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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.
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‘‘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.

AFP

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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.
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”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.
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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 dressed as a lizard assaults backpackers

Police are on the hunt for a man who was dressed up as a lizard and another as a construction worker at Maroubra on Friday night.
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The fancy-dressed pair are alleged to have assaulted three Italian backpackers, who suffered serious injuries.

Police said the three males, aged 22, 24 and 26, were driving along Bernie Kelly Drive near the South Maroubra Surf Club car park when a can of beer struck their car at 11:45pm.

They stopped the car and called out to a group of people standing nearby, who were wearing fancy dress.

Two men from the group then allegedly approached the car and broke one man’s nose, fractured another man’s jaw and knocked two of the third man’s teeth out.

The pair then walked away and were last seen heading through Arthur Byrne Reserve.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Eastern Beaches Local Area Command or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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VIDEO: Paratriathlete’s road to Rio

Albury Paratriathlete Justin Godfrey is training hard in swimming, cycling and running in the hope of making the paraolympics. Pictures: TARA GOONAN
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Once Albury’s Justin Godfrey made the tough decision to stop trying to save his leg and ‘get on with my life’ there was no looking back.

Now the paratriathlete is ready to go global — starting with the world championships in London.

Click on the video for an insight into Justin’s training regime.

VIDEO: Kurt Gidley speaks about his injury

Please enable Javascript to watch this video NEWCASTLE Knights captain Kurt Gidley speaks to the media about being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right foot.
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NEWCASTLE Knights captain Kurt Gidley speaks to the media about being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right foot.

GALLERY: Bulldogs vs Dragons

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
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Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Bulldogs vs Dragons at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Thrill-seeking kayakers relish the deluge

Kayakers have made the most of raging waters flowing into the Yarra River, caused by Friday night’s deluge.
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Storm watchers gathered at Dights Falls in Abbotsford to watch the water rush from Merri Creek into the Yarra.

Kayakers had taken to the swell, two spending hours riding the waters.

Capital City Trail near the falls was closed to cyclists and pedestrians, submerged under at least a metre of water.

Dita Pahl, 33, was kayaking the river with Georgie Tonkin, 13.

Ms Pahl said it was for experienced paddlers only.

“There’s logs, massive trees, there was a chair, but I think it’s worthwhile – we’re having fun,” she said.

Ian Wilson, of Clifton Hill, had walked down to Dights Falls to observe the high waters.

“I come down here a fair bit, this is the highest I’ve seen it,” he said.

“A few years ago (during the draught) there was so little water you could walk across the dam wall, it’s a different scene now.”

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Nun, 77, suffers head injury after ATM robbery

A woman who tried to rob and assault an elderly Catholic nun in broad daylight has been refused bail at Parramatta Bail Court.
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Police say 49-year-old Christina Vachon-Coco stood closely behind the 77-year-old nun while she took cash from an ATM on the corner of Castlereagh and Liverpool Streets at 1pm on Friday.

The nun told police she noticed how close Ms Vachon-Coco was standing to her, so she put her money straight into her purse and held it tightly to her chest as she walked away.

But it is alleged the nun was followed for about 50 metres before her pursuer grabbed her around the waist and tried to wrangle the wallet from her grasp.

Refusing to budge, the pair struggled. The nun hit her head on a wall after falling, and her attacker then fell on top of her. The whole time the nun never let go of her purse.

A group of bystanders helped the nun, while Ms Vachon-Coco walked away empty handed. She was soon arrested by Australian Federal Police who happened to be in the area.

Ms Vachon-Coco will appear at Central Local Court on Monday.

The nun remains in St Vincent’s Hospital where she is being treated for a non-life threatening head injury.

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Damage reported from new US tornado

US motorists have been hurt in a storm that has hit the Oklahoma City area and several people are missing, local authorities say.
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The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for the city’s downtown, airport and several suburbs as the storm rolled through central Oklahoma.

Trooper Betsy Randolph said numerous vehicles were damaged in the storm and that many motorists are stranded.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is urging motorists to get off Interstate 40 and drive to the south.

A tornado touched down near El Reno and the storm moved to the east, toward Oklahoma City.

Television cameras carrying the storm on statewide television showed debris in the air.

Damage was reported in Canadian County, immediately to the west of the capital city, and video footage showed debris falling from the sky and power transformers being knocked out by high winds.

A storm last week killed 24 at Moore, on Oklahoma City’s south side. Friday’s storm is north of Moore.

AP

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Owner-operators return to pubs

The sale of the Annandale Hotel to a private buyer indicates more owner-operators are returning to the sector.
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In the past, the pub sector had fallen into disarray as properties were bought by investors at inflated prices. These owners were not publicans and many of the businesses felt the pressure from poor management. They were then sold at low prices to repay the debt.

Oxford Commercial hotels director Adam Spencer-Carr said it was encouraging to see these operators return, adding that John Singleton had climbed on board, with the Laundy and Short families also active.

”More investors are looking at hotels as genuine cash-flow propositions,” Mr Spencer-Carr said. ”These operators are entering the freehold pub sector in recognition of the intrinsic value of the hotel licence.”

Another recent sale was the East Sydney Hotel, which was bought by the Marsden family for about $3 million.

”In the case of East Sydney, accommodation revenue played a key role in the marketing of the hotel,” Mr Spencer-Carr said.

”There is an increasing level of inquiry from non-core hotel operators who are keen to exploit the lack of well-priced short-term accommodation within close proximity to rail and bus links.”

Other recent sales included the Dry Dock Hotel at Balmain to a private investor, while the Kurrajong at Erskineville, the Henson Park Hotel at Marrickville, and the Buckland in Alexandria were also bought by private owner-operators.

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GALLERY: Trawler hits wharf and sinks

Source: Newcastle Herald
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– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

GALLERY: Trawler hits wharf and sinks

A FISHING trawler has sunk in Newcastle harbour after ploughing into the ferry wharf and opening up like ‘it had been hit with a can opener’.
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– Picture by Samantha Roberts

– Picture by Samantha Roberts

– Picture by Samantha Roberts

– Picture by Samantha Roberts

– Picture by Samantha Roberts

Stockton ferry deckhand Dylan Austin said the trawler hit the wharf around 9.25am, narrowly missing the Stockton ferry.

– Picture by Dylan Austin

‘The trawler opened up like it had been hit with a can opener,’ Mr Austin said.

– Picture by Dylan Austin

‘It didn’t miss us by much.’

Mr Austin said that he and Stockton ferry skipper Stephen Doley rescued the captain of the fishing trawler before it completely submerged.

‘He was in shock, but he managed to get up on the roof and we got him across to the wharf,’ Mr Austin said.

Mr Austin said a number of people witnessed the accident while breakfasting along the harbour.

Newcastle Port Corporation issued a statement saying the vessel’s crew was safe.

– Picture by Dean Osland

The port corporation has also placed containment beams around the vessel, in accordance with oil spill prevention procedures.

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

– Picture by Dean Osland

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