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Canberra Mornings Live: Friday March 7

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And that's all we've got for you today. We'll be back bright and early on Monday at 7am.

Until then have a safe and happy weekend.

Here are the top stories of the morning.

1. Australians 'living beyond our means', says Gina Rinehart

2. Bright lights put living with solar farms in perspective   

3. Exodus of public servants from Woden gathers pace     

4. Canberrans will miss out on burger pizza              

5. Fleeced: why Aussie travellers get ripped off


ACT Police are warning of a house fire in Bural Court, Ngunnawal, and impacted traffic in the immediate area.

Police are currently directing traffic at the roundabout intersection of Kelleway Avenue and Gungalin Drive.

An ESA spokesperson said the "house was fully engulfed in flames but the fire is now under control."

ACT Fire & Rescue was notified by numerous triple zero calls shortly before 10am.

Further details to come.

Canberrans gathered to showcase the involvement of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Crawford Fund in the Australian Volunteers for International Development program last night.

Our photographer Melissa Adams was there and took social photos. Perhaps you know someone in there?

To celebrate Canberra Day on Monday, The Canberra Times is giving readers the chance to win a set of commemorative, limited edition Centenary of Canberra number plates.

For your chance to win plate number CO32, all you have to do is fill out our entry form and tell us why you love Canberra and why you should win these special number plates.

All the details here. Entries close on Sunday.

Blogger Katherine Feeney wants to know why when it comes to finding someone to love, men are hiding behind their machines.

"We can't ignore the fact that single guys simply don't seem to be "putting themselves out there". Why? Where are they?" she writes.

It's the subject of her latest CityKat blog post.

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Be careful on the roads around Majura.

There's been a show of cross-code support this morning by the GWS Giants, who have congratulated and welcomed Canberra's newest sports team, CBR Brave.

Cate Blanchett has celebrated her recent Best Actress Oscar win by getting inked it seems.

It's been reported the day the award win, the star stopped in to the Shamrock Social Club along with her fellow Oscar nominee Amy Adams and their significant others.

Blanchett emerged with black tape around her left wrist.

Wonder what she got? Two tally marks? A Oscar statue? Perhaps the STC logo? No doubt we'll find out eventually... 

Cate Blanchett speaks on stage after she won best actress for her work in 'Blue Jasmine" at the 86th Academy Awards in ...
Cate Blanchett speaks on stage after she won best actress for her work in 'Blue Jasmine" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood. 

Congratulations are in order for Aboriginal rights campaigner and former rugby league international Katrina Fanning.

Ms Fanning was named Canberra's 2014 Woman of the Year at the ACT Women's Awards last night.

Sue Salthouse named Senior Woman of the Year and Dr Kate Eisenberg the Young Woman of the Year.

Full story from Fleta Page here.

Missing German backpacker Daniel Dudzisz.
Missing German backpacker Daniel Dudzisz. Photo: Supplied

A German tourist missing for almost three weeks in the outback has survived the ordeal by eating flies.

Daniel Dudzisz, 26, was picked up by a motorist late yesterday afternoon near Cooper Creek at Windorah, southwest of Longreach in Queensland.

He'd been missing since February 17.

Inspector Mark Henderson said Mr Dudzisz lived on insects for most of the time, and was in "reasonable spirits" when he was found.

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You can help celebrate the National Arboretum's first year, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

The birthday party will include live music, tree plantings, guided mini-bus tours, a discovery trail in the forest, free guided walks, terrarium and kite making, bonsai tours, sausage sizzle and more.

For more information, visit or contact Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

National Arboretum general manager, Jason Brown.
National Arboretum general manager, Jason Brown. Photo: Rohan Thomson
ASX trading floor, Generic, Australian Securities Exchange, Stocks, shares, trading, share price, 19th of July 2013 ...

The ASX is set to open high today, while eyes will be on RBA governor's Senate testimony this morning.

Follow the action in the Markets Live blog.

Former government economist and adviser Ross Garnaut says the Abbott government's direct action policy is vague, fails public interest analysis tests and places the Senate in a ''Martian beauty contest''.

''It is an unusual document, lacking any semblance of the framework of public interest analysis that is characteristic of Australian policy-related papers of modern times,'' Professor Garnaut said, in his submission to a Senate inquiry in the government's direct action plan.

Professor Ross Garnaut warns of the global political consequences of a rise in temperatures.
Professor Ross Garnaut warns of the global political consequences of a rise in temperatures. Photo: Luis Ascui

Broadcaster Derryn Hinch has been released from jail after spending 50 nights locked up, for failing to pay a fine incurred after breaching a suppression order about Melbourne woman Jill Meagher's killer.

Hinch was released from Langi Kal Kal jail in Trawalla, about 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne at about 8am today.

The broadcaster chose not to pay the fine $100,000 "on principle".

Kangaroos in the Namadgi National Park.
Kangaroos in the Namadgi National Park. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Canberrans who wish to learn more about local wildlife can now partake in guided tours of Namadgi National Park.

National Parks and Catchments manager Brett McNamara said the walks, which will run from 10.30am to 2.30pm on March 8-9, are a great educational opportunity.

“If you have ever wanted know what kind of creatures live in our national parks, then the tracks and scats hunt at Namadgi is for you,” he said.

Each walk is guided guided by a conservation volunteer who will teach participants how to identify the tracks and scats left by wombats, possums, kangaroos and birdlife.

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Australian Dollar. One dollar coin, currency, money,  $1 coin, generic, one-dollar coins.  AFR Picture by REBECCA HALLAS

Meantime, the Australian dollar has jumped above 91 US cents after a series of strong economic data, with a further rise tipped.

shares up

Local stocks are poised to open higher on positive US jobs data. 

After a big Christmas, retail spending in the ACT has dropped sharply in January, bucking the national trend.

While nationally retail turnover rose by 1.2 per cent, in Canberra it dropped by almost two per cent.

The news is especially disappointing for the ACT's hospitality industry, after a highly successful 2013 saw the territory's restaurant industry booming.

ACT Chamber of Commerce CEO Andrew Blyth said a number of stores were struggling and this mightn't be the end of the bad news.

"I think retail will certainly be experiencing some tightening in the months and maybes years ahead," he said.

Eight rare tortoises have been stolen from a south coast zoo this week.

Larissa Nicholson reported yesterday that thieves broke into the Shoalhaven Zoo sometime overnight on Wednesday, making off with eight South African leopard tortoises.

They range in size from the size of a softball, to the size of a basketball.

South African leopard tortoises. Courtesy Shoalhaven Zoo
South African leopard tortoises. Courtesy Shoalhaven Zoo 

ACT Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell will be at the Mugga Lane tip today.

He is preparing to launch plans for household and business waste to contribute to the ACT’s renewable energy strategy.

“It is important that we look at not only the current needs of our city, but at how we can continue to provide a more sustainable, vibrant place for Canberrans into the future,” Mr Corbell said.

The plan follows a number of other ACT Government commitments over the past two weeks in relation to renewable energy initiatives, including the Solar Auction Review, a new Community solar initiative and increased research partnerships.

We'll have more on this story later today.

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