Mum had sex, ate pizza as son died

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 31 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Forensic services photograph the contents of a bin outside the home where the boy died. Source: News Corp Australia

A blurred image of the boy. Source: DailyTelegraph

A MOTHER has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her seven-year-old son as court papers revealed that the boy had been dead for some time before authorities were told falsely told that he had fallen off a pogo stick.

Court papers revealed the woman and her boyfriend ate pizza and had sex while the boy lay dying.

Documents tendered in court for the first time today revealed that the boy had suffered months of horrific abuse at the hands of his mother and allegedly the mother's new boyfriend between January 2013 and his death in May.

The boy was starved, beaten, segregated from his family and forced to run on a beach until the point of collapse.

In March 2013, the boy was spotted by other campers in Bulli, south of Sydney, being chased with a stick, forced to run along the beach in boot-camp style training and hit repeatedly with a spatula.

He seemed "skinny and undernourished" and his lips were cracked and swollen from dehydration, one witness reported. The boy had also been asking for water.

Concerned, they reported the abuse to police but officers said they saw no injuries when they visited the campsite in March.

In a video recorded by his mother just a month before his death, the boy is seen being subjected to a form of discipline featured in the 2010 film Karate Kid.

For more than three minutes he is forced to repeatedly take his jacket off, put it on a chair and then put it back on.

The woman's 29-year-old boyfriend allegedly filmed as he encouraged his two younger siblings to bash him while he laughed in the background.

His mother beat him with a wooden plank on the buttocks and did not take him to a doctor when the wound got infected.

The property at Oatley was a crime scene for days after the child's death was reported. Source: News Limited

She later told her Christian musician boyfriend that "the devil has attacked me twice through the boy, I don't feel safe with him".

The boy also stopped going to school after his mother and his two younger siblings moved into the boyfriend's Oatley music studio in January 2013.

The studio did not have a toilet or windows and the kids were allegedly made to wear nappies despite being toilet trained.

The mother called ambulance officers just after 6am on morning of May 21 and told he fell off a pogo stick the day before.

"There were signs of rigor mortis estimating that he had been deceased for some time," the papers said.

The child's death was originally blamed on a pogostick mishap. Source: News Corp Australia

"(Paramedics) also saw extensive bruises on his limbs along with a large 'boggy mass' on the rear of his head and coning of his head, which is indicative of trauma."

Only hours before the ambulance was called, the mother's boyfriend had allegedly looked up YouTube clips of "Gloria Copeland divine healing", which was allegedly in line with his Christian pentecostal beliefs.

The documents revealed the mother told police late last year that the pogo stick excuse was untrue.

The 26-year-old mother, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges when she appeared via video link from jail at Central Local Court today.

The charges included manslaughter, reckless wounding in company, producing child abuse material and failure for a person with parental responsibilities to care for a child.

She will be sentenced in the Supreme Court on May 8.

Originally published as Mum had sex, ate pizza as son died
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Hollywood actress led Fitzy to Scientology

On Channel 10's The Project, host Fitzy recalls how a meeting with Jenna Elfman led to him being alone in a dark Scient

Ryan "Fitzy" Fitzgerald had a creepy Scientology encounter. Source: Supplied

RYAN "Fitzy" Fitzgerald has revealed he had a creepy encounter with the Church of Scientology after being referred by actress Jenna Elfman.

While co-hosting The Project on Tuesday night, the Nova radio host said he was holidaying in Los Angeles 12 years ago before a knee reconstruction.

That's when a chance meeting with the Dharma & Greg actress led him to the church.

"I went to Santa Monica Boulevard and I saw Jenna Elfman there ... and I was a massive fan so I went up and asked for a photo," he said.

Fitzy says a chance meeting with Jenna Elfman led him to the church. Source: Supplied

The 38-year-old says he explained to her that he was about to undergo a knee reconstruction — and she claimed she could "fix it".

"And she goes, 'Where are you from?' And I said, 'I'm from Adelaide,' and she said, 'I've got a contact for you, its called the purification process and it will fix all your problems.'"

He says they swapped details and she gave him a contact for when he returned to Adelaide.

"I thought I was going to see a doctor or a physio and I rocked up and it was the Church of Scientology," he said.

Jenna Elfman in "Dharma & Greg". Source: News Corp Australia

Fitzy saw Jenna in LA and asked for a pic. Source: Supplied

"A guy brought me in and there were all these people there. And he said, 'Welcome, we've been waiting for you'.

"He took me down into this dark room to watch this video of a young man who got injured and how he went to Scientology and got his way out of it.

"But when they stopped the video it was completely black. And I'm down in this basement and I'm just waiting for a baseball bat to hit me in the back of the head.

"And I was freaking out ... I gave them a fake number and address and I got out of there as quick as I could."


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Pilot handed incredible note

The families of two Australians killed in the Germanwings plane crash have honoured their loved ones.

WE'RE in the midst of one of aviation's darkest times.

We have been left shocked and heartbroken time after time again over the past year with a series of unimaginable flight tragedies, the latest seeing 150 people killed on board Germanwings Flight 9525.

So it's to be expected that we're all looking for answers, hoping to prevent another tragedy from happening in our skies. And as more and more harrowing information comes to light of the terrifying final moments on board the doomed Germanwings jet, many flyers are on edge at the thought of taking to the skies.

So imagine this pilot's surprise when a passenger decided to share some kindness in a rather unexpected way.

The pilot and airline cannot be named for security reasons. Source: Supplied

The pilot, who is unnamed for security reasons, was handed a note from the passenger during a flight from Spain to the south of England on Monday.

Instead of being a complaint or criticism, the glowing note voiced appreciation for the incredible job pilots do, ultimately seeking to inject kindness into a shocked world.

The letter doing the rounds Source: Supplied

The thrilled pilot shared the note with a colleague, Jai Dillon, who then posted it onto Twitter where it has already been shared thousands of times.

Jai Dillon (left) Source: Supplied

Dillon, a pilot based in the UK who has been flying commercially for the past three years, told news.com.au his co-worker wanted to share the letter that had touched his heart.

"They were incredible happy," Dillon, 23, said. "I feel that the positive message is worth spreading."

It's a good reminder that thousands of pilots and crew get millions of people safely from point A to B every year. To you all, we say thank you.


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‘GPs should dob in troubled pilots’

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 30 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Doomed ... The Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in France on March 24, 2015. Pic: AFP PHOTO / GIORGIO PAROLINI Source: Supplied

AN international aviation lawyer has called for the adoption of mandatory reporting for doctors who treat pilots they consider to be unfit to fly, in the wake of the Germanwings' crash.

Jerry Skinner who is acting for several families bereaved by the MH17 tragedy, said there should be some onus on general practitioners to alert a pilot's employer if they are mentally unwell.

In Australia, pilots are legally required to report any significant medical conditions that could impair their ability to fly to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

They must also undergo annual checks by an aviation medical examiner who then issues a certificate stating their fitness to fly.

Aviation laws ... Jerry Skinner wants mandatory reporting for doctors who treat troubled pilots. Pic: Adam Smith/News Corp Australia Source: News Corp Australia

But a pilot seeking treatment from a GP or psychologist could conceivably conceal that from their employer, and the doctor is not required to report any concerns.

The issue has arisen as a result of the horrific Germanwings' crash last Tuesday, in which co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was found to have deliberately locked his captain out of the cockpit then steered a packed A320 into a mountain.

All 150 people on board were killed, including 16 German high school students and two Australians.

Torn up notes stating Lubitz was unfit for duty on several days, including the day of flight 4U-9525, were found in his Dusseldorf flat.

Evidence ... Investigators carry boxes from the apartment of Andreas Lubitz, in Dusseldorf. Pic: AP Photo/Martin Meissner Source: AP

Mr Skinner said there should be penalties for doctors who did not report someone they knew to be a pilot was in such poor mental health that they could present a danger.

"(In Lubitz's case) there had apparently been no communication between the physician and the airline about whether the doctor thought this person was dangerous," said Mr Skinner.

"It would certainly be a good idea if there was some sort of mandatory reporting requirement, if you thought a pilot could be dangerous to their passengers — especially now with aircraft that carry almost 500 people."

In South Australia and the Northern Territory, doctors are obliged to report to transport authorities people who they consider to be unfit to drive.

Tragedy ... The remains of Germanwings' Flight 4U-9525 in the French Alps. Pic: AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat Source: AFP

But there is no such mandatory reporting requirement anywhere in Australia in relation to pilots.

Australian and International Pilots Association president Nathan Safe has called for a discussion with airlines about managing mental health issues.

He said the ideal solution was to make pilots feel comfortable enough to come forward of their own accord.

"We need to have mature industrial agreements to make people feel safe and comfortable and not punished for seeking medical help," said Mr Safe.


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Killer pilot’s chilling final words

The Germanwings co-pilot who 'deliberately' crashed the plane sought psychiatric help for depression in 2009

Investigation continues ... the personal life of Andreas Lubitz is being carefully looked at. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

  • Black box reveals haunting last words of co-pilot
  • Lubitz 'feared vision problems would ground him'
  • DNA found from 78 victims
  • Girlfriend of crash co-pilot reportedly pregnant

THE chilling last words of killer co-pilot Andreas Lubitz — caught on the Germanwings aircraft's black box — gave a sign that he would crash the plane, killing 150 people.

When the captain asked Lubitz if he could check the landing preparations for the Airbus A320, the 27-year-old replied "Hopefully" and "Let's see", The Times reports.

The co-pilot had nagged captain Patrick Sonderheimer to go for a toilet break after the captain mentioned that he had not had time for one in Barcelona, from where the plane took off, bound for Dusseldorf.

