New law doubles maximum penalty for fine fraud to $11,000

Wear the initial fine … The new legislation doubles the maximum fines – from $5500 to $11,000 – for vehicle owners who shirk a penalty for speed camera and other camera-detected traffic offences by falsely nominating another driver. Photo: Adam McLean A NSW Police patrol vehicle … “Anyone who deliberately tries to defraud the system by falsely nominating another person risks being prosecuted and ultimately earning themselves a criminal record,” says Commissioner of Fines Administration, Stephen Brady. Photo: Supplied

Drivers who falsely claim someone else was behind the wheel at the time of an offence could be slapped with an $11,000 fine under harsh new penalties introduced in NSW parliament on Tuesday.

The new legislation doubles the maximum fines for vehicle owners who shirk a penalty for speed camera and other camera-detected traffic offences by falsely nominating another driver.

Under the amended Fines Act 1996 and the Roads Transport Act 2013 individuals now face a $11,000 fine, up from $5500.

The maximum penalty for corporations has also doubled from $11,000 to $22,000.

“While the vast majority of people do the right thing, any doubtful nominations are checked against all available evidence, for example photographs taken at the time of the offence,” said the Commissioner of Fines Administration, Stephen Brady.

Mr Brady said the NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) checks all driver nominations against RMS records for license details and immigration records to confirm the nominated person in the country at the time of each offence.

“Anyone who deliberately tries to defraud the system by falsely nominating another person risks being prosecuted and ultimately earning themselves a criminal record,” Mr Brady said.

Under the new legislation, people will be able to submit their nomination online, removing the formal requirement for a statutory declaration.

The OSR has issued more than 1400 fines to people for false nomination offences and has prosecuted more than 200 people relating to false nominations over the last eight years.

In 2006, hundreds of thousands of statutory declarations signed by motorists fighting traffic fines were investigated as part of a major fraud crackdown by the NSW government.

Kylie and Dannii Minogue perform together on TV for the first time in 30 years

Kylie and Dannii Minogue reunite for Christmas track, 100 Degrees. Photo: Channel Seven Dannii and Kylie have both been judges on the rival reality TV shows.

Kylie Minogue and sister Dannii Minogue on Young Talent Time.

Winner revealed for X-FactorKylie’s Christmas album is a real thingHave Kylie and Dannii Minogue made the cheesiest Christmas song ever?

Kylie and Dannii Minogue have thrown back to the 80s with a thoroughly modern performance during the finale of X-Factor .

Whilst often seen at events together, the pair have not performed on television since Young Talent Time in 1986 when they performed Sisters Are Doing It’ For Themselves.

Dannii, who is a judge on the musical reality competition X Factor shared duet with sister Kylie on the latter’s upcoming Christmas album entitled 100 Degrees.

The sisters donned matching leotards taped with sparkling strips in pink and blue respectively as they sang the disco-inspired Christmas anthem about a hot n Yule.

They were joined by 10 male dancers in silver lurex shorts and Santa-themed capes.

Kylie’s album, which has the highly searchable title Kylie Christmas, also features a duet with legendary rocker Iggy Pop.

Other collaborators include British comedian and talk-show host James Corden on Yazoo’s 1982 classic Only You while technical wizardry has also been employed to team Minogue with Frank Sinatra on a version of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.

Kylie will also perform, presumably alone, at the ARIA awards to be held on Thursday night where she is due to help Tina Arena be a ushered in to the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Social media lapped the performance up, with many fans gushing over the reunion. OMG. Kylie & Danii look GREAT on #XFactor tonight! #XFGrandFinal#KylieandDannii— Migs Santillan (@migs_santi) November 24, 2015Kylie and Dannii had the best performance for tonight on #xfactorau#XFGrandFinal. Can we have an encore @thexfactor_au— Timothy Kandilis (@kandilistk) November 24, 2015

Returning Siddle plots Williamson’s downfall

Kane Williamson hits out during the first Test at the Gabba. Picture: Getty ImagesAUSTRALIA will try to bore New Zealand’s wonderchild Kane Williamson into submission in the day-night Test.

New Zealand cricket icons Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe believe Williamson will finish as the country’s greatest batsman.

Williamson, regarded by some pundits as the best batsman in the world, has certainly lived up to his reputation in the ongoing series.

The zen master has been calm and confident at the crease, waiting for the right ball to unleash a textbook cover drive.

Peter Siddle, set to be recalled for the third Test after being 12th man in Brisbane and Adelaide, preached the value of patience when asked about his plans for Williamson.

“That’s one thing he’s very good at and that’s one thing we can be slightly better at in our bowling – building pressure and getting them out that way,” Siddle said.

