Protesters demand climate for change

TENS of thousands of demonstrators marched on the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen yesterday urging world leaders to sign an ambitious agreement to tackle dangerous climate change.Archbishop Desmond Tutu, musician Angelique Kidjo and Bollywood actor Rahul Bose were some of the many speakers and celebrities taking part in the event.Eighteen giant ships sailed into Copenhagen harbour carrying climate messages before the marchers marched to the Bella Centre where politicians and officials from 192 nations are still divided over a deal.The demonstrations came midway through the UN conference and were designed to link up with protest action around the world. The marchers planned to hold a candlelight vigil inside the centre after delivering message sails from the ships to the UN’s chief climate official, Yvo de Boer.The mood inside the UN conference, the largest in history, was downbeat following the release of the first official draft proposal for a deal to come out of the main meetings. Australia’s Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong said: ”This is not a document which is capable of delivering the environmental outcome the world needs.”European negotiators also rejected it as too weak because it did not legally bind the big polluting nations, including the United States, China, India and Brazil, to curb greenhouse emissions.With less than a week to go to seal an ambitious political agreement on climate change, many are worried that time is running out. Political leaders including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd are due to arrive this week when the hard work of hammering out a deal will climax. US President Barack Obama, along with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, will be in Copenhagen for the final day of the conference on Friday.But serious questions remain about what sort of deal the leaders will be able to sign. So far, China, India and Brazil remain opposed to efforts by the US, Australia and the host Denmark to try to get an agreement that will lead to a legally binding treaty next year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries.China and its allies also want to preserve the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty that imposes legally binding cuts in greenhouse gases on wealthy nations and to pressure them to increase their cuts. China, Sudan and Saudi Arabia welcomed the weak draft that has emerged.Despite the pessimism, chief US negotiator Todd Stern said he believed Copenhagen could deliver a positive outcome. ”I absolutely think there is a deal to be done here,” he told reporters, although he conceded, ”it’s not in the bag”.He said China and the US, the world’s two biggest polluters, were not that far apart on a deal.But environmental groups and European negotiators fear a weak outcome over emissions cuts.
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Ute beauty: Toyota, Ford race to reinvent a classic

AUSTRALIA invented the ute and now it’s perfecting it for the world.Australia’s three remaining car makers â?? Ford, Toyota and Holden â?? are playing roles in developing next-generation utes for the world.Toyota has revealed it will join Ford in developing a rugged ute to be sold around the world, exporting engineering and helping cement Australia as one of fewer than 20 countries that can design, engineer and produce cars.The next generation of Australia’s â?? and one of the world’s â?? most popular utes, the Toyota Hilux, will undergo extensive testing and development locally as part of a plan to set Australia up as a four-wheel-drive centre of expertise.A senior Toyota engineer recently in Australia said Australian engineers were being trained in Japan to develop the next Hilux ute that will arrive in about five years.”Australia is still the most diverse and harsh environment we know. It is the benchmark for model development,” said Toyota chief engineer Makato Arimoto, who is part of the product-planning department.Ford Australia â?? which invented the first car-based ute in 1934 in answer to a farmer’s desire for a car that could be driven to church on Sunday and take pigs to market on Monday â?? is leading the development of the next-generation Ranger.The longest-running name plate in Australia could switch to an imported car as part of the “one Ford” policy that aims to end cars for individual markets.Last year Holden was on the verge of exporting its Commodore ute to the US, a program that came undone when parent company General Motors slid towards bankruptcy. Some within Holden are still hopeful of reviving an export program for the ute that has created a new sports-ute segment.
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LOST SON OF GEURIE: Puzzle of our mystery Anzac finally solved

Lynne Palmer, a local history enthusiastWhen World War I ended and the dust settled on the fallen soldiers of Geurie, there was one family that was never able to properly put their son to rest.
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Of the 112 Geurie brothers, sons, uncles and fathers who fought in The Great War, one beloved soldier remained unaccounted for, making his demise a painful mystery for relatives and friends.

But 95 years later, in an age of DNA precision and global networking, the remaining family of Clarence Timbrell Collier can finally put their angst to bed.

