Fearful US braces for Frankenstorm

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 29 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

This NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Sandy off the Mid Atlantic coastline moving toward the north. Picture: AP Source: AP

NEW York authorities have ordered the evacuation of 375,000 people from low-lying coastal areas as the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy forces the entire eastern seaboard into lockdown mode.

Hundreds of thousands of residents in low-lying coastal areas are under orders to clear out and an AFP reporter said the beach resort of Rehoboth in Delaware was a ghost town as the deadline passed for mandatory evacuation.

Forecasters warned that New York Harbour and the Long Island Sound could see seawater surges of up to 3.35 metres above normal levels.

"This one will do us in"

Mark Palazzolo, owner of a bait and tackle shop on the Manasquan Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, sits next to wood he has used to board up his business in previous major storms. He said, "I think this is going to do us in." Picture: Wayne Parry Source: AP

Meanwhile one scared New Jersey resident's words echo a growing atmosphere of fear as hurricane Sandy approaches: "I think this one going to do us in.''

Mark Palazzolo, who boarded up his bait-and-tackle shop in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, with the same wood he used in past storms, crossed out the names of Hurricanes Isaac and Irene and spray-painting "Sandy'' next to them.

Snow storms, storm surges and power outages are all going to be massive as hurricane Sandy moves across the eastern coast of America

"I got a call from a friend of mine from Florida last night who said, 'Mark. Get out! If it's not the storm, it'll be the aftermath. People are going to be fighting in the streets over gasoline and food.'''

America prepares

Many big cities from Washington to Boston are bracing for the onslaught of a superstorm that could menace 50 million people. And New York is directly in the firing line.

Forecasters warned that the megastorm could wreak havoc over 1300km from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. States of emergency were declared from North Carolina to Connecticut.

Stores have been emptied of bottled water and emergency supplies as residents prepare for possible power outages and disruptions to transport and services.

A shopper finds the bread shelves empty at a Supermarket in Manhattan Sunday. Picture: AP Source: AP

Transport disrupted as Hurricane Sandy approaches

Qantas has been forced to cancel flights between Los Angeles and New York because of the looming storm. 

Airlines canceled more than 7400 flights and Amtrak began suspending passenger train service across the Northeast. New York and Philadelphia moved to shut down their subways, buses and commuter trains Sunday night and announced that schools would be closed. Boston, Washington and Baltimore also called off school.

MTA Police watch over as the last people are cleared out of Grand Central Station in New York. Picture: AFP/ Timothy A Clary Source: AFP

At least twice as many train passengers as usual crowded the Amtrak waiting area Sunday morning at New York's Penn Station. Many were trying to leave New York earlier than planned.

The noon and 1pm trains to Boston were sold out.

Ambulances line up near the Hoboken University Medical Center, where patients were evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. Picture: AP /Julio Cortez Source: AP

"We were told to get the heck out. I was going to stay, but it's better to be safe than sorry," said Hugh Phillips, who was one of the first in line when a Red Cross shelter in Lewes, Delaware, opened at noon.

Randall Ross, a bookseller from Shreveport, Louisiana, and his traveling companion, Mary McCombs, were waiting for an Amtrak train to Syracuse, the destination they chose after attempts to book flights through eight other cities failed.

"I just want to be somewhere else except New York City," said McCombs, who will stay with friends in Syracuse until she and Ross can get a flight. "I don't want to risk it."

"Nature's going to what it's going to do

Despite the dire warnings, some souls were refusing to budge.

Jonas Clark of Manchester Township, New Jersey - right in the area where Sandy was projected to come ashore - stood outside a convenience store, calmly sipping a coffee and wondering why people were working themselves "into a tizzy."

"I've seen a lot of major storms in my time, and there's nothing you can do but take reasonable precautions and ride out things the best you can," said Clark, 73. "Nature's going to what it's going to do. It's great that there's so much information out there about what you can do to protect yourself and your home, but it all boils down basically to 'use your common sense'."

Closing doors

As rain from the leading edges of the monster hurricane began to fall over the Northeast, tens of thousands of people in coastal areas from Maryland to Connecticut were under orders to clear out Sunday. That earlier included 50,000 in Delaware alone and 30,000 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the city's 12 casinos were forced to shut down for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalised gambling there.

 But New York remains the centre of attention.

Authorities warned that the biggest US city could get hit with an 3.35m wall of water that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial center.

New York called off school today for the city's 1.1 million students and announced it would suspend all train, bus and subway service Sunday night because of the risk of flooding, shutting down a system on which more than 5 million riders a day depend.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will be closed completely Monday and possibly even Tuesday due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy, its operator said.

"In consultation with other exchanges and market participants, NYSE Euronext (NYX) will close its markets on Monday, October 29, 2012 and pending confirmation on Tuesday, October 30, 2012,'' the operator said in a statement.

Earlier, the NYSE planned to suspend only floor operations, but continue electronic trading.

"We support the consensus of the markets and the regulatory community that the dangerous conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities, and safety must be our first priority,'' NYSE Euronext pointed out, after revising its earlier decision.

Officials also postponed today's reopening of the Statue of Liberty, which had been closed for a year for $30 million in renovations.

Political response

In Washington, President Barack Obama promised the government would "respond big and respond fast" after the storm hits.

President Barack Obama speaks during a briefing at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. Picture: AP Source: AP

"My message to the governors as well as to the mayors is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape. We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules," he said.

He also pleaded for neighborliness: "In times like this, one of the things that Americans do is we pull together and we help out one another And so, there may be elderly populations in your area. Check on your neighbor, check on your friend. Make sure that they are prepared. If we do, then we're going to get through this storm just fine."

The storm forced the president and Republican rival Mitt Romney to rearrange their campaign schedules in the crucial closing days of the presidential race. And early voting today in Maryland was canceled.

Sandy's movements

Timeline: What to expect from Hurricane Sandy

Shelters across the region began taking in people.

Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 120km/h was blamed for 65 deaths in the Caribbean before it began churning up the Eastern Seaboard. It is currently centered about 850km southeast of New York City, moving at 24km/h, with hurricane-force winds extending an incredible 280km/h from its center, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Sandy was expected to hook left toward the mid-Atlantic coast and come ashore late Monday or early Tuesday US time, most likely in New Jersey, colliding with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.

Forecasters said the monster combination could bring close to 30cm of rain, a potentially lethal storm surge and punishing winds extending hundreds of kilometres outward from the storm's center. It could also dump up to 60cm of snow in Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia.

High winds blow sea foam onto Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C. as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area. Picture: AP Source: AP

Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that given Sandy's east-to-west track into New Jersey, the worst of the storm surge could be just to the north, in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey.

"This is the worst-case scenario," Uccellini said.

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Meagher accused taken to hospital

The man charged with the rape and murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher is believed to be in hospital.

Adrian Ernest Bayley is recovering in hospital. Source: Herald Sun

THE accused killer of Jill Meagher, Adrian Bayley, cut himself after being told by his girlfriend she no longer wanted to see him, it has emerged.

Mr Bayley, who has been remanded in a protection unit of the Melbourne Assessment Prison in Spencer St, had been lying prone overnight after he cut his wrist, elbow and ankle.

Staff found him unconscious in his cell during morning muster.

It is believed Mr Bayley had been trying to convince his girlfriend to stand by him as he faces murder and rape charges.

It is understood Mr Bayley had been unaffected by his notoriety within the prison system, but had been kept away from mainstream population for his safety.

He had been held in his cell 22 hours a day with only a television and books to keep him occupied.

Yesterday he was discharged from St Vincent's Hospital, where he had had surgery, and returned to prison.

Mr Bayley is still in limbo over his legal representation and this may have further affected his state of mind.

The 41-year-old Coburg man was visited by a private lawyer after his arrest, but Legal Aid Victoria so far has opted to handle his case in-house.

Funding for his defence is still to be finalised.

It is not known whether any of his four children has visited him since his arrest.

Meanwhile, Corrections Victoria staff have been warned not to make unauthorised checks of internal data on Mr Bayley.

The Herald Sun understands there has been concern about staff looking up Mr Bayley's details when it was not necessary.

It is unclear how the checks came to light, but CV has systems designed to ensure prisoner information is examined within professional requirements.

A spokesman said Corrections Victoria did not discuss specific prisoners.

- with Mark Buttler

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Meagher accused taken to hospital

The man charged with the rape and murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher is believed to be in hospital.

Adrian Ernest Bayley is recovering in hospital. Source: Herald Sun

THE accused killer of Jill Meagher, Adrian Bayley, cut himself after being told by his girlfriend she no longer wanted to see him, it has emerged.

Mr Bayley, who has been remanded in a protection unit of the Melbourne Assessment Prison in Spencer St, had been lying prone overnight after he cut his wrist, elbow and ankle.

Staff found him unconscious in his cell during morning muster.

It is believed Mr Bayley had been trying to convince his girlfriend to stand by him as he faces murder and rape charges.

It is understood Mr Bayley had been unaffected by his notoriety within the prison system, but had been kept away from mainstream population for his safety.

He had been held in his cell 22 hours a day with only a television and books to keep him occupied.

Yesterday he was discharged from St Vincent's Hospital, where he had had surgery, and returned to prison.

Mr Bayley is still in limbo over his legal representation and this may have further affected his state of mind.

The 41-year-old Coburg man was visited by a private lawyer after his arrest, but Legal Aid Victoria so far has opted to handle his case in-house.

Funding for his defence is still to be finalised.

It is not known whether any of his four children has visited him since his arrest.

Meanwhile, Corrections Victoria staff have been warned not to make unauthorised checks of internal data on Mr Bayley.

