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ACT News

Canberra Mornings Live: Tuesday April 29

Date

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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That's it for the blog today. Thanks for joining us, we'll be back from 7am to 10am tomorrow to do it all again.

One final look at the weather for Canberra for the coming days. It's going to be cool and a bit wet, and there's the possibility of the first snowfall of the year at the Brindabellas.

Today, there's rain forecast from late afternoon, and becoming more likely in the evening.

It's predicted to hit 21 degrees.

Tomorrow, there's a forecast low of 9 degrees followed by a 16 degree, rainy day.

Before we head off, here's the top stories on the site this morning:

Henry Belot: Asylum seekers on Nauru who are found to be refugees have been told they will be resettled on the island for five years where they will be given work rights and the opportunity to establish their own businesses.

document leaked to the Guardian from the Nauruan government says people found to be refugees will be resettled for a maximum of five years where they will have working rights. The maximum settlement period leaves it likely refugees will need to be resettled in a third country such as Cambodia, which is also looking likely to sign a deal with Australia to accept refugees.

Asylum seekers on Nauru.

Asylum seekers on Nauru. Photo: Angela Wylie

Henry Belot: Chris Martin has blamed his own “issues” for the ending of his marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow. In an interview with BBC Radio, the Coldplay lead singer said fear got in the way of his happiness.

‘‘Ever since our band came out, we have been a very polarising group because we do a certain thing very well,” Martin said. “About two years ago I was a mess, really, because I can’t enjoy the thing that we are good at and I can’t enjoy the great things around me because I’m burdened by this.

‘‘I’ve got to not blame anyone else and make some changes.’’

Conscious uncoupling: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in the picture they released with their break-up statement.

Conscious uncoupling: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in the picture they released with their break-up statement.

Henry Belot: Temporary road closures may cause traffic delays on Majura Road and Fairburn Avenue, along with the intersection of Morshead Drive and Pialligo Avenue near Canberra Airport.

Tom McIlroy: Aerial surveillance will get underway on Tuesday as New South Wales and the ACT cooperation to stop illegal dumping of rubbish.

Helicopter flights across the region come as part of a $58 million, five-year ACT-NSW Cross Border Illegal Dumping Program.

Funded by the ACT and NSW governments, the program is supported by local government authorities in the Yass Valley, Queanbeyan, Palerang and Cooma-Monaro.

Officials will identify difficult to reach places which could be used for illegal dumping in the border region, at a cost of $450,000.

Ginninderra MLA Yvette Berry said construction waste, asbestos and household and garden rubbish from Queanbeyan and Canberra was being dumped on public land.

“This is an ongoing problem which is not just unsightly, but poses risks to the environment and human health.

Australia's illicit drug trade is at an all-time high, with a record number of drug related arrests in 2012-2013, according to the latest report from the Australian Crime Commission.

The Commission's Illicit Drug Date report says law enforcement officials seized $2.7 billion worth of illicit drugs last financial year.

A record 100,000 arrests were made, and there were more than 86,000 seizures of illicit drugs.

And more than 19 tonnes of drugs were seized by police and border control agents.

Henry Belot: Parents sending their children into ACT public schools will no longer have to wade through reams of paperwork after the introduction of an online enrolment process.

Public school enrolments for next year opened on Monday. The new system is designed to speed up the process for both parents and schools.

The old system allowed parents to download the necessary forms from the internet, but then required them to print and fill them out, and return them to their local school. With the new system, parents just fill and submit the information online.

Minister for Education and Training Joy Burch.

Minister for Education and Training Joy Burch. Photo: Rohan Thomson

An Australian tourist has been shot dead in Argentina by two men on motorcycles who attempted to snatch his bag, according to reports.

The victim, thought to be aged in his early 30s, was walking with two other tourists in a park in the city of Mendoza when the group was ambushed about 4pm on Monday, Argentinian media reported.

The thieves reportedly tried to grab the Australian's backpack but he resisted and fell to the ground during the struggle, according to Todo Noticias, an Argentinian news channel.

The thieves then opened fire on the Australian before fleeing on their motorcycle.

Henry Belot: What do Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Petri Pitkanen, the Finnish-import goaltender of the CBR Brave ice hockey team, have in common?

Well, almost nothing, really, except that in recent days both of these young people have kindled adulation in the bosoms of the Canberrans who have rocked up to see them.

