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Австралийская лента новостей

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:32

Rudd jets off on whirlwind overseas trip
http://www.skynews.com.au

Updated: 13:53, Monday July 6, 2009

The prime minister, dubbed Kevin 747 for his jet-setting ways, has left on another whirlwind, worldwide trip.

Kevin Rudd first flies to Malaysia for a meeting with his counterpart Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He's expected to raise the issue of people smuggling and the impact of the global recession on the region.

Then he's off to Berlin on Tuesday for talks with the Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Wednesday sees Mr Rudd in Zurich, where he'll lobby soccer supremo Sepp Blatter regarding Australia's World Cup bid.

In Rome on the same day, he'll meet with Pope Benedict XVI.

This time he's expected to lobby for Mary MacKillop to be canonised.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith defended the prime minister against accusations he was dabbling in church matters.

'He's not dabbling,' Mr Smith told the Nine Network.

'He's neither dabbling nor interfering, nor is it really a key focus of his trip.'

Mr Smith said it was 'entirely appropriate' for the prime minister to relay the views of the Australian Catholic community about such matters.

In Italy, Mr Rudd will also meet PM Silvio Berlusconi, who's still reeling from another round of sex scandals.

Finally, he'll attend the 17-nation Major Economies Forum to discuss climate change, before jetting back to Australia in time for the weekend
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Bushfires refuge plan questioned

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:34

Bushfires refuge plan questioned
Updated: 15:20, Monday July 6, 2009

Victoria's royal commission into this year's deadly bushfires today refused a call for Premier John Brumby to give last-minute evidence on community fire refuges.

Instead, commission chairman Bernard Teague ordered the government provide a written explanation of its fire refuges plan by Friday.

After a government media release was tendered during the commission's final hearing day before presenting its interim report in August, counsel assisting the commission Jack Rush QC called for either the premier or Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin to give evidence.

The media release, issued on Friday, July 3, stated the government would begin identifying 'appropriate sites as neighbourhood safer places and educating the community about the appropriate use of those places'.

The government previously told the commission it could not create fire refuges across the state before the next bushfire season.

Mr Rush said that for the commission to make interim recommendations by August 17, as required in time to address the coming bushfire season, it had to know what the government was doing.

'Any recommendations that the commission makes, in effect, will lack any form of force if the state of Victoria is out on a frolic of its own and doing something (of which) it does not inform the commissioners precisely of what it's envisaged, Mr Rush said.

Mr Teague said that while commissioners would request further written material by Friday 4pm (AEST), they would not order Mr Brumby or Mr Esplin to appear in person.
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China blames Muslim Uighurs for riot

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:40

China blames Muslim Uighurs for riot
Updated: 17:22, Monday July 6, 2009

Hundreds of people have been arrested over riots in China's restive Xinjiang region, state media says, as the official death toll from the violence reached 140.

'Police have arrested several hundred participants, including more than 10 key figures who fanned the unrest on Sunday,' Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing the Xinjiang Public Security Department.

Police were still searching for around 90 other people in Urumqi - the capital of Xinjiang - where the riots occurred, according to Xinhua.

Earlier, China blamed Muslim Uighurs armed with knives and batons for the riots, as heavy security was imposed across the city.

Dramatic footage of Sunday's unrest broadcast by the state-run CCTV network showed men turning over a police car and smashing its windows, a woman being kicked as she lay on the ground, and buses and other vehicles aflame.

Authorities said heavy security had been rolled out across Urumqi, and a police spokesman there told AFP that the situation on Monday was calm.

'All (police) units and individuals shall voluntarily help maintain social order,' an Urumqi government notice said, according to Xinhua.

'People who violate the notice will be detained and punished by police.'

A witness, a Han Chinese bar owner in the city centre where the riots took place and who refused to be named, told AFP there were around 3,000 Uighur protesters, some of whom were armed with wooden batons and knives.

She said the rioters broke cars, smashed windows and tried to set some buses on fire.

'All shop owners in the street were very scared,' she told AFP, adding order had now been restored.

The Xinjiang government blamed Rebiya Kadeer, the Uighurs' leader who is living in exile in the United States, for orchestrating the unrest.

'An initial investigation showed the violence was masterminded by the separatist World Uighur Congress led by Rebiya Kadeer,' the government said in a statement, according to Xinhua.

'The violence is a pre-empted, organised violent crime. It is instigated and directed from abroad, and carried out by outlaws in the country.'

However, Uighur exiles, who have long chafed at Chinese rule in Xinjiang, accused Chinese security forces of overreacting in quelling peaceful protests by thousands of people, and said police had fired indiscriminately.