The resting place of Clarence Collier has been located in France, thanks to the German Army’s meticulous records on soldiers’ distinguishing “dog tags”, and although his body hasn’t been formally identified yet, his great-nephew David Ward said it’s only a matter of time.

It has recently been discovered Clarence died during the Battle of Fromelles – the most infamous onslaught in Australian history – where more than 1900 Diggers were killed in one evening.

The Allies were no match for the German machine-gun brutality and, as a result, the 5th Australian Division suffered 5533 casualties overall, compared to the Germans’ 1000.

Keen amateur historian Lambis Englezos launched a search for the lost sons in 2002 and eight years later the excavation, which would later reveal 250 hastily buried Australians, began. They’ve since been exhumed, reburied in a military ceremony and given the remembrance honours they never previously achieved.

Clarence’s remarkable story made its way back to Geurie in January, when his great nephew David Ward and his wife Brigitte stopped by the Geurie Cenotaph to pay tribute to their uncle. On the Cenotaph his name was marked with a small diamond to signify he was missing in action.

Mr and Mrs Ward recounted their astonishing story to Lynne Palmer, a local history enthusiast who has dedicated much time to sharing the small town’s past.

“Clarence’s story has haunted our family for almost 100 years,” Mr Ward, a Charles Sturt University lecturer from Cudal, said.

“My great grandparents (Clarence’s sister and brother-in-law) used to experience a jolt of hope every time they walked down the street and saw someone of similar height and stance… Sadly they went to their graves not knowing what had happened.”

Clarence Collier was born in Geurie in 1891 and spent the first few years of his life at Geurie Public School before he moved to Sydney in 1906 with his family, Mr Ward said.

His father, Thomas Timbrell Collier, was Geurie’s Stationmaster from 1890 to 1906 until he was appointed Stationmaster at Gordon Railway Station on Sydney’s North Shore.

A child prodigy, Clarence completed his education at Sydney’s Fort Street School and was Dux of his class when he finished.

At age 20, he completed his Bachelor of Law at the University of Sydney and became the youngest person to achieve such a degree.

But because of his age, Clarence was unable to practice as a lawyer and subsequently enlisted in the Australian Army at the start of World War I.

He was first shipped to New Guinea in early 1916 and then to France as Second Lieutenant.

On July 19-20 1916, The Battle of Fromelles claimed Clarence Collier’s life, however his family wouldn’t know about it for more than 90 years.

“Interestingly, my great uncle on my father’s side of the family also lost his life that night when he was trying to bring soldiers back,” Mr Ward said.

“So my grandparents may have lost a brother each a day apart.”

Mr Ward said Clarence died in No Man’s Land and was therefore taken by the Germans to a nearby grave site.

In 2007 – 91 years after Clarence’s death – Melbourne school teachers Lambis Engazoz and Tim Whitford made a discovery that would forever change the family’s history.

Eight large undisturbed pits were found in farmland at Pheasant Wood, just a few kilometres back from the German front line. Beneath them lay 250 Australian bodies with dog tags – one worn by Clarence Timbrell Collier.

Tracing Clarence’s relatives proved to be difficult at first, as Clarence had four sisters and no brothers, which meant the Collier name died the day he did.

However, Red Cross letters written by Mr Ward’s great aunt, Marrianne Dakin, allowed scientists to track the ancestral lines and make the crucial connection back to Sydney.

Mrs Dakin received a phone call a few years ago with the news and was reportedly “beside herself”.

Along with Mr Ward and his mother, she boarded a plane to France to attend a special memorial ceremony and give Clarence the burial he deserved. Close to 1000 relatives turned out for the military service, in which each of the previously missing soldiers were reburied.

“It was a privilege to attend,” Mr Ward said.

“I had never been able to visualise the impact these lost souls had on families until I stood there and saw them grieving in Fromelles.”

About 100 of the 250 bodies have now been formally identified, but Clarence isn’t one of them.

“For now, we’re just happy with the knowledge that he’s part of that group and within 3 or 4 years, we’ll be able to give him a named grave.” The tentative completion date for the DNA matching program is 2014.

For the Geurie community, Clarence’s recovery symbolises unification and peace – peace in the knowledge that all of the 112 men, with their extended families, have now been properly put to rest.

