Monthly Archives: January 2019

Jan 28

Qld murderer mocks judge during sentencing

A Queensland prisoner mocked a judge and swore at a prosecutor as he was sentenced to life for bashing an inmate to death with a chin-up bar.

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Gregory George Glebow, 39, treated Supreme Court judge David Boddice with contempt as he was given a 30-year non-parole punishment for murdering Leonard Gordon on October 9, 2012.

Justice Boddice said Glebow showed no remorse for hitting the 22-year-old inmate in the head in the exercise yard of Maryborough Correctional Centre.

Gordon, who had been jailed for a non-violent crime, had only two days before he was due for release.

The judge described the killing of a slightly built, unarmed victim with a metal pole as a “cold, calculated act of callousness”.

From the dock, Glebow shouted: “He wasn’t a 10-year-old boy who got raped and murdered.”

Justice Boddice said Glebow had no prospects for rehabilitation, to which he replied: “That’s exactly right, your honour.”

Crown prosecutor Ben Power told the court Glebow had offered no motive for the murder, which was captured on CCTV.

He also cited victim impact statements from Gordon’s younger sister, who was 11 when her brother died, and his mother, who had battled mental health problems.

This prompted Glebow to shout expletives at Mr Power.

“If I had to, I’d do it again, you f***ing grub,” he said.

Glebow also invoked God as he accused the prosecution of making up a story for the media despite having pleaded guilty.

“I gladly plead guilty,” he said ahead of his sentence.

“There’s only one thing I’d like to say: next time, your honour, can you take off that silly wig off your head.”

Glebow was already serving a life sentence for bashing to death a man in Brisbane in March 2000, who members of Glebow’s drunken social group targeted because they thought he was gay.

Michael Christopher Greer, a 26-year-old father with a young daughter, died nine months after he was bashed and kicked in the attack.

In 2007, Glebow was given a nine-year sentence for assaulting another inmate.

In sentencing Glebow for the 2012 prison murder, Justice Boddice took into account his guilty plea.

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Jan 28

Bid to cut rheumatic heart disease rates

While general heart disease is often a product of smoking, poor diet or a lack of exercise, rheumatic heart disease usually occurs in impoverished living conditions, where health access is limited.

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(Transcript from World News Radio)

 

Rheumatic heart disease is most commonly found in Third World countries.

 

But in Australia, there are relatively high rates of RHD in remote Aboriginal communities and in some refugee groups.

 

Efforts are being made to reduce the problem through better early detection programs.

 

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

 

Kenya McAdam was eight when she went to the doctor with a sore throat.

 

Her mother asked the doctor to test for rheumatic fever, but was told all she needed was Panadol.

 

The sore throats continued for Kenya, who grew up in the remote Indigenous community of Halls Creek in Western Australia, but she was never tested for any disease.

 

Seven years later she returned to the doctor – this time crawling on hands and knees.

 

“I couldn’t even walk properly, it would hurt. And I couldn’t even breath properly. I was just coughing up tonnes of pink blood.”

 

Left untreated, the throat infections had damaged her heart.

 

Diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease, Kenya had open-heart surgery when she was 15.

 

It’s a time she doesn’t like to think about.

 

“I don’t really want to remember it, because it was really heartbreaking to think that. I was pretty healthy and I was sporty – I was this happy girl and then I just went downhill.”

 

Kenya now lives 500 kilometres from home, closer to the medical services she will need every six months for the rest of her life.

 

If properly treated at the first sign of infection, her life could have been very different.

 

National Heart Foundation director of cardiovascular health Dr Robert Grenfell says Kenya’s scenario is common for children in Indigenous communities, and some migrant groups.

 

“Unfortunately those who are living in overcrowded housing conditions and suffering from conditions that most of us would regard as impoverished or disadvantaged groups. So remote and rural Aboriginal communities unfortunately are one of the largest groups that are affected by rheumatic heart disease in Australia. And also a number of recent arrivals, in particular the immigrants that have come from refugee centres and others.

 

Director of RHD Australia, Professor Bart Currie says early detection is getting better.

 

The federal government funds special health staff and education programs in remote areas of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

 

Professor Currie hopes this will soon be extended to South Australia.

 

“For a few years now there has been a national coordination of this with Commonwealth money for the remote community programs. And we’re hoping that fairly soon we’ll be gettting money for South Australian health colleagues who are working, particularly for instance, in the APY lands, where there is a substantial number of Aboriginal kids with rheumatic heart disease.”