Early years ... Andreas Lubitz learns how to fly. Source: No Source

Mr Sonderheimer, 34, then got up and left the cockpit, according to reports.

The captain, 34, could soon be heard shouting "For God's sake, open the door", as the plane plunged before it smashed into the French Alps.

Loud metallic blows could reportedly be heard against the cockpit door, before another warning alarm went off. The pilot then screamed to a silent Lubitz in the cockpit "open the damn door".

In other developments, footage has emerged of mass killer Lubitz learning how to fly as a teenager. In the footage, Lubitz can be seen laughing and smiling as he takes off and lands solo during a short glider flight in Germany. The pilot started his commercial pilot's training in 2007, aged 20.

Crash scene ... rescue workers and gendarmerie continue their search operation near the site of the Germanwings plane crash. Source: Getty Images

Earlier, German mass-circulation Bild reported that Lubitz's body had been recovered from the crash scene. Leading forensic scientist Professor Michael Tsokos told Bild Lubitz's body was among those already recovered from the crash site.

He said his team had been working round the clock to test and sort as many as 600 separate body parts from the 150 people killed in the crash.

Mr Tsokos said he hoped that within three weeks up to 95 per cent of all the victims will have been identified and officially declared dead.

Tough task ... Forensic experts of the French gendarmerie at work. Picture: AFP/ MINISTERE DE L'INTERIEUR Source: AFP

Investigators also say tests on Lubitz's body could provide crucial clues as to why he decided to lock himself in the cockpit of Flight 9525 and set the plane's autopilot to crash into the side of a mountain.

This latest information comes as it was revealed terrified passengers can be heard screaming for more than five minutes as rogue pilot Lubitz brought down the flight.

A new industry deal requires Australian airlines have two crew members in the cockpit at all times.

Lubitz 'hid illness from employers'

As investigators seek to build up a picture of Lubitz and any possible motives, media reports have emerged that he suffered from eye problems, adding to earlier reports he was severely depressed.

German prosecutors believe Lubitz hid an illness from his airline but have not specified the ailment, and said he had apparently been written off sick on the day the Airbus crashed.

Forensic work ... Most body parts were being winched up to helicopters before being transported to a lab in the nearby town of Seynes. Picture: AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat Source: AFP

Bild and the New York Times, citing two officials with knowledge of the investigation, said Lubitz had sought treatment for problems with his sight.

The 27-year-old had been hospitalised as late as a fortnight ago with authorities not ruling out his eyes issue were psychosomatic.

Troubled man ... Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings airliner. Picture: Wolfgang Nass/BILD Source: Supplied

Revelations by his ex-lover, a flight attendant identified under the assumed name Maria W, that he was a tormented man and increasingly becoming erratic was prompted by his fear his mental and eye health for which he was receiving psychiatric and neurological treatment may deem him unfit to fly.

The problem is thought to be a retinal detachment, Bild said.

Authorities have found several torn up sick notes in his Dusseldorf apartment that excused him from work but apparently were never given to his bosses.

Girlfriend rumoured to be pregnant

Bild also reported that Lubitz's girlfriend, with whom he lived in the western city of Dusseldorf, was believed to be pregnant.

It gave no sources but said the teacher, who taught maths and English, had told pupils a few weeks ago she was expecting a baby.

It came as new claims suggest Andreas Lubitz was obsessed with the Alps and specifically the southern region which he would later crash his Germanwings flight into, having flown gliders over the area years earlier.

Found ... Lubitz's body has reportedly been recovered from the crash scene. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Poor health ... Andreas Lubitz was reportedly suffering from deteriorating eyesight. Picture: AFP/ Team Mueller Source: AFP

Another woman, Maria W, dated Lubitz for five months last year but broke it off because she felt he was not right, was volatile and had a temper. He had been in a previous long-term relationship of several years with a woman he met at Burger King where they both worked in 2008 in Montabaur in Germany and since Maria had been dating another flight attendant.

Remote terrain ... Chasseurs Alpins rescuers, the elite mountain infantry of the French Army, working at the crash site. Picture: AFP/Francis Pellier Source: AFP

Unprecedented difficulty ... some of the recovery work has to be performed by abseiling. Picture: AFP/Francis Pellier Source: AFP

'During conversations he'd suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me," Maria said. "I was afraid. He even once locked me in the bathroom for a long time."

She said after she had heard about the crash she recalled a conversation Lubitz had with her.

"When I heard about the crash, there was just a tape playing in my head of what he said: 'One day I will do something that will change the system and everyone will then know my name and remember me'," she recalled

"I did not know what he meant by that at the time, but now it's clear."

"The torn up sick notes make sense now to me and were a clear sign that he did not want to admit that his big dream of flying as a captain was over," Maria said.

Evidence found ... sick notes saying Lubitz was unfit to fly were found in his home. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Tougher cockpit rules on Australian planes

Australian airlines will be required to have two crew in the cockpit of their planes at all times under stricter rules.

Transport Minister Warren Truss will announce the new requirements on Monday.

The stronger cockpit safety requirements for Australian domestic and international airlines will take effect immediately.

Previously Australia has allowed a pilot to be alone on the flight deck.

Aussie relatives ready to visit crash site

When Malcolm Coram stands looking at a modest stone memorial in the tiny French village of Le Vernet he'll be able to look past it to tree-covered hills beyond which are barren mountains and then snow-capped Alps.

Just over the highest peak is the place where his sister, Carol Friday, and nephew, Greig Friday, both from Melbourne, died almost a week ago when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz apparently deliberately crashed the Germanwings Airbus A320 he was flying.

Mr Coram and his daughters Georgina and Philippa — who are nurse Carol's nieces and engineer Greig's cousins — will fly in to Marseilles on Monday morning (Monday night AEDT) before driving north into the Alps to say an unbearably sad farewell.

In Le Vernet they'll lay flowers at the memorial erected for those who died last Tuesday when flight 4U9525 from Barcelona didn't reach Dusseldorf.

Flowers offered ... A monument in the area where the Germanwings aircraft crashed. Picture: AP/Claude Paris Source: AP

The Corams are expected to leave tributes from other family and friends too, including poems, photos and reminders of the Australian bush that Carol and Greig loved.

Carol's husband, Dave, and the couple's daughter, Alex, aren't travelling to France.

The memorial stone in Le Vernet reads: "In memory of the victims of the air disaster of March 24, 2015".

It stands above the village near a cluster of low wooden buildings that once formed a youth centre but now house a small restaurant, a smaller school, the village library and some chalet-style accommodation.

In the summer people stay for the walking. In winter it is all about skiing.

Now the site is crammed with satellite trucks, TV cameras and media from around the world.

Germany lost 75 nationals — half of all those on board — in the disaster but there were victims from more than a dozen countries. French emergency workers have held aloft national flags in recent days when victims' relatives visit the memorial.

Near crash ... French gendarmes prepare a German and a Japanese flag before relatives pay their respects. Picture: AFP/JEAN-PERRE CLATOT Source: AFP

They're expected on Monday to display a large Australian flag for the Corams as a mark of respect.

The recovery effort has been made more harrowing by the revelation Lubitz deliberately turned a button on the plane's flight-monitoring system that began a deadly eight-minute descent. "This action can only be deliberate," local prosecutor Brice Robin has said.

"It would be impossible to turn the button by mistake." Forensic teams have so far isolated 78 distinct DNA strands from body parts at the mountain crash site with investigators describing the difficulty of the search as "unprecedented" due to the arduous terrain.

DNA found from 78 crash victims

Investigators have faced a huge task in trying to recover bodies and search for a second 'black box' at the site, which is extremely hard to access and has required specialist mountain police to accompany search teams.

"We haven't found a single body intact," said Patrick Touron, deputy director of the police's criminal research institute.

Reflection ... relatives and members of emergency services at a makeshift monument to honour the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525, near the crash site. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

He said the difficulty of the recovery mission was "unprecedented".

"We have slopes of 40 to 60 degrees, falling rocks, and ground that tends to crumble," said Touron.

"Some things have to be done by abseiling."

Helicopters have been going back and forth to the nearby town of Seynes — around 60 trips a day.

"Since safety is key, the recovery process is a bit slow, which is a great regret," Touron said.

Most body parts were being winched up to helicopters before being transported to a lab in the nearby town of Seynes where a 50-strong team of forensic doctors and dentists and police identification specialists is working.

Between 400 and 600 body parts were currently being examined, Touron said.

Offering support ... Pastor Michael Dietrich is standing by Lubitz's family. Picture: AP/AP Television Source: AP

Support for Lubitz's family

The pastor of the Lutheran church in Andreas Lubitz's hometown said that the community stands by him and his family, despite the fact that prosecutors blame him for causing the plane crash.

The town of Montabaur has been rattled by the revelation that Lubitz may have intentionally caused the crash.

"For us, it makes it particularly difficult that the only victim from Montabaur is suspected to have caused this tragedy, this crash — although this has not been finally confirmed, but a lot is indicating that — and we have to face this," pastor Michael Dietrich said.

He spoke to The Associated Press after holding a church service to commemorate the crash victims and support their families.

"The co-pilot, the family belong to our community, and we stand by this, and we embrace them and will not hide this, and want to support the family in particular," Dietrich said.

Touching tribute ... Candles and flowers have been placed at the airline's headquarter in Cologne, western Germany. Picture: AFP/DPA/OLIVER BERG Source: AFP

He added that there is no direct contact with the family at the moment, but that he believes they are receiving good assistance.

French prosecutors haven't questioned the family yet "out of decency and respect for their pain," Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin said.

