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Canberra Mornings Live: Thursday June 5

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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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Thanks for joining us on the morning blog today, we'll be back from 7am to 10am tomorrow for the final blog of the week.

In the meantime, you can get in touch with us with any comments or news tips via email, Twitter or Facebook.

Here's how it's looking on the weather front for the next few days.

  • The rest of today:15C. Partly cloudy.
  • Friday: 6C. 14C. Partly cloudy, patchy fog early in the morning.
  • Saturday: -2C, 15C. Sunny, areas of morning frost.
  • Sunday: 1C, 15C. Sunny, areas of morning frost.

Here's what you're all reading on the site this morning.

Henry Belot: New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been welcomed by health professionals as an indication than Canberrans are beginning to give up on tobacco and cigarettes.

Judith Ireland is back in the blogging seat over at Politics Live for another day. 

It's the last sitting day of the week, and Judith says it's set to be a busy one.

Malcolm does another radio interview to declare he's best mates with Tony, as the Prime Minister smokes the pipe of peace with SBY.

It's Thursday in Canberra and estimates is *still* going: with Foreign Affairs, Social Services, Education and Treasury all up for a chat.

She'll be blogging all day, why not head on over.

Henry Belot: Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine met with the Governor this morning ahead of a looming constitutional crisis. The Age journalist Farrah Tomazin reports the Premier was unwilling to discuss details of the meeting other than the important fact he had a cup of coffee and toast.

Henry Belot: Have you seen Swan Lake? I believe there was an early showing this morning.

Things are still crazy on Sydney roads following a crash in the Harbour Tunnel at 7.30am.

Queues have been stretching about 10 kilometres in both directions.

Southbound access only opened up a couple of minutes ago. All the details are in the SMH blog.

Henry Belot: Ever wondered what the Cotter Dam looks like from above? Well the team at RC Media strapped a camera to an unmanned drone and examine the the Dam's total capacity of 78 gigalitres. It's pretty incredible footage.

Cotter Dam Flyover from RCMedia on Vimeo.

Henry Belot: The Adelaide Magistrates Court has heard details of how an Irishman punched a police horse twice while wearing only underwear and one sock after drinking too much at a Christmas party.

Colm James Keogh, aged 31, said he had attended a Christmas party at the Hilton Hotel, but insisted that it was "not the posh one". He admitted to punching the police horse and said he had a swollen hand the next day.

The Independent has the story.

Henry Belot: The use of a chainsaw to terrorise a public service department last year has been likened to a horror movie, evoking "fear and terror" in the minds of fleeing bureaucrats, a court has heard.

Benjamin Dunne, 35, is being sentenced for the attack on his colleagues at the Department of Human Services in Greenway in March last year. 

Dunne, the court heard, was suffering from significant mental health issues at the time and believed he was being harassed, bullied and attacked by some in the workplace.

He spoke of getting revenge and took the chainsaw into the offices on March 28.

Here's what David Pope has for you this morning...

Editorial cartoon. Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial cartoon. Photo: David Pope

There's some more political name-calling going on this morning.

Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt are "bomb throwers" doing the work of the Labor Party to undermine the Abbott government, says Malcolm Turnbull.

For the second time in a week, the Communications Minister has locked horns over media commentary of his relationship with Clive Palmer following a dinner with the Fairfax MP last week.

In a showdown with Mr Jones on Thursday morning, Mr Turnbull accused the commentator of creating trouble where there was none after the 2GB announcer said Mr Turnbull was "happy to chuck a few bombs around that might blow up Abbott a bit", adding the minister had no hope of becoming Coalition leader.

Lisa Cox has the story.

Broadcaster Alan Jones has been accused of undermining the Coalition by Malcolm Turnbull.

Broadcaster Alan Jones has been accused of undermining the Coalition by Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Henry Belot: The world's top 40 mining companies – including Australian giants BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals, Newcrest Mining and Rio Tinto – have seen profits by plunge by a staggering 72 per cent in the last 12 months to $20 billion, the lowest level in a decade.

Mining

Mining Photo: Reuters

Henry Belot: The archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn has told Yass parents trying to save their secondary college they will not be allowed to use the school's name, uniforms and buildings, unless it is Catholic and run by the Catholic Education Office.

But the steering committee said the archbishop had misunderstood their proposal, saying they never meant the new college to be independent from the archdiocese.

Ben Westcott has the story.

The Catholic archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse.

The Catholic archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Henry Belot: Has Bear Grylls finally gone too far?

