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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.

 

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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 aholland@theage.com.au. Bye for now.

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

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

Number 1 (in the world): Ambergris Caye, Belize. Click for more photos

The world's best islands

Number 1 (in the world): Ambergris Caye, Belize.

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

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.

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?

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 ;)

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

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

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

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

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

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 ...

Some reaction to the news the MCG is charging to EMAIL tickets out...

Tonight the (wonderfully-named) cellist Timo-Veikko “Tipi” Valve, principal cellist at the ACO,  pulls out the big gun: JS Bach’s sixth suite for solo cello BWV 1012. Played on a five-string violoncello piccolo, at the Recital Centre, for one hour. A life-enhancing way to blow $38. FULL DETAILS

Timo-Veikko "Tipi" Valve, principal cellist at the ACO

Timo-Veikko "Tipi" Valve, principal cellist at the ACO Photo: Angus Holland

Our letter of the day comes in response to a comment piece by Robert Nelson on the banality of suburbia. Sarah Mirams of The Patch writes: Thank you, Robert Nelson for making me realise how banal, uninspiring and soulless my life is. You've inspired me to sell my $400,000 house in the 'burbs, take out a humongous mortgage and move into the ''sustainable'' city. I will pack up the two kids, the rabbit, the four chooks and the dog and move into a nice apartment. Goodbye vegie patch and lemon tree. No regrets, cubby house and basketball hoop. Farewell the neighbours with whom I have shared child-minding, recipes, celebrations and soccer games. Hey we have even had the occasional time ''laughing and milling around'' having fun and being ''gregarious'' in the street. I'm so looking forward to spending my weekends drinking coffee and shopping. Surely by 2014 we've moved beyond demonising of the suburbs. Suburbia is not one place, Robert, and suburbia and sustainability are not irreconcilable. MORE LETTERS

Odd spot: Parents and students in India’s Gujarat state are angry over school textbooks full of glaring errors. The book makes such statements as: "Japan dropped a nuclear bomb on the US during WorldWar II." It has more than 120 factual, spelling and grammatical mistakes. The state has ordered an inquiry into the textbooks.

There's another ticketing scandal brewing - we already have to pay a surcharge to book cinema tickets and concert tickets online - why? - and now 3AW reports that the MCG is charging $2.50 to email tickets via Ticketek that you then have to print yourself. Can anybody explain why there's a charge to do it electronically when presumably it saves them money over employing human ticket-sellers? Post in the comments or Tweet us at #MelbourneExpress

MCG.

MCG. Photo: Paul Rovere

There's been what looks like a serious accident on the Bittern-Dromana Road at Merricks North on the Mornington Peninsula. The road is closed and diversions are in place. Avoid the area.

Please share your photos of morning in Melbourne with us on Instagram or Twitter using #MelbourneExpress – we’ll feature them here. 

Photo from Instagram by mai_instagram

Photo from Instagram by mai_instagram

Just updating that the truck fire on the Monash that caused an explosive fireball earlier this morning is OUT but expect delays INBOUND from Stud Road while they clear it up. Also making news this morning, Grant Hackett has flown to the US to enter rehab after his bizarre incident at Crown Casino on Saturday morning: 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 seekers, a migration agent who worked on the island has said: FULL 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

The truck fire earlier this morning. Photo via @alisavage/Twitter

The truck fire earlier this morning. Photo via @alisavage/Twitter

Remember to tag your photos with #MelbourneExpress so we can find them and share them on the blog - here's some that came in overnight - thanks all!

A new burger joint in Brighton is leading its menu with the “Royale with cheese” -  the burger made famous by the cult Tarantino film Pulp Fiction. The Royale Brothers’ version comes with beef, cheese, onion, lettuce, pickles, mustard, mayo and Royale sauce for $12. (Incidentally, the original “Royal” is actually just what McDonald’s calls its Quarter Pounder burgers in France.)

The Royale with cheese (left) at Royale Brothers and (right) as it appeared in Pulp Fiction .

