Seven dead in Indonesian terror raids

THE death toll from the latest anti-terror raids in Indonesia has risen to seven after specialist police unit Densus 88 raided four locations on Wednesday.
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Another 13 suspected terrorists were captured alive, according to the national police spokesman, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar.

It’s the biggest terror cell to have been exposed since 2010 when police shut down a training camp set up by Abu Bakar Bashir in the jungle in Aceh.

Mr Boy said the seven who died had been involved in fire-fights with police.

The raid in a village near Bandung, south-east of Jakarta, yielded four pipe bombs, 200 rounds of .38 calibre ammunition, 80 rounds of 9mm ammunition and about 6 million rupiah ($A600) in cash.

Mr Boy said police were working on mapping the terror network, and anticipated that there would be more raids. He did not comment on what, if any, attacks the group had planned.

The Indonesian police chief, General Timur Pradopo, had earlier defended the high death toll in the police operation, saying the heavily-armed officers had tried negotiating with the men in the Bandung house for 3 1/2 hours, but the reply was “explosions, gunfire and bombs”.

Security expert Johanes Sulaiman told Fairfax Media that the cell was responsible for an attempt last week to plant pipe bombs at the embassy of Myanmar in Jakarta.

Radical preachers including jailed extremist Abu Bakar Bashir have been calling for jihad against Buddhist-majority Myanmar because of the violence there against the Rohingya muslim majority in the country’s east.

Mr Sulaiman told Fairfax Media that the old terror network of the Bali bombings had been fractured by ruthless police work and decimated by arrests. However, their spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, was still influencing young people with his fiery speeches from the jail where he’s serving 15 years for terror-related offences.

Mr Sulaiman said a talented new jihadist preacher, Aman Abdurrahman, who was linked to Bashir, was inspiring a new and widely dispersed generation of young radicals who were “desperate to do jihad”.

“If you look at the strand (of ideology) most comes from Abu Bakar Bashir — but the new terrorists are not part of the old network,” he said.

“The young people got influenced and they figure they must do quick holy war.”

However, they had not so far developed the discipline, training or networks to mount large-scale attacks.

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Airport’s world-first ‘sleeping pods’ allow private naps for passengers

Abu Dhabi International Airport has installed 20 ‘sleeping pods’ for passengers, with a futher 35 to be fitted later this year. The pods are available for use at $12 an hour and will eventually feature internet access and power sources for electronic devices.
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Abu Dhabi International Airport has installed dozens of bizarre-looking “sleeping pods” that allow passengers to nap in privacy.

The Finnish-designed “GoSleep” chairs, a world-first unveiled on Sunday, feature a sliding door/roof designed to either partially or fully enclose passengers within the pod, shielding them from surrounding noise, light and crowds.

Ten pods now reside in Terminal 3, and 10 more in the Al Dhabi Lounge at Terminal 1, while a further 35 are to be fitted later this year. Once all are installed, the pods will be upgraded to provide internet access, storage space for luggage and other valuables, as well as a power source for laptops, mobiles and other electronic devices.

The pods are currently available at a cost of 45 Dirham ($A12) per hour, payable using a credit card.

They may look unusual, but are a step up from the Ostrich Pillow, which was launched last year. The portable device is placed over your head to “enable power naps anytime, anywhere”.

Design firm Kawamura-Ganjavian claims the device, which includes a mouth hole to allow easier breathing, is ideal for airport lounges, trains and aeroplanes.

Hotels offering compact, short-term accommodation have been popular in Japan for years. The Capsule Inn Osaka was one of the world’s first capsule hotels when it launched in 1979.

Capsule hotels have also reached British shores. The Yotel chain – the brainchild of the founder of the YO! Sushi – now has branches at two London airports – Gatwick and Heathrow. Its single and double cabins offer free wifi and are equipped with flat screen TVs, multiple power outlets, and showers. A Yotel can also be found at Amsterdam Schiphol and in New York City, two blocks from Times Square.

