NYE: 2014 to go out with a bang

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 31 Desember 2014 | 20.01

Revellers around the world wait in anticipation to start the countdown to the new year.

Mambo creator Reg Mombassa explains his inspiration for creating an iconic design for Sydney's 2013 New Year's Eve fireworks. Courtesy City of Sydney.

WATCH the spectacular fireworks display that brought in the new year in Sydney

GET ready for a big bang at midnight as the skies light up across the country.

From Sydney to Darwin and places in between. Here's where the biggest displays will be.


Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the top spots in the world to see in the New Year. File pic. Source: Supplied

SYDNEY: This is the biggest bang in Australia and ranked one of the top spots to see the New Year in globally, so good luck finding a cushy spot in Sydney. Primo locations are filling up fast. The Sydney Opera House is now closed, the Tarpeian Precinct along with about 10 other vantage points are also closed according to The Daily Telegraph.

The City of Sydney expects 1.6 million people to squeeze into every available position for the 9pm and midnight crackers — and the new wedged 10.40pm display.

New Year's Eve fireworks in Melbourne. Pic: supplied. Source: News Limited

MELBOURNE: Revellers have been told to watch out for a "ghost shell" firework, which resembles a giant rolling wheel in the sky, according to theHerald Sun.

"I don't think it's been used in fireworks display of this scale anywhere in Australia before," Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

Brisvegas will light up the Story Bridge as part of festivities. Pic Jono Searle Source: News Limited

BRISBANE: They don't call it Brisvegas for nothing. But revellers are feeling a bit nervous about a greying sky over the city for New Year's Eve celebrations according to The Courier-Mail. As always, the city will feature a spectacular array of fireworks across the Brisbane River and Southbank as well as lighting up the Story Bridge.

New Year's Eve in Elder Park, Adelaide. File pic. Source: News Limited

ADELAIDE: Why have one big fireworks when you can have two? Adelaide offers punters a choice of a main city fireworks event at Elder Park in Adelaide, or a second event at Glenelg, according to Adelaide Advertiser

Elder Park will host a night of spectacular entertainment and fireworks with live music by a range of local artists and Fresh FM, food stalls and a licensed beer garden, while the Glo Glenelg event includes live entertainment headlined by The Voice finalist Carlos Velazquez, children's amusements and fireworks displays.

Fireworks in Perth. Source: News Corp Australia

PERTH: One of WA'S biggest New Year's Eve parties will draw 15,000 revellers to toast 2015 in Northbridge this week according to Perth Now. Among the highlights of the end-of-year celebrations will be internationally acclaimed trapeze artist Miss Gail Force hanging around in the city's night district — 7m above James St, to be exact, with no net.

DARWIN: The far north of Australia is croc full of stuff to do for the night, according to NT News, with the Darwin waterfront set to be the pick of top spots to ring in 2015. It will be the first time the waterfront has hosted the fireworks display.

HOBART: It's all about the Taste of Tasmania, according to The Hobart Mercury with the city hosting a feast of festivities of the tongue to end 2014.

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CIA reveals the truth behind UFOs

Mulder wouldn't buy it. Source: News Corp Australia

On Twitter, that is.

America's Central Intelligence Agency has used the end-of-the-year silly season to finally come clean about UFOs.

Anyone hoping for little green men will be disappointed, though — the CIA is claiming responsibility.

Tweeting about its most popular stories of the year, the CIA named a 1998 report linking its activities in the 1950s to UFO sightings.

The report, 'The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974', written by Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, outlines the CIA's involvement in the development of the U-2 spy plane.

It explains how the testing of the planes led to a massive increase in UFO reports.

The CIA says the U-2 spy plane was behind half of all UFO reports in the '50s and '60s. Source: News Limited

"High-altitude testing of the U-2 soon led to an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs)," it says in a section devoted to the issue.

The reason? No, not swamp gas.

In the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew between 10,000 and 20,000 feet, while military aircraft such as B-47s and B57s flew below 40,000 feet.

"[UFO] reports were most prevalent in the early evening hours from pilots of airliners flying from east to west. When the sun dropped below the horizon of an airliner flying at 20,000 feet, the plane was in darkness," the authors explain.

"But, if a U-2 was airborne in the vicinity of the airliner at the same time, its horizon from an altitude of 60,000 feet was considerably more distant, and, being so high in the sky, its silver wings would catch and reflect the rays of the sun and appear to the airliner pilot, 40,000 feet below, to be fiery objects.

Investigators regularly called on the CIA to check reported sightings against U-2 flight logs. Source: News Corp Australia

"Consequently, once U-2s started flying at altitudes above 60,000 feet, air-traffic controllers began receiving increasing numbers of UFO reports."

The report adds that at the time, no one believed manned flight was possible above 60,000 feet, and so didn't expect to see objects so high in the sky.

The high volume of UFO sightings from airline pilots and ground-based observers writing to the Air Force led to the establishment of Operation Blue Book, which collected all reports for investigation.

According to the paper, Blue Book investigators regularly called on the CIA's project staff in Washington to check reported UFO sightings against U-2 flight logs.

It says U-2 and later OXCART flights accounted for more than half of all UFO reports during the late 1950s and most of the 1960s, although investigators could not reveal to the letter writers the true cause of the sightings.

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World’s fireworks light the night

FIREWORKS have started signalling the start of the New Year around the world with New Zealand kicking things off in spectacular style.

Perfect view ... Sydney locals, Demi Bryant, 22, and James Hundt, 28, celebrate the beginning of the New Year atop a high-rise overlooking the iconic Sydney. Picture: James Morgan Source: Supplied

The Kiwis are one of the first to ring in the New Year and if their fireworks display is any indication of the year ahead then 2015 looks set to be much brighter and resplendent than 2014.

Light the night ... Brisbane was not going to let other cities have all the fun. Picture: Josh Woning Source: News Corp Australia

Australia looks determined to outshine their counterparts across the Tasman with cities from Hobart to Melbourne, Sydney to Brisbane all showing that they too can light up the night.

Let your colours burst ... On the waterfront in Hobart Source: News Corp Australia

Those Down Under will have to wait a few hours however to see how their fireworks displays compare with the likes of London, Paris, Tokyo and New York.

A heart on the bridge during the 9PM fireworks. NYE 2014 . Sydney New years Eve celebrations 2014. Picture: John Appleyard Source: News Corp Australia

Family fireworks ... Quaydin Langmaid, 7, with dad, Sam, at Yarra Park in Melbourne. Picture: Mike Keating. Source: News Corp Australia

Keep an eye on this story to see how well the rest of the world lights up the sky.

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Second AirAsia plane incident

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 30 Desember 2014 | 20.01

An AirAsia plane have overshot the runway in Kalibo. Picture: AP/Joshua Paul Source: AP

PHILIPPINE officials say an AirAsia Zest plane with 159 passengers and crew members overshot a runway in a central province after landing in windy weather from Manila.

Giovanni Hontomin, who is in charge of AirAsia Zest's operations, said crew members activated an emergency slide to help passengers disembark safely from the Airbus A320-200.

There were no immediate reports of injuries and the plane remained stuck on a grassy area near the runway's end.

Jet Damazo Santos, a journalist from Rappler Indonesia, passengers had to leave the aircraft using its emergency slide.

"Engine was shut immediately, we were told to leave bags, deplane asap. Firetruck was waiting. Seems handled well," she posted on her Twitter account. "Nobody seems to be hurt. Weather was bad because of #senangph. Plane came to a very abrupt stop."

The incident came after the crash of an AirAsia plane that disappeared over the Java Sea on Sunday on a flight from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board.

Bloated bodies and debris were seen floating in Indonesian waters on Tuesday.

Domestic carrier AirAsia Zest is partly owned by AirAsia Philippines.

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Relatives’ shock at Indon TV

The Indonesian Navy says they have recovered 40 bodies from the AirAsia search area.

Relatives of passengers on AirAsia flight QZ 8501 react to the breaking news of debris and bodies being found on December 30, 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Picture: Robertus Pudyanto Source: Getty Images

RELATIVES of passengers on AirAsia flight QZ8501 began crying hysterically and fainting as Indonesian television footage showed a body floating in the sea during aerial searches for the plane.

At least two distraught family members were carried out on stretchers from the room where they had been waiting for news in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city — the takeoff point for the aircraft that disappeared during a storm on Sunday.

