Is this a godless nation?

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 31 Maret 2013 | 20.01

Colourful Queensland MP Bob Katter will be heading to Church this Easter. But it's not for every MP. Picture: Russell Shakespeare Source: News Limited

  • Nine out of 10 Americans believe in God
  • Gillard the fifth Aussie PM to admit to not believing
  • Is Australia a godless nation?

On Easter Sunday millions of people around the world are heading for church to celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

Across this nation, Australians will overwhelmingly be meeting up with family and mates and perhaps fretting about whether they stocked up on enough booze.

Australia's church attendance rates are historically among the lowest in the world, around nine per cent, rising slightly at Christmas and Easter.

Is Australia a godless nation, and does leadership have anything to do with it?

In the United States, where no man has ever been elected to the office of president unless he is a Christian and a regular churchgoer, more than nine out of 10 Americans believe in God.

Julia Gillard is the fifth Australian prime minister to publicly admit to not believing in a Christian God, after John Curtin, John Gorton, Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke (an agnostic). Ms Gillard told news.com.au that, over Easter, she will be spending some time with family in Adelaide.

However, a survey of federal MPs and senators ahead of the Easter weekend shows that Canberra is not as godless a place as it might seem.

More than 80 per cent of the federal politicians who responded said they believed in God and would be attending at least one church service this weekend.

Only four of the politicians – Greens senators Lee Rhiannon (NSW), Adam Bandt (Vic) and Larissa Waters (Qld), and Liberal senator Simon Birmingham – outed themselves as non-believers.

A Godless Easter... NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Tasmanian MPs Independent, Andrew Wilkie and Dick Adams said mind your own business.

Senator Sue Boyce (Qld) and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet refused to comment.

Maverick Queensland politician and enthusiastic Christian, Bob Katter, said Australians should not necessarily believe federal parliamentarians who said they were Christians.

"Australia is a very secular society, which isn't necessarily a bad thing," he said.

"Australians may not be very religious, but as they long as they 'love their neighbour' at Easter – wish their mates well – that is the main thing.

"There are plenty of politicians who piously pray in Canberra and go off to Christian breakfasts who are then asked to make a stand for their fellow man on an issue and they turn their backs on Australians who need help.

"I'd rather have an atheist who looks after his mates than someone paying lip service to Christianity."

Believe in God

Australian senate:
Senator Eric Abetz (Lib, Tas), Senator Chris Back (Lib, WA) Senator David Feeney (ALP, Vic) Senator Mark Furner (ALP, Qld), Senator Ian Macdonald (Lib, Qld), Senator Bridget McKenzie (Nat, Vic), Senator Dean Smith (Lib, WA), Senator Ursula Stephens (ALP, NSW), Senator Matt Thistlethwaite (ALP, NSW).

House of Representatives:
Karen Andrews (Lib, Qld), Bob Baldwin (Lib, NSW), Jamie Briggs (Lib,SA), Teresa Gambaro (Lib, Qld), Steve Georganas (ALP, SA), Natasha Griggs (CLP, NT), Bob Katter (KAP, Qld), Shayne Neumann (ALP, Qld), Graham Perrett (ALP, Qld), Tanya Plibersek, (ALP, NSW), Michelle Rowland (ALP, NSW), Kevin Rudd (ALP, Qld), Janelle Saffin (ALP, NSW), Bruce Scott (Nat, Qld), Alan Tudge (Lib, Vic), Bert van Manen (Lib, Qld), Maria Vamvakinou (ALP, Vic), Joe Hockey (Lib, NSW).

Don't believe in God:
Senator Lee Rhiannon (Greens, NSW), Senator Larissa Waters (Greens, Qld), Adam Bandt (Greens, Vic) and Senator Simon Birmingham.

Wouldn't say:
Treasurer Wayne Swan (ALP, Qld ): "Easter is a chance to take a bit of extra time with my family and friends, and head to church with my wife on Easter Sunday. This time of year's always busy for me as we pull the Budget together so it's safe to say I'll be putting in a bit of time working through the numbers over the weekend."

Bernie Ripoll (ALP, Qld): "Easter is a special time of year for many people of faith across the world and it is an especially well enjoyed break for Australia's longest weekend."

Senator Nick Xenophon (Ind, SA): "The Greek Orthodox Easter is on May 5, which is great, because the Easter eggs are on special. Please ask me again then!"

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet (ALP, NSW)

Mind your own business:
Andrew Wilkie: "My spiritual views are a private matter and unrelated to my role as a Member of Parliament."
Dick Adams: "I have my own personal beliefs and respect other's beliefs in whatever God they believe in."

Uncertain:
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens, Tas): "I am still a journeyman on this one, but definitely not in any traditional sense cooked up by human beings".


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

''We were so proud of our children''

Momentos left at the scene of Thursday's freak wall collapse which claimed the lives of Bridget and Alexander Jones. Main picture: Andrew Brownbill Source: Herald Sun

A WOMAN who held the hand of a teenager critically injured in a freak city wall collapse, begging her to "hang in there", is devastated the girl has died.

Bridget Jones, 18, became the third victim of last week's tragedy, losing her fight for life three days after her brother, Alexander, was killed.

Brielle Chapman confirmed that in his last moments, a heroic Alexander had tried to save his sister.

"It all happened so quickly," she said.

"Alex yelled out 'watch out' and shielded his sister - and then the whole wall just collapsed, and they were gone."

Ms Chapman, 27, fought back tears as she told of the next "horrific" minutes as she and her four sisters dug through the rubble in a desperate bid to find the pair.

"Nothing could prepare us for what we were going to find," she said.

Friends leave flowers for Bridget Jones after hearing of her death. Picture: Andrew Brownbill

"(Alex) had taken the full extent of the collapse. Bridget was underneath him.

"We knew Alex had already gone. I grabbed Bridget's hand and I was saying to her 'Hang in there. You'll be OK'.

"She wasn't conscious, but I know she knew I was there, as she clung to my hand."

Ms Chapman was on holiday from NSW with sisters Bianca, 24, Olivia, 21, Jessica, 20, and Shayla, 15.

"We were following not even a metre behind them. It could've been us," she said.

"It's a complete tragedy."

Eighteen-year-old Bridget Jones has died, becoming the third person killed by a Melbourne wall collapse.

Tributes flowed for the siblings - both arts students from Melbourne University - as it emerged that Bridget had succumbed to severe head injuries in Royal Melbourne Hospital at 6.30am.

Devastated parents Ian and Sue Jones, both 57, from Montmorency, released a statement about their "kind-hearted and respectful" children.

"We were so very proud of both of our children," the couple said.

"They were always kind-hearted and respectful. They had a wide network of friends and yet were both very close to each other."

Mr and Mrs Jones said Alexander had been planning to study law and aspired to go into politics.

Bridget had been considering a teaching career.

Friends of Alexander and Bridget Jones chalked tributes on the footpath and left flowers and momentos at a makeshift shrine on Swanston St. Picture: Andrew Brownbill

"They loved sport - particularly tennis, which they played since they were five - and all different genres of music," the grief-stricken parents said.

They said Alexander and Bridget were keen Blues supporters who had been on their way to meet their father for the first Carlton game of the season.

Friends gathered at the scene of the tragedy at the former CUB brewery in Swanston St for the second consecutive day, chalking tributes to their lost mates on the footpath.

Fresh flowers, pictures and other mementos, including a Carlton teddy bear, were left at a makeshift shrine.

Friend Maddie inscribed in a card: "Two amazing people have been taken from us far too soon. You were both going to change the world! You are both going to be missed more than ever."

Monika Vulevu Cushe posted on a Facebook tribute page: "R.I.P Bridget Jones - heaven has a new angel, together with your loving brother."

Bridget and Alexander with parents Ian and Susan.

Others described the pair as "inseparable".

Another woman killed in the wall collapse remains unidentified.

Police said they were awaiting formal identification of the victim, believed to be a Mount Waverley woman aged in her 30s.

Royal Melbourne Hospital intensive care specialist Dr Thomas Rechnitzer has expressed "heartfelt sympathy" to the Jones family.

"Despite every effort by multiple teams of dedicated doctors and nurses, who did all they could for Bridget over the past three days, Bridget has died as a result of severe head injuries," he said.

The University of Melbourne said it would offer to hold a memorial service for the family.

Friends of Alexander and Bridget Jones and the unnamed woman who died in the Carlton wall collapse pay their respects at the site. Picture: Chris Scott

"The University of Melbourne community is deeply saddened and distressed at the tragic events of last Thursday," it posted on Facebook.

"Our thoughts are with the Jones family and friends. We will continue to offer Alexander and Bridget's friends, and those affected by the accident, counselling and all other necessary support."

Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine also sent his condolences.

"This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the family," he said.

"This incident will be fully investigated by the coroner and other relevant authorities."

WorkSafe, the State Coroner, Victoria Police and Grocon, which owns the site, have all launched investigations.

Touchingly, a neighbour saw Bridget kiss her mother goodbye the day before the tragic event: "Sue and Ian were just totally devoted to their children. Not so long ago Ian was here speaking for an hour about how well they were both doing at uni - he was so proud of them."

Alexander, who was nicknamed Zander by his friends, had aspirations to become prime minister of Australia.

One friend called Alexander, known as "Prime Minister Giggles", "a prince among men".

Montmorency Secondary College principal Allan Robinson said of the former school captain: "He was an incredible young man, thoroughly respected and admired by every student and every member of staff at Montmorency Secondary College."

Many said they would miss the arts student's cheeky grin and "that laugh".

"I can't describe my pain in words," a friend, Riley, wrote in a tribute.

"You were our light and glue that held us together."

Gillian Goldsworthy wrote on a Facebook tribute page: "Absolutely devastated to hear that Bridget lost her fight for life. Words cannot express my sadness at Ian and Sue's loss. Our thoughts are with you."

Monika Vulevu Cushe posted: "R.I.P Bridget Jones - heaven has a new angel. Together with your loving brother."

