Brambles’ pallets business boosts Q1 sales

A strong performance in Brambles’ European pallets business and continued expansion of its IFCO business has helped boost the company’s first-quarter sales six per cent.

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Brambles, which operates in more than 60 countries primarily through the CHEP and IFCO brands, says sales revenue grew six per cent to $US1.37 million, on a constant currency basis, compared to the prior corresponding period.

The news triggered a lift in the company’s share price which rose 10.5 cents, or 1.13 per cent, to $9.37 at 1408 AEDT on Wednesday.

Driving the boost was an eight per cent rise in the European pallets division on the back of new business and solid existing customer demand in Western Europe.

But the company’s business in the Americas was still the main sales contributor, delivering $546.2 million in revenue, up five per cent on the period corresponding period.

Brambles said pallet sales revenue in Africa, India and the Middle East and the European automotive business also made a solid contribution to growth in the quarter.

In its IFCO business, benefits from North America and continued expansion with existing retailers in Europe helped drive sales up nine per cent in the quarter.

Chief executive Graham Chipchase said the company’s pallet and RPC businesses were enjoying strong expansion in Europe and making good progress in emerging markets such as Latin America, despite competitive environment conditions.

“We continue to operate in a challenging operating and competitive environment, with cost pressures across our portfolio, particularly in our US pallets business,” Mr Chipchase said on Wednesday.

He said the company is using its expertise in the industry to reduce cost increases in order to become more competitive.

The results come as the logistics company faces the prospect of a shareholder class action following alleged failures to disclose important company information.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on Wednesday said it had opened an online registration to shareholders who have allegedly suffered significant losses on the back of Brambles’ revised guidance earlier this year when it stated it would not meet the sales and profit growth forecast it had earlier affirmed.

Brambles said in a statement to the ASX, it has not received any formal communication, nor had it been served any proceeding, but will said it will “vigorously defend” any action if filed.

“Brambles strongly believes that it has at all times complied with its continuous disclosure and other regulatory obligations,” the company said.

David Warner is pathetic: Trescothick

Former England opener Marcus Trescothick has branded David Warner “pathetic”, opining that the vice-captain risks distracting Australia if he is outspoken this summer.

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Warner has recently outlined his plans to be aggressive and antagonistic during the Ashes, notably calling on teammates to find their inner “hatred” of the opposition.

“As soon as you step on that line it’s war,” Warner said on the weekend.

The comments have been widely derided in England, with 2005 Ashes winner Trescothick far from impressed.

“It’s pathetic,” he told the BBC.

“To come out with those sort of comments is not needed.

“There’s always the hype that comes around before the Ashes, so I don’t think it’s something the (English) players will be drawn into.

“I think it will just be a good distraction, hopefully, for Australia and they can get caught up in the war of words.”

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh was less outraged by Warner, but admitted he never felt a hatred of England at any point in his 168-Test career.

“There’s nothing wrong with that bit of byplay before the series starts. It gets everybody interested,” Waugh told AAP.

“I’m sure Dave can handle making those comments himself. As long as he can back them up, which I’m sure he will.

“Everyone knows you want to beat England but it can’t be a driving force to how you play. You have to concentrate on what you’re doing.”

Warner later called for umpires to adopt a less strict approach to scraps and sledging during the five-Test series, saying it’s what fans want to see.

“I would like to see it like a bit of State of Origin. Let things just flow on and you deal with everything afterwards,” the opener said.

“Let a couple of penalties go and get on with it.”

Consumer a constraint on growth: Westpac

The chief economist at one of the big four banks warns troubled consumers will hamper economic growth heading into 2018.

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Constraints on growth are likely to centre on consumers struggling under the weight of weak wages growth, high energy prices and excessive debt, says Westpac’s Bill Evans.

“Conditions in housing markets, particularly in the eastern states, are likely to soften while the residential construction boom will turn down.”

Mr Evans was responding to the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute leading index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future. It pointed to only modest growth.

“While the index only gives us a glimpse of the likely momentum in the first few months of 2018 it is consistent with our view of the likely growth environment next year,” he said.

Mr Evans is forecasting growth of 2.5 per cent against Australia’s long-term growth rate that’s closer to three per cent.

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor agrees there is a connection between downward pressure on wages and the effect on aggregate demand.

Wage growth is at its lowest rate in at least 20 years.

“If you don’t allow wages to grow, at least to CPI, preferably beyond, you will have consumer confidence down, people not purchasing,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“People, therefore, will have an effect on business confidence.”

The Reserve Bank expects wages growth will gradually lift as employment continues to grow.

The minutes of the central bank’s October 3 board meeting showed it is confident of above-average employment growth over the remainder of 2017 based on job advertisements, vacancies and hiring intentions data.

September jobs figures are due on Thursday.

Economists’ forecasts centre on a 15,000 employment increase when the September labour force report is released on Thursday following a large 54,200 jump in August.

The jobless rate is expected to remain at 5.6 per cent for the fourth month in a row.

Stalacities, that’s what they were . Cone shaped and jagged teeth that seemed to signify an ominous ending . He could o…