Earlier this year, Moscow installed its first city centre capsule hotel, the Sleepbox Hotel Tverskaya, which features 50 windowless pods that can each accommodate up to three people. Each has internet access, and is soundproof and air conditioned.

Portable ‘modular bedrooms’ were also introduced by the Barcelona-based firm Dream and Fly, at Barcelona’s international airport. The compact ‘Bubbles’ are able to accommodate both individuals and families, and each comes with a bathroom.

The Telegraph, London

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Search and rescue operation underway for missing cruise ship passengers 

AN air and marine search and rescue operation is underway off the coast of Forster for two people missing from a cruise ship.
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About 11.30am (Thursday 9 May 2013), staff from a cruise ship contacted police after they discovered two passengers – a 30-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman – missing after the ship had docked at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Police attended and conducted a thorough search of the ship, however the pair was not located.

Officers attached to Marine Area Command reviewed CCTV footage and determined the pair had gone overboard about 8.50pm on Wednesday (8 May 2013).

Police and Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) have determined a search area approximately 60Nm east of Forster and have deployed aircraft and marine vessels.

Officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the pair and, in these early stages, are focused on the search efforts.

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Naming ban to remain

SILENCE: A suppression order, protecting the identity of a former Catholic priest accused of child abuse, will remain in effect at least until the man’s next court appearance. A POLICE media release has been used to justify suppressing the name of a former Catholic priest facing 125 historic child sex abuse charges.
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The 59-year-old man appeared in Armidale Local Court on Wednesday to answer 61 charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of three girls and six altar boys during the 1970s and 1980s.

But Crown prosecutor Peter Woods told the court that police had charged the man with a further 64 offences related to the alleged abuse of another two girls and one boy in Moree and Armidale between 1982 and 1985.

While a non-publication order on the man’s name remains in effect for the earlier offences, Mr Woods requested that the defendant’s identity not be suppressed for the charges filed on Wednesday.

“It’s in the public interest for the accused’s name to be released, given that it may result in other victims coming forward,” he said. The defendant’s solicitor, Glen Kee protested against the publication of the man’s name, arguing that it would compromise the non-publication order on the earlier charges.

Mr Kee used a police media release connecting the most recent alleged offences with the charges issued in November and January to support his case.

“If a non-publication order is not granted for these new charges, it will make the previous order ineffective,” he said.

“A simple web search shows a connection between these charges and the earlier charges under the order.”

Magistrate Karen Stafford said she would issue an interim non-publication order until the man’s next court appearance, when she would consider lifting the suppression orders on all 125 charges.

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Singleton be warned 

TO many local mine workers it would appear strange if not downright ridiculous if they were unable to apply for work in a new mine proposed to be built six kilometres from Singleton.
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But according to visiting Moranbah residents and community leaders Kelly Vea Vea and Peter Finlay that is what has just happened in their community located in central Queensland in the coal rich Bowen Basin.

Ms Vea Vea said the company behind the new mine will only employ workers on a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) contract.

“They will not employ anyone who lives in Moranbah and that should not be allowed to happen, but that is how the industry operates in our district,” she said.

“The decision by the mine’s owners to use 100 per cent FIFO workers is designed to benefit them, not our community or the employees,” said Mr Finlay, who is president of the Moranbah Traders Association.

“Itinerant workers don’t spend their income in our town but they use our services – services provided by a diminishing number of ratepayers,” he said.

MS Vea Vea and Mr Finlay were in Singleton at the behest of the Better Future for Singleton Shire Association that is opposed to a development application for a mine camp in Singleton and they were guest speakers at a community meeting held on Wednesday night that was attended by 150 people.

The pair provided figures on the impact of the FIFO workers in their district with the Isaac Shire (including towns like Moranbah and Clermont) having approximately 80,000 FIFO workers employed in the mines.

“The resident population of the shire is 22,000 and our government services are based on those numbers,” said Ms Vea Vea, an Isaac Shire councillor.

“In Moranbah itself the resident population is 9,500 but within 50 kilometres of town there is temporary accommodation for 17,450 workers,” she said.