TV One, the network which showed the footage, have since apologised

"My heart will be totally crushed if it's true. I will lose a son," 60-year-old Dwijanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

A family member of passengers on-board the missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 receives medical assistance after watching news reports showing an unidentified body floating in the Java Sea. Picture: Manan Vatsyayana Source: AFP

A relative of a passenger is carried by officials as she reacts to the news on television. Picture: Firdia Lisnawati Source: AP

A member of the Indonesian air force carries an item retrieved from the Java Sea during search and rescue operations for the missing flight QZ8501, in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan. Picture: Bay Ismoyo Source: AFP

More than 48 hours after the Airbus A320-200 lost contact carrying 162 people to Singapore, aerial searchers spotted items in the Java Sea which officials said were from the plane.

The navy later said 40 bodies had been retrieved from the water. "Based on the navy radio, it has been reported that the warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now," spokesman Manahan Simorangkir said.

As the first body was shown floating in the water on rolling television news, relatives burst into tears and hugged one another amid cries for more ambulances, said an AFP reporter at the scene.

A relative of one of the passengers on AirAsia flight QZ 8501 receives medical attention as he collapses at the breaking news of debris and bodies being found. Picture: Robertus Pudyanto Source: Getty Images

In this image taken from video released by TV One, a rescuer is lowered on rope from a hovering helicopter near a body in Java Sea waters in Indonesia. Picture: TV One Source: AP

One man covered his face and had to be held up by two other men before he fainted and was taken out by stretcher. Another woman was screaming and crying as she was supported by the mayor of Surabaya. A female AirAsia officer shouted at the television media for showing footage of a floating body, while about 200 journalists were barred from the room holding the families, the windows of which were boarded up.

"Is it possible for you not to show a picture of the dead?

Please do not show a picture of a dead body," said the officer. "That's crazy." Munif, a 50-year-old whose younger brother Siti Rahmah was on the plane, said he had been trying hard to keep the other families calm.

"But the atmosphere was very different after the footage of a dead body was shown. Families became hysterical," he said.

"Because everyone was wailing and yelling, I couldn't deal with it so I decided to leave the room." In Malaysia, families of those on the MH370 flight that went missing without a trace in March hoped those lost in the latest tragedy could at least have a proper burial.

"The families can now have a closure and have a peace of mind which I am dying for," said Selamat Omar, whose 29-year-old son was on the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's search chief said a plane had spotted a "shadow" on the seabed which is believed to be the missing AirAsia jet.

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More than 40 bodies found

Indonesian officials have found six bodies in the AirAsia search area, three of which have been recovered.

Items resembling an emergency slide and a plane door were spotted in the search for missing AirAsia plane.

Objects spotted around where the plane disappeared from radar. Source: AFP

THREE days after disappearing during a wild storm, AirAsia has confirmed debris found earlier today is that of missing flight QZ8501.

In a statement, the airline read it "regretsto inform that The National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS) today confirmed that the debris found earlier today is indeed from QZ8501, the flight that had lost contact with air traffic control on the morning of 28th December 2014."

There were 155 passengers on board, with 137 adults, 17 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots, 4 cabin crews and one engineer.

Debris from parts of the aircraft, including an emergency door and a life jacket, were found in the Karimata Straight between Sumatra, Java and Borneo, around 110 nautical miles south west from Pangkalan Bun.

The 'shadow' of a plane was spotted on the seabed close to the debris.

Search area for the missing Air Asia flight QZ8501. Source: Supplied

It came as more than 40 bodies from the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 had been found along with debris, authorities have confirmed.

"Based on the navy radio, it has been reported that the warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now," Indonesian Navy Official Manahan Simorangkir said.

Some bodies did not have life jackets on.

The debris was spotted just under 10 kilometres from when the flight was last seen on radar.

"At the present time, search and rescue operations are still in progress and further investigation of the debris found at the location is still underway," the statement read.

"AirAsia Indonesia employees have been sent to the site and will be fully cooperating with BASARNAS, National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), and relevant authorities on the investigation."

Commander of 1st Indonesian Air Force Operational Command Rear Marshall Dwi Putranto shows aeroplane parts and a suitcase found floating on the water near the site where AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared. Picture: Dewi Nurcahyani Source: AP

Relatives of passengers of the missing AirAsia Flight 8501 react upon seeing the news on television. Picture: Trisnadi Source: AP

Indonesian television have been criticised after showing bodies on the waters near the site where the jetliner disappeared. Picture: Trisnadi Source: AP

Indonesian military personnel over the waters of the Java Sea on December 30. Picture: Juni Kriswanto Source: AFP

The tragic news was made worse when Indonesian television footage showed a body floating in the sea during aerial searches for the plane.

Pandemonium broke out at Juanda International Airport, at least two distraught family members were carried out on stretchers from the room where they had been waiting for news in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city and the takeoff point for the aircraft that disappeared during a storm on Sunday.

"We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances," said Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Indonesia, in AirAsia's statement.

"We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues."

Indonesian Air Force personnel carry aeroplane parts recovered from the water near the site where AirAsia Flight 8501 disappeared, at the air base in Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia. Picture: Dewi Nurcahyani Source: AP

A family member of passengers gestures while accompanying military personnel on a search and rescue (SAR) mission. Picture: Juni Kriswanto Source: AFP

A family member of passengers gestures while accompanying military personnel on a search and rescue (SAR) mission. Picture: Juni Kriswanto

Commander of Indonesian Air Force 1st Operational Command Rear Marshall Dwi Putranto, centre, shows the aeroplane parts and a suitcase found floating on the water. Picture: Dewi Nurcahyani Source: AP

Meanwhile AirAsia's Group Executive Officer, Tony Fernandes added he was "absolutely devastated" amid news he was "rushing" to Surabaya to be among the grieving families.

"This is a very difficult moment for all of us at AirAsia as we await further developments of the search and rescue operations but our first priority now is the wellbeing of the family members of those on-board QZ8501."

AirAsia Indonesia will be inviting family members to Surabaya, where a dedicated team of care providers will be assigned to each family to ensure that all of their needs are met. Counsellors, religious and spiritual personnel have also been invited to the family centre to provide any necessary services."

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team. Source: AFP

Earlier, Indonesia's director general of civil aviation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, told AFP: "For the time being it can be confirmed that it's the AirAsia plane and the transport minister will depart soon to Pangkalan Bun."

Members of an Indonesian search and rescue team carry body bags to a waiting aircraft. Source: Getty Images

Distraught family members of passengers on-board the missing AirAsia flight. Source: AFP

As relatives of the passengers were assembled in a room in Surabaya to watch the search efforts, they watched images of a floating body that had been broadcast on local TV.

Many screamed and wailed uncontrollably, breaking down into tears while they squeezed each other. One middle-aged man collapsed and was rushed from the room on a stretcher.

This aerial photo shows an object floating on the waters of the Java Sea. Source: AP

"Based on the observation by search and rescue personnel, significant things have been found such as a passenger door and cargo door.

A rescuer is lowered on rope from a hovering helicopter near a body in Java Sea waters. Source: AP

"It's in the sea, 100 miles (160 kilometres) southwest of Pangkalan Bun," he said, referring to the town in Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.

The search. Source: Getty Images

Following the confirmation from Indonesian officials, AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes tweeted his condolences and said he was on his way to Surabaya.

A search for the aircraft has been underway since Sunday afternoon when it lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control.

The plane, with 155 passengers and seven crew, was less than an hour into a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore when it is believed to have encountered a violent thunderstorm. Its pilots requested a change of flight path due to bad weather, just minutes before contact was lost.

EARLIER: How the search for AirAsia QZ8501 unfolded

Chiara Natasha at right (who was not on the flight) pictured with her mother Indahju Liangsih. Chiara Natasha lost her parents and two brothers on the flight. Photo: Facebook Source: Supplied

The Herald Sun reports a Melbourne-based student was on-board the plane when it disappeared. Monash University student Kevin Alexander Soetjipto was travelling from Indonesia to Singapore with relatives when the plane vanished over the Java Sea.

Mr Soetjipto is from Malang in Indonesia and it is believed he was in Australia on a student visa.

More to come.

With Rebecca Sullivan, Frank Chung, Debra Killalea, Andrew Koubaridis and Sherine Conyers.

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Police likely to charge driver in fatal head-on crash

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 29 Desember 2014 | 20.01

A Major Crash Investigation Branch officer photographs the car involved in the fatal crash near Clarendon. Picture Roger Wyman Source: News Corp Australia

The scene of the fatal road accident near Whyalla. Picture: First On Scene Media Pty Ltd Source: Supplied

The scene of the fatal road accident near Whyalla. Picture: First On Scene Media Pty Ltd Source: Supplied

Police at the scene of the fatal crash on the Sturt Highway, near Shea-Oak Log. Picture: Roger Wyman Source: News Corp Australia

Police say they're shocked at what some drivers are doing on our roads this festive season

A DRIVER who survived a head-on crash that killed two people near Whyalla during a horror 24 hours on the state's roads is likely to face criminal charges, police say.

