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Abbott should act on PNG

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 24 Juni 2014 | 11.25

FORMER prime minister Malcolm Fraser has called on Tony Abbott to act on corruption allegations levelled at his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Peter O'Neill.

POLICE in PNG last week issued an arrest warrant for Mr O'Neill to answer questions about an ongoing corruption investigation.

Mr O'Neill responded by dismissing the warrant as politically motivated, and then sacking his attorney general and deputy police commissioner as well as shutting down the anti corruption watchdog, Task Force Sweep.Sweep Chairman Sam Koim appeared on the ABC on Monday to ask Australia to withdraw its support for Mr O'Neill and demand he respect the rule of law."Abbott urged to act on PNG allegations," Mr Fraser tweeted on Tuesday."He should."Mr Abbott has previously said the political situation in PNG is an internal matter.But Mr Koim says Australia should keep a close eye on what's going on because the country spends about $500 million in aid on PNG each year."Part of that money is spent to develop the rule of law in our country," Mr Koim told ABC's 7.30 Report on Monday."Right now what's happening is not a political situation, it is the enforcement of the rule of law."The institutions of government are trying to uphold the rule of law and one person is using his position and power to undermine the rule of law."Mr Koim is in Canberra to meet with foreign minister Julie Bishop."This kind of political volatility does not assist PNG in advancing the interests of their citizens," Ms Bishop told Sky News on Tuesday.Mr O'Neill last week sacked attorney-general Kerenga Kua and deputy police commissioner Simon Kauba.Ms Bishop has also spoken to her PNG counterpart to register Canberra's concerns.She emphasised PNG was "a dear friend" to Australia."Political instability certainly does not help that transition to a more prosperous and stable nation," she said.Mr O'Neill has faced calls to step aside and answer questions over the past week, including from Sir Michael Somare, PNG's first prime minister.Former PNG PM Pias Wingti has backed Mr O'Neill.Meanwhile, a crowd of about 800 people have gathered in Port Moresby to demand Mr O'Neill front police.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Greste family weighs bid for pardon

The family of Australian journalist Peter Greste may seek a pardon from Egypt's new president. Source: AAP

THE family of Australian journalist Peter Greste may seek a pardon from Egypt's new president, fearing a legal appeal could take too long.

LOIS and Juris Greste have told of their despair after a Cairo court sentenced their son to seven years in jail for reporting on the aftermath of the 2013 coup that ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Greste and some of his Al Jazeera colleagues were jailed for reporting false news in the wake of the coup, and supporting Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organisation.His Brisbane-based parents have vowed they'll never stop fighting to free their son.Mrs Greste on Tuesday said that seeking a pardon from new President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was "probably the very first thing" the family would consider."Absolutely," she told reporters in Brisbane."It's one of the options. We're not going to talk any further about it."A legal appeal is also an option, but there are fears that process could be very lengthy.Mr Greste said the conditions his son was enduring in jail weighed heavily on him."Where he is being held, certainly by Australian standards, would be considered conditions of severe punishment," he said."I'm depressed at that, the thought that he might have to stay in a place like that for the duration of the appeals processes, which can last sometimes months - many months."Mr Greste said his son had been jailed for upholding the principles of free speech, and that fight must never end."There will always be people, governments, and institutions wanting to limit the speaking of one's mind and telling the way we see," he said."To us, it is not just affecting the Greste family. It is also a slap in the face and a kick in the groin to Australia, as well as all fair-minded people around the world."Mrs Greste said Peter's two brothers, who are in Cairo, had not been able to see him since the verdict and sentence.She became emotional when asked about her son's mental state."This will be a hard time for him, but I know he'll get through it. He'll be okay."Mr Greste said the Egyptian government had given them hope, but that was ripped away with Monday's court result."The message we got from Egyptian authorities did give us great confidence for everything other than this outcome," he said.The couple said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had assured them the Australian government would continue lobbying Egypt to free their son.Ms Bishop earlier said she'd been advised that no appeal for clemency or a presidential pardon could occur until all legal proceedings had concluded, including any appeal.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Alleged gang rape disgusting: NSW police

Police are hunting six men involved in the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in Sydney's west. Source: AAP

THE gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in a Western Sydney car park stairwell has disgusted police.

THE girl was in the Liverpool library forecourt on Saturday night after using the council's free wi-fi internet when six men approached her and invited her to meet a mutual friend.