“This is something that all of us can and will celebrate, regardless of our relation to Clarence Timbrell Collier,” Mrs Palmer said.

“Anzac Day is always a solemn occasion, but it’s also a reminder of how close we are as a community and how much we look after each other.”

For Mr Ward, the discovery has more personal sentimental significance.

“It’s closure, it’s clarity and it’s pride,” he said.

“It’s like we’ve finally been able to complete the circle of our family story. When he’s identified, the circle will be closed.”

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Time for reflection on Anzac Day

G’day, you know what I reckon?
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At about 5.30am today all over this great wide land small and not so small groups gathered around memorials, cenotaphs, RSLs and the local memorial hall, for what is our most sacred of days.

Anzac Day is, for those of us that consider ourselves to be Australian, the commemoration of the day that we became a nation.

My mother’s father, Leo, was one who went ashore on that fateful day; Private, later Corporal, Leo Anthony Ellis, Pioneer Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 1st Division Australian Imperial Force.

He was the 1353 Australian serviceman to enlist in this conflict.

He spent very little time on Gallipoli as he was wounded and became very ill and was moved to the islands nearby to recuperate, only to be shipped off to France with the 60th Battalion, and then back to the 3rd where he saw out his active service until wounded for the third time, was sent to England and then back to Australia in early 1918.

I was very young when he died and knew very little about him. He didn’t talk about the war to me as a child, and not very much to my mother and her family.

It wasn’t until I was much older when I met a bloke from his old Battalion at an ANZAC day march in Sydney and he told me some stories.

He was no great hero, except to me, my parents and his family and friends, he didn’t get medals, mentions, awards, he did get promoted, but he was just your average digger. Not that much different than the men and women that are today serving in a dozen conflicts or peace keeping operations around the world.

These young and some not so young put their lives on the line every day to protect us and our way of life

On Anzac Day we remember not only the original Anzacs who died on April 25 1915, but every one of our service men and women who have served and died in all wars, conflicts, peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance missions

Anzac Day is a time to reflect on the contribution made by all of our past and present service men and women who have displayed great courage, discipline and self-sacrifice in choosing a life of service to their country.

More than 3000 ADF members are currently deployed on operations, continuing the Anzac spirit while serving Australia’s national interests at home and in many countries around the world.

Our service men and women are doing an exceptional job contributing to the international coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan, contributing to various UN missions, and assisting and enhancing security and stability in our region, including border protection duties in Australia’s maritime domain.

The Anzac spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of all Australians as we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who have contributed so much in shaping the identity of this proud nation.

At the War Memorial in Canberra there is an inscription:

“Here is their spirit, in the heart of the land they loved; and here we guard the record which they themselves made.” Charles Bean, 1948

Lest we Forget

What do you think,

‘cause that’s what I reckon


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Iran using Taiwan as nuclear conduit, says intelligence

NEW YORK: United Nations officials are investigating claims that Iran has established a new smuggling network using companies in Taiwan to acquire equipment that it could use to make nuclear weapons.Tehran is reported to have intensified its efforts to import the technology in response to mounting international pressure for it to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which many Western governments believe is aimed at building nuclear weapons.Intelligence reports allege Iranian defence officials have met officials of companies in Taiwan to buy pressure transducers, which can be used to produce weapons-grade uranium.Iran has been trying to buy the equipment for more than a year, but European and US companies have refused to sell it material that might be used for its nuclear program.Even China, which in the past has been prepared to sell technology to Iran, is proving reluctant to do business after Beijing supported a censure motion passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna last month. It followed the disclosure that Tehran was building a second uranium enrichment facility at Qom.Western intelligence officials say Iran has responded by concentrating its efforts on Taiwan and has acquired 100 transducers. They were made in Europe and sold to a company in Taiwan, which sold them on to the Iranian Defence Ministry.The UN is investigating whether the European companies are undertaking proper checks of end-user certificates for their equipment. According to to the intelligence reports, Iran is trying to negotiate further shipments of the equipment.The Nuclear Suppliers Group, a body set up to reduce nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, has banned Iran from buying it on the open market.”This is a serious loophole, as it enables Iran to acquire sophisticated equipment that can help it develop its nuclear program,” a UN source said. ”Pressure needs to be applied to the companies involved to stop doing business with Tehran while it is still refusing to co-operate with the UN.”This year a Canadian of Iranian descent was arrested for trying to illegally ship pressure transducers to Iran that he had bought in the US.The Iranian Government, which denies it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, intends to build 10 more uranium enrichment plants and to start work on further enriching its uranium stockpile.The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Russia, China, France and Britain – plus Germany are preparing to meet, probably next Friday, to consider new sanctions against Iran, and UN diplomats expect protracted negotiations over the severity of possible measures.On Thursday the Security Council assessed Iran’s compliance with previous resolutions and heard a report on the seizure of two shipments of Iranian arms that had been bound for Syria. The shipments violated the UN arms embargo on Iran.Telegraph, London;The Washington Post; Bloomberg
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Dubbo women ahead of the rest in vaccinations

