Posted: 27 March, 2015

Multiple Injuries After NY Explosion

An explosion has rocked a busy section of Manhattan’s East Village in New York, injuring sixteen people and demolishing parts of a building.

Authorities say at least two injuries are critical and some people may be trapped in the blaze.

The collapse occurred at 125 Second Avenue, which is a residential and commercial building.

The first two floors of a red-brick building at the scene appear to have crumbled, sending twitter images of the disaster into overdrive, including actor Jason Biggs.

Towering flames and gusts of black smoke are seen to be rising from the building.

Emergency teams are at the scene with at least 200 firefighters.

The official FDNY Twitter account described it as a “major building collapse.” 

The cause of the blast is unknown. 

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Tags: new york, explosion

Posted: 27 March, 2015

Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Plane

Young German wanted to "destroy the plane"

French officials believe the co-pilot of the Germanwings A320 intentionally set the flight on a course for destruction.

New details have come to light reportedly showing the autopilot was reprogrammed from 38,000 feet to just 100 feet.

It comes after chilling details from one of the black boxes revealing what happened in the final minutes on the doomed plane. 

Sound recordings have revealed the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of the cockpit when he went to the toilet, ignored his desperate pleas for re-entry and then flicked the switch to begin the slow decent into the French Alps before hearing passengers scream in the final seconds.

Apart from his breathing, Lubitz didn’t say a word for the final ten minutes while alone at the controls as lead prosecutor Brice Robin said, “he didn’t reply to a thing. He didn’t say a word. In the cockpit, it was utter silence.”

Robin said the young German appeared to “show a desire to want to destroy” the plane, but did not believe he was part of a terrorist plot.”

“At this moment, there is no indication that this is an act of terrorism,” Robin said. 

Germany’s Interior Minister confirmed this, saying there was so far no indication of “a terrorist background.”

Details have also emerged about the German co-pilot’s past as two houses in Duesseldorf and Montabaur were searched.

Investigators reportedly finding 'something of significance' in one of them, although it's not yet known what it is.

Lubitz lived in a town of Montabaur, near Frankfurt and started training in 2008 at Bremen and Arizona. His training was briefly interrupted but deemed fit to fly.

He worked as a co-pilot for Germanwings since 2013, appeared pleased with his job, and his Facebook profile suggests the active lifestyle of a keen runner with an interest in pop music.

Sophr said he had undergone intensive training, passed all psychological and physical tests and was “100% fit to fly without any caveats.”

However, a mother of a schoolmate told a French newspaper Lubitz had told her daughter he took a break from his pilot training because he was suffering from depression.

“Apparently he had a burnout, he was in depression,” the unnamed woman said.

She said her daughter had seen him again just before Christmas and that he had appeared normal. She added he was a “lovely boy.” “He had a good family background.”

The shocking revelation was released as families and friends of victims travelled to the remote crash site area.

Tents were set up for them to give DNA samples to start the process of identifying bodies of loved ones.

Meanwhile the remains of victims, found scattered across the slopes were being taken by helicopter to nearby Seyne-les-Alpes.

All 150 people aboard the Airbus A320 were killed in Tuesday’s crash, including two Australians Carol Friday and her son Greig, both from Melbourne. 

 Robin said those on board died “instantly” and were probably not aware until the “very last moment” of the impending disaster. 

“The screams were heard only in the last moments before the impact,” said the prosecutor.

There was no immediate clue as to the motive of the pilot, but Robin said he was unwilling to use the word “suicide”.

“Usually when you commit suicide, you do it alone. When you’re responsible for 150 people, I don’t call that a suicide.”

The co-pilot who deliberately set the controls “to accelerate the plane’s descent” into the side of the mountain, “was conscious until the moment of impact,” Robin said.

German Chanellor Angela Merkel said the findings added an “absolutely unimaginable dimension” to the tragedy.

Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said he was “stunned” by the revelations and added that no security “system in the world” could have prevented the co-pilot’s actions. 

Airlines and aviation regulators around the world have already moved to change their practices to ensure there are always two people in the cockpit at any one time.

Canada has ordered the changes, along with airlines in Britain, Norway and Iceland, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a review is underway while also seeking a briefing from domestic airlines about their cockpit procedures.

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Tags: germanwings, co-pilot, andreas lubitz

Posted: 26 March, 2015

Buying A Hail Damaged Car from the auctions? Some Things You Should Know...

After news today of the five-month wait for car buyers to get a hail-damaged repairable write off back on the road, dealers are explaining how you can avoid the hassles altogether.

While cars that have been written off need to go through an inspection, the ones sold through a licensed dealer are all clear and ready to roll.

Top Tips to buying a hail damaged vehicle- from East Coast Commercials

-          Buy from a licensed and reputable motor dealer as you can drive away with no inspections required. (Vehicles come with a PPSR certificate.)

-          If buying from an auction house or privately, do your research.

  • Conduct a PPSR search to check the status of the vehicle (if it is listed as hail damaged, a write off or a repairable write off). What is a PPSR search?

 

Earlier:

There's a four-to-five month waiting list for the extra inspection needed to get a written-off car back on the road.