Four friends were returning from Coffin Bay when a Nissan Patrol crossed to the wrong side of the Lincoln Highway, about 30km south of Whyalla, at 12.30am on Monday.

The driver of a blue Mitsubishi Pajero — a Whyalla Norrie man, 24 — and a rear passenger — a Whyalla Norrie woman, 24 — both died at the scene.

Two other passengers in the Pajero — a Whyalla Stuart woman, 25, and a Whyalla Stuart man, 23 — were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The driver and sole occupant of the white Nissan Patrol, a Whyalla man, 36, was also taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The double fatality marked a shocking 24 hours, in which four people died, taking the December road toll to 16, our worst for the month since 2006.

Traffic Support Branch officer-in-charge Superintendent Bob Fauser said police were investigating suicide as one of the lines of inquiry in the Eyre Peninsula crash.

Supt Fauser said it would be several days before they could speak to the surviving driver, who is recovering in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

"It is likely that charges will be laid against the surviving driver," he said.

"As best as we can tell at this early stage of the investigation, (the victims) were on the correct side of the road and the oncoming vehicle has passed on to the incorrect side of the road.

"At this time we do not have sufficient information to give anything more about those particular circumstances."

Supt Fauser said the victims had been "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Whyalla police Senior Constable Matthew McDonnell said the four people in the Pajero were friends and well respected in the small township.

He said he had spoken to some of the victims' families, who were devastated by their loss and were struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

"There will be a lot of confusion in the town as well and it will be hard to answer questions about how this accident happened, especially at this time of year," he said.

"All the people involved live in Whyalla or were from Whyalla originally, so people in town will know everyone involved in one way or another."

Snr Const McDonnell said the group was returning from a university research trip at Coffin Bay, where the 24-year-old driver was studying.

In a separate crash eight hours later, a Hackham West man died when his Nissan hatchback collided with a Mitsubishi Pajero and then crashed into a tree on Piggot Range Rd, near Clarendon, just before 8.30am.

Supt Fauser said the driver had misjudged the conditions on a slippery road.

On Sunday, a Northern Territory man, 34, died when his car rolled on the Sturt Highway near Shea-Oak Log in the Barossa Valley.

Supt Fauser said the man was speeding, drink-driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

"These are three very different crashes, but regardless of their differences the trauma for the family and close friends of these people must be terrible," he said.

The state's road toll is 104 compared with 98 at the same time last year.

For more information about suicide, or if you feel you need help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Originally published as Police likely to charge driver in fatal head-on crash
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‘Search shouldn’t take long’

An Indonesian official says Australian planes have spotted objects in the sea in the AirAsia search area.

A member of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) points to a map of a search area during a briefing prior to a search and rescue operation of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501. Picture: AP/Tatan Syuflana Source: AP

THE search for QZ8501 should take a matter of days, rather than weeks or months, an Australian oceanographer has predicted.

Dr Erik van Sebille from the University of New South Wales said it should be possible to see the fuselage of the AirAsia Indonesia A320 on the floor of the Java Sea, from the air, if it crashed into the water.

TONY ABBOTT: AirAsia 'not like' MH370 or MH17

HI-TECH SEARCH: Inside Australia's plane joining the AirAsia hunt

A specialist from the Singapore Ministry Of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) displays their devices ready to be deployed for the search of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501. Picture: AFP/ Mohd Fyrol Source: AFP

"The Java Sea is really an inland sea that's roughly 40-50m deep everywhere," said Dr van Sebille.

"Light travels up to 100m in the ocean so it should be theoretically possible to see the fuselage lying on the ocean floor."

RELATIVES SPEAK OUT: AirAsia pilot was a 'caring man'

In addition, the currents in the Java Sea were weak, meaning the plane should be in almost exactly the same place where it hit the water, he said.

"The difficulty is going to be the weather. It's monsoon season there," Dr van Sebille said.

"The other thing that will very much complicate the search is all the debris.

Search planes and ships resume the hunt for AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501, which went missing over the Java Sea with 162 people on board. Sarah Toms reports.

"This is one of the filthier parts of the ocean – it's full of plastics, old fishing nets, or ghost nets 10 to 20m in size."

Any underwater search was likely to be much more straightforward than that currently underway for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

"You don't need deep submersibles for a search in 40 to 50m of water," said Dr van Sebille.

"The equipment required can pretty much be bought off the shelf."

The area being searched is large at 124,000 square kilometres, but the aircraft's last coordinates have given searchers a fair indication of its final resting place.

More than 20 aircraft and vessels are involved in the search including a Royal Australian Air Force P3-Orion.

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How other planes survived storm

Search ... an Indonesia Search and Rescue officer inspects the operational air navigation map. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

AirAsia Flight 8501 may have been affected by turbulent, cumulonimbus clouds in its path. WSJs Ramy Inocencio speaks with Hong Kong Obervatorys Cheung Ping about the weather when radar contact was lost.

JUST like MH17 was in the wrong place at the wrong time, events on the morning of December 27 seemed to conspire against flight QZ8501.

The AirAsia Indonesia flight was among several in the vicinity of severe weather when it ran into strife, 42-minutes into a trip from Surabaya to Singapore.

An Emirates A380 flying from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur landed without incident, as did another AirAsia Indonesia flight from Denpasar to Singapore.

But when the pilots on QZ8501 requested a change in flight path to avoid bad weather, they were refused permission by Air Traffic Control because of other aircraft in that space.

LOST CONTROL: The pilot who was flying missing AirAsia flight QZ8501

BRIDE-TO-BE: 'My fiance and his family were on that flight'

Radar image showing planes around AirAsia flight QZ8501 when it went missing. Picture: News Corp Australia Source: Supplied

QZ8501 was also disadvantaged by a delay in any alarm being raised about its disappearance from the primary radar.

Air Traffic Controllers in Jakarta took 30-minutes to inform those in Singapore of the problem.

It then took several more hours for a search to get underway largely due to bad weather.

By the numbers ... the search for missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 continues. Picture: News Corp Australia Source: News Corp Australia

Australian aviation security expert Captain Des Ross said the fact no distress call was made by the pilots suggested they were simply too busy trying to fly the aircraft.

"The first priority of the pilots is to fly the aircraft and ensure the safety of the people on board," said Capt Ross.

"The first priority is to find a solution to whatever the problem is. It's possible they may have also suffered an electrical failure and the radio was no longer working."

What he found most baffling was the lack of any information from the electronic locator transmitter that automatically signals an aircraft's whereabouts in the event of a crash.

"These little locator transmitters are normally pretty reliable devices and yet we haven't heard anything about it," said Capt Ross.

Officials have confirmed an object spotted during a sea search is not from the missing AirAsia plane.

Asked about the ELT at a press conference yesterday, Indonesian Transport Safety Committee chief Tatang Kurniadi said the device could be broken, or the plane could have crashed into mountains and the signal was blocked.

Strategic Aviation Solutions' owner Neil Hansford said there was no way the flight could have crashed on land without people knowing.

"It was carrying a lot of fuel on board, there would have been an almighty explosion," said Mr Hansford. "It would have shaken the locals out of the trees."

Air search ... an Indonesian Air Force C-130 plane scans the horizon during a search operation for the missing AirAsia plane. Picture: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara Source: AP

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‘Our shoes were melting’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 28 Desember 2014 | 20.01

A rescue operation in Greek waters is being hampered by winds as a ferry carrying 466 people caught fire.

A Greek ferry carrying 411 passengers and 55 crew is on fire. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

DESPERATE passengers have pleaded via mobile phone to be saved from a burning ferry off the Greek island of Corfu as rescuers battled gale-force winds to get to them.

But with gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour making rescue difficult and dangerous, the crew has so far only managed to get 150 of the 478 people off the stricken "Norman Atlantic", Greek officials said.

Seas were so violent that only 35 of those have so far been lifted from a lifeboat to a tanker that came to their aid, Greek Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said hours into the emergency.

He said seven merchant vessels have encircled the ferry in an attempt to shelter it from fierce Force 10 winds, as Greek and Italian firefighting vessels raced from their coasts.

Italian navy spokesman Riccardo Rizzotto said four helicopters were already at the scene and the ship's captain had told coastguards that the ferry was now drifting towards the Albanian coast.

"The weather conditions are so bad we need an extraordinary level of support, which is effectively what is being put in place," he said.

