Oscar Pistorius Murder Charge

Oscar Pistorius Murder Charge

Oscar Pistorius Murder Charge

OSCAR Pistorius has already spent seven nights behind bars and will be hoping he is set free when his bail hearing re-opens tonight (Australian time).

Prosecutors believe the dual-amputee Olympic sprinter gunned down 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp in cold blood at his luxurious home on Valentine’s Day, while Pistorius claimed he shot her thinking she was an intruder.

Here, we answer some of the key questions about what confronts Pistorius in his legal battle.

Why such a long bail hearing?

Pistorius’s case is being handled by the National Prosecuting Authority, the government agency that handles criminal cases in the country, with a team of prosecutors.

The police work with this agency, presenting evidence to the authority, which then decides whether there is sufficient evidence to go ahead with a prosecution.

Magistrate Desmond Nair has said he would, “for the purpose of this application, at this point in time, … consider this an offence listed under schedule 6”.

Given this, and the seriousness of the charge, Pistorius’s lawyers will have to prove exceptional circumstances if he is to be granted bail.

Read More:   http://www.news.com.au/world/oscar-pistorius-murder-charge-what-the-law-has-in-store/story-fndir2ev-1226582486504

Lady Gaga in hospital for surgery

Lady Gaga in hospital for surgery

Lady Gaga in hospital for surgery

LADY Gaga is undergoing an operation.

The singer cancelled the final dates of her Born This Way tour after sustaining synovitis – a severe inflammation of joints – and a tear in her right hip.

It was suspected she might require surgery and the star has announced she is now in hospital.

“Going in for surgery now. Thank you so much for sending me love and support. I will be dreaming of you,” she wrote on Twitter.

Earlier this week the star hinted at the severe nature of her ailment. She posted a message on Twitter introducing her fans to her new friend ‘Emma’, along with a picture of her wheelchair.

Gaga cancelled the final 21 dates of her tour last week and told fans she was devastated to have to do so. She penned an emotional message to them on the social networking website in which she spoke about the chronic pain she’s been in.

“I’ve been hiding a show injury and chronic pain for sometime now, over the past month it has worsened,” she wrote.

“I’ve been praying it would heal. I hid it from my staff, I didn’t want to disappoint my amazing fans. However after last nights performance I could not walk and still can’t.

“Im devastated & sad. It will hopefully heal as soon as possible, I hate this. I hate this so much. I love you and Im sorry (sic).”

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/world/lady-gaga-in-hospital-for-surgery/story-e6frfkui-1226582605457#ixzz2LUe6THQ1

Macdonald had 14 bank accounts, ICAC told

Macdonald had 14 bank accounts, ICAC told

Macdonald had 14 bank accounts, ICAC told

The disgraced former resources minister Ian Macdonald had 14 separate bank accounts during his time as a NSW cabinet minister, a corruption inquiry has been told.

Mr Macdonald accepted it might be possible he had that many, but suggested some might be related to several “farm enterprises”, and said he didn’t know whether all of them were “operational”.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is questioning Mr Macdonald over almost $200,000 in loans he had received from his former best friend, Greg Jones.

Mr Jones was also a secret investor in Cascade Coal, which was awarded a lucrative exploration licence in 2009 over a coal tenement at Mt Penny, near Mudgee, which is the subject of the inquiry.

The corruption watchdog has alleged Mr Macdonald and the family of ALP kingpin Eddie Obeid had conspired to manipulate the awarding of the licence, which happened to sit over three properties controlled by the Obeids.

Together with a secret stake in Cascade, the Obeids stood to make as much as $100 million from the allegedly corrupt deal. Mr Jones, and other investors in Cascade Coal, hoped to turn their $1 million investment into $500 million windfall by selling the licence to a larger, related company.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/macdonald-had-14-bank-accounts-icac-told-20130213-2eccd.html#ixzz2KkQscFco

FireFighters in NSW fight to control fires before heat returns

Fires In NSW FireFighters fight to control fires before heat returns

FIREFIGHTERS are battling to get on top of multiple blazes across NSW before temperatures surge and winds whip up to create another round of high fire danger conditions.

A firefighter tries to contain a grass fire in Talmo

A firefighter tries to contain a grass fire in Talmo

Cooler weather has given fire crews a break since catastrophic fire conditions hit on Tuesday, enabling them to get on top of many blazes.

