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Canberra Mornings Live: Wednesday February 19

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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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We'll leave it there this morning. Thanks for joining us.

Here's a wrap of our top five stories:

1. Public servants face pay freeze under government's hard-line plan         

2. The 'lost' boy: photo of four-year-old Marwan goes viral              

3. Your mate has married an idiot. Now what?       

4. Flames and adrenalin: how our firies faced Civic blaze

5. Etihad flight diverted to Jakarta after 'disruptions'

 

The heartbreaking image of the 'lost' boy (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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The heartbreaking image of the 'lost' boy

Four-year-old Marwan is found crossing a desert alone. But all was not what it seemed.

PT0M50S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32z8t 620 349
Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson's infamous rooftop drinking session.

Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson's infamous rooftop drinking session.

Remember this anyone?

What a turnaround...

Former Canberra Raider Josh Dugan has made the surprising jump from party boy to captaincy candidate at St George Illawarra.

Dugan was sacked for a range of off-field incidents in Canberra last year before Brisbane withdrew a contract offer because of a social media rant.

Josh Dugan

Josh Dugan Photo: Christopher Chan

Back to world new for a moment.

Mayhem has gripped Kiev as riot police officers broke through barricades protecting a protest encampment, sparking a new wave of violence.

Ukrainian protesters have hurled petrol bombs, fireworks and stones at riot police on the edge of Kiev's Independence Square, and nine people have died in the worst day of violence since demonstrations erupted against President Viktor Yanukovich.

Full story here.

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Ukraine rocked by fresh violence

Violence rocks the Ukrainian capital Kiev as several thousand anti-government protesters clash with riot police in the worst street violence since late January.

PT1M21S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-32z3s 620 349

Noel Towell's story outlining the Abbott government's aggressive new approach to cost cutting in the public service is attracting so many comments this morning we're having trouble keeping up with them.

Australia's 165,000 federal bureaucrats will face a choice of zero pay rises for three years or deep cuts to their entitlements, if Employment Minister Eric Abetz gets his way.

Here's some of what readers have been saying:

"Leave us low level APS workers alone go have a crack at the EL level and above."APS Worker Ant

"Guess what, Abetz? Fewer public servants have been doing more work. Craziest part is that spending on items continues on, unabated."Guide dog

And this...

"Will this mean that the politicians will also not seek a pay rise? Highly unlikely." - Fair is Fair

Read more here.

The biggest ocean liner to ever visit Australia, the Queen Mary 2, docked in Sydney Harbour early this morning.

The stopover is part of the ship's whirlwind visit as part of its second circumnavigation of Australia.

The 10-year-old ship arrived in Sydney, its ninth visit, from Melbourne and sails to Brisbane on Friday. It won’t return to Sydney until the end of it's full circumnavigation of Australia on March 14.

The Queen Mary 2 arrives at Circular Quay on Wednesday morning.

The Queen Mary 2 arrives at Circular Quay on Wednesday morning.

Updating you on that Etihad flight from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi that was diverted to Indonesia...

Passengers on flight EY461 have taken to social media to report a series of fires being lit during the flight, with some claiming to be ‘‘lucky’’ to have arrived safely.

One Instagram user, who claimed to be a passenger on the flight, wrote: ‘‘Try having someone set the plane on fire, in two different places, having to emergency land in Jakarta, get back on after hours of investigations, for the IDIOT to set three more fires in three more toilets while mid-air and nowhere to land!!!!!’’

Full story here.

Canberran and former ACT MLA Roslyn Dundas is in Brisbane today, and happened to catch a glimpse of the infamous Skywhale.

We spied this tweet online this morning.

Local stocks are poised to open slightly higher amid another round of corporate results.

Follow all the news today via out Markets Live blog.

Tom McIlroy: French police arrested a 48-year-old man on Tuesday as part of their investigation into the 2012 murders of a British-Iraqi family and a cyclist in the Alps.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud said the man, from the Haute-Savoie region, was placed in formal custody and was detained following the release in November of an identikit image of a mysterious motorcyclist seen near where the quadruple murder took place.

"This arrest, which may not be the only one, was the result of witness statements" that came in after the image was released, Mr Maillaud said.

Saad al-Hilli was gunned down in September 2012 along with his wife and her mother in a woodland car park close to the village of Chevaline in the hills above Lake Annecy.

French police arrested a 48-year-old man on Tuesday.

