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Voting begins in Bosnian elections

Written By kemala yuspita on Minggu, 12 Oktober 2014 | 21.31

VOTING has begun in Bosnian elections that may - or may not - unblock the country's stalled European membership bid.

SOME 3.3 million voters are eligible to cast ballots for the Bosnian parliament and the three-member presidency, as well as for representatives at other levels of the complex administration.

EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton has urged Bosnians to vote for authorities so they can begin tackling urgent issues including reforms to replace the dysfunctional administrative system based on ethnic partition between the Muslim Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.Ethnic squabbling has blocked the country internationally and has left its economy in ruins."The voters ... have an opportunity to decide who they will entrust with the task to deliver a positive change in the country's economy, social and justice system," Ashton said.However, in spite of mounting problems, no major shift is expected from Sunday's elections.

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G20 volunteers praised by PM

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told a group of G20 volunteers they will be the "face of Australia". Source: AAP

BRISBANE was last depicted in the international media through images of volunteers cleaning mud and silt off the city's filthy post-flood streets.

BUT in a month's time, when the world's most powerful political leaders travel to Brisbane for the G20 summit, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman hopes a very different Brisbane will be shown.

"It's really important that we put on a fantastic show," he told a gathering of G20 volunteers in Brisbane on Sunday."That we take every opportunity to describe our lifestyle, our culture, the scenery. A myriad of possibilities exist for great stories about Queensland and Brisbane."The event, on November 15 and 16, will see an enormous security operation send parts of Brisbane into lockdown.It will also take place with the help of 600 volunteers who will help promote Queensland.While special state government legislation granting police extended powers for the duration of the summit has attracted criticism from civil libertarians, Mr Newman hopes to sell the state as a business-friendly destination."If you think about it, there has never ever been an event where the spotlight has been so intense on the city of Brisbane and the state of Queensland."Prime Minister Tony Abbott also addressed the crowd of volunteers, saying the G20 was the largest gathering of international leaders the country has ever hosted."At the heart of Australia is the notion of the volunteer. We are a people who roll up our sleeves and get things done," Mr Abbott said."You are the face of Australia. I look at you and I think `what a happy face',""The group I see before me is very representative of the strength and the diversity of our country. Very representative I'm sure of the optimism, the confidence and the faith in the future of our country."

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Shark blamed for WA canoe attack

Two men in an inflatable boat have survived a shark attack off the southwest coast of WA. Source: AAP

A WESTERN Australian beach where two men in an inflatable canoe claimed to have been attacked by a shark remains closed.

THE pair were near Castle Rock, Dunsborough, in the state's southwest when a shark punctured their boat just after 5pm on Saturday, the ABC reported on its website.

But the Department of Fisheries said after inspecting the pictures of the puncture marks on the deflated canoe, it could not determine what caused the damage.Swimmers are being advised to take additional caution as Fisheries and Surf Life Saving conduct a sweep of the area.A 23-year-old man lost a hand and part of his other arm in a shark attack in southern WA a week ago.

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Protests out of control, says HK leader

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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With Z3, Sony brings phones to US faster

SONY is launching its new Xperia Z3 waterproof smartphone through Verizon and T-Mobile.

THE phones are hitting US stores on the heels of their unveiling last month at a trade show in Berlin, as Sony ramps up efforts to expand its tiny US market share by getting to the American market faster.

Its Xperia Z1 phone took months to arrive, by which time it felt old. Sony didn't found a US wireless carrier for the Z2 earlier this year.The Verizon phone comes out on October 23, just a month after Apple's new iPhones and a week after the October 17 release of Samsung's new Galaxy Note 4. A release date for the T-Mobile version hasn't been announced.T-Mobile is carrying the standard version. For the Verizon model, dubbed Z3v, Sony is adding the ability to charge the phone wirelessly with an optional accessory, without needing to plug in a traditional USB cable.It's a capability coming to many smartphones but often requires buying a special back cover on top of the charging accessory. The two models have slightly different dimensions, even though both screens measure 13 cms diagonally.Both versions let people play Sony PlayStation 4 games through the phone while on the porch or in another room, away from the TV. The phones can withstand drops in the swimming pool and have 20.7 megapixel cameras capable of recording video in ultra-high definition, or 4k.The Verizon version will sell for $200 with a two-year contract, or $600 without one. T-Mobile pricing hasn't been announced yet.Sony has had a tough time breaking through the highly competitive smartphone market. Sony's market share doesn't even rank in lists of the top five smartphone makers. In the trend-setting US market, Sony has suffered further from late releases.

