And that's a wrap fro the morning blog.
Thanks to everyone who got involved this morning.
Enjoy the fine weather before a cold snap passes over the ACT tomorrow morning.
Have a wonderful day!
People who are asked to join the Abbott government's overhauled work-for-the-dole program may end up doing the same work, and working alongside, people completing court-ordered community service for breaking the law.
The Abbott government revealed details this week of what will constitute work-for-the-dole activities under its proposed regime, saying the activities will be designed to help job seekers ''give something back to the community''.
But the types of jobs it has in mind - landscaping jobs, repair work on community halls, and working in Salvation Army centres - may be exactly the same as court-ordered community service placements.
Government may negotiate on work for the dole
Tough new requirements for job seekers may be up for negotiation says Parliamentary Secretary to the PM Alan Tudge.PT2M32S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3ct1o 620 349 July 30, 2014
Firefighters are still working to extinguishing to mulch fire at Oaks Estate.
ACT Rural Fire Service is now assisting ACT Fire & Rescue and two more appliances have been requested to extinguish the fire.
The fire is under control, but not out.
The estimated size of the mulch fire remains at approximately 20 x 20 metres and three metres high.
Firefighters are separating the pile of mulch to get to the seed of the fire.
The wide-ranging suppression order was published on the group's website on Wednesday and was quickly shared on websites including Twitter and Google+.
Fairfax Media's report of Wikileaks' action created a strong response on social media, and was shared thousands of times within minutes of the exclusive report's publication.
It is against the law for Australian media organisations to publish the contents of the suppression order.
Media lawyer Peter Bartlett, from Minter Ellison, said anyone who tweets a link to the Wikileaks report, posts it on Facebook, or shares it in any way online could also face charges.
Julian Assange, Wikileaks publisher, described the Victorian Supreme Court suppression order as 'unprecedented'.
Athletics Australia has suspended its head coach Eric Hollingsworth, with the controversial coach poised to be sent home from the Commonwealth Games for his extraordinary outburst criticising Sally Pearson.
Athletics Australia President David Grace QC released a statement condemning Hollingsworth for the fact he said anything, for what he said about Pearson in particular, and for the timing of what he said.
Grace said Hollingsworth had defied specific instruction from chief executive Dallas O’Brien in choosing to issue a media release through a public relations advisor.
He has been suspended without pay by AA pending further action when the board can meet to consider the matter.
Hollingsworth suspended over Pearson remarks
Athletics Australia has suspended head coach Eric Hollingsworth in unanimous decision over his explosive criticism against Sally Pearson.PT2M45S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3cv1f 620 349 July 31, 2014
Here's Kevin Pietersen's reaction to the news Canberra will host the Big Bash League final.
Hold on, have I just read this correct? The final of the Big Bash will be played in Canberra?!?! ��— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) July 30, 2014
Firefighters were called to the Hawdon Street property in Ainslie about 6.45am after a fire started in the front room on the fibro house.
Police arrived at the house about 7am and found 32 cannabis plants and hydropnic equipment inside a room.
The plants and hydroponic equipment was seized along with transformers, leads, irrigation and lighting.
ACT Policing North District Superintendent Brett Kidner said the hydroponic equipment was "highly likely to have been the cause" of the fire.
The haul from the cannabis grow house in Ainslie. Photo: ACT Policing
The now infamous "punch" has drawn the spotlight on a confusing web involving Miranda Kerr, Justin Bieber (of childhood fame and general brat behaviour), Orlando Bloom, and former Australian power-couple James and Erica Packer.
Footage from the Daily Mail captures the alleged incident, in which Bloom (sans blonde plaited locks) approaches Bieber from across the crowded restaurant, before attempting to throw a punch.
Orlando Bloom: alleged to have thrown a punch at Justin Bieber. Photo: Reuters
A national memorial service to honour the 38 Australian residents who died when their Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine will be held in Melbourne, August 7.
And the Prime Minister has rejected Russian calls for a second UN Security Council resolution on MH17 because he suspects "ulterior motives" in an interview on Thursday with Fairfax Radio 3AW.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott admits he is unsure if the bodies of Australians killed in the MH17 disaster will be brought home. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Next Thursday August 7 to be national day of mourning to honour the victims of #MH17 @canberratimes — Ross Peake (@rosspeakeCT) July 30, 2014
Now no longer able to work, the 76-year-old is reeling after Queanbeyan City Council told her that she will have to pay $30,000 in supplementary rates bills.