Dubbo teenagers and women have completed their three-dose course of the cervical cancer vaccine – unlike their national sisters.
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New data released by the federal government shows many young girls and women are failing to complete the full course of the cervical cancer vaccine. But the Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice says the response rate for women returning to complete the course in the Dubbo area was “good”.

“In the target age group of 18-25 years of age over 80 per cent are having all three doses of the vaccine,” Dubbo Plains Division of General Practice immunisation manager Anne Vail said.

“The response rates have been very good.”

Government data shows more than 80 per cent of girls aged 12 and 13 years had their first shot in 2009, but by the third dose only 73 per cent were taking part.

The data, which was released on April 4, showed 38 per cent of women aged 18-19 and just 30 per cent of women aged 20-26 received all three doses.

Pregnancy and moving away from an area were some of the reasons that may have caused a drop off rate, according to Mrs Vail.

Without all three doses, experts say, girls will have less protection against the two strains of human papilloma virus (hpv), known to cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

“It’s like any vaccine, some give protection once immunised but some need to be built up and gardasil needs to be built up,” Ms Vail said.

“What we’re concerned about is that there is a decline after each dose,” Cancer Council spokesperson Kate Broun said.

“We’re hearing, anecdotally, that people don’t realise three doses are required with this vaccine. Most states and territories are falling short of the minimum 80 per cent coverage health experts say we should be aiming for if we want to see a marked reduction in cervical cancer incidence”.

The free National HPV Vaccination Program was introduced by the Australian Government in 2007 for women and girls aged 12-26.

Gardasil and Cervarix are the two vaccines listed on the National Immunisation Program.

Extensive trials proved that vaccinating young women with the cervical cancer vaccine was likely to significantly reduce cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths from the disease, as well as a significant number of pap test abnormalities.

Last year the free program was only available to girls aged 12-13 in their first year of secondary school.

“The program is not free any more but we do encourage women to have it, it is still offered for girls at school,” Mrs Vail said.

The Cancer Council is calling on the government to release more information to find out why young girls are dropping out.

Ms Broun said the Cancer Council has set up an explanatory website that she hopes will rectify the lack of education about the cancer.

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Teenage lifesavers rescue 50-year-old from ocean pool

TWO teenage lifesavers have helped rescue a 51-year-old man who suffered a suspected heart attack in a pool on Sydney’s northern beaches.The man, seen floating face down in the ocean pool at Mona Vale after swimming laps about 9.30am yesterday, was dragged from the water by a female bystander.Surf patrol volunteers aged 16 and 17, accompanied by an older team leader, began resuscitation at the poolside and a defibrillator was used to restart his heart, Sydney Northern Beaches Surf Life Saving director Steve Faddy said.The swimmer was moved to Mona Vale hospital and put into a medically induced coma.Mr Faddy said doctors believe he will make a full recovery. ”They can certainly go home today knowing that they saved a life.”Another man in his 50s needed seven shocks from a defibrillator to restart his heart at Manly Beach, about 10.30am.A 20-year-old man drowned at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast yesterday. The man was swimming with his partner at Hyams Beach near the town of Vincentia when he died.
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Game over for adult players: ratings made for children, bemoan fans

