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Canberra Mornings Live: Monday June 23

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Bringing you breaking news from across the capital and beyond. Get in touch with us as we blog from 7am to 10am: email us, tweet us or post on our Facebook page.

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Henry Belot: And that's a wrap for the morning blog this Monday. Be sure to join us from 7am tomorrow morning as we keep you updated with latest news in Canberra and beyond.

Watch out for a wild weather change after lunch today. There will be strong winds and rain arriving in the territory from 2pm. Catch up on the full weather details here.

Have a wonderful day.

Henry Belot: Australia is forecast to be among the three fastest-growing economies in the developed world this year, making it harder for the central bank to convince currency investors it isn’t about to raise interest rates.

The RBA must differentiate itself from its counterparts in New Zealand and the UK, which have signalled their economies may need higher borrowing costs, according to Westpac.

Australia’s record-low benchmark rate hasn’t stopped foreign-exchange markets driving its dollar up 1.8 per cent in the past month, the best performing Group-of-10 currency ahead of the kiwi and the pound.

Read more on our markets live blog.

Henry Belot: The recently retired head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption has called for the establishment of a federal anti-graft agency with the powers of a standing royal commission, lamenting a grave "breakdown of trust" in the political process.

The comments of David Ipp, QC, come amid a sensational ICAC inquiry into the Liberal Party's alleged laundering of illicit campaign finance by routing cheques via Canberra, where there is no dedicated corruption-busting agency.

"It is so screamingly obvious that there is a breakdown in trust at the moment and that the only way of maintaining trust or recovering the trust is to demonstrate that there are adequate means of discovering corruption so that the public can be confident that what the government is doing is not tainted by dishonest behaviour," Mr Ipp told ABC-TV's Four Corners.

 

Attacked: Retired corruption commissioner David Ipp speaks out about criticism he faced.

Attacked: Retired corruption commissioner David Ipp speaks out about criticism he faced.

Henry Belot: Jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste, a reporter for Qatar-based Al Jazeera, will learn his fate today with an Egyptian court expected to rule on whether he spread false news in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Henry Belot: Most people have experienced what it is to lie awake at night worrying about how to make ends meet. But the world's super-rich are not lacking sleep over fears of losing money - but of having too much.

One in seven multimillionaires or billionaires is worried their wealth could be depriving their children of drive and ambition, says a study which affords a rare glimpse into the minds of the ultra-rich.

The richer the individual the greater those fears, the survey suggests, and only health concerns rank higher in the minds of the wealthy elite. According to the study, by the law firm Withersworldwide, this is an anxiety which, for some families able to live off investments, is tearing them apart.

Many of the super-rich are now putting their faith in new business ventures or charity initiatives to hold their family together.

Withersworldwide's report, The Meaning of Wealth in the 21st Century, draws from surveys of more than 4,500 individuals and detailed interviews with members of 16 very wealthy families from Europe, Asia and North America.

It's not easy being wealthy, apparently.

It's not easy being wealthy, apparently. Photo: iStock

Henry Belot: US Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to the Middle East in a bid to unite Iraq's fractious leaders as Sunni militants seized more ground.

Shiite fighters paraded in Baghdad at the weekend in a dramatic show of force aimed at their Sunni opponents, who took control of a Syrian border crossing.

Washington's new diplomatic bid also aims to repel insurgents, whose lightning offensive has displaced hundreds of thousands and put Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki under growing pressure. Mr Kerry is expected to travel to Iraq, although details of the visit are not known.

Government security forces were holding on in several areas north of Baghdad, but officials said insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group had seized one of three official border crossings with Syria.

Fighters in the Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army march past a map of Iraq in Baghdad as part of a show of force.

Fighters in the Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army march past a map of Iraq in Baghdad as part of a show of force. Photo: New York Times

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict

Henry Belot: A sacked Catholic bishop will tell a Canberra audience this week he was treated unfairly by Pope Benedict.

“I was deprived of natural justice as I was in no way able to appeal the judgments or decisions that were made,” Bill Morris says.

He was forced out of his position in Toowoomba after a group of conservative “temple police” parishioners complained directly to the Vatican about his preaching which included discussion about ordaining women and married men.

He has written a book about his experience – Benedict, Me and the Cardinals Three – but says he has no bitterness. Instead he has learnt to “breathe underwater”.

