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Австралийская лента новостей

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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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Further probe into Navy sex bet scandal

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 10:58

Updated: 06:37, Monday July 6, 2009

Further disciplinary action could be taken after four sailors on the navy supply ship HMAS Success were sent home for allegedly staging a contest, to see how many female sailors they could bed during an extended sea voyage.

Navy chief Vice Admiral Russ Crane says the allegations emerged in a navy equity and diversity health check program, initiated by the commanding officer of the Success, when it was berthed in Singapore in May.

He says once the allegations were known, the Navy acted immediately by removing the sailors allegedly involved in the matter from the ship, and referring the matter for an independent investigation.

He says action will be taken as quickly as possible, once the investigation's findings are known.
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Bird attacked as he helped drunk woman

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 12:42

Updated: 18:05, Monday July 6, 2009

Former NRL star Greg Bird was helping a friend's drunk girlfriend out of a nightclub when two women started attacking him, his lawyer has told a Sydney court.

Bird, who now plays rugby in France, appeared in Sutherland Local Court on Monday charged with assault.

He faces five charges, all relating to his alleged attack on Victoria Shannon at Fusions nightclub in Cronulla, in Sydney's south, in the early hours of January 19 last year.

During a brief opening address as Bird's three-day hearing commenced, his lawyer Patrick Conaghan said CCTV footage and evidence from security guards would show it was Bird who was under attack.

'He had been there only for a short time, consumed only a small amount of alcohol and was not intoxicated,' Mr Conaghan told Magistrate Jayeanne Carney.

'(His friend's) girlfriend was extremely intoxicated and he was assisting his friend (to take her out of the club) when she came into contact with Victoria Shannon, who took issue to being struck and abused the girlfriend.

'Mr Bird said words to the effect of 'Chill out, just relax - she's drunk, she's going.'

'Ms Shannon replied 'You're nothing but a fwit footballer.

Bird retorted, making some comments about Ms Shannon's tattoos, at which point the woman and her sister set upon Bird, Mr Conaghan told the court.

'It's the defence case that that can be supported by video evidence,' he said.

'There's clearly two female persons attacking Mr Bird, and we can see Mr Bird in a defensive mode with his arms up being pursued.'

The hearing is continuing.
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SA Lib leader stands down

Сообщение Ramzes » 06 июл 2009, 12:45

Updated: 19:22, Monday July 6, 2009

Martin Hamilton-Smith has announced he will stand down as South Australian opposition leader.

Mr Hamilton-Smith, who barely survived a Liberal leadership vote last Saturday, has announced he won't contest a fresh ballot to be held on Wednesday.

The former SAS commander's decision to quit the leadership leaves three contenders - his former deputy Vickie Chapman, current deputy Isobel Redmond and environment spokesman Mitch Williams.

Mr Hamilton-Smith called a spill of the leadership last week, but decided to hold another ballot after Saturday's vote ended 11-10, with one MP abstaining.

He called another vote for Wednesday, seeking a more decisive outcome, but on Monday said he would not contest the next ballot.

Mr Hamilton-Smith would not comment on who he wanted to win the leadership.

'I am not a professional politician and I never pretended to be,' Mr Hamilton-Smith told reporters.

'I have enjoyed the challenges of the last two- and-a-half years and am proud of the body of policy work that has been developed.'

His leadership had been the subject of internal dissent for several weeks, since he presented to parliament documents accusing Mike Rann's Labor government of accepting illegal donations from a group with ties to the Church of Scientology.

The documents turned out to be forgeries and Mr Hamilton-Smith was forced to make a public apology after Labor threatened defamation action.

Mr Hamilton-Smith, opposition leader since April 2007, said he would stay on as the member for Waite.
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Four Rio Tinto arrests confirmed

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:00

Updated: 16:48, Thursday July 9, 2009

Four employees of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto have been detained in China for allegedly stealing state secrets,the state security ministry said.

A spokesman confirmed an Australian national named Stern Hu and three Chinese citizens were being held, but declined to comment further.

A government news agency, the Xinhua News Agency, also publicly confirmed the arrests on Thursday, but gave no details of the charges against the employees of Rio's Shanghai office.

The Australian government is pressing for access to Hu.

The weekend detentions came amid contentious iron ore price talks between Rio and Chinese steel mills. But there has been no indication whether the case is linked to the negotiations.

China's vague spying and national security laws give authorities wide latitude in deciding what to prosecute. The government treats a sweeping array of economic and other data as state secrets.

The maximum penalty for a conviction on espionage charges under Chinese law is life in prison. A formal arrest in China means an almost automatic conviction.

The Rio employees are accused of 'alleged stealing of China's state secrets,' Xinhua said, citing state security officials in Shanghai.

The detained Australian, Stern Hu, is the Shanghai-based general manager of Rio's Chinese iron ore business, according to the Australian government. It says the three other detainees are Chinese nationals.

Meanwhile, a Chinese steel executive who had 'close contact' with Hu has been detained by Beijing police, the newspaper 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday.

Tan Yixin, general manager of Shougang International Trade Engineering Corp, oversaw iron ore purchases, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. It gave no indication whether the two cases were linked.

A spokesman for Shougang Group, parent company of Tan's employer, said he could not confirm whether Tan was detained. He would give only his surname, Wu. The foreign ministry and Beijing police did not immediately respond to questions by phone and fax.

Australian diplomats are pressing for access to Hu and details of his case, according to Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. Under a consular agreement, China has a week to respond and Smith said diplomats expected to see him Friday or Saturday.

Rio, which is headquartered in London but also has executive offices in Melbourne, said it knew of no evidence of spying.

'We have been advised by the Australian government of this surprising allegation. We are not aware of any evidence that would support such an investigation,' the company said in a statement. It declined to comment further.

Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company, is lead negotiator for global iron ore suppliers in price talks with China, the world's biggest steel producer.

The two sides failed to reach agreement by the June 30 expiration of previous buying contracts after China's steel industry association rejected prices negotiated by Rio with Japanese and Korean mills. The other major suppliers are Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd. and Brazil's Vale SA.

China criticised Rio and the Australian government last month after the company abandoned a deal to have state-controlled Aluminum Corp of China, or Chinalco, invest $US19.5 billion ($A25 billion) in Rio Tinto.

Rio launched a rights issue to raise money instead. Chinalco took up a portion of the $US15.2 billion ($A19.5 billion) share issue to maintain its nine per cent stake in the company.

The Chinese steel industry group also criticised Rio's plan to form a joint venture with Billiton, combining their mining assets in western Australia. The group said the tie-up might reduce competition, raise prices and hurt customers.

China's Commerce Ministry said the breakup of the Rio-Chinalco deal would not harm Beijing's ties with Australia. But a ministry spokesman warned that the deal with Billiton might face an anti-monopoly investigation by Chinese authorities.

In a previous case in 2002, a Chinese-born American, Fong Fuming, was convicted of paying bribes to help investors obtain secret information to bid on power projects. Fong was sentenced to five years in prison but expelled from China in 2003 after three years in captivity.
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More people sleeping it rough - report

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:01

Updated: 08:43, Thursday July 9, 2009

The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of capital cities was on the rise before the financial crisis hit, a new report shows.

The number of homeless older Australians has also been increasing, new analysis by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows.

The institute has released a state-by-state breakdown of ABS data that showed 105,000 people were homeless at the time of the 2006 census, up 5,000 people from 2001.

The number of people sleeping it rough increased in all capital cities except Melbourne over the five year period, the analysis shows.

In Sydney the number jumped by 17 per cent, while in other capitals the increase was around 30 per cent.

Melbourne was the only city to record a fall, of 20 per cent.

There was also an increase in older people becoming homeless.

Across the country the number of homeless people 65 and over increased from 5,995 to 7,400, or 23 per cent.

And the number of people aged 55 to 64 jumped from 7,883 to 10,708, a 35 per cent increase.

Queensland and NSW had the biggest share of the aged homeless, the analysis shows.

In Queensland the number of homeless people aged 55 and over increased by more than 2,000 to 6,216, a jump of 54 per cent.

In NSW, the over 55 group jumped by more than 1,500 to 4,849, an increase of 33 per cent.

Mission Australia, which provides more than 80 homeless services across the country, says older people are struggling to make ends meet.

Mission's homelessness adviser Sean Lappin believes this is partly due to the 'gentrification' of inner suburbs.

'Older people on pensions who have been living in areas that are becoming more affluent can't afford to live in those areas anymore and have nowhere to go,' he told AAP.

Mr Lappin says the rates of homelessness have also increased dramatically since the economic downturn hit.

Services in Sydney's west have experienced increase in demand of 70 per cent, while the demand for inner city services has doubled, he said.

Mission Australia wants the government to focus on providing more services in regional areas, and a focus on the elderly.

Indigenous Australians were also over-represented in the homeless figures across all jurisdictions, the data shows.

There were also high homeless rates in the regional areas of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, because of indigenous disadvantage.

NSW has also experienced a slight increase in the number of homeless people in regional areas.

Federal and state governments have developed an $800 million national plan to halve homeless rates by 2020.

The first federal downpayment was made on Tuesday, with more than $14.5 million going to five jurisdictions.

But NSW, the ACT and Northern Territory missed out because of ongoing funding negotiations with the federal government.
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China tightens grip on Urumqi

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:02

Updated: 16:48, Thursday July 9, 2009

Riot police and soldiers are keeping a strong presence in China's Urumqi city, as some businesses reopen in tentative signs of normality.

But the capital of China's restive Xinjiang region remains divided, with security forces separating Han Chinese districts from Muslim Uighur areas following unrest that began on Sunday and has left at least 156 people dead.

Urumqi's mayor says the city is back under control, after thousands of Han Chinese roamed the streets vowing vengeance and to defend themselves in response to initial violence authorities blamed on Uighurs.

There were no signs of the vigilantes, many of whom had been carrying poles, shovels and other makeshift weapons, and public buses as well as taxis were again plying the main thoroughfares in the Han Chinese parts of town on Thursday.

But even though more shops had also reopened after a three-day government-mandated business closure, residents remained extremely tense and doubtful life would return to normal anytime soon.

'How can it return to normal with so many soldiers,' said a Han woman surnamed Li in central Urumqi. 'I've counted 42 military trucks so far and more trucks just came by.'

And the big bazaar in the main Uighur district remained shut, with Uighurs saying the closure was another example of the different rules they have to live by compared with the Han Chinese.

'They said we could reopen after three days. But today is the fourth day and they are not letting us open,' said a clothing shop owner.

'Over in the Chinese part of town, the buses are running there, the shops are open, but here the buses are not running and the shops are closed. This is equal treatment?'

Xinjiang's eight million Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking people who have long complained about discrimination and repression under Chinese rule - accusations the government denies.

Those feelings of repression led to Sunday's protests, according to exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who the government blames for orchestrating the unrest.

Kadeer denies instigating the protests and also said on Wednesday the death toll from the unrest was far higher than the figure of 156 given by Chinese authorities.

The vice-president of the Uighur World Congress, Asgar Can, put the death toll from the unrest at between 600 and 800, saying the estimate was based on eyewitness accounts of the violence.

Chinese President Hu Jintao abandoned a Group of Eight summit in Italy and returned to China on Wednesday to deal with the crisis, in what observers said was an unprecedented move.

However, neither he nor any other senior leader from the Chinese government in Beijing has commented publicly on the crisis.

The situation in Xinjiang continued to raise concern internationally, particularly in Muslim countries.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on China to secure a quick end to the 'atrocity' in Xinjiang and said his nation would bring the matter to the agenda of the UN Security Council.

'We expect a swift end to the events amounting to atrocity, the prevalence of common sense... and the immediate implementation of the necessary measures in line with universal human rights,' Erdogan said.

Turkey, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, will ask the body to discuss ways of ending the violence, he added. China is one of the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the council.

'This is a humanitarian task that falls on our shoulders,' the prime minister said.
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Nth Korea blamed for cyber attack

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:03

Updated: 16:49, Thursday July 9, 2009

The US State Department says it is probing the origin of a cyberattack against its website, which has been affected for three days running.

'What I can tell you is the attack against our state.gov website started on July 5,' State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters on Wednesday. 'It's still ongoing, but I'm told that it's much reduced right now.'

According to computer security experts, a dozen US government websites, including those of the White House, Pentagon and State Department, were targeted in a coordinated cyberattack which also struck sites in South Korea.

South Korean lawmakers were quoted as saying Wednesday that South Korea's intelligence service believes North Korea or its sympathisers may have staged the attack.

Kelly said the US computer emergency readiness team is working with State Department experts, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other government agencies to try to resolve the problem.

DHS is leading the probe, he said.

The attack did not appear to cause major problems.

'I use the state.gov web site several times a day and I have not noticed any .. real difficulties in accessing it. That's just a personal finding,' Kelly said.

'We're investigating, but we can't ... confirm the source of attacks yet,' the spokesman added.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed earlier that US government and private sector websites had come under so-called 'distributed denial of service' attack but declined to identify any of the targeted sites.

A denial of service attack attempts to paralyse a website by flooding it with traffic from an army of malware-infected computers known as a 'botnet.'
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Knut stays put in city home

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:03

Updated: 16:48, Thursday July 9, 2009

A custody battle of sorts has been settled in Germany after Berlin Zoo agreed to pay more than $750,000 to keep Knut the polar bear.

As a cuddly cub, Knut earnt the zoo millions of dollars in tourism, with people eager to get a glimpse of the global superstar animal in what has been termed 'Knutmaina'.

But another zoo claims legal ownership and tried to get its paws on some of those millions, by threatening to reclaim the three year old bear.

Neumuenster zoo owns Knut's father and claimed ownership on the basis Knut was their bear's first offspring.

The two zoos eventually agreed on what they called 'the going rate for polar bears'.
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Gang to be sentenced over stabbing

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:04

Updated: 16:48, Thursday July 9, 2009

A gang of six youths are to be sentenced for stabbing to death a 14-year-old boy in the UK.

Shaquille Maitland-Smith was the youngest person to be murdered in a knife attack in London last year; he was killed as he chatted with two friends in East London.

The sentencing comes as police chiefs prepare to release new figures saying knife crime across the country is going down.

The Tackling Knives Action Programme - launched across a number of force areas last year - is said to be showing results, but a North London gang tracked down by Sky News in Britain said they would only give up their knives if they had guns instead.

One of the gang told us: ' It's a way of life for us, in your work if someone violates you they are sacked. We kill that's what we do.'

Gangs like this are part of a hardcore which seem impervious to campaigns to get knives off the streets, but in other areas there is evidence that knives are used more for show than for violence.

In Thames Valley where the TKAP is running, Chief Inspector Lyndsey Finch says: 'A lot of the offences that are reported to us involving knives are often more about the threat of using a knife rather than actually using it.'

Home Secretary Alan Johnson is visiting the Chief Police Officers conference later.

The CPOs believe that, while the TKAP is getting results and more than 3,500 knives have been taken off the streets, any long-term progess will depend on a concerted Government approach to tackling the social problems that lead to knife crime in the first place.

Figures for the number of teenagers being admitted to hospital with knife wounds are down by almost a fifth and the number of people convicted of knife crime who are being sent to prison is up by almost a half.

Nevertheless, the majority of those who do commit knife offences do not end up in jail.
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Jackson's burial causes frustration

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:09

Updated: 16:35, Thursday July 9, 2009

The tributes from Michael Jackson's memorial service have given way to frustration over where he'll be buried.

Some within the Jackson family want the King of Pop to be cremated, and his ashes spread at Neverland.

But sources say his mother Katherine doesn't want her son laid to rest anywhere near his former mansion.

Speculation is running hot, about other possible locations.

Meanwhile, the city of Los Angeles has only received $17,000 of the 1.4 million it cost to put on Michael Jackson's memorial.

It's believed an official donation site failure is responsible for the lack of funds.
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Push to close the Uluru climb

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:15

Updated: 11:04, Thursday July 9, 2009

Federal authorities want to ban people from climbing one of Australia's great natural wonders - Uluru.

An estimated 100,000 people make the steep ascent each year.

The Director of National Parks wants to close the climb for 'visitor safety, cultural and environmental' reasons.

A 10-year draft management plan for the park says authorities will work towards closing the track.

The plan quotes Kunmanara, a traditional owner.

'That's a really important sacred thing that you are climbing ... you shouldn't climb,' Kunmanara is quoted as saying.

'The real thing is listening to everything.'

Uluru, which is located in Australia's 'Red Centre' and used to be known as Ayers Rock, attracts about 300,000 tourists a year. Most are from overseas.

Visitors are free to ascend the path up Uluru most of the time. But signs urge people not to do so out of respect for indigenous culture.

At least 35 people have died on the track.

The federal opposition doesn't want the climb closed.

'Big Brother is coming to Uluru to slam the gate closed on an Australian tourism icon, the climb,' said the opposition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt.

'I support allowing people to make up their own minds about whether to make the climb.'

Mr Hunt said the climb was majestic and a major tourism drawcard.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett has to sign off on the plan. A spokesman would not be drawn on whether Mr Garrett supported closing the track.

The spokesman said 'there will obviously be a range of views' about the Uluru climb, and urged people to take part in the public comment period on the plan, which closes on September 4.

The draft plan says the track would remain open at the start of the 10-year period, subject to restrictions including 'improved graphic signage'.

It's already closed during the day in summer.
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Bush needs his own bailout

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 июл 2009, 10:16

Updated: 16:48, Thursday July 9, 2009

Former US President George W. Bush has become the latest victim of the financial crisis.

The City of Dallas is considering removing protection for the former leader, to save almost $400,000 a year.

The team of tactical officers may be replaced by a security gate at the end of his street, but debate has already begun over who will pay for it.
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Crean seeks meeting over Hu

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:30

Updated: 20:38, Saturday July 11, 2009

Trade minister Simon Crean is trying to arrange meetings with Chinese officials to discuss the detention of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.

Authorities in China, Australia's biggest two-way trading partner, have accused Stern Hu of bribery and undermining their nation's economic security.

During a trade mission to China, Mr Crean told the Shanghai city government he had strong concern about the detention of Mr Hu but indicated Australia's willingness to resolve the issue diplomatically.

'We can't apply Australian law in China just as China can't apply Chinese law in Australia,' Mr Crean told ABC Radio from Shanghai on Saturday.

'What we have to do is work within the system, but to urge at the political level the importance of dealing with this, first of all based on the welfare of the individual and secondly expedition of process.'

Mr Crean said he saw no reason why Mr Hu's detention would damage Australia's trade relations with China.

Mr Hu, who was in charge of Rio Tinto's Chinese iron ore operations, was arrested on Sunday, along with three of his colleagues.

Australian consular officials visited him on Friday.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said while Mr Hu appears to be in good health, Australian authorities are seeking more information from Chinese authorities about the incarceration of the Chinese-born Australian citizen.

'Mr Hu appeared well and raised no health or welfare issues during the meeting,' Mr Smith said in a statement on Saturday.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh said the company remained surprised and concerned over the detention of its employees, and said Chinese authorities had not informed Rio of any charges against its staff.

But Mr Walsh, who was briefed about the consular visit, was more positive about Mr Hu's welfare.

'We are very glad to hear he is in good health,' Mr Walsh said in a statement.

The opposition has called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to intervene directly in Mr Hu's case rather than leaving it to consular officials.

They have been joined in their call by former Rio Tinto boss John Dougall, who sponsored Mr Hu's Australian citizenship in 1994.

'Stern Hu is an Australian trade hero, and what's happened to him is a disgrace,' Mr Dougall told Sky News.

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has linked Mr Hu's arrest with Rio's rejection of Chinese state-owned aluminium firm Chinalco's bid to double its stake in the Anglo-Australian miner, to 18 per cent.

'It gives more credence to the argument that this is a political set-up by China, retribution for the actions of Rio or what they believe is a deal that hasn't gone their way,' Senator Joyce told Sky News on Saturday, adding that Australia's softly-spoken response to Mr Hu's detention was akin to self censorship.

Chinalco has said the detention of the four Rio Tinto employees on spying charges is not related to its failed bid.

According to a Chinese government website, Mr Hu is accused of bribing staff from Chinese steel firms earlier this year during iron ore price negotiations.

The authorities say this 'caused huge loss to China's national economic security and interests'.
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Australian shot dead at Papua mine

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:31

Updated: 20:37, Saturday July 11, 2009

An Australian has shot and killed, possibly by a sniper, near a massive gold and copper mine in Indonesia's restive Papua region.

The man, an employee at US-based Freeport McMoRan's mining concession in Papua who police said was aged 29, was killed around dawn on Saturday as he travelled in a car with four others.

The incident took place on a road in the concession area belonging to the local subsidiary of Freeport McMoRan, which operates the massive Grasberg gold and copper mine in eastern Papua province, police said.

The Australian was the only person hit in the attack, which the company said occurred at about 5.30am (local time) on Saturday.

PT Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI) spokesperson Mindo Pangaribuan said the workers were travelling in a vehicle on a road outside the company's mining and operations areas when they were attacked.

'Shots were fired at a PT-FI vehicle, fatally wounding an employee who was a passenger in the vehicle,' PT Freeport Indonesia spokesperson Mindo Pangaribuan said in a statement sent to AAP.

'Other passengers were not injured.'

Security was raised around the mine on Saturday and anti-terrorism police were investigating, but mining activities were not disrupted and there were no further incidents, Pangaribuan said.

'PT-FI is cooperating fully with the police investigation and deeply regrets the loss of an employee,' he said.

A police spokeswoman told AP a sniper was suspected to have fired the shots.

'Most likely it was carried out by a sniper,' said national police spokeswoman Nanan Sukarna, noting that four other passengers, three of them foreigners, were unhurt.

The bullet was fired from distant hills, she said.

The victim was taken to a hospital in Kuala Kencana, a local mining town, where he died, she said.

No suspects were detained, but several witnesses had been questioned, Sukarna said.

A spokesperson for Freeport in Arizona said the company was not releasing the man's name, age or nationality at this stage.

Papua police chief Bagus Ekodanto said the victim was a 29-year-old Australian technical expert, Associated Press reported.

Early reports gave conflicting ages for the victim and said he was an American employee of Freeport.

Two American teachers and an Indonesian colleague who worked at the Grasberg site, one of the world's largest open-pit mines, were shot dead in an ambush near the facility in 2002.

US and Indonesian investigators found that Papuan separatist rebels were behind that attack, but local rights groups have long maintained the military had a hand in the killings.

Papua, a desperately poor and militarised province on Indonesia's easternmost tip, is home to separatist rebels who denounce PT Freeport as a symbol of Jakarta's rule.

The Indonesian government does not allow foreign media to freely report in Papua, where it has tens of thousands of troops deployed. The site of Saturday's shooting was inaccessible to local reporters.

The mining operation has been a continuous source of friction with local Papuans angered over the outflow of profit to foreign investors, while they remain poor. Freeport has extracted billions of dollars in gold from the mine.

The Grasberg mining complex is one of the world's largest single producers of copper and gold, the company says on its website. Open-pit mining at the site began in 1990 and is expected to continue until mid-
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Robert 'Dolly' Dunn dies in jail

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:31

Updated: 14:52, Saturday July 11, 2009

Convicted pedophile Robert 'Dolly' Dunn has died in jail aged 68.

Dunn died in Long Bay Prison Hospital at 4am (AEST) on Saturday, a NSW Corrective Services spokesman said.

He was serving a 20-year sentence for a series of sexual offences against boys in the 1980s and 1990s.

Dunn, a former school teacher, would have been eligible for parole in 2015, the spokesman said.

In 1996 a Royal Commission chaired by Justice James Woods was shown home videos and photographs from Dunn's collection featuring images of child sex abuse involving Dunn himself.

Dunn fled the country but was later found in Honduras and was successfully extradited back to Australia.

From jail he repeatedly made statements that he saw nothing wrong with sex between men and boys.

He was suffering multiple organ failure and in 2004 underwent coronary bypass surgery after suffering from angina.
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Backpacker's father holds hopes alive

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:32

Updated: 16:37, Saturday July 11, 2009

A land and air search for a missing English backpacker in the New South Wales Blue Mountains is continuing today.

19-year-old Jamie Neale was last seen leaving his Katoomba hostel eight days ago to go for a hike.

His father has flown from London to join the search.

'He's a brilliant boy and we are not going to lose him,' his father Richard Cass said.

A total of 50 rescue teams are looking for the tourist.
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More UK troops killed in Afghanistan

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:33

Updated: 20:41, Saturday July 11, 2009

Five British soldiers from the same foot patrol have been killed in two separate explosions in Afghanistan - as the death toll overtakes that of the Iraq War.

The soldiers, from the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, were killed near Sangin, Helmand Province, on Friday morning.

It is one of the worst single incidents in terms of British casualties since the start of operations in Afghanistan.

Next of kin have been informed.

Britain's Chief of Defence Staff Sir Jock Stirrup said: 'Our armed forces in Afghanistan have taken some very sad casualties over the last several days.

'We feel each loss keenly and our hearts go out to the bereaved families, to those who have been wounded and their loved ones. And we will do everything we can to support them in their time of loss and trial.

'But it is important that we also remember why our people are fighting in Afghanistan and what they are achieving through their sacrifice and their courage.'

A spokesman for Task Force Helmand said: 'While there are no words to ease their loss, our heartfelt sympathies go to their families, friends and fellow soldiers at this very difficult time.

'Their deaths were not in vain,' Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson added.

The news comes just hours after three others died in separate incidents in what has been one of the darkest days for British armed forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Fifteen soldiers have died in the last 10 days in southern Afghanistan, taking the number of British troops killed since operations began in October 2001 to 184.

This is more than the number who died in the bitter Iraq campaign, which lasted from March 2003 until the end of combat operations in April this year.

The latest deaths come on the same day that the bodies of another five British servicemen killed in Afghanistan over the past week were returned to the UK.

Eight of the most recent fatalities came during Operation Panchai Palang, or Panther's Claw, a major British assault against the Taliban in Helmand ahead of next month's Afghan elections.

Some 3,000 troops are involved in the operation, which began on June 19 and has seen fierce fighting and significant casualties on both sides.

The top US commander in the Middle East has warned of tough months ahead in the fight against the Taliban.

General David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, described the battle in the south of the country as 'the longest campaign'.
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eacher charged with attempted murder

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:35

Updated: 20:37, Saturday July 11, 2009

Police in Britain have charged a science teacher with the attempted murder of a 14-year-old student who was found unconscious in a pool of blood.

Nottinghamshire Police said Peter Harvey, 49, was charged on Friday with attacking Jack Waterhouse at All Saints Roman Catholic Comprehensive School on Wednesday.

The boy has been hospitalised in a special head-injury unit and was in a stable condition with serious head injuries. Two other students were also injured during the classroom confrontation.

Head teacher Maureen Cobbet said the school would not comment specifically on the incident.

'At this time our thoughts and prayers are with Jack Waterhouse, his family and all those who have been affected by this event,' Cabot said.

It's believed Jack was hit with a weight block used in science experiments, The Times newspaper reported on Friday.

The other students in the class were interviewed by police with their parents present.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Pearson, who is leading the inquiry, said: 'Obviously, the whole class is traumatised. People send their children here from great distances because of its academic record and what happened is very much out of character for the school.

'The school, the teachers and the parents are absolutely shocked. It was a full, lively classroom and I can understand the trauma to all the staff.

'We have a full picture of what has taken place and so the welfare of the child and his family are the main concern.'

Neighbours of the arrested teacher have told local media he had recently taken two months off work owing to illness. All Saints would not confirm this.
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Climate pact will need hard slog - PM

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 июл 2009, 16:37

Updated: 19:48, Saturday July 11, 2009

PM Kevin Rudd says world leaders face a 'hard slog' as they race to overcome huge hurdles he fears could stop them from signing a new climate change pact.

After wrapping up talks with the heads of 38 developed and developing countries in the earthquake-ravaged town of L'Aquila, Mr Rudd stressed they faced a race against time to sign off on an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen in December.

While the leaders agreed that global warming should be held to two degrees celsius in an attempt to combat climate change, no specific targets were set for emissions reductions in the medium term.

Mr Rudd said while some progress had been made at the summit, there remained large gaps between the developed and developing nations on what should be done before they sit down at Copenhagen.

Greenhouse emissions had been allowed to surge as developed countries built their economic powerhouses in the past century, while developing nations wanted to have the same chances to grow without being subject to stringent rules forcing them to cut their emissions.

As a result, he said, political leaders had to show strong collective leadership and be flexible with their negotiators as they work on an agreement for Copenhagen.

'We are dealing with two colliding realities,' Mr Rudd told reporters.

'This will be a hard slog but we have to push hard in order to bring about an outcome for Australia and for the world.'

Mr Rudd had earlier on Friday expressed fears that world leaders would be unable to reach agreement at Copenhagen because there were 'too many problems', while holding bilateral talks with his Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen at L'Aquila.

But he insisted to reporters he remained 'optimistic' an agreement could be signed 'notwithstanding the fact that that is going to be very, very difficult'.

'If we were simply to take where we have got so far we are not on track (to sign an agreement at Copenhagen) but with further resolution at a political level we can achieve real progress as far as Copenhagen is concerned and deliver an outcome,' Mr Rudd said.

Leaders hope to make more progress towards Copenhagen when they hold more climate change talks at the next G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in September and a United Nations summit in Bangkok before gathering in Copenhagen.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said while 'substantial' progress had been made, there was a way to go before agreement could be reached on a new pact.

'I think Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and I agree that huge progress has been made,' Mr Brown told reporters after the summit.

'But of course there is more to do.

'We have to get intermediate targets and we have to get a financing agreement that will mean that resources have to be made available for that and that is the work of September at the G20, the UN summit called by the secretary general and the Copenhagen talks.'

Meanwhile, G8 leaders at the meeting - from the US, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Italy and Canada - unveiled a $US20 billion ($A25.5 billion) fund to help feed the developing world.
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Backpacker ate weeds, seeds to survive

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 13:57

Updated: 18:48, Wednesday July 15, 2009

The father of a British backpacker found after 12 days lost in NSW's Blue Mountains says he is going to 'kick his arse' for all the trouble he has caused.

Richard Cass was on the verge of flying back to England when he was urgently contacted by NSW police on Wednesday after his 19-year-old son, Jamie Neale, was miraculously found by two bushwalkers in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Mr Cass was flown by police helicopter to Katoomba Hospital, where his son is being treated for exposure and dehydration.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital, Mr Cass said his son had come 'back from the dead', and he was 'just so pleased to see him'.

However, he said he would give Jamie a good talking to for all the trouble he had caused.

'When I've seen the mistake after mistake he's made - I can't say I'd kill him because it would just spoil the point of him being back,' Mr Cass said.

'I'm going to kick his arse - the millions that have been spent on this search, the man hours and woman hours that have gone into it .. all because he goes out on a walk without his mobile phone.

'The only teenager in the world who goes on a 10 mile hike and leaves his mobile phone behind.'

Mr Cass said he understood why it had taken so long to find his son, with visibility such a problem in the dense bushland.

'I was told there were 50 guys with yellow jackets out there looking for him - I saw one of them,' Mr Cass said.

'So I can understand how difficult it is to see a stupid kid in a dark blue jacket walking under the trees.

'It's so dense.'

Jamie had survived by eating seeds and a lettuce-like weed, his father said.

'He was eating seeds. He ate some sort of weed which was like rocket, as he described, a kind of lettuce,' he said.

'What he was saying was he would go up on a height and see where the cliffs were and where he had to go, but as soon as he went down and the trees around him he couldn't see where he was. He's all scratched but it's him.

'It's amazing. He's very gaunt, but it is fantastic.'

Jamie Neale's mother, Jean Neale says she never doubted he was coming home.

'I never gave up hope. I always knew that he'd be coming home,' she told Sky News UK.

'I told all the family and all his friends that he was coming home, and I have no doubts about that.

'We've all been helping each other.'

Ms Neale said she had briefly spoken to her son on the phone.

'He just wanted to hear me,' she said.

'He looks very well but he sounded very tearful, very exhausted.'

'I know he can't wait to get home.'

Survival medicine expert Dr Paul Luckin says Mr Neale's experience as a hiker and the availability of water in the area because of recent rain were likely the main reasons he lived through the ordeal.

'If he had some clothing to keep himself warm, shelter from the worst of the elements at night and had some water to drink then generally the prospect for survival are pretty good,' Dr Luckin told AAP.

'And I think that we'll find that is exactly what has happened in this case.

'I think we'll find that he was experienced and sensible and that he actually thought about the worst case and 'how will I keep myself alive'.'

A lack of food for 12 days was unlikely to be an issue, provided there was water because most people were generally well-nourished, the doctor said.

Dr Luckin said he could not predict any long-term health effects the teenager may suffer.

'With a lot of these folk, what happens is they get over their blistered skin, if that's what they have, their windburn,' he said.

'They rehydrate, they rest for a day or two, they start to have something to eat and they come out completely well with no long-term effect.'

However, Dr Luckin urged other hikers to carry a digital device in their backpacks which can transmit a signal to authorities with their location should they become lost.

Those involved in the search for Mr Neale included local police, the rescue squad, the dog unit and Polair, as well as volunteers from the Rural Fire Service, the State Emergency Service, the Volunteer Rescue Association and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
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Gordon Nuttall guilty of corruption

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 13:59

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Updated: 20:33, Wednesday July 15, 2009

Former Queensland government minister Gordon Nuttall has been found guilty of corruption.

The Brisbane District Court jury returned the verdict on Wednesday after deliberating for almost five hours.

The jury found the 56-year-old former Labor MP guilty of corruptly receiving a total of $300,000 from mining magnate Ken Talbot between 2002 and 2005.

He was also found guilty of receiving $60,000 on April 12, 2002, from businessman Harold Shand.

Nuttall was remanded in custody until sentencing on Thursday.

Nuttall, who sat in the dock on Wednesday for the first time since his arraignment, shook his head as the verdicts were read out.

Members of his family, sitting in the public gallery, burst into tears.

During the trial the jury heard Nuttall had been corrupt when he accepted the payments from Mr Talbot and Mr Shand.

Nuttall, who pleaded not guilty, took the stand last week to deny any impropriety, telling the court the money was 'a loan between personal friends'.

In his closing submission on Monday, crown prosecutor Ross Martin, SC, described Nuttall as a 'method actor' who had tried to convince himself and the jury that there was nothing corrupt in his decision to accept the money from Mr Talbot and Mr Shand.

Mr Martin said Nuttall had justified his behaviour by claiming it was to fund property for his children but then said most of the money did not go to them.

Nuttall's defence barrister John Rivett told the jury his client had been completely open, honest and transparent when seeking and obtaining the money from the two men.

During her lengthy summing up this week, Chief Judge Patsy Wolfe told the jury Nuttall's guilt or innocence hinged on what he believed Mr Talbot and Mr Shand wanted when they gave him the money.

Chief Judge Wolfe said that Nuttall had acted corruptly if he received the money believing that the mining executives wanted him to influence government decisions.

The court was told it did not matter if Nuttall ever intended to actually carry out any favours.

The trial heard evidence from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and former premier Peter Beattie.

Mr Beattie says the Gordon Nuttall case will forever tarnish his Labor government.

Mr Beattie, now Queensland trade commissioner to the Americas, was premier from 1998 to 2007 and appointed Nuttall as industrial relations minister in 2001.

'Mr Nuttall has let down the people of Queensland, his parliamentary and ministerial colleagues, my government, the Labor Party and the people of Sandgate who all trusted him to do the right thing,' Mr Beattie said from Los Angeles.

'Mr Nuttall clearly knew of the standards required of ministers.

'I repeatedly made those standards clear to him and all ministers in my government.

'He betrayed my trust and there can be no excuses.'

Mr Beattie, who gave evidence during the trial, said he had been stunned by the details of Nuttall's behaviour as they unfolded before the jury.

'I am embarrassed that these events happened while I was premier,' Mr Beattie said.

'My government was an honest government and while Gordon Nuttall didn't get away with his corrupt behaviour, his actions will be forever a black mark on my government's record.'

Mr Beattie said he had no regrets about referring certain matters involving Gordon Nuttall to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) for investigation.

'It was the right thing to do,' he said.

'That CMC investigation broadened and led to the charging and conviction of Mr Nuttall.'

Mr Beattie attributed the conviction of his former minister to reforms introduced after the Fitzgerald inquiry into political and police corruption.

'Twenty years ago the outcomes of the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption set new standards for all public officials, particularly parliamentarians,' he said.

'Today's decision in relation to Mr Gordon Nuttall clearly shows that no one is above the law, especially not ministers of the crown.'

Premier Anna Bligh and Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek declined to comment.
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Iran airliner crashes, 150 feared dead

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:00

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Updated: 19:51, Wednesday July 15, 2009

A passenger plane carrying 150 people has crashed in northwest Iran and all on board are feared dead, state media says.

State television says the plane from Iran's Caspian Airlines was travelling from Tehran to the Armenian capital Yerevan when it crashed near the city of Qazvin on Wednesday.

The Qazvin emergency services director Hossein Bahzadpour told the IRNA news agency that the plane was completely destroyed and the wreckage was in flames.

He says all on board are likely to have died.
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Twins' mother held in psichiatric ward

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:01

Updated: 19:30, Wednesday July 15, 2009

A mother charged with murdering her seven-month-old twins is being held in a Perth psychiatric hospital.

Rita Ariyaratnam, 30, has appeared in Perth's Stirling Gardens magistrates court via videolink from Graylands Hospital.

She was not required to plead to two charges of murder and was held in custody to reappear on August 12.

Ariyaratnam and her twins Sophie and Lachlan were found unconscious by her husband Selvin Ariyaratnam, the children's father, at the family's house in Cloverdale, in Perth's east, on July 6.

The twins were taken to Princess Margaret Hospital after police and paramedics arrived at the house about 3.30pm (WST), but were pronounced dead on arrival.

Rita Ariyaratnam was taken to Royal Perth Hospital, where she awoke from a coma last Thursday.

She was charged with two counts of murder the following day.

Outside court on Wednesday, lawyer Terry Dobson said he had spoken to Rita Ariyaratnam and family members, who were pleading for privacy.

He said the twins' death was 'a tragic event for all concerned'.

'What we want to do now is just get on with looking after Mrs Ariyaratnam's best interests,' Mr Dobson said.

'As of this morning, I have spoken with Mrs Ariyaratnam and her immediate family and they want to get on with grieving in private and try and deal with what is obviously just a terrible event for everyone.

'Of course something like this touches the whole of the West Australian community.'

Post-mortem examinations have been conducted on the twins.
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World watching China's handling of Hu

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:02

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Updated: 12:42, Wednesday July 15, 2009

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said Mr Hu's case was being handled by consular officials and the Australian government, but there would not be a 'quick fix' to the complex case.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had made representations to the acting Chinese ambassador on three occasions, he said.

The prime minister also said the Australian embassy in Beijing and the consular general in Shanghai had made 'some 20' representations in support of Mr Hu.

Mr Rudd said he raised the matter directly with China's vice foreign minister at the G8 summit in Italy last week.

'I was making it very plain that I was following this case personally,' he said.

'The Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will meet again with the Chinese foreign minister in Egypt tomorrow (Thursday) and will be raising this matter,' he said.