Dietrich, the pastor, said he knew Lubitz as a teenager, when he attended religious education 13 years ago, and his mother, who worked as a part-time organist in the community.

"When I worked with her or talked to her, it was very good and very harmonious. We had good conversations," Dietrich said. "I know her and her family. This does not make sense. It is incomprehensible for me, for us, for everyone who knew her and the family."

"From what I've heard, there were no obvious signs that there is anything in the background that could lead to this," he added.

'Plunged into sadness' ... the Digne archbishop spoke to people's feelings of grief and confusion about the tragedy. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

Hundreds show solidarity at service

At the Notre-Dame-du-Bourg Cathedral, 40km from the crash site, several hundred parishioners from the district as well as members of the French and Spanish branches of the Red Cross — dispatched to assist those distressed by the incident — prayed for the victims and their families.

150 candles were lit and prayers offered for each of the passengers and crew, including Lubitz.

The Digne archbishop spoke to people's feelings of grief and confusion about the tragedy.

"We are in deep distress, plunged into sadness, unable to understand, and have strong feelings of unfairness," archbishop Jean-Philippe Nault, told some 500 faithful.

He said they had come "to express their friendship" for the families and friends of those killed on board the Airbus A320 travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it went down.

Elements of the service were given by priests from Spain and Germany in their native tongue.

One parishioner Franciscan Convent nun Sister Rosilda said it was important to attend and show solidarity.

Challenging ... a 50-strong team of forensic doctors and dentists and police identification specialists is working on victim identification. Picture: AFP/Gendarmerie Nationale Source: AFP

"We cannot understand this pilot and why he did this," she said. "But we pray for the families, the victims and the pilot as well."

A father's pain

The father of one of the victims who visited a memorial near the crash site in the village of Le Vernet said airlines to take greater care over pilots' welfare.

Philip Bramley's 28-year-old son Paul died in the crash.

"I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly," Mr Bramley, from Hull in northern England said yesterday. "We put our lives and our children's lives in their hands. "What is relevant, is that it should never happen again; my son and everyone on that plane should not be forgotten, ever."

Lubitz had frequented a gliding club near the crash site as a child with his parents.

Boyhood dream to fly ... The LSC Westerwald aviation club where Lubitz was a member. Picture: AFP/Roberto Pfeil Source: AFP

According to Francis Kefer, a member of the club in the town of Sisteron about 50km from the crash site, Lubitz and other members of his German glider club visited the region regularly between 1996 and 2003.

When Lubitz crashed he would have flown over the peaks and major turning points for gliders that he would have done years earlier in his glider.


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Wax wants Pyne’s baby in space

Christopher Pyne and Ruby Wax joke on ABC's QANDA program about what life in space could look like.

COMEDIAN Ruby Wax has joked that she wants to have Education Minister Christopher Pyne's baby on ABC TV's Q&A.

When the discussion turned to a planet like Earth being discovered and needing to be populated, Wax joked: "We're going to have a child together".

Proud 'parents' ... Ruby Wax gives Christopher Pyne a hug at the end of Q&A. Picture: ABC TV Source: Supplied

When asked what they would name their offspring, Pyne referred to Wax.

"You are the comedian, you have to come up with the name," he said.

Her suggestion? "Mr Chatterbox".

Baby talk ... Christopher Pyne and Ruby Wax on Q&A. Picture: ABC TV Source: Supplied

Meantime, the Q&A panel weighed into the issue of mental illness, the Germanwings plane crash and Jeremy Clarkson's sacking from Top Gear.

Pyne and Wax were joined by Opposition's Penny Wong, musician Michael Franti and Nobel prize-winning astrophysicist Brain Schmidt.

Discussing the French Alps plane disaster, Pyne said: "Mental illness is not a laughing matter. We shouldn't be laughing about it".

"Mental illness is not rational. It is hard to describe how people react in these kind of situations," Pyne said.

"Obviously we have to get help to them as early as possible so they don't do something terrible like what's happened recently in France and every suicide bomber, of course, is a tragedy."

While Schmidt added: "(The Germanwings crash) was just so random. It's hard to understand."

Meanwhile, the discussion also turned to drug addiction and ice, with rock star Franti saying, "There's never a point where you've lost the battle with an addict".

Drug debate ... Michael Franti on the Q&A panel. Picture: ABC TV Source: Supplied

The panel also weighed into the tertiary education fee debate, with Wong taking a swipe at Pyne and the Abbott Government's university system, saying it "doesn't have accessibility and equity at its core".

Schmidt chimed in: "We need to change (uni fees). But we need a framework we can agree on."

When the chatter turned to mental illness, Wax, who has spoken publicly about her battle with depression, said there was still a stigma around it.

"Any other disease you can see but 2015 everyone thinks (depressions) an act of imagination".

On the topic of bullying, Wax said a lot of it came down to education. "Get teachers educated to deal with (bullying)," she said.

When Jeremy Clarkson's sacking from British TV show Top Gear was raised in a question from the audience, Wax — who has had a long career in TV and stand-up comedy — described fame and celebrity as an "illness".

"It comes down to there is an illness called fame," Wax said on Q&A.

"I knew Jeremy Clarkson when he was just a nice guy, if you infantilise people ... you are padded from reality.

"I'm not backing him up but that's in the brew. Don't go into television, don't try out for X Factor, that will happen to you."


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Haddin smashed for send off

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Cricket World Cup: Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson have struck early for Australia, taking some vital wickets in the opening stages of the World Cup final against New Zealand at the MCG.

Brad Haddin and James Faulkner give New Zealand's Grant Elliott a send off pic. Phil Hillyard Source: News Corp Australia

BRAD Haddin came under social media fire for his exuberant send off of Martin Guptill in the World Cup final.

Glenn Maxwell got the Kiwi for 15 when a slightly turning offie clipped off stump. Guptill had just gone to the top of the World Cup run scoring charts and is likely to stay there.

Amid Maxwell's joy, Australia's keeper gave Guptill a few words to send him on his way.

WATCH THE SEND OFF IN THE VIDEO ABOVE

The send off offended many on Twitter including former England bowler Alex Tudor who called Haddin a #Muppet.

Cricket World Cup: Four New Zealand batsmen have been dismissed by ducks in the World Cup final against Australia at the MCG.

Haddin wasn't done upsetting watchers.

After Grant Elliott reviewed an lbw call agains thim, and had the deicsion overturned, he exhanged heated words with Australia's keeper.

So, of course, haddin, was one the first to queue up to bid Elliott farewell at the end of his knock.

Brad Haddin gets stuck into Grant Elliott after being given out but the decision was overturned. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: News Corp Australia

Brad Haddin and James Faulkner give New Zealand's Grant Elliott a send off. pic. Phil Hillyard Source: News Corp Australia

Cricket World Cup: Mitchell Starc gets Brendon McCullum out for a duck in the opening over of the World Cup final.

Originally published as Haddin smashed for send off

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The side of Mexico few tourists see

Chilling in Cabo. Nearby is a more secret spot. Picture: Mark Mitchell Source: Flickr

FAR from the sprawling, all-inclusive resorts of Mexico's famous Los Cabos is a part of the Baja California peninsula that few tourists ever see, but should.

In one of Mexico's largest federally protected conservation areas for flora and fauna is a land forested with desert plants that look like they were drawn by Dr Seuss: candle-like boojum trees and distinctively sculptural elephant trees, towering cardon cactuses and other types of succulents.

Sitting in the middle of the peninsula, this little-known spot is the Valle de los Cirios, or Valley of the Boojums.

The plants it is named for were dubbed cirios - or candles - in Spanish, evidently because of their resemblance to tapered church candles at the missions nearby. South-western naturalist Godfrey Sykes later christened that same tree the "boojum," for an imaginary animal character in Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem The Hunting of the Snark.

Birds like pelicans and ospreys abound and peninsular pronghorns, once hunted to near extinction, roam the desert landscape. Under a Mexican government program, the hoofed animals are now making a comeback from their once critically endangered status.

ICacti are silhouetted against a twilight sky in the Valle de los Cirios. Source: AP

Among the oldest known mammals in the Americas, the pronghorns are known locally as "ghosts of the desert" because their golden brown or tan colour and white markings helps camouflage them.

Inside a cave in the Valle de los Cirios. Source: AP

Nearby, visitors can see ancient cave paintings depicting deer, whales and humans with six fingers.

The stark beauty and solitude encountered are a far cry from the fancy restaurants, pools with swim-up bars, fishing, snorkelling and sunbathing popular on the southern end of the Sea of Cortez, the long slip of water sandwiched between the Baja Peninsula and Mexico's mainland. The peninsula was once eloquently described in a travel journal by American writer John Steinbeck; its stunning coral reefs were praised by ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

A short way to the south, magnificent grey whales arrive every year off the Pacific coast town of Guerrero Negro, following one of the world's longest migration routes. They mate and calve in the lagoons nearby.

Mexico's government says there were more than 2600 whales in the lagoons at the end of February, including adults and calves - among the highest numbers in 19 years and 10 per cent more than last season. It estimates whale-watching could continue through the end of April before the sea mammals head back to Alaska.

Guerrero Negro has a long whaling history and was named for the whaling ship Black Warrior that partially sank in the area in 1858. Also located here is the largest salt-making facility on the planet. The salt is extracted from ocean water by evaporation, taking advantage of the region's low yearly rainfall, its large areas of flatlands and high solar radiation.

Getting there

Valley of the Boojums is in the middle of the 1247km Baja California peninsula and can be reached by car. Vehicles can be rented either in Tijuana near the Mexico-US border in the north or in the resorts of La Paz or Los Cabos in the south.

