Three Westerners killed in Syria fighting

Washington: Syrian soldiers have killed three Westerners, including an American woman and a British man, both Muslims, in northwest Idlib province near the Turkish border, a monitoring group says.

‘‘They were shot dead during an ambush in the Idlib region and the army found them with maps of military positions,’’ said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, late on Thursday.

The three had apparently been taking photos of military positions on the road between Harim, near the border with Turkey, and the town of Idlib further south when government troops ambushed them, he added.

The incident happened on Wednesday.

The nationality of the third Westerner was not clear, said Mr Rahman.

A US State Department official, in response to a query from AFP in Washington, said ‘‘We are aware of the case.’’

Czech diplomats in Syria were helping them in efforts to get more information.

‘‘Because of privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further,’’ the official added.


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Midnight deadline for defence victims of abuse to register with taskforce

Victims of abuse in the defence force are being urged to come forward before tonight’s midnight deadline to register their complaint with a government-appointed taskforce.

”We are urging everyone to come forward. People are still coming out of the woodwork and we expect there are still many more out there,” said Jennifer Jacomb, a former navy member who runs a group for victims of defence abuse.

”It takes a lot of effort to come forward because you bury it so deep.”

The taskforce will examine individual cases and also advise the government on any systemic problems it uncovers within the Australian Defence Force.

Victims stand to receive up to $50,000 in reparation money. The taskforce, headed by respected former judge Len Roberts-Smith, will also refer cases to police if they believe there is a chance for criminal prosecution.

Adair Donaldson, legal partner with Shine Lawyers, who is representing many alleged victims of abuse, said the taskforce could be one of the last chances victims get to have their voices heard.

”If they don’t register, they may find they don’t get another chance,” he said.

Victims need only register with the taskforce by the midnight deadline, not to give details of their complaints. The cutoff is midnight and the complaints can be registered through a hotline, 1800 424 991 or at [email protected]

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Armed robbery suspect picture released

POLICE have released an image of the suspect in the armed robbery of a Muswellbrook shop on Tuesday.

The man entered the Bridge Street shop about 7pm and threatened a 19-year-old female employee with a knife before demanding money.

He fled with some items.

He was described as being of Caucasian appearance and 170cm to 175cm tall.

He is shown wearing a grey hooded jumper and blue tracksuit pants with white stripes down both legs.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Hunter Valley detectives on 6542 6999.

– Image courtesy of NSW Police

Man in serious condition after shooting

A man is in a serious condition in hospital after being shot in broad daylight this morning after a dispute with a group of men in south west Sydney.

Bankstown police Detective Superintendent Dave Eardley said the 21-year-old was involved in a fight with a group of men in front of a townhouse complex at Greenacre Road, Greenacre about 11.15am, before he was shot in the neck and the arm.

A Channel Nine news report said his mother, brother and other family members witnessed the shooting.

He was taken to Liverpool Hospital after the shooting and underwent surgery.

A police spokeman said he would be staying in hospital over night and is in a serious but stable condition.

Detective Superintendent Eardley said police believe it was a targetted shooting and that the victim may know the offender.

He said the police investigation into the incident was continuing and police would be out in force in Bankstown tonight.

Detective Superintendent Eardley said “the victim and a number of male persons were involved in a fight in the driveway of the townhouse complex” before the shooting.

Nine news reported that the victim was known to police.

Police said the offender was seen leaving the scene in a car.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Bankstown Local Area Command or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Prominent real estate agent stabbed: reports

Police are investigating after a man was stabbed in his left thigh at Woolloomoolloo’s Finger Warf last night.

Television news reports identified the victim as prominent real estate agent Tamer Yigit, 32, who lives at the warf.

It has been reported that he was stabbed after getting into a fight with another man in front of the high-end restaurant China Doll about 7pm.

The fight continued towards Cowper Street roadway in front of Aki’s Indian restaurant.

When police arrived they found Mr Yigit on the footpath near the wharf with a stab wound to his leg.

He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital and it is believed his wound is not life-threatening.

Police said they were told a man of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance was seen running west on Cowper Wharf Road shortly after the incident.

Officers conducted a search of the area, but did not find the man.

Kings Cross police are investigating the incident, and would like to hear from anyone who may be able to assist with their inquiries.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Live: British and Irish Lions v Barbarians

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Arrest for alleged corruption potentially just the start

Taskforce Trentbridge is set to swoop on up to another six harness racing licensees in Tamworth this week after the arrest of trainer Anthony Mabbott on Monday. Mabbott has been stood down by Harness Racing NSW and will face four charges, two counts of facilitating conduct that corrupts the betting outcome of an event and two counts of use corrupt conduct information to bet on an event. ”We will be alleging that the 34-year-old was involved in at least two races,” Detective Inspector Wayne Walpole told The Northern Daily Leader. ”[We will allege] he with Robert Clement and other persons facilitated corrupt conduct of a betting event.” Fairfax Media has learnt police interviewed several drivers and trainers in the New England area last week and further charges could follow. Similar to the Prussian Secret case, which involved trainer Cody Morgan and former harness trainer Clement, it is believed the police have records of phone intercepts between the licensees.

Prussian Secret was stopped on the way to the Gunnedah Cup and Morgan and Clement charged under new laws with engaging in conduct that corrupts betting outcome of an event, and facilitating conduct that corrupts the betting outcome of an event. Harness Racing NSW chief integrity officer Reid Sanders indicated he was aware of the ongoing investigation and there was likely to be movement this week.

