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ACT News

Canberra Mornings Live: Thursday, April 11

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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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Lucy Rickard: That's where we'll leave our live news coverage this morning - we hope you get to enjoy a bit of this autumn sunshine before the rain clouds move in on the weekend.

Thanks for joining us this morning - we hope to see you back here tomorrow when we'll do it all again from 6.30am.

In the meantime, if you have a news tip or something you think might be good for our live news coverage tomorrow, you can email us, tweet us or head over to Facebook.

Essendon coach James Hird and chairman David Evans arrived at the club's base at Windy Hill early this morning - a statement is expected to be released later today on the allegations that Hird inject a blacklisted substance.

The team is due to train today before flying to Perth for its clash against the Fremantle Dockers.

We'll have that statement on canberratimes.com.au as soon as it is released today, so stay tuned.

Lucy Rckard: Before we head off this morning to get a caffeine hit, here's a quick look at the biggest headlines of the day.

  • CSIRO is under fire over claims it duped a global drug firm with generic chemicals, marketed as a "secret formula".
  • The Calvary Hospital has been cleared of blame in the death of a severely disabled Canberra man who died after he was sent home from the north-side hospital 10 years ago.
  • Allegations are flying that Essendon coach James Hird was injected with a WADA-blacklisted drug.
  • Canberra transport company ACTION Buses has launched an investigation into reports of racial abuse aimed at a group of international students earlier this week.
  • And the high-speed rail study that puts Canberra just a 64 minute ride away from Sydney has been released today - Ross Peake got the scoop this morning and we'll be updating this story as it develops throughout the day.

Some pictures for you from Lake Burley Griffin at sunrise this morning.

Almost every morning, Canberra Times blogger Paul Jurak ventures out onto the waters of Lake Burley Griffin, to document the sunrise in photographs.

This morning online journalist Tegan Osborne joined him for a leisurely paddle, shooting these images for our readers.

If you'd like to see more photos from Lake Burley Griffin, check out Paul's photography at his Kayakcameraman Facebook page, or on his blog for the Canberra Times, Lake View.

 

Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11. Click for more photos

Sunrise from Lake Burley Griffith

Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11. Photo: Tegan Osborne

  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.
  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.
  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.
  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.
  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.
  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.
  • Paddling with Paul Jurak, April 11.

John-Paul Moloney: Earlier this week we reported on a conference in Canberra helping bosses better manage their Gen Y workers.  Communication was the big issue identified.  A survey taken at the conference found 30 per cent of bosses viewed a "lack of communication skills' as a problem with Gen Y workers, although only one third of them had a proper induction plan in place to set expectations.

Almost half the participants felt Gen Y workers spent too much time on the phone, 39 per cent felt the young 'uns lacked commitment and just over a quarter felt their Gen Ys wanted to accelerate their careers too quickly.

Speaking on behalf of Gen Y was one person whose commitment can't be questioned, Canberra Raiders forward Shaun Fensom. The Green Machine's tackle machine has worked through the issues of being a young worker during a builder's apprenticeship.  He told the conference the challenge for bosses and workers was to keep open, honest lines of communication.

 

Raiders player Shaun Fensom at a conference to help employers manage Gen Y workers.

Raiders player Shaun Fensom at a conference to help employers manage Gen Y workers. Photo: Supplied

A quick look at the entertainment world today, and it looks like Delta Goodrem made a bit of a boob of herself on The Voice last night.

Sticking with the reality shows, and the domestic goddesses and childhood sweethearts were back on the chopping board for another sudden death cook-off, Perth-style on My Kitchen Rules.

Craig Mathieson has today asked why the ABC can't reach the top shelf when it comes to showing top-line drama?

Duck and cover ... unfortunately there is no hiding on reality television.

Duck and cover ... unfortunately there is no hiding on reality television.

A final look at the weather forecast this morning, and it's going to be another nice autumn day here in Canberra, with a top of 26 degrees expected. At the moment, it's 15.5 degrees.