“I have had two knee replacements, three hip replacements, a reverse shoulder replacement and both my hands with carpal tunnel,’’ Mrs Zafiris said.
‘‘Now they want to skin me alive.”
John Zafiris and his mother Vassilika outside the Monaro street property The Strip Woodfire Pizza and Pasta Bar, previously the Old Paragon Cafe which Mrs Vassilika has owned since 1964. Photo: Melissa Adams
The 1-0 scoreline to the Wanderers is irrelevant at this early stage of their preparation, but it gave Popovic the chance to expose several promising youngsters while being without seven members of his first-team squad.
A 22nd minute strike from 18-year-old Young Socceroos representative Jaushua Sotirio was enough for the Wanderers to scrape past the Canberra National Premier League club in front of an impressive crowd of 1600 at Deakin Stadium.
The only disturbance off the field was the lighting of a handful of flares in the Wanderers' supporters section with 10 minutes to go in the game.
Police were on the scene but no arrests were made.
Flares let off as Western Sydney Wanderers beat Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium
Flares are just before the end of the match. Photo: Melissa Adams
Could this be the calm before the storm?
Canberra Winter morn; crisp, clear and all is well in the nation capital pic.twitter.com/R8ONkMYlK8— Steven Ronson (@steveronson84) July 30, 2014
The New Zealand Warriors are putting in one last training session before their trip to Canberra to take on the Raiders.
We are into our last session before the trip to Canberra. https://t.co/xSonYrzVkv— Vodafone Warriors (@NZWarriors) July 30, 2014
Authorities have launched an urgent investigation into claims of loose-fill amosite asbestos at the Northbourne House office building, a finding that would, if confirmed, force a major rethink of the asbestos response to date.
The ACT government has been working on the belief that Mr Fluffy asbestos was pumped only into homes and not into commercial premises in the territory.
Asbestos taskforce head Andrew Kefford said on Tuesday that he was aware of only two businesses with the loose-fill asbestos insulation – a building in the Ainslie shops, now subject to a prohibition notice, and the Goodstart childcare centre in Aranda, now closed. Both were residences previously.
Former Defence employee Glenn Smith told ABC Radio he had found loose-fill asbestos in his office at Northbourne House in 1990.
Fairfax Media has been told Scottish police will allege that Etoundi, who won a bronze medal in the 77kg class weightlifting, assaulted a Welsh athlete.
A Team Wales spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday night that a member of their Commonwealth Games team was assisting police.
Francois Etoundi won a bronze medal in the 77kg class weightlifting. Photo: AFP
A man found dead in a car in Kiama Harbour on the NSW south coast is believed to be a teenager who went missing last week.
Emergency services were called to the area at 2pm on Wednesday.
It is believed the body is that of a 19-year-old man who was last seen at Albion Park Rail on July 24 and was later reported missing, police said.
A post mortem examination is to be conducted to determine the man's cause of death.
Staff at Corin Forest are pretty excited about the fine conditions and snow cover this morning.
The Human Rights Commission says older workers are being disproportionately hurt in redundancy drives, like the one gripping the public service, and it wants quotas and targets to ensure that the APS is doing its bit for older Australia.
But the Public Service Commissioner says the service does very well already with more than 30 per cent of permanent staff over 50 and about 11 per cent of new recruits in that age bracket.
Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick would not comment on a personal plea from Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan last week for him to consider recruitment targets.
The University of Canberra Capitals have signed WNBL legend Kristen Veal for the upcoming 2014/15 WNBL season.
Veal, who is currently assistant coach in the women’s program at Basketball Australia’s National Centre of Excellence, joins the University of Canberra Capitals on a one-year deal.
The 33-year-old said she’s excited to be returning to the Canberra team, where she spent five seasons and won three WNBL championships.
“I wanted to play at least one more year and the University of Canberra Capitals needed a point-guard, so it was meant to be,” she said.
Head coach Carrie Graf said "having Kristen Veal back in a Caps uniform is a big plus for the University of Canberra Capitals. She was a huge part of many of our early championship years.”
Veal was the youngest ever player selected in the WNBA Draft in 2001 when she was selected at pick 13 by the Phoenix Mercury and the third Australian to be selected in the first round behind University of Canberra Capitals teammate Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor.
#OnThisDay 1900: Victorian naval contingent departs Melbourne on SS Salamis for China. — Aust War Memorial (@AWMemorial) July 30, 2014
The wind is causing a few difficulties for many around the capital city this morning.