Friend Eric Goon called Alex an "amazing man". "He and Bridget were really close. It was typical Zander to be walking her to class."

Former teacher George Ghobrial said the "gifted" student was destined for great things.

"I taught him science and he was just perfect. He did very well academically; but not only that, he was a wonderful person with lots of friends.

"I taught Bridget the year after and she was the same - a lovely person.

"It is so sad."

rebekah.cavanagh@news.com.au

- with James Dowling, Jon Kaila


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dugan's NRL career in tatters

Troubled NRL star Josh Dugan costs himself a contract with Brisbane following an abusive exchange with fans on social media.

Josh Dugan. Picture: Ray Strange Source: The Courier-Mail

The Josh Dugan Instagram photo that kicked things off. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Josh Dugan's apology on Twitter. Source: The Daily Telegraph

JOSH Dugan will be forced out of the NRL following his vile social media comments while the Broncos have to re-launch their star search.

The Broncos ended negotiations with Dugan yesterday following the fullback's abusive comments in which he told a Canberra Raiders fan to "end yourself''.

The Broncos wanted to sign the 22-year-old on a three-year contract worth around $400,000 a season, but made a quick decision to terminate interest after reading Dugan's expletive-laden, social media rant on Saturday night.

The Broncos still want a star playmaker to replace Parramatta-bound Corey Norman and could yet chase fellow wayward fullback Kurtley Beale.

It is understood the Broncos had been impressed with Dugan during negotiations last week and were convinced he wanted to join the club for the right reasons.

Robert Craddock: Broncos wise to ditch Dugan

However, his second Instagram outburst in three weeks caused chief executive Paul White, football manager Andrew Gee and coach Anthony Griffin to hold urgent talks yesterday afternoon.

Their decision was swift when there was mainstream media online coverage of what Dugan had written, with the club revealing talks with the 22-year-old were finished.

"In light of some fresh allegations of inappropriate behaviour, the Broncos have decided not to take the matter any further,'' Brisbane chief executive Paul White said.

The Broncos still have salary cap room to sign a star playmaker.

It is understood Dugan's other suitors, St George Illawarra, have ruled out buying him and Britain's Super League is his likely path.

Raiders fans took to Instagram to criticise Dugan, with one accusing him of a lack of responsibility.

"I'd hate to be ya nuffie,'' Dugan replied. "I could never play another game of NRL and I've still accomplished more than you.

"Haha righto: go get another Raiders Tattoo then end yourself.

"Your mrs is hot too by the way haha you obviously don't read the news more the fool you haha your a joke, (expletive).

"Should call you don bradman ya batting well above average with her. Send her my way ill show her the time of her life.''

Dugan, who broke up with his long-term partner earlier this month, apologised for the comments yesterday.

"Yes I stuffed up and yes I'm paying my price. I apologize (sic) to those who I had bad words with but I am a normal person like anyone else,'' he wrote.

Josh Dugan in action for the Raiders and (inset) a picture he posted on Instagram in the moments leading up to the club sacking him. Source: The Daily Telegraph

When the apology was not accepted by one of the original antagonists, Dugan offered to meet him in Canberra to exchange "words''.

Dugan's best chance of a new rugby league contract would seem to be the English Super League.

If so, he would follow in the footsteps of disgraced Raiders back Joel Monaghan, who had to flee Australia in 2010 after he was photographed in a simulated sex act with a dog.

Broncos players were sceptical of signing former NSW Origin fullback Dugan.

Brisbane winger Josh Hoffman took to Twitter yesterday morning to ``favourite'' comments from ex-Canterbury winger Steve Turner who said the Broncos leadership group should be consulted about signing Dugan.


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Fascination surrounds FBI UFO memo

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 30 Maret 2013 | 20.01

Alien souvenir shops abound in Roswell, New Mexico Picture: Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet Source: Supplied

A SINGLE-page FBI memo relaying a vague and unconfirmed report of flying saucers found in New Mexico in 1950 has become the most popular file in the bureau's electronic reading room.

The memo, dated March 22, 1950, was sent by FBI Washington, D.C. field office chief Guy Hottel to then-Director J. Edgar Hoover.

According to the FBI, the document was first made public in the late 1970s and more recently has been available in the "Vault," an electronic reading room launched by the agency in 2011, where it has become the most popular item, viewed nearly 1 million times. The Vault contains around 6,700 public documents.

Vaguely written, the memo describes a story told by an unnamed third party who claims an Air Force investigator reported that three flying saucers were recovered in New Mexico, though the memo doesn't say exactly where in the state.

The 1950 FBI memo dealing with claims of alien bodies.

The FBI indexed the report for its files but did not investigate further; the name of an "informant" reporting some of the information is blacked out in the m

The memo offers several bizarre details.

Newspaper headlines, UFO museum and research centre, Roswell, New Mexico. Picture: Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

Inside each saucer, "each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture," according to the report.

"Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots."

The saucers were found in New Mexico because the government had a high-powered radar set up in the area and it is believed the radar interfered with the controlling mechanism of the UFOs, according to the informant.

The FBI filed the typed page neatly away 63 years ago at its headquarters and "no further evaluation was attempted."

The memo does not appear to be related to the 1947 case in Roswell, New Mexico when Air Force officials said they recovered a UFO, only later to recant and say it was a research balloon.

UFO museum and research centre, Roswell, New Mexico Picture: Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

"For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director (J. Edgar) Hoover did order his agents - at the request of the Air Force - to verify any UFO sightings," the FBI said.

"That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo. Suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn't think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it."


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Wall tragedy parents thank strangers

The scene of Thursday's fatal wall collapse on Swanston St. Picture: Andrew Henshaw Source: Herald Sun

THE parents of siblings Alexander and Bridget Jones have said they are ''overwhelmed'' and ''distressed'' after their son died and their daughter battles for life in hospital following the wall collapse in Carlton on Thursday.

Ian and Sue Jones issued a statement this afternoon to thank everyone who tried to help in the tragedy.

''We are overwhelmed at the loss of our son Alexander and are very distressed to see our critically ill daughter in the hospital.

''Our hearts go out to the family of the other lady who was killed in this tragedy.

''We understand people who were passing by and the emergency services did everything that they could and we are so grateful these people tried their best for our children.

''We would also like to thank members of Victoria Police and staff at The Royal Melbourne Hospital who have been so caring and respectful.

''We would like to thank our family and friends and the friends of Alexander and Bridget, the Montmorency Secondary College community, and many others who have sent in their wishes and offered support.

Brother and sister Alex and Bridget Jones were devoted to each other.

''We would ask that people respect our privacy at this very sad and difficult time,'' the statement read.

Melbourne University architecture student Alex Jones, 19, was walking sister Bridget, 18, along Swanston St to her 3pm class when a powerful wind gust brought a brick wall crashing down on top of them.

Rescuers on the scene immediately afterwards said Mr Jones's body was found on top of his injured sister, partially shielding her from the crushing impact.

Dozens of friends today gathered at the collapsed wall at the Grocon site on Swanston St to lay flowers and console one another.

Bridget remained fighting for life at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after emergency surgery.

Her brother, and an unidentified woman in her 30s, died instantly.

Thu 28/03/2013: A man and a woman are dead after a brick wall collapsed at the Grocon site

Grieving friends paid tribute to Alex.

Jorja Shae Carter-Smith posted on Facebook: "Zander, a true hero. I know you would have done this to protect your much loved sister, being the gorgeous soul that you were."

Another friend, Bethan Wainman, spoke through tears as she lamented the loss of a ''Mr Nice Guy'', known as ''Zander'' to his mates.

"They were very close and loved each other very much,'' Ms Wainman told the Herald Sun.

"He was an amazing guy and no one had anything bad to say about him.

"He was very funny, jovial, and would always laugh and play around."

Horrified onlookers tried desperately to clear the disaster on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan Lian/Twitter

Zoe Liberona posted on Facebook: "Such a beautiful soul taken way too soon. Rest in peace, Alexander Jones."

Callum Fuller added: "Still in absolute shock. Rest in peace, Alexander Jones."

School friend Steven Kostadinovski said of the former school captain: "Much love to a great human being and individual.

"It was a pleasure to be a part of your life, big fella. Will be missed."

And Matt Perichon said: "It is just so cruel how life can be torn away from such a beautiful young man."

Mourners left flowers, a teddy bear and a Lindt chocolate carrot at the scene of the tragedy.

Alex Jones, 19, died in the Swanton St wall collapse, and his sister, Bridget, 18, is fighting for her life.

Emergency talks will be held next week to determine how and why Thursday's deadly wall collapse happened - and ensure a similar accident never recurs.

WorkSafe, the State Coroner, Victoria Police and Grocon have all launched independent investigations into the incident.

The remainder of the wall was demolished late on Thursday night.

Wire fencing was erected to protect the public from a rubble of bricks and debris still littering the site.

Red brick dust still covered the footpath.

Melbourne north Crime Investigation Unit's Detective Senior Constable Brooke Manley said police had notified known affected families.

Flowers were laid at the scene of the tragedy this morning. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

"It's horrendous - a tragic accident," she said.

"The families involved are devastated."

Police believe more people were injured in the collapse, but fled the scene fearing further harm.

Banyule Mayor Wayne Phillips said the council would offer any support possible to the Jones family, of Montmorency.

It was to be hoped the tragedy was a freak accident and not the result of red tape, he said.

"If it's a freak accident it's very sad," he said.

"But if it's something structural - or something caused by the fact there are heritage restrictions, and they have been demolishing parts of the site around it and the wall was not properly supported - that would be a tragedy," Cr Phillips said.

Next week's talks will involve the State Government, Victorian Building Commission and Melbourne City Council.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy told the Herald Sun he had ordered the Building Commission audit in a bid to prevent similar tragedies.

"We will get the Building Commission to look at all those CBD structures as soon as possible," the minister said.

Mr Guy said he would also seek advice on structural tests and see if they could be carried out more frequently.