Meanwhile, trainer Rebecca Brown has been disqualified for six months after she knowingly allowed a disqualified person to participate within her registered training establishment. HRNSW stewards established that Brown’s fiance Mitchell Reese, who was disqualified, had driven, fed, watered and handled horses at Brown’s Jundera property.

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Man questioned over train grenade claim

Police are questioning a man who claimed to have left a hand grenade in a train carriage in the Blue Mountains this afternoon.

A police spokesman said the man, aged in his 30s, was making trouble at Mt Victoria station about 1.55pm today.

He told police that he had left his backpack and a hand grenade on a train.

The spokesman said officers believe the man may have been affected by drugs or alcohol at the time.

After being subdued with capsicum spray by a police officer, the man was arrested and taken to Katoomba police station where he’s expected to be charged.

The train and station were evacuated, and searched by Blue Mountains Police Rescue and the Bomb Disposal Squad.

The Blue Mountains train line was partially closed between Lithgow and Katoomba in both directions for about two hours while the search was held.

Officers found the man’s backpack on the train, but there were no signs of a grenade and the all-clear was given around 4.10pm.

Train operations re-commenced about 4.30pm.

A Transport Management Centre spokeswoman said there were lengthy delays on the train line following the incident and passengers were advised to delay their travel to the area or make alternative arrangements.

Police investigations continue.

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Thrower of soft-drink bottle faces long ban if caught

 The person who threw a near-full bottle of soft drink towards Jamie Soward as he lined up an after-the-siren penalty goal faces having their Bulldogs membership torn up. The incident occurred as Soward missed a chance to level the scores in a dramatic finish to the St George Illawarra-Canterbury clash at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg warned the offender faced serious punishment if caught.

”If they are a member we’ll strip their membership from them,” Greenberg told Triple M’s Deadset Legends on Saturday. ”We’ll work with the NRL. There are things in place for life bans and multiple-year bans, we judge each one on their merit. It’s safe to say that once we find that person, they won’t be watching rugby league for a significant time.”

Greenberg has already been in contact with officials from ANZ Stadium to try to reveal the culprit.

”It would do some damage if it hit someone,” Greenberg said. ”We will work as hard as we can to identify those people and once we find them, if we find them, we’ll take appropriate action. I would suggest that the person who did throw it should be very nervous because the type of surveillance cameras at ANZ Stadium are cutting edge. If we find out, we’ll do everything we can to make sure that person is not welcome any more.”

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North Stars record 4-3 home win

NEWCASTLE North Stars gained further revenge over the Melbourne Ice with a thrilling 4-3 win over the defending Australian Ice Hockey League champions at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Saturday night.

The Ice beat the North Stars 4-3 in last season’s grand final, but that is quickly becoming a distant memory.

The North Stars trumped the Ice 2-0 on their own rink a fortnight ago and backed up with a second dose on Saturday.

The visitors got off to a flyer, scoring three goals in the opening term.

The North Stars responded with a goal in the second period before storming home with three in final third.

GALLERY: Newcastle City score big AFL win

JACOB Dawes kicked five goals to help steer Newcastle City to an emphatic 63-point win in the Black Diamond AFL clash against Killarney Valeat No.1 Sportsground on Saturday.

The home side opened up with four goals in the first term to lead 28-7 and were never headed on the way to a comfortable 17.10-112 to 7.7-49.

In other games, premiers Terrigal Avoca thrashed Warners Bay 15.17-107 to 3.4-22 at Hylton Moore Oval and Cardiff were too strong for Lake Macquarie 17.17-119 to 9.10-64 at Tulkaba Park.

Singleton had the bye.

BLACK DIAMOND: Newcastle City v Killarney Vale. Picture: Ryan Osland

BLACK DIAMOND: Newcastle City v Killarney Vale. Picture: Ryan Osland

BLACK DIAMOND: Newcastle City v Killarney Vale. Picture: Ryan Osland

BLACK DIAMOND: Newcastle City v Killarney Vale. Picture: Ryan Osland

VIDEO: Cessnock win coalfields Real NRL derby

CESSNOCK hooker Joel Brown kicked a field goal with two minutes remaining to seal a thrilling 15-14 victory over Kurri Kurri in a spirited Newcastle Rugby League coalfields derby at Kurri Kurri sportsground on Saturday.

If you missed the game, watch a replay here.

The Goannas led 14-0 at half-time and had to withstand a courageous comeback from the home side.

The Bulldogs levelled the scores with 10 minutes remain before Brown produced the match winner.

The win moved Cessnock above Kurri into fourth place.

In Sunday’s games, Lakes United host Port Stephens in what shapes as battle to avoid the wooden spoon, South Newcastle are home to unbeaten leaders Macquarie Scorpions and Central tackle Maitland at St John Oval.

GALLERY: Glovers Lane sale protest

– Picture submitted by Mark Sampson – Picture submitted by Mark Sampson

– Picture submitted by Mark Sampson

– Picture submitted by Mark Sampson

DOZENS of people attended a public protest in Cooks Hill Saturday afternoon to speak out against Newcastle City Council’s proposed sale of a parcel of land on Laman Street.

– Picture submitted by Mark Sampson

On Tuesday night council voted to sell an empty block known as Glovers Lane Reserve, located at 29-31 Laman Street.

Mark Sampson, spokesman for the Glovers Lane Residents Action Group, said the land comprised two residentally zoned lots that for the past 40 years had been used as a park, with posted reserve conditions.

“It’s a pocket park, a hidden gem,” Mr Sampson said. “It’s an oasis and it is important for residents of a high-density housing area.”

Mr Sampson said the group would during the next fortnight lobby council for a rescission motion.