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Canberra Mornings Live: Wednesday August 28

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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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Tegan Osborne: That's it from us today Canberra.

Here's the top five 'most clicked' stories of the morning. Have a good one.

1. Abbott to move agency, but which one?

2. Less pay, more rewarding: pitch to public servants

3. Success in Cooma comes without the politics

4. Hird and his club pay highest of prices

5. Plenty of barking when it comes to diplomat's dog

 

James Hird Click to play video

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Hird still wants to coach at Essendon again

Senior sports writer Peter Hanlon analyses the key points from Tuesday night's press conference at AFL House.

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Today's sunrise.

Today's sunrise.

Hamish Boland-Rudder: The sunrise is getting earlier and earlier as winter draws to an end.

It was a crisp, clean sky this morning ahead of Canberra's first 20 degree day in months.

Here's a picture of what you missed!

You can stay up to date with what the pollies are up to today via our live election blog.

Stephanie Peatling has already been blogging for a good half an hour this morning.

PM Kevin Rudd has been at a teachers' union rally in Brisbane this morning, speaking on Labor's commitment to education.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd meets 9 year old Beth at a teachers' union rally in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd meets 9 year old Beth at a teachers' union rally in Brisbane on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Canberra residents with uncollected household garbage have been told to remain patient as extra collections are scheduled for the city's inner suburbs.

Friday's strike by as many as 40 workers with contractor Cleanaway saw homes in more than 30 suburbs left without curbside garbage and recycling collection.

Fair Work Australia ruled the industrial action was illegal, ordering no further strike action be taken.

An ACT government spokesman said collections would continue from 3pm on Tuesday in suburbs including Campbell, Hackett, Hughes, Watson and O'Malley.

Homes in Isaacs will be serviced on Wednesday and Thursday before scheduled collections resume on Friday.

Hamish Boland-Rudder: Updating you on the weather - it's going to be a partly cloudy one, and we're heading towards a top of 20C today.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Sean Carson is tipping a stinking hot 26 or even 27 degrees for Sunday.

And the warmth is expected to stick around for quite a while yet. Hooray!

There might be some smoke in the air today, with the Australian National University conducting a hazard reduction burn near the Mount Stromlo Observatory.

Temporary smoke cover may occur, with health warnings for people with respiratory issues.

The Health Directorate advises that people with asthma, other chronic respiratory and/or chronic cardiac diseases should not perform vigorous exercise and should stay inside if affected by the smoke.

People with asthma in particular should continue their medication and consult their general practitioner if they have any difficulties.

The Australian stock market is staring down the barrel of heavy opening losses following falls on Wall Street as investors worry about military intervention in Syria.

The Australian dollar is slightly higher on the back of rising commodity prices.

The Aussie dollar was recently buying 0.8978 US dollars and 0.6707 Euro.

You can follow the market today with our Markets Live blog.

Jenna Clarke: It's official Canberra is home to Australia's best hair.

Canberra's own Natasha Roberts, who was also in the running for Miss Universe Australia earlier this year, has been crowned the 2013 winner of Schwarzkopf's Most Beautiful Hair competition thanks to her flowing, flaxen locks.

The 25-year-old has picked up a $3,000 cash prize and will appear in photo shoots in some of the nation's most popular glossy magazines in the coming months.

"Natasha has a really good quality and texture to her hair which comes from lots of love and attention. She has a beautiful shade of blonde and a great length allowing her to style it in a number of different ways. We also noticed that Natasha is passionate about hair and hair care, which can be seen in the health and maintenance of her blonde locks," Schwarzkopf’s National Technical Educator and competition judge Grant Withnell said.

The competition, now in its fourth year, is based on public and technical votes.

According to Mr Withnell, 2013 is the year of curly hair.

"This year in particular we saw a surge in votes for curly hair, both natural and styled."

Winner of Australia’s Most Beautiful Hair competition, Canberra's own Natasha Roberts (second from left) with Schwarzkopf’s National Technical Educator Grant Withnell and other finalists.

Winner of Australia’s Most Beautiful Hair competition, Canberra's own Natasha Roberts (second from left) with Schwarzkopf’s National Technical Educator Grant Withnell and other finalists.

Missing out... there's no sausage sizzles when you cast your vote in Spain.

Missing out... there's no sausage sizzles when you cast your vote in Spain. Photo: Colleen Petch

David McLennan, from Madrid: While Kevin and Tony keep battling away for our votes on September 7, many people have already cast their ballots at pre-poll centres, including many around the world.

I voted overnight in Madrid, where the experience is not quite the same as back home.