The unrest echoes deadly violence in Buddhist Tibet in March last year when Tibetans stormed through the streets of the region's capital, Lhasa, attacking Han Chinese in frustration at what they claimed was repressive Chinese rule.

Many of Xinjiang's roughly eight million Uighurs similarly say they have suffered political, cultural and religious persecution.

As in Tibet, they also complain about Han Chinese moving into Xinjiang and dominating economic and political life.

Alim Seytoff, general secretary of the Uighur American Association, said in Washington that Uighur students were seeking the arrest of suspects behind an ethnically charged brawl late last month at a factory in southern China that left two Uighurs dead.

'These young Uighurs peacefully took to the streets but more than 1,000 armed Chinese police came out,' Seytoff said.

'What we were told is that they began to shoot indiscriminately.'

Kadeer also blamed Chinese authorities in a statement released by the Uighur American Association.

'This incident could have been avoided if the Chinese authorities had properly investigated the Shaoguan killings,' Kadeer said, referring to the factory brawl.

'Young Uighurs exercised their right to peacefully protest the mishandling of the killings and were in turn met with government violence.'

Xinjiang is a rugged region of vast deserts and mountains that borders central Asia, and the Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking people who have closer cultural links to their regional neighbours than the Han Chinese.

This year marks 60 years since communist Chinese troops entered Xinjiang and 'peacefully liberated' the region. Advocates of independence for the area have maintained the move was an invasion. .
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Jackson memorial tickets allocated

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:43

Updated: 14:40, Monday July 6, 2009

Some lucky Michael Jackson fans are celebrating after beating the odds to win coveted tickets to the pop star's memorial service in Los Angeles.

More than 1.6 million fans registered online for free in the random drawing of only 8,750 names. Each person selected will receive two tickets to the memorial service on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST).

The odds of getting a ticket were about 1 in 183.

'I'm in shock that it has happened,' said Deka Motanya, 27, of San Francisco. 'It's surreal.' She received an email message at 4.35pm on Sunday notifying her: Congratulations, your application was successful.'

She immediately Twittered: 'OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the michael jackson memorial service!!!'

David Gobaud, 25, who studies computer science at Stanford University, said he didn't believe his email was real at first.

'It's Michael Jackson, one of the greatest musical stars of all time,' he said.

Another winner was Zach Moss, a 21-year-old Chicagoan working for the summer as a DJ in Las Vegas. He said clubgoers have responded strongly to Jackson's music since his death.

'You can play two, three Michael Jackson songs back to back and people are going to have this huge jubilation celebration,' he said.

'Everyone throws their drinks up and shouts 'MJ!'. It's extremely powerful.'

The tickets will admit 11,000 people to the Staples Center plus 6,500 in the Nokia Theater overflow section next door.

The streets around Staples Center will be closed to prevent those without tickets from trying to attend, police said.

Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell warned the ticketless to stay away: 'You'll be standing in the hot sun on a city street with a lot of other people ... but not within eyeshot of Staples.'

The ceremony will not be shown on Staples' giant outdoor TV screen and there will be no funeral procession through the city. No details were available about the actual memorial events.

Ticket winners said they received a unique code and instructions to pick up their tickets on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

When they pick up their tickets, a wristband will be placed on each person's wrist. Organisers will check IDs to make sure those picking up wristbands are the same people who originally applied online, said Staples Center spokesman Michael Roth.

Fans must have both the ticket and the wristband to enter Staples Center on Tuesday. Wristbands that have been ripped, taped or tampered with will be voided.

But winners were permitted to give anyone their second bracelet, so 'theoretically, the second wrist band can be sold', Roth said.

City officials are preparing for huge crowds. McDonnell would not say how many police would be on the job, but alluded to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the recent championship celebration for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Jackson died at age 50 on June 25 after going into cardiac arrest in the bedroom of his rented mansion.

The cause of Jackson's death has not been determined. Autopsy results are not expected for several weeks.

Meanwhile, a judge has signed search warrants connected to the investigation of Jackson's death, Los Angeles County Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said.

The warrants were sealed and Parachini would not discuss any details.

Authorities are investigating allegations that Jackson had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants.

The powerful sedative Diprivan, which is usually administered by anaesthesiologists in hospitals, was found in his home.

It was not known what drugs, if any, Jackson obtained from doctors.

More than a week after his death, tributes and accolades keep coming.

Madonna had a Jackson impersonator dance to Wanna Be Starting Something at her Saturday concert in the same London arena where he was to stage his comeback.

