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Canberra Mornings Live: Thursday, May 9

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Bringing you breaking news from across the capital and beyond, including weather, traffic updates and what the capital is talking about.

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Lucy Rickard: Alright, that's all from us this morning on the live news coverage.

We hope you can join us again tomorrow from 6.30am for our Friday blog!

In the meantime, we've got the latest on the guns and drugs haul in Canberra - you can find the full story here.

And don't forget to check back in on the site throughout the day - we'll have more on the 25th birthday of Parliament House and other centenary celebrations happening across the capital.

Have a great day!

Lucy Rickard: Before we head off, let’s take a look at what everyone is reading on our site this morning.

  • Public servants offered redundancy payouts have been told they free to return to the bureaucracy a week later.
  • The US kidnapping case has captivated our readers this week – police have charged Ariel Castro with the rape and kidnapping of the three women in Cleveland, as it emerged he had a dungeon with ropes and chains inside his home.
  • Imposing a legal duty on motorists to display care to wards pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists is among the policy options that could be examined by an inquiry into Canberra’s “vulnerable road users”. There’s some healthy debate happening on this story – head on over and let us know your thoughts.
  • Are we too hard on Julia Gillard? Mark Kenny’s opinion piece is generating a lot of comments across the Fairfax sites this morning.
  • And the Nishi developmentwork on the stalled site could be resumed as early as Monday.

Lee Gaskin: Asbestos is being removed from the Australian Institute of Sport Aquatic Centre at the same time the country's elite swimmers are using the centre.

Renovations are underway the moment - at the same time the national swimming team is at the AIS for an orientation camp.

The full story can be read here.

Asbestos cladding being removed from the exterior of the
swimming pool building at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Asbestos cladding being removed from the exterior of the swimming pool building at the Australian Institute of Sport. Photo: Graham Tidy

Have you entered our Autumn Photo Competition yet? If not, time is running out. So get snapping! 

Here's how to enter the competition.

In the meantime, you can flick through some of the entries we've received so far.

Canberra Times autumn photo competition 2013. Click for more photos

2013 Canberra Times readers Autumn photographic competition entries.

Canberra Times autumn photo competition 2013. Photo: Monika Schmidt

The man who was the original voice of Charlie Brown in the Peanuts television specials has been sentenced to a year in jail for stalking a former girlfriend, and threatening her plastic surgeon - but he was immediately released to a residential drug treatment centre to complete his sentence.

Peter Robbins, 56, has already been in jail for four months, and has been ordered to pay $US15,000 in restitution to the plastic surgeon.

Borrowing a line from Charlie Brown's friend Lucy, the judge told Robbins, "Don't be a blockhead."


Kostya Tszyu's son Nikita talks boxing, his dad and early morning starts at an AIS boxing camp in Canberra.

Sport. At the AIS boxing complex, young upcoming boxer, Nikita Tszyu, son of Kostya. May 8th. 2013 Photograph by Graham Tidy The Canberra Times. Click to play video

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Kostya Tszyu's son Nikita on boxing

Kostya Tszyu's son Nikita talks boxing, his dad and early morning starts, at an AIS boxing camp in Canberra.

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An Arizona climber has been found dead, dangling from a rope on a cliff face south of Tucson, after apparently being stung to death by bees.

Reuters has reported that Steven Johnson, 55, was found about 70 feet up a mountain. He had some 30 years experience in hiking and climbing. His dog was also stung to death, and was found nearby.

Stephanie Anderson: ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell has marked the 25th anniversary of the opening of new Parliament House by describing it as isolated and increasingly inaccessible.

Speaking on ABC radio this morning, Mr Corbell said the building had magnificent architecture but failed in terms in accessibility.

“It’s increasingly become like a portrait - very difficult to get in and out of, very isolated from the rest of the city,” he said.

“It’s almost a city within a city. And I think that’s a bit sad, given the important role of the building.”

Mr Corbell also spoke about his experiences as a former guide at Parliament House.

“It certainly taught me a few things about talking to large groups of people in public,” he said.

 

This story is going pretty bananas this morning.

Should motorists be required to display care towards pedestrians, bike riders and motorcyclists?

The comments are coming in thick and fast - some commenters have raised some unusual points, but it's nice to see a good, healthy debate on who should be taking responsibility.

Police also seized a hand gun and capsicum spray.

Police also seized a hand gun and capsicum spray. Photo: ACT Policing

Police have found a double-barrel shotgun, handgun, a laser pointer and drugs including steroids and heroin in two search warrants in Canberra homes yesterday.

