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Australia to sign up to China Bank

Written By kemala yuspita on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 21.31

Treasurer Joe Hockey says it is good for Australia to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Source: AAP

AUSTRALIA will join the club of more than 30 countries negotiating the set-up of a $100 billion China-led development bank.

AFTER holding out for months, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday that Australia intends to sign up to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

China is promoting the bank as a vehicle to help combat an estimated $8 trillion infrastructure gap in the region over the next decade, but the US has reservations about the venture.Signing on before Tuesday's deadline allows Australia to participate as a prospective founding member in negotiations to set up the bank.Mr Abbott says key matters to be resolved include its board of directors having authority over major investment decisions, and that no one country controls the bank.But he says good progress has been made on the bank's design, governance and transparency in the past few months.Treasurer Joe Hockey says infrastructure upgrades in Asia, funded by the bank's loans, would benefit Australian exporters and commodities in the medium to long term."We could massively increase our exports of iron ore to India if there were better port facilities," he told reporters in Tasmania.Australia wanted similar governance positions to other multi-lateral banks.Mr Hockey said the UK, Germany, Italy and France's interest had helped sway the decision.Those countries joined the queue to sign up after Beijing reportedly dropped its veto power over the bank."(It) has been encouraging for Australia to know that it truly is a global organisation," Mr Hockey said.Trade Minister Andrew Robb said it was imperative that Australia was at the table because improved infrastructure would help drive growth and demand in Asia Pacific countries.Federal Labor accused the government of dithering on the issue for too long."I think it's important to be confident about the institutional arrangements of the bank, but the best way to do that is through engagement with China," Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek told reporters in Sydney.Russia and the Netherlands also signed up to the bank this weekend.Australia will miss a meeting in Kazakhstan early this week because it has not yet signed a memorandum of understanding.There will be another two rounds of discussions on the bank's structure and governance before countries will formally sign on.There's speculation Australia might invest up to $3 billion in the venture.The Australia China Business Council said the bank was an excellent opportunity to help shape the region's future.ASIAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT BANK EXPLAINED* Aims to provide billions in loans for Asian countries to build railways, ports, roads, telcos etc* Expected to have $50-$100 billion in capital. Most cash to come from China* Designed to address estimated $8 trillion infrastructure gap in the region over the next decade* Addresses concerns World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund can't meet demand.* China: frustrated it's not getting much say in current institutions; keen to put to use excess foreign reserves* US: concerned the bank will increase China's economic influence in the region.(Source: Australian Institute of International Affairs)

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Vic man dies after car rolls into creek

Police say a man has died after being hit by two cars while crossing a street in Melbourne's east. Source: AAP

A MAN has died after his car crashed down an embankment and rolled into a creek in Melbourne.

POLICE believe the car veered off the Western Freeway in Melton early on Sunday before ploughing down the bank and into the water.

A passerby spotted the wreck about 11.30am.The driver, a 46-year-old man from Melton West, was the only person in the vehicle and died at the scene.Police are keen to speak to witnesses.Victoria's provisional road toll sits at 70, up from 67 this time last year.

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US academic gives NZ talk on killer robots

Roboticist Professor Ron Arkin says killer robots used in war could save lives. Source: AAP

KILLER robots could save lives, a renowned United States roboticist says.

ROBOT expert Professor Ron Arkin is to give a public lecture at New Zealand's Canterbury University on Tuesday.

He says using robots in war could save soldiers' lives and reduce the number of civilian casualties.Professor Arkin, from the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is a central figure in current debates on military applications of robots.Canterbury University's Human Interface Technology Laboratory organised his visit."We know robots have the ability to significantly reduce civilian casualties in battle," doctoral student Sean Welsh says."This can lead to a moral imperative for their use."However, if the use of killer robots was not properly thought out it could lead to serious problems in the future, he said."Ron's talk will encourage people to think of ways to approach the issues of restraining lethal autonomous weapons systems from illegal or immoral actions in the context of international humanitarian and human rights law."Robots in war could change a soldier's experience, Mr Welsh said."Robots could do better than humans as war fighters because they provide better sensors, such as seeing through walls."They have an absence of self-preservation emotions. They have an ability to re-compute scenarios in the light of fresh data and most importantly they can have a complete focus on the strictures of military duty and the rule of international humanitarian law."Armies are already using robotic technology including drones, which are unmanned planes, Mr Welsh said."Most robots are unarmed and used for surveillance, reconnaissance, or destruction of mines and other explosive devices. However, in the past years, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of armed robots in combat."

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Hockey happy in suit, shuns Tasmania lycra

PM Tony Abbott is expected to miss the second day of his much-loved charity Pollie Pedal. Source: AAP

WITH Tony Abbott in Singapore for the funeral of leader Lee Kuan Yew, it was left to Treasurer Joe Hockey to step in on the charity Pollie Pedal.

BUT the good folk of northern Tasmania didn't get to see the nation's bookkeeper on two wheels on Sunday.

"I think I look best in a suit rather than lycra," Mr Hockey joked as he visited a lavender farm at Nabowla, outside Launceston.Mr Abbott's trip to Singapore, and his Friday attendance at former prime minister Malcolm Fraser's funeral in Melbourne, has cut short his time on the Pollie Pedal, which he helped co-found in 1998 and remains a keen participant.The 300-acre Bridestowe Lavender Estate, a major tourist attraction and producer of about 10 per cent of the world's lavender oil concentrate, was the first stop on the Pollie Pedal route on Sunday, where Mr Hockey filled in for his absent boss."I'm actually trying to grow lavender at home ... it's very hardy," the treasurer mused.He met top-selling Bobbie, a purple, wheat and lavender-filled soft toy and heat pack."Does Bobbie pay his taxes?" Mr Hockey asked as he took a tour of the business.Pollie Pedal 2015, which has about 50 riders, including state and federal politicians, is raising money for Carers Australia.Mr Abbott is expected to return on Monday when the event wraps up.