If you watched Grylls use his own urine as a source of hydration or break a snake's neck with his teeth in Man V Wild, you probably wouldn't have batted an eyelid when images of two men being administered an enema with a rubber tube and water bottle appeared on the final episode of his latest series The Island With Bear Grylls.

The act apparently was not only uncomfortable for the islanders but for viewers of the show, which was broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 and generated a social media uproar and complaints to the communications regulator.

"This Bear Grylls program is absolutely ridiculous & completely disgusting. It will never be on my tv ever again," posted a clearly unamused Yasmin Evans on Twitter.

Stomach-churning survival tricks: Bear Grylls.

Stomach-churning survival tricks: Bear Grylls.

Henry Belot: If you're on the way to work this morning you should be thankful you're not stuck in "nightmare" Sydney traffic. The Harbour Tunnel has been closed this morning throwing the city's roads into chaos.

Yikes.

This story out of the Washington Post is pretty scary.

Harvard scientists have confirmed that his book is “without a doubt” bound in human skin.

Apparently it used to be a pretty common practice. You can read the full story here.

Henry Belot: Today marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Namadgi National Park and the 100th anniversary of the Cotter River Ordinance, a piece of legislation designed to protect the environment and establish park rangers.

National Parks and Catchments regional manager Brett McNamara said the Cotter River Ordinance laid the foundations for the ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

“It is reassuring that 100 years later rangers still play a critical role in protecting the natural and cultural values of the majestic Cotter catchment," he said.

The Namadgi National Park now boasts over 106,095 hectares of parkland and 160km of walking tracks, including the popular Setters Track which gives visitors an insight into early settlement in Canberra.

A terrible story from The West Australian this morning.

Two investigations are under way into an alleged drunken fight that resulted in the death of a young truck driver at a Goldfields mining camp where alcohol restrictions are meant to be strictly enforced.

The victim, 28, was punched by a co-worker and is believed to have fallen and hit his head during what has been described as a heated late-night argument at AngloGold Ashanti's remote Tropicana mine site on May 19.

The man who was alleged to have thrown the punch - a 29-year-old father of three from Perth - is understood to have taken his own life late last week.

The fight happened on a shift-change night when workers finish a week of day shifts at 6pm, then have a 24-hour break before starting night shift the following evening.

A worker who did not want to be named said some employees saw it as a "licence to go berserk" because they had plenty of time to get alcohol out of their systems before returning to duty.

Read the full story at The West.

Henry Belot: It's time to say goodbye to the last of the autumn leaves in Canberra, winter is upon us.

Henry Belot: It appears a well known breakfast television program has got a little carried away with their announcements this morning. The "PM" should refer to Victorian MP Geoff Shaw, not PM Tony Abbott.

Henry Belot: One of San Francisco's top public transport officials has backed the idea of light rail in Canberra, saying there is not a great city in the world that doesn't have a good public transport system.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's director of strategic planning and policy, Timothy Papandreou, has worked in public transport for 17 years and is in Canberra for two days meeting with government ministers and officials.

He will speak about public transport at a forum in Canberra on Thursday night.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of strategic planning and policy Timothy Papandreou in Canberra to speak about his experience.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of strategic planning and policy Timothy Papandreou in Canberra to speak about his experience. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Henry Belot: It costs more to house an detainee on Manus Island for a day than a night at a 5-star Sydney hotel.

Detention centre operator G4S could put an asylum seeker up at Sydney's sumptuous Sheraton on the Park for less than charged the government for an evening on Manus Island, but opaque accounting means key financial details of its Australian operation remain hidden from view.

Last night's $199 room special at the Sheraton compares with the $205 a night which G4S has been charging for a bed on Manus, or $74,792 per detainee for the year.

G4S is the subsidiary of the British multinational company of the same name. Its 2013 financial statements have been filed, along with those of fellow detention centre operator Serco Australia.

And they show that capitalising on human misery with a fat government contract is tidy business for UK multinationals.

A room at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney is cheaper than the cost of housing a detainee on Manus Island.

A room at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney is cheaper than the cost of housing a detainee on Manus Island. Photo: Supplied

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal defeated compatriot David Ferrer as well as the Paris gloom on Wednesday to reach his ninth French Open semi-final where he will face Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

The world number one recovered from dropping his first set of the tournament to record a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1 win while seventh-seeded Murray defeated home hope Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0.

Murray lost to Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-finals three years ago and has never beaten him on clay. However, he did take a set off the top seed in Rome last month.

