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Melbourne Express: February 26, 2014

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Melbourne Express is a live daily blog bringing you what you need to hit the day running - news, weather and transport updates, and compelling content from The Age and beyond.


And we're done for another day. See you back here tomorrow at 6am, and feel free to post thoughts, comments and corrections on Twitter using #MelbourneExpress or email me at Bye for now.

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The EPA has just issued a "high level smoke alert" for the LaTrobe Valley as a result of the fire at the Hazlewood open cut mine. There will be high particle concentrations in the air and poor visibility and may cause irritated eyes, coughing or wheezing. Victorian chief health officer Rosemary Lester warns everyone in the region should "avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity". MORE INFORMATION

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And just when you thought the traffic couldn't get any worse, there's ANOTHER broken down truck, this time on Citylink INBOUND near Glenferrie Road. Delays expected.

Around the world, the UK Guardian reports Ukraine has voted to send its fugitive president to the Hague to face trial; the New York Times leads with a surprise 43 per cent drop in childhood obesity; the Daily Mail has another convoluted story about George Clooney's new date, who happens to be Julian Assange's "stunning British lawyer"; the Spiegel reports on the power of Ukraine's billionaires; and the Japan Times raises fears of cancer in children resulting from the Fukushima disaster.

Here's something to fantasise about for a few minutes while hanging on a tram or train strap - a round-up of the world's best holiday islands FULL STORY

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From March 1 all areas of railway stations and raised platform tram stops will be SMOKE FREE, the transport minister has just announced: DETAILS

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Somebody has rammed a police car at Hoppers Crossing, 3AW is reporting. And there are still delays on the Monash inbound at the Eastlink merge following the truck fire this morning.

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Why the “Piccolo” is one of the best coffees to order (despite the silly name) and why you need to to be “kinda tough” or “an unspeakable coffee snob” to order a long macchiato. A blog post for coffee enthusiasts by Dom Knight: FULL STORY

$4 for a latte?
$4 for a latte? 
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If you're travelling on the Belgrave or Lilydale lines expect delays of up to 10 minutes due a faulty train at Ringwood... which means you've got time to grab a quick coffee ;)

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From March 1 all areas of railway stations and raised platform tram stops will be SMOKE FREE, the transport minister has just announced: DETAILS

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There's a report (see Tweet) of a collision on the Mornington Peninsula Freeway, which can only add to the chaos of this morning's truck fire on the Monash... 

Part theatre experience, part dinner – performer Neda Rahmani is inviting people into her Northcote home to share a communal meal and storytelling. Short season starts this Friday, tickets are $50/$35 (includes dinner) FULL DETAILS

Cherry Cherry: part dinner, part theatre.
Cherry Cherry: part dinner, part theatre. Photo: Angus Holland

In finance, local shares are expected to open slightly lower on the back of a dipping Wall Street. The dollar is at 90.15 US cents. Gold is up, iron is down and there are several earnings announcements today FULL DETAILS

In politics, our online political editor Chris Hammer will interview Labor MP Ed Husic and new WA Liberal MP Christian Porter on the Breaking Politics program streaming online from 10.30am HERE

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And another view of the city this morning, this time from the Yarra, from Kathy Lord on Twitter.

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A cloudy, cooler day ahead with a top of just 22 degrees expected and the chance of a few light showers about. This is how Melbourne looked just a few minutes ago from Footscray, via Instagram...

Photo by andytuna via Instagram
Photo by andytuna via Instagram 
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Resuming our search for Melbourne's least-pleasant train carriage, how's yours looking this morning? Full of rubbish and graffiti? Or sparkling clean? Share your pix with #MelbourneExpress

If you need an excuse to get out of town this weekend, the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival starts this Friday FULL DETAILS

Mildura becomes arts central this Friday.
Mildura becomes arts central this Friday. Photo: Angus Holland
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Making news this morning, a massive fireball on the Monash as a truck explodes (scroll through for the dramatic photos). Also:

- Grant Hackett has flown to the US to enter rehab after his bizarre incident at Crown Casino on Saturday morning: FULL STORY

- Corby can stay on in her luxury villa, says minister FULL STORY

- Building union corruption whistleblowers have been threatened, The Age’s investigative team reveals: FULL STORY

- The deadly clashes on Manus Island were because the Australian government was ''lying” to asylum seekersFULL STORY

- The federal government is set to provide Qantas with a debt guarantee: FULL STORY

- Around 2800 premises in Brunswick will have their analogue internet and phone services shut down: FULL STORY

Underground Cinema is back for another (mysterious) season – you buy a ticket, THEN find out the location and the film. The only clues to the next event are the theme – “Rome” – and the dress code – “Your finest toga”. Tickets are $45 and go on sale today at 1pm. FULL DETAILS

Break out the toga ...
Break out the toga ... 
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