For a start, there was no sausage sizzle (and even more sadly there wasn't any chorizo or jamon either). You also had to cross the city instead of going to your neighborhood school and then go through an array of security to have your democratic say.

Twice we had to provide our passports and twice we had to go through metal detectors and have our bags scanned. Cameras and any transmitting devices had to be turned off and handed over to a very serious security guard before we even got to the polling place on the 24th floor, and there were stern words if you tried a quick snap (hence no photos to go with this post).

But once inside it's all much the same. There's a familiar Aussie accent explaining how you have to number the ballots, a little cardboard screen and the standard ballot box. Just like home, only thousands of miles away and with much more security (and with fewer people thrusting how-to-vote cards at you).

Jenna Clarke: Just a quick chat with Liberal Senate hopeful Zed Seselja, he's not too impressed with Miley Cyrus' "performance" at the MTV Video Music Awards.

He and his wife Ros are considering banning Hannah Montana in their household.

Which means confiscating their 6-year-old daughter Olivia's fan gear.

 

A former legal academic and defence advocate has been appointed as the new chief executive of Legal Aid ACT.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell announced the appointment of John Boersig as the newest boss of the legal service for disadvantaged Canberrans on Tuesday.

Dr Boersig replaces Andrew Crockett who will retire in November after seven years in the role.

Dr Boersig has vast experience in law, and has worked as an assistant secretary in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, as a senior lecturer in law, and as an advocate with the Aboriginal Legal Service of NSW.

Scott Batum: Look, up in the sky! It’s a hamburger! It’s a sub!

Actually, it was Skydive Canberra’s chief instructor Curtis Morton undertaking a world first, skydiving while eating a kebab.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Morton jumped out of a plane and proceeded to eat a chicken kebab after he released his parachute.

Mr Morton was approached by Zous Chaloner, the owner of Ali Baba in Erindale, to eat one of his kebabs after Mr Chaloner saw him wearing a Skydive Canberra shirt in his restaurant.

Curtis Morton is well known in the Australian skydiving community for travelling around the country instructing and completing over 8,000 jumps.

This isn’t the first time Canberra has had an odd skydiving event. Last year, Canberra resident Matt Lambert skydived naked to win tickets to the Foreshore Music Festival.

I guess it’s only a matter of time until Canberra has a naked skydiver eating a kebab.

Skydive Canberra chief instructor Curtis Morton skydiving while eating a kebab. Click for more photos

The man diving into Canberra...literally

Skydive Canberra chief instructor Curtis Morton skydiving while eating a kebab.

  • Skydive Canberra chief instructor Curtis Morton skydiving while eating a kebab.
  • Skydive Canberra chief instructor Curtis Morton skydiving Uluru.
  • Skydive Canberra chief instructor Curtis Morton skydiving with a saxophone.
  • Skydive Canberra chief instructor Curtis Morton skydiving over Parliament House.
  • Skydive Canberra Chief Instructor Curtis Morton skydiving with the Australian Canopy Team.

As she's approached her 100th birthday Barbara Gloe has stayed right where she's most comfortable: her own home.

Surrounded by supportive neighbours and family, Mrs Gloe has also had the vital support of Meals on Wheels to help her stay independent.

This week Mrs Gloe celebrated her century milestone in the same week Red Cross celebrated its 60th national Meals on Wheels Day.

Red Cross manager Grant Watt said it was ''just beautiful" to be having a joint celebration with a special client.

 

Red Cross volunteer with Meals on Wheels Aiden Thompson, 19 of Gungahlin, Barbara Gloe and Executive Director of the Red Cross Joan Hughes.

Red Cross volunteer with Meals on Wheels Aiden Thompson, 19 of Gungahlin, Barbara Gloe and Executive Director of the Red Cross Joan Hughes. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Tegan Osborne: A 39-year-old woman has died overnight after veering off the road in Melba and crashing into a parked car.

Police were called to Grainger Circuit at about 11.30pm, where the woman was pronounced dead.

Officers say the woman's white Mazda 323 came off the road at low speed. It appears the driver has suffered a medical episode while behind the wheel, but the cause of the crash is being investigated.

A post mortem examination will be conducted and ACT Policing’s Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Team will continue investigations.

All clear so far on the roads this morning, according to ACT Policing.

Got a traffic tip? Tweet @canberratimes, email online@canberratimes.com.au or comment on the blog.

The ACT public service has launched an informal recruiting drive among federal bureaucrats in Canberra who fall victim to spending cuts and efficiency dividends.

The territory's Commissioner for Public Administration says that a smaller, more nimble organization that is closer to its community than the lumbering federal bureaucracy could be attractive to Commonwealth public servants who find themselves dumped by an incoming Coalition government.