The outlook for tomorrow is a mostly sunny day with a top of 25 degrees after an overnight low of 8 degrees.

The weekend is looking partly cloudy on Saturday with a top of 26, with a possible shower and 25 degrees for Sunday.

Johnny Rotten's rant at The Project host Carrie Bickmore hit the headlines yesterday, but the spectacularly cranky and offensive singer was in a more affable mood at the Sydney Airport, laughing off suggestions he performed a Nazi salute on Australian TV.

"If you really want to pin and skewer me, pull [me] up on the real details in my life, what I believe in: my class my creed, my culture . . . You will find that I am flawless, faultless, blameless . . . and handsome," he said.

What about telling Bickmore not to interrupt "when a man is talking". Is he sexist?

"I think [being called sexist] is lovely . . . there should be more sex in the world."

'I try so hard to be nice':  John Lydon, aka Sex Pistols punk rocker Johnny Rotten,  at Sydney Airport.

'I try so hard to be nice': John Lydon, aka Sex Pistols punk rocker Johnny Rotten, at Sydney Airport. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

Good morning.  This morning our reporters will be digging deeper into the Federal Government's high speed rail report, which Ross Peake had the story on this morning. Canberra will be part of the first line, although we'll be waiting a long time for it.

Michael Inman has been looking into the fate of a popular fishing spot beloved by Canberra anglers, and he has some good news for them.  

And for some cute news, we'll be heading out to the Canberra Zoo and Aquarium, where they're preparing a new experience for visitors - the chance to meet a family of six Cotton Top Tamarins. The tiny primates are critically endangered in the wild in their native South America. Visitors can enter their enclosure to meet them in person and learn about their plight from their keeper.

Send us your news tips to online@canberratimes.com.au

 

Everyone's talking about tunnels that might be built as part of a high-speed rail network. Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has taken to Twitter to tell everyone to just calm down. 

Lee Gaskin: Raiders hooker Matt McIlwrick will speak to the media at 9am, but all eyes will be on Terry Campese as he trains two days out from his first game in a year. 

Campese has been named on an extended bench for the Raiders clash with the New Zealand Warriors at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night. 

The Raiders captain is returning from his second knee reconstruction and has played only seven games since going down in the semi-final loss to the Tigers in 2010.

Raiders player Matt McIlwrick during the Roosters match last weekend.

Raiders player Matt McIlwrick during the Roosters match last weekend. Photo: Melissa Adams

If you ever wanted to run away and join the circus, now might be your chance...

Even Canberra Times cartoonist David Pope has weighed into the NBN debate today.

Editorial Cartoon 13.4.14 Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial Cartoon 13.4.14 Photo: David Pope

Rte 31 riders from Cohen St - next bus in about 7 minutes

All this talk about high speed rail has us thinking about where the station would end up - once it is eventually built, of course.

It's likely to be either the airport or Civic, or maybe near Epic.

As we reported last year, one of the options for the route is to send the train line under Mt Ainslie to a station in Civic.

However, Transport Infrastructure Minister Simon Corbell has warned this would be a "very expensive option" - although he does like the idea of putting the station in Civic.

We'll see what the report says when it is officially published later today.

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Renewed push for high speed rail

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says there is a demand for high speed rail which could see passengers travel from Melbourne to Sydney in under three hours.

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James Magnussen at a Swimming Australia press conference in February.

James Magnussen at a Swimming Australia press conference in February. Photo: Mark Metcalfe

Olympic swimmer James Magnussen has enlisted the help of a “mind coach” to tackle his demons head on.

Magnussen reportedly told GQ magazine he remains scarred by the London Olympics debacle and the Stilnox scandal that followed.

From news wires this morning, KFC in China is struggling to recover from the publicity surrounding a new strain of flu. Sales are down 16 per cent for March at Chinese KFC stores after a “significant, negative impact” from new bird flu cases.

