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Aussies warned about deadly Ebola outbreak

Written By kemala yuspita on Selasa, 29 Juli 2014 | 21.31

Aussies are being warned to steer clear of parts of West Africa affected by the deadly Ebola virus. Source: AAP

AUSTRALIANS are being warned to steer clear of parts of West Africa as the deadly Ebola virus claims more victims.

NEARLY 700 people have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since March in what has been described as the most serious recorded outbreak yet of the virus.

There are fears it could spread further across the region; Nigeria has set up disease isolation centres at its international airports after recording its first death from the virus.The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is urging Australians to avoid areas affected by the virus and be aware they could run into trouble if they venture into the region."Australians are also advised that borders in the region may be closed at short notice to contain the outbreak," the department said in its travel bulletin.Those in the region should closely monitor local health advice and maintain strict standards of hygiene.Victims of the virus, or those suffering symptoms, should be avoided at all costs.Ebola has a 90 per cent fatality rate and can quickly kill once contracted.There is no known vaccine or cure.Symptoms include high fever and weakness followed by external and internal bleeding.Any traveller to the region showing these signs before or after visiting should seek medical attention.The outbreak began in March in forested areas of southeastern Guinea.

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Talks aim to get experts to MH17 site

THE head of the international monitoring group in Ukraine is hopeful unarmed Australian and Dutch police will be able to access the MH17 crash site and start retrieving bodies "within one or two days".

OSCE chief monitor Ertugrul Apakan met with top Ukrainian officials in Kiev on Tuesday after the international policing mission was unable to reach the site for a third day running due to heavy shelling in the Donetsk region.

Mr Apakan said Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko had now "instructed all institutions to be helpful to the OSCE" special monitoring mission (SMM)."He's asking us to reach the crash site as soon as possible in order to remove the remnants of the bodies and carry out an investigation by the international taskforce," the chief monitor told reporters in Kiev."There's progress and we expect that the SMM will move to the crash site, with the international taskforce, within a short span of time, tomorrow or the other (next) day."We are working, if possible, within one or two days to be there."Mr Apakan said the OSCE was coordinating with all the parties on the ground including pro-Russia militants who have conceded they are losing territory to Ukrainian forces.Acting Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, speaking alongside the OSCE chief monitor, said Ukraine was making continuous efforts to secure entry to the crash site "but we continuously encounter provocations".Mr Groysman said the president was making "every effort humanly possible to stop the provocations"."We have designed a clear-cut plan that will provide for our final entry," the acting PM told reporters via a translator."We are in close co-operation with the Netherlands and our colleagues from Australia and other international partners."Mr Groysman is hopeful of some good news "in the forthcoming hours or maybe a day".He vowed there'd be no military action within a 20km exclusion zone and no shots would be fired "in the direction of the area where we will have some movements of the taskforce".The acting PM added: "We know that terrorists are still in control of the territory."Mr Groysman expects parliament on Thursday to ratify deals between Australia and the Netherlands and Ukraine regarding the humanitarian policing mission."This will enable the exercise of actions that will lead to a quicker investigation of what has happened," he said on Tuesday afternoon.The deployment agreements would allow Australia and the Netherlands to send in armed police or soldiers if required.

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Warrants issued for Aussie jihadists

TWO Australians believed to be fighting with terrorists in Syria and Iraq will be arrested if they return home.

THE Australian Federal Police has issued arrest warrants for Mohamed Elomar and convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf.

The warrants relate to alleged terrorist activity, an AFP spokeswoman told AAP."Should Sharrouf or Elomar return to Australia, these warrants authorise law enforcement to arrest them immediately," she said.The pair have reportedly joined the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIL) insurgents fighting in Syria and Iraq.Sharrouf's social media profile has shown him waving the organisation's flag.The ABC reports there are also photos posted online of Elomar holding the severed heads of Syrian government soldiers.More than 100 Australians are believed to have left the country to fight in the Middle East, with dozens known to be actively involved.ASIO has advised the Australian government that the Islamic State movement is attracting a large number of foreign fighters and is now one of the world's most deadly and active terrorist organisations.Attorney-General George Brandis said Australians shouldn't think terrorism was a problem that only existed on the other side of the world."The number of Australians who are participating in this war fighting in Syria and Iraq shows that this is a problem that exists and germinates within our suburbs," he told ABC TV.