Henry Belot: Jodhi Meares, the fashion designer and ex-wife of billionaire James Packer, has been charged with high-range drink-driving following a weekend crash in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Police allege the 43-year-old's licence was already suspended when she crashed her Range Rover into three other cars before the vehicle rolled onto its side in Bellevue Hill on Saturday night.

Meares was allegedly more than three times over the blood alcohol limit at the time.

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Jodhi Meares facing jail over drink-driving

Ex-wife of billionaire James Packer Jodhi Meares faces possible jail time after allegedly being caught drink driving and crashing into three parked cars over the weekend. Nine News.

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Henry Belot: Just a reminder of the wild weather ahead this afternoon. Here's a look at the BOM's official weather warning. You can read the entire warning here.

Henry Belot: Ghana has been exposed as agreeing to take part in international football matches organised by match fixers.

An undercover investigation by London's The Daily Telegraph and Channel Four's Dispatches programme found that the President of Ghana's Football Association agreed for the team to play in international matches that others were prepared to rig.

The team is currently competing in the World Cup finals in Brazil, and on Saturday pulled off a 2-2 draw against Germany, in what was seen as one of the most entertaining games of the tournament so far.

However, it can be revealed that the African team had been lined up to play in international fixtures whose results would be fixed by corrupted officials.

Match fixing shadow: Ghana have impressed during the World Cup.

Match fixing shadow: Ghana have impressed during the World Cup. Photo: AFP

Henry Belot: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is ''a sexist'' and the Coalition has been ''dog whistling'' with its asylum seeker policies, says retiring Liberal senator Sue Boyce in an extraordinary exit interview.

Reflecting on her career in Parliament - she retires at the end of June - Senator Boyce said she thought Julia Gillard's famous misogyny speech was ''powerful'' and, for Ms Gillard's purposes, ''a brilliant speech''. But she thought the former prime minister had used the wrong word to describe Mr Abbott.

''I think it would have been more accurate if she had called him a sexist,'' she said.

''But singling [Mr Abbott] out as a sexist was not reasonable either,'' she added, saying the Prime Minister was one of many ''subtle'' sexists in federal Parliament.

Senator Sue Boyce gave her valedictory speech to the Senate.

Senator Sue Boyce gave her valedictory speech to the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares

Henry Belot: The US have taken the lead against Portugal 2-1 thanks to a goal from Clint Dempsey.

Henry Belot: There was a time when getting your tackle out at dawn in Hobart meant trying to bag a few flathead.

But more than 500 brave souls have taken the brisk plunge into the River Derwent for Hobart's second winter solstice nude swim, which is part of the Dark MOFO arts festival. That more than doubled last year's inaugural swim, which saw 230 embracing the midwinter.

Temperatures were kinder too, with the air around 7 degrees celsius on a clear morning and the water a relative bath at 11 degrees celsius.

"You get your gear off and you're all the same," swimmer David Day said on Sunday. "You're just people, you're beings and all just sharing it together."

Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim. Click for more photos

Mofo Annual Solstice Nude Swim

Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.

  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.
  • Dark Mofo's second annual solstice nude swim.

Henry Belot: Google has promised to reimburse a rescue helicopter crew for an unnecessary flight after one of their Wi-Fi balloons falling into the sea sparked an emergency response.

New Zealand Police received a call at 11.25am on Friday from a member of public reporting that a plane had crashed into the sea off the Hurunui River mouth, near Cheviot.

He mistook the balloon for a plane because a local pilot's aircraft had a parachute attached.

Locals took boats out to investigate, while police, Waimakariri-Ashley Lifeboat volunteers, Search and Rescue and the Westpac rescue helicopter responded. The balloon was found floating in the sea.

Police notified Google, as the balloon was too large for a local fisherman to pull out, and the sea was "quite rough".

A balloon similar to the one pictured was rescued.

A balloon similar to the one pictured was rescued. Photo: Fairfax NZ

Henry Belot: Former Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone has weighed in on Tony Abbott's trademark wink...

"Recently there has been a fair bit of attention given to a wad of cash and a wink. Let’s start with the wink.

Tony Abbott was taking calls at a radio station when a caller identified herself as a pensioner who made ends meet by doing some sex-call work. Cameras snapped as the PM flashed a passing wink at the presenter.

Given the PM has been set up by media and callers in the past, and given the anecdotally low rate of pensioners moonlighting as sex workers, a smiling wink that says ‘‘I’ll take all this in my stride’’ seemed quite reasonable to many people, including me.

Nonetheless, the footage thereof zoomed out around Australia and in all probability the world."