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Trying to reorientate himself from the dizzying journey, Deer could only keep silent as he was dragged much more slowly across the floor . They say some blessings come in disguise and it was hard to see whether it was true in this case . At least his ‘brother’ didn’t seem to be suffering worse from wear . Its simple but surface area and size does make a difference especially in strange situations like this, but who would have thought he be thankful so quickly!Time seemed to trickle like sand in a hourglass . Deer could feel the sudden movement as he was tugged into the air and pulled up only to be fastened next to a sharp rock on the wall . Stalacities, that’s what they were . Cone shaped and jagged teeth that seemed to signify an ominous ending . He could only shudder as he could not stop thinking about how his end might come . Trying to think about what went wrong, he couldn’t help but curse his luck . Who knew what first started this . Little did Deer know this was only the beginning . Back on Earth a pandemic was broadcasted across all tv networks across the globe, many highlighting a sudden booming cases of disappearances, many of those at home and some at work, or even more bizarre while walking in the park with their family on a phone . It escalated so fast that a new grade of warning was issued across all the countries affected, strangely it was mostly those from developed countries like Germany, Brazil, Sweden, China and the USA . The sudden surge was like an epidemic; although cases of disappearances reported from developing countries remained low, this did not mean it didn’t happen, these were just less reported because of the lack of convenient technology like consistent phone networks and internet access in these places . With the outburst of disappearances, governments and scientists were called into question . The spark that ignited the flame had come, an internet user hoping to get more answers on their partner’s disappearance uploaded a copy of their home cctv footage . Strangely enough, it didn’t seem like there was an abduction, it looked like an normal day, well even before the parts leading up to it, slight moaning could be heard in the background of the screen . But all of a sudden a strange shadow seemed to come out at the corner of the room and then nothing, a guy had disappeared just like that . AdvertisementMeanwhile while all this was happening Deer was still struggling to see if he could escape . Maybe it was his luck but not long after the spider had brought him here, it had disappeared again . He could feel movement slowly returning back to his body . A slow throbbing feeling as his blood found it difficult to circulate the blood while being tightly bound . He could move but only just, one hand more than the other . Although at this point he couldn’t see anything . It was still pitch black, especially deeper inside the cave . Still, anything was better than staying here and waiting to die . He could feel that he was wrapped against a jagged portion of the sharp stalactite in the cave . The jagged rock hanging down like a tooth of a monster . Without further ado he began to brace his body in a back in forth position as he tried to use his weight and what little movement he had to try and rip the sticky bindings across his body . Time slowly passed, it felt like he was living on a dangerous knife edge . Not sure how long, but he finally managed to get a response as some of his bindings began to loosen; although he could tell he was bleeding, his body was covered in sweat and blood which gave out a strong smell . There was no time . Any moment and the spider could come back, he knew he needed to be fast: there was no second chance . Who knew what kind of monster would appear drawn by the smell of his blood or whether the Cave Spider would come back in the next moment . It must have been luck because nothing seemed to be approaching even after a long while of him struggling against the webbing on his body . A sudden numbing sensation in the pit of his stomach as he fell, the hard fall to floor almost winded him . The most serious injury was the severe cramping of his whole body as he began to regain control of it as he lay panting on the floor . Gritting his teeth, and removing the final webbing from his face, failing a few times because of how slippery his whole body had become slick with sweat and blood, his eyes were caught by a glowing object that seemed to shine in the dark . Moving closer his hands began to clench together as he finally grasped the item in his hands . A new notification appeared in his head: ‘you’ve obtained Fergus’ coin, Luck will be permanently increased by two’ . Quickly checking his status in his head, Deer could see there was a new stat added . <>Lvl 1Race: ??Stamina 6Strength 4Agility 4Wisdom 7Intelligence 5Charm 1 (-1)Luck 9Talents[Heart of the Pure]Skills-Compared to his other stats it seemed a bit overpowered . ‘But why hadn’t it appeared before?’Stopping himself from wasting more time he quickly stored the coin in one of his pockets, one hand fumbling against the wall as he followed it along with his hand, rushing ahead . There was no time to stay still . Some time passed, as he carried out this process, eventually leading him into a small network where there seemed to be a lot of tunnels heading either deeper into the cave or leading to somewhere new or back out . Except the darkness was still the same, although his eyes had adjusted slightly he still could not see . Fear of the Cave Spider coming back or encountering another danger, he did not have time to make another logical decision, Deer could only follow his feelings as he hurriedly trudged ahead while ignoring the numerous bumps and scrapes across his body . He had an urgent feeling he needed to keep moving fast before all else, even though most of the wounds on his body had become drier, he was sure the smell of blood from his body radiated like a beacon for any monster in this cave . It was unknown how long he walked for but eventually he could see the surroundings lighting up slightly as light began to stream towards him . A few moments later he could not help but cry as he saw a small underground lake, with a small opening in the roof where a patch of the sky could be seen . Caution stopped him in his tracks as he blinked his heavy eyelids drained by the sudden escape from the maws of death . Cautiously looking around he made sure he was alone before all else, after all it makes sense where there is water there must also be living things . Carefully making sure the coast was clear he slowly approached the pool of water . It had seemed quite big at first but on closer sight, the lake was more like a pool . His mind had been playing tricks on him . Fumbling around at the floor under his feet, he rummaged for some small sharp stones that he could throw to test out the waters . “Plop” the sudden drop of a stone in the surface of the water echoed dangerously . Waiting for his heartbeat to calm down he could only help but stare again and again, one, three, fifteen, counting till sixty it seemed nothing appeared to be rushing out . More relaxed he began to edge towards to pool and submerged himself in the water, quickly washing away the tiredness on his body, making care to rinse out some of the blood matting his clothes and hair . Wetting his mouth, he was not sure if the water was drinkable but there didn’t seem to be any reaction even after a long time . Recalling an article of a magazine he had read before, he decided to check whether there was any dripping water from a nearby stone, perhaps the cave was heated underground but the water wasn’t very cold . Spying a possible source of drinking water, he quickly approached it and lowered his mouth underneath it as he waited drop by drop for the water to drip into his mouth . Dripping water from a stone seemed to be safer as it was filtered through the stones, compared to what else lay in the bottom of the pool Deer wasn’t keen to find out . He was only near the edge after all . Slightly feeling better he began to sit down as he took out the coin from his pocket to inspect . As he did so he noticed there was a small description appearing in his head . <>’ The coin of a leprechaun