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Canberra Mornings Live: Friday March 7

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Bringing you breaking news from across the capital and beyond, including weather, traffic updates and what the capital is talking about.

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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?

Elizabeth Mullan of Belconnen, John Wilkins of Wagga Wagga and Holly Jones of Kingston. Click for more photos

Social photos: A Celebration of Volunteering

Elizabeth Mullan of Belconnen, John Wilkins of Wagga Wagga and Holly Jones of Kingston. Photo: Melissa Adams

  • Elizabeth Mullan of Belconnen, John Wilkins of Wagga Wagga and Holly Jones of Kingston.
  • Jack Koci of Bruce, Di Mayberry of Brisbane, Penny Godwin of Rivett and Mike Nunn of Torrens.
  • Wendy Jarvie of Hackett, Justyna Paplinska of Lyneham and Felicity Woodhams of Watson.
  • Sarah Vandermark of Ainslie, Bob Clements of Campbell, Cathy Reade of Queensland and Les Baxter of Melba.
  • Philippa Woodhill of Waramanga, Su McCluskey of Yass and Vanessa Goss of Yarralumla.
  • Anthony Rologas of Adelaide, Peter Horne of Harrison, Denis Blight of Griffith and Mark Darby of Pearce.
  • Colin Chartres of Kingston, Catherine Hanley of Aranda and Amanda Britton of Berry.

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.

Be careful on the roads around Majura.

Henry Belot: 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 Hollywood.

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.

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 nationalarboretum.act.gov.au or contact Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

National Arboretum general manager, Jason Brown.

National Arboretum general manager, Jason Brown. Photo: Rohan Thomson

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".

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'I'm not sorry': Hinch walks free from jail

Broadcaster Derryn Hinch finishes his 50-day prison sentence, after being found guilty of breaking a suppression order in the Jill Meagher case and failing to pay his $100,000 fine.

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Kangaroos in the Namadgi National Park.

Kangaroos in the Namadgi National Park. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Henry Belot: 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.

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

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

Ben Westcott: 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

Tom McIlroy: 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.

Henry Belot: There's some action on Canberra roads this morning. A heads-up to take care around the British High Commission while travelling to work.

Henry Belot: Astronomers at ANU want to zap space debris in an effort to clean-up "space junk", as part of a new $20 million Cooperative Research Centre announced by the Australian Government's Industry Department.

Director of the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Professor Matther Colless, said "there are hundreds of thousands of pieces of space junk in orbit that are big enough to do serious damage to a satellite or space station."

He said the ultimate goal would be to zap the debris with lasers, slowing their orbits and allowing the space junk to fall back into the atmosphere, where it would burn up harmlessly.

“Without efforts to clean up the space junk, it could eventually become impossible to send satellites into space,” he said.

We'll have more for you on this story a little later in the morning.

Henry Belot: Canberra celebrates it's 101st birthday this weekend and there's a range of events to attend across the capital. Here's a short overview of activities - a celebration guide if you like.

Meantime, our library gurus have teamed up with photographic editor Karleen Minney again this week to bring you another Flashback Friday gallery. 

Appropriately, this week we're looking back at Canberra Days of yore.

Flashback Friday Canberra Day- (10/3/92)  Enjoying a rest from the Canberra festival (from left) Hans Gunther of Page, Jena Calderwood of Curtin and clown and his pet duck and Geoffrey Calderwood. Click for more photos

Flashback Friday: Canberra Day celebrations

Flashback Friday Canberra Day- (10/3/92) Enjoying a rest from the Canberra festival (from left) Hans Gunther of Page, Jena Calderwood of Curtin and clown and his pet duck and Geoffrey Calderwood. Photo: Canberra Times

Ben Westcott: You might have thought Canberra was up-to-date with the latest fashions - after all, we have a Jamie Oliver restaurant now and an IKEA isn't far away.

But our illusions were shattered this week, when it was revealed Canberra won't get the new Pizza Hut Cheeseburger Crust pizza.

And don't think you can just run across the border - Queanbeyan will be missing out too.

Featuring eight beef patties, coated in cheese and embedded coquettishly around the pizza, the new crust contains an adult's entire daily intake of calories in one meal. 