People were encouraged to rush to a negative judgment on a split-second facial movement that to many seemed no big deal.

People were encouraged to rush to a negative judgment on a split-second facial movement that to many seemed no big deal.

Henry Belot: Rather than waiting for Freeview's launch, SBS has gone live with its new Catch Up TV app.

Freeview is in the final phase of testing its new FreeviewPlus Smart TV app, which offers a 7-day onscreen Electronic Program Guide and easy access to online Catch Up TV. The five major broadcasters have each developed their own app, yet SBS has broken ranks and launched "in beta" ahead of the official FreeviewPlus launch.

FreeviewPlus is expected to deliver access to online video from the five main Australian television networks. The service is built into a new onscreen electronic program guide that lets viewers scroll back in time and click to watch shows they'??ve missed.

FreeviewPlus is expected to deliver access to online video from the five main Australian television networks. The service is built into a new onscreen electronic program guide that lets viewers scroll back in time and click to watch shows they'??ve missed.

Canberra Times front page June 23

Canberra Times front page June 23

On the front page of today's Canberra Times:

Man, 70, dies working under car at home

Security vetting ‘out of control’

Mr Fluffy victims call for crisis support and rebuilding costs

Abbott, budget still lag in polls

Singapore transport a model for ACT: Barr

Corruption, not goals, in need of a good kick

The US have equalised in their clash with Portugal. Scores are currently 1-1 after a long range strike from Jermaine Jones into the bottom right corner.

Henry Belot: While Mile Jedinak believes the Socceroos have done the nation proud at this World Cup, he’s desperate to see his teammates leave the tournament with a win.

Gallant defeats to Chile and The Netherlands mean Australia can’t advance to the knockout stages but they can finish above 2010 champions Spain should they win or draw when the two sides face off in Curitiba on Monday.

Having had prime opportunities to surprise in both of their two matches thus far, Jedinak said the squad had shown themselves capable of taking on the best teams in the world.

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World Cup: Socceroos determined to bring home a win

The Australian team wraps up its last training session in Vitoria ahead of their final World Cup match against Spain in Curitiba, focused on bringing home a positive result.

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Henry Belot: Support for Australia's carbon pricing laws has grown as the Abbott government prepares to repeal them next month, with more people now in favour than opposed.

An annual poll by the Climate Institute found the number of Australians who disagree with the laws fell to 30 per cent, down from 52 per cent in 2012 when the Coalition's attack on the carbon tax was at its peak. It also represents an 11 per cent decline in opposition from last year.

At the same time the percentage of Australians who supported the carbon price rose six per cent, to 34 per cent, over the past year. It is the first rise in support under the Climate Institute poll since the laws were first introduced by the Gillard government.

Changing perceptions: A poll has found the percentage of Australians who disagree Australia's carbon pricing laws has fallen from more than half to less than a third.

Changing perceptions: A poll has found the percentage of Australians who disagree Australia's carbon pricing laws has fallen from more than half to less than a third. Photo: Graham Tidy

Henry Belot: US President Barack Obama says he's "deeply concerned" about the threat Australian jihadists travelling to Syria pose on their return home.

His comments come as militant group ISIL extends its path of bloodshed in Iraq after crossing the border from war-torn Syria. The group is using online recruitment videos to entice Muslims in Australia and other parts of the world to join the fight.

Obama has told CNN the past few years have seen jihadists from Europe and as far as Australia going to Syria to get trained and then going back to their home countries.

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'My brothers, come to Jihad'

A chilling 13-minute propaganda video from the Islamic group ISIS surfaces online, encouraging young Jihadis from around the world to join forces with them. Nine News.

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Henry Belot: It seems the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate has caught World Cup fever. Good on them we say. Certainly one player is pretty happy with her performance on the pitch.

Henry Belot: By the bus load, Iraqi men volunteer to fight radical Sunni militants, while scores of families flee the violence only to become refugees in their own country.

Iraqi security forces fire artillery during clashes with Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the outskirts of the town of Udaim in Diyala province, June 22, 2014. Iran's supreme leader accused the United States on Sunday of trying to retake control of Iraq by exploiting sectarian rivalries, as Sunni insurgents drove toward Baghdad from new strongholds along the Syrian border.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY) Click to play video

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Scores of Iraqis volunteer for battle

By the bus load, Iraqi men volunteer to fight radical Sunni militants, while scores of families flee the violence only to become refugees in their own country.