“You look at all the class players in world cricket, it’s worked hasn’t it?

“It worked against Sachin [Tendulkar]. It worked against KP [Kevin Pietersen].

“We’ve got to work hard here, put a lot of pressure on.”

Siddle dismissed Pietersen 10 times in his 104-Test career, more than any other bowler.

The former woodchopper did it more often than not by keeping things consistent, starving Pietersen of runs until he made an error.

Siddle has also trumped AB de Villiers six times in 12 Tests, wearing down the South African wizard with his work-rate and accuracy.

The 30-year-old is backing himself to achieve something similar with Williamson, who is less audacious than de Villiers but shares his incredible ability to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

“I’d like to hope so,” Siddle said. “I’ve had some good success against him in the past. I have troubled him and had some good battles with him.

“He’s been a class player these past 12, 18 months and he has been a handful this series . . . he’s got a lot smarter with how he plays.”

Siddle identified Ross Taylor as another crucial scalp after the former New Zealand skipper’s record-breaking knock of 290 at the WACA.

“They’re in good nick,” he said.

Siddle feared his international career was over before a call-up for the fifth Ashes Test.

The Victorian had six wickets and 17 maidens in that match, his strong showing a source of confidence after being overlooked in the first two home Tests of the summer.

“I know it isn’t that long since I came out and performed,” he said. “It gives myself a boost . . . [selectors] know that I can perform when called upon.”

● The SCG’s preparations for the January Test are back on track after Cricket deemed the ground’s playing surface fit to play.

Play will resume at the ground on Friday, when NSW take on Queensland in a Sheffield Shield clash. AAP

Why a strata law shake-up won’t deliver cheaper housing

The NSW government hopes that the strata law changes will increase the number of homes in popular parts of the city.Recent changes to strata title legislation in NSW will remove the need for all owners to agree to sell or redevelop their apartment block as a whole.
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This means that some owners may now have their apartments sold against their will. Only 75% of owners in a building have to agree to the sale for a block to be redeveloped.

The NSW government hopes that this change will increase the number of homes in popular parts of the city and allow older, run-down properties to be rebuilt. Other n states and territories are either considering implementing a similar strategy, or already have.

However, new research released today shows that while this may increase the rate of redevelopment of older blocks, on their own these changes may not improve housing affordability or availability. Change on the way

In a report launched today, we anticipate that this change will:

Create more uncertainty for apartment dwellers, as it makes apartment ownership less secure than house ownership, and therefore makes these residents more susceptible to market pressures.

Depending on the location, increase either gentrification or densification. Low-rise blocks in expensive areas (around Sydney harbour, North Shore and Eastern Suburbs) are likely to be replaced with boutique higher value blocks, but not necessarily at higher density (gentrification). Low-rise blocks in lower value suburbs will be replaced by high-rise blocks where planning regulations allow this (densification). Whether this densification will improve affordability is less certain. The map below shows this process. Strata renewal feasibility Laurence Troy

Create no significant improvement to affordability of rental and home ownership in Sydney. Old apartment buildings that might be knocked down and rebuilt often provide more affordable housing options. However, our research shows that very few blocks could be developed profitably by private developers into housing that’s affordable to people already living in the local area. While the increase in housing supply may be welcomed, the scale of the increase in housing supply is also unlikely to result in increased affordability.Qualified support

For this project, we analysed data from the 2011 census, the NSW Strata Title database and the NSW Valuer General’s database. We interviewed 34 key stakeholders including specialist legal and financial professionals, strata management industry professionals, local planners and spokespeople for owner and tenant representative bodies. We also surveyed 1,261 strata residents and owners in properties registered prior to 1990 about their attitudes towards the redevelopment of residential strata schemes. We held workshops with strata owners in the Sydney suburbs of Cabramatta, Coogee, Mosman and Parramatta.

Our research showed that many people acknowledged the importance of these planning goals and supported the need for some type of change to allow for the easier redevelopment of strata properties.

However, many people qualified their support by saying it depended on the outcome for any given block redevelopment. Most people didn’t want to see a single owner holding out on a development purely for personal financial gain, but they also didn’t want to see a vulnerable resident removed from their home against their wishes.

People also saw the benefit of making the renewal of apartment buildings easier if this meant better buildings, better local services and amenity and increased housing affordability.

However, many people were sceptical that new buildings would be of a better quality than existing blocks, and that services and local amenity, including open space, would be provided to cater for increases in population.

Similar changes are planned in Western , Queensland and overseas. The Northern Territory and Singapore and New Zealand have already made similar changes too.

Planners will need to tackle head on the challenges outlined in our research if they are to deliver a compact city that works for all residents – not just the wealthy ones.

