Firefighters go home for xmas

by admin on July 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

But authorities warn it will be a long time before the flames are out.

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“Even with the change coming through and cooler conditions for

the next four or five days, these fires are going to continue way beyond that and local residents need to be prepared for the long haul,” CFA state duty officer Gary Weir said.

Between 5mm and 10mm of rain fell across much of the fire-ravaged region last night, reducing the immediate threat to the Mansfield and Ovens areas and around Mt Buller where a blaze raged earlier in the night.

Authorities at the individual fire fronts will decide this morning how many of the 3000 firefighters on patrol can go home for Christmas.

A crew of New Zealand firefighters will fly home to Auckland and Christchurch today.

All but one of the 47-strong crew will head home this morning, leaving behind a mate who is still receiving treatment for smoke inhalation and burns. He’s expected to go home on Wednesday.

A crew of 36 firefighter from the ACT will also go home today.

About one third to half of the remaining fire fighters will be flown or bussed home for Christmas, but they are expected to be recalled when the rain has stopped long enough to allow a planned back burn along the major fire’s southern front.

The back burn across a stretch of rugged, inaccessible bushland will join the major blaze with the smaller deliberately lit Coopers Creek fire in the northern Gippsland area, Mr Weir said.

The larger fire will be more easily managed.

This morning fire had burnt or was burning on 871,000ha of bushland, the largest stretching across Victorian’s northeast to the Gippsland region.

But as of 8am (AEDT) no populated area was under threat.

“The fire behaviour now is relatively gentle, this rainfall has reduced the level fo alert,” Mr Weir said.

Lebanon seizes ‘mercenaries’

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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The girls are the daughters of Canadian Melissa Hawach and are alleged to have been taken from her estranged Australian husband north of Beirut.

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Police identified the captured Australian last night as Brian Desmond Corrigan, and the New Zealander as David Bruce Pemberton, an ex-special forces member alleged to be the team leader, The Weekend Australian reported.

The duo were hauled from a plane at Beirut’s international airport on Wednesday afternoon and could face up to 15 years’ jail on charges of kidnapping minors.

Another former Australian soldier, James Arak, and two more New Zealand mercenaries, Simon Dunn, 33, and Michael Douglas, 40, have fled the country.

Hawach and her two daughters, Hannah, five, and Cedar, three, are also believed to be on the run but still in Lebanon.

Lebanese police claim all five men are ex-commandos who had staked out the girls’ father, Joseph Hawach, for several days before launching the daring raid.

Police say Pemberton arrived in Lebanon after receiving an email asking him to find and seize the girls for a fee. Corrigan arrived on December 9.

He is believed to have checked in to the al-Rimal Hotel, in Jounieh, where Hawach was staying with his daughters.

The other four arrived in Lebanon last Friday and stayed at the nearby Protodad Hotel.

The alleged abduction took place on Wednesday. The girls were allegedly whisked away in a Chevrolet van.

Melissa Hawach had launched unprecedented legal action late last month against her in-laws and her ex-husband’s extended family in a bid to force them to reveal her children’s whereabouts.

Joseph Hawach, 31, has been charged with two counts of abduction under Canadian law, and international arrest and extradition warrants have been issued.

He is alleged to have fled to Lebanon with his daughters at the height of the Hezbollah-Israel war in July and August.

The couple separated two years ago after marrying in Sydney in 1999.

Melissa Hawach had since returned to Canada.

Four seasons for Aussie Xmas

by admin on July 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Residents in two bushfire-affected states awoke to a white Christmas, while Queenslanders sweltered in hot and humid conditions.

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Storms caused havoc in suburban Melbourne, while residents in an inland NSW city were celebrating record drought-breaking rain.

White Christmas down south

Snow fell in Victoria and Tasmania, which are still battling fires that have blackened thousands of hectares this month, and in alpine areas of NSW.

In Tasmania, the weather bureau reported five centimetres of snow had fallen at the summit of Mount Wellington in Hobart.

Snow was settling 800 to 900 metres above sea level on the mountain, Bureau of Meteorology duty senior forecaster Shane Wells said.

Cradle Mountain and Mount Read also were likely to have received a dusting, he said.

