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Two killed in Bahrain car bomb explosion

Written By kemala yuspita on Sabtu, 19 April 2014 | 21.31

TWO people have been killed and a third seriously injured when a car exploded in Bahrain.

The three were inside the vehicle when two successive explosions took place.

Police investigating the scene in Muqsha, north of the capital Manama, said explosive materials were inside the car.

Residents said one of the people was wanted by the police.

A hardline Shi'ite opposition movement, al-Wafa, released the names of the two dead and called them martyrs.

Further details were not immediately available.

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Bin Laden library causes storm in Pakistan

Written By kemala yuspita on Jumat, 18 April 2014 | 21.31

A DECISION by an Islamic seminary for women to name its library after former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has caused a controversy in Pakistan's capital.

Maulana Abdul Aziz of the Red Mosque, known for its alleged links to militant groups, renamed the school's existing library Maktbah Usama bin Laden Shaheed - Urdu for Osama bin Laden, the martyr.

Aziz said the main objective of the initiative was to show "respect" for bin Laden.

"He is our hero, and we do not care if the world calls him a terrorist," the cleric said.

The library is situated in the centre of Islamabad, about half a kilometre from the headquarters of Pakistan's intelligence agency, which has been accused of protecting the former al-Qaeda chief before he was killed by the US military in 2011 during a raid in Pakistan.

Commentators have referred to the renaming of the library as inappropriate and have branded it an embarrassment for the government and its security institutions, which have come under fire for failing to curb the activities of extremist groups.

"It is a huge embarrassment," security expert Hasan Askari Rizvi said.

"It shows that the government is confused, and it does not have a clear policy towards the groups who cherish al-Qaeda ideology."

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Fourteen killed in Syria car bombing

A POWERFUL car bomb has exploded outside a mosque in a pro-government district of central Syria, killing 14 peoples, state-run Syrian television reported.

The bombing occurred as worshippers left the Bilal al-Habshi mosque on the edge of Akrama after attending Friday prayers, the report said.

The area, populated mainly by Alawites, members of President Bashar Assad's minority sect, has repeatedly been targeted by car bombs in recent months.

The Syrian Observatory for Human rights said the explosion killed at least nine people, adding that the number likely would rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition.

The attack coincides with a crushing offensive by government forces aimed at retaking the last rebel bastions in the historic quarters of the old city of Homs.

The last few days has seen some of the fiercest fighting there in months.

Activists say more than 150,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since it began in March 2011 with largely peaceful protests calling for Assad's ouster.

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India election marred by rebel threats

Written By kemala yuspita on Kamis, 17 April 2014 | 21.31

INDIANS have cast their ballots on the biggest day of voting in the country's general election, streaming into polling stations even in areas where leftist rebels threatened violence.

Nationwide voting began on April 7 and runs through to May 12, with results for the 543-seat lower house of Parliament to be announced four days later.

Among the 13 key states voting on Thursday was Chhattisgarh, now the centre of a four-decade Maoist insurgency that has affected more than a dozen of India's 28 states.

With roadside bombings, jungle ambushes and hit-and-run raids, the rebels aim for nothing short of sparking a full-blown peasant revolt as they accuse the government and corporations of plundering resources and stomping on the rights of the poor.

But authorities say that amid the bloodshed, there are signs that the rebels have waning support - including lines of voters shuffling into polling booths in rebel strongholds.

"I want a good life for my baby, security and peace," said Neha Ransure, a 25-year-old woman who was voting in the Chhattisgarh town of Rajnandgaon.

"The rebels are bad. They kill our soldiers. I don't go outside of town. It is too dangerous."

Rebels always threaten to disrupt Indian elections, and this year is no different.

While Rajnandgaon was peaceful on Thursday, rebels set off a bomb near a group of polling officials and security forces in the neighbouring district of Kanker but no one was hurt, police said.

Another blast injured three paramilitary soldiers and a driver in the state of Jharkhand, where they also blew up railway lines.

More than 4800 people, including about 2850 civilians, have been killed nationwide since 2008 in what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called India's biggest internal security threat.

Despite the rebel calls for an election boycott, voter turnout was 59 per cent last week in the rebel's unruly heartland of Bastar.

