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Morning Express: Thursday, June 5

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James Robertson and Megan Levy

Morning Express is a live news blog produced each weekday from 6am-9am, covering the latest headlines, weather and transport.

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Sydney Harbour Tunnel crash

A car crash in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel has caused major traffic delays.

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We're going to wrap up our live coverage now, but Morning Express will be back from 6am on Friday with the latest headlines, weather and transport news.

Thanks for joining in.

Police from the Harbourside local area command say the crash occurred when a driver who was not feeling well attempted to merge into the tunnel's left break-down lane.

"Unfortunately it would appear he misjudged and entered towards the end of the break-down lane and drove up a safety wall which flipped the car onto its roof," police said.

A doctor who was in a car behind stopped and treated the man until paramedics arrived. The man was taken to hospital with a minor neck injury.

Police said there was a large amount of oil on the road, and some minor damage to the tunnel's wall needed to be repaired.

 

We're expecting an update shortly from NSW Police about the circumstances of this morning's crash.

What we know so far is that a vehicle crashed and flipped in the south-bound lanes of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel at 7.30am.

The driver was able to get out of the vehicle, and was taken to St Vincent's Hospital with a minor neck injury.

 

 

Commuters caught up in this morning's traffic chaos can use their bus tickets on trains.

 

Nearly an hour after the Sydney Harbour Tunnel re-opened following this morning's crash, significant delays were still being experienced on surrounding roads.

At 10am, traffic was banked up about five kilometres to Willoughby Road, a Transport Management Centre spokeswoman said.

It could take another hour to clear completely.

 

Do we detect a bit of sarcasm here?

This is the view motorists were met with north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge this morning:

 

Just when things couldn't get any worse. 

One of two southbound lanes is closed at Millers Point on the Cahill Expressway

Waringah Road

Waringah Road

From the traffic camera: delays on Warringah Road at Forestville

South-bound access to the Harbour Tunnel has been opened in the past minute, the Transport Management Centre says.

Queues have been going back 10 kilometres to Lane Cove since a car overturned 200 metres from the tunnel's southern exit at 7.30am this morning and damaged a wall. 

The driver of the car that overturned in the Harbour Tunnel has been taken to St Vincent's Hospital. He or she suffered only a minor neck injury and got out of the car unassisted.

The Harbour Tunnel remains closed as emergency crews clean up the scene of a crash this morning after a car overturned about 7.30am. 

Cars stuck behind the crash, about 200 metres from the southern exit, have been allowed to leave and clear the tunnel. But traffic remains banked up for up to nine kilometres outside. Delays reportedly stretch all the way out to the Lane Cove Tunnel and Seaforth.

Authorities said the crash has apparently damaged the wall of the tunnel. 

Fire and Rescue NSW tell me the car that overturned onto its roof and caused so much traffic chaos in Sydney this morning has now been towed.

It was loaded onto a truck about five minutes ago, a spokesman said, or nearly exactly an hour after it overturned about 200 metres from the mouth of the tunnel on its southern exit. 

Buses travelling toward the Harbour Bridge are delayed significantly. Some are taking the Pacific Highway instead of the Gore Hill freeway.

People in affected areas may use their tickets on trains and ferries instead. 

Reports now, though, that the traffic inside the tunnel itself is starting to clear.

Emergency services are now leaving the scene of the Harbour Tunnel accident. To recap:

  • The driver, whose car overturned, suffered only minor injuries and got out on their own
  • Queues are at least nine kilometres long: delays go back to the Lane Cove Tunnel and Seaforth, or nearly ten kilometres in each direction
  • The car is being towed from the tunnel at the minute
  • The car flipped about 200 metres from the mouth of the tunnel on its southern exit at 7.30am. 

 

The Transport Management Centre advises the queue caused by an overturned car in the Harbour Tunnel is now back to the Lane Cove Tunnel. That's about nine kilometres.

The car overturned in the Harbour Tunnel is now in the process of being towed.

Fire and Rescue NSW advises that no one is trapped. The driver got out of the vehicle themselves and they are being treated for minor injuries. 

Ambulances have just arrived on the scene of an accident in the Harbour Tunnel. A car flipped about 200 metres from the mouth of the tunnel on its southern exit at 7.30am

That it took them 20 minutes to arrive should give you some indication of the extent of the traffic chaos. No word on the condition of the driver of the car. 

Lane 5 of the Warringah freeway is also now closed.

Emergency services are on the scene of the accident in the Harbour Tunnel in which a car has overturned. Queues are already backed up by four kilometres to Cammeray. Expect them to grow larger by the minute. Motorists should take the Harbour Bridge instead. 

A police hunt for a former prison guard and one of Adelaide's most wanted criminals has shut down the city's CBD. Rodney Clavell, wanted on firearms charges, is holed up inside a building with other people. It's not known if they are hostages. 

Oh my. Traffic is already heavy all the way back to Cammeray

In the Herald on this day in 1924.

Segregation urged

"Physically unfit persons should be segregated in sanatoriums, and should receive visits from their families under hygienic conditions," said Mrs F. Baker in an address to the Victorian Association of Ladies’ Benevolent Societies. Labour colonies in which the husband was forced to work for a certain number of hours daily, as well as hand a proportion of his wage to his wife, had been established in several countries.

Mark Latham writes for the Fin' on the strange appeal of Clive Palmer and the policy vacuum that adores him:

On the sideshow alley of federal politics, he’s our answer to the Elephant Man, a grotesquely fascinating creature. Initially, people try to avert their eyes, but drawn in by his strangeness, they end up spellbound, wanting to know how he came to be so different.