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We can control Ebola spread: UN expert

THE British expert in charge of the United Nations response to Ebola says he hopes the spread of the killer virus will be "under control" in three months.

DR David Nabarro, the UN's special envoy on Ebola, said on Saturday the number of cases in west African countries including Sierra Leone were increasing week-on-week.

But systems now in place, along with international help, could turn the tide and reduce the number of cases from one week to the next, he told the BBC 5live Up All Night's Dotun Adebayo.Dr Nabarro said: "As a result of the sensitisation program last month I think we have got a much better community involvement, which leads me to believe that getting it under control within the next three months is a reasonable target."When we have a disease outbreak like this there is a thing called the epidemic curve, which is numbers of cases over time, and at the moment that epidemic curve is increasing in an exponential fashion ... this means an upward-going curve and it's quite frightening because it means an acceleration."By under control I mean we bend the curve down, the numbers of cases each week diminishes compared with the previous week to the point where there is no new transmissions."For me under control means the epidemic curve is coming down and we are confident that the numbers of cases is reducing and will be eventually ended."Dr Nabarro said people in the affected countries, which also include Liberia and Guinea, now had a better understanding of the need to stop the virus spreading by isolating themselves if they became infected.He added: "The epidemiologists, the people who study disease, say that when 70 per cent of those who have got the virus are enabled to avoid spreading it to others then the epidemic curve will come down and that's our target for the next 90 days."Dr Nabarro told the BBC screening people arriving at ports and airports was "less necessary" than screening on departure and singling out people because of their nationality or where they are travelling from was "inappropriate".

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Royal visit cost Australia $474,582

Written By kemala yuspita on Kamis, 09 Oktober 2014 | 21.31

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of Australia cost taxpayers just over $470,000. Source: AAP

THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of Australia and the advance visit for the trip cost Australia's taxpayers just under STG260,000 ($A474,582), according to recent figures.

WILLIAM, Kate and Prince George toured Australia for 10 days in April, visiting some of the nation's most famous sites from the Sydney Opera House to Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock.

The total cost for the trip, and a preliminary visit in January by Kensington Palace staff and personal protection officers, was STG259,000, with transportation costs the largest portion of the bill at just over STG137,000.The Cambridges based themselves in Sydney and later the capital Canberra during the tour, with their son remaining at the locations while they carried out official engagements.The bill for media liaison at STG46,641 was the next highest cost followed by domestic travel, for things such as meals and accommodation, at STG40,233 while hospitality and event related costs came to STG32,501.During royal visits to countries where the Queen is head of state, it is normal practice for the host nation to pay for the cost of the trip.The figures were released by Australia's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to The Australian newspaper after a Freedom of Information request, but do not include the cost of security or GST.When the Queen visited Australia in October 2011, the cost of her trip reportedly came to almost STG1.5 million, but the bill included the charter of a plane for long-haul flights.

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US mum who tried to kill child gets 10yrs

A US woman who tried to kill her autistic daughter has been jailed for a minimum of 10 years. Source: AAP

A US judge has sentenced the mother of an autistic Michigan teenager to 10-22 years in prison for what the woman described as a failed murder-suicide attempt brought on by despair after years of violent attacks by her child and failure to find affordable and effective treatment.

KELLI Rai Stapleton, 46, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree child abuse in a bargain with prosecutors who dismissed an attempted murder charge.