She was then allegedly sexually assaulted by two of the men in the stairwell of a nearby car park while the other men failed to stop the attack, police say.The teenage girl is traumatised says Superintendent Peter Gillam, but she is helping police with their inquires."(I'm) obviously very disgusted," he told reporters in Liverpool on Tuesday."It's something that shouldn't happen in Liverpool or anywhere."After the assault, the girl returned to the library forecourt and told a bystander, who called the police.The men, described as African in appearance and aged in their 20s, were last seen walking toward a Macquarie Street shopping centre.Supt Gillam stressed that the attack appeared to be a one-off, random incident and had nothing to do with any race-related issue.Detectives are calling for anyone with information to come forward.The attack follows two similar assaults in Sydney's west this year.In February, a girl was allegedly the victim of a pack rape in a Doonside park.Four teenagers were charged over the alleged attack.Two months later, two teenage girls were coaxed off a Sydney train and raped in a Fairfield park.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Blizzards, damaging winds forecast for NSW

Written By Unknown on Senin, 23 Juni 2014 | 11.25

DAMAGING winds and blizzard conditions are forecast for parts of NSW as a strong frontal system crosses the state.

THE Bureau of Meteorology is predicting strong northwesterly winds, affecting the Snowy Mountains, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes and the ACT on Monday.

They are expected to intensify throughout Monday with snowfall in the west of the Snowy Mountains.Blizzards are expected on the South West Slopes and higher peaks of the ACT ranges on Tuesday.Damaging winds up to 80km/h with gusts up to 110 km/h are expected to extend to the coast and Central Ranges by Tuesday afternoon.The SES advises residents in these areas to move vehicles away from trees and secure loose outdoor items.

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Heavy rains in China kill 26

26 people are dead and three are missing in southern China after five days of rainstorms. Source: AAP

FIVE days of rainstorms in southern China have left 26 people dead and another three missing.

IT has also led to direct economic losses of 4 billion yuan ($A703.27 million), according to the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs.

A total of 337,000 people have been evacuated from the areas and 115,000 are in urgent need of relief supplies as a result of the rainstorms that started on Wednesday, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.Eleven of the fatalities occurred in Hunan province, where another two people are missing, the ministry said. The five other provinces where people have died included Jiangxi and Fujian.The rainstorms across nine provinces have led to floods and landslides, and toppled more than 8700 houses, damaged another 66,000 and left 42,000 hectares of crops unusable, the statement said.

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Win for endangered woylie efforts

BOUNDING away in the blink of an eye, releasing a woylie into the wild is a challenging task for Department of Parks and Wildlife officers.

BUT their efforts have been rewarded, having recently achieved the largest translocation of the critically endangered species ever undertaken in Western Australia.

Woylies are small kangaroo-like marsupials that were once widespread across Australia.But due to the threat of predators like foxes and feral cats, they are now found in only a handful of locations in WA, South Australia and western NSW.In June, 181 woylies were captured in the Perup Sanctuary near Manjimup and relocated to two separate sites in nearby state forest that are regularly baited and monitored for introduced predators.The 420ha fenced-off sanctuary supports the most genetically diverse woylie population in WA, with numbers increasing from 41 to about 600 over the past four years.Environment Minister Albert Jacob said it was becoming increasingly important to translocate some of the woylies into areas outside the enclosure as the sanctuary neared capacity.It was also important to introduce new woylies to ensure ongoing genetic diversity and population health among the species, Mr Jacob said.It is believed the woylie population peaked a decade ago at more than 250,000, but numbers have since declined by about 90 per cent.In September 2013, woylies were classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning they are on the brink of extinction in the wild.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Hobart's nude swim doubles in size

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 22 Juni 2014 | 11.25

More than 500 have taken the brisk plunge into the River Derwent for Hobart's second nude swim. Source: AAP

THERE was a time when getting your tackle out at dawn in Hobart meant trying to bag a few flathead.

BUT more than 500 brave souls have taken the brisk plunge into the River Derwent for Hobart's second winter solstice nude swim, which is part of the Dark MOFO arts festival.