It was described by nutritionist Susie Burrell as excessive and "socially irresponsible"

Burger pizza

Burger pizza

Henry Belot: The federal government's sweeping review of Australia's workplace laws will put penalty rates, pay and conditions, union militancy and flexibility under the microscope.

A leaked draft of the terms of reference for the Productivity Commission inquiry into the Fair Work Act, obtained by Fairfax Media, reveals the inquiry will examine the act's impact on unemployment and under-employment, productivity, business investment and the ability of the labour market to respond to changing economic conditions.

The number of working days lost to strike action, pressures on small business, employers' flexibility to bargain with their employees on issues like working hours and the impact of red tape on business will be considered.

Henry Belot: Not a bad sunrise above Canberra this morning if you missed it.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has taken a crack at Australia's welfare system, saying it is sending the country further into debt.

In her column in the latest issue of Australian Resources and Investment, Ms Rinehart said Australians are "living beyond our means".

Ms Rinehart says "Australians have to work hard or actually harder and smarter to create the revenue."

She also paid tribute to the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher, saying Australian politicians needed to follow her example.

Gina Rinehart is now the world's fifth richest woman.

Gina Rinehart is now the world's fifth richest woman. Photo: Bloomberg

Ben Westcott: There's more to France than croissants, cafes and champagne - at least, that's what comedian Julia Zemiro says.

Zemiro was in Canberra yesterday to launch the 25th annual French Film Festival, which will be screening at the Palace Electric Cinemas in New Acton.

She said she knows people hate subtitles, but festivals like this were a chance to experience another culture up close.

"Live a little, concentrate and enter another world... it's about learning another culture and learning that really we're all a bit the same," she said.

Comedian Julia Zemiro at Palace Cinema to promote the French Film Festival.

Comedian Julia Zemiro at Palace Cinema to promote the French Film Festival. Photo: Melissa Adams

This is so awesome.

On Sunday, Symphony in the Park will feature a free performance of the musical score of Disney classic Fantasia by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. The orchestral performance will accompany the  movie being playing on big screens at the event.

It's expected that Symphony in the Park will attract an audience of over 10,000 to Stage 88, so get there early for a close parking spot and a good seat. It's on at Stage 88, Commonwealth Park at 7.30pm. More details at the website.

Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer's Apprentice in  Fantasia.

Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia.

What's the talk of Canberra on the opinion pages this Friday?

You say:

"I thought the grown-ups were going to be in charge when the government changed; where are they now?"

Read all today's letters to the editor.

We say:

"With links to the Canberra business community, the ACT's Liberal Senator Zed Seselja would undoubtedly be a robust advocate for retailers and landlords doing to tough as a result of public service job losses in parts of the territory like Woden. However, history suggests he will be met with polite indifference."

Read today's editorial.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Henry Belot: The Assembly is searching for new space to accommodate eight new representatives.

A 25-member Assembly will force a redesign of the Legislative Assembly building. Ministers are likely to be moved to a separate executive wing and the London Circuit building is expected to be reconfigured to house eight extra MPs.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher sought an urgent briefing on Thursday on how quickly the Assembly could move to make the change official.

The Liberal Party backed the boost in numbers from 17 to 25 this week. With both major parties behind the move it just needs a vote of the Assembly before it takes effect for the 2016 election.

The Handmade Market is back this weekend.

The quarterly event is always popular, with crowds converging on the Convention Centre for the big events.

It's running on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm.

Canberra CBD chief Jane Easthope.

Canberra CBD chief Jane Easthope. Photo: Jay Cronan

Henry Belot: The number of penalties imposed for public urination by ACT Police during summer fell from 56 to 36 incidents this year, a change police attribute to a public campaign against antisocial behaviour.

Yet the reduction in public urination may be due to the trial introduction of portable toilets by Canberra CBD, which collected 380 litres of urine between December 19-20, and 340 litres over New Years' Eve. A further 90 litres were collected during January 3-5.

Most public urinators in Canberra this summer were male, with only two females issued with penalties by the police.