The Herald Sun understands there has been concern about staff looking up Mr Bayley's details when it was not necessary.

It is unclear how the checks came to light, but CV has systems designed to ensure prisoner information is examined within professional requirements.

A spokesman said Corrections Victoria did not discuss specific prisoners.

- with Mark Buttler

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Rudd has new view of knifing

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 28 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Source: AFP

KEVIN Rudd has penned his own account about the "betrayal" of being dumped as prime minister and his secret offer to deliver Julia Gillard the leadership.

The document, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, describing the leadership coup in his own words, was provided to author Maxine McKew in the preparation for her book, Tales From The Political Trenches.

Responding to the new details today, opposition leader Tony Abbott suggested Labor should be given a stint in opposition to sort out their internal problems.

"I think the public are sick of the soap opera," Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

"The Labor Party leadership is a soap opera and the only way to end the soap opera is to change the government."

Rudd: 'My ambition was to hand over to Julia'

Kevin rents out mansion, lives it up at Hyatt

As Ms McKew's book reignites Labor's leadership wars, senior Labor figures clashed over the fallout with:

  • Former Labor leader Simon Crean declaring it was "a mistake" to dump Mr Rudd as leader but warning MPs "we can't change again".
  • Senior Labor frontbencher Penny Wong was humiliated by the ALP after the faceless man Don Farrell, who plotted Mr Rudd's downfall, was awarded the Number 1 spot on the Senate ticket.
  • Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese attacked the decision as an "act of self indulgence" by Senator Farrell, his frontbench colleague.

In his written account of the leadership coup Mr Rudd writes that the political ambush was made worse by the fact he backed Ms Gillard's ambitions.

"I was married to a strong woman, I was the son of one and I was the father of one," Mr Rudd writes.

"And I too wanted to see a female prime minister. So given all of that, I was stunned when the coup occurred."

"Did I feel let down and indeed betrayed?," Mr Rudd writes. "Well of course. I am as human as the next person.

Mr Rudd writes he was blindsided by Ms Gillard and the Treasurer Wayne Swan who gave him no indication there was a problem in 2010.

The Queenslander reveals he repeatedly discussed handing over the leadership to Ms Gillard.

"I also said to her in my office one day in early 2010 that I had no intention of breaking the record book for being the longest serving Labor prime minister," Mr Rudd writes.

But in an olive branch, he has apologised to the ALP for his failures as PM and also urged Labor MPs to "put this whole chapter of ugly political history behind us".

Former Labor leader Simon Crean told The Sunday Telegraph that he believed it was "a mistake" to dump Mr Rudd as leader but warned MPs they could not go back to the future.

Mr Crean said this was not a criticism of Ms Gillard, but an assessment of the political damage caused by Labor's revolving door of leaders.

"We shouldn't have changed leader. But we have and we can't change again," Mr Crean said.

"It's always wrong to change the leader.

"But that's what we've done and we've got to stick with it."

But a fresh war erupted yesterday in the ALP over the Labor Party's decision to humiliate Finance Minister Penny Wong by awarding her the Number 2 spot on the SA Senate ticket.

Senator Farrell, dubbed one of the "faceless men", was one of the key players in the plot to remove Mr Rudd as prime minister secured the Number 1 spot in a 112-83 vote yesterday.

Senator Wong previously ran in the Number 2 spot in 2007 but the outcome is regarded as embarrassing because Ms Wong is now one of the government's most senior ministers.

The decision sparked a furious response from federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese. "This is an act of self indulgence which highlights the need for ongoing reform of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Albanese told The Sunday Telegraph.

"Penny Wong is obviously our most talented Senator from South Australia. Full stop. End of Story. Full Stop.

"ALP operatives need to understand that the end audience is always the voting public, not ourselves," he said.

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Meagher accused taken to hospital

Adrian Ernest Bayley is recovering in hospital. Source: The Australian

JILL Meagher's accused killer was recovering in hospital after severely injuring himself while on remand at a maximum-security prison.

The Herald Sun understands Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, had surgery during the day after injuring himself in what was thought to have been an attempt to take his own life.

Mr Bayley was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital's secure unit after being found bleeding requiring surgery for extensive wounds.

A Department of Justice spokesman confirmed an inmate had been taken to hospital suffering what appeared to be self-inflicted injuries, but would not reveal the identity of the prisoner or extent of his injuries.

Mr Bayley, of Coburg, was charged with the rape and murder of Ms Meagher after she disappeared while walking home from a night out with friends in Brunswick on September 22.

The ABC worker's body was found in a shallow roadside grave beside Black Hill Rd on September 28.

Meanwhile, Ms Meagher's friends met at the Brunswick Green hotel to mark the 30th birthday she never had the opportunity to celebrate.

Meagher had planned a birthday party for herself at one of her favourite local pubs to enjoy what should have been a milestone in her young life.

Many of the ABC employee's closest friends still attended the event to honour Meagher. Parents Edith and George McKeon, brother Michael and husband Tom did not go. Mr Meagher has travelled home to Ireland.

Meagher's friends and family in Ireland have also marked what should have been a happy occasion with drinks in her honour.

Meagher's death sent shockwaves through Melbourne resulting in unprecedented displays of public grief, which psychologists have likened to those shown for Princess Diana.

More than 79,960 people have posted birthday tributes on the official RIP Jill Meagher Facebook site.

From the 2800 birthday messages left on the page it is clear that Meagher's death has continued to affect many people.

"Happy birthday Jill. You would be having a great day, seeing how loved you are here on earth. I feel for your hubby, friends and family as they would be missing you badly today, no doubt they will have a few drinks in your honour and tell the best Jill stories," Anne Leonard posted.

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Aussie footballers await wave all-clear

A major 7.7 magnitude earthquake has rocked the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada.

MEMBERS of a Queensland indigenous rugby league team are holed up in an Hawaiian evacuation centre awaiting tsunami updates.

Two of Arthur Beetson's sons are with the team at Kaiser High School, on the island of Oahu, where they've been advised to stay until the severity is known of the tsunami generated by an earthquake in Canada.

The team - captained by former Brisbane Bronco Ian Lacey and consisting mostly of Queensland Cup players - had earlier played a Hawaiian All Stars team at the high school, which is on the side of a hill.

Rugby league writer Steve Mascord is with the team and he described the players as relaxed about the unfolding situation.

"They had music on and they were dancing (but) now they're starting to get a little bored," Mascord told AAP.

"There was talk of going to a pub nearby ... There's certainly no real alarm."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued an alert for all Hawaiian islands on Saturday night (Sunday AEDT), hours after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake rocked an island off Canada's west coast.

Tad Kanski of Newport Beach, California unties his family's sailboat moored at the Ala Wai Harbor after learning of a tsunami warning. Picture: AP

Officials downgraded the tsunami warning to an advisory at 10.25pm (AEDT).

Mascord said the Australian consul-general to Hawaii was at the game and advised the players to remain at the school until the conditions became clearer.

"Kaiser High School is a safe zone, so this is where people will come if there is trouble, so the boys are pretty relaxed about that," Mascord said.

"There are roads closed, and the bottom floors of hotels in Waikiki have been evacuated.

"But apparently people are still shopping in Waikiki, so we're just waiting for more news and hoping we can return to our hotels."

The players are travelling with the Arthur Beetson Foundation as part of a 39-person party, which includes the rugby league legend's sons as well as tribal dancers who performed before the game.

The quake hit Canada near the Gwaii Haanas region.

The Queenslanders won 70-8 against the Hawaiian All Stars, who themselves were coached by former North Queensland Cowboy Cory Paterson.

The first waves of a tsunami hitting Hawaii on Saturday night (7.28pm AEDT Sunday Australian time) were smaller than expected nearly three hours after evacuations were ordered for coastal areas threatened after a powerful earthquake off the coast of Canada.

A geologist tracking for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, Gerard Fryer, said the largest wave in the first 45 minutes of the tsunami was measured at 1.5 metres in Maui.

A wave of up to two metres had been predicted, as tens of thousands fled coastal areas.

"We expect more waves to follow, and that can go on for hours," Victor Sardina, a spokesman for the warning centre told DPA.

Along the coast of northern California and south Oregon a 67cm-high wave was recorded, he said.

Erica Avegalio, centre, and her brother Albert Avegalio, right, load up on water and food at the Times Supermarket after learning of the tsunami threat. Picture: AP

The measurement was taken at Arena Cove. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Initially, officials said Hawaii wasn't in any danger of a tsunami after the 7.7-magnitude earthquake rattled the western coast of Canada.

However residents were later advised to evacuate coastal areas, with warning sirens sounding across the islands.

Residents were fleeing inland, causing traffic chaos in Honolulu, media reports said.

Broadcaster CNN said Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle called on residents to leave their cars, find a building and make their way to the highest floors. The situation was "very, very dangerous", he said.

About 80,000 people live in the evacuation zone in Oahu, where Honolulu is located.

Lyndon Fong of Honolulu fills up his gas tank after learning of the tsunami warning. Picture: AP

"It's not just one wave, it's a succession of waves," Fryer was quoted as saying by CNN.

"The following waves, I am sure, will be bigger."

The centre had said the tsunami waves could wrap around the islands so all shores were at risk.

The warning was issued after the earthquake struck off the Queen Charlotte Islands late on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).

Hawaiian officials were adamant that timely warnings were about all they would be able to do, and execution of evacuation plans depended on individuals themselves.

"We have done everything we can to get the information out," Carlisle said.

"Everybody is getting out. You can't rely on the police because they are being pulled out, too."

Fryer said quakes exceeding magnitude 7.0 should not be taken lightly.

"A 7.7 is a big, hefty earthquake. It's not something you can ignore," said the geophysicist.