 

But Robert Grenfell from the National Heart Foundation says the best way to eliminate the disease in Australia is to eliminate poverty.

 

“A lot of this is to do with access to health services, but in the first instance, if we could get rid of poverty in this country and the ensuing problems that come from it, that would go a long way to removing rheumatic heart disease in this country.”

 

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Jan 28

Moscow kicks off annual military parade

Thousands of Russian troops have marched in Red Square to mark 69 years since victory in World War II in a show of military might amid tensions in Ukraine following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

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More than 11,000 servicemen took part in the annual Victory Day parade which began with the massed troops marching to the sound of brass bands as President Vladimir Putin watched from the stands, flanked by veterans.

Putin praised the strength of Russia’s “all-conquering” patriotism in his speech to the veterans and troops.

“This is a holiday when all-conquering patriotic force triumphs, when we all feel especially strongly what it means to be true to the Motherland and how important it is to be able to stand up for its interests,” Putin said to shouts of “Hurrah!”

The parade took on particular significance as Russia is locked in a standoff with the West over its support for separatists in Ukraine and following its annexation of Crimea where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based in Sevastopol.

Putin was reportedly to fly directly from Moscow to take part in celebrations in Sevastopol, liberated from the Nazis 70 years ago, although this was not confirmed by the Kremlin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it would be a “pity” if Putin were to “use” the commemorations to make his first visit to Crimea since annexation.

The parade began with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu standing up in a specially designed car to inspect the massed troops, including marines from the Black Sea fleet based in Crimea, followed by a display of military hardware.

The Moscow parade put on view around 150 items of military hardware including for the first time new Tor-M2U air defence missile system, the powerful Chrysanthemum-S anti-tank missile system and Typhoon armoured vehicles.

A total of 69 aircraft were to zoom 200 metres above Moscow rooftops including Tupolev TU-160 bomber jets.

Russia and other ex-Soviet countries mark Nazi surrender a day later than Western countries celebrated VE Day due to the time difference.

The Soviet Union lost an estimated 30 million people during World War II.

Russia has accused the new Kiev leadership of support for a wartime guerilla fighter who collaborated with the Nazis, Stepan Bandera, and regularly refers to pro-Russian separatists as fighting “neo-Nazis” and “fascists.”

“In Europe, militant nationalism is rearing its head again, the same that led to the appearance of Nazi ideology,” Putin warned on Thursday in a speech to leaders of other ex-Soviet states.

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Jan 28

Chiefs beat Blues in Super Rugby

The Chiefs marked their first home match in New Plymouth with a 32-20 Super Rugby victory over the Blues that cements their position at the top of the New Zealand conference.

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The two-time defending champions added a bonus point with four tries, before showing good defensive resolve in overcoming a late Blues fightback and a sinbinning.

The result extends their winning streak against the Blues to six matches going back to 2011.

It also continues the Blues’ long drought on the road, with a 13th loss in row in an away fixture since early last season.

The defeat keeps the Auckland-based franchise bottom of the conference and was compounded by injury to fullback Charles Piutau, who left the field midway through the opening spell.

With Test coach Steve Hansen looking on, the 10-cap All Black went down with a knee injury after falling awkwardly in a tackle.

Up 20-13 at halftime, the Chiefs pulled away with two tries early in the second spell.

Prop Ben Tameifuna completed his second try-scoring double against the Blues in two years by driving over after the home side forced a turnover from an opposition scrum.

Fullback Tom Marshall then grabbed the bonus-point touchdown by finishing off a long-range attack that featured a big break by centre Tim Nanai-Williams.

Nanai-Williams went on to be yellow-carded for a breakdown infringement with a quarter-hour to go.

The Blues took advantage of the extra man to get a converted try through outside back George Moala but that was as close as they would get.

In the first half, the visitors made a great start, inside centre Ma’a Nonu setting up winger Lolagi Visinia, who did well to get the ball down after a juggle and pirouette.

But a Nonu mistake – the high pass going through his hands – allowed the Chiefs to hit back with Tameifuna barging over in the corner.

The Chiefs got their second try through Nanai-Williams from a sweeping counter-attack while Piutau was down and getting treatment.

Both sides have a bye next week.

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Jan 28

Nigeria accepts help to find kidnapped schoolgirls

The United States and Britain have offered support to Nigeria for the rescue of over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

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(Transcript from World News Radio)

 

The girls were kidnapped last month, and over the weekend another eight were reportedly kidnapped from a village in the country’s northeast.

 

Nigeria says it’s happy to accept help in rescuing the girls, but a former ambassador to Africa says she has grave concerns for their welfare.