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Henry Belot: There's a thick cloud hanging about Parliament House this morning. They grey skies will linger thing morning before being replaced with rain clouds and strong winds in the afternoon.

Henry Belot: Former World Cup winner Diego Maradona showed Argentine FA President Julio Grondona the finger on live television after the football administrator had suggested Argentina scored against Iran because "jinxed" Maradona had left the stadium by then.

Argentina struggled against Iran at Belo Horizonte's Mineirao stadium on Saturday with Maradona in the stands as a spectator along with his daughter.

The 1986 World Cup winner got out of his seat and left shortly before the end of both halves, missing Lionel Messi's brilliant stoppage-time winner which gave them a 1-0 win and a place in the 16.

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Diego Maradona slams 'jinx' claims

WARNING PROFANE GESTURE: RAW VISION: Argentina's 1986 World Cup winner Diego Maradona gives the finger on live television after claims that he is a 'jinx' on his national team.

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Henry Belot: If you have ever felt as though you have been throwing your money away – you are right.

To prove it, a shop, which has recently opened in Civic, that sells recycled goods diverted from the tip, has arranged a large display of coins that are thrown away by Canberrans. 

The business, The Green Shed, which has outlets at the Resource Management Centre in Symonston and another in Mitchell, is set to star in a new reality series called Wasted, which will begin filiming next weekend.

In much the same vein as popular US television shows American PickersPawns Stars and Storage Wars, it will shed light on the value of the things we throw away and what they are truly worth.

Full story here.

Star power: The Green Shed, co-owned by Goran Srejic, is set to feature in a new television series.

Star power: The Green Shed, co-owned by Goran Srejic, is set to feature in a new television series. Photo: Jay Cronan

Henry Belot: Former Labor leader Mark Latham has filed a column on the ongoing character assassination of Bill Shorten.

"The Opposition Leader has been doing too well in the polls for Australia's right-wing hunting pack to leave him untouched.

Listen to any radio shock jock or ranting TV host and the drum beat has started. The hunting pack's star witness is a former Victorian Australian Workers Union official, Bob Kernohan. Earlier this month, he told the trade union royal commission that in the mid-1990s Shorten (then aged 28) urged him to ignore the rorting of union funds. This is precisely what the feral right wants to hear. It's a chance to smear Shorten and practise the politics of personal destruction.

As ever, the Prime Minister's lickspittle, Andrew Bolt, is leading the chase, asking, with mounting frustration: "How come the mud isn't sticking to Bill Shorten?" Bolt's News Corp colleague Jason Morrison has gone a step further, calling on the Labor leader to stand aside."

 

<i>Illustration: michaelmucci.com</i>

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

Henry Belot: Almost two years ago, Gina Rinehart offered a $50,000 prize to the person in the resources industry who best promoted mining in the face of "far left or non-understanding media attacks".

The first recipient appears to have been fellow billionaire Len Buckeridge.

The curious award, the creation of which was announced at the annual Association of Mining and Exploration Companies conference in Perth in 2012, came amid a heated verbal stoush between Mrs Rinehart and then Labor treasurer Wayne Swan.

Mr Swan had accused wealthy ­miners, including Mrs Rinehart, of using their riches to pursue vested interests, which included campaigning against the government's mining tax and carbon price plans.

During a segment to announce the award at the AMEC conference, Mrs Rinehart said: "We need people and we have some who are prepared to be unpopular, or very unpopular, in some areas of our media. We need people who are willing to be leaders, despite the detractors, to say things that should be heard, not avoided, in the interests of our ­industry and our country."

Time to rethink our standard of living: Mining magnate, Gina Rinehart.

Time to rethink our standard of living: Mining magnate, Gina Rinehart. Photo: Andrew Meares

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Henry Belot: The owners of homes contaminated by Mr Fluffy asbestos have presented a list of requests to the ACT government, seeking crisis support for those displaced from their homes and calling on the government to negotiate with the Commonwealth to compensate owners for the costs of demolishing and rebuilding.

The convener of the Mr Fluffy Owners and Residents' Action Group, Brianna Heseltine, met with Attorney-General Simon Corbell on Friday to discuss the government’s response to Canberra’s asbestos situation.

On Saturday, nearly 300 members of the group attended a town-hall style meeting where they vowed to fight for an ultimate resolution to the 50 year-old problem – demolishing every Mr Fluffy home.

 

Henry Belot: England captain Steven Gerrard has described allegations that English players have deliberately wriggled out of international duty as "disgusting" and called on those concerned to be publicly named and shamed.