'Foreign Minister Smith will be making further representations to his foreign counterparts as appropriate.'

He said Mr Smith would seek information from the authorities on the basis of the detention of Mr Hu and his welfare.

'As is normal in consular cases we are focusing on the treatment that is being afforded to him,' Mr Rudd said.

However, he rejected the notion that Mr Hu's case was a normal consular case.

'Of course, not every case is treated on its own individual merits, that is in terms of the severity, complexity, the detail,' he said.
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Copenhagen climate deal 'tough ask'

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:03

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Updated: 12:34, Wednesday July 15, 2009

Reaching a global agreement on climate change is going to be tough, requiring action from both developed and developing nations, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

Mr Rudd expressed concerns during his trip to Europe last week about the likelihood of reaching an agreement at climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

He told Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who will host the talks, it was unlikely world leaders would reach an agreement on reducing greenhouse gases.

Mr Rudd met climate change guru and former US vice president Al Gore in Sydney on Wednesday to discuss progress ahead of the Copenhagen talks.

'This is going to be a very rough and bumpy road, there are many obstacles in the way,' Mr Rudd told reporters after their meeting.

'As I said recently in L'Aquila at the G8 plus meeting in Italy, our negotiators worldwide are going to need fresh political momentum, a fresh mandate in order to land an outcome in Copenhagen.

'We're going to need action from developed countries, we're going to need action from developing countries and we're going to need, of course, someone working out the basis of an appropriate deal for the major economies of the world to get a decent outcome for the planet.

'This is serious stuff, the clock is ticking, there's no time to be wasted, there's now less than 150 days until we reach the meeting in Copenhagen.'
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Police charge man over tomahawk murder

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:05

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Updated: 14:50, Wednesday July 15, 2009

A 22-year-old Melbourne man charged with murdering his uncle with an axe is being put on suicide watch while in custody.

Ian Monks, 43, died after he was attacked with a tomahawk in Narre Warren South at 10.25pm (AEST) on Tuesday.

His housemate and nephew, Milner Monks, was arrested about 30 minutes later and charged with murder.

Police allege he attacked the older man during a fight at the Bowman Close house, which they shared. Two other residents were there at the time, they said.

The injured man was rushed by air ambulance to The Alfred hospital, where he died.

Investigators say they have found the weapon allegedly used in the attack.

Milner Monks appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Wednesday where he made no application for bail.

Defence lawyer Tim Gattuso requested that his client be placed on suicide watch and that he be provided with his medication.

Mr Gattuso also requested that Monks' minor injuries be tended to by a doctor.

Magistrate Simon Garnett remanded Monks in custody to reappear in court in November.
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Tsunami warning for South East Coast

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:06

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Updated: 20:26, Wednesday July 15, 2009

A tsunami warning has been issued for the south east coast of Australia following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake off New Zealand's South Island.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre has declared a potential threat to New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands.

The epicentre of the undersea quake was located about 160km west of the city of Invercargill, on South Island, at a depth of 33 kilometres, USGS reported.

The quake struck at 8.22pm (1922 AEST).

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning, saying, 'An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicentre within minutes to hours.'

The centre added it was not immediately known if a tsunami had been generated.
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Nuclear power a matter of cost

Сообщение Ramzes » 15 июл 2009, 14:07

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Updated: 14:51, Wednesday July 15, 2009

Markets should determine the role of nuclear power in the future, environmental campaigner and former US vice president Al Gore says.

But he says nuclear power will only play a limited role in providing for the world's power needs, because of the immense cost of building reactors.

Mr Gore steered clear of commenting on Australia's lack of nuclear power reactors, despite the federal government's approval on Tuesday of the nation's fourth uranium mine.

'Nuclear power will play a limited role in the future,' he told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Sydney on Wednesday.

'I'm very doubtful that it will play more than a limited role because the often discussed problems of nuclear waste storage over very long periods of time and reactor safety are both problems that I think can and will be solved,' he said.

'The more serious issue is cost. There is not a single engineering firm anywhere in the world that can get you an accurate cost projection for what it will take to complete.'

The massive debt involved for utilities purchasing large reactors was 'unattractive', Mr Gore said.

'In spite of that, it will play some role but I would prefer to let the markets sort that out, and as it's sorting out now it's giving us an answer that it will play only a limited role.'

Mr Gore also said the problem of nuclear weapons proliferation could be 'more serious' if nuclear reactors were placed all around the world.
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Minogue blasts boyfriend

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 08:58

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Updated: 11:24, Saturday July 18, 2009

Kylie Minogue has had a fiery argument with her Spanish model boyfriend Andres Velencoso at a New York bar.

The pair were at trendy Manhattan B Bar this week when the 41-year-old pop princess slapped her 31-year-old lover across the face during a blazing row.

'At some point, Kylie and Andres got separated,' one onlooker told The Sun newspaper in Britain.

'When Kylie found him, she slapped him in the face with a fan.

'Then she yelled at him for making her wait outside while he stayed inside and got another drink.'
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Jackson's ex files lawsuit

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:00

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Updated: 11:39, Saturday July 18, 2009

Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe has filed a lawsuit accusing a woman of falsifying emails to defame her, court documents show.

In documents filed in Los Angeles' Superior Court on Thursday, Rowe accuses Rebecca White of defamation, invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress.

Jackson's ex-wife says White fabricated emails that purportedly showed Rowe did not want custody of her children after Jackson's death.

In the complaint, Rowe contends that she did not send the emails, and that she had not been in communication with White at all since Jackson's death on June 25.

White could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit and Rowe's attorney has not specified what sort of damages are being sought.

Rowe was an assistant to Jackson's dermatologist when she met the singer.

They married in 1996 and had two children, Prince Michael and Paris, before divorcing in 1999.

Rowe signed over parental rights to the children to Jackson, who later had a third child, Prince Michael II, by a surrogate.

Jackson's will ordered that all three children be cared for by his mother, Katherine Jackson, who has been granted temporary custody of the two boys and a girl.

Soul singer Diana Ross, a friend of Jackson's, was named as an alternate guardian in the will, which did not name Rowe in connection with custody of the children, or as a beneficiary.

Initial reports after Jackson's death suggested Rowe had no interest in seeking custody of the children, but she says those reports were based on White's falsified emails and that she will seek custody.

A custody hearing is scheduled for Monday and could be attended by both Rowe and Katherine Jackson.
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Two Australians confirmed dead in blast

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:07

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Updated: 15:57, Saturday July 18, 2009

Two of three Australians killed in the bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta have been positively identified, Indonesian police say.

Perth businessman Nathan Verity and Thiess Indonesia executive Garth McEvoy are confirmed to be among the dead, Indonesian National Police spokesman Nanan Sukarna told AAP on Saturday.

Austrade official Craig Senger, 36, is believed to among those not yet positively identified following Friday's blasts.

'We haven't identified three bodies yet,' Sukarna said.

At least nine people were killed and 42 injured, including Australian Scott Mirilles, in the coordinated suicide bombings on the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in central Jakarta.

There are fears the toll may rise.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Saturday was en route to Jakarta to meet with embassy and Indonesian officials, including his counterpart Hassan Wirajuda.

Smith said he would offer Indonesia any assistance Australia could provide.

'But it's also a show that the Australian government stands shoulder to shoulder with Indonesia at this terrible time,' he told the ABC.

Australian officials will reassess the security situation in Jakarta in the wake of the bombings, which came without warning, Smith said.

'These hotels and other hotels were regarded as places where substantial improvements in security had been made,' he said.

'(They) are used by the Indonesian government, foreign governments, international business people.

'But in the face of these terrible circumstances, in the cold light of day, there's a need to exhaustively examine all of these things and we will.'

Verity's wife and father were also due to arrive in Jakarta on Saturday.

Jim Truscott, a friend of Verity, said the pair would formally identify his body.

'Once that is done it will enable them to bring him back to Perth for a funeral,' Truscott said.

'Clearly they are very distraught and upset.

'We have a grandmother looking after their five-year-old son.'

Verity, 38, ran a human resources and recruitment business out of Jakarta, but lived in Perth.

He overcame a battle with cancer just 18 months ago - a fight that only enhanced his zest for life, Truscott said.

'He was a tough, determined guy, he was a fighter. He was a guy you wouldn't forget.

'He was a very gregarious guy, a good-natured guy, good at business too.'

Although his business interests had flourished, his first passion remained his family.

'They were absolutely his priority,' Mr Truscott said.

'I don't think he was happier than when he was at home with them.'

Senger's family spoke of their devastation as they waited for official confirmation of his death.

'Yesterday we were in shock but today we are devastated,' Senger's uncle Geoff Lazarus said.

'We're still waiting for the official confirmation. Things have taken a little longer than we expected.'

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but police are exploring links to fugitive former Jemaah Islamiah terrorist Noordin Mohammad Top.

Royal Darwin Hospital remains on standby to treat people injured in the blasts.
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Barnett leaves for China to discuss Hu

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:24

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Updated: 12:52, Saturday July 18, 2009

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett is leaving for China today and will push for the release of detained Australian businessman Stern Hu.

Mr Barnett says he won't act as a special envoy but will raise Mr Hu's case during his nine day trade trip to China.

Mr Hu's been held without charge in Shanghai since July 5, accused of spying and bribing employees of Chinese steel companies to obtain confidential information.

Mr Barnett says if he has the opportunity he'll push for Mr Hu to have legal representation and greater communication with diplomatic officials.

He says he doesn't know what level of officials he'll be meeting but has scheduled discussions with Shanghai mayor Han Zheng.
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Walter Cronkite dies, aged 92

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:25

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Updated: 13:04, Saturday July 18, 2009

Famed CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite has died aged 92, known as the 'most trusted man in America'.

A CBS executive said the retired anchorman died at his home in New York on Friday after a long illness with his family by his side.

He was the face of CBS News from 1962 to 1981, when stories ranged from the John F Kennedy assassination to Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.

Cronkite's period as a news anchor coincided with a time that television reigned supreme as the dominant media in the United States.

'It is impossible to imagine CBS News, journalism or indeed America without Walter Cronkite,' CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said in a statement.

'More than just the best and most trusted anchor in history, he guided America through our crises, tragedies and also our victories and greatest moments,' McManus said.

Brian Williams, the current evening anchor on rival NBC News, told MSNBC that 'Cronkite used to address the nation; other people delivered the news.'

The esteem that Americans had for Cronkite was highlighted in a 1972 opinion poll that found him more trusted than any politician, religious leader or sports hero.

'No one quarrelled with it. The moniker stuck to him forever,' said Williams, who described Cronkite as 'the first modern day anchor.'

Cronkite had for years been suffering from cerebrovascular disease, The Washington Post reported, quoting relatives.
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Five bodies found in Sydney home

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:27

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Updated: 15:05, Saturday July 18, 2009

Police are investigating the deaths of five people found in a Sydney house.

Officers were called to the home in North Epping, in Sydney's northwest, at 9.50am (AEST) on Saturday, after a family member discovered the five bodies of a woman, her two sons, aged 12 and nine, a 40-year-old woman and a man aged 46, police said.

Detectives are treating it as a 'domestic-related' incident.
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Smith travels to Jakarta

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:30

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Updated: 16:12, Saturday July 18, 2009

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith is flying to Jakarta following deadly bomb blasts that are believed to have killed three Australians.

Perth businessman Nathan Verity, Austrade official Craig Senger and a third Australian are reported killed in the explosions targeting two luxury hotels in the Indonesian capital.

Authorities say at least nine people have died in the blasts, with another 42 injured, including 13 foreigners.

The toll is expected to rise.

Mr Smith plans to meet with Indonesian government officials and visit Australian embassy staff during the visit.

Meanwhile, the federal opposition is offering bipartisan support for the government's response to the Jakarta hotel bombings.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says his party wholeheartedly supports the Australian government offering to help Indonesia catch the bombers following Friday's attacks which killed at least nine people.

Mr Turnbull was speaking at a Liberal Party state conference in Hobart on Saturday and said the Jakarta attack served to highlight the nation's gratitude to its soldiers fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.

'We in the opposition will support the Australian government wholeheartedly in providing whatever assistance is required to help Indonesia respond to these attacks, including tracking down and punishing the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes,' he told the conference.
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Neale to ill to return to England

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:38

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Updated: 16:20, Saturday July 18, 2009

The British backpacker who was lost in bushland in the Blue Mountains for 12 days is too ill to return to England.

Doctors say they found fluid on Jamie Neale's lungs and have advised him not to fly.

The 19-year-old was released from hospital yesterday.

Survival experts in the United Kingdom have become the lastest commentators to question his story.

But New South Wales police say there is no evidence to suggest the drama was a hoax.
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Endeavour arrives at space station

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 июл 2009, 09:56

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Updated: 10:32, Saturday July 18, 2009

Space shuttle Endeavour has arrived at the International Space Station.

Endeavour's docked at the space station for a week and a half long stay with the linkup creating the biggest crowd ever in orbit at the same place, which is 13 astronauts.

Before docking, commander Mark Polansky guided Endeavour through a backflip so the station astronauts could photograph the entire shuttle to see if there's any evidence of serious damage from Wednesday's launch.

A considerable amount of foam insulation peeled away from Endeavour's fuel tank at liftoff and some shuttle thermal tiles were damaged.
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Concern for daughter of slain family

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:39

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Updated: 20:18, Monday July 20, 2009

Police are concerned for the safety of a 15-year-old schoolgirl orphaned when her entire family was bludgeoned to death in their Sydney home.

Five members of the Lin family were found dead in their beds at their Epping home on Saturday.

Chinese-born newsagent Min Lin, 45, his wife Yun Li Lin, 43, two sons, Henry, 12, and Terry, nine, and Mrs Lin's 39-year-old sister Yun Bin Yin were killed some time between midnight and 9am (AEST) on Saturday.

A female family member found four of the five, including the two children, upstairs in the family's secluded Boundary Road home.

Police officers found the fifth body.

Brenda Lin, 15, was in New Caledonia on a school study trip at the time of the murders and returned home on Sunday after receiving the horrific news.

Homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford, who has described the murders as 'targeted' rather than a random act, is concerned for Brenda's safety.

'The 15-year-old Brenda is being cared for by family members. She's in good care at the moment and she's a very strong young lady and she has assisted us obviously with our inquiries,' Supt Beresford told reporters on Monday.

'We do have obviously concerns for her safety only in so much as this is such an ... unusual and vicious attack and we certainly have taken steps to ensure her safety.'

Those measures do not include formal protection but Supt Beresford was confident of Brenda's safety.

A post-mortem examination began on one of the victims on Monday, with results for all five due by Friday, he said.

He confirmed initial reports that it is believed the five died from blunt-force trauma to the head.

'What we are doing now is conducting very extensive victim profiling and that will involve speaking to all members of the family, but also examining all aspects of family life and also their business and that included searching records at the newsagency this morning,' Supt Beresford said.

'This is certainly one of the worst crimes. I can't remember a time when the entire family suffered such a tragic fate - it certainly goes in the worst category.'
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Apollo 11 astronauts look to Mars

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:41

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Updated: 20:27, Monday July 20, 2009

Two of the American astronauts who first landed on the moon 40 years ago are urging mankind to take the giant leap to Mars.

Instead, two of them are urging mankind to take a giant leap to Mars.

In one of their few joint public appearances, the crew of Apollo 11 spoke on the eve of the 40th anniversary of man's first landing on the moon, but didn't get soggy with nostalgia.

They instead spoke about the future and the more distant past.

On Monday, the three astronauts will get another chance to make the pitch for a Mars trip, this time to someone with a little more sway: US President Barack Obama.

On Sunday night, a packed crowd at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum - 7,000 people applied in a lottery for 485 seats - didn't get the intimate details of the Eagle's landing on the moon with little fuel left, or what the moon looked like, or what it felt like to be there.

They got second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin's pitch for Mars.

He said the best way to honour the Apollo astronauts 'is to follow in our footsteps; to boldly go again on a new mission of exploration.'

First man on the moon Neil Armstrong only discussed Apollo 11 for about 11 seconds.

He gave a professorial lecture titled 'Goddard, governance and geophysics,' looking at the inventions and discoveries that led to his historic 'small step for a man' on July 20, 1969.

Armstrong said the space race was 'the ultimate peaceful competition: USA versus USSR'.

'It did allow both sides to take the high road with the objectives of science and learning and exploration,' he said.

Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins, who circled the moon alone while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on it, said the moon was not interesting, but Mars is.

'Sometimes I think I flew to the wrong place, Mars was always my favourite as a kid and it still is today,' Collins said.

'I'd like to see Mars become the focus, just as John F Kennedy focused on the moon.'

The man who founded and directed Mission Control Houston, Christopher Kraft Jr, also jumped on the go-somewhere-new, do-something-different bandwagon.

'What we need is new technology; we have not had that since Apollo,' Kraft said as part of the lecture at the Smithsonian.

'I say to Mr Obama: Let's get on with it. Let's invest in the future.'

As the men of NASA of the 1960s talked about new technology and new goals, the current NASA is still looking back at the moon.

NASA is still marching toward a goal of returning to the moon and putting a base there.

The current plan is based on building new rockets that the former NASA administrator called 'Apollo on steroids,' with an alternative - a derivative of the space shuttle - floating through the space agency.

Although they didn't directly criticise NASA's current plans, Aldrin and Collins said the moon is old hat.

Collins said he is afraid that NASA's exploration plans would be bogged down by a return visit to the moon.

Aldrin presented an elaborate slide detailing how to make a quick visit to the moon a stepping stone to visits to the Martian moon Phobos, Mars itself, and even some asteroids like Apophis that may someday hit Earth.

Aldrin said he and Armstrong landed on the moon 66 years after the Wright brothers first flew an aeroplane.

What he would like would be for humanity to land on Mars 66 years after his flight. That would be 2035.

And even though Armstrong didn't talk about the future in his 19-minute discourse, Aldrin dragged his commander onto the Mars bandwagon anyway.

'It was a great personal hangar to walk on the moon, but as Neil once observed, there are still places to go beyond belief,' he said.

'Isn't it time to continue our journey outward, past the moon?'
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Hotel explosives 'identical' to Baliей

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:42

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Updated: 20:49, Monday July 20, 2009

Explosive material found at the two bombed hotels in the Indonesian capital is 'identical' to that used by Jemaah Islamiah in earlier attacks, police say.

An unexploded bomb left in a room of the JW Marriott in Jakarta resembled devices used in attacks on Bali and one found in a recent raid against the network on an Islamic boarding school in Central Java, a national police spokesman said on Sunday.

The culprits in Friday's attacks that killed nine and wounded 50 are believed to have belonged to Jemaah Islamiah 'because there are similarities in the bombs used,' Major General Nanan Sukarna said.

Anti-terrorism police were hunting for Noordin Mohammad Top, a fugitive Malaysian who heads a particularly violent offshoot of the network and has been linked to four major strikes in Indonesia since 2002.

The twin suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels came four years after the last serious terrorist attack in Indonesia and unleashed a new wave of anxiety in the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

Indonesia had been enjoying a period of stability, and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was re-elected to a second term earlier this month, partly on the strength of government efforts to fight terrorism.

'I am shocked by these bombings,' Razif Harahap, a 45-year-old graduate student, said in Jakarta on Sunday.

'The same people who carried out these attacks could launch another one, because the mastermind is still at large.'

The latest attacks killed seven, plus the two attackers, and wounded 50, many of them foreigners.

Investigators have been examining body parts and other forensic evidence in an attempt to identify the two bombers, one of whom is believed to be Indonesian.

They were decapitated in the explosions, and confirming their identity could help determine if they had links to Noordin.

The official Antara news agency said on Sunday that the government was intensifying efforts to find Noordin and trace the network's finances to try to uncover any links to Friday's blasts.

Officials have identified five of the dead - three Australians, one New Zealander and one Indonesian.

Among the dead was Craig Senger, the first Australian government official to be killed in a terrorist attack, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Sunday. Senger worked as a Trade Commission officer at the embassy in Jakarta.

Officials said 17 foreigners were among the wounded, including eight Americans and citizens of Australia, Britain, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and South Korea.

Jemaah Islamiah rose to prominence after the 2002 nightclub bombings in the beach resort of Bali that killed 202 people, most of them foreigners.

It staged attacks in Indonesia in each of the next three years: a 2003 car bombing outside the JW Marriott hotel, a 2004 truck bombing outside the Australian Embassy, and triple suicide bombings on Bali restaurants by attackers carrying bombs in backpacks in 2005.

After the government launched a massive anti-terrorism campaign, no major attacks had been reported since then - until Friday's explosions.

Remnants of the bombs found outside the hotels had circuits that were 'identical' to those in explosive devices used in previous attacks on Bali, the national police spokesman said on Sunday.

Police were also looking for connections between Friday's bombing and explosives discovered last week in the Cilacap region of Central Java, which were buried in a garden at the house of Noordin's father-in-law, who is also at large.

While the attacks rekindled old anxieties, Indonesians interviewed on Sunday said they did not believe the bombings signalled a resurgence by the militants, who want to establish an Islamic state in the region.

The Islamist extremists enjoy little support among the country's largely moderate public.

The terrorists do not have the money or backing to launch another major attack soon, said Agus Triharso, 40, a motorbike taxi driver in Jakarta.

'Noordin Top and his friends have support from just a few hard-line Muslims,' Triharso said.

'As Muslims, we have to stop them.'
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Brumby flags bushfire awareness week

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:43

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Updated: 20:24, Monday July 20, 2009

Victoria will have a bushfire preparedness week in spring to spur householders into action ahead of the next fire season.

Victorian Premier John Brumby flagged the initiative on Monday as he warned of another hellish summer and the potential for major fires to hit the suburbs.

My Brumby told hundreds of delegates at the opening of an Emergency Management Conference in Melbourne that the state could take no chances.

After 13 years of drought, fire and weather intensity could replicate the conditions of February 7 and a repeat of the Black Saturday firestorm was possible, he said.

'Today, I want to foreshadow the development of what will be an intense, whole-of-state effort, not only to create awareness but to move from awareness to action on the ground - action on the ground that will help make our state safer,' Mr Brumby said.

The premier will meet with emergency services and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) on Monday to discuss the bushfire awareness week, which would most likely be held in late September or early October.

Mr Brumby said the week would be used to encourage residents to develop their bushfire plans, clear vegetation from around their homes and attend community fireguard meetings.

There will also be education about triggers for when to leave early in a bushfire and where to go, as well as identifying neighbourhood safe areas where residents can take refuge.
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Opposition will seek to modify ETS

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:45

Updated: 20:21, Monday July 20, 2009

The federal opposition says it will try to modify the proposed emissions trading scheme, rather than knock it back, as an industry group pushed for action.

An influential business group says it's time to sort out the details surrounding the proposed scheme.

'I don't see why we cannot get a deal before the end of the year, all the issues are well and truly out there,' Heather Ridout, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), said on Monday in Canberra.

The Senate is due to vote on the ETS next month.

The scheme had appeared to be bogged down in the Senate, with the opposition saying it should not be passed until after UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Ms Ridout said Copenhagen was important 'but Australia really needs to move forward on this (ETS) issue'.

The Ai Group wants changes to the ETS; it wants more assistance for trade-exposed businesses, particularly the heavy polluters.

Ms Ridout suggested more companies could be made eligible for free permits, the rate of reducing that assistance could be slowed, and more free permits could be made available.

But it was not realistic to give out 100 per cent free permits.

Ms Ridout also called for a more streamlined regulatory system, and said the coal industry had a strong case for more assistance.

Earlier in the day, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull also took a conciliatory approach to emissions trading.

He flagged the opposition would try to modify the scheme instead of knocking it back.

'There is an overwhelming consensus in the business community ... that the laws should be changed and we should seek to advance and promote those changes,' Mr Turnbull told ABC Radio on Monday.

'What a lot of people ... are saying to us is that ... we should, even though the government is not proceeding as prudently as they should in terms of timing, we should nonetheless seek to make this law better so that it is more environmentally effective and less economically damaging.'

Mr Turnbull said the government wanted the opposition to vote down the scheme twice, because that would open the door to an early, double dissolution election.

The ETS is due to start in 2011 and will put a price on greenhouse pollution.

It is the main way Australia hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Jobs the benchmark for recovery - ACTU

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:46

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Updated: 20:22, Monday July 20, 2009

Any positive economic signs mean nothing if the unemployment rate continues to spiral upwards, trade unions say.

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president Sharan Burrow has rejected encouraging signs within the business sector as a false dawn, saying jobs are the only true measure of economic stability.

The unions, academics and economists will appeal to the government for a greater investment in jobs and job creation at a summit being held in Sydney on Monday.

'Jobs have to be at the centre of recovery,' Ms Burrow told Fairfax Radio Network.

'Green shoots on the stock exchange or the added value that shares might gain or the profit take of major financial houses - none of this will actually make for jobs and job security.

'Investment in jobs - that's the critical piece.'

Some experts believe the unemployment rate, which currently sits at 5.8 per cent, could rise as high as 8.5 in 2010, prompting the ACTU to call for a second national stimulus package.

'We know that the stimulus measure arrested Australia's decline ... We think we ought to lay the ground work in case it's necessary (again),' Ms Burrow said.

'There's lots of work to do, making sure people are supported in this critical time.'

A jobs-based stimulus package should include greater protection of worker entitlements, including improved access to redundancies, she said.

The ACTU also is suggesting company directors face penalties if firms go bust without sufficient provisions for their employees.

The unions estimate at least 250,000 more Australians will lose their jobs next year.

'We hope (an unemployment rate of 8.5 per cent) doesn't come to fruition, but you're still going to see 250,000 to 300,000 jobs lost - that puts a dampener on the economy but the social cost is tragic,' she said.

'Employment must be the benchmark for recovery.'
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Two bodies found in Gold Coast home

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:47

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Updated: 18:05, Monday July 20, 2009

Two bodies have been found by police at a home on the Gold Coast.

The bodies - found at a residence in Radiata Court, Elanora, on Monday - were those of a 59-year-old man and 46-year-old woman.

There were no obvious signs of cause of death and the bodies had decomposed.

Detective Inspector Terry Goldsworthy said police had gone to the home for a community welfare visit and discovered the bodies.

It is understood the man and woman had missed a number of appointments and had not been heard from for some time.

'Police are conducting investigations to determine the cause of death,' Insp Goldsworthy told reporters.

'At this early point in time I wouldn't want to comment on whether it was suspicious or not, but police have the scene sealed off and will be conducting investigations to determine what happened there.'
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Clinton to sign US-India agreement

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:49

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Updated: 20:30, Monday July 20, 2009

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is touting prospects for strengthening US-India ties as she prepares to sign at least one agreement to give US companies more access to India's expanding markets.

Clinton's told an audience of several hundred people at Delhi University that Washington wants to broaden and deepen its strategic understanding and find more common ground with India.

She says she'll issues to be addressed include talks on energy security, agriculture reform, education and counter-terrorism.
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Executives targeted in Jakarta bombing

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:51

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Updated: 20:24, Monday July 20, 2009

It's believed that Western executives attending a high-level business breakfast were deliberately targeted in the Jakarta attacks.

The Australian newspaper says the Marriott hotel bomber, who is believed to be the classmate of a terrorist responsible for the fatal attack on the same building six years ago, walked into a lounge where 19 businessmen were meeting and detonated two bombs, one in a backpack and another in a suitcase on wheels.

Three Australians and one other Westerner were killed by the blasts, along with an Indonesian hotel employee. Three more people died in an explosion at the nearby Ritz-Carlton hotel minutes later.

Brisbane businessman Garth McEvoy, 54, is confirmed dead. Officially, Perth businessman Nathan Verity, 38, and Austrade official Craig Senger, 36, remain 'presumed dead'.

The clinical execution of the attacks, penetrating the hotels' security and targeting a specific meeting, contrasted with previous attacks in which larger numbers of Indonesians had been killed.

'The fact is that a distinguished group of executives were in the room that was most affected,' a US embassy source said.

'It is adjacent to the bigger coffee shop. I would think that someone had enough information to go down there and walk the halls.'

The claims came as the Rudd government on Sunday night updated its Indonesia travel advisory to draw attention to the possibility of further terrorist attacks in Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia, including Bali.

Indonesian police were on Sunday investigating if there was a link between the Marriott hotel bomber, named in local media as Nur Hasbi, and a radical classmate who launched the deadly 2003 attack on the same building, killing 12 and wounding 149.

Police on Sunday confirmed regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah (JI) was most likely responsible for the attacks, which had already been attributed to fugitive JI kingpin Noordin Top.
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Judy Moran charged with murder

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 июл 2009, 14:53

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Updated: 19:09, Monday July 20, 2009

Gangland widow Judy Moran has been charged with the murder of her brother-in-law Des Moran, police say.

Moran, 64, and Suzanne Kane, 45, were each charged on Monday with one count of murder.

They had previously been charged with being an accessary after the fact.

Mr Moran, the brother of Judy Moran's slain husband Lewis Moran, was gunned down at a cafe in suburban Ascot Vale on June 15.

Kane's boyfriend Geoffrey Armour has also been charged with murder.

Moran and Kane, who are both currently in custody at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, will reappear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
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Diggers in Afghanistan farewell mate

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:46

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Updated: 20:49, Tuesday July 21, 2009

Australian troops in Afghanistan have farewelled Private Benjamin Ranaudo, 'who always put his mates first', at the start of a long final journey home.

In a moving ramp ceremony, soldiers from the 2nd Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF) and coalition forces, including the Afghan National Army, lined the road to the runway at Tarin Kowt base where an aircraft was waiting to carry him home.

Private Ranaudo, 22, was killed in an insurgent bomb blast on Saturday, the 11th Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002.

MRTF commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Peter Connolly said Private Ranaudo would be sorely missed.

He said his death was a reminder Australian soldiers had a demanding job, adding that the cowardly attack, which also wounded civilians, would only strengthen their resolve.

'Many people are hurting right now as we grieve the loss of this exceptional soldier. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time,' he told soldiers gathered for the ramp ceremony.

'The thing about the attack is that it was completely indiscriminate. To me, that is an act of complete cowardice.'

Private Ranaudo was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) several hours after his unit occupied a security position during an operation in the Baluchi Valley.

The mission was designed to disrupt a known insurgent bomb-making facility which had been responsible for attacks on coalition forces.

MRTF Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Darren Murch, described Private Ranaudo as a fine soldier.

'He was a highly skilled infantryman and always put his mates first. He was a pleasure to be around and displayed the true qualities of the Australian soldier,' he said.

Commander of Australian Forces in the Middle East, Major General Mark Kelly, said the memorial service and ramp ceremony were a fitting tribute to a wonderful young Australian.

'The ceremony marks the first stage of Ben's journey home to his family in Australia,' he said.

Defence head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the other soldier wounded in the same attack had been treated at coalition hospitals at Tarin Kowt and Kandahar and would soon be transported to Bagram air base in Germany for further treatment.

He said the soldier was in a serious but stable condition.

Arrangements were being made for him to be joined by family members in Germany.

No details of Private Ranaudo's return to Australia have yet been announced.
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Gradual recovery from late 2009- RBA

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:47

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Updated: 13:53, Tuesday July 21, 2009

The Reserve bank of Australia (RBA) saw no need to cut interest rates in July given further signs of stabilisation in the global and domestic economies.

On July 7, the central bank left the overnight cash rate steady at a 49-year low of three per cent for the third consecutive month following a board meeting.

The minutes of that meeting, released on Tuesday, show board members had focused their discussion on data showing further signs of a bottoming in the global economic downturn, particularly in China and the US.

'Output in the major economies was likely to have contracted by a significantly smaller amount in the June quarter than in the previous two quarters,' the minutes said.

'While output in the developing countries of east Asia was likely to have recorded a substantial increase, underpinned by a pick-up in growth in China.'

'Members noted signs that the rate of deterioration in the United States had slowed and that the economy may be reaching a turning point.'

The Australian economy had been supported by a strong export sector in the December and March quarters as China's hunger for raw materials continued and the Australian dollar depreciated in value.

'Over this period, export volumes had increased by almost two per cent, whereas in other countries, export volumes had typically fallen by 10-20 per cent,' the minutes said.

'While the depreciation of the Australian dollar had been helpful to exporters, the strong performance of the Chinese economy was particularly important.

Australia's exports of both iron ore and coal had recently rebounded after earlier large falls.

Board members noted the world economy looked set for 'subdued growth' over the next two years.

On the domestic front, the minutes noted that recent data, particularly for employment and housing, had not been as weak as expected.

When the board last met the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data had showed the unemployment rate had risen to 5.7 per cent in May. It later rose to 5.8 per cent in June.

Meanwhile, housing loan approvals and household spending had also recorded increases, while consumer and business confidence was rebounding.

'The outlook thus remained for a gradual recovery to begin later in the year,' the minutes said.

'Labour market indicators were likely to remain soft for some time, though there were signs that employers were making efforts to minimise job shedding.'

The central bank also noted that a substantial easing of monetary and fiscal policy had been effective in stimulating demand.

But it noted the outlook for inflation meant there was still scope to ease rates further.

Between September 2008 and April the central bank cut the cash rate by 425 basis points, while the federal government produced two fiscal stimulus packages between October and March.

'The full effect of policy measures would still be coming through for some time,' the minutes said.

'Members noted that the current inflation outlook afforded scope for some further easing of monetary policy, if that were needed to give further support for demand at a later stage.'
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School offered support over suicide

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:48

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Updated: 20:48, Tuesday July 21, 2009

Victorian Education Minister Bronwyn Pike says every support is being offered to a secondary school mourning four student suicides in the last six months.

The minister and Premier John Brumby have both expressed their distress and sadness for the friends and family of a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide.

The school's latest suicide victim's devastated mother, Karen Rae, says her daughter, Chanelle, was having trouble with some friends from school, but it was a minor issue.

But Ms Rae's told Fairfax Radio Chanelle was the internet on Friday night and came in and told her about a message that had come through and she wanted to die because of it.

Ms Rae says if her daughter hadn't been on the internet on Friday night she'd still be alive today.

Ms Pike says she's spoken to the principal of the school, Western Heights College in Geelong and offered her support.
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Man catches fire after use of Taser

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:50

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Updated: 22:20, Tuesday July 21, 2009

A man caught alight after police used a Taser on him as they responded to reports of petrol sniffing in a remote desert community in Western Australia.

Police say Ronald Mitchell, 36, caught alight when police used a Taser on him after responding to reports of petrol sniffing in the remote desert community of Warburton, 1,540km northeast of Perth, on Monday.

WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said Mitchell was a known petrol sniffer and violent offender in the Aboriginal community.

Mitchell ran from a house at police officers carrying a cigarette lighter and a container believed to contain fuel, police said.

They said he was asked to stop but he continued running toward them before the Taser was used.

'The police officers were concerned that they were going to be burnt so they deployed a Taser,' Mr O'Callaghan told reporters on Tuesday.

'The only other choice they would have had is to use a police issue firearm and the circumstances would almost certainly have been far more grave.'

Police said one of two officers at the scene went to Mitchell's aid when he caught fire, putting him on the ground and smothering the flames with his bare hands.

While doing so, the policeman was struck on the head by rocks thrown by an 18-year-old woman, who was later charged with two counts of assaulting police.

The officer received moderate burns to his hands from putting out the fire and a cut to the head which required five stitches.

Mitchell received third degree burns to 10 per cent of his body and was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital for burns treatment.

He has been charged with assault to prevent arrest and possession of a sniffing substance.

Two other people at the house were also charged with possessing a sniffing substance.

Mr O'Callaghan said the incident would be investigated by internal affairs officers, who would try to establish if the flames were caused by the lighter or the Taser.

'When they deployed the Taser it seems like the offender did burst into flames,' he said.

'I can't discount (that the Taser sparked the flames) but what I can say is there is a very strong possibility the fire was caused by the lighter in the hand of the offender.'

Mr O'Callaghan said police were advised where possible not to use Tasers around flammable liquid.

He said there would be no changes in policies relating to Taser use in the state.

'Tasers prevent police from having to use firearms in those sorts of circumstances,' Mr O'Callaghan said.

WA Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington said an urgent review of Taser policy and procedure was needed.

'Tasers have proven to be a lethal weapon in the past and if used at all, they should only be handled by specialist police and as a last resort,' Mr Eggington said.

Mr Eggington said he had concerns about the safe use of Tasers on Aboriginal people, many of whom were vulnerable because they had serious medical conditions.

'There are major health issues affecting many of our people across the country, from diabetes to heart health,' he said.

'When you couple that fact with the reality that our people are over-policed and disproportionately imprisoned, there is clearly an increased risk of serious harm or death by taser to somebody who is already in a poor state of health.'

It was too early to comment on whether the use of the Taser on Mr Mitchell was warranted, Mr Eggington said.
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Moran lawyer questions charge timing

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:51

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Updated: 21:28, Tuesday July 21, 2009

A lawyer for gangland widow Judy Moran has questioned the timing of her murder charge.

Pursing her deep red lips, she beamed and waved to her legal representatives like a benevolent grandmother, seemingly unperturbed by the gravity of the offence she faces.

'Ta ta, nice to see you,' she said, waving and grinning to a lawyer friend in the public gallery.

Her lawyer, however, was far from unperturbed.

Brian Bourke, QC, made it known to magistrate Jelena Popovic he was unhappy with the timing of the murder charge laid against his client and questioned its validity.

Moran, 64, was to apply for bail in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Tuesday on the lesser charge of being an accessary after the fact.

But a murder charge laid late on Monday meant that she could not make the application.

Moran hobbled into the court dock on Tuesday without the aid of a walking stick, wearing a navy knit jumper and matching cardigan, her blonde hair set in tight curls framing her face.

She was joined there by co-accused Geoffrey 'Nuts' Armour; both are now charged with the murder of Des 'Tuppence' Moran.

Judy Moran is said to be suffering a blood-related cancer.

A third co-accused, Suzanne Kane, 45, was not in court because of ill health.

Mr Bourke told the court he was concerned about the murder charge against his client being laid just hours before she was to seek bail on the accessary after the fact charge.

'We are concerned about the sinister aspect of the serving of the charge of murder,' he said.

'It was not contemplated that any other charge would be laid against her and certainly not a charge of murder.

'One approaches the whole thing with a great amount of suspicion.'

Mr Bourke said there was a 'sense of complete and indecent haste' about the new charge.

He said police served the charge on Moran at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre about 3.30pm (AEST) on Monday.

During the hearing, police applied for an extension of the time they have to deliver a brief of evidence against Moran.

The matter was later adjourned to next Tuesday for argument on the police time-extension application, an application to interview while in custody and another application to take a forensic sample.

Des Moran was gunned down by two gunmen at the busy Ascot Pasta and Deli Cafe in Ascot Vale at lunchtime on June 15.

Shortly after, an eyewitness said Judy Moran was at the scene, screaming 'Dessy, Dessy' when she saw his body slumped in the cafe's doorway.

She was arrested little more than 24 hours later along with Kane, the sister-in-law of her youngest son Jason, gunned down in 2003.

Police are hunting another gunman and the getaway driver who are still on the loose.

Number plates from the getaway vehicle and clothes matching the description of those worn by the gunmen were allegedly found in a safe at Moran's house.

