibet, or visits by Beijing’s substitute for the Dalai Lama – upset Tibetan Australians.

Yet such was Mr Chiu’s status that the ACPPRC pays for NSW Premier Mike Baird to flick the switch to turn the Opera House red for Chinese New Year.

It paid $10,000 to fund the Premier’s 2016 Harmony Dinner, and has paid $10,000 a year to sponsor the NSW government’s Multicultural Marketing Awards since 2011.

The first time Mr Smith sang for Mr Chiu, the money went to the Lions Club. In 2012 Mr Chiu was the only non-politician to become a member of the NSW Parliamentary Lions.

Former premier Barry O’Farrell laid a wreath at Mr Chiu’s Sydney Town Hall memorial. But it was his other funeral, at the Babaoshan Cemetery in Beijing, reserved for communism’s revolutionary heroes, that was the clue to his past.

Rebel with a cause

In 1974, Khoo Ee Liam’s detention by Malaysian authorities under the Internal Securities Act sparked student protests across New Zealand and Australia. He had been a student activist here in the late 1960s.

By December, the Malaysian Minister Mahathir Mohamed, hit out at Australian students “meddling” in his country’s affairs.

The US State Department appeared annoyed at the students, and sympathetic to Malaysia’s claims that Mr Khoo had aided the guerilla Malayan National Liberation Army upon his return to Malaysia in 1971, Wikileaks cables revealed.

Former activist David Cuthbert met Mr Khoo when they were officials for the student union at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mr Cuthbert says when the New Zealand security agencies, decades later, showed him his surveillance file, it contained photographs of the pair at anti-apartheid rallies and protests against US submarine bases. He said he couldn’t confirm Mr Khoo’s links with the Malaysian Communist Party, but “suspects it is true”.

By 1987, Mr Khoo was living in Hong Kong, but his business was Beijing. He visited Mr Cuthbert in New Zealand to ask for help setting up a New Zealand company called Golden Glory International.

Mr Khoo had an 86 per cent stake in the Badaling Great Wall cable car project, and wanted Mr Cuthbert and trade union leader Dave Morgan to become directors of the NZ shelf company.

Mr Cuthbert was unaware Mr Khoo had later settled in Australia, but unsurprised by his ACPPRC activity. “He had a real ability to get on and very good skills in mixing with people,” he said.

“Khoo would have no particular problem dealing with the conservative side of politics if the politicians could be helpful in a cause.”

Name change in Australia

Khoo Ee Liam arrived in Sydney in 2000 using the name William Chiu. Hong Kong court records show Khoo Ee Liam had spent the previous three years trying to raise cash through a backdoor listing and asset swap on the Australian Stock Exchange for Golden Glory. It struck problems when Deloittes valued his cable car business at $28 million, half of what Mr Khoo had hoped for. The ASX refused to let the new entity trade because it didn’t have enough Australian-based shareholders.

Despite Golden Glory’s cash problems, Mr Chiu created international headlines in 2002 when he paid $1 million to host a World Congress on the Peaceful Reunification of China at Darling Harbour. He reportedly paid former US president Bill Clinton $300,000 to speak alongside Beijing cadres. Mr Clinton was accused of “selling out” by Taiwan media. There were violent clashes.

In 2008, the ACPPRC organised the large-scale bussing of Chinese students to Canberra for the 2008 Olympic torch relay. The display of Chinese nationalism, and violent clashes with Tibetan protesters, again made headlines. It was reminiscent of Mr Khoo’s student activist days.

In Beijing, where he was a member of the National People’s Consultative Congress, Mr Chiu was lauded for his idea to raise $140 million from overseas Chinese globally to fund construction of the Olympic Water Cube swimming venue as a display of loyalty.

Meredith Burgmann, the former NSW Labor MLC, received $4000 from Mr Chiu. She said she worked out he was Mr Khoo and told him she had once marched in the streets for his freedom. “He was proud of his dissident activity, and talked openly about it,” she said. “The Liberals didn’t ask questions.”

Mr Chiu accompanied Mr O’Farrell to Beijing when he made his first visit as premier in 2011, US intelligence cables released on Wikileaks noted.