who met with an unfortunate end’Trying to reorientate himself from the dizzying journey, Deer could only keep silent as he was dragged much more slowly across the floor . They say some blessings come in disguise and it was hard to see whether it was true in this case . At least his brother didnt seem to be suffering worse from wear . Its simple but surface area and size does make a difference especially in strange situations like this, but who would have thought he be thankful so quickly! Time seemed to trickle like sand in a hourglass . Deer could feel the sudden movement as he was tugged into the air and pulled up only to be fastened next to a sharp rock on the wall . Stalacities, thats what they were . Cone shaped and jagged teeth that seemed to signify an ominous ending . He could only shudder as he could not stop thinking about how his end might come . Trying to think about what went wrong, he couldnt help but curse his luck . Who knew what first started this . Little did Deer know this was only the beginning . Back on Earth a pandemic was broadcasted across all tv networks across the globe, many highlighting a sudden booming cases of disappearances, many of those at home and some at work, or even more bizarre while walking in the park with their family on a phone . It escalated so fast that a new grade of warning was issued across all the countries affected, strangely it was mostly those from developed countries like Germany, Brazil, Sweden, China and the USA . The sudden surge was like an epidemic; although cases of disappearances reported from developing countries remained low, this did not mean it didnt happen, these were just less reported because of the lack of convenient technology like consistent phone networks and internet access in these places . With the outburst of disappearances, governments and scientists were called into question . The spark that ignited the flame had come, an internet user hoping to get more answers on their partners disappearance uploaded a copy of their home cctv footage . Strangely enough, it didnt seem like there was an abduction, it looked like an normal day, well even before the parts leading up to it, slight moaning could be heard in the background of the screen . But all of a sudden a strange shadow seemed to come out at the corner of the room and then nothing, a guy had disappeared just like that . Meanwhile while all this was happening Deer was still struggling to see if he could escape . Maybe it was his luck but not long after the spider had brought him here, it had disappeared again . He could feel movement slowly returning back to his body . A slow throbbing feeling as his blood found it difficult to circulate the blood while being tightly bound . He could move but only just, one hand more than the other . Although at this point he couldnt see anything . It was still pitch black, especially deeper inside the cave . Still, anything was better than staying here and waiting to die . He could feel that he was wrapped against a jagged portion of the sharp stalactite in the cave . The jagged rock hanging down like a tooth of a monster . Without further ado he began to brace his body in a back in forth position as he tried to use his weight and what little movement he had to try and rip the sticky bindings across his body . Time slowly passed, it felt like he was living on a dangerous knife edge . Not sure how long, but he finally managed to get a response as some of his bindings began to loosen; although he could tell he was bleeding, his body was covered in sweat and blood which gave out a strong smell . There was no time . Any moment and the spider could come back, he knew he needed to be fast: there was no second chance . Who knew what kind of monster would appear drawn by the smell of his blood or whether the Cave Spider would come back in the next moment . It must have been luck because nothing seemed to be approaching even after a long while of him struggling against the webbing on his body . A sudden numbing sensation in the pit of his stomach as he fell, the hard fall to floor almost winded him . The most serious injury was the severe cramping of his whole body as he began to regain control of it as he lay panting on the floor . Gritting his teeth, and removing the final webbing from his face, failing a few times because of how slippery his whole body had become slick with sweat and blood, his eyes were caught by a glowing object that seemed to shine in the dark . Moving closer his hands began to clench together as he finally grasped the item in his hands . A new notification appeared in his head: youve obtained Fergus coin, Luck will be permanently increased by two . Quickly checking his status in his head, Deer could see there was a new stat added . <> Lvl 1 Race: ?? Stamina 6 Strength 4 Agility 4 Wisdom 7 Intelligence 5 Charm 1 (-1) Luck 9 Talents [Heart of the Pure] Skills – Compared to his other stats it seemed a bit overpowered . But why hadnt it appeared before? Stopping himself from wasting more time he quickly stored the coin in one of his pockets, one hand fumbling against the wall as he followed it along with his hand, rushing ahead . There was no time to stay still . Some time passed, as he carried out this process, eventually leading him into a small network where there seemed to be a lot of tunnels heading either deeper into the cave or leading to somewhere new or back out . Except the darkness was still the same, although his eyes had adjusted slightly he still could not see . Fear of the Cave Spider coming back or encountering another danger, he did not have time to make another logical decision, Deer could only follow his feelings as he hurriedly trudged ahead while ignoring the numerous bumps and scrapes across his body . He had an urgent feeling he needed to keep moving fast before all else, even though most of the wounds on his body had become drier, he was sure the smell of blood from his body radiated like a beacon for any monster in this cave . It was unknown how long he walked for but eventually he could see the surroundings lighting up slightly as light began to stream towards him . A few moments later he could not help but cry as he saw a small underground lake, with a small opening in the roof where a patch of the sky could be seen . Caution stopped him in his tracks as he blinked his heavy eyelids drained by the sudden escape from the maws of death . Cautiously looking around he made sure he was alone before all else, after all it makes sense where there is water there must also be living things . Carefully making sure the coast was clear he slowly approached the pool of water . It had seemed quite big at first but on closer sight, the lake was more like a pool . His mind had been playing tricks on him . Fumbling around at the floor under his feet, he rummaged for some small sharp stones that he could throw to test out the waters . Plop the sudden drop of a stone in the surface of the water echoed dangerously . Waiting for his heartbeat to calm down he could only help but stare again and again, one, three, fifteen, counting till sixty it seemed nothing appeared to be rushing out . More relaxed he began to edge towards to pool and submerged himself in the water, quickly washing away the tiredness on his body, making care to rinse out some of the blood matting his clothes and hair . Wetting his mouth, he was not sure if the water was drinkable but there didnt seem to be any reaction even after a long time . Recalling an article of a magazine he had read before, he decided to check whether there was any dripping water from a nearby stone, perhaps the cave was heated underground but the water wasnt very cold . Spying a possible source of drinking water, he quickly approached it and lowered his mouth underneath it as he waited drop by drop for the water to drip into his mouth . Dripping water from a stone seemed to be safer as it was filtered through the stones, compared to what else lay in the bottom of the pool Deer wasnt keen to find out . He was only near the edge after all . Slightly feeling better he began to sit down as he took out the coin from his pocket to inspect . As he did so he noticed there was a small description appearing in his head . <> The coin of a leprechaun who met with an unfortunate end