Moran's other son Mark was killed in 2000, the first of the Moran family to be assassinated in Melbourne's bloody gangland war.

Her husband Lewis Moran was shot dead in a Brunswick bar in 2004.
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Bodies from Jakarta bombings due home

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:52

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Updated: 13:54, Tuesday July 21, 2009

Indonesian authorities say the bodies of the three Australians killed in last week's terrorist attacks in Jakarta are due home today.

Australians Garth McEvoy, Nathan Verity and Craig Senger were among the nine people killed in the coordinated suicide bombings on the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta on Friday.

An Indonesian police spokesman says their bodies have been moved to Jakarta's Cengkareng government hospital near the airport and they'll be returned to Australia today.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it's helping with the repatriations and will provide funeral or memorial assistance to the slain men's families.
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Howard govt minister heads climate body

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:53

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Updated: 19:23, Tuesday July 21, 2009

Former Howard government minister Robert Hill has been appointed to chair a new body to promote energy efficiency and tackle climate change.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters in Brisbane Professor Hill would chair the Brisbane-based Australian Carbon Trust.

'This will complement the location of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility at Griffith University, helping make Brisbane a hub of activity to tackle climate change in Australia,' Mr Rudd said.

The government has set aside $76 million to establish the trust, which will promote ways for households and businesses to tackle climate change.

The trust's two key projects will be the Energy Efficiency Savings Pledge Fund and the Energy Efficiency Trust.

The fund will provide a web-based calculator so that households can calculate their energy use and the dollar savings that result from energy efficiency.

The savings, as well as other money, can be pledged to the fund to buy and cancel carbon pollution permits.

'This will enable individuals to directly contribute to achieving Australia's emissions reduction targets,' Mr Rudd said.

'The pledge fund will be entirely voluntary and contributions will be tax deductible.'

The trust will combine public and private funding to invest in making office buildings, stores and factories more energy efficient.
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New osteoporosis drug

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:54

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Updated: 20:53, Tuesday July 21, 2009

A new monthly formulation of a drug used to treat osteoporosis has been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Actonel Once-a-Month acts by slowing bone degradation, leaving the body more time to rebuild healthy bone.

More than two million Australians are living with osteoporosis and the new drug formulation has been shown to be as effective as daily Actonel tablets.

'This new monthly treatment offers people a simpler and more convenient dosing regimen,' says Professor John Eisman, director of the Bone Osteoporosis and Bone Biology Program at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

'The availability of a once-a-month treatment on the PBS, that is well tolerated and just as effective as its daily counterpart, arms Australian doctors with another tool for the treatment of osteoporosis,' he said.
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Funeral held for mining worker

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:56

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Updated: 20:50, Tuesday July 21, 2009

A funeral has been held in Melbourne this afternoon for Drew Grant, the Australian shot dead by snipers in Indonesia's Papua province.

The 29 year old father was travelling in a car to a golf game, when he was gunned down near the Freeport copper and gold mine, where he worked.

The Indonesian government has denied the military was involved in his death, after a medical examiner claimed his body had been tampered with.

17 suspects are being questioned in relation to the murder of Mr Grant and at least 14 others.
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Spacewalk on 40th moon anniversary

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 июл 2009, 15:57

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Updated: 08:52, Tuesday July 21, 2009

The astronauts aboard the shuttle-station complex celebrated the 40th anniversary of man's first moon landing with their own spacewalk.

In the second outing of their mission, David Wolf and Thomas Marshburn anchored a 1.8-metre dish antenna on the international space station for future use, then did the same with a hefty pump.

The spacewalk unfolded 40 years to the day that two other astronauts - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin - strolled the moon's dusty surface. It was the 202nd spacewalk by Americans since the Apollo 11 lunar excursion.

'How cool,' astronaut Julie Payette said to mark the big day.

As Wolf and Marshburn got started on the job, the astronauts inside added some new parts to fix a broken toilet. The repairs were successful, to everyone's relief.

The commode - one of three on the linked station and shuttle Endeavour - stopped working on Sunday after a pump separator flooded. It was out of action for about 24 hours.

NASA wanted the station commode working again as soon as possible. With a record number of people on board, 13, having three working toilets is crucial.

Complicating matters was the fact that Endeavour cannot eject any waste water while it's docked to the space station. The water would spray all over the porch attached two days ago to the Japanese lab and possibly corrode it. With the toilet fixed, there was no longer any worry about coming close to filling Endeavour's waste water tank.

Midway through the spacewalk, there were a few moments of concern 354 kilometres up when Marshburn reported that he dropped his 26-metre tether. He remained safely connected to the station with his 17-metre tether but the antenna work was held up while he went to retrieve his longer cord and snap it back on.

The antenna and other spare parts being attached to the space station on Monday - the cooling system pump and an engine for a rail car - were hauled up by Endeavour.

NASA wants to have as many extra pieces up there as possible so that when the shuttles stop flying, the station will be able to get along without their big deliveries. None of the other spacecraft that visits the outpost can hold nearly as much cargo as the shuttle.

Monday's spacewalk was much quieter than the one the previous Saturday. Loud static filled the airwaves throughout the earlier excursion and made it difficult to hear the spacewalkers, the result of improperly positioned microphones in the helmet of one of the men. The cap with those microphones will not be used again.

Three more spacewalks are planned during Endeavour's station visit, which ends on July 28.
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Two bodies found after boat capsized

Сообщение Ramzes » 25 июл 2009, 01:46

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Updated: 08:42, Saturday July 25, 2009

Two bodies have been recovered in Sydney's south after a fishing boat capsized overnight.

Two men a woman were on board the aluminium runabout when it was hit by a wave 10 minutes after the group left the Port Hacking boat ramp, Cronulla, about 2.30am (AEST) on Saturday.

All on board were thrown into the water and the male captain managed to swim back to Wanda Beach and raise the alarm at a nearby house.

A search involving a rescue helicopter, police from the Marine Area Command and Miranda Local Area Command and local surf lifesavers found the two bodies on Saturday morning.
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Change ETS and we'll pass it - Turnbull

Сообщение Ramzes » 25 июл 2009, 01:51

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Updated: 07:19, Saturday July 25, 2009

The federal opposition says it will pass the emissions trading scheme (ETS) - if there are sweeping changes to make it more business-friendly.

In a major policy development, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has released a list of nine demands he says must be met before his party will vote 'yes'.

He's indicated the coalition would pass a suitably amended scheme this year. Mr Turnbull is seeking to end days of confusion and squabbling over what the opposition will do on emissions trading.

But conservative coalition MPs will not be pleased at the prospect of passing the scheme, and there's likely to be a party room showdown.

And the government does not seem impressed with Mr Turnbull's 'wish list' - it wants the demands presented as real amendments, and backed by the coalition party room.

Mr Turnbull's list of demands would be a big win for heavy polluters, coal mines and farmers.

But it would shift more of the burden of cutting greenhouse pollution onto the rest of the economy - including households.

Heavy polluting, trade-exposed industries would get full compensation for the ETS under Mr Turnbull's amendments.

Coal mines would get more assistance.

The scheme would have to offer the same protection to industries and workers as the US emissions trading scheme.

Storing carbon in soil and plants, including biochar, would reap financial rewards for farmers under Mr Turnbull's changes.

The Senate is due to vote on the ETS on August 13. Confusion has reigned this week as to whether the opposition will try to amend the scheme or vote it down.

Mr Turnbull said shadow cabinet met on Friday and agreed a position.

'If the government amends its ETS to put in place these crucial improvements, I will seek, and am confident of obtaining, the support of the coalition party room for the amended scheme,' he said.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said Mr Turnbull's demands were aimed at appeasing his own party and buying more time.

'Mr Turnbull's shopping list is not good enough - we are past the point of wish lists,' she said.

Senator Wong said she wanted to see real amendments that had been backed by the coalition party room.

'Once Mr Turnbull has agreed amendments with his party, the government has always said we'll consider these amendments,' she said.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said the changes would give billions more to polluters and mean less assistance for households.

John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, said the changes amounted to 'wrapping our big polluters in cotton wool'.

Tony Mohr from the Australian Conservation Foundation said Mr Turnbull's amendments would 'further brown down the ETS'.

The ETS is due to start in 2011 and will put a price on carbon pollution throughout the economy.
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Qld investigation into death of girl

Сообщение Ramzes » 25 июл 2009, 01:55

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http://www.skynews.com.au/news/article.aspx?id=355580

Updated: 07:06, Saturday July 25, 2009

Queensland Health is expecting the results this weekend of a swine flu test conducted on a four-year-old girl who died after she was allegedly turned away several times from a hospital in Doomadgee northwest Queensland.

The grandparents say racism is to blame for the girl's death.

The girl, from Doomadgee, had been ill for days and was turned away from the Doomadgee Hospital several times in the past week before being admitted on Wednesday.

She died on Thursday before her family could get her transferred to the larger Mount Isa Hospital.

Her grandfather Athol Walden has told the ABC's The World Today that doctors and nurses had been reluctant to admit patients because of swine flu concerns and had been treating them outside.

'There are some doctors and nurses in here that have a bit of attitude towards Aboriginal people especially,' Mr Walden said.

'If my little granddaughter was a white child, she would have been flown out the first day she went to the hospital.'

He said his granddaughter had loved school, fishing and the bush and her family wanted answers.

'I am so disappointed at how they treated her at this hospital,' he said.

'It is what you call a disaster.'

Her grandmother Katrina Walden agreed.

'I think she was neglected because she was a little black girl,' she said.

Speaking in Townsville after a visit to Palm Island on Friday, Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas said an investigation was underway but the cause of death was unknown.

'If the family has any concern, regardless of whether it was swine flu, I do think it's appropriate for us to investigate,' Mr Lucas told reporters.

'If that treatment in the particular case wasn't up to scratch it's something we need to know about and something we take seriously.

'My heart goes out to the family of this girl.'

Chief health officer Jeannette Young, who was also in Townsville, said it was too early to comment on how the death occurred.

'I'm not sure of what happened - I was informed late last night the child had died,' she said.

Asked whether it was possible for a hospital to turn away a patient, she said: 'We don't refuse medical treatment for anyone - we assess them appropriately.'

Mr Lucas said the doctor involved had been flown out of Doomadgee on the recommendation of police.

'I say to people 'Please keep calm about this - the last thing we want is for people to react in an inappropriate way',' he said.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said a team of senior clinicians would provide support and counselling to the family and meet with community leaders on Friday.

Health staff and resources may be boosted if necessary.

Mr Lucas said it was expected about 25 per cent of the general community would get swine flu.
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Trujillo made govt enemies - Switkowski

Сообщение Ramzes » 25 июл 2009, 01:57

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http://www.skynews.com.au/news/article.aspx?id=355581

Updated: 07:33, Saturday July 25, 2009

Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski has taken aim at his recently departed successor, saying Sol Trujillo made enemies of both the Howard and Rudd governments.

But Dr Switkowski is confident new CEO David Thodey is taking the right path in restoring the telco's relationship with government.

Dr Switkowski, who headed Telstra for six years up until Mr Trujillo took over in 2005, said the American's strategy was never going to work.

The former US telecommunications company executive was famously combative in his dealings with government, especially over what he regarded as excessive regulation of Telstra.

Mr Trujillo has returned to the US, as have a number of executives he recruited to Telstra.

'They were going to confront the regulatory imposition on Telstra head-on and not only stop the growth of regulation, but in fact reverse it,' Dr Switkowski said of Mr Trujillo, his executives and the telco's board.

The 'very adversarial' strategy was played out in public through the media and involved extensive litigation.

It was much like how regional telcos operated in the US.

'It was never going to work because Telstra in Australia occupies a position like no other telco company anywhere else in the world,' Dr Switkowski told ABC Radio.

'To create enemies out of two successive governments is a world class effort and that is what Trujillo and his team succeeded in doing.'

Dr Switkowski said the change in the Telstra management team was a very positive step and the company appeared more measured in its commentary and willingness to negotiate.

That was exactly the right approach, he said.
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MP cleared of rape, now interference

Сообщение Ramzes » 25 июл 2009, 02:00

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http://www.skynews.com.au/news/article.aspx?id=355595
Updated: 07:18, Saturday July 25, 2009

Victorian state MP Theo Theophanous is considering his political future after being cleared of a rape charge but he's now facing a claim he interfered with witnesses.

Magistrate Peter Reardon dismissed a charge yesterday which alleged Mr Theophanous raped a woman at parliament house in September 1998.

But only hours later it's emerged that police are still investigating him over an allegation he interfered with witnesses in the case, a claim Mr Theophanous denies.

It had been alleged Mr Theophanous, 61, raped a woman on a couch at parliament house in September 1998.

After being told by Mr Reardon on Friday he would not stand trial following a 15-day committal hearing, Mr Theophanous sobbed and hugged family members.

The former industry minister thanked his wife, whom he said 'never stopped believing in me ... and knows who I am'.

But he admitted his reputation would be tarnished by the accusations.

'It is impossible for one's reputation not to be damaged in these circumstances,' he said.

He described the decision as 'landmark' and said he would consider his future.

'I don't know where I go from here. I am going to take the weekend to think about it,' he told reporters.

'I will try to talk to the premier, if I can, and I will consider what I and my family want to do in the future.

'I think we have already made a very significant contribution in this state.'

Mr Theophanous resigned from Cabinet after he was charged late last year but he remains a member of the Upper House and has nominated for Labor pre-selection.

He described the case as an 'emotional rollercoaster'.

'It is such a traumatic experience of not knowing where your life is going to go,' he said.

Mr Reardon said the complainant might believe in her own mind that she was raped but the evidence did not show she was.

'She was an entirely unreliable witness,' Mr Reardon said.

'I can place little, if any credence on her allegation of rape in this matter.

'I have concluded in this particular case that the prosecution case is not sustainable. It is inherently weak, lacks credibility, reliability and truthfulness.'

The Office of Public Prosecutions can elect to directly present Mr Theophanous to trial if they believe Mr Reardon made the decision in error but no decision had been made.

Prosecutor Michele Williams SC had alleged Mr Theophanous forcefully raped the woman after the pair shared a coffee.

In a statement to the court, the complaint described feeling 'trapped' as she was raped.

But Mr Theophanous' lawyer Robert Richter QC said the case was 'weak' and a disservice to real rape victims.

'In my submission, this investigation and prosecution does a great disservice to all victims of rape and there are many, many real victims of rape,' Mr Richter said.

'What has happened here is no basis for destroying the lives of families and reputation of a minister of the Crown as he then was.'
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Body of Aussie soldier returns home

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 июл 2009, 13:32

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Updated: 15:07, Sunday July 26, 2009

The body of Private Benjamin Ranaudo, 21, killed in Afghanistan last week, has returned to Australia.

Family, colleagues and dignitaries gathered at Avalon Airport, near Melbourne, for the solemn ramp ceremony marking his return to his homeland.

Private Ranaudo, a member of the Mentor and Reconstruction Task Force, died in the explosion of an insurgent improvised explosive device while conducting an operation in southern Afghanistan.

Soldiers from his unit, the Townsville-based 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) formed a bearer party to receive and carry the casket from the C-17 Globemaster aircraft to his family.

This was his family's first opportunity to pay their respects to Private Ranaudo since his death.

Defence Minister John Faulkner, Opposition Defence Personnel spokesman Bob Baldwin, acting Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General David Hurley, acting Army chief Major General Paul Symon and commander of the army's 3rd Brigade Brigadier Stuart Smith attended the ceremony.

Lt Gen Hurley extended condolences to Private Ranaudo's family, friends and colleagues.

'Ben will not be forgotten. He gave his life to ensure the security of others and we will be forever grateful for his selflessness,' he said in a Defence statement.

Maj Gen Symon said Private Ranaudo's career exemplified dedication and enthusiasm, and he served his country with distinction.

'We are all proud of Ben and the service he gave to his country. He has made the ultimate sacrifice and we will sorely miss him,' he said.

Private Ranaudo will be interred at a family funeral to be held later this week.
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Queenslander with swine flu dies

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 июл 2009, 13:34

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Updated: 18:24, Sunday July 26, 2009

A man in his 30s has become Queensland's sixth person with swine flu to die.

The man died in a Brisbane northside hospital late on Saturday.

Queensland Health said he was in a vulnerable group, and will not be releasing any further details at this stage.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young extended her sympathies to the man's family.

'Anyone who falls into a vulnerable group is at a higher risk of suffering complications from swine flu,' Dr Young said.

Queensland Health confirmed that as of midday on Sunday, there were 78 patients in hospital in Queensland with human swine flu.

Twenty-one of those were in intensive care.

Queensland Health said those who are most vulnerable include indigenous people of all ages as well as pregnant women and those with respiratory disease.

'People in this vulnerable category are advised to seek medical attention as soon as they experience flu-like symptoms as treatment is effective if commenced within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms,' Dr Young said.

Dr Young said all Queenslanders should continue to take the usual flu season precautions such as washing hands on a regular basis and staying home if unwell.
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Young job seekers should be less fussy

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 июл 2009, 13:34

Updated: 13:32, Sunday July 26, 2009

Young job seekers should be less fussy about what work they can find, a federal government minister says.

Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib says unemployment among Australian youth will worsen before it improves and people should be happy to take a job even if they do not consider it their ideal.

'We are coming out of a period of relatively low unemployment where job seekers have had greater choices about the jobs they want,' Senator Arbib told delegates at a Young Labor conference in Sydney on Saturday, The Sun-Herald newspaper reports.

'Twelve months ago, employers were struggling to find workers but in a short time the job market has been turned on its head.

'In tough economic times many people, especially new entrants to the job market with limited experience, have to adjust their thinking and be more adaptive and flexible.'

Australia's youth unemployment sits at 12.3 per cent, the newspaper reports.
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Party will back Turnbull on ETS - Pyne

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 июл 2009, 13:35

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Updated: 13:28, Sunday July 26, 2009

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull will get the backing of the coalition party room to amend Labor's emissions trading scheme (ETS), Christopher Pyne says.

Mr Turnbull's leadership was tested last week after rebel Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey sent an email to fellow coalition MPs saying their boss was 'arrogant and 'inexperienced' for suggesting the opposition could amend the government's carbon pollution reduction scheme.

The opposition leader on Friday released a list of nine demands he says must be met before his party will vote 'yes', which included more handouts for the coal industry.

Asked if Mr Turnbull's authority had been tested, Mr Pyne said he would get his way on climate change.

'Malcolm Turnbull will get the backing of the shadow cabinet and the party room, I have absolutely no doubt about it,' Mr Pyne told Sky News on Sunday.

Mr Pyne said Mr Tuckey did not speak for the Liberal Party or the party room, and had a history of speaking out against coalition leaders including former prime minister John Howard.

'He's entitled to his view, I don't agree with it,' he said.

'It's not agreed to by the vast majority of people in the Liberal Party.'

The Senate is due to vote on the ETS on August 13.
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Takeover of hospitals an option - Rudd

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 июл 2009, 13:42

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Updated: 19:48, Sunday July 26, 2009

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is not closing the door on a possible commonwealth takeover of the nation's public hospital system.

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, in a report expected to be released publicly as early as Monday, is believed to have recommended a takeover of outpatient and ancillary services but not hospitals themselves.

Mr Rudd is warning the states and territories a takeover is still on his government's agenda if they did not cooperate with a national reform plan.

'We leave open the option of going to a referendum to seek a mandate from the people,' he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

The government previously had set the states and territories an end of June 2009 deadline to improve the performance of public hospitals, leading to suggestions it had gone cold on the idea of a takeover.

Mr Rudd said the government was standing by its original undertaking.

'That is what we said. We intend to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job.'
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Rudd addresses Labor conference

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 июл 2009, 08:04

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Updated: 11:24, Thursday July 30, 2009

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has put jobs and climate change at the centre of Labor's agenda ahead of the next election flagging a $100 million plan to create 50,000 green jobs and training opportunities.

He's made it the centrepiece of his speech to Labor faithful at the start of the three-day ALP national conference in Sydney.

The prime minister took the stage with much less fanfare than the last conference two years ago when Labor was still wallowing in opposition.

Mr Rudd's tallied his government's achievements including the stolen generations apology and throwing out Work Choices and has told delegates they'll continue the Labor tradition of nation-building on the long hard road to economic recovery.

He says the government will create 50,000 green jobs, traineeships and apprenticeships aimed chiefly at helping young Australians obtain new skills.

Mr Rudd also repeated his message about the road to economic recovery at the National Labor Conference, saying it would be 'long and hard' with many twists and turns.

'Unemployment will continue to rise for some time to come.'

The tragedy would be that many Australians could still lose their jobs, he said.

'Our responsibility is not to repeat the mistakes of earlier recessions but instead to intervene early so that those directly affected are provided new skills for when the economy recovers.'

The government had also introduced programs to support Australians who had been retrenched, and to get young Australians into work.

'The government I lead will not stand idly by while thousands of young Australians have their hopes crushed by a global recession not of their own making,' Mr Rudd told delegates.

He says that in less than 18 months in government after 12 long years in opposition, Labor has apologised to the stolen generations, ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, thrown out Work Choices, abolished the Pacific solution and withdrawn Australia's combat soldiers from Iraq.

To applause from the floor Mr Rudd said all that's been possible through the party of true believers and he's thanked them for never losing sight of the light on the hill.

Turning to more sobering matters the prime minister said the government's taken decisive action to cushion the economy from the global recession directing 70 per cent of its stimulus strategy to infrastructure investment.

As of today he says Australia has the fastest growth the second-lowest unemployment and the lowest debt and deficit of any major advanced economy.

He's warned it'll be a long hard road to economic recovery and unemployment will rise but his government's introduced programs for the retrenched and young jobseekers to support those whose hopes have been crushed by a global recession not of their own making
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Gunmen kill top Mexico policeman

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 июл 2009, 08:06

Updated: 14:59, Thursday July 30, 2009

Gunmen have shot up and torched the home of a Mexican police commander, killing the officer, his wife and their four children.

The interior of the house in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz was completely burned, and its facade was riddled with bullet holes after Wednesday's attack.

Inside, police found the bodies of municipal police commander Jesus Antonio Romero and his family, Veracruz state Public Safety Secretary Sergio Lopez said.

Police said the youngest was a six-year-old boy and the oldest was a 15-year-old girl.

The motive was unclear but the pre-dawn attack bore hallmarks of Mexico's brutal drug cartels. Lopez said police believe the assailants set fire to the house by hurling grenades. He said neighbours reported hearing explosions.

'A family was sleeping peacefully when this assault occurred,' Lopez said. 'The house had wood panelling, and that's why the fire spread quickly and kept the young people from escaping.'

Romero, 39, was promoted a month ago to deputy operations coordinator for the Veracruz-Boca del Rio area, a hotbed of drug violence and a stronghold of the Zetas, a group of hit men aligned with the Gulf cartel.

It was unclear if the Romero and his family were killed by gunfire or the fire.

Mexico's drug war has claimed more than 11,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and federal police nationwide to fight the cartels.

Drug gangs have stepped up attacks on police and government officials, often gunning them down in front of their homes - but it is rare for their families to be targeted.

In a separate attack, a federal agent who had been investigating the killing of a Mexican journalist was shot dead on Tuesday night at his home in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, said Vladmir Tuexi, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor's office.

Jose Ibarra had been investigating the death of Armando Rodriguez, a crime reporter for the newspaper El Diario who was killed on November 13. Investigators said they did not know if the two killings were related.

Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, is one of Mexico's most violent cities, with more than 800 people killed this year.

In a remote mountain town south of Ciudad Juarez, gunmen killed a government welfare official and three police officers during a robbery, the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office reported on Wednesday.

The official and the police had driven into the area of Guachochi to deliver money from a government welfare program, when the gunmen ambushed them, presumably to steal the money. No arrests have been made.

In one of the boldest offensives against the government, 18 federal agents were killed earlier this month in a series of attacks in western Mexico blamed on La Familia drug cartel. Authorities say La Familia was retaliating for the arrest of one of its top members.

The federal government responded by sending 5,500 federal police, soldiers and navy personnel to western Michoacan state and stepping up its offensive against La Familia, which has turned to large-scale methamphetamine production.
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Bligh refers claims to crime commission

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 июл 2009, 08:07

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Updated: 12:50, Thursday July 30, 2009

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has referred allegations of improper influence by former treasurer Terry Mackenroth to the state's corruption watchdog.

The Courier-Mail reports Mr Mackenroth who drew up the original plan to limit urban sprawl in southeast Queensland when he was in government advised a company that was one of the biggest winners from redrafted development laws.

Ms Bligh says she's referred the allegations to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
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Сообщение Ramzes » 30 июл 2009, 08:09

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Updated: 14:22, Thursday July 30, 2009

There are concerns the security of some of Australia's most sensitive criminal investigations may have been compromised after revelations a Queensland detective implicated in a damning report into police corruption has worked for the Australian Crime Commission.

News Limited says after Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission exposed serious corruption in the ranks of the Queensland police, one of the officers cited in the report works for one of country's top crime-fighting bodies.

The revelations come a day after allegations of official corruption in Queensland were highlighted by veteran anti-corruption reformer Tony Fitzgerald QC.

However News Limited also says a source has played down concerns of the officer's access to high-level intelligence, saying the ACC operates on a strict need-to-know basis.
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Sandilands and Jackie O apologise

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 июл 2009, 08:13

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Updated: 10:12, Thursday July 30, 2009

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O have publicly apologised for putting a 14-year-old girl into a situation where she was forced to reveal she had been raped.

Insisting that the controversial discussion on their 2Day FM program on Wednesday morning was not a sick stunt, Sandilands and Jackie also lashed out at media outlets that accused them of 'getting a kick' out of the incident.

The girl was strapped to a lie detector because her mother had expressed concerns 'she was running around with the wrong crowd', Sandilands explained on his program on Thursday morning.

When her mother asked the teenager if she was sexually active the girl replied: 'I've already told you the story about this... and don't look at me and smile because it's not funny.'

Raising her voice she then said: 'Oh, OK, I got raped when I was 12-years-old.'

Sandilands responded by saying: 'Right, is that the only experience you've had?' before the segment was brought to an end.

He has since said he wished he had been more clever with his choice of words, and was critical of a comment by the Nine Network's Today show host Karl Stefanovic which maintained he had refused to apologise over the incident.

'This could not be further from the truth,' Sandilands said.

'I've apologised to anyone who was offended that heard it.

'I've apologised to the girl.

'I've even apologised to the mother.'

Jackie added there were no red flags raised before the girl's disturbing statement.

'Unfortunately we had no idea what was to come,' she said.

'It was such a shock. It was one of those moments in radio where you just think, What do you do?

Sandilands said while his response to the girl's statement was inappropriate, he instantly felt terrible for her.

'There was genuine shock,' he said.

The pair has denied the interview was a set-up, as suggested by some media commentators.

'There is no way we would have wanted to put that girl in that situation,' Jackie said.

'It was one of those moments, when live radio happens, sometimes you are lost for words.'

Despite the public outrage that followed, Sandilands said some good had come of the incident.

'After two years - the girl is 14 now - the family can get some counselling on it,' he said.

He criticised the media's interpretation of the interview.

'It was sad to watch some of the newspapers skew this in a evil way,' he said.

'Some people are pointing the finger, saying we are no better than a child predator.'

Louise Newman, professor of child psychiatry at Monash University, said the girl's traumatic public statement could discourage young people who had also been sexually abused from seeking help.

'Certainly it trivialises the issue,' she told ABC radio.

'It was a very poor response (from Sandilands) and we now have a situation which might potentially discourage other people who have been victims of sexual abuse from actually disclosing that or discussing that in a appropriate way.'

NSW Police are liaising with the Department of Community Services to establish whether there is a need for police involvement in investigating the rape of the girl, a police spokeswoman told AAP.
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Brenda Lin speaks of her ordeal

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 авг 2009, 16:13

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Updated: 22:33, Sunday August 16, 2009


Orphaned teenager Brenda Lin believes those responsible for the murder of her family were targeting her parents, but she has no idea why.

The Cheltenham Girls High student was on an excursion to New Caledonia when her parents Min 'Norman' and Yun Li 'Lily' Lin, brothers Han 'Henry', 12, and Tian 'Terry', nine, and aunt Yun Bin 'Irene' Yin, 39, were bludgeoned to death in their beds.

Police are yet to make an arrest or reveal a motive for the murders last month in the leafy, middle-class Sydney suburb of Epping where her family ran a nearby newsagent.

In an interview aired on the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program on Sunday, Brenda, 15, said she does not have any clues about the motive for the killings.

'I've got no idea because my parents were always really nice to all the customers and we never got threatening phone calls or anything so I have no idea why or who could do this,' she told the Nine Network.

In spite of the horrific killings, she says she is not frightened.

'For my safety, not really because it seems to be personally aimed at my parents and my theory is that if they were after like the whole family, they would have waited until I came back from New Caledonia.

'I think I'm not really frightened.'

Even after attending the funeral service for her family, the reality of the shocking murders is yet to sink in.

'I just couldn't believe they were in there (caskets),' she said.

'I still think they are alive and I just couldn't believe they were there.'

Brenda delivered a taped eulogy before saying goodbye last week.

'I had to actually write the speech out beforehand.

'It took me quite a while to write because I wasn't sure what I should say.

'I haven't been to a funeral before.'

Her aunt Cathy, who found the bodies, has promised to look after Brenda 'forever'.

She said nothing was out of place and everything looked 'normal' when she entered the family home and discovered the murder scene.

Brenda has since walked through the home and described it as 'like an abandoned house'.

'It seems so empty and like all the windows are covered with cardboard and stuff and you can't see inside,' she said.

'I still think that I'm going to go back there and live, but I don't think so. I still expect my parents to be there.'

The teenager revealed she and her late younger brother Henry had been 'really close'.

'It doesn't seem fair,' she said.

Her mother was eager for her to study medicine or law while her father, a qualified engineer in China, wanted her to study engineering.

Brenda said her family, originally from China, loved living in Australia and she would move on with her life in Sydney.

'I really like it here in Australia and because this incident has happened it shows that so many people all around Australia are supporting me and I'm really glad that I live here and this is my home.'
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Govt 'not playing politics with ETS'

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 авг 2009, 16:18

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Updated: 14:37, Sunday August 16, 2009


The government is not playing politics with its climate bill, it is just taking appropriate action in the face of an obstructive opposition, says Julia Gillard.

Earlier on Sunday, Greg Combet, Minister Assisting the Climate Change Minister said the government had decided to split its renewable energy legislation from its emissions trading scheme after the Senate blocked its climate change bill last week.

Ms Gillard said they had been brought forward together in the first place because of their 'integrated compensation package'.

'This isn't the best way to do it ... (but) faced with the obstruction of the Liberal Party in the Senate we will take some interim steps, make some amendments to the renewable energy target legislation so it can come into effect,' Ms Gillard told the Nine Network.

She said the best way for tackling climate change is for the Liberal Party to 'stop getting in the way' and allow both policies through.

'But we are in a world of Liberal obstruction because of their divisions, so we are safeguarding our renewable energy target legislation so it can come into effect even if the Liberal Party continues to block the carbon pollution reduction scheme,' she said.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull had not been able to exercise any leadership on behalf of the Liberal Party, which thought the easy political position was to obstruct the government's legislation, Ms Gillard said.

'Of course, that is the worst position for the nation.

'Mr Turnbull is presiding over a rabble under the banner of the Liberal Party.

'His political party straddles those from people who deny the science of climate change, who simply don't think it's happening, through to people who do believe that the Liberal Party should support the government's legislation.'

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will support the federal government's renewable energy target (RET) now it has been separated from its ETS scheme.

The coalition and all other non-government senators voted against Labor's 11 climate change bills in the Senate on Thursday.

Under the RET, 20 per cent of electricity must come from renewable sources by 2020.

The draft law could start having an impact from January, while the ETS is not due to get under way until mid-2011.

Senator Xenophon said there was widespread support for the move.

'The Greens wanted it split off, the Liberals wanted it split off, I wanted it split off, everyone else except the government,' he told Sky News on Sunday.

'I think they've bowed in to the inevitable.'

Senator Xenophon expected to address the RET in the Senate on Monday or Tuesday.

He said he would support the draft laws but thought they could be improved.

'Renewable energy certificates are given to air pump water heaters and there are many who consider that to be completely unacceptable.

'I'll be doing my bit to put up amendments to say that those air pump water heaters are a rort in the context of a RET and they ought to be phased out very quickly.'

Labor's ETS will not be dealt with in the Senate again until later in the year.

Senator Xenophon said if the scheme remains the same as it is now, he would continue to vote against it.

He encouraged the government to look at an alternative model designed by Frontier Economics that he and the coalition commissioned.

It proposes to beef up the minimum target to cut greenhouse gas emissions from five per cent by 2020 to 10 per cent.

'I think it's important that we take time in the next few weeks and months to sit down and find some common ground areas and actually go for a higher target as well.'
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NSW bushfires burn out of control

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:13

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Updated: 20:16, Saturday August 29, 2009

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has declared an emergency over several bushfires south of Sydney.

Three fires at Shoalhaven have already burnt about 650 hectares of national park and private property, while an outbreak at Eurobodalla has blackened about 850 hectares.

A blaze near Romney Park Road in the Shoalhaven area, which flared up early on Saturday, was causing the most concern.

Firefighters were backburning near the Princes Highway to try to contain the outbreak.

The RFS said no homes are under direct threat but residents on Romney Park Road, Wheelbarrow Road, Pothole Road and the Princes Highway have been advised to take precautions and prepare their properties.

Weather conditions are unfavourable, with northwesterly winds pushing the blaze east towards the Princes Highway, an RFS spokesman said.

'At the moment conditions are expected to deteriorate with strong winds expected this afternoon,' he said.

The forecast maximum temperature for the area is 25 degrees celsius with winds predicted to reach about 50km/h and gusting up to 80km/h this afternoon.

Fires at Termeil Creek, about four kilometres north of Termeil, and at Burrier, about 14 kilometres west of Nowra, are also burning out of control.

No homes are under direct threat in these areas but the RFS said residents should prepare their homes.

About 45 firefighters and four waterbombing aircraft are working to contain the three fires near Shoalhaven.

The RFS said about 47 firefighters were attempting to contain the Eurobodalla fire, which started on Thursday in national park and state forest about 3km west of Central Tilba.

No homes or properties are under threat, but residents in surrounding area should take precautions, the RFS said.

The cause of the fires has yet to be determined, the spokesman said.

'I am not aware of any storms that came through and an investigation will look into whether any lightning activity occurred,' he said.
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Busy day for Queensland firefighters

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:14

Updated: 20:29, Saturday August 29, 2009

Grass fires, the biggest in Mareeba, north Queensland, have kept firefighters busy on another unseasonally hot day in the state.

Eleven crews battled the blaze at Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands, which started around 12.45pm AEST on Saturday.

An aircraft was deployed for observation.

A Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman said by 6pm (AEST) firefighters had contained one-third of the blaze, which at one stage stretched to 15.5 square kilometres.

Crews saved a shed that caught alight about 3.30pm AEST.

'There's no further threat to properties in the area,' she added.

The fire is expected to be brought under control by the end of Saturday night.

Grass fires that started on Saturday afternoon at Redbank Plains, west of Brisbane, and Limestone Creek, near Rockhampton in central Queensland, were brought under control by fire fighting units.

Emergency services had been placed on high alert on Friday because more unseasonally high temperatures were predicted on the weekend.

At 2pm AEST on Saturday it was at least 30 degrees at Rockhampton, Weipa, Emerald, Mt Isa, Toowoomba and Charleville, while the mercury in Cairns had reached 29 degrees.

Temperatures are expected to nudge 30 degrees again on Sunday.
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Schoolboy involved in brawl dies

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:16

Updated: 20:36, Saturday August 29, 2009

A teenage boy who is believed to have been involved in a schoolyard brawl on the NSW north coast has died in hospital.

Police initially said the 15-year-old suffered serious head injuries during an altercation at a high school at Mullumbimby about 11.15am (AEST) on Friday.

But a development in the investigation has cast doubt on the cause of his injuries, with a teacher saying the pupil appeared to be unwell before the fight took place, according to police.

'There was a melee that went on but we are not sure if he was involved or standing on the fringes,' a police spokeswoman said.

'A teacher questioned the child before recess because he didn't seem to be himself, and perhaps he wasn't feeling well.

'Yes he suffered head injuries.'

The year nine student was taken to Mullumbimby Hospital in a critical condition and was later transferred to the Gold Coast Hospital.

Gold Coast Hospital nurse manager Colleen Black said the boy died on Saturday morning.

'He passed away in some time in the last two hours,' she told AAP shortly before 12.40pm (AEST).

Police will continue their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, and are currently interviewing students who witnessed the brawl, the police spokeswoman said.
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NSW roads death toll increases

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:17

Updated: 19:26, Saturday August 29, 2009

A man who was killed in a car crash near Deniliquin is the ninth person to have died in a horror 24 hours on NSW's roads, police say.

The man was killed when his ute rolled after veering off the Deniliquin-Wakool Road, 3km east of Wakool, about 10.20pm (AEST) on Friday, police said.

The driver, aged in his late 20s, was ejected from the vehicle.

An investigation will determine whether speed or alcohol played a role in the crash, which police said was likely.

The incident was the last in a series of road accidents in NSW which killed nine people in a 24-hour period.

The horror began on Thursday when a family of three was killed as their car was struck by a truck at 10.50pm (AEST) near the Mount White weigh-bridge.

Less than 12 hours later, three people were killed in a multi-vehicle crash at Narrabri, in northern NSW.

A fourth person died in hospital as a result of the high-speed smash.

A pedestrian became the eighth person killed after being hit by a car in Campbelltown, in Sydney's southwest, about 9.15pm (AEST) on Friday.

The man is yet to be identified and police have appealed for public help with the investigation.

The victim of the Deniliquin crash died about an hour later, bringing the state's 2009 road toll to 308.

Police said despite the series of deaths, motorists continued to ignore road safety messages.

Strike Force Taipan arrested a number of speeding and drink drivers overnight on Friday, including a 26-year-old man travelling 45km/hr above the limit at Narwee, in Sydney's south, police said.

A 21-year-old woman was allegedly also caught driving 131km/h in a 90km/h zone in the north-west suburb of Winston Hills.
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'Public consultation a joke' - bikies

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:17

Updated: 19:26, Saturday August 29, 2009

Premier Anna Bligh's promise of public consultation before Queensland introduces tough new anti-bikie laws has been exposed as a sham, a motorcycle group says.

The planned legislation seeks to destroy outlaw gangs by tearing down clubhouses and banning members from socialising if there is evidence of illegal behaviour, it says.

But the United Motorcycle Council Queensland (UMCQ) says only groups hand-picked by the government will be given input into the proposed new laws.

UMCQ representatives said they were informed by public service officials this week that the laws would not be made publicly available but would be posted to selected stakeholders for comment.

UMCQ spokesman Terry Walker said the government's claims of consultation had been exposed as a fraud.

'The Queensland government is preparing to hand massive new powers to the police, and tear away basic legal and civil rights that have been a cornerstone of our democratic society,' Mr Walker said.

'What's worse is that they are determined to do this in secret, behind closed doors and away from any public or media scrutiny.