 

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

 

As New York protesters continue to call for action, United States Secretary of State John Kerry has reached out to Nigeria.

 

“Our embassy in Abuja is prepared to form a coordination cell that could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiations and help facilitate information sharing and victim assistance. And President Goodluck Jonathan was very happy to receive this offer and ready to move on it immediately.”

 

Over 200 girls were taken from their boarding school three weeks ago.

 

Now reports claim more have since been kidnapped from a village in Nigeria’s embattled northeast.

 

A man claiming to be the chief of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility and says he intends to sell his hostages.

 

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he’s confident the girls will be recovered, but his spokesman says they will appreciate U-S help.

 

“Mr Kerry assured President Jonathan that the United States is fully committed to giving Nigeria all required support and assistance to save the abducted girls and bring the reign of terror unleashed on parts of the country by Boko Haram to an end.”

 

Britain has offered Nigeria what it calls “practical” help, with the Foreign Office saying it’s part of a coordinated international support effort.

 

The Nigerian government has been criticised for its slow response to the abduction and international pressure has mounted during the past few days.

 

Nigerian Pastor Oluremi Oshikinlu says swifter action would have been taken if a mass kidnapping had occurred in a Western country.

 

“We must let the world know that the blood of Nigerians is just as important as the blood of any other human being on the face of the earth.”

 

Australia’s former Ambassador and High Commissioner in Africa, Helen Ware says the claim by Nigerian authorities that they can’t find the girls is extraordinary.

 

“It’s quiet remarkable to think of a country where unfortunately the police are either so inefficient or so corrupt that they can’t find somebody who has got an armoured vehicle without assistance. That said, there are two problems: one is the extensive nature of the land; and the possibility that the girls have been taken across an international border. It may be that the girls are no longer in Nigeria.”

 

Professor Ware describes Boko Haram as a series of small groups, or cells, that follow a fundamentalist edict of Islam.

 

She says little is known about the group, except that one of its early leaders was a university professor and that its recruits are mainly men disillusioned with the state of the economy in Nigeria.

 

“There are a lot of understandably unemployed very unhappy young men who want to rule the world and make a mark on the world and so on, so they have a very wide possibility for recruiting people and their common feature is their belief in Islam and a desire to create a different sort of Nigeria.”

 

Professor Ware says she has no doubt the group is prepared to act on its threat to sell the girls.

 

She says Nigeria has a high prevalence of polygamy, and paying for a bride is common.

 

“Sadly I don’t think they will find them safe and sound. Some of the girls did escape and over time others may escape after all even if you force someone into a marriage unless you’re going to keep them locked up they will have some opportunities of escaping. But sadly they might have been forced into a marriage before that.”

 

Professor Ware says the level of support the US is offering to Nigeria is significantly less than what has been provided to Ugandan forces in the hunt for accused warlord Joseph Kony.

 

The US first got involved in the search for Joseph Kony in 2011, but he is yet to be found.

 

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Jan 28

Pistorius trial told police wrong on shots

A ballistics expert testifying for Oscar Pistorius’ defence says the bullets that hit Reeva Steenkamp were not in the order prosecutors claim, offering key evidence in the star’s murder trial.

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Wollie Wolmarans sought to show the sequence of the bullets showed Steenkamp was reaching for the toilet door and not putting her hands to her face defensively.

The model’s final movements have been used by the defence to show Pistorius shot the 29-year-old mistaking her for an intruder, while the prosecution has sought to show he knew she was in the cubicle and wilfully fired.

Wolmarans told the court Steenkamp was close to the toilet door and leaning slightly forward when the first of four gunshots hit her hip.

The next bullets hit her arm and hand, and the final bullet hit her head as she fell backward.

Wolmarans’ testimony runs in the face of police ballistics testimony, which said one bullet missed and ricocheted off the wall, injuring Steenkamp’s back and the final bullet hit her hand and head as she was sitting in a defensive position with her hands over her head.

The defence witness said all four hollow-point bullets hit the 29-year-old model and law graduate, and the same bullet could not have hit both her hand and head; otherwise, there would be brain tissue found on her hand.

He said the back wounds were “consistent with falling off a blunt surface” and caused when Steenkamp fell on a wooden magazine rack in the toilet.

The state’s version, that Steenkamp fell into a seated position on the magazine rack, “doesn’t make sense to me”, Wolmarans said.

The expert testimony bolsters the defence claim Steenkamp was reaching for the toilet door handle when she was shot by Pistorius.

