Bail appeal expected in terrorism case

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

THREE men accused of plotting a terrorist attack will take their fight for bail to the Supreme Court, claiming they are being held in Guantanamo Bay-style conditions.Yesterday their bid for bail was refused in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. The magistrate, Peter Reardon, acknowledged that while the custody arrangements for the men were ”not desirable”, he was unable to grant bail because their lawyers had not shown exceptional circumstances for their release.Saney Aweys, 26, Yacqub Khayre, 22, and Nayef El Sayed, 25, have each been charged with one count of conspiring to commit acts in preparation for a suicide terrorist attack on the army base at Holsworthy.Mr Aweys’s lawyer, Rob Stary, criticised the case against the men, saying they were being held in conditions akin to the notorious US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Speaking of the refusal of bail, Mr Stary said: ”We are disappointed, particularly in the context of this case being yet another example of the sort of embellishment and overstatement and exaggeration that the authorities engage in.”The case that was put before the court was completely different at the time of the arrest of the accused. There was no imminent terrorist attack.”For unconvicted, innocent people, they are Guantanamo Bay-style conditions. We know that for a fact.”How can they get a fair trial in these circumstances? You’re supposed to have a presumption of innocence. Well, in these cases there’s a presumption of guilt.”Asked if there would be an application in the Supreme Court, Mr Stary replied: ”Yes, we will”.Terrorism charges require the defence to establish that exceptional circumstances exist before bail can be granted.In handing down his decision on bail after a four-day application, Mr Reardon said the three men must be kept in custody that was ”humane”.”These men are effectively treated as convicted men by being placed in the Acacia unit,” he said. ”They are placed with men who have been found guilty of committing the most heinous crimes in the state … even though these men are innocent until proven otherwise. The current conditions are not desirable for men yet to face trial.”Mr Reardon said the charges the men were facing were serious.

Mining magnate will have to dig for victory

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

INSTANT hype, instant success. Week one delivered the goods for Gold Coast United, but now comes the hard part. Big names, big ambitions, and big personalities make a compelling case. But does anyone care?

On Saturday evening, Gold Coast host North Queensland Fury in their first A-League match at Robina. There are many reasons to hope for a decent crowd. In a nomadic pre-season, they played just twice at their own stadium, so there’s the novelty factor. There’s also the feelgood factor after their opening win in the derby against Brisbane Roar. And, of course, there is the Robbie Fowler factor.

The league’s poster boy justified the hype last weekend and arrives on the Glitter Strip with a supporting cast that showed against Sydney FC that it might yet dish out a few slices of humble pie. Fowler versus Culina is a marketing dream and shouldn’t be too hard to sell even at $29 a ticket. Should it?

Strangely, it seems it is. Gold Coast chairman Clive Palmer isn’t exactly renowned for his modesty, but this time he’s doing his best to hose down expectations. Big Clive reckons his team will do well to average gates of around 6000 to 7000 in their inaugural season. Say what?

Palmer claims that, on a per-capita basis, crowds of 7000 at Skilled Park would be as good as Melbourne Victory getting 120,000 to their games. It’s hard to question a billionaire’s mathematics, but those sums don’t add up. If the Titans can average around 15,000 per game in the NRL, why can’t GCU attract the same in the A-League? Instead, Palmer is aiming low – and he doesn’t expect things to change much for the next few seasons.

Talk about an anticlimax. With a star-spangled squad, realistic title ambitions and the local media hanging off every word from Palmer and his quotable coach, Miron Bleiberg, there is a perfect storm gathering to get the turnstiles clicking. All that’s needed is the value add. The membership drives, the coaching clinics, the community work. The club is on to it, right?

Maybe not. Perhaps Palmer’s estimate is an admission of sorts. The word from HQ is that Gold Coast haven’t been anywhere near as proactive as they should have been in building links with the grassroots.

Six thousand registered players in their immediate backyard and the same number again in northern NSW, which has the potential to become their catchment. Most of these people would have heard of the club by now, but not enough of them have heard from the club.