Henry Belot: Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has effectively been seized by Russian forces, formally under Moscow's rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to find ways to pressure Russia to back down.

The vice premier of Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea military base in Sevastopol, said a referendum on the status would take place on March 16. 

Pro-Kremlin activists march during a rally in support of ethnic Russians in Ukraine  in central Moscow.

Pro-Kremlin activists march during a rally in support of ethnic Russians in Ukraine in central Moscow. Photo: Dmitry Serbryakov

President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama. Photo: Chip Somodevilla

Henry Belot: The Obama administration has moved to freeze US-based financial assets and property of Russian officials responsible for the country's military intervention in Ukraine

The moves build on previous punitive measures from the Obama administration, including cancelling planning meetings for the Group of 8 economic summit in Sochi, Russia, in June.

Press secretary Jay Carney called the executive order "a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilising Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate."

Wow! Just a few changes to the ACTION bus timetable this morning.

David Polkinghorne: Pick up your made-to-order fascinator or dust off your bag of fruit, the biggest day in Canberra racing is just two sleeps away.

Super Sunday will host Thoroughbred Park's four biggest races of the year - the Black Opal Stakes, the Canberra Cup, the Canberra Guineas and the National Sprint.

And it's set to be a star-studded line-up with Gai Waterhouse, Chris Waller, David Hayes and the Hawkes lads all bringing some of their finest horse flesh to the nation's capital.

Will anyone ever replicate legendary Queanbeyan trainer Frank Cleary's feats and pull off the Black Opal-Golden Slipper double?

There's only one way to find out.

Gates open at 11.30am, with the main event, the Black Opal, jumping at 4.08pm.

ANU students Brendan McKavangh, Will Bower , Kieran Harris and Nick Polhill show of their winning tickets from Race 3 at Thoroughbred Park during 2013's Black Opal Stakes day.

ANU students Brendan McKavangh, Will Bower , Kieran Harris and Nick Polhill show of their winning tickets from Race 3 at Thoroughbred Park during 2013's Black Opal Stakes day. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Lee Gaskin: Up and coming professional David Toussaint will be among the fighters on show at the Road to Punishment fight night at the Hellenic Club in Woden tonight.

The 22-year-old is a perfect 2-0 from his first two professional bouts after narrowly missing out on the London Olympic Games team.

The Super Middleweight wants to use this bout as a stepping stone to next year securing a fight for the Australian championship.

Tickets are at the door, with action starting at 7.30pm.

David Toussaint, 22, of Flynn, will have his third professional fight on Friday.

David Toussaint, 22, of Flynn, will have his third professional fight on Friday. Photo: Melissa Adams

Henry Belot: Mercedes Corby has issued an apology “from the bottom of my heart” for any offence caused in Indonesia by her Sunday Night interview about sister Schapelle.

As Indonesian media networks spent another day criticising the Corby family over the interview, Mercedes is trying to mitigate the damage done when she speculated on the Seven Network program that the marijuana in Schapelle’s boogie board bag in 2004 “could have been from Indonesia”.

Meanwhile, Schapelle’s brother-in-law, Wayan Widyartha, also admitted that the family “can’t handle” the way the situation has spiralled out of control since the interview last Sunday.

Mercedes Corby interviewed at her house in Kuta. March 6, 2014.

Mercedes Corby interviewed at her house in Kuta. March 6, 2014. Photo: Hansel Nashyo

Here's a bit of David Pope for your Friday morning...

Editorial cartoon, 30 July. Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial cartoon, 30 July. Photo: David Pope

Henry Belot: Enlighten festival will continue over the weekend to celebrate the capitals 101st birthday.

If you're wondering what else to do this weekend, we've compiled a list of events around town.

Lee Gaskin: Ice hockey in Canberra is back - but not as we know it.

While the name might take some time to get used to, hardcore Canberra Knights fans will eagerly embrace the CBR Brave for the upcoming Australian Ice Hockey League season.

The Brave is almost certain to have traditional ACT colours of navy blue and yellow, but the jerseys and logo haven't been finalised.

The next stage is finalising the team's four imports before the puck drops on April 12 at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre.

CBR Brave captain Mark Rummukainen and chairman Peter Chamberlain at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre.