"This one has passed the structural strength for some time and that's fine.

"But it's whether or not it remains at that level," he said. "There needs to be a continual audit and continual compliance for structures that are like that."

City of Melbourne spokesman Sam Bishop said: 'If concerns are raised about the integrity of any particular structure in the City of Melbourne, our municipal building surveyor's office will investigate."

The collapse of the wall at the CUB brewery site in Swanston, St, Carlton, is believed to have been caused by a freak gust of wind.

Grocon officials believe the wall was built in the 1970s, forming part of a boundary to the CUB site.

With Peter Rolfe

Additional reporting: Christopher Gillett, Jon Kaila, James Dowling and Jessica Evans


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

North Korea declares war - again

Russia and China have urged North Korea and the United States to refrain from flexing their military muscle.

NORTH Korea has announced it has entered a "state of war'' with South Korea and will deal with every inter-Korean issue accordingly.

"As of now, inter-Korea relations enter a state of war and all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol," the North said in a joint statement attributed to all government bodies and institutions.

"The long-standing situation of the Korean peninsula being neither at peace nor at war is finally over," said the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), adding that any provocation would trigger a "full-scale conflict and a nuclear war".

The two Koreas have always technically remained at war because the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

The email from North Korea threatening to bomb US bases. Source: Supplied

The White House said it took the new warning seriously, but said Pyongyang's threats were following a familiar pattern.

"We've seen reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea. We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

While seeking to show appropriate concern at Pyongyang's latest statement, Washington also sought to place the new threat into the context of a string of rhetoric from Kim Jong-Un's regime.

A close-up of the 'attack plan'. The lettering on the map reads as "Strategic Forces' US Mainland Striking Plan".

"We would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern," Hayden said, noting that the United States was fully capable of protecting itself and its Asian allies.

CHINA, RUSSIA JOIN THE SABRE-RATTLING.

The government in Seoul also played down the latest statement.

"This is not really a new threat - just part of a series of provocative threats," the Unification Ministry said.

The North had announced earlier this month that it was ripping up the armistice and other bilateral peace pacts signed with Seoul in protest against South Korea-US joint military exercises, which returned the two nations to a state of war.

Voiding the ceasefire theoretically opened the way to a resumption of hostilities, although observers noted it was far from the first time that North Korea had announced the demise of the armistice.

The armistice was approved by the UN General Assembly, and both the United Nations and South Korea have repudiated the North's unilateral withdrawal.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un discusses a strike plan with North Korean officers during an urgent operation meeting at the Supreme Command in an undisclosed location. Kim Jong-Un ordered preparations for strategic rocket strikes on the US mainland and military bases in the Pacific and South Korea. The lettering on the map, rear L, reads as "Strategic Forces' US Mainland Striking Plan". Picture: AFP

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr condemned the latest round of threats and said Australia was considering imposing more sanctions on the rogue state.

Senator Carr said in a statement that reports from the Australian Embassy in Seoul suggest there is no immediate evidence of increased military preparations by North Korea.

"Despite this, North Korea continues to pose a genuine threat to the safety of millions of people in our region," he said.

Senator Carr has welcomed calls by China and Russia for restraint by all parties, as well as commitments by the United States regarding the defence of South Korea and Japan.

Senator Carr has urged all nations to ensure existing measures are strictly enforced and said Australia is considering further "autonomous sanction" on North Korea.

Earlier, North Korean media issued two photos that appear to show plans for striking the US mainland as tens of thousands rally for it.

The pictures, released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), both showed leader Kim Jong-Un sitting at a desk in what looked like a dedicated military operations room.

US B-2 stealth bomber flies over a US air base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.

LOST IN TRANSLATION: IS GOOGLE CREATING KOREAN CONFUSION?

EXCELLENT PICTURES OF KIM JONG-UN.

The photos accompanied a KCNA report on an emergency meeting with top army leaders in which Kim ordered strategic rocket units to prepare for a possible strike against US mainland and Pacific bases.

One picture showed Kim amongst four uniformed officers, but the main interest lay in the background.

The left of the picture showed a map with the unambiguous title: "Strategic Forces' US Mainland Striking Plan."

Straight lines on the map -- not all of which was visible -- appeared to show the proposed flight paths of missiles striking targets in the continental United States.

KIM JONG UN: MORE BARK THAN BITE?

North Korean army officers punch the air as they chant slogans during a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea.

ROCKETS WILL SETTLE US ACCOUNTS

"I don't think this is a mistake," a South Korean defence ministry official told AFP.

"I believe it has been intentionally made public, probably in order to distort facts about the North's military power," the official said.

Most experts say North Korea, despite a successful long-range rocket launch in December, is years from developing a genuine inter-continental ballistic missile capable of striking the US mainland.

Its proven short- and medium-range missiles do not even have the range to strike US Pacific bases in Guam or Hawaii.

Further in the background of the same picture, a wall-length screen appeared to list aspects of North Korea's naval strength, with entries such as "Submarines: 40, Landing Craft: 13, Minesweepers: 6."

A second photo, showing Kim alone at his desk, also had a map in the background which appeared to show the tracked or projected movement of the US 7th Fleet in the Pacific Ocean.

South Korea's K-1 tanks take part in their military exercise in the border city between two Koreas, Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea.

The pictures come as tens of thousands of North Korean soldiers and civilians held a huge rally and march in Pyongyang on Friday, in a mass display of support for a possible military strike against the United States.

The rally in Pyongyang's giant Kim Il-Sung square was attended by soldiers, veterans, workers and students, all wearing military uniforms. The North's young leader, Kim Jong-Un, was not present.

State television said the rally took place to support a decision issued by the Korean People's Army (KPA) supreme command on Tuesday - and ratified by Kim on Friday - to put the country's strategic rocket units on a war footing.

"The statement was the ultimatum of the Korean People's Army against the US imperialists," an announcer said at the start of the rally.

Under giant portraits of Kim's father Kim Jong-Il and grandfather Kim Il-Sung, the massed ranks of civilians and soldiers pledged their allegiance to the current leadership.

"Let's become guns and bombs for our respected leader Kim Jong-Un!," they chanted, pumping their fists in unison.

The rally was addressed by military and party officials who urged North Korean troops to launch a "merciless strike" on the US mainland and US military bases in the Pacific and South Korea.

"We are all ready to wipe them out for our final victory," army officer Kwon Yong-Chol said.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said Washington would not be cowed by Pyongyang's bellicose threats and stood ready to respond to "any eventuality".

His comments came as nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers were deployed in ongoing US joint military drills with South Korea.

The B-2 flights, which followed training runs by B-52 bombers, were part of annual drills which North Korea each year denounces as rehearsals for war.

Meanwhile, China, North Korea's sole major ally and biggest trading partner, appealed for calm and said "joint efforts" were needed from all parties to prevent the situation deteriorating further.

Russia urged all sides involved in the standoff to refrain from muscle-flexing, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warning that the flare-up could spiral.

"We can simply see the situation getting out of control, it would spiral down into a vicious circle," he told reporters at a news conference.

"We believe it is necessary for all not to build up military muscle and not to use the current situation as an excuse to solve certain geopolitical tasks in the region through military means," he said, calling on all sides to create conditions for the resumption of talks.


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Siblings victims of wall collapse

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 29 Maret 2013 | 20.01

Thu 28/03/2013: A man and a woman are dead after a brick wall collapsed at the Grocon site

TWO teenage siblings with the world at their feet bore the brunt of yesterday's wall collapse tragedy.

Melbourne University student Alex Jones, 19, died and his teenage sister Bridget 18, is fighting for her life after being crushed by bricks and debris.

A third victim, a woman in her thirties, is yet to be formally identified according to police.

The Melbourne University student siblings were in the wrong place at the wrong time when a 15m section of brick wall tumbled from the former CUB brewery site in Swanston St on Thursday afternoon.

Both were, making their way in life after recently graduating from Montmorency Secondary College.

Alex was a school captain and had dreams of one day being Prime Minister.

Alex Jones, 19, died in the Swanton St wall collapse, and his sister, Bridget, 18, is fighting for her life.

Four separate probes are under way into the cause of the freak accident with police, Grocon, WorkSafe and the Coroner investigating.

The families of two people who died when a brick wall collapsed in Melbourne's CBD are devastated, police say.

Detective Senior Constable Brooke Manley said police had notified the families of a 19-year-old man from Montmorency and a woman aged in her 30s, who both died in the accident on Swanston St about 3pm yesterday.

The collapse was caused by a freak gust of wind.

"It's horrendous, a tragic accident," Sen-Constable Manley said.

Pedestrians rush to help people caught under the horror wall collapse. Picture: Jonathan Lian/Twitter

"The families involved are devastated."

A 19-year-old woman from Montmorency remains in a critical condition after surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital .

A man who sat with the woman as she waited for paramedics said she hasn't left his thoughts since the accident.

North Melbourne resident Very Impressive, who said he changed his name by deed poll in 1992, said he rushed to help clear bricks after he heard the "almighty crash" of the wall.


View Larger Map

Flowers were laid at the scene of the tragedy this morning. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

"She was the first thought in my head when I woke up this morning at 6.15," he said after returning to the site today.

"I took my jacket and placed it over the young lady to try and keep her warm.

"Then I knelt down in the bicycle path; I was taking her pulse on her neck and her wrist as there was a nurse above me wearing blue latex gloves. She kept asking whether or not the young lady was breathing.

"I was checking constantly to see if she was still breathing.

"She acknowledged the fact that I was still talking to her.

An aerial shot of the Melbourne CBD wall collapse. Picture: Fred Zhang

"We got more of the wall off them and we discovered there was a young man fallen against the young woman.

"Eventually the paramedics arrived, which seemed like forever, but I'm sure it wasn't."

The scene in Swanston St, Carlton, was described as being like a battleground as frantic passers-by scrambled to free victims.

Police are appealing for witnesses after it was revealed trams were passing at the moment the wall collapsed.