It was a close call for animals at Taronga Zoo overnight, after fire engulfed a building near the gorilla's enclosure.

About 15 firefighters attended the blaze about 1.30am. The fire gutted a large building used by zoo staff, but it was contained before it could spread.

Henry Belot: What's making news in national politics today?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is holding out the prospect of tax cuts in four or five years' time in return for some pain in this term of government.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne is looking to the US model as he reforms the Australian university sector to compete in the global market.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan will release the latest snapshot of Australia's illicit drugs market in an annual report prepared by the Australian Crime Commission. 

State and federal environment ministers will discuss the details of the Abbott government's Emissions Reduction Fund in Canberra.

The royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard child abusers at Christian Brothers schools in Western Australia knew they could sexually torture children with impunity, safe in the knowledge the state would do nothing.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has heard NSW Liberal figures secretly funnelled more than $400,000 in political donations in exchange for favours from Chris Hartcher

Henry Belot: ATM scammers have become so sophisticated, it may no longer be good enough to use your hand to hide your PIN, NSW Police warn.

Two foreign nationals - a Hungarian and a Romanian - were arrested last month after allegedly tampering with an ATM in Sydney's central business district. But police believe others are still out there fitting skimming devices to ATMs.

Police say two men - both of Eastern European appearance and aged in their 20s or 30s - are also wanted for questioning. They say more than 40 ATMs in Sydney, including those in Mosman, Double Bay, Dural and Parramatta, have been targeted since January.

The skimming devices are capable of copying card details, while a video camera records people entering their personal identification numbers.

The skimming devices are capable of copying card details, while a video camera records people entering their personal identification numbers. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

Just one Aussie restaurant has made the list of the top 50 best in the world.

Once again, Melbourne's Attica has made the list - coming in at number 32.

More than 900 industry experts rated head chef Ben Shewry's food as the only Australian restaurant worthy of a place in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list this year.

Sydney's Quay dropped from 48th to 60th.

Ben Shewry at Attica. His Melbourne restaurant was the highest Australian entrant on this year's list. Click for more photos

World's 50 Best: the 2014 results

Ben Shewry at Attica. His Melbourne restaurant was the highest Australian entrant on this year's list. Photo: Eddie Jim

  • Ben Shewry at Attica. His Melbourne restaurant was the highest Australian entrant on this year's list.
  • Ranked No. 32, but Australia's only top 50 entrant ... Ben Shewry in the kitchen garden at Attica.
  • Attica in Melbourne's Ripponlea.
  • King George whiting wrapped in paperbark at Attica.
  • Peter Gilmore's Quay dropped out of the top 50 to be ranked 60th on the list.
  • Signature dish ... the Guava snow egg from Quay.
  • (From L to R) Heston Blumenthal and Brett Graham during a visit to Australia last year. Aussie expat Graham ranked tenth for his London restaurant The Ledbury. Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, which will relocate to Melbourne next year, was ranked No. 47. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal was fifth on the list.
  • Sydney chef Tetsuya Wakuda's Singapore restaurant Waku Ghin ranked No. 50.
  • At the awards ... Aussie expat chefs Brett Graham and David Thompson. Thompson's Nahm in Bangkok was ranked No. 13.
  • David Thompson's Nahm in Bangkok. It was named Asia's best restaurant and ranked No. 13 on the list.
  • Back at No. 1 ... Noma's Rene Redzepi onstage to accept the award for S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant & The Best Restaurant in Europe, sponsored by Acqua Panna.
  • Noma's Rene Redzepi in Melbourne last year.
  • A dish at Denmark's Noma.

Henry Belot: Obesity is proving a weighty issue for Canberra Hospital.

The toilets at Canberra Hospital used to be rated to 170 kilograms before the patients started breaking them. They have since been replaced with models that can carry 400 kilograms, while huge motorised hoists hang from the ceilings above beds in some of the wards.

Doorways have had to be widened to accommodate reinforced wider beds designed to cope with bigger patients, and a small fortune has been invested in ambulances that are able to carry increasingly heavy passengers.

Henry Belot: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is being urged by Liberals to follow his own advice by scaling down his signature $5.5 billion paid parental leave scheme in the interests of sharing the burden in the budget.