At midday on Thursday, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) had no emergency or watch and act alerts in place, but 17 fires out of 120 across NSW were uncontained, with around 370,000 hectares burnt.

On Thursday, more than 100 firefighters were working to contain the Deans Gap fire burning to the south of Sussex Inlet, in the Shoalhaven.

It has burned through 5700 hectares and coastal village residents have been urged to remain vigilant as the fire risk builds towards the weekend.

“We need to get a really good handle on that fire before high fire danger conditions return,” an RFS spokeswoman said.

The Yarrabin fire burning in the Kybeyan Valley was still uncontained after burning through 9400 hectares and firefighters were working to protect rural properties under threat.

Another uncontained fire at Cobblers Road, 10km west of Yass, has slowed and while not threatening properties, it is approaching an electricity transmission line.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said a lot of work remained to be done into Thursday night ahead of the hotter weather.

“It is going to be hot, we’re looking indicatively at this stage at low 40s to mid-40s across much of the state tomorrow,” he told Macquarie Radio.

He said temperatures in the mid-40s and high 40s were expected in western areas on Saturday with heat still around on Sunday.

“Fortunately though, at this stage, all the indicators are we’re not expecting the sorts of catastrophic conditions that we experienced back on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, police are continuing to investigate a fire near Lithgow, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, which destroyed about 40,000 hectares on Wednesday.

It’s believed to have been deliberately lit.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/total-fire-bans-continue-in-nsw/story-e6frfku9-1226550797110#ixzz2HXekrCVQ

Extinct Reptile Named After President Obama; ‘Obamadon gracilissmall’ Lizards Died off 65 Million Years Ago

Extinct Reptile Named After President Obama


Whether or not President Obama will make it to Mount Rushmore is debatable…but he’ll have at least one lasting historical artifact that will pay him homage.

Scientists have named an extinct lizard, which died out 65 million years ago, after President Obama. The fossil of what scientists dub Obamadon gracilis, a small insect-eating lizard, was discovered by scientists at Yale and Harvard universities after they re-examined fossil collections from across the country, according to the Boston Globe.

According to Nicholas Longrich, a Yale paleontologist, the team had been restudying the fossils in order to find out what killed the dinosaurs. In the process, they had discovered several new species that were not previously known to the scientific community.

The lizard bearing President Obama’s name is described as being a small creature with a slender jaw. However, as Longrich told the Globe, the naming of the lizard after the president almost didn’t happen.

“I was seriously thinking, if the election had gone the other way, I would have yanked it,” Longrich said. “It might have seemed like we were mocking it, naming a lizard that goes extinct after that, seemed kind of cruel.”

But aside from paying tribute to President Obama, the research team’s findings, published Monday in the science journal titled the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, believes that lizards and snakes may not have been as fortunate in surviving the extinction of dinosaurs–long thought to have been triggered by an enormous Chicxulub asteroid crash-landing to Earth–as scientists believed.

“This is a bit speculative, but the ecosystem basically collapses when there’s not enough sunlight to make new leaves. No new plants growing, everything kind of starves, and in that situation I would imagine, maybe what you’ve got going on is dead, rotting plant material, dying, rotting dinosaurs, and probably a lot of maggots and beetles and grubs that are eating all that dead material,” Longrich said. “Animals that can eat the insects are maybe what’s surviving, so insectivores which tend to be smaller” can survive.

While small lizards and snakes may have gotten lucky, Longrich’s team theorizes that at least 83 percent of snakes and lizards may have died during the extinction.

“The lizards that dominate today get their start after the extinction-they radiate in the aftermath,” Longrich said, according to Yahoo! News. “But that said, the radiation takes a long time.”
Read more at http://www.latinospost.com/articles/8027/20121210/extinct-reptile-named-president-obama-obamadon-gracilissmall.htm#bYULKtCchp5dC8wy.99

Riverside County Firefighters Offer Christmas Tree Safety Tips

The following is a news release from CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department:

A lot of work goes into preparing for the holiday season; baking, decorating, shopping for gifts. Why not take a little extra time to make your home safe during the holidays by following some easy tips for purchasing, decorating and disposing of your holiday tree? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 240 residential structure fires that began with Christmas Trees. These fires caused an annual average of 13 civilian fire-related deaths, 27 civilian fire-related injuries and nearly $16.7 million dollars in direct property damage.
  • Electrical problems were factors in 33% of residential Christmas Tree structure fires.
  • 13% of home Christmas Tree fires involved decorative lights.
  • Candles started 11% of home Christmas Tree structure fires.
  • 39% (or two out of every five) home Christmas Tree fires started in the living room, family room or den.
  • 18% of home Christmas Tree structure fires were intentionally set. Half of the intentional Christmas Tree fires occurred in January and may have been related to disposal.