Just ask Sydney FC, who have only just realised that bling doesn’t sell – at least in the long term. Only now are the Sky Blues seriously addressing the oversight, and hopefully they’ll get a dividend when they also play their first home game of the season this weekend. As the Central Coast Mariners have demonstrated so admirably, proper clubs are built from the ground up.

Palmer is lucky. He can have it both ways – the fanfare, and the fans. He’s got a perfect stadium, a brilliant team and a clever coach. My tip, for what it’s worth, is that Gold Coast will win the title in their debut season. And they’ll generate a torrent of publicity along the way. It would be a pity, then, if their fans were to be outnumbered by the empty seats, and the players were robbed of a crucial ingredient – atmosphere. The early signs are sobering – membership sales hovering around 2000, and no sign yet of an organised supporters group, though there is talk of the ”White Shoe Brigade” coming out of the closet this weekend.

Gate takings won’t register a blip on Palmer’s bank balance, but crowds will help define his club. In a white-hot market soon to be joined by the AFL and perhaps Super 15 rugby, the mining magnate needs to put a stake in the ground.

That’s where the real gold is. It’s just a matter of digging deep enough.

Life in the fast lane begins and ends with a big driveway

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

IN THE driveway of the Campbell family home in Castle Hill you will find a car for dad, Neil, a car for mum, Cheryl, and a car for their eldest daughter, Tamara, 20. Next year, when Laura, 16, gets her licence, she will also get a car.The Campbells are hoping that by the time their son, Lachlan, 12, qualifies for a licence the family will not have to acquire a fifth vehicle.”Ideally, we’d have one, at most two, cars,” Mr Campbell told the Herald. ”But transport is not a nicety, it’s a necessity, and we have no other option out here.”It is a very expensive necessity. Mr Campbell estimates the total costs of running three family vehicles is $50,000 to $60,000 a year. ”That’s about right,” he says, calculating the costs of financing the purchase, maintenance, fuel, insurance, registration and tyres. With new vehicles, there is also the average 25 per cent devaluation in the first year.Mr Campbell should know all about it. He runs a small business that deals in vehicle leasing and fleet management, and estimates that for most families the cost of motoring can consume up to 25 per cent of the annual household income.For residents who drive from the Hills district to the city there is the added burden of tolls on the M2, the Lane Cove and the Harbour Bridge, which on a return journey can top $20 a day.The Campbells’ experience reflects the sobering statistics in a recently published report from the Rapid, Active and Affordable Transport Alliance (RAATA), an umbrella group of environment, industry and public health groups.According to the report, ”by eliminating one car from a typical household over a working life [of about 40 years] $750,000 in extra superannuation couldbe accrued”.The NRMA puts the weekly cost of running a family-sized Holden at $240 a week, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the average weekly spending for transport at 16 per cent of a family’s income, almost as much as it will spend on food.RAATA estimates that cities which are designed around public transport spend 5 to 8 per cent of their collective wealth on transport, but this figure rises to 12 to 15 per cent in car-dependent cities.”This is because public transport is inherently more cost efficient per person,” the alliance’s spokeswoman, Gail Broadbent, told the Herald.Mr Campbell, who grew up in Hurstville and was a regular patron of buses and trains, says it is simply too time-consuming for his family to use the infrequent bus services in Sydney’s north-west, where journeys to the city can take up to two hours each way.The dependency on cars in the Hills district has turned the Campbells’ suburban street into a rat run.Roads and Traffic Authority guidelines specify that the street should have a maximum of 3000 vehicle movements in any 24 hour period, but Baulkham Hills Shire Council recently measured traffic on the street and found 4700 car movements a day.Come on board the campaign… visit: www.transportpublicinquiry出售老域名.au

The Mitch is back … in the swing

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

”SUPER Mitchell Johnson” was his name in Birmingham, super was Mitchell Johnson’s game in Leeds. The maligned fast bowler finally revealed to England the reason Australia had selected him with a supreme display of swing as sharp as his new haircut.