The call came as the government refused to hose down speculation of a special deficit levy and actively ramped up talk of big changes to reduce the welfare bill through cuts to the growth rates of a slew of pensions and the introduction of a harsher means test for family payments.

"There should be changes to indexation arrangements and eligibility thresholds": Tony Abbott.

"There should be changes to indexation arrangements and eligibility thresholds": Tony Abbott. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Henry Belot: Three native plant species not previously recorded in the ACT have been discovered at Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve project officer John Freeman said the 3 new species add to the wetlands list of more than 290 species of flora.

"These species are Jointed twigrush (Baumea articulate), Glaucous goosefoot (Chenopodium glaucum) and Common duckweed (Lemna disperma)," he said.

"While these three new species could very well be located elsewhere in the ACT for Canberrans to uncover they have never before been recorded, which is why surveys like this one are so important."

How exactly does Ben and Jerry's ice cream affect the Great Barrier Reef?

The Queensland government has hit out at the American ice cream company for supporting WWF's "propaganda" campaign to save the reef.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell wants Australians to boycott the American company, saying they've damaged the reputation of the reef and jeopardised jobs and tourism dollars.

''Another company has signed up to the campaign of lies and deceit that's been propagated by WWF,'' Mr Powell said.

''The only people taking a scoop out of the reef is Ben and Jerry's and Unilever.

''If you understand the facts, you'd want to be boycotting Ben and Jerry's.''

Ben and Jerry's ice cream has joined the push for greater protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

Ben and Jerry's ice cream has joined the push for greater protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

Henry Belot: Barcelona fullback Dani Alves produced the perfect riposte to a racist taunt when taking a corner kick during his team's 3-2 win at Villareal on Sunday.

The Brazil international casually picked up a banana thrown from the terraces onto the pitch, peeled it and shoved it in his mouth in one fluid motion before tossing away the peel and completing the kick.

After the game, Alves said that humour was the best way to combat racism in sport.

“You have to take it with a dose of humour. We aren’t going to change things easily," Alves said. “If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”

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Barcelona star's unique response to racist taunt

When an opposition fan threw a banana at Dani Alves, no one could have predicted the Barcelona player's response.

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Eddie McGuire speaks to the media outside of the offices of the Triple M radio station on May 30, 2013.

Eddie McGuire speaks to the media outside of the offices of the Triple M radio station on May 30, 2013. Photo: Scott Barbour

Henry Belot: Is Eddie McGuire the most powerful man in AFL football? Caroline Wilson investigates.

The AFL Commission must remind itself from time to time that McGuire is the president of the Collingwood Football Club - a job in which he has excelled by any definition, but a job that ultimately should rob him on some crucial occasions of football statesman status.

That it feels the need to kowtow to McGuire on so many big-ticket issues is disturbing, even in an industry where the male top-end-of-town rules.

Full column here.

Henry Belot: The ACT Territory and Municipal Services Directorate wish to advise of six hazard burns at separate locations on the south bank of the Molonglo River, upstream from Coppins Crossing.

A series of burns will also be conducted to clear piles of wood collected from 64 hectares of the Kowen Forest and Uriarra Forrest.

Temporary smoke cover is likely in all locations and staff will continue to monitor the hazard burns until no smokes are visible for 24 hours.

Today is the last day to enter our Walking on Water competition.

One lucky winner will receive two night's accommodation for six people at an amazing surf retreat in Ulladulla.

It also includes three surf tuition lessons for up to six people, with free use of equipment and action shots of each participant.

Head here to enter - entries close at midnight, so make sure to get in today!

The National Gallery of Australia won't contest the return of a controversial statue to the Indian government.

Towards the end of March the Indian government formally requested the return of a 900-year-old Dancing Shiva statue from the gallery and a stone sculpture of the god Ardhanarishvara from the Art Gallery of NSW. Tarun Kumar, a first secretary for India's High Commission, said he expected a decision to be made regarding the return within a month.

That deadline has now passed and it has been reported that the NGA will not contest the Indian government's request for the return; nor will the AGNSW.

Likely to return to India? The Dancing Shiva statue in the National Gallery of Australia.

Likely to return to India? The Dancing Shiva statue in the National Gallery of Australia. Photo: Jay Cronan

A vast necropolis with some 50 mummies, including pharaonic royalty, has been discovered in Egypt's famed Valley of the Kings near the temple city of Luxor, AFP is reporting.