The Paralympic gold medallist claims he shot his girlfriend by accident, believing her to be an intruder in his upmarket Pretoria home.

In contrast, the state claims 27-year-old Pistorius shot Steenkamp in a fit of rage following an argument. If found guilty of premeditated murder, the double-amputee faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Pistorius began the day in good spirits, cracking a rare smile in court as he greeted Wolmarans, a former policeman with more than 30 years’ experience in ballistics.

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Jan 28

Tear gas used on Thai protesters

Thousands of protesters left their main encampment in a park in the city’s commercial district as their firebrand leader Suthep Thaugsuban issued a rallying cry for them to establish a parallel government.

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Fanning out into several groups they also surrounded a number of free-to-air television stations, saying they had interrupted broadcasts by authorities, amid simmering fears of street clashes between rival political groups.

Police briefly used water cannon to hold off a hardcore group of anti-government protesters led by a Buddhist monk, who were attempting to enter a fortified police club.

“At first police fired water cannon, but protesters tried to get into the police club so they fired one can of tear gas,” said Paradorn Pattanatabut, a security adviser to the government.

The city’s Erawan Emergency Centre said five people were injured at the police club.

The protesters’ action adds risk to a highly combustible situation with rival pro-government “Red Shirts” due to mass in the city suburbs on Saturday, as Thailand’s political crisis lurchesinto a dangerous new phase.

At least 25 people have been killed and hundreds more left wounded in gun and grenade attacks linked to six months of anti-government protests.

Both sides have hardcore armed supporters and Thailand’s recent history has been scarred by bouts of political violence.

Although buffeted by the Constitutional Court’s removal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on abuse of power charges on Wednesday, the Puea Thai administration has staggered on and appointed a new premier.

But the Red Shirts are outraged at Yingluck’s being deposed, accusing the court of acting in cahoots with the street mob to boot out a third premier linked to their hero – Yingluck’s billionaire brother Thaksin.

Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, who was swiftly appointed to replace Yingluck, is a Thaksin-loyalist.

“We are angry … we are ready to fight, we will not use violence but the power of the people to fight for democracy,” said Kwanchai Pripana, a Red Shirt leader, adding he would lead tens of thousands to Saturday’s rally from the Shinawatra-loyalist Udon Thani province.

Thaksin, who lives in exile to avoid a corruption conviction, was himself ousted as premier in an army coup in 2006, sending the country spinning into a political crisis that has lasted eight years to date.

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Jan 28

Financial Fair Play decisions delayed until next week

PSG and City face fines of 60 million euros (48.

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9 million pounds) and limits on the size of their Champions League squads for next season after falling foul of the Financial Fair Play regime.

Qatari-owned PSG are thought to have agreed a settlement along those lines but City, backed by cash from Abu Dhabi, have been disputing the sanctions and could opt to take their case to the next level in the process.

UEFA said last week that nine unnamed clubs faced punishment for failing to comply with rules forcing teams to limit their financial losses. Confirmation of the sanctions had been expected this week, but sources close to the process said there would be no statement on Friday.

The dilemma for City is that failure to agree a deal could expose them to the risk of being banned from the Champions League by the adjudicatory panel that would take up the case.

Many observers question the logic of fining mega-rich clubs for spending too much money and say UEFA must take strong action to ensure the regime is credible.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called for clubs who break the rules to be excluded from Europe’s top competition – the toughest sanction available.

“You would think you accept the rules and you’re in the competition or you don’t accept the rules and you’re not in the competition – then everybody would understand it,” Wenger told British media.

PSG have spent heavily to recruit players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and have just won the French league for a second successive season.

City, who have invested hundreds of millions of pounds since Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008, need only a point on Sunday to win the Premier League for the second time in the last three seasons.

(Writing by Keith Weir; editing by Justin Palmer)

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Jan 28

ANC wins mandate from South African voters

South Africans have voted resoundingly to extend the ANC’s 20-year rule, ignoring leadership scandals and economic malaise in a wholesale display of loyalty to the party once led by Nelson Mandela.

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Final results were expected on Friday, but with about three-quarters of the ballots counted, the ANC had garnered a thumping 63 per cent of the popular vote, spelling a parliamentary majority big enough to hand embattled President Jacob Zuma a second five-year term.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said the 102-year-old party – which has held power since helping to end apartheid in 1994 – would ultimately receive “an overwhelming mandate” from voters.

The ANC’s status as the party of liberation was drilled home by the recent 20th anniversary of democracy and the outpouring of emotion that accompanied the death of former president Mandela in December.

