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ACT News

Canberra Mornings Live: Thursday, August 1

Date

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 it for today. We'll be back at the same time tomorrow for three hours of live blogging from 6.30am.

In the meantime if you have anything to share with us, shoot through an email.

Thanks for joining us today - we'll see you tomorrow for some Friday fun!

And here's our top local content for this morning.

The ACT's 2013 kangaroo cull fell just short of its 1244 quota, with 1149 animals shot in the last three weeks. An additional 355 joeys were also killed.

Canberra's population growth rate more than doubled in the five years to 2011, according to a federal government report. And the largest group of new residents was men under the age of 24.

Victim support workers are pushing for greater access to court information, as they attempt to prevent those most affected by crime from being forgotten by the justice system.

The devoted Brumbies fans who gathered at Canberra Airport on Wednesday night cheered when star player George Smith arrived at the check-in desks.

Brumbies player Henry Speight is farewelled by fans at the Canberra airport. Click for more photos

Brumbies leave Canberra for New Zealand

Brumbies player Henry Speight is farewelled by fans at the Canberra airport. Photo: Melissa Adams

Here's the most-clicked stories on the site so far today..

A teenager from regional Victoria with an interest in fashion is causing apparent grief for technology giant Apple by leaking prototypes of its products online weeks, if not months, before they are officially unveiled.

Our story from yesterday on public service pay gap is still at the top of the site. It revealed that some public servants earn tens of thousands of dollars less than colleagues in other agencies even though they are employed at the same level.

And the follow-up to that story for today: Trade unions and public service authorities will meet in Canberra on Thursday as they prepare for the enterprise bargaining process for the nation's 168,000 federal bureaucrats.

Part of a car park was blocked off and an elderly man has minor injuries after his vehicle crash landed onto the top of a parked car in a Hughes shopping centre car park on Wednesday.

And Mark Kenny's opinion piece on the Coalition is right up there as well. Kenny writes that Abbott's situation is far from hopeless. His party must still be regarded as favourite for election because it has the least ground to make up to gain a majority.

The 4WD crashed through a garden bed and came to a stop after partially mounting a parked car.

The 4WD crashed through a garden bed and came to a stop after partially mounting a parked car. Photo: Courtney Green

Brumby Jack provides pre-game entertainment at Canberra Stadium last year.

Brumby Jack provides pre-game entertainment at Canberra Stadium last year. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

John-Paul moloney: We're not sure if it applies to wild mountain horses as well as thoroughbreds, but August 1 being the official Australian Horse's Birthday seems a good day to give a shout out to Brumby Jack.  

The club's mascot won't be travelling to New Zealand with the team, although we believe it's more a budget decision rather than a newsworthy ban being imposed by the Chiefs.  

Another look at the weather before we head off this morning.

We're up to 5.1C in the capital at about 9.15am, heading to a top of 15C.

Tomorrow may see some showers in the evening, with a top of 14C after dropping to 0C overnight.

The weekend should be partly cloudy, with maximums in the range of 11C and 12C.

 

Hamish Boland-Rudder: Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them... by a $3 million theatre revamp.

A newly transformed Street Theatre will be opened by Arts Minister Joy Burch today, part of the ACT government's vision for Canberra to achieve greatness in the realm of arts and culture.

The upgrade to the theatre includes a new rehearsal venue, new seating in the main theatre, improved acoustic treatments, a new box office and cafe, expansion of the foyer space and additional administrative spaces.

More than $1 million worth of cannabis has been seized during a police raid in Sydney's southwest.

A "sophisticated hydroponic set-up" was used to grow 301 plants found during a search of a Harrington Park home this week, police say.

"(The plants) have an estimated potential street value of $1,064,000," police said in a statement.

Blake Ferguson's five-star display against Melbourne early this year launched his Origin career, but Canberra Raiders skipper Terry Campese is confident they can beat the Storm on Sunday without him.

''The team's played well the past few weeks and it was Fergo's first week back,'' Campese said after Saturday's win over St George Illawarra.

''We're rewarding people that are there and playing well. We've had a few good victories and getting some combinations together.

''It's good to see Fergo playing footy, that's what he does best and I couldn't be happier for him.''

Blake Ferguson at Raiders training on Wednesday.

Blake Ferguson at Raiders training on Wednesday. Photo: Jay Cronan

Inventor Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J.Fox) in the original Back to the Future film. Picture: Universal Studios

Inventor Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J.Fox) in the original Back to the Future film. Picture: Universal Studios

John-Paul Moloney: Great Scot!  Have you been tinkering away in the back shed working on your own flux capacitor, much to the annoyance of your significant other, who'd rather you were fixing the leaking loo?  