The National Broadband Network has been in the spotlight this week, with the Coalition announcing its less-than-average policy to rival that of the Labor Government.

So, with the topic of speeds and costs fresh in our minds, Fairfax technology editor Asher Moses has asked the question: How much speed do we actually need?

Another magic morning in Canberra.

Hamish Boland-Rudder: With school holidays starting next week in the ACT, the National Arboretum is reminding Canberrans that one of the capital's newest attractions could be a great way to fill a day.

During the first week of the holidays there will be two activities for children running over the week:

  • Stories in the forest, for children in preschool to grade two, at 10am, Monday to Friday ($5), and;
  • 'Make your own miniature garden', for children aged about 9 to 12, at 2pm Tuesday and Thursday ($15).

Bookings are essential - call 02 6207 8156.

The National Arboretum will be hosting school holiday activities.

The National Arboretum will be hosting school holiday activities. Photo: Colleen Petch

Grant Newton: A 100th birthday telegram from the king. Thanks for the best wishes Sheeds, but "Canberra an AFL city at heart..." Not sure about that one. Follow the link to the letter.

Hamish Boland-Rudder: Higher-powered electric bicycles could be allowed on Canberra’s roads and cycle paths, with an amendment set to be introduced to the Assembly on Thursday.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said the European bicycles, pedalecs, allow better performance on hills and extended range on journeys, but also had additional safety and design requirements.

There's no reported delays on the ACTION bus network so far - let us know if you spot anything we should know about.

Email, tweet us or post on our Facebook page if there's something happening in your area this morning.

A Sydney chef allegedly stabbed a restaurant customer in the hand with a meat skewer following a complaint about food.

Police say an argument began at the front counter and the chef grabbed a long metal skewer from the kitchen and began threatening the men with it.

The argument escalated and the 43-year-old chef followed the men outside armed with the skewer and pierced the palm of a 47-year-old man, with the skewer penetrating right through his hand.

A controlled burn will be carried out from today until Sunday in the Namadgi National Park along Stockyard Spur.

The Stockyard Spur walking trail will be closed over the next four days while the 50ha burn continues.

Grant Newton: Our second favourite front page of the morning. The UK's Daily Mirror maintains the rage ... and points to a yarn about Jacko's abandoned chimp. Gold!

Flavour Flav.

Flavour Flav. Photo: Getty.

A judge in Las Vegas says there's enough evidence that Flavor Flav threatened his longtime girlfriend's 17-year-old son with a butcher knife for the entertainer to stand trial on two felony charges.

The clock-wearing 54-year-old former rap and reality TV star is accused of pushing his girlfriend to the floor on October 17 and wielding knives while chasing and threatening the teen at their Las Vegas home. He could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

Essendon coach James Hird, who is accused of injecting a WADA-blacklisted drug according to huge claims in today's Age, has released a statement.

"These claims are horrifying to me, and are being made by a person or people who appear determined to destroy my reputation.''

Essendon coach James Hird during training.

Essendon coach James Hird during training. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Grant Newton: Results in from the Champions League

Bayern Munich and Barcelona advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League overnight to complete a German and Spanish last-four line-up. Newly crowned German champions Bayern grabbed a 2-0 win at Juventus thanks to a Mario Mandzukic header and a stoppage-time Claudio Pizarro goal for a 3-0 aggregate victory. Barcelona were held 1-1 at home by Paris Saint-Germain but went through on the away goals rule with the quarter-final tie 3-3 on aggregate.

 

Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring against Juventus during their Champions League quarter-final at the Juventus stadium in Turin.

Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring against Juventus during their Champions League quarter-final at the Juventus stadium in Turin. Photo: Reuters

To recap the weather for you all, it's 6.7 degrees at the moment, and we're heading for a top today of 26. There will be some patchy fog this morning and some cloudy periods later this afternoon. Winds will be light and there’s a 20 per cent chance of rain, according to the Bureau.