Guerrero Negro can be reached by car and has a small airport with regional service. Visiting the lagoons where you can watch whales is possible only through authorised tour operators in Guerrero Negro. Guides for seeing cave drawings can also be found in Guerrero Negro.

Why not stop in Cabo for a break, on the way? Picture: Nan Palmero Source: Flickr


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Frantic captain heard on black box

The Germanwings co-pilot who 'deliberately' crashed the plane sought psychiatric help for depression in 2009

Investigation continues ... the personal life of Andreas Lubitz is being carefully looked at. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

THE captain of the passenger jet that is believed to have been deliberately crashed into the French Alps reportedly shouted at the co-pilot to 'open the damn door' as he desperately tried to get into the locked cockpit.

French officials say the plane's black box voice recorder indicates that Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit of the Germanwings jet and steered the flight into a mountainside, killing all 150 people on board.

They believe that the more senior pilot, identified by Germany's Bild newspaper as Patrick S., tried desperately to reopen the door during the Barcelona to Dusseldorf flight's eight-minute descent after he left to use the toilet.

Devastation ... an investigator is lifted by helicopter from the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the French Alps. Picture: AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulat Source: AFP

The mass-circulation's Sunday edition reported that data from the cockpit recorder showed the captain shouted "For God's sake, open the door", as passengers' screams could be heard in the background.

It said "loud metallic blows" against the cockpit door could then be heard, before another warning alarm went off and then the pilot is heard to scream to a silent Lubitz in the cockpit "open the damn door".

Bild said that, earlier in Tuesday's flight, the captain was heard explaining to his colleague that he had not had time to go to the toilet before takeoff.

Prayers ... a priest prepares a ceremony for victims of the crash, at Notre-Dame-du-bourg Cathedral. Picture: AFP/Jeff Pachoud Source: AFP

As investigators seek to build up a picture of Lubitz and any possible motives, media reports have emerged that he suffered from eye problems, adding to earlier reports he was severely depressed.

German prosecutors believe Lubitz hid an illness from his airline but have not specified the ailment, and said he had apparently been written off sick on the day the Airbus crashed.

The Sunday edition of Germany's Bild tabloid and the New York Times, which cited two officials with knowledge of the investigation, said Lubitz had sought treatment for problems with his sight.

The 27-year-old had been hospitalised as late as a fortnight ago with authorities not ruling out his eyes issue were psychosomatic.

Troubled man ... Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings airliner. Picture: Wolfgang Nass/BILD Source: Supplied

Revelations by his ex-girlfriend, a flight attendant identified under the assumed name Maria W., that he was a tormented man and increasingly becoming erratic was prompted by his fear his mental and eye health for which he was receiving psychiatric and neurological treatment may deem him unfit to fly.

The problem is thought to be a retinal detachment, Bild said.

It also reported that Lubitz's girlfriend with whom he lived in the western city of Dusseldorf was believed to be pregnant.

It gave no sources but said the teacher, who taught maths and English, had told pupils a few weeks ago she was expecting a baby.

It came as new claims suggest Andreas Lubitz was obsessed with the Alps and specifically the southern region which he would later crash his Germanwings flight into, having flown gliders over the area years earlier.

Distraught ... Lubitz's father is a "broken man", say mayor Bernard Bartolini, who governs the town next to the crash site. Mr Bartolini spoke to the copilot's father at a memorial for relatives on Thursday. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Bad eyesight ... Andreas Lubitz was reportedly suffering from deteriorating eyesight. Picture: AFP Photo, Team Mueller Source: AFP

It also came as hundreds attended a memorial service held in the stunning 12th century Notre-Dame-du-Bourg Cathedral in Digne-les-Bains, the town nearest the crash site where 150 candles were lit and prayers offered for each of the passengers and crew including Lubitz.

Maria W. dated Lubitz for five months last year but broke it off because she felt he was not right, was volatile and had a temper. He had been in a previous long-term relationship of several years with a woman he met at Burger King where they both worked in 2008 in Montabaur in Germany and since Maria had been dating another flight attendant.

Remembrance ... flowers and candles left to commemorate a woman from Halle, eastern Germany. Picture: Hendrik Schmidt Source: AFP

'During conversations he'd suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me," Maria said. "I was afraid. He even once locked me in the bathroom for a long time."

She said after she had heard about the crash she recalled a conversation Lubitz had with her.

"When I heard about the crash, there was just a tape playing in my head of what he said: 'One day I will do something that will change the system and everyone will then know my name and remember me'," she recalled

"I did not know what he meant by that at the time, but now it's clear." Authorities have found several torn up sick notes in his Dusseldorf apartment that excused him from work but apparently were never given to his bosses.

"The torn up sick notes make sense now to me and were a clear sign that he did not want to admit that his big dream of flying as a captain was over," Maria said.

Evidence found ... sick notes saying Lubitz was unfit to fly were found in his home. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

At the Notre-Dame-du-Bourg Cathedral, 40km from the crash site, several hundred parishioners from the district as well as members of the French and Spanish branches of the Red Cross dispatched to assist those distressed by the incident, prayed for the victims and their families.

The Digne archbishop spoke to people's feelings of grief and confusion about the tragedy.

"We are in deep distress, plunged into sadness, unable to understand, and have strong feelings of unfairness," archbishop Jean-Philippe Nault, told some 500 faithful.

He said they had come "to express their friendship" for the families and friends of those killed on board the Airbus A320 travelling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it went down.

Elements of the service were given by priests from Spain and Germany in their native tongue.

One parishioner Franciscan Convent nun Sister Rosilda said it was important to attend and show solidarity.

History of depression ... the apartment building where Lubitz lived. Picture: AFP/PATRIK STOLLARZ Source: AFP

"We cannot understand this pilot and why he did this," she said. "But we pray for the families, the victims and the pilot as well."

The father of one of the victims who visited a memorial near the crash site in the village of Le Vernet said airlines to take greater care over pilots' welfare.

Philip Bramley's 28-year-old son Paul died in the crash.

"I believe the airlines should be more transparent and our finest pilots looked after properly," Mr Bramley, from Hull in northern England said yesterday. "We put our lives and our children's lives in their hands. "What is relevant, is that it should never happen again; my son and everyone on that plane should not be forgotten, ever."

Lubitz had frequented a gliding club near the crash site as a child with his parents.

Knew him well ... Dieter Wagner, honorary member of the LSC Westerwald airfield, where Lubitz first learned to fly. Picture: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

According to Francis Kefer, a member of the club in the town of Sisteron about 50km from the crash site, Lubitz and other members of his German glider club visited the region regularly between 1996 and 2003.

When Lubitz crashed he would have flown over the peaks and major turning points for gliders that he would have done years earlier in his glider.

Boyhood dream to fly ... The LSC Westerwald aviation club where Lubitz was a member. Picture: AFP/Roberto Pfeil Source: AFP


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Lubitz was ‘obsessed’ by the Alps

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 28 Maret 2015 | 20.01

A German prosecutor on Friday said 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz had been issued a doctors note, excusing him from work the day of the Airbus A320 crash. Mark Kelly reports.

Those who knew Andreas Lubitz said he was "obsessed" by the Alps and knew the area of the crash well.

He was a gliding enthusiast and took part in at least one class organised by his local flying club in the French Alps' province where he brought down the flight reported the International Business Times. according to an article in the Le Parisien newspaper.

A club member told the newspaper that during the class the 28-year-old flew over the mountains he later chose to die on.

"He was passionate about the Alps and even obsessed. I'm sure he knew the crash area because he had glided over it," said Dieter Wagner.

Medical fitness ... Andreas Lubitz reportedly feared he was about to lose his flying license. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

As these latest details emerge the former girlfriend of Lubitz has broken her silence about the tormented man who killed 149 people and himself in the Germanwings plane crash on Tuesday.

The woman, who remains anonymous, told the German newspaper Bild that Lubitz would wake from nightmares screaming "We're going down".

She said Lubitz made an ominous reference a year ago to the heinous act he carried out this week.

"When I heard about the crash, there was just a tape playing in my head of what he said, 'One day I will do something that will change the system and everyone will then know my name and remember me'," she said.

"I did not know what he meant by that at the time, but now it's clear."

The woman said she left Lubitz because of his erratic behaviour, and the break-up reportedly devastated the already disturbed pilot. It's understood he had bought matching Audis and planned to give one to her.

Seized ... investigators found torn-up sick notes at Andreas Lubitz's apartment in Dusseldorf. Picture: AFP/Patrik Stollarz Source: AFP

The ex-girlfriend's revelations affirm reports from others who knew Lubitz as a troubled man who had endured long bouts of depression and burnout.

He had a sick note excusing him from work on the day he is suspected of having intentionally crashed Germanwings Airbus A320, killing everyone on board.

It has also been revealed he had been in hospital just a fortnight earlier and may have been on medication for his illness — believed to have been psychological — but hid the fact from his employers so he could keep alive his boyhood dream of flying.

Lubitz reportedly feared he was about to lose his flying license on the grounds of his medical condition, as at least two doctors deemed him unfit.

Remembrance ... a hastily-erected granite memorial in the village of Le Vernet, for the victims of the Germanwings plane crash. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

The revelations came as it was revealed the pilot of the ill-fated flight even tried using an axe to hack through the armoured door as the plane was sent into its fatal descent by Lubitz according to Bild

Lubitz locked himself into the cockpit when the captain went out to use the toilet, then refused his colleague's increasingly desperate entreaties to reopen the door, French prosecutor Brice Robin said.