Snow capped Victoria’s Mt Buller and Lake Mountain, where the temperature plunged to minus two degrees celsius this morning.

In the capital, Melburnians endured their coldest day on record with the mercury peaking at just 14.5 degrees Celsius.

The previous lowest temperature recorded on December 25 since records began 150 years ago was 15.9 degrees, in 1935.

In NSW, four centimetres of snow fell at Thredbo, in the Snowy Mountains, late this morning.

Up to 20cm of snow was expected by early tomorrow at altitudes above 1,200 metres around Thredbo, Perisher and surrounding areas, the Bureau said.

Strong winds and heavy rain have caused Christmas Day havoc in suburban Melbourne, dislodging roof tiles and causing flooding.

The State Emergency Service (SES) said volunteers responded to 50 calls for help after a storm passed through the Frankston and Seaford areas, south-west of Melbourne yesterday morning.

At least one home lost its roof in the storm, and dozens other suffered water damage.

Queensland swelters

Meanwhile, Queenslanders in many regions sweltered through high temperatures and humid conditions.

Brisbane recorded a muggy 32 degrees, with temperatures in far north Queensland reaching as high as 37 in areas like Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula and Normanton on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Cunnamulla received some welcome rain over Christmas, recording 25mm in the past 24 hours, with Quilpie in the state’s west also receiving a light drizzle.

Residents in the drought-stricken NSW city of Goulburn celebrated their Christmas gift of rain, with a record 27.8mm falling on the southern highlands area yesterday morning.

It was a much needed present for the city’s residents, as Goulburn’s main Pejar dam was only 1.5 per cent full on December

17.

The town’s two smaller dams, which together are two-thirds the size of Pejar, were less than half-full.

Goulburn’s total usable water supply stood at 9.5 per cent of capacity at the end of last week.

More rain fell yesterday than in the past three months combined.

Top-level water restrictions have been in place in Goulburn since October 2004.

Packer launches cricket fund

by admin on July 30th, 2019

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The PBL executive chairman said the Kerry Packer Foundation would help former Australian international players who had fallen on hard times, as well new cricketers in this country who needed financial assistance.

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Packer added the guidelines would not be too strict, with veteran first-class players also eligible.

A minute’s silence was held on day one of the Boxing Day Test last year to honour Kerry Packer, one of the most influential figures in cricket’s history.

“My father loved cricket and he actually loved the people associated with the game, particularly the players,” James said.

“I am satisfied that this, in a small way, is something in which his love for the game can linger and provide some useful support for its participants and administrators.”

James made the announcement at an official MCG lunch on day one of the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG.

He said today was a momentous one for himself and his family, with the Packers grateful for how the game paid tribute to Kerry a year ago.

“Today is an emotional day for me,” he said.

“A year ago today, my father died and our families were greatly honoured by the manner with which this ground and cricket in general honoured him by way of a minute’s silence.

“It was a moving ceremony for all of us at home and this is the best opportunity I have to publicly express my family’s gratitude.

“For some time, we have given some thought and been seeking some advice on how best to commemorate his name throughout cricket.

“My family and I have decided to create the Kerry Packer Foundation with a $10 million fund.”

Packer said himself, current Cricket Australia chairman Creagh O’Connor and former chairman Denis Rogers would be directors of the foundation, with Rogers the chairman.

“The intention of the fund is provide assistance for former Australian Test and one-day international players who have fallen on hard terms and may need some help,” James said.

“I am not precluding long-standing first-class players in Australia who have served their states faithfully.

“It is also our intention for this fund to be used to assist promising young men and women who may be precluded from pursuing a career in cricket because of financial constraints.”

Packer said he also wanted to help ensure young cricketers could pursue their studies while trying to develop their sporting careers.

He does not intend for the recipients to be made public and said the foundation would be self-funding.

In responding to the announcement, O’Connor said the foundation was a gesture “which reflects your father’s love of our great game and will keep alive the continuing contribution your family makes to cricket”.

Mystery over woman’s murder

by admin on July 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

The body of the 80-year-old woman was discovered by neighbours inside the bin in the block on Bellevue Road, Bellevue Hill at about 7.