Looking ahead and the warm late-Autumn weather is set to continue tomorrow with a top of 25 forecast. Sunday will be mostly sunny in the morning with the chance of showers from midday and a top of 25.

Meanwhile, Canberra Times entertainment reporter Jenna Clarke is in Sydney for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

Apparently, there's not enough fluffy animals, technicolour aliens or sparkles on our catwalks. Because, if it's weird and wacky then it's more likely the fashion world will love it, right?

Judge for yourselves some of the highlight of yesterday's catwalk shows.

A model wears Aquintic at the Raffles show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Spring/Summer 2013/14. Click for more photos

Fashion Week day three

A model wears Aquintic at the Raffles show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Spring/Summer 2013/14. Photo: Getty

Grant Newton: Some news out of left-field from our overseas wire services this morning …

  • The Louvre museum in Paris was closed on Wednesday when 200 staff walked out over an increase in aggressive pickpockets, including children, who sometimes work in gangs of up to 30.
  • A court in southern France has acquitted a mother on trial for dressing her three-year-old son in a T-shirt reading ‘‘I am a bomb’’ and ‘‘Jihad, Born on September 11’’.
  • A Swedish employment tribunal has found a lingerie chain guilty of gender discrimination after forcing one of its employees to wear a badge stating her name, chest measurement, and cup size.

 

The Louvre Museum in Paris.

The Louvre Museum in Paris.

Lucy Rickard: A high-speed train connecting Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane would cost in excess of $114 billion and would not be completed until 2065, new research has revealed.

It would take just 64 minutes to travel from Canberra to Sydney at speeds of up to 350km/h - but it would be a "monumental endeavour" with "very real" technical, logistical and financial challenges.

Oh well, we can dream, can't we?

The rainbow crossing on Sydney's Oxford Street was ripped up overnight, costing Sydneysiders $30,000 and prompting the question: "Why couldn't it just stay there?"

 

Cover-up: the rainbow pedestrian crossing is no more.

Cover-up: the rainbow pedestrian crossing is no more. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Hamish Boland-Rudder: Fire crews responded to a house fire in Lyneham overnight.

The fire in a home on De Burgh Street was minor - the emergency call came through shortly before 1.30am, and firefighters had already responded and departed by about 2.10am.

Paramedics were not called to the scene.

Bob Carr has been urged to apologise to Margaret Thatcher's family over a story he told of Thatcher being "unabashedly racist".

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has slammed Mr Carr over his remarks, in which he recalled a conversation he had with Baroness Thatcher when she had retired.

Lucy Rickard: In Queensland overnight, two teenage boys have been shot in the back in a drive-by shooting on the Gold Coast.

The pair, aged 17 and 19, were shot through a closed garage roller door at Benowa about 7.20pm last night. They were not seriously injured, and are being treated at Gold Coast Hospital.

Lucy Rickard: In Western Australia, the asylum seekers who arrived on the mainland this week will be sent to Christmas Island - to deter others from making the same journey, according to Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor.

"We want to give a very strong message that just because you reach the mainland, you won't be processed on the main;and," Mr O'Connor said.

Refugee advocates fear the Sri Lankans may be returned without their protection claims being hear.

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Geraldton arrivals have rights

Human rights lawyer David Manne has concerns a group of asylum seekers who reached the Australian mainland will not receive due process.

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Lucy Rickard: Tuggeranong and Gungahlin have been listed as being in top areas in the nation where 95 out of every 100 two-year-olds are fully immunised.

They were the only two places within the ACT listed – while no territory areas came in the worst-ranked group where at least 15 out of 100 two-year-olds are not immunised.

The statistics were released today by the National Health Performance Authority.

Lucy Rickard: In New South Wales overnight, police are treating as suspicious the death of a man whose body was found wrapped in a sheet in Sydney’s southwest.

The man’s body was found near a road in Bankstown about 11.25pm last night.

NSW police are also investigating the violent carjacking of a woman at Pennant Hills last night. The 59-year-old victim was dragged out of her car by a man armed with a box cutter.