As details about Lubitz continue to emerge a steady stream of family of the 149 victims under police escort continued yesterday to visit a hastily-erected granite memorial in the village of Le Vernet, overlooking the mountain behind which their loved ones remains were being recovered.

French authorities today confirmed between 400 and 600 body parts from the crash site in a deep rocky ravine had been recovered and were subject to DNA testing to positively identify them.

German investigators were today continuing to uncover vital new clues to help reveal what prompted the 27-year-old Lubitz to want to take his own life and of his five colleagues and 144 passengers.

Criminology ... forensic experts work near a mobile investigation unit in Seyne-les-Alpes, France. Picture: Claude Paris Source: AP

It was revealed on Friday he had been a patient at Dusseldorf University Hospital where he checked himself in for "diagnostic evaluation" on March 10 for an unknown illness.

The German prosecutor's office said medical records seized showed he had an existing illness and was being treated by doctors. They also found torn-up sick notes at his apartment in Dusseldorf. He divided his time between there and his parents' home in Montabaur.

"The fact there are sick notes saying he was unable to work, among other things, that were found torn up, which were recent and even from the day of the crime, support the assumption based on the preliminary examination that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and his professional colleagues," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said.

They have confirmed also his flying file at the Federal Aviation Office had a note which said he required "specific regular medical examination."

No suicide note was found or anything that hinted what he was about to do, or that he was motivated by any political or religious agenda.

The German authorities started searching the apartment of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in Dusseldorf-Unterbach, after they also scanned his parent's house 100 kilometres (62 miles) further away in Montabour, Thursday. Senior prosecutor Ralf Herrenbruck from Dusseldorf declared in a press statement that the investigations were being executed to find more details about a possible motive for the intentional descent in which Lubitz is suspected of committing suicide and killing 149 others. After evaluating the Airbus A320 voice recorder, investigators concluded that Lubitz locked the flight's captain out of the cockpit to then start the fatal descent into the French Alps. The Germanwings 4U 9525 flight crashed en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf with 144 passengers and six crew members on board on Tuesday. It is believed that there are no survivors.

Dusseldorf University Hospital confirmed Lubitz had been a patient and had come to the hospital on March 10 but declined to say why, ruling out German media reports it was for depression. Some of his friends have said he had suffered depression and had been in treatment with psychologists since 2009, for at least 18 months.

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Lufthansa to provide all information they had on him. This followed a series of press conferences by Lufthansa — the parent company of Germanwings — and Germanwings management, during which they failed to respond to specific questions about Lubitz and the flight. In some cases, they admitted they simply did not know the answers, including to such simple queries as to why the aircraft had been 30 minutes late taking off.

German press has also stated Lufthansa would have been well aware of Lubitz's condition, with his personnel file stating he suffered from a "serious depressive episode", yet faced questions as to why they allowed him to continue flying.

In treatment ... Dusseldorf University Hospital confirmed Andreas Lubitz had been a patient and come to the hospital on March 10. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Vigil ... a gendarme at the crash site of Germanwings Airbus A320. where 150 people died. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Valls said that Lufthansa should give the maximum of information, "so that we can understand why this pilot got to the point of this horrific action." He added that "Everything is pointing towards an act that we can't describe: criminal, crazy, suicidal".

Germanwings, which has asked for its adverts to be taken down from London Underground stations, was setting up a family assistance centre in the French city of Marseille.

They had also offered the victims' families "up to 50,000 euros ($54,800) per passenger" towards their immediate costs.

The assistance, which the families would not be required to pay back, was separate from the compensation that the airline will likely have to pay over the disaster, a Germanwings spokesman told AFP.

A religious ceremony will take place on Saturday morning at 10.30am (09:30 GMT) at the Notre-Dame-du-Bourg cathedral in the nearby town of Digne-les-Bains, police said.

Families continued to visit Le Vernet, the tiny village closest to the crash sites where a granite memorial has been erected. Etched in French, German, Spanish and English is "in memory of the victims of the air disaster of March 24, 2015".

Strong words ... French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called on Lufthansa to reveal everything they know about Andreas Lubitz. Picture: AFP/Guillaume Souvant Source: AFP

Many lay flowers and comforted each other as they stared out toward the mountain behind which lay the remains of the plane and their loved ones, as overhead helicopters thumped back and forth carrying rescuers and crime scene investigators to the scene.

Belgian Claude Driessens, a brother of one of the crash victims Christian Driessens, said he was in a "rage" after hearing the crash may have been intentional. He also questioned what Lufthansa knew about the copilot's illness.

He said he found it unacceptable the airline allowed a sick pilot to fly a plane and secondly allowed a person to be alone in the cockpit contrary to policies by other airlines,

"For me that's blatant negligence," he said.

In the wake of the tragedy one recent Germanwings passenger told of how the pilot on her flight put them all at ease.

Recovery ... helicopters thump back and forth carrying rescuers and crime scene investigators to the scene. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

It was day after the horrific crash that Britta Englisch boarded her Germanwings flight and she was feeling understandably emotional reported Buzzfeed.

But the pilot did something special in his effort to reassure passengers and she took to social media to applaud him.

"Yesterday morning at 8:40am., I got onto a Germanwings flight from Hamburg to Cologne with mixed feelings. But then the captain not only welcomed each passenger separately, he also made a short speech before take off. Not from the cockpit — he was standing in the cabin. He spoke about how the accident touched him and the whole crew. About how queasy the crew feels, but that everybody from the crew is voluntarily here. And about his family and that the crew have a family and that he is going to do everything to be with his family again tonight. It was completely silent. And then everybody applauded. I want to thank this pilot. He understood what everybody was thinking. And that he managed to give, at least me, a good feeling for this flight."


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‘Everyone will know my name’

The Germanwings co-pilot who 'deliberately' crashed the plane sought psychiatric help for depression in 2009

Investigation continues ... the personal life of Andreas Lubitz is being carefully looked at. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

GERMANWINGS co-pilot Andreas Lubitz last year told his girlfriend he was planning an act so heinous the world would remember his name before he this week intentionally crashed Flight 9525 into the Alps, killing all 150 aboard.

In a stunning revelation in German media, Lubitz allegedly told his 26-year-old flight attendant girlfriend known as Maria W that he was worried his psychological issues would affect his dream of becoming a captain and flying long-haul flights.

The woman had been with him for a number of years but broke up recently.

Lubitz, it was revealed, had wanted to win her back and bought two Audis, one for him, the other for her, but then had just his delivered.

Troubled man ... Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings airliner. Picture: Wolfgang Nass/BILD Source: Supplied

Andreas Lubitz's chilling prophecy

Maria W told Bild newspaper when she heard about the crash she recalled one of their last conversations.

"When I heard about the crash, there was just a tape playing in my head of what he said, 'One day I will do something that will change the system and everyone will then know my name and remember me'," she claimed he had told her.

"I did not know what he meant by that at the time, but now it's clear."

The black box voice recorder indicates that the Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit on Tuesday and flew the Germanwings aircraft into a mountain in a remote corner of the Alps killing 149 crew and passengers including two Australians.

According to Bild, the young woman, who was "very shocked", flew with Lubitz on European flights for five months last year, but separated because she said it was increasingly clear "he had a problem".

She said if he did intentionally crash the plane as claimed, "it is because he understood that because of his health problems, his big dream of a job at Lufthansa, as captain and as a long-haul pilot was practically impossible".

She also said Lubitz would wake up from nightmares screaming, "We're going down".

Evidence found ... sick notes saying Lubitz was unfit to fly were found in his home. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Lubitz had sick note for crash day

The claims come amid revelations from authorities the co-pilot had been in Dusseldorf University Hospital on March 10 and even had a sick note excusing him from work on the day he is suspected of having intentionally crashed the aircraft.

The German prosecutor's office said his medical records seized showed he had an existing unnamed illness and was being treated by doctors. They found torn up sick notes at his apartment in Dusseldorf.

"The fact there are sick notes saying he was unable to work, among other things, that were found torn up, which were recent and even from the day of the crime, support the assumption based on the preliminary examination that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and his professional colleagues," a spokesman for the prosecutors office said.

They have confirmed also his flying file at the Federal Aviation Office had a note which said he required "specific regular medical examination."

No suicide note was found or anything that hinted what he was about to do or political or religious agenda.

History of depression ... the apartment building where Lubitz lived. Picture: AFP/PATRIK STOLLARZ Source: AFP

Some of his friends have said he had suffered depression and had been in treatment with psychologists since 2009 for at least 18 months and was becoming increasingly withdrawn.

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Lufthansa to provide all information they had on him.

German press has stated Lufthansa would have been well aware of Lubitz condition, his personnel file stating he suffered from "serious depressive episode" yet faced questions as to why they allowed him to continue flying.

Mr Valls said that Lufthansa should give the maximum of information "so that we can understand why this pilot got to the point of this horrific action" which he added that "everything is pointing towards an act that we can't describe: criminal, crazy, suicidal".

Others who knew Lubitz said he was "obsessed" by the Alps and knew the area of the crash well.

He was a gliding enthusiast and took part in at least one class organised by his local flying club in the French Alps' province where he brought down the flight reported the International Business Times according to an article published in the Le Parisien newspaper.

A club member told the newspaper that during the class the 28-year-old flew over the mountains he later chose to die on.

Knew him well ... Dieter Wagner, honorary member of the LSC Westerwald airfield, where Lubitz first learned to fly. Picture: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Boyhood dream to fly ... The LSC Westerwald aviation club where Lubitz was a member. Picture: AFP/ROBERTO PFEIL Source: AFP

Germanwings pulls 'adventure' ads

Germanwings has pulled advertisements with the slogan "Get ready to be surprised" from London's underground station after Tuesday's deadly crash.