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Warning over stolen WA railway explosives

Explosives stolen from a parked vehicle in Perth could cause serious injury, WA police have warned. Source: AAP

EXPLOSIVES stolen from a parked vehicle in Perth could cause serious injury if not handled carefully, police say.

THE 54 railway detonators, which are strapped to railways and explode with a loud bang when driven over, were stolen on Monday night in the southern suburb Parmelia.

A police spokesman said the detonators were in a silver carry case marked "Railway Track Detonators" and "Explosives".In 2012, News Limited reported that a 15-year-old boy lost his left hand when a railway detonator blew up in his face after he hit it with a hammer.Anyone who sees the items is advised not to touch them and call police immediately on 131 444.

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Govt pays $330,000 for media briefing room

TAXPAYERS have forked out close to $330,000, including $800 for a doorknob, for a border protection media briefing room that hasn't been used since its completion 10 months ago.

CONSTRUCTION and fit-out costs for the high-tech theatrette totalled almost $235,000 while the annual cost of having it on stand-by is running at about $100,000.

The government is leasing the premises, next to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's aid office in Canberra, until June 2016.It is also paying $10,000 a month to hire audio visual equipment on top of a $30,000 bill for rented stage lights, according to documents obtained by AAP under Freedom of Information.The heavily blacked-out documents reveal the facility was ready for media briefings in October 2013, but it has never been used for that purpose.It is understood the room was intended for Operation Sovereign Borders media briefings presented by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison until late last year.Instead, the weekly briefings were held at commonwealth offices in Sydney.The briefings ended in December, coinciding with reports of asylum-seeker boat turn-backs which the government refused to discuss.In Canberra, Mr Morrison has mostly used Parliament House facilities for border protection-related press conferences.In mid-July, he launched a national border targeting centre at the Customs and Border Protection headquarters, located across the road from the briefing room.He addressed reporters after the launch in a Customs room.The unused media centre has large LED monitors, a projector, spotlights, two podiums with microphones, audio splitters and space to fit four television camera tripods and seating for 20 journalists.Invoices show $800 was spent on a single doorknob.In a statement Customs said that cost was for "large metal grab handles fixed to both the inside and the outside of a glass panel door".It also claimed the annual operating cost of the room for 2014/15 would be around $37,000 and it would continue to be used for internal meetings and as a media conference venue as needed.

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Another whale freed from Qld shark nets

A HUMPBACK whale has been freed from shark nets off the Gold Coast days after two young whales became trapped in the area.

SEA World marine experts were alerted about 7.45am on Tuesday after reports a humpback was caught in nets about 300 metres off Kirra Beach.

A spokeswoman for the Gold Coast theme park told AAP a team cut the whale free about two and a half hours later.Marine experts onboard a boat are following the mammal, which appears to be in good health.An exhausted humpback calf was freed by a rescue team after struggling for hours in a net off the same beach last Thursday. The whale suffered muscle and tail damage but was able to swim away.However, a baby whale that became trapped off a southern Gold Coast beach on July 20 was not so fortunate.The newborn hit the bottom of a shark net, was unable to free itself and drowned.Sea World's director of marine sciences Trevor Long last week called for a review of the use of shark nets off the Gold Coast.He said many inexperienced mammals ran into trouble on their first southern migration because they did not know where the "traps" were.Mr Long suggested replacing the nets with drum lines during the whale season in winter, when the beaches aren't as popular.

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Search called off for man overboard in WA

Written By kemala yuspita on Senin, 28 Juli 2014 | 21.31

THE search for a 41-year-old man who fell overboard from a Liberian crude oil tanker off Western Australia's northern coast has been called off.