He said it had struck partly under an island, but mostly under shallow water.

"I think we have to be thankful it happened where it did," Fryer said. "If that were a heavily populated area, it would have caused significant damage."

The earthquake reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

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Children 'killer' nanny was like family

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 27 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

A New York family is in shock after two of their children and the children's Nanny were found stabbed. Vision: Fox5 News

Leo, 2, and Lulu Krim, 6, were allegedly stabbed to death by their nanny Yoselyn Ortega. Picture: LiveJournal Source: Supplied

Kevin and Marina Krim with their daughter Lucia. Picture: LiveJournal Source: Supplied

A NANNY is suspected to have stabbed to death a media executive's two young children inside a luxury apartment.

The children's mother, Marina Krim, a pediatrician, walked into her apartment in Manhattan, New York, with her three-year-old daughter to find the children's nanny Yoselyn Ortega, 50 in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor and a bloodied kitchen knife nearby, the The New York Post reported.

She then saw her six-year-old daughter and two-year-old son lying motionless in a blood-soaked bathtub. Each had multiple stab wounds, New York Daily New reported. There was no water in the bath tub.

The children's father is Kevin Krim, CNBC's general manager of digital content, who took up the appointment in March. He worked previously in digital media at Bloomberg.

A woman cries after laying flowers in front of the building where Leo and Lulu Krim were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP Source: AFP

The grandmother of the two children said Ortega was "treated like family".

"They were always doing things that were just fabulous for her. I'm just astounded, and I have no idea why something like this would happen." Karen Krim, the mother of CNBC executive Kevin Krim, told the New York Daily News.

"They just bent over backwards being nice to this woman.

Karen Krim said the nanny, Yoselyn Ortega, had always been an angel.

"My daughter-in-law, if she thought there was anything wrong, she would have never left the two with her. This had to be something simmering inside this woman. Obviously, she went insane.

"We're just having a really, really hard time here. We're all falling apart ... It's the worst nightmare any parent could ever have."

Lulu Krim, top, and her baby brother Leo, right, were found dead in the bathtub after they had been stabbed by their nanny. Picture: LiveJournal Source: Supplied

A neighbour said Lulu, the beautiful girl brutally slain, had been "dancing" and seemed "happy" just 30 minutes before she was allegedly slaughtered by her nanny.

"She [Lucia] looked so delightful ... I asked her if she was maybe going on a play date or something and she said no, she was going home," Charlotte Friedman, who rode the elevator with the two kids and her nanny, told the New York Post.

"I said, 'What did you do,' and she said, 'Dancing.' And that was it - they were only on the second floor so they left."

Friedman described the girl as, "Happy, happy, happy."

Mr Krim had been in San Francisco on a business trip and was met by police at the airport on his return and given an escort to the hospital where his loved ones had gathered

"Something happened to my kids!" the sobbing mother screamed, a witness told the New York Post.

The children appeared to still be breathing when they were rushed to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Centre, but they were pronounced dead on arrival.

Mrs Krim was also taken to St. Luke's-Roosevelt, where she had to be sedated, a source said.

Ms Ortega, who was is in police custody, was taken New York Presbyterian Hospital in critical but stable condition.

The couple's apartment building sits in one of the city's most idyllic neighborhoods, a block from Central Park, near the Museum of Natural History and blocks from Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts. The neighbourhood is home to many affluent families, and seeing children accompanied by nannies is an everyday part of life there, making the idea of such violence even more disturbing to residents.

Music therapist Rima Starr, who lives on the same floor as the family, said she heard screams coming from their apartment.

"There was some kind of screaming about, 'You slit her throat!''' she said. "It was horrible.''

A New York City police officer comforts a woman in front of the luxury Manhattan apartment building where police say a nanny stabbed two small children to death. Picture: Kathy Willens Source: AP

The children's mother, had entered the dark apartment with her three-year-old and initially thought her other two children were out with the 50-year-old nanny, New York police commissioner Ray Kelly said. She went downstairs and asked the doorman at her building whether he'd seen them leave.

When he said no, she went back upstairs and discovered her two-year-old son, Leo, and her six-year-old daughter, Lucia, known as LuLu, in the bathroom, Kelly said.

It's unclear how many times the children had been stabbed.

The nanny was found on the bathroom floor with stab wounds to her neck, and a kitchen knife was close by, police said. There was no water in the bathtub, they said.

Initial reports suggested the nanny had already attempted to commit suicide by the time Mrs Krim entered, but Kelly said on Friday that it now appeared she began cutting herself just as Mrs Krim saw her children lying dead in the bathtub.

"We believe now that the nanny started to stab herself as the mother entered the bathroom," Kelly told a  televised new conference.

Mr Kelly said it's unclear how long the nanny had worked for the family, and the police investigation was continuing. No charges had been filed.

Ms Starr, the family's neighbour, said she believed the nanny had been hired recently.

"I met her in the elevator, the day before yesterday, and was making small talk," she said.

After police arrived, she said, the mother remained in the building's lobby, screaming hysterically and clutching her surviving child.

On a webpage devoted to a recent family wedding, the eldest of the children, LuLu, is described as loving "art projects, ballet and all things princess".

The youngest, Leo, was said to be just learning how to walk.

CNBC digital media issued a statement saying one of its employees had "suffered an unimaginable loss. The sadness that we all feel for Kevin, Marina and their family is without measure."

Irene Dupuis lays flowers in front of the building where Leo and Lulu Krim were stabbed to death allegedly by their nanny in a family's Upper West Side apartment in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP Source: AFP

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Rail rage woman dealt with

A woman has attacked a group of men on a Sydney train, spitting, cussing and challenging them to a fight. Unimpressed, they removed her from the train.

The abusive young blonde woman on a Sydney train who passengers kicked off after 10 minutes of torment. Picture: YouTube Source: Supplied

A YOUNG woman filmed swearing and abusing people on a train in Sydney was thrown off and dumped on the platform by other passengers.

The video, which was been posted on YouTube on October 26, shows the blonde woman in a red top spitting, swearing and hitting rail commuters, Mail Online reported.

Commuters initially try to ignore the woman's rants as she spits at them and shouts "f*** off you c****, come on you little dogs step up!"

After 10 minutes of non-stop abuse, the patience of passengers runs out.

A middle-aged man standing nearby attempts to calm the woman down, but instead she begins to hit him.

Shortly afterwards as the train pulls into a station, five of the abused passengers decide to take action.

They gather her bags and throw them onto the platform, swiftly followed by the woman herself.

After landing on the platform floor on her bum the woman stares sheepishly at the vigilante travellers in disbelief who in turn laugh and cheer in triumph.

Eventually as the video ends a security guard at the station escorts the woman away.

The video has provoked fairly strident responses.

A user, called Nik Nak, posted: "If she wants to act like a bloke and get in their faces and spit on them she should be treated like a bloke and get knocked out.

"I dont (sic) promote violence against women at all but in circumstances like this the first time she spat on me I would've knocked her out."

Craziewill wrote: "She deserves it and there is nothing un-gentlemen or violence in this."

Warning: Explicit Language

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Black belt, 83, turns tables on burglar

SELF DEFENCE: Jutta and Edwin Dowdy in their Kenmore home. PIC: Rose Brennan Source: The Courier-Mail

POLICE are trying to find a home invader who was badly hurt when he tried to force his way past an 83-year-old black belt home owner last night.

The home invader, a muscular man in his thirties who may be linked to other burglaries, broke into the high-set home in Gilruth Rd, Kenmore at about 8.30pm.

Gold Coast: Woman hurt in home invasion

Inside were Edwin Dowdy, 83, and his wife Jutta, 76, who have in the property in the quiet Kenmore street since 1966.

A blood trail on a path beside the property. PIC: Rose Brennan

When the couple - who both have black belts in the Japanese art of Aikido - realised there was an intruder in the house Mr Dowdy grabbed a knife from the lounge room he had kept for security and went to confront the burglar and warn him he was armed.

He said he confronted the intruder and told him he had a knife, but the man tried to push past him and ran onto the blade.

The injured burglar - who was bleeding heavily from a knife wound to his stomach - took two of Mrs Dowdy's handbags and ran onto the balcony and jumped to the ground.

A large amount of blood was visible there this morning.

He then fled down with the Dowdys in pursuit and tried to steal a car from a few doors down.

The vehicle, which belonged to a P-Plater, had blood on it this morning and there was a lengthy blood trail on the street.

When the thief was unable to break into the car he fled on foot and police today issued a plea for public help to locate him, advising that the amount of blood at the scene "indicates that the man needs urgent medical attention".

They say he is likely to have a "noticeable injury to his lower front or side torso".

Police have warned homeowners that while they have a right to defend themselves from intruders only "reasonable" force should be used.

"Our advice is that people should avoid confronting anybody it's not my advice that people should arm themselves and confront anyone in a house," Detective Inspector for Brisbane West Robert Hitch said.

"People have a right to take action to defend their own person, to defend their dwelling and to defend other people. The force that they use must be reasonable and must fit the circumstances, it must be considered in relation to the threat that they're facing," Det Insp Hitch said.

Det Insp Hitch said police were unsure how seriously injured the intruder may be and said they are investigating how he was hurt.

Blood was found inside the house and a trail of blood was found in streets around the home.

"The owner of the home has been interviewed....the reality is we don't know what injuries have been caused, we don't know who the injuries have been caused to. We have insufficient evidence in relation to what sort of actions have taken place in the house," Det Insp Hitch said.

"We're appealing for anyone who may have information in relation to who the intruder is (to come forward)," he said.

Det Insp Hitch said police were investigating if last nights break and enter was linked to other recent burglaries in Kenmore.