‘It was a miracle it was still there, an unbearable feeling of loss coursed through Deer’s body, words were hard to exp…

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‘It’s really like this . . . ‘ the crestfallen sigh seemed to echo loudly in the cave in Deer’s ears . “Heart of the **** Pure . ‘It was a miracle it was still there, an unbearable feeling of loss coursed through Deer’s body, words were hard to express how he felt right now: his best friend for so long . Although by all accounts everything was the same, all to the smallest detail . The problem was the word “small”, seemingly like a shrunken head, it had become much smaller, more comparable to a new grown baby . No wonder in his status Race was highlighted by a bunch of simple question marks . Yeah sure, even in the animal kingdom the same rule applies; the bigger, the louder, the better . Deer’s face suddenly became thinner as the shock hit him hard, it was at this point as if poking fun at his predicament, he saw a new notification on his status . “Due to the condition of the host, Charm has been temporarily lowered by one” . <>Lvl 1Race: ??Stamina 6AdvertisementStrength 4Agility 4Wisdom 7Intelligence 5Charm 1 (-1)Talents[Heart of the Pure]Skills-Expletives and sounds exploded from his mouth as his mood began to bubble dangerously like a volcano ready to erupt . It was only a moment later that Deer began to calm down, perhaps he had become the world’s first person to successfully hypnotise himself . Expelling deep breaths he could only think of more pressing matters . He could only think of how many others like him who had successfully completed their opening bid and what kind of talent or skill they had obtained from this strange system . As for now he couldn’t see any other people which struck him as odd, considering how many there had been in the gigantic forest clearing they had been summoned to in the first place . It was strange but the whole situation seemed full of mystery, like there was a hidden force working behind the scene: like he who shall not be named but lives far far above . ‘Could it be?’Since young Deer had always had an aversion to religion, to him whose family was brought up in a strictly religious home, it had seemed like a long drawn out scam, if someone was really there then surely he wouldn’t want you to spend every Sunday with your Father . It was a habit more than anything else but the G word had been deemed particularly sensitive in his house, any inappropriate mention would have got much worse than a scolding . In some ways his family was more liberal, like his room plastered with illustrated posters, even his Dad had seen the beauty of it . But family is family, everyone is different . Come to think of it, he was surprised, he had been making a lot of noise but it had suddenly become eerily quiet all of a sudden . ‘It was probably a good idea at this point to move closer to the light . . . ‘No sooner had the thoughts come out of his mind when he felt a numbing sensation across his body and something tightly binding him towards the wall . His organs seemed to shake from the vibrations of being thrown across the tunnel . Panic filled his face as he was about to yell only to hold back as his tongue seemed to dry like a mummy in his mouth; in front of him he could see a huge arachnid body, eight legs menacingly strutted the floor, in contrast to the dark black body filled with eyes glaring at him with it’s compound vision . A strong sense of danger emanated from the huge spider . He could not resist let alone move,a sudden spurt of webbing shot out at him as it turned around to wave it’s rear in his face, gloatingly dipping in the air . Darkness, he could no longer hear anything other than the muffled breathing of his mouth as he gasped for air . Calm down Deer, calm down, he needed to think and stop resisting . He knew spiders often preferred silence rather than struggling prey, of course it was at moment like this that knowledge from his hobby began to surface . More than anything he could only slowly relax his body . There was still a chance, he still had time, after all, even a five year old kid knows spiders never eat the prey when they are caught, rather rationing them like snack bars . Just watch a house spider when it has caught a fly at home and you would understand this simple scene . Even so his body could not hide the tingling sensation hitting him, It seemed like the spider web must have some kind of numbing agent because he could feel his body slowly becoming less and less responsive . There was no point to struggle, he couldn’t even move even if he had wanted to . It was at this time his higher stat in Wisdom began to shine, after all being smart is all well and good but being able to make the most of what you know and how to act appropriately in different situations more than often or not could decide your fate . It has to be said Deer made a very clever choice because it was true whether this was real or simply a dream, the pain did not lie, it would only take a moment to find out: not necessarily a happy ending . Feeling himself being pulled and dragged across the floor, Deer was partially glad that his body was slightly numb and secondly that there was a lot of webbing protecting him against the friction caused by the spiders swift movement . Without much to do, he could only check his status and see whether he could learn anything new he could use to rescue himself from this situation . Whether because of the shock or surprise, it was not long before he noticed the new notification, ‘you’ve been ambushed by a Cave Spider, you’re body is undergoing a Strength check, you’ve failed the Strength check and will remain bound’ . ‘What kind of world is this!’ Deer could only roar inside as he knew his chances of escape was looking slimmer and slimmer . It didn’t seem long but time seemed to drag on, unknown to Deer he had been travelling quite fast and he was much deeper inside the cave . A notification soon came into his head as he realised just how much trouble he was in ‘you’ve entered the Inner Reaches of Abord’s Cave, congratulations for finding a secret map’ . ‘That’s the good news? There was no good news!’ From the sounds of it, this was far, far more trouble than a spider’s cave . Let alone being able to escape from his current predicament, it seemed like there was something even more dangerous inside, a named monster!If this was a game he would be kicking himself in joy because named monsters and a secret map often meant huge opportunities, but in this case the question if he could escape and survive heavily played on his mind .Its really like this . the crestfallen sigh seemed to echo loudly in the cave in Deers ears . Heart of the **** Pure . It was a miracle it was still there, an unbearable feeling of loss coursed through Deers body, words were hard to express how he felt right now: his best friend for so long . Although by all accounts everything was the same, all to the smallest detail . The problem was the word small, seemingly like a shrunken head, it had become much smaller, more comparable to a new grown baby . No wonder in his status Race was highlighted by a bunch of simple question marks . Yeah sure, even in the animal kingdom the same rule applies; the bigger, the louder, the better . Deers face suddenly became thinner as the shock hit him hard, it was at this point as if poking fun at his predicament, he saw a new notification on his status . Due to the condition of the host, Charm has been temporarily lowered by one . <> Lvl 1 Race: ?? Stamina 6 Strength 4 Agility 4 Wisdom 7 Intelligence 5 Charm 1 (-1) Talents [Heart of the Pure] Skills – Expletives and sounds exploded from his mouth as his mood began to bubble dangerously like a volcano ready to erupt . It was only a moment later that Deer began to calm down, perhaps he had become the worlds first person to successfully hypnotise himself . Expelling deep breaths he could only think of more pressing matters . He could only think of how many others like him who had successfully completed their opening bid and what kind of talent or skill they had obtained from this strange system . As for now he couldnt see any other people which struck him as odd, considering how many there had been in the gigantic forest clearing they had been summoned to in the first place . It was strange but the whole situation seemed full of mystery, like there was a hidden force working behind the scene: like he who shall not be named but lives far far above . Could it be? Since young Deer had always had an aversion to religion, to him whose family was brought up in a strictly religious home, it had seemed like a long drawn out scam, if someone was really there then surely he wouldnt want you to spend every Sunday with your Father . It was a habit more than anything else but the G word had been deemed particularly sensitive in his house, any inappropriate mention would have got much worse than a scolding . In some ways his family was more liberal, like his room plastered with illustrated posters, even his Dad had seen the beauty of it . But family is family, everyone is different . Come to think of it, he was surprised, he had been making a lot of noise but it had suddenly become eerily quiet all of a sudden . It was probably a good idea at this point to move closer to the light . No sooner had the thoughts come out of his mind when he felt a numbing sensation across his body and something tightly binding him towards the wall . His organs seemed to shake from the vibrations of being thrown across the tunnel . Panic filled his face as he was about to yell only to hold back as his tongue seemed to dry like a mummy in his mouth; in front of him he could see a huge arachnid body, eight legs menacingly strutted the floor, in contrast to the dark black body filled with eyes glaring at him with its compound vision . A strong sense of danger emanated from the huge spider . He could not resist let alone move,a sudden spurt of webbing shot out at him as it turned around to wave its rear in his face, gloatingly dipping in the air . Darkness, he could no longer hear anything other than the muffled breathing of his mouth as he gasped for air . Calm down Deer, calm down, he needed to think and stop resisting . He knew spiders often preferred silence rather than struggling prey, of course it was at moment like this that knowledge from his hobby began to surface . More than anything he could only slowly relax his body . There was still a chance, he still had time, after all, even a five year old kid knows spiders never eat the prey when they are caught, rather rationing them like snack bars . Just watch a house spider when it has caught a fly at home and you would understand this simple scene . Even so his body could not hide the tingling sensation hitting him, It seemed like the spider web must have some kind of numbing agent because he could feel his body slowly becoming less and less responsive . There was no point to struggle, he couldnt even move even if he had wanted to . It was at this time his higher stat in Wisdom began to shine, after all being smart is all well and good but being able to make the most of what you know and how to act appropriately in different situations more than often or not could decide your fate . It has to be said Deer made a very clever choice because it was true whether this was real or simply a dream, the pain did not lie, it would only take a moment to find out: not necessarily a happy ending . Feeling himself being pulled and dragged across the floor, Deer was partially glad that his body was slightly numb and secondly that there was a lot of webbing protecting him against the friction caused by the spiders swift movement . Without much to do, he could only check his status and see whether he could learn anything new he could use to rescue himself from this situation . Whether because of the shock or surprise, it was not long before he noticed the new notification, youve been ambushed by a Cave Spider, youre body is undergoing a Strength check, youve failed the Strength check and will remain bound . What kind of world is this! Deer could only roar inside as he knew his chances of escape was looking slimmer and slimmer . It didnt seem long but time seemed to drag on, unknown to Deer he had been travelling quite fast and he was much deeper inside the cave . A notification soon came into his head as he realised just how much trouble he was in youve entered the Inner Reaches of Abords Cave, congratulations for finding a secret map . Thats the good news? There was no good news! From the sounds of it, this was far, far more trouble than a spiders cave . Let alone being able to escape from his current predicament, it seemed like there was something even more dangerous inside, a named monster! If this was a game he would be kicking himself in joy because named monsters and a secret map often meant huge opportunities, but in this case the question if he could escape and survive heavily played on his mind .

Looking ahead he could make out that he was in a tunnel of sorts because there seemed to be some sort of light in the f…