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30pm (AEDT) yesterday.

State Crime Command Detective Inspector Russell Oxford said the woman’s neighbours became concerned about her whereabouts when no-one had reported seeing her since Christmas Day.

During a search, one of the neighbours discovered her body in a bin that had been separated from others in the unit block’s garbage area.

The woman, who lived alone, is not thought to have any family members in Australia and the last reported sighting of her was

December 22.

She is believed to be of eastern European descent, possibly Hungarian.

Det Insp Oxford said it was hoped a post mortem, due to be conducted later today, would determine when the woman died.

He revealed police were still trying to piece together the woman’s final movements.

“We really don’t know much about her,” he said.

“Living by herself it’s always very difficult to work out if anything’s been stolen and simply just to work out a motive.

“I’m struggling to find a motive for such a callous act.

He said the circumstances of the woman’s death were bizarre.

“The difficulty we’ve got is because she’s elderly, and there are a number of elderly women living within the units there, and living by herself, it is difficult to work out her movements and difficult to work out, I suppose, a motive,” he said.

“It’s so callous and bizarre that a woman in her 80s is strangled to death and dumped in a garbage bin within her block of units.

“Obviously we’ve spoken to a lot of people within the units there as to when they have seen her, but we are looking for anybody else who might have called into the units to see her.

“It’s only five days but certainly over the Christmas period, surely someone must have seen her during that time.”

Wild Oats defends Syd-Hobart

by admin on June 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

The 30-metre maxi reached the finish line at 9.

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52pm local time to clock a time of two days, eight hours, 52 minutes, 33 seconds.

Wild Oats XI became just the sixth boat to record back-to-back victories since the race’s inception in 1945 and the first since

Astor achieved the feat in 1963-64.

But crew members said there had been some anxious moments during the race and revealed the boat had suffered a torn headsail.

They said they had proven a point by winning in tough conditions after the boat’s durability had been questioned last year.

“We were really happy to have a tough race to show everyone this boat is capable of going upwind just as well as downwind, so it was good stuff,” said skipper Mark Richards.

“It was tough, a very tough race, you don’t get much tougher than that.

“You could have got bigger seas but it was tough.”

Wild Oats XI owner Bob Oatley wouldn’t definitely commit to returning to defend the title next year, saying only that it would campaign in Europe, while his 66-footer Wild Oats X competed in Australia.

Tight finish for minor places

Ichi Ban and Skandia this morning swooped on the remaining podium places in the battle for line honours.

Both finished well after Wild Oats XI, but only 16 minutes separated Matt Allen’s 70-footer Ichi Ban from Grant Wharington’s maxi Skandia, as both crossed the line shortly before 2am.

Skandia, which had been slowed by the loss of its front rudder on Wednesday afternoon, held onto second spot until early evening before it was finally overtaken.

Ichi Ban finished in two days 12 hours 42 minutes 23 seconds, while Skandia recorded a time of two days 12 hours 58 minutes 56 seconds.

The next boat scheduled to finish was new 55-footer and pre-race handicap favourite Yendys, which was on target to cross the line around midday today.

Heading the IRC Handicap race overnight was the 33 year-old 47-footer and 1974 and 1978 overall winner Love & War.

Also up there were two Victorian yachts, the 38-foot Challenge, skippered by 79-year-old Lou Abrahams in his record-equalling 44th Sydney-to-Hobart race, and the 28-year-old 44-footer Bacardi.

Lee spoils England start

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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Lee ended a promising partnership of 45 between England openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook when he had Strauss caught behind for 29 just before lunch.

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The tourists reached 1-58 by lunch after a first session truncated by rain, with Cook unbeaten on 20 and new batsman Ian Bell seven not out, after captain Andrew Flintoff won the toss and batted on a good, even wicket.

Strauss and Cook defied early predictions this match would be a cakewalk for Australia, which is aiming to give its retiring stars

Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer a perfect send-off with a 5-0 series whitewash.

The two left-handers posted their best partnership of the series, but Strauss’ early aggression cost him his wicket, when he was out trying to cut a delivery too close to his body.

