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ACT News

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Canberra Mornings Live: Tuesday December 10

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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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On that note let's call it for the morning folks.

We'll be back bright and early tomorrow at 7am.

Here's what's been getting you clicking today:

1. Durham Castle Arms pub buckling under rising costs

2. Don't make me go back to 'racist' Australia: Boat race protester

3. Petrie Plaza sculpture vandalised again, figure stolen 

4. ACT, NSW police will launch a cross-border campaign to reduce Kings Highway deaths

5. Many sacrifices on road to body beautiful: Billie Paea

Bodybuilder Bille Paea?Canberra local who competed in the Natural Olympia in San Diego.

Bodybuilder Bille Paea?Canberra local who competed in the Natural Olympia in San Diego. Photo: Daniel Spellman

Jon Tuxworth writes this morning that Dr Peter Fricker, who has helped some of Australia's best athletes to Olympic gold, has been called in to help the Canberra Raiders review their high performance and medical departments.

Dr Fricker reckons the Raiders don't require a radical overhaul to bounce back from this year's tumultuous season.

Former AIS director Dr Peter Fricker will review the Canberra Raiders' setup.

Former AIS director Dr Peter Fricker will review the Canberra Raiders' setup. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

Hamish Boland-Rudder: Here's a list we can get behind... the 10 weirdest science stories of 2013.

The Australian Science Media Centre has compiled a list that includes gems like the scientific benefits of farting on planes, whether or not size matters, ahm, down there for men when it comes to attracting members of the opposite sex, and news that dogs might actually be able to tell left from right when they're wagging their tails.

Of course, they also compiled their list of the top 10 serious science stories for the year. Top of the list was news NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, which became the first man-made object ever to leave our solar system. Their top 10 also includes the lab-grown beef burger worth a whopping $367,000 (yes, someone did get to eat it), and the discovery of fossils dating back 3.5 billion years in Western Australia - the oldest signs of life on the planet.

If you'd like to find out what rounded out each of the top 10s, the serious list is available here, and the weird list here.

Strangely enough, The Canberra Times' own extraordinary forking science story didn't make either list. Weirdest or best science story or 2013? What do you think?

An x-ray of a dining fork, stuck inside a Canberra man's penis.

An x-ray of a dining fork, stuck inside a Canberra man's penis.

Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan.

Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan. Photo: Graham Tidy

Tom McIlroy: Justice Minister Michael Keenan is getting ready to launch the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC will add to research efforts into capability and resilience of bushfire and other hazards including flood, earthquake, cyclone and tsunami.

Mr Keenan will speak to journalists outside Parliament House this morning.

The Markets Live blog is also up running for the day - and it should be quiet start for the ASX.

Follow here.

Politics junkies - the Politics Live blog is back for another day.

Judith Ireland has all the latest from the hill and beyond, as usual.

Follow here.

 

Hamish Boland-Rudder: If there's one message to come out of this weekend just past, it's don't mess with Canberra's veteran fencers.

The ACT scored itself a second place overall in the combined veterans categories (just missing out on the Centenary Shield) at the Australian Fencing Championships at the AIS over the weekend and into yesterday.

Canberra took out the top two places in the veteran men's epee, with Nigel Nutt in first and Georg Mittermair in second. Nutt also grabbed second place in the veteran men's foil - not a man to draw swords against if you run across him in a dark alley! Nutt, 47, told us over the weekend that he hopes to keep fighting the good fight well into his 70s.

In the women's events, Cerridwyn Murphy came equal third in the veteran women's sabre.

The full list of results can be seen over on the Australian Fencing website, and you can check out a gallery of some of the weekend action below:

Nigel Nutt from the ACT congratulates Andre Tyshchenko from NSW. Click for more photos

Veterans men's foil championship

Nigel Nutt from the ACT congratulates Andre Tyshchenko from NSW. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

  • Nigel Nutt from the ACT congratulates Andre Tyshchenko from NSW.
  • Andre Tyshchenko from NSW salutes the officials and the crowd.
  • Andre Tyshchenko from NSW celebrates winning the gold medal.
  • Nigel Nutt from the ACT loses another point to Andre Tyshchenko from NSW.
  • Nigel Nutt from the ACT looks dejected after losing a point to Andre Tyshchenko from NSW.
  • Andre Tyshchenko from NSW fixes his foil after a heavy blow.
  • Nigel Nutt from the ACT defending against Andre Tyshchenko from NSW.
  • Andre Tyshchenko from NSW gets some words from his coach during a break.
  • Nigel Nutt from the ACT and Andre Tyshchenko from NSW.
  • Nigel Nutt from the ACT and Andre Tyshchenko from NSW.

Ben Westcott: A 27-year-old Canadian man holidaying in Australia has been charged, after allegedly filming another man showering in a Civic hostel yesterday morning.

Police were called to the hostel around 8am on Monday and the man was arrested.

He was taken to the ACT Watch House and will face the ACT Magistrates Court this morning, charged with one count of act of indecency without consent.

Ben Westcott: We have an update on the collision this morning on Flemington Road at Mitchell near Epic.