"Police believe there may have been trams passing at the time and passengers may have seen something that may be of help to the investigation," Victoria Police spokeswoman Belinda Batty said today.

Emergency crews after the collapse. Picture: Mati Safi/Twitter

"A number of people stopped to assist at the scene, however investigators are particularly keen to speak to anyone who left the area before speaking to police.

"Investigators also believe there may have been a pedestrian that could have been injured in the incident but left the scene before police arrived."

Earlier this morning people came to pay their respects to the victims.

One mourner brought a bunch of flowers, a small brown teddy bear with a pink bow and a small chocolate.

Another stopped in front of the bricks to say a prayer.

Building inspectors survey the damage at the site of the collapse. Picture: Mark Dadswell

Rosanna Romeo, 57, came to pay her respects.

"It's very sad news ... as a mother I feel for the families," she said.

"It's devastating, it could happen to anyone."

Premier Denis Napthine last night offered sympathy to the victims' families.

Police said they had tragically been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Investigators at the scene of the wall collapse. Picture: Alex Coppel

The historic wall was part of the former CUB brewery, opened in 1858, which building giant Grocon is developing into apartments.

The wall was located between Queensberry and Victoria streets.

Debris was strewn across the footpath, opposite a tram stop frequently used by students from a nearby RMIT University building.

Jonathan Lian, a university student, said: "There was a huge thunderclap. "It was really, really loud, and people were rushing about in all different directions."

He said there were about three or four people near the wall when it fell.

"One guy barely got away," he said.

The brick wall had been reinforced by a wooden hoarding.

But the wall and the timber collapsed under strong winds that, according to the weather bureau's Melbourne station, peaked at 57km/h at 3pm.

CFMEU state secretary John Setka said he was among union members who helped lift a wooden hoarding off the victims.

A man and a woman were near each other, and another woman was farther away, he said.

He said the CFMEU first-aid staff helped treat the survivor until ambulance officers and firefighters arrived.

Rescue workers and passersby frantically try to remove the rubble. Picture: Nick Fellingham

The other man and woman appeared to have died instantly, he said.

"Maybe it was just a freak gust of wind and three poor kids happened to be there," Mr Setka said.

Jim Olssen of Carlton, 83, was on a tram going down Swanston St as the wall fell.

"The gusts of wind were very strong," he said.

Swanston St resident and RMIT student Lip Hyean, 23, said: "Many students walk past this wall every day. It's a popular route."

The owner of El Pronto Cafe, Natasha Weiss, 21, was making coffee when the wall collapsed.

"I saw the wall crumble like breadcrumbs from the top down, and fall on a group of people. You could see the panic on everyone's faces by the way they were throwing bricks away," she said.

Police acting inspector Ian Lindsay said no work was going on at the building site when the wall fell.

"It's a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

"We're unable to identify the pedestrians at the moment, and we believe strong wind gusts made the wall collapse."

Dr Napthine said: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the deceased. Our best wishes go to the woman fighting for her life. This is a terrible tragedy."

The brewery has been vacant for more than two decades.

Grocon is creating a $1 billion development of 1500 apartments in three high-rise towers and a major shopping precinct.

But two historic walls at the brewery, which closed in 1987, were protected under heritage rules and so were being incorporated into the development.

Grocon deputy chief Carolyn Viney said it would run its own investigation.

"We extend our sympathies to the families of those killed and to the person injured, and we also thank those who worked at the scene to assist in trying to rescue them," she said.

"This is a terrible tragedy for all concerned."

RMIT said in a tweet: "Our hearts go out to the victims of the wall collapse in Swanston St at the Grocon site."

The university said counselling would be offered to students if they required help.

WorkSafe was investigating the accident.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au

stephen.drill@news.com.au 

- with Stephen Drill, Jon Kaila, James Dowling, Jessica Evans and Brendan Casey


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Siblings victims of wall collapse

Thu 28/03/2013: A man and a woman are dead after a brick wall collapsed at the Grocon site

TWO teenage siblings with the world at their feet bore the brunt of yesterday's wall collapse tragedy.

Melbourne University student Alex Jones, 19, died and his teenage sister Bridget 18, is fighting for her life after being crushed by bricks and debris.

A third victim, a woman in her thirties, is yet to be formally identified according to police.

The Melbourne University student siblings were in the wrong place at the wrong time when a 15m section of brick wall tumbled from the former CUB brewery site in Swanston St on Thursday afternoon.

Both were, making their way in life after recently graduating from Montmorency Secondary College.

Alex was a school captain and had dreams of one day being Prime Minister.

Alex Jones, 19, died in the Swanton St wall collapse, and his sister, Bridget, 18, is fighting for her life.

Four separate probes are under way into the cause of the freak accident with police, Grocon, WorkSafe and the Coroner investigating.

The families of two people who died when a brick wall collapsed in Melbourne's CBD are devastated, police say.

Detective Senior Constable Brooke Manley said police had notified the families of a 19-year-old man from Montmorency and a woman aged in her 30s, who both died in the accident on Swanston St about 3pm yesterday.

The collapse was caused by a freak gust of wind.

"It's horrendous, a tragic accident," Sen-Constable Manley said.

Pedestrians rush to help people caught under the horror wall collapse. Picture: Jonathan Lian/Twitter

"The families involved are devastated."

A 19-year-old woman from Montmorency remains in a critical condition after surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital .

A man who sat with the woman as she waited for paramedics said she hasn't left his thoughts since the accident.

North Melbourne resident Very Impressive, who said he changed his name by deed poll in 1992, said he rushed to help clear bricks after he heard the "almighty crash" of the wall.


View Larger Map

Flowers were laid at the scene of the tragedy this morning. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

"She was the first thought in my head when I woke up this morning at 6.15," he said after returning to the site today.

"I took my jacket and placed it over the young lady to try and keep her warm.

"Then I knelt down in the bicycle path; I was taking her pulse on her neck and her wrist as there was a nurse above me wearing blue latex gloves. She kept asking whether or not the young lady was breathing.

"I was checking constantly to see if she was still breathing.

"She acknowledged the fact that I was still talking to her.

An aerial shot of the Melbourne CBD wall collapse. Picture: Fred Zhang

"We got more of the wall off them and we discovered there was a young man fallen against the young woman.

"Eventually the paramedics arrived, which seemed like forever, but I'm sure it wasn't."

The scene in Swanston St, Carlton, was described as being like a battleground as frantic passers-by scrambled to free victims.

Police are appealing for witnesses after it was revealed trams were passing at the moment the wall collapsed.

"Police believe there may have been trams passing at the time and passengers may have seen something that may be of help to the investigation," Victoria Police spokeswoman Belinda Batty said today.

Emergency crews after the collapse. Picture: Mati Safi/Twitter

"A number of people stopped to assist at the scene, however investigators are particularly keen to speak to anyone who left the area before speaking to police.

"Investigators also believe there may have been a pedestrian that could have been injured in the incident but left the scene before police arrived."

Earlier this morning people came to pay their respects to the victims.

One mourner brought a bunch of flowers, a small brown teddy bear with a pink bow and a small chocolate.

Another stopped in front of the bricks to say a prayer.

Building inspectors survey the damage at the site of the collapse. Picture: Mark Dadswell

Rosanna Romeo, 57, came to pay her respects.

"It's very sad news ... as a mother I feel for the families," she said.

"It's devastating, it could happen to anyone."

Premier Denis Napthine last night offered sympathy to the victims' families.

Police said they had tragically been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Investigators at the scene of the wall collapse. Picture: Alex Coppel

The historic wall was part of the former CUB brewery, opened in 1858, which building giant Grocon is developing into apartments.

The wall was located between Queensberry and Victoria streets.

Debris was strewn across the footpath, opposite a tram stop frequently used by students from a nearby RMIT University building.

Jonathan Lian, a university student, said: "There was a huge thunderclap. "It was really, really loud, and people were rushing about in all different directions."

He said there were about three or four people near the wall when it fell.

"One guy barely got away," he said.

The brick wall had been reinforced by a wooden hoarding.

But the wall and the timber collapsed under strong winds that, according to the weather bureau's Melbourne station, peaked at 57km/h at 3pm.

CFMEU state secretary John Setka said he was among union members who helped lift a wooden hoarding off the victims.

A man and a woman were near each other, and another woman was farther away, he said.

He said the CFMEU first-aid staff helped treat the survivor until ambulance officers and firefighters arrived.

Rescue workers and passersby frantically try to remove the rubble. Picture: Nick Fellingham

The other man and woman appeared to have died instantly, he said.

"Maybe it was just a freak gust of wind and three poor kids happened to be there," Mr Setka said.

Jim Olssen of Carlton, 83, was on a tram going down Swanston St as the wall fell.

"The gusts of wind were very strong," he said.

Swanston St resident and RMIT student Lip Hyean, 23, said: "Many students walk past this wall every day. It's a popular route."

The owner of El Pronto Cafe, Natasha Weiss, 21, was making coffee when the wall collapsed.

"I saw the wall crumble like breadcrumbs from the top down, and fall on a group of people. You could see the panic on everyone's faces by the way they were throwing bricks away," she said.

Police acting inspector Ian Lindsay said no work was going on at the building site when the wall fell.

"It's a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

"We're unable to identify the pedestrians at the moment, and we believe strong wind gusts made the wall collapse."

Dr Napthine said: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the deceased. Our best wishes go to the woman fighting for her life. This is a terrible tragedy."

The brewery has been vacant for more than two decades.

Grocon is creating a $1 billion development of 1500 apartments in three high-rise towers and a major shopping precinct.

But two historic walls at the brewery, which closed in 1987, were protected under heritage rules and so were being incorporated into the development.

Grocon deputy chief Carolyn Viney said it would run its own investigation.

"We extend our sympathies to the families of those killed and to the person injured, and we also thank those who worked at the scene to assist in trying to rescue them," she said.

"This is a terrible tragedy for all concerned."