'The consultation on the draft legislation that the premier and attorney-general (Cameron Dick) announced with such fanfare last weekend is nothing but a sham.

'Ordinary citizens will not even get to see the draft of these shocking new laws, let alone comment on them, before the government rubber stamps them and rams them through the parliament.'

Mr Walker said interstate anti-association laws had been available for police to use against any group or citizen.

The laws have included allowing secret court hearings at which the defendants are not allowed to hear allegations against them and abolition of the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Ms Bligh has said that under the proposed laws certain gang members will be restricted from owning weapons, working in certain industries such as the security industry, or holding a liquor licence.

The proposal includes giving courts the power to declare an organisation a criminal organisation, apply control orders against individual members of declared organisations, make anti-fortification orders for the removal of fortifications aimed at preventing access by law enforcement, and make anti-association orders to prevent members of declared organisations from associating.

Ms Bligh says this will make it harder for criminals to band together in gangs and coordinate criminal enterprises.
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Springboks beat Wallabies in Perth

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:19

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Updated: 22:00, Saturday August 29, 2009
Springboks beat Wallabies in Perth

Australia's Tri-Nations hopes are officially over after suffering a 32-25 defeat to South Africa in Perth on Saturday.

The Springboks scored four tries to three, including a double to South Africa winger Bryan Habana, to clinch their fourth win of the series to all but wrap up the Tri-Nations with an invaluable four-try bonus point.

The Wallabies scored two tries through Matt Giteau and a late effort by Lachie Turner but it wasn't enough as South Africa held firm for the victory, leaving Australia winless after four outings in this year's Tri-Nations.
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Ottens makes good return in Cats' win

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 авг 2009, 15:40

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Updated: 19:42, Saturday August 29, 2009


Geelong big man Brad Ottens made a successful return to the AFL as the Cats beat Fremantle by 40 points at Skilled Stadium on Saturday.

The Cats were always in control of the match once they regained the lead early in the game, and will enter the finals in second spot after their 14.10 (94) to 8.6 (54) victory.

Forward Tom Hawkins kicked three goals and Cameron Mooney, Ryan Gamble and Simon Hogan booted two apiece, while fullback Matthew Scarlett was best afield with 34 disposals as a rebounding defender.

The Cats should also be encouraged by the form of ruck-forward Ottens, who finished with 13 disposals and eight hit-outs in his first AFL game since he injured a knee in round two.

Midfielder James Kelly also returned well, and finished with 24 disposals in his first match since overcoming a hamstring injury he suffered after the round-14 defeat to St Kilda.

Geelong dominated possession throughout and finished with a whopping 213 more disposals than their opponents, as Darren Milburn (36), Gary Ablett (35) and Jimmy Bartel (35) all had big days.

Geelong led by 43 points at halftime after keeping the Dockers to two goals in the first half, and stretched that advantage to 55 points with the first two goals of the third quarter.

But Fremantle avoided a massive defeat by kicking three unanswered goals before three-quarter time.

Geelong must wait for Sunday's twilight game between Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs before they know who they will play in a qualifying final next week.

Fremantle finish the season in 14th spot, and their defeat was their 11th from 12 visits to this ground, which continued their struggles away from Subiaco Oval in 2009.

Of the Dockers' six wins this season, only one came away from home - the round-seven win over Carlton on the Gold Coast.

Fremantle's best players included Steven Dodd, Paul Hasleby and Aaron Sandilands in the ruck.
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Five Diggers injured in Afghanistan

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:45

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Five Australian soldiers have been hurt in a bomb attack in Afghanistan.

The troops were on a foot patrol in southern Afghanistan on Thursday when the improvised explosive device went off.

Australia's chief of joint operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, said the soldiers had minor wounds and their injuries were not life-threatening.

They were recovering well, he said.
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Howard, Costello return fire at Rudd

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:46

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Updated: 11:27, Friday September 11, 2009


John Howard and Peter Costello are peeved Kevin Rudd is selling short the economic achievements of the previous coalition government.

No side of Australian politics had a monopoly of either virtue or merit, Mr Howard said.

'The prime minister carried political mendacity to new heights,' the former prime minister wrote in The Australian on Friday, referring to a speech his successor made on Monday.

Mr Rudd described as 'indolent' the Howard government years (1996-2007), when Mr Costello was treasurer, saying the coalition parties were rampant neo-liberals whose time in power was marked by opportunities wasted.

'It is tempting for a political leader such as Rudd to highlight his party's virtues and ignore those of other parties,' Mr Howard wrote.

Mr Rudd's analysis of the economic reform process in Australia since 1980 was 'partisan, inaccurate and lacked any semblance of objectivity'.

Mr Costello said Mr Rudd was not part of the defining economic moments of the past 20 years which included lowering tariffs, floating the dollar and tax reform.

'Neo-liberalism was quite good when (former Labor prime minister) Hawke and (former Labor treasurer and prime minister) Keating were practising it, but bad when Howard and Costello practised it,' he told ABC Radio on Friday.

Mr Rudd should acknowledge the Australian economy was in strong shape when Labor came to power in 2007, following more than 11 years of coalition management.

'I think he would be better to say, 'Yes, I inherited an economy which was in a very good state', to pay recognition for that and to say, 'I intend to take it in the following direction'.'

Mr Howard said Mr Rudd had 'diminished himself' and not the coalition parties with his speech.
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Brisbane River body identified

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:47

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Updated: 18:51, Friday September 11, 2009


A body found in the Brisbane River has been confirmed as missing Irish man Shane O'Halloran, police say.

Mr O'Halloran, 23, had not been seen since he fell overboard the river cruise boat Lady Brisbane during a 24th birthday party on Saturday night.

The St Lucia carpenter, who had been living in Australia for 18 months, had been sharing a romantic moment with Sinead O'Neill, 26, when they overbalanced on a door that doubled as a railing and fell overboard.

Ms O'Neill was promptly spotted more than 100m away from the boat and rescued, but it is believed Mr O'Halloran could not swim.

Hale Street Link construction workers found the body in the river near Milton on Wednesday morning.

The body was taken to the John Tonge Centre for tests, and on Friday it was confirmed as Mr O'Halloran, police said.
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McGurk children honour slain father

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:49

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Updated: 18:51, Friday September 11, 2009


The children of murdered Sydney businessman Michael McGurk have paid tribute to their loving dad at his funeral.

Privately, he was a devoted family man and 'the best dad ever' to his four loving children.

His heartbroken wife and kids slipped out of Sacred Heart Catholic Church at Mosman on Friday after a Catholic funeral mass lasting 90 minutes.

His children's classmates from the school next door wept as the casket was carried away to the strains of bagpipes - a nod to his Scottish upbringing.

The 45-year-old Cremorne resident was gunned down in front of his young son outside their home at Cremorne on Sydney's lower north shore on September 3.

His execution-style killing sparked a homicide investigation, but also led to a parliamentary inquiry and an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation, following allegations he had proof of Labor Party corruption.

More than 200 people attended Mr McGurk's funeral, which incorporated letters written by his children Lochlan, Mia, Nicola and Luc - reproduced in the order of service.

'I loved all the happy moments we had, like when I played soccer and how you would sneak off before school and buy us some lollies,' Mia wrote.

'I love you so much ... the biggest number in the universe.'

Lochlan recalled how his dad would cook the family breakfast on Sundays, followed by a game of backyard soccer, and some relaxing time on the lounge with a novel and a snooze.

'Thank you Dad for making me laugh. Thanks Dad for loving me so much. Thanks Dad for all the time we have had together. I will miss you,' he wrote.

To Nicola, her father was 'a great business man' who 'always gave to the poor'.

'I love to look at my family photos where we are all smiling,' she wrote.

'These are the memories that I want to keep forever.

'These are the memories that I want to share with my children, grandchildren and the rest of the world.'

Luc, who celebrated his 10th birthday just days after witnessing his father's death, recalled his father cheering him on at his first soccer gala day.

'You're the best dad in the world,' he wrote.

Reporters were kept at bay by police officers who blocked the street, closely monitoring the funeral.

Mr McGurk's coffin was led by a procession of altar boys and girls and four priests, before being loaded into a black hearse for a private cremation at an undisclosed location.

More than a dozen Sydney and overseas business figures have been linked to Mr McGurk and his controversial professional life.

None of those people have been implicated in his death.
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Heater caused Melbourne mansion fire

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:49

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Updated: 18:51, Friday September 11, 2009


Firefighters say an outdoor wood-burning heater left unattended after a party caused a blaze that destroyed a multi-million-dollar mansion in Melbourne's inner east early on Friday.

A mother of two suffered smoke inhalation as her family's two-storey home in Hawthorn, went up in flames just after midnight.

Firefighters say the wood heater was left near the house after celebrations earlier in the evening.

'Left unattended, the heat and flame caught onto the awning and timber frame of the house and quickly caught hold in the roof space,' Commander Glen Brown said.

The woman and her two teenage sons were at home in the Riversdale Road property when the fire started just after midnight.

Around 40 firefighters fought the blaze as the children escaped unharmed, but their mother suffered mild smoke inhalation and was treated by paramedics.

A neighbouring block of flats had to be evacuated as radiant heat broke windows and set one of the units on fire.

Up to 40 local residents huddled together for warmth as they watched fire crews battle for almost an hour to bring the blaze under control.

Damage to the mansion has been estimated at $3 million.
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Qld abortion pair to stand trial

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:50

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Updated: 18:51, Friday September 11, 2009


A young Queensland couple charged over a home abortion have been committed to stand trial.

Cairns magistrate Sandra Pearson on Friday ordered Tegan Simone Leach, 19, and her partner Sergie Brennan, 21, to face trial in the District Court on a date to be set.

It is alleged Brennan provided abortion drugs, mifepristone (also known as RU486) and misoprostol, smuggled from Russia to Leach so she could induce her own abortion last December.

The court last week heard police found empty pharmaceutical blister packets alleged to have contained the contraband drugs along with a Russian doctor's instructions during a search of the couple's Cairns home in relation to another matter in February.

In interviews with police the couple admitted they had decided to go ahead with an abortion and had used the smuggled drugs to do it, though they said they did not know they were committing a crime in doing so.

Leach is facing one count of procuring her own abortion, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years jail, while Brennan is facing the lesser charge of supplying drugs to procure an abortion.

Brennan had initially been charged with procuring an abortion but prosecutors dropped the charge last week.

At a committal hearing last week, defence barrister Kevin McCreanor called for the charges against Leach to be dropped because there was no evidence of the chemical composition of the drugs taken by Leach.

He also argued that section 225 of the criminal code stated that the drugs must be harmful to the pregnant woman, rather than the foetus, for the act to be considered a crime.

However, Ms Pearson said those arguments were matters for the jury to decide and agreed with prosecutors that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict the pair.

The couple was granted bail.
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Parties close to resolving whip dispute

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:51

Updated: 19:29, Friday September 11, 2009

Jockeys and the Australian Racing Board are very close to resolving their dispute over controversial whip rules, Victorian Racing Minister Rob Hulls says.

Jockeys walked off the job at race meetings in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia on Thursday after hearing their submission for changes to the whip rule had been rejected by the board.

Under the rule brought in on August 1, riders are restricted in the number of times they can use the whip inside the final 200 metres.

Mr Hulls has spoken with Australian Jockey Association's Des O'Keefe and will contact the racing board on Friday.

He says he is confident the dispute will be resolved before Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival.

'This matter will be resolved, there is no question or doubt about that. It's a matter of when it's resolved and my view is it ought be resolved as soon as possible,' Mr Hulls told ABC Radio.

'I understand the parties are very close to resolving the issue.'

Mr Hulls said there was a health and safety issued involved given jockeys need to be able to control the horses.

'I haven't ridden a 500 kilo animal running at 60km an hour, but all I would say is that it is absolutely crucial, like any industrial issue, it's absolutely crucial that the parties keep talking,' he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Hulls said the government had already advertised for a Racing Integrity Commissioner, who would be employed soon, following media reports on Friday that the underworld has infiltrated racing.

Updated: 19:29, Friday September 11, 2009

Jockeys and the Australian Racing Board are very close to resolving their dispute over controversial whip rules, Victorian Racing Minister Rob Hulls says.

Jockeys walked off the job at race meetings in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia on Thursday after hearing their submission for changes to the whip rule had been rejected by the board.

Under the rule brought in on August 1, riders are restricted in the number of times they can use the whip inside the final 200 metres.

Mr Hulls has spoken with Australian Jockey Association's Des O'Keefe and will contact the racing board on Friday.

He says he is confident the dispute will be resolved before Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival.

'This matter will be resolved, there is no question or doubt about that. It's a matter of when it's resolved and my view is it ought be resolved as soon as possible,' Mr Hulls told ABC Radio.

'I understand the parties are very close to resolving the issue.'

Mr Hulls said there was a health and safety issued involved given jockeys need to be able to control the horses.

'I haven't ridden a 500 kilo animal running at 60km an hour, but all I would say is that it is absolutely crucial, like any industrial issue, it's absolutely crucial that the parties keep talking,' he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Hulls said the government had already advertised for a Racing Integrity Commissioner, who would be employed soon, following media reports on Friday that the underworld has infiltrated racing.
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Falling branch injures three

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:52

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Updated: 18:51, Friday September 11, 2009


A man has suffered critical head injuries and two other people have been hurt by a falling tree branch at a school sports day in Adelaide.

The ambulance service said a man was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a critical condition and a woman was also taken to there with a leg injury.

A boy was taken to the Women's and Children's Hospital with minor injuries.

The branch came down at Cedar Christian College at suburban Northgate just before midday (CDT) on Friday.

The school ended the sports events after the incident and students were sent home.

They were also to be offered counselling.

The incident came as strong winds lashed Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills causing widespread minor damage.
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Szubanski struts stuff despite Kyle

Сообщение Ramzes » 11 сен 2009, 14:53

Updated: 19:29, Friday September 11, 2009

Showing no signs of being fazed by recent jibes from Kyle Sandilands, funny lady Magda Szubanski has shown off her new figure in her first catwalk appearance.

Szubanski, who recently lost 25kg to now weigh 85kg, opened a fashion show for The Australian Women's Weekly at Sydney's Royal Hall of Industries, wearing a pink dress and cropped jacket.

The theatre and TV star smiled as she jovially strutted the catwalk, waving to the audience as they cheered her on.

At the end of the catwalk Szubanski slapped her bottom and danced around.

The Kath and Kim star closed the show wearing a Matthew Eager black cocktail dress with a cropped Carla Zampatti jacket.

It comes just a few days after 2DayFM presenter Sandilands joked that Szubanski would only be skinny if she was put in a concentration camp.

Szubanski said she was proud of her weight loss efforts, adding she never expected she would grace a catwalk.

'I'm not a size zero but you can be the best at what you're able to be,' Szubanski said in front of fans during a question and answer session with The Australian Women's Weekly's Deborah Thomas after the show.

'I'm really happy at this level. I'm going to stay here for a bit. Adjust to it, get used to it.

'And then if I want to lose more great and if I don't great.'

Szubanski wouldn't talk directly about Sandilands' comments and subsequent suspension from the station but said her life had changed dramatically since her weight loss because people perceived her differently.

'That's challenging as well. You have to learn to manage that,' she said.

'That's why having help and support is really important because to try and go through that on their own I think that's sometimes why people hit a brick wall and they stop.'

Szubanski, whose father was a Polish freedom fighter who hunted Nazis, said at the time of the Sandilands incident that the remarks were 'abhorrent', and she was 'so sad for co-host Jackie O', but has accepted his apology.

The event was organised as part of ACP's three day Magazines Go Live Event for the annual 30 Days of Fashion and Beauty festival.

On Monday night celebrity guests including US crooner Chris Isaak and Australian pop singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte will be the star guests a special VIP launch.
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Man holding anti-abortion sign killed

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:18

Updated: 10:13, Saturday September 12, 2009

An anti-abortion activist has been killed in a drive-by shooting outside a Michigan high school, and authorities say a local business owner was also killed.

James Pouillon, 63, was holding a large anti-abortion sign when he was shot several times by a man in a passing vehicle at about 7:20am (2120 AEST) on Friday.

Witnesses gave police the vehicle's licence plate number and authorities arrested the vehicle's 33-year-old owner shortly thereafter, police in Owosso, Michigan, said.

During questioning, the man told police that he'd also shot the owner of a local gravel pit. Mike Fuoss, 61, was found shot dead in his office at about 8:17am (2217 AEST).

While the suspect knew Fuoss, police did not say what his connection was to Pouillon or why he was shot.

Longtime friend and fellow activist Judy Climer described Pouillon as 'just a nice, elderly gentleman who was disabled, used an oxygen tank and wore leg braces'.

Climer, who is the president of Flint Right to Life, said Pouillon had a regular weekly schedule of protests at area abortion clinics and other sites in the community.

'He even told me once he'd be willing to die for that belief. That's what I hear him saying right now,' Climer told the Flint Journal.
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Probe continues into school bus crash

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:19

Updated: 05:38, Saturday September 12, 2009


Investigations are continuing into yesterday's fatal crash involving a sedan and a bus loaded with school children, which killed two people and injured dozens.

The bus carrying 37 Sutherland Shire Christian School students careered into a rock face early yesterday on Heathcote Road at Lucas Heights in Sydney's south.

The 67-year-old female bus driver has been praised for her handling of the bus after the sedan veered onto the wrong side of the road.

The driver, believed to be in his 50's, died before paramedics could reach him and media reports say he may have suffered a heart attack at the wheel.

His 40-year-old female passenger was airlifted to St George Hospital with critical injuries but later died in hospital.
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Perth man resistant to Tamiflu

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:21

Updated: 08:34, Saturday September 12, 2009

A Perth man has become the first person in Australia to contract a strain of swine flu which is resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

WA Health has confirmed the 38-year-old man, who has a weakened immune system, initially responded to the drug but developed a resistant strain of the virus when his illness relapsed.

There have been 13 cases of Tamiflu-resistant infections reported around the world.

Health authorities say it's a rare and isolated case and doesn't pose a risk to the public.
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Rumours rife about Sandilands's future

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:22

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Updated: 07:33, Saturday September 12, 2009


Rumours are rife about the future radio career of Kyle Sandilands, with some saying he'll be sacked and others predicting a return at a lower salary.

Some suggest he'll be sacked on Monday but others are predicting he'll return with a salary cut.

His employer Austereo is remaining quiet about their plans for Sandilands, after they suspended him earlier in the week over comments he made about comedian Magda Szubanski only losing weight if she were in a concentration camp.

But it's understood the 2DayFM host is on his way back to the country for meetings with management.

Sandilands made the comments on his breakfast radio show while broadcasting from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Some media reports have suggested he will be sacked on Monday for the comments, which were insulting to Holocaust survivors and their families.

But Austereo FM breakfast veteran Jamie Dunn said Austereo wouldn't risk losing the top-rating breakfast shock jock.

'There's no chance they would sack him. I'd bet the farm I'm sitting on,' Dunn told industry magazine MediaWeek.

'Unless they lose lots and lots of advertisers,' he added, saying he didn't think that would happen.

Sponsor Optus pulled out of the show earlier in the week.

Dunn defended Sandilands, saying the presenter was just trying to be funny, and the comments about Szubanski were 'just pop and fizz'.

Meanwhile, one source told AAP that Austereo executives were fed up with the amount of power Sandilands wielded and may use the incident to halve his $2 million salary.

Sandilands' absence from radio will not affect the ratings, because a two-week ratings break is now underway.

Another insider suggested that Austereo would bring Sandilands back on air when ratings resume on September 21.

Co-host Jackie O has been fronting the top-rating breakfast show with Andrew G and Dannii Minogue in Sandilands' absence.

Sandilands is on the guest list for the Sydney opening of the musical Wicked on Saturday night, but it's not expected he will attend.

The latest controversy comes about a month after Sandilands and Jackie O were off air for two weeks after a 14-year-old girl was strapped to a lie detector and asked on air about her sexual history.

They returned on August 18 but Sandilands lost his Australian Idol judging job amid an outcry over the incident.
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Qld couple to stand trial over abortion

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:24

Updated: 18:18, Friday September 11, 2009

A young Queensland couple charged over a home abortion have been committed to stand trial.

Cairns magistrate Sandra Pearson on Friday ordered Tegan Simone Leach, 19, and her partner Sergie Brennan, 21, to face trial in the District Court on a date to be set.

It is alleged Brennan provided abortion drugs, mifepristone (also known as RU486) and misoprostol, smuggled from Russia to Leach so she could induce her own abortion last December.

The court last week heard police found empty pharmaceutical blister packets alleged to have contained the contraband drugs along with a Russian doctor's instructions during a search of the couple's Cairns home in relation to another matter in February.

In interviews with police the couple admitted they had decided to go ahead with an abortion and had used the smuggled drugs to do it, though they said they did not know they were committing a crime in doing so.

Leach is facing one count of procuring her own abortion, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years jail, while Brennan is facing the lesser charge of supplying drugs to procure an abortion.

Brennan had initially been charged with procuring an abortion but prosecutors dropped the charge last week.

At a committal hearing last week, defence barrister Kevin McCreanor called for the charges against Leach to be dropped because there was no evidence of the chemical composition of the drugs taken by Leach.

He also argued that section 225 of the criminal code stated that the drugs must be harmful to the pregnant woman, rather than the foetus, for the act to be considered a crime.

However, Ms Pearson said those arguments were matters for the jury to decide and agreed with prosecutors that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict the pair.

The couple was granted bail.
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Lineout intrigues Matfield

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:25

http://202.58.40.60/media/images/articl ... 174951.jpg

Updated: 10:18, Saturday September 12, 2009


South African, and world, lineout ace Victor Matfield is anticipating the All Blacks will be better prepared in Hamilton on Saturday night

Having had the better of the New Zealanders in all their recent encounters, Matfield expects the time the All Blacks have had since their last encounters a month ago has been spent doing plenty of study of South Africa's methods.

'It's (the lineout) one area that we really look at to target them and put them under pressure. Hopefully we can do it again,' he said.

'I think we got great returns back in South Africa.'

Matfield did admit there were times when opposing teams looked too hard for what the Springboks were doing, when they didn't have anything specific planned.

'Hopefully they will get it wrong a few times on Saturday and hopefully we can get it right and put them under pressure a few times,' he said.

Matfield is also keen to see a repeat of the achievement he notched when leading the Springboks, in Smit's absence, to their first Test win at Carisbrook in Dunedin last year.

The team's celebrations after that win were greater than any after their impressive list of victories this year which include a series win over the British and Irish Lions and two wins over the All Blacks.

'It's probably the toughest task in rugby to come over here and beat the All Blacks. It (the win in Dunedin) was something we hadn't done as a team. But, like John (Smit) says, it's something we want to do again and hopefully we can do it a few more times in the future,' he said.

Matfield also achieves the feat of being the player to appear most often against the All Blacks in Tests in the match.

He said it was awesome to recall the days as a child wishing that one day he might face the All Blacks doing a Haka before a Test.

'And now to face it 20-odd times is just amazing.

'Every time you run out there facing the Haka playing the All Blacks, it's very very special.

'It will be very special tomorrow (Saturday) night and if we win even more special, and hopefully we can do that,' he said.
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Man charged with murder in Adelaide

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:26

Updated: 19:58, Friday September 11, 2009

A 38-year-old man has been charged with murder after the suspicious death of another man in Adelaide, police say.

Police were called to a home at suburban West Beach just after midnight (CST) on Friday to investigate the death of a man in his late 20s.

It is believed the young victim died during a bizarre sex act, but other details of the attack are being kept a secret.

The 38-year-old man was arrested at the scene and has appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court where he was remanded in custody to reappear in court in Novembe
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Promising results for H1N1 vaccine

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:27

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Updated: 19:30, Friday September 11, 2009


Results from an Australian trial of a swine flu vaccine have been promising, showing one dose is effective in preventing the virus in adults.

Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Jim Bishop says 169 people with swine flu have now died in Australia, with 336 currently in hospital. Of these, 65 people are in intensive care.

However the impact of the pandemic is lessening, with fewer cases now being reported, he says.

Professor Bishop told reporters new information published on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates promising results from the trial of a vaccine by Australian biopharmaceutical company CSL.

A single 15 milligram dose of the vaccine produced antibody levels consistent with preventing infection in 95 per cent of participants.

The results from a trial in children are not yet known.

'I think this is very promising. We're very pleased to see it,' Prof Bishop said.

'There have been no serious adverse effects reported.'

The only side effects experienced during the trial of 240 healthy adults aged 18 to 64 were the same as those encountered with the seasonal influenza vaccine.

These are a sore arm, muscle ache and pain and a headache for up to a day. These occurred in only a minority of participants.

The results of the trial have been provided to the independent medical drug regulator body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which will now give advice to the government.

Prof Bishop would not give a timeframe for when the TGA could be expected to give approval for the vaccine, other than to say the process is usually 'timely'.

When it does became available the vaccine will be provided to the most vulnerable in the community, including those with chronic underlying diseases, pregnant women, the indigenous population and children in special schools, he said.

Health care workers will also have access to the first batches due to their exposure to illness.

Prof Bishop said while Australia might be at the end of the flu season, since swine flu is a pandemic there was a chance there could be another major outbreak over summer.

This has been the case in London and Manchester in England and in the US, Prof Bishop said.

'The difficulty we currently have is what's going to happen next,' he said. 'It may come back next flu season. On the other hand it could come back any stage through our summer.'
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Rudd has English town all atwitter

Сообщение Ramzes » 12 сен 2009, 03:29

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Updated: 08:46, Saturday September 12, 2009


While it's unclear if Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ever visited Mablethorpe in England, he was among the first to sign up to the town's Twitter page.

While mystery surrounds whether the well-travelled Mr Rudd has ever visited Mablethorpe on England's north-east coast, he was among the first 'followers' to sign up to a Twitter page dedicated to the town.

The page was set up in August by retired local primary school teacher Chris Flanagan, who also runs the mymablethorpe.com website dedicated to the Lincolnshire township.

Just two days after the Twitter page went live, Mr Flanagan was stunned to discover Mr Rudd was a follower.

'Kevin was about the last person I would expect to follow,' Mr Flanagan told AAP.

'The local community is saying 'We have an international leader from the other side of the world who has some sort of interest in our town. Why?'.'

Mablethorpe, which lies about 160km west of Sheffield, is home to about 30,000 people and boasts sandy beaches, a seal sanctuary and fun fair among its local attractions.

One of September's high profile events is the Bathing Beauties Festival - an event dedicated to celebrating the town's traditional beach huts rather than bikini-clad ladies.

At first, Mr Flanagan suspected an imposter might have been playing a trick and using Mr Rudd's name on the Twitter page.

But a few checks revealed that the prime ministerial 'tweet' posted on August 24 was legitimate.

His message was: 'Survived yesterday wearing All Blacks tie. Just. But a bet is a bet. KRudd' - a reference to how he donned an All Blacks tie to honour a bet with his NZ counterpart John Key after New Zealand beat Australia in the Bledisloe Cup test match.

Mr Flanagan dismissed suggestions the Mablethorpe Twitter page had first been following Mr Rudd's own popular Twitter page and by some quirk of computer technology had managed to receive 'tweets' from the prime minister.

He said while he had heard of Mr Rudd before, the Mablethorpe Twitter page had only been up and running for two days before Mr Rudd joined as a follower.

He had repeatedly emailed Mr Rudd's own website to try to confirm the prime minister's interest in Mablethorpe but had not yet received a response.

Despite the mystery about Mr Rudd's interest in the town, Mr Flanagan and many locals hope he will visit them one day.

'We would do more than roll out the red carpet,' Mr Flanagan said.

'We've got lots of attractions. If he loves nature he could visit the seal sanctuary or ride on the dodgems at the fun fair to let off some steam.

'Or we could give him a game of beach cricket.

'We'd give him a good time. But we'd probably keep kangaroo steak off the menu and sneak in some fish and chips instead.'
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NSW premier calls meeting on Ferguson

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:36

Updated: 14:23, Wednesday September 16, 2009

NSW Premier Nathan Rees has convened a top-level meeting to discuss the case of convicted sex offender Dennis Ferguson, who is refusing to move from his home.

The 61-year-old, run out of communities in Queensland because of his conviction for child sex offences, has been living in public housing in Ryde, in the city's northwest, for the past two weeks.

Outraged locals protested at the weekend after discovering he was in the area and Housing Minister David Borger said on Monday that Mr Ferguson would be moved.

But on Tuesday the minister's office said the government did not have the power to force him out.

On Wednesday morning, Mr Rees said he had ordered his ministers to convene a meeting of senior officers from the departments of housing, fair trading, corrective services and the attorney-general.

'The group will be chaired by the director general of the department of premier and cabinet and will explore all options and legal advice regarding the relocation of Mr Ferguson,' his office said in a statement.

'The police minister's office has advised that police will continue to monitor the situation closely.'

Mr Borger said on Tuesday that he was seeking legal advice on the matter, believing it was untenable for Mr Ferguson to continue living in the neighbourhood.

'I don't believe this is an appropriate location for this individual (and) I have instructed my department to do everything they possibly can to assist (him) to move from that area,' he said.

'There are many worried families.'

But prisoner advocacy group Justice Action says it has advised Mr Ferguson to stay at his Ryde address.

'He is entitled to the space, he has a lease and a legal entitlement,' the group's spokesman, Brett Collins, said on Tuesday.

'He is making a stand and will not go.'

Mr Collins said Mr Ferguson was liked by his neighbours and did not pose a risk to the community.

The Liberal MP for the seat of Lane Cove, Anthony Roberts, said it was 'bizarre' that Mr Ferguson had been allowed into NSW in the first place.

'He's a Queensland paedophile. He should be the problem of the Queensland government,' he told the ABC on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell told reporters he would support law changes to give the government greater power in intervene in cases like that of Mr Ferguson.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Mr Ferguson sold toys on Sydney streets for a charity.

Mr Ferguson used his middle name Ray to order merchandise from Diabetes Australia and was seen selling fundraiser pens, magnets and toys in Kings Cross, the Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.
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Plans to move sex offender

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:38

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Updated: 20:16, Wednesday September 16, 2009


Police have called for community calm amid plans to hold a meeting and possible protest about the housing arrangements of a child sex offender in suburban Sydney.

Dennis Ferguson, 61, has been living in Ryde for the past two weeks, but is under pressure to move on after residents learned of his past.

Residents in Ryde who support Mr Ferguson's removal are planning to meet on Thursday night to discuss options.

'This is a very emotional issue,' NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters in Sydney.'

'My message to communities is this: Please exercise some calm in this. Don't take the laws into your own hands.'

'Let the police work through with other government agencies to come up with a solution to what has been a highly emotional situation that we're dealing with right now.'

'Police are dealing with senior government officers in all the relevant agencies to come up with a solution I'm looking forward to hearing the results that come from these meetings.'

Mr Ferguson was run out of several communities in Queensland after completing a 14 year jail term there, and has also changed address since moving to NSW.

While asking for calm, Mr Scipione conceded that people had a right to protest.

'This is not a police responsibility in itself but we are certainly keen to be involved so we can come up with a solution that meets the needs of everyone,' he said.

One of Mr Ferguson's neighbours on Wednesday delivered a replica coffin to the convicted pedophile's home after the 61 year old told media outlets that the only way he would leave his new home was in a pine box.

A suspected unlit firebomb was found outside Mr Ferguson's home on Tuesday night, after Housing Minister David Borger said the government could not remove him because it did not have the power to do so.
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Telstra Foxtel sale may shake up pay TV

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:39

Изображение
Updated: 16:17, Wednesday September 16, 2009


Telstra's possible divestment of Foxtel, as a result of federal government reforms to the telecoms industry, could spark a shake-up of the local pay television market.

Telstra may be forced to part with its 50 per cent holding in Foxtel if it refuses to voluntarily separate its retail and wholesale businesses under the government's proposed industry reforms announced on Tuesday.

The remaining stake in the pay-TV entity is held by Sky Cable, an equal joint venture between Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Analysts said on Wednesday Sky Cable would be the most obvious benefactor of any Telstra sell-off, as the partners have first right of refusal over the stake.

That could see Kerry Stokes' Seven Network become an indirect owner of Foxtel, after Seven recently boosted its holding in Consolidated Media to 19.9 per cent and won two board seats.

Market observers believe Mr Stokes's desire for Foxtel fuelled his grab of Consolidated Media shares.

James Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings Ltd is the dominant shareholder in Consolidated Media with about 40 per cent.

Credit Suisse analysts have valued Foxtel at about $3.8 billion, meaning it would cost Consolidated Media and News about $950 million to boost their stakes to 50 per cent each.

News has more than enough cash to fund such an acquisition, while Consolidated Media's recent $441 million sale of its stake in online job ads group Seek Ltd would giving it room for such a purchase, Credit Suisse said.

As well, a possible exit by Telstra could provide the impetus for a merger of Foxtel and regional pay TV operation Austar Communications Ltd.

'We think it likely that shareholders complexities have been one of the factors inhibiting such a development in the past,' Credit Suisse analysts Jolanta Masojada and Belinda Tillbrook said in a client note.

'While costs benefits of such a move could be substantial, we think the strategic benefits of a larger subscriber base could be compelling ahead of the launch of the government's $43 billion national broadband network.'

But such a situation is unlikely to unfold, with most analysts tipping Telstra to negotiate with the government and to agree to some form of separation, therefore avoiding the Foxtel divestment.

Telstra said at its most recent results presentation it placed a high value on its Foxtel stake.
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Calls for Future Fund investigation

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:40

Изображение
Updated: 14:09, Wednesday September 16, 2009


The coalition is demanding an investigation into the federal government's role in a decision by the Future Fund to sell a third of its stake in Telstra.

But Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has flatly rejected suggestions the fund was given a heads-up about regulatory reforms the government introduced to parliament on Tuesday that will have a substantial impact on the telco's future.

The fund, which was set up in 2006 to help ensure future governments can cover public-sector superannuation liabilities, operates independently of the government. It sold off a third of its stake in Telstra three weeks ago, netting almost $2.4 billion.

'I'm not making the accusations, (but) ... that's something that will have to be looked at and investigated,' opposition frontbencher Bob Baldwin told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

When quizzed about the issue, Senator Conroy told ABC Radio: '(Fund chairman) David Murray and I have had no conversations at any stage about the government's plans.'

Mr Baldwin echoed the concerns of the Australian Shareholders' Association, which predicts Telstra's growth will be impeded by the government's plan for the telecommunications sector.

'Mum and dad investors can feel that they've been left out of the loop. That decision has been taken without due concern to their investments,' he said.

Association chief executive Stuart Wilson said his organisation had received a steady stream of complaints since the announcement.

'(It) really pulls the rug out from underneath the 1.4 million (Telstra) shareholders,' he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

'It is a real kick in the teeth, and there's really not one aspect of it that is positive for shareholders.'

Outspoken Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey was just as adamant.

'This is a dog (of a deal),' he told reporters.

But Labor backbencher Jim Turnour is confident shareholders will benefit in the end.

'This is really a win-win for Telstra and the Australian public,' he said, repeating Senator Conroy's line.

The minister has rejected criticism that the government is forcing Telstra to split its operations.

The telco will be prevented from buying the wireless spectrum it needs to deliver new mobile phone services unless it agrees to a voluntary break-up of its business.

The opposition says Labor is holding a gun to Telstra's head.

'We're not compelling Telstra to do anything,' Senator Conroy said.

The government had established a framework and 'invited' Telstra to consider a range of options.

'We're not taking anything away from Telstra.'

Australia's telecommunications sector had a failed competitive structure, Senator Conroy said.

'That lack of competition has seen higher prices for Australian consumers across the board.'
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Businesses without phones for a week

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:40

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Updated: 19:31, Wednesday September 16, 2009


A contractor who accidentally cut Telstra cables in Sydney's CBD faces a one million repair bill as thousands of businesses prepare for a week without phone internet and mobile phone coverage.

More than two-thousand phone lines and 12 mobile phone towers were disabled when EnergyAustralia contractors cut through 10 thousand copper wires and multiple-fibre optic cables.

Telstra is unable to say how many businesses have been affected and says the work will take about a week to complete.

The Telco says it's had about 50 calls so far and it's possible the impact's less than expected.
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Police look for clues at Hallam bashing

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:41

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Updated: 13:33, Wednesday September 16, 2009


Police are investigating the brutal bashing of a man who was left fighting for his life in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

Police said the man, believed to be in his 20s, had been assaulted and was found near a factory area in Hallam on the Princes Highway at 12.45am on Wednesday morning.

The man had a fractured skull and internal bleeding in his head.

He was taken to the Dandenong Hospital for the treatment of his potentially life-threatening injuries.

Detectives say they have very little information about the attack and are not sure when or where it took place.

A crime scene has been set up at the location where the man was found and forensic specialists are investigating.
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Nelson needles Turnbull

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:42

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Updated: 19:27, Wednesday September 16, 2009


Outgoing former opposition leader Brendan Nelson continued to needle his successor Malcolm Turnbull's approach to climate change a day after a party room rebellion by more than a dozen coalition MPs.

Dr Nelson used his valedictory speech in parliament on Wednesday to call on the parties to put the welfare of the public ahead of political advantage in considering the likely personal cost of an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Labor took advantage of the outbreak of coalition disunity with Treasurer Wayne Swan accusing the opposition of being so stuck in the past on climate change as to be like the stone age cartoon family The Flintstones.

Junior Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said that on the first anniversary of Mr Turnbull taking the opposition leadership 'the coalition still have no policy on the issue'.

'In fact, the sceptics have gained ground and the evidence is that the coalition are splitting on this issue,' Mr Combet told parliament.

Mr Combet seized on comments by Liberal backbencher and former Howard government minister Wilson Tuckey who said on Wednesday that most coalition MPs opposed the ETS and suggested a conscience vote in the party room in November.

'They are a shambles on this important policy issue - a complete rabble,' Mr Combet said.

The opposition joined crossbench senators in August to defeat Labor's ETS bills but now appear divided over how to approach a second vote in November.

In a farewell speech to the opposition party room meeting on Tuesday Dr Nelson's comments about the ETS sparked a 90-minute debate in which more than a dozen MPs said they wanted the ETS bills delayed until the new year.

This flies in the face of Mr Turnbull's desire to work with business and negotiate amendments with the government to allow the ETS to be passed.

This is despite coalition policy which favours a delay in the passage of the ETS until after the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen in December and after the US government passes its own legislation.

But Mr Turnbull told reporters on Wednesday there were no plans for a conscience vote on an amended ETS.

'We will prepare our amendments, we will take them to the party room. We will then take them to the government and negotiate with them,' Mr Turnbull said.

'We will get an outcome. We will come back to the party room and we will make a decision as to how we vote on the legislation in the form that we can finally reach agreement on with the government.'

In his final speech in parliament before bowing out of politics at the end of the month, Dr Nelson asked 'let us not be a nation of intellectual lemmings'.

He said it was not in Australia's best interests to introduce an ETS when it is only responsible for 1.4 per cent of global emissions without knowing what the three major emitters will do.

'Why introduce the biggest change to the economic architecture in this nation as we emerge from the deepest economic downturn in 80 years for no environmental gain in the absence of a global agreement?' Dr Nelson said.