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Groggy, Deer could feel his head pounding . It didn’t seem like he was hurt anywhere but his body was aching in a strange place . As he slowly came to his senses he began to sigh in relief, he was still sitting in his chair at home: nothing had changed, it had all been a bad dream . Or, it would have been nice if that was the case . However as he looked around him he realised everything was far from fine, his eyes could barely see in front of him, the murky darkness covered what he could see in front of him . Looking ahead he could make out that he was in a tunnel of sorts because there seemed to be some sort of light in the far distance, enough to realise he was very deep inside the cave . Stumbling with his footing as he awkwardly tried to find a balance, he had an uncomfortable feeling emitting slowly from below his stomach . But it was not hunger, it was like a deep seating feeling of something wrong . He remembered he had eaten quite well before all these strange things had happened . Cursing his stomach, he couldn’t help but regret his insatiable appetite, if only he hadn’t eaten so much and fallen asleep at his desk; he was sure things wouldn’t have come to heads like this situation now . But the huge table of food his family had cooked, and the completely perfect summer weather wasn’t the only reason he had fallen asleep at his desk: after all not long from finishing dinner he still remembered completing a super hard dungeon raid with his friends online . He still remembered that game, he had been a summoner class, one of his favourite; although he wasn’t very good at games normally, he enjoyed learning about, and exploring the different types of monsters in a game . It was hard to find anything else he considered fun . As an avid Monster Hunter, Deer was a fanatic when it came to games involving monster classes . He might not have been on the pro circuit but as a game analyst of monster classes and types, he had slowly build up his own database with a rare fanaticism . It goes to show after all, not everyone is good at everything but everyone has a talent, for Deer he was proud of his talent as a die hard Monster Hunter . AdvertisementDistracting himself from the situation it was not long till he eventually approached the exit of the tunnel, a stupendous sight met his eyes as he took in the lush scenery and out of proportion plants and trees around him . It looked like he had gone back in time and was transported to a kind of prehistoric era, luckily it didn’t seem to be anything dangerous roaming around and the surrounding was relatively quiet . He could not help but shiver as he heard a strange cry which seemed too close enough from comfort . Shaking himself out of reverie, he began to look around closer and it was strange how he missed it but not far away he saw a pink shrub with berries laden . Glad that he was not hungry he still decided to go closer as he knew that for whatever reason he had been sent here, the chances of finding a way back let alone an answer to the running questions in his head was close to impossible . All of a sudden, as he began to get closer to the shrub, he could feel a tingling sensation at the back of his nape warning him . It didn’t look dangerous but it was easier to be safer rather than sorry . Moving quickly, far away, he rushed back to the cave and looked for some small stones he could toss to test out if there was anything to be careful of or whether he had been over thinking it . ‘Fleuee’ the first shot missed and was nowhere close to hitting the shrub . Smiling awkwardly to himself he could only take another shot . The second shot was true to his aim and hit towards the shrub, but no sooner had it made contact, that vines hidden underneath the surface seemed to thrash out in the air . Sinewy like snakes, they began to dance in the air with powerful sharp movements . Gulping down a breath of air he could only thank his lucky stars for taking the precaution . It was at this time a weird notification seemed to appear inside his head: ‘you’ve discovered a pink tattletale shrub’ . ‘What was this?’ A confused expression could be seen on Deer’s face as he was distracted by the sudden announcement . Like a ripple in the lake caused by the toss of a pebble, Deer began to remember the last few moments before he had been teleported here . ‘That’s right, there was an opening bid!’Without enough power, there was no use wondering how he had came to be here or why he had been sent to this strange environment, Deer knew he was wasting his time . Instead it was better to focus and adapt, as that was the only way to survive . But the one thing which nagged at the back of his mind, was that he remembered that his opening bid had been successful . . . Looking again closely at the notification inside his head he realised there was something strange that he hadn’t realised before, similar to a game interface, it looked like there was a system in his head . There was even a notification entry and stats to do with his status . In his mind eye he could open his ‘status’ it looked strangely like a game status menu although what was with these numbers . . . <>Lvl 1Race: ??Stamina 6Strength 4Agility 4Wisdom 7Intelligence 5Charm 2Talents[Heart of the Pure]Skills-‘What was this? Not to mention the low numbers apart from Wisdom, these question marks under Race, what did that even mean’ . Questions seemed to pile up higher and higher in his head, he really wasn’t sure what to do with what he could see . At least he had a Talent although there was no idea what it did, far from an explanation, the system seemed too basic, lacking any sort of explanation . ‘Was this the result of the successful bid?’ His face turned pale as he could not help but remember what he put down for the bid . At the time a lot of things had been going through his head, he had been confused and panicking . He was still young and he remembered he had a feeling he needed to win the bid no matter what so in the end he had put down what he felt was the most important thing he had . A strange wind seemed to rustle from underneath as sweat drops began to pour in beads from his head . ‘It couldn’t be, could it? They couldn’t really have taken my only brother!’ Rushing fast as the wind despite his measly four points in agility, Deer quickly ran to the inside of the cave .Groggy, Deer could feel his head pounding . It didnt seem like he was hurt anywhere but his body was aching in a strange place . As he slowly came to his senses he began to sigh in relief, he was still sitting in his chair at home: nothing had changed, it had all been a bad dream . Or, it would have been nice if that was the case . However as he looked around him he realised everything was far from fine, his eyes could barely see in front of him, the murky darkness covered what he could see in front of him . Looking ahead he could make out that he was in a tunnel of sorts because there seemed to be some sort of light in the far distance, enough to realise he was very deep inside the cave . Stumbling with his footing as he awkwardly tried to find a balance, he had an uncomfortable feeling emitting slowly from below his stomach . But it was not hunger, it was like a deep seating feeling of something wrong . He remembered he had eaten quite well before all these strange things had happened . Cursing his stomach, he couldnt help but regret his insatiable appetite, if only he hadnt eaten so much and fallen asleep at his desk; he was sure things wouldnt have come to heads like this situation now . But the huge table of food his family had cooked, and the completely perfect summer weather wasnt the only reason he had fallen asleep at his desk: after all not long from finishing dinner he still remembered completing a super hard dungeon raid with his friends online . He still remembered that game, he had been a summoner class, one of his favourite; although he wasnt very good at games normally, he enjoyed learning about, and exploring the different types of monsters in a game . It was hard to find anything else he considered fun . As an avid Monster Hunter, Deer was a fanatic when it came to games involving monster classes . He might not have been on the pro circuit but as a game analyst of monster classes and types, he had slowly build up his own database with a rare fanaticism . It goes to show after all, not everyone is good at everything but everyone has a talent, for Deer he was proud of his talent as a die hard Monster Hunter . Distracting himself from the situation it was not long till he eventually approached the exit of the tunnel, a stupendous sight met his eyes as he took in the lush scenery and out of proportion plants and trees around him . It looked like he had gone back in time and was transported to a kind of prehistoric era, luckily it didnt seem to be anything dangerous roaming around and the surrounding was relatively quiet . He could not help but shiver as he heard a strange cry which seemed too close enough from comfort . Shaking himself out of reverie, he began to look around closer and it was strange how he missed it but not far away he saw a pink shrub with berries laden . Glad that he was not hungry he still decided to go closer as he knew that for whatever reason he had been sent here, the chances of finding a way back let alone an answer to the running questions in his head was close to impossible . All of a sudden, as he began to get closer to the shrub, he could feel a tingling sensation at the back of his nape warning him . It didnt look dangerous but it was easier to be safer rather than sorry . Moving quickly, far away, he rushed back to the cave and looked for some small stones he could toss to test out if there was anything to be careful of or whether he had been over thinking it . Fleuee the first shot missed and was nowhere close to hitting the shrub . Smiling awkwardly to himself he could only take another shot . The second shot was true to his aim and hit towards the shrub, but no sooner had it made contact, that vines hidden underneath the surface seemed to thrash out in the air . Sinewy like snakes, they began to dance in the air with powerful sharp movements . Gulping down a breath of air he could only thank his lucky stars for taking the precaution . It was at this time a weird notification seemed to appear inside his head: youve discovered a pink tattletale shrub . What was this? A confused expression could be seen on Deers face as he was distracted by the sudden announcement . Like a ripple in the lake caused by the toss of a pebble, Deer began to remember the last few moments before he had been teleported here . Thats right, there was an opening bid! Without enough power, there was no use wondering how he had came to be here or why he had been sent to this strange environment, Deer knew he was wasting his time . Instead it was better to focus and adapt, as that was the only way to survive . But the one thing which nagged at the back of his mind, was that he remembered that his opening bid had been successful . Looking again closely at the notification inside his head he realised there was something strange that he hadnt realised before, similar to a game interface, it looked like there was a system in his head . There was even a notification entry and stats to do with his status . In his mind eye he could open his status it looked strangely like a game status menu although what was with these numbers . <> Lvl 1 Race: ?? Stamina 6 Strength 4 Agility 4 Wisdom 7 Intelligence 5 Charm 2 Talents [Heart of the Pure] Skills – What was this? Not to mention the low numbers apart from Wisdom, these question marks under Race, what did that even mean . Questions seemed to pile up higher and higher in his head, he really wasnt sure what to do with what he could see . At least he had a Talent although there was no idea what it did, far from an explanation, the system seemed too basic, lacking any sort of explanation . Was this the result of the successful bid? His face turned pale as he could not help but remember what he put down for the bid . At the time a lot of things had been going through his head, he had been confused and panicking . He was still young and he remembered he had a feeling he needed to win the bid no matter what so in the end he had put down what he felt was the most important thing he had . A strange wind seemed to rustle from underneath as sweat drops began to pour in beads from his head . It couldnt be, could it? They couldnt really have taken my only brother! Rushing fast as the wind despite his measly four points in agility, Deer quickly ran to the inside of the cave .