But with 63 per cent, it would still fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution and will see its winning margin reduced for a second consecutive election, down from 66 per cent at the last poll.

Meanwhile the main opposition party, the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA), made rapid gains, boosted by a strong urban turnout.

It’s share of the vote rose to 23 per cent, up from 17 per cent at the last election in 2009, according to the incomplete results, and looked set to top the polls in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

DA leader Helen Zille told AFP early on Thursday that she expects the final tally to remain at 23 per cent.

“We’ll see how it goes, of course we hope it will be more. We did as much as we could,” she said.

Julius Malema’s populist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) gained five per cent of the vote, less than a year after the party was formed.

Both DA and EFF support has been bolstered by a series of scandals surrounding Zuma and frustration at rampant poverty and poor public services.

Casting his ballot in his home village of Nkandla, Zuma predicted the “results will be very good”, but conceded the campaign had been “very challenging”.

Zuma has been a lightning rod for criticism of the ANC.

He came to office facing rape and corruption charges, and has most recently been pilloried for spending $US23 million ($A24.89 million) of taxpayer money to upgrade his private home.

But voters appeared to put storied party before sullied president.

“When it comes to national elections the vast majority of ANC supporters decide that their loyalty to the organisation is greater than their loyalty to its current leadership,” said political commentator Steven Friedman.

A record 25 million voters registered for the elections amid mounting anger over joblessness, inequality and corruption.

Turnout is said to be over 70 per cent, including hundreds of thousands of “born free” South Africans, who were registered to vote in a general election for the first time.

The ballot was marred by isolated incidents of violence, including the killing of one ANC member at a polling station in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Pansy Tlakula, chairperson of the Independent Election Commission, said a number of complaints were being investigated.

But, she added, “we believe the credibility of the election has not been affected”.

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Jan 28

Hamilton on top while Vettel has to stop

Race favourite Hamilton was quickest in both, 0.

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449 of a second faster than championship-leading team mate Nico Rosberg in the afternoon and 0.868 ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button in the morning.

“I can feel the positive step forward that we’ve made with the car,” the 2008 champion from Britain told reporters. “Our two practice sessions today went very smoothly, in fact I’ve not had such a good Friday for a very long time.”

While Hamilton pounded out the laps, ahead of a weekend that could bring him a fourth successive win, quadruple champion Vettel was little more than a spectator at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The German, winner of nine races in a row at the end of last season, was forced to park up by the side of the track early in the day with just four laps completed.

Marshals handed him a fire extinguisher as he inspected the car before hitching a ride back to the paddock on a scooter.

Red Bull have given the 26-year-old a car with a different chassis to the one he has used so far in what has been a difficult start to the season but there was no obvious improvement.

“We had a simple failure in one of the (wiring) looms this morning which caused a short (circuit) and meant the car stopped. We had to change the chassis loom which is a big job so I wasn’t able to go out this afternoon,” said Vettel.

“It’s a small failure but a big consequence, there was nothing new on that part of the car, it was something new that happened in that area.”

The last time the German was at a Spanish circuit, testing at Jerez in January, he spent most of his time in the garage watching mechanics work on the car as Renault wrestled with teething problems on the new V6 power unit.

IMPRESSIVE MARGINS

Hamilton, four points behind Rosberg after four races, went from strength to strength with a fastest lap of one minute 27.023 seconds set six minutes from the end in the morning. After lunch, his best time was 1:25.524.

The impressive margins in the Spanish sunshine underlined his status as the man to watch in Formula One’s first European race of the season.

Rosberg, who had said on Thursday he just needed a “normal weekend” to regain the momentum, suffered a cooling issue that cut short his first session and left him fifth fastest before normal service was resumed in the afternoon.

Vettel’s Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who has made an impressive start with the team, was third in both sessions with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the local favourite for his home race after winning last year, fourth.

“I think we have shown improvement. We want to close the gap to Mercedes but they don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down,” said Ricciardo.

Alonso felt Pirelli had been too conservative with their tyre choices for the weekend and said Ferrari faced a lot of work to get the most out of the car.

With the opening long-haul races in Asia and the Middle East out of the way, all teams have brought updates to their cars and Friday’s practice sessions were being closely watched for any signs of change in the pecking order.

It was also the first chance for many of the fans to hear the new, less noisy engines with engineers already looking at ways of making them louder.

In a bizarre early incident, a wing mirror on Sergio Perez’s Force India broke off and was left flapping around on a wire. The Mexican completed the lap with it in his hand.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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