Now could be your time to shine.
As part of Floriade, an Aspiring Inventors Competition is being launched today, giving the unrecognised geniuses of suburbia a shot at a $5,000 kickstart for their invention. Entries need to be a "functional element that enhances the lives of Australians in some way" and can be in the form of drawings, diagrams, models, photos, videos or journals.

The competition runs from today until September 2 and information is available at floriadeaustralia.com/invent.

Judges will include ABC Radio National's Fenella Kernebone and "invention guru" John S. Jacob.  They'll pick 10 finalists to be displayed in The Inspiration Hub during the third week of Floriade.

We've got some more details on the kangaroo cull. As well as the 1149 kangaroos, shooters also killed a further "355 pouch young, the majority of which were very small and unfurred due to the timing of the cull".

You can read the full story here, and we'll keep updating the article as more comes to hand.

Canberra Times photographer Rohan Thomson has taken some great photos of Brumby Jesse Mogg ahead of the clash with the Waikato Chiefs.

And reporter Chris Dutton has spoken to the man himself on the 24-year-old's role in the grand final this weekend.

 

Balanced: Brumbies ace Jesse Mogg.

Balanced: Brumbies ace Jesse Mogg. Photo: Digitally altered image by Colle

Whether or not you are watching what you drink, rest assured someone will be.

Two new initiatives begin today to keep an eye on alcohol abuse in the community - an ACT government review of the Liquor Act, and the launch of the NSW ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance.

“NAAPA is an alliance of organisations advocating for solutions to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms in NSW and the ACT,” Attorney General Simon Corbell said.

“[Today's] launch of the alliance coincides with the ACT Government’s two year review of the Liquor Act 2010, which is aimed to address the effects of alcohol abuse in the community.”

Lauren Jackson.

Lauren Jackson. Photo: Anita Jones

Basketball ACT president Mark White has resigned - but he insists it has nothing to do with the continued fallout from the Lauren Jackson contract saga.

White's resignation was ratified at a board meeting on Tuesday night, just hours after talks broke down with Jackson.

Senator Kate Lundy has defended the federal government’s $5.3 billion tax increase on cigarettes, describing her own catalyst for quitting.

“Many, many years ago I gave up smoking because of a ban in public sector buildings,” the ACT minister told 2CC on Thursday morning.

“I’m a true believer in public sector outcomes – it saved me.”

Senator Lundy said the excise rise would achieve three goals: raising funds for more research into cancer, provide a price point which would be a financial disincentive to start smoking, and raise much-needed general revenue.

Ms Lundy disputed the view price rises would encourage a black market for tobacco. 

 

Police in NSW are to undergo extra mental health training in preparation for high pressure situations involving people with mental illness.

Police Minister Michael Gallacher says the new package will improve the way officers interact with people living with mental illness, their suicide prevention and intervention capabilities, and reduce "the risk of negative coronial outcomes".

"It is critical our frontline police have the necessary skills and awareness to adequately confront a situation involving a person with a mental health issue," he said.

For those who missed it last night, Noel Towell and Markus Mannheim have crunched the numbers comparing salaries for public servants across government agencies. And the size of the disparity might surprise you - it's set to get up to more than $47,000 a year by mid-2014.

There's a handy interactive graphic that lets you compare salaries across agencies and job levels - to see how you are paid compared to your peers.

You can find it, and the full story, here.

Eddie Obeid.

Eddie Obeid. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Eddie Obeid has answered questions from the media for about 10 minutes outside his Hunters Hill home this morning. He is fuming.

"This is nothing short of political witch hunt against myself and Macdonald and it's backed up by the O'Farrell government."

"We will pursue this to every court of the land to prove we are innocent, we've done nothing wrong.

"I have never done the wrong thing by anyone."

"I'm not going to have this hanging over my head, I've given 20 years of service to the NSW parliament and I am a very respected person by all those who dealt with me."

The ACT's 2013 kangaroo cull fell short of its 1244 quota, with 1149 animals shot in the last three weeks. 

The ACT Government has advised Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve (and adjacent unleased territory land), Kama Nature Reserve, Mulanggari Nature Reserve, Mt Painter Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve and The Pinnacle Nature Reserve (and adjacent unleased territory land) re-open to the public at midday today.