I've got 99 problems and surely the #Canberra wind is one— NDG (@Thendg) July 30, 2014
"Alpine peaks in the Snowy Mountains forecast district are experiencing winds averaging 60 to 80 km/h with gusts to 120 km/h, are are forecast to increase during the day to 80 to 100 km/h with destructive gusts to 150 km/h," said the warning.
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
- Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
- Keep clear of fallen power lines.
The ACT SES are gearing up for a big day.
It's going to be another windy day ladies and gents! We're expecting peak gusts of around 100km/h this afternoon.... http://t.co/gj7i4e3xy9— ACTSES (@ACT_SES) July 30, 2014
It's not over until the fat lady sings. David Pope is in fine form this morning.
MyWay data held by the ACT government has been accessed by the AFP more than two dozen times.
MyWay data held by the ACT government can be disclosed to federal agencies – including the AFP, Australian Tax Office, Centrelink – and as needed in law enforcement, collection of fines or protection of public revenue.
AFP investigators do not need warrants to access MyWay data, and are only required to comply with Australian privacy laws.
An ACT government spokesman said since the introduction of the system to Canberra's bus network in September 2010, the AFP had requested information 27 times, with 16 requests resulting in information being handed over.
The Western Sydney Wanderers made a successful trip to Canberra last night with a 1-0 win against Canberra FC.
A crowd of more than 1600 people packed Deakin Stadium for the pre-season friendly.
The only sour note was a handful of flares thrown in the stands late in the game in the section occupied by Wanderers supporters. Police were on hand, but no arrests were made.
What a day. Make the most of it before tomorrow, Canberra.
The ACT Emergency Services Agency has issued a correction regarding the mulch fire at Oaks Estate.
The fire is located near Mountain Road and Nimrod Road, not Florence and Railway Streets.
Firefighters are still working to extinguish the blaze.
The unseasonably warm weather has been noted all around Canberra. Even by Bernard Keane, a man not normally associated with tweets regarding top temperatures and overnight lows.
Overnight Canberra low of 9 degrees, reached at 7am. That is stinking hot for a Canberra winter night.— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) July 30, 2014
This weather tweet probably just won Twitter.
Firefighters are currently battling a mulch fire near Florence and Railway Streets at Oaks Estate.
An ACT Emergency Services Agency spokesman said not structures were at risk from the fire which is approximately 20x20m in size.
Firefighters are using the compressed air foam system tankers to extinguish the fire as well as earthmoving equipment.
Two tankers are on scene along with one pumper and one fire commander.
The fire was reported to authorities at 7.17am.
There's been some interesting reactions to the news that Manuka Oval will host the Big Bash League final. While some have boasted of Manuka Oval's significance, others have joined Mr Pietersen in Canberra basing.
Just heard the Big Bash final will be in Canberra. Presumably venues in Wagga and Shepparton were not available that day.— Travis (@Travinport) July 30, 2014
Samuel Walton, 29, was found guilty of assault occasioning bodily harm in the ACT Magistrates Court in April this year.
Police arrested Mr Walton after he pushed his partner of 10 years over a table and punched her in the shoulder, leaving a bruise, during a heated argument at the end of their relationship in February.
Mr Walton was placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond and fined $300, but was allowed to keep his security licence.
Firefighters and chief officer Paul Swain visited Duffy Primary School yesterday to familiarise kindy kids with their intimidating uniform and breathing apparatus, as well as what to do in case of a fire at home.
“Children are often scared of firefighters because when firefighters arrive it’s like Darth Vader has entered their homes,” Mr Swain said.
“You can imagine for a poor kid caught in a scary, smoky environment, if someone even scarier turns up they’re going to hide instead of yelling out for help.”
ACT Fire and Rescue chief officer Paul Swain has his core temperature measured by Anthony Walker. Photo: Jeffrey Chan.
Henry Belot: An update on overnight news in Gaza.
United Nations officials had told the Israeli military 17 times that a school in Gaza's biggest refugee camp was a shelter for Palestinian civilians fleeing fighting, but it was not enough to save them from deadly shelling.
The strikes came in rapid succession. At around 5am on Wednesday at the school at Jabaliya refugee camp, where 3,300 Palestinians had taken refuge from the fierce fighting in their Gaza neighbourhoods, what appeared to be four Israeli artillery shells hit the compound.
One hit the street in front of the entrance, according to several witnesses. Two others hit classrooms where people were sleeping.