Two people have been summonsed over the haul, which was uncovered at homes in Casey and Chisholm.

We'll have the full story up shortly.

Are you mourning the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson from his reign at Manchester United?

For your viewing pleasure, the BBC has compiled a list of the 10 things you may not know about him.

We've also got this news video of the announcement and reactions.

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Alex Ferguson stepping down as Man United manager

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season after more than 26 years in charge.

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The mercury has climbed to 8.1 degrees in the capital this morning - it dipped to 1.1 earlier today.

The early fog should have lifted as we head to a top of 23 degrees.

It should be much the same tomorrow before the maximum drops a couple of degrees on the weekend. But all in all, some pretty good autumn weather this week, we hope you're enjoying it.

The federal government will unveil new funding to help people update their electronic health records with details of how they'd like to be cared for in their older years.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek will today announce more than $10 million in federal funding to develop new advanced care planning and end-of-life care initiatives.

The changes will also see advance care directives put on the national eHealth record system, so doctors across the states and territories can follow the predetermined wishes of their patients.

One from the “whoa” files: A woman has miraculously survived after her husband accidentally shot her in the mouth with a harpoon in Brazil.

The 28-year-old woman was hit in her cervical spine by the harpoon – her husband was cleaning his spear gun when it went off.

Doctors say the harpoon came within one centimetre of killing her.

British film director Bryan Forbes, who made the 1970s sci-fi horror classic The Stepford Wives, has died aged 86, a family friend has said.

Forbes also directed Whistle Down the Wind (1961), about three English farm children who discover a fugitive living in their barn and believe he is Jesus.

Forbes died at his home in Surrey, southern England, "following a long illness" and was surrounded by his family.

Here's the rest of the photos from Paul Jurak on the lake this morning - we're not sure how he gets down there in the cold every morning, but we're all very grateful that he does. What beautiful shots!

 

Thursday May 9. Click for more photos

Lake view: Thursday May 9

Thursday May 9. Photo: Paul Jurak

NAB has reported a massive profit for the first half of 2013 - with cash earnings of $2.92 billion.

This figure is up 3.1 per cent on the previous corresponding year. The bank has recorded a 22.8 per cent increase in net profit to $2.52 billion.

A new study has revealed that  more than 60,000 Australian lives have been saved in the fight against cancer over the past 20 years.

The most successful factor is the anti-smoking campaign, according to the Cancer Council.

The community contribution of Arthur and Heather Shakespeare is to be remembered today at lunchtime, with the opening of a city square to be named in their honour.

The Heather and Arthur Shakespeare Square – at 15 London Circuit in City West – will be officially opened by Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Arthur Shakespeare, journalist and newspaper editor, was best known for founding The Canberra Times – and wife Heather joined him at the times in 1929.

Descendants of the Shakespeares will be there today.

From our colleagues at the SMH, police are currently raiding a number of homes in Sydney’s south-west as part of efforts to smash gun and organised crime.

‘‘It is part of a Middle Eastern Organised Crime investigation ... and further details will come later today,’’ a NSW Police spokesman said.

Check in with the SMH story for more details this morning. 

Here's a little taste of some photos to come on the site this morning.

The Kayak Cameraman braved the cold to take a series of speccy shots on the lake this morning. Here's one - we'll have a gallery for you shortly.

On the lake, May 9.

On the lake, May 9. Photo: Paul Jurak

Stephanie Anderson: Judges will pore over more than 200 entries received as part of the University of Canberra’s Lodge by the Lake Design ideas competition later today.

The jury will gather at Melba Copland Secondary School at 10am, where they will spent two days judging the 224 entries before announcing the winner later this month.

Juror and architect Howard Tanner said the competition was timely, as the current Prime Minister’s residence was “no longer up to the job”.

“There is definitely a need for a new residence that suits the work and the standing of the Prime Minister of Australia,” he said.

“The building belongs to all Australians and it should be a matter of national pride that our Prime Minister lives in a world class residence that showcases the best in contemporary architecture.”

The competition, which comes with a $80,000 prize, is being held 101 years after Walter Burley Griffin was announced as the winner of the international competition for the design of Australia’s Federal Capital City.

One more on the bus network:

The teenager accused of throwing a vegemite sandwich at the PM at Brisbane school yesterday has protested his innocence.

Kyle Thomson, 16, has been suspended from school for 15 days after a sandwich was hurled at Julia Gillard, narrowly missing her head and landing at the feet of Craig Emerson.

Jury's still out on this one...

 

Hold onto your hats ladies, The Bachelor is coming down under!