A spokeswoman for Mr Baird said the ACPPRC was a non-government non-profit community organisation.

“The attendance of the Premier at such events recognises the contribution of our multicultural communities to the NSW fabric: it does not constitute a position on foreign policy, which is entirely a matter for the Commonwealth,” she said.

She said the use of Parliament facilities was a matter for the presiding officers “but the Parliament has always been used for engagement between MPs and community organisations”.

Mr Smith said: “There was never any suggestion you had to do anything for any small amount [Mr Chiu] had donated to my SEC. I like singing and he liked my singing. I see that as a legitimate way of fundraising.”

Ms Berejiklian said 30 per cent of her electorate of Willoughby were Chinese-Australians. “As the local member, I am often asked to attend community events representing the Chinese-Australian community,” she said.

Mr Coure said he understood that statements on the peaceful reunification of China were controversial, but foreign policy was “a federal issue”.

“As a member of state Parliament I want to work with all Chinese groups … I am not out to offend anyone,” he said.

Mr Maguire, who launched the ACPPRC Tibetan events at NSW Parliament in front of Chinese cameras, said Mr Chiu was “a genuine person, he never asked me for one thing … probably the opposite of the current chairman [Mr Huang]”.

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NDIS online failures due to under-preparation and time pressures: PwC report

Nov 20 2018 Published by under 南京夜网

Social Services Minister Christian Porter and his state and territory counterparts agreed the impact and scale of the recent NDIS issues were “unacceptable”. Photo: Michael O’BrienAn independent review into the NDIS portal failure that led thousands of participants to have payments fail or be delayed has found the national rollout was under-prepared and went live before it was ready.
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The PwC report was released on Friday as federal, state and territory ministers agreed the Commonwealth would establish an independent complaints and serious incidents system to speed up help to those with a disability.

The review into the mass failures since the myplace online portal went live on July 1 found the information and communications technology implementation “ran out of time” to fully complete necessary activities and proceeded knowing there were risks of serious problems.

“However, the change effort and overall program was under-resourced and underprepared in order to provide the accurate and timely support required by participants and providers when faced with ICT challenges,” the review concluded.

Minister for Social Services Christian Porter reached an agreement with six jurisdictions, including the ACT, in Sydney on Friday for a new national framework for quality and standards for service delivery to those with a disability.

“This framework has been two and a half years in development, so agreement in its final form is a very significant and positive step forward for the NDIS,” he said.

“The review shows there was no single system failure – rather, the frustrating ICT issues arose from a series of compounding events, linked to deficiencies in the NDIA’s governance, operations, change management and communication.”

In addition to the complaints and serious incidents system, Mr Porter and his state and territory counterparts – who agreed the impact and scale of recent issues was “unacceptable” – agreed to set up an NDIS Code of Conduct and a national registrar for service providers.

It followed major moves by Mr Porter on Wednesday to order the NDIA to establish an NDIS transition management team to address all outstanding portal issues and participant plan approval targets, and the appointing of a chief operating officer to oversee operational matters during the transition.

ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service chief executive Fiona May said the ACT trial of the portal rollout prior to July 1 with just six participants and their providers was “completely inadequate”.

Mr Porter’s Wednesday moves continued to fail to address the significant stress and amount of time self managed participants had to spend, “and from what I can see, are still having to spend” to use the portal, she said.

The advocacy body for disability services providers welcomed the “encouraging” response by the minister to increase resources on Wednesday.

National Disability Services chief executive Dr Ken Baker said providers needed to be consulted on the system design.

“We ask Minister Porter to establish an NDIS Technical Advisory Group drawn from people with expertise in the non-government disability sector to provide ongoing advice to the agency and the government about matters pertaining to the portal,” he said.

More than 15,000 people had been deemed eligible for the scheme nationally since July 1, nearly 80 per cent of the first quarter target, with more than 4000 people of these in the planning process and more than 1600 people with approved plans.

The successful claims rate was now 96 per cent, up from 70 per cent for many weeks in July, Mr Porter said.