INDIAN national Mukesh Lala Fulbaria was reported missing early on Sunday after he fell from the MT Sigma Integrity, northwest of Carnarvon, in the Gascoyne region.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (ASMSA) released a statement on Monday evening saying the search operation had ceased.ASMSA said advice from medical experts indicated that even under the best circumstances there was now no realistic prospect of survival.MT Sigma Integrity dropped flotation equipment for the motorman and a search began immediately, but he was not found.An AMSA spokesman said a Dornier search and rescue aircraft made two sorties on Monday.The MT Sigma Integrity also remained in the area on Monday searching for Mr Fulbaria.Wallem Ship Management said in a statement that Mr Fulbaria had been an employee for 13 years."Wallem's thoughts are with the family of the seafarer," they said.The MT Sigma Integrity had been on its way to the port of Kwinana in WA.

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Thai rail line to reopen after derailment

THAI railway authorities are preparing to reopen a route where a luxury train derailed and injured two tourists.

THE six carriages were being moved away from the track to clear the way for regular rail services to resume later in the day, said an official.

The accident occurred on Sunday in central Thailand as the Eastern & Oriental Express train was en route to Bangkok from Singapore.Two Japanese women suffered minor injuries and were treated in hospital.The Eastern & Oriental Express is a luxury train service that travels between Vientiane, Laos and Singapore, through Thailand. Ticket prices range from $US2000 to $US9000 ($A2163-$A9737).

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Britain reopens way for fracking

The UK government has reopened the way for energy firms to fracking for shale gas . Source: AAP

THE British government has opened the way for energy firms to explore for shale gas, three years after seismic tremors led to the suspension of fracking.

BUSINESS and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock says shale gas has the potential to improve energy security but stresses national parks will be protected.

"Done right, speeding up shale will mean more jobs and opportunities for people and help ensure long-term economic and energy security for our country," he said on Monday.Firms will be able to bid for licences to start exploring, though further permits are required for drilling.Drilling for shale gas, a process known as fracking, was linked to two earthquakes near Blackpool, a town in northern England, in 2011 with magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5.As a result the UK government stopped operations.

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Legal battle looms over 157 asylum seekers

Asylum seekers brought to the Australian mainland will seek compensation after being detained at sea Source: AAP

LAWYERS for 157 asylum seekers brought to the Australian mainland insist their clients are not economic migrants despite claims to the contrary by the Abbott government.

THE asylum seekers, who were detained at sea on a Customs ship for three weeks, are now at the Curtin detention centre in Western Australia after being flown there from Cocos Island on Sunday.

Their lawyers were granted permission on Monday to pursue a claim of false imprisonment on their behalf and will seek compensation for their detention, although they won't say for how much.But a High Court hearing to determine if the government had the power to intercept their boat and transport them somewhere other than Australia now won't go ahead next week as planned.Immigration Minister Scott Morrison declared this a "positive outcome" for the government."The government has co-operated fully with the court in relation to this matter and abided by all undertakings willingly provided to the Court and will continue to do so," he said in a statement.But his claim that the majority of the 157 aboard - including 50 children - are economic migrants is being challenged by the asylum seekers' lawyers.Consular officials from India are on their way to the centre to conduct identity checks.The legal spokesman for the asylum seekers, Hugh de Kretser, said it is "inappropriate" for Indian government officials to access the asylum seekers before their protection claims have been assessed."It is incorrect as the minister said this morning that they are economic migrants," he told reporters outside the Melbourne court."The government has admitted in its court documents and the minister has admitted in his court documents that they have claimed refugee protection and the case before the high court is proceeding on that basis."Mr Morrison said the asylum seekers are ineligible to apply for a protection visa in AustraliaHe has also rejected suggestions the asylum seekers are fleeing persecution in India, saying the nation is "safe".Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said Indian officials shouldn't be involved in assessing the asylum seekers."People being brought to Australia need to have their claims assessed in Australia, by Australian authorities," she told reporters in Hobart.The group's boat was intercepted 27km from Christmas Island on July 7.

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