Was this US reporter fired for going braless in a TV broadcast?

Shea Allen posted on her blog that she went sans bra in a live broadcast and "no one was the wiser". She lost her job not long after.

Dismissed ... Shea Allen on 'Inside Edition'.

Dismissed ... Shea Allen on 'Inside Edition'. Photo: via Youtube

Chris Dutton: We're hoping to chat to a couple of the Brumbies boys today about their feelings ahead of the finals.

Try-scoring hero from the semi-final, Tevita Kuridrani, is playing in his first finals campaign and has just been picked in the Wallabies squad.

It was just over 12 months ago that Kuridrani couldn't even fly to New Zealand with the team because of a visa bungle. Now the Fijian is preparing for the biggest moment of his career.

We'll try to track down Big Red Peter Kimlin as well. The kid who grew up in Canberra and idolised a team of Brumbies legends now gets a chance to play in a grand final in his last game for the club before he moves to France.

Tevita Kuridrani.

Tevita Kuridrani. Photo: Melissa Adams

It's looking like a good weekend of snow is ahead at Thredbo, with more snow on the way.

ACT Policing will be releasing their results on speeding drivers later on today.

Police were focused on speeding for the month of July, and today we'll find out how many drivers were charged, and the worst offenders on our roads.

The focus for August will be driver distraction.

Matthew Raggatt: After a joy flight in a tiger moth, a Parliament House roof tour for 14 complete with champagne, or an ACT Brumbies jumper signed by the team?

Perhaps a tour of Canberra Airport – including a visit to the airport fire station, drive down the main runway and a visit to the flight tower – is for you?

They’re all up for grabs as part of the Centenary of Canberra auction, raising money for Dollars for Dili and the Boundless all-abilities children’s playground. The full list of offerings can be seen on allbids.com.au, with the auction finishing on August 15.

There’s 100 centenary number plates up for grabs, with a bid of $650 now leading the race for C071.

Number plate C001 was bought for $6570 on Tuesday, while Stefan Jeremenko of Wanniassa paid $9350 for the C100 number plate in May. 

Centenary auction ... A ride in the Skywhale and two silver season passes to Summernats are among the goodies up for grabs.

Centenary auction ... A ride in the Skywhale and two silver season passes to Summernats are among the goodies up for grabs.

It turns out that in Germany, it is lawful to kick a smoker out of a rental apartment if the habit is bothering neighbours.

An elderly German man has been evicted from his home of four decades are repeatedly ignoring complaints from the landlord and neighbours about his heavy smoking.

The next step for Labor perhaps?

Spanish police have busted a fake Ferrari car racket, where ordinary cars were being converted to ordinary cars to resemble deluxe models.

The supposed deluxe cars were being sold on the internet for about $53,000, compared to about five times that amount for the genuine car.

 

AFP PHOTO/ HO/ SPANISH NATIONAL POLICE

AFP PHOTO/ HO/ SPANISH NATIONAL POLICE

The Brumbies flew out from Canberra last night, ahead of the season finale against the Chiefs in Hamilton, NZ, on Saturday.

And faithful Canberra fans turned out to send them off in style.

Were you there? Did you get snapped? Check out our photo gallery of the send off.

Brumbies player Henry Speight is farewelled by fans at the Canberra airport. Click for more photos

Brumbies leave Canberra for New Zealand

Brumbies player Henry Speight is farewelled by fans at the Canberra airport. Photo: Melissa Adams

Yep, you're not wrong, it's a beautiful start to the day! It might be chilly (0.3C at 8am) but at least it's pretty.

The David Jones and Myer fashion face-off continued last night, with DJs staging a huge summer-spring fashion parade, headed up by ne ambassador Jessica Gomes.

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Something white, light and tight

David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes launches the retailer's spring-summer collection in an array of coloured prints, flowing kaftans and a sea of white, reports fashion editor Paula Joye.

PT2M57S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2qzs0 620 349
The promotional poster for the Game of Thrones Burlesque Show.

The promotional poster for the Game of Thrones Burlesque Show.

Calling all Game of Thrones fans... just in case you missed it yesterday.

Game of Thrones the burlesque show is coming to Canberra in October.

Yes. It is happening...

Tom McIlroy: Canberra's latest Twitter phenomenon might just be proving that everything old is new again.

Documenting the life of a mature age student on campus at an unidentified Canberra university, @MatureAge has surged in followers in the past week.

Offering advice to lecturers, bragging about having completed the optional readings and talking about his son Royce, the account might be related to the frustrations some students feel about older members in university classes.