Laurence Troy, Research Associate – City Futures Research Centre, UNSW ; Bill Randolph, Director, City Futures – Faculty Leadership, City Futures Research Centre, Urban Analytics and City Data, Infrastructure in the Built Environment, UNSW ; Hazel Easthope, Senior Research Fellow, City Futures Research Centre, UNSW , and Laura Crommelin, Research Associate, City Futures Research Centre, UNSW

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Face of Reclaim China rally Nathan Paterson insists: I’m not racist

This photo of Nathan Paterson at the Reclaim rally was shared widely at the weekend. Photo: Perry Duffin Mr Paterson said people shouldn’t judge him by his appearance. Photo: Simone De Peak
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Nathan Paterson insists he is not racist. Photo: Simone De Peak

He has been labelled a bogan, a redneck and a racist.

But Nathan Paterson, the heavily-tattooed NSW man who became the face of a Reclaim rally at the weekend, says he’s standing up for an he believes is at risk from overseas refugee migration.

Mr Paterson was photographed at the rally in Cessnock in the Hunter region on Sunday with his fist raised while wearing a Eureka Stockade singlet and flag cape.

The image, which shows the elaborate facial tattoo that Mr Paterson gave himself at home in front of the mirror 18 months ago, was shared widely on social media after the rally, one of several held in Sydney and across the country at the weekend.

“I’ve seen people calling me a bogan, calling me a racist pig, all off one photo,” Mr Paterson told the Newcastle Herald.

“A woman on the radio called me a toothless, tattooed freak.

“Well OK, great, if she wants to pay for me to get my tooth fixed then that’s great, I’ll shake her hand, because I’m in the waiting line to have it done.”

He insisted he was not racist, referring to his friendship with the Bangladeshi owner of the kebab shop that he frequents.

“I don’t actually know his name, I call him Bangladesh, he’s my mate from the gym,” Mr Paterson said.

The event in Cessnock was Mr Paterson’s first Reclaim rally, and John Oliver, Newcastle’s chief Reclaim organiser, said that while Mr Paterson was part of the group’s support base, “he isn’t representative of the vast majority of Reclaim supporters who are ordinary mums and dads”.

Mr Paterson said the rally was a success, and he wanted to get involved in the movement “because I don’t know what kind of country I’m leaving for my kids”.

He believes he’s one of a growing contingent of people who are “standing up” for “n values”, and insists he “isn’t a racist”.

“At the rally I was chanting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi’, which is something every n chants at sporting matches against other countries, so is every n a racist now?” he said.

Although he says he has mostly laughed off the abuse he received online since his photo was published, some of it did “make me cranky” and he’s frustrated at being labelled a racist without being able to tell his own story.

After working in heavy industry for 15 years, including with BHP and Hydro in Kurri Kurri, Mr Paterson survives off a disability pension and lives with his sister in Glendale, a suburb of Lake Macquarie.

He visits the gym twice a day to keep fit and is passionate about the distinctive tattoo work he has had inked on his skin, which includes the words “Not Guilty” on the right side of his head, which he says is “just a saying”.

He has been trying to find Housing NSW accommodation for several months and has been told it could take more than 10 years to find the permanent two-bedroom home he would like to have so that the younger of his two sons can stay with him on weekends.

It’s that struggle that has led him to believe governments – whether local, state or federal – aren’t doing enough to help “everyday ns”.

“The government needs to start looking after its own people,” he said.

“Newcastle council want to let some of those 12,000 Syrian refugees come to settle here, but there isn’t even any housing for n people.”

“They’re all over in their countries blowing each other up, and they want to bring all that here. I say just leave them there.”

There were two rallies held in Cessnock at weekend – one organised by Reclaim , the other by Rally Against Racism.

Rally Against Racism organiser Phillipa Parsons said Mr Paterson’s views represented an “unfortunate misconception”.

“A lot of people are mixing up extremists, criminals, and the terrorist group ISIS [Islamic State] who hide behind one of the world’s biggest religions, with moderate Muslims who just want to live in peace like every other n,” she said.

“[Mr Paterson] went to this racist rally, and now he’s upset at being called racist, well he has to accept some personal responsibility.”

Mr Paterson said he was frustrated that people judged tattooed people on their appearance.

“People judge you just for the way you look, without knowing anything about you, which I think, that’s not fair,” he said.

Newcastle Herald

Transgrid lease reaps more than $10 billion for NSW government

The deal is the first of three electricity asset privatisations the government is undertaking. Photo: Nic Walker “A stunning result for the people of NSW”: Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday. Photo: Peter Rae
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High voltage electricity company Transgrid has been privatised by the NSW government for $10.258 billion, via a 99-year lease to a consortium comprised of a Canadian pension fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and local infrastructure funds.

