Sydney Now: Thursday, January 12, 2017

Good Morning.

Some relief today for Sydney after yesterday's scorcher. It'll be a top of 29 in the CBD with only a slight chance of rain and only one degree higher out west.

Not for long

While the CBD will remain only moderately warm over the next few days – temps are topping out at 32 on Sunday – that's not so for the rest of the city.

Temperatures are soaring right back up on Friday for western Sydney. It'll be 40 degrees in Penrith and only slightly cooler in Parramatta where temperatures hit 37 degrees.

Those figures and how the city fared in yesterday's heat here

Loud thoughts in a quiet carriage

Herald librarian Brian Yatman has angry, silent thoughts.

Sadly, the quiet carriage is a bit like the Obama presidency. A sane idea, reasonable and overdue, and one constantly undermined by loudmouths and bozos. Slurpie Guy is the least of it. Consider the roving gangs of sniggering school children, the belligerent Friday evening drunks. Consider the backpackers: bright-eyed, fluent in several languages and totally oblivious to quiet carriage etiquette.

But evil takes strange forms, and the worst offenders are the aged. Witness, if you will, those groups of older ladies just back from a matinee at the casino, who clutch at glossy programs and eagerly critique David Campbell's take on Bobby Darin. Take it somewhere else, Grandma, I want to tell them, but don't.

Rise of the Harbour

Darling Harbour was conceived as a low-rise village, with a skyline that never reached above the roofs of the old wool stores that lined its shores.

That's about to change and the City of Sydney isn't happy.

Literally red-hot

This map tells you a lot about Sydney's housing market.

The areas shaded in red — indicating a median price over $1 million — have gone from a smattering in 2011 to the vast majority of the map in the space of just five years.

Contraceptives cracked the case

Peter Hannam, our intrepid Environment Editor, is known these days for his encyclopaedic knowledge of mining, climate change and so many weather records.

But time was when he was an intrepid foreign correspondent, the only one, in fact, posted in western Mongolia.

In today's paper he recounts a ripping Chinese murder mystery and the true story behind an unsolved plane crash.

The journey ends up revealing secret KGB investigations, decapitated corpses, a curious box of contraceptives and the true fate of a Chinese war hero chosen to succeed Mao Zedong.

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This story Sydney Now: Thursday, January 12, 2017 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.