It was unclear if there had been casualties or if there were any passengers in the water, but Rizzotto one 58-year-old Italian man has been flown to Italy suffering from the symptoms of hypothermia.

Freezing passengers huddled on the top deck of the ship told of their terror in calls to Greek television stations.

"We are on the top deck, we are soaked, we are cold and we are coughing from the smoke. There are women, children and old people," passenger Giorgos Styliaras told Mega TV.

Another told the station that "our shoes were melting" from the heat of the fire when they were mustered in the ship's reception area.

Haulage company boss Giannis Mylonas, who was in contact with three of his drivers on the vessel, said there were between 20 and 25 tanker trucks filled with olive oil on board.

"They are taking too long to find a way to help them. Let's hope this ferry will stand the heat of the fire," he told the station.

Vessels close to the ANEK Lines ferry, which caught fire 33 nautical miles off the small Greek island of Othonoi, rushed to give assistance after picking up its distress signal at 0200 GMT, the Greek coast guard said.

With high winds and torrential rain and sleet, Greek authorities described efforts to rescue the passengers "as particularly difficult and complicated".

The blaze on board is said to have broken out in the ferry's car deck. The Greek maritime ministry said 268 of the passengers were Greek, with the crew made up of 22 Italians and 34 Greeks.

By 0930 GMT around 35 passengers had been picked up by the Greek tanker "The Spirit of Piraeus", but another 115 were still stuck in a lifeboat, with towering waves and lashing wind hampering their transfer.

Four Greek and Italian firefighting ships were on their way to the scene, which is in the middle of a busy shipping lane, as well as four Italian patrol boats. At least three Italian and Greek helicopters circled overhead.

The "Norman Atlantic" had left the Greek port of Patras at 05:30am (0330 GMT) and had been heading to the Italian port of Ancona when the fire took hold.

Greek Defence Minister Nikos Dendias told Mega television that Italian authorities had responded to a Greek plea for assistance and were now in charge of the rescue effort. The operation was being coordinated from the Italian ship "Europa".

The car deck of the Italian-flagged "Norman Atlantic" was believed to have been holding 195 vehicles when the fire broke out.

According to rescued passengers, the intense heat rapidly affected the rest of the ship. However, passengers stranded on the top deck of the ship later seemed to be more worried by the storm, telling Greek TV the flames were subsiding.

Neither ANEK Lines nor the ship's owners had made any comment by midday (1100 GMT).

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Axe killing then Christmas lunch

Once happy couple Dustin Klopp and Stephanie Kilhefner on their wedding day in 2011. He rang police a day after he allegedly killed her with an axe on Christmas Eve after an argument. Source: Supplied

A MAN allegedly axed his wife to death on Christmas Eve and then took their children to relatives' home to celebrate Christmas.

He then stunned police by calling and confessing to the crime — before investigators even knew one had been committed.

Police allege Dustin Lee Klopp, 36, punched his wife Stephanie Kilhefner cut her throat and bashed her head with an axe in their Pennsylvania home.

After the killing he tried to clean up the blood and moved his wife's body a shed on their property.

The following day he took their two children to his parents house to celebrate Christmas. It isn't known if he told them about what happened but later that day he phoned police to say he killed Ms Kilhefner and wanted to turn himself in.

About an hour later he arrived at the police station.

He has been charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse and tampering with or fabricating evidence and is in custody.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said the children, aged 5 and 2, didn't witness the murder.

Dustin L Klopp called police on Christmas Day and told them he had killed his wife with an axe. Source: Supplied

He wouldn't say what the couple were arguing about.

"I don't know what he said ... What difference does it make? There's nothing that justifies it."

Stedman told Lancaster Online a usual scenario when people called to confess in homicide cases was when they acted in self-defence.

So this case baffled him.

"I can't think of another one like this where [nearly a day goes by] and we get a phone call before we even know there's a crime."

Klopp has previously been before the courts on burglary and drugs charges. His former lawyer, Cory Miller, was stunned when he heard the news.

The couple were married in 2011.

"They both seemed to be very level-headed individuals. "He never struck me as a violent individual."

An autopsy would be performed on Ms Kilhefner tomorrow.

Neighbours told the Lancaster Online Klopp seemed "paranoid".

Tim and Sheila Rohrer saw them regularly because they shared a driveway.

"She was very nice ... and always stop and say hello," Mr Rohrer said of Kilhefner.

"He always struck me as being kind of paranoid."

Rohrer said Klopp told him to "let him know if I saw anybody hanging around, or disturbing his horses," he said. "That always seemed strange to me."

He recalled a FedEx driver once told his wife he didn't like going to their house "because he was cussed at.

"That's what I mean. I just got the impression he was paranoid."

The couple's Pennsylvania home where the alleged murder took place on Christmas Eve. Source: Supplied

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Air Asia ‘search and rescue’ mission

An AirAsia flight flying from Indonesia to Singapore has reportedly lost contact with air traffic control.

An AirAsia Airbus A320-200 has lost contact with air traffic control. Source: Supplied

The families of passengers aboard the missing AirAsia flight QX 8501 react with shock in Surabaya and Jakarta. Courtesy: TV One Indonesia/ Metro TV

THE search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 has been called off for the day.

An Indonesian Transport Ministry official said the search was called off for the evening due to dark, cloudy conditions.

No Australian's were believed to be on board.

Planes from Indonesia and Singapore had been scouring an area of sea between Kalimantan and Java earlier, according to theBBCas Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered Australia's support.

There were 155 passengers and seven crew on board the flight when it lost contact with air traffic control just after taking off from Indonesia on Sunday morning.

It had been due to land in Singapore around 11.30am AEDT

Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered has phoned Indonesian President Joko Widodo and offered an Australian plane to join the search for AirAsia QZ8501.

Mr Abbott told the Indonesian President a P3 Orion and crew had been placed on standby to assist with the mission.

Mr Widodo said he would order his Defence Minister to speak with Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews to determine if Australia would be required to assist.

He told Mr Abbott he was aware how much work Australia had done in the region, particularly with MH370.

Mr Abbott said Australia would do whatever "we humanly could" to assist.

A letter from Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia. Source: Supplied

Singapore authorities had also offered to help with a major search and rescue operation for the missing flight.

Airbus released a statement offering its full co-operation with the ongoing investigation into the flight which was travelling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore when it disappeared off the radar.

There were 155 passengers and seven crew on-board.

Air Asia A320-200, the same model plane which has gone missing in Indonesia. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul) Source: AP

Unconfirmed reports suggest debris of a crashed plane may have been spotted near East Belitung.

Channel News Asia and reports that the flight may have crashed in waters about 80 to 100 nautical miles from Belitung.

The International Business Times reports local fishermen heard a loud bang over the area between 7am and 8am local time.

However there is no news from Air Asia to confirm the citing is possibly the missing QZ8501 flight.

Indonesia Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said the aircraft lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6.17am local time.

It vanished just 42 minutes into the three-and-half-hour flight to Singapore.

He said the plane, an Airbus A320-200, had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact.

The plane requested a flight path change due to bad weather just before contact was lost, Air Asia has confirmed.

The pilot reportedly asked to increase its altitude from 32,000ft to 38,000 ft to "avoid clouds".

The flight was due in Singapore around 11.30am AEDT.

CNN reported AirAsia now classified the incident as a search and rescue operation.

"At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority," AirAsia told CNN.

But the plane is still yet to be located.

The Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), a conglomerate of air agencies including the country's air force and navy, has offered support to Indonesia to help search for and locate the missing flight.

In a statement, Airbus said it regretted to confirm the A320-200 had gone missing.

The manufacturer said the twin-engine single-aisle aircraft could seat up to 180 passengers and came off the 2008 production line and had done 23,000 flight hours on around 13,600 flights.

"Airbus will provide full assistance to the French safety investigation authority, BEA, and to the authorities in charge of the investigation," the statement said.

"Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities."

Relatives of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 comfort each other at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. Source: AP

A relative of an Air Asia flight QZ8501 passenger weeps as she waits for the latest news on the missing jetliner at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. Source: AP

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the plane was more than 200 nautical miles south east from Singaporean airspace at the time.

An Air Asia statement late this afternoon said there were 156 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one each from Malaysia, Singapore and France on the flight which included flight crew.

Indonesia Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan told a media conference the plane went missing not far from the shoreline between Tanjung Pandan and Pontianak.

The search would begin there and then widen, the Minister said, before going to meet with families of those on-board.