The posters featured a sultry-looking flight attendant with slogans like, "Enjoy the variety of Germany and fly to e.g. Berlin or Hamburg."

A Transport for London spokesperson told Metro.co.uk the posters and digital ads were being removed.

"Our advertising department was contacted by the company and asked to remove the adverts on Tuesday," the spokesperson said.

A Germanwings spokesperson said: "Germanwings has stopped any marketing activities in the UK until further notice and has removed posters and online campaigns. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and friends of the victims."

Bad timing ... Germanwings has pulled its poorly timed 'adventure ads'. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Germany to hold memorial ceremony

Meanwhile, Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service for victims on April 17, regional authorities say.

The ceremony will be held at Cologne Cathedral in western Germany, a region from where many of the victims originated, and is due to be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck, a spokeswoman for the regional North Rhine-Westphalia government said.

Families and friends of the victims, as well as representatives from other countries affected by Tuesday's air disaster are invited, she said, adding they also wanted to enable anyone wishing to express their condolences to take part.

Gauck attended a memorial service Friday for 16 pupils and two teachers from a school in the western town of Haltern, who had been flying back from an exchange trip in Spain.

Half of the 150 people on the ill-fated flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf were German, with Spain accounting for at least 50 and the remainder composed of more than a dozen other nationalities.


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Second skydiver dead after collision

Michael Vaughan had performed 11,000 jumps before Friday's tragedy. Source: Facebook

TWO skydivers are now dead following the horrific midair accident at Byron Bay on Friday.

Alana Clarke, 29, died at the scene and experienced jumper Michael Vaughan, aged in his 40s, died in hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The pair collided midair after jumping from 4000 feet on Friday afternoon before plummeting to the ground. Ms Clarke died at the scene and Mr Vaughan was rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital.

The renowned instructor who had jumped more than 11,000 times underwent multiple surgeries but could not be saved.

Alana Clarke from Byron Bay died on Friday. Source: Facebook

Friends of Mr Vaughan's Facebook page posted their sorrow at his passing.

"You lived life to the fullest," Benjamin Sewell said.

"Thank you for your knowledge you so freely gave," said John Rynbout.

Investigators from the Australian Parachute Foundation (APF) believe Mr Vaughan and Ms Clarke collided during a dive that required them to fly close together.

The trouble appears to have started below 3000 feet after the parachutes opened, they said.

APF safety and training manager Richard McCooey says there is usually a procedure to use a reserve parachute in the event of a midair tangle.

Facebook images of Alana Clarke from Byron Bay. Source: Facebook

Parachuting students had been on a week-long course taking off from Tyagarah airstrip — often used by experienced skydivers and a skydiving company taking tourists for parachute drops.

The "canopy course" was hosted by Mr Vaughan, who has starred in TV advertisements and has made more than 10,000 jumps.

An average of two people a year are killed in Australia in skydiving and parachuting activities.


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MH370 link to Germanwings crash

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 27 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Flight data shows autopilot was reprogrammed in the Germanwings cockpit to change the altitude to 100ft.

Tribute ... a memorial to honour the victims of the doomed Germanwings flight in Le Vernet, France. Picture: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

KILLER Alps pilot Andreas Lubitz may have been inspired by the "rogue pilot" theory applied to the MH370 mystery.

As French prosecutors confirmed the cockpit voice recorder revealed Lubitz deliberately flew the plane into a mountainside, aviation industry insiders tried to make sense of his motivation.

An Australian pilot who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the publicity given to the disappearance of MH370 and speculation about the pilot's role in that, could have influenced Lubitz.

"I don't think you can discount that," said the pilot.

Death wish ... Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, pictured competing in a Lufthansa marathon in 2013. Picture: Wolfgang Nass/BILD Source: Supplied

"It's similar to when you hear of a young person who takes their own life, and other young people who are struggling to cope latch on to that.

"I really think (MH370) has put it into in the minds of people just as the September 11 attacks put forward the concept of aircraft as weapons."

Bond University psychology lecturer Clive Jones said a "vulnerable" person could be adversely impacted by the MH370 publicity.

"They would have to be in a place of vulnerability, they've got to be susceptible," said Dr Jones.

"But if they are vulnerable and are having some difficulties at work, it could nudge them into thinking 'that's not a bad idea.'"

Grim recovery ... a body is airlifted from the crash site of Germanwings Airbus A320 in the French Alps. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

He said the current reliance by airlines on "self-reporting" of mental health issues or the observations of co-workers was inadequate.

"Regular psychological assessments are the only way to identify issues in someone who is in denial, or too scared to speak up about problems," Dr Jones said.

"Psychometric screenings can certainly weed out symptoms. People generally can't fudge their way through."

Tragedy ... French police at the site where the families of the victims attended a commemoration. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

Australian and International Pilots Association president Nathan Safe said the Germanwings' crash highlighted the need for a discussion between airlines and crews about mental health.

"We want to ensure the support framework in place for mental health issues is mature, open and non-punitive," said Mr Safe.

"The most important thing is people feel comfortable in coming forward (about mental health problems) and their income isn't immediately threatened for doing so."

Questions ... police at the house of Andreas Lubitz' sparents in Montabaur, Germany. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

He said the life of a pilot could be tough for some people.

"It's irregular hours, and a lot of time away from home in hotels," Mr Safe said.

"It might sound good but it can be a lonely job for some people at times, and all of these things need to be looked at and need to be dealt with."

A Qantas Group spokesman said the airlines' first priority was the safety of employees and customers.

As well as annual medical checks and crew management training, staff were able to access confidential counselling services and safety reporting channels.


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Italian GP future under threat: Bernie

F1: Daniel Ricciardo says his Red Bull team 'still have a few issues' after the Aussie finished more than two seconds behind Lewis Hamilton in practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says Italian GP could go the way of German race and be cancelled. Source: Getty Images

FORMULA One supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he is prepared to let the Italian Grand Prix follow Germany by dropping it off the calendar, in a stark warning for organisers.

Ecclestone told reporters Ecclestone "What goes, goes" when asked whether the historic race at Monza, first run in 1950, could also fall victim after this year's German race was cancelled.

"There are lots of things we all would like, but we don't have them because we can't afford them," he said, in reply to a question about F1's European heartland.

Bernie Ecclestone: "There are lots of things we all would like, but we don't have them because we can't afford them". Source: Getty Images

Ecclestone, speaking at Sepang ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, could not confirm whether the German race would go ahead next year.

He said Malaysia would "probably" extend its contract, which runs out after Sunday's race, but that a new deal had "not yet" been signed.

Ecclestone admitted "it would be terrible" if Europe lost its remaining races, and would effectively mean Formula One was no longer a world championship.

Bernie Ecclestone talks with then Red Bull Racing drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the 2011 Italian GP in Monza. Source: Supplied

But he added: "It's funny how these people dig up all this money for things like the Olympics, swimming championships, European athletics and God knows what else to boost the country.

"The trouble in Germany was the Nurburgring spent an awful lot of money which they borrowed, didn't need to spend what they spent and therefore didn't need to borrow the amount they borrowed.

"They forgot to pay it back and that caused a few ripples. It sent a bad message."

Originally published as Italian GP future under threat: Bernie

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What police found at pilot’s home

'Took the plane down' ... co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, 28, lived with his parents and had begun flying as a teenager. Picture: Twitter/Facebook Source: Supplied

A French prosecutor says the Germanwings plane most probably crashed by voluntary descension.

GERMAN prosecutors revealed the "significant discovery" made at Germanwing co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's home was a sick note covering the day of the crash.

Prosecutors found "torn-up and current sick leave notices" suggesting he was ill and receiving medical treatment, backing up suspicions he hid his illness from his employer and colleagues.

While investigators did not specify what illness Lubitz had, German media reports he needed ongoing assessments for severe depression, BBC reports.

Duesseldorf prosecutors said in a statement that "interviews on this subject and the evaluation of medical records will take several more days", and that the outcome would be made public "once reliable evidence is available".

Authorities did not find a "suicide note or a confession", or any evidence that the co-pilot's actions may have been motivated by "a political or religious background".

Officers had on Thursday combed through a flat Andreas Lubitz kept in Duesseldorf as well as the house where he lived with his parents in the small western town of Montabaur.

The news comes following revelations the captain, Patrick Sonderheimer, used an axe to break down the cockpit's armoured door when he was locked out on the day of the crash.

This could not be immediately confirmed, but a spokesman for Germanwings confirmed to AFP that an axe was on board the aircraft. Such a tool is "part of the safety equipment of an A320," the spokesman told German daily Bild.

Lubitz reportedly suffered a major breakdown following a recent relationship breakdown.

According to The Telegraph in the UK, Lubitz was engaged to be married next year, but had recently broken up with his fiancee. It is understood that the 28-year-old was struggling to cope after the relationship failed.

Discovery ... Investigators carry boxes from the apartment of Andreas Lubitz. Picture: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

The theory emerged hours after The Guardian reported Lubitz stopped his training to be a pilot six years ago because he was suffering from "psychological problems".

The report, quoted from German daily Bild, said the Lufthansa flight school in Phoenix designated Lubitz at the time as "not suitable for flying".

Yesterday, police announced they had made a "significant discovery" at Lubitz's home in Dusseldorf.

German media also reported that police were investigating one particular piece of paper which they believe held clues to Lubitz's horrific actions.

Markus Niesczery of Dusseldorf Police told the Daily Mail: "We wanted to search to see if we could find something that would explain what happened."