Treasury has resorted to a "spill and fill" to sack about 40 of its bureaucrats, with the central agency conceding that its voluntary redundancy process has run out of steam.
The department's boss Martin Parkinson warned that very few are safe in the 960-strong department and that public servants on secondment to other departments, bureaucrats on study leave and all other "inoperative" staff had to get their job applications in by July 25.
Dr Parkinson, who himself will leave Treasury in December, said he had been forced into the "unprecedented" redundancy process after the latest drive for voluntary departures failed to deliver the cuts needed for "future requirements of the department".
Natasha Rudra: Wine authority James Halliday has awarded Canberra's Clonakilla winery a record score for its 2013 shiraz viognier - 98 points out of 100, which winemaker Tim Kirk said was the highest given to a new release vintage.
The news came on Tuesday at the James Halliday and Wine Companion awards.
"Up to the last year or so the highest mark that James has ever given to a new release wine... was 97. We’ve scored 97 points a couple of times and to break that record and move to a new echelon, once again confirms the Canberra shiraz is up there with the big boys," he said
There's been an accident bothways on Northbourne Avenue at Rudd Street in the city.
Take care when you're passing through the area.
We'll have more details soon.
Sean Carson from the Bureau of Meteorology base in Canberra has said today will be the warmest day in the capital since July 2009.
But don't get too excited as it'll be chilly and wild tomorrow with a top of 8 degrees.
Mr Carson said the air passing over the ACT on Friday will have come straight from Antartica and will bring snowfall to the Brindabella, a possible thunderstorm, and the slightest chance of snow showers in the city.
There's going to be some pretty cold mornings on the weekend too. Mr Carson said temperatures should drop to -2 on Saturday morning and may dip lower than -4 on Sunday morning.
Mr Carson said it's been a rather dry July with just 16mm of rain falling in the territory, which is well below the average of 41mm.
Temperatures have averaged 12 degrees in Canberra this month which is about half a degree warmer than the average monthly temperature.
But Mr Carson said it's felt much colder than that for many in Canberra due to strong winds, particularly during the first three weeks of July.
Here's a rather gloomy economic forecast...
The gloomy forecast by the Deloitte Access Economics Investment Monitor coincides with the brake applied to the territory’s economy by the reduction in the federal public service in Canberra by 6000 jobs over the next two years.
“Engineering construction in the Australian Capital Territory remains subdued … commercial activity may slide further over 2014,” the report says. It says six of the eight major planned projects are already under way.
“All these projects are to be completed by 2016, leaving a stark pipeline beyond the next two years."
ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr said the report omitted some major projects and that the ACT government's record $2.5 billion infrastructure investment in the 2014-15 ACT budget was driving construction in Canberra.
What's going on in ACT politics today?
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will head to the Australian War Memorial to meet director Brendan Nelson and take part in the launch of the Chief Minister’s ANZAC Spirit Prize 2015.
The centenary of the ANZAC landings will see Canberra students in years 9 and 10 take part in a competition to win a trip to Gallipoli to take part in the centenary commemorations at ANZAC Cove.
Ms Gallagher and Dr Nelson will announce four funded places as part of the competition and the winners of the 2014 ANZAC Spirit Prize will also be in attendance.
At another event, Education Minister Joy Burch will announce a new scholarship program to help early childhood educators who are studying for a degree. We'll bring you news of the events later in the day.
The US government-run volunteer agency said it would "closely monitor" the outbreak with US experts from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department before a future return to the affected countries. It set no date for resuming operations.
"The Peace Corps has enjoyed long partnerships with the government and people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and is committed to continuing volunteers' work there," it said in a statement.
Customs officers are looking for people carrying the Ebola virus at Melbourne Airport. Photo: Reuters
Be careful if you're about to jump on a plane to Melbourne. They're about to get drenched down there.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Michael Efron said damaging gusts of up to 110km/h would hit the city about 8am and last throughout the morning.
He said the mercury would then drop dramatically for a cold and wet afternoon.
Customs officers are looking for people carrying the Ebola virus at Melbourne Airport. Photo: Reuters
It was a familiar bight pink and purple sunrise this morning. This pictue was uploaded by Erna shortly before 7.30am.
Pietersen, along with current Australian players Ben Cutting and Daniel Christian, were among those to blow up at the prospect at having to play the final of the domestic Twenty20 competition at Manuka Oval on January 29 next year.