"The immense necropolis contains the remains of mummies that could have been members of the royal family, in particular the sons of the kings Tutmoses III and Tutmoses IV of the 18th dynasty," which ruled from 1550-1292 BC, the country's antiquities ministry said on Monday.

Archaeologists, including experts from the University of Basel in Switzerland, found wooden sarcophagi, death masks and canopic jars used to store organs removed during the embalming process. The mummies included newborn babies.

Huge tomb discovered in the West Bank of the Nile, Valley of the Kings, Luxor.

Huge tomb discovered in the West Bank of the Nile, Valley of the Kings, Luxor. Photo: Reuters

Henry Belot: ACT Policing took 14 people into custody for intoxication and drug possession during the Groovin the Moo music festival at the University of Canberra on Sunday. 

Police say four adult males were taken into custody on separate drug offences involving a magic mushroom, cocaine, MDMA and suspected cannabis.

Investigations are ongoing into the possession of the magic mushroom and the cocaine, while one man was charged in relation to the MDMA powder and will appear before the ACT Magistrates Court at a later date.

Crowd at Groovin the Moo. Click for more photos

Groovin the Moo, Canberra

Crowd at Groovin the Moo. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Christopher Pyne

Christopher Pyne Photo: Andrew Meares

Henry Belot: Education Minister Christopher Pyne has given his strongest sign yet the Abbott government will extend taxpayer funds to for-profit universities in a bid to cultivate a US-style college system in Australia.

In a speech to a London think tank on Monday night, Mr Pyne said a new wave of deregulation was needed to stop Australia's universities falling behind the rest of the world.

The speech follows the release two weeks ago of the Kemp-Norton review, which recommended federal funding for private universities, TAFEs and other non-university higher education providers.

Have you entered our Autumn Photo Competition yet

There's some great cash prizes on offer so find out how to enter here.

Check out some the entries we've received so far.

Canberra Times readers Autumn photocomp 2014- Huaifeng Zhang- Morning. Click for more photos

Autumn photo competition entries

Canberra Times readers Autumn photocomp 2014- Huaifeng Zhang- Morning. Photo: Huaifeng Zhang

High-profile sponsors have started abandoning the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team following racist remarks allegedly made by the team's billionaire owner, Donald Sterling.

The NBA is due to make an announcement on Tuesday about the league's investigation of Sterling, whose team is valued at $US575 million by Forbes magazine.

But the financial fall-out has been immediate, with sponsors including Kia Motors, Virgin America, Red Bull, Aquahydrate, CarMax, Yokohama Tire and State Farm Insurance all distancing themselves from the team.

The comments attributed to Sterling, heard in a recording first made public by celebrity news website TMZ at the weekend, have set off a firestorm around the 80-year-old real estate tycoon.

In the recording, a man, believed to be Sterling, says to a woman that he does not want her associating with black people or bringing black friends to Clippers games.

Owner of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling.

Owner of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling. Photo: AP

The final result in the WA Senate re-election is expected today with the Liberals to have three spots, Labor one and one each to the Palmer United Party and the Greens.

West Australians were sent back to the polls on April 5 after about 1400 ballot papers disappeared following the September election.

The official result is expected to be released by the AEC about 4pm.

The man who sparked a hijack scare while on a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Bali has returned home but avoided the media upon his arrival at Brisbane Airport.

Australian Federal Police officers were due to greet Gold Coast man Matt Lockley when he disembarked from a Virgin Australia flight at Brisbane Airport late Monday evening.

The 28-year-old plumber's Indonesian ordeal began on Friday, where he claimed an on-board incident was a misunderstanding when he mistook the cockpit door for a toilet door.

As he prepared to leave the Indonesian airport on Monday afternoon, Mr Lockley looked calm and said nothing as he was hustled past journalists by a group of perhaps 10 officials, including representatives of the Indonesian immigration department, the airport authority, airport management and the Australian consulate.

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Bali police storm Virgin Australia plane

RAW VISION: Dozens of armed police board a Virgin Australia plane during a hijack scare at Bali international airport.

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A search is underway in the US for survivors after powerful tornadoes tore through Arkansas and Oklahoma.

At least 16 people are dead, and dozens injured, following the tornadoes in recent days.

Locals say the damage caused by the tornadoes may be the worst ever in the region, with towns flattened.