After an ordinary first two Tests, the Edgbaston crowd mockingly sang ”Super Mitchell Johnson”, a tune usually reserved for English match-winner Andrew Flintoff, in an effort to distract the paceman further.

While he showed signs of improvement in Birmingham with two wickets, his effort late on day two was vintage Johnson, attacking the batsman with moving red missiles that allowed no room for error. England made errors and paid dearly.

Teammate Marcus North said the form Johnson showed in South Africa earlier this year, which had him lauded as Australia’s No.1 bowler, had resurfaced at Headingley.

”England supporters are starting to see, the way he bowled in South Africa is the way he bowled here,” he said. ”All players have their ups and downs, and we know he’s had a difficult month, but showed great signs at Edgbaston. He’s worked very hard at his game and got the ball swinging late, like in South Africa. It’s great to see a guy getting the rewards he deserves.”

England paceman Stuart Broad said the team never doubted Johnson’s potential as a wrecking machine.

”He’s obviously found a bit of form. The ball swinging has helped him with that, and he’s picked up wickets,” Broad said.

”You need a bit of luck as a bowler, and he’s had a bit of luck. He’s also got the ball in the right areas more consistently and caused our batsmen a lot more trouble.

”We knew he was a world class talent. When he came into the series he had a fantastic record in Test matches. I know the media built him up to be struggling but we knew we had to be very aware of what he can do, and he’s proven he can take wickets.”

Johnson’s three wickets for one run in 14 deliveries as the sun set on day two were a blunt reminder of his attacking prowess, forcing batsmen to fend away throat-seekers and beating planted legs for speed with in-swingers.

On the other side, England’s bowlers offered petty pies as Australia marched to 445. Only Broad, who captured 6-91, showed sustained accuracy but his lone hand could not block a tidal wave of runs. ”I settled down with [bowling coach] Ottis Gibson at Edgbaston and marked out the length I wanted to be hitting consistently with the cone and just made sure I had practice hitting that cone more often than I had been,” Broad said of his improvement.

Drug and bribe traps may weed out corrupt police

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

FAKE drug labs and sham bribery offers may be used to catch federal police officers suspected of corruption under plans by the Australian Federal Police to introduce integrity tests.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, said yesterday he planned to discuss the proposals with the incoming commissioner, Tony Negus, who is due to replace the current chief, Mick Keelty, early next month.

''A robust integrity framework is essential to a modern police force,'' Mr O'Connor told the Herald. ''A proposal for integrity testing will need to demonstrably build on the existing integrity framework.

''The proposed integrity test may be another means to proactively investigate suspected corruption and serious criminal behaviour and therefore improve upon the strong integrity framework of the AFP.''

The tests, which are used by several state forces including NSW and Victoria, would allow anti-corruption investigators to trap police by creating opportunities such as faking evidence, accepting bribes or stealing money or drugs.

But the proposal has been questioned by the Australian Federal Police Association, which says the tests are unnecessary and officers are already subject to a range of stringent corruption checks.

''I have not seen the arguments that convince me this is necessary,'' said the association's chief executive, Jim Torr.

''The general view of our members is that anything that further intrudes on their rights should be subject to legislation. If the AFP can demonstrate a genuine need, we will work with them on it. It would need to be highly regulated and involve reporting requirements.''

Mr Torr said the scheme would need to ensure that those conducting the tests were not corrupt.

''Corruption is its most serious when those who are tasked with seeking out corruption are themselves corrupt … We are happy to work with the AFP on a model. We think it should be subject to judicial and ministerial oversight.''

The federal police, whose staff numbers have more than quadrupled since 2001, has told a parliamentary committee it is looking at introducing the tests – a move being supported by the Integrity Commissioner, Philip Moss. In NSW and Victoria, where such traps have been used for more than a decade, between a third and half of officers and staff are believed to fail.

Tim Prenzler, who has done extensive research into corruption prevention techniques, said integrity testing would suit the federal police, particularly given its front-line role in combating organised crime.