Police are door knocking homes in Kenmore today.

20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Want Windows 8? You'll have to upgrade

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 26 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

Harvey Norman have celebrated the launch of Windows 8.

MICROSOFT launched its biggest operating system overhaul in Sydney this morning, but faced criticism over a lack of Windows 8 details for consumers, confusing pricing, and its removal of traditional Windows menus.

The Australian launch followed worldwide launches overnight in which chief executive Steve Ballmer called the introduction of Windows 8 a "bold, innovative" move that had been tested for more than 1.24 billion hours worldwide.

"No product anywhere receives this kind of testing anywhere in the world," Mr Ballmer told a New York audience.

But the overhaul has ditched menus and navigation familiar to Windows users, including the once well-marketed Start button.

Instead, users will face an opening screen of coloured tiles, simplified and hidden menus, and a new Windows Store for app downloads.

Microsoft Windows business leader Tina Flammer said users would need to adapt to the new software menus, but it had been designed for an easy transition.

"Windows 8 was designed to be intuitive," she said.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gives his presentation at the launch of Microsoft Windows 8, in New York.

"We know that without the traditional (start button) it is different. Every time we bring out a device the familiarity is different."

But Microsoft faced further scrutiny at its Australian launch for vagaries around the software's pricing and packages.

After several questions, Ms Flammer confirmed Microsoft would not sell a full version of Windows 8 in Australian stores, instead offering only upgrade packages.

The Windows 8 Pro upgrade package costs $69.99, she said, while the Windows 8 upgrade costs $39.99.

Another version of the new Microsoft software, Windows RT, would arrive pre-installed on tablets and "thin and light" laptops, Ms Flammer said, although Microsoft would not elaborate on its differences.

A lot is riding on the success of Windows 8 for Microsoft as it seeks to maintain its share of the computing software market. The company's software currently runs on more than 90 per cent of computers worldwide, though it faces increasing competition from tablets, where Apple dominates the market.

Microsoft says its 'reimagined' Windows 8 will launch in 37 languages and 140 worldwide markets.

Microsoft also began selling its first tablet computer today, named Surface.

The tablet, powered by Windows 8 and Windows RT, will feature a 10.6-inch screen, up to 64GB of storage, two cameras and a cover that doubles as a keyboard. The tablets are priced from $559 to $789.

"You are going to love the new Windows," CEO Steve Ballmer said at the New York launch.

But early reaction has been mixed.

Some reviewers like the way the system greets users with a mosaic of tiles displaying applications instead of relying on the desktop icons that served as the welcome mat for years.

Critics say it's a confusing jumble that will frustrate users accustomed to the older versions, particularly when they switch to desktop mode and don't see the familiar "start" button and menu.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sits on stage during a video portion of the Windows 95 Launch Event in 1995. Windows 8 is the most radical redesign of the operating system since its launch, and will see the disappearance of the iconic start button at the lower left corner of the screen..

The biggest question hovering over Windows 8: Is it innovative and elegant enough to lure consumers who are increasingly fond of smartphones, tablets and other sleek gadgets?

Those mobile devices have been setting industry standards while Microsoft engineers have spent two years designing a new operating system.

And Windows 8 must address not only the upheaval in the computing market since Windows 7 came out in 2009, but also have the flexibility to adjust to future shifts in technology before Microsoft releases another version in two or three years.

Previous versions of Windows and other Microsoft products such as Office are so deeply embedded in companies and government agencies that Microsoft is still assured a steady stream of revenue from that segment of the market. That loyal base of customers is one of the reasons that Microsoft is expected to earn $US25 billion on revenue of $US80 billion in its current fiscal year ending next June.

Windows 8 will hit the market backed by an estimated $US1 billion marketing campaign. The advertising frenzy is just one measure of how important Windows 8 is to Microsoft's future.

Mr Ballmer's margin for error is slim after being consistently outpaced by Apple and Google in his nearly 13 years as CEO. During his tenure, Microsoft's stock has lost nearly half its value, wiping out more than $US200 billion ($194 billion) in shareholder wealth.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gives his presentation at the launch of Microsoft Windows 8. Picture: Richard Drew

But the company's board hasn't expressed any public dissatisfaction with Mr Ballmer, who is Microsoft's second-largest shareholder with a 4 per cent stake worth $US9 billion. Only his good friend and predecessor, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, owns more of the company's stock. Mr Gates has a 5.5 per cent stake.

Since Mr Ballmer succeeded Gates as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft's annual revenue has nearly quadrupled to $US74 billion and expanded into lucrative new territory with its popular Xbox 360 video game console, which has given the company a platform for delivering services to television sets.

But Microsoft has been slow to respond to technology shifts and has made some costly missteps trying to catch up.

Some of the best-known blunders include the company's iPod clone, the Zune, and its $US6.3 billion acquisition of Internet ad service aQuantive.

Investors want to see Microsoft do something more.

The nagging fear on Wall Street is that the PC industry is past its prime and heading into a gradual decline that will pull down Microsoft, too.

Panos Panay, the general manager of the Microsoft Surface with The new Microsoft Surface tablet on display following the official launch of Windows 8. Picture: TIMOTHY A. CLARY

The signs of decay have been proliferating since Apple released the iPad in 2010, hatching a tablet computer market that has combined with an already vibrant smartphone market to siphon away technology spending that used to go toward the latest PCs.

Worldwide PC sales year are expected to decline this year for the first time since 2001, according to the research firm IHS iSuppli. It's a drop of just 1 per cent, but it underscores a troubling trend that has been hurting Microsoft.

The shift to mobile devices has whittled Microsoft's worldwide share of the computing device market from 67 per cent in 2008 to about 30 per cent today, estimates Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett. Thanks to its Android software for phones and tablets, Google is now the leader with a 40 per cent share of the computing device market. Apple stands at 20 per cent.

Analysts don't expect Microsoft's corporate and government customers to immediately embrace the new system, no matter how much it's hyped. About half of this traditionally cautious group of customers still haven't upgraded to Windows 7. Most analysts expect companies and government to hold off on switching to Windows 8 for at least another year.

20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

$660 million crash to hit investors

Banksia's customers are fearful about the fate of their investments following the collapse of the company.

Banksia Financial Group has been placed into receivership. Source: Herald Sun

UPDATE: QUESTIONS are being asked of government regulator the Australian Security and Investment Commission over what actions it took prior to the $660 million collapse of the Banksia Financial Group.

Thousands of investors are facing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses after the shock collapse.

Julie and Les Bailey, former dairy farmers from Numurkah, say they have potentially lost several hundred thousand dollars invested in Banksia superannuation.

"We have lost all our super," Mrs Bailey said from her Queensland home.

She said it was not only Victorians who were suffering.

Others interstate, including the couple's son, stood to lose significant investments, Mrs Bailey said.

ASIC was allegedly informed about the precarious position of Banksia, and a subsidiary Statewide Secured Investments 18 months ago, according to NSW property developer David Hawkins who was involved in litigation with the firm.

"The regulator has been on to them for about 18 months ... (but) ASIC have sat on their hands," Mr Hawkins claimed.

"I've been waging war against them (Banksia), as have about four other people in relation to their lending practices," he said.

Are you affected by the collapse? Leave a comment below or call our newsroom on 03 9292 1226

Mr Hawkins was involved in court action with Banksia over a $2.2 million property deal after Banksia withdrew their support for the project.

But he said Statewide had been lending money in NSW "like a drunken sailor" when Banksia amalgamated with it in 2009.

He claimed Statewide had contested liabilities of $28-$30 million at the time but Banksia had insisted it would not inherit the firm's debt, even though it provided security for costs in a number of court cases.

Mr Hawkins said major residential, hotel and commercial developments in Sydney had faced multi-million dollar valuation and financing problems, helping to bring the collapse on.

ASIC said it was "aware" of yesterday's developments with Banksia but did not disclose when it was first notified about the financial group's problems.

ASIC spokesman Andre Khoury said the commission was "actively engaged" with Banksia's trustee and receiver.

Mr Khoury said ASIC was not a prudential regulator.

"ASIC's historical work in this sector reflects the fact that a disclosure regime is in place for debentures, coupled with the requirement that a trustee is in place to monitor the issuer and seek to protect the interests of debenture holders," Mr Khoury said.

Banksia appointed receivers yesterday owing investors $660 million.

Banksia fell into receivership after a recent review of its non-performing loans.

About 3000 investors in eight towns and cities in regional Victoria have had their investments frozen while receivers McGrathNicol work their way through the non-bank lender's accounts.

About 100 workers also are set to lose their jobs.

The collapse has shocked communities across the state.

Kyabram District Plan Group member and accountant Peter Nelson, whose firm shares an office building with Banksia's now-closed transaction centre, said there may be hope for investors to recoup at least some of their cash, given Banksia's advances were secured by first-ranking property mortgages.

Mr Nelson, himself a Banksia investor, said everyone from retirees to sporting clubs and schools in the Goulburn River Valley region had money in the firm, describing it as a financial icon in the region that has built a strong reputation since forming in the 1960s.

"Unless there's some real bodgies in there (Banksia's accounts), we'd be hopeful something will come out in the wash," he said.

"Hopefully this won't be as bad as people believe."

Kyabram resident Jason Dunn said the town was reeling.

"People are in tears," he said.

He said many locals feared they would lose their retirement fund.

"People who worked hard all their life have just lost the lot. It's really going to affect the town. It's a black day here," he said.

Kyabram local Lynne, 50, opened up an account two weeks ago with about $8000 for a holiday.

"I'm devastated, but I got off lightly," said Lynne, who asked that her surname not be used.

"One retired lady lost the lot - $400,000. Now it has probably just gone, disappeared like that," she said.

