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PM takes solace from Baird victory

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 09.29

Treasurer Joe Hockey has slammed Labor for running a racist, backdoor campaign in the NSW election. Source: AAP

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has hailed Mike Baird's state election victory as a win for the Liberal Party and NSW residents.

MR Abbott, who kept a low profile during the election campaign and was interstate on polling day, said Mr Baird had stayed the course in the face of a concerted Labor scare campaign.

"This result is unambiguously good news for the Liberal Party and for the people of NSW," Mr Abbott said.It's also good news for Mr Abbott.Some commentators had linked his future to the outcome of Saturday's election after he was blamed in part for the recent failures of the first-term conservative governments in Victoria and Queensland.Mr Baird's coalition easily secured a second term of government on Saturday, despite losing at least 15 seats and Labor picking up around 13.He's now claiming a mandate to lease 49 per cent of the state's electricity poles and wires to fund an infrastructure program.Treasurer Joe Hockey accused Labor and unions of "backdoor xenophobia" amid speculation the government was planning to sell off the state's electricity assets to the Chinese."There was an element of xenophobia and racism involved in the NSW Labor campaign that I have not seen in more than 20 years in Australian politics," he told reporters in Tasmania.Social Services Minister Scott Morrison described it as a win for policy over populism.He acknowledged a year ago the NSW Liberal party had been in "pretty crook shape"."Last night they won a thumping election, the second worst result for Labor in its history," Mr Morrison told Sky News.Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said a swing of almost nine per cent to Labor and an additional dozen seats was a remarkable achievement.Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said it was telling that Mr Abbott, a NSW native, had been absent on election day."If he thought he was any asset to the NSW campaign, he would have been here," she told reporters in Sydney.Federal Labor MP Ed Husic joked Mr Abbott had been missing in action for so long that his face should have been put on milk cartons."I don't think he can necessarily sleep any easier at night because of this result," he told ABC TV.Mr Baird's personal popularity faced a critical test in defending the state against further federal budget cuts, he said.Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce played down the loss of two Nationals seats on the north coast.Mr Joyce defended the party's conditional support for coal seam gas mining in light of votes seeping to the Greens.He said Greens' vote across the state remained the same but was more concentrated in areas such as Nimbin and Byron Bay.

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WA rally against Abbott government

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 22 Maret 2015 | 09.29

Adversaries of the Abbott government have rallied in Perth to protest on a day of nationwide action. Source: AAP

ADVERSARIES of the Abbott government have rallied in Perth to protest on a day of nationwide action.

SEVERAL hundred people attended the March In March event on Sunday to voice concerns on a range of issues including indigenous rights, climate change, homelessness, live animal exports and metadata.

Federal Labor MP Melissa Parke told the crowd she thought Prime Minister Tony Abbott was a cross between Russia's Vladimir Putin and former US President George W Bush and that he was leading "the worst government ever".

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Police probe woman's death in Sydney

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 08 Maret 2015 | 09.30

A woman has died after being attacked in the street on her way home in Sydney's west. Source: AAP

HOMICIDE detectives are investigating the death of a woman from a suspected knife attack in Sydney's west.

THE woman, believed to be in her early 40s, was found lying on the ground at Westmead on Saturday night.

She was taken to Westmead Hospital, where she died early on Sunday."A post-mortem is being conducted to determine the cause of the woman's death. However, early investigations suggest she died as a result of a wound inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon," police said.It's believed the woman was walking home from Parramatta train station when she was attacked.A crime scene has been established and forensic experts are investigating, along with local police and homicide detectives.

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Candidate denies punching Sydney mayor

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 22 Februari 2015 | 08.29

A SUBURBAN Sydney council candidate says he didn't punch the local mayor at a polling booth.

INDEPENDENT Victor Tagg has denied striking 52-year-old Ryde Mayor Bill Pickering at Putney Public School, in the city's northwest, on Saturday.

The pair were there attending a ward by-election for which Mr Tagg was a candidate.When asked on Sunday by the Seven Network whether he struck Mr Pickering, Mr Tagg said: "No."Pressed to explain what happened, he declined to make further comment.Asked if he was going to speak with police, Mr Tagg replied: "I am going to talk to my solicitor."Mr Pickering told reporters on Sunday he was recovering.However, he declined to give specifics, saying a police investigation was underway."I had an MRI scan, everything's OK neurologically," he said."Obviously there's swelling and other things but nothing I won't recover from in a couple of days."He said he could identify the man who allegedly assaulted him.The Ryde mayor said he was handing out sandwiches and thanking volunteers when he became aware of a couple being berated.He began talking to them before being confronted by another man.Mr Pickering said he only just saw the punch coming."It was too late to react," he said.Police say inquiries are ongoing.