"We have found something which will now be taken for tests. We cannot say what it is at the moment but it may be a very significant clue to what has happened," Mr Niesczery said.

No other details were released by local officials however.

More evidence ... Police carry a computer, box and bags out of Andreas Lubitz' parents' home. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

CNN also reported transponder data revealed the autopilot on the doomed flight was reprogrammed by someone in the cockpit to change the plane's altitude from 38,000 feet to 100 feet, according to Flightradar24.

Prosecutors say Lubitz deliberately crashed the passenger plane, killing 150 people.

Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin said the 28-year-old German crashed the plane "intentionally" and locked the captain out of the cockpit on Tuesday.

Now the mother of Lubitz's former classmate says he was forced to postpone pilot training around 2009 and suffered from "burnout or depression".

Significant find ... A suicide note was not thought to be the discovery. Picture: Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

"I can only image the whole thing was a knee-jerk reaction. It can't have been planned, although it was actually like a killing spree," she told The Mirror.

In a press conference overnight, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr confirmed that Lubitz had taken several months off work without disclosing why, but said he was considered mentally and physically fit to fly.

He said Lubitz had passed all psychological tests required to begin training and underwent regular physical examinations.

A Spiegel reporter, Matthias Gebauer, tweeted that friend of Lubitz said he had "burnout or depression" in 2009 and took a break from his pilot training.

Mr Spohr said that it appears the captain punched in the emergency number into the cockpit door to gain entry, but the co-pilot deployed the five-minute override.

Mr Robin said there is no indication this was an act of terrorism, but stopped short of declaring it suicide, saying only it was a "legitimate" question to ask.

On the question of suicide, Mr Spohr said: "We can only speculate what might have been the motivation of the co-pilot. In a company that prides itself on its safety record, this is a shock. We select cockpit personnel carefully."

Mr Robin refused to give details on the pilot's religion or ethnic background, saying: "I don't think it's necessarily what we should be looking for."

Lubitz lived with his parents in Montabaur and also kept an apartment in Dusseldorf, a Germanwings hub, according to Montabaur mayor Gabriele Wieland.

Mystery ... A police officer stands in front of Andreas Lubitz' apartment building lived in Dusseldorf, Germany. Picture: AP Photo/Martin Meissner Source: AP

The town of Montabaur published a news release on Thursday expressing sympathy with the family, although it did not name Lubitz.

At the house believed to be his parents', the curtains were drawn and four police cars were parked outside. Police kept the media away from the door of the Montabaur home.

Investigation ... A policeman carries bags out of the Lubitz' parents' residence. Picture: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Neighbour Johannes Rossmann said Lubitz appeared to be in good health and was a regular jogger. He described the pilot as calm and low-key.

"I do not believe he killed himself and claimed other people's lives," the 22-year-old Rossmann said. "I can't believe it until it is 100 per cent confirmed."

Lubitz was also identified by a flight club at which he was a member, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Andreas became a member of the club as a youth to fulfil his dream of flying," the Luftsportclub Westerwald said in a death notice on its website. "He began as a gliding student and made it to become a pilots on an Airbus 320."

Lived at home ... police hold media away from the house where Andreas Lubitz lived in Montabaur, Germany. Picture: AP Photo/Michael Probst Source: AP

"He fulfilled his dream, the dream he now paid for so dearly with his life," the club said.

"He was happy he had the job with Germanwings and he was doing well," glider club member Peter Ruecker told the Independent. "He gave off a good feeling."

Ruecker said that he remembers Lubitz as "rather quiet but friendly" when he first showed up at the club as a 14 or 15-year-old.

Club chairman Klaus Radke said he rejected French prosecutors' conclusion that Lubitz put the Germanwings flight intentionally into a descent when the pilot had left the cockpit.

"I don't see how anyone can draw such conclusions before the investigation is completed," he said.

Ruecker said Lubitz also trained in Phoenix, Arizona, and had a girlfriend but did not have many more details about his life. A recently deleted Facebook page bearing Lubitz's name showed him as a smiling man posing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in California.

Childhood dream ... aviation club member Peter Ruecker stands beside a glider that was flown by Andreas Lubitz in the hangar of the club in Montabaur, Germany. Picture: AP Photo/Michael Probst Source: AP

Lubitz joined Germanwings in September 2013 and had about 630 flight hours. He joined Germanwings straight from the Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen, the London Telegraph reports.

Lubitz first worked as a flight attendant, according to Thomas Winkelmann, the Greenwings managing director, who said there was nothing unusual in the results of Lubitz's training.

Runner ... Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot believed responsible for crashing the Germanwings plane in France, is pictured running a half-marathon in 2013. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

A 2013 article in the Aviation Business Gazette reported the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) inclusion of Lubitz in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database, for having "met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA".

"FAA pilot certification can be the difference between a safe flight and one that ends in tragedy," the journal says.

Sympathy extended to family ... a nameplate at the home of Andreas Lubitz in Montabaur, Germany, where he lived with his parents. Picture: AP Photo/Michael Probst Source: AP

Mr Robin outlined Lubitz's actions for the press in a chilling account of the plane's last 20 minutes.

"For the first 20 minutes of the flight, the pilots spoke in a normal way, you could say cheerful and courteous," Mr Robin said. "We heard the flight commander prepare the briefing for landing at Dusseldorf and the response of the co-pilot seemed laconic. Then we heard the commander ask the co-pilot to take the controls.

The captain has been identified as Patrick Sonderheimer. According to Bild and Europe1, Sonderheimer was married and the father of two children. He had more than 6000 flight hours, mostly on Airbus jets.

Mr Robin said the co-pilot's responses, initially courteous, became "curt" when the captain began the mid-flight briefing on the planned landing of the Germanwings flight which crashed in France, killing 150 people.

Mr Robin told a press conference the actions that took the plane down occurred during the last eight minutes of the flight, the Guardian reports.

While the co-pilot was alone at the controls, he initiated the descent of the plane, selecting the altitude in such a way that could only have occurred deliberately.

Devastation ... the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus in the French Alps, near Seyne, France. Picture: F Balsamo/Gendarmerie nationals/Ministere de l'Interieur via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

"Forty-eight hours after the crash … the interpretation for us is that the co-pilot deliberately refused to open the door of the cockpit to the flight commander, and pushed the button causing a loss of altitude."

"We heard several calls from the flight commander asking for access to the cockpit," Mr Robin said. "There was a visual and audio interphone and he identified himself. There was no response from the co-pilot.

"We heard at the same time the sound of a seat being pushed back and the sound of a door closing."

Mr Robin said Lubitz could be heard breathing right up until the point of impact, suggesting he had not lost consciousness. However, he failed to respond to increasingly desperate calls from the commander trying to break down the cockpit door, or to air traffic controllers.

AUSTRALIA REVIEWS COCKPIT SAFETY PROCEDURES

Australian aviation authorities will review cockpit security procedures in the wake of the horrific Germanwings' crash.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the review would consider whether any changes were needed to regulations that allowed pilots to be left alone in the cockpit for brief periods.

Already several overseas carriers have changed their policy, to ensure no-one is ever left alone in the flight deck.

Since the September 11 attacks, US carriers have been required to have a flight attendant take the pilot or co-pilot's place when they leave the cockpit for a toilet break, or other reason.

"Careful consideration needs to be made following thorough investigation to ensure that altering current procedures does not open other potential vulnerabilities," Mr Truss said.

Making changes ... safety is our first priority. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

"Our two major international and domestic airlines are undertaking their own safety and security risk assessments of cockpit procedures following the recent tragedy."

Mr Truss said Australian travellers should have confidence in the strict safety regulations already in place to safeguard passengers.

"We take a preventive, layered approach to aviation security," he said.

"Airline pilots are psychologically tested as part of their recruitment process.

"Pilots must also undergo at least annual medical, including mental health checks under Civil Aviation Safety Authority licence requirements."

A Qantas Group spokesman said they were "monitoring the information coming out of the French investigation and considering if any changes to our existing safeguards are needed".

"This includes discussions with regulators," he said.


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Steve Smith is untouchable

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 26 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Cricket World Cup: Australia had an early chance to dismiss Rohit Sharma, and although Shane Watson got a hand to it, the umpires ruled somewhat controversially that it did not carry.

Michael Clarke will lead Australia in a World Cup semi-final for the first time. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIA charged into the World Cup final with a dominant 95-run victory against India on Thursday as that man Steve Smith once again stole the show.

The breakout star of the Australian summer scored a brilliant century off just 89 deliveries to help set up Australia's mammoth score of 328 and then provided two sensational moments in the field.

The home side had the game well in control after Mitch Johnson and Josh Hazlewood ripped through the Indian top order but needed to break a 70-run fifth wicket partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni to be certain of victory.

It was Smith who provided the inspiration, imploring his teammates to refer a caught behind decision against Rahane off Mitchell Starc's bowling which noone else looked particular interested in.

But one of the greatest referrals in DRS history showed Rahane had sent the faintest of edges through to Haddin and he was sent on his way.

Still unsatisfied, Smith capped his night by producing a direct hit run out from backward point to remove Ravi Jadeja late in the Indian innings.

But it was by no means a one man show as Aaron Finch (81) and Mitchell Johnson (27 from nine balls) made important contributions with the bat.

After a worrying start, the bowling unit then did the job with the ball as Starc, James Faulkner, Johnson and Hazlewood shared the wickets.

Smith's run out was upstaged in the final overs when Glenn Maxwell pulled out a direct hit of his own to run out MS Dhoni.

Maxwell only had one stump to aim at but sent a perfect throw to the bowler's end to kill off India's chance of victory.

Australia will now face New Zealand in the final at the MCG on Sunday.