“This is not a responsible way to develop, we need genuine investment in affordable housing and families should be able to choose where they live and work.

“The argument that FIFO is necessary because of the skills shortage simply does not add up, for example the companies under this arrangement never invest in trade skilling in particular apprenticeships.”

Both the visitors warned Singleton not to follow in Moranbah’s footsteps with Mr Finlay saying don’t let in the first mine camp because it will be the first of many – they will breed.

ISSUING A WARNING: Moranbah residents Peter Finlay and Kelly Vea Vea were in Singleton to warn the local community of the problems associated with mine camp developments.

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Bystanders pull man from train tracks

train track rescue train track rescue
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Bystanders pull a man from the tracks at Wooloowin station. Photo: Supplied

Queensland Rail worker Jill Lyten. Photo: Marissa Calligeros

A trainee nurse has saved a man from an oncoming train after he fell onto the tracks in Brisbane.

The 56-year-old man appeared disoriented when he stepped off the platform and fell one metre on to the tracks at Wooloowin station, in Brisbane’s north, at 8.02am on Thursday.

The 8.05am Doomben to Cleveland train was due to pull in to the station within minutes.

A trainee nurse who saw the man immediately ran to his aid, risking her own life by jumping on to the tracks.

Queensland Rail customer service officer Jill Lyten, who happened to be waiting for her regular morning train, also witnessed the incident.

“My training just kicked in,” she said.

Ms Lyten found the phone number for QR’s control room on her work ID card and raised the alarm.

“I knew that I had to get the number and get to control and stop the train,” she said.

Ms Lyten was visibly shaken as she recounted the events of the morning.

“We know how dangerous it actually is,” she said.

QR acting chief executive Jim Benstead praised the brave actions of the trainee nurse, but said it was vital commuters were aware of the emergency call button located at all Brisbane train stations.

“The first thing to do in any incident that may occur on the tracks is to contact … our control centre through the emergency phones at the stations,” he said.

“It could have gone very differently today … it could have been disastrous.”

There were 400 reported near-misses across the QR network last year. More than 150 incidents involved pedestrians.

The 56-year-old man was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

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Morrow says comments were ‘misinterpreted’

ABC Morrow
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David Morrow said he was referencing a 17-year-old conversation he had with an Atlanta police officer when he made the remarks which led to claims of racism and resulted in the veteran ABC caller being stood down by the broadcaster.

Morrow, who has been suspended pending a full investigation into the comments he made before Monday night’s match between St George Illawarra and Manly, said he was ”embarrassed and ashamed” over the remarks, which went to air in the Wollongong area by mistake.

Morrow apologised and said he was distressed his remarks had been ”misinterpreted as racist against indigenous Australians”.

”It’s with a great deal of remorse and contrition that I am writing this apology,” Morrow said. ”I am very embarrassed and ashamed I have offended some people with my words on Monday night. I am extremely distressed that my remarks, which were accidentally heard on air, have been reported and misinterpreted as racist against indigenous Australians, and possibly offensive to Darwin citizens. I know it is no excuse but I clearly didn’t know we were on air.”

Morrow said his comments were made in reference to a conversation he had in Atlanta, Georgia, with a police officer who was part of his security escort during the 1996 Olympics. The officer warned Morrow and his colleagues about the risk of walking through a dark area with few working street lights, according to the commentator.

”He had a deep southern accent and what he said was ‘Dats da only way you can tell when there’s anyone there, it’s when dey smile,’ ” Morrow said. ”The Atlanta policeman was obviously saying this because of his concerns for our safety if we ventured south of a certain street due to the bad lighting and high crime rate. His message was if you went there, you wouldn’t know you’ve got company until you see the smile, and by then it’ll be too late.

”So when Shannon [Byrne, the sideline eye, from Darwin] joked that sometimes the street lights don’t go on in Darwin, it quickly brought to mind what the Atlanta police officer had said. At no time did I set out to offend anyone. I have worked with, and among, a variety of people from many races and cultures and I have never been accused of offensive behaviour. I have been broadcasting for almost 42 years without a blemish.”