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp claimed on Sunday that during his time at Tottenham Hotspur, "there were two or three players who did not want to play for England".

Redknapp told BBC radio: "They would come to me 10 days before the game and say, 'Gaffer, get me out of that game. I don't want to play in that game.'

"That was how it was. I'd say, 'You're playing for your country, you should want to play. (They would say) 'Nah, my girlfriend is having a baby in four weeks, I don't want to play.'"

"Disgusting": Steven Gerrard wants Harry Redknapp to name the players who did want to turn out for England.

"Disgusting": Steven Gerrard wants Harry Redknapp to name the players who did want to turn out for England. Photo: AP

Henry Belot: Gordon Brown, once ranked Britain's most unpopular prime minister in half a century, may yet emerge as the man who convinces Scots to reject independence. For many English, Scotsman Brown is an unlikely hero.

Often brooding and awkward in front of the camera, the former prime minister led his Labour party to its worst electoral defeat in a generation in 2010.

But in the industrial towns of Scotland where the fate of the United Kingdom will be set by 1 million as yet undecided voters in a September 18 referendum, few rival Brown's influence.

In speeches in towns and cities across Scotland Brown makes a passionate case to stay within the United Kingdom - a G8 power with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

"Countries can be lost by mistake": Gordon Brown puts the case for the "No" vote encouraging Scots to stay with the United Kingdom.

"Countries can be lost by mistake": Gordon Brown puts the case for the "No" vote encouraging Scots to stay with the United Kingdom. Photo: Reuters

Henry Belot: The North Korean regime has criticised a Hollywood comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong-un, saying it shows the "desperation" of American society.

A spokesman for Mr Kim said the dictator would probably watch the film, starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, which is due to be released in October.

The Interview is the tale of two talk show hosts given the opportunity to travel to North Korea to interview its ruler. However, they are enlisted as agents by the US and ordered to assassinate Mr Kim, who is played by Randall Park, a Korean-American actor.

A trailer for the film shows tank chases, missile launches and lavish banquets over which Mr Kim presides.

Henry Belot: The Tax Office is cutting staff who are supposed to keep a watchful eye on the more than $500 billion in self-managed superannuation funds, according to the Australian Services Union.

The planned reductions come as the Australian Taxation Office is about to be handed new powers in July to penalise breaches in the growing industry.

The Australian Services Union said the ATO was cutting back higher level managers while at the same time employing less experienced junior staff.

"Who is going to make the tough management decisions?" the union's tax branch secretary, Jeff Lapidos, asked.

The cuts affecting the monitoring of self-managed super funds, according to the union, were concentrated in the "superannuation active compliance" sections at Moonee Ponds in Victoria and Parramatta in NSW.

The union said it had been proposed to reduce the workforce of this section from 85 to 60 at Moonee Ponds.

Henry Belot: It wasn't a bad start to the day in Canberra as shown by this picture by Erna, uploaded shortly before 8.15am. It will be mostly cloudy morning before a cold front and rain passes over the territory.

Henry Belot: The High Court has issued a stunning rebuke to the Abbott government's border protection policy, striking down its decision to refuse to give refugees who arrive by boat permanent protection visas.

In two unanimous decisions, with implications for thousands of boats arrivals, the full court ruled that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's decision to impose a cap on the number of places in Australia's refugee intake for boat arrivals was invalid.

The government's determination to deny permanent protection visas will now rest with the Senate, where the Palmer United Party will control the balance of power from next month.

The party's leader, Clive Palmer, has spoken out strongly in support of refugees, but told Fairfax Media the party would study the High Court judgment and any decision on allowing temporary protection visas would be made by his party room.

Henry Belot: Australia has a “phobia” about Indonesia and is to blame for the poor relationship between the two countries, strong-man presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said during a nationally televised debate on Sunday.

His opponent, the favourite Joko Widodo, proposed taking Australia to an international court over asylum seekers if diplomacy failed to solve the disagreement.

The subject of Australia came up twice in the international relations and defence debate between Mr Prabowo and Mr Joko, just over two weeks before the crucial July 9 presidential election.

Both candidates agreed that the relationship between the two countries was poor, but when Mr Joko asked his opponent why it was so unstable, Mr Prabowo answered: “Honestly, I think the problem is Australia’s, not ours.

Joko Widodo, the favourite to win the Indonesian presidency on July 9.