She said Banksia was an institution that locals had trusted.

The pastor of Kyabram Baptist Church, Robert Arnold, said it was likely the church would lose money.

He said there had been no warning signs that the firm was in trouble.

"Our banking goes through them," Mr Arnold, 70, said.

"It has come as a shock. I would have thought it would have been pretty well managed."

Victorian Farmers Federation vice president Peter Tuohey said farmers had been hit by the collapse.

"Farmers are just trying to recoup after going through a lot of pretty tough years," he told 3AW today.

"A few farmers that have got a few savings and put away carefully in a local investment company  - it's going to hurt them pretty dearly so (it will) really set the whole area back."

Victorian Shadow Minister for Finance Robin Scott said the collapse was a terrible blow for families, and called on the Victorian Goverment to "step in and assist those communities most impacted".

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said the Federal Opposition was "desperately trying to find out much more on how Banksia was structured".

"I think it's important to recognise that if an institution is not supervised by APRA, if it's not an authorised deposit-taking institution then there is a certain amount of risk," he told 3AW.

"When someone advertises themselves as a non-bank lender or as a non-bank financial institution then the money is at risk."

Banksia, which was founded in Kyabram, offered investment products including fixed-term, superannuation and pensioner deeming accounts and mortgage schemes.

Banksia has a network of 14 branches across Victoria, NSW and SA with headquarters in Melbourne.

Its other Victorian branches are in Echuca, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Shepparton, Tatura and Warrnambool.

Campaspe Shire chief exeuctive officer Keith Baillie said there were a lot of nervous people in northern Victoria after the shock announcement.

"Our concern is the impact on not only the investors but the staff employed at the Kyabram and Echuca offices, with Kyabram supporting Banksia's administration office," Mr Baillie told The Weekly Times.

McGrathNicol receiver Tony McGrath said it was too early to know what caused the collapse.

He said an urgent review of Banksia's financial position, loan book and properties was under way.

"Our primary concern is to ensure the interests of debenture holders are being protected," Mr McGrath said.

Staff will work on during the review.

The group, which bills itself as a "non-bank alternative", was founded as Kyabram Housing Investments by Patrick Godfrey in 1968. In 1999, it merged with other small investment companies to form The Banksia Financial Group.

Mr Godfrey stepped down as chief executive in August and was replaced by Warren Shaw, a former National Australia Bank general manager in charge of overseeing its retail branches.

Mr Godfrey continues to serve as a board member.

- with  Christopher Gillett


20.01 | 1 komentar | Read More

Biel a pink bride, Britney photobombs

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 25 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

Jessica Biel got married in a custom-made, pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown. Picture: People Source: Supplied

  • Timberlake gushes about Biel's dress
  • "She was most beautiful thing I have ever seen"
  • Biel the latest celeb to ditch the white gown
  • Justin's ex appears on wedding day cover

JUSTIN Timberlake says seeing Jessica Biel in her pink wedding dress was "the most beautiful thing".

The singer opened up about his romantic wedding ceremony as he and Biel revealed the first picture of their happy day to People and WHO magazine.

Timberlake is literally jumping for joy (did he get married on a trampoline?) while Biel sits beside him, beaming.

It's a beautiful picture, but it's one that's almost ruined by the surprising headshot of Britney Spears - a painful reminder that Timberlake can't escape his ex even on his wedding day. (The couple also appear on the cover of WHO magazine sans Spears - see below)

Timberlake and Biel wed in front of family and friends at a private ceremony in southern Italy on Friday.

Biel, 30, wore a custom-made, pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown during the nuptials at the Borgo Egnazia resort in Puglia.

"It was a really special evening," Timberlake gushed. "(Jessica was) the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." Biel, who joins a growing list of celebs getting married in pink, added: "It was a total fantasy experience."

Justin and Jessica open up about their wedding to People magazine. Spot the Britney photobomb. Picture: People

The nuptials included a touching moment where Timberlake, 31, serenaded Biel as she walked down the aisle in her stunning dress.

"It was an original piece I wrote specifically for the evening and for her," he said.

The couple kicked off their celebrations with a party and firework display at Cala Masciola beach last Wednesday.

The festivities were laid on for guests who travelled to Italy, including singer Timbaland and Jessica's 7th Heaven co-star Beverley Mitchell.

"It was a lot to ask of them to travel, so we figured we'd give our guests a good party," Timberlake said.

The couple began dating in 2007, with Timberlake proposing during a romantic trip to Big Sky, Montana, last December.

No Britney photobomb this time. Picture: WHO

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Terror Australis: Snakes, and other death traps

What you need to look out for this summer. Picture: Soraya Asmar (news.com.au) Source: news.com.au

  • Snake season is here, and they're everywhere
  • Experts: Don't try to catch or kill a snake
  • More: Sharks - Jellyfish - Fires - Mosquitoes
  • Tell us your snake and danger stories

THEY are fast, clever and dangerous. And this summer - they're going to be everywhere.

It's officially snake season. And all around the country, from Darwin to the Blue Mountains, a snake or snakes will be slithering to a patch of grass near you.

Experts say the warmer months, and for some species the coinciding wet season, lures thousands of snakes out of hiding so they can hunt, breed and warm up their cold blood.

And it's not just in bush paddocks and grassy outback trails you'll have to be alert; some of the deadliest snakes can be found in suburban backyards.

[Scroll down for more dangers of summer: Sharks - Jellyfish - Fires - Mosquitoes]

"We get calls in Surry Hills," snake catcher Yo Matthews told news.com.au. For those outside of Sydney - Surry Hills is a heavily populated urban neighbourhood about 1km from the CBD.

The Eastern Brown snake is one of the deadliest and most common seen during summer as well as breeds like the red-bellied black snake and the odd tiger and carpet snakes.

Snakes on a beach: These Eastern Brown Snakes were spotted at Emerald Beach, NSW by news.com.au reader Charlotte Miller. Source: news.com.au

Mr Matthews is expecting around 2,000 calls this summer from Sydney through to the Blue Mountains, while NT reptile expert Chris Peberdy expects similar activity in the Top End.

"Alice Springs is the biggest hotspot in Australia for brown snakes, and Darwin fields more calls for general snake sightings than anywhere in the country," he said.

OK, so we know they're going to be about. But before you completely freak out, there's a few things you can do to avoid seeing and, in a worst-case scenario, being bitten.

"Almost all snake bites come from someone trying to catch or kill a snake. Do not attempt to do either of those things," a spokesman from NSW National Parks and Wildlife told news.com.au.

"Snakes are very good at keeping themselves hidden because they're more threatened by us than the other way around.

"If you can't back away safely from a snake, stand still and don't panic - it will get itself out of the way."

You can also take the following precautions to avoid bringing a hive of snakes to your place:

- Keep you grass short and mow the lawn regularly;
- Clear the yard of excess scrubs, branches and loose leaves;
- Pick up pet food, particularly bird seeds, chicken scratch and excess foodstuffs;
- Keep pets and kids away from bushy areas where snakes may be hiding;
- Take a first-aid course, especially if you're a parent.

In the rare case of a snake bite, call 000 immediately.


Out of the 13 shark attacks this year, 11 have come from great whites. Source: news.com.au

There have been 13 reported shark attacks in Australia this year, including 11 from great whites.

Western Australia is the hotspot with five, including the only two deaths of 2012, followed by NSW (4), SA (2), VIC (1) and TAS (1).

John West from the Taronga Conservation Society says the attacks are unprovoked and difficult to predict, but expects more during summer.

"The more populated areas are more likely to have shark attacks," he said.

"The numbers are very small. It's pretty hard to indicate when or where they're more likely to happen."


Queensland, NSW and Victoria are most at-risk, with 60 bushfires already alight in Queensland.

Western and south-west Sydney are in danger of bushfires over summer, while west of Melbourne is set for a bad grassfire season.

"If you draw a line through Victoria just west of Melbourne, anything to the west of that is basically at a high fire danger," a CFA spokesman told news.com.au.

"Grass fires are a real problem because they move very quickly and burn very hot and do a lot of damage in a short space of time.

"They run fast and it's just about impossible to outrun them. It's important that people start now - slashing grass and moving vegetation from around their house."


Box jellyfish are prevalent in far-north Queensland. Source: news.com.au

Far-north Queensland, particularly on the Barrier Reef, is notorious for stingers.

The two you have to watch out for are the box jellyfish and the irukandji, according to stinger expert Colin Sparkes.

"Box jellyfish are large, swim fast and they're clever," he said.

"They'll give you big welts that stay for a long period of time."

Stinger nets have drastically reduced the number of incidents, but Mr Sparkes says you should also consider wearing stinger suits or long-sleeved clothing if you're swimming up north.

"Irukanji are a lot smaller and can be around all-year round, but they definitely come in more during the summer months with northerly breezes."

"They cause muscle cramps, nausea and then you feel like the world's going to end. It's terrible, terrible pain."

Further south, bluebox jellyfish are commonly seen around the Gold Coast and the NSW coast. They'll give you a nasty sting - and don't forget the old pee treatment.


Dengue Fever is a danger in far-north Queensland. Source: news.com.au

Dr Cameron Webb from the University of Sydney says the most common problem with mosquitoes is Ross River Virus - but that can essentially be contracted anywhere.

"There's no typical area, but Perth and south-west WA have experienced a lot more activity in Ross River in the past couple of years," he told news.com.au.

They mosquito hotspot in Australia is far-north Queensland, upstate from Townsville, the only place in the country you can contract Dengue Fever.

"On the east coast, from south-east Queensland through to the far northern NSW border, you also get lots of nuisance of biting from mosquitoes and the chance of Barmah Forest Virus," he said.