Before the confirmation of the nationalities Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian government was urgently seeking more details about the Air Asia flight.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Ms Bishop said she had been in touch with the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the High Commission in Singapore and her office was attempting to confirm if there were any Australians on board.

Initial reports say no Australians were aboard an AirAsia flight that's lost air traffic control contact.

An electronic sign board shows information for AirAsia flight QZ8501 bound for Singapore International Airport on December 28, 2014. Panicked family members have arrived at Surabaya Airport seeking information. Source: AFP

She told a news conference tonight Australia had offered to assist in the search and rescue operation but hadn't had a response yet from Indonesia or Singapore.

Ms Bishop had also requested the manifest to see if there were any dual citizens or permanent residents on the flight.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade added anyone who had concerns about the welfare of their Australian family and friends should contact its 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135 (or +61 2 6261 3305 if calling from overseas.

The Singapore Airforce has sent two C-130 aircraft to aircraft's last reported site, near Belitung Island in the Java Sea, according to The Daily Telegraph.

AirAsia says the pilot of missing flight QZ8501 had requested flight 'deviation' due to bad weather.

The blue line shows where contact was lost. Picture: Flightradar24.c0m Source: Supplied

There was reported bad weather in the area Air Asia flight QZ8501 last had contact. Source: Supplied

Oscar Desano is listed as a flight attendant on board the AirAsia flight. Source: Supplied

Oscar Desano is listed as a flight attendant on board the AirAsia flight which lost contact with air control between Indonesia and Singapore on Sunday.

In a post to his Twitter account on Christmas Eve, he wrote: "Merry Christmas to all my beautiful friends who celebrate it"

He has posted many tweets earlier in the year about MH17 and MH370 disasters.

One read: "My deep condolences also for the (passengers') family, may all the casualties rest in peace ..."

As concerned relatives began arriving at Surabaya Airport, officials posted a list of those on-board.

In a statement Air Asia said a search was currently underway.

"At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress and AirAsia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service."

Air Asia said there were two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board. The pilot had a total of 6,100 flying hours and the first officer 2, 275 flying hours.

The plane, registration PK-AXC, last had maintenance on November 16.

Of the people on-board there were 138 adults, sixteen children and one infant.

Air Asia is Malaysia's low-cost airline based in Kuala Lumpur, however the missing jet is from the Indonesian subsidiary.

The company is based in KL, and is considered a good airline with an impeccable safety record.

The disappearance of QZ8501 is the third major incident involving an Asian airline this year.

MH370 went missing on March 8 with 239 passengers on board and was flying from Kuala Lumpur, to Beijing in China.

Despite an extensive search, no trace of the plane has yet been found.

Then in July, MH17 was shot down by a missile over rebel-held Ukraine with 28 Australians among the 298 dead.

Meanwhile Air Asia has changed its Facebook profile picture from red to grey after announcing the disappearance of the A320-200.

Air Asia's chief executive Tony Fernandes wrote on Twitter: "Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We must stay strong."

As well as the Malaysia and Indonesian subsidiaries Air Asia also operates out of Thailand and India.

It employs more than 15,000 people and, according to its website, carries 250 million passengers a year and operates 160 aircraft.

It has won the world's best low cost airline award in the World Airline Survey by Skytrax since 2009.

An Emergency Call Centre has been set up for family or friends of those on board the aircraft. The number is: +622129850801.

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Why dad has kept tree up for 40yrs

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 27 Desember 2014 | 20.01

O Christmas tree ... Neil Olson sits in front of the Christmas tree that has been in his living room for four decades. Picture: AP Source: AP

NEIL Olson put up a Christmas tree when two of his sons went off to war in 1974, vowing not to take it down until all six children returned to his Wisconsin home for Christmas. The same tree, he says, is still standing in his living room.

The New York Post reports that Mr Olson's oldest son was injured in the Vietnam War, and his disability has stopped him from returning to Wausau from Washington state for Christmas. So the tree has stayed up, still covered in the same ornaments, tinsel and lights as the day Olson decorated it. And the needles, though yellowing, are still there.

"The needles are kept on for a reason," Mr Olson, 89, told the Wausau Daily Herald. "It's supernatural, I say."

Five of Olson's six sons live in Wausau. His youngest, Rich Olson, said the tree has become part of his father's furniture.

"It's like family now. I hate to take it down," he said.

Despite its permanent status in his home, Neil Olson hasn't flicked on the lights since the year he put up the tree. The large, multicoloured lights are now nearly 100 years old, he said.

"It'd just blow up on me," he joked. "All that dust on there. It'd be like an atomic bomb."

Mr Olson said he still hopes his oldest son, with whom he still talks, will make it home for Christmas one year.

"I bet you if my sixth boy comes home, the needles will drop right off," he said.

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The best and worst TV of 2014

Carlotta ... Early rumblings suggested this was going to be a stinker. So did it end up on our best or worst list? Source: Supplied

IT was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Our TV gurus Colin Vickery and Holly Byrnes cast their eyes over the year of TV that was.


Carlotta (ABC)

Earlier this year rumours swirled that Carlotta, the ABC telemovie starring Jessica Marais as

transgender showgirl Carlotta Spencer, was a mess. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Marais, best known as Rachel Rafter in Packed to the Rafters, was a knockout as she morphed from tormented schoolboy to Les Girls legend. Former Stingers star Anita Hegh, as mum Evelyn, and Eamon Farren, as friend Danny, were other standouts. CV

Whole (Car)lotta love ... Jessica Marais as Sydney's famous transgender showgirl Carlotta. Source: Supplied

The Code (ABC)

With dramas like House Of Cards and Broadchurch setting the international standard high for TV audiences, this local production met that challenge on every level. From its of-the-moment cyber terror storyline, to an extraordinary cast who all delivered even better performances, The Code was close to perfect TV for me. Absolutely deserving of a second season, now for the agonising wait. HB

Well deserved return ... Dan Spielman and Lucy Lawless in The Code. Source: Supplied


Fat Tony & Co. (Nine)

Fat Tony & Co. wasn't outright bad. It was just totally unnecessary. The Underbelly franchise was well and truly tapped out by last year's Underbelly Squizzy. That didn't stop Nine from dipping back into the well for this look at crime kingpin Tony Mokbel (Robert Mammone). Fat Tony & Co revisited some of the events depicted in the original Underbelly and included some of the original cast, particularly Gyton Grantley as Carl Williams, but it was a law of diminishing returns. CV

Outstayed its welcome ... Fat Tony & Co tried to wring blood out of the Underbelly stone. Source: Supplied

Party Tricks (Ten)

I don't even live in Melbourne and I was over the Victorian elections, let alone settling in to watch a fairly pedestrian drama about it. This suffered because of the real-time election, as well as the fact the audience found it hard to distance Asher Keddie from her popular role on Offspring.HB


Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell (ABC)

The mind of Shaun Micallef is a wonderful thing and it was on full display in this anarchic send-up of the week's news events. No-one was safe as Micallef and his talented troupe, including Francis Greenslade and Roz Hammond, took aim at the Government, the Opposition, the ABC and everything in between. CV

Shaun Micallef, Frances Greenslade, Mad as Hell ABC Series 4 Source: ABC

The Feed (SBS)

For their spoof sketch series, starring newsreader Lee Lin Chin, alone. Watching this TV icon take on Maggie Beer in a kitchen knife fight; throw back beers with Sandra Sully and Natalie Barr; then triumph in the Broadcast Battleground skit gave me the best ab workout laughing since the Abdominiser. HB


Jonah from Tonga (ABC)

When exactly did Chris Lilley jump the shark? The comic genius who created We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High is now trading off past glories. Last year's Ja'mie: Private School Girl was shrill and repetitive. Jonah from Tonga, which revisited rebellious teen Jonah Takalua, was simply puerile. Sad. CV

Jumped the shark ... Chris Lilley's Jonah from Tonga failed to match past glories. Source: Supplied

Soul Mates (ABC2)

If you've been anywhere near Bondi in the last five years, this series is less funny and more past its used-by-date...we've seen it all before. The jokes were obvious, juvenile, unoriginal. Fully sick? More like D.O.A. HB


MasterChef Australia (Ten)

Last year's MasterChef Australia was a dud so I approached this year's series of the Channel 10

cooking show expecting the worst. Turns out I was wrong. Producers Shine stripped the program

back to its basics – amateur cooks creating great food – and reminded us all why we loved it in the first place. No wonder judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan looked so

chuffed. CV

Back from the dead ... MasterChef went back to basics with stunning results. Emelia, Laura and Brent were appealing finalists. Source: Channel 10

Changing Minds (ABC)