The Reverend Al Sharpton called for nationwide 'love vigils' for Jackson, asking people to gather in schools, community centres and churches to watch the memorial service and talk about the pop star's 'message' instead of the 'mess' surrounding his death.

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Govt defends Fromelles project

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:44

Updated: 14:53, Monday July 6, 2009

The excavation of the remains of 400 Australian and British servicemen at a World War I field in France is being handled appropriately, the government says.

It has been reported the project is in crisis after the Department of Defence chose a cheaper, commercial archaeological firm to exhume the bodies from a field near Fromelles.

Heavy rain and a lack of contingency planning for toxic groundwater and drainage had upset the dig for the remains, believed to include 191 missing Australian soldiers, Fairfax newspapers said.

'The government's very concerned about reports like this,' Defence Personnel Minister Greg Combet told Sky News on Monday.

'The advice that the government has received (from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) in response to this particular report... is that... it is being appropriately handled.'

Mr Combet described the exhumation as 'very complex... to say the least'.

He could not confirm reports that the remains of only 24 soldiers had been retrieved so far.

'I'm not quite sure that that is correct information,' he said.

The department's Fromelles project website says that as at June 30 more than two dozen soldiers' remains had been retrieved.

Wet weather would always hamper excavation efforts such as these, as would the number of remains and the difficult terrain, Mr Combet said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has also denied the archaeological firm is ill prepared to exhume the remains of Australian diggers.

Oxford Archaeology, which is not affiliated with the British university of the same name, bid $2.5 million less than two other contenders to be awarded the five-month project.

'I'm advised by the relevant government officials that all the necessary precautions are being taken to ensure that our diggers are treated with respect and that the reinterment process is being properly handled,' he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

'We'll now make doubly certain of that in the case of this particular and sensitive matter.'
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Teens escaping online to make friends

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:46

Updated: 15:51, Monday July 6, 2009

Australian teenagers are regularly choosing cyberspace over the real world to make friends to avoid rejection and ridicule, an online survey has found.

Of 1,000 13 to 19-year-olds who took part in the beyourselfforreal.com survey, more than half said they felt comfortable making friends online because they didn't feel they were being judged by their physical appearance.

'It's a lot easier to be confident online where you don't need to worry about your weight or your skin or what clothes you're wearing like you do in the real world, because you know people won't be judging you on how you look,' one participant, 16-year-old Madi Busch, admitted.

But she added it was not realistic to always hide behind a computer screen.

'I've known people to Photoshop or 'air brush' a picture on their online profile to impress someone,' she said.

'But it makes you wonder why they do it because if they ever meet up with that person in real life they're going to look completely different.'

The survey found more than half of Australian teenagers (56 per cent) lied about themselves while they were online, with most faking their age and fabricating their looks.

Many also felt compelled to lie about the number of friends they had on their social networking profiles.
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Jetstar and Air NZ in slanging match

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:47

Updated: 16:42, Monday July 6, 2009

A slanging match has broken out between Jetstar and Air New Zealand after the Australian airline claimed its Kiwi launch had been sabotaged by dirty tricks.

The Qantas subsidiary has had a bumpy ride since the launch of its New Zealand schedule last month, with complaints of late and cancelled flights, rude staff and dozens of New Zealanders turned away for failing to check in early enough.

The airlines started trading barbs after Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan accused Air New Zealand of attempting to sabotage his airline, which has replaced Qantas in New Zealand with 84 domestic return flights a week.

Mr Buchanan told the Herald on Sunday newspaper the Kiwi airline had circulated nasty rumours about the planes being old and unserviced, the pilots poorly trained and the flights overbooked, because it was worried it would lose its monopoly on the domestic market.

'We've experienced some tough competition before but we've never experienced someone trying to sabotage our business, or specifically go after us to try and discredit us,' Mr Buchanan said.

He said the overbooking rumour was 'a complete fallacy that our competitors are spreading throughout the media'.

'It wasn't something we were prepared for and we are surprised at the dirty tricks they are playing,' the Jetstar chief said.

'They have a dedicated team of individuals running a campaign to try and ruin our launch.'

But Air New Zealand wasn't taking the claims lying down, hitting back with calls that Kiwis would 'see through (Jetstar's) conspiracy theories'.

Short haul airline group general manager Bruce Parton said Mr Buchanan's words were the 'actions of a desperate man'.

'Surely, Mr Buchanan doesn't expect Kiwis to believe that we are responsible for his Aussie airline's woes?' he told AAP.

'We didn't dream up his draconian check-in rules, his schedule that often cannot be met, his endless schedule changes and his decision to operate ill-equipped aircraft to Queenstown that cannot achieve the same punctuality as Air NZ's fleet.'