What do you do if you're bitten and experience a fever and joint pain?

"See a GP immediately for a blood test," Dr Webb added.

On Twitter: @christoforpaine

20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Black hole in our galaxy erupts

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured these first, focused views of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy in high-energy X-ray light. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Source: NASA

IS THIS a sign of the impending Mayan apocalypse? NASA has observed an eruption - from a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.

A series of blurry pictures snapped by NASA's NuSTAR telescope has captured the moment the black hole "burped" after chowing-down on a nearby star.

The pictures - blurry as they must be filtered from light-years worth of dust and intervening stars - are a lucky bonus for the $165 million observation campaign launched in June.

"This data will help us better understand the gentle giant at the heart of our galaxy and why it sometimes flares up for a few hours and then returns to slumber," a NASA spokesperson said.

The spectroscopic telescope was built to study high-energy events such as the turmoil around black holes.

It will spend most of its time examining violent black holes at the centre of galaxies.

The Milky Way's resident supermassive black hole - Sagittarius A - is unusually quiet. And that's probably a good thing.

The flares are believed to be caused when matter - usually dust or gas from nearby stars - falls within a black hole's irresistible grasp.

As the matter is pulled down, it heats up to over 100 million degrees Celsius and emits a blast of radiation - shortly before it is pulled beyond the point where even light cannot escape.

This particular eruption was also captured by other observatories: the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hawaii's Keck Observatory (infrared).

This simulation shows the approach and capture of a gas cloud by the black hole Sagittarius A, at the heart of our galaxy, that is due to take place between now and 2020.

All three will soon shift devote much of their attention to Sagittarius A.

And likely just in time: A huge cloud of dust and gas is known to be getting close enough to be sucked in sometime next year.

Scientists are so excited they have dedicated super-computer time to build simulations of what may happen to the cloud as it swirls around the black hole.

Some doomsday predictions citing the Mayan calendar and interpretations of mythological references say the Earth, Sun and centre of the Milky Way will come into alignment in December - causing an energetic chain of events that will disrupt our planet's magnetic field and lead to disaster.

NASA says there is no such special alignment, and, even if there was, it would produce no effect.

20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Girl dead in bin: Facebook leads to boys' arrest

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 24 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

12-year-old Autumn Pasquale. Picture: Clayton Police Department Source: Supplied

TWO teenage brothers have been charged with murdering a 12-year-old girl who had been missing since the weekend.

Autumn Pasquale's disappearance prompted a frantic search by her small hometown in New Jersey, US, until her body was found stuffed into a home recycling bin.

The mother of the boys charged over the death played a part in cracking the case involving the 12-year-old's murder, prosecutor Sean Dalton said.

She came forward with information about a posting on her son's Facebook account, leading police to the boys, Mr Dalton said.

The girl appeared to have been strangled, he said. She had been riding her bicycle before she disappeared and was lured to the boys' house, where belongings including the bike were found, Mr Dalton said.

Authorities did not discuss a motive. There were no signs of sexual assault, Mr Dalton said.

The boys' names were not released because they are juveniles, but Mr Dalton said his office is considering trying to have the case transferred to adult court. The boys will have public defenders, but it wasn't clear yet who they were.

Both brothers were charged with counts including first-degree murder, body disposal and tampering with evidence. The 15-year-old was charged with luring.

Three teenage brothers live at the home where the body was found. One of the teens in the home traded BMX bike parts, according to a young man, Corey Hewes, 19, who said he was among those who traded with him.

The house was a place where teens frequently hung out and had parties, some neighbours said.

Autumn's body was found around 10pm Monday local time in a bin just blocks from her house and from Borough Hall, where thousands of people gathered earlier in the evening for a tearful candlelight vigil to pray for her safe return.

"The search for Autumn is over," Mr Dalton said Tuesday. He called Clayton a safe community but said parents should continue to keep close watch on their children.

The girl's great-uncle, Paul Spadofora, thanked the community for its help in the search. The victim's parents did not attend.

"There's evil everywhere, even in the small town of Clayton," Mr Spadofora said.

Crime scene investigators arrived shortly before 9am in the neighborhood where the body was found.

Tuesday was garbage collection day, and many residents had dragged their bins to the curb the night before. The covered recycling bins are collected by an automated truck that picks them up and dumps the contents into the back.

Police barricaded the block, and friends and neighbours came by to see. Some mothers said they were keeping their kids out of school for the day. Even before the body was found, students reported that Spirit Week had been cancelled because of the sorrow.

One young man rode a bike up, sat on a porch of a home and cried, then biked away.

Clayton Mayor Thomas Bianco walked to the scene, cried, hugged a police officer and gave a brief statement to the gathered reporters.

"You hear about it in other places but never think it would happen in our little town," he said.

Autumn was last seen around 12.30pm Saturday pedaling her bike away from the home where she lives with her father, her two siblings, her father's girlfriend and the girlfriend's children, authorities said.

Relatives said they believed she was heading to see a friend, and they became worried only after she did not return by her 8pm curfew.

By Sunday morning, her disappearance had become not only a crisis but a town-wide cause in Clayton, a town 25 miles south of Philadelphia. Volunteers by the hundred joined the search, scouring shopping centres, nearby towns and passing out fliers.

By Monday evening, officials were thanking the volunteers for their help but asking them to call it a night.

Hundreds of people returned that evening for the vigil. Mr Spadofora, the great-uncle, said he hoped the town could gather again in a week, with Autumn back, to mark her birthday.

20.01 | 1 komentar | Read More

$369 for your new, smaller iPad

Gadget Girl Jen Dudley on why the iPad mini is cool, but not as cool as the big geeky stuff out there.

APPLE founder Steve Jobs once called them "tweeners'' and "dead on arrival'' but this morning Apple bit the bullet and launched its own 7-inch tablet called the iPad Mini.

But while the iPad Mini has grabbed all the attention, Apple has slipped some other major changes through "under the radar".

Most notably - it has released the iPad 4, five months early. The move is likely to leave "New" iPad owners miffed as the upgrade is a signficant one.

And the 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro is also an eye-opener, squeezing a powerful punch in a diminutive package.

Most radical, however, was the changes to the iMac. Along with an incredibly thin display, it has a new hard-drive system inside its tiny box incorporating solid-state and traditional disc systems.

But everybody wants to know about the iPad Mini.

The new-look device is significantly smaller, weighs just 308 grams, and is a lot cheaper than the 9.7-inch iPad 3 launched in March, with a starting price of just $369. It will be available for pre-order from Apple Australia from Friday, and will hit the shelves on November 2.

The iPad Mini comes with an optional 4G mobile internet connection, the same dual-core chip as the iPad 2, two cameras including a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a 10-hour battery life.

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, introduces the iPad Mini. AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Apple worldwide marketing senior vice-president Phil Schiller revealed the smallest iPad in San Jose this morning, saying "this isn't just a shrunken down iPad: it's an entirely new iPad."

The iPad Mini has the same screen resolution of the iPad 2 (crammed into half its size), but it doesn't match the power or $249 price of Google's current quad-core 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7.

So how does the iPad Mini stack up against its competitors?

First, it comes in at almost double the price of the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. It has slightly lower screen resolution, is somewhat lighter and has much better 5 megapixel camera. While testing data is scarce, it would also appear the iPad Mini's dual-core A5 chip is inferior to that of the Nexus 7's quad-core CPU.

Apple went on to surprise the audience by revealing a new top-of-the-line fourth generation iPad with a powerful new chip promising twice the speed as the seven-month-old "new" iPad and twice the download speed with Wi-Fi.

Apple also used the event to launch new Macs including a new, much thinner iMac desktop computer and a new laptop, a 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro that Schiller named "the lightest MacBook Pro yet".

The new iMac desktop computer is now just 5mm thin, or 80 per cent thinner than the previous model, 3.2kg lighter, and it features an HD web camera, up to 3 terabytes of storage, four USB 3.0 ports, though it no longer features a DVD drive.

Apple's latest toy in an ad

"There's an entire computer in there," Mr Schiller said. "It's hard to believe there's even a display in here."

Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro will feature a high-resolution "Retina" display, redesigned battery compartments, three USB 3.0 ports but no DVD drive, and a weight of just 1.6kg. The new MacBook Pro will begin shipping today, though the new iMac will not be available until December.

Apple also revealed a new Mac Mini desktop unit for $US599 that has been upgraded with a faster, 2.5GHz chip and 4GB RAM.

But it is the iPad that stole the show in San Jose and will move the most product for Apple in the pre-Christmas rush.

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads since its April 2010 launch, and remains the leader of the tablet market with Gartner estimating its market share at more than 60 per cent.

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said the iPad Mini was designed to appeal to a fiscally conservative crowd and would sell well, but he warned it could eat into sales of pricier computers.

Apple has unveiled its latest high tech device

''In our view, the iPad Mini stands to target price-sensitive users and the e-reader crowd,'' he said. ''Given the global economic uncertainty, we think price-sensitive users could gravitate toward an iPad Mini instead of making a PC purchase.''

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said Apple risked sales of its larger iPad by introducing a cheaper tablet.

"For every five million smaller iPads, you lose one million standard iPads,'' he said.

Regardless, Piper Jaffray estimated that Apple would sell 25 million miniature iPads next year and 95 million larger models, up from an earlier forecast of 86.5 million.

Chris Griffith reports from San Jose as Apple unveils the iPad mini and a fourth-generation iPad.

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Handwriting 'will clear Craig Thomson'

Craig Thomson's lawyer Chris McArdle on Sky News. Source: Supplied

CRAIG Thomson's lawyer has told Tony Abbott to "shut his mouth" after the Opposition Leader commented on the police raids on the house and electoral office of the member for Dobell.