Commissioner Andrew Kefford conceded that the territory could not match the salaries available in the Commonwealth set-up, but said that the ACT's 20,000-strong bureaucracy offered other less tangible benefits.

 

Henry Kwan

Henry Kwan Photo: Supplied

Canberra's illicit drug users are increasingly ordering exotic products online, leaving doctors unsure how to treat suspected overdoses.

A Canberra emergency medicine specialist on Tuesday urged medical professionals and paramedics to be on alert for a potential spike in overdoses from a cheap synthetic drug linked to the death of a Sydney teenager.

Henry Kwan, 17, jumped off a third-floor balcony in June after taking an NBOMe-class drug which had LSD-type effects.

His death prompted bans to be imposed on a range of synthetic drugs.

Read more on this story here.

Joe Hockey.

Joe Hockey. Photo: AFR

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey is expected to release more of the Coalition's costings today

Mr Hockey will reportedly use his National Press Club debate with Treasurer Chris Bowen to announce a number of savings, including the independent Parliamentary Budget Office's costing of Tony Abbott's controversial paid parental leave scheme.

Fleta Page: The Cerebral Palsy Alliance is having a bad week, with the not-for-profit’s Spence office burgled twice in two days.

The Alliance is appealing for donations for their major fundraiser in two weeks, after their auction items were among the valuables stolen.

Contact the alliance via their website if you can help.

As we mentioned earlier in the blog, heavy sanctions have been delivered overnight by the AFL against Essendon over its supplements program.

Essendon has been fined $2 million and banned from the 2013 finals series and the opening two rounds of the national draft.

You can follow all the fall out this morning via Fairfax Media's live blog on the story.

James Hird Click to play video

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Hird still wants to coach at Essendon again

Senior sports writer Peter Hanlon analyses the key points from Tuesday night's press conference at AFL House.

PT3M10S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2sort 620 349

If you read the New York Times online, you may have had some difficult accessing their site this morning.

The Times says its website has gone down after what appears to be a ‘‘malicious external attack’’.  

A security researcher says there are indications that the Syrian Electronic Army, which has attacked several media organisations, is the culprit.

Canberra Construction businesses will be hit with a $1040 per-worker levy increase to help ensure the viability of a portable long-service scheme for workers.

The building industry warned on Tuesday that companies would struggle to afford the levy hike, which the ACT Government said was needed to guarantee employees access to their entitlements.

Industrial Relations Minister Simon Corbell said increasing a construction industry levy from 1.75 per cent to 2.5 per cent of gross wages would cost companies an average of $40 per fortnight for each worker.

Peter Jean has the story here.

And here is the third!

Canberra Times readers winter photocomp 2013- Vijay Koul-?
Ducks on the lake. Click for more photos

Canberra Times readers winter photocomp gallery

Canberra Times readers winter photocomp 2013- Vijay Koul-? Ducks on the lake. Photo: Vijay Koul

Here's the second Winter Photo Competition Gallery.

Moorhen walking on Water Lake Burley Griffin. Click for more photos

Canberra Times readers winter photocomp 2013 gallery no.2

Moorhen walking on Water Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Vijay Koul

Have you entered our Winter Photo Competition yet? There's some cash on the table for the winners, so you should get into it.

There are some pretty cracking entries so far, and of course, with just under a month left in August, there's still plenty of time to get snapping!

Head here for all the info on how to enter your photos in the competition.

We've received so many entries for the competition we've actually had to create three online galleries to hold them all. 

Here's the first gallery.

Frosty morn outside Braidwood. Click for more photos

Canberra Times readers' winter photo comp 2013

Frosty morn outside Braidwood. Photo: Diane Johnstone

Kevin Rudd & Tony Abbott.

Kevin Rudd & Tony Abbott. Photo: Reuters

Fleta Page: Only 10 days until the election; on the campaign trail treasurer Chris Bowen and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey will debate here in Canberra today, ahead of the third leaders’ debate tonight.

Mr Hockey is due to release ‘‘interim’’ costings of the coalition’s election promises during the lunch time debate at the National Press Club.

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott will attend a people’s forum at the Rooty Hill RSL Club in Sydney. They will no doubt argue about those costings.

Mr Abbott is confident the coalition’s ‘‘spends and saves’’ will show a better budget bottom line than Labor’s.

But Mr Rudd insists Labor are better economic managers and the coalition is all about ‘‘cuts, cuts, cuts’’.

The leaders' debate will be broadcast on ABC News24 and SBS2 at 6.30pm

Today's cartoon by David Pope.