That more than doubled last year's inaugural swim, which saw 230 embracing the midwinter.Temperatures were kinder too, with the air around 7C on a clear morning and the water a relative bath at 11C."You get your gear off and you're all the same," swimmer David Day said on Sunday."You're just people, you're beings and all just sharing it together."Summoned by the beats of a Buddhist drum, participants clad only in their souvenir red swimming caps took the plunge at sunrise, exactly 7.42am.Plenty of screams were audible but surf life savers reported no problems as the swimmers made for a row of buoys around 50 metres off Long Beach at Sandy Bay.After a controversial lead-up last year which resulted in the swim being moved from a different location, police are now describing it as a "very well organised event".A small group patrolled the area, while officers also waited offshore in a police boat.The event looks like remaining an annual fixture and Hobart Lord Mayor Damon Davies, who swam last year, is embracing the potential for the island capital to become a nude swim destination."I think it could become one of the special events of the year and this whole beach will be taken over," he said.Organisers, who were asked to cap the numbers in 2013, now say they expect the event to grow again in 2015."We have a philosophy that anyone that wants to swim can swim," Dark MOFO's Kate Gould said."It's a nice problem to have if everybody wants to swim."Dark MOFO, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)'s winter festival, has taken Hobart by storm with tourists and locals flocking to its concerts, exhibitions and waterfront feast.Organisers are confident of bettering last year's attendance figure of 128,000.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Qld ministers meeting in Palmer's seat

QUEENSLAND cabinet ministers are meeting in Clive Palmer's Sunshine Coast electorate only days after the mining magnate confirmed he would be suing the deputy premier.

MINISTERS and department heads are holding a community forum, with approved participants, at Maroochydore on Sunday afternoon followed by a cabinet meeting in the same beachside suburb on Monday, at the Mike Ahern Centre.

Maroochydore is within Mr Palmer's federal electorate of Fairfax.The cabinet meeting would also be held just three days after Mr Palmer lodged a defamation writ against Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney in the Supreme Court.Mr Palmer is suing Mr Seeney for defamation over an ABC television interview where he alleged the mining tycoon sought special favours for his Waratah Coal interests in the Galilee Basin in 2012.The federal MP is also suing Premier Campbell Newman for defamation after the premier claimed that he tried to "buy" the Queensland government.A spokesman for Mr Newman denied there was any symbolism with a community cabinet being held in Mr Palmer's seat."No symbolism there," he told AAP, adding community cabinets had been held across regional Queensland in Bowen, Cooktown and Townsville."Don't read too much into it."Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the premier had not held a media conference during the past week, which included the governor's approval of controversial chief justice pick Tim Carmody."The premier has been in hiding now for over a week, afraid to front the music, afraid to talk to people in this state," she told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

NSW teenager survives 80m cliff fall

A TEENAGER'S survival from an 80-metre cliff plunge in NSW's Hunter Valley is "mind-boggling".

THE 17-year-old and a group of friends were trying to get into a dance party in Watagan State Forest, 20 kilometres west of Lake Macquarie, on Saturday night when he fell down the sheer rock face about 10.30pm on Saturday.

Emergency services and local volunteers abseiled down the cliff about 4am and spent the rest of the night with the injured teenager.He was winched to safety about 10.30am and flown to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital with broken bones and suspected internal injuries and is in a serious but stable condition."I don't know how he has survived, and the doctors and the paramedics are saying the same thing," said a spokesman for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.Acting Superintendent Murray Lundberg said the teenager's survival was "mind boggling"."I haven't got words to describe his fortunate luck," he said.He said the teenager and his mates were camping in the forest when they came across the dance party and were denied entry.The youth apparently thought he could get into the function from around the back, through the bush, with no lights and no knowledge of the terrain, "and he's just fallen off the side of a cliff".A number of trees had to be chopped down before the teen could be winched aboard the helicopter.It's understood the boy was trying to get into Solstium Shadows - A Winter Solstice Bush Gathering.The two-day rave was being held at a site off Rope Road, in the heart of the forest.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More

Murdered man's car found on Gold Coast

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 21 Juni 2014 | 11.25

A MISSING car belonging to a suspected murder victim has been found on the Gold Coast.

SHAUN Barker was reported missing by his family in January, having last been seen at a service station in the Gold Coast suburb of Broadbeach on December 10.

Forestry workers found a skull off Cooloola Coast Road in Tin Can Bay - about 300km north of the Sunshine Coast - on April 10 and forensic examinations identified it as Mr Barker's.Police announced on Saturday they have since made a breakthrough in the case, finding Mr Barker's missing vehicle.After a tip-off, it was found during a foot search on a track at Pacific Pines, about 20km from where he was last seen.Investigations are continuing and police are appealing for information about Mr Barker's movements around December 10.

11.25 | 0 komentar | Read More
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