Chris McArdle told Sky News Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was alleging his client had committed criminal wrongdoing.

"If Mr Abbott has evidence of that he should come forward forthwith, or he should shut his mouth," he said.

"We will not tolerate our client being condemned by innuendo or ageing student politicians mouthing off.

"This is unacceptable conduct. Our client is an innocent man."

Speaking to reporters in Adelaide earlier today, Mr Abbott encouraged Mr Thomson to fully co-operate with the police .

"I think it's very important this member of parliament fully co-operates with police," Mr Abbott said.

"The police have shown a lot of diligence in trying to ensure that low paid workers' money is not misused."

Craig Thomson's lawyer defends him after continuing allegations of rorting union credit cards.

And a top Victorian police officer expressed anger at the media tip-off.

In a statement this afternoon, Detective-Supt Brett Guerin of the Serious Crime Operations said:  "I share Mr McArdle's outrage at the media's apparent knowledge of these activities this morning. The last thing our detectives need is to be knocking on someone's door with a media scrum watching. It helps no one but the media. Victoria Police is very conscious of the high-profile nature of this investigation and has been resolute in the information they have provided to the media. I would love to know how the media knew what was happening."

This morning, police raided Mr Thomson's home on the NSW Central Coast and left several hours later carrying sealed evidence bags.

Detectives then seized a computer hard drive, documents and other items from Mr Thomson's electoral office at Tuggerah.

But while Mr Thomson praised police handling of the search, his lawyer, Chris McArdle, lashed out, saying it was "scandalous" that news crews arrived around the same time as police, adding ii was like "something out of a Kafka novel".

"Mr Thomson knew nothing about this, but every journalist in the country did,'' he said.

He said the police were not supposed to be a public relations agency for those in politics with an interest in seeing Mr Thomson fall.

MP Craig Thomson faces the media after police seized documents from his Bateau Bay home . Picture: Peter Clark

''The police are an independent statutory force with an objective to investigate matters,'' he told reporters.

''They are not a public relations agency for political parties. People should not use the independent force as some sort of stunt squad.

Mr McArdle said his client would eventually be cleared.

''He's not going to be charged with a criminal offence and he's going to win the civil case. End of story,'' he said.

Mr McArdle said his client was being hounded only because his vote mattered in a hung Parliament.

"This is a person whose life has been trashed. If the government had a majority of five seats, no one would have ever heard of Craig Thomson except his constituents,'' he said

"Obviously, as is the normality in these things, the target of the search warrant was taken completely by surprise,'' he told the ABC.

Embattled cross-bencher says he does not expect to be charged after a police raid on his Bateau Bay home.

"The scandalous aspect of this, is that press arrived almost at the same time as the police and a camera crew was outside at almost the same time as the police."

Mr McArdle queried whether the purpose of the raid was the administration of justice or a continuing campaign against Mr Thomson.

"We are supremely confident that there will be no charge brought before a court by the police against our client.''

Earlier, Mr McArdle said the MP was very distressed and worried by the raid although he appeared calm when confronted by reporters outside his home.

"His family are obviously very distressed,'' Mr McArdle said.

"Police have an obligation to investigate matters and we understand and appreciate that. However, we anticipate that no charges with be laid.''

Mr McArdle went on to say that he believes the raid "will be one more brick in the wall of Mr Thomson's innocence".

Police leave MP Craig Thomson's Bateau Bay home with seized documents . Picture: Peter Clark

Jackson slams Thomson's 'mantra'

Meanwhile, HSU National Secretary Kathy Jackson has criticised Mr Thomson for not taking questions from the media and "repeating his mantra" after his home and electoral office were raided by police earlier today.

"All this morning reinforces in my mind is that there has been criminal activity within that NSW HSU branch and it continues," she told Macquarie radio.

Ms Jackson rejected Mr Thomson's claims the police investigation was into the HSU branch and not himself personally.

"My understanding is that Victorian police are looking at Craig Thomson, there is no other reason they raided his house today," she said.

"For him to come out and say, he gave them a few documents, well they raided his house and they took the documents ...

"He has not co-operated with the police, this is why they have executed warrants and this was why they have gone down this path."

Fraud squad officers have raided the home of embattled federal MP Craig Thomson.

Electoral office and house raided

Earlier today police took samples of Craig Thomson's handwriting, which his lawyer says will prove he did not use union funds to pay for prostitutes, during raid on the MP's home and electorate office today.

Officers raided Mr Thomson's NSW Central Coast  home just after 7.20 am (AEDT) on behalf of Victoria Police who are investigating allegations Mr Thomson improperly used Health Services Union (HSU) funds to spend on prostitutes, air travel, entertainment and cash withdrawals in excess of $100,000.

They spent about two-and-half hours at the house after arriving in a convoy of vehicles. About eight officers left shortly after 10am (AEDT) carrying sealed evidence bags which they loaded into five police cars.

They then headed to Mr Thomson's electoral office at Tuggerah where detectives seized a computer hard drive, documents and other items.

NSW detective-inspector David Christey said the operation resulted from an ongoing investigation in Victoria.

"The warrant has been issued with information that has been provided by the Victorians," Mr Christie said outside the electoral office.

Fraud squad detectives raid MP Craig Thomson's house. Picture: Channel 7

"The items that have been seized will be returning to Melbourne with them."

Victoria Police are reportedly in the final stages of their investigation but would not comment on the operation.

But both Mr Thomson and his lawyer Chris McArdle maintain the former Labor MP has done nothing wrong.

Mr McArdle said police took samples of  Mr Thomson's handwriting and at least one computer from his home.

"The samples of handwriting will prove that he did not sign these infamous dockets, these credit card receipts at houses of ill repute,'' Mr McArdle said.

Mr Thomson emerged from the house around 10.30am (AEDT) and told media police had taken a "couple of documents" during the search that he had volunteered.

"I've done nothing wrong and we are fully co-operating with police in relation to the Health Services Union investigation,'' Mr Thomson said.

Fraud squad detectives raid MP Craig Thomson's house. Picture: Channel 7

"`We think there is still some time for this investigation to go before it's concluded.

"But I'm very much looking to it concluding, hopefully, before the end of this year.''

Mr Thomson said he had not been charged with anything.

He said there was not much more he could add, given the investigation was ongoing.

Under intense questioning reporters, Mr Thomson said he did "not expect to be charged in relation to this matter''.

"I expect that at the end of the day, the position I have taken, where I spoke for over an hour in parliament, which I have said in the last four years that I have done no wrongdoing, will be vindicated,'' he said.

Faced with a barrage of questions from reporters, Mr Thomson cut short his press conference and went back inside his house.

Fraud squad detectives raid MP Craig Thomson's house. Picture: Channel 7

Shortly after, Mr Thomson's wife ran over camera equipment belonging to a Sky News team as she tried to leave the house.

Zoe Arnold, Mr Thomson's wife, was trying to avoid a media pack when the accident happened.

Police from two states in raid

NSW Police confirmed they assisted Victoria Police in executing a search warrant on Mr Thomson's property.

In a statement, Victoria Police said a warrant was executed in Bateau Bay on Wednesday morning with the assistance of NSW police, as part of the Operation Vespine investigation.

"Fraud and extortion squad detectives would like to thank NSW police Strike Force Carnarvon for their ongoing assistance,'' the statement said.

"As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.''

Detectives raid the home of Craig Thomson at Bateau Bay, NSW. Picture: Channel 7

The joint operation was not without controversy, with Victoria Police this afternoon issuing a statement questioning who tipped off the media about the raid.

''The safety and security of investigators when executing search warrants is of the utmost importance to Victoria Police,'' the statement said.

''To alert the media of such warrants prior to them being executed, and keeping in mind the privacy of those concerned, is not the practice of Victoria Police.''

The Thomson accusations

The Victorian Police investigation focuses solely on allegations Mr Thomson, while national secretary of the HSU based in Melbourne between 2002-2007, spent more thann $6000 on prostitutes using union credit cards and took more than $100,000 off the cards in cash withdrawals - some of which is alleged was spent on personal items. Fair Work Australia also alleges alleged some of that money was also used on prostitutes.

A separate NSW Police investigation is looking at broader allegations of fraud of the HSU allegedly involving former HSU boss Michael Williamson and also Mr Thomson.

That investigation is looking into claims both men received credit cards from a printing firm contracted by the union as "secret commissions".

Last week Fair Work Australia (FWA) launched civil action against Mr Thomson alleging he breached workplace laws 37 times and misused almost $500,000 when he was national secretary of the HSU from 2002 to 2007.

Federal Police carry evidence from the office of Craig Thomson's electorate office. Picture: Waide Maguire

The former Labor MP, now an independent, faces fines of up to $450,000 if the court finds, among other things, he spent thousands of dollars of union funds on prostitutes.

Mr Thomson has maintained his innocence and says the case won't go anywhere.

Raid a blow for Gillard government

The police raid on Mr Thomson's house is another blow for the Gillard Government which has also seen its hand-picked Speaker, Peter Slipper, resign in disgrace a fortnight ago over a batch of lewd emails were made public.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard in late April sought to distance her Government from Mr Thomson, announcing that a "line had been crossed'' and that the former Health Services Union boss would resign from the Labor Caucus and sit on the cross-benches in parliament.

In the first reaction to the Thomson raid, Senior Gillard Government Minister and Senate Leader Chris Evans offered cautious support for the suspended Labor MP, saying he was entitled to "the presumption of innocence'' following the police raid.

"Obviously these are matters of huge public controversy. We should let these things run their course,'' Senator Evans told Sky News.