"I vote we push on through the 5 minute break," Mature Age Student pleaded last week. "Who's with me?"

What we know so far is that @MatureAge is a Canberra public servant, who is eager to make friends and is clearly a diligent student.

"I am convening an informal coffee catch up every Wednesday after the lecture so we can discuss our thoughts on the day's content."

The account is definitely worth following if you've been a mature age student or have shared a tutorial with one.

"I would join you "young folk" for a coffee after class but the lecturer has requested that I stay for a few minutes for a one-one chat."

I am looking forward to finding out what happens with Mature Age Student and his new international student friend Margaret Wang. The pair were meeting up last week but the time had to be changed due to Mature Age Student's work commitments. He shared his tutorial paper with her during a recent "study date", having finished it a week before it was due. 

Tweet us your favourite Canberra Twitter accounts via @CanberraTimes

An image from 100 Views of Canberra.

An image from 100 Views of Canberra.

Sally Pryor, arts editor:

Anyone who lives here knows that Canberra has many guises - surely more than 100 but that's the number of the year.
100 Views of Canberra—the book and the exhibition—is being launched tonight in the Huw Davies Gallery in Manuka.
The project invited photographers to submit images showing the many sides of Canberra — the posh public facades, alongside the homely, the grungy, the youthful and everything that keeps life ticking along here.  
The show is on until August 28, and the book is available at Paperchain. Details at photoaccess.org.au

An American tourist has been stabbed to death by three Thai musicians apparently because he refused to stop singing on stage in a Thai bar.

Something a little lighter for a moment - our office science boffin photographer Jay Cronan found this clip on YouTube this week.

This guy has does awesomely cool things on his YouTube channel called Smarter Everyday.

He does heaps of ultra high speed photography and explains pretty much the physics behind it all.

America's own Dr Karl, but better!

Thinking we should try to get the Canberra Glass Works to demonstrate this.

Lookin' good Canberra.

We know how much many of you look forward to the monthly house price reports. RP Data is putting out its figures for July, and while we won't see the detail until later this morning, they say values were up about 1.4 per cent over the month of their five-city aggregate index.

"The strong month on month increase in dwelling values follows a 1.9 per cent gain recorded in June and will take the total recovery since the end of May last year close to 6.5 per cent.  The latest two months of data have seen a significant escalation in the rate of capital gain, particularly in the largest capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne where values are likely to be around 2 per cent higher by the end of July," they said.

We'll bring you the detail of the full report once we get it.

Chris Dutton: Good morning from Sydney International Airport. Waiting for the Brumbies to arrive to board the flight to New Zealand ahead of the Super Rugby grand final on Saturday.

Coach Jake White will name his team for the clash with the Waikato Chiefs on Friday, but he's got a traveling squad together to make the three hour flight to Auckland and hour drive to Hamilton. 

Barring injuries, White will likely keep the same line-up that beat the Pretoria Bulls last weekend. There were plenty of fans to farewell the team at Canberra Airport last night.

They've been thrust into the spotlight this week. Even in the semi-final there was only one camera at Brumbies press conferences. But to start this week there were six television crews waiting get a glimpse of the team.

The third Ashes Test starts tonight and despite being on a sinking ship, captain Michael Clarke has vowed to continue steering it. If we don't win this one, it'll be seven straight Test defeats.

Come on boys!

"As a captain you probably take it more personally when the team doesn’t have as much success as you would like, which probably just makes me work harder" Australian captain Michael Clarke.

"As a captain you probably take it more personally when the team doesn’t have as much success as you would like, which probably just makes me work harder" Australian captain Michael Clarke. Photo: Getty Images

A new show is on at the Canberra Repertory Society, kicking off tonight.

Ron Cerabona spoke to lead actor Peter Robinson about how he became involved in Don Parties On.

Robinson was quick to accept the title role in Canberra Repertory Society's production of Don Parties On. It was a decision he almost regretted.

''I said, 'Sure' without having read the play,'' Robinson said.

''I read it when I got home and thought, 'What a load of shit'.''

But, he said, he soon changed his opinion of the play, David Williamson's 2011 sequel to his 1971 hit Don's Party.

''As I kept reading it I came to respect the precision of his language … it's a play of considerable depth.''

The 2014 Big Day Out line-up was revealed yesterday, and yes, we know it's not coming to Canberra, but it's a pretty impressive line-up.