Rescue workers now face the task of scouring debris for survivors.

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Powerful storms, tornadoes kill 16 in US

Emergency officials search for survivors in the debris left by a powerful tornado that killed at least 14 people in Arkansas, US.

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<em>Illustration: Frank Maiorana</em>

Illustration: Frank Maiorana

Henry Belot: The US and British governments have advised computer users to use alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser until the company fixes a security flaw that hackers used to launch attacks.

The Internet Explorer bug, disclosed over the weekend, is the first high-profile computer threat to emerge since Microsoft stopped providing security updates for Windows XP earlier this month. That means PCs running the 13-year-old operating system will remain unprotected, even after Microsoft releases updates to defend against it.

Henry Belot: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has reportedly inspected a shelling drill with soldiers at an undisclosed location.

Here's a fun fact for you - today marks 50 years since Lake Burley Griffin was filled.

Thanks to Tim the Yowie Man for reminding us this morning.

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank off the coast of a tourist island can be seen slipping away while hundreds of passengers remain on the doomed ship, a video clip released on Monday by Korea's coast guard reveals.

The clip from April 16 shows coast Guard officers throwing a rope to the steering house and Captain Lee Joon-seok, in a long-sleeved, black shirt, jumping off the listing ferry.

The clip was taken shortly before the ferry became completely submerged in the Yellow Sea - with hundreds of passengers still trapped below the deck.

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South Korean captain flees sinking ferry

South Korea coastguard releases video of the early stages of its rescue operation, showing the ferry captain escaping to safety after passengers were told to stay in their cabins on the capsized ship.

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Henry Belot: A Canberra father allegedly kidnapped and repeatedly hit his 10-month-old son after earlier beating his mother and his partner, a court has heard.

The man allegedly later telephoned his mother and said, "I'll kill him before I give him back", when she begged him to return the infant. The accused, 24, lost his second bid for bail when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday.

The folks over at Fashfest are pretty excited - tomorrow's the day they've been waiting for!

Big crowds are expected at the fashion festival's opening night on Wednesday - the first of four nights of the annual event.

Over the course of Fashfest, 36 local designers will have their wares showcased for all to see.

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr.

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Henry Belot: ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr has signalled significant borrowing as he seeks to give life to a slowing economy that is bracing for the pain of public service job cuts.

Mr Barr will visit Singapore and Hong Kong late in June to drum up investment and persuade lenders on board as he pushes a series of big projects paid for through public-private partnerships.

On Wednesday, he will brief industry on the planned $100 million-plus Supreme Court building, which the government hopes will be built, owned and operated by the private sector, with the government as guaranteed tenant.

The disappearance of Malaysian Air flight 370 may hasten a breakup of the 67-year-old unprofitable airline.

Even before the jet vanished March 8 on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Airline System Bhd. had run up losses of $US1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) in the previous three years. The incident has put the carrier under global scrutiny, jeopardising its reputation and prompting boycotts by travel agents in China.

Analysts now project losses through 2016 and the Subang, Malaysia-based company is trading near the lowest since 2001 relative to its assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Split up, the government-controlled airline could fetch $US1.3 billion, an amount that's more than 10 per cent higher than the company's market value last week, said Malayan Banking Bhd.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER. Photo: AP

How do you solve the mystery of the Canberra Raiders' dramatic form reversal?

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says only improved professionalism will help solve the club's worrying on-field consistency as the Raiders deal with the fallout from Sunday's woeful 54-18 loss to Manly.

Stuart revealed senior players have confided in him on how to address their long-standing issues with backing up a memorable win with a poor performance.

"You've got to learn how to win on the field, and you have to learn how to cope with it off the field,'' Stuart said.

"It wasn't so much the tries they were scoring, it was how they were scoring them at such ease when last week against Melbourne I was giving our defensive structures and individuals credit."

Read the full story from Jon Tuxworth here.

The Raiders went from champs to chumps in just seven days.

The Raiders went from champs to chumps in just seven days.

A man will face court following a fatal crash at Bolong, on the NSW south coast, earlier this week.

A 79-year-old man died at the scene and his 72-year-old wife was airlifted to St George Hospital, but died on Saturday.

A two-year-old boy who was a passenger in the second car remains in Wollongong Hospital in a serious condition.