It defied logic and violated Australia's best interests, he said.

In the meantime, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the government is still awaiting any opposition amendments to the ETS.

'From what I understand Mr Turnbull has a bigger task than that and that is to overcome the divisions that remain in his own party room,' she said.
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Laurie charged with assault

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:44

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Updated: 16:43, Wednesday September 16, 2009


The stop start NRL career of Wests Tigers cult hero Daine Laurie is back on the skids after he was charged with assaulting his partner and stood down indefinitely on Wednesday.

Laurie is alleged to have assaulted his partner, the mother of his two children, at their Leumeah home shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

Campbelltown Police were called to the home and Laurie, 25, was arrested and charged with common assault a short time later.

He has been bailed to appear at Campbelltown Local Court on September 22.

Disturbingly Laurie is the seventh NRL player within 12 months charged with assaulting a female, continuing the worst season on record for player behaviour in rugby league.

The Tigers immediately stood Laurie down from all club activities pending the police investigation thereby ruling him out of the Western Suburbs Magpies side for Saturday's NSW Cup semi final against Wentworthville.

'The board has made the decision to stand Daine Laurie down for an indefinite period,' said Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys in a statement.

'There is a need to allow the proper legal processes to run their course but we also believe standing Daine down is the appropriate course of action considering the best interest of all parties concerned.'

'The club is working with authorities on the matter and is committed to providing support and counselling to all parties.'

'The club enforces a strict code of conduct for all of its employees and is totally opposed to any action that places the health, safety and wellbeing of any individual in jeopardy.'

Laurie has played 20 NRL games since his debut in 2008, 10 games in each season.

The impact forward played eight NRL games consecutively from round 10 to 17, but was left out of the Tigers side in the run to the finals after missing several training sessions.

Laurie is contracted at the Tigers until the end of the 2010 NRL season, but the assault allegations may jeopardise the final year of that deal with the club already losing patience over his attitude towards training late in the season.
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Hicks urged fight to clear name

Сообщение Ramzes » 16 сен 2009, 14:45

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Updated: 11:16, Wednesday September 16, 2009

David Hicks has been urged by his father to fight to clear his name amid US government revelations that his terrorism-related charge could be quashed.

Adelaide-born Hicks pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism at a US military commission hearing in 2007.

But the US government now believes the charge isn't a law of war offence and convictions such as Hicks' could be overturned.

US assistant attorney-general David Kris has told a US senate committee examining military commissions there were 'serious questions' about the material support charge.

'Our experts believe there is a significant risk that appellate courts will ultimately conclude that material support for terrorism is not a traditional law of war offence, thereby threatening to reverse hard-won convictions,' Mr Kris has told the committee.

Hicks pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to seven years' jail with all but nine months suspended.

Under a plea bargain, Hicks was returned to Australia from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay - where he had been held since January 2002 - to serve the remainder of his sentence.

He was released from South Australia's Yatala prison in December 2007 and has since moved to Sydney, where he has married.

Hicks has refused interview requests since his release, but his father, Terry Hicks, on Wednesday urged his son to fight for his conviction to be overturned.

'I'd like him to do that,' Mr Hicks said.

'It will probably open a can of worms as far as taking the government to task and remuneration for time spent (in jail).'

'There are a lot of issues to wade through.'

'Myself, if I was in his position, I would be going, 'Okay, I'm going to take them to task'.

'David, I don't know - I know the legal people he's working with are looking very closely at the issues.'

Mr Hicks said the material support for terrorism charge was created by the Bush administration 'to try and get some of these people to plead guilty to a charge'.

'It was getting in the too-hard basket and they had to charge people with something,' he said.

David Hicks was charged in June 2004 with conspiracy, attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent and aiding the enemy.

Those charges were struck out by the US Supreme Court in a June 2006 judgment which ruled the military commissions were unlawful.

The Bush government then revamped the commissions, with Hicks charged with providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war in February 2007.

The attempted murder count was dropped a month later when a retired US military judge reviewed the charges against Hicks.
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Re: Австралийская лента новостей

Сообщение Vlad E-burg » 17 сен 2009, 09:20

31-й ежегодный Фестиваль Ветров –событие, привлекающее любителей воздушных змеев со всего мира состоялось на Бонди Бич в Сиднее, в воскресенье, 13 сентября. Продуваемый всеми ветрами сиднейский пляж предоставляет идеальные условия для запуска воздушных змеев. В фестивале приняли участие как новички, так и настоящие эксперты из австралийского Общества воздушных змеев. Многие участники фестиваля запускали спроектированных собственноручно змеев.
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Коньяк расширяет сосуды, пиво - мочевой пузырь, а водка - связи! Правда, смотря где пить...

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Beazley to become US ambassador

Сообщение Ramzes » 17 сен 2009, 14:45

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Updated: 12:30, Thursday September 17, 2009


Former federal opposition leader Kim Beazley has been named Australia's next ambassador to the United States.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who replaced Mr Beazley as Labor leader in 2006, in Canberra on Thursday.

He replaces Dennis Richardson who has returned to Canberra from Washington to head up the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Rudd also announced the appointment of former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson as Australia's next ambassador to the European Community.

Dr Nelson will also serve as Australia's representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), as special representative to the World Health Organisation and as ambassador to Belgium and Luxemburg.

Both Mr Beazley and Dr Nelson had served as defence ministers, both had led their parties and both had earned the trust and respect of the Australian people, Mr Rudd said.
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Rescued backpacker donates to SES

Сообщение Ramzes » 17 сен 2009, 14:48

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Updated: 19:15, Thursday September 17, 2009

British backpacker Jamie Neale has sent the State Emergency Service a fraction of the money he earned from selling his tale of survival in the New South Wales Blue Mountains.

The SES found the 19-year-old Londoner 12 days after he disappeared during a bushwalk on July 3.

Neale's earned 200-thousand dollars from selling his story to the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program.

At the time he said part of the deal was that rescue services would receive 100-thousand dollars worth of local advertising to inform the public about how to properly prepare for hikes.

The Seven Network's reported Neale has personally donated 15-hundred dollars to the Blue Mountains SES.
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Swan approves James Hardie restructure

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:25

Updated: 21:17, Friday September 18, 2009

Treasurer Wayne Swan has approved the corporate restructure of building products company James Hardie, which could see the company relocate to Ireland.

James Hardie announced in June that it would shift to Ireland in a bid to receive more favourable tax benefits than it currently does with its domicile in the Netherlands.

The company moved from Australia in 2001 but management said last month the Netherlands domicile had become unsustainable.

With the move to Ireland, executives would also be able to spend more time in the US and Australia, the company said, an essential requirement during the current housing downturn that has severely impacted James Hardie.

Shareholders backed the move to restructure James Hardie as a European company, or Societas Europaea (SE), in August.

In January they will vote on the Ireland relocation.

Mr Swan on Friday approved the restructure, as long as the company met its asbestos compensation commitments.

'I approve the proposed corporate restructure of James Hardie Industries N.V., subject to strict assurances by James Hardie that this proposal will not alter its binding commitments to make future payments to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund and enhances its ability to make contributions in the medium to longer term,' Mr Swan said in a statement.

Former Hardie chief executive Peter Macdonald was last month fined $350,000 and banned from directing a company for 15 years over misleading statements about the company's asbestos compensation fund.

Smaller fines and bans were imposed on two other former James Hardie executives and seven non-executive directors over the compensation controversy.
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ANZ to reduce some bank fees

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:26

Updated: 19:03, Friday September 18, 2009

ANZ Banking Group is reducing some fees on personal accounts but will abolish exception fees altogether only for recipients of government benefits.

ANZ said it would scrap dishonour, overdrawn, late payment and over-limit fees for benefit recipients who have the bank's Access Basic account only.

From December 15, the bank will reduce overdrawn, dishonour and over-limit fees applying to all other customers, but raise the monthly account service fee on its everyday transaction account by $1.

The Access Advantage monthly fee will rise to $6 per month, ANZ said in a statement on Friday.

Overdrawn fees will drop from $35 to $6 on all personal transaction accounts, and no fee will be charged where the overdrawn amount is less than $50.

Dishonour fees will be reduced to $6 from $35, the bank said.

Over-limit fees and late payment fees applying to credit cards and will drop to $20 from $35, and late payment fees on loans, mortgages and Esanda consumer loans will also be cut to $20 from $35.

ANZ's information services fee will be lowered from $17.50 to $15 per quarter hour, the bank said.

The bank has also abolished other fees including those applying to five types of bank statements, four fees related to mortgages, cashed cheques, and transfers to other banks.

For mortgage holders, ANZ said it has 'simplified' its locked rate fee, lifting it to a flat $750 from the previous $600 plus 0.15 per cent of the loan amount.

ANZ is also raising the monthly fee on Access Select accounts to $3 from $2 and lifting the annual fee on its Breakfree package to $375 from $340.

ANZ's acting chief of Australian operations, Graham Hodges, said the fee changes would benefit customers by around $140 million a year.

He said the bank will introduce alerts on automatic teller machines (ATM) from 2010 for those customers in danger of being overdrawn following an ATM withdrawal.

ANZ's move comes six weeks after its rivals cut exception fees, with National Australia Bank the first to move in late July by abolishing its $30 overdrawn account fee on all personal transaction and savings accounts.

Westpac soon followed suit, cutting its exception fees across credit cards and personal and business accounts to $9 from up to $45.

On August 5 Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it will cut from October 1 exception fees across a range of personal and business transaction accounts and implement safety nets to help customers avoid the fees.

CBAs's dishonour fees will be reduced to $5 from $35 on business and personal accounts and overdraft fees will be reduced to $10 from $30 on business and personal transaction accounts.

Late payment fees will also be reduced on home and personal Loan accounts to $25 from $45.

Banks have come under fire over their penalty fees since the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed the industry reaped about $1.2 billion - or 10 per cent - of its total revenue from exception fees of various types and on many accounts, in 2007/08.
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Swan on population figures

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:27

Updated: 19:39, Friday September 18, 2009

Treasurer Wayne Swan has ruled out raising the pension age further and says he does not believe new population estimates will spark an immigration debate.

Mr Swan unveiled revised estimates on Friday which show Australia's population will increase to 35 million by 2049, boosting 2007 estimates by more than 7 million.

Mr Swan said the forecast growth presented new opportunities as well as challenges, with the proportion of those aged over 65 now expected to be lower.

'A growing population in an economy is a very important part of economic prosperity,' Mr Swan told reporters after releasing the estimates in a speech at the University of NSW in Sydney.

He said countries such as Japan were encountering 'very big economic challenges' as a falling population produced difficulties in the economy.

'A growing population is matched generally by a prosperous economy,' Mr Swan said.

Despite acknowledging that Australia's population was ageing, he ruled out increasing the aged pension threshold above the age of 67 which the government set in the last budget.

'No, we're not going to do that again. We made our announcement in the budget about the pension age, we explained the reasons for doing it and the reason we moved in the budget was because we had moved to put in place a very significant increase in the rate of base pension.

'Too many pensioners were living in dire circumstances.'

He pointed to data showing the nation's fertility rate had increased and said Australia's immigration intake was unlikely to be put under the microscope.

'I don't believe it will spark such a debate.

'Australia is a vibrant country, Australia is a welcoming country and Australia understands the nature of the challenges that flow from an ageing population.'
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ACCC on supermarket giants

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:29

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Updated: 19:03, Friday September 18, 2009


Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have agreed to end a practice which prevented smaller competitors from setting up in the same shopping centre.

The grocery market titans have promised the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission they will no longer insert restrictive provisions in supermarket leases.

Eighty per cent of existing business arrangements favouring Coles and Woolworths will be abolished from Friday.

The move to end anti-competitive practices is expected to open up shopping centre space to Aldi, Franklins, Foodworks and IGA stores.

The competition regulator's chairman Graeme Samuel described the deal to break up the supermarket duopoly as a 'major breakthrough' for grocery competition in Australia.

'Reducing the barriers to entry for new and expanding players opens the possibility for Australian consumers to have greater choices in where to shop, and potentially pay lower prices as a result,' he said in a statement.

Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Emerson said 80 per cent of the 750 existing leases, favouring Coles and Woolworths will cease immediately.

The remaining 148 leases will be phased out over five years, with no restrictive provisions allowed in new stores.

'Barriers to entry in shopping centres that have restricted competition for so long to the detriment of consumers are being torn down,' Dr Emerson said.
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Benefits of sustainable tourism

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:30

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Updated: 18:22, Friday September 18, 2009

Australia is well placed to pull in the tourist dollar with its natural landscapes and wonders, but as the world becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, holiday makers are looking at the green option, giving rise to sustainable tourism. Keith Bellows the editor and chief of National Geographic Traveller is a strong believer in sustainable tourism.

Bellows conducts speeches in support of the Qantas Sustainable Tourism Initiative and he says the company is recognising how Australian tourism operators can be trained to be more conscious about what sustainable tourism can do for tourism.

National Geographic Traveller magazine has been 'deeply conscious of the impact we have on places we love most' for at least 10 years and Bellows says is a magazine that recognises the power of authenticity, culture and sustainability.

Awareness of the impact of tourism on the environment began about 10 years ago 'but what's happened now with carbon offsets and with global warming and with all the other things that are emerging, threats to general tourism, we're seeing people really start to care more'.

A simple definition of sustainable tourism?

'Basically, it is what you do today has an impact on the place you visit. If you don't have a powerfully supportive impact on it, it may not be there tomorrow,' he said, adding that there are a lot aspects.

'It's not just green, it's investing the locals in the value of what it is that they have there. It's recognising the heritage, it's recognising the culture, it's recognising all the aspects that makes a place special. And if you don't recognise those, you could lose it.'

Sustainable tourism is a generational issue as well, 'because it's not just for our purity of the tourism experience, it's for that of our kids and their kids. We have a responsibility.'

In his speeches, Bellows aim is to raise awareness that sustainable tourism isn't just happening in Australia, it's an issues happening around world. He gives the example of Angkor where 10 years ago they would get around 5,000 visitors, but are not getting around 40,000 visitors a month, or the Taj Mahal, which he say 80 per cent of people who go to India visit and it's 'under incredible pressure'.

Is there money to be made out of being involved or committed to sustainable tourism?

'You have hotel A and hotel B,' he says. 'Hotel A is really doing a job of convincing people and acting on this that they care about the environment; they care about the heritage, they care about the local food, they care about the local people. Who are you going to go to versus the hotel that doesn't care; doesn't really have a thought about the future or the preservation of the place? That's what's going to happen, and I think the clever tour operators and tourist providers are going to realise by doing it right, they will make a profit, a bigger profit.'

Bellows believes that in the next five years around the world there will be 'forward thinkers' among hotels that are going to consider how to make sustainable tourism make sense for the public'

'Just take an example like local produce,' he says. 'If you serve local produce, that's investing in your local culture and your local area, thinking about what kind of effect you want to have on the local environment and invest in it now because its going to pay off down the road and people will recognise you for it.'

Bellows has seen the degradation of great landmarks over the last 10 years, such as Uluru. He predicts that in another 10 years, you may not be able to go there because there's been too much degradation, or if you can go, it may cost $500.

'These kind of gating principles are going to have to happen if we can't get our act together early enough and soon enough and responsibly enough.'
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What the future holds for investors

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:41

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Updated: 18:21, Friday September 18, 2009


Justin O'Brien from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney shares his expert opinion on what the future holds for investors.

O'Brien reflects on twelve months ago where the market was a very different place.

'There was a lot of fear on the streets; no one really knew on an hour-by-hour basis what was actually happening,' O'Brien said. 'the six months that followed the collapse are ones that brokers, fund managers, financial planners, and most importantly, investors, will not forget in a hurry.'

'Because no one really knew bankers didn't know, all that they actually did know was that they had to act and act very, very quickly. And that's what central bankers did around the world.'

While O'Brien admits to being thrown by the size of the bounce, he says it's characteristic of a V-shaped recovery 'You go off that cliff and straight down and the recovery can be just as severe on the upside and that's what we're seeing' and attributes it to the stimulus packages.'

'The crash was in '29, the government intervention or spending didn't really start to kick in until 1933 and then the market rallied.' O'Brien said. 'But as soon as government support was withdrawn, the market dropped once again.'

O'Brien believes that's where the risk is. 'There's a lot of commentary in the market, in the papers talking about pulling the stimulus too early, because that's what we call the double dip, that's when the V becomes the W.'

O'Brien doesn't see a pullback in the near term, but he doesn't rule out the X factor which may change his mind, he is an optimistic on the local front.

'The OECD came back just recently and said the Aussie economy is top of the top; it's the best of the economies, you don't get any better than,' he said.

This can be largely attributed to the strong outlook for commodities.

'The commodity story doesn't go away,' O'Brien said. 'It's about fixed asset investment, particularly in China. That is almost half of their fiscal stimulus that is going into building the roads, bridges, etc.'

90 per cent of our exports go into such things, and O'Brien warns this is where the X Factor may come from.

'That could be the risk, but anything else, I think that if you look at the Central Bankers, there's not the fear there was 12 months ago. They've all got their foot on the stimulus pedal.'

The only other thing to monger fear is inflation and interest rates the latter of which is often front page news.

'Inflation is always the evil of investors,' says O'Brien. 'But is it a short-term problem? No. Is it a long-term problem? Yes. When will it start? Two years plus.'

Rallies can continue for several quarters the key question to ask is, have earnings turned?

O'Brien determines that the earnings for the next financial year are looking 'relatively flat' but when considering the calendar year, 'we're looking for a strong earnings growth in 2010, 2011'.

What are O'Brien's thoughts on the ever-contentious Telstra? He believes that shares in the company are roughly the same price as when he first got into broking ten years ago.

'It's been a really disappointing investment for a lot of clients that have endured it.'

'The only thing holding his affection is its dividend yield and franking credits.'

He describes it as a great index stock, but warns it is in a great deal of debt. But can the dividends be sustained in the new model, going forward? O'Brien doubts it.
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Nicola Roxon approves swine flu vaccine

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:42

Updated: 19:03, Friday September 18, 2009

A swine flu vaccine has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Health Minister Nicola Roxon has confirmed.

The vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical firm CSL, will be available later in September.

Ms Roxon said there was enough vaccination available for all adults.

'I encourage people to now take the opportunity to protect themselves and their families against the pandemic flu by getting vaccinated,' she told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Ms Roxon said issues concerning multi-dose vials and indemnity have both been resolved.

'The government from day one has been determined to combat this disease in a sensible, clear and direct way,' she said.

'The vaccine now is our best defence against the pandemic flu.'

She said while the virus has been mild for most people, it has had severe effects on more than 100 children.

She said the flu has been associated with thousands of hospitalisations and 172 deaths in Australia.

Worldwide there have been 3,500 deaths associated with the virus.
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Babcock and Brown in trading halt

Сообщение Ramzes » 18 сен 2009, 14:42

Updated: 19:03, Friday September 18, 2009

Babcock and Brown Infrastructure may may have found its knight in shining armour with a yet unnamed party considering recapitalising the fund.

The transport and energy infrastructure investor has request a two day trading halt as it considers the indicative non-binding proposal.

No details yet on who's behind the deal, but the Australian newspaper reported earlier that as many as eight investors would contribute as much as $1 billion dollars in return for convertible bonds and equity.
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Rudd arrives in New York for G20

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 сен 2009, 02:51

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Updated: 09:20, Sunday September 20, 2009


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has arrived in the United States for a week-long visit including talks on climate change and the global recession.

The prime minister will attend a UN General Assembly meeting in New York and a G20 conference of major developed and developing nations in Pittsburgh.

At the G20 summit, hosted by US President Barack Obama, Mr Rudd will join talks on the next stage of dealing with the global financial crisis, including a coordinated exit strategy from stimulus spending, and limiting executive salaries.

'There'll be many discussions about the impact of the recession, unemployment and small businesses around the world shutting their doors.'

Mr Rudd flew into New York from Canberra and will immediately host a dinner for local businesses with Australian interests.

'I'll be seeking to use this as an opportunity to promote Australia as a destination for investment for now and for the long term,' he said.

'We have a good story to tell given the performance of the rest of the international economy in what has been a very difficult time.'

Treasurer Wayne Swan, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will also be in the US this week.
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Pension increases through today

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 сен 2009, 02:53

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Updated: 07:04, Sunday September 20, 2009


Australia's 3.3 million aged pensioners are to receive long-awaited increases from today.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin says they're both fair and long overdue and will make a difference to the lives of many Australians.

Ms Macklin says it's the most significant reform to the pension system in 100 years.

A single pensioner on the maximum rate will now receive an extra 70 dollars per fortnight while a couple will receive an extra 30 dollars.

Pensioners will also have their quarterly utilities and telephone allowances replaced with a new pension supplement which also includes the GST and pharmacy allowances.
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Rudd's temper in spotlight again

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 сен 2009, 02:54

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Updated: 08:18, Sunday September 20, 2009


Prime Minister Rudd's temper is in the spotlight again after an apparent outburst directed at Labor's factional bosses, including three women.

According to the Sunday Telegraph Mr Rudd used the 'F word' several times when the MPs approached him about plans to slash printing allowances.

The outburst two weeks ago is said to have left everyone in shock.

Earlier this year Mr Rudd swore on TV and reduced an air hostess to tears.
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Albanese backs Rudd's response

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 сен 2009, 02:56

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Updated: 09:47, Sunday September 20, 2009


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had responded appropriately to Labor Party factional bosses seeking to prevent cuts to MPs' allowances, amid reports he used colourful language, a federal minister says.

The MPs copped some expletives when they visited Mr Rudd in his Parliament House office two Mondays ago to object to government plans to cut politicians' annual printing allowances by 25 per cent, to $75,000, News Limited newspapers report.

The prime minister reportedly said in the presence of three female MPs: I don't care what you fers think.

He later told another senator: You can get fed.

Asked about the report, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said Mr Rudd had responded appropriately to the auditor-general's report into entitlements.

The Australian people will get some comfort from the fact that the prime minister isn't dictated to by any group, faction, interest group within the party, Mr Albanese told Network Ten.

But, he said, he was not at the meeting to comment on the allegations of swearing.
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Property on the rise with grants

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 сен 2009, 02:57

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Updated: 06:45, Sunday September 20, 2009


Recent statistics have showed that tough financial times have helped some families realise their dreams of owning a home.

Extra money poured into the first home buyers grant has sparked new life in the property market with traditional buyers coming back.

According to the NSW Minister for Planning Kristina Keneally there has been an increase in demand without any real evidence that prices have increased.

The $24,000 first home buyers grant for new properties has assisted the decision making process for many purchasers, especially with the grant winding back this month.

Since the grants announcement there has been an average of 500 property approvals a month equating to a 19% increase.

Property developers have seen an improvement in purchasing with 'second and third home buyers (and) investors coming back into the market', according to John Carfi from Mirvac.
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Rudd talks on global economy

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 сен 2009, 16:23

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Updated: 16:28, Monday September 21, 2009

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told US television network CNN that the immediate withdrawal of financial stimulus from the global economy would be 'misplaced'.

Mr Rudd is in New York for a climate change-focused session of the United Nations General Assembly, before heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the Group of 20 (G20) developed and developing nations meeting later this week.

He told CNN that the federal government's stimulus packages and infrastructure investment had insulated Australia from the worst of the global financial crisis.

'We've managed to be the only economy across the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in the last 12 months to have generated positive growth... the only one to stay out of recession so far, the second lowest unemployment, the lowest debt, the lowest deficit,' he told his American audience.

But Mr Rudd admitted local unemployment would continue to rise.

'We are injecting large amounts of stimulus because we believe the maintenance of jobs... is critical, not just to human decency but critical also in terms of the path to economic recovery,' he said.

Mr Rudd called for global actions - such as halting major outbreaks of protectionism - to continue if worldwide economic stability was to be restored.

'Premature calls for the withdrawal of stimulus, which you hear elsewhere around the world, I think are misplaced in terms of the challenges which still lie ahead,' he said.

Mr Rudd outlined two major talking points for the Pittsburgh meetings, including a new sustainable growth model.

'To begin among us all to discuss and to deliberate on and to agree on a framework for coordinated withdrawal of these emergency measures over time,' he said.

'And secondly... we need a new sustainable growth model for the future, otherwise we may be looking at the prospect of flat global growth for a while to come.'

Mr Rudd said he was confident that global agreement could be reached on these issues.

'There is robust spirit of co-operation,' he said.

Earlier, Mr Rudd and former US president Bill Clinton have shared a relaxed breakfast in a small village just north of New York.

The pair used the Sunday morning meeting at Chappaqua in Westchester County to discuss Mr Rudd's participation on Tuesday afternoon at the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd said the two discussed the challenge of climate change, including through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and technologies like carbon capture and storage.

The spokesman said Mr Rudd and Mr Clinton agreed on the importance of green jobs as part of economic stimulus measures taken to deal with the impact of the global recession.

Once back in New York late on Sunday morning, Mr Rudd attended a service at St Thomas Episcopalian Church on Fifth Avenue with his wife Therese Rein.
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Wong proposes compromise deal on climate

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 сен 2009, 16:24

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Updated: 21:51, Monday September 21, 2009


Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says her plan to have flexible emission reduction targets for developing countries has been a hot topic of discussion in the United States.

Under the plan, which Senator Wong has outlined during a meeting of world environment ministers in Washington, developing countries would not be required to commit to the same targets as developed nations.

Instead, they can propose their own binding schedule of how and when reductions are made.

Senator Wong said the proposal had been labelled as 'interesting'.

'It's certainly been a topic of discussion both at the Major Economies Forum in Washington and... in New York,' she told ABC Radio on Monday.

'It's certainly been one of the issues that's been the subject and focus of discussion as one of the ways forward.'

The main aim of the plan is to break the deadlock that threatens to derail the Copenhagen climate change conference in December.

Senator Wong says the developed and developing world should have very different sets of commitments under an international agreement.

'What we recognise is that a one size fits all is not going to get the agreement (at Copenhagen) we need... (and) the broad participation from major developing economies.'

Family First senator Steve Fielding, who doubts the science of climate change, says he may back an Australian government plan to let developing countries propose their own cuts to carbon emissions.

Senator Steve Fielding said Senator Wong's proposal had some merit.

'I think we should wait until Copenhagen, and maybe we should be looking at those countries that need extra help,' he told ABC Television on Monday.

'We need to approach this in a less intimidating way for new players... for developing countries,' Senator Wong said.

However, the opposition says the proposal sends a feeble message.

Opposition frontbencher Peter Dutton said the compromise was telling developing nations they would not have to abide by global emission reduction targets.

'It's a pretty weak signal in terms of negotiation,' Mr Dutton told Sky News on Monday.

'There are some confusing messages coming out of the Rudd government.'

But Mr Dutton declined to answer if the coalition believed developing nations needed to sign up to binding targets.

Labor parliamentary secretary Bill Shorten said the compromise was not a cop-out.

'We're not trying to tell third world and emerging nations how they should run their economies,' he told Sky News.

'What we're seeing is the government, on the world stage, trying to strike international agreements, bringing people together.'
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MP talks candidly about depression

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 сен 2009, 16:26

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Updated: 21:53, Monday September 21, 2009

Senior liberal MP Andrew Robb admits he struggled to get out of bed for the last 50 years when a 'little black dog' visited him every morning.

The federal member for Goldstein has taken three months leave from the front bench while he receives treatment and recovers from a depressive condition known as diurnal variation.

Speaking candidly on Fairfax Radio he said the condition had been 'a lifelong thing'.

'I had it as a little kid and I just thought I'm not a morning person - I suspect I'm no different to many others,' Mr Robb said on Monday.

'But it meant that most of the day I'd be firing.

'I'm a decision-maker, I like solving problems, I like doing things while I'm in the parliament.

'I'd go to sleep taking on the world in a good mood.

'When I woke up in the last 50 years I'd be negative ... lacking confidence, not wanting to make decisions.

'I've never liked getting out of bed.'

He considered the feeling - that would last for several hours - 'normal' and developed strategies to combat it.

But as he got older, things changed.

'I found the little black dog that had visited me for two hours every morning all my life started to get a bit bigger and sometimes lasted longer.'

Swimming 1500 metres every morning for the last nine years failed to change the symptoms.

Increasing responsibilities forced him to confront the issue.

Mr Robb, 58, was diagnosed only when he contacted beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett six weeks ago.

During the initial treatment period he sought privately he went 'to hell and back'.

Meanwhile, he struggled to perform public duties, including board meetings and press conferences.

'You don't turn around 50 years of body chemistry in three or four weeks - you need patience.'

He said public admission of the illness had brought relief.

'It's much easier, I think, if those you love and you work with and your mates ... they know about it and they can help you rather than you try and hide it and live a lie.'
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Airport staff refused bail

Сообщение Ramzes » 21 сен 2009, 16:28

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Updated: 21:59, Monday September 21, 2009


Three men with alleged links to a drug importation syndicate operating out of Sydney Airport will be held in custody after facing court.

Matthew Robert Hay, 43, from Merrylands in Sydney's west, is charged with importing a commercial quantity and possessing a marketable quantity of cocaine, allegedly brought into Australia since April 23, 2009, hrough Sydney Airport.

In Sydney's Central Local Court on Monday, Hay - who Australian Federal Police say is employed as a caterer at the airport - represented himself when applying for bail, telling Magistrate Jane Culver the case against him was 'weak'.

But bail was refused and Hay was ordered to remain in custody, to face court next on September 28.

Jose Alquillera, 47, from Glenwood, faced the same court on the same two charges, with police alleging he had been linked to importing cocaine at some time since February 9, last year.

Alquillera, also said to be a caterer, did not apply for bail and it was formally refused, with his next court appearance scheduled for November 11.

The third man, Wayne Charles Williams, 55, from Mascot in Sydney's inner west, also faced Central Local Court on Monday, charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine and importing a marketable uantity of cocaine since February 9, 2009.

He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

He plans to apply for bail when next before the court on October 1.

Three other men charged in connection with the syndicate are due to face court on Tuesday and on October 27.

The six men, aged between 20 and 55 years, were arrested after a series of raids on Sydney properties on Sunday and the alleged seizure of one kilogram of cocaine with an estimated street value of $350,000.
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Dust shroud causes Sydney flight delays

Сообщение Ramzes » 23 сен 2009, 03:27

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Updated: 10:06, Wednesday September 23, 2009

Sydneysiders have woken to a massive dust storm that blanketed the city in thick red dust, causing severe delays at Sydney airport.

Severe winds are lashing the city, whipping up a bright orange haze over much of the state and forcing asthma sufferers and people suffering respiratory illnesses indoors.

Paramedics have reported a spike in calls for people suffering breathing difficulties and traffic authorities have warned motorists to take care after police reported 'high risk' behaviour on Sydney roads.

A blanket of red dust began to shroud Sydney just before dawn after a cold front moved in from central Australia and western NSW.

It came as the state was experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures and followed reports of visibility reduced to just 10 metres in Broken Hill.

A Sydney airport spokesman said 10 inbound international Sydney flights had been diverted to Melbourne and Brisbane on Wednesday morning.

'They may get back later in the day,' he told Macquarie Radio.

'We've got departures, they are occurring, but it's slow.'

Departing domestic flights were delayed by between 30 and 60 minutes, he said.

'People should check with their airline, they're going to need to be patient today.'

Two international flights and one domestic flight had managed to land on Wednesday morning.

A combination of strong cross winds and low visibility would lead to flight delays throughout the day.

'Departure and arrivals delays will be experienced at both Sydney's domestic and international airports,' the spokesman said.

'It's going to depend on how the visibility and the wind goes today.'

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds in Sydney with a gale warning issued for Sydney closed waters.

'Strong to gale force west to northwest winds, gradually easing late afternoon and evening,' the bureau says.

'Raised dust likely.'

Wind gusts of 65km/h have already been recorded at Sydney's Observatory Hill.

The NSW Ambulance Service issued a warning to people suffering from asthma or other respiratory illnesses to stay inside where possible and carry all medication.

'We have already seen an increase in calls to people suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems,' the Ambulance Service said in a statement.

'People with asthma in particular need to be aware of early warning signs especially if their condition does not respond to their usual medication.

'If your asthma does not respond quickly to your normal medication call 000 to get help immediately.'

Police have urged motorists to slow down and put their lights on due to the extreme dust levels.

'Police are especially concerned that drivers are continuing to travel at dangerous speeds,' a NSW police statement said.

South West Region Traffic Coordinator Senior Sergeant John Kane said he was concerned that drivers seemed oblivious to the reduced visibility caused by the dust.

'Drivers are continuing to drive at speeds which are high-risk in these conditions,' he said.

Sydney Ferries has cancelled services on the harbour and express buses are running between Manly and the city.

The dust is expected to settle in the afternoon as the winds ease, with a forecast maximum temperature of 22 degrees and a high fire danger.

The State Emergency Service says it has received 175 requests for assistance across the state following reports of strong winds.

Hail stones as big as cricket balls hit the town of Crookwell near Goulburn, damaging windows and tiles, but there have been few reports of damage in Sydney.

Bureau of Meteorology spokeswoman Jane Golding said dust had settled on much of the state and visibility was poor.

'It's pretty widespread,' she told ABC Radio.

'We've had reports of low visibility up out as far up as Moree, Dubbo, Canberra's got some raised dust in the area and Wollongong, so it's very widespread.'

Ms Golding said the weather system was moving in from the west and Sydney could expect dusty conditions throughout the morning.

The barometric pressure had dropped significantly, she said.
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Qld fire crews brace for a busy day

Сообщение Ramzes » 23 сен 2009, 03:29

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Updated: 08:53, Wednesday September 23, 2009


Queensland firefighters are preparing for another day of hot, dry conditions that fuelled a dozen grass fires.

Hundreds of firefighters were called to battle the fires as fire bans rolled into place across more than half of the state.

While the cause of the fires were not known, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) Rural Operations director Paul Adcock has said it's possible arsonists were behind some, especially those in forest areas.

In a plea through the media, Mr Adcock's message was: 'Don't do it.'

'One day hopefully you'll get caught,' he said.

Meanwhile, authorities have asked residents to prepare their bushfire plans in the event any fires threatened homes.

Fire conditions have been described as 'very high to severe' in a huge area stretching along the southeast coastline, through the majority of inland Queensland and as far north as Mount Isa.

In these weather conditions, fires can threaten suddenly and without warning, the QRFS says.

Total fire bans came into force on Monday night in much of southern and central Queensland and fire bans throughout the southeast, including Brisbane, started on Tuesday
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Small quakes rattle Melbourne

Сообщение Ramzes » 23 сен 2009, 03:31

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Updated: 08:53, Wednesday September 23, 2009


Earthquakes and flash flood warnings in Victoria kept parts of the state on watch on Tuesday but heavy rainfalls failed to escalate as forecast.

Two small earthquakes rattled Melbourne's south about 14 seconds apart and hit the Mornington Peninsula region at about 6.20pm (AEST) on Tuesday, Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepson said.

The quakes recorded magnitudes of 3.0 and 2.6 about 20km south of Frankston but there were no reports of damage.

While the state received valuable rainfall, it did not cause flooding.

In the Mallee region in Victoria's northwest, the town of Walpeup recorded the highest total rainfall with 35mm, while Albury saw 30mm fall.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Peter Newham said flash flood warnings remained in northeast Victoria, the alpine region, and in East Gippsland.

'It wasn't quite as extensive (overnight) as we thought,' he says.

'It's now raining pretty heavily in Gippsland.'

More shower activity is expected for the rest of the day and a gale wind warning for coastal waters has been issued.
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Teens embroiled in rugby brawl

Сообщение Ramzes » 23 сен 2009, 03:32

Updated: 09:45, Wednesday September 23, 2009

Junior rugby league officials in western Sydney have taken swift action, suspending players for up to 20 years after a wild brawl at an under-16's grand final.

More players will face the judiciary tomorrow, but Blacktown City has defended its teams, denying its parents encouraged the behaviour.

One of the 16-year-old rugby league players faced the judiciary last night following the fight, which left his opponent, 16-year-old Miki Hughes, with a broken nose.

Two other Blacktown City players were suspended for five years and another one of their was teammates was banned for two years.

They are now banned from playing rugby league anywhere in Australia.

Penrith and District Junior Rugby League junior league manager Don Feltis commented 'I think every player penalised deserved what they got.'

He said the tough penalty showed that violence in the game would not be tolerated.

'I am embarrasssed for our district' Mr Feltis said.

Lower Mountains Junior Rugby League club secretary Kerri Eisenhuth said the brawl had shocked the community.

I've never seen anything like this before., Ms Eisenhuth said.

The brawl is the third violent incident involving the Blacktown City junior rugby league club in recent months.
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New legislation to evict Ferguson

Сообщение Ramzes » 23 сен 2009, 03:34

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Updated: 08:53, Wednesday September 23, 2009


The NSW government will introduce extraordinary legislation allowing it to evict convicted pedophile Dennis Ferguson from his Sydney home.

It follows his threat to return to his public housing flat in Ryde where neighbours have protested against his presence and forced him to move to an undisclosed location.

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald says an extraordinary cabinet meeting last night approved a special bill .. which will allow the government to move child-sex offenders from public housing without worrying about lease agreements.

Mr Ferguson served 14 years in jail for abducting three children in NSW in 1987 and taking them to a Brisbane motel where he sexually molested them.
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Neal says she will stand by her husband

Сообщение Ramzes » 23 сен 2009, 03:36

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Updated: 04:35, Wednesday September 23, 2009


Federal MP Belinda Neal is standing by her man.

Her husband John Della Bosca resigned as NSW health minister this month after it was revealed he'd had a six-month affair with 26-year-old Kate Neill.

But Ms Neal has told The Australian Women's Weekly she and Mr Della Bosca love each other and will stay together.

It comes after a turbulent 18 months for the high profile political couple, cleared by NSW and federal prosecutors last year of any wrongdoing over the Iguanas scandal, when they were alleged to have threatened and abused staff at the Central Coast restaurant.

In a candid interview, Ms Neal discussed hurdles in the couple's 23-year marriage and scotched reports Mr Della Bosca had been given his marching orders.

'We have made a decision not to separate,' Ms Neal said.

'We didn't ever separate.'

'Everyone expressed an opinion about who was sleeping where and none of that was true.'

'We both love each other and we want to keep building on that.'

Ms Neal reportedly became emotional when talking about her reconciliation with Mr Della Bosca.

'We have decided that, despite everything that's happened, we are the most important people to each other, and ... and that's worth maintaining.'

She also gave an insight into the relationship pressures which affect powerful working couples in public life.

'When you've been married a long time, you don't always give your relationship the attention it requires,' she said.

'It ends up last in line and that's a big mistake.'

'I mean, we could turn up to the same place not even knowing that the other was going to be there because we didn't take the time to think that maybe my husband or wife would like to know this.'

The magazine goes on sale on today.
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Brumby set to announce scholarships

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:38

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Updated: 22:17, Thursday September 24, 2009


Victorian Premier John Brumby will on Friday announce a new round of scholarships, specifically for Indian students.

He is in India on a mission to repair Melbourne's reputation as a safe place for international students to study after a recent spate of attacks on Indians in the city.