French police arrested a 48-year-old man on Tuesday. Photo: Philippe Desmazes

One of the original members of Devo, guitarist Bob Casale, has died from heart failure at the age of 61.

"His sudden death from conditions that led to heart failure came as a total shock to us all," his brother and bandmate Gerald Casale said on the group's website on Tuesday.

Bob Mothersbaugh, Bob Casale, Gerald Casale and Mark Allen Mothersbaugh of Devo in 2011.

Bob Mothersbaugh, Bob Casale, Gerald Casale and Mark Allen Mothersbaugh of Devo in 2011. Photo: Getty

Enjoying the calm after the storms, trainers from Murrumbateman's Australian Paragliding Centre were hard at it on Monday and Tuesday.

Canberra Times reporter and Murrumbateman resident, David Ellery, snapped this shot of of the pilots coming in to land after a late evening aerial tour of the village.

The pilot later wrote that it had been the perfect end to a perfect day.

Looks like fun.

A pilot from Murrumbateman's Australian Paragliding Centre coming into land.

A pilot from Murrumbateman's Australian Paragliding Centre coming into land. Photo: David Ellery

Caroline Zielinski brings us the story this morning that Abu Dhabi police are interviewing passengers and crew from an Etihad flight forced to make an unscheduled landing in Jakarta after a "series of events which disrupted the flight".

Etihad Airways released a statement confirming a plane that left Melbourne for Abu Dhabi on Monday, just after 11pm, landed safely in the United Arab Emirates capital four hours behind schedule.

The Boeing 777-300ER was scheduled to fly directly to Abu Dhabi, but was forced to land in Jakarta for an "operational assessment," the spokesman said.

Very odd. We'll bring you more news on this as it comes to hand.

Canberra Capital Abby Bishop.

Canberra Capital Abby Bishop. Photo: Graham Tidy

Lee Gaskin: Australian Opals representative Abby Bishop will be a red-hot favourite to take out the major honour at the Canberra Capitals awards dinner at the Dickson Tradies tonight.

Bishop had a sensational season and was extremely unlucky to miss selection in the WNBL All Star Five.

The 25-year-old embraced a leadership role in the absence of superstar Lauren Jackson and was one of the most dominant players in the competition.

The Capitals will look back on the positives from a disappointing season in which they missed the finals.

Thank you to readers who have contacted us this morning about an ACT Policing operation currently underway in  Hackett.

A spokeswoman tells us there are no suspicious circumstances involved.

Here's the second David Pope cartoon we promised. 

pope2

Tom McIlroy: Snow-choked roads have cut off thousands of people as parts of Japan struggled to dig out from its second storm in a week, with the death toll rising to at least 23.

Train services were suspended in some areas after the Valentine's Day storm dumped more than a metre of snow in parts of central Japan and blanketed the capital with record snow for the second weekend in a row, snarling airline traffic and slowing production at some Japanese automakers.

The freak storm dumped more than 1.1 metres of snow in Yamanashi prefecture in central Japan, the most in more than a century of record-keeping, and lesser amounts across a wide swathe of the eastern and northeastern parts of the nation.

Tokyo was hit by 27 cm (10.6 inches).

Heavy snowfall continues: Storms cause major disruptions across Japan.

Heavy snowfall continues: Storms cause major disruptions across Japan.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Simon Corbell will today be launching a call for Canberrans to be part of the review of the ACT Strategic Bushfire Management Plan.

"We cannot fire-proof our city, but through the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan we can mitigate the bushfire threat through effective prevention, preparedness, response and recovery," he said.

Reviewed every five years, the ACT Emergency Services Agency will begin a community consultation process through local media, online and social media as well as a series of public meetings for Canberrans to have their say, which will be essential in the development of the plan, which is due for release in October 2014.

Stay tuned for more details on this later in the day.

Ron Cerabona: FourPlay string quartet will play at the Street Theatre this Friday.

The quartet-come-band write their own originals with overtones of rock, pop, neo-classical, jazz and other genres, and also perform a range of covers by everyone from from The Strokes and Radiohead to Charles Mingus and Robert Johnson.

Well worth a night out!

Tickets available by calling the theatre on 6247 1223, or at www.thestreet.org.au

Fourplay, the string quartet.

Fourplay, the string quartet.

Lee Gaskin: There's no Buddy Franklin, but that won't make the GWS Giants any less desperate to gain early bragging rights over their cross-town rivals in Canberra tomorrow night.

Both the Giants and the Sydney Swans will arrive in the city today ahead of the NAB Challenge match at Manuka Oval.