Channel 10 has commissioned the dating series to be run in Australia this year. Producers are casting the net far and wide for one lucky bachelor and 25 single ladies.

We're looking into reports that there's been a crash on Parkes Way. No word yet from the police how serious it might be.

 

The new triangular $5 coin.

The new triangular $5 coin.

Lucy Rickard: They might not be actual Australian currency, but the country's first triangular coin will be launched this morning in honour of Parliament House's 25th birthday.

The commemorative silver, triangular $5 coin will cost collectors $85, and depicts Parli as viewed from one if its courtyards.

We wonder who might purchase one of the coins - there's only 10,000 of them up for grabs!

Lucy Rickard: When it comes to the weather this week Canberra, you can pretty much just carry on as you are for the foreseeable future.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there's four days of partly cloudy or sunny days with tops ranging between 21 and 23. And the overnight temperatures are all between 2 and 4 degrees.

The daytime temperature is tipped to drop a couple of degrees from Monday, to a maximum of 17.

So, apart from some early fog about most mornings, it's business as usual for a Canberra autumn - enjoy!

Right now around the Territory, it's 2.1 in Canberra, 1.4 in Braidwood, 2.2 in Tuggeranong, 0.4 at Perisher Valley, 1.4 at Goulburn and 0.5 at Cooma

Today is expected to reach 23 degrees in Canberra.

Stephanie Anderson: Students at Australian National University may be facing down a series of potential politicians, with Katter’s Australian Party ACT Senate candidate Steven Bailey the latest to put his hand up.

Speaking on 2CC this morning, Mr Bailey said he hadn’t been approached by the university in the wake of Greens ACT Senate candidate Simon Sheikh’s recent lectures, but was keen for an invitation.

“I’d be happy to go to the ANU and give a talk,” he said.

“I’d be even happier to go there with Zed [Seselja].”

Police have found the body of a man in a burnt out home in southern New South Wales.

Firefighters made the grisly discovery in the home at Glenroy, near Albury, after the fire was extinguished at 10.30pm.

The man has not been formally identified, but is believed to be aged in his 50s. The fire not believed to be suspicious.

We've updated our story on the kidnapping of three women in Cleveland - investigators have charged Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

Ariel's brothers, Pedro and Onil, have not been charged.

Read the full story here.

 

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Berry's sister thanks supporters

RAW VISION: Amanda Berry's sister thanks the media for its support and asks for privacy for her family.

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Breaking news out of Cleveland - police have charged Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.

 

There's a beautiful, foggy sunrise happening out there at the moment in Canberra - if you're reading this from under the doona, poke your head outside.

In Western Australia, Perth and the South West region has been lashed by severe weather overnight, with wind gusts of 100km/h hitting the coastal regions.

It's not over yet either - the state's emergency services has already received more than 110 calls for help - that number is expected to rise with winds of 125km/h to hit the area this morning.

Chief minister, Katy Gallagher.

Chief minister, Katy Gallagher. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will today accept a commemorative book from the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Pedro Villagra-Delgado, Ambassador to Argentina to mark Canberra’s centenary.

Each of the Heads of Mission in Canberra has written a personal message of congratulations to Canberra on its centenary, and included a photo representative of their respective countries.

A number of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners will be present at the short ceremony this afternoon - check the site later for the full story and photos.

David Pope's cartoon has graced the front page of the new 8-page Times2 lift-out in today's Canberra Times.

 

Editorial Cartoon 18.09.14 Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial Cartoon 18.09.14 Photo: David Pope

Stephanie Anderson: Police are expected to have further information within hours on a suspected pipe bomb removed from outside a Theodore home last night.

An ACT Policing spokesman said members of the Specialist Response Group Bomb Response Team were called in after a suspicious item was located by a mailbox of a home in Tewksbury Circuit.

Residents were allowed back to their homes around 9m, after properties within a 100m cordon were evacuated just before 5.30pm.

The suspected bomb remains the subject of ongoing examination and analysis by Australian Federal Police Forensics officers.

David Morrow.

David Morrow.

The voice of rugby league for ABC Radio has been stood down pending an investigation into alleged racist remarks aired during the national broadcaster's NRL coverage on Monday.

David Morrow - who's been part of the ABC's rugby coverage on TV and radio since 1980 - was understood to have been telling a joke before the St George Illawarra-Manly clash, not realising he had been put to air earlier than expected.

In business news, Australian stocks are set for a positive start, albeit a tentative one, after offshore markets rose with commodities, while local investors await official jobs data for April and digest NAB's first half profit result.