RMIT said in a tweet: "Our hearts go out to the victims of the wall collapse in Swanston St at the Grocon site."

The university said counselling would be offered to students if they required help.

WorkSafe was investigating the accident.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppers.com.au

stephen.drill@news.com.au 

- with Stephen Drill, Jon Kaila, James Dowling, Jessica Evans and Brendan Casey


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Prominent Australian performer arrested

BBC presenter Sir Jimmy Savile. Source: AP

A PROMINENT Australian entertainer has been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives in London on suspicion of sexual offences.

The high-profile 82-year-old Australian man from Berkshire in south east England was interviewed for several hours by police before being released on bail about 11.30pm local time.

It is understood his lawyer was present.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the 11th suspect but the biggest star so far arrested by officers from Operation Yewtree set up last year to probe hundreds of claims of sexual assault and paedophilia against British entertainer Jimmy Savile.

Police yesterday confirmed the arrest was not directly linked to Savile, who died aged 84 in 2011, but one of two other Yewtree offshoots related to alleged sexual misconduct by other high profile stars.


A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the man had been bailed, pending further inquiries, to appear before police again in May.

"In a general sense I can say we are only likely to confirm something like that after it takes place," he said, adding security of witnesses was paramount.

Legal sources have said the allegations included contemporary claims related to the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the claims being probed by Yewtree relate to the 1960s and 1970s.

The entertainer was first interviewed "under caution" by British police on November 29 following a search of his home, about an hour west of London. It is understood they have since been trying to identify potential victims.

The man's London-based agent could not be contacted yesterday.

His manager and brother also refused to talk about the arrest.

Asked if he had anything to say on his younger brother's behalf, the man said: "No I haven't, thank you.''

Late last year a friend of the Australian married father said his mate was "almost suicidal" over his being interviewed by police for alleged sexual offences which he described as being a slur and based only on guilt by association since he knew Savile, who has since been branded one of Britain's worst serial child sexual abusers with up to 450 victims as young as nine years old over a five decade period.

Others arrested by Yewtreee include former pop star Gary Glitter, high profile comedians Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, PR guru to the stars Max Clifford, former It's a Knock Out Star Stuart Hall and DJ Dave Lee Travis.

They have all denied any wrongdoing, except for Glitter, who has not made a statement.

Police this week told BBC producer Wilfrid De'ath he was no longer facing charges after a woman who initially claimed he groped her withdrew her complaint. He is the only suspect where the Crown Prosecution Service has made a decision on.

Yesterday the media in the UK which has followed the case of the Australian closely were also not naming the star but were camped outside his riverfront home seeking a comment.


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Mum buys toddler $6.5m apartment

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 28 Maret 2013 | 20.01

An artist's impression of how the completed One57 apartments will look. Picture: Supplied.

  • Luxury building One57 will be complete next year
  • Buyers include Forbes billionaires
  • Mum buys daughter, aged two, an apartment

MOST toddlers are given soft toys or parties to celebrate their milestones. Others get multi-million-dollar apartments in Manhattan.

A woman in China has done just that, buying a $6.5 million apartment at the Uber-luxury building One57 in Manhattan for her daughter, the International Business Times reports.

The woman's daughter will be in wealthy company as the building, which will be finished next year, will also be the future home to several international billionaires.

According to the New York Times, the billionaire buyers include at least two others from China, a Canadian, a Nigerian and a Briton, as well as several wealthy Americans.

The building's developers said that a handful of buyers were "significant Forbes billionaires".

Kevin Brown, senior vice president for Sotheby's International Realty, told China's state-run news channel CCTV News this week that he was touring Manhattan with the mother when he asked her why she wanted to buy.

"She said that it had to do with her daughter, who was either going to go to Columbia or NYU, maybe Harvard, and so she needed to be in the centre of the city, and that was the reason why she was picking this one particular apartment," he said.

"I said, 'How old is your daughter?' And she said, 'Well, she's two.' And I was just shocked."

The building previously made headlines in New York during Superstorm Sandy when a crane dangled from the roof due to strong winds.

Formerly known as Carnegie 57, One57 is a 90-storey skyscraper at 157 West 57th Street.
 

Mamdouh Habib sues 'racist' police

Mamdouh Habib

FORMER Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mamdouh Habib has won the right to make a claim of racial discrimination against the NSW police.

Freak city tragedy kills two teens

Wall

A YOUNG woman is fighting for her life and two teenagers are dead after a heritage-listed brick wall collapsed on a busy city street.

Investment Finder Narrow Widget

It's the good life in Ku-ring-gai

Mavin

ACCORDING to new Census data that will provide bragging rights for some suburbs,  Ku-ring-gai has been dubbed the most advantaged.

Mum buys toddler $6.5m apartment

New York

MOST children are given toys or parties to celebrate their milestones. Others get multi-million-dollar apartments.

Hope for marina sale

hopeharbour

A MARINA bought by bankrupt businessman Craig Gore in 2008 for $38 million, has been placed on the market by receivers.

Foreign buyers move in

Brisbane River at Kangaroo Point

FOREIGN investment in Queensland's residential property market has risen for the first time in four years.

Would you spend $13k on Easter break?

Easter holidays

HOLIDAYMAKERS are forking out more than $13,000 a week for luxury accommodation this Easter weekend.


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

'Huge thunderclap' as wall collapsed

Two people have been killed and a third seriously injured when a wall collapsed on a busy Melbourne street.

A YOUNG woman is fighting for her life in hospital and two teenagers are dead after a heritage-listed brick wall collapsed on a busy city street.

The 19-year-old woman was in a critical condition after surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

And the State Coroner is investigating the deaths of the male and female teens.

Winds of up to 115km/h swept through Melbourne, one freak gust just before 3pm causing the 3m wall to tumble onto the victims.

The scene in Swanston St, Carlton, was described as being like a battleground as frantic passers-by scrambled to free victims.

Premier Denis Napthine last night offered sympathy to the teenagers' families.

Police said they had tragically been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The historic wall was part of the former CUB brewery, opened in 1858, which building giant Grocon is developing into apartments.

Emergency crews after the collapse. Picture: Mati Safi/Twitter

The wall was in Swanston St, between Queensberry and Victoria streets.

Debris was strewn across the footpath, opposite a tram stop frequently used by students from a nearby RMIT University building.

Jonathan Lian, a university student, said: "There was a huge thunderclap. "It was really, really loud, and people were rushing about in all different directions," Mr Lian said.

He said there were about three or four people near the wall when it fell. "One guy barely got away."

The brick wall had been reinforced by a wooden hoarding.

Pesestrians rush to help people caught under the horror wall collapse. Picture: Jonathan Lian/Twitter

But the wall and the timber collapsed under strong winds that, according to the weather bureau's Melbourne weather station, peaked at 57km/h at 3pm.

CFMEU state secretary John Setka said he was among union members who helped lift a wooden hoarding off the victims.

A man and a woman were near each other, and another woman was farther away, he said.

He said the CFMEU first-aid staff helped treat the survivor until ambulance officers and firefighters arrived.

The other man and woman appeared to have died instantly, he said.

"Maybe it was just a freak gust of wind and three poor kids happened to be there," Mr Setka said.

Jim Olssen of Carlton, 83, was on a tram going down Swanston St as the wall fell. "The gusts of wind were very strong," he said.

Swanston St resident and RMIT student Lip Hyean, 23, said: "Many students walk past this wall every day. It's a popular route."

The owner of El Pronto Cafe, Natasha Weiss, 21, was making coffee when the wall collapsed.

"I saw the wall crumble like breadcrumbs from the top down, and fall on a group of people. You could see the panic on everyone's faces by the way they were throwing bricks away," she said.

An aerial shot of the Melbourne CBD wall collapse. Picture: Fred Zhang

Police acting inspector Ian Lindsay said no work was going on at the building site when the wall fell.

"It's a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

"We're unable to identify the pedestrians at the moment, and we believe strong wind gusts made the wall collapse."

Dr Napthine said: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the deceased. Our best wishes go to the woman fighting for her life. This is a terrible tragedy."

The brewery has been vacant for more than two decades.

Building inspectors survey the damage at the site of the collapse. Picture: Mark Dadswell

Grocon is creating a $1 billion development of 1500 apartments in three high-rise towers and a major shopping precinct.

But two historic walls at the brewery, which closed in 1987, were protected under heritage rules and so were being incorporated into the development.

Grocon deputy chief Carolyn Viney said it would run its own investigation.

"We extend our sympathies to the families of those killed and to the person injured, and we also thank those who worked at the scene to assist in trying to rescue them," she said.

"This is a terrible tragedy for all concerned."

RMIT said in a tweet: "Our hearts go out to the victims of the wall collapse in Swanston St at the Grocon site."

The university said counselling would be offered to students if they required help.

WorkSafe was investigating the accident.

stephen.drill@news.com.au 


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Freak city tragedy kills two teens

Two people have been killed and a third seriously injured when a wall collapsed on a busy Melbourne street.

A YOUNG woman is fighting for her life in hospital and two teenagers are dead after a heritage-listed brick wall collapsed on a busy city street.

The 19-year-old woman was in a critical condition after surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

And the State Coroner is investigating the deaths of the male and female teens.

Winds of up to 115km/h swept through Melbourne, one freak gust just before 3pm causing the 3m wall to tumble onto the victims.

The scene in Swanston St, Carlton, was described as being like a battleground as frantic passers-by scrambled to free victims.

Premier Denis Napthine last night offered sympathy to the teenagers' families.

Police said they had tragically been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The historic wall was part of the former CUB brewery, opened in 1858, which building giant Grocon is developing into apartments.

Emergency crews after the collapse. Picture: Mati Safi/Twitter

The wall was in Swanston St, between Queensberry and Victoria streets.

Debris was strewn across the footpath, opposite a tram stop frequently used by students from a nearby RMIT University building.

Jonathan Lian, a university student, said: "There was a huge thunderclap. "It was really, really loud, and people were rushing about in all different directions," Mr Lian said.