Announcing the deal on Wednesday morning, Premier Mike Baird said more than $3 billion worth of debt attached to the business would need to be paid off.

This leaves the net return to the NSW government at about $7 billion.

“This result is a stunning result for the people of NSW,” he said. “It means there is, for the people of NSW, better transport, roads, schools and hospitals.”

The deal – the first of three electricity asset privatisations the government is undertaking – removes much of the politics from the transaction, which had focused on the national security implications of Transgrid being bought by the Chinese government-owned State Grid Corporation of China.

Any involvement in the deal by a Chinese government-owned entity had sparked security concerns, given Transgrid’s role in supplying power to Canberra and its extensive fibre optic cable network that carries sensitive data for government departments.

Mr Baird said all four bidders for Transgrid had been cleared by “all authorities and all agencies”, including the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said FIRB had imposed “stringent” licence conditions on the privatisation of Transgrid.

These include that Transgrid’s operation and control be undertaken solely from and that foreign consortium members retain an interest of no more than 50 per cent.

As well, half of Transgrid’s board – including an independent chair and director – must be n citizens and residents.

“These safeguards are more stringent than any previous conditions imposed on acquisitions of critical infrastructure,” Mr Morrison said.

“I am confident that these comprehensive safeguards address national interest considerations and will help underpin NSW electricity users having reliable electricity supply into the future.”

Mr Baird said the winning consortium had lodged “clearly the strongest bid” in terms of price, risk and terms and conditions.

The consortium members are Hastings Funds Management, the ASX-listed Spark Infrastructure, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Canada’s Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ), and Wren House, part of the Kuwait Investment Authority.

The foreign companies comprise 65 per cent ownership.

Spark Infrastructure chief executive Rick Francis said there would be no change to network reliability under the new owners.

However, he believed Transgrid could be run more efficiently than it has been while in public hands.

Cost savings could be found in getting greater mileage out of the assets by switching to condition based monitoring as opposed to replacing them purely on the basis of their age.

“So that asset may well be still in very good shape and still live to survive another 10 years, for example,” he said.

Mr Francis said the consortium partners “see a very strong future for the electricity grid in this country” amid technological changes and the rise of renewable energy.

Five-year job guarantees for workers were a condition of the electricity privatisation legislation passing the NSW Parliament and will apply to about 1000 Transgrid employees.

The NSW government will now move to the 99-year lease of 50.4 per cent each of electricity distributors Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.

The government has previously hoped to reap about $13 billion from all three transactions, all of which would go towards infrastructure. On Wednesday Mr Baird would not be drawn on how the Transgrid result effects those expectations.

“We still have two leases to go, but obviously this is a fantastic start,” he said.

Opposition leader Luke Foley said the net proceeds were less than half the cost of the $16.8 billion WestConnex road project and barely covered its $6.8 billion cost blowout.

He questioned a private consortium’s interest in keeping electricity prices low and said user charges at the Port of Newcastle had risen 60 per cent since being privatised by the Baird government.

“It’s a government acting contrary to the public interest,” Mr Foley said. “We don’t think there’s anything in today’s bottom line of $7 billion to celebrate for the taxpayers and citizens of NSW”.

Greens MP John Kaye said the “over the odds” sale price meant NSW electricity consumers “have been served up on a platter” and demanded to know what deals had been done with the government.

“The people of NSW have lost control over their energy future to a consortium of multinational corporations that care nothing for households or the clean energy future,” he said.

Woman lived under her house to avoid abusive husband

ND, a victim of domestic violence, hid under her house for 18 months while her husband continued to live there. Photo: Ryan OslandSydney’s White Ribbon DayComment: Victims shouldn’t leave home
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A Hunter woman hid under her house for 18 months, enduring spiders and cockroaches, to escape her abusive husband.

The woman, who wants to be known as “ND”, left her 15-month-old baby with her mother in the house. Her husband continued to live there too.

ND, who endured verbal degradation and physical violence at the hands of her husband, has now called on the government to provide more refuges and affordable housing for vulnerable women.

“I wanted to leave but I couldn’t find anywhere that would take all three of us,” ND said.

“We didn’t have anywhere else to go and I couldn’t just leave my baby or my mother.

“I tried private rentals but they were too dear, I couldn’t even afford the cheapest of the cheap. Plus, the home loan was in my name so I didn’t have many options.

“I just disappeared one day and he had no idea, I was so, so quiet.”

ND met her former husband through mutual friends when she was 18.

He was four years older and liked a drink, but was from a good family.

The couple dated for about 13 months before they married and moved into ND’s house.

They were only six months into their honeymoon phase when the verbal taunts began.