Lee’s (1-22) strike made up for an early mistake by Australia, as Langer gave Strauss a life with the score on 34 when he spilled a chance at third slip off McGrath’s bowling. Langer got both hands to a low chance to his left, but could not complete the catch as he hit the ground.

Cook recovered well after a painful start, when he was hit flush on the protector with Lee’s first delivery of the match. As Cook grimaced on his haunches, Lee ran down to give the batsman a friendly reminder of what to expect in the new year.

Morning rain threatened to dampen the start of Australia’s farewell bash, but only 70 minutes were lost by the time Warne, McGrath and Langer led the Australian team onto the field.

Fine weather is forecast for most of the day, although showers are expected in the evening.

The umpires can extend play until 7pm (AEDT) to make up for the loss in play.

Australia retained the same side that won in Perth and Melbourne, but England lost fast bowler Matthew Hoggard to a side strain. Hoggard, England’s leading wicket-taker this series with 13, was replaced by James Anderson.

Security tight for final test

by admin on June 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

Cricket NSW says extra security measures will be put in place for the Sydney Test, in keeping with tight security displayed at other Australian grounds throughout the Ashes.

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The measures will include a ban on the Mexican wave, extra security staff, close CCTV monitoring and strict ejection policies for misbehaving spectators.

Cricket NSW Chief Executive David Gilbert said the guidelines were developed to safeguard the “overwhelming majority of fans who wanted to enjoy international cricket played at its best”.

“Cricket fans will be coming to the SCG to see some of the finest cricketers in the world in action – some of whom will be playing at the ground for the last time,” Gilbert said.

“It is unfair for a minority group of fans to spoil the Test match experience of the majority.

“We want fans, particularly families, coming to international cricket and the research clearly shows they will continue to come if their experience is safe and comfortable.”

Gilbert said the Mexican wave would be prohibited because of the danger created by the volume of rubbish thrown in the air.

“The Mexican wave may be appealing to a small minority but we have a greater responsibility to service the majority of fans who are genuine cricket fans and who do not want their match day experience tarnished by this behaviour,” he said.

Gilbert also encouraged spectators to report incidents themselves to assist with the security operation.

“Fans have an important role to play in reporting incidents so they can be dealt with swiftly and competently,” he said.

Cricket NSW says the tight security will be complemented by the SCG’s low alcohol policy which it says resulted in a 66.5 percent reduction in fan-related infringements at last season’s Test against South Africa.

Hawke was a terror target

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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He wasn’t alone.

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The Australian Security intelligence Organisation (ASIO) also believed prominent pro-Jewish figures, Isi Liebler and Sam Lipski, were on the hitlist.

Cabinet documents for 1976 – released by the National Archives of Australia under the 30-year rule – reveal security authorities and the government were deeply concerned about the rising tide of Palestinian terrorism.

Most worryingly, ASIO believed pro-Palestinian terrorists had a clear operational interest in Australia and that had been demonstrated by visits from militants.

In September 1973, Abdulhamid Abdulla Azzam, a member of the military branch of Al Fatah – the principal Palestinian terror group – visited Melbourne. He was arrested on his way out, charged with immigration offences and subsequently deported.

Information from the Israeli Security Service claimed he was a member of the extremist Black September group who had launched a terror attacks in Thailand and was interested in operations against Israeli targets in Australia.

ASIO said in 1974 Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) official Abou Rish visited Sydney and Melbourne in the guise of a journalist.

ASIO believed he planned to return in July or August 1975 to plan the assassination of the Israeli ambassador as part of a worldwide PFLP offensive.

To that end, a local PFLP member improperly obtained two Australian passports which were to be used to facilitate the visit and probably the operation. A local PFLP supporter had discussed with Rish how he could enter Australia illegally.

“It also emerged that in addition to the Israeli ambassador, three prominent Australians – R.J. Hawke, president of the ALP and ACTU, and Zionist spokesman Isi Liebler and Sam Lipski – were regarded by the PFLP as suitable targets for future attack,” ASIO said.

Rish never made the trip. ASIO suggested he was needed elsewhere, possibly in France where the PFLP organisation had been smashed in the security crackdown following attacks by the terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal.

