Thursday, September 25, 2008

Headlines Thursday 25th September

You can't trust Labor to fix NSW transport
By Alan Jones
Wherever the new NSW Premier Nathan Rees turns he runs into dead ends. Rather amazingly, yesterday, he withdrew Morris Iemma's power privatisation bill from the Parliament. Someone's going to have to shortly answer the question as to where the money is going to come from.

There are ridiculous proposals being floated today on the transport front. A property tax on homes to be built near the North West metro. Selling metro carriages to the private sector.

Nathan Rees has got to be careful that he doesn't catch the Kevin Rudd disease: reviews, committees and investigations.

The reality is there's a billion dollar black hole.

On the one hand, stamp duty revenue is down and health costs are up, to say nothing about public sector salaries as the government has to settle with teachers, firefighters and nurses - to name a few - well above the current CPI.

The trouble is it's boy and the wolf stuff.

The record of Macquarie Street over the last ten years on transport is diabolical.
I knew Orkopoulos took drugs: Rees
Jessica Campanaro
Premier Nathan Rees has admitted he knew disgraced former Aboriginal Affairs minister Milton Orkopoulos had smoked cannabis.

Orkopoulos, who was jailed over dozens of child-sex offences in May, has revealed from his prison-cell Mr Rees told him to stop smoking Marijuana.

The Premier, who maintains he never knew about the child-sex allegations, says he did warn Orkopoulos about drugs.
Fire burns near Machu Picchu
A FOREST fire has damaged two archeological sites in the valley between the Peruvian city of Cuzco and the ancient Incan fortress of Machu Picchu, Peru's national institute of culture said today.

At least 600 firefighters are battling the blaze high in the Andes mountains. They have brought the fire under control at times, only to see it whipped up again by winds.
Democrats Delay $840 Billion Rescue Package for Politics.
US President GEORGE W. Bush cannot give $US700 billion ($842 billion) away and actor Michael Douglas has no idea what to do.

Mr Bush's mega-expensive bailout plan aimed at rescuing the US financial system suffered more exploratory surgery overnight, but Congress was still not convinced such a huge measure should be approved in a rush.

US stocks closed mixed this morning with the package still in limbo, while the added bad news of falling home sales added to the gloom.

The crisis is crippling Wall St and can wipe tens of billions of dollars off the Australian market in a single day - as happened last week. Other world markets are also at risk the longer the turbulence drags on.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced he was suspending his campaign to fly to Washington with a plan to get the package passed. He wants to postpone a debate against Democratic rival Barack Obama, but Senator Obama wants it to go ahead.
Gun in Kurri Kurri classroom 'no big deal' says dad
THE father of the youth who took a handgun and ammunition to school said what his son did was "no big deal".

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he couldn't understand why other parents were "making such a fuss" about his 15-year-old producing the deadly weapon and ammunition during an English class. - Begs the question what else is being covered up and how is it being covered up? Would an allegation of a bus driver seeing a student with a knife be covered up? What if that same student threatened the bus driver a few days later, after nothing happened from the first report? What if the school had a history of threatening the bus driver who had done the run for over thirty years? Would THAT be covered up? What threats would be needed to keep all who knew silent? - ed
What's in the perks package, asks ex-premier
OUSTED NSW premier Morris Iemma wants to know what part of a potential $500,000 annual perks package he will be entitled to after his early departure from office.

Mr Iemma announced his resignation as premier on September 5 after failing to gain the support of the Labor Party's right faction during a cabinet reshuffle.

His departure came three years and one month into a four-year term, Fairfax newspapers report.

Mr Iemma has now contacted the office of new Premier Nathan Rees to find what entitlements he will receive out of office.

Mr Iemma's predecessor Bob Carr, who served a full term, is entitled to perks including a car and driver, an office, and assistant - a package which cost taxpayers $438,683 in 2005-06.