The turbulence of the plane taking off, the movement pressing against your body, the taste of air at an higher altitude…

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‘Crash!’ The sound of falling could be heard across clearing of the gigantic forest . Sometimes fast, sometimes slow: the only thing which remained the same was the light that appeared just milliseconds before impact, which seemed to soften the fall . Blinding light illuminated the clearing, creating a scene like countless stars falling . A roiling sea of sound and light: it was not moments later before quiet descended in the clearing as night approached; although, describing it in so simple terms was far from explaining the awe and mystery surrounding what had happened . Imagine as a kid the first time flying on a plane, for someone knowing that things like air planes are real: experiencing something out of your expectation for the first time definitely was different . The turbulence of the plane taking off, the movement pressing against your body, the taste of air at an higher altitude all these things come together to form an unique experience . As the falling stars descended, those who arrived in the clearing were inundated with a similar feeling . Their eyes automatically looked around the clearing only as the light began to dim, to discover there were many people like them . A small hubbub of noise extended out as many tried to make sense of the situation, a simple glance could see different people of various races and ages, in a myriad forms of apparel and state of undress . Noises in different languages and intonations had already began to spread and shout out as disorder became more and more apparent . Panicked, the first sign of response for those who had been summoned to this strange situation . The second sign, acceptance: whether because of their temperament or experiences a few had even skipped the first signs of panic and were already settled down . Calm like in the eye of the storm, it was apparent who these people were in the crowd . AdvertisementStanding inconspicuously, eyes still blurry from waking up from his dream, a young figure was trying to remember his dream . Despite those around him being more and more riled up with the situation, his focused eyes looked at his hand and slowly clenched it in a rubbing motion, the words ‘big’ could be very faintly heard, that is only if you had been standing close next to him . It was unfortunate but it just so happened over the shoulder a small girl, had chosen this time to glance in his direction, eyes that were curiously big and seemed to almost whisper a seductive tone of its own . It could have been coincidence but there was no mistaking what the girl’s reaction was after having witnessed the sleezy movement of the guy in front of her . ‘Hmpf’ a light sound seemed to escape from her mouth as she glared at him . Almost as if he had sensedthe strange feeling directed at his back, Deer could only snap awake from his imagination as he quickly grasped the strange situation around him . Rather than worried he remained calm as he began to slap his face . Slightly at first; but slowly hitting himself harder and harder, he finally convinced himself it was not a dream: ‘these many people, where are we?’ . Standing there with puffed up cheeks that were tinged by a hint of red, he made a queer sight in the crowd . No one had gone as extreme as him to hit themselves with such force only to check whether this was still real . Perhaps anticipating the question on everyone’s mind, a small voice whispered in his head . It seemed he was not the only one as the sounds in the surroundings began to slowly die down . Like a receding tide, the ebb of noise seemed to disappear and re-emerge at the same moment . “THE OPENING BID WILL BEGIN IN ONE MINUTE . . . TAKE YOUR TIME AND DECIDE WELL, YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE”It seemed like magic or it might have been some advanced form of technology but a slip of paper began to materialise into the hands of every person there . Not sooner had this happened but it was at this time that Deer began to hear a strange voice inside his head explaining the rules . Short and to the point, there did not seem to be any emotion behind the voice, like a robot reading it’s lines: there was only five simple rules . Reading the rules over and over in his head Deer could only feel himself beginning to experience a throbbing headache . It didn’t help that for whatever reason the sky above their heads suddenly began to show a timer that slowly started to count down as the opening for the bids was soon to start!He didn’t even have a clue what he was bidding for, although from what he could tell it seemed there would be more than one ‘item’ up for bid . Slowly ticking down Deer could see that the timer had almost reached the thirty second mark and was soon entering the twenty second mark . Panic seemed to dredge his mind and looking around him he was not sure what he could bid . The rules were ambiguous and carried a mysterious meaning beside the simple wording . That’s right he had to picture his bid onto the paper, ‘how was that possible?’ Glancing around it seemed many people were like him and confused, it didn’t matter, he could only risk it and go with his feelings . But the question was what could he bid?THIRTEEN! It was counting towards the final ten seconds before the opening bid began . It was at this moment he could not help but recall his dreams and how happy he had been before he awakened to this nightmare . ‘Argh’ the sensation in his hands and the soft supple skin that rested on his palms . It seemed like time slowed down as his brain began to work in overtime . It was this moment which decided the rest of his path . To imagine, an ordinary youth, he had been enjoying his summer break just fine doing what most people his age would: the freedom of being young and carefree, only now . . . Out of the corner of his eye he could a lot of people panicking . Strangely it seemed even out of this group there were some who were different compared to the rest, in the far right a spectacled eastern man seemed to be carefree and slowly tightening his tie on his neck . ‘What’s wrong with these people!’ He could only shout in his head as the frustration began to build itself up like a flood bursting to come out . He couldn’t care any longer, it was at this point in time that he decided his bid . Who could have guessed, it was not till many years down the line when others asked Deer what his opening bid was that the truth came out and everything became clearer and clearer . Explaining the age old saying never ask an idiot to take a fool’s job because he might just succeed . ‘CONGRATULATIONS <> YOUR OPENING BID HAS BEEN ACCEPTED’Crash! The sound of falling could be heard across clearing of the gigantic forest . Sometimes fast, sometimes slow: the only thing which remained the same was the light that appeared just milliseconds before impact, which seemed to soften the fall . Blinding light illuminated the clearing, creating a scene like countless stars falling . A roiling sea of sound and light: it was not moments later before quiet descended in the clearing as night approached; although, describing it in so simple terms was far from explaining the awe and mystery surrounding what had happened . Imagine as a kid the first time flying on a plane, for someone knowing that things like air planes are real: experiencing something out of your expectation for the first time definitely was different . The turbulence of the plane taking off, the movement pressing against your body, the taste of air at an higher altitude all these things come together to form an unique experience . As the falling stars descended, those who arrived in the clearing were inundated with a similar feeling . Their eyes automatically looked around the clearing only as the light began to dim, to discover there were many people like them . A small hubbub of noise extended out as many tried to make sense of the situation, a simple glance could see different people of various races and ages, in a myriad forms of apparel and state of undress . Noises in different languages and intonations had already began to spread and shout out as disorder became more and more apparent . Panicked, the first sign of response for those who had been summoned to this strange situation . The second sign, acceptance: whether because of their temperament or experiences a few had even skipped the first signs of panic and were already settled down . Calm like in the eye of the storm, it was apparent who these people were in the crowd . Standing inconspicuously, eyes still blurry from waking up from his dream, a young figure was trying to remember his dream . Despite those around him being more and more riled up with the situation, his focused eyes looked at his hand and slowly clenched it in a rubbing motion, the words big could be very faintly heard, that is only if you had been standing close next to him . It was unfortunate but it just so happened over the shoulder a small girl, had chosen this time to glance in his direction, eyes that were curiously big and seemed to almost whisper a seductive tone of its own . It could have been coincidence but there was no mistaking what the girls reaction was after having witnessed the sleezy movement of the guy in front of her . Hmpf a light sound seemed to escape from her mouth as she glared at him . Almost as if he had sensedthe strange feeling directed at his back, Deer could only snap awake from his imagination as he quickly grasped the strange situation around him . Rather than worried he remained calm as he began to slap his face . Slightly at first; but slowly hitting himself harder and harder, he finally convinced himself it was not a dream: these many people, where are we? . Standing there with puffed up cheeks that were tinged by a hint of red, he made a queer sight in the crowd . No one had gone as extreme as him to hit themselves with such force only to check whether this was still real . Perhaps anticipating the question on everyones mind, a small voice whispered in his head . It seemed he was not the only one as the sounds in the surroundings began to slowly die down . Like a receding tide, the ebb of noise seemed to disappear and re-emerge at the same moment . THE OPENING BID WILL BEGIN IN ONE MINUTE . TAKE YOUR TIME AND DECIDE WELL, YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE It seemed like magic or it might have been some advanced form of technology but a slip of paper began to materialise into the hands of every person there . Not sooner had this happened but it was at this time that Deer began to hear a strange voice inside his head explaining the rules . Short and to the point, there did not seem to be any emotion behind the voice, like a robot reading its lines: there was only five simple rules . Reading the rules over and over in his head Deer could only feel himself beginning to experience a throbbing headache . It didnt help that for whatever reason the sky above their heads suddenly began to show a timer that slowly started to count down as the opening for the bids was soon to start! He didnt even have a clue what he was bidding for, although from what he could tell it seemed there would be more than one item up for bid . Slowly ticking down Deer could see that the timer had almost reached the thirty second mark and was soon entering the twenty second mark . Panic seemed to dredge his mind and looking around him he was not sure what he could bid . The rules were ambiguous and carried a mysterious meaning beside the simple wording . Thats right he had to picture his bid onto the paper, how was that possible? Glancing around it seemed many people were like him and confused, it didnt matter, he could only risk it and go with his feelings . But the question was what could he bid? THIRTEEN! It was counting towards the final ten seconds before the opening bid began . It was at this moment he could not help but recall his dreams and how happy he had been before he awakened to this nightmare . Argh the sensation in his hands and the soft supple skin that rested on his palms . It seemed like time slowed down as his brain began to work in overtime . It was this moment which decided the rest of his path . To imagine, an ordinary youth, he had been enjoying his summer break just fine doing what most people his age would: the freedom of being young and carefree, only now . Out of the corner of his eye he could a lot of people panicking . Strangely it seemed even out of this group there were some who were different compared to the rest, in the far right a spectacled eastern man seemed to be carefree and slowly tightening his tie on his neck . Whats wrong with these people! He could only shout in his head as the frustration began to build itself up like a flood bursting to come out . He couldnt care any longer, it was at this point in time that he decided his bid . Who could have guessed, it was not till many years down the line when others asked Deer what his opening bid was that the truth came out and everything became clearer and clearer . Explaining the age old saying never ask an idiot to take a fools job because he might just succeed . CONGRATULATIONS <> YOUR OPENING BID HAS BEEN ACCEPTED