''Integrity testing is really an essential anti-corruption tool to have in the kit for larger police forces, especially for those involved in large-scale drug corruption,'' said Professor Prenzler, of Griffith University's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

''It can be successful in breaking open particularly secretive forms of corruption, especially where there are strong suspicions but no way to investigate using traditional forms of inquiry.''

The federal police said the initiative was still being developed and might require legislative changes.

''The AFP is currently giving consideration to introducing an integrity testing regime to deter corrupt behaviour,'' the agency said in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

M5 East pollution harming asthmatics

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

POLLUTION levels in Sydney’s M5 East tunnel are so high that healthy motorists who use it daily could develop respiratory problems within two years, researchers have found.The four-kilometre $800 million tunnel was last year labelled the world’s dirtiest, with nitrogen dioxide levels up to four times higher than comparable tunnels around the world. Now a study has found motorists are exposed to ultrafine particulate matter – one of the deadliest air pollutants – at levels 1000 times higher than in suburban streets.Ultrafine particles, which are less than 0.1 of a micron in size, are emitted by all vehicle exhaust systems, but particularly diesel cars and trucks. One large diesel truck can produce as much particle pollution as 20 cars.The particles are so small they lodge deep in lung tissue, leaching into the bloodstream and causing respiratory disease and cardiac arrest in people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, cardiac arrythmias and cardio-pulmonary disease.”It’s really quite dangerous … I’d be advising anyone with asthma which is severe or unmanaged to avoid this tunnel if they can,” the chief executive of Asthma Foundation NSW, Greg Smith, said yesterday.”It is outrageous that it was built without a filtration system in the first place. It took a very long time to convince anyone this was a problem and now we are still waiting for it to be fixed.”Researchers from Macquarie University and Queensland University of Technology travelled through the tunnel 306 times between 2006 and 2008, testing the air quality using a condensation particle counter to simulate the pollution breathed in by a motorist driving with the window down.The levels of ultrafine particulate matter were so high that motorists suffering asthma, chronic pulmonary disease or influenza would feel its effects ”immediately or very soon after”, the lead researcher, Lidia Morawska, said.”Even in a healthy person, with none of those conditions, chronic exposure in the form of using the tunnel daily for a year or two could lead to respiratory problems.”Professor Morawska, director of the Queensland University of Technology International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, said motorists driving convertibles or older cars that did not seal tightly, or those riding motorcycles and scooters, would be at a much higher risk, particularly as trips through the tunnel could take up to 26 minutes.Last year’s report by the National Health and Medical Research Council found the tunnel, used by more than 100,000 motorists a day, also had higher levels of carbon monoxide than most tunnels worldwide.But the Minister for Roads, Michael Daley, said yesterday the Department of Planning had tested air quality in the tunnel in 2006 and had found no motorist had been exposed to levels of carbon monoxide above World Health Organisation goals.”Since then, we’ve installed 12 extra jet fans to improve ventilation and a video detection system for illegal smoky trucks and both of these measures … have made a marked improvement on the air quality in the tunnel over the last two years,” he said.A $50 million filtration system was being fitted to the western side of the tunnel and would be ready for use by early next year, while filters for the eastbound tunnel were still being reviewed.

Flat, lazy: Langer manifesto rubs salt in England’s wounds

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

AT LAST we can reveal what the Australian side really think of their England counterparts and the weaknesses that were pinpointed before the series began.

In an amazing document detailing the thoughts of Somerset captain and former Australian opener Justin Langer, English cricketers are witheringly described as ”lazy”, ”shallow” and ”flat”, and as players who ”love being comfortable”. Fast bowler James Anderson can be ”a bit of a pussy” if things do not go his way, and skipper Andrew Strauss can be too ”conservative”. And there are barbs at the egos of Matt Prior and Graeme Swann, as well as the annoying strut of Ravi Bopara.