Mr Brumby was at New Delhi's oldest college, the prestigious St Stephens, on Thursday, telling some of the country's wealthiest students they are welcome in Victoria.

He said the government was taking steps to improve the experience for international students.

'I take very seriously the trust that Indian parents place in our state when they agree to their sons and daughters coming to Victoria to study,' Mr Brumby said.

He said the scholarships for Indian students would be part of the government's international education strategy, announced just before he left for India via Hong Kong on Monday.

In 2008, there were about 97,000 Indian students in Australia, almost half of whom were enrolled in Victoria.
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Turnbull wants more details on ETS

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:39

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Updated: 21:57, Thursday September 24, 2009


Malcolm Turnbull has written to the Prime Minister demanding more details about the government's proposed emissions trading scheme.

The Coalition says it needs to see the regulations surrounding the scheme so it can draft its amendments to the ETS legislation.

The Government doesn't plan to finalise the regulations until after the Copenhagen climate change summit at the end of the year.

The Senate is expected to vote on the government's scheme again in November.
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Conditions likely to raise more dust

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:40

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Updated: 21:57, Thursday September 24, 2009


Dry and windy conditions across NSW are likely to create dusty, hazy days in Sydney over the next two to three months, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

The state is in the midst of the three windiest months of the year - September, October and November.

The weather bureau's Mike De Salis said Sydney was more likely in the coming weeks to experience 'dust haze', where visibility is reduced to between four and five kilometres, not the dust storm conditions that reduce visibility to less than 400 metres and turned vistas shades of yellow, red and pink.

'The chances of raised dust occurring again are reasonably good over the next four to six weeks,' Mr De Salis told AAP.

'It looks like the dry weather is going to continue.'

However, it would be very unlikely for major cities to be battered by another bad dust storm.

'It was very unusual,' he said.

'There is a chance, a good chance of hazy days, of dust haze with visibility around four or five kilometres.

'That's probably more likely to happen.'

The forecast through to the end of December was for below average rainfall, Mr de Salis said.

'It looks like it's going to be pretty dry up until Christmas, which means that any strong wind that we get over western NSW will create dust storms,' Mr De Salis said.

'You still need the winds out west to transport the dust east across the state to the eastern seaboard but you don't really know when those strong winds are going to happen until within a week.'

The last time Sydneysiders experienced a dust storm comparable to Wednesday's was in 1942, he said.

'It doesn't happen very often in Sydney.'

The Bureau says strong westerly or north-westerly winds, dry conditions in the west of the state and a strong cold front are needed to create a severe dust storm in Sydney.
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Rudd addresses UN General Assembly

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:42

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Updated: 12:23, Thursday September 24, 2009


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has urged world leaders to never forget the human face of the global financial crisis as he addressed the United Nations in New York.

He invoked the suffering of workers in Liverpool in NSW, Cairns in Queensland and the south-eastern suburbs of Perth in Western Australia, when imploring fellow leaders to find a path out of the global recession.

'In communities like these across Australia the global recession is hurting in very real ways,' he said.

'We can never forget these men, these women, their families as we seek to find a path out of this recession.'

In a broad ranging speech, Mr Rudd discussed the financial crisis, the Doha round of world trade talks, climate change and nuclear disarmament.

Mr Rudd used the international spotlight to focus on the need for ongoing reform of institutions of 'global governance'.

'The price of failure of these institutions has been paid by working people and their families right across the world,' he said.

Mr Rudd said the financial crisis had been 'no respecter' of national boundaries.

'(It has been) no respecter of peoples,' he said.

Tens of thousands of Australian jobs had already lost jobs, he told the audience, and more would follow.

'Behind each of these statistics lie the faces of working Australians,' he said.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong were in the audience, but many seats in the auditorium remained empty.

Mr Rudd said Group of 20 leaders from developed and developing economies had injected $5.5 trillion worth of fiscal stimulus to directly stabilise the global financial system.

'While our global economic system failed comprehensively to prevent this crisis, the G20 governments have rallied to reduce the damage and prevent systemic collapse,' he said.

The G20 had also worked together to take toxic assets off bank balance sheets, giving markets confidence a subsequent crisis could be dealt with, Mr Rudd said.

The forum also established the Financial Stability Board, a 'comprehensive financial markets reform program'.

Mr Rudd said the global financial crisis was not yet over.

'Recovery is far from certain and many twists and turns lie ahead,' he said.

In the meantime, Mr Rudd called for the establishment of a financial market reform program to prevent any future crisis and international agreement on when and how to withdraw emergency economic measures.

'Most critically, we must articulate a new framework for sustainable future economic growth,' he said.

'A framework that doesn't simply return to business as usual based on unsustainable financial imbalances, excessive consumption fuelled by consumer and corporate debt and irresponsible risk-taking in systemically significant financial institutions.'

On climate change, Mr Rudd said the global debate had 'degenerated into mutual recriminations' between developed and developing countries.

But both must step up to the challenge if global temperatures were to be restrained.

'The truth is all our governments need to reach beyond their self interests and instead fashion a grand bargain between the developed and developing countries of the world,' he said.

'A grand bargain on climate change that embraces both historical and future responsibility.

'A grand bargain which is anchored in the science of climate change and need to keep temperature rises within two degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change.'

The bargain had three key elements, Mr Rudd said.

It must set clear and binding targets, outline the public and private financing required and how to approach a shift to renewable energies.
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Ferguson locked out

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:43

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Updated: 22:21, Thursday September 24, 2009


Convicted paedophile Denis Ferguson has lost access to his Ryde home in Sydney, with his lease officially cancelled today.

The locks on his unit's doors have been changed, though his belongings remain inside.

Ferguson is still in hiding, while housing officials search for somewhere new for him to settle.

Ferguson plans to apply for an apprehended violence order against the resident who delivered a pine box to his doorstep.
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Ten sold for $680m

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:43

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Updated: 21:58, Thursday September 24, 2009


The owners of the Channel Ten have sold their majority share holding in the television network for $680 million.

Can West owned just over 50 percent of the network.

Macquarie Capital Advisors, part of the Macquarie Bank group are the brokers for the deal.

Shares are set to be on-sold prior to market open tomorrow.
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Roxon urges all to get swine flu vaccine

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:44

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has urged Australians to contact their doctors from next Wednesday to access the swine flu vaccine.

Ms Roxon, who toured the laboratories of vaccine manufacture CSL in Melbourne on Thursday, said about five million doses of the vaccine would be available from next Wednesday.

'We expect to get 21 million doses of the vaccine provided by January next year,' Ms Roxon told reporters.

'We are urging all Australians particularly who are aged 10 and over to consider been vaccinated,' she said.

Ms Roxon denied the vaccine had arrived too late.

She said there had been significant swine flu outbreaks in Europe and the US and the vaccine could, therefore, help prevent the spread of swine flu throughout international travellers.
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Father Bob talks look promising

Сообщение Ramzes » 24 сен 2009, 16:46

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Updated: 21:59, Thursday September 24, 2009


There's still a chance that high-profile Catholic priest Bob Maguire could keep his Melbourne parish, despite reaching the church's retiring age of 75.

A spokesman says Father Maguire's negotiations with Archbishop Denis Hart are heading in the right direction.

The archbishop wanted the priest to retire after accusing him of financial mismanagement, selling church property to fund his ministry to the poor, meaning the archdiocese had to pay the parish power bills.

Father Maguire has preached and worked in the Saints Peter and Paul Church at South Melbourne, where he's been preaching for 36 years.
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Fletcher wins Nelson's Bradfield seat

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 сен 2009, 16:11

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Updated: 22:56, Saturday September 26, 2009


Communications executive Paul Fletcher has been selected to replace Brendan Nelson in one of Australia's safest Liberal seats.

He was tipped as favourite among 17 contenders vying for preselection for the electorate of Bradfield, in Sydney's northwest.

After an exhausting voting process, Fletcher stamped out his nearest contender, Julian Lesser, by 60 votes to 51.

He'll now revoke his British citizenship, ahead of a by-election later this year.

Mr Fletcher is a former Optus executive and former chief of staff to Howard government communications minister Senator Richard Alston.

Dr Nelson is expected to formally retire from parliament early next month.
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Hiccup for Webber

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 сен 2009, 16:12

Updated: 22:51, Saturday September 26, 2009


Sebastian Vettel is confident he and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber will be competitive at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, despite Webber finding the wall in practice.

Red Bull picked up just one point at the Italian Grand Prix as Vettel finished eighth while Webber failed to complete the race having been shunted out by BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica.

But the pair showed promise in practice yesterday, particularly in the second session where Webber had set the pace before crashing out while Vettel set the fastest time of the day to finish top of the timesheet.

Vettel trails championship leader Jenson Button by 26 points and needs a good performance this weekend to keep alive his diminishing title hopes.

And while the German was disappointed that a number of minor changes to the Marina Bay street circuit appear to have made it a slightly slower track this year, he was pleased with his own performance during practice.

'We can see from the times that the track is a little bit slower here than it was last year, which is a shame because some of the faster corners are now not so quick, but overall the character has remained the same,' said Vettel.

'It's a challenging track - quite stop and go - you don't experience as much G-force here as on other circuits, but there are a lot of bumps, which don't make your life easy, but I like the circuit a lot.'

'Overall, it was a good day for us and we look better here than we did in Monza.'

Webber, meanwhile, was frustrated to see his session come to a premature end after having shown good pace, but the Australian remains confident he and Vettel can have a good weekend.

'I was pushing a little bit too hard in the second practice, it was a bit slippery off line and I went off in the last corner and into the pit wall, which ended my session,' he said.

'The car was going well up until then; I was quick and both Sebastian and I had pretty good practice sessions.'

'I would have liked to have done a bit more mileage, but in the end we still learned quite a bit and we'll be back (on Saturday).'

'I think it should be a good race for us, it will be interesting as the tyres are not massively easy to handle here, so we'll have to work on that. But, overall, not too bad.'
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Mother Nature yet to catch up

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 сен 2009, 16:15

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Updated: 22:36, Saturday September 26, 2009


The snow season's all but over, but the weather is yet to catch up.

Victoria's Mount Buller has recorded 45 centimeters of snow in the last 24 hours.

A cold front passed through snowy region last night with some wintery conditions on the slopes, an overnight low of minus 4, and some strong winds.

Perisher in New South Wales has seen 13 centimeters of fresh snowfalls in the past 24 hours with up to 30 centimeters forecast for tonight.

Despite Victoria's significant falls, all but one resort will close tomorrow.

Falls Creek, along with the New South Wales, resorts will operate until next weekend.
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Bollinger in for Bracken

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 сен 2009, 16:17

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Updated: 22:21, Saturday September 26, 2009


Australia has been given permission to replace the injured Nathan Bracken in its ICC Champions Trophy squad with fellow NSW seamer Doug Bollinger.

Bracken was ruled out of the tournament on Thursday due to a long-term knee problem.

Bollinger, 28, has played just three ODIs for his country - all of which came during Australia's series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates earlier this year.

The 28-year-old is now free to play in Australia's first game of its Champions Trophy defence against West Indies in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The International Cricket Council's technical committee also confirmed on Friday that New Zealand could replace Jacob Oram in its squad.

The Black Caps have brought James Franklin in as Oram's substitute as a result.

Oram strained his left hamstring to allow Franklin the chance to make his first ODI appearance since the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Franklin could make his return in New Zealand's second game of the tournament against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

The Kiwis lost their opener to tournament host South Africa on Thursday by five wickets.
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Geelong wins AFL Grand Final

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 сен 2009, 16:23

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Updated: 17:40, Saturday September 26, 2009

Geelong have claimed their second AFL premiership in three seasons, finishing over the top of St Kilda in a breathtaking and brutal final quarter to win 12.8 (80) to 9.14 (68).

The Cats trailed by seven points at the last change, but kept the Saints goal-less in the last term and kicked three goals themselves, the last of them coming after the siren.

Half-forward Paul Chapman finished with a game-high three goals and was named Norm Smith Medallist for best-afield.

After Tom Hawkins kicked a major less than two minutes into the final term, the two sides traded behinds, before Chapman put Geelong six points clear with a snap with about three minutes to play.

Fullback Matthew Scarlett and superstar Gary Ablett had combined in the midfield to force the ball forward.

After each side posted another behind, Max Rooke marked just before the final siren, before slotting home the shot as teammates celebrated across the field, to stretch the winning margin to 12 points.

For the Cats, it was a reverse of last year's shock grand-final loss to Hawthorn, when they dominated in general play but could not convert on the scoreboard.

This time it was the Saints who had control for long periods, but their grand final nerves showed in front of goal.

They missed numerous scoring chances in the first quarter, including a sitter from Adam Schneider from the top of the goalsquare.

In contrast, the Cats fired in three straight goals for the quarter, including a wonderful effort by Joel Selwood after burrowing through a half-forward pack.

The Saints still led by two points at the first change, thanks to their vast dominance in the midfield, due largely to the efforts of Lenny Hayes and Nick Dal Santo.

They again wasted their control early in the second term.

Two bad missed shots from Stephen Milne and a shocker from Andrew McQualter in the space of three minutes meant they led by just 10 points 11 minutes into the quarter, when it should have been about 30.

The Cats made them pay, with four straight goals in an 11-minute burst to grab a 12-point lead.

That burst included a controversial major to big Geelong forward Tom Hawkins, who smothered a Zac Dawson kick from fullback, then hit the post with his snap, but was paid a goal.

There was more drama to come, the Saints stunningly scoring three goals in the final 49 seconds of play for the half.

The last two came back-to-back. Geelong defender Darren Milburn angrily, and incorrectly, protesting that he touched a Justin Koschitzke soccered goal in the dying seconds.

That tied the scores, but Milburn's abuse of the goal umpire resulted in a free kick to Schneider, who gave the Saints the halftime lead.

The third term was an arm wrestle, with the sides starting to tire and ferocious tackling making moving the ball with fluency next to impossible.

Again, it was a late Saints goal that broke a deadlock, a brilliant Leigh Montagna snap in the 30th minute putting them six points up, before a rushed behind made it seven at the last change.

But as the Cats gradually wore St Kilda down in the midfield, the influence of Selwood and Ablett telling in the packs, while Jimmy Bartel did a great job to quell Hayes after his early influence and tagger Cameron Ling reduced Dal Santo's impact.
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Melbourne to play Parramatta in final

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 сен 2009, 16:26

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Updated: 23:13, Saturday September 26, 2009


Melbourne will play Parramatta in the NRL grand final next Sunday after belting Brisbane 40-10 in tonight's preliminary final at Etihad Stadium.

Centre Greg Inglis scored three tries and fullback Billy Slater bagged a double in the seven tries to one mauling.

It is the fourth straight grand final appearance for the Storm, the first team to achieve such a streak since Parramatta in 1981-84.
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Discrimination in church to be allowed

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 сен 2009, 05:32

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Updated: 07:40, Sunday September 27, 2009


The Victorian government is expected to announce religious groups will be allowed to discriminate against gays and single mothers in a controversial compromise reached on workers' rights.

Attorney-General Rob Hulls has approved of a plan to let church-run organisations refuse employment to anyone they believe undermines their beliefs, The Sunday Age says.

The newspaper says the plan will allow church groups to discriminate on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status and parental status, but in return these groups will cease being able to discriminate on the basis of race, age, disability, political beliefs, breastfeeding and physical features.

The expected changes to Victoria's equal opportunity laws come several weeks before a report by a state parliament committee into the issue is due to be released.

The changes have angered critics, but church leaders applauded the decision.

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart told the paper the move strikes 'a fair and correct balance'.

Under the new plans, a church group will have to prove why someone must meet certain religious beliefs if that person is refused employment.

But the onus will remain on the victim to make an official complaint before any action is taken.
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Rudd hails landmark G20 deal

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 сен 2009, 05:33

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Updated: 15:33, Saturday September 26, 2009


The world's leading economies have set a new course aimed at restructuring financial markets and institutions to avoid another global financial crisis.

The leaders also agreed to 'spare no effort' to reach an agreement at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.

The third G20 summit since the global financial crisis unfolded a year ago concluded with a long statement from leaders that committed to continue economic stimulus spending until signs of 'durable' economic recovery emerged.

The Pittsburgh summit concluded that measures including trillions of dollars in stimulus spending put in place at the London G20 in April had softened the impact of the global recession and even hastened a recovery.

Leaders made the point simply in their joint statement, saying: 'It worked.'

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the compact was a landmark deal by leaders of the major developed and developing nations in which they agreed to co-ordinate their economic policies by submitting them by the end of the year for peer review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF will examine the policies to ensure they do not deviate from a co-ordinated effort to build a strategy for economic recovery and long-term sustainable growth which results in the creation of worthwhile jobs.

Mr Rudd told reporters in Pittsburgh at the end of the summit that nations which found their economic plans did not fit in would not face sanction but could find they are 'commented on'.

But he said it was also a historic day for Australia.

'For the first time ever, Australia has secured a permanent place at the top table of global economic decision-making,' Mr Rudd said.

The meeting agreed to replace the G8 with the G20 as the primary global economic forum, with meetings scheduled for June and November next year in Canada and South Korea, respectively. Annual meetings will begin in France in 2011.

G20 leaders agreed to plan exit strategies from economic stimulus spending but said the spending should remain in place for the time being.

'The key thing is not to exit too early ... or too late,' Mr Rudd said.

He said that without the stimulus spending and Australia's pre-existing strong economy, as many as 400,000 to 500,000 jobs could have been lost locally - a situation similar to that faced by many European countries.

The G20 committed to fight against tariff barriers and protectionism, and pledged to bring the current Doha round of trade talks, which have been going for eight years, to a close next year.

The leaders have also agreed to curb excessive executive salaries and reform financial markets, the IMF and the World Bank.

On climate change, they agreed to have finance ministers draw up financing plans ahead of the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

The G20 also endorsed US President Barack Obama's plan to phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

Mr Rudd said the financing issue is the 'engine room' of the work in the lead-up to Copenhagen.

'This is no guarantee of success. Copenhagen is going to be hard, and very hard to do but this is an important part of the stepping stone to Copenhagen,' he said.
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Govt takes credit on exec crackdowns

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 сен 2009, 05:34

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Updated: 10:58, Sunday September 27, 2009


The federal government has taken some of the credit for an international agreement to clamp down on executive payouts in the financial sector.

The latest Group of 20 (G20) leaders' meeting has agreed to develop a framework to end 'excessive' payouts and oppose guaranteed multi-year bonuses for chief executives in the financial sector.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says Australia has been leading the way.

The G20 recommendations were based on recent work by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) into executive payouts, he said.

'The work of APRA in Australia was the basis of the recommendations that have come from the (G20) Financial Stability Board,' he told Network Ten on Sunday.

The Rudd government wants to ensure that any payout worth more than one year's base salary will require shareholder approval.

Mr Swan says the legislation, currently before parliament, is some of the 'toughest in the world'.

The Productivity Commission is also looking into executive pay packets and is due to hand down a draft report on Wednesday.

'We need to have action in this area, the public... are just sick and tired of some of these obscene packages,' Mr Swan said.
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MPs fines for by-elections

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 сен 2009, 05:34

s
Updated: 07:19, Sunday September 27, 2009


MPS who leave politics and force a by-election could be fined under proposals being considered by the federal government.

By-elections cost taxpayers about $1 million each and often annoy constituents, who resent having to vote outside the normal electoral cycle, Fairfax newspapers say.

If such a system were adopted it would apply to former opposition leader Brendan Nelson, whose resignation from the seat of Bradfield will force a by-election later this year.

The proposal would not cover all politicians who leave outside the normal electoral cycle.

'For example, penalty might not be payable if a member resigned because of incapacity due to ill health, whereas resignation to accept alternative employment, or because a member's party failed to win government, could attract a penalty,' a discussion paper on electoral reform released by the federal government last week said.

The paper did not discuss the possible size of any fines.
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Blue skies return to NSW

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 сен 2009, 05:35

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Updated: 15:33, Saturday September 26, 2009


Clear blue skies have returned to Sydney and eastern NSW, with a dust storm travelling north and out to sea.

The storm hit central western NSW and moved to Sydney early on Saturday, but it had cleared in the metropolitan areas by about 8.30am (AEST).

The Bureau of Meteorology said a cold front raised dust in those areas, but not to the same level as the dust that covered most of the state on Wednesday.

Visibility in Sydney was 5000 metres, compared to 500 metres on Wednesday, when thick red dust blanketed the city.

About 1.30pm bureau duty forecaster Jane Golding said areas in northern NSW, including Coffs Harbour, were being hit by the dust storm, after which it would move north to Lismore and Ballina.

Some of the dust has been swept out to sea and the storm should clear NSW completely by Saturday evening, Ms Golding said.

When contacted about 2pm, Toby Wiedemann from the Greenhouse Tavern in Coffs Harbour said dust was covering the area.

'It's not that bad, it's a bit hazy but definitely not as bad as it was,' he told AAP. 'There's just a light haze.'

The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water says the dust storm pushed the air quality into the poor-to-hazardous range.
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Reputation on climate at stake

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 сен 2009, 05:36

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Updated: 11:56, Sunday September 27, 2009


Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan insists Australia's credibility on climate change will be put at risk if an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is not agreed to.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said that attending the Copenhagen meeting without an ETS would not impede Australia from being active in the negotiations.

Mr Swan said the comments, which Mr Rudd made in the United States earlier this week, did not mean Australia's credibility would not be at stake.

'Australia has a very big stake in putting in place a substantial response to climate change,' he told Network Ten on Sunday.

'So, being there (at Copenhagen) with our position is important.'

The coalition, which is split on emissions trading, wants a vote on the scheme delayed until after the December meeting.

But the government has given the opposition until October 19 to present amendments to the bill, to be re-introduced into parliament in November.

If the previously-rejected bill is voted down a second time the government will have a trigger to call an early election.
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Costello set to resign from Parliament

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 окт 2009, 15:20

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Updated: 19:56, Wednesday October 7, 2009


Former treasurer Peter Costello has announced he will resign from parliament the week after next.

This means Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull will face a second by-election later this year.

Mr Costello says he will hand his resignation to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on October 19.

The announcement on his website on Wednesday afternoon follows the resignation of former opposition leader Brendan Nelson, leaving Mr Turnbull facing two by-elections, most likely in late November.

The Victorian Liberal Party endorsed Kelly O'Dwyer to run in Mr Costello's seat of Higgins in the next election several weeks ago while Paul Fletcher last month gained endorsement to run in Dr Nelson's seat of Bradfield.

In his statement, Mr Costello said it had been 'a privilege and an honour' to serve in Higgins for nearly 20 years.

'I will be sad to say farewell,' he said.

'Although I will return to private life I hope to continue some measure of service to the public in the future.'

The former treasurer said he wished his federal Liberal Party colleagues every success in the next federal election.

Mr Costello was later quizzed on the continuing internal Liberal Party debate on the carbon emissions trading scheme.

'The ETS is going to change over and over and over again,' he said.

He offered to bet the 'national debt' with a government member on whether the scheme would change.

'It will be amended in 2010, 2011,' Mr Costello said.

Mr Costello said there was no urgency in having an ETS ready by November, when the legislation is brought back to parliament.

'It's got another 30 years of life left in it,' he said.

'Let's not sit around and work ourselves up into a lather about the form of this scheme in November because whatever form it is in November won't be the form of the scheme in 2011, 2012 let alone 2020, 2030, 2040 or 2050.'

Mr Costello pointed out he was the first person to take an ETS submission to the government in 2003.

'I know all about this,' he said.

Refusing to attack Mr Turnbull like others in the party have done in recent days, the former treasurer said his leader was actually trying to improve the ETS.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has confirmed he has been sounded out about replacing Mr Turnbull as opposition leader, but Mr Costello denied he had put pressure on Mr Turnbull to step down.

'I'm leaving the parliament, am I? And what, I'm going to run the numbers from outside the parliament?,' Mr Costello said.

Mr Costello then told his interviewer David Speers to 'get a grip on yourself'.

'Theories of my influence are grossly overstated,' he said.

'You think I'd come in here on the day that I'd actually announced I'm leaving the parliament and say, Yeah, by the way I'm running the numbers for the X or Y'?

'I know you guys love the headlines and try and look for the next news lead in the next quarter of an hour but it's a matter for those people that are going to be around for the general election next year.'

Mr Costello said he had spoken to the Liberal Party organisation, including the federal director and state president, about his decision.

'We all believe that one of the best things that we could do for the Liberal Party now is to show we're serious about rebuilding,' he said.

'What better way than to have somebody who's qualified as a lawyer, worked at the most senior levels in Canberra, practised as a banker, somebody like Kelly O'Dwyer who I think will really shake up the parliament if she gets there.

'And I'll be certainly by her side helping her get elected.'

Mr Costello said his toughest domestic achievement was introducing the GST, a move which defeated previous treasurers going back to William McMahon.

'That nearly killed me,' he said.

'We changed the price of every good and every service in the Australian economy, something like three billion prices, cut income taxes, changed Commonwealth-state financial relations, amended every excise, petrol, beer, wine, increased family benefits.

'That was the great back-breaker of all time.

'As I look back, I think just three years of life disappeared into the GST.'

Mr Costello said at the international level he was most proud of his role in forming the G20 forum of developed nations.

'If we hadn't provided the diplomatic impetus in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis to get a new organisation going ... one it wouldn't have been formed and if anything had been formed, it would have been formed without Australia,' he said.

When asked who was the most talented colleague he had worked with in parliament, Mr Costello said: 'They are all talented'.

And he said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had not offered him a job.

'I made it clear really from the day after the election I was looking to exit politics. I thought it was the best thing I could do. I didn't want to block-up the advancement of other people,' he said.

'I thought the Liberal Party needed to renew itself.'

He said he was looking to move into the private sector but would continue his work on the international advisory board of the World Bank as part of his commitment to 'making the world a better place and serving my fellow men and women'.

'If I can do a few things like that, of course, I would be very interested.'
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Rio signs joint venture in China

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 окт 2009, 15:22

Updated: 23:12, Wednesday October 7, 2009

Rio Tinto Ltd has announced its first major investment in China since the Stern Hu spy affair disrupted its dealings in the nation.

In a statement, the mining giant said its subsidiary, Alcan Engineered Automotive Solutions (EAS), had signed an agreement with Changchun Engley Automobile Parts Co Ltd.

EAS and Engley will develop and produce crash management systems, instrument panel beams and other goods for the fast-growing Chinese car market.

It is understood the new agreement was signed on September 25.

A Rio Tinto spokesman said it would be the first substantial investment in China by the miner since the Stern Hu affair.

On Tuesday, Rio and its Canadian partner, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, signed an agreement with the government of Mongolia, next door to China, to develop a $US3 billion ($A3.38 billion) gold and copper project.

In July, Rio Tinto's relationship with the Chinese government deteriorated after four employees, including Australian national Stern Hu, were arrested and accused of stealing state secrets.

The four men were involved in iron ore price negotiations and remain in custody awaiting trial, although charges have been downgraded.

BT Investment Management resources analyst Tim Barker said the latest investment showed Rio Tinto was again engaging with China.

'This is the first tangible evidence that they are sticking their feet back in and probably reflects the fact that, at the end of the day, they are going to have to have some relationship with the Chinese,' Mr Barker said.

The deal with Engley probably had been in the works for some time and had been put on the backburner after the Stern Hu affair hit the headlines.

Rio Tinto is the majority owner of the new venture, Alcan Engley Automotive Structures Co Ltd, with the first products expected to be shipped later this year.

'Alcan's advanced aluminium lightweight solutions play a significant role in today's fuel-efficient cars all over the world including China,' EAS president Wolfgang Schmitz said in a statement.

'China is posting double digit growth in car sales and will continue to offer exceptional growth opportunities for our engineered products in the coming years,' he said.

The company will be based in the north-eastern city of Changchun, with a second manufacturing plant in Kunshan, close to Shanghai.

Rio Tinto acquired EAS as part of its $US38.1 billion purchase of Alcan in 2007.
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Banks confirm review of rates

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 окт 2009, 15:25

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Updated: 17:14, Wednesday October 7, 2009

Australia's big four banks continue to review their standard variable home loan rates after the central bank increased the overnight cash rate on Tuesday.

Spokespersons from Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd, ANZ Banking Group Ltd, National Australia Bank Ltd and Westpac Banking Corporation said on Wednesday that their rates were under review.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia increased its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 3.25 per cent.

The big four banks together hold about 85 per cent of Australia's home loan market, according to Australian Prudential Regulation Authority figures.

CBA, the country's biggest home loan lender, and NAB both have a standard variable rate at 5.74 per cent, the lowest of the big four banks.

ANZ and number two home loan lender Westpac's rates are at 5.81 per cent.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says he expects the banks not to pass on more than the Reserve Bank's 25 basis point rise in the cash rate.
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Trend stalls in housing finance

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 окт 2009, 15:27

Updated: 21:58, Wednesday October 7, 2009

Lending for housing appears to have pre-empted the Reserve Bank of Australia's pre-emptive interest rate hike this week by topping out back in June.

After rising for a year, spurred on by the enhanced first home owners grant and interest rates at their lowest for decades, the trend has stalled.

The seasonally adjusted measure of the value of housing finance approvals rose by $154 million (0.7 per cent) to $22.782 billion in August, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, but that was only after falling by $478 million (2.2 per cent) in July.

Cutting through the volatility, the bureau's trend measure shows the value of loans getting the go-ahead grew at an inconsequential 0.2 per cent in August.

There are cross-currents within the total.

Lending to investors was up by $441 million, or 7.6 per cent, at $6.239 billion, seasonally adjusted, in August after a fall of $165 million in July and a smaller fall of $80 million in June.

The trend for investor loans is rising at 1.4 per cent a month.

In contrast, lending to homebuyers fell by $287 million, or 1.7 per cent, in August to $16.543 billion, following a similar fall of $313 million in July, with a trend rate of decline of 0.2 per cent per month.

The figures suggest some normalisation in the housing market is under way, with investor financing rising as a share of the total.

In March the proportion of housing finance going to investors - aside from refinancing existing home loans - bottomed out at 30.4 per cent, but had risen to 32.8 per cent by August.

It is still below the average of the previous decade, 38.5 per cent, but the recent change does suggest investors are starting to repopulate the housing market.

The figures also show first-home buyers are taking a smaller slice of the home loan pie than they were not long ago.

Their share was down to 32.7 per cent of new loans - refinancing excluded - in August from a peak of 40 per cent in May, although it was still higher than the longer-term average of around 25 per cent.

New and yet-to-be-built housing has also attracted a higher share of the pool of new loans each month.

At 14.6 per cent, the value of loans for new housing in August was not far below the 15.4 per cent of the total (excluding refinancing) reached in May, and still comfortably above the lows of just over 13 per cent seen in September and October last year when investors were at their most anxious amid the global financial crisis.

The bottom line, though, is that the upward trend overall has stalled.

When the RBA announced on Tuesday that it was kicking off a new cycle of interest rate hikes, one of the reasons it gave was that 'housing credit growth has been solid'.

If it turns out that housing credit growth is less solid than it appeared, then that would inject an extra dose of caution into the RBA's plans.

The rate rise, bringing the cash rate to 3.25 per cent from 3.00 per cent, was pre-emptive.

It was designed to ensure the economic recovery did not gather too much momentum and set off an acceleration in price rises.

All other things being equal, a stalling trend in housing finance would mean less reason to 'lean against' the economy.

And if the trend turns down over the coming few months, it would be an argument in favour a pause in the series of rate hikes the RBA seems to have in mind, so this data series is worth watching carefully.
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Construction industry returns to growth

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 окт 2009, 15:28

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Updated: 13:50, Wednesday October 7, 2009


House building has pushed the Australian Construction industry back into growth - but only just.

The latest Performance of Construction Index put out by the Australian Industry Group and the Housing Industry Association shows a rise by just over eight points to 51.

The move above the 50 point level represents the first time the index has been in expansion after 18 months of contraction.

However, the Housing Industry Association has warned that rising interest rates and the end to the boost to the first home-buyer's grant could reverse the index's bounce back.
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Rio signs joint venture in China

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 окт 2009, 15:36

Updated: 23:12, Wednesday October 7, 2009

Rio Tinto Ltd has announced its first major investment in China since the Stern Hu spy affair disrupted its dealings in the nation.

In a statement, the mining giant said its subsidiary, Alcan Engineered Automotive Solutions (EAS), had signed an agreement with Changchun Engley Automobile Parts Co Ltd.

EAS and Engley will develop and produce crash management systems, instrument panel beams and other goods for the fast-growing Chinese car market.

It is understood the new agreement was signed on September 25.

A Rio Tinto spokesman said it would be the first substantial investment in China by the miner since the Stern Hu affair.

On Tuesday, Rio and its Canadian partner, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, signed an agreement with the government of Mongolia, next door to China, to develop a $US3 billion ($A3.38 billion) gold and copper project.

In July, Rio Tinto's relationship with the Chinese government deteriorated after four employees, including Australian national Stern Hu, were arrested and accused of stealing state secrets.

The four men were involved in iron ore price negotiations and remain in custody awaiting trial, although charges have been downgraded.

BT Investment Management resources analyst Tim Barker said the latest investment showed Rio Tinto was again engaging with China.

'This is the first tangible evidence that they are sticking their feet back in and probably reflects the fact that, at the end of the day, they are going to have to have some relationship with the Chinese,' Mr Barker said.

The deal with Engley probably had been in the works for some time and had been put on the backburner after the Stern Hu affair hit the headlines.

Rio Tinto is the majority owner of the new venture, Alcan Engley Automotive Structures Co Ltd, with the first products expected to be shipped later this year.

'Alcan's advanced aluminium lightweight solutions play a significant role in today's fuel-efficient cars all over the world including China,' EAS president Wolfgang Schmitz said in a statement.

'China is posting double digit growth in car sales and will continue to offer exceptional growth opportunities for our engineered products in the coming years,' he said.

The company will be based in the north-eastern city of Changchun, with a second manufacturing plant in Kunshan, close to Shanghai.

Rio Tinto acquired EAS as part of its $US38.1 billion purchase of Alcan in 2007.
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Coastal properties may be claimed

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:02

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Updated: 13:18, Tuesday October 27, 2009


Governments could be given the power to force people in coastal areas to move from their land due to climate change.

A House of Representatives inquiry has canvassed the option of forced retreats due to rising sea levels and more frequent storms, cyclones and floods along the coastline.

The inquiry's report has noted that 80 per cent of Australians live near the coast.

The value of coastal properties, which are vulnerable to climate change, could be as high as 150 billion dollars.

The report doesn't go into whether landholders would be fully compensated for the forced retreats and if so who would pay.
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Asylum seekers still waiting

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:04

Updated: 13:34, Tuesday October 27, 2009


A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers is still waiting to be handed to Indonesian authorities after more than a week at sea.

Australian Customs vessel, the Oceanic Viking, was last night anchored 10 nautical miles off Indonesia's Bintan Island poised to offload the 78 detainees.

Once on the island .. the group will be detained at the Tanjung Pinang immigration detention centre where people already housed there have complained of brutality at the hands of Indonesian guards.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says Indonesian police have indicated the allegations are being investigated.

Meanwhile Canberra and Jakarta might use the APEC summit in Singapore to outline any deal struck between Australian and Indonesia on dealing with people smugglers.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has told parliament the government hopes to use the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' summit in Singapore, beginning November 14 to outline progress on a deal with Jakarta.
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Police pursuit ends with child injuries

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:06

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Updated: 13:14, Tuesday October 27, 2009


Police pursuits are in the spotlight again in Western Australia after an incident in Perth in which two children were critically injured.

It's understood a car fleeing police crashed into a vehicle carrying a woman and her two children.

The 11 year old boy and 8 year old girl were critically injured.

It's unclear whether the police chase had been terminated before the crash.

Two separate police investigations are now underway.
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Oppn votes against Health Taskforce

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:08

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Updated: 14:27, Tuesday October 27, 2009


The government is furious after the Opposition voted against the establishment of the National Preventative Health Taskforce.

The Health Minister told Sky News the new body is an important part of the government's plan to help Australians avoid chronic preventable diseases.

Nicola Roxon stated 'this was voted for by the Liberal Party in the house weeks ago'.

'It is not a contentious piece of legislation, everyone has agreed we need to put more effort into preventative health'.

'We can turn around some of these chronic diseases and trends if we put more effort in health prevention rather than only picking up the pieces when people are already sick'.

The Shadow Health Minister, Peter Dutton, countered by saying 'we support preventative health measures...but we don't see any action or direction...there needs to be a response from the government'.

'We can't be setting up health bureaucracies for nothing' he said.
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Four men face terror charges

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:10

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Updated: 06:23, Tuesday October 27, 2009


One of the four Melbourne men ordered today stand trial on terrorism charges was allegedly recorded expressing happiness about the Black Saturday bushfires and the drought.

Yacqub Khayre, Sany Edow Aweys, Abdirahmin Mohamud Ahmed and Wissam Mahmoud Fattal have all pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges including an alleged conspiracy to attack Sydney's Holsworthy Army Base.

Court documents show Aweys thanked Allah for the bushfires low water storages and the economic downturn.

Meanwhile a parliamentary report has revealed the federal government made the right decision in listing Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland had the Somali-based militant organisation listed in late August, two weeks after the men were arrested.

Reviewing that decision a joint parliamentary intelligence and security committee has agreed with the decision saying Al-Shabaab's been involved in a significant list of terrorist-related activities.

.
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Rudd to apologise to Forgotten Austrailans

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:12

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Updated: 14:19, Tuesday October 27, 2009


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will make an apology in November to the survivors of some 500,000 children who found themselves institutionalised in orphanages and homes between 1930 and 1970.

Those survivors, including 7,000 child migrants, have been dubbed the Forgotten Australians.

The planned apology, which has bipartisan political support, will be delivered as part of formal remembrance ceremony inside Parliament House on November 16.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin believes the apology will have the support of most Australians.

It's an opportunity for us all to recognise that what was done was wrong, that it caused an enormous amount of pain, she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Ms Macklin defended the decision to make the apology outside the House of Representatives, where Mr Rudd delivered a similar apology to the stolen generations of indigenous people in 2007.

The groups representing the Forgotten Australians decided the Members' Hall, between the House of Representatives and the Senate, was the most appropriate place for the ceremony, she said.

And we're really following their advice.

The apology will be tabled in both houses of parliament.

Opposition families spokesman Tony Abbott said he was pleased parliament would be coming together to offer an apology.

For all the good intentions of most of the people involved in providing it, for all the good work that was often done, there were very, very serious deficiencies, he said.

Many did not get the nurturing and support that all human beings needed, he said.

We have been guilty of much hardness of heart.

Steve Irons, the only member of the present parliament who is a Forgotten Australian, said the apology would be an acknowledgement of the abuse suffered by those in institutional care.

Leonie Sheedy, from Care Leavers Australia Network, broke down when asked what the formal apology meant for her.

It's vital for this country to heal and for us to heal as individuals, she told reporters.

And for our children and our husbands and wives to believe us, and for our children to understand why we are the way we are.

Child Migrants spokesman Harold Haig said the apology was only a first step.