When he started drinking, the insults would lead to pushing, shoving, bashings and stabbings.

On one occasion, he asked ND to pick him up from the pub, only to get behind the wheel of his own car and run over her feet.

Another time, he put a noose around her neck, tied it to his car’s bumper bar and dragged her along the ground.

ND was eight months pregnant with their only child when she was admitted to hospital with injuries so severe her shocked and angry father-in-law said he wanted to set his own son “on fire”.

“There was a lot of self doubt,” she said. “I was thinking maybe I should be doing things differently, maybe my upbringing had been different.

“Maybe he didn’t want to be a father and was taking it out on me. But I never really understood the reasons why he did what he did.”

The last straw came after he knocked her unconscious and then locked himself inside their bedroom with their baby.

ND decided one day to vanish and start living and sleeping under the house.

She settled in spot that was not exposed to the wind or rain, but she had to endure filth and insects.

When she heard her former husband leave for work in the morning, she would wait 15 minutes and then go inside to shower, eat and ask her mother to wash and dry her clothes, before getting her car from her neighbours’ garage and heading to work.

“I was always on guard, always listening, always looking around, it wasn’t like a sit-down conversation,” she said.

“It was like I was foraging in the wild; it was never peaceful.

“I would hold and feed my baby but I was always nervous. When I was rocking my baby, it was like I was in a rocking marathon.”

ND’s sister and then her godmother made sure the house was stocked with food.

Her former husband did not ask where the groceries came from, try to find or call her.

“I still worked, earned money, paid the bills and the home loan, did everything a normal person would do, but my heart was in my mouth the whole time,” she said.

“What kept me going was thinking, ‘It’s not always going to be like this, there will be a way.’

“Before I met him I was really strong and while he cut me down and hurt me, he didn’t destroy me.”

After ND realised he was never going to leave the house, she came up with a plan.

She waited until he left one Sunday morning and then bought new locks for all of the doors and put his belongings in bags that were sent in a taxi to his parents’ house.

When he returned early the next morning, he yelled abuse for about 40 minutes before leaving.

For the next few weeks, ND received messages and phone calls from her former husband promising to change.

He would drive past the house or sit in his car and stare.

Soon after ND filed for divorce, he disappeared.

But the legacy of his abuse did not.

ND continues to suffer health problems after leaving her injuries untreated and has urged others to seek medical help for physical trauma sooner rather than later.

Even years later, she locks the door behind her as soon as she gets home and then checks every room before being able to relax.

“If someone close to me raises an arm or makes a sudden movement, I’m jumping away so fast I could be in the Olympics,” she said.

“He burned my eyebrows with a lighter so if anyone lights up near me, I’m on the other side of the room.

“But I don’t suffer fools gladly now. I question, I advocate.

“I’m not a survivor or a victim, I’m a stronger me.”

ND said that, while the refuge system was not perfect, it played an important role for women escaping violence.

“A lack of affordable accommodation can destroy them, it can make them stay in situations they are not safe in,” she said.

“If you’re trying to get away, you don’t want to be burdened with other people’s troubles [in communal housing].

“But without it [affordable accommodation] there, it does not give women many options after they leave.

“I know if I had it, my life could have been very, very different.”

Newcastle Herald

❏ Support is available by phoning National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732; Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491.

Elderly widower fails in bid to adopt 23-year-old foreign student

The elderly widower, known as Mr G, enrolled in a TAFE course to keep himself busy.
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Mr G, in his 80s, quickly struck up a friendship with Mr J, a 23-year-old foreign student, who arrived in in April, and gave him free room and board.

On Tuesday, the pair faced the NSW Supreme Court to plead for the court’s “compassion” to allow Mr G to adopt Mr J.

Mr J said he considered Mr G to be his “adoptive grandfather” and told Justice Francois Kunc​: “A good family can be created this way.”

But under the Adoption Act, a person over the age of 18 can only be adopted if they are being cared for by the adoption applicant, which is Mr G in this case, or has been cared for as a ward of the state.

The men’s circumstances did not meet either of those descriptions, Justice Kunc ruled, saying his decision to refuse an adoption order was “not in any way a reflection on the character or intentions of either Mr G or Mr J”.

The men cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The court heard that Mr G was married for many years, but is no longer in contact with his family. He is in good health and has “full possession of his mental faculties”.

Mr J, in the country on a two-year student visa, comes from an “unfortunate” background and would like to make his home.

“As Mr G put it to the court, he wishes to do everything to ‘assist and support’ Mr J,” Justice Kunc’s decision said.

“Mr G frankly informed the court that one of the reasons why he thought adoption was an appropriate course was that it could make it faster and easier for Mr J to apply to become an n citizen.”