A copy of the dossier, leaked to The Sunday Telegraph last week, was handed to the Australian squad before the first Test. In it, Langer roundly condemned English cricketers’ attitudes and apparent lack of fight in the battle, surprising given that it was only last season that Langer was proclaiming that the standard of cricket in division one of the County Championship was as tough as anything he had ever experienced in first-class cricket.

”English players rarely believe in themselves,” Langer wrote. ”Many of them stare a lot and chat a lot but this is very shallow. They will retreat very quickly. Aggressive batting, running and body language will soon have them staring at their bootlaces rather than in the eyes of their opponent – it is just how they are built.”

He emphasised the point by describing English cricketers as ”great front runners”. He continued: ”Because of the way they are programmed they will be up when things are going well, but they will taper off very quickly if you wear them down. Because they play so much cricket, as soon as it gets a bit hard you just have to watch their body language and see how flat and lazy they get. This is also a time when most of them make all sorts of excuses and start looking around to point the finger at everyone else – it is a classic English trait, from my experience.”

Langer also warned the Australian side not to repeat the mistakes of 2005 and be too friendly with the England team. ”They [English cricketers] like being friendly and ‘matey’ because it makes them feel comfortable,” he wrote. ”In essence, this is maybe the key to the whole English psyche – they love being comfortable. Take them out of their comfort zone, and they don’t like it for one second.”

Of Anderson, Langer said: ”He is hugely improved but can be a bit of a pussy if he is worn down. His body language could be detrimental to them [England] if we get on top of him early.”

Langer, once a teammate of Strauss’s at Middlesex, said of the England skipper: ”He is a very solid character and excellent bloke. His weakness is possibly his conservative approach. He will tend to take the safer options in most cases.”

As for the edict from Cricket Australia that Australian players should not sledge in this series, Langer dismissed that by saying of Prior, whom he described as having ”a massive ego”: ”I would chip away at him about his wicketkeeping. I would be reminding him about how it could see him out of the team. I would definitely work his ego.”

In contrast, the plan for Bopara has been silence: ”He is sure to wind the boys up by his strutting around, but I would leave him alone.”

Michael Vaughan, England’s Ashes-winning captain in 2005, agreed with Langer. ”If I had been asked to write a dossier on English cricket, I would have come up with many of the same points,” he said. ”This is a reality check for the game’s administrators in this country to change our structure.”

Langer declined to comment.

Telegraph, London

Teenagers spend their way out of trouble

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

AN ENTIRE generation is sailing through the global financial crisis, and propping up the fashion, entertainment, electronics and fast food industries as they go.

While the rest of the nation mutters over belt-tightening, teenagers are spending their way through the recession, blowing most – and usually all – of their weekly disposable income. About half of all 15- to 19-year-olds are in some form of paid work, according to a breakdown of spending habits by the business information analyst IBISWorld.

And their aspirations for designer brands, the latest electronic gadgets and even exotic overseas schoolies destinations are at a level previous generations did not dream of until their 20s.

As a result, industries servicing teenagers' needs are faring better than many others in the current economic climate, said Naren Sivasailam, an industry analyst for IBISWorld.

Although teenagers make up only 5 per cent of the population, the 15-to-19 age group accounts for 29 per cent of the takeaway food industry, translating to an expected revenue of $3.17 billion over the current financial year.

Teenagers are expected to contribute $936.8 million to the clothing retail industry.

Krizia Cook, from Bronte Beach, said she hadn't cut back on spending at all over the past 12 months. ''I don't really know much about [the global financial crisis],'' she said. ''It didn't really affect my family either, so that was a plus.''

The 16-year-old student said she spent an average of $30 a week on clothes, which she paid for with her casual job in retail and money from her parents.

''I buy a new outfit for every weekend when I go out. I don't like wearing the same outfit twice, especially the week after each other. I have heaps of clothes I've only worn once,'' she said.

