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   Dec 12

TheatreNeighbourhood WatchKen Longworth

CAST: Theo Rule, Chloe Perrett, Aaron Brittliff, Janet Gillam, Lindsay McDonald, Tracey Gordon, Claire Williams, Megan Williams. Photo: Mathew LeeWHEN playwright Lally Katz asked renowned actress Robyn Nevin if she could write a play for her, Nevin said it had to be “funny and tough”. The work that resulted, Neighbourhood Watch, certainly has those elements, with audiences laughing and crying while watching it.

The high regard for the play, first produced in 2011, has led to it being put on the HSC Drama reading list, and members of Newcastle’s Stooged Theatre were so impressed by Katz’s writing that they are staging Neighbourhood Watch at the Civic Playhouse for a two-week season from March 8.

The play is set in a suburban street of an n city, with two women who live near each other meeting while putting out their bins. The encounter leads to them gradually finding out more about each other as their friendship develops.

The older woman, Ana, is 80, and was born in Hungary, where she and her family suffered during her childhood when German forces occupied the country in World War II. While she migrated to as a young adult, she is still troubled by memories of those years.Her young neighbour, Catherine, is an actress in her 20s, whose short-lived romantic relationships have affected her career. Catherine is so moved by Ana’s revelations about her life that she offers to help. Ana returns the favour.

Lally Katz based Ana on someone she met in her neighbourhood in Melbourne’s Kew. And audience members invariably see elements of themselves and their neighbours in the play’s characters. When Stooged asked if they could change the setting to a Newcastle suburb, Katz gave her consent.

Director Daniel Cottier has a strong cast, with Janet Gillam as Ana and Chloe Perrett as Catherine, plus Theo Rule, Megan Williams, Aaron Brittliff, Claire Williams, Tracy Gordon and Lindsay McDonald in multiple roles.

Janet Gillam notes that while Ana is an octogenarian, she is seen at different ages – initially 14 – as she talks about her past.“What we get to hear are her perceptions of things that happened,” she said. “They are not necessarily right.”

Chloe Perrett views the story’s people as very realistic. And the play, she points out, accepts diversity.

When Daniel Cottier first read Neighbourhood Watch he was impressed by Katz’s depiction of the relationships.

“My family has a Romanian neighbour and we have become very close.”

Neighbourhood Watch can be seen at the Civic Playhouse from March 8 to 18, with performances on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will also be an 8pm show on March 16, a 2pm matinee on March 18, and school matinees at 11am on March 9 and 16.

   Dec 12

Newcastle Basketball: New Hunters import Dane Suttle brings pedigree to go with wow factor

PEDIGREE: New Hunters import Dane Suttle Junior graduated from US Division One College Pepperdine in 2012. Picture: Getty Images COACH Darren Nichols expects Dane Suttle to bring a “wow” factor to the Newcastle Hunters’ Waratah Basketball League campaign but the import’s role off the court will be equally important.

Suttle, a 198cm free-scoring swingman, replaces Justynn Hammond and spearheads a new-look squad.

“Justynn was probably the most talented player in the league last year,” said Nichols, who has taken the reins from Larry Davidson.“The story is that this guy is better. He is NBL quality and should bring some wow factor to the league.”

As well as Hammond, Josh Morgan, Adam Melmeth, Russell Hinder, Jon Howe, Steve Davis andGreg Laver are gone from the side which finished the second on the table last season before going down64-59 to the Sydney Comets in the semi-final.

Jacob Rauch and Ben Hawkesley are the only returning players, creating opportunities for former Hunters players Michael Wilson, Cameron Springall and Nathan Ruprecht and State League players Lachlan Jackson and Lawrence York. Jackson is a member of the n Deaf national team.

“Danehas been highly recommended by Butch Hays,” Nichols said. “I told Butch I wanted a good person off the floor to be a mentor because I have such a young team. I need someone to lead. We are aiming to build our youth group up. We will train with the youth league to create a pathway.We want to show them, if they work hard, they will have an opportunity to play Waratah League, which is the highest level we have.

Suttlegraduated from US Division One College Pepperdine in 2012 andis the son of former Kansas City Kings (NBA) and Geelong Supercats guard Dane Suttle Senior.

The 26-year-old played for Brisbane Capitals in the Queensland Basketball League last seasonand averaged 20 points, five rebounds and four assists per game.