Wednesday's win took the 28-year-old Nadal's record in Paris to 64 victories and just one loss and extended his mastery over his 32-year-old Spanish Davis Cup teammate to 22 victories against just six defeats.

He did it in some style, reeling off 13 of the last 14 games before the sun set.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating countryman David Ferrer.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating countryman David Ferrer. Photo: AFP

The US Secret Service is looking to buy software that can spot sarcasm on social media.

Yeah, good luck with that.

The Secret Service wants to automatically, algorithmically scan all your posts to detect sarcasm and deduce your intended meaning? Sounds like a great idea.

The Secret Service wants to automatically, algorithmically scan all your posts to detect sarcasm and deduce your intended meaning? Sounds like a great idea. Photo: Reuters

Canberra Times front page: June 5, 2014.

Canberra Times front page: June 5, 2014.

On today's front page...

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja's quest to expand Tuggeranong has taken a step forward with the National Capital Authority now looking at changing the National Capital Plan, Canberra's principal planning document.

The estimated total cost of the inquiry that could see David Eastman released was upwards of $10 million, new figures show.

Pialligo residents are scrambling  to understand the impact of a 35 per cent rise in their rates in this week's budget, with an average increase of $920 for the enclave of orchardists, nursery owners and lifestyle blocks near the airport.

The archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn has told Yass parents trying to save their secondary college they will not be allowed to use the school's name, uniforms and buildings, unless it is Catholic and run by the Catholic Education Office.

The ACT government has sold the remaining single blocks of land in the new suburb of Lawson for $24.74 million.

Henry Belot: Former prime minister John Howard has delivered a guarded rebuke to Tony Abbott, saying today's politicians rely too heavily on slogans and declaring Australians will support change and reform so long as they are satisfied it is ''fundamentally fair''.

Describing politics today as less ideological than in his time, the country's second longest-serving prime minister has observed: ''We sometimes lose the capacity to argue the case - we think that it sufficient that we utter slogans.''

Hawke and Howard: best buddies? (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Hawke and Howard: best buddies?

The former leaders share memories, political observations and a few jokes at the National Press Club

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Henry Belot: More on the ongoing police operation in Adelaide...

Police are hoping the stand-off will end peaceful and are urging dangerous fugitive to speak with them.

"Rodney, we know that you have concerns about your safety. The reality is we want to end this peacefully," Superintendent Peter Harvey said as he appealed to Clavell on Thursday morning.

"I am here to make sure this ends peacefully," he said. "All we need is for you to speak to us and come out and everything can end safely this morning."

The date has been set for the first same-sex couples to use British laws to marry in Australian cities.

Same-sex couples in which one partner has British citizenship will be able to marry from June 27 in British consulates in Sydney and Perth, with Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra to follow soon after.

In a move that will increase pressure on the Abbott government to allow a conscience vote on marriage reform, hundreds of Australian couples are expected to marry and can begin the process to book ceremonies in Sydney or Perth from Thursday.

The first two asylum seekers convicted of rioting at the Nauru detention centre will be sentenced today.

In July 2013, rampaging asylum seekers torched the centre causing $60 million damage.

Newly constructed accommodation blocks, the health centre, offices, the dining room and vehicles were burnt. Only the kitchen and recreation facility remained standing.

There are 63 asylum seekers facing criminal charges stemming from the riots.

Widespread damage ... Workers extinguish flames after rioters caused $60m damage  on July 20, 2013 on Nauru Island.

Widespread damage ... Workers extinguish flames after rioters caused $60m damage on July 20, 2013 on Nauru Island. Photo: Australian Department of Immigration

Car fire Watson Oval 2

Car fire Watson Oval 2 Photo: act\john-paul.moloney

Henry Belot: Watson Oval has an unwelcome guest this morning...

ACT Editor John-Paul Moloney snapped these pictures of a burnt out car on the middle of the oval on his way to work.

As you can see, there's very little left to burn and the damage is extensive.

There's traffic chaos in Sydney this morning, with a car overturned in the Harbour Tunnel.

A queue of traffic has reached back more than nine kilometres as emergency services attempt to clear the crash as quickly as possible.

All the details in the SMH's Morning Express blog.

Henry Belot: The federal government faces blanket opposition from university vice-chancellors to its plan to increase the interest rate on all student debts and slash university funding, a survey shows.

The Fairfax Media poll of the nation's 39 vice-chancellors - who are divided on the question of fee deregulation - found a unified stance against applying an interest rate of up to 6 per cent to student debts and cutting the Commonwealth contribution to the cost of a degree by 20 per cent.