Private schools win cash bonuses

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

PRIVATE schools in Australia will receive up to $23 million each in overpayments over the next four years because of the Rudd Government’s commitment to a deal that John Howard struck.Some NSW schools will receive up to $15 million more than their entitlement under a funding formula that measures need according to the socio-economic status of the school community.—————————————————————————————-PDF: OVERPAYMENT OF CATHOLIC AND INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS—————————————————————————————-It will cost the taxpayer $2.6 billion to maintain the funding of more than half the country’s Catholic and independent schools above their entitlements.An internal federal Department of Education review in December 2006 said the special funding arrangement ”entrenches purely historical inequities”.Loreto Kirribilli will receive an estimated $13.5 million more than its $6.4 million entitlement under the formula, according to a Greens analysis of Senate figures.Oakhill College at Castle Hill will receive $15 million above its $21.7 million funding share. Wealthy independent schools that receive funding above their entitlement include Queenwood School for Girls, which will get close to $3 million above its $5 million share.The NSW Greens MP John Kaye said the SES formula should be enforced uniformly on all schools. ”Kevin Rudd has continued the sweetheart deals with the private school lobby. It might buy him some political peace but it is taking $2.6 billion out of the education budget over the next four years,” he said.The socio-economic scheme introduced in 2001 replaced a system that took into account a school’s resources, including fees. Many Catholic schools, particularly those in wealthy areas, stood to lose big amounts under the new system and secured an agreement for their funding to be maintained at historic levels. The Catholic system argued that if any of its funding was taken away, fees would increase and schools could close.Schools in wealthy areas, such as St Kevin’s College in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak, will receive as much as $23 million more than a new school built in the same area.Geoff Newcombe, the head of the Association of Independent Schools NSW, said many schools would have lost funding when the federal government changed the system in 2001.Brian Croke from the Catholic Education Commission said the SES formula was a very blunt instrument. ”Most of the funding-maintained schools are long-standing Catholic girls’ schools who were not operating at a high resource level in 2000 compared to other schools of a similar SES,” he said.Dan White, the executive director of Catholic Schools said Catholic schools saved governments money. Government funding provided to each student in a systemic Catholic school was $7299 compared with $10,162 for each public school student.Steven O’Doherty, who heads Christian Schools Australia, said most low-fee schools in his system were funded according to their strict SES entitlement.”Let’s have a debate about whether the same formula should apply across the board,” he said. ”I am sick to death of people propagating the myth that independent schools are overfunded. None of them get more than any government school.”The headmaster of The King’s School, Tim Hawkes, advocates scrapping funding maintenance and strict application of the SES funding formula.A spokesperson for the Education Minister, Julia Gillard, said the Government was delivering on its election commitment to maintain existing funding arrangements for non-government schools until 2012. The arrangements would be reviewed next year before the next four-year funding cycle.

Heels not arch villains after all

Posted on 06/11/2018 by

WOMEN have been told for years that high heels are the height of stupidity but now specialists claim they can actually be beneficial.

Podiatrists in Australia and Britain have said that a small heel is better for you than a pair of thongs or ballet flats, the footwear that many women use to take them from railway station to office building in the misguided belief that they are superior to heels for walking.

Britain's Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists has warned that thongs and flat shoes can cause more damage than heels, including ailments such as shooting pains in the shins and arthritis.

The society recommends that women wear a 2.5-centimetre heel.

Leading British podiatrist Emma Supple said feet were more strongly placed in a high heel that held the foot and allowed it to arch.

President of the Australasian Podiatry Council Brenden Brown agreed that thongs and ballet pumps were not the best option for women.

However, his recommendation is more conservative than that of his British counterparts, advising that a 1.3-centimetre heel is optimal. ''Anything higher than an inch you should not be wearing to and from the station,'' Mr Brown said.

''It's not time to grab the stilettos yet. Still wear a trainer to and from the station if you can but I can appreciate the fact that not everyone can.''

Mr Brown said flat ballet shoes, while not harmful when worn for short periods, tended to be overused by women who mistook them as a fashionable alternative to the trainer for an everyday walking shoe.

''Stay away from thongs,'' he said. ''You'd be better off going barefoot than wearing thongs.''