“Generally speaking the QBL is pretty similar in standard to the Waratah League, but some of the better teams would be stronger than the teams here,” Nichols said. “We are anticipating Daneshould average in the high 20s.He can play anywhere on the floor –he is a shooter, he can get to the rack, he can post up and he has good ball skills – .but most of all we need him to be a leader.”

The Hunters, who have had a disrupted pre-season, open their campaign with a double header at home against the Hornsby Spriders (March 4) and Manly (March 5).

Hunters: Michael Wilson,Jacob Foy,Jacob Rauch,Joel Rauch,Cameron Springall,Ben Hawkesley,Dane Suttle,Nathan Ruprecht,Lachlan Jackson,Lawrence York.

   Dec 12

NBA: Ben Simmons 67ers NBA debut no closer

Hopes fade of Ben Simmons NBA debut Ben Simmons at a US college game last month.

TweetFacebookIt appears the chances of seeing Ben Simmons in a 76ers uniform this season are getting slimmer and slimmer.

Last week, coach Brett Brown said that for Simmons to be ready for game activity, the first overall pick would have to play more than five 5-on-5 games.

Asked pre-game at the Spectrum Center whether Simmons would start playing some more and get to the 5-on-5 area, Brown did not hesitate with his answer about the rookie, who fractured his foot on the last day of training camp on September30.

“I don’t think so,” Brown said. “I feel like he’s moving forward, but to say that we believe he’s going to be ready for 5-on-5 during the All-Star break would be misleading. I don’t see that.

“He is moving forward but it’s at a very slow pace.Our pace. I think when we all get back and he’s around the team again, because it’s not an ideal situation to manufacture 5-on-5 during a break, then we can better craft and construct to allow the return to play to be more responsible.”

After the midweek game in Boston, the team won’t play again until February24. That will leave the team with 26 remaining games in the season, which includes a West Coast trip and another six-game streak away from home.

It would be hard to imagine Simmons getting in any practicewhen the team is on the road, so it is getting obvious that the time for him to make his debut is shrinking rather quickly.

The hopes of many were that Simmons would be able to make an appearance at some point after the break.

But the 6-foot-10 passing wizard has not been travelling with the team lately in what has been a heavy travel month and if his coach doesn’t see it fit for him to be playing with below NBA talent, the possibility of him playing this season seems to be slight, at best.

Asked last week if he would like to see Joel Embiid and Simmons on the floor together this season, president Bryan Colangelo quickly said yes, and that evaluating the two of them together to see what sort of pieces the team should surround those cornerstones with was paramount.

Embiid will miss the remaining two games before the All-Star break and not participate in any of the weekend activities in New Orleans.

After Wednesday, the 7-2 centre will have missed 11 consecutive games and 14 of the past 15 as he rests the bone bruise and minor meniscus tear in his left knee.

McClatchy Newspapers

   Dec 12

OpinionNo-mergers decision a win for city’s vision

Newcastle City will remain a stand-alone entity into the future, with renewed focus on our long-term vision for the city.

We welcome the news that the NSW Government will not proceed with regional mergers, including the proposal to merge Newcastle City Council with Port Stephens Council.

As one of ‘s oldest cities and the regional centre of the Hunter, it is so important that we have a local council that is focused on both our burgeoning economy while still celebrating our history.

We and our neighbouring councils are unique, we are facing different issues and have different priorities for our communities.

With the assurance of the stand-alone announcement, we can now get on with delivering our community’sNewcastle 2030 visionof becoming a smart, liveable and sustainable city.

Since the State Government first announced the proposed merger in late 2015, our staff have continued to provide outstanding services and facilities to the Newcastle community and they should be commended for their resilience in the face of such uncertainty.

We have returned three consecutive surpluses and are on track for a fourth as we expand our capital works program from $42 million in 2012-13 to an expected $82 million this financial year.

Moving forward, the council will continue leading Newcastle’s transition from a great regional city to an emerging global centre.

Our city is experiencing unprecedented growth and investment.

We have attracted funding for the Hunter Innovation Project, a new cruise terminal and, of course, the Revitalising Newcastle project, which includes the light rail project.

We are seeing cranes in the sky with whole city blocks currently being transformed, and this is not limited to the city centre.

The boom continues in our suburbs.

The value of approved development soared 70 per cent in Newcastle last year. Over the past five years, the total value of projects given the green light in the city has surpassed $3billion.

We are doing our bit too bystewarding revitalisation projects in the city, along the coast and across the suburbs and advocating on behalf of the community for great outcomes.

A record capital works program means there will be more improvements to local and neighbourhood centres, better roads and footpaths, upgrades to playgrounds and sporting facilities and investment in new facilities.