The Giants will hold a training session from 4pm with most of their big guns on deck.

Sydney premiership-winning ruckman Shane Mumford and experienced defenders Heath Shaw and Josh Hunt will all debut for their new club.

 

The Giants during the Greater intra-club match at Blacktown last week.

The Giants during the Greater intra-club match at Blacktown last week. Photo: Mark Nolan

The Great Gatsby was screened last night at Regatta point, by Ben and Jerry's Open Air Cinema.

Our photographer Melissa Adams was there to take social photos. 

Take a spin through these to see if anyone you knew was there.

Cassandre Girard, of Franklin, and Carolina Albrecht, of Harrison, at Ben and Jerry's open air cinema, Regatta Point. Click for more photos

Ben & Jerry's open air cinema

Cassandre Girard, of Franklin, and Carolina Albrecht, of Harrison, at Ben and Jerry's open air cinema, Regatta Point. Photo: Melissa Adams

  • Cassandre Girard, of Franklin, and Carolina Albrecht, of Harrison, at Ben and Jerry's open air cinema, Regatta Point.
  • From left, Camille Coutant, Stephanie King and Alyce Johnson, all of Belconnen.
  • From left, Jodie Kerec, Alanah Kerec, Rebecca Haeussler and Rhys Kerec.
  • From left, Sue Nuss, of Oxley, Sam Smith, of Dunlop, Rebecca Smith, of Kaleen, and Tayla Jenkins, of Melba.
  • Mike and Ros Lyons, of O'Malley.
  • Glenn and Jenni Martin, of Fraser.
  • Leonie Clark, of Queanbeyan, and Peter Welsh, of Macgregor.

We have a treat for you this morning -  we've got two cartoons by David Pope to share.

David had two ideas for cartoons yesterday, but the paper only has enough space for one.

So later in the blog we'll bring a second piece of Pope brilliance. 

Here's the first.

Editorial Cartoon 20.8.14 Click for more photos

David Pope

Editorial Cartoon 20.8.14 Photo: David Pope

Tom McIlroy: Canberra's controversial Skywhale is getting set to grace the skies of Brisbane this morning.

The 34 metre long and 23 metre high, 10-breasted hot air balloon is in the Queensland capital as part of the Australia Performing Arts Market.

Never short of a crowd in Canberra, Skywhale will be tethered to Brisbane's Powerhouse Theatre until Friday.

She's caught the attention of social media this morning.

Some more bus updates.

Tom McIlroy: Officials at the recently inaugurated Pérez Art Museum in Miami said a valuable vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei had been destroyed by a visitor in what appeared to be an act of protest.

A museum spokeswoman said the incident occurred Sunday afternoon when a local artist, Maximo Caminero, walked into the museum and picked up one of the vases in an installation of Wei's work titled Coloured Vases.

A guard asked Caminero to put it down, but instead he threw it to the ground, smashing it, the spokeswoman said.

Without mentioning Caminero's name, the museum's statement said it was "working with the authorities in their investigation".

The 16 vases, made during China's Han dynasty and more than 2,000 years old, was dipped in bright paint by the artist. 
Police on Sunday arrested a man who allegedly smashed a $1 million vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei protesting the city's newly opened museum "only displaying international artists' art."

The 16 vases, made during China's Han dynasty and more than 2,000 years old, was dipped in bright paint by the artist. Police on Sunday arrested a man who allegedly smashed a $1 million vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei protesting the city's newly opened museum "only displaying international artists' art." Photo: AP

Tom McIlroy: Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were arrested in Sochi overnight, where they were planning to perform a protest song aimed at Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Police detained Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, along with several other activists and journalists, but released them three hours later as crowds of media and onlookers descended on the station where they were being held.

The pair left the police station along with three others late Tuesday afternoon local time, chanting, singing and wearing the brightly coloured balaclavas worn by the band during performances.

Arrested in Sochi ... Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot were taken into custody before they could play a protest song.

Arrested in Sochi ... Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot were taken into custody before they could play a protest song.

Ben Westcott: Petrol supplies to the ACT may be affected by the grounding of the Cootes trucking fleet.

7-Eleven has said it could have trouble getting petrol as its supply lines to Canberra get tested by the shut down.

"The number of tankers available to supply our stores in the Australian Capital Territory may be reduced, and therefore supply may be affected," said a 7-Eleven spokeswoman.