Having resigned as premier and as MP for the Sydney seat of Lakemba, Mr Iemma is entitled to a lifetime pension of more than $130,000 a year, indexed to inflation.

"...all I'm seeking is some information and clarification of what they (the entitlements) are," Mr Iemma told Fairfax.
Abuse of black kids 'not taken as seriously'
By Tony Keim and Margaret Wenham
QUEENSLAND'S chief coroner has accused police and other authorities of failing to take abuse against black children as seriously as whites.

Queensland State Coroner Michael Barnes, inquiring into the suicide of a 12-year-old boy in January 2004, said police had failed to adequately investigate the alleged sexual abuse of his eight-year-old sister.

Mr Barnes found the Kowanyama boy hanged himself in his bedroom cupboard two days after he and his two sisters had been placed in care.

The inquest was told police made several seriously questionable decisions, including failing to pursue the alleged sex abuse of the girl who had a sexually transmitted disease in June 2003.

Other alarming evidence included the Department of Child Safety's far northern zone director telling the court she currently had the resources to process only 60 per cent of child protection work on Cape York. - if the coroner were serious aabout the issue they would have to investigate Heiner Affair - ed.
Family First blocks Medicare but Saves the Sick from Worse
By Patricia Karvelas and Siobhain Ryan
THE Senate last night destroyed the Rudd Government's bid to lift income thresholds on the Medicare surcharge levy, dramatically increasing the Government's frustration over its reliance on independents to pass key budget measures.

The Australian reports Labor sources were furious last night at the move by the Coalition and the Family First Senator, Steve Fielding, to block a measure they believe lies at the heart of the Government's ideological agenda to provide tax relief to battlers. - one must applaud Family First's move. The legislation was very bad. - ed.
Focus on police after school massacre
THE officer who questioned a student who shot dead 10 people a day later is on sick leave as police come in for scathing criticism.
Man, 94, now a suspect in mass war deaths
SERBIA'S war crimes prosecutor has requested an investigation into a 94-year-old Hungarian suspected of committing genocide against Jews and Serbs in World War II.

Sandor Kepiro is suspected of taking part in a raid by Hungarian forces in January 1942 in northern Serbia "when, in an attempt to destroy members of the Jewish and Serbian national groups, they killed at least 2000 of them", the prosecutor's office said.
Dig unearths rare statue of pharaoh Ramses II
EGYPTIAN archaeologists have discovered a granite statue probably depicting the head of Ramses II, one of ancient Egypt's most powerful pharaohs.

Researchers discovered the statue 150cm under ground in the eastern Nile Delta town of Tell Basta, which was later the capital of ancient Egypt, the culture ministry said.

The pink granite statue had a broken nose and a missing beard, Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said.
Ice binge led to gang attack on school, court hears
Dy David Barrett
THE accused ringleader of a vicious gang attack at a Sydney high school was in the grip of an "ice binge" when he stormed the school armed with a samurai sword, a court heard yesterday.

The 15-year-old from Merrylands had been battling a methamphetamine addiction in the months leading up to the rampage, the court heard.

The teenager and four accomplices faced Parramatta Children's Court for a sentencing hearing on assault, affray and malicious damage charges laid after the attack at Merrylands High School.

His solicitor, Alex Morris, told the court the teenager had "slid into abusing the drug" after witnessing the shooting death of a young friend early this year.
Is this stalking law the most ridiculous ever?
by Gemma Jones
A 15-YEAR-OLD girl who was stalked by a stranger had her identity revealed by police who were forced to hand it over to the pervert when he was granted bail.

The teenager told friends she feared for her life in the incident on Tuesday, which is one of a staggering spate of attempted child abductions around Sydney in recent weeks.
O'Farrell moves for early election with no confidence motion
The NSW Opposition has moved a motion of no confidence in the State Government in the hope of triggering an election two years early.

Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell moved the motion in the Lower House last night hoping to capitalise on the fact the government's majority has been reduced following three key resignations.

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