Television at its absolute best. As the title suggests, this powerful documentary took cameras inside the mental health ward of Liverpool Hospital, where brave patients shared their experiences with this insidious illness. Aunty deserves a huge pat on the back for its commitment to the cause and Mental As programming. HB


Big Brother (Nine)

Remember when Channel 9 told us that its version of Big Brother would be different? That it would be more family-friendly than the Ten original? That philosophy went out the window in 2014. The first eviction, of housemate Gemma Kinghorn, was the TV equivalent of schoolyard bullying, and things never improved. Even host Sonia Kruger seemed embarrassed as ramped up the raunch. Pitiful. CV

The Big Adventure (Seven)

Less adventure, more big boring rip-off of Survivor without the fascinating mind games. For all his youthful enthusiasm, Jason Dundas gave Osher Gunsberg a run for his money as the Ken Doll wax imitation of a TV host. HB


Secrets & Lies (Ten)

Bold TV experiment of gloomy bore? I'd punt for the latter even though the critics went wild for this six-part thriller. Suburban dad Ben Gundelach (Martin Henderson) stumbles upon the body of a young boy and raises the alarm. Detective Ian Cornielle (Anthony Hayes) is convinced – inexplicably in my opinion – that Ben is the murderer. So are his family, neighbours and the media. CV

The Voice (Nine)

After being a card-carrying cheerleader for this show, the magic was missing for me this year. Even with the additions of our Kylie and the intensely interesting will.i.am as coaches, it still came down to some lack lustre talent which could not sustain a season so over-worked it limped over the finishing line. Hoping for a MasterChef-style reinvention in 2015. HB

Time for reinvention ... The Voice failed to fire in 2014. Source: News Corp Australia


Please Like Me (ABC)

America's Entertainment Weekly magazine has voted Josh Thomas's affecting Aussie comedy one of the Top 10 shows of the year for the past two years in a row. That's right – up there with Game of Thrones, Mad Men and House of Cards. Back here it is relegated to the ABC's digital channel. Go figure. CV

We did ... Josh Thomas in Please Like Me Source: ABC

The Good Wife (TEN)

Ignore the ratings, this was the best season yet of The Good Wife even if it was neglected by local audiences. The performance by Juliana Marguiles was sublime, the writing shocking and sharp, and the production consistent and polished. One to return to over the long summer, if you missed it. HB


Cilla (ABC)

Is there nothing Sheridan Smith can't do? Smith was compelling as Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs' wife Charmian Biggs in 2012's Mrs Biggs but she upped the ante with Cilla. This three-part British mini-series, which charted the rise of singer Cilla Black from the clubs of Liverpool (with friends The Beatles) to chart topper, was a heady mix of nostalgia and music. Smith nailed the title role – even singing hits Anyone Who Had a Heart and You're My World. CV

All Cilla, no filler ... Sheridan Smith triumphed as Cilla Black in Cilla. Source: Supplied

Rectify (SBS)

The international offerings this year were exceptional - with honourable mentions for The Honourable Woman (BBC First), House Of Cards and True Detective (both showcase). But for mine, Rectify was stunningly compelling. Starring Canadian-Australian Aden Young as a former death row inmate navigating life on the outside, this was heavy-going but unmissable. HB

Heavy but unmissable ... Rectify stars Aden Young and Abigail Spencer. Source: SBS


Hostages (Nine)

Poor Toni Collette. After wowing audiences as suburban housewife Tara Gregson in The United

States of Tara, she got stuck in this turkey. Collette was never convincing as surgeon Dr Ellen

Sanders, whose family is kidnapped by rogue FBI agent Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott). Carlisle wants Sanders to kill the US President. I just wanted to kill the remote. CV

Failed to fire ... Toni Collettte's Hostages was a disappointment. Source: Supplied

Scandal (Seven)

This sledge is aimed at one character only (the rest of the show is utterly brilliant)...but for the love of God, could the President at the centre of this Washington thriller man up for just a minute? Fitzgerald Grant (played limply by Tony Goldwyn) is about as sexy as a box of toenail clippings. Every time he goes near the fierce and fabulous Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), I shudder. HB


So You Think You Can Dance USA (Eleven)

Yes, Cat Deeley really is the best TV host in the world. But there was so much more to enjoy in the 11th season of this US reality show. The standard of dancing never faltered as winner Ricky Ubeda and the other Top 20 finalists tackled everything from Rap to Contemporary to Jazz and Tap. Judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy were astounded – and I was too. CV

American Idol (Eleven)

Our Keef, his bromance with Harry Connick Jr and a weekly hair and make-up master class by Jennifer Lopez. Oh, and there was some pretty good singing as well. HB


Dating Naked (Eleven)

Why call a show Dating Naked and then pixilate all the nudity on display? Surely that defeats the whole purpose of this brainless series, filmed in Panama. Host Amy Paffrath kept her clothes on. Someone had to maintain some dignity. CV

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (Foxtel)

The cancellation of this TLC series could not come soon enough for mine. The exploitation of minors, the endorsement of obesity, topped off by the matriach's decision to shack back up with the man convicted of molesting one of her children. Just writing that summary makes me want to take a shower. HB


The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon (ABC)

This late-night US talk show, hosted by the former Saturday Night Live comedian Jimmy Fallon, gave me the most laugh-out-loud moments of any program this year. Emma Stone smashing her lip-synch challenge, Daniel Radcliffe speed rapping, the dancing Hashtag panda, and Cameron Diaz's Empire State photo bombs were just some of the highlights. Add in offsider Steve Higgins and house band The Roots and you've got a winning combo. CV

The Last Leg (ABC)

With our local-host-done-good Adam Hills at the helm, #isitok (that's an in-joke) if we claim this one as our own? What began as a risque Roy & HG-style Paralympic Games panel show has continued on to be as insightful and daring as its original brief. He wins it for his epic slam of the Westboro Baptist Church after they threatened to picket the funeral of comic legend Robin Williams. HB


The Millers (Ten)

The Millers has great credentials. This US sitcom is created by My Name is Earl's Greg Carcia and stars Arrested Development's Will Arnett. So why is the result so painfully unfunny? Nathan Miller's (Arnett) world is turned upside down when his parents Tom and Carol (Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale) split. Mum moves in with Nathan. Cue no laughs whatsoever. CV

The Millers (Ten)

What Colin said. HB


Patrick Brammall

What a year it has been for Patrick Brammall. Early feature roles in The Alice, Home and Away, Canal Road seemingly went nowhere but playing Sean Moody in 2012's A Moody Christmas put Brammall back in the spotlight. He followed that with Leo Taylor in Upper Middle Bogan. This year Brammall cemented his stardom playing Leo Taylor opposite Asher Keddie's Nina Proudman in Offspring. CV

Made his mark ... Patrick Brammall kicked goals all over the TV landscape in 2014. Picture: David Caird. Source: News Corp Australia

Luke Arnold

His likeness to Michael Hutchence gave even the rocker's former bandmates the shivers, but Luke Arnold's performance went beyond straight imitation in Seven's hit telemovie, INXS: Never Tear Us Apart. His talent has already helped launch his career overseas, with a strong follow-up role in US pirate drama, Black Sails.HB


Blake Garvey

Bachelor Australia star Blake Garvey went from hero to zero when it emerged that he had broken off his engagement to contestant Sam Frost after the reality show's finale. Things got worse when Garvey revealed that he was dating runner-up Louise Pillidge. Now officially the most hated man in the country. CV

Boo hiss ... Blake Garvey's treatment of Sam helped make him the most hated man in Australia. Source: Channel 10


That window where this 'son of' someone famous was worth a fat cheque and a place in our TV spotlight has surely shut by now, hasn't it? His thrashing at the hands of social media over his misogynist song lyrics since The X Factor finale should be all the viewer research Seven needs to send this guy packing. HB

Redfool ... Redfoo made few friends during his Australian stay. Picture: Stuart Quinn. Source: News Corp Australia


Monster Jam (ONE)

Take a bunch of three-metre tall, five tonne monster trucks with names such as Grave Digger,

Bounty Hunter, and Dragon's Breath and let them loose in a stadium filled with giant dirt mounds and you have a recipe for macho nirvana. Guaranteed to bring out the big kid in any viewer. CV

So You Think You Can Dance Australia (Ten)

It won't be back next year and more's the pity, I say. Ratings aside, this show delivered me my magic TV moment of the year when I took my wide-eyed, dancing diva, six-year-old niece to a recording and watched her marvel at the incredible talent on display. At one point, she leant over to me and whispered: "is this real, or am I dreaming it?" Ah, the perks of the job! HB

Guilty pleasure ... Nobody was watching So You Think You Can Dance Australia? but Holly but she loved it enough for the whole country. Source: Supplied

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Ukraine and rebels swap captives

Ukraine's president welcomes home prisoners of war freed under an exchange deal with pro-Russian separatists. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

UKRAINE and pro-Russian rebels are set to complete a swap of hundreds of prisoners as part of a new push for peace in Crimea, despite Kiev's decision to cut off key transport.

