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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]

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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

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

Were you there? Do you know more?Email [email protected]南京夜网.au or submit your tips and photos through the Herald’s iPhone or Android apps.

Kearney won’t run for Labor seat

ACTU president Ged Kearney will not nominate for the prized Labor seat of Batman.
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Ms Kearney was being lobbied hard by the party’s left faction to run against Right powerbroker Senator David Feeney for the seat vacated by Martin Ferguson.

Her supporters had expected her to announce her candidacy soon but on Saturday morning she issued a statement saying she would not run.

“I want to thank all of those people who have encouraged me to run for the seat of Batman, however I will not be nominating,” ms Kearney said.

” It would have been a great privilege  but now is not the right time.

” Being elected as president of the ACTU is a commitment dear to my heart and I believe I still have a lot more to do in this role given the challenges the labour movement faces.”

She said she was proud to lead the union campaign on insecure work and That she wanted to continue to be part of the team at the ACTU fighting for workers’ rights and the role of unions in our community.

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Fishing powers reject Antarctic parks

An attempt by Western nations, including Australia, to build support for big Antarctic marine reserves has been rebuffed by the fishing powers.
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China and Japan are said to have shot down a show of support for the reserves concept at a closed Antarctic Treaty meeting in Brussels this week. Australia has joined France and the European Union in proposing 1.9 million square kilometres of waters off eastern Antarctica for a chain of marine reserves.

In the Ross Sea, the US and New Zealand want a 1.4 million square kilometre reserve.

The reserves would restrict some fishing rights, and China took a stand against them last year at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Other nations who objected then, including Russia, indicated that as well as future resource access, they were concerned about the need for designated marine reserves in an already tightly regulated commission system.

This has forced the commission to call only the second special meeting in its history – in Bremerhaven, Germany, in July – to tackle the marine reserves issue.

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Car pool: Nissan Dualis

Nissan Dualis TS.The car Nissan Dualis TS
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The price From $29,990, plus on-roads

Vital statistics 1.6-litre turbo diesel 4-cyl; 96kW/320Nm; 6-sp manual; FWD; 4.5L/100km combined and 119g/km CO2 

Why we’re driving it

Nissan added a diesel variant Dualis to its compact-SUV line-up last month.

Likes

The Renault-sourced diesel engine is commendably fuel efficient given the Dualis’s 1407-kilogram kerb weight: we saw about 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres in city driving. The steering is linear and predictable. The high-ride height offers better visibility and versatility. The six-speed manual shifts smoothly. Standard features include satnav, reversing camera, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, and stop-start idle technology. Three-year/100,000-kilometre warranty and three-year 24-hour roadside assist program.

Dislikes

The Dualis suffers from turbo lag and is pretty flat off boost or under 1500rpm. No automatic gearbox available. The front wheels struggle for grip under harder acceleration. Lacks flair inside the cabin.

Would I buy one?

If I was content with a manual gearbox and could live with turbo lag, I’d consider it. But those features make the diesel variant a hard sell.

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GALLERY: Tram Artwork

Tram art by Howard Arkley. Tram art by Lesley Dumbrell.
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Artwork tram on the circuit.

Discarded art tram in 1993.

Tram art by Jenny Watson.

Tram artwork in 1990.

Tram artwork in 1990.

The Age “Fascinating Reading” tram.

Tram artwork in 1988.

Home-made alcohol kills four in Iran

Four people have died after drinking home-made alcohol in southern Iran and 298 others were poisoned, the ISNA news agency quoted a local health official as saying.
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‘‘Nine of the victims are in a coma and have lost their vision,’’ said Hamid Najmeddin, adding that 100 of the victims were on dialysis after drinking the alcohol on Wednesday.

He said the victims were admitted to local hospitals in and near the city of Rafsanjan in the southern province of Kerman.

According to the report, all the victims were male and under 27 years old.

The consumption of alcohol has been forbidden in Iran since the 1979 revolution under sharia (Islamic) law, and violations are punishable by jail or lashing.

Only recognised Christian minorities in Iran, such as the country’s Armenian community, are allowed to produce and consume alcohol, but discreetly and behind closed doors, in order not to offend Islamic sensibilities.

But despite severe penalties under the Islamic penal law, 60 to 80 million litres of alcohol are smuggled into the country each year, according to officials, while police manage to seize only about 20 million litres.

Police chief Esmaeel Ahmadi Moghadam said last year that some 200,000 alcoholics lived in Iran.

Home distilled spirits, which sell for far less than foreign brands smuggled from abroad, are widely consumed in the Islamic republic.

But the use of industrial chemicals in their production can pose a serious health risk.

AFP

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