The Royale with cheese (left) at Royale Brothers and (right) as it appeared in Pulp Fiction . Photo: Angus Holland

Be glad if you're reading this on a tram or train - it's not a great day on the roads with that truck fire on the Monash (scroll through for dramatic photos) backing traffic up as far as Stud Road and now there's a broken-down truck on the West Gate Freeway INBOUND at Lorimer Street. 

Remember to tag your photos with #MelbourneExpress so we can find them and share them on the blog - here's some that came in overnight - thanks all!

Some more detail on the dramatic truck fire on the Monash from @JimmyTraffic who Tweets that the INBOUND right-hand lane will be blocked for hours as the truck has a ruptured fuel tank and can't be towed safely. But the freeway remains open. The commute goes on!

In case you're just heading out for the day, it's a lot cooler than yesterday, with a top of just 22 degrees expected and it will be mostly cloudy. There might be a few isolated showers about the place this morning with a southwesterly breeze that will pick up through the day. It’s currently 15 degrees. FULL DETAILS 

And thanks everybody for emailing in for the FREE PASSES to Empire by Spiegelworld- they've gone now. Congrats to Sanjay Malik and Diane Gay

Empire by Spiegelworld, back from a hit season in New York.

Empire by Spiegelworld, back from a hit season in New York. Photo: markturnerimages.com 2013

An update on the truck fire inbound on the MONASH near Jacksons Road in Mulgrave from our reporter Patrick Hatch, who tells us the truck stopped on the median strip opposite the Eastlink on-ramp. The right-hand lane is STILL CLOSED inbound. Nobody was injured, amazingly.  

Market Lane Coffee is opening its FOURTH outlet early next month at Queen Victoria Market. Here’s a roundup of the other (great) coffee spots in the market: FULL STORY

Market Lane coffee: coming to the Vic Market soon.

Market Lane coffee: coming to the Vic Market soon. Photo: Jessica Dale

That truck fire a few minutes ago on the Monash Freeway INBOUND at Springvale ... it's now out but two lanes are still blocked, according to @JimmyTraffic.

VicRoads says that truck fire on the Monash between Eastlink and Wellington Road INBOUND has now been extinguished - but you can expect delays.

3AW is reporting the MONASH may be closed down at Eastlink to deal with the truck that's on fire and blocking a lane... more to come shortly

We're hearing there's a truck fire on Eastlink, with traffic slowing on the Princes Highway as a result. There's also an accident on the Calder near Diggers Rest.

Perhaps give the otherwise idyllic First Point beach in Port Melbourne a miss today: the EPA has issued a clean-up notice to a petrol station in Port Melbourne after local residents complained about “diesel-like odours” and pollution entering a stormwater drain and then into the bay near First Point beach. FULL DETAILS

First Point beach: at risk of contamination.

First Point beach: at risk of contamination.

Looking again at the news headlines, Grant Hackett has flown to the US to enter rehab after his bizarre incident at Crown Casino on Saturday morning: 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 seekers, a migration agent who worked on the island has said: FULL 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

Grant Hackett.

Grant Hackett. Photo: Supplied.

Remember our mention yesterday about a new piece of street art in Hosier Lane? This is how it turned out...

Street artist Click for more photos

Hosier Lane Art Reaches New Heights

Street artist "Adnate" at work painting a mural in Hosier Lane as part of the "Paint Up" project. Photo: Justin McManus

  • Street artist "Adnate" at work painting a mural in Hosier Lane as part of the "Paint Up" project.
  • Street atrist "Adnate" (in bright green) stands beneath a mural in Hosier Lane. He is contributing to Melbourne's "Paint Up" project.
  • Street artist "Adnate" stands beneath a mural in Hosier Lane. He is contributing to Melbourne's "Paint Up" project.
  • People stop to admire the work of street artist "Adnate" who is painintg a mural in Hosier Lane.
  • People watch street atrist "Adnate"  at work painting a mural in Hosier Lane. He is contributing to Melbourne's "Paint Up" project.
  • A mural in Hosier Lane by street artist "Adnate" can be seen across building tops. He is contributing to Melbourne's "Paint Up" project.
  • Through the window of a Melbourne city office, a  painting comes to life in Hosier Lane by street artist "Adnate" who is contributing to Melbourne's "Paint Up" project.
  • People run to see street atrist "Adnate" as he works on a a mural in Hosier Lane. He is contributing to Melbourne's "Paint Up" project.