Although we reported earlier there had been no injuries, we now know one female in her 20s was treated for minor injuries on the scene and has been transferred to the Canberra Hospital.

The accident was between a car and a bus.

How cool is this?

The members of independent Melbourne soul band Hiatus Kaiyote found out this week their song Nakamarra, featuring Q-Tip, has been nominated for a prestigious Grammy Award in the R&B category.

Lovely Canberra shot on Twitter this morning from Andrea (@UTLAU).

John Thistleton: The Canberra Times is meeting a civil engineer this morning at Cotter Dam, to reflect on his experiences of strengthening the old dam wall in the 1980s.

Gavan McArdle was one of the key contractors building the national capital, and is featured in a new book 'The Master Builders That Built Canberra'.

The ACT Master Builders Association will launch the book on Thursday night, celebrating a cast of characters who have ridden the boom and bust cycles during 100 years of building Canberra.

Mr McArdle is one of dozens of retired builders talking about earlier times in the book.

Industry and government chiefs, including David Dawes, John Hindmarsh, John Miller and numerous migrants including Donato Capezio and Sotiria Liangis, have also contributed to the 200-page publication.

Former High Court justice Michael Kirby.

Former High Court justice Michael Kirby. Photo: AFP

Stephanie Anderson: Former High Court judge Michael Kirby will be among the speakers taking part in a discussion on the state of Human Rights in the ACT.

The public discussion, coinciding with International Human Rights Day, will also include commentary from local academics and ACT Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner Helen Watchirs.

The former High Court judge will not be making a physical appearance - he'll be in Geneva - but has recorded a statement for the event.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the session as it kicks off at the National Library of Australia from 11.30am, so stay tuned!

Ben Westcott: The ACT Liberal party will be making a major announcement at 12.20pm today about their parliamentary team.

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson will be joined by colleagues Nicole Lawder, Andrew Wall and Guilia Jones to make the announcement.

While they won't tell us what it is, we wonder if they'll be giving some portfolios to Nicole Lawder MLA, who replaced senator and former party leader Zed Seselja.

Earlier this year, Mr Hanson said he would conducting a minor reshuffle after he had given the new MLA some time to settle in.

Ben Westcott: Territory and Municipal Services have announced the Tidbinbilla Ring Road and Mountain Creek Road are now closed until further notice due to high winds.

The rest of Tidbinbilla nature reserve is still open.

Updating you on that collision in Mitchell.

bus and car have collided on Flemington Road near Epic. There are no reported injuries and traffic has not been disrupted.

There's been an collision this morning on Flemington Road at Mitchell near Epic. ACT Fire and Rescue are at the scene.

It's unclear how serious it is - we're just looking into it.

We'll have more details shortly.

The flag marshall at Parliament House lowers the flag as a mark of respect for Nelson Mandela's memorial.

The flag marshall at Parliament House lowers the flag as a mark of respect for Nelson Mandela's memorial. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Ben Westcott: On Friday our political journalist Ross Peake wrote the national flag on Parliament House would not be lowered for the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

The reasoning was it should only be lowered for the funeral of a head of state of another country with which Australia has diplomatic relations, but not for the funeral of a former head of state.

The move provoked outrage in the community, which some Australians taking to Twitter to voice their outrage.

On Saturday Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced all Australian Government flags would be flown at half mast on today, the day of the official memorial.

Another cancellation from ACTION buses this morning.

Tom McIlroy: Students from around Australia are in Canberra to compete for the International Informatics Olympiad team this week, with a school of excellence underway at ANU until December 19.

Students will be selected to compete for a place on the team that will represent Australia at the 2014 International Olympiad in Informatics in Taipei, Taiwan.

The 26 students will attempt to make the four-member Australian team.

In years 7 to 11, this year there is one student from Canberra, 19 from Sydney, two from Perth and four from Melbourne. This includes three members from this year’s IOI team and a girl for the first time in several years.  

IOI president Richard Forster said the competition had difficulty attracting women and that in spite of trying to solve it, "none of us have hit on quite what the problem is, let alone the solution."

The flag was lowered to half mast at 8am this morning.

The flag was lowered to half mast at 8am this morning.

Tom McIlroy: The Australian Flag above Parliament House is flying at half-mast to mark the memorial service for late South African leader Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

A memorial service will be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, today.

A Department of Parliamentary Services spokeswoman said the flag had been lowered as a mark of mourning and respect and in accordance with protocol.

It will remain at half-mast for all of Tuesday.

Some bus updates for you.

A bus driver has won over $400,000 in damages for nervous shock, after he unwittingly ferried military cadets to a ''graphic'' simulated massacre scene.

Christopher Knaus has the full story here.

Peter Jean: ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs will temporarily take on the additional role of Public Advocate, Attorney-General Simon Corbell has announced.

Anita Phillips will retire from the public advocate’s position at the end of the year.

Mr Corbell said Dr Watchirs would act in the post for three months while a review of statutory officer positions in the Justice portfolio was completed.

Full story here.

ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Helen Watchirs.

ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Helen Watchirs. Photo: Jay Cronan

ACT and NSW police will launch a cross-border campaign on Tuesday to lower the number of the deaths and injuries along the Kings Highway, a notorious stretch of road which has seen an increase in drivers fined for speeding during the Christmas months in recent years.

Latest ACT Policing figures comparing the past three years show a 10 per cent increase in the number of speeding offences recorded on the Kings Highway during the December-January periods with drivers aged in their early 20s making up the worst category.

Phillip Thomson has the story here.

Tom McIlroy: We're looking forward to seeing how this Skywhale tribute works out. 

Brami Jegan, a media adviser to NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon, last night tweeted a photo of preparations for the Meredith Music Fesitval

My extremely stylish Christmas tree.

My extremely stylish Christmas tree.

Tom McIlroy: I am very excited to have my first Canberra Christmas tree up and decorated.

Many thanks to the friendly folk at the St Nicholas Christmas tree stall at the EPIC Farmer's Market on Sunday.

The tree smells amazing and is looking pretty good ahead of some festive cheer in the next few weeks. 

Don't forget - we want photos of your Christmas tree for the morning blog too.

Send an email to online@canberratimes.com.au with "Christmas Tree Pix" in the subject line. Or you can tweet @canberratimes with your picture. And make sure you include what suburb you're from, and the names of anyone in the photo. 

Jay Cronan: This video is for those people who have an imagination, and have always dreamed of going into space.

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

It will totally blow your mind!

I've have now opened a separate bank account to save $250,000 for a seat on Virgin Galactic.

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Tom McIlroy: What's being discussed in the Canberra Times opinion pages today?

You say...

If it would cost less than $150 million extra a year to keep Holden in Australia until 2025, surely it is right that Holden buyers pay the price rather than taxpayers in general.

Read today's letters to the editor here.

We say....

Joe Hockey’s infrastructure plan warrants careful scrutiny, not just for its ambitious timetable, its slant towards road
projects, and its questionable bias towards states with something to sell.

Read today's editorial here.

The missing 'little man' statue has been handed in and police are speaking to two women, following latest vandalism of the On The Staircase sculpture in Petrie Plaza.

The smallest of the four figures on the Petrie Plaza sculpture On The Staircase was stolen from the work on Sunday morning.

"On the staircase" public art in the city has been vandalised again.

"On the staircase" public art in the city has been vandalised again. Photo: Melissa Adams

Meantime Australian shares appear poised for a quiet open, following Monday’s QBE Insurance led sell-off.

Australian dollar is higher this morning, following strong data out of China and the US and a rally on global stock markets.

Today's front page,

Today's front page,

On today's front page...

Thousands of Holden workers are expecting to find out their fate this morning, many weeks after their US head office in Detroit decided to cut them adrift.

A bus driver who suffered nervous shock when he unwittingly ferried military cadets to a ‘‘graphic’’ simulated massacre scene has won a payout of more than $450,000.

Two-thirds of crashes on the Kings Highway occur on bends, making the windy sections between Clyde Mountain and the coast especially dangerous for Canberra drivers and motorcyclists this summer.

Taylor Schmidt has been told his ‘‘brutal, vicious, unprovoked and cowardly’’ murder of a young university graduate will stay with him for the rest of his life.

Strong commercial demand is expected for ACT government owned properties along Northbourne Avenue that will be sold for redevelopment.

The ACT government is still considering whether or not to repair Civic’s ‘‘little men’’ statue, after it was vandalised again on the weekend.

Today's cartoon by David Pope.

Editorial Cartoon 13.4.14 Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial Cartoon 13.4.14 Photo: David Pope

Tom McIlroy: ActewAGL is reporting that all electricity services across Canberra's south have been restored after difficulties last night.

Some of the outages were related to large trees falling on power lines in heavy winds.

Areas impacted by the problems included Mawson and Yarralumla.

Early showers were forecast for this morning (looks kind of dry out there so far though??), and we're heading towards a cooler top of 23C today.

Winds of up to 35km/h were also forecast for early this morning. 

Wednesday - Sunny, max 24C.

Thursday - Sunny, max 27C.

Friday - Partly cloudy, max 29C.

Tom McIlroy: Federal politics is set to focus on the Australian automotive industry again today, as GM Holden managing director Mike Devereux appears before a Productivity Commission hearing in Melbourne.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are in South Africa for the Nelson Mandela memorial service today.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will sit today.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt will speak this morning at a breakfast for the Recreational Fishing Foundation.

The Australian Medical Association will present its annual Indigenous Health Report card this afternoon. 

National Party director Scott Mitchell will give his 2013 election campaign post mortem to the National Press Club.

 

Hello there. It's good to be with you this morning. 

Thanks for joining breaking news reporter Tom McIlroy and I for another Canberra Mornings Live blog.

We've got tonnes of news lined up for you so don't go away.

You can get in touch by leaving a comment on the blog, tweeting @canberratimes or going to our Facebook page.

There's also our email address online@canberratimes.com.au

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