“For his part, Mr J informed the court that he was very happy living with Mr G and treating him as his adoptive grandfather.

“It was his wish to stay with Mr G and provide him with any support and care that Mr G may require in the years to come.”

Justice Kunc dismissed the summons seeking an adoption order.

China urges restraint after Russian fighter jet shot down near Turkey-Syria border

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called for restraint after the downing of a Russian fighter jet year the Turkey-Syrian border. Photo: Alex EllinghausenRussian fighter jet shot down by Turkish jets near Syrian-Turkish borderTurkish military release radar image tracking Russian fighter jetRussia’s Putin calls Turkey’s downing of Russian jet ‘stab in the back’
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‘s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is urging Russia and Turkey to show restraint after a Russian fighter jet was shot down near the Turkey-Syrian border, saying it was important the situation did not escalate tensions in the highly charged region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the incident as a “stab in the back” from Turkey and said it would have serious consequences for Moscow’s relationship with Anakara.

“Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” President Putin said.

“Our plane was shot down on Syrian territory by an air-to-air missile from an F-16. It fell on Syrian territory 4 kilometres from the Turkish border. It was flying at 6000 metres 1 kilometre from Turkish territory when it was attacked.”

“We will, of course, analyse everything that happened and today’s tragic events will have serious consequences for Russo-Turkish relations.”

A radar track released by the Turkish military purports to show the downed Russian Su-24 fighter passing over Turkish territory before it was shot down.

Ms Bishop called for restraint and said it was important the situation did not escalate.

“We are concerned about the incident where a Russian aircraft was shot down in the Syrian-Turkish border area, and we ask relevant parties to exercise restraint,” Ms Bishop said in a statement.

“It is important that this incident does not lead to an escalation of conflict in a highly charged regional situation,” the Minister said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said restraint was “essential” and said the “force of arms” would not be enough to result in lasting peace in the region.

“It is an especially difficult area but notwithstanding this incident, this incident with the Russian plane being shot down, I think there remains strong momentum to a political resolution or at least to seek to get there,” he said.

“Because frankly unless you get there there will be no resolution, the force of arms is not enough to resolve the situation.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the downing of the fighter jet highlighted the danger n airforce personnel are in.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we need to have better communication between the people who are sending their warplanes into northern Syria,” he said.

“Our n airforce are dealing in a very dangerous area, now they’re highly trained, they’ve got very clear rules of engagement, our equipment is amongst the best in the world but our n airforce personnel are heading in hazardous space, there can be no doubt about that.”

Mr Shorten backed a diplomatic solution and not further individual military interventions which he said could create more problems.

“It highlights the need for us to hasten slowly and also to ensure that we have proper international talks about resolving it. Airplanes alone are not going to solve these problems.”

with Reuters

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Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun scores impressive century in under-16 tournament

Growing up fast: Arjun Tendulkar, pictured with father Sachin in 2012. Photo: Ben Rushton Arjun Tendulkar – the son of the most prolific runscorer in Test history Sachin Tendulkar – has made the cricket world sit up and take notice after plundering a century in a junior tournament in Mumbai on Tuesday.
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The 16-year-old has more to live up to than any other junior cricketer in the world given the godlike status his father holds in India – and other nations across the world – but Arjun’s knock has filled those in his home nation with hope that he, like his father, might be destined for great things on the cricket field.

The younger Tendulkar belted 106 – a dig that has been likened by those at the ground to one in the mould of Yuvraj Singh.

Arjun scored almost half (48.6 per cent) of his team’s total of 218, playing for the Sunil Gavaskar XI against Rohit Sharma XI for the Mumbai Cricket Association Under-16 Payyade Trophy.

Sachin Tendulkar has never put undue pressure on his son to forge a cricket career, but from all reports Arjun possesses some of his father’s traits which could well see him play for his country one day.

It must be remembered, however, when Sachin was 16 years old, he made his Test debut for India, scoring 15 from 24 balls against a Pakistan attack featuring a formidable pace-trio of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

Now that Tendulkar, who holds the record for the most Tests played (200) and most runs scored (15921), has retired, it is not surprising to see Indian supporters putting fresh hope in another ‘Master Blaster’ to help their country climb higher than fourth on the ICC Test Championship rankings. “Two diamonds in my life are Sara & Arjun” :-Sachin Tendulkar !!! HAPPY CHILDRENS DAY 🙂 pic.twitter上海龙凤论坛m/YjFhhtRrET— Sachin Tendulkar FC (@TendulkarGang10) November 14, 2015

Arjun also bowls left-arm pace and in the past has bowled to the English cricket team in the nets.