Pearl Jam, Blur, Snoop Dogg... What did you make of the first line-up announcement last night?

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Big Day Out 2014 line-up announced

The Big Day Out announces its first line-up with headliners Pearl Jam, Blur and Arcade Fire, catering for the young and the young at heart.

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Far out. This does not look like a relaxing cool-down.

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Chinese hit pool to escape heatwave

Thousands of swimmers trying to escape a heat wave filled an indoor pool, known as 'China's Dead Sea,' in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

PT0M20S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2r07k 620 349

Canberra's streets will be decked out in blue, white and gold on Saturday in support of the ACT Brumbies grand final hopes.

We visited Chief Minister Katy Gallagher's office this week - where everyone is already in the spirit.

The Canberra Times is having a 'Brumbies themed' food fest on Friday afternoon. No... we're not serving Ikea hot dogs. Think blue and yellow cupcakes.

Is your workplace going Brumbies crazy this week? Or perhaps just one little corner of it (courtesy of the office union nut...)?

Send photos to online@canberratimes.com.au. We want to see your colours!

ACT Labor have put their support behind the ACT Brumbies for the super-rugby title.

ACT Labor have put their support behind the ACT Brumbies for the super-rugby title. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Another pretty sunrise today.

A dollar a cigarette?

That's how Labor intends to make up its budget shortfall. A series of four 12.5 per cent increases in federal tobacco excise will raise $5.3 billion over the four years.

What do you think? Hit the thumbs up or thumbs down to the bottom-right of this post and let us know if you support this new measure.

The Aussie dollar has slipped under the 90 US cents and is now trading at 89.94 US cents.

The NRMA is holding a community event is Canberra today to encourage residents to band together and demand better roads, ahead of the federal election.

The community event will be held at Scott's Crossing in Civic, just off Bunda Street from 9am to 4pm.

For more information, head to the Facebook page.

Have you entered our Winter Photo Competition yet? 

First prize is $500, second $300 and third $200. Selected entries will be published in The Canberra Times and online at canberratimes.com.au. Submissions close at 4pm on August 30.

Send snaps as attached jpeg files to photocomp@canberratimes.com.au and include your name, address, phone number, photo title, a brief description and the date it was taken. Photos must be at least 150 kilobytes to a maximum of 1 megabyte.

Maximum three photos a person.

Get inspired by having a look through some of the entries we've received so far. 

Moorhen walking on Water Lake Burley Griffin. Click for more photos

Canberra Times readers winter photocomp 2013 gallery no.2

Moorhen walking on Water Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Vijay Koul

Former nurse Roger Dean will be sentenced today for murdering 11 people in the deliberately-lit Quakers Hill Nursing Home fire.

He used a cigarette lighter to start fires in two beds to hide a prescription drug theft.

The polls show Labor's switch to Kevin Rudd has paid off, and the race is now tight between Labor and the Liberals for the coming federal election.

But what about when it comes to first time voters?

Our reporter Matthew Raggatt and photographer Katherine Griffiths visited the Australian Catholic University this week to gauge the political leanings of Canberra's first-time voters.

You may or may not be surprised by the result.

Melissa Stensholt, 18,  will be voting Labor. Click for more photos

Who will you vote for?

Melissa Stensholt, 18, will be voting Labor. "Because I agree with their ideologies." Photo: Katherine Griffiths

  • Melissa Stensholt, 18,  will be voting Labor. "Because I agree with their ideologies."
  • Emma Bailey, 19 of Hackett is Leaning towards Andrew Leigh and Labor. "He's really interested in helping country kids come to university."
  • Ellie Heenan, 20, of Lyons is voting Labor. "I feel the things they value, I value, education particularly."
  • Tom O'Rourke, 18, of Kaleen is still deciding. "I'm unclear on what [the parties] really stand for."
  • Liam Doherty, 19, of Deakin is also voting for Labor. "[The NBN] is a good thing for everyone, a good resource."
  • Victoria Corcoran, 19, of Hackett is undecided. "I'm just trying to find one that suits my beliefs."

It's a brisk one out there today.

The mercury has dropped below zero again today after a couple of morning's reprieve.

The forecast minimum of -2C was not quite reached, though it dipped to -1.4C just before 6.30am. At 7am, it was -0.7C.

We're expecting a top of 15C, and once the frost and fog disappear we should be in for a sunny afternoon.

There is the chance of rain on Friday, with a low of 0C and a top of 14C.