But don't rush to the bowser just yet to fill up your tupperware - both BP and Caltex say they will almost certainly be unaffected.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

China looks likely to veto any push by the UN to prosecute North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for crimes against humanity, despite overwhelming evidence of human rights abuses.

Systematic torture, deliberate starvation, rape and other human rights abuses carried out by North Korean authorities have been catalogued in unprecedented detail in a new United Nations report.

But the panel’s recommendation for the UN to refer the report to the International Criminal Court threatens to put Beijing in an awkward diplomatic position.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it has the right to a veto, which China indicated it would likely exercise.

Full story by Philip Wen here.

Tom McIlroy: It is the picture that tugged at a thousand heart-strings around the world and created a social media storm.

The little boy who appeared to have crossed the rugged desert between Syria and Jordan alone, carrying a bag nearly half his size.

Middle East Correspondent Ruth Pollard reports that in reality the boy's parents were just metres away.

Four-year-old Marwan had been “temporarily separated from his family”, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Jordan stated, and as the vast expanse of yellow desert stretched out behind him, it was impossible not to think of the terrifying journey he must have endured without his family.

A Census collector at work in 2011

A Census collector at work in 2011 Photo: Leanne Pickett

Tom McIlroy: The 16th Australian Census took place on Tuesday, 9 August 2011 – it marked 100 years of national Census taking. 

Today a special exhibition will be launched at Questacon, in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Census Experience tells the story of Australia using data and gives visitors the chance to experience the census for yourself, through interaction and exploration.

The travelling exhibition will be launched today.

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Driving the day on our opinion pages today is some great comment and your letters to the editor.

You say...

It is time that the government took more of an interest in ASIC’s performance, replaced a number of the senior
executives and demanded that it does the job it was set up to do.

Read all today's letters to the editor. 

We say...

The inclusion in the draft free-trade agreement with South Korea of an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that gives Korean companies the right to sue the Australian government if they believe they are being deniedaccess to our markets has raised eyebrows.

Read today's editorial.

A new park and ride facility is being officially opened in north Weston today.

Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury is opening the facility, which will have 49 free parking spaces and a bike storage cage for 24 bikes.

We have a few updates from ACTION Buses for you.

Today's front page.

Today's front page.

Today's front page...

Australia’s 165,000 federal bureaucrats will face a choice of zero pay rises for three years or deep cuts to their entitlements under the Abbott government’s aggressive new approach to its employees.

A government inquiry is to be held into violent clashes on Manus Island that left one Iranian asylum seeker dead and scores of others severely injured.

Monday’s explosion and fire at Canberra’s historic Sydney Building caused an immediate shutdown of one of the city’s busiest precincts. As dozens of people were forced away from the intense flames, it was Damian Holloway's job to run towards them.

A 27-year-old man with a mental illness spent nearly six months in Canberra’s jail for minor offences because the ACT’s mental health services could not accommodate him, a court has heard.

Tom McIlroy: You can't have missed Monday's fire, but have you thought about the firefighters who fought the blaze?

As dozens of people were forced away from the intense flames, it was Damian Holloway's job to run towards them.

The six-year veteran of ACT Fire and Rescue was returning from a faulty smoke alarm at Canberra Airport when he and his crew saw flames on the city skyline.

''Your heart starts beating and you get a fair adrenalin rush,'' he said.

''You have to concentrate on keeping calm … and there's a lot of communication with the person you are working alongside. You just go from there and try to attack.''

L-R ACT policing city station Sergeant Peter Davis, Commander Michael Hobbs and ACTION Buses chief operating officer Bren Burkevics during a press conference outside the Sydney Building, Civic. Click for more photos

Saving the Sydney Building

L-R ACT policing city station Sergeant Peter Davis, Commander Michael Hobbs and ACTION Buses chief operating officer Bren Burkevics during a press conference outside the Sydney Building, Civic. Photo: Melissa Adams

  • L-R ACT policing city station Sergeant Peter Davis, Commander Michael Hobbs and ACTION Buses chief operating officer Bren Burkevics during a press conference outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • Worksafe ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe during a press conference outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • ACT policing City Station Sergeant Peter Davis during a press conference outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • ACTION Buses chief operating officer Bren Burkevics during a press conference outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • Damian Holloway from the Ainslie Fire station outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • Damian Holloway from the Ainslie Fire station outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • Damian Holloway from the Ainslie Fire station outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • Damian Holloway from the Ainslie Fire station outside the Sydney Building, Civic.
  • Damian Holloway from the Ainslie Fire station outside the Sydney Building, Civic.