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Beaches reopen after NSW shark attack

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 15 Februari 2015 | 08.29

BEACHES around Ballina on the NSW north coast have reopened following a fatal shark attack and shark sightings.

THE beaches have been closed for six days since Tadashi Nakahara, 41, was bitten and killed by a 3-4m great white while surfing at Shelly Beach on Monday.

Since then, shark sightings and a large number of baitfish in the area have kept beaches closed.It's believed the last shark sighting was at Lighthouse Beach on Friday.Police and local lifesavers have reassessed the situation and opened the beaches between South Ballina and Lennox Heads.

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Crews battle three out-of-control WA fires

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 08 Februari 2015 | 08.29

Firefighters are still battling three out-of-control bushfires in Western Australia's south. Source: AAP

FIREFIGHTERS continue to battle three out-of-control bushfires in Western Australia's south amid scorching temperatures.

NORTHCLIFFE residents have been given the go ahead to return home after a lightning-sparked bushfire burnt to within two kilometres of the township in the state's far south.

Because of the huge blaze the town was deemed "undefendable" but fire crews from WA and inter-state worked around the clock for more than a week to ease the threat.On Saturday the emergency alert for Northcliffe was dropped to a watch and act, however it is still not safe for residents in the secluded coastal township of Windy Harbour to leave.The fire has burnt more than 85,000 hectares. Two homes and five sheds have been confirmed destroyed.A separate bushfire burning near the community of Lower Hotham in the state's south has also been downgraded to a watch and act.But people have been told to remain vigilant as changing weather conditions may upgrade the warning level.At least one house and two sheds were destroyed in the Lower Hotham fire, which has burnt more than 52,000 hectares.A third watch and act is in place in Wattleup, south of Perth.The bushfire, which started on Wednesday, is currently stationary and contained but not under control.The cause of the fire is suspicious. Temperatures in Perth were forecast to reach 40C on Sunday.

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US sends six from Guantanamo to Uruguay

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 07 Desember 2014 | 08.29

Six Guantanamo Bay prisoners were transferred to Uruguay for resettlement, the US government says. Source: AAP

SIX Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been transferred to Uruguay for resettlement, the US government says.

THE six - four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian - are the first prisoners transferred to South America from the US base in Cuba, part of a flurry of recent releases amid a renewed push by US President Barack Obama to close the prison.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica agreed to accept the men as a humanitarian gesture and said they would be given help getting established in a country with a small Muslim population.All six were detained as suspected militants with ties to al-Qaeda in 2002 but were never charged. They have been cleared for release since at least 2010 but they could not be sent home and have languished as the US struggled to find countries willing to accept them."We are very grateful to Uruguay for this important humanitarian action, and to President Mujica for his strong leadership in providing a home for individuals who cannot return to their own countries," US State Department envoy Clifford Sloan said.Mujica had agreed to take the men in January. Obama administration officials have been frustrated the transfer took so long and blame outgoing Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel for not approving the move sooner. They said the deal sat for months on Hagel's desk, awaiting his signature as required by law, but the Pentagon didn't send the notification of the transfer to Congress until July.By then, the transfer had become an issue in Uruguay's political election and Uruguayan officials decided to postpone it until after the October 26 vote.The men's release brings the total number of prisoners at Guantanamo to 136 - the lowest number since the first month the prison opened in January 2002.Obama pledged to close the prison upon taking office but was blocked by Congress, which banned sending prisoners to the US for any reason.The restrictions on sending them overseas have been eased and the US has released 19 prisoners so far this year. Officials say several more are expected by the end of the year.

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Wesfarmers boss defends CEO pay packets

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 30 November 2014 | 08.29

BUSINESS leader Richard Goyder says chief executives need to be paid well to prevent them being poached by overseas firms.

THE head of Coles owner Wesfarmers and chair of the B20 - the business arm of the G20 - said debate about multi-million dollar pay packets needed to be considered in a global context.