There would need to be reparation and restitution ... so that child migrants finally get justice.

The federal government says that responsibility lies with past providers and the states, but noted some had already provided compensation.
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Deadly day for US in Afghanistan

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:15

Updated: 20:50, Tuesday October 27, 2009

The United States has suffered its deadliest day in four years in Afghanistan.

Two separate crashes killed 14 Americans.

In the worst incident, a Chinook helicopter crashed while returning from a raid targeting drug smugglers in west Afghanistan. Seven US soldiers and three DEA agents were killed.

Earlier, four US troops were killed when two choppers collided in southern Helmand province. The Taliban claimed they had shot down one of the helicopters, but the US denied this.

In Florida, President Barack Obama paid tribute to those who had died, and told Navy personnel he hadn't yet made a decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Mr Obama was already under pressure to make the decision, before next week's runoff election between President Karzai and his challenger Abdullah Abdullah.

But that's unlikely especially with Abdullah calling for the removal of a top election official, and the unrest that will follow the run-off.
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Body parts found in barrel

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:19

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Updated: 21:09, Tuesday October 27, 2009


Human body parts, believed to belong to a woman, have been found in a barrel in Melbourne's north.

Workers from a factory made the grisly find when they opened the barrel on Tuesday after noticing a smell coming from the vessel.

Police say they believe the body is that of a woman but cannot tell the victim's age or how long her remains had been in the barrel.

The barrel was fished out of a lake in Jack Roper Reserve in Campbellfield last Wednesday.

It was taken to a nearby factory in Merola Way, Campbellfield on Saturday and opened on Tuesday.

'When the workers opened the barrel up, they were shocked when they discovered the body,' Detective Sergeant Peter Trachias told reporters.

Police have set up a crime scene at the factory and at Jack Roper Reserve.

Police were wading through the shallow lake on Tuesday, combing for clues.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause
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Boy killed by concrete slab

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 13:20

Updated: 21:09, Tuesday October 27, 2009

A three-year-old boy is dead after becoming trapped under a concrete slab at Rottnest Island off the West Australian coast.

Police say the Rottnest Island private fire brigade was called to the scene this afternoon and a rescue helicopter was sent to the island.

A rescue effort freed the trapped boy and he was taken to Sir Charles Gairdner by the rescue helicopter.

However he did not survive the accident.

It's understood a concrete pillar at accommodation on the island fell on the boy.
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Re: Австралийская лента новостей

Сообщение Vlad E-burg » 27 окт 2009, 14:16

А позитивных новостей нет? Только трупы в бочках и раздавленные дети? Чего-то как-то жутко.. :? А может надо к индонезийцам в рабство продаться чтоб в Австралию привезли? Этим-то точно визы дадут!
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Ivanka Trump weds in Bedminster

Сообщение Ramzes » 27 окт 2009, 14:31

Изображение

Updated: 21:03, Tuesday October 27, 2009

Ivanka Trump has wed the son of another major New York area real estate family.

The daughter of Donald and Ivana Trump married Jared Kushner at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Trump, 27, is the co-host of Celebrity Apprentice, a vice president at her father's real estate company, and has a jewellery company.

The 28-year-old Kushner is publisher of The New York Observer and an executive at the Kushner Companies, which owns and manages commercial real estate and apartments.

Wedding guests included ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Barbara Walters and actress Emmy Rossum.

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Re: Австралийская лента новостей

Сообщение Vlad E-burg » 27 окт 2009, 14:37

Ну вот! Другое дело! Жалко только что Иванка не с нашего форума! Да и фамилия у неё "козырная"!
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Re: Австралийская лента новостей

Сообщение Vlad E-burg » 29 окт 2009, 11:07

ДАЁШЬ НОВОСТИ! Где? Требуем!
Одна от меня: американский доллар начал пусть слабое, но укрепление к австралийскому! Заодно и к рублю! Не дрейфте держатели баксов! У нас ещё есть шанс не разориться!
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Aust dollar more than a cent down

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 окт 2009, 11:50

Изображение

Updated: 18:58, Thursday October 29, 2009


The Australian dollar closed more than one US cent lower after cautious investors sold the unit and local stocks following concerns about the pace of economic recovery in the US.

At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at 89.92 US cents down from Wednesday's close of 91.08 cents.

The unit started the domestic session at 89.77 US cents, its lowest start since October 8 when the domestic currency opened at 88.95 cents.

During Thursday's local session, the unit traded within a tight range of 89.60 US cents and 90 cents.

4Cast financial markets group head of research Ray Attrill said that despite a weak day of trade on equity markets, the Australian dollar's slide eased during domestic trade.

'The Aussie dollar hasn't made too much downward progress probably because we have already broken below that 90 (US cents) level overnight,' he said.

'So I think people coming into the local market had seen that we had had a pretty big move and they didn't seem too inclined to take it that much further.'

The Australian dollar is a risk-sensitive or growth currency and tends to rise or fall in line with local and offshore equity markets.

At its 1615 AEDT close, the benchmark SP/ASX200 index was down 2.36 per cent at 4,574.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 2.39 per cent to 4,575.2 points.

The Australian dollar weakened in morning trade after poorer than expected housing data in the US raised doubts about a recovery in the American economy.


US sales of new homes in September dropped 3.6 per cent to a seasonally adjusted yearly rate of 402,000 from a downwardly revised 417,000 the month before.

The fall in homes sales was the first decline since March and was below market forecasts of 440,000.

At 1700 AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at 81.28 yen, down from Wednesday's close of 83.11 yen, and at 61.05 euro cents, down from 61.45 euro cents previously.

The euro finished at 1.4729 US dollars, down from Wednesday's close of 1.4819 US dollars, and at 133.15 Japanese yen, down from 135.21 yen previously.

The US dollar ended the local session at 90.40 Japanese yen, down from 91.23 yen previously.
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Re: Австралийская лента новостей

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 окт 2009, 12:00

В последнее время пугающее большое количество экономистов говорят что кайнезианские штучки проводимые правительством Америки и в ещё большей степени Китая и под их влиянием остальными экономиками мира привели к небольшому оживлению почти мёртвого тела, но в дальнейшем чреваты катастрофическим последствиями в виде общемировой стогнации. Австралия конечно богата природными ископаемыми, мы как-то прорвёмся, но хватит ли торпед потопить лодки со всеми желающими сюда прорваться? Бог с ними, с курсами рубля/доллара/озибакса, любые изменения на пользу умному человеку. Но вот то, что экономика Пиндосии начинает буксовать несмотря на непомерные вливания-это настораживает. Надо скупать землю, запасаться стройматериалами и жратвой и переходить на незивисимый уклад жизни. Будут бабки-хорошо, не будут-проживём. С такой-то природой не прожить? :)
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More effort for workplace equality

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 окт 2009, 12:19

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Updated: 07:12, Thursday October 29, 2009


Australian employers must make a greater effort to offer women equal pay and conditions, ACTU president Sharan Burrow says.

Her call follows a world gender equality report produced by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum which ranked Australia 20th in the index, well behind New Zealand in fifth position.

The Global Gender Gap Report index puts Iceland in top spot, followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The forum said Nordic countries were known for generous social benefits, particularly Iceland.

The report praised both Australia and New Zealand, saying they 'continue to perform very well' in the ranking of 134 nations.

But New Zealand, which has had two female heads of state, had the edge.

Ms Burrow said Australia had slipped behind developing nations including South Africa, Lesotho, Sri Lanka and The Philippines in the index.

The global financial crisis had halted the progress of gender equality in the Australian workplace, she said.

An Australia Institute report found that women's workforce participation and their financial position was likely to worsen during the downturn.

'It is a sorry state of affairs that one of the wealthiest nations in the world should be so far down the rankings for women's workforce participation and earning capacity,' she said in a statement.

'It is clear that employers are not doing their bit to close the gap.'

The former Howard government's industrial relations laws had 'drastically weakened' the then-Affirmative Action Act, she said.

'It is time for tougher monitoring and enforcement of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act, including naming of employers who fail to comply and an enhanced role for the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate breaches of the Act,' she said.
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New system for ABC and SBS boardsтей

Сообщение Ramzes » 29 окт 2009, 12:20

Изображение

Updated: 11:04, Thursday October 29, 2009


The federal government is formalising a new system for appointing ABC and SBS board members which it says will ensure the national broadcasters are free of political interference.

A staff-elected board member will be restored to the ABC.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament on Thursday that lack of due process had resulted in long-running concerns that the ABC, and to a lesser extent SBS, board appointments had been politically motivated.

The government had developed a new process, with an independent panel advising the government on suitable appointments, he said.

This was used for appointments in March this year, with the government now moving to formalise the system in law.

The panel would provide a short list to the communications minister who would make the final choice. Current or former politicians and senior political staff would be banned from appointment.

The system would change in the case of the ABC chair, with the selection being made by the prime minister, who would be obliged to consult with the opposition leader.

The Howard government abolished the staff-elected position on the ABC board in 2006, saying the appointment risked a conflict of interest.

Mr Albanese said the government didn't believe there was any inherent conflict of interest and the position would be restored.

Debate on the National Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 was adjourned.

.
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Oil well plugged, fire contained

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:05

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Updated: 22:41, Tuesday November 3, 2009


PTTEP Australasia announced on Tuesday afternoon that its fifth attempt to plug the leaking oil well had been successful and it had stopped the main fire at the Montara wellhead platform.

The oil began leaking on August 21 at the Montara oilfield near the West Atlas oil rig, more than 200km northwest of Western Australia's Kimberley coastline.

During an attempt to plug the oil well with heavy mud on Sunday a fire broke out at the wellhead platform and the West Atlas oil rig.

'Some material on the topside of the West Atlas rig might still be on fire but it is expected to be extinguished as the fuel source burns out,' the company said in a statement.

Well control experts on the nearby West Triton relief rig reported they had pumped approximately 3,400 barrels of heavy mud down the same relief well that had successfully intercepted the leaking well on Sunday morning.

The operation began at 2.20pm (CST) and the main fire was contained at 3.48pm (CST).

The well kill was completed about 5.15pm (CST).

PTTEP said the online well data indicated the situation was stable and the well pressure was being maintained.

The well continues to be monitored and a mixture of light mud and brine is continuing to be pumped into the relief well to maintain a stable situation,' it said.

'The next phase of securing the well head platform will now be undertaken subject to strict safety considerations.'

The company will hold a news conference later on Tuesday.
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Telstra AGM in Sydney

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:10

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Updated: 09:51, Wednesday November 4, 2009


Telstra chief executive David Thodey says the company is facing challenging times as it seeks to leverage its position as a 'great Australian company' in the face of proposed legislation that will drive changes to its business.

Communications minister Stephen Conroy has proposed legislation, which Melbourne-based Telstra opposes, which would require it to split its wholesale and retail businesses as the government pursues the set up of a $42 billion national broadband network (NBN).

'We remain positively and constructively engaged with the government on the issue of NBN, but we are under no illusions as to the challenges we face,' Mr Thodey told shareholders at the group's annual general meeting on Wednesday.

'This is an extremely complex negotiation as it covers so many different aspects of our business.'

He added: 'Can I promise that a mutually acceptable agreement will be reached? No.

'Do I think there is a pathway to such an agreement? Yes.

'What I can assure you is that the board and management will not agree to any proposals on the NBN ... or separation ... unless we are convinced that it will deliver fair value for you the shareholders of this company.'

Mr Thodey reassured investors that whatever the outcome of its talks with the government, Telstra had the core asset to 'win in the market.'

Mr Thodey also emphasised the issue of customer service.

'Customer service is very important for us ... and while we have many areas where we can improve ... we are committed to making the necessary changes,' he said.

Telstra has announced it will scrap a controversial $2.20 administration fee for people paying their bills over the counter or by mail less than two months after it was introduced on September 14.

'We tried to impose this change without first listening to the people it would affect,' Mr Thodey said on Wednesday.

'That is not consistent with my commitment to put customers at the heart of everything we do.'

However, Mr Thodey said the company still wanted to encourage customers to use electronic payment methods.

'That being said, I still believe electronic payment is the right way to go ... and we do intend to introduce some electronic-only plans in the future ... but it will be your choice if you want to use them,' he said.

Mr Thodey also reiterated the company's guidance to post low single digit growth in revenue, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and EBIT in the current financial year.
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Australia-Fiji hardline stance

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:11

Updated: 09:46, Wednesday November 4, 2009

Australia will maintain a hardline stance against the regime of Fiji's self-appointed leader Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

'We're not about to simply allow a coup culture to spread,' he told ABC Radio on Wednesday, adding that Australia wanted stability in the South Pacific region.

'That's why we'll maintain a hard line in relation to this regime.'

Fiji on Tuesday ordered the top diplomats from Australia and New Zealand out of the country within 24 hours.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, the military leader who has ruled Fiji since the December 2006 coup, gave both governments a day to recall their envoys over a spat about travel visas.

He accused Australia and New Zealand of sabotaging nation-building efforts by refusing to grant visas to Fijian judges.

Mr Rudd said Australia would maintain travel sanctions on Commodore Bainimarama, other regime officials and their families, and members of Fiji's judiciary.

As for further action, Mr Rudd said, he and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith would discuss 'a menu of possibilities' later on Wednesday.
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Search for asylum-seekers reviewed

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:14

Updated: 09:45, Wednesday November 4, 2009

The search for 11 suspected asylum seekers missing for almost 48 hours since their boat went down northwest of the Cocos Islands will be reviewed, the federal government says.

At least one person is dead and another 11 are missing, including two boys, aged 13 and 14, feared drowned in the Indian Ocean when their boat sank 350 nautical miles from the Cocos Islands on Sunday.

Two bodies sighted in the water on Tuesday have yet to be recovered.

Hopes of finding alive any more of the group, claiming to be from Sri Lanka, have all but faded, with a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor confirming the search will be reviewed on Wednesday.

'The search is still under way and it will be reviewed mid-morning today,' he told reporters.

An Australian Customs Service spokesman said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) would make the call on whether to keep searching for survivors.

'The search basically continues until AMSA makes a decision as to whether there is any chance of survivability of people,' he said.

'That decision will be made by AMSA at the appropriate time.'
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Giant jelly fish capsize 10-tonne boat

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:16

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Updated: 09:39, Wednesday November 4, 2009


Giant jellyfish have capsized a 10-tonne fishing boat after its crew tried to haul in a net full of the stinging creatures off the eastern coast of Japan.

Dozens of Nomura's jellyfish sunk the Diasan Shinsho-maru boat and sent its three-man crew into the sea, The Mainichi Daily News reported.

The organisms can weigh up to 440lbs and grow up to 6ft in diameter.

The three men forced into the sea, near Chosi, were rescued by another trawler.

Waters around Japan have been inundated with the jellyfish this year.

Experts believe weather and water conditions in the breeding grounds off the coast of China have been ideal for the species in recent months.

'The arrival is inevitable,' Hiroshima University Professor Shinichi Ue told the Yomiuri newspaper.

'A huge jellyfish typhoon will hit the country.'

Nomura's jellyfish have been known to wreak havoc in Japanese waters.

They destroy fishing nets, poison fish in the nets and render them unfit for sale, sting humans and even disable nuclear power stations by blocking pumps used to cool the reactors.

In 2007, there were 15,500 reports of damage caused to fishing equipment by jellyfish in the region, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Many fishermen have tried to keep jellyfish out of their nets by using sharp wires.
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Chefs turn up the heat in train station

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:17

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Updated: 02:41, Wednesday November 4, 2009


Top French chefs Tuesday took their art into the Paris underground, cooking up a treat for a crowd of commuters in a bid to prove haute cuisine can be cheap and simple.

'Sharing our cuisine with people is so great,' said Eric Frechon, who runs the kitchens at President Nicolas Sarkozy's favourite Paris haunt, the top-end Le Bristol hotel.

Frechon was the first of a trio of gourmet chefs, each graced with three-star status in the famed Michelin restaurant guide, to come down to the people with his pots and pans in a makeshift kitchen set up for three days at Mirosmesnil station in the Paris subway.

Carrots were Frechon's dish of the day, 'to show people you can cook simple and cheap food'.

His were boiled in orange juice with a dash of honey and a little fennel, then patted dry with paper and rolled in gingerbread crumbs.

'Mmmmm!' said office worker Jane Germiz as helpers handed out the finished product. 'What a great idea this is! It's a simple recipe and interesting to see what a top chef can do with a basic vegetable.'

Next up at the railway station is Patrick Bertron of the celebrated country inn, the Relais Bernard Loiseau, one of France's 26 three-star establishments, with a recipe for cabbage.

Potatoes are to get star treatment on the third and last day of the commuter cooking treat Thursday when Patrice Caillault of the Domaine de Rochevilaine throws them into the po
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Budgies and bikinis on parade

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:25

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Updated: 12:10, Tuesday November 3, 2009


Sydney's CBD is the unlikely setting for an attempt to break the world record for the largest swimwear parade.

Despite having plenty of iconic beaches to choose from, organisers have instead opted for Sydney's financial district, Martin Place, as the start point for the inaugural Strut the Streets parade.

The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) charity hopes up to 1,000 Sydneysiders clad in budgie smugglers and bikinis will bring the city to a standstill as they walk to Circular Quay.

The charity aims to help increase the number of young indigenous Australians participating in university education through mentoring programs.

The current world record for a single swimwear parade stands at 281 participants and was set in Las Vegas, organised by Hugh Hefner's girlfriend Holly Madison.
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30-Love for drug smuggle attempt

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:26

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Updated: 12:10, Tuesday November 3, 2009


An attempt to throw drugs into Christchurch Men's Prison within a tennis ball has fallen short for the second time in two weeks.

About 60 grams of cannabis was inside the ball which was found in-between the prison's two perimeter fences, and had obviously fallen short of the prison grounds, said acting prison manager Trevor Saunders.

Attempts to throw drugs into prison grounds seemed to be in vogue at the moment, only two weeks ago a tennis ball was found within the grounds during routine checks that contained triazolam pills - a sedative - and heroin, he said.
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Government slips in the polls

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:29

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Updated: 08:29, Tuesday November 3, 2009


Support for the Rudd government has slipped by seven percentage points over the past two weeks amid the ongoing asylum seeker debate, the latest Newspoll shows.

It comes as the prime minister concedes the government's handling of border protection is not winning over any voters.

The Newspoll, published in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday, found Labor fell seven percentage points to 52 per cent on a two-party preferred basis compared to a fortnight ago.

Meanwhile, the coalition clawed back the same margin to 48 per cent.

But positively for the government, Kevin Rudd was still faring well, leading Malcolm Turnbull as Australia's referred prime minister by 63 per cent to just 19 per cent.

Support for Mr Turnbull remained steady, while Mr Rudd's numbers fell by two percentage points.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Rudd indicated two weeks of heavy debate on asylum seekers had taken its toll on the government.

'I'm under no illusions that this policy and our implementation of it will be in any way popular in the Australian community,' he told ABC Television.

'These are difficult challenges, but I'm elected to govern in the national interest and to implement a responsible policy.'

The opposition seized on the Newspoll as proof the government was losing its shine.

'The Australian people are starting to see through Mr Rudd and his government and the fact they don't stand for a single policy,' opposition frontbencher Joe Hockey told ABC Television.
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Homeless man charged over Bondi assault

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:30

Updated: 10:22, Wednesday November 4, 2009

A man who lives rough at Bondi has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman at the well-known Sydney beach.

Police were called to Marks Park at the southern (southern) end of the beach at 10 pm last night, where the woman said she'd been assaulted.

A 54-year-old man's been charged and will appear at Waverley Local Court today.

There are unconfirmed reports he's a well-known hermit who Waverley Council wanted to evict in 2007.
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Shocking, Shocking, Shocking

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:32

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Updated: 15:36, Tuesday November 3, 2009


Corey Brown has won the Melbourne Cup aboard the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking, making up for the heartache of his narrow defeat on Bauer 12 months ago.

Shocking and international raider Crime Scene pulled away from the pack in the straight and had the race between them before the four-year-old got the better of the Godolphin galloper.

Another international, Mourilyan, ran on late for third.

Brown had been booked to ride Vigor in the Cup but picked up the mount on Shocking when Vigor didn't make the final field.

'I've finally won the Melbourne Cup.' Brown said.

'My dream has come true, I can't describe it, it's unbelievable.'

Kavanagh said he gave Shocking, who won Saturday's Lexus Classic at his final Cup lead-up, little chance in the run.

'I didn't give him a hope in the run when he was trapped deep,' he said.

'He was so good on Saturday and he'd improved since that run.

'His preparation was timed to perfection and he came right at the right time.'

'I didn't expect to win it. It hasn't sunk in yet.'

Sentimental favourite Viewed settled well back in the field and made late ground but never seriously threatened.
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Vic govt to educate merits of clean coal

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:37

Updated: 10:22, Wednesday November 4, 2009

The Victorian government is reportedly set to plough billions of dollars into clean coal.

The Age newspaper says the government will use an education campaign to explain the need for the scheme, and the difficulties Victoria faces by relying on brown coal power under an emissions trading scheme without a clean-coal project.

The paper says the government acknowledges the new technology and standards may not work for brown coal electricity generation and power prices could jump by 78 per cent.
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Big four banks lift rates with RBA

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:39

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Updated: 21:29, Tuesday November 3, 2009


ANZ Banking Group Ltd has matched the central bank, increasing its standard variable mortgage interest rate by 25 basis points.

The bank's standard variable home loan rate will rise to 6.31 per cent as of Monday November 9, from 6.06 per cent, Melbourne-based ANZ said in a statement on Tuesday.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd (CBA) has also increased its standard variable mortgage interest rate by 25 basis points.

The bank's standard variable rate will rise to 6.24 per cent as of Monday November 9, from 5.99 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) increased the overnight cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.50 per cent on Tuesday - the second increase in the space of a month.

ANZ also said it was raising interest rates on a range of deposit products by 35 basis points.
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Rate rise hits families -Swan

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:55

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Updated: 08:57, Wednesday November 4, 2009


Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says the interest rate rise is tough on Australian families and businesses.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), for the fourth consecutive year on Melbourne Cup day has blunted celebrations by hitting borrowers with a further 25 basis point increase in the cash rate to 3.50 per cent.

'Today's decision is a tough one for Australian families and businesses but it's also another indication that rates could not stay at 50 year emergency lows forever,' Mr Swan told reporters.

'Because the economy is recovering we'll see changes to rates from time to time.'

RBA governor Glenn Stevens has warned that interest rates could not stay at emergency lows forever, Mr Swan said.

'I don't believe that any bank should have any justification to increase interest rates over and above the increase in the cash rate delivered by the Reserve Bank today,' Mr Swan said.

Based on the increased cash rate, an average home loan (of $300,000) would increase by $46 per month, he said.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says Australians will continue to pay higher interest rates because of the Rudd government's reckless spending.

Mr Turnbull said Tuesday's rate rise was expected but the government's refusal to cut back on spending despite stronger economic conditions was putting upward pressure on rates.

'The truth is Australians are going to pay higher interest rates thanks to the reckless spending of the Rudd government,' Mr Turnbull told reporters.

While the move was incremental, interest rate rises were expected to continue, he said.

'The fact is that they are going up faster and higher than they would otherwise need to be if the government was more responsible in terms of its spending.'

He said Treasurer Wayne Swan had made a speech in early 2008 saying the Howard government's spending was putting pressure on the RBA.

'Now we see Wayne Swan's rhetoric being better applicable to him,' Mr Turnbull said.

'It really fits him because what he is doing is spending and spending and spending.'
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Westpac profit tumbles 10.7%

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:56

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Updated: 09:38, Wednesday November 4, 2009


Westpac has reported a 10.7 per cent decline in full year profit and says it's entering the new fiscal year with strong momentum as bad debt stabilises.

Net profit was $3.446 billion for the 12 months to September 30, compared with $3.859 billion in the prior corresponding period, Sydney-based Westpac said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pro-forma cash earnings, the bank's preferred measure because it takes out fluctuations based on unrealised losses on asset values, fell eight per cent to $4.627 billion. The pro-forma results treats St George as part of the group.

The consensus analyst forecast for cash earnings was $4.45 billion, according to Reuters data.

'Westpac has delivered a sound financial result during a tumultuous year,' chief executive Gail Kelly said in a statement.

'The group has successfully expanded its customer base and distribution capability, providing a solid foundation for healthy returns for shareholders, and better service and product offerings for our customers.'

Chief financial officer Phil Coffey told journalists the bank was probably at the peak of the bad debt cycle.

'The credit cycle is stabilising,' he said on Wednesday.

'Bad debts are unlikely to move higher than 2009 levels.'

Mr Coffey warned there were going to be customers who would continue to face difficulties, particularly in the medium sized business space.

However, lending was likely to continue to grow in fiscal 2010.

'Credit growth is likely to continue,' he said.

Mr Coffey also said the bank's capital position was very strong, particularly when compared to its overseas peers.

'We are very comfortable where our capital is,' he said.

Westpac reported that its Tier 1 capital ratio had increased to 8.1 per cent, as at September 30, from 7.8 per cent 12 months earlier.

Mr Coffey said Westpac's merger with St George had been 'transformational' and that the bank wasn't actively looking for further takeover opportunities, at this stage.

'We're not actively scanning the market,' he said.

'If something came along, that would be different.'

On the local economy, Mr Coffey said it was on the road to recovery although in a subdued way.

'It's recovering but in a subdued way,' he said.

'It's also recovering in an uneven way (with) companies related to Asia feeling better and the services element, which was supported by the fiscal stimulus, doing better as well.'

Westpac's total provisioning rose to $4.38 billion in fiscal 2009, from $2.36 billion, on a pro-forma basis.

The bank said average funding costs are expected to continue to rise due to ongoing intense competition in the market for retail deposits.

And wholesale funding is still being sourced at a cost well above pre-financial crisis levels.

'Against this backdrop, however, the Westpac group enters the 2010 financial year with solid business momentum, with a strengthened balance sheet and excellent provisioning cover,' it said.

The bank's overall result was hurt by sharp earnings declines at its institutional bank and New Zealand businesses, where cash earnings fell by 58 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively.

The institutional arm felt the impact of a $1.1 billion rise in impairment charges, predominantly related to three large corporate exposures booked in the first half of the year, followed by more broad-based financial stress across its commercial customers.

In New Zealand, there was also an increase in impairment charges, mostly related to commercial property exposures.
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Gold surges to new record high

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:57

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Gold surged to a new record high price of $US1,085.07 (A$1203) an ounce on Tuesday, a day after an announcement of a massive sale of gold by the International Monetary Fund to India.

Prices in London hit $US1,085.07 (A$1203) per troy ounce and New York prices reached $US1,084.70 (A$1202.6), breaking records set last month.

The latest surge came a day after the International Monetary Fund announced it sold 200 tonnes of gold to India's central bank over a two-week period last month for a total of $US6.7 billion to bolster its finances.

The IMF said the transaction, which was in the process of being settled, involved daily sales that were phased over a two-week period during October 19-30.

A senior IMF official said that the IMF was lucky in selling the 200 tonnes to India for roughly $US1,045 an ounce.
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CCA expects earnings fizz to continue

Сообщение Ramzes » 04 ноя 2009, 02:58

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Updated: 10:48, Wednesday November 4, 2009


Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (CCA) reiterated its earnings guidance for the second half of 2009 after reporting solid third quarter revenue.

CCA said on Wednesday it is confident its previous guidance of high single digit growth in both earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) and net profit after tax for the second half will be achieved.

The guidance assumes a normal summer trading season in Australasia in November and December which account for around 20 per cent of the company's trading revenue.

CCA said its Australian beverage business achieved solid volume and revenue growth in the third quarter and robust transaction growth.

Higher consumer demand in New Zealand, combined with a five per cent price rise in July, had a positive effect on earnings.

The New Zealand and Fiji units now expected to deliver modest local currency earnings growth for the second half of 2009, CCA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Strong volume growth was also experienced by CCA's Indonesia, Pacific Beverages and Food and Services units, with SPC Ardmona still on track to deliver full year savings of around $8 million from the rationalisation of its manufacturing sites in the Goulburn Valley.

Pacific Beverages' customers' strong support for the Russian Standard premium vodka range, launched in July, meant initial sales exceeded forecasts, CCA said.

Pacific Beverages' Bluetongue Brewery in NSW remains on track for completion in May 2010, the company added.

CCA said the high Australian dollar will reduce full year 2009 earnings growth by about one per cent.

Strong volume growth was also experienced by CCA's Indonesia, Pacific Beverages and Food and Services units, with SPC Ardmona still on track to deliver full year savings of around $8 million from the rationalisation of its manufacturing sites in the Goulburn Valley.

Pacific Beverages' customers' strong support for the Russian Standard premium vodka range, launched in July, meant initial sales exceeded forecasts, CCA said.

Pacific Beverages' Bluetongue Brewery in NSW remains on track for completion in May 2010, the company added.

CCA said the high Australian dollar will reduce full year 2009 earnings growth by about one per cent.

CCA said depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah against the US dollar and other factors would lead to a double-digit increase in the cost of goods sold in Indonesia during 2009.

Overall, the beverage cost of goods sold per unit case in 2009 would rise by between five per cent and six per cent on a constant currency basis, excluding Indonesia, CCA said.

But CCA remained on track to recover its cost of goods increases in 2009, the company said.

Capital expenditure in 2009 would be about 7.5 per cent of revenue before CCA lifts capital expenditure in 2010 to 8.5 per cent of sales revenue.

CCA said it would invest around $45 million in 2010 in the manufacture of PET bottles at its Northmead facility in NSW.

The company's tax rate for full year 2009 would be around 30 per cent, CCA said.

CCA will post its full year 2009 results on February 16, 2010.
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Life-line to James Hardie victims

Сообщение Ramzes » 07 ноя 2009, 10:44

Updated: 11:17, Saturday November 7, 2009

The federal and NSW governments have agreed to loan up to $320 million to a compensation fund for James Hardie asbestos victims.

A joint statement by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and NSW Premier Nathan Rees said the federal government would lend NSW up to $160 million, which the state will put towards a loan facility of up to $320 million to top up the fund.

The loan facility will cover three years of compensation payments at current claim rates, the statement said.

The company has blamed the global financial crisis for a shortfall in the fund and its inability to make contributions this year.

'The advice to both governments was that, if action wasn't taken now, some asbestos victims faced the very real prospect of not surviving long enough to receive their full compensation payments,' the statement said.

'This decision will help give peace of mind to asbestos victims and their families.'

Federal Finance Services Minister Chris Bowen said the fund was expected to run out of money in the next 12 months without intervention.

'The federal and New South Wales government have made a decision that this is appropriate to ensure that there's enough money in the fund until James Hardie returns to a position where they can make the contributions,' he told ABC radio.

He said the government would be closely monitoring James Hardie's financial position to ensure it would resume contributing to the fund as soon as possible.

'We will be very closely monitoring of course James Hardie's financial situation and we will be ensuring that as soon as they are in a position to return to making payments they do so and meet their obligations,' he said.

He said the company was expected to repay the government loan by 2020.

'We expect that the loan won't be repaid to the Commonwealth until the fund is in a stable and secure situation,' he said.
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One-off payments for flood victims

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:21

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Updated: 17:38, Monday November 9, 2009



Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has offered more assistance to victims of flooding on the NSW north coast.

'We stand ready to assist in whatever way we can,' Mr Rudd told reporters.

From Monday, flood victims can apply for one-off federal government payments of $1,000 for adults and $400 for each child.

The NSW government also declared the shires of Nambucca, Bellingen, Kempsey and Coffs Harbour natural disaster zones, making funding available to local councils for infrastructure repairs.
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Woolies deflect blame for price increase

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:22

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Updated: 17:19, Monday November 9, 2009

Woolworths says it doesn't have too much power in the market, despite supermarket giants being blamed for Australians paying the premium prices for groceries.

According to new OECD price data, food prices in Australia have increased 41.3 per cent since the start of 2000, News Limited newspapers reported.

Spain has the next fastest rate of increase over that time at 41.2 per cent.

University of NSW associate professor Frank Zumbo said comparing costs over 10 years eliminated variables such as drought, and exposed Australia's 'cosy' supermarket duopoly as the main reason for the price surge.

'When you look internationally, it is our market concentration which explains why our grocery prices are rising faster,' he told News Ltd.

But Woolworths' James Aylen said there was plenty of competition in the market.

'We don't believe we have too much power,' Mr Aylen told the Seven Network.

'We actually think the Australian market is very competitive.

'We know the ACCC had their inquiry last year and they certainly found it to be competitive as well.'

Mr Aylen said Woolworths' internal figures showed grocery prices were beginning to fall.

'So we'll continue to work with our suppliers to try and make sure we can offer the most competitive prices within the Australian market.'

Consumer group Choice's Christopher Zinn said market concentration was key in pushing prices up as 80 per cent of dry groceries are sold by Coles and Woolworths.

'We don't blame them, it's in their business to slug it out and get a lot of market share.'

He said consumers should be empowered to get price transparency.

'Some of that is happening, we'd like it all to happen a bit faster of course.'

Federal Competition Minister Craig Emerson said that more supermarket chains were needed to increase competition against Coles and Woolworths.

'We want to see real competition, more supermarkets and that is why the Rudd government is working with the states and territories to tear down the barriers to entry into the sector,' he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

Giving consumers basic price comparison information, as had been proposed for the Grocery Choice website, would not in itself increase competition and lower prices, Dr Emerson said.

'Giving consumers more information does not necessarily equal more competition,' he said.

'We're taking on hard measures by taking down the barriers to competition with Coles and Woolworths.

'We are determined to apply the competition blowtorch.'

Dr Emerson said a range of factors including drought had caused the food price rises, which meant the cost of feeding an average family has risen 40 per cent in the last decade.

'There's a range of combining factors that go into price rises over a number of years but competition is the best force for lowering prices,' he said.

'If you ask Australian consumers they will say prices have been rising and that they are too high.

'They want value for money and we think that's right and we intend to do that by introducing more competition.'
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Women oppose maternity services reform

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:24

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Updated: 17:54, Monday November 9, 2009

Hundreds of women have rallied outside federal Labor ministers' offices across Australia to protest against the government's maternity services reforms.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon last week announced that Labor would amend draft laws before parliament to make it clear nurses and midwives could only access the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if they worked in collaboration with a doctor.

About 300 women and children rallied outside Kevin Rudd's electorate office in Brisbane on Monday, while protests were held in other capital cities.

Australian Greens health spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert, who attended a rally in Perth, said doctors would effectively be able to control which midwives can be insured and registered.

'We find this completely unacceptable as it may erode rather than expand choices as doctors make decisions about what types of care to support,' Senator Siewert said.

'We will continue to fight for greater choice and less interventionist maternity care.'

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) president, Associate Professor Jenny Gamble, said the legislation was 'an attempt by the medical lobby to ensure doctors have a power of veto over the regulated professional practice of a midwife'.

'Insisting on agreements with individual privately practising doctors is simply not workable,' Prof Gamble said.

'In rural and remote Australia sometimes there is no doctor available within hundreds of kilometres and those available are often locums who change every three months or so, making collaboration with a single doctor impossible.

'Even in the cities, if a woman's midwife has an agreement with a particular private obstetrician, that doctor may not be available when the woman requires medical care, such as a caesarean section.'

ACM has called on the government to leave flexible collaborative arrangements in place or at least to change the amendment to make clear that midwives can have agreements with maternity services as an alternative to having one with a private obstetrician.
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Tasmania facing summer bushfire threat

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:27

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Updated: 17:59, Monday November 9, 2009



Tasmania is facing a bushfire threat this summer similar to that which fuelled the 1967 Black Tuesday bushfires that killed 62 people.

Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown says grass and undergrowth is growing at an alarming rate in many areas, after the state's wettest winter in 50 years.

He says the fuel load's now being dried by hot and windy days, and is much greater than it's been in recent years.

More than 120 separate fire fronts scorched southern Tasmania in February 1967, killing 62 people and injuring 900 more, and leaving more than seven thousand people homeless.

It followed a similarly wet winter in 1966.
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GP super clinic plans

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:29

Updated: 10:39, Monday November 9, 2009

It is critical the government continues to move away from a hospital-based health system by 're-empowering' general practice, the nation's peak body says.

That's despite serious concerns from GPs relating to increased workloads under a new super clinic system.

More than 100 doctors in western Sydney are cancelling surgery for the day so they can discuss the federal government's plan to establish GP super clinics.

Some GPs are flying in from Queensland and Victoria while others will be taking part via a webcast of the meeting on the internet.

'Central clinics inevitably will become more bureaucratic , they'll probably end up like a big sort of casualty ... where people just come and they don't have any ongoing relationship (with their doctor),' GP Adrian Sheen told ABC radio.

But Dr Emil Djakic from the Australian General Practice Network doesn't appear to be as concerned about the moves to establish super clinics.

'It is absolutely critical that the Australian government continue to work towards reorientating away from a very hospital-focused health care system and funding to re-empowering general practice,' Dr Djakic, the network's president told ABC radio.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon conceded that under the super clinics system, a team of doctors may be working for a long period of time.

But they would not be required to invest large amounts of money on their own clinic if they don't wish to stay in one location for 30-40 years, she said.

The federal government made an election promise to build 31 clinics, but ABC radio says that number has now increased to 36.

It is critical the government continues to move away from a hospital-based health system by 're-empowering' general practice, the nation's peak body says.
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NSW govt hold $115m in unclaimed money

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:30

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Updated: 14:55, Monday November 9, 2009


NSW residents are urged to check if they are entitled to any of the $115 million in unclaimed money held by the state government.

The NSW Office of State Revenue has over 200,000 items of unclaimed money, worth $115.2 million, made up of deceased estates, dividends, refunds and inactive superannuation accounts.

The items range in value from a $20 share dividend to more than $518,000 from a deceased estate.

NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal said one of the largest recent payouts was $173,000 from an inactive super account.

He urged businesses and families to check the Office of State Revenue's website for more information.
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Motorist shot at in Melbourne

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:32

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Updated: 16:48, Monday November 9, 2009


A 21-year-old man and 17-year-old girl have been arrested south of Melbourne after gunshots were fired at a motorist in a street.

A Rosebud man told police that he was in his car when a man he knew fired shots from a passing vehicle.

While some bullet fragments hit the car, the motorist escaped unharmed.

The incident occurred in Ocean Street, Rosebud, at about midday (AEDT) on Monday.

The pair are being interviewed at Rosebud police station.
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'Building progress' in bushfires areas

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:33

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Updated: 10:36, Monday November 9, 2009


Amid concerns the rebuilding process is too slow, the Victorian bushfire reconstruction authority has released a report detailing the 'significant progress'.

More than 1,085 building permits have been issued and about 6,300 kilometres of fencing has been rebuilt, a report into rebuilding efforts nine months on since Black Saturday reveals.

The report says work has started on Marysville's $7 million community health and recreation facility and more than 1,000 people have received free counselling.

About $660,000 has been spent to support 137 community events.

Christine Nixon, chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, says she expects rebuilding activity to blossom in the coming months as a $193 million state-wide funding plan is rolled out.