CBR Brave captain Mark Rummukainen and chairman Peter Chamberlain at the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

A witness at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius's has said the "Blade Runner" pleaded with God over his girlfriend's dying body.

A “very distraught” Oscar Pistorius was kneeling beside the body of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp when a neighbour, Dr Johan Stipp, arrived at his house shortly after the fatal shooting.

“He was crying, he was praying, he was talking to God, he was telling God to let her live, please don’t let her die,” Dr Stipp told the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

“He was making promises to God, he was trying, I don’t know, to get atonement.”

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Neighbour feared Pistorius would take his own life

Day four of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial in South Africa sees testimony from one of the first people on the scene.

PT1M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-34as4 620 349
Forbidden Broadway from the Free-Rain Theatre Company.

Forbidden Broadway from the Free-Rain Theatre Company. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Ron Cerabona: Forbidden Broadway opens at the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre on Friday at 8pm.

Free-Rain Theatre Company presents this highlights collection from the long-running off-Broadway revue spoofing musical theatre shows and performers including Cats, Les Miserables and Barbra Streisand.

More information: theq.net.au

Henry Belot: The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, has delivered the opening invocation in the US Senate, praying "to Buddha and all" and suggesting that purity of thought will guide humanity's actions.

In his saffron robe, the Dalai Lama climbed the few steps to the Senate dais and delivered the three-line prayer, first in the Tibetan language, then in English. He chuckled over his English pronunciation.

"With our thoughts we make our world," the prayer began. "Our mind is central and precedes our deeds. Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you like a shadow that never leaves."

Henry Belot: Greens senator Scott Ludlam's blunt speech to an almost empty room has gone viral on the internet.

While sitting on a four hour flight from Perth to Canberra, the senator decided to frame his seven-minute speech as a direct address to Tony Abbott, inviting the Prime Minister to rethink stereotypes of the wildflower state.

His address was watched almost 280,000 YouTube views in three days, largely thanks to people "sharing" it on social media.

Ludlam said the speech "appears to have struck a nerve right across the political spectrum."

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A most polite spray

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam invites Tony Abbott to visit Western Australia - and then unloads on the Prime Minister in a Senate speech earlier this week that has since gone viral.

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Crimea's parliament has voted to join Russia, and its Moscow-backed government has set a referendum within 10 days on the decision - in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.

The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea formally under Moscow's rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to find ways to pressure Russia to back down.

Crimean parliament votes to join Russia (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Crimean parliament votes to join Russia

The Crimean parliament votes to join Russia, accelerating a push to bring the region formally under Russia's rule.

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Henry Belot: The top Communist Party official in the restive far-western region of Xinjiang has blamed virtual private networks – technology used to circumvent China’s internet firewalls – for a spate of violence including the mass knife attack at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming.

Zhang Chunxian said the vast majority of violence in Xinjiang had been motivated by terrorists with access to the "fast flow of information" online.

“By that I mean more than 90 per cent of Xinjiang’s terrorism comes from jumping the [firewall], and accessing internet videos to create terrorism,” he said.

Henry Belot: What's ahead today in federal politics?

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens will appear before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in Sydney.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has admitted the Indonesian election may distract from efforts to progress a code of ethics to restore cooperation.

Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz says the government’s review of workplace laws will be thorough and broad but has refused to spell out its scope.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with commercial television networks in Sydney to discuss deregulation of the industry.

The CSIRO, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority will front a Senate committee hearing in Canberra.

And the Senate committee hearing into industry structures and systems governing levies on grass-fed cattle begins today.

Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Eric Abetz.

Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Eric Abetz. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Legoland Windsor, UK.

Legoland Windsor, UK. Photo: Garry Samuels

Henry Belot: Legoland in Britain will close its hotel this weekend after far-right extremists made threats against the theme park for agreeing to host a Muslim family fun day.

The resort and its hotel had been hired out by a group called the Muslim Research and Development Foundation, and 1000 Muslim families were due to spend the weekend there.

But Legoland cancelled the private event last week after its Facebook page was bombarded by abusive messages from "right-wing" groups.