NSW Deputy Opposition Leader and acting chairwoman of the Rugby League Indigenous Council Linda Burney said: ”Whether he was on air or off air, whether it was a joke or not, the comments are totally unacceptable.”

Burney said Morrow’s words had ”the potential to undermine the really significant work that’s been done throughout the game in terms of the involvement and recognition of Aboriginal community, culture, history and participation.”

After Morrow’s apology, an ABC spokeswoman said: ”The statement released by David Morrow today regarding recent on-air comments was not seen by the ABC before its release and was made in a personal capacity. The matter is under investigation.”

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Discord: Patriot games: rule makes cup a melting pot

All change: Jarryd Hayne could turn out for Fiji again at the World Cup, as he did in 2008, if he is overlooked by the Kangaroos. Photo: Greg TotmanDon’t be surprised to see a host of players switch allegiances away from Australia after the State of Origin series – and then switch right back in time for next year’s interstate encounters.
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Discord hears the Tonga-Samoa game struck quite a chord with many players of island heritage last month. They all know the rules – they can apply to change their country of election once in a World Cup cycle.

Most – Feleti Mateo aside – haven’t done that, as defined under the rules, since 2008.

From the incumbent NSW side, Jarryd Hayne (Fiji), Michael Jennings (Tonga) and maybe Tony Williams (Tonga) could all be playing against the green and golds in Europe.

From the incumbent Queensland side, Ben Teo could change back to Samoa – although the exact date of his most recent switch would need to be checked. Petero Civoniceva will also be captaining Fiji.

Had Lebanon not missed out on the World Cup on a count-back in the qualifiers, the Cedars could have called on Tim Mannah and Robbie Farah.

Now, you might ask: If they played for someone else in the last World Cup, and have played for Australia since, how can they switch again?

Good question. I had to make a calls to Tas Baitieri at the NSWRL and NRL development manager Andrew Hill to check on this. Firstly, after each World Cup, there is a clean slate. You don’t have to change your country of election. There is also a mandatory stand-down period of two years that works in conjunction with being permitted to change your country of election once in every World Cup cycle.

So, effectively, if you swapped countries more than two years ago, you can switch back. This could have an interesting impact on Akuila Uate. His first Test for Australia was in October, 2011.

He played for Fiji in 2009 and then switched to Australia. Effectively, he is not allowed to represent Fiji for two years after first appearing for Australia. It’s possible he could get a clearance to play for the Bati at the World Cup by a matter of days, if he missed out on Tim Sheens’ squad.

Mateo, however, changed his country of election in the past year or so he can’t play for Tonga.

Below the level of Origin players, there is a plethora of players ready to change their country of election. Most teams will be full of Super League and NRL stars.

In league with union

Congratulations to the Western Cape Rugby League in South Africa, which has gained formal recognition from its local sports council.

The South African government does not recognise rugby league as a separate sport to rugby union.

Given this rather major handicap, many people expect the country’s bid to host the 2017 World Cup to prove futile.

But if the public has the same attitude as the government, and can’t tell the rugby codes apart, Discord reckons it would be a raging success!

Meanwhile, read all about the launch of our great game in Dubai here. And journalist Robert Burgin is launching rugby league in Brazil. Find him on Facebook if you are interested in helping.

What’s missing?

A few issues you might have expected to read about in Discord this week:

1) ASADA. I had a look at League HQ, and there was plenty of reading on that topic for you already;

2) David Morrow. What can you say? He made a mistake but David is not at all a hateful person in my experience;

3) Andrew Johns. Not a football story and how can any meaningful comment be made without knowing what actually happened?

Your comments

I’m happily surprised at the response the Monday Set Of Six column has been getting.

AJT said Greek Easter might have affected Sunday’s crowd at Allianz Stadium. I must admit, when Maria Tsialis from Big League said to me on Monday that it was Easter at the weekend, I was so confused I pretended I didn’t hear it …

Teviot Bob raised the possibility of an 18th man to replace concussion victims. I think that has been discussed. But what if you have two concussion victims? Or three? I think you’re right about Joe Picker – he wouldn’t have returned if Glen Buttriss has been able to continue.