Federal Police carry evidence from the office of Craig Thomson's electorate office. Picture: Waide Maguire

The police, he said, "have to do their job and we should refrain from commenting on it until its clear what the outcomes are.''

Opposition workplace relations spokesman Eric Abetz said the raid was a significant development in "this ongoing saga''.

"It is now clear that despite Mr Thomson's repeated claims to the contrary, he is a person of interest in both the Victorian and NSW police fraud squad investigations,'' Senator Abetz said in a statement.

Manager of opposition business Christopher Pyne said Prime Minister Gillard needed to say whether Labor would continue to accept Mr Thomson's vote in federal parliament.

"We left parliament two weeks ago mired in scandal," Mr Pyne said in Adelaide.

"We go back next Monday continuing to be steeped in scandal.

"And if Julia Gillard wanted to restore integrity to the way Australians think about the parliament she would announce she would not accept Craig Thomson's tainted vote."

Federal Police carry evidence from the office of Craig Thomson's electorate office. Picture: Waide Maguire

The raid comes just one week after the under siege MP sat down exclusively with the Central Coast Express Advocate and pleaded with voters to be judged on his record.

"Judge me on what I have done and want to do and will continue to dedicate myself to doing for this area," he said.

"All the other stuff you can put aside,'' Mr Thomson said.

HSU president charged

Earlier this month, Strike Force Carnarvon charged former HSU national president Michael Williamson with 20 offences.

It's alleged Mr Williamson recruited five former and current HSU officials to hinder police investigations.

In May, Strike Force Carnarvon officers raided the central headquarters of the union's east branch, seizing documents and computers in search of evidence relating to a broader investigation into allegations Williamson and Mr Thomson received secret commissions from a union supplier.

Former Labor MP Craig Thomson's NSW house has been raided by fraud squad detectives. File picture: Kym Smith

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I went to a health retreat and this is what I learnt

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 23 Oktober 2012 | 20.01

Doing tai chi on the grounds of the Mantra resort - and proof we don't look like hippies. Picture: NuYu Source: Supplied

We started our day with a walk along Salt Beach. Picture: NuYu Source: Supplied

I HAVE just been to a health retreat, but I kind of bluffed my way to get there.

When I was filling out the registration form, I ticked the box where it said I complete 20 minutes of exercise each day.

That's a lie. My walk to the bus stop doesn't even crack 20 minutes each day. I convinced myself that it would all be fine - I mean, I eat healthily enough, right? But imagine my apprehension when I pulled up at Mantra Salt Beach resort on NSW's Tweed Coast with six fit and healthy young ladies by my side. How on earth am I going to survive a two day lifestyle overhaul, when I can't even haul myself over and out of my office chair?

The NuYu Total Health Retreat sets out to do exactly what its name claims - create a new you. Over a recommended four week program, participants' eating habits, their attitude to exercise and their outlook on life are slowly transformed. The people who come here are not just looking to shift kilos - they are people who want to change the way they live.

We were given a taste of all NuYu has to offer over a two day period. So what could I possibly learn in such a short space of time? A whole lot more than you would have guessed!

1. Paddle boarding massively hurts your body
If you're anything like me and have seen pictures of celebrities paddle boarding in Hawaii and thought 'what a cruisy life', then you are very wrong. Paddle boarding is hard! My legs ached from trying to balance, my arms ached from paddling, my brain ached from concentrating, my stomach ached in places I didn't even know existed (I think they're called abs) - but I had the best time on the water. It was exiting being able to paddle down an inlet to the mouth of the ocean, then turning around and paddling into the mangroves and seeing all the wildlife. Sure, it was hard to figure out how to turn the board around and it took a little while to find my balance, but I didn't fall in the water once and I consider that to be quite the achievement.
Takeaway point: Paddle boarding is a full body workout and not cruisy at all

I saw pictures of myself paddle boarding, and it was not pretty. Instead, let's just pretend I look like Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio. Picture: Splash Source: Supplied

2. Playing team sports is actually fun

Whenever I had to play a team sport at school I was always so concerned with whether I looked stupid while kicking the ball that I forgot to relax and enjoy myself. Enter a game known as Nu-Ball, a cross between touch and netball and a whole lotta fun. Put simply, you're split into two teams and when you have the ball, you're not allowed to move with it. Sounds easy enough, right? Except for the fact that you're not allowed to run. At all. Power walking is the way to go in this sport, and if you're caught running it's a five push-up penalty. The no-running rule is so that everyone on the field no matter their fitness level is on the same level, and it's fun because your instinct is to run after the ball. It's so much of a mental battle that you forget completely that you're exercising until the game is over and you can hardly breathe from exhaustion - or elation, if you were on the winning team like I was.
Takeaway point: Team sports are good because you don't even realise you're exercising

3. A 200g bag of CC's has as many calories as an entire day's worth of food at NuYu
I kid you not. Think how easy it is to put away a bag of CC's while watching a movie without even realising the amount of junk you're consuming! But before you start to think that the food at NuYu must be all lettuce leaves and water, consider this: All the meals at NuYu have been picked out by celebrity nutritionist Joanna McMillan, and all dinners are served at Season, one of Australia's hatted restaurants. Having sampled five of the dinner options, I can safely tell you that your taste buds will not be deprived.
Takeaway point: Make sure your diet is stocked with foods that are low HI - that's low Human Intervention. You can't go wrong

4. Skipping morning and afternoon tea is not OK
If you regularly congratulate yourself for not snacking throughout the day, then you'd better read on. Not eating between meals means you're more likely to overeat when it comes to lunch and dinner. Throughout my time at NuYu, I felt like I did not stop eating. Morning and afternoon teas are essential, and they're way more exciting than a simple piece of fruit. Baked pears with ricotta; carrot, capsicum, cucumber and snowpeas with hummus and tzatziki; apricots and cheese - the options were endless, and completely achievable at home or in a snack-bag at work.
Takeaway point: Snowpeas are the new chips

5. Diet Coke is really bad for you
Decades of Weight Watchers programs telling us that "Diet Coke = No Points" have propelled the misconception that Diet Coke is OK if you're on a diet. This couldn't be further from the truth. The levels of caffeine, aspartame and potassium benzoate in Diet Coke play havoc with your mood, erode your teeth, dehydrate you, and various studies have found a link between Diet Coke drinkers and an increased risk of strokes, heart attacks, kidney damage, bone density loss, cell damage and heart and blood vessel diseases. Eek.
Takeaway point: Swap the DC for sparkling water

6. Never eat so much that you couldn't go for a run around the block afterward
It sounds whacked, but the logic is fair. We are so used to eating and overeating that we have lost all perspective when it comes to how much we should actually be consuming. NuYu's philosophy? Only eat as much as would allow you to go for a quick run around the block - or up to the top of a lookout like we did - afterward. Be full, but not bursting.
Takeaway point: J-Lo (aka Jenny from the Block - how appropriate) also shares this philosophy

A brisk walk to ta local lookout. I wish I could say that is me bounding up the stairs... It isn't. Picture: NuYu Source: Supplied

7. It takes 21 days before new practices become habit
A typical course at NuYu goes for four weeks, and this is because NuYu is about lifestyle change, not just weight loss. People who enroll in the NuYu program have no practical idea about why you need to eat well, about why exercise is important, and about how to implement these kinds of things into a normal day, so the trainers have to start from scratch. They liken it to sending a child to kindergarten - if you were to send them for just an hour every couple of days, there is no way you'd expect them to learn everything they need to equip them for life. So why do we expect the same from people who need to get fit and so seek out personal trainers or gyms for an hour every week? Just like a child learning at school, time needs to be spend with people for good habits to be formed, and three weeks is when the logic about living a healthy life begins to kick in.
Takeaway point: Weight loss is not about kilograms - it's about lifestyle

8. Tai Chi is not for hippies
This is so true, man. After spending 20 minutes going through some breathing exercises I am a total convert. No amount of caffeine has ever helped me feel so awake at 7am in the morning.
Takeaway point: If you want to wake up, skip the coffee and breathe

9. Stress, depression, blood pressure and weight are all linked
The success stories at NuYu speak volumes - people who enter the retreat with severe depression, high blood pressure, back problems, insomnia and many other health issues leave not only lighter but healthier. We heard countless stories about people who had success with the program - one lady in particular entered NuYu with dangerously high blood pressure and on two different types of oral medication, as well as daily insulin injections. She left four weeks later with her blood pressure count back in the healthy range, and no further need for any medication. A boy suffering from chronic back pain lost 52 kilograms after spending 4 weeks at NuYu, and recently set a rowing record at his local gym. Similarly, another girl we met lost 30 kilograms after going through the NuYu program earlier this year, and has since done the Harbour Bridge run and climbed Mt Kosciuszko.
Takeaway point: Exercise does change your life

10. Health retreats aren't just for overweight people
This is possibly the most important point. Whether you think you have 5 kilograms to lose or 50, a retreat like this focuses on the way you look at food and exercise, not on how much you weigh. At NuYu the message is clear - your size and your fitness level don't always correlate. People of all sizes can have no concept of healthy eating or healthy living, and this retreat aims to educate you on those very points with both fitness programs and seminars, cooking classes and testimonials. After just 2 days at NuYu I feel happier than I have done in months, and I am certain it's because I spent the days outside, in the sunshine, being active.
Takeaway point: Make time to exercise - it really is worth it.

The ultra-luxurious Mantra Salt Beach. Picture: NuYu Source: Supplied

While a four week stay at NuYu is recommended, other programs are also available. Prices start from $1490 per week which includes all meals, accommodation at the 4.5 star Mantra resort, and over 50 hours per week of personal training.
This reporter was a guest of NuYu at Mantra Salt Beach.

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