The resort said it was "extremely sorry" and pledged to give full refunds to guests with bookings.

It's going to be a warm, cloudy day, with the chance of a showers and a thunder storm this afternoon. 

The mercury should climb to 27 degrees today, despite the potential for rain.

Looking ahead to the weekend:

Saturday - A few showers and storms, max 23C.

Sunday - Partly cloudy, max 25C.

Monday - Possible shower, max 27C.

Tuesday - Partly cloudy, max 28C.

As if there wasn't already enough going on this weekend, the Black Opal Stakes is on at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday.

It's Canberra's richest race, and now in its 41st year, is expected to draw massive crowds.

As well as the all the action on the track, there's also the Myer Fashions on the Field competition.

Black Opal Stakes. Jockey Glyn Schofield and Trainer Danny Williams hold up the Canberra Centenary Cup after Court Connection won the Canberra Centenary Cup at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra. Click for more photos

Black Opal Stakes 2013

Black Opal Stakes. Jockey Glyn Schofield and Trainer Danny Williams hold up the Canberra Centenary Cup after Court Connection won the Canberra Centenary Cup at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

  • Black Opal Stakes. Jockey Glyn Schofield and Trainer Danny Williams hold up the Canberra Centenary Cup after Court Connection won the Canberra Centenary Cup at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
  • Trainer Danny Williams speaks to the media after his horse Court Connection won the Canberra Centenary Cup at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
  • Glyn Schofield on Court Connection wins the Canberra Centenary Cup at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
  • Glyn Schofield, 3rd from right, on Court Connection makes his move on the outside of the field to win the Canberra Centenary Cup.
  • The field break out from the gates at the start of the Canberra Centenary Cup at Thoroughbred Park.
  • Trainer David Payne, jockey Glyn Schofield and racing manager Bob Hawkins the connections of Criterion that won the Black Opal Stakes.
  • Trainer David Payne chats with jockey Glyn Schofield who rode Criterion to win the Black Opal Stakes at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
  • Glyn Schofield on Criterion is returns to the mounting yard after winning the Black Opal Stakes.
  • Glyn Schofield, 2nd from the left, on Criterion makes his move out from the field to win the Black Opal Stakes at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
  • Glyn Schofield, right, on Criterion edges out Kerrin McEvoy, left, on Sidestep to win the Black Opal Stakes at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
  • A cool and calm Glyn Schofield after winning the Canberra Centenary Cup and Black Opal Stakes at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra.
Today's front page.

Today's front page.

On today's front page...

Supermarket giants Coles and Aldi are set to join Woolworths in Dickson as part of a new retail and residential precinct.

Changes to lease variation fees,extended timelines for commence and completion charges and the release of civil works contracts in Canberra’s north are at the centre of a two-year stimulus package announced by the ACT government.

The federal government’s sweeping review of workplace laws will put penalty rates, pay and conditions, union militancy and flexibility under the microscope.

What was once a country lifestyle with stunning views has been turned upside down for Jennifer Howlett with the arrival of a large-scale solar array, now sitting glaringly in view.

The campaign to promote the brand CBR Canberra shifts up a gear this weekend with Canberrans being urged to saturate social media with the logo and hashtag.

It's a long weekend in the capital this weekend, with Canberra Day celebrations running over the next three days.

The capital is turning 101 on Monday, and there's events planned all weekend to keep you busy.

The much-anticipated Canberra Balloon Spectacular kicks off on Saturday, running until March 16. Balloons are launched between 6.30am and 7am, from the lawns of Old Parliament House.

Diner en Blanc returns to the capital on Saturday night - head to the website for more information.

There's also Canberra Day in the Park on Monday, with family-friendly activities through the afternoon, down at Stage 88.

Early morning at the Canberra Festival Balloon Spectacular in 2010.

Early morning at the Canberra Festival Balloon Spectacular in 2010. Photo: Chapman Images

Good morning - it's morning blog time!

Over the next three hours, I'll have all the news headlines for you, including a look at the overnight world and national news.

We'll also keep you in the loop on any incidents on local roads, as well as any breaking Canberra news.

Stick with us, we'll be here until 10am.

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