Our status as a United Nations city has put us on the international stage and we will stay there as our smart city project progresses and we attract more major events to Newcastle.

The Supercars Newcastle 500 is set to be a new highlight for the city.

Having a strong council is critical for the city and region to reach our potential and achieve ongoing economic growth.

We are keenly aware of this and will continue to make prudent financial decisions while prioritising service delivery to the Newcastle community.

I am so pleased we can now put the merger conversation to one side and focus on our fantastic city.

Newcastle is a great city and I am so proud to be able to represent and advocate on behalf of our passionate community.

Nuatali Nelmes,Lord Mayor of Newcastle

   Dec 12

A-League: Newcastle Jets search for consistency in push for top six

NEW MAN: Jason Hoffman has adapted quickly since making the switch from right to left fullback. Picture: Getty Images

NEWCASTLE’S scoreless draw with high-flyers Melbourne Victory was further evidence the Jets can match it with the big guns in the league, and the point enough to edgethem back into the top six.

But one of the stars of the resolute performance at McDonald Jones Stadium on Monday, left back Jason Hoffman,has warned to stay in the six, the Jets need to kill off teams – starting with the clash against Adelaide at Coopers Stadium on Friday.

The battle with a struggling Reds is one of five games the Jets have against teams below them on the table in the final eight rounds.

“If you are going to be in the top six, you need to beat the teams around you and below you on the table,” Hoffman said. “We have done quite well against the bigger clubs at the top-end of the table. It’s often a mentality thing, you realise you have to lift. Our group does that quite well, which is a positive if we do make the finals. But beating teams we are expected to beat has been a struggle for us.The bigger clubs often want to control possession and that suits us.With the squad we have, we are quite mobile and back ourselves to be effective in transition.The challenge for us is when we play lower sides;can we turn the tide and not just be a counter-attacking team?”

Adelaidewere thrashed 5-0 by Perth at home last round and are cemented to the bottom of the ladder. Despite their struggles, Hoffman said the Reds, who play Gamba Osaka in the opening game of the Asian Champions League group stage next Wednesday, should not be underestimated.

“Adelaide are still a bit of a dark horse,” Hoffman said. “They can be a bit of a banana skin for a side who goes in with the wrong mentality. For us it is about justifying our position on the table. Nothing short of a win on Friday night will be good enough.”

In his 10thseason in the A-League, Hoffman has been a revelation since being switched from right to left fullback three weeks ago.He worked tirelessly to contain Victory danger man Marco Rojas. The 28-year-old did a similar job opposite young flyer Bruce Kamau in the 2-1 win over Melbourne City and scored a wonder goal in the 3-2 loss to Perth.

“You have to be extra concentrated against people like that,” Hoffman said. “You let them free for one moment and they can punish you.It is a pretty similar principle in the fullback role whether you are right or left.You do have to concentrate a bit more.On the left side your body shape changes defensively and there are a few little technical things that change.Coming down left side also opens up the field for me on my right foot, my natural side.”

Jason Hoffman

   Dec 12

Murder of custom car builder Laurie Starling triggered by motorbike dispute, court hears

Laurie Starling was found dead in his car outside his business in West Gosford. Photo: Facebook Laurie Starling, right, with his brother Jamie.

John Weston was arrested over the alleged murder of Laurie Starling. Photo: NSW Police

Rebels bikie club members shot dead a custom car builder in the driveway of his shop after a dispute over a highly prized and unique motorcycle, a court has heard.

Laurie Starling, 29, was found slumped behind the wheel of his car with his mobile phone in his hand after being shot twice outside his business the Chop Shop in West Gosford in July 2014.

His alleged killer, John Weston, 36, who was a member of the Rebels, is on trial for murder in the NSW Supreme Court.

Mr Weston’s co-accused, who can only be identified as witness G, pleaded guilty to murder last week and will now give evidence against his former associate.

In his opening address to the jury on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Trevor Bailey said Mr Starling had bought an expensive motorbike “prized within the motorcycle community” from another custom vehicle builder who had a dispute with a high ranking member of the Rebels.

Rebels members paid Mr Starling a visit, demanding the bike and threatening to hurt him if he did not hand it over. Mr Starling, the court heard, gave up the bike but feeling “cheated” he asked an influential member of the motorcycle community to help him get it back. This, the court heard, did not sit well with the Rebels.