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Salim Mehajer’s sister Kat opens up about her wedding and life behind the Instagram filter

Nov 20 2018 Published by under 南京夜网

Khadijeh “Kat” Mehajer and Ibraham Sakalaki on their second wedding day. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd Khadijeh “Kat” Mehajer and her bridesmaids. Photo: Emilio B Photography/Mehajer Pty Ltd
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No one throws a wedding like a Mehajer. A family from Sydney’s west emerging as Australia’s answer to the Kardashians.

On the back of her brother Salim’s show – and traffic – stopping nuptials last year, Khadijeh “Kat” Mehajer has also followed in his footsteps as the Van Wilder of weddings.

But it was her bridegroom, Ibraham Sakalaki, who took creative control of the proceedings that were held over two weekends, culminating in a reception staged at two venues last week.

“Ibraham was a huge influence in the way the wedding came together, he was a groomzilla at some stages. We had sleepless nights and stressful days but it was all worth it in the end,” Mehajer said.

The pair, speaking to Fairfax Media while on an overseas honeymoon, were inspired by Salim’s wedding to former Wollongong beautician April “Aysha” Learmonth and admitted to feeling pressure to stage something as similarly “large scale”.

“Since Ibraham is the eldest in his family and I’m the favourite in my family, we were expected to have a bigger than average wedding,” she said. “We both come from a Lebanese background, we are renowned to have large weddings. Salim did set the bar quite high only 12 months prior, so there was a bit of pressure.”

The official Islamic wedding ceremony, the Katb El Kitab – the entree to last week’s affair which was rumoured to cost more than $1 million – was officiated by “the sheikh” and witnessed by a handful of immediate family and close friends.

Mehajer wore a black sequinned Alex Perry gown where she and Sakalaki – in Gucci – reportedly signed a nikah – a non-binding, Islamic social contract that usually involves the husband gifting his wife money as a token of his commitment.

For the reception held on the five-acre Longuevue estate in Kenthurst before the cavalry of Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Rolls Royces headed to Dolton House Hyde Park, Mehajer donned a one-of-a-kind French beaded gown that boasted an Italian tulle and silk overskirt designed by Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez’s favourite Australian designer, Steven Khalil. According to Khalil, who spoke to Fairfax Media earlier this year, a bridal creation like Mehajer’s usually costs more than $20,000 and takes 10 months to make.

While they will continue in the Mehajer tradition of the “more is more” theme via their social media channels, the couple are devoutly committed to their Muslim faith and are only now spending time alone together.

Mehajer, 24, grew up in Lidcombe and went on to study criminology, business and law before joining the family firm, Mehajer Law Group, as a paralegal. In her downtime she enjoys “reading new journals in topics of the law” and “keeping fit and healthy”.

“Don’t get me wrong I still have the occasional McDonald’s drive thru day. Love a Filet-O-Fish,” she said.

She plans to branch out into her other areas of interest – fashion and beauty – as well as supporting Salim and his 100 per cent halal toiletries line due to be released in April 2017. She will also “begin a new business venture” with her new husband.

IT specialist Sakalaki, 33, was raised in Parramatta and, like Mehajer, attended Arthur Phillip High School, however they only met through his younger brother Adam, who served as one of his six, Tom Ford-clad groomsmen.

The couple first met and were introduced, according to Sakalaki, at Italian restaurant chain Criniti’s in Parramatta about five years ago.

They would not be drawn on whether the eatery’s famous one-metre pizza challenge was involved in their first date, which was also attended by a group of family and friends.

In order to make their relationship official, Sakalaki first had to meet and gain Salim’s approval before meeting Mehajer’s father and seeking his blessing of the union.

Sakalaki then moved to Canberra for the duration of their courtship. Distance was a challenge for the reticent couple who referred to themselves as “friends” until their recent wedding extravaganza.

“During our friendship Ibraham lived in Canberra for work and he would travel to Sydney every Friday night and return every Monday morning just to see me for a couple of hours with my sisters chaperoning,” Mehajer said before laughing: “That was a heavy 600-kilometre round trip every weekend, but it was well worth it.”

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