In a series of tweets, Pietersen said he had, ''been there twice! Don't want a 3rd" and it's good if you, ''enjoy staring at walls and watching paint dry for entertainment!''
"Hold on, have I just read this correct? The final of the Big Bash will be played in Canberra?!?!'' Pietersen wrote.
"It's OK, there's more happening there than in, #BoringBoringBrisbane!''
Kevin Pietersen will play in the competition this summer for the first time with the Melbourne Stars and expressed his surprise at Canberra getting the nod. Photo: Getty Images
Not a bad view from Mount Stromlo this morning. Clear skies and a top of 17 degrees today. Make the most of it before wet weather hits the territory tomorrow.
Canberran Kelsey-Lee Roberts picked up a bronze medal in the women's javelin final last night.
Not enjoying the Commonwealth Games? Maybe you're in agreement with Mr Usain Bolt.
Superstar athlete Usain Bolt has denied labelling the Commonwealth Games are "a bit shit", dismissing quotes in a newspaper report as nonsense. According to The Times, the world's fastest man said the Glasgow Games were "a bit shit", and that he was "not really" having fun.
"The Olympics were better," he reportedly said as he waited for his car in the drizzle on Tuesday.
Bolt in Commonwealth Games s--t storm
Usain Bolt dismisses making disparaging comments about the Commonwealth Games, throwing his support behind his team to watch the netball.PT1M17S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3cuyf 620 349 July 31, 2014
How many politicians does it take to change a street light?
In Australia, it would seem, quite a few – but the ACT government can expect strong interest in the proposed sale of the territory's street light network, as one public works expert calls for taxpayers to be shielded from risk in the privatisation.
Reintroducing an idea first floated by then Liberal chief minister Kate Carnell in the late 1980s, Treasurer Andrew Barr used this year's budget to propose selling Canberra's street lights to the private sector to take advantage of the Abbott government's bonus payments for asset sales.
Police Scotland said in a statement on Wednesday that a 29-year-old man had been detained after police responded to a report of a disturbance at the 35-hectare village, located nearby Celtic Stadium in the city's east end.
It is understood that the man being held by police is an Australian athlete who is due to face Glasgow Sherriff's court on Thursday. He remains in police custody.
The Athletes Village in the east end of Glasgow was the scene of the alleged altercation. Photo: Getty Images
Does this view look familiar to you? It should. It's Manuka Oval, which will be the host of the Big Bash 2014-15 cricket final.
Mother Cherie holding a picture of her daughter, who can no longer receive medical marijuana. Photo: ABC News
The girl's mother, Cherie, told ABC Radio's Hack program on Wednesday that her daughter's supplier, who lived in the ACT, had been raided by federal police after he wrote to Ms Gallagher explaining how cannabis oil treatment was helping Abbey, who suffers serious seizures and developmental delays as a result of the disorder CDKL5.
Cherie said she started administering the freely provided cannabis oil to her daughter without her doctor's knowledge after they told her Abbey would most likely die.
Canberra Elite taxis line up in Kembla Street Fyshwick. Photo: Graham Tidy
Ben Westcott: Cab drivers in the ACT were left fuming on Wednesday after a system failure in the Canberra Cab's computer network left them jobless for hours.
The Canberra Cabs website, phone lines and booking system were down for at least five hours yesterday, with cabbies' computers still dead at 8.30pm last night.
Drivers who spoke to the Canberra Times said they were furious at the break-down, which had left them without passengers for hours.
"We can't pick up a job from the system. It's annoying because it's hard to do the job and make money today," one said.
"You need to [drive] around and look because you can't pick up. "I'm waiting outside nearly one and a half hours today and I can't get any jobs."
Brumbies star lock Jack Whetton has just said his final farewell to Canberra. He's about to board a plane back home to Auckland.
So long Canberra it's been real. Huge thank you to @BrumbiesRugby for the opportunity. Now back home to Auckland ✌️✌️����— Jack Whetton (@JackWhetts) July 30, 2014
There's bright skies in the territory this morning. They'll last until tomorrow when we're met by a strong front bringing showers and a possible thunderstorm.
It's currently 9 degrees in capital which is slightly colder than yesterday.
The apparent temperature is 2.5 degrees. We've been promised a top of 17 with wind gusts of up 50 60km/h.
Pack and umbrella and jumper tomorrow as the BOM have revised their forecast down to 8 degrees with showers throughout the day. There's also a possibility of a thunderstorm and small hail.