Interest rate plan: Vice-Chancellors united in their opposition to government's plan.

Interest rate plan: Vice-Chancellors united in their opposition to government's plan. Photo: Louise Kennerley

A 26-year-old truck driver escaped from his vehicle just before it burst into flames, closing a major highway in the Blue Mountains.

The truck, carrying a load of cotton, was travelling eastbound on the Great Western Highway at Mount Boyce, when it hit a median concrete barrier early this morning, police said.

The highway is expected to remain closed in both directions between Mount Boyce and Mount Victoria for several hours as workers remove the truck.

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have applied to the Portuguese authorities to search an area of scrubland for an extra seven days.

Police had originally been given until Friday to conduct searches in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where the youngster went missing in May 2007, but it is now understood they will be able to remain on the site for an extra week, pending approval.

The development comes as officers spent a third day probing the site, with forensics officers concentrating on one area which was previously hidden by undergrowth and ground-penetrating radar equipment being used.

Police investigating the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann search the area of scrubland near the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, where she vanished seven years ago, on June 4, 2014. Click to play video

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Crews scour Madeleine McCann search site

UK police set up tents on a specific portion of land at Portugal's Praia da Luz scrubland for more evidence on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

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Tom McIlroy: Attention book lovers and aspiring authors. Libraries ACT will host bestselling author Karen Viggers at Civic Library on Thursday from 12.30pm.

"Come and hear about Karen's latest novel The Grass Castle, which tells the story of two women – Daphne and Abby – who help each other release long-buried family secrets," Libraries ACT director Vanessa Little said.

"Karen will share the story behind the novel, including what her inspiration was and the process she went through in developing the story.

Guests might have the chance to ask a burning question about writing or reading.

Ms Viggers is also well-known for her best-selling novel The Lightkeeper's Wife, published in 2011 and The Stranding which was published in 2008.

The author's books will be available for purchase and signing on the day.

The event is free, so it is essential to book in advance as places will go quickly.

Book online at www.library.act.gov.au or phone 6205 9000.

Henry Belot: South Australian police have closed a part of Adelaide's CBD as they search for a criminal considered to be dangerous to the public.

Former prison guard Rodney Ian Clavell has been on the run since May 22 and is believed to be hiding in a business on King William Street.

Mr Clavell was shot wice by police in 2004 during a pursuit through Adelaide Hills in 2004 after he stole a 12-tonne road grader. He has a long criminal history and is wanted for offences including breaching firearms bans.

Henry Belot: There were a few car crashes in Canberra last night keeping the police and emergency services busy.

At least 5 accidents have been reported since 5pm on Wednesday in Curtin, Kambah, Hume, and Monash. This includes a crash on Tuggeranong Parkway that caused traffic to be diverted on to Lady Denman Drive.

These accidents followed a crash involving a police car on Northbourne Avenue shortly before 3pm. The avenue was closed for more than an hour and two patients were assessed by ambulance officers.

Henry Belot: Treasurer Joe Hockey has seized on Wednesday's national accounts, which show Australia's economy has grown at its fastest pace in nearly two years on the back of an unexpected surge in mining exports, to declare Australia has a ''good story to tell''.

Mr Hockey highlighted ''green shoots'' in Australia's economy, including the creation of 106,000 jobs and economic growth of 3.5 per cent, higher than the vaunted ''trend growth'' figure of 3.25 per cent

Crisis? What crisis? (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Crisis? What crisis?

Growth is strong and the Treasurer is optimistic unemployment won't be as high as forecast...but the budget emergency must still be addressed, says Joe Hockey.

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It's definitely cool outside at the moment, but in the ski fields, it's freezing.

In Canberra, it's 7.8 degrees at 7.45am, with an apparent temperature of 6.1 degrees.

At Perisher it's -1.9 degrees this morning, and 0.1 degrees at Thredbo.

And here's a peek at how it's looking up at Thredbo, thanks to their snow cams.

The view at Thredbo Lower Mountain at 7.40am.

The view at Thredbo Lower Mountain at 7.40am.

Sally Pryor: There's a cool party in Braddon tonight – the launch of a new creative studio and gallery space set up by The Lost and Found Office. The project came about when occupants of The Artists Shed in Queanbeyan discovered they were being turfed out of their studio spaces in the very near future.