A 35-year-old man was arrested at Wollongong Hospital on Monday, police say.

He was taken to Wollongong Police Station and charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Henry Belot: The ACT government will spend $54 million to massively expand the territory's prison, building two new cell blocks within two years to solve the overcrowding crisis.

The project will add 110 beds, giving the Alexander Maconochie Centre a total of 476 beds by mid-2016, with surge capacity of an extra 32 beds.

The prison's actual capacity will be significantly lower than the total number of beds, due to separation requirements.

For those of you heading to work a little later this morning, be wary on Parkes Way.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting rain for later today and over the coming days, but there's no sign of it yet today - and Paul Jurak is out in his kayak this morning to show us.

It was another golden sunrise in Canberra, and he's tweeting out his best photos now. You can see more of Paul's work on his Facebook page.

Henry Belot: ACT Policing has arrested a young man following numerous reports of a man exposing himself and groping women on the north side of Canberra.

A girl was walking her dog around 5.20pm in Evatt on Monday when she was approached by a man who pulled his pants down and exposed himself. The man attempted to reach out to the girl before she screamed and fled the area.

In a statement, police said they believe the incident is linked to four similar incidents on the weekend in McKellar, by Lake Ginninderra, and at a University of Canberra residence.

ACT Policing attended the scene in Evatt and executed a search warrant on a home in Canberra's north.

A young man was arrested and charged with committing an act of indecency. He will appear before the ACT Children's Court on Tuesday morning and police will oppose bail.

Henry Belot: The bariatric wheelchair at Canberra Hospital is so vast that six-month-old William Reeve barely takes up one back corner of its base. But, official figures have revealed, by the time he reaches adulthood he stands a better-than-average chance of filling the mobility aid.

One in five girls entering kindergarten in the ACT are classified as overweight and obese and boys are faring little better - about one in eight are above the healthy weight range, ACT Health statistics show.

Full report here.

6-month-old William Reeve sits in a large bariatric wheelchair at the Canberra Hospital. Click for more photos

Obesity in the ACT

6-month-old William Reeve sits in a large bariatric wheelchair at the Canberra Hospital. Photo: Rohan Thomson

  • 6-month-old William Reeve sits in a large bariatric wheelchair at the Canberra Hospital.
  • A large bariatric wheelchair at the Canberra Hospital.
  • An oversized patient lifting sling, shown by staff members, Emmy Prieto, Rick Narayan and Neil Howlett.
  • Lifting equipment in the Bariatric ward, capable of lifting 460 Kg.
  • An oversized walker for obese patients at left and a standard size at right.
  • A standard sized bed at left and an oversized bed for obese patients at right.
  • A standard size chair at left and at right, one to cater for obese patients.
  • A standard size wheelchair on the left and a larger one, at right, to accommodate larger patients.

Tom McIlroy: ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has an early start on Tuesday as she gets ready to present five Canberra women with grant funding at a special breakfast.

Ms Gallagher will announce the winners of the Great Ydeas Small Grants program, run by the YWCA.

The Chief Minister will also deliver the Keynote address and speak of her own personal leadership story and vision for Canberra women and girls.

The grant program is designed to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership in the local community.

The event got underway at 6.45am at The Lobby Restaurant.

The YWCA is a not-for-profit organisation providing community services to the Canberra community since 1929.

 

Malaysia Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.

Malaysia Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar. Photo: AP

Malaysian police say they have arrested nine people under a security law on suspicion of involvement in a terror group with overseas links.

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Monday the nine, aged from 22 to 55, were arrested near the capital Kuala Lumpur and in the northern state of Kedah bordering Thailand.

They were held on suspicion of being ''involved in a militant group that is responsible for planning terror acts in and outside the country'', Mr Khalid said in a statement.

He said they were believed to have links to terrorists abroad, and some of them allegedly held ''a secret meeting to strengthen their militant ideology, raise funds and undergo military training in preparation to commit acts of terror''.

Henry Belot: What's the talk of Canberra on our opinion pages this Tuesday?

You say:

"No, Zed Seselja, Tuggeranong should not be extended to the west side of the Murrumbidgee River. The poor old Murrumbidgee is already seriously degraded by Canberra's urban growth, and does not need further degradation."

Read all today's letters to the editor.