Witness G is expected to give evidence that Mr Weston approached him and said ” 96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

On the evening he was killed, Mr Starling had stayed back working late and was in the process of locking up his shop gate when he was shot.

A couple cleaning a property nearby reported hearing cracking sounds and a man shouting “no you bastard” before he started screaming.

A man picking his sister up from a dance studio noticed Mr Starling’s car, revving loudly and releasing exhaust fumes but not moving, in the driveway of the Chop Shop.

“According to a trail of blood spots leading up to the car, Mr Starling appears to have been shot near the gate entrance and moved a short distance to the driver seat of his car where he collapsed and died at the wheel,” Mr Bailey told the jury.

While the jury does not have to determine who the shooter was to prove the charge, witness G is expected to give evidence that it was Weston who pulled the trigger.

Mr Weston later allegedly told a panicked witness G “we are not going to jail…if someone is going to jail it would be me.” 96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}96NormalfalsefalseEN-GBX-NONEX-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}

   Dec 12

Berejiklian government stays course on Sydney council mergers but relents on regions

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Deputy Premier John Barilaro in January. Picture: Bevan ShieldsThe Berejiklian government has refused to back down on its council mergers in Sydney, but has abandoned the proposed mergers in regional parts of the state.

All 20 existing mergers will remain in place in Sydney, while the remaining five merger proposals will proceed subject to the decision of the courts.

None of the pending merger proposals for regional councils will proceed.

Electionsfor the pending councils are tooccur as soon as possible after the mergers take place, with the government hopeful residents will got to the pollsnext year.

The decision was reached in an extraordinary meeting of cabinet, convened for the express purpose of resolving the council mergers issue.

The decision is set to inflame anti-merger advocates who have persistently called for a reversal of the policy, including the de-amalgamation of already merged councils.

Last May, 44 councils were sacked and replaced with19 larger councils, helmedby an administrator until council elections in September 2017.

Tuesday’s decision follows more nine months of legal action waged by a string of councils across the state after the policy was announced by the Baird government last May.

The newest council, theBayside Council, was proclaimed in September following the conclusion of legal action by the former Botany Bay council, taking the total number of mergers to seven in the city and 13 in the bush.

But the legal action has kept a further 11 merger proposals affecting 29 councils from proceeding, with a new round of legal challenges due to be heard in the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal this month.

Woollahra Council, which is fighting a merger with Randwick and Waverley councils, is due to have its legal challenge considered by the High Court this month.

Pressure mountedon the Berejiklian government to determine its commitment to the policyafter Nationals leader and deputy premier John Barilarovowed last month to end local government mergers in the bush.

Mr Barilaro’scommitment came the day after Mike Baird announced his resignation as premier on January 19, and before the Liberal partyroom had anointedMs Berejiklian their new leader.

Since takingup the premiership, Ms Berejikliansignalled she would reconsider the policy, promising to listening to the community and, after chairing her first cabinet meeting,declaring”I will fix this”.

The option of plebisciteswas initially canvassed as a solution to determine whether mergers in the pending council districts should proceed, but Tuesday’s decisions shows this path has been abandoned.

Story first appeared at smh苏州夜网.au

   Dec 12

Tom Cruise’s mother dies, aged 80

Tom Cruise’s mother has died in her sleep after a long battle with illness, Peoplereports.

Mary Lee South, 80, was reportedly farewelled by family and friends at her local Church of Scientology over the weekend.

The service was attended by the 54-year-old Mission Impossible star, alongside his sisters Lee Ann DeVette, 57, Cass Mapother, 55, and Marian Henry, 52.

A former special education teacher, in a 1986 interview with Rolling Stone, South said her famous son received his interest in acting from her.

“I was always interested in theatre, but I never did anything with it,” she said. “When I was growing up, if you went to Hollywood, that was really risqué.”

South ended her tumultuous marriage to Cruise’s father, Thomas Cruise Mapother III, in 1974.

She married Jack South in 1978 when Cruise was 16.

Throughout his career, South was one of her son’s greatest supporters. She told Rolling Stone she had encouraged him to try out for a high school production of Guys and Dolls after an injury forced him off his wrestling team.

After the production, Cruise reportedly told his mother he wanted to pursue acting and she, as she told Rolling Stone, “wholeheartedly agreed” because she “felt it was a God-given talent”.

When he made it big in Hollywood, South became a regular date for Cruise at premieres and awards shows.

However, the grandmother had recently taken a step away from the spotlight.