'While work starts on the public and community buildings funded, and as businesses continue to re-open, we anticipate more people will make decisions around rebuilding their homes and moving back into their communities,' she said in a statement.
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Adelaide heatwave predicted

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:35

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Updated: 11:33, Monday November 9, 2009


Adelaide is bracing for its first November heatwave on record with high temperatures forecast for the next week.

Five days or more with a top temperature above 35 degrees celsius was considered a heatwave, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Monday.

It said Adelaide's top temperature reached 37 degrees on Sunday and was expected to stay above 35 until Friday.

The bureau said Adelaide's weather was being dominated by a large, almost stationary, high pressure system in the Tasman Sea.

The forecast prompted warnings for all South Australians to keep cool and hydrated during the first sustained hot weather of the season.

SA Health Chief Medical Officer Paddy Phillips said it was important people took precautions.

'I would encourage everyone to keep out of the heat, drink plenty of water and make the most of fans and air conditioners.'

'Extreme heat can significantly affect people's health and wellbeing, particularly the elderly and the very young.

'People who are ill also need to take extra precautions and be monitored and protected against the heat.'

Professor Phillips said the symptoms of heat exhaustion included nausea, faintness and dizziness, loss of appetite, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and reduced sweating and urine output due to a lack of fluids in the body.

'Anyone who develops these symptoms should seek urgent medical attention,' he said.

Independent MP David Winderlich called for a wider media campaign to warn of the risks associated with heat stress.
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Tiger Woods arrives in Australia

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:39

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Updated: 10:42, Monday November 9, 2009


World number one golfer Tiger Woods has arrived in Melbourne ahead of his first tournament in Australia in 11 years.

Wood's private jet touched down at Essendon Airport shortly after 9am (AEDT).

The American is being paid $A3.3 million in appearance fees as the headline act for the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath starting on Thursday.

Woods has only played in Australia on three previous occasions, most recently when he was part of the US team which lost the 1998 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
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Swift on top of country charts

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:41

Updated: 18:52, Monday November 9, 2009

American teenager Taylor Swift is spending her 33rd week in the top spot of the country album chart with Fearless.

American country singer Tim McGraw has debuted at number 3 with Southern Voice while fellow American John Fogerty came in at number 7, up from 13 last week with The Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again.

American singer Shania Twain has re-entered the chart with her Greatest Hits album, originally released in 2004.

The album features her most popular songs including I'm Gonna Getcha Good!, Man! I Feel Like a Woman!, (If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here! and From This Moment On.

Compilation album Hit Country 2010 has debuted at number 5 and features music from Taylor Swift, Kenny Chensey, The McClymonts, Brooks and Dunn and Troy Cassar-Daley.

Australian country chart

1(1) Fearless - Taylor Swift (BIG/UMA) 2(2) Both Sides Now - Adam Harvey (SME) 3(-) Southern Voice - Tim McGraw (CURB/SME) 4(-) Greatest Hits - Shania Twain (UMA) 5(-) Hit Country 2010 - Various (ABC/UMA) 6(3) The Best Of Country Music Channel 2009 - Various (EMI) 7(13) The Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again - John Fogerty (VE/UMA) 8(8) Greatest Hits: 18 Kids - Keith Urban (CAP/EMI) 9(7) Number 1's... And Then Some - Brooks and Dunn (ARI/SME) 10(4) The Essential Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash (COL/SME)
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Ten says it's positioned well for 2010

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:42

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Updated: 19:15, Monday November 9, 2009


Television broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd says it is in a strong position and media remains an exciting and relevant sector.

'The work done during the year to strengthen our businesses and establish momentum across the company means Ten Holdings is in a much stronger position for 2010 and beyond,' executive chairman Nick Falloon says in the company's annual report.

'Media remains an exciting, unquestionably relevant and ever-developing sector.'

Ten Holdings undertook in August a fully underwritten equity raising of $138 million and used the proceeds to pay down debt, further improving gearing levels.

Mr Falloon said the company's position improved since its major shareholder, Canada's Canwest, sold down its 50.06 per cent stake in early October 2009.

'Wee are in a further improved position with a broad mix of institutional and retail shareholders, with no controlling shareholder.'
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Stokes says Seven's in good shape

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:44

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Updated: 19:15, Monday November 9, 2009

Seven Network executive chairman Kerry Stokes says the company has come through a difficult 12 months in good shape.

'I am pleased to report that Seven Network Limited has come through a tough 12 months for the economy, and is in good shape today,' Mr Stokes told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Monday.

Mr Stokes said the federal government's fiscal stimulus and bank guarantee had left Australia in a 'unique position' and the 'envy of the world'.

'Today, we are seeing the recovery and economic stability returning,' Mr Stokes said.

'We are looking forward to a strengthening in the Australian economy, and as a result, advertising demand, following a much-canvassed decline over the past twelve months.'

Mr Stokes noted that the better-than-expected economic outcome had 'encouraged' the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to raise interest rates.

'I hope that enthusiasm for higher interest rates now becomes tempered with the sustainability for the entire economy,' Mr Stokes said.

'In this fragile environment, interest rates are a very blunt tool.'

The RBA has lifted the cash rate by a quarter of a percentage point in each of the past two months.

Mr Stokes said the Seven Network was 'the only company in Australia with strategic shareholdings across a portfolio of strongly-performing media businesses'.

Seven Media Group holds the company's broadcast TV, magazine and online assets.

Seven Network also has a stake in West Australian Newspapers Holdings Ltd and Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd.

ConsMedia owns 25 per cent of Foxtel and 50 per cent of Premier Media Group, which produces the Fox Sports channels.

Mr Stokes said ConsMedia was a 'well-managed and successful' company.

'Its strategic investments in Foxtel and Fox Sports provide your company with a significant opportunity to play a key role in the further development of subscription television in Australia,' Mr Stokes said.

Seven appointed Peter Gammell and Ryan Stokes as directors to the ConsMedia board earlier this year.

'I am pleased to report that our two companies are united in our support for Consolidated Media's plans for future growth,' Mr Stokes said
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Sheens slams international politics

Сообщение Ramzes » 09 ноя 2009, 11:47

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Updated: 19:38, Monday November 9, 2009


Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has hit out at the international rugby league politics which could prevent Australian referee Shayne Hayne being appointed to control Saturday night's Four Nations final against England at Elland Road.

Despite being a front-runner for the international referee of the year award - to be presented at Monday night's RLIF dinner in Leeds - Hayne has been largely snubbed so far this tournament with his only game in charge being New Zealand's massive win over France in Toulouse ten days ago.

Sheens claimed Hayne's nationality should not be a factor in deciding the official for the tournament final, just as it wasn't when English referee Steve Ganson was handed the Australia-England preliminary game in Wigan.

'There's obviously some politics being involved here, and in my opinion a lot of it's designed about a much slower game which suits sides when you start to talk about playing Australia,' Sheens said.

'The decision about who's going to referee has got nothing to do with me - there's not much we can do about it really.

'There's a panel and obviously the Australians are going to want the best referee, that's all.

'If the best referee happens to be the international referee of the year and he's an Australian, well so be it. We just want the best referee.

'It would be disappointing for Shayne and disappointing for the tournament if technically what I would argue is the best refereeing system in rugby league and the referee nominated by us who has been nominated for the referee of the year can't get a game, then something's wrong.

'It's politics, there's no doubt.'

All four countries competing in the tournament nominated referees to officiate in games, though it was assumed the two best credentialed figures - Hayne and Ganson - would be handed the marquee matches.

Ganson was awarded the earlier match between Australia and England - which the Kangaroos won 26-16 - due to the fact Australian officials were concerned the two neutral refereeing options, Kiwi Leon Williamson and Frenchman Thierry Alibert, were not up to the task.

Alibert was then surprisingly handed the England-New Zealand game last Saturday night ahead of Hayne, a match which was a virtual semi-final.

Despite questioning several of Alibert's decisions and interpretations, the Kiwis refused to blame the referee for the 20-12 loss, but it is assumed his inconsistent display cost him any chance of securing a final berth.

Australian hooker Cameron Smith did his best to sidestep the referee issue, saying it was up to the tournament favourites to adapt to whatever conditions and interpretations they were presented with.

'The refereeing situation is out of our control as players,' Smith said.

'If it's Ganson or if it's Shayne Hayne or whoever it is, we've got to adapt to whoever it is and the style of refereeing they have.

'We've had two games with Ganson now so I think we've got to learn what we cane get away with and what we can't.'
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Man charged with raping sisters

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 ноя 2009, 15:17

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Updated: 08:06, Friday November 20, 2009


A court's been told two young sisters were raped and brutalised by a Melbourne man who then demanded they have abortions when they fell pregnant to him.

A third younger sister also moved in with the man when she was in her teens in the late 1980s and continues to be in a relationship with him.

The Victorian County Court was told all three women have children by him and one of the girls was aged 11 when she was first abused by him in the early 1980s.

The man has pleading not guilty to 23 charges including aggravated rape, rape and threats to kill.

The trial continues.
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Hold off judgment on ETS, Turnbull says

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 ноя 2009, 15:20

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Updated: 23:09, Friday November 20, 2009


Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull refuses to be drawn on a new wave of leadership speculation sparked by talk that senior Liberal Tony Abbott is after his job.

Former Liberal minister Bruce Baird has publicly questioned whether Mr Abbott is eyeing off the leadership after hardening his opposition to the government's emissions trading scheme.

'I'll leave you guys to comment on all that,' Mr Turnbull told reporters in Queanbeyan on Friday.

'I certainly don't run a commentary on that kind of thing.'

Earlier, Mr Turnbull urged his divided party to hold off judgment on emissions trading until negotiations with the government wind up.

He said he was focused on the climate change negotiations, having just attended a meeting on Friday morning.

Facing continued dissent over emissions trading within his own party, Mr Turnbull implored his colleagues to wait until the negotiations are over before making up their minds.

'The idea that you take a unilateral view and either wave it through willy nilly or knock it back willy nilly regardless of how it might be amended - I don't take that view,' he said.
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More heat on the way for NSW

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 ноя 2009, 15:46

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Updated: 23:13, Friday November 20, 2009


Firefighters are battling more than 80 fires across New South Wales while storms have blacked out nine-thousand homes and businesses on Sydney's northern beaches and the Central Coast.

The fires of most concern are at Bilpin in the Hawkesbury region .. burning through about 150 hectares of inaccessible national park.

Rural Fire Service Assistant Commissioner Rob Rogers says they'll burn for some time .. and crews are working hard to keep them as small as possible.

A lightning storm passing over the Blue Mountains has started an unknown number of new fires .. and Sydney crews are fighting house fires believed started by lightning at Castle Cove and Campbelltown.

An extension of fire bans leaves only the Far North Coast .. New England and the North Coast free of restrictions.

On Sunday coastal New South Wales looks set to get a dose of the record-breaking heatwave experienced in much of the state's inland.

The Weather Bureau says Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the eastern quarter of the state will experience very hot conditions without any sea breeze meaning it could be close to 40 degrees on the coast on Sunday.
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Krishna slowly waking from coma

Сообщение Ramzes » 20 ноя 2009, 15:56

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Updated: 20:08, Friday November 20, 2009


The second of the two separated twins, Krishna has begun the slow process of waking from her medically-induced coma, after life-saving surgery to separate her from her twin sister Trishna.

Trishna awoke yesterday and has talked since then but it's a slower process to wake up Krishna who faces more complications after the 32-hour surgery.

The twins, who were born joined at the head, were separated by a 16-member medical team at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital on Tuesday.
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Family of kidnapped journalist speak

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 08:48

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Updated: 11:49, Thursday November 26, 2009



The family of Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan, held captive for 15 months in Somalia, say they are overwhelmed by news of his release but he is not out of danger yet.

Mr Brennan and Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout were released on Wednesday after being held captive for 15 months in the lawless African country of Somalia.

It's believed their families paid a $US1 million ($A1.09 million) ransom to the kidnappers to secure their release.

They were captured on August 23, 2008, en route to visit a refugee camp.

Mr Brennan's sister-in-law Kellie Brennan says the family are overjoyed that he has now been released.

'It's very hard to express the overwhelming sense of joy that we have today as we feel as a family at the news of Nigel and Amanda's release,' a clearly emotional Ms Brennan told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

'I want to make it really clear to you all that they are still in Somalia and not out of danger yet.'
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Turnbull urges Liberals to unite

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 08:49

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Updated: 07:57, Thursday November 26, 2009


Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull and would-be Liberal leader Kevin Andrews both say it's time to put party infighting behind and unite the party.

In yet another dramatic day for the Liberals yesterday Mr Turnbull asserted his authority over the party beating off an attempted challenge from Mr Andrews for now.

The former Howard minister had accused his leader of riding rough-shot over the party in his deal on an Emissions Trading Scheme with the federal government.

After the dust had settled Mr Turnbull extended an olive branch to his detractors promising to curb his abrasive leadership style.

Kevin Andrews announced if Mr Turnbull could reach out and embrace his colleagues, the party could move forward.
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Senate takes ETS debate into next week

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 08:52

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Updated: 13:51, Thursday November 26, 2009


Rather than jetting off home for their Christmas break our federal parliamentarians will be spending extra time in Canberra finalising the government's emissions trading scheme.

After sitting late last night the Senate had passed precisely one of the 200 amendments now under consideration.

The Senate will sit late tonight and again tomorrow but won't sit on the weekend.

The Senate will resume sitting on Monday with the lower house likely to return on Wednesday to approve the amended scheme.
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More people turning to casual work

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 08:58

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Updated: 07:57, Thursday November 26, 2009


About a third of Australian workers who changed jobs during the economic downturn moved into work with no paid leave, a study shows.

Unions NSW will launch the latest phase of a five-year study of 8,000 workers on Thursday, when it will call for all industrial agreements to allow employees to convert to permanent work after six months.

The research, by the University of Sydney's Workplace Research Centre, showed 34 per cent of those who changed jobs in 2008-09 went into positions with no paid leave, compared to 30 per cent in 2007-08.

About 20 per cent of the workers say they have not had a job with paid leave in the past four years.

Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said the report shows the growing number of Australians who do not have job security and paid leave.

'Casual employment makes it much harder to deal with many of life's basic issues, like looking after children, getting a mortgage and planning holidays,' Mr Lennon said in a statement.

'We accept some people appreciate casual employment, but they should have a genuine choice in the matter.'
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Firefighters brace for hot temperatures

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 09:03

Updated: 07:57, Thursday November 26, 2009


After a brief respite firefighters in New South Wales are preparing for hot temperatures and low humidity over the next days with some 60 fires still burning across the state.

The weather bureau has issued a fire weather warning for today with hot, windy and dry conditions expected to increase the fire danger in parts of the state.

The bureau predicts severe fire danger for parts of the Upper Central West Plains, Lower Central West Plains, Northern Riverina, Southern Riverina and Far Western areas.

Total fire bans for those areas came into force at midnight and remain until midnight tonight.
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Child protection workers fudging figures

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 09:05

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Updated: 13:51, Thursday November 26, 2009


A scathing Ombudsman's report has identified gross deficiencies in Victoria's child protection service.

The report, tabled in state parliament on Thursday, found 2,197 at-risk children, or one in five, were not allocated a case worker as at June 2009.

And many allegations of child abuse and neglect did not receive a timely response.

Staff even reported fudging response records to achieve targets.

'I received sworn statements from witnesses that the immediate response indicator is at times manipulated to achieve targets,' Ombudsman George Brouwer said in the report.

'Senior departmental staff said this performance measure was often recorded as met despite the child not being sighted.'

The report said families were often lied to about the case being responded to, despite the child not being seen.

'Even where the department meets its performance measures it would appear that compliance does not necessarily equate to an effective response to a report.'

Nonetheless, the report, Own Motion Investigation into the Department of Human Services, Child Protection Program, blamed lack of resources for poor service quality and said the failures were not a reflection on the staff.

Community Services Minister Lisa Neville admitted there were significant failures in the system and said each of the ombudsman's 42 recommendations would be implemented.

Ms Neville said she was 'disturbed' that figures had been manipulated.

'If this is happening it's unacceptable and will stop,' she told reporters.

The department had asked for an investigation of these allegations and would report back within three months, Ms Neville said.

She said case workers spent 50 per cent of their time in the Children's Court and this was a significant factor in staff attrition.

Some 37 child protection workers had been employed since the government's recruitment drive for an extra 200 staff began.

Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Children's Court would be overhauled to address flaws in the system.

The Law Reform Commission was examining court processes and would report back to the government within six months.

'The courts, the child protection sector and the government are as one on this issue - we want to see a less adversarial system that delivers better results for children and reduces the administrative burden on child protection workers,' Mr Hulls said.

Meanwhile, the Child Safety Commissioner has released a report into the death of a two-year-old toddler who died after being abused by her father despite being known to child protection workers.

The report has not been made public but the government said it would adopt each of the recommendations.

Ms Neville described the ombudsman's report as sad and disturbing.

'Anyone who has read this report will be disturbed that parents are capable of inflicting this sort of abuse on their children,' she said.
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Brennan OK after 15 months in captivity

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 09:06

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Updated: 11:22, Thursday November 26, 2009


Australian journalist Nigel Brennan says he is OK after he and Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout were released on Wednesday, 15 months after being kidnapped in the troubled African country of Somalia.

The pair were captured on August 23, 2008, en route from Mogadishu to visit a refugee camp in Afgooye, a town just outside the capital. Their Somali driver and two Somali guards were also taken, but released 177 days later.

Mr Brennan's family in Australia has confirmed that he has been freed. Australian government officials have made no comment so far.

It is understood the families paid a ransom of $US1 million ($A1.09 million) to the kidnappers, but authorities will not confirm that.

Mr Brennan spoke briefly to the Seven Network, saying he was OK and relieved, but said he had been advised not to go into further detail.

Ms Lindhout, however, has told Canadian television of the oppressive conditions she'd been kept under and that she had been beaten and tortured.

In the interview from the hotel in Mogadishu she said they were released on Wednesday after a ransom 'was paid by our families' to the kidnappers.

'I believe they are taking that money and, as far as I understand, they plan on leaving the country,' Ms Lindhout told CTV News Channel.

'It's a long story. It's been sort of going on for the last couple of weeks, and tonight finally everything came together and the men who had kidnapped us turned us over to the federal government in Somalia.'

One of the kidnappers, who refused to identify himself, told AFP that a ransom of $US1 million had been paid for the pair's release.

But Somali police spokesman Colonel Abdulhai Hassan Barise and lawmaker Botan Isse Alin declined to say if a ransom was paid for their release.

Ms Lindhout said she was beaten and tortured while in captivity.

'It was extremely oppressive. I was kept by myself at all times. I had no one to speak to,' she said.

'I was normally kept in a room with a light, no window, I had nothing to write on or with. There was very little food. I was allowed to use the toilet exactly five times a day.

'So, basically, my day was sitting on a corner, on the floor, 24 hours a day for the last 15 months.

'There were times that I was beaten, that I was tortured. It was an extremely, extremely difficult situation.'

She said the kidnappers told her they were beating her because the money 'wasn't coming quickly enough'.

'They seemed to think that if they beat me enough, then when I was able to speak to my mother - which they would put me on the line with her every couple of months - that I would be able to say the right thing to convince her to pay the ransom for me, which was $1 million,' she said.

'Of course, my family didn't have $1 million and it didn't matter what I said to them. But they didn't really understand that.

They thought: She's Canadian, everyone in Canada is rich. She must have $1 million.'

Journalists and humanitarian workers are frequently abducted for ransoms in Somalia, one of the world's poorest and most war-torn countries. Foreign and local workers generally travel in convoys heavily guarded by freelance militiamen.

The Australian journalists' union says it's delighted to learn that the pair have been freed.

'It's just fantastic news to hear that they're out and they're alive,' Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance federal secretary Chris Warren told AAP.

'Obviously we still need to see how they are, whether they're well and how they've managed their 15 month confinement.'

Jack Dempsey, the state MP for Bundaberg where Mr Brennan grew up, said he was incredibly relieved to hear Mr Brennan had been freed.

'It's quite unbelievable ... it's like a whole sense of joy to hear the news and also a sense of relief for the community of Bundaberg as well as the family.'

Somalia has been mired in anarchy and chaos since 1991 when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
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NZ passes ETS through parliament

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 09:07

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Updated: 08:51, Thursday November 26, 2009


New Zealand has beaten Australia to set up an emissions trading scheme ahead of the Copenhagen climate change meeting next month.

The country's parliament on Wednesday rammed through new legislation 63 votes to 58 after an hours-long acrimonious debate described by the government as 'rude and aggressive'.

But despite the fierce talks, the conservative National government is thrilled at the outcome, reached after support was garnered from the Maori Party.

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith is calling it a 'workable and affordable' emissions trading scheme.

'It strikes the right balance in protecting the future of our economy and our environment,' he told journalists.

'It ensures that we should do our fair share on climate change without the pretence that we should lead the world.'

But the main opposition Labour Party, which did not support the law change, have called it a cop out that penalises big polluters less than they'd like and reduces the impact of an ETS on fuel and energy prices.

'It is economically irrational, socially inequitable, environmentally counter-productive and fiscally unsustainable,' said the opposition's climate change spokesman Charles Chauvel.

'And its hallmark has been one of poor procedure and hasty consideration.'

The new bill was passed under urgency in time to come before the Copenhagen conference.

But despite all the effort, the country's prime minister, John Key, has said he won't be attending, dismissing the event as a photo opportunity.

'From my perspective it's the other side of the world for what would basically be a photo shoot,' Mr Key said on Monday.

'We won't actually get a deal at Copenhagen, we will get a high level political statement.'
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Abbott expected to resign today

Сообщение Ramzes » 26 ноя 2009, 09:11

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Updated: 16:57, Thursday November 26, 2009


Former Howard government minister Tony Abbott is expected to resign from the coalition frontbench on Thursday afternoon.

His office confirmed he would hold a press conference at 1715 AEDT to discuss the emissions trading legislation.
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Abbott to run, even if Hockey doesn't

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 ноя 2009, 14:53

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Updated: 20:58, Monday November 30, 2009


Tony Abbott will throw his hat into the ring for the Liberal leadership, opening the way for a three-way contest against Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey that could tear the party apart.

In yet another day of high drama for the Liberals, Mr Abbott confirmed late on Monday that he would contest the leadership whether or not Mr Hockey was running.

Mr Abbott had previously indicated he would stand aside if Mr Hockey - the preferred consensus candidate - was contesting the leadership.

After a day of meetings around Parliament House, Mr Abbott told reporters he had changed his position because Mr Hockey was negotiating a conscience vote on the contentious emissions trading legislation.

'I think that Joe is doing his best to think his way through these issues and he is trying to come up with his way of helping the party in these difficult times,' he told reporters.

'I just happen not to agree with him.'

If he wins the leadership, Mr Abbott will seek to refer the legislation to a Senate committee that will report next year.

But if the coalition doesn't have the numbers in the Senate for that strategy, Mr Abbott will push for the opposition to reject the legislation.

Ian Macfarlane, the opposition's chief climate change negotiator, told ABC TV that if Mr Hockey was successful, the Rudd government's bill could still pass the Senate this week.

One of Mr Turnbull's most vocal supporters, Mr Macfarlane said he would make 'a good fist of the ballot'.

Mr Turnbull's leadership stands on the brink of oblivion over the ETS, but on Monday a defiant opposition leader was refusing to back away from the fight.

'I will be standing tomorrow,' he told reporters in Canberra.

The wildcard in the dramatic turn of events is Mr Hockey, who met Mr Turnbull for an hour on Monday but has refused to speak to the media about the meeting.

He later held meetings in his office with federal Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane, as well as key members of the moderate and conservative wings of the party.

It was understood he was planning to run against Mr Turnbull if a spill motion for the leadership was successful but it is now unclear if he has the appetite for a three-ringed contest.

Mr Hockey emerged from his office mid-afternoon for a quick stroll to the Parliament House coffee shop but would not elaborate on the details of his meeting with Mr Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull said his treasury spokesman had told him he would not support a spill.

The question that remained unanswered was whether Mr Hockey would stand against him if a spill motion was successful.

Mr Abbott's dramatic about-face creates a number of possible permutations for a leadership contest, which is heavily dependent on whether Mr Hockey is a contender.

Mr Turnbull's supporters insist Mr Abbott is on the nose with voters, particularly women, and he doesn't have the numbers in the party room to win a ballot.

The Liberal leader's backers believe he can still win against Mr Abbott despite the damage of recent days.

However, if he's in the race, most believe Mr Hockey will win.

A successful tilt by Mr Hockey opens up the possibility the ETS could get through the Senate but Mr Turnbull loses the leadership over his strong support for the laws.

Mr Macfarlane said that scenario showed that, like life, politics wasn't always fair.

'These things happen but in the end if we get a policy that allows the Liberal Party to move forward and back to the issues that we're good on, then that's a good outcome for the Liberal Party,' he said.

Mr Abbott indicated he was unhappy about the 'spectacle' the party had engaged in over recent weeks.

'I hate the way we have made ourselves a spectacle like this,' he said.

The deputy Liberal leadership is also expected to be up for grabs on Tuesday.

Mr Hockey is expected to have Peter Dutton as his running mate if he contests the ballot.

Mr Abbott indicated Ms Bishop could keep her job if he was to be leader.

'She's done a good job,' he said.

It's unclear if there would be any change in the deputy if Mr Turnbull was to hold on to the leadership.
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Hockey leadership would see ETS pass

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 ноя 2009, 14:59

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Updated: 20:32, Monday November 30, 2009


Liberal senators would be given a conscience vote on the emissions trading legislation under Joe Hockey's leadership, delivering the government the numbers it needs to get the laws passed.

The development comes as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called on the opposition to live up to its promise and pass the legislation, regardless of the outcome of a likely Liberal leadership spill.

Liberal sources say senators would be allowed to vote with their conscience on the legislation if Mr Hockey is installed as opposition leader.

However Tony Abbott, who will also put his hand up to replace Malcolm Turnbull, says he won't stand by and let that happen.

The government needs the support of just seven Liberal senators to get the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) passed, so a conscience vote would deliver Mr Rudd a framework for tackling climate change ahead of next week's United Nations talks in Copenhagen.

Opposition frontbencher Ian Macfarlane, who negotiated changes to the scheme with the government, said there were up to 12 Liberal senators who had indicated they would vote to pass the legislation.

'Certainly more than nine or 10, it's in that vicinity,' Mr Macfarlane told ABC Television on Monday night.

'There are 12 that have indicated to Malcolm that they will vote for the bill when it comes to a vote.'

'And that's because the partyroom has instructed the Senate to vote for the legislation.'

But as the Senate on Monday night continued its consideration of more than 200 amendments related to the CPRS, other opposition senators maintained that the passage of the legislation should be delayed.

Opposition Senate leader Nick Minchin wants an inquiry.

'I continue to support the proposition that the bill should be referred to a Senate inquiry, to report back after the Copenhagen conference,' he said.

However any move to refer the legislation to an inquiry appears doomed to failure.

The Greens will not agree to such a move. Conditions attached to Steve Fielding's support are so stringent they are highly unlikely to be agreed to by the cabal of opposition senators calling for the delay. This is despite a deal done by Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull.

With independent senator Nick Xenophon supporting a delay, Senator Fielding's vote and those of all opposition senators, would be needed if the move was to be successful.

Senator Fielding wants a royal commission into climate change to be co-chaired by government adviser Ross Garnaut and climate change sceptic Ian Plimer.

The Family First senator also wants the Productivity Commission to examine the economic impact of an emissions trading scheme and for the merits of other schemes to be explored.

With the glacial speed at which senators are considering the CPRS, a vote on the legislation is not expected before Tuesday and not before the Liberal leadership dramas are resolved.

Mr Rudd, further emboldened by what he described as 'real momentum' towards a better outcome at Copenhagen following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), has repeated his call for the opposition to honour a deal to pass the CPRS.

'It is in the national interest that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme be passed,' Mr Rudd said.

The prime minister said that was the view expressed by Mr Turnbull as well as Mr Hockey.

'That is the position of the opposition corporately, that's why the government expects the opposition to honour its commitment, honour its word.'

Mr Turnbull said the issue was primarily about policy, adding that the Australian people overwhelmingly expected their political leaders to take action on climate change.

'The reality is the bill that is currently before the Senate has the support of both the government and the opposition,' he said.

'It is manifestly in the interest for Australia to take action to cut its CO2 emissions.'

Mr Rudd, who will discuss climate change in a meeting with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday, praised efforts made at reaching a consensus on the issue by Commonwealth leaders.

'We have built real momentum towards a better outcome at the Copenhagen conference on climate change and hopefully, a robust outcome in a Copenhagen agreement itself,' he said.
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Obama to host Rudd at White House

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 ноя 2009, 15:01

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Updated: 15:45, Monday November 30, 2009


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will ride the positive wave of momentum of the Commonwealth's climate change declaration from the Caribbean to the White House on Monday, despite his own legislation in Canberra being bogged down by the rebel revolt in the Liberal Party.

In a high-powered day of meetings, Rudd will sit down with US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during his less than 24-hour stay in the American capital.

Rudd ended the four-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad and Tobago on a high and hopeful of 'a robust outcome' beginning on December 7 when the world debates in Copenhagen, Denmark, a global response to cutting emissions.

The prime minister said climate change and the war in Afghanistan will be on the agenda when he speaks with Obama.

The White House meeting comes at a crucial time for Obama, with the president expected to announce during a televised address on Tuesday he will send another 34,000 US troops to Afghanistan, taking the American force there to 100,000.

'I'm looking forward very much to sitting down with President Obama and working our way through climate change agenda and also to discuss our respective commitments to Afghanistan as well as other global challenges,' Rudd told reporters in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday before jetting to Washington DC.

'Obviously, a primary pre-occupation for both the president and myself is the Copenhagen conference and our respective efforts to deliver a strong and robust Copenhagen agreement.'

Rudd virtually ruled out Australia joining the US and lifting its troop number in Afghanistan from the current 1550.

'My view on that hasn't changed,' Rudd said.

Rudd was in the uneasy position of being at the forefront of the climate change debate at CHOGM and architect of the final declaration supported by all 53 member nations of the Commonwealth, including Britain, South Africa, New Zealand and the one-time reluctant contributors, India and Canada.

But while he had the aura of being a victor in the Caribbean, back in Canberra his own climate change legislation floundered as reluctant coalition senators were bucking their under siege leader, Malcolm Turnbull.

Rudd said his legislation had the support of both Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and Treasury spokesman Hockey, who are now both locked in a leadership battle.

'There seems to be a debate within the Liberal Party on a range of questions at the moment,' Rudd said.

'I don't intend to get into the internals of that debate.

'My job as the prime minister of Australia is to act in the national interest.

'It is of the national interest that the carbon pollution reduction scheme be passed.

'That was a view reflected in recent days by Mr Hockey himself. He said it was in the national interest and should be passed by the parliament and passed by the parliament now.

'That is the position of the opposition.'

CHOGM was dominated by climate change, but after the four-day meeting in Port of Spain, the leaders of nations representing more than two billion people discussed issues ranging from whether to re-admit Fiji to the Commonwealth, the Sri Lanka refugee crisis and the global economic downturn.

The leaders gave self-appointed Fiji leader Frank Bainimarama a lashing for refusing to hold elections by 2010. The Pacific island nation was kicked out of the Commonwealth in September and on Sunday CHOGM leaders ruled Fiji's athletes would not be invited to next year's Commonwealth Games in Dehli.

In a meeting with Sri Lankan PM Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Sri Lankan Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Rudd said Australia would continue to provide support 'on the difficult challenges of people smuggling'.
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Aussie homes now the world's largest

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 ноя 2009, 15:04

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Updated: 18:50, Monday November 30, 2009


New research shows that Australia has overtaken the United States to have the largest homes in the world.

New research shows that Australia has overtaken the United States to have the largest homes in the world.

While average US home sizes have shrunk for the first time in a decade due to global recession, the average floor space of new Australian homes hit a record high of 214.6 square metres in 2008/09 financial year, according to official data.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data commissioned by CommSec also showed the average floor area of new free-standing houses was also at a record high - 245.3sqm.

By contrast, the average size of new homes started in the US in the September quarter stood at 201.5sqm.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said the latest figures helped to explain how Australians were dealing with the shortage of housing - by making greater use of bigger homes.

'It is commonly believed that there is a housing shortage in Australia, we aren't building enough homes to accommodate our growing population,' Mr James said in a statement.

'In fact, industry bodies believe that we are under-building by 50,000 homes a year. But the figures on home size and housing utilisation raise doubts about the extent of under-building in Australia.'

ABS data showed that the average size of Australian households rose in the year to June 2008, from 2.51 people per home to 2.56 people.

'At face value, the increase in household size ... may not seem remarkable, but it appears to be the first increase in at least a century and perhaps the first since European settlement,' Mr James said.

'It makes sense. Population is rising, as is the cost of housing and the cost of moving house, so we are making greater use of what we've got.

'Children are living at home longer with parents and more people are opting for shared accommodation.'

The research showed homes in other parts of the world are far smaller.

Data from Europe shows that Denmark has the biggest homes (houses and flats) with an average floor area of 137 sqm, followed by Greece (126 sqm), and the Netherlands (115.5 sqm).

Homes in the UK are the smallest in Europe, at 76 sqm on average.
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Rudd talks on refugees at CHOGM

Сообщение Ramzes » 30 ноя 2009, 15:09

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Updated: 16:38, Monday November 30, 2009


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has raised the issue of refugees and people smuggling with his Sri Lankan counterpart.

Rudd met with Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad and Tobago.

He said the leaders would continue to work through the issue.

'We raised our continued co-operation on the difficult challenges of people smuggling,' Rudd told reporters in Trinidad and Tobago before jetting to Washington DC for talks with US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

'I understand the number of individuals now awaiting resettlement from camps in Sri Lanka is about 130,000.

'That is the most recent advice from the Sri Lankans themselves.

'It is a huge problem in terms of the adequate provision of housing to accommodate the basic life needs of internally displaced persons.

'That's where Australia will continue to provide support.'
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Turnbull confident before challenge

Сообщение Ramzes » 01 дек 2009, 01:05

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Updated: 08:55, Tuesday December 1, 2009


Joe Hockey is expected to emerge as the new leader of the parliamentary Liberal Party in a matter of hours.

To get there, he will face off against Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott in a party room meeting that will be the culmination of the most tumultuous week in Liberal politics in recent memory.

Since Tuesday last week, the Liberals have been in a spin over its policy on emissions trading, which has divided the party.

Mr Turnbull saw off a move to unseat him last week but he isn't expected to be so successful on Tuesday morning, when the party meets for another spill motion.

Despite the damaging week, he remained defiantly confident.

'I always fight a good fight and I will win today,' Mr Turnbull told Sky News.

Mr Turnbull remains firmly resolved that the emissions trading scheme (ETS) legislation be allowed to pass the Senate following a month of negotiations with the Rudd government, which offered major concessions to industry as part of a deal.

'I'm the only candidate that has had a strong, principled, consistent position on climate change action,' Mr Turnbull says.

Mr Abbott threw a grenade into the mix on Monday night when he signalled he would contest the leadership even with Mr Hockey in the race.

He was backing away from a promise to step aside for the man who was seen as the consensus candidate.

The about-face came because Mr Hockey is planning to run on a compromise position on emissions trading - he will give the party room a conscience vote on the contentious issue.

Mr Hockey only publicly confirmed his candidacy on Tuesday morning and will still vote with Mr Turnbull to reject a leadership spill.

His office confirmed he would vote against a spill.

'But in the event that it succeeds, he will be a candidate offering his colleagues a free vote on the ETS,' the spokeswoman said.

Mr Turnbull is expected to run last in the first round of any leadership ballot, forcing a contest against Mr Hockey and Mr Abbott.
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Australia to boost police in Afghanistan

Сообщение Ramzes » 01 дек 2009, 01:11

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Updated: 08:45, Tuesday December 1, 2009


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Australia will increase its police training and civilian commitment in Afghanistan but troop numbers won't rise.

After meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House Rudd said the injection of Australian civilian personnel is focused on helping Afghanistan build up its own security force and economic stability.

Rudd declined to say if Obama asked for more Australian troops in Afghanistan during their meeting.
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Woods' mysterious crash unanswered

Сообщение Ramzes » 01 дек 2009, 01:13

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Updated: 09:01, Tuesday December 1, 2009


Florida police have rebuffed the latest media reports about their ongoing probe of a car crash involving Tiger Woods.

The 33-year-old US superstar, a winner of 14 major titles, has refused to speak with police regarding the crash on Friday morning that left him dazed on the street and hospitalised with cuts to his face.

Woods has lashed out at 'unfounded and malicious rumours', prime among them that a confrontation with his wife Elin over reports Woods had an affair led her to chase him with a golf club and smash in the rear windows of the vehicle as Woods tried to flee, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

Website TMZ, which follows celebrity news, reported the Florida Highway Patrol was trying to obtain a search warrant for Woods's medical records from the accident for details on whether his injuries were similar to those from a crash.

'Contrary to various media reports, the Florida Highway Patrol has not made any comments regarding the details of the ongoing crash investigation involving Tiger Woods as it relates to medical information, or any other aspect of this investigation,' patrol spokeswoman Kim Montes said in a statement on Monday. 'The crash investigation is ongoing.'

Woods is not obligated to speak with police, who said a representative of the golf star provided his driver licence information, proof of insurance and vehicle registration as required under Florida law.

Charges remain possible from what Woods called an 'embarrassing' crash that smashed a fire hydrant and a neighbour's tree and resulted in damage to his vehicle.

'This incident has been stressful and very difficult,' Woods said in a statement. 'I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.

'Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumours that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.'

Woods has a news conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Sherwood Country Club ahead of his participation in the annual Chevron World Challenge, an 18-player event to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation that opens on Thursday in suburban Los Angeles.

While Woods will likely seek to talk about the charity work of his foundation and his desire to win for a fifth time the event he hosts, the session offers him a chance to talk about unanswered questions from the crash, such as where he was going and why at such an early hour.

Woods and Elin have been married for five years and have two children, daughter Sam Alexis, born in 2007, and son Charlie Axel, born in February
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Unions warn of rate rise

Сообщение Ramzes » 01 дек 2009, 01:14

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Updated: 07:10, Tuesday December 1, 2009


A third successive interest rate rise could put jobs at risk by increasing borrowing costs for small business, a leading union has warned.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will hold its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, when most market economists expect it to raise the cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.75 per cent.

ACTU president Sharan Burrow said the two previous consecutive rate hikes have put financial pressure on families.

'A third successive rate rise could halt emerging signs of an economic recovery and put jobs at risk by increasing borrowing costs for small business,' she said in a statement on Tuesday.

'Businesses are still struggling to hire and the central bank should be cautious about inflicting more financial pressure on families and businesses.
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Obama, Rudd have 'excellent meeting'

Сообщение Ramzes » 01 дек 2009, 01:15

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Updated: 07:04, Tuesday December 1, 2009


US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had an excellent meeting at the White House, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

The three leaders met at the White House.

'Prime Minister Rudd just had an excellent, comprehensive meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office where we discussed a wide range of issues from climate change to Afghanistan,' Clinton told reporters at the State Department.

Rudd flies back to Australia on Monday.
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Roozendaal rejects leadership reports

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