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Royals to visit Easter Show

THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will join thousands of Australians at the Royal Easter show, though it's not known if they'll have a chance to taste a Dagwood dog.

William and Kate are scheduled to meet students and teachers on Friday before viewing exhibits and a crafts exhibition at the show.

The pair will then view sheep shearing and wool handling, meet the 2013 Wool4Skool program winner - who designed a dress for the Duchess of Cambridge - and sign the visitor book.

They will then trade the show bags and rides for a visit to Manly's Bear Cottage palliative care hospice in the afternoon, where they will meet young patients, families, volunteers and staff.

Sydneysiders will be able to catch a glimpse of the royals when they visit Manly beach and view Surf Lifesaving activities on the sand.

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10 pound Pom arrival lists go online

Written By kemala yuspita on Rabu, 16 April 2014 | 21.31

EDS: Not for use before 0001 AEST Thursday, April 17

CANBERRA, April 17 AAP - No-one was to know it at the time but when the ocean liner Fairsea docked in Sydney in 1958, aboard were some passengers destined to become Australian musical legends.

Fairsea passenger lists show the Gibb family, including future Bee Gees Barry, Maurice and Robin, travelled third class from Southampton to make a new life in Australia.

Also aboard was Red Symons, future lead guitarist of Skyhooks.

They and some million others were referred to as "10 pound Poms", the wave of Britons who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s for the princely sum of 10 pounds. They included the parents of Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Julia Gillard.

Their names are on what's termed the "Fremantle Passenger Lists" of 3.5 million immigrants in the period 1897-1963.

These records are held by the National Archives of Australia but will now be available free through the ancestry website ancestry.com.au.

Ancestry.com.au content director Ben Mercer said these lists captured a crucial point in the story of many Australians.

"Fremantle in Western Australia was the first point where many immigrants stopped off before embarking on their new life in Australia," he said in a statement.

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PM keen to get 2nd airport off the ground

Written By kemala yuspita on Selasa, 15 April 2014 | 21.31

Western Sydney residents want the federal government to hurry up and approve a second airport. Source: AAP

LADIES and gentlemen welcome to Sydney's Badgerys Creek Airport.

The federal government has ended decades of indecision about Sydney's second airport, confirming work will begin in 2016 at the site, 56km west of the CBD.

But please remain seated - flights aren't due to touch down until the mid-2020s.

"There's been decades of procrastination here so we do want to get cracking," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Private sector investment will cover the $2.5 billion bill for construction, including a 2.5km runway through paddocks, while the commonwealth will pick up planning and design costs.

In its initial stages the government forecasts a "modest" operation with a single runway and mix of intra-state, interstate, international and cargo flights.

Billions of dollars and some 60,000 jobs are expected to flow from the airport development by 2060, which has the in-principle support of Labor.

"When we see the detail we will be out there examining it," opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese told Sky News, while offering support for the announcement.

But Mr Abbott faces possible internal party dissidence over his hints at a curfew-free airport.

"We deserve what's best for our community and I don't support a 24-hour airport," Western Sydney Liberal MP Fiona Scott said.

Community consultation will be a compulsory part of the planning process, with concerns about aircraft noise and air pollution already being voiced.

The operator of Sydney Airport has first dibs on running the new facility, with two years to confirm their interest.

"Let's hope that they have a look at this and don't beat around the bush but quickly decide," an eager Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio.

If Sydney Airport declines, the government will swiftly approach the open market and is confident of attracting strong interest.

Sydney Airport acknowledged the announcement, but pointed to the need for improved transport links and fuel lines for the Badgerys Creek site.

"The government's approach will be roads first, airport second," Mr Abbott said, adding that light rail services would be a state government responsibility.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell is expected to meet with the prime minister on Wednesday to reveal further details of transport upgrades for the region.

Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss told ABC TV he expects the NSW government will build a rail line offering improved service to Western Sydney.

"Perhaps there could be a station at Badgerys Creek in due course," he said, but added that a rail line to the airport in the early stages is unnecessary.

Caltex, which supplies fuel to Kingsford Smith Airport, has a pipeline which runs from Botany via Silverwater, nearby Badgerys Creek.