The scene after all things were said could be described as very normal, peaceful: an ordinary teen on a ordinary day, en…

@@

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The sound of snoring could be heard on a quiet afternoon: a tired body shadowed the desk, draped across the table, it was just an ordinary youth enjoying his summer break . Looking around the room, nothing much stood out; but the room looked somewhat small, long walls and short sides, a small space crowded with posters of AV girls posing plastered across the back of the walls . Nothing out of the ordinary: kids these days were more precocious than you can imagine . Advertisement The only surprising thing was a small bookcase stacked by the side of the desk, containing magazines and heavy books; although not the ones you might be thinking of, encyclopedias and informative brochures of various outdoor activities and informational brochures which caught the eye . Overall a nice collection . The scene after all things were said could be described as very normal, peaceful: an ordinary teen on a ordinary day, enjoying an ordinary summer holiday . But this was only the start, things change all the time . Maybe he was dreaming being an action star in his dreams but it was at this moment that a notification popped up onto the screen; and his hands twitched, moving slightly towards his face . On the screen were the simple words “READY PLAYER ONE?” Either way due to the simple action of his hand moving, it may have been fate; but the message soon disappeared in response to the small unconscious movement of his body . A silent black aura seemed to project outwards to the room carrying a mysterious origin, slowly expanding wider and wider . Funny enough, half asleep or half awake he seemed to have realised that something felt different because it was very clear but a jumble of words carried out of his mouth . ” . . . big . . so . . . ***** big” @@In preparation, Keguan Please wait a moment, after the updates, you need to refresh the page to get the latest [email protected]@ The sound of snoring could be heard on a quiet afternoon: a tired body shadowed the desk, draped across the table, it was just an ordinary youth enjoying his summer break . Looking around the room, nothing much stood out; but the room looked somewhat small, long walls and short sides, a small space crowded with posters of AV girls posing plastered across the back of the walls . Nothing out of the ordinary: kids these days were more precocious than you can imagine . The only surprising thing was a small bookcase stacked by the side of the desk, containing magazines and heavy books; although not the ones you might be thinking of, encyclopedias and informative brochures of various outdoor activities and informational brochures which caught the eye . Overall a nice collection . The scene after all things were said could be described as very normal, peaceful: an ordinary teen on a ordinary day, enjoying an ordinary summer holiday . But this was only the start, things change all the time . Maybe he was dreaming being an action star in his dreams but it was at this moment that a notification popped up onto the screen; and his hands twitched, moving slightly towards his face . On the screen were the simple words READY PLAYER ONE? Either way due to the simple action of his hand moving, it may have been fate; but the message soon disappeared in response to the small unconscious movement of his body . A silent black aura seemed to project outwards to the room carrying a mysterious origin, slowly expanding wider and wider . Funny enough, half asleep or half awake he seemed to have realised that something felt different because it was very clear but a jumble of words carried out of his mouth . . big so . ***** big @@. In preparation, Keguan Please wait a moment, after the updates, you need to refresh the page to get the latest updates!

Child dies from meningococcal in Darwin

A child has died in Darwin after being struck down with meningococcal disease.

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“It is unlikely that this is connected to the current outbreak of meningococcal W in Central Australia,” the NT Health Department said in a statement.