Embattled coalminer Nathan Tinkler and his wife could be made bankrupt over $440,000 in allegedly unpaid bills to a corporate adviser.

Embattled coalminer Nathan Tinkler and his wife could be made bankrupt over $440,000 in allegedly unpaid bills to a corporate adviser.

Bangladesh has shut down 18 garment plants in an attempt to prevent a repeat of last month's factory collapse outside Dhaka, where the death toll has passed 800, with rescuers pulling dozens more bodies from the rubble.

For our readers who frequent Sydney roads, this is a pretty good one.

Federal central coast MP Craig Thomson has confirmed reports that money for a $3 billion, eight-kilometre tunnel linking the F3 and M2 motorways in Sydney will be included in next Tuesday’s budget.

News Limited has reported that the federal and NSW governments will invest up to $400 million each for the project, which could begin next year.

A look at world news from overnight.

Indonesia’s aggressive anti-terror police unit, Densus 88, shot dead four suspected terrorists on Wednesday in two separate incidents.

Thirty-one people have been arrested in three countries in connection with the February theft of $50 million in diamonds at Brussels airport.

Spanish police say they have uncovered a racket in which babies born to needy mothers in Morocco and the Spanish north African enclave of Melilla were sold to wealthy families in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s.

At least 33 people have died after an overcrowded bus skidded off the road into a fast-flowing river in northern India.

US kidnap victim Amanda Berry has made an emotional homecoming after being held captive for 10 years.

The house of Amanda Berry's sister

The house of Amanda Berry's sister Photo: AFP

A French honeymooner has been attacked and killed by a shark while surfing not far from the beach on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, authorities say.

The 36-year-old was in the sea off the popular beach of Brisants de Saint-Gilles when a shark charged at him twice, prompting a nearby swimmer to raise the alert when he saw blood on the water, the local prefecture said.

Lifeguards jumped in the water to fetch the victim, who had lost a lot of blood and was in cardiac and respiratory arrest. They brought him back to the beach but were unable to revive him.

Sir Alex Ferguson.

Sir Alex Ferguson. Photo: Getty Images

In sport - the football world is reeling from the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, who has stepped down as the manager of the most successful club, Manchester United.

Locally, the NRL could register Josh Dugan's contract to join the Dragons as early as today.

ASADA's interrogation of Essendon players could be expedited, with the process expected to be completed significantly earlier than the forecast 12 weeks.

And Peter FitzSimons has written a comment piece this morning, aimed at Andrew Johns, urging him to give evidence in the Waterhouse-Singleton court battle.

A bit of action in Theodore overnight, with police evacuating homes after a suspected pipe-bomb was found in the area.

Police brought in a robotic device and a portable detonation tank to remove the suspicious item.

We're going to be having a closer look at this incident this morning - here's what we know so far.

An ACT Policing bomb response team detonator tank, right, near a a suspicious package at Tewksbury Circuit, Theodore.

An ACT Policing bomb response team detonator tank, right, near a a suspicious package at Tewksbury Circuit, Theodore. Photo: Melissa Adams

Canberra Times front page for May 9, 2013.

Canberra Times front page for May 9, 2013.

 On today’s front page…

The 25th birthday of Parliament House is our front page photo – and with good reason! Take a look through our historic photos and there’s even a video on there too.

Federal public servants are being offered redundancy payouts and told they are free to return to the bureaucracy after just one week.

Only a small number of women would be eligible for the maximum rate of parental leave under the Coalition's scheme.

Imposing a legal duty on motorists to display care towards pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists is among the policy options that could be examined by an inquiry into Canberra's ''vulnerable road users''.

Asbestos is being removed from the Australian Institute of Sport Aquatic Centre at the same time the country's elite swimmers are using the centre.

It's the 25th birthday of Parliament House today!

We've dug out some photos from the archives of the building under construction, and Ian Warden has written a piece on the massive building in a hill.

He remembers attending the official announcement of the winning design - and how just this week he interviewed the designer, many years later, on how he came to design the iconic building.

An artist's impression of an imagined, finished, new house and how it would sit behind the existing one. Click for more photos

New Parliament House, 25 years on

An artist's impression of an imagined, finished, new house and how it would sit behind the existing one. Photo: Karleen Minney

Lucy Rickard: Morning all, welcome to our live news blog for today.

We're expecting much more of the same weather today as we've seen for the past week or so - we'll have a full wrap for you shortly. Right now it's 1.6 degrees.

In the meantime, if you're out and about this morning, feel free to let us know if you spot something you think we could include in the blog, or something we can follow up on later.

Photos are always welcome too - email us online@canberratimes.com.au or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.