The dispute between the Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels is believed to be behind the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which killed 283 passengers and 15 crew in July.

The prisoner swap involved 222 guerillas and 145 Ukrainian troops.

The exchange began Friday and unfolded as negotiators from both sides held video talks on Skype.

Ukrainian prisoners stand as a militant of the self-proclaimed "People's Republic of Donetsk" stands guard during a prisoner exchange with Ukraine. Pic: AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV Source: AFP

The video conferences have so far failed to produce a new date for direct talks between the two groups.




On Friday the Ukraine suspended all bus and rail services to Crimea, severing the peninsula and 2.3 million from the mainland.


Some of the captives expressed surprise and joy at having the chance to go home in time for New Year's Eve — the most cherished of all the holidays celebrated in once-communist eastern Europe.

"They only just told us that this would happen," said a slightly older Ukrainian soldier named Artyom Syurik.

"I am looking forward to seeing my parents and wife. They do not know I am coming." Yet a rebel named Denis Balbukov sounded defiant as he sat in a Kamaz truck waiting to go home to Donetsk.

Russians, back to camera at right, and Ukrainians prepare for an exchange of prisoners outside Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Pic: AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko Source: AP

Simmering East-West tensions over Ukraine prompted the Kremlin on Friday to publishe a revised and more aggressive military doctrine that decries the "reinforcement of NATO's offensive capacities on Russia's borders".

Moscow accuses Washington of orchestrating weeks of deadly protests in Kiev last winter that toppled an unpopular Russian-backed president and saw Ukraine anchor its future with the West.

The Minsk talks were meant to end the diplomatic jousting by reinforcing two compromise September deals that preserve Ukraine as a single nation in which the Russian-border regions enjoy more self-rule.

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Chaos as $2.4m spills onto street

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 26 Desember 2014 | 20.01

Make it rain ... $2.4 million in cash littered Gloucester St in Hong Kong. Picture: South China Morning Post Source: Supplied

BOXES filled with more than $HK15 million ($2.4 million) in cash have spilt out of an armoured van onto a major Hong Kong highway, sparking a frenzy as drivers and passers-by tried to get their hands on the notes.

Traffic ground to a halt on Gloucester Road in central Hong Kong as taxi drivers rushed out of their cars to make a grab for the hundreds of banknotes scattered over the busy multi-lane highway.

TV footage showed pedestrians dashing in from the sidewalk to join in the Christmas Eve melee.

An eyewitness told South China Morning Postthey saw"a regular-looking Hong Kong lady" with "an armful of bricks of cash. It was as much as she could carry. She just disappeared into the depths of Wan Chai."

However police chief inspector Addy Li Chi-kin warned that anyone who found banknotes should return them immediately, or be arrested for theft.

Two people have already been detained after officers found about $HK165,000 in cash under one of their beds.

Cash grab ... police are searching for people who snatched money from a Hong Kong street. Picture: South China Morning Post Source: Supplied

Inspector Addy Li Chi-kin said about $HK5.69 million has been recovered after 30 persons surrendered the banknotes, but most is missing. Officers are reviewing CCTV footage and taking the licence plates of vehicles present at the time of the incident.

The bizarre incident unfolded on Christmas Eve after a money transport van owned by securities firm G4S began spilling cash.

The van was transporting HK$525 million in cash, divided into boxes.

Police Superintendent Wan Siu-hung said the driver of the van made it all the way to his destination, a half-hour's drive away, oblivious to the fact that his back door was open and the cash boxes had fallen out.

"When it (the van) arrived at its destination they discovered that the door was open," Wan told reporters, adding that police would use the serial numbers of the bills to conduct an investigation.

Bank of China, which hired G4S to deliver the banknotes, said in a statement that the security service company promised to pay for the losses.

"G4S has apologised for the incident and will hold liable to all the losses incurred based upon the contract engaged with BOCHK," the statement said,

Legal experts told local media that people who kept the banknotes would be committing larceny and could face up to 10 years in jail.

Until recently, several Hong Kong streets — including Gloucester St, had been blocked for nearly three months by protesters demanding democratic elections.

Pro-democracy protests ... protesters blockaded several Hong Kong streets for about three months. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

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Adelaide train brawl footage being investigated

Commuters on an Adelaide train line were shocked to see this fight, caught by one bystander, unfold.

TRANSIT police are seeking information about a fight on an Adelaide suburban train after a video of the ruckus emerged on social media.

The video shows two teenage boys, one wearing dark tracksuit pants, the other in tan shorts and short, white sox, exchanging wild punches as shocked commuters yelled for them to "break it up''.

The brawling boys fell to the floor before bystanders separated them as several other teens, including a girl, become involved.

It is unknown when the fight happened but police say they are investigating.

"The circumstances surrounding the video are being investigated and anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

A screen grab of footage of the brawl on an Adelaide train.

"You can remain anonymous,'' a police spokesman said.

Originally published as Adelaide train brawl footage being investigated

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More expats coming home to work

Terry McCrann explains why difficulties await Australia's business sector in the new year.

Sean Keenihan, chairman of partners at Norman Waterhouse Lawyers in Adelaide, returned to Australia after spending three years working in Indonesia. Picture: Mike Burton Source: News Corp Australia

THE gap between the number of workers who are leaving Australia for jobs and those returning to further their careers is widening — with more staff than ever choosing to come back to work on home soil.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a steady increase in the number of people who left Australia long term that have come back home.

Last year, 121,370 people returned to Australia compared to 98,840 in 2003.

Meanwhile the number of people leaving in the first place has drastically dropped off, with 70,660 long-term Australian departures recorded in 2013 — 102,250 people left for the long term in 2007 and 83,980 people in 2003.



Accounting and advisory firm William Buck reports weakening world business conditions as a result of the global financial crisis was driving many expats back to Australia.

Its Corporate Advisory Focus Group head Tony Hood said the surge of skilled workers back to Australian shores could give many local companies an innovation edge.

"Prior to the GFC, many of Australia's best white collar employees moved offshore to get a slice of the bigger money and opportunities on offer," he said.

"Now we're seeing a 'reverse brain drain', with many of these workers returning home to take advantage of employment conditions which are now on par with those offered around the world but with the added lifestyle benefits Australia offers.

"Many Eurozone and US companies had no choice but to innovate for survival so expats working in these business gained a huge amount of knowledge from these experiences."

He said the effects of the GFC in Australia were less severe, so many businesses may have been complacent as there was less urgency to change, but now are facing challenges that expats can help them through.

Norman Waterhouse Lawyers chairman of partners, Sean Keenihan, 43, was in 2003 one of the first to start the trend to return to Australia after spending three years in Indonesia.

Keenihan, who also holds roles as the vice president of Australia China Business Council and SA Government Strategic Adviser for China, returned to SA with his wife as they saw it as the best place in the world to start a family.

"At 43 I'm comparably young, compared to a lot of the chairman of other firms," he said.

"It's indicative of my partners recognising that I have a global perspective and a capacity to help our firm grab a stake of the future and play a key role in SA's economic transformation."

He said organisations need to be globally competitive and engaged for our standard of living to remain.

"Those that have both the capability and the appetite to play that role in connecting Australian and South Australian business and communities to other cultures, other economies, other markets — they are precisely the people that we need back here and precisely the type of people that progressive and innovative employers are looking towards to help their companies, to not only survive but prospect in the new world economy," he said.

Expat returned and stayed ... Dene Creegan gained overseas experience for 5 years before returning to Queensland. Picture: Liam Kidston Source: News Corp Australia

7Springs Medical Practice general manager Dene Creegan came back to Queensland from the UK in 2008 when the number of people heading overseas was near its peak.

"I didn't think there'd be any jobs, that I'd work in a fish and chip shop," she said.

"When you're coming home from Europe, you're living in the European bubble and there's an international skills shortage so there's plenty of jobs out here."

Recruitment firm Hays regional director Lynne Roeder said the peak time for expats to return to Australia was December and January as they ran away from the northern winter for summer holidays in Australia.

"We do see a spike in interest in the run up to December as candidates often hope to secure a new role in the New Year," she said.

"There are jobs for them in Australia depending on their skill set but they do need to be 'on the ground'.