Andrew B agreed that NRL needs to have a go at attracting neutral fans. A Sydney membership and a loyalty system (swipe your card and you get points, which you can use to claim rewards) would assist in this. He lives within walking distance of Allianz Stadium but watched on TV on Sunday.

Great, colourful discussion from everyone. Thanks.

White Line Fever

White Line Fever – the only show featuring Jack Reed and Dan Reed – is about to make a comeback too. Check back here later.

Here’s the forum. Come and say hello.

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Gunman jailed for violent gaming heists

A gunman in a gang of armed robbers who terrorised people at gaming venues across Melbourne’s northern suburbs has been sentenced to eight years and 10 months in jail.
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Ariki Julian, 20, will not be eligible for parole for the next five years and 10 months after he pleaded guilty to his part in armed robberies at five licensed venues between July and November 2011.

The County Court heard on Thursday that Julian’s gang hit one venue – the Lalor Bowling Club – twice in four months, during which the same woman was twice threatened with a gun.

The club was also robbed by another gang during this period, the court heard.

The court heard that Julian and his accomplices also tried robbing another venue, but were foiled when an elderly man saw the bandits coming and stood in their way at the doors, which prompted the bandits to run away.

Eight people had victim-impact statements read to the court, in which they spoke of suffering fear, anxiety, loss of confidence and security in the aftermath of the robberies. Some also experienced relationship problems.

Judge Michael Bourke described the burglaries as “violent, terrifying and disturbingly anti-social”, which had attacked the safety and well-being of people who had no choice but to be involved.

The court heard that Julian’s gang reaped between $500 and $5000 during each of their raids, and that four other people were arrested by police assigned to taskforce Sampson, which was established to focus on a spate of armed robberies in the northern suburbs. One of Julian’s co-accused will be sentenced on Friday.

Julian also pleaded guilty to charges of stealing cars, the theft of firearms from a farm in Lake Bolac, in western Victoria, and one count of indecent assault.

Judge Bourke said he took no pleasure from sentencing someone so young and acknowledged that Julian had endured an abusive childhood in his native New Zealand, was exposed to a criminal culture by his stepfather and had a long criminal history as a teenager.

He said Julian moved to Australia when he was 15 to move in with his older sister, and for some time lived a law-abiding life, until he drifted into using the drug methamphetamine.

Judge Bourke said Julian’s lack of education – he left school when he was 12 – had contributed to a low intellectual capacity. He said it was difficult to be optimistic towards Julian rehabilitating and told him it would depend on whether he could break his drug habit and end his involvement with other criminals.

Upon being led into custody, Julian showed a clenched fist to his supporters in court.

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Dandenong households cop $40 rate hike

THE average Greater Dandenong household will pay an extra $41 on their rates bill in 2013-14, according to the council’s draft budget.
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The budget, which is to be voted upon by councillors on Monday, includes a 5.9 per cent rate rise softened by a slight decrease in waste charges.

However the sting in the tail will be the state government’s fire service property levy, which must be collected by the council.

The levy will cost the median household — homes of $350,000 value — an extra $141.40 on their rates notice.

The levy was previously paid by home owners as part of their home-and-contents insurance.

Corporate services director Mick Jaensch said previously-insured households may be paying a reduced levy, but for uninsured homeowners ‘‘it’s new money’’.

Industrial ratepayers face a much steeper levy burden, paying 15 times the residential rate.

Mr Jaensch said the council ensured ratepayers were shielded from rate rises caused by a $10.569 million shortfall owed to the Local Sectors Defined Benefit Superannuation Scheme.

The council has proposedly slashed next year’s road maintenance budget by a ‘‘one-off’’ $1.43 million and borrowed $1.8 million to help fill the ‘black hole’.

At the centre of its capital projects is the Muncipal Building and Library Project in central Dandenong, attracting $16.217 million. Of this, the council has loaned $4.9 million sending its debt to a projected $68.6 million next year.