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Not all media is 'evil': Vic Muslim

AN Australian sheikh has urged Muslims to remember that "not everyone in the media is bad" the next time they read a story they feel is unfair.

AUSTRALIAN convert Sheikh Isa Graham says "we see so many silly articles" but "not every journalist" wants to say bad things about Muslims.

"Not everyone in the media is evil, not everyone in the media is bad," Sheikh Graham told the crowd at the Australian Islamic Peace Conference in Melbourne on Sunday."Like we have good Muslims representing Islam, and sometimes Muslims doing bad things and misrepresenting Islam, we also have good journalists and bad journalists."The conference, hosted by the Islamic Research and Educational Academy, attracted hundreds to the Melbourne Convention Centre.Speakers included Sheikh Hussein Yee, from Malaysia, and Dr Abdurrahman Al-Muhrij whose talk was live-streamed from Saudi Arabia.

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Melbourne council considers smoking ban

SMOKING could be banned in Melbourne's outdoor dining areas.

MELBOURNE City Council says it will discuss the move, with Victoria the only state that doesn't have the ban in place.

"We're used to leading, not following," Lord Mayor Robert Doyle told the Herald Sun on Sunday."Given that we know this is the direction we're heading, it's now time to have this discussion."Mr Doyle said the topic would likely trigger serious debate.

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Federal Labor increases lead: Morgan poll

Written By kemala yuspita on Senin, 23 Maret 2015 | 21.31

JUST days before NSW goes the polls, federal Labor has increased its lead over the coalition in the latest Roy Morgan poll.

ACCORDING to the survey held over the last two weekends, primary support for Labor rose two percentage points to 40 per cent, ahead of the coalition's 38 per cent, which was down one point.

On two-party preferred terms, the ALP leads the coalition 56 per cent to 44 per cent.Support for the Greens and Palmer United Party went down, while the independents remained unchanged.Gary Morgan said federal Labor had increased its strong lead over the coalition on a two-party preferred basis despite what looks like the certain re-election of NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird at the weekend.

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Japanese PM to visit US for talks in April

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to the US for an eight-day visit in late April to strengthen economic and military ties.

ABE is scheduled to visit Washington from April 27 to 30, during which he will meet with President Barack Obama and attend official events, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

"Last April, we invited President Obama as a state guest. The following official visit to the United States by Prime Minister Abe, we believe, will be significant to show the robust Japan-US alliance to the world," Suga said.The two leaders are likely to meet on April 28, a day after planned security talks by the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries.Abe is expected to become the first Japanese PM to address a joint session of the US Congress on April 29, the Kyodo News agency reported.The trip will also take Abe to Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Aust-born tennis coach convicted of rape

AUSTRALIAN-BORN former tennis champion Bob Hewitt has been convicted in a South African court of rape and sexual assault decades after the alleged assaults.

JUDGE Bert Bam said he is satisfied the two women, who had accused the veteran tennis player of rape, and a third woman, who had accused him of sexual assault, were telling the truth.

The charges stemmed from events in the 1980s and 1990s, when Hewitt coached the women as young girls. Hewitt, 75, denied all three charges.The judge said the striking similarities among the three womens' testimonies showed that Hewitt's conduct was calculated.Bam described the evidence against Hewitt as "overwhelming", the SAPA news agency reported.During the trial, his victims said Hewitt assaulted them during private tennis lessons when they were young girls."Time did not erase the crimes. A guilty person should not go unpunished. The scales of justice tip against the accused," Bam said.One woman testified that Hewitt had told her "rape is enjoyable" as he assaulted her.Another victim told the court he had touched her inappropriately 34 years ago and forced her to perform a sex act on him when she was 12 and 13.Hewitt won numerous Grand Slam events during his career in the 1960s and 1970s and was named to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992.But his name was removed from the hall of fame in 2012, following allegations that he sexually abused girls he coached.Hewitt was born in Dubbo, NSW, but has spent much of his life in South Africa.

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UK cancer boy in 'miracle recovery'

THE parents of five-year-old Ashya King said he had made a "miracle" recovery from a brain tumour after proton therapy treatment in the Czech Republic that UK authorities had tried to block.

ASHYA'S family said the Prague-based centre where he was treated had declared him cancer-free, The Sun newspaper reported.

"It has justified everything we have gone through because things are working out for Ashya," his father Brett King told The Sun.The Kings sneaked Ashya out of Britain because they were told the proton therapy, which directs beams directly at a tumour and causes less damage to other organs, was not available under Britain's National Health Service."If we had left Ashya with the NHS we don't think he would have survived," Brett King said.Ashya's mother Naghmeh said: "We have saved his life. It is a miracle we thought we would never see."The Kings' decision to take their son away from a hospital in Southampton without doctors' consent led to their arrest in Spain.They spent several days in police cells before their release and a High Court judge later approved their application to be allowed to take Ashya to Prague's Proton Therapy Centre for treatment."We were arrested for child cruelty and neglect," Brett King told The Sun. "But leaving Ashya in the NHS would have been far more cruel."

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