Throwing it back, he said Jetstar 'only has itself to blame for its own bad PR and the 'one star airline' tag some have given it'.

'Surely, Mr Buchanan learned the same childhood lesson we all did - don't blame others for your mistakes.'

Ultimately though, Mr Buchanan said took responsibility for the faltering Kiwi start, admitting there were some customers who hadn't had the best Jetstar experience, 'and for that we're apologetic'.
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Low inflation unlikely to mean rate cut

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:48

Updated: 15:03, Monday July 6, 2009

The Reserve Bank of Australia is unlikely to cut its cash rate, even though new data shows the annual rate of inflation is below the central bank's target band.

Economists widely expect the RBA to keep the cash rate at a 49-year low of 3.0 per cent for a third straight month at Tuesday's monthly board meeting against a backdrop of mixed economic data in recent weeks.

Still, the ogre of inflation appears to be firmly in decline, suggesting there is scope to ease policy if needed.

The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute Monthly Inflation Gauge, released on Monday, showed annual inflation at just 1.4 per cent in the 12 months to June, well below the RBA's two to three per cent target range.

TD Securities senior strategist Annette Beacher expects inflation to continue undershooting the target until mid-2010, perhaps even longer.

'The RBA board meeting tomorrow will no doubt discuss the case for an immediate interest rate cut. On inflation grounds, the case is compelling,' she said.

'But as has been the case in recent months, the RBA is placing a lot of faith in the momentum in China to drag Australia out of recession and this may see the RBA, yet again, defer the rate cut decision to the following month.'

The inflation gauge rose by 0.4 per cent in June, following a 0.3 per cent decline in May and no change in April.

The modest rise in prices partly reflected a five per cent increase in fuel costs, although they remain about 20 per cent lower than a year ago.
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Taronga Zoo appoints new director

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:49

Updated: 15:17, Monday July 6, 2009

Taronga Zoo has appointed a replacement for Guy Cooper, who is retiring from his post after 11 years as the zoo's director and CEO.

Cameron Kerr, Taronga's former marketing and communications manager and now general manager for Life Sciences and environmental education, will replace Mr Cooper on August 29.

'Mr Kerr has been with Taronga for almost a decade and we are lucky to have such a skilled applicant who also has an understanding of what contributes to the success of this institution,' Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt said in a statement.

Ms Tebbutt added the zoo was in a 'strong position' for Mr Kerr to take up his new role, thanks to the work of Mr Cooper.

'Guy Cooper has provided fantastic leadership to Taronga and Western Plains over the last 11 years,' she said.

'He established the Taronga Foundation which has raised $40 million since 2001, and oversaw the successful construction and implementation of the first eight years of the 12 year master plan redevelopment of Taronga and Western Plain zoos.

'Under Mr Cooper's leadership, threatened species in conservation programs have grown and witnessed major scientific breakthroughs such as the platypus, Francois langur, Booroolong frog and rhinoceros breeding program.'
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Border control agreements effective

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:50

Updated: 15:13, Monday July 6, 2009

Australia's border control agreements with neighbouring countries are working well but there is always room for improvement, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

Mr Rudd is due to leave Australia on Monday morning for Malaysia, where he will briefly meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The three-hour stopover will kick off a week-long round of diplomatic talks taking in Germany, Switzerland and the G8 summit in Italy.

A record number of boats carrying asylum seekers have arrived in Australia in recent months and Malaysian officials have warned that thousands of asylum seekers from other countries are waiting to sail to Australia from Malaysia.

Mr Rudd said instability in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka was pushing people to Southeast Asian countries.

'Our effective co-ordination on border control systems and monitoring vessels moving across the wider archipelago, and our interdiction arrangements, means that we have to work hand in glove with our partners,' the prime minister told reporters in Sydney.

'It's been working well so far - always room for improvement.

'And we'll do that with the Malaysians as well.'

However, the opposition says Mr Rudd having a cup of coffee with Malaysian officials will not cause people smugglers to quake in their boots.

Liberal frontbencher Scott Morrison said both sides of politics believe open dialogue was an important part of the solution to people smuggling.

'But Kevin Rudd having a cup of coffee with people in Malaysia is not going to be having the people smugglers sitting up there in Southeast Asia quaking in their boots,' he told Sky News.

'The one thing I think the people smugglers need to get as a message is that you won't get through.'

However, Labor MP Jason Clare said the 'best and most appropriate thing' Australia could do to address the issue was to talk to Indonesia and Malaysia.
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