The weekend isn't looking too bad, with tops of 11C and 12C for Saturday and Sunday respectively. Both days are forecast to be partly cloudy.

A Philippine province of 1.2 million people was without electricity for more than a day after the local power cooperative was unable to pay its electricity bill to the corporation that runs the national grid, officials said.

Power was cut to Albay province, south of Manila, at noon Tuesday because officials could not pay more than 4 billion pesos, or about $US92 million, in unpaid bills, according to the Philippine Department of Energy. All residential, government and corporate accounts in the province were included in the disconnection.

 

Former Essendon high performance manager Dean Robinson gave an explosive tell-all, paid interview with Channel 7 last night.

Among other bombshells, he claimed James Hird wanted him to investigate a testosterone cream that was 'undetectable' and that David Zaharakis was the only player to not partake in the controversial injecting program in 2012.

Dean Robinson (right) is interviewed by Luke Darcy on Channel Seven.

Dean Robinson (right) is interviewed by Luke Darcy on Channel Seven. Photo: Courtesy Channel Seven

Seven people have died after drinking an industrial methanol they believed to be rum in Cuba this week.

The fake rum, called wood alcohol, killed seven people and left more than 40 people in hospital, and is commonly used as a solvent in medical labs and as a fuel or anti-freeze.

A UK jury has taken just four hours to convict the mother and step-father with the murder a four-year-old boy who starved to death.

Daniel Pelka was extremely thin, stole food from schoolmates and suffered many injuries in his short life, including black eyes and a broken arm.

His mother has been described as "callous and wretched", and both she and the boy's step-father are facing life sentences.

 

Convicted WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning's sentencing hearing has begun and is likely to hear from more than 20 witnesses and last for weeks.

Yesterday, he was found guilty of espionage and theft offences but not guilty of aiding the enemy

US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning departs the courthouse at Fort Meade, Maryland after his guilty verdicts were announced.

US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning departs the courthouse at Fort Meade, Maryland after his guilty verdicts were announced. Photo: Reuters

An operator of TGI Fridays restaurants in New Jersey has agreed to pay a $US500,000 fine for serving customers cheap, or in some cases, non-existent, booze when they paid for top shelf.

Twenty-nine establishments, including 13 TGI Fridays, had been accused of cheating customers following state raids in May. The attorney general's office said the state decided to pursue charges against only eight of the TGI Fridays. The other cases remain under investigation.

At one of the 29 businesses, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel colouring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water that was not even clean.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe

The African Union's top poll observer says Zimbabwe's crunch presidential election appears, according to initial reports, to have passed off smoothly.

''The conduct of the election... has been peaceful, orderly, free and fair,'' said former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo, who leads the 69-member observation team, speaking at the closing of a polling centre in Harare.

The AU mission had been criticised by President Robert Mugabe's challenger Morgan Tsvangirai for painting a rosy picture of vote preparations.

Mr Tsvangirai and non-governmental groups have voiced concern that the electoral roll, which was not released until the eve of the vote, is ripe for manipulation.

Turkish riot police have fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters at Istanbul's Taksim square.

At least four people were injured after police stepped in to break up a crowd of around 500 protesters.

Riot police use water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters at Taksim in central Istanbul.

Riot police use water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters at Taksim in central Istanbul. Photo: Reuters

Today's cartoon by David Pope.

Editorial Cartoon 16.9.14 Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial Cartoon 16.9.14 Photo: David Pope

Canberra Times front page for August 1.

Canberra Times front page for August 1.

On today's front page...

The Eddie Obeid ruling yesterday by the ICAC dominated the headlines - and there's even more on the Obeid family coming out today. Kate McClymont has the story here

The devoted Brumbies fans who gathered at Canberra Airport on Wednesday night cheered when star player George Smith arrived at the check-in desks.

Trade unions and public service authorities will meet in Canberra on Thursday as they prepare for the enterprise bargaining process for the nation's 168,000 federal bureaucrats.

Canberra's population growth rate more than doubled in the five years to 2011, according to a federal government report. And the largest group of new residents was men under the age of 24.

Lucy Rickard: Good morning, welcome to our live news blog on this Thursday morning.

We'll be bringing you all the overnight news from around the world, as well as breaking news and top headlines from Canberra and the rest of the country.

We're expecting another sunny day today with a top of 15C. At the moment, it's -1.3C.

Let's get into it!

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  • Yawn, the news is really boring today :-)

    Commenter
    Adzz
    Date and time
    August 01, 2013, 6:45AM
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