Joko Widodo, the favourite to win the Indonesian presidency on July 9. Photo: Beawiharta

Henry Belot: There's a bit of excitement up on Thredbo this morning ahead of wild conditions...

Thredbo spokesman Luke Kneller said things were a little uncomfortable up on the mountain this morning with strong winds already passing through the resort.

“There’s a big snowstorm coming in behind these winds so we’re not too worried about them. We’re expecting anywhere around 50cm of snow to fall by the time the winds die down,” he said.

“This is definitely going to turn the season around for us. There’s be a bit of rain first on Monday morning but then snow should fall during the early afternoon”

Henry Belot: The federal Treasury has entered the debate over cigarette sales, publishing previously secret information that shows sales falling since the introduction of graphic health warnings and plain packaging.

The Treasury collects data on sales per stick in order to levy tobacco excise, but has until now withheld it from publication to protect commercially sensitive information.

Added to the Health Department's website quietly last week amid debate over the effectiveness of plain packaging, the Treasury data shows 3.4 per cent fewer cigarettes were sold last year than 2012. Plain packaging became mandatory on December 1, 2012.

The Treasury data is consistent with national accounts data that shows a decline of 0.9 per cent in the amount of tobacco and cigarettes sold between 2012 and last year. The national accounts show a further fall of 7.6 per cent in the three months to March after the first of a number of big increases in tobacco excise announced late last year.

Plain packaging: Newly released data shows cigarette sales have fallen.

Plain packaging: Newly released data shows cigarette sales have fallen. Photo: Angela Wylie

Concerns: Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said up to 150 Australians were fighting with extremists.

Concerns: Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said up to 150 Australians were fighting with extremists. Photo: Andrew Meares

Henry Belot: Australians fighting with extremists in Iraq and Syria is ''one of the most disturbing developments'' in domestic security for some time, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says.

Ms Bishop said the government was concerned that a number of Australians, believed to be up to 150, who were travelling through Lebanon to reach Syria were planning to move from Syria into Iraq to join Sunni militants.

On Sunday US President Barack Obama said he was ''deeply concerned'' about the threat Australian jihadists travelling to these war zones posed on their return home.

''There is no doubt the problem in Syria is one we have been paying a lot of attention to over the past couple of years as you see jihadists coming in from Europe and as far as Australia to get trained then going back into their home countries,'' Mr Obama said on CNN. ''This is something we have been deeply concerned about.''

 

Henry Belot: Canberra is set for wet and wild conditions from Monday afternoon with wind gusts of up to 80km/h expected to blow through the city with 10-15mm of rain expected to fall by Tuesday evening.

Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said Tuesday will be the coldest and most windy day in Canberra this year although a noticeable change will pass through the territory from Monday afternoon.

“Tuesday will easily be the coldest day of the year so far with a top of 8 degrees and strong winds probably averaging out around 40km/h in the city for most of the day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were wind gusts of up to 70-80km/h,” he said.

“On Monday afternoon we’ll see winds average out around 30km/h however we’ll see the odd wind gust up to 50-60km/h.”

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning around 3am on Monday morning for damaging winds and blizzard conditions for the Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains and the ACT forecast district

Henry Belot: A historic hedge in the picturesque gardens of Lanyon Homestead is set to undergo a mammoth restoration in a bid to bring it back to life. 

ACT Museums and Galleries director Shane Breynard said the hedge on the heritage-listed site in Tharwa had been kept as a large bank of very closely planted trees for many years, but now, almost 100 years on, some of the trees had begun to fail. 

It is believed the cypress hedge was planted sometime before 1920 by the Cunningham family to create an "intimate" room and sheltered area in the garden protected from the prevailing western winds.

Mr Breynard said some of the damaged trees in the hedge were initially removed but then others began failing too. 

He said on advice from heritage landscape experts, it was decided the best way forward would be to remove the stand of senescing and dangerous trees and restore the original planting. 

ACT Historic Places head gardener Martin Zierholz and ACT Museums and Galleries director Shane Breynard inspect the remains of 39 cypress trees removed from a hedge at Lanyon Homestead.

ACT Historic Places head gardener Martin Zierholz and ACT Museums and Galleries director Shane Breynard inspect the remains of 39 cypress trees removed from a hedge at Lanyon Homestead. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Henry Belot: While billions of people around the world are tuning into the FIFA World Cup this month, Catherine Ordway has been taking a deeper look at what’s going on in Brazil.

The senior lecturer in sports management at the University of Canberra has been analysing various factors of competing countries and players to determine the risk of match fixing at the World Cup in an effort to improve education and stamp out corruption in sport.

