ACT News

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Canberra Mornings Live: Wednesday February 19

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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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.

shares up

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

Follow all the news today via out Markets Live blog.

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
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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 Times reporter Lee Gaskin
Canberra Capital Abby Bishop.
Canberra Capital Abby Bishop. Photo: Graham Tidy

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.

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Here's the second David Pope cartoon we promised. 


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. Arts reporter for the Canberra Times.

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

Fourplay, the string quartet.
Fourplay, the string quartet. 
Canberra Times reporter 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
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