"Very few employers will hire candidates that are still overseas."


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‘There are no winners here’

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 25 Desember 2014 | 20.01

Black teen Antonio Martin was shot dead in Berkeley, Missouri, Tuesday night by the St Louis police. The shooting occurred five miles from where Mike Brown was shot in Ferguson, the heart of protest in America since August. The circumstances surrounding the death are unclear with police claiming that Martin was armed and drew a weapon. Witnesses at the scene claim that Martin was unarmed. He was reportedly with his girlfriend and another friend at the time of the shooting. Witnesses have claimed that Martin was still breathing at the time of being shot, but that medical assistance was not forthcoming. His mother Toni Martin was brought to the scene and watched from a distance as her son lay in the Mobil petrol station lot. The shooting has caused civil unrest, with four people reportedly arrested so far.

On the run ... Police try to control a crowd on the lot of a gas station following a shooting in Berkeley. Source: AP Source: AP

THE police killing of another black teen just streets from the tumultuous suburb of Ferguson has prompted US authorities to again call for calm amid increasing unrest.

The mayor of the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley urged calm last night after a white police officer killed a black 18-year-old who police said pointed a gun at him, reigniting tensions that have lingered since the death of Michael Brown in neighbouring Ferguson.

RELATED: When 'warrior-cops' stalk the streets

A crowd of about 300 people gathered at the gas station where Antonio Martin was shot late yesterday, throwing rocks and bricks in a scene reminiscent of the sometimes-violent protests that followed Brown's death.

Police scuffle with protesters on the lot of a gas station following the shooting in Berkeley, Mo. St. Louis. Source: AP Source: AP

A smaller crowd gathered during the night. Dozens of protesters met at the gas station for a vigil, then marched to Interstate 170, at times blocking traffic, before returning to the station, according to local media reports. Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall told KMOV-TV that six to eight people were arrested.

Unlike the shooting of Brown, which was not captured on video, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said surveillance footage appeared to show Martin pulling a gun on the unidentified 34-year-old officer who questioned him and another man about a theft at a convenience store. Brown was unarmed.

"You couldn't even compare this with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York," Hoskins said, referring to the chokehold death of Eric Garner, another black man killed by a white police officer.

Hoskins, who is black, also noted that unlike in Ferguson — where a mostly white police force serves a mostly black community — more than half of the officers in his city of 9,000 are black, including top command staff.

However, police involved in the latest incident were not wearing the personal video camera gear they had been issued with, and some St Lois protesters have questioned whether the distant and blurry footage shows Martin holding a mobile phone — and not his gun.

A demonstrator holds her hands up during protest outside the Mobil On-The-Run gas and convenience store in Berkeley, Missouri. Source: AFP Source: AFP


St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar did not provide more details about the theft Martin was being asked about. He said Martin pulled a loaded 9mm handgun and the officer fired three shots while stumbling backward. One hit Martin, who didn't fire his own gun. He died at the scene.

RELATED: Mother pen's emotive plea after 18-month old wounded by police

"I don't know why the guy didn't get a shot off, whether his gun jammed or he couldn't get the safety off," said attorney Brian Millikan, who is representing the officer. He said that the officer was lucky to be alive and certain he had no choice but to use lethal force.

Evidence assessed ... Police photograph a gun on the ground following a shooting at a gas station in Berkeley, St. Louis. Source: AP Source: AP

Police throughout the country have been on alert since two New York officers were gunned down in an ambush last weekend by a man who had made threatening posts online about killing police. He later killed himself.

St. Louis County police and the city of Berkeley are investigating the shooting of Martin, which Belmar called a tragedy for both Martin's family and the officer, who has been on the force for six years.

"He will carry the weight of this for the rest of his life, certainly for the rest of his career," Belmar said of the officer. "There are no winners here."

No surrender ... Protesters shut down an interstate at Airport Road in Berkeley for a second night after the shooting by a white police officer of a black 18-year-old. Source: AP Source: AP


The officer wasn't wearing his body camera, and his cruiser's dashboard camera was not activated because the car's emergency lights were not on, Belmar said.

Police released surveillance video clips from three different angles. The men can be seen leaving the store as a patrol car drives up. The officer gets out and speaks with them.

About 90 seconds later, one appears to raise his arm, though it's difficult to see what he's holding. Belmar said it was a 9mm handgun with one round in the chamber and five more in the magazine.

Police released a photo of the weapon they recovered from the scene via Twitter.

Belmar said Martin had a criminal record that included three assault charges, plus charges of armed robbery, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.

Merry Christmas ... Heavily armed St. Louis Police officers guard the entrance to the Cathedral Basilica before Midnight Mass as protesters held a candlelight vigil. AP Source: AP


Phone messages left for his parents were not returned. His mother, Toni Martin-Green, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Antonio was the oldest of four children.

"He's like any other kid who had dreams or hopes," she said. "We loved being around him. He'd push a smile out of you."

His was the third fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer in the St. Louis area since Brown was killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Kajieme Powell, 25, was killed Aug. 19 after approaching St. Louis officers with a knife. Vonderrit Myers, 18, was fatally shot on Oct. 8 after allegedly shooting at a St. Louis officer.

Do or die ... Demonstrators participate in a die-in protest outside the Mobil On-The-Run gas and convenience store in Berkeley. Source: AFP Source: AFP

Each killing has led to protests, as did a grand jury's decision last month not to charge Wilson in Brown's death. A crowd quickly gathered late Tuesday in Berkeley. The demonstration involving about 300 people turned violent.

More than 50 police officers responded to protests yesterday. Belmar said officers used pepper spray. Four people were arrested on charges of assaulting officers.

Belmar said three explosive devices, perhaps fireworks, were tossed near gas pumps. One officer hit by a brick was treated for facial cuts, and another was treated for a leg injury sustained as he retreated from an explosive.

Growing unrest ... A woman walks with police near the gas station where black 18-year-old Antonio Martin was killed by police. Source: AP Source: AP


State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat who has been critical of how police handled the Brown case, said the Martin shooting was far different than Brown's, noting that Martin pointed a weapon at the officer.

"That officer not only has an obligation to protect the community, but he also has a responsibility to protect himself," said the senator, who is black. "Because of the video, it is more than apparent that his life was in jeopardy."

But Taurean Russell, co-founder of Hands Up United, asked if police had any reason to question Martin in the first place. Mistrust of police remains high among blacks, many of whom are weary of harassment, said Russell, who is black.

Some protesters questioned why the officer couldn't use pepper spray or a stun gun.

"Frankly, that's unreasonable," Belmar said.

"When we had somebody pointing a gun at a police officer, there's not a lot of time."

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Christmas: You’re doing it wrong

How's your Christmas tree? Pic: Reddit. Source: Reddit

That time of the year where you get a whole heap of stuff you didn't ask for, spend a lot of money on people avoided you all year, only to find they hate what you bought them anyway.


If you're tired of the fake smiles as people open your gifts with horror and disdain, you're not alone.

It seems the interweb is right behind you with social ineptitude when it comes to Christmas.

Reddit users have proven that even epic Christmas fails can bring joy to even the most un-Christmassy of us.

So let's get the gift-thing over with, load up on eggnog and get into the Christmas spirit (like brandy) while you look for ways to auction off the stuff you got online tomorrow.

It might help pay off the January debt.

Giving fail: Sometimes there's no pleasing people.

Like CaptainObvious_1 who just can't seem to get the gifts right after five years with his girlfriend.

Sometimes it seems girlfriends are hard to get gifts for. Picture: Reddit. Source: Reddit

Or this guy, anxious about the cost of Christmas.

ZooPants: "My wife starts Christmas shopping today"

Stay on budget. Picture: Reddit. Source: Reddit

Or the guy who struggles to pick a gift.

"Umm, hope you like them. I hate Christmas shopping," posts lemystery

Awkward Christmas gift moment. Pic: Reddit. Source: Reddit

Perhaps some homemade Christmas knitting mastery.

"Christmas Knit-a-thon has been halted because I am now the owner of the worlds biggest sock", writes katiedidit.

The gift for when one foot is bigger than the other. Picture: Reddit Source: Reddit

Or those awkward Christmas trees.

Where are you plugging those lights in? Picture: bi24fGamer/Reddit. Source: Reddit

That great sporting family.

"My family's Christmas tree is made out of hockey sticks," ablair24.

Have a very sporty Christmas. Source: Reddit

And finally, the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

"My wife just texted me this. She told me she was Christmas shopping," posted Mctalbayne.

Pants are always good at Christmas. Picture: Reddit. Source: Reddit

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