He said there were about three or four people near the wall when it fell. "One guy barely got away."

The brick wall had been reinforced by a wooden hoarding.

Pesestrians rush to help people caught under the horror wall collapse. Picture: Jonathan Lian/Twitter

But the wall and the timber collapsed under strong winds that, according to the weather bureau's Melbourne weather station, peaked at 57km/h at 3pm.

CFMEU state secretary John Setka said he was among union members who helped lift a wooden hoarding off the victims.

A man and a woman were near each other, and another woman was farther away, he said.

He said the CFMEU first-aid staff helped treat the survivor until ambulance officers and firefighters arrived.

The other man and woman appeared to have died instantly, he said.

"Maybe it was just a freak gust of wind and three poor kids happened to be there," Mr Setka said.

Jim Olssen of Carlton, 83, was on a tram going down Swanston St as the wall fell. "The gusts of wind were very strong," he said.

Swanston St resident and RMIT student Lip Hyean, 23, said: "Many students walk past this wall every day. It's a popular route."

The owner of El Pronto Cafe, Natasha Weiss, 21, was making coffee when the wall collapsed.

"I saw the wall crumble like breadcrumbs from the top down, and fall on a group of people. You could see the panic on everyone's faces by the way they were throwing bricks away," she said.

An aerial shot of the Melbourne CBD wall collapse. Picture: Fred Zhang

Police acting inspector Ian Lindsay said no work was going on at the building site when the wall fell.

"It's a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

"We're unable to identify the pedestrians at the moment, and we believe strong wind gusts made the wall collapse."

Dr Napthine said: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the deceased. Our best wishes go to the woman fighting for her life. This is a terrible tragedy."

The brewery has been vacant for more than two decades.

Building inspectors survey the damage at the site of the collapse. Picture: Mark Dadswell

Grocon is creating a $1 billion development of 1500 apartments in three high-rise towers and a major shopping precinct.

But two historic walls at the brewery, which closed in 1987, were protected under heritage rules and so were being incorporated into the development.

Grocon deputy chief Carolyn Viney said it would run its own investigation.

"We extend our sympathies to the families of those killed and to the person injured, and we also thank those who worked at the scene to assist in trying to rescue them," she said.

"This is a terrible tragedy for all concerned."

RMIT said in a tweet: "Our hearts go out to the victims of the wall collapse in Swanston St at the Grocon site."

The university said counselling would be offered to students if they required help.

WorkSafe was investigating the accident.

stephen.drill@news.com.au 


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Freed hostage bans wife from him

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 27 Maret 2013 | 20.01

Australian former soldier Warren Rodwell thanks Philippine officials, friends and family for their help in his release after being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants for 15 months. Jessica Gray reports.

Miraflor Gutang wife of Warren Rodwell. Photo: Supplied Source: Supplied

Australian hostage Warren Rodwell recovers after being released by militants following 15 months in captivity. Picture: AP Source: AP

THE Filipino wife of freed hostage Warren Rodwell - who claimed she had to sell her house to help pay his $94,000 ransom - has been blocked from seeing her estranged husband.

It has emerged that Miraflor Gutang, who was married to Mr Rodwell soon before he went missing, has fled her Mindanao home to seek refuge with family after Mr Rodwell reportedly denied a request to see her.

Ms Gutang, 29, could not be contacted yesterday for comment and sources reported that she was hiding out in Naga City.

The pair is believed to have fallen out before Mr Rodwell was kidnapped and the couple has not spoken to each other since Rodwell was released on Saturday.

Warren Rodwell is released in Pagadian City in the southern Philippines, 15 months after he was taken captive by rebels from the Abu Sayyaf group.

News Limited can also reveal that Filipino investigators and senior officials are looking into the possibility that the high-profile al-Qaida linked group Abu Sayyaf was not involved in Mr Rodwell's 15-month kidnapping ordeal.

Mr Rodwell, who is still recovering from emaciation, has already undergone questioning by detectives from the anti-kidnapping unit who were keen to talk with him as soon as possible about any clues he could provide.

ADFAT spokesman last night said there had been "various claims" about who was responsible for the kidnapping, which had been picked up by media outlets.

Kidnapped man Warren Rodwell has offered his heartfelt thanks to Australian and Filipino authorities.

"The kidnappers made every effort to hide their real identities ... we cannot be certain of the accuracies of these public claims (by the group responsible)," he said.

It is believed that other splinter Islamic groups or opportunistic locals could have targetted Mr Rodwell and this is being investigated by senior Filipino police led by Senior Superintendent Renato Gumban.

DFAT said it would continue to support Mr Rodwell, 54, as he recovers his strength.

They will also provide ongoing assistance for his sister Denise and brother Wayne - who helped co-ordinate and put up the ransom money.

The family of freed Australian hostage Warren Rodwell have thanked Philippine and Australian authorities.


The former Australian soldier could remain in Manila for up to two weeks depending on his health and the Philippines' famous Easter week celebrations - where major government departments and stores across the country shutdown - are also likely to cause some delay.

Sources said Mr Rodwell - who is staying at an undisclosed location - was keen to get back to Australia as soon as possible after his ordeal.

His captors had initially threatened to kill him unless a $US2 million ($1.93) ransom was paid.

Through a strategy of using Mr Rodwell's wife Miraflor as a front for negotiations, the ransom was eventually settled for $94,000 in a deal brokered by Al-Rasheed Sakalahul, the vice-governor of the southern Philippine province of Basilan.

On the weekend, Ms Gutang claimed she had to sell her home, a water filling station and a vehicle to help fund Mr Rodwell's ransom.

Australian hostage Warren Rodwell (C) who was recently released talks arrives at the Manila International Airport in Manila on March 25, 2013. Australian Warren Rodwell said on March 25 he was overwhelmed, happy and thankful at finally being free after 15 months as a hostage of Islamic militants in the southern Philippines. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS Source: AFP


It is believed that Mr Rodwell's Australian based family provided the bulk of the funds.

Mr Rodwell was released by his captorsnear Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur on the weekend.

He was put in a boat in the early hours of the morning and had to paddle his own way to shore.


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aussies landing in trouble in Dubai

Joining Qantas or Emirates on a flight through Dubai? Here's some of what you need to know to keep yourself out of trouble.

Unsuspecting Australians may find themselves in trouble in Dubai. Picture: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili Source: National Features

  • Number of Aussies travelling through Dubai set to soar
  • Fears Aussies could end up landing in trouble
  • Leering at women, drinking alcohol in public against the law

DON'T step off the plane and leer at the local women. Definitely don't crack a stubbie as you walk down the street. And whatever you do, don't get too cosy at night on the beach.

Qantas is about to route all of its Europe-bound flights through Dubai, and the tough laws of the United Arab Emirates could catch out many Australian travellers.

Two million Aussies already fly through Dubai each year, but that number is set to soar by the end of the month when Qantas abandons its longstanding Singapore hub because of a new partnership between Qantas and Emirates.

Non-profit group Detained in Dubai, which helps people in legal trouble in the UAE, is concerned the number of Australians inadvertently finding themselves behind bars could skyrocket.

Radha Stirling, founder of the organisation, said many Australians aren't aware of the vastly different laws in the UAE.

Drinking or being drunk in public is a no-no. So is swearing, carrying certain medicines, wearing skimpy clothes, sharing a hotel room with somebody you're not married to, holding hands and even eating in public during Ramadan.

By the way, Ramadan is from July 9 to August 7 this year...

Detained in Dubai raised several examples of Australians who had been jailed in controversial circumstances, including Alicia Gall who was jailed for eight months after complaining of having her drink spiked and being raped by four co-workers at a Dubai hotel in June.

Another example was 32-year-old Australian Sun McKay, who was arrested for swearing in Dubai Airport after being yelled at by a man who later revealed himself as an undercover officer.

"Sun was jailed for months. What guarantees are there that more Australians won't be caught in a similar situation inside the airport?" Ms Stirling said.

Meanwhile, a British couple was jailed for three months in 2008 after having drunken sex on a public beach.

With so many potential pitfalls for the unsuspecting, Detained in Dubai is calling for Qantas to raise awareness.

"We have serious concerns about the safety of Australian travellers," Ms Stirling said. "There are numerous dangers to westerners staying in or transiting through Dubai, and Qantas has yet to communicate how it intends to mitigate these.

"It's time Qantas was pressed to respond to these concerns to guarantee the safety of Australian citizens travelling on our national carrier."

Qantas is entering a partnership with Emirates that will see all flights to Europe go via Dubai. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

But is it really the responsibility of airlines to educate passengers on the laws of foreign countries?

Qantas spokesman Andrew McGinnes said it's up to the individual to research the laws of their destination.

"Different rules apply in many of the countries we fly to, which is the very nature of international travel," Mr McGinnes said.

"We encourage all our passengers – whether they are travelling to Asia or the United States or the UAE – to check the Australian Government's Smart Traveller website so that are fully informed of local laws and customs before they board our aircraft."

However, Ms Stirling said it's just not enough to ensure Australian travellers' safety.

"Information sheets should be handed out at the time of making a reservation and in flight. British nationals are more likely to be arrested in the UAE than in other country and I expect this to be the case for Australians with the new flight plan," she said.

Virgin Australia already has another UAE destination - Abu Dhabi - as a stopover destination via its partnership with Etihad. But the Qantas move will see a lot more Australians pass through the UAE.

Du not du the following in Dubai:

  • Kissing: Public displays of affection, such as holding hands and kissing frequently lead to arrest and imprisonment.
  • Sex: Sex outside marriage is illegal and can lead to severe criminal sanctions.
  • Homosexuality: Homosexual acts are illegal and subject to severe punishment.
  • Swearing: Swearing and making rude gestures (such as the middle finger) are criminal acts in the UAE.
  • Clothing: Woman's clothing may be considered indecent if it is tight, transparent, above the knee or shows her stomach, shoulders or back.
  • Conversation: It is illegal to "harass" women – this includes unwanted conversation and prolonged stares.
  • Photos: Taking photographs of people, particularly women, without permission is illegal and can lead to arrest or fines.
  • Ramadan: During Ramadan, it is illegal for non-Muslims to eat, drink or smoke in public in front of Muslims between sunrise and sunset.
  • Medicines: Many medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are illegal in the Dubai.
  • Drugs: The UAE laws on drugs are extremely strict, and include the death penalty or life in jail.
     