We say:

"While the job losses which began under the Rudd/Gillard governments, and which accelerated under the Coalition, are unlikely to reach 1996-98 levels, the prospect of Canberra-based departments being shifted to other states remains a live one."

Read today's editorial.

Canberra Times front page: April 29, 2014.

Canberra Times front page: April 29, 2014.

On today's front page..

The ACT government will spend $54 million to massively expand the territory's prison, building two new cell blocks within two years to solve the overcrowding crisis.

The bariatric wheelchair at Canberra Hospital is so vast that six-month-old William Reeve barely takes up one back corner of its base. But, official figures have revealed, by the time he reaches adulthood he stands a better-than-average chance of filling the mobility aid.

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr has signalled significant borrowing as he seeks to give life to a slowing economy that is bracing for the pain of public service job cuts.

International drug cartels are increasingly targeting the Australian market due to a rise in demand and the price consumers are willing to pay, with latest figures showing drug seizures and arrests at record highs.

Right now in Canberra, it's a cool 7.4 degrees. Here's a look at the temperatures for the next week in Canberra:

  • Tuesday: 21C. Patchy rain developing later in the afternoon and evening.
  • Wednesday: 9C, 16C. Patchy rain, easing in the evening.
  • Thursday: 2C, 15C. Partly cloudy.
  • Friday: 3C, 13C. Cloudy, the chance of showers in the afternoon and evening.
  • Saturday: 3C, 12C. Cloudy, scattered showers.
  • Sunday: 1C, 12C. Partly cloudy, the chance of showers.

David Polkinghorne: The Australian men's and women's interstate team championships tee off at Federal and Gungahlin Lakes Golf clubs respectively  at 8am today. Unfortunately the ACT doesn't play off for either trophy, with the six states duking it out for the titles.

The world No.1 women's amateur golfer Minjee Lee is representing Australia, fresh from finishing as the leading amateur at the Kraft Nabisco Championship - one of the major tournaments on the LPGA.

The round-robin section wraps up on Thursday with the finals on Friday morning.

The elusive black box of missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 would still be transmitting its location if the aviation industry had swiftly adopted recommendations to extend the battery life of the devices to 90 days.

The recommendations to increase the capability of the batteries from the current limit of 30 days were made in the aftermath of the probe into Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.

Investigators urged regulators to require planes to carry the long-life batteries in their black boxes as "rapidly as possible", as well as giving them a more powerful signal range, currently limited to as little as one nautical mile.

Fifty-two days after Flight MH370 disappeared, its black box has run out of battery power, after apparently giving the search team some tantalising signals for three days before it went dead.

Air France Flight 447: Recommendations proposed following the 2009 incident may have helped to track MH370's black box.

Air France Flight 447: Recommendations proposed following the 2009 incident may have helped to track MH370's black box. Photo: AFP

President Barack Obama says the United States is poised to unveil fresh sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, as pro-Kremlin gunmen seize another town in the east.

Speaking in the Philippines on Monday, Mr Obama said the sanctions would include export restrictions on high-tech goods in a bid to ratchet up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, blamed for the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Separately, top EU officials were to meet in Brussels to step up European sanctions on Russia as part of a co-ordinated global effort against Moscow.

On the ground in eastern Ukraine, tensions remained at fever pitch as gunmen stormed the town hall and police offices in Kostyantynivka, the latest in a string of assaults by insurgents on towns in the region.

A pro-Russian militant poses outside the seized city council building in Kostyantynivka.

A pro-Russian militant poses outside the seized city council building in Kostyantynivka. Photo: Reuters

Britain's top public relations guru Max Clifford has been found guilty of sexual assaults on young women in the first conviction stemming from a police investigation launched after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Jurors at a London court on Monday found the 71-year-old guilty of eight counts of indecent assault relating to four women as young as 15.

The spokesman for the stars was acquitted on two other counts, while the jury was unable to reach a verdict on another.

The silver-haired publicist was granted bail ahead of sentencing on Friday.

Publicist Max Clifford as he leaves court in central London.

Publicist Max Clifford as he leaves court in central London. Photo: Reuters

Henry Belot: People earning more than $80,000 a year could be hit with a ''deficit tax'' in the May budget with the scale rising with income, according to reports.

News Ltd publications on Tuesday reported that the tax, in a strategic leak from the government, would operate like the Medicare levy and cost earners on $80,000 at least $800 a year rising to an extra $8000 a year for those earning $400,000 a year.