9.30pm — A TIMELY REFERRAL

Just listen to Steve Smith, Hads. Source: AFP

THE faintest of edges has cost Ajinkya Rahane his wicket in a bizarre dismissal.

Most of the Australian fielders barely reacted when Mitchell Starc sent a delivery passed Rahane through to Brad Haddin, but Steve Smith heard something and talked the wicketkeeper into referring the decision to the third umpire.

Snicko showed a tiny bit of movement when the ball passed Rahane's bat and he became Starc's first victim of the game.

India is 5/179, requiring 150 runs from the final 13 overs.

9.10pm — INDIA YET TO ACCELERATE

Glenn Maxwell bowled five tidy overs. Source: AFP

THE fifth wicket partnership betwen Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni has passed 50 but the run rate required for an Indian victory is now north of 10 runs an over.

Rahane has scored just one boundary in his innings of 37 from 59 deliveries. Dhoni has scored 26 from 29 but India still needs 168 runs to win from the last 100 balls.

8.30pm — FAULKNER ENDS RAINA'S NIGHT

James Faulkner finally has something to smile about. Source: News Corp Australia

AFTER leaking 35 runs from the first 17 deliveries he bowled, James Faulkner finally made a positive impact with the ball by removing Suresh Raina.

Faulkner responded to a poor start by getting a ball to bounce on Raina and take an edge through to Brad Haddin. India is 4/110 after 24 overs.

8.10pm — AIN'T THAT A MITCH

MITCHELL Johnson has turned this game firmly in Australia's favour by adding the scalp of Rohit Sharma.

Sharma — who was playing the anchor role for India — clubbed Johnson for six on the leg side to take his score to 34.

But the very next ball he received a corker from the Aussie quick and clipped an inside edge back onto his stumps.

India is 3/91 from 18 overs.

7.55pm — CATCHYA LATER KOHLI

Mitchell Johnson: Delivering with bat and ball. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIA has quickly regained control of this game after Mitchell Johnson took the key wicket of Virat Kohli for just one run.

The Indian star couldn't resist having a crack at a Johnson bouncer but hit it high into the air where it was gratefully accepted by Brad Haddin.

India is 2/78 and has lost 2/2 in the past 17 deliveries.

7.45pm — HAZLEWOOD FINDS THE BREAKTHROUGH

After a collision with Shikhar Dhawan earlier in the innings, Josh Hazlewood got his man. Source: News Corp Australia

MICHAEL Clarke threw Josh Hazlewood the ball and the young Aussie quick delivered, taking the crucial wicket of Shikhar Dhawan for 45.

The Indian opener was flaying the Aussie bowlers but was caught by Glenn Maxwell attempting to play a big shot over cover after Hazlewood was reintroduced into the attack.

The wicket should help Australia stem the bleeding but India is still in a strong position at 1/76 from 13 overs.

7.30pm — DANGER SIGNS FOR AUSTRALIA

Is the sun setting on Australia's World Cup hopes? Source: News Corp Australia

INDIA has made the perfect start to its run chase, moving to 0/55 from the first 10 overs.

An unusual decision to introduce James Faulkner into the attack early didn't pay off as he was clubbed for three boundaries by Shikhar Dhawan (32 from 31 balls).

Australia needs wickets to stem the flow of runs but the pitch isn't offering any help.

7pm — INDIAN OPENERS GETTING LUCKY

Mitchell Starc has been finding the edge. Source: Getty Images

ROHIT Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have both survived chances in the first five overs of India's run chase.

Sharma edged a Mitchell Starc delivery to Shane Watson at slip but it was given not out on review because the ball appeared to hit the ground as Watson caught it.

Dhawan's life came off Josh Hazlewood as Brad Haddin grassed a diving attempt.

India is 0/20 from five overs.

6.15pm — IS 328 ENOUGH ON THIS PITCH?

The Aussie batsmen left Mitchell Starc and the bowling unit with work to do. Source: News Corp Australia

INDIA fought back well but still faces an imposing run chase of 329 for victory in today's World Cup semi-final against Australia.

The home side looked capable of a score in the 350-400 range after Steve Smith (105 from 93 balls) and Aaron Finch (81 from 116 balls) set a great platform with a 182-run second wicket partnership.

But from 2/232 in the 37th over Australia was restricted to just 96 more runs as a steady fall of wickets continually killed momentum.

Glenn Maxwell (23 from 14), Shane Watson (28 from 30) and James Faulkner (21 from 12) all played cameos but crucially fell before their innings really took off.

It was left to Mitchell Johnson (27 not out from nine balls) to add the finishing touches and ensure Australia still posted an impressive total.

6pm — FAULKNER AND WATSON ON THEIR WAY

Umesh Yadav has been expensive but he has four wickets. Source: Getty Images

JAMES Faulkner and Shane Watson added some valuable late innings runs before becoming the sixth and seventh Australian wickets to fall.

Faulkner was clean bowled by Umesh Yadav to cut short a promising innings. The all-rounder blasted 21 runs from 12 deliveries before becoming the Indian paceman's fourth wicket.

Watson opened his shoulders late to reach 28 from 30 balls before also holing out.

5.30pm — AUSSIES STUMBLING HOME

Late innings hitting isn't Michael Clarke's game. Source: News Corp Australia

FROM 400, to 350, to 320 and now probably 300.

Australia has had to quickly readjust it's 50 over target after a steady flow of wickets since Steve Smith left the crease.

Michael Clarke (10 from 12 balls) was just caught at midwicket trying to hit over the top to leave the score at 5/248 from 42 overs.

5.10pm — MINI COLLAPSE HAS INDIA BACK IN THE GAME

It was short but sweet from Maxwell today. Source: Getty Images

INDIA removed Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch in consecutive overs to revive its hopes of keeping Australia to a chaseable score.

Maxwell looked capable of anything while racing to 23 off 14 balls but sent a Ravi Ashwin delivery straight to Ajinkya Rahane on the boundary to leave Australia 3/232.

Finch, who never really clicked into gear while scoring 81 from 116 balls, was dismissed the following over by Umesh Yadav.

Michael Clarke is now at the crease with Shane Watson and Australia's plans to push towards 400 have to be reeled in.

4.50pm — SMITH FALLS FOR 105

Smith reached his century in 89 balls. Source: News Corp Australia

STEVE Smith has added another chapter to a glorious summer with a potentially match-winning century against India.

The young superstar hit Mohammed Shami for two fours and one six in the span of four deliveries to reach triple figures.

But he was out shortly after for 105 after skying a ball off Umesh Yadav to Rohit Sharma.

Australia took the batting power play at the start of the 33rd over as they look to push towards of score of 350+.

4.10pm — AUSSIES IN CONTROL AT HALFWAY POINT

It hasn't always been pretty but Aaron Finch is still in the middle. Source: Getty Images

AUSTRALIA can set its sights on a total of 300+ after building a great platform at the halfway point of its innings.

Steve Smith (66) and Aaron Finch (47) have added 117 runs for the second wicket to leave the home side 1/132 after 25 overs.

3.30pm — SMITH'S OVER OF PURE GENIUS

Smith predicted the Indians' short-pitched bowling could work against them and it's proving that way. Source: AP

AT 1/40 after nine overs, Australia was well in India's control in today's World Cup semi-final.

But the man who has tormented the Indians all summer, Steve Smith, changed that with one over of batting magic.

The Aussie No. 3 hit the first two deliveries of Umesh Yadav's over to the fence, before breaking his bat playing a drive on the third ball.

He called for a new one and promptly hit the next two balls for four to collect 16 runs for the over and singlehandedly put Australia ahead in the game.

3.15pm — SMITH SETTLES THE INNINGS

Steve Smith has looked in nice touch. Source: News Corp Australia

DAVID Warner is gone and Aaron Finch has crawled to 11 from 27 deliveries but there's a sense of calm at the SCG because of one man — Steve Smith.

Smith immediately settled the Australian innings after Warner's wicket and has raced to 30 from 25 balls to leave Australia 1/56 after 10 overs.

2.45pm — WARNER FAILS AS AUSSIES START POORLY

David Warner lasted just seven deliveries. Source: Getty Images

UMESH Yadav drew a leading edge to remove David Warner cheaply and put Australia on the backfoot early in today's World Cup semi-final.

Warner hit a four and a six to race to 12 in the fourth over before presenting an easy catch to Virat Kohli.

Out of form opener Aaron Finch has looked scratchy early, scoring just one run from his first 12 balls.

2pm — AUSSIES TO BAT FIRST ON SCG DUSTBOWL

Australia's players arrive for a training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Source: AFP

THE SCG groundsman is probably the most nervous bloke in Australia right now as fears heighten he's produced a pitch that will favour India.

The Indians — who rely heavily on the spin of Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja in the middle part of the innings — could only dream of being able to play on a dry wicket.

But it appears they may have got their wish.

"It's the most friendly conditions they could play in," Ian Healy said.

Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat. There are no changes to the Australian or Indian teams from the quarterfinals.

Earlier this week Brett Lee moved to down play fears of the Aussie pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood being negated by a lifeless deck.

"The way that Mitchell Starc has been bowling with the brand new ball, most of the work is done through the air and also with his pace," Lee said.

"If he's bowling massive yorkers with the brand new ball it doesn't matter what surface you're playing. The key most importantly is not to worry about the wicket."

Spin king Shane Warne, during an inspection of the pitch today, described the pitch as extremely dry.

"It looks like downtown Chennai," Warne said.

But he said it wasn't time to panic for Australia.

"It's rock hard ... it won't spin as much as you think," Warne said.

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav


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