Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Police Look To Digger's Past To Find Possible Motive For Beheading

Exactly why an 82 year old World War 2 veteran was beheaded in the backyard of his country New South Wales home remains a complete mystery.

Police don't have a motive, or a weapon, not yet anyway. More background in our earlier report here.

Police are now sifting through the elderly man's personal history to see if they can find anyone who might have wanted him dead. The fact he was brutally beheaded has left police believing whoever did it really must have hated the old guy something shocking.

Unless, that is, there is a motive completely unrelated to the digger's history. The ongoing investigation has shut down whole parts of the country town of Armidale. Naturally, locals are shocked almost out of their minds by what has happened.

Mark Hutchinson was a fit and agile old bloke. He used to walk six kilometres into town every morning for a cup of coffee at his favourite cafe. His table sits empty this morning in his honour.

Bush Fires Black Out Australia's Second Largest City - "Don't Turn On Your Air-Con!"

Amazing scenes in Melbourne today and tonight. Ash clouds and choking smoke are blanketing towns and villages and hazing the city centre. A sweltering gridlock blocked key roads in the city after power failures shut down traffic lights. Broken down vehicles forced delays of buses as people queued hundreds deep to find a way out of he city after work.

Hundreds of thousands of homes have no electricity after the bush fires that have ravaged the state forced the shutdown of power supplies to almost one third of the entire state of Victoria.

Heatwave temperatures struck today and are expected for days to come, but people across Victoria are being asked to lay off the air-conditioning, to ease power drains on the damaged grid, which could lead to more widespread, and longer, blackouts and power cuts.

The bush fires have been burning for a solid month. Tens of thousands of firefighters from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and, recently, the United States have fought battles to save towns and villages.

Tonight, more than two dozens towns still lie in the path of the fires, which have laid waste to a stunning One Million Hectares of bush, national park, pasture and farming lands.

Shocking Outbreak Of Violence At....The Tennis?

Nothing funny about a couple of packs of aggroheads going at each other in a public space, but there was something almost Monty Pythonesque about the news reporting surrounding the all-in brawls between Australian-Croats and Serbs at a Melbourne tennis competition yesterday.

You can watch the flag-related kick-fist-fest here.

It just sounds so very, very wrong.

Outbreak of violence at the footy? Sure. Outbreak of violence at the cricket? Maybe.

But an outbreak of violence at a tennis match? A tennis match?

Tommorow's headlines : Savage Brawls Over Undercooked Scones Mar Lawn Bowls Finals.

She thought she had atoned for her sins, but not yet. 34 years ago, this woman abducted a four year old girl, smashed her head with a brick then tried to slit her throat. Twice. The woman was convicted for her crimes and spent time in a mental institution. Now she works for the Juvenile Justice Department, and recently recieved a reward for her work with troubled youth.

But her victim, now in her late 30s, claims she is still suffering from the attack, and is outraged that such a reward, and recognition, has been given to someone who still haunts her nightmares.

"She doesn't deserve a dog bone," said the victim.

"Here is someone who has turned themselves around," says the woman, who now fears she will lose her job.

The 'War' In A Country Town To Allow Sudanese Refugees Fleeing War zones To Start New Lives

This is a story we'll come back to in some detail, because it's a pretty amazing one.

The last place you might expect to find families of Sudanese refugees from African warzones is an Australian country town like Tamworth.

A raging controversy over whether or not the local council would block plans by the federal government to place Sudanese families in the bustling little metropolis has kicked off yet another 'race debate' in Australia.

There are already Sudanese-Australians in Tamworth. But the local council had voted a Big No to any more, with some of the councillors telling the media they "feared the changes these people would bring".

The story became national, and international, news, but it's got a happy ending.

The council was forced to take another vote, one that was to reflect the feelings of the majority of Tamworth's residents, instead of a few bigoted and ill-informed councillors. Tamworth will now open its arms to some 20 new families of Sudanese-Australians.

The people of Tanworth want the new Australians to feel right at home. And some of them might get there just in time for the Tamworth Country Music Festival. An absolute iconic event on the Australian social calendar now. If you like country music, that is.

An Australian woman claims she has had a near miraculous recovery from a severe brain injury after undergoing stem cell therapy treatment. She didn't get the cure in Australia, of course. She had to fly to Germany and spend more than $40,000.

Water May Be Shipped To Sydney From Tasmania In Solar Powered Supertankers

Pretty amazing plan, but damn scary to think that Sydney could get so dry that we have to actually ship in fresh water so the city doesn't have to be abandoned in decades to come.

A plan to fight the drought that is now gaining vast interest is one that would see hundreds of millions of litres of fresh Tasmanian water being loaded into massive supertankers, powered by solar energy and shipped up the coast to Sydney, the Central Coast and even up as far as Brisbane.

Is the drought going to get so bad that we'll be down by Circular Quay with our empty buckets queuing for fresh water? Probably not. But if the drought doesn't break, it's going to see people paying five times, at least, more for their fresh water than what they're paying now.

One of the chief reasons why the Fresh Water Supertanker ideas is gaining interest, and true believers, is that it is so much cheaper than laying pipelines to cross the thousands of miles of Australia's vast spaces.

50 kangaroos are set to get their hopping orders
to move on from their favourite munching grounds to make way for a supermarket.

Not so long ago, a couple of blokes in a ute would have been brought in to shoot them. Not now. The supermarket developer is going to have to pay about $2000 each for every kangaroo that needs to be relocated.