A quick search ensued, culminating in a new studio on Lonsdale Street. The space will showcase some of the diverse work created by members of the Queanbeyan region's underground arts community over recent years and, at this stage, it looks to be a rolling exhibition that will morph and change, rather than being taken down and replaced. There'll also be talks by artists, hands-on workshops, interest group meetups and guerilla gigs by performance artists.

The official launch is tonight, from 6.00pm, at Level 1, Unit 5, 25 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.

For more info, check out lostandfoundoffice.com.au.

Henry Belot: Singer of hit summer song Happy, Pharrell Williams, has apologised for wearing a native American headdress in a cover shoot for Elle UK magazine.

Complaints poured in on Facebook. On Twitter, the hashtag #nothappy was dominated by those frustrated and unhappy about the inappropriateness of the chart-topping musician donning a feathered headdress, a traditionally sacred garment earned and worn by tribe chieftans.

Williams has issued a statement through his publicist.

Pharrell Williams in the controversial Elle UK magazine cover.

Pharrell Williams in the controversial Elle UK magazine cover. Photo: Elle UK magazine

Henry Belot: Here's what you're missing down at Lake Burley Griffin this morning.

The National Rifle Association has learned the hard way not to mess with Texas.

After chastising some of its Texas supporters for bringing long guns to fast-food outlets to demonstrate their commitment to gun rights, the NRA has been forced to apologise and say its criticism was a mistake.

During an appearance on an NRA-hosted radio show, Chris Cox, the executive director of the group's lobbying arm, said the original criticism was written by a staffer who was expressing his personal opinion. The statement, posted on the website of the lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, said the demonstrations in Texas were counterproductive, scary and "downright weird."

Would you like a round of ammunition with those seasoned curly fries? Open Carry members show their guns in Texas.

Would you like a round of ammunition with those seasoned curly fries? Open Carry members show their guns in Texas. Photo: AP

Tony Abbott has declared in the presence of the Indonesian President the end of the boats issue as a problem between the two countries, saying his hardline policy meant "it would not substantially further trouble us".

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made no mention of boats, nor of feelings in his government that Operation Sovereign Borders is simply pushing the problem back to Indonesia, where 10,000 asylum seekers are now stuck with no route out of the country.

The two leaders spoke warmly of each other at their first meeting since the spying revelations in November derailed the bilateral relationship, prompting the president to write of his disappointment in his memoirs, released in January.

But after the men met for 40 minutes on the island of Batam on Wednesday, Dr Yudhoyono downplayed the issue, saying it was something that "almost distracted our good relations," and "almost became a challenge".

PM Tony Abbott shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

PM Tony Abbott shakes hands with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Photo: Ed Wray

Henry Belot: It's getting harder to find trees with autumn leaves in Canberra at the moment with winter settling in over the territory. We're set for a top of 15 degrees today which is warmer than the June average. There will be patches of fog across Canberra but these will clear for a partly cloudy day.

Natasha Rudra: 3 Things to Do Today

1) Do a burlesque drawing workshop.

Dr Sketchy's is running these workshops at the National Gallery of Australia. You'll be drawing models and performers dressed - or undressed - in the style of Andy Warhol's The Factory. There'll be light refreshments and a cash bar for drinks. This is an 18+ event.  6.30pm. It's $30, $25 concession, $20 members (includes first drink, BYO materials welcome, some materials provided) Bookings essential at the website.

2) Listen to the Audreys

Blues rock outfit The Audreys perform at The Abbey in Nicholls tonight. They've got a new album out called Til My Tears Roll Away. Doors open 6.30pm. O'Hanlon Place, Nicholls. Tickets $32.60 from The Abbey.

3) Love the whales

Celebrate a watershed moment (boom tish) in the battle over whaling. The Environmental Defenders' Office will host an event marking an international court ruling against the killing of whales. There'll be three speakers tonight - Shane Rattenbury, law professor Don Rothwell, and Labor MP Mark Dreyfus, who appeared for Australia in the case. 6pm. Hedley Bull Centre, Liversidge Street and Garran Road, ANU.

Henry Belot: A South African man has filmed himself being robbed by an armed man and two accomplices while riding his mountain bike on a trail in Somerset West, near Cape Town. 

It appears the offender failed to realise the cyclist had a video camera attached to his helmet, and gazed straight into the lens while stealing the bike.

The video was uploaded by the cyclist who said his phone, sunglasses and car keys were also stolen. The video will now be used as evidence to prosecute the men.

Police have shut down part of Adelaide's CBD with fears that dangerous fugitive Rodney Clavell is in the area.

Clavell, 46, has evaded police since a warrant was issued for his arrest over breaching a firearms Prohibition Order on May 20.