Or he may have been needed in Lebanon, then embarking on its long civil war.

ASIO said the PFLP remained interested in Australia and in November 1975 another cadre, Nubar Hovsepian, sought to visit but was refused a visa.

ASIO concluded there was evidence that Palestinian terror groups had a continuing interest in operations in Australia and that there were a small number of individuals in the local Palestinian and Arab communities who might be prepared to provide auxiliary support for a terror attack.

“In comparison to Western Europe and North America, Australia could appear a soft target,” it said.

“The government has made a number of decisions which could be interpreted as unfavourable to the Palestinian cause. A pro-Palestinian terrorist attack could take place in Australia.”

ASIO noted Al Fatah had a major problem in Lebanon where it faced losing its independent base, raising the prospect that extreme elements might resort to terror attacks to draw attention to their plight.

“As stringent security measures limit the ability of external terrorist to plan and conduct operations in Western Europe and North America, their attention may turn to Australia,” it warned.

As it turned out that never occurred. Until the 2002 Bali bombing, Australia’s worst terror attack was the bombing outside the Sydney Hilton hotel on February 13, 1978 which killed three.

The civil war in Lebanon had given Australian officials other reasons for concern.

That conflict kicked off in April 1975, descending into a vicious spiral of sectarian and political murder. By 1976, there was some prospects of peace with a Syrian imposed ceasefire.

Australia had closed its Beirut embassy in March 1976 but neighbouring missions in Syria and Cyprus had been swamped with the relatives of Australia’s Lebanese citizens seeking to escape the fighting.

As a humanitarian gesture, Australia had eased standard immigration criteria including economic, character and health requirements.

Immigration Minister Michael Mackellar was concerned that it just wasn’t possible to properly check the identity and background of all who wanted to come to Australia.

He warned there was the prospect that conflicts, divisions and tensions within Lebanese society could find their way to Australia.

“Effective precautions must be maintained against the possibility that terrorists gain entry to Australia while our criteria for migrant entry are relaxed,” he said.

There’s no evidence that ever occurred.

However other comments by Mackellar do have echoes in the current debate about the integration of Muslims into Australian, sparked by comments by Australia’s senior Islamic cleric Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali who blamed women who wore makeup and no Islamic headscarf for inciting sexual attacks.

Some 16,000 Lebanese arrived in Australia in the period 1976-81.

Mackellar raised concerns about the longer term settlement of such a large group of which 90 per cent were Muslim, many were illiterate and most were unskilled or semi-skilled.

Don’t panic! says Stewart

by admin on June 30th, 2019

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Stewart, the most-capped player in England history, said the onus must be put upon the bedraggled England squad to repair their reputations.

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In that way England can follow the example set by Australia, which resisted calls for wholesale changes to be made after the 2005 Ashes series defeat and saw much the same squad triumph with a 5-0 whitewash in the re-match.

“Australia, 15 months ago, their country was criticising them,” Stewart told the BBC.

“Dennis Lillee, the great Australian fast bowler, said Ricky Ponting had made poor decisions as captain and a lot of the players were too old so let’s make changes.

“Australian cricket authorities stuck with those players and they corrected it and have underlined why they’re the best side in the world.

“I just hope England don’t panic,” he added.

Although urging loyalty at the selection table, Stewart said the players must not be allowed to blame lack of preparation or any extraneous factors for the series loss but accept responsibility for the abject showing.

Players didn’t perform

“You can talk about preparation, you can talk about selection issues, but when you cross the white line to go out and do battle, the players have to perform and they didn’t,” Stewart said.

“Among the batsmen it was only Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood who produced any kind of form.

“On the bowling front, no-one bowled consistently well enough, didn’t pin the Aussies back.

“Australians, once they’re on top of you in any sport, they’ll dominate you and bully you and that’s what they did for five Test matches.”

Before England next don the creams for Test series against the West Indies and India in the northern summer, they will wear the blue pyjamas in the triangular one-dayers in Australia and then the World Cup in the Caribbean.

“It’s going to be tough because their one-day form over the past 10 years has been pretty average to put it politely,” Stewart said.