In 2016, South was seen in public for the first time in six years, on a Mother’s Day boat trip in Clearwater, Florida, near the headquarters of the Church of Scientology, of which she and the rest of Cruise’s family are all members.

Pictures taken of the outing showed the then 79-year-old using a wheelchair and breathing tube as she was joined by family members including Cruise’s son Connor from his marriage to ex-wife Nicole Kidman.

Fairfax Media

   Dec 12

Ride-sharing app Uber to launch in Maitland and Cessnock on March 16

NEED A LIFT?: Uber driver Martyn Barry, who drives in Newcastle but lives in Cessnock, is keen to see the service expand to the Hunter Valley. Picture: Perry DuffinPopular ride-sharing app Uber is on its way to Maitland and Cessnock thanks to a strong demand for the service from local riders.

The company will expand it’s basic UberX service to the Hunter Valley from March 16.

Uber is a phone app whereriders requesta lift, then get picked up and transported by a nearby driver. Payment is cashless, with fares automatically charged to therider’s credit card on file.

More than 10,000 users have opened the app in the Hunter Valley outside Newcastleto look for a ride since the app started in NSW in 2014.

But the service hasonly beenavailable in Newcastle and the Central Coastsince itlaunched in April 2016.

The Hunter expansion is part of a broader regional push by the ridesharing app, with Uber also heading toWollongong, Townsville and Cairns on March 16.

NEED A LIFT?: Uber driver Martyn Barry, who drives in Newcastle but lives in Cessnock, is keen to see the service expand to the Hunter Valley. Picture: Perry Duffin

It’s welcome news for Uber driver Martyn Barry, who lives in Cessnock but has driven for the service in Newcastle since mid-December 2016.

Mr Barry was unemployed when he started with Uber, and became a driver to earn money while managing his own workload.

“It was a real game-changer,” he said.

“I wanted to be self-employed and work to the hours I wanted to work.”

Mr Barry used to drive four to five days a week.He now has a casual job which he balances with driving two days a week.

Mr Barry said hecouldalso see the advantage of the app for riders, particularly tourists in town for concerts.

Having worked in hotels before, Mr Barry said there was definitely a need for more transport options in the Hunter Valley.

“To supply the demand I think Uber is going to be great,” he said.

In similar sized areas to Maitland and Cessnock, the average wait time for Uber passengers is about five minutes.

Uber driver Martyn Barry

   Dec 12

Hugh Jackman has sixth skin cancer removed

Hugh Jackman had his sixth skin cancer removed from his face. Photo: Hugh Jackman/TwitterHugh Jackman has had his sixth skin cancer removed from his face.

The Wolverine actor, 48, took to social media to share with his fans the aftermath of having “another basal cell carcinoma” cut from his nose.

The father-of-two added: “Thanks to frequent body checks and amazing doctors, all is well. Looks worse with the dressing on than off. I swear!

Signing off, he wrote in all caps: “Wear sunscreen.”

It is the sixth skin cancer Jackman, who is married to fellow n actor Deborra-Lee Furness, has had in recent years.

He first discovered he had cancerous cells in November 2013 after his wife of 21 years suggested he get a mole on his nose looked at.

“Deb said to get the mark on my nose checked. Boy, was she right! I had a Basal Cell Carcinoma.”

This time last year, he had another basal cell carcinoma, which account for about 70 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers, removed from his nose.

In a bid to bring awareness to skin cancer, he wrote: “An example of what happens when you don’t use sunscreen.” An example of what happens when you don’t use sunscreen. Basal cell. Mildest form of cancer. USE SUNSCREEN PLEASE !! pic.twitter苏州夜网/phQsRS5QiI— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) February 8, 2016

On Tuesday, a number of fans responded to Jackman by sharing their own stories and scars as a reminder to know your skin. @RealHughJackman know that feeling! Well done for catching early pic.twitter苏州夜网/ZR2pjfAp04— Neal Luther (@Luth4) February 13, [email protected] Done it but my problem is malignant melanoma. Check, check, check. pic.twitter苏州夜网/lzV5aCWtp8— Liz Parkin (@LizParkin3) February 13, [email protected] Had a TINY mole removed last yr, was melanoma. Gnarly scar is my reminder to wear sunscreen! So important!!— SmallAsDust (@miss_firedancer) February 13, 2017

There are three types of skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are known as non-melanoma skin cancer, and melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

According to the Cancer Council, two in three ns will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, while close to half a million are treated each year. Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women.

For more detailed information about skin cancer please phone Cancer Council 13 11 20 or talk to your GP.