20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Sarah a victim of a career killer

Steven James Hunter is arrested over Sarah Cafferkey's murder. Picture: Jake Nowakowski Source: Herald Sun

CONVICTED killer Steven James Hunter's parole had expired just nine days before he murdered beautiful young Sarah Cafferkey.

In the days after her stabbing death last November, Hunter, 47 - who first murdered a co-worker in 1986 - attracted little attention from police as he went about trying to conceal his crime, despite a tipoff about him.

Hunter pleaded guilty to murdering the Melbourne woman - his second frenzied stabbing slaying in a criminal career spanning more than two decades.

Sarah's mother, Noelle Dickson, shook as she came face to face with the man who killed her only child.

Sarah's final words to her mum

The girl you'll never get to know

Read Steven Hunter's disturbing rap sheet

And she is angry the justice system allowed a convicted killer, on parole over other offences, to be placed in the small Bacchus Marsh community to kill again.

"I'm exhausted and feel sick to my stomach sitting so close to this man in the courtroom who brutally took my only child's life," Ms Dickson said.

Victorians were shocked by the brutal murder of popular Bacchus Marsh woman Sarah Cafferkey. Picture: Jon Hargest

"As I look at him I don't understand, considering his past criminal history, how on Earth he was ever released or why.

"I want to know why he was released. That's all I kept thinking. How could this happen?"

Although Hunter pleaded guilty and is set to spend the rest of his life in prison, the early plea has not dulled the pain.

Ms Cafferkey's last hours were spent with her disgruntled ex-boyfriend, Chris Stewart, before she bought alcohol to visit Hunter.

The student and budding justice worker had no idea of Hunter's criminal history. He served a 13-year term for stabbing 18-year-old Moonee Ponds woman Jacqueline Mathews in 1986.

Video shows Ms Cafferkey leaving the Foodworks where she bought alcohol and then driving her silver Astra to Hunter's unit in Simpson St, where it is believed he had been placed by Loddon Mallee Housing Services.

Hunter, a suspected ice dealer, argued with Ms Cafferkey before hitting her with a blunt instrument, possibly a dumbell, and then repeatedly stabbing her. The remorseless killer than tried to hide his crime by;

SENDING text messages from Ms Cafferkey's mobile phone.

Sarah Cafferkey's mum Noelle Dickson (centre), and partner Laurie Seery. Picture: Steve Tanner

MOVING her body in his car to a Point Cook property and entombing her in a wheelie bin filled with concrete and lime.

BUYING 20 litres of hydrochloric acid,

TELLING local police Ms Cafferkey had been at his house, leaving her with the keys.

Ms Cafferkey was officially reported missing on November 12 by her mother. A text message was sent to Hunter at 9.45pm to contact Bacchus Marsh police station.

In a call from Bacchus Marsh police he divulged Ms Cafferkey had been with him on November 10 at his unit, they consumed alcohol, but he left about 5pm and left her the keys.

Hunter explained he had returned the next day and she was gone.

He gave police his new address in Point Cook, where he had just hid the body.

According to a police summary, police attended Hunter's Bacchus Marsh unit on November 14 and shone torches in the windows.

Steven James Hunter is taken into custody by police over the murder of Sarah Cafferkey. Picture: Herald Sun

On November 15, Wyndham detectives attended the Point Cook property, but found no one home.

On November 17, crime scene examiners at the Bacchus Marsh unit found blood stains at the rear of a sofa and a black leather jacket in the lounge room.

"As the forensic examination of Simpson St, Bacchus Marsh, continued, it became apparent that a serious assault had occurred," the police summary said.

Police returned to Point Cook where the wheelie bin was seized and scanned for her body.

Hunter was picked up hiding in Hawthorn and charged.

During the police interview he admitted his crime - stating he knew Ms Cafferkey, they had argued and he killed her.

Hunter will next appear before the Supreme Court on April 11.


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Voters dump Labor over Rudd farce

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 26 Maret 2013 | 20.01

Voters have condemned the ALP after last week's aborted leadership challenge. Picture: Stefan Postles/Getty Source: Getty Images

LABOR'S ranks would be cut in half if the election were held now, with support for the Government plunging to a 12-month low and Julia Gillard's approval rating tumbling after last week's leadership turmoil.

With six months to the election, voters have embraced Tony Abbott and condemned the ALP for the farce that ended in a leadership spill that Kevin Rudd did not contest.

Today's Newspoll, published in The Australian, shows the Coalition with a massive 20-point lead on primary vote with its support up six points to 50 per cent.

Labor fell four points to 30 per cent and the Greens were down a point to 10 per cent.

After preferences, it puts the Coalition ahead 58 to 42 per cent.

That would mean an eight-point swing from the last election and, if repeated across the board on September 14, Labor would lose 35 seats and have only 37 MPs left in the House of Representatives - even worse than Paul Keating's 1996 defeat.

The latest Newspoll shows Julia Gillard is fast losing popularity while her government faces a wipeout.

Newspoll shows Ms Gillard's satisfaction rating dived six points to a 13-month low of 26 per cent but her dissatisfaction rating soared eight to 68 per cent.

Mr Abbott's ratings were his best since September 2011, with his approval rating up three points to 39 per cent and dissatisfaction rating down five to 50 per cent.

Mr Abbott's approval rating is 13 points ahead of Ms Gillard's.

He also jumped in front as preferred PM, rising five points to 43 per cent as Ms Gillard crashed seven points to 35 per cent.

Ms Gillard this afternoon said she did not comment on opinion polls.

''I don't comment on opinion polls but I don't think anybody in the country needs an opinion poll to tell them Labor had a truly appalling week,'' she said.

''For us that week is over, the government has always had a sense of purpose, now it has a sense of unity.''

June 24, 2010

Gillard becomes Australia's first female Prime Minister after challenging Kevin Rudd. The incident becomes known as the 'knifing' of Rudd.

August 2, 2010

The PM says it's time voters had a chance to see the "real Julia". The move backfires when people ask: if it's now time to see the real Julia, who was she before?

December 15, 2010

At least 30 asylum seekers die when their ramshackle boat breaks up after being tossed against cliffs in rough seas off Christmas Island. The incident reignites debate about boat arrivals in Australia.

January 2011

Gillard visits flood-ravaged Queensland, and is criticised by some commentators for lack of warmth. Her one-off flood levy to help Queenslanders recover is highly controversial.

February 24, 2011

Gillard breaks an election promise in announcing a carbon tax. Tony Abbott slams the announcement as "an utter betrayal of the Australian people".

March 21, 2011

Gillard cops flack when she reveals she is opposed to gay marriage and, despite being an atheist, that she thinks it's important for people to understand the Bible.

March 23, 2011

A carbon tax protest rally led by Tony Abbott in Canberra turns personal when anti-government demonstrators start chanting "ditch the bitch". Placards at the rally read "Ju-Liar" and "Bob Brown's bitch".

May 7, 2011

The Gillard Government announces it is close to signing the "Malaysia Solution". Issues surrounding human rights and unaccompanied children then dog the government.

May 18, 2011

The Prime Minister flicks the switch on the National Broadband Network on mainland Australia. Many commentators and the Opposition call it waste of money but Gillard says naysayers are out of touch.

May 30, 2011

The government suspends live exports after Four Corners exposes brutal mistreatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian slaughterhouses. Pastoralists' livelihoods suffer as their cattle remain in limbo.

June 15, 2011

Newspoll shows support for Julia Gillard has crashed to a record low of just 30 per cent. The figure is lower than Kevin Rudd's was when she replaced him.

September 27, 2011

Kevin Rudd adds fuel to leadership speculation when he makes a gaffe on ABC Radio: "I'm a very happy little vegemite being prime minister ... being foreign minister of Australia."

November 23, 2011

The mining tax is passed after parliament sits late into the night. The Opposition vows to repeal the tax if elected and accuses the Government of secretive "backdoor deals".

November 24, 2011

Canberra is stunned by a deal installing Peter Slipper, a member of the Queensland Liberals, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. It shores up the government's numbers but the ousting of Harry Jenkins, a popular and effective Speaker, is seen has harsh.

December 2, 2011

Gillard is widely criticised for "airbrushing" Kevin Rudd from ALP history at the party's National Conference in Sydney.

January 22, 2012

Gillard reneges on a deal with key independent Andrew Wilkie to introduce measures to tackle problem gambling. Wilkie pulls his support from the government in retaliation. The move puts a new complexion on the installation of Slipper as Speaker.

January 26, 2012

One of Gillard's key advisors is forced to resign after admitting he tipped off Aboriginal activists to incorrect reports that Tony Abbott wanted to close the tent embassy.

February 24, 2012

Kevin Rudd announces he will contest the leadership, saying Gillard has lost the confidence of the Australian people.

February 27, 2012

Gillard retains the top job after winning the challenge 71-31, but it comes at a cost as Mark Arbib resigns.

March 26, 2012

Queensland Labor is stunned with a landslide state election reducing the party to a rump in the parliament. Gillard says she respects the "shouted" message from voters, but rejects claims it serves as a warning to her own Government.

April 23, 2012

The PM is forced to defend her decision to appoint Peter Slipper as Speaker after allegations he abused his Cabcharge account and sexually harassed a former adviser.

April 29, 2012

Gillard accepts Craig Thompson's resignation and stands Peter Slipper aside indefinitely. She says the scandals have "crossed a line", but some commentators see it as another complete U-turn.

May 8, 2012

Voters were unconvinced by Gillard's 2012 Federal Budget offering $5 billion in cost-of-living offset measures to counteract the impact of the Carbon Tax.