Airlines will decide which of the Sydney airports they will use.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce welcomed news of the "vital" facility for Sydney and Australia and hoped the airline will be involved in the planning process.

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It's a royal croc block for George

Prince George and the NT's crocodile George will not meet in Sydney due to quarantine restrictions. Source: AAP

THE royals aren't the only ones who cause a kerfuffle when travelling - it has proven so difficult to fly George the royal crocodile from Darwin to Sydney to meet his namesake that the two remain tragically separated by the tyranny of distance.

Young Prince George won't be accompanying his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, when they visit the Northern Territory next week.

That means he won't be able to meet his crocodile namesake at Crocasaurus Cove, named George after he hatched on December 12, the day the royal pregnancy was announced.

"We did try to get the crocodile George to meet Prince George in Sydney, but unfortunately quarantine regulations did not allow the crocodile to get into Taronga Zoo," Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles told reporters in Darwin on Tuesday.

"We don't know if there's any friendly political rivalry there, because I understand (NSW Premier) Barry O'Farrell is very keen for the bilby to be showcased to the royals, and the Territory wanted to showcase our crocs, because we do have the best and biggest crocodiles ... it's very unfortunate the crocodile won't get to meet the royals."

Flying crocodile George to Uluru to meet William and Kate is too logistically difficult, Mr Giles said.

Instead, the chief minister will take a group of nine secondary school students from around the NT for a half-hour meeting with the royal couple.

"This is an unreal opportunity," said Emma Kellaway, a year 12 student at Taminmin College.

"I'm very excited," said Tarra Brain, from Casuarina Senior College.

Grace Tozer, from Palmerston Senior College, wants to ask the duchess what it's like being swept up in the royal life despite not being born into it.

When teachers approached the family of Chevez Kirkman, from the remote community of Mutitjulu near Uluru, they weren't sure how they would react.

"We thought, oh jeez, some people still think of it as the invasion and all that, but when his father heard he'd been selected he was absolutely beside himself with excitement," Terry Brown, deputy principal of Nyangatjatjara College, told AAP.

The duke and duchess touch down in Yulara on Tuesday, and will present graduation certificates to students of the National Indigenous Training Academy before walking around Uluru.

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Sydney boy aged four hit by car, dies

A YOUNG boy who was run over by a car in Sydney's west has died in hospital.

The four-year-old was crossing a residential road in Westmead on Tuesday afternoon with his mother and brother when he was hit, leaving him with serious head injuries, police said.

Paramedics tried to revive the child at the scene before taking him to Westmead Hospital, where he later died.

"The child's mother sustained minor injuries in the collision and was also taken to Westmead Hospital for treatment. The other child was not injured," police said.

The woman driver wasn't hurt and has been taken for mandatory blood and urine tests.

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Vic govt to consider IBAC changes

VICTORIA'S corruption watchdog could be beefed up after complaining it can't investigate some claims.

The Victorian government says it will consider changes to the integrity regime after the year-old watchdog called for stronger investigative powers.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) says there are cases where it has felt unable to investigate corruption claims because the allegations do not meet a high enough threshold under the legislation.

The IBAC also wants parliament to consider making it mandatory for heads of public sector bodies and local councils to notify it of corrupt conduct, as is already the case in other states.

The change should apply at the very least for more serious matters within the public sector, IBAC says.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said the government would carefully consider the various recommendations and suggestions made by IBAC.

In its report on its first year of operation, IBAC says it has been hamstrung by restrictions in the legislation which set it up.

"There have been corrupt conduct allegations where IBAC has not felt able to commence investigations because of threshold restrictions in the IBAC Act," IBAC says in the report released Tuesday.

Not all the cases were suitable to be referred elsewhere and this may have undermined its objectives, it says.

IBAC also wants powers to investigate misconduct in public office, as is the case under other Australian integrity regimes.

In addition, it flagged the need for stronger protection for whistleblowers.

The watchdog says there are cases where people who have disclosed information appear not to qualify for whistleblower protection and this may deter whistleblowers coming forward with valuable information.

Mr Clark said the government has made clear it will monitor the IBAC legislation and take into account feedback from the IBAC commissioner about amendments.

"The government will now carefully consider the various recommendations and suggestions made by IBAC," he said.

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