ACT News

Canberra Mornings Live: Tuesday April 29

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:

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

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. 
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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.

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.

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.

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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. Canberra Times reporter.

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

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 ...
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.

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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.

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

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. 

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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