“These are staggering statistics”, said CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins. “If you opt to purchase a live tree, a few simple actions can protect your family from an improperly selected, maintained and disposed of live tree and it becoming the culprit of a dangerous and deadly fire.”

We invite you to view a video clip, also available on YouTube (CAL FIRE TV), with some very important tips on selecting, decorating, maintaining and disposing of live Christmas Trees.

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department wishes all of our residents and visitors a very happy and fire safe holiday season!

Riverside County Firefighters Offer Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Related Topics: Christmas Trees and Fires

Beach campsites closed for Christmas

Beach campsites closed for Christmas

Beach campsites closed for Christmas

The sand dunes on Newcastle’s Stockton Beach will remain off limits for camping this Christmas and New Year period, as the area continues to recover from storm damage.

The Worimi Conservation Lands area suffered severe erosion during a storm in June this year, forcing the closure of all camping areas.

National Parks and Wildlife Service region manager, Robert Quirk, says while people are still able to visit the beach, the damage to the frontal dunes means it is too dangerous for camping.

“They’re recovering and they’re recovering well, but they haven’t recovered sufficiently to put campers back on them,” he said.

“Both the pressures of vehicles and people, and also the risk from another storm event.

“(In) August the sea broke through again and I think a large storm event could still break through.

“So many of the places where people used to camp are now still prone to flooding under large storm events.”



7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia, no immediate tsunami warning

7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia, no immediate tsunami warning

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake has been reported off the coast of Indonesia.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck offshore, 129 miles (208 kilometers) northwest of the city of Saumlaki. The quake was reported at a depth of 96 miles (155 kilometers).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has no immediate tsunami warning.The quake hit shortly before 1700 GMT.

Indonesia is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.

Daniel Morcombe RIP

Daniel Morcombe RIP

THE eight-year manhunt in missing schoolboy Daniel Morcombe’s case ended last night with the arrest of a 41-year-old former tow truck driver.

Police will now launch a fresh search in bushland for the 13-year-old’s body after charging the man with a number of gruesome offences, including murder, deprivation of liberty, child stealing, indecent treatment of a child under 16 and interfering with a corpse.

The heartbroken parents welcomed the breakthrough after almost a decade of torment since their boy disappeared from a roadside bus stop on the Sunshine Coast just weeks before Christmas in 2003.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh last night praised police in a case that has gripped the nation.

“As a parent I can only imagine the heartbreak and devastation Bruce and Denise Morcombe have endured since Daniel’s disappearance,” Ms Bligh said.

Mr Morcombe said the family was thankful for the arrest. “We’ll just see how things pan out.”

A 41-year-old tow-truck driver, arrested by police yesterday, was remanded in custody to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow, charged not only with murder, but several other offences including child stealing and interfering with a corpse.

The dramatic breakthrough comes seven years after the fun-loving 13-year-old was abducted from a bus stop in December 2003, a short stroll from his Palmwoods home on the Sunshine Coast.

His parents, who likened the pain as “living in constant hell” were visibly shaken last night.

The couple had tirelessly pursued answers in the disappearance, keeping a lid on their emotions, saying: “We’ll just see how things pan out.

The disappearance of Daniel has been Queensland’s largest missing persons investigations with Crime Stoppers alone receiving almost 20,000 leads from the public.

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson told a news conference a man had been charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, child stealing, indecent treatment of a child under 16, and interfering with a corpse.

The full story link below.




Wild weather – Snow, rain and high seas in NSW

Parts of NSW have experienced their heaviest snow in years – and it’s come in mid-October – as the state shivers through a severe cold change. The weather bureau reported other severe weather events in the state, including eight-metre waves at Batemans Bay overnight and gale force winds on the south coast.

Wild weather – Snow, rain and high seas in NSW

Wild weather - Snow, rain and high seas in NSW

Source  smh.com.au