THE average age of video game players in Australia is 30.But they say governments are treating them like children because state and federal authorities are failing to agree on a ratings system.The shooting game Aliens vs Predator, based on the film of the same name (which was rated M), was refused classification by national censors last week.It was the 74th video game to be banned in Australia since 1995.Most of these games have been refused classification because they include detailed instruction or promotion of violence, or rewards for drug use or sexual violence.Unlike the film rating system, which goes to R18+, the highest classification for games in Australia is MA15+, so games deemed inappropriate for older teenagers are banned outright for all players.Elsewhere in the developed world, including the US, the European Union and New Zealand, ratings can restrict games for use by â??matureâ? or â??adultâ? players only.Kane Theodore, 27, a Sydney IT worker and passionate gamer, said governments were stuck in the mindset that video games were played by children.â??They should understand that we’re not kids and we are part of an industry that is growing,â? he said.Aliens vs Predator is a â??first-person shooterâ? game, with players able to choose between killing space creatures or human soldiers.Many gamers blame South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson â?? a fierce opponent of adult classifications for games â?? for the delay in changing the laws.But Mr Atkinson said â??other attorneys-general who are opposed to introducing an R18+ classification are content to let me be the lightning rod for the gamersâ?.A federal discussion paper on the issue was initially touted for release in the middle of this year after the state and territory attorneys-general failed to reach agreement on the issue. That paper was still â??under considerationâ?, a spokesman for the federal Attorney-General’s department said last week.Shane Stockwell, merchandising director for retailer EB Games, said he was furious there was still no adult classification for games.He said another shooting game, Left 4 Dead 2, had been re-edited to remove the most violent content before being released in Australia. It sold millions of copies overseas but â??the numbers of games we sold you could probably count on one handâ?.â??That game was an unmitigated disaster for us,â? he said.
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Detained Americans in Pakistan ‘for jihad’

WASHINGTON: The five young American Muslims who were arrested in Pakistan travelled abroad hoping to work with jihadist groups and battle US troops in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials have said.The men contacted extremist organisations, including two with links to al-Qaeda, and proudly told their Pakistani interrogators: ”We are here for jihad”, Usman Anwar, the local Pakistani police chief, said.Mr Anwar said police recovered jihadist literature, laptops and maps of different parts of Pakistan when the men were arrested near Lahore.The maps included areas where the Taliban train. The men first made contact with the two extremist organisations by email in August, officials said, but the groups apparently rejected their overtures because they couldn’t find people to vouch for them.US officials said they are exploring possible criminal charges in a case that has morphed from a missing person’s investigation prompted by concerned family members in the Washington area, who contacted the FBI.The case has prompted concern about the growing threat of home-grown terrorism, but US law enforcement cautioned that they need to do a more thorough investigation. Some FBI agents are still en route to Pakistan. Philip Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said at least one agent from the FBI and an officer from the State Department regional security office had met the five detainees.Agents on the ground are continuing to review the computers and other evidence.Their families and spiritual advisers say the men offered no hints that this was coming. ”There are two things,” Ashraf Nubani, a lawyer for the ICNA Centre, the mosque where the men met in a youth group and some of them worshipped, said. ”Either they never did these things … or they kept this from everyone.”The Washington Post, Associated Press
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Car found dumped in the Macquarie

Neil Sturrock of the Volunteer Rescue Association searches the submerged vehicle for a body yesterday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEA partially-submerged car near the upper banks of Dubbo’s Macquarie River prompted a police and VRA investigation yesterday afternoon, with fears a body could be trapped within the waterlogged vehicle.
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Shortly after 4pm, rescue crews received a call-out to the old police paddocks on Bligh Street, where a Holden Sedan had seemingly been driven or rolled off the banks.

It was not known whether or not anyone was inside the vehicle until VRA diver Neil Sturrock entered the water and found just an abandoned car.

Mr Sturrock approached the vehicle and broke the rear glass, before using his feet to determine if it was occupied.

An underwater camera was also used to ascertain details, including the car’s unique code.

Following the Volunteer Rescue Association’s search, a tow truck was used to pull the vehicle out of the water.

A police spokesman said the car had not been reported as stolen and police investigations into the cause are continuing.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call the Dubbo Police Station.

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