"People in the public company sphere also have the opportunity to go into private equity, they have the opportunity to go into professions, ultimately people in executive roles have the opportunity to go to different countries, so I think the market is actually dealing with these issues," Mr Goyder told reporters after Wesfarmers's annual general meeting earlier this month.He conceded that he was "conflicted" on the issue, as shareholders often raised concerns about excessive pay, but those concerns were being addressed.Mr Goyder's remuneration in 2013/14 totalled $9.4 million.Some shareholders at the Wesfarmers annual meeting told the board they were disappointed that their company compared its executive pay regime to other companies."You're chasing each other's back," one shareholder told Mr Goyder."You're not looking back and saying what is a fair wage to run the company."It's certainly not $9 million. No one deserves that."Another shareholder noted average wage earners were struggling to keep pace with inflation, and suggested Wesfarmers work out a multiple for its executives based on the average wage.But Chairman Bob Every did not support such a formula."I just don't think that's the way it operates," Dr Every said.Despite opposition to Wesfarmers' executive remuneration, shareholders overwhelmingly approved the measure.Many companies have not fared as well, Harvey Norman the most notable, with three-quarters of shareholder votes opposing its executive remuneration.Seven Group shareholders recently delivered a first strike - a no vote of at least 25 per cent - against its executive pay.Virgin Australia, Myer and Ten Network executives have all recorded significant shareholder votes against their pay packets, without recording a strike.

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3 officers suspected of sharing nude photo

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 26 Oktober 2014 | 09.30

A US police officer is accused of sending nude photos from the phone of women he had arrested. Source: AAP

A CALIFORNIA Highway Patrol officer suspected of stealing nude and racy photos from the mobile phones of women arrested on drunken driving charges sent the pictures to at least two fellow officers.

OFFICER Sean Harrington, 35, confessed to investigators that he sent such photos at least six times over several years to colleagues in Dublin, while working in Los Angeles, the Contra Costa Times reported on Friday.

Harrington has worked for the CHP for five years, and the newspaper reports that he is assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.Contra Costa County prosecutors say they expect to announce if they will file criminal charges in the coming days.Officers Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons are named in a search warrant affidavit, suspected of receiving the photos and exchanging banter with Harrington.The investigation was sparked by a 23-year-old San Ramon woman arrested in August on suspicion of drunken driving, who had a blood alcohol content of .29, more than three times the legal limit.Court papers say that she later discovered nude photos of herself had been sent from her phone to an unfamiliar number. Drunken driving charges against the woman have been dismissed in light of the investigation of Harrington, the newspaper reported.The affidavit says Harrington also sent Hazelwood photos of a 19-year-old woman arrested following a suspected drunken driving crash in Livermore on August 7. The photos show her wearing a bikini, and Hazelwood responded in a text asking if there were any nude photos, court papers say.

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Protests out of control, says HK leader

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 12 Oktober 2014 | 09.29

PRO-DEMOCRACY protests in central Hong Kong are "out of control" and likely to end soon, city Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said in an interview.

LEUNG told local television station TVB that the protests had become a "mass movement that has spun out of control," other Hong Kong media reported.

Hundreds of people continued the two-week protests on Sunday after many camped out overnight outside government offices and at least two other sites.The demonstrators are calling for open elections for the city's next chief executive in 2017, rejecting a ruling from Beijing that candidates must be approved by a government-backed election committee. They have also demanded Leung's resignation.In the interview, Leung said the protesters had "zero chance" of getting China's ruling Communist Party to change its plans for the 2017 election.Hong Kong police would continue efforts to persuade protesters to leave the streets but avoid the use of force if possible, Leung said, insisting that he would not resign.Radio station RTHK quoted student leader Lester Shum as saying an open letter to President Xi Jinping was intended to show that the protests were a "peaceful, democratic movement" rather than a revolutionary one.The protests could escalate again if the city government refuses to engage in talks on political reform, but organisers were currently encouraging people to limit their action to an extended sit-in outside municipal offices, Shum said.The letter published Saturday calls for the building of a "democratic system that affirms equal rights," and for "Hong Kong problems be settled in Hong Kong" without interference from Beijing."The Occupy movement today at Hong Kong is definitely not a colour revolution or its like, but rather a movement for democracy," it said.Chief Secretary Carrie Lam postponed the talks when protest leaders called for a rally to increase pressure during the meeting.On Saturday, RTHK quoted city executive councillor Regina Ip as saying talks could still take place this week."I've also heard from the chief secretary [Lam] that efforts are still underway, through intermediaries, to resume the talks, to reactivate the talks, so all is not lost," she was quoted as saying.

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