May 9, 2012

Gillard said she was "deeply disturbed" that a three-year investigation by Fair Work Australia found suspended Labor MP Craig Thomson had spent almost $500,000 of union members' funds on prostitutes, fine dining, hotels, cash withdrawals, air travel and electioneering.

May 10, 2012

Gillard declared that US President Barak Obama's support for same-sex marriage would not change her own view on the issue.

June 21, 2012

About 90 asylum seekers were lost at sea after a boat capsized north-west of Christmas Island. Rescue attempts successfully pulled 109  out of the water.

June 28, 2012

A second asylum-seeking vessel sank, claiming the lives of at least four people. Merchant and naval vessels rescued 125.

August 12, 2012

Gillard was forced into a major back-down by announcing the Government would nominate Nauru and Manus Island to be reopened as offshore processing facilities for asylum seekers.

August 18, 2012

It was revealed Julia Gillard had been under investigation when she resigned from her law firm Slater and Gordon in 1995. Questions had been raised about work she had done for her then boyfriend,  a union boss accused of corruption.

August 23, 2012

The Australian reveals that Gillard admitted that the entity she set up for Wilson was a slush fund to raise cash for the re-election of union officials. Gillard breaks her silence, denying any wrongdoing and declaring the story is part of a sexist internet smear campaign.

October 9, 2012

A fiery speech by Prime Minister Julia Gillard slamming Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for being a misogynist gains global attention.

November 11, 2012

Wayne Hem swears in a statutory declaration that he made the Gillard payment and other payments after being instructed to do so by Bruce Wilson.

November 15, 2012

The Australian reveals that former AWU official Helmut Gries, who first raised concerns that union money may have been spent on Gillard's renovations, now doubts that version of events.

January 28, 2013

First bloke Tim Mathieson attracts the wrong sort of attention for the following comment: "We can get a blood test for (prostate cancer), but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way."

January 30, 2013

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces a September 14 election date, initiating one of the longest campaigns in Australian history.

January 31, 2103

Former Labor MP Craig Thomson is arrested at his electoral office on the NSW Central Coast and is charged with 150 offences relating to allegedly fraudulent use of union funds at the Health Services Union.

February 2, 2013

Ministers Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans announce their resignations ahead of the election.

February 19, 2013

Greens leader Christine Milne announces the end of her party's minority government agreement with Labor over its failed mining tax. The Greens will continue to offer supply until the September election.

February 26, 2013

A Newspoll published in The Australian shows a five-point drop in support for Julia Gillard as preferred Prime Minister, giving Opposition Leader Tony Abbott a four point lead of 40 to 36 per cent. Last November, Ms Gillard enjoyed a 14-point lead in the preferred PM stakes.

March 3, 2013

Julia Gillard begins a five-day stay in western Sydney where she tries to increase her appeal with a disillusioned electorate through promises to tighten the rules around the 457 Visas, giving $1 billion for the WestConnex road project for the M4 and a $50 million promise of federal funds for the Warragamba Dam.

March 9, 2013

Stephen Smith's comments about federal Labor's woes having an impact on Liberal Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett's landslide victory reportedly leave the PM fuming. Similar comments made by ex- Labor Minister, Alannah MacTiernan about the electoral massacre Labor faced with Julia Gillard as leader days later, further inflamed the situation and sparked a fresh round of leadership speculation.

March 11, 2013

A Newspoll published in The Australian shows that Labor's overall approval support rose three points to 34 per cent while the Coalition fell three points to 44 per cent. Ms Gillard regained her lead over Tony Abbott as preferred Prime Minister 42 to 38 per cent. Later that day, several members of the public were booted out of the federal parliament during question for heckling the prime minister and calling her a "moll" and "Ju-liar".

March 12, 2013

Bill Shorten rules out taking over from Julia Gillard as Labor MPs meet to find a circuit breaker to the crisis around the party leadership. Meanwhile, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announces a raft of controversial new media reforms which the government wants to pass parliament by the end of the following week.

March 16, 2013

Labor MPs warn controversial media laws should be scrapped if they fail to pass parliament because they would be a dead weight ahead of an election.

March 18, 2013

Kevin Rudd surges ahead of Julia Gillard as preferred Labor leader according to a Nielsen poll. 62 per cent of voters named Mr Rudd as preferred Labor leader, over Ms Gillard (31 per cent). Labor's primary vote also drops back to 31 per cent.

March 19, 2013

Julia Gillard's key backers challenge Kevin Rudd's numbers men to "reveal names" after disputing their claims the former PM was close to having the numbers in caucus behind him to take back the leadership. Mr Rudd ruled out that he would run for the leadership by Friday.

March 21, 2013

Simon Crean calls on the PM to call a spill of all leadership positions to ''end the stalemate'', and Julia Gillard calls a ballot for 4.30 that day. Kevin Rudd announced he would not challenge for the leadership, and Ms Gillard was re-elected unopposed.

March 22, 2013

Cabinet ministers Chris Bowen and Martin Ferguson, senior minister Kim Carr, parliamentary secretary Richard Marles and three whips - Joel Fitzgibbon, Ed Husic and Janelle Saffin - all resigned in the wake of the botched attempt to roll the Prime Minister. Simon Crean was also sacked by Ms Gillard for his role in the attempted spill.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr believes voters don't want a Coalition government led by Tony Abbott, despite the Newspoll showing otherwise.

''But they are being driven into the Liberal camp and into Abbott's column by Labor's behaviour,'' he told Sky News from New York.

The challenge for Labor was to put the events of last week ''thoroughly behind it'' and have a conversation with the Australian people.

Senator Carr cited the government's achievements including the creation of nearly one million jobs, a $2.2 billion commitment to mental health and historically-low inflation that meant cash in the pockets and bank accounts of families.

''We just need to ram home these achievements and the risk to them from a change of government in September.''

Finance Minister Penny Wong today said she is not surprised Labor is trailing the Coalition.

''If you have a week like we had, where you are clearly focused on your internals and not doing what's best for Australians then voters will indicate their view about that,'' she told ABC radio.

''I share their view.

''It was not the best week the government's ever had,'' she said.

New cabinet minister Gary Gray, a former ALP national secretary, said Labor was in a similar predicament in late 1992.

That was when the country had become ''completely fascinated'' by then Opposition Leader John Hewson and his Fightback policy.

''What the Labor Party did was retreat to its own core values, produce its own policy framework and win in 1993,'' he told ABC radio.

Mr Gray said it was true last week was a terrible one, with Ms Gillard again forced to fight for her job.

''The Prime Minister's own leadership and her strength and her unquestioned leadership of the Labor Party is a great asset for our party,'' he said.

Cabinet minister Craig Emerson said recent internal destabilisation played a role in Labor's poor standing with voters.

''I'm not going to say that every opinion poll is exclusively the result of destabilisation,'' he told Sky News.

''But I can say this ... it doesn't help at all.''

Now the leadership crisis was behind it, Labor had an opportunity to re-enter ''the contest of ideas'' with the Coalition.

But Senior Liberal George Brandis dismissed that view, saying sacked cabinet minister Simon Crean was still publicly voicing his concerns about the direction of the party.

Last week the government was ''chaotic, divided and dysfunctional'' and the disunity was wearing on the electorate.

''The public get one of the basic truths of politics,'' Senator Brandis said.

''If you can't govern yourselves, you can't govern the country.''

Ms Gillard yesterday unveiled her new front bench, vowed there would be "no tolerance" for any disloyalty and declared she was appalled by self-indulgent disunity.

"Like Australians around the nation, I was appalled by the events of last week," Ms Gillard said.

"My political party, the Labor Party that I love very dearly, was self-indulgent ... it was an unseemly display but out of that has come clarity."

Ms Gillard's sixth reshuffle in three years sees a record 10 women in the ministry of 30 with Ballarat MP Catherine King, Sharon Bird from NSW and Jan McLucas from Queensland promoted as junior ministers and getting a pay rise from $238,187 to $300,116.

The Cabinet was cut from 21 to 20, with extra roles for Craig Emerson, who adds Tertiary Education to Trade, and Rudd supporter Anthony Albanese adding Regional Development to Infrastructure and Transport.

Two new Cabinet faces are former Woodside executive Gary Gray, who takes Resources and Energy, Tourism and Small Business, and Jason Clare, who has the same portfolio of Home Affairs and Cabinet Secretary. They get a $28,582 pay rise.

But a sign of the political carnage Labor has suffered over the past five years is the 10 ex-Cabinet ministers sitting on the back bench.

Victoria loses three ministers who backed Mr Rudd - Martin Ferguson and Simon Crean from Cabinet, who will have their pay slashed from $328,698 to $190,550, and junior minister Kim Carr.

Ms King becomes Minister for Regional Services, Local Communities and Road Safety, while Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby is promoted to parliamentary secretary for the arts.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, has been given extra Cabinet duties as Special Minister of State.

The federal Coalition says Labor's latest cabinet reshuffle is a sign of an ''end-stage government'' that has run out of capable people to fill crucial positions.

Liberal senator George Brandis says the PM has resorted to forming ''super ministries'' and heaping responsibility on a few senior MPs because of a lack of talent.

Bundling together trade and education, two of the ''great departments of state'', because of a lack of ''heavyweight people'' for the roles was a mistake, he added.

Senator Brandis said Dr Emerson had effectively become a ''part-time'' trade minister.

The promotion to the junior ministry of senators Don Farrell and Jan McLucas and MPs Sharon Bird and Catherine King sent a message.

''None of these people were capable of being promoted to cabinet,'' Senator Brandis told Sky News today.

''This is what happens to an end-stage government - you just run out of people.''

But Ms Gillard said she was ''spoilt for choice'' when considering the reshuffle.

''Fortunately, federal Labor has a depth of talent,'' she told ABC radio.

phillip.hudson@news.com.au

 - with AAP


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More
techieblogger.com Techie Blogger Techie Blogger