Did you see this amazing photo of North Korea taken at night by NASA? While South Korea is bathed in light, North Korea is almost pitch black... FULL STORY

North and South Korea from space. North Korea is barely visible at night.

North and South Korea from space. North Korea is barely visible at night. Photo: NASA

We have TWO FREE DOUBLE PASSES to the circus-theatre-comedy extravaganza Empire by Spiegelworld, which has returned to Australia after a successful season in New York. The tickets are for the 7.30pm show on Tuesday March 11 - if you want them email aholland@theage.com.au

Empire by Spiegelworld, back from a hit season in New York.

Empire by Spiegelworld, back from a hit season in New York. Photo: markturnerimages.com 2013

It will be a much cooler day than yesterday with a top of just 22 degrees expected and mostly cloudy though not much on the radar yet. There might be a few isolated showers about the place this morning with a southwesterly breeze that will pick up through the day. It’s currently 15 degrees. FULL DETAILS 

Melbourne's radar from 6am.

Melbourne's radar from 6am.

There have been a couple of cancellations on the Frankston line...

Happy birthday to the Albert Park Deli, which turns 40 this month – and was punching out coffees long, long before Albert Park became latte central…

Please share your photos of morning in Melbourne with us on Instagram or Twitter using #MelbourneExpress – we’ll feature them here. 

Photo by beautifulobjects via Instagram

Photo by beautifulobjects via Instagram

Today's horoscopes... FULL DETAILS

Horoscopes

Horoscopes Photo: Angus Holland

Happy birthday to the Albert Park Deli, which turns 40 this month – and was punching out coffees long, long before Albert Park became latte central…

Happy birthday, Albert Park Deli

Happy birthday, Albert Park Deli

Police are about to release video footage of a man wanted for sexually assaulting a woman in St Kilda after they met outside a backpackers’ in King Street around 5am on Saturday morning. 

Reports of a big accident on Mahoneys Road and Sydney Road in Campbellfield with tow trucks and emergency services on the scene.

Shane Warne has just told 3MMM: "I'm single, I'm not dating anyone, I'm not seeing anyone, I haven't got the hots for anyone." Sad words from the once-mighty lion of the bedroom.

Shane Warne.

Shane Warne. Photo: Getty

The Swisse Color Run Grand Prix Edition around Albert Park is on this weekend: FULL DETAILS

The Color Run returns to Melbourne this weekend.

The Color Run returns to Melbourne this weekend.

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  • It is utter madness that interstate truck traffic transiting between the Hume and Calder highways/freeways and the vast outer south-eastern and eastern suburbs has to travel along City Link THROUGH INNER MELBOURNE WHERE IT MIXES WITH INNER CITY COMMUTER TRAFFIC, then out down the Monash to get to Melbourne's vast south-eastern suburbs and industrial areas. The East-West will only make this worse, as it too will be an inner city tollway and a large number of the trucks using it will also be travelling on the increasingly congested City Link, mixing it with city commuter traffic.

    The solution we need is to build a toll road linking the Ring Road in Greensborough with East Link in Ringwood. This will allow trucks and cars transiting to the Hume and Calder interstate highways and the airport to completely by-pass inner Melbourne. The proposed East-West will only make the continually escalating congestion on the Tullamarine section of City Link much worse than it is now.

    Commenter
    Build Missing Section of Ring Road not East Link !
    Location
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 8:47AM

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