Police on Thursday morning cordoned off a business premises on King William Street, where they believe the wanted man is inside.

King William Street is closed to all members of the public including all public transport between the block of Halifax Street, Sturt Street, Angas Street, Gouger Street and Wright Street.

Clavell, a former prison guard, was shot twice and tasered by police after a chase through the Adelaide Hills in which he was armed with a shotgun and driving a grader.
He was sentenced to four years prison over the incident.

Ukrainian forces abandoned a military outpost in a key eastern city on Wednesday after fighting to their "last bullet" against hundreds of pro-Russian militants in a fierce 10-hour gun battle, the Ukrainian National Guard said.

Six militants, who used mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, were killed and three Ukrainian servicemen were injured in the fighting overnight in the eastern city of Luhansk, the National Guard said in a statement.

The statement said that more than 300 heavily armed pro-Russian separatists attacked the building housing a Ukrainian National Guard regiment Tuesday evening, firing from residential apartment buildings and rooftops nearby.

Two Australians are among 20 international teachers to be deported from Indonesia over immigration violations discovered after an investigation into allegations a child was sexually abused by cleaning staff.

The teachers, from the Jakarta International School, are of various nationalities, including people from New Zealand, the US and the UK, senior immigration official Maryoto Sumadi said on Wednesday.

"Of the 26 teachers we investigated, 20 had committed immigration violations and will be deported," he said, explaining they were doing work that differed from their official job descriptions given to authorities.

The decision follows a scandal sparked in April by the alleged sexual assault of a six-year-old boy by cleaners in toilets at the school, which is a favourite with the capital's expatriates and wealthy Indonesians.

Tens of thousands gathered at an impassioned rally in central Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, amid a vigorous security operation on the streets and online in mainland China to block mention of the milestone.

Organisers of the annual candlelight vigil at Victoria Park said more than 180,000 participated – a record turnout – while police estimated 99,500 attendees.

Video tributes were played in honour of those arrested in recent weeks in the mainland for trying to commemorate the anniversary, including rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, journalist Gao Yu, and academic Xu Youyu, who all face several years imprisonment if convicted of the various charges they are accused of.

Record attendance ... organisers say that up to 180,000 people attended the ceremony in Hong Kong.

Record attendance ... organisers say that up to 180,000 people attended the ceremony in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

Recently the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd sent the rock band equivalent of a diplomatic cable — an open letter published in Salon — to the Rolling Stones. They asked Mick Jagger and his crew to cancel their first-ever concert in Israel to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation.

But Pink Floyd hit a wall.

The Stones are not only going on with the show, scheduled for Thursday morning Australia time, but the group has also agreed to delay their opening by 45 minutes to allow devout Jews time to reach the concert after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, during which Orthodox Jews cannot drive, handle money — or press "Play" on "Exile on Main Street."

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger leads the rest of the band down the steps, with Keith Richards, front centre, Ronnie wood, right,  and drummer Charlie Watts, as the rock group arrive in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger leads the rest of the band down the steps, with Keith Richards, front centre, Ronnie wood, right, and drummer Charlie Watts, as the rock group arrive in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. Photo: AP

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris Photo: Supplied

Rolf Harris' brother has admitted "leaning" on one of the potential witnesses in his brother's sexual assault trial – but denied pressuring her to change her story.

He said it was "just not possible" that his brother would have behaved inappropriately towards women.

Bruce Harris, 90, gave evidence from Australia about his brother and his career, which he has managed since the early 1980s.

Bruce Harris said he had never been concerned about the way his brother behaved towards children, young women or indeed anyone.

In world news this morning, footage of the release of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been shown on Al-Emara, a Taliban website.

Bergdahl was in captivity for five years, and his release this week came as the US released five top Taliban fighters  from Guantanamo.

It comes as the White House apologises for keeping Congress in the dark over the prisoner swap, as controversy grows over the issue.

In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 released a video showing the handover of Bergdahl to U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, touting the swap of the American soldier for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the insurgents. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video) Click to play video

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Taliban show video of Bergdahl's release

Video shown on Al-Emara, a Taliban website, shows the release of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl after five years of captivity in Afghanistan.

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Good morning, it's blog time.

We can expect another partly cloudy day in the capital once this fog clears, with a top of 16 degrees. Right now it's 7.7 degrees.

Stick with us, we'll be blogging all the morning's top news until 10am.

If you've got something to share with us over the course of the morning, feel free to get in touch.

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