What they are actually doing is staring into a mirror. Australia’s political class – in particular, those who sustain the 24-hour news cycle – created Palmer. Sure, he’s an eccentric character who knows how to pull off a media stunt, but ultimately, his brand of big money/big personality politics would not be possible without news outlets that hunger for political novelty.

Our American correspondent, Nick O'Malley, says the release of Bowe Bergdahl has become a spreading controversy that is now seeing the Obama administration drawing fire from friends and enemies alike.

The Great Western Highway is closed in both directions at Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains after a cotton truck overturned early this morning before setting on fire. The driver reportedly escaped. 

The two surviving founders of Pink Floyd sent the rock band equivalent of a diplomatic cable to the Rolling Stones.

They asked Mick Jagger and his crew to cancel their first-ever concert in Israel to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The Stones will play on

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger leads the rest of the band down the steps, with Keith Richards, front centre, Ronnie wood, right,  and drummer Charlie Watts, as the rock group arrive in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger leads the rest of the band down the steps, with Keith Richards, front centre, Ronnie wood, right, and drummer Charlie Watts, as the rock group arrive in Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. Photo: AP

No one lacks a spin doctor these days. The Taliban has apparently released a video showing its take on the exchange of five of its prisoners for captured American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, the New York Times reports. 

Insurgents, getting the five men back was “blissful news” and an “historic achievement,” the narrator says, which “filled up the eyes of all Muslims with tears of happiness.”

The video ends with the same warning that was delivered to Sergeant Bergdahl moments before his release. The words that appear on the screen contain a misspelling, but the message seems clear. “Don come back to Afghanistan,” it says.

In all, as a propaganda document, the message is clear: The Taliban saw the Americans come meet them on equal footing, on insurgent turf, and found them wanting.

So when the weather man predicts "scattered" showers that does not mean they cannot be intense, as Sydney is finding out this morning.

Some heavily localised rain and weak thunderstorms in Sydney's south are leading to minor flooding: Cronulla has copped some 37 millimetres in the past hour and 70 millimetres in the past day. 

It's raining pretty consistently but not as heavily elsewhere along the coast. Here are the rainfall figures for the past hour:

Sans Souci 11 mm

Bondi: 12 mm

North Manly: 21 mm

Frenchs Forest: 26 mm

Rob Sharpe from Fairfax-owned Weatherzone says that the activity is being caused by the confluence of south-easterly winds and an "upper-level" trough which is providing extra instability.

One country, two systems. Perhaps more than 100,000 people gathered at an impassioned rally in central Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, amid a vigorous security operation on the streets and online in mainland China to block mention of the milestone.

In news roughly as surprising as the results of the Syrian election, Rafael Nadal is through French Open semi-finals for the ninth time, beating David Ferrer 4-6 6-4 6-0 6-1.

No sweat: Rafael Nadal.

No sweat: Rafael Nadal. Photo: AP

A picture released by the official Facebook page of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad posing for a selfie at a polling station in Maliki, Damascus, on June 3.

A picture released by the official Facebook page of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad posing for a selfie at a polling station in Maliki, Damascus, on June 3. Photo: AFP

Syria's election results are in and, so far as these things go, it was a close-run thing. For the first time in forty years another candidate was on the ballot

Bashar al-Assad, the man journalist Christopher Hitchens once memorably described as a "human toothbrush" has won a very restrained 88 per cent of the vote. 

Few could forget the time the ABC's Chaser comedians depicted conservative columnist and former Liberal advisor, Chris Kenny, in an advanced stage of coitus with a canine

Last night and following some legal toing-and-froing, the ABC aired quite an extraordinary, 45 second apology to Mr Kenny last night about 9pm. A low quality version taken from YouTube is embedded below.

Chaser chaps were, natch, unrepentant. 

Bear Grylls is momentarily returned to relevance after some outcry after footage showing two men being administered an enema with a rubber tube and water bottle appeared on the final episode of his latest series broadcast on Britain's Channel 4. 

Here Mr Grylls appears on SBS. I don't expect anyone would have noticed anything unusual. 

A man behind the wheel of a car that collided with seven cyclists in February has been charged. The cyclists' injuries ranged from spinal fractures to cuts.

The 27-year-old driver from Caringbah has been charged with eight offences including driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. 

A round-up of the other papers:

In the Oz: A juicy little court battle is set to play out between former friends Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and eccentric plutocrat Clive Palmer MP. Mr Palmer fired the opening shot by lodging a defamation suit against the premier. Now he's filed documents in his defence, accusing Mr Palmer of using political donations to get ­favourable treatment for his coal interests in Queensland.

In the Fin', a story about the jump in the national minimum wage by $18.70 a week to $640.90: That increase, we are told, will make Australia's minimum wage the highest in the world, when measured in US dollars and when adjusted for purchasing power behind only France and Luxembourg

Aaand in the Tele: Premier Mike Baird will put to his MPs a 49 per cent sale of the state's electricity transmission infrastructure - or, as members of the media-political class insist on calling it: "poles and wires" - to pay for an infrastructure spending spree.  

On page one of today's Herald: a concerning story about Sydney's underperforming hospitals.

The new figures show that more than a third of patients in five of Sydney's major hospitals are failing to be treated in emergency departments within four hours.

Experts say the upcoming $55 billion federal budget cuts to hospital funding combined with new GP co-payments could undermine recent improvements and drive overburdened hospitals backwards.

And another killer fact: from January to March more than 600,000 people visited NSW public hospital emergency departments, a 2 per cent jump compared to the same time last year.

Welcome to Morning Express. It's going to be 19 degrees, cloudy and almost certainly some scattered showers. Today will be the first day below 20 degrees in more than a month.