Treasurer Joe Hockey is due to release the Commission of Audit report on Thursday, which is expected to reveal measures to rein in the deficit that is predicted to be $30 billion in the 2017-2018 year

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has signalled a new income threshold for government assistance.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has signalled a new income threshold for government assistance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

An Egyptian court has handed down another mass death sentence, condemning 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including the movement's general leader Mohammed Badie, to die for inciting violence after the army overthrew former president Mohamed Mursi.

The same court also recommended that death sentences handed down to 529 people from the town of Matai last month be commuted to 25 years or life in prison for 492 of those defendants.

The judge, Saeed Yousef, maintained the original death sentence for 37 defendants, although in scenes of chaos outside the court relatives were initially left without any confirmation of who was condemned to execution and who was not.

Egyptians react outside a court in Minya after Mohamed Badie and 682 others were sentenced death.

Egyptians react outside a court in Minya after Mohamed Badie and 682 others were sentenced death. Photo: AFP

The Australian dollar is lower amid ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

At 6.30am, the local currency was trading at 92.59 US cents, down from 92.96 cents on Monday.

In the US, 17 people have died as powerful tornadoes flipped cars, ripped up homes and uprooted trees across the south-central states, emergency officials have reported.

''It's chaos right now,'' the mayor of the Arkansas town of Vilonia, James Firestone, told CNN late on Sunday as emergency crews used searchlights to comb through the debris in some of the hardest-hit areas.

The centre of the town of 4000 ''seems like it's completely levelled. There's a few buildings partially standing, gas lines spewing, fire lines down. We've had some casualties.''

The tornadoes tore through the region on Sunday and into Monday and are forecast to threaten much of the region throughout Tuesday.

Police in Connecticut say Paul Simon and his wife, singer Edie Brickell, have been arrested on disorderly conduct charges.

A New Canaan police spokeswoman provided no other details, except to say the arrests stemmed from an incident on Saturday.

Simon's agent in Los Angeles did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Simon is a 12-time Grammy winner and a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame - as half of the duo of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist.

Singer Paul Simon and his wife Edie Brickell appear at a hearing in Norwalk Superior Court.

Singer Paul Simon and his wife Edie Brickell appear at a hearing in Norwalk Superior Court. Photo: AP

In world news this morning, a 15-year-old boy has been arrested after a teacher was stabbed to death at a British school.

Anne Maguire, a 61-year-old Spanish teacher, suffered multiple stab wounds in the Monday incident which was witnessed by other children at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds, northern England.

Police said teachers at the school captured the suspect at the scene and held him until officers arrived.

The teacher died later in hospital.

Teacher dies after stabbing at British school (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Teacher dies after stabbing at British school

A 15-year-old schoolboy has been arrested in Leeds in the UK after a female teacher was fatally stabbed at a school.

PT1M6S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37efx 620 349

In weather news, we're all bracing for some cool days and nights in Canberra this week.

A series of cold fronts are set to hit the ACT from tonight, with snow expected to fall on the Brindabellas from tonight!

If snow falls this week, it'll be more than a week earlier than the first snow last year, when it came down on May 13.

Let's take a little stroll down memory lane, with these photos of the first snowfall in 2013.

A picture of the first snow fall of the season in Namadgi National Park near Mt Franklin. Click for more photos

Snowfall at Namadgi and the Snowy Mountains

A picture of the first snow fall of the season in Namadgi National Park near Mt Franklin. Photo: TAMS

  • A picture of the first snow fall of the season in Namadgi National Park near Mt Franklin.
  • Snow at Thredbo.
  • Snow at Thredbo.
  • Snow at Thredbo 15th May.
  • Snow at Thredbo 15th May.
  • Snow at Thredbo 15th May.
  • Snow at Thredbo 15th May.
  • Snow at Front Valley, Perisher.
  • Snow at Front Valley, Perisher.
  • Icy roads on the way into Perisher.
  • Snow at Pretty Valley, Perisher.
  • A car bears the marks of a snowy morning at Perisher.

Good morning Canberra, it's blog time!

We hope you've got your winter gear all ready to go, we're in for a cold week in the Territory with cold fronts set to hit us from tonight. 

There's plenty of local, national and world news headed your way, stick with us for the  next three hours as we bring you all you need to know this morning.

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