Grant Newton: A quick hit of morning sport …

  • Test captain Michael Clarke has been named Wisden’s leading cricketer of 2012, becoming only the third Australian to receive the honour.
  • Wests Tigers forward Adam Blair has successfully avoided an NRL ban after pleading his case in front of the judiciary.
  • Michael Hussey scored 86 runs to help his Chennai Super Kings to a 10-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League in Mohali.
  • Defending Augusta Masters champ Bubba Watson has broken down in tears while recalling last year’s green jacket win.

 

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Bubba blubbers over green jacket

Defending Augusta Masters champ Bubba Watson breaks down in tears while recalling last year's green jacket win.

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Grant Newton: Making headlines around the nation this morning …

  • Essendon AFL coach James Hird has been accused of injecting a blacklisted drug. The sports scientist who ran Essendon’s supplement program, Stephen Dank, has told Fairfax Media he personally injected Hird with hexarelin, which the World Anti-Doping Agency banned in 2004.
  • Dairy industry bodies say a two billion dollar deal for dairy co-operative, Devondale, to provide supermarket giant Coles with home brand milk is a better deal for farmers.
  • Passengers on a high-speed rail network could travel from Canberra to Sydney in 64 minutes, according to a study commissioned by the federal government.

 

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Hird, Essendon facing another drugs crisis

Football writers Caroline Wilson and Jake Niall dissect the latest revelations surrounding the ongoing drugs saga at Windy Hill.

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Grant Newton: Around the world in 80 words …

A judge has ruled the US government must prove that Bradley Manning knowingly helped al-Qaeda by leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks in order to convict him of ‘‘aiding the enemy’’. British Prime Minister David Cameron has led parliament in a special session of tributes to Margaret Thatcher, describing the former leader as an ‘‘extraordinary’’ woman who had revived the country’s fortunes. Still in London a manuscript poem by John Keats, I Stood Tiptoe On A Little Hill, has fetched a record $266,000 at auction.

 

British Prime Minister David Cameron leads tributes to Margaret Thatcher during a special sitting of parliament.

British Prime Minister David Cameron leads tributes to Margaret Thatcher during a special sitting of parliament. Photo: Reuters

Grant Newton: It’s currently 5 degrees in the capital heading for a top today of 26. There will be some patchy fog this morning and some cloudy periods later this afternoon. Winds will be light and there’s a 20 per cent chance of rain, according to the Bureau.

Looking ahead and the warm late-Autumn weather is set to continue tomorrow with a top of 25 forecast. Sunday will be mostly sunny in the morning with the chance of showers from midday and a top of 25.

 

The Canberra Times front page for Thursday, April 11.

The Canberra Times front page for Thursday, April 11.

Lucy Rickard: Making the front page today is the drugs crisis facing Essendon football club, which has now extended to include James Hird. The coach and former premiership player has been accused of injecting a WADA-blacklisted drug in a program where his players were given another substance anti-doping regulators now say should be banned.

The CSIRO has duped one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies into buying anti-counterfeit technology that could be easily compromised.

Calvary Hospital has been cleared of blame in the death almost 10 years ago of a disabled Canberra who died just hours after being sent home from hospital.

A high-speed train from Canberra to Sydney in 64 minutes? It is possible, according to a study commissioned by the federal government.

And the ACT has the highest percentage of wealthy and middle-class families using government schools – bucking a national trend for wealthier families to increasingly desert public education.

Grant Newton: Good morning early risers and welcome to our daily live news blog on what's shaping as another glorious autumn day in the capital. It’s a chilly 5 degrees right now heading for a top today of 26. More on the weather shortly.

Join the conversation this morning and let us know what's going on in your world - we're on Facebook and Twitter @canberratimes. Don't forget to include the #CanberraMornings hashtag in your tweets.

You can also email us news tips, photos and comments at online@canberratimes.com.au