Tom McIlroy: Don't forget this week's fire at the Sydney Building in Civic has left the City Bus Station out of action again today.

All ACTION Buses services will operate from nearby stops, with staff on the ground to help out commuters.

  • Platforms 1 to 9 inclusive will remain closed on Wednesday
  • Platform 10 on Northbourne Ave will service southbound Blue Rapid, Red Rapid and Xpresso routes
  • Platform 11 on Northbourne Ave will service northbound Blue Rapid, Red Rapid and Xpresso routes
  • All other routes will be serviced from Alinga St and Marcus Clarke St
  • Bus stops on London Circuit East - at the Legislative Assembly, Commonwealth Bank and Waldorf Hotel have reopened.

For more information, visit ACTION Buses online.

Tom McIlroy: Federal politics looks set to focus again on the contested debates of asylum seeker policy this Wednesday.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that a government inquiry would be held into violent clashes on Manus Island that left one Iranian asylum seeker dead and scores of others severely injured.

We will bring you news of the movements of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten later in the morning.

West Australian voters are bracing for a fresh round of political campaigning after the September 7 election result for the Senate was quashed by the High Court on Tuesday.

Treasurer Joe Hockey will brief the media on this weekend's G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Sydney.

Chief of the Australian Army General David Morrison will speak about the future of the Australian military at the Lowy Institute.

Health Minister Peter Dutton will speak at the CEDA Health forum in Brisbane.

And later today, Education Minister Christopher Pyne will announce a far-reaching review into teacher training. Mr Pyne hopes to make education degrees less ''faddish'' and ''ideological''.

Disappointing news for Chumpy...

But there has been some good news out of the Australian camp this morning at Sochi.

Australia's 18-year-old speed skating prodigy Deanna Lockett has qualified for the 1000-metre short track finals, after a collision between the two race leaders allowed her to sneak into second and then power into first place in her heat.

Meantime, Jana Pittman has made Australian Olympic history, becoming the first woman to compete in the Summer and Winter Games as she combined with Astrid Radenovic to finish the opening two runs of the bobsleigh in 14th place in Sochi - 2.23sec behind the lead of Americans Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams.

More on that shortly.

Deanna Lockett of Australia competes in a heat of the short track 1000-metres event on Tuesday.

Deanna Lockett of Australia competes in a heat of the short track 1000-metres event on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images

At the Sochi Winter Olympics, Australian gold medal favourite Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin finished a disappointing 13th in the snowboard cross event, two-time world champion failing to progress past the quarter-finals.

Australia's Alex Pullin, Canada's Kevin Hill (yellow bib), and Frenchman Tony Ramoin (black bib).

Australia's Alex Pullin, Canada's Kevin Hill (yellow bib), and Frenchman Tony Ramoin (black bib). Photo: Getty Images

Lovely Canberra sunrise shot this morning on Instagram, from Karmin Cooper floydwood

Michael Inman: Former parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper's challenge to dishonesty charges is expected to begin in the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Mr Slipper is facing three charges of dishonestly using Cabcharge cards in the ACT Magistrates Court.

Commonwealth prosecutors allege the former federal parliamentarian used $1000 of the taxi vouchers to take a taxpayer funded tour of Canberra wineries.

But the case is on hold until the higher court can hear an application to stay the proceedings.

Mr Slipper’s legal team have asked Justice John Burns to permanently stay proceedings  on the basis that they were a violation of parliamentary privilege.

A win would effectively end the prosecution against him.

Defence lawyer Kylie Weston-Scheuber has previously argued Mr Slipper conducted parliamentary business during a portion of the travel time.

Ms Weston-Scheuber said the matter should be dealt with by Parliament.

Peter Slipper departs the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra.

Peter Slipper departs the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares

The weather, you ask?

There's showers expected today, with the chance of a thunderstorm. Meantime the mercury should make it to about 30C.

Looking ahead to the rest of the week...

Thursday - sunny, max 24C.

Friday - mostly sunny, max 25C.

Saturday - mostly sunny, max 27C. 

Sunday - mostly sunny, max 28C. 

Good morning. Welcome to another Canberra Mornings Live blog. Hope you're doing well this morning.

As always, we have lots of news coming for you, including the latest results from the Sochi Winter Olympics.

We'll also be checking in to see how things are going in Civic, following Monday's fire.

Stay tuned for all this, as well as your regular breaking news, weather and traffic updates.