“Football is a major sport found to have been fixed in various jurisdictions around the world and it wouldn’t be a shock and a surprise to anyone in the industry if games in the lead-up to the World Cup had been fixed along the way,” Ms Ordway said.

“So that would suggest – potentially – that some of the teams that are at the World Cup may have been involved in fixing.”

Match fixing is big business, Ms Ordway said some estimates valued the turnover of the related illegal gambling industry at $1 trillion a year.

University of Canberra senior lecturer Catherine Ordway is researching the risk of match fixing at the FIFA World Cup.

University of Canberra senior lecturer Catherine Ordway is researching the risk of match fixing at the FIFA World Cup. Photo: Melissa Adams

Henry Belot: A heavily-armed SWAT team raided an upscale Montreal condominium early on Sunday to capture the three men police say made a bold escape by helicopter from a Quebec jail two weeks ago.

The men, who were facing murder and gangsterism charges before the jailbreak, were found in a posh 10th-floor condo with a stunning view of the city in a ritzy new development in Old Montreal, just steps from the historic waterfront.

Yves Denis, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and Serge Pomerleau, 49, were arrested after police busted open the door to enter the residence around 1.30am local time, Quebec provincial police said. They are due in court in Quebec City on Monday to face fresh charges, but police did not spell out what the new accusations would be.

The apartment where three prison escapees were captured in Montreal.

The apartment where three prison escapees were captured in Montreal. Photo: AP

Henry Belot: The ACT government is set to begin work on a strategic plan for community housing in Canberra.

Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury will on Monday announce that the government would work with the community housing sector to develop the strategic plan. 

"The idea is create a framework which allows the community housing sector to grow and grow in a sustainable way," he said. 

"It's focused on the urge of shelter agencies to grow the sector but also to make sure it's done in a way that has integrity. It's not just about houses, it's also about the services that go around providing community housing.

"We need to define some of the key issues and set out options for addressing those issues and the key one really is where do we find the resources and how do we grow the sector."  

ACT Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury.

ACT Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Henry Belot: Laughter and chatter echoes through the Mowbray family home upon entering the front door. These are the noises of a happy family. 

And this a family where having a voice is clearly cherished.

For Trish and Glenn Mowbray, communication with their four children is an important part of the secret to their happy family - where everyone gets a say in how they want to live their life. 

"The whole point of our family is that every person, as an individual, gets to grow. That includes me as the primary carer, that includes Glenn but also our four children and grandson in reaching their full potential," Trish Mowbray says.  

"All our boys work, they all have their own super fund and they all have their own private insurance." 

As the parents of children with special needs, Mr and Mrs Mowbray know just how important it is for people with disability have a say in their own lives. 

Canberra's Mowbray family, from left,  Emmalee, Paul, Luke, Noah, 18 months, Glenn, Trish, and Peter.

Canberra's Mowbray family, from left, Emmalee, Paul, Luke, Noah, 18 months, Glenn, Trish, and Peter. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Henry Belot: ACT government ministers will have a regular presence in Singapore in the next two years as Treasurer Andrew Barr looks to the city-state’s mass rapid transit network as a possible blueprint for Canberra.

Mr Barr is in Hong Kong on Monday and will travel to China’s southern business capital Shenzhen to meet executives at the communication giant Huawei’s campus headquarters.

At the end of a week-long trade delegation Mr Barr toured the operations centre for Singapore’s sprawling MRT network, which carries more than 2.6 million passengers every day.

He said Canberra could learn from the single-ticketing model that operates across Singapore’s trains and buses, and better integrate taxis with the needs of public transport users.

A Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) train leaves a station.

A Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) train leaves a station.

Henry Belot: The Rathbone brothers don't have a great history of helping each other out at work. 

Earlier this year, ACT Brumbies player Clyde Rathbone's brother Dayne dressed up as mascot Brumby Jack during the Anzac Day match against the Chiefs.

Dayne was later filmed vomiting on the sideline out from under the head of the costume

“On the day everything was going perfectly for like 90 per cent of it, and I was running around so much and overheated. I got too hot and I had to puke,” he said.

“Apart from that everything went pretty much perfectly.”

Clyde will attempt to make a better impression when he swaps the rugby field for the stage in support of comedian brother Dayne for one night in July.

After the success of his first comedy show It’s Me Dayne, the younger of the two brothers has written its follow-up, It’s Me Mandela which is on at Canberra Theatre on July 5.