He has received praise from Akram, who said during the Indian Premier League Tendulkar was a “passionate kid”.

Payback and vested interests drove Turkey to shoot down Russian jet

The Russian Su-24 on fire after being shot down by Turkish F-16s. Russian fighter jet shot down by TurkeyRadar image shows jet over SyriaPutin calls downing of jet ‘a stab in the back’Analysis: This is what Islamic State wants
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Washington: In addressing the Turkish shooting down of a Russian warplane, I was about to put to one side the mind-bogglingly complex issue of how to deal with the madness of Islamic State, but this new crisis is symptomatic of failure in Syria by all sides – international and local, pro and anti-Assad and all the other mischief-makers.

It has come to this precisely because there is little agreement – tactically and strategically. Syria is a dangerous free-for-all that, perhaps naively, continues to surprise us by its capacity to become less capable of resolution.

And in a globalised world, its problems are everyone’s problems – especially the mass flight of refugees; jihadist terrorism; and, with the inevitability of more incidents such as the downing of the Russian warplane, an increased fracturing of global relations that will keep Syria as the mess that it is.

It’s worth asking what Ankara thought it was achieving, in ordering the attack? Sure, Russia exposed itself, but did Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan​, who ironically has emerged as the Putin of his region, really think he was making the conflict more capable of resolution?

Think – at a time when French President Francois Hollande is reaching out to nations for consensus in confronting IS, Erdogan throws this spanner in the works. Realpolitik says that if Turkey and Russia can’t work together, then there can be no unified approach – and so, the caliphate marches on, getting away with causing global and regional mayhem because the special interests of the world’s capitals trump the greater good.

It was hardly surprising that Moscow’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov​, abandoned a scheduled trip to Turkey for what might have been constructive meetings on Wednesday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the strike as a “stab in the back” by those who “abet” terrorism.

The immediate take by some analysts was that Ankara and Moscow were smart enough to contain this crisis within a crisis.

Despite Turkey reaching out to NATO, Verda Ozer, an analyst and columnist for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet predicted: “Turkey would not confront Russia without support from Washington. And it is crystal clear that the US is not willing to escalate the tension with Russia. Ankara might ask the United Nations and NATO for a declaration of solidarity. Yet these institutions, which are mainly under US dominance and guidance, would not go beyond a declaration.”

But here’s the thing. It seems that Turkey acted, not so much because its airspace had been violated by the Russians, so much as payback for Russian strikes within Syria on ethnic Turkmen villages in Syria’s north-west which are Sunni, Turkey-aligned and opposed to Syria’s Assad regime.

Not to excuse Moscow’s self-serving intervention in Syria, Turkey’s role in the conflict is a classic display of the kind of attention to vested interests that gives little hope of the kind of unified campaign that might ease or end the conflict – Ankara bombs Kurds fighting IS because it fears the Kurds might win a degree of autonomy; it shoots down a Russian warplane because the Russians have been hammering its Turkmen allies.

Moscow certainly got more from Turkey than it bargained. It regularly violates NATO airspace in the Baltic, prompting NATO warplanes to scramble – but never to open fire. Turkey is a member of NATO and it did fire.

Washington and the European capitals will be in overdrive, working to contain this one and the reality is that neither Moscow nor Ankara want to go to war with each other.

However, Turkey relies on Moscow for as much as 60 per cent of its natural gas imports and it awarded Russia the $US20 billion ($27 billion) contract for a nuclear power plant, so there are ways for both sides to assuage their anger in a proxy economic war.

Putin can’t claim to be surprised. His analysts would have been telling him that Erdogan is … well he’s just like Putin: an angry nationalist bent on being a global player and eager to flex his military muscle; each talks tough, but also has a pragmatic streak.

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Kodi Maybir told four versions of how boy died in Oatley music studio

Kodi James Maybir was found guilty of murder. Photo: SuppliedKodi Maybir guilty of murdering boy
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Christian hip-hop music producer Kodi Maybir told four different versions of how a seven-year-old boy died in his music studio in Oatley, in Sydney’s south, in May 2013.

In electronically recorded interviews with police, Maybir firstly claimed the boy fell off a pogo stick.

In a “walk through” interview on May 29, 2013 at the Oatley studio, Maybir said the boy often played on a pogo stick, scooter and skateboard.

However, he admitted he couldn’t be sure of what the boy was doing immediately before he injured his head.

Detective Sergeant Trent Power asked Maybir, “Why do you connect the pogo stick to what’s happened to [the boy]”.

“Cos pretty much that’s all I know … That’s the information I have received,” Maybir said.

“So, there’s nothing specific that points you to the pogo stick, apart from the fact that he plays regularly on his pogo stick,” Sergeant Power asked.