Editorial cartoon 23 October. Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial cartoon 23 October. Photo: David Pope

Daniel Minns is as happy as an 11 year old could be with a brand new TV, sound system and all the games he could ever want. But for Daniel, it provides little relief from the illness he has dealt with his entire life.

Project Box Seat is installed in households with seriously ill children. The unit has a large TV, a state-of-the-art surround sound system, multiple video game consoles and a library of the latest DVDs and games.

Daniel, 11, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was two. His family had Project Box Seat installed at their house five weeks ago.

Daniel’s father John Minns, of Spence, said the disease presenting itself so early had caused issues for Daniel his entire life.

“It comes with a whole array of challenges. Managing diet and nutrition to promote healthy growth is tough,” Mr Minns said.

Read more on this heart-warming story here.

Daniel Minns, 11, with his father John Minns use the entertainment centre from Project Box Seat.

Daniel Minns, 11, with his father John Minns use the entertainment centre from Project Box Seat. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

While some of us have had a bit of a whinge about the usual winter chills, it turns out this may have been our warmest winter ever.

Canberra's first 20-degree days since May could cap off one of the capital's warmest winters on record, if forecasts for the rest of the week prove accurate.

The mean temperature for Canberra's winter is already 1.3 degrees warmer than the historical average, and a run of warmth in the dying days of the season could see that creep slightly higher still.

According to Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist from Fairfax-owned Weatherzone, apart from the chance of a handful of showers on Wednesday morning and overnight on Thursday, Canberra's weather will be a vast improvement on last week, when the temperature didn't get above 13 degrees from Monday to Friday.

Cold wet conditions at Thredbo on Saturday, melting all the snow that had fallen the previous week.

Cold wet conditions at Thredbo on Saturday, melting all the snow that had fallen the previous week. Photo: Jay Cronan

If you haven't seen THAT Miley Cyrus performance from the MTV Music Awards yet, you've probably been living under a rock this week.

Her controversial song and dance number at the awards has caused quite the stir online this week, but Fairfax Media's Peter Vincent writes it really wasn't the car crash moment it's been painted as:

"This was Miley in control, albeit it using low culture to hit top form. She was ultra confident, didn't appear affected by alcohol or any substances (as some VMA performers have been alleged to have been in the recent past) and in fact seemed to be enjoying the chance to stretch standards of decency."

Do you agree? Leave a comment on the blog.

MIAMI BEACH, FL - JUNE 29:  Miley Cyrus poses at the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party Presented by VISIT FLORIDA at Fontainebleau's BleauLive in Miami on June 29, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Clear Channel) Click to play video

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Miley Cyrus performance turns internet red hot

Miley Cyrus’s raunchy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards stole the show but sent the internet into over-drive.

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There's the chance of a shower this morning, at we're heading towards a top of 20C.

The afternoon should be mostly sunny with light winds.

Taking a look ahead to the rest of the week:

Thursday - Possible late shower, max 21C.

Friday - Morning show or two, max 19C.

Saturday - Partly cloudy, max 18C.

Sunday - Partly cloudy, 20C.

In sport news that broke yesterday evening, Essendon has been banned from the 2013 finals series and the opening two rounds of the 2013 draft over the club's supplements scandal, and slapped with a $2 million fine for the derelict failures of its football program.

Meantime, Essendon coach James Hird has dramatically backed down and accepted a one-year ban from the game.

Hird has admitted he brought the game into disrepute and has abandoned his Supreme Court action against the league and its boss, Andrew Demetriou.

Essendon fined $2 million, Hird banned for one year (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Essendon fined $2m, Hird banned for one year

Bombers kicked out of the 2013 AFL finals and coach James Hird banned from the game for one year as punishment for the club's role in the supplements scandal.

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US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has told the BBC the US military is ready to strike Syria, as the momentum grows in France and Britain for punitive action and the Syrian opposition says it had been informed of an imminent military attack.

"We are prepared. We are ready to go" if given such an order from President Barack Obama, the US Defence Secretary said.

The US and its allies blame Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for chemical weapons attacks in Eastern Ghouta and Maadamiyet al-Sham, outside Damascus, which the opposition claimed killed at least 1300 people.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to the media during a joint news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to the media during a joint news conference in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: KAMARUL AKHIR

Tegan Osborne: Hi Canberra. Welcome to another live morning news blog. 

Breaking news reporter Fleta Page and I will be bringing you the news right through until 9.30am.

Coming up we've got a full weather wrap, the latest election news and what's on around the capital today.

Right now it's 1.2C outside - and there's just three days of winter left to go.