Henry Belot: Former federal Liberal Party leader John Hewson has hit out at Joe Hockey for criticising wind farms, saying the Treasurer should drive past a coal-fired power station and have “a bit of a smell”.

“He may not personally like the look of them but it's bigger than him, this issue, it’s bigger than any generation of politicians today,” Dr Hewson said on Sunday.

“I can't imagine Joe hockey driving past a dirty old coal-fired power station and thinking that’s a good look, with the guts spewing out into the air and polluting the atmosphere and not recognising the broader damage they do.

“I suggest he drives by a couple of those old ones and has a bit of a smell and a bit of a look and come back and say this is pretty good.”

Dr Hewson also took issue with NSW Coalition MPs in areas near the ACT who oppose the Gallagher government’s plan to give 20-year government-backed contracts to developers of wind farms whose projects have been stalled by uncertainty.

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor with a dinosaur and, left, Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Click for more photos

Campaigning for a clean energy alternative

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor with a dinosaur and, left, Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Photo: Graham Tidy

  • Climate Institute chief executive John Connor with a dinosaur and, left, Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
  • John Connor, right, Dr John Hewson, centre, and Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
  • Dr John Hewson, left, and Lucy Manne, co-director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, make a new friend.
  • John Connor, right, Dr John Hewson, centre, and Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
  • John Connor, right, with Dr John Hewson.
  • Jordan Schofield of Theodore, 9, gets in on the action.
  • Dr John Hewson, left, was one of the speakers.
  • Passers-by were unsure of what to make of the event - with a few youngsters finding it a little scary.
  • An unusual sight near Parliament House.
  • Dinosaurs take over Parliament House.
  • Fighting to the death outside Parliament House.

Henry Belot: It's not a bad start to the day in Canberra but things may get a little more dreary this afternoon. We'll have a full weather wrap for you soon with the latest on wind gusts of up to 60km forecast  in Canberra.

Henry Belot: Algeria put themselves in pole position to reach the World Cup knock-out stages for the first time with a 4-2 win over South Korea in Porto Alegre on Sunday.

It was the first time an African team had scored four goals in a World Cup match and ended a 32-year win drought at the finals for the 'Desert Foxes'.

First half goals from Islam Slimani, Rafik Halliche and Abdelmoume Djabou put Algeria in total control. Yacine Brahimi's second half strike, sandwiched by efforts from Son Heung-Min and Koo Ja-Cheol, ensured Algeria moved up to second in Group H behind Belgium.

Yacine Brahimi of Algeria celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal.

Yacine Brahimi of Algeria celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal. Photo: Getty Images

Henry Belot: Shane Breynard caught a glimpse of the rate wedge-tailed eagle on Mount Pleasant on Sunday afternoon. If you look carefully you can see a freshly caught echidna in its left claw.

Henry Belot: A little more than a month after the Abbott government's tough first budget, which most voters say they still regard as ''unfair'', the Coalition is closing the gap on Labor and returning to pre-budget levels of support.

The government's primary vote has surged four points in a month, but Tony Abbott's low personal standing would still have seen the federal government swept from office in an election held now, despite the Coalition closing the gap.

The mini-recovery, which follows the Prime Minister's trip to France, Canada and the United States, has wiped out some of Labor's lead but the ALP is still six points ahead after preferences, 53 per cent to 47.

Poll: Abbott's approval stays low (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Poll: Abbott's approval stays low

The coalition's vote has partly recovered from post-budget lows, but people still don't think much of the budget - or the Prime Minister.

PT3M58S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3amcc 620 349

Henry Belot: Some sad news from the weekend...

A 70-year-old man has died in Chapman after a car he was working on fell on top of him.

Emergency services were called to the man’s home on Namatjira Drive by a neighbour about 4.40pm on Sunday.

ACT Ambulance and Fire and Rescue crews arrived to find the man pinned under the vehicle in the garage.

Ambulance officers assessed the man but he had died of the injuries he sustained and could not be revived.

Police at Namatjira Drive, Chapman, where a man died under a car.

Police at Namatjira Drive, Chapman, where a man died under a car. Photo: Melissa Adams

Henry Belot: Good morning Canberra and welcome to another week of the morning blog.

Stick with us until 10am today and we'll being you the latest in local, national and international news.

We're set top of 12 degrees today but are set for some very windy and rainy conditions in the afternoon.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released a severe weather warning for damaging winds and blizzard conditions for the Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains and the ACT districts.

 

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