“We are awaiting further results to confirm which strain was responsible.”

Last week the 25th case of the W strain of the deadly disease was confirmed in the central Australian indigenous communities of Barkly and Katherine.

All of those affected had been Aboriginal people while 19 of the recorded were kids younger than 10.

NT health authorities have mounted a large-scale immunisation campaign in the affected regions in an attempt to prevent it from spreading to the Top End.

A free vaccine will be offered to all people aged between 12 months and 19 years living in remote communities and all Aboriginal people aged between 12 months and 19 years living in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine.

The NT government is also co-ordinating with other jurisdictions after a spate of cases were reported on South Australia’s traditional APY lands.

WHAT IS MENINGOCOCCAL?

* A rare, life-threatening illness caused by bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain and occasionally infect other sites, such as large joints.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

* Fever, neck stiffness, headache, difficulty looking at bright lights, vomiting, diarrhoea, sore muscles or joints, drowsiness or a rash. Babies may refuse food and drink and have a high pitched cry.

HOW IS IT TREATED?

* With antibiotics, but the infection can progress very quickly, so seeking medical attention urgently is vital to survival.

Ireland braces as Ophelia approaches

Ireland has closed schools and hospitals and warned people to stay indoors as tropical storm Ophelia threatens to lash the country with the worst weather in 50 years.

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The armed forces have been dispatched to bolster flood defences in some areas as the weather service warned of flash flooding and damage to buildings from winds gusts over 130 kilometres per hour.

Hurricane force winds are expected in every part of the country, the government warned. Tropical-storm force winds may also be seen in Wales and the north and west of England, the US government’s National Hurricane Centre said.

“Our concern is to avoid a situation where we have fatalities as a result of the extremely destructive and violent gusts that we are expecting,” the chairman of Ireland’s National Emergency Coordination Group Sean Hogan told state broadcaster RTE.

“All non-essential activity should be deferred. Do not be out tomorrow in this storm,” Hogan said.

Britain’s meteorological service says the storm poses a danger to life and is likely to cause transport cancellations, power cuts and flying debris.

British media are comparing the storm to the Great Storm of 1987, which subjected parts of the United Kingdom to hurricane strength winds 30 years ago to the day.

The centre of Tropical Storm Ophelia, the sixth major hurricane of the Atlantic season before it was downgraded to a tropical storm overnight, was around 300 kilometres south of Ireland at 0500 GMT (4 pm AEDT) on Monday, the Irish weather service said.

It was expected to make landfall at around 0900 GMT (8 pm AEDT), it said.

The government says the storm is likely to be the worst since Hurricane Debbie, which killed 12 in Ireland in 1961.

Kimberley painting 20th anniversary looms

Two decades after a giant Aboriginal painting was used in a successful native title claim in Western Australia’s remote north, the canvas has been returned for the first time to the traditional lands where it was created.

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While fighting the Kimberley region’s largest native title claim in 1997, more than 40 traditional owners and desert artists travelled to Pirnini to map their homelands on a collective canvas measuring eight by 10 metres.

Up to 200 people are expected to gather in the Great Sandy Desert on Thursday to “awaken” the artwork, which became evidence for the vast Ngurrara native title claim that was won a decade later.

At 20, Terry Murray was the youngest of the artists who worked on Ngurrara Canvas II.

All seven surviving artists are expected to help celebrate its return to the banks of Lake Pirnini, where Mr Murray says ancestors will also be honoured.

“We want to recognise those who are deceased, and those who are still standing,” he said.

“Now is the time to come together after 20 years.”

The immense artwork, which charts sacred water holes and soaks across the land claim, serves as a politically-charged expression of indigenous connection to country.

The Ngurrara claim covers almost 78,000 square kilometres of the Kimberley’s southern desert region – an area bigger than Tasmania.

It’s comprised of people from the Walmajarri, Wangkajunga, Mangala and Juwaliny language groups.

Ngurrara Canvas II, which took two weeks to produce, was carefully removed from storage at Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing for the event.

Mr Murray said talks would be held around the artwork’s future and how best to bring its stories into the public domain.

“We would like to take the next generation and the standing elders on a journey to explore how we can celebrate the canvas’ power going forward,” he said.

Ten drown as Rohingya boat sinks off Bangladesh, 12,000 more arrive

The boat was carrying an estimated 50 people when it went down in the estuary of the Naf river that divides the two countries, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) area commander Lieutenant Colonel S.

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M. Ariful Islam told AFP.

Nearly 200 Rohingya have drowned over the last six weeks making the perilous crossing into Bangladesh, many in small wooden fishing boats that are dangerously overloaded.

They are fleeing violence in Myanmar’s sectarian-plagued Rakhine state where the United Nations has accused troops of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Islam said the bodies of the eight confirmed victims had washed up on the river banks, while 21 survivors had swum to safety.

Coast and border guards were conducting a search and rescue operation in the Naf river, he said.

More than half a million Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh over the last seven weeks to escape a military crackdown that the the UN has said amounts to ethnic cleansing.

The stateless Muslim minority has faced decades of persecution in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

The latest influx began in late August after attacks by Rohingya militants on police posts in Myanmar. 

Another border guard told AFP the boat sank was just 200 yards (metres) from the Bangladesh coast when it sank in rough waters.

Fazlul Haq, a local official, said the boat was owned by a Bangladeshi villager who had made large amounts of money ferrying Rohingya into the country.

He said the small fishing trawlers were highly vulnerable to accidents as they approached the shore, where they are often battered by large waves.

Refugees are often charged exorbitant fees for the trip.

The latest accident came a week after another boat packed with Rohingya refugees capsized in the area, killing at least 34 people. 

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School changes for WA kids on sex charges

Children charged with sex offences will no longer be allowed to attend West Australian schools if they are deemed a risk to other students.

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Education Minister Sue Ellery promised a review in March after reports of students sexually assaulting other children and then remaining at school, with staff and parents unaware of what had happened.

Ms Ellery was advised at the time that there were no existing protocols to manage the risk the alleged perpetrator posed, or a notification system for the school when a child was charged or investigated.

She said a protocol was now in place to develop a case management plan for them.

“Immediately police will notify schools when a student is charged and in some cases, depending on their circumstances, if a child is under investigation,” she told 6PR radio on Monday.

“Department of Education, Corrective Services, Child Protection and police will do a determination to identify what is the level of risk, does the student need to be removed either temporarily or permanently from the school, what clinical interventions need to be put in place and what educational arrangements need to be put in place if the child cannot attend the school.”

Ms Ellery said parents must also be involved in case management planning as a condition of bail, and schools would be notified if bail conditions changed.

She said if an accused child offender was considered a risk to other students they could get home schooling or distance education.

“Sometimes they don’t come from functional families, so getting parental supervision is not always easy,” she said.

“(But) if it is not safe for other children for that child to return to school then the child will not be returning to school.”

The mother of a nine-year-old boy expressed outrage in March when her son’s alleged abusers, aged 12 and 17, were allowed to continue going to school, although it was not the same school her son attended.

A 10-year-old boy was also this year accused of raping an eight-year-old child while armed with a weapon, but the charges were dropped following a psychiatric report.

A teenager convicted of raping and threatening to kill his nine-year-old neighbour was also spared detention last week, the West Australian newspaper reported.