“No,” Maybir replied.

In an interview on November 20, 2013, following his arrest, Maybir admitted inventing the pogo stick story.

He told Sergeant Power that he said to the boy’s mother, Kayla James: “Just say it was the pogo stick” because he was “freaked out”.

“I freaked out ’cause that’s after tryin’ to resuscitate him and all that. I’ve run out, I’ve grabbed the drugs, I’ve grabbed the bong, I’ve grabbed the doona. I don’t know, honestly I don’t know why I grabbed the doona. I just freaked out like a chook with his head cut off.”

Later in that interview, he claimed the boy fell after standing on a coffee tin. He explained that standing on a coffee tin that was balancing on a metal microphone box was part of a religious-inspired regime of “discipline” and “punishment” he introduced after he commenced his relationship with James.

Sergeant Power then told Maybir that a post-mortem found the boy had injuries to his temples. Maybir varied his story again, this time to claim the boy fell off not once, but twice.

He claimed the boy fell off the tin and said he was dizzy. However Maybir forced him back on the tin, telling him to “get back on, stop faking”. The boy then fell a second time.

Questioned why he hadn’t mentioned the two falls before, Maybir said: “Cause it’s slack. I’ve wanted to say it all for so long, and then to hear the way you’re putting it across is, it’s slack that I put him up there.”

Maybir said he hadn’t told the truth because he was “scared” but maintained “I didn’t murder anyone though”.

However, when his case came to trial, Maybir told a fourth version. This time, he said he and the boy were play wrestling and the boy accidentally fell on the floor.

“The deceased and Mr Maybir both loved wrestling,” his barrister, Grant Brady, SC, said.

“One of the things that Mr Maybir liked to do was pick [the child] up and throw him on to the couch or a bed.

“That morning that was exactly what he was doing. He picked him up and threw him on to the couch. But [the boy] grabbed him by the shirt and, rather than hitting the couch, he hit the floor.”

Neither Maybir nor James sought medical attention until about 24 hours later, despite the boy being largely unresponsive following his fall. An autopsy showed he had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the back and front of his head, causing multiple subdural haemorrhages as well as the brain swelling that ultimately resulted in his death.

Last week a NSW Supreme Court jury appeared to reject the “play wrestling” scenario, finding Maybir guilty of murder.

James previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross criminal negligence and was sentenced to at least 10 years’ jail. Maybir pleaded guilty to six other charges, including assault and using the boy to produce child abuse material. He will face a sentencing hearing next year.

Chinan dollar climbs as RBA chief Glenn Stevens cools on rate cut

Glenn Stevens was unusually forthright when talking about the upcoming interest rates meeting. Photo: Glenn Hunt All the talk of chilling out put a fire under the Aussie dollar. Photo: iStock
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$A is stronger.

The n dollar jumped back towards one-month highs overnight, shrugging off a new low in iron ore prices after the RBA governor told economists they should “chill out” on the prospects for another rate cut next week.

Reserve Bank of ‘s Glenn Stevens on Tuesday evening told a gathering of business economists that he “happened to agree with” the argument for holding the cash rate target steady at 2 per cent when the board next meets on December 1.

“I’m more than content to lower it if that actually helps, but is that the best thing to do at any particular time?” Stevens said in response to a question on the cash rate. “We’ve got Christmas. We should just chill out, come back and see what the data says.”

The local currency traded lower ahead of the governor’s 8pm AEDT speech, which painted a broadly downbeat picture of the long-term prospects for the n economy, but quickly recovered and lifted through the night to last trade at US72.45¢, around a one-month high.

The Aussie’s strength was surprising given a further fall in the benchmark price of iron ore, which slumped 1.9 per cent to $US43.89 a tonne overnight, the lowest in daily data dating back to May 2009. The previous low of $US44.59 was set in July.

The local currency also proved resilient to Tuesday evening’s shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey, which spooked world financial markets and lifted the price of oil.

Felicity Emmett, co-head of n economics at ANZ Bank, pointed towards “a few crucial events for policy” scheduled over the holiday period to keep the RBA in the office and away from the beach.

These include the outcome of the US central bank policy meeting on December 17 – when the Federal Reserve is widely expected to lift rates – the next two n labour force reports and the December quarter consumer price inflation data, due January 27.

“Overall, we maintain our view that cash rate will be cut twice next year by 25bps, most likely in February and May,” Ms Emmett said.

Bond market pricing shows only a 6 per cent chance of a rate cut next week, on Credit Suisse numbers, suggesting traders were already factoring in a very low probability of an RBA move. Two of the 28 economists surveyed – before Tuesday’s night speech – forecast a quarter percentage point move lower next month.