She admitted driving her daughter Isabelle to an isolated spot in rural northern Michigan in September 2013, giving her a sleep-inducing drug and placing two charcoal-burning grills inside their van.Both survived, although Isabelle, now 15, was in a coma for four days and suffered brain damage. Although largely recovered, she still has memory loss and problems with balance.Circuit Judge James Batzer ordered Stapleton to serve a minimum of 10 years before becoming eligible for parole, though she will get credit for the 399 days she's already served. He set her maximum sentence at 22 years.Her body trembling and her voice breaking, Stapleton apologised repeatedly before her sentencing to her children, her former husband, her friends and others.Although her lawyer requested probation and community service, Stapleton herself asked Batzer for a 15-year sentence - "one year for every year of (Isabelle's) life that I tried to take"."I will spend each moment of each day in anguish for my actions and gratitude for the miracle that brought Issy back," Stapleton said, referring to her daughter by her nickname."She is not a monster," Stapleton said. "I am. ... I always have and will always love her beyond measure."Batzer rejected the suggestion that Stapleton had faked her suicide attempt and simply wanted to be rid of her daughter. He said that Stapleton might have been mentally ill but noted that she had decided against going to trial on an insanity defence."We can have sympathy," Batzer said. But he described Stapleton's actions as "profoundly wrong" and deserving of "a severe price".Stapleton and her former husband, Matthew, a school principal who recently obtained a divorce, were prominent figures in the adjacent Lake Michigan communities of Elberta, where they lived, and Frankfort. In addition to Isabelle, they have another daughter and a son.On Wednesday, Hodek read aloud a letter from Matthew Stapleton, written on behalf of him and his children, which said, "We know and understand in our hearts that she needs help, not an extended amount of jail time."Kelli Stapleton became well known as an outspoken advocate for autism awareness and blogged about the challenges of finding proper help for Isabelle.Stapleton wrote in the summer of 2013 that she was "suffering from a severe case of battle fatigue" after the family's insurance company stopped paying for a treatment program and local officials changed Isabelle's education plan.She later told authorities she had concluded the best solution would be if she and her daughter "went to heaven".

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Wee proposal to save a lot of water

BRITISH students are being encouraged to urinate in the shower to save water.

THE campaign, called gowiththeflow, has been dreamt up by Debs Torr and Chris Dobson at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

They hope to get all 15,000 students at the university to take part - and are asking them to declare their habits on Twitter and Facebook."We've done the maths, and this project stands to have a phenomenal impact," Dobson said."With 15,000 students at UEA, over a year we would save enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 26 times over."Imagine how big an impact it could have if we could get everyone in East Anglia, or even the UK, to change their morning habits."The contentious idea has received a mixed reaction, but they estimate that STG125,000 ($A228,165) could be saved per year if the entire UEA student population took part."The campaign has been really divisive - people either seem to love it or hate it," Mr Dobson added."But that's exactly what we want. We're trying to challenge conventional behaviour, to start a debate on a resource that we largely take for granted."The pair are representing UEA in the Npower Future Leaders Challenge, encouraging students to devise an environmental initiative on their campus.

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Aussie MH17 passenger had oxygen mask on

Dutch prosecutors say the body of one passenger of MH17 was found wearing an oxygen mask. Source: AAP

THE body of an Australian passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was found wearing an oxygen mask, Dutch prosecutors say, raising questions about how much those on board knew about their fate when the plane plunged out of the sky above eastern Ukraine in July.

THE passenger did not have the mask on his face, but its elastic strap was around his neck, said Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch National Prosecutor's Office which is carrying out a criminal investigation into the air disaster.

De Bruin said Dutch forensic experts investigated the mask "for fingerprints, saliva and DNA and that did not produce any results. So it is not known how or when that mask got around the neck of the victim."De Bruin said no other bodies recovered from the wreckage were found wearing masks. He said he did not know where in the plane the Australian victim was sitting.All 298 passengers and crew, including 88 Australian citizens and residents, died when the jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17.Dutch air crash investigators said last month it was likely struck by multiple "high-energy objects from outside the aircraft," which some aviation experts say is consistent with a strike by a missile.The head of the criminal investigation said the most likely of possible scenarios being investigated is that the Boeing 777 was shot down from the ground.Relatives of the Australian passenger were told about the mask as soon as it was discovered, but relatives of other victims heard about it for the first time when Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans mentioned it during an interview on a late-night talk show on Wednesday.Relatives of victims began calling investigators Thursday asking about the comments, De Bruin said.The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Timmermans regrets his comments."I have an enormous amount of sympathy for the next-of-kin," he said. "The last thing I want to do is compound their suffering in this way."

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