The RACQ's Paul Turner says the Queensland Inspection Service has been snowed under since the storms, leaving drivers in the lurch.

"You can have the car roadworthied, but you cannot get it registered to drive because you do not have the Queensland Inspection Service Certificate.  Even though it's roadworthyit's not legal to be driving it and it's not a registered vehicle," he says.

"We now understand the State Government has greatly increased those inspections, they are getting those wait times down.  They are working seven days a week to get more of them done."  

The inspections are in place to protect people from re-birthing: where criminals take a stolen car, make it look like a different car, and then sell it to unsuspecting buyers. 

The November hail storm had a huge impact on the used car market, hammering the car yards in Moorooka and the Valley as well as privately owned cars.

"There's a lot of hail damaged vehicles out there, they're perfectly fine to drive, many of them.  But because of this process around protecting motorists, these people who've been buying these hail damaged cars are being caught up in that."

There is some good news for drivers who've had their own car written off, but have the option to buy it back from the insurer- you may not have to go through the whole process. 

Here's what the Transport and Main Roads department says:

More info here about registering hail damaged vehicles in Queensland.

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Tags: Hail damage, car insurance, hail storm, inspection

Posted: 26 March, 2015

James May Reacts To Jeremy Clarkson Being Sacked

The Top Gear presenters have their say on Clarkson's sacking.

 

Top Gear presenters James May and Richard Hammond have reacted to the sacking of their co-host Jeremy Clarkson.

May told reporters: "It’s a tragedy. I’m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily has turned into something big."

"I have only known for the past few minutes and if you excuse me I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari."

Asked who a possible replacement for Clarkson could be, May replied: "Much as I think he's a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy."

Richard Hammond tweeted that it's a sad end to an era.

 

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Posted: 26 March, 2015

Clarkson Comes Clean On Last Ever Top Gear Show

Watch unseen footage of the axed Jeremy Clarkson coming clean

Exclusive and previously unseen footage of the "final episode" of Top Gear has emerged, which shows the axed Jeremy Clarkson coming clean.* Watch the video below.

*This video may have been digitally altered and edited for effect.

The Last Ever Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson Sacked

It's officially the end of the road for Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson.

Jeremy Clarkson's contract will not be renewed after he allegedly verbally and physically attacked a producer, the BBC's director general has confirmed. 

"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract," Tony Hall said. 

Clarkson's contract with Top Gear, which pulls in more than 350 million viewers around the world, is said to expire at the end of month. 

His dumping will hurt the BBC in the back pocket, with the broadcaster racking in $A94 million each year from the show, but they’ll have to cop it, as Hall said, "a line has been crossed" and he "cannot condone what has happened on this occasion."

He added that the BBC "must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016" and put out the final episodes in the current series of the program. 

The presenter was suspended on March 10 over what the BBC said at the time was a "fracas."

An internal investigation revealed he launched an "unprovoked physical and verbal attack" on the show's producer Oisin Tymon after a day's filming on March 4.

The row, which took place in a Yorkshire hotel and lasted around 30 seconds, was said to have occurred because no hot food was provided. 

Tymon rushed to hospital for a swelling, bleeding lip. 

"The verbal abuse was directed at Oisin Tymon on more than one occasion both during the attack and subsequently inside the hotel and contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack him," the investigation found.

Clarkson made a number of attempts to apologise to Tymon, and he reported himself to BBC management.

Tymon said in a statement that the incident was "very regrettable".

Clarkson "is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way."

"This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC," he said.

The suspension sparked national debate, and more than one million people signed an online petition calling for him to be reinstated. 

It's not the first time the host has been under fire over a string of inflammatory remarks, and this was Clarkson's final straw with the BBC. 

He's been forced to apologise in the past for using apparently racist language and using the N-word while reciting an old nursery rhyme in leaked footage, something the presenter denied. 


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Tags: jeremy clarkson, top gear, BBC

Posted: 25 March, 2015

Reports That Jeremy Clarkson’s Fate Has Been Decided By The BBC

The Telegraph UK is reporting that the controversial host will be sacked by the BBC.



The Telegraph UK is reporting that the BBC will sack Jeremy Clarkson for the so-called ‘fracas’ with a Top Gear producer.

The paper says that Lord Hall, the Director General of the BBC, is expected to announce the decision on Wednesday UK time.

As yet, there has been no confirmation from the BBC or from Clarkson himself.

Clarkson found himself in the spotlight after allegedly attacking a producer over a catering issue.

It’s believed the BBC will continue to broadcast Top Gear, with Radio host Chris Evans tipped to take-over from Clarkson.

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Tags: Jeremy Clarkson

Posted: 25 March, 2015

Mid-air Explosion Ruled Out After Black Box Recovery

Germanwings plane disaster breakthrough

Zum Themendienst-Bericht vom 27. Juni: Die Maschinen sind für die Umstellung auf die neue Germanwings schon umlackiert - seinen alten Farben ist die Airline dabei treugeblieben. Sonst hat sich viel geändert.(Die Veröffentlichung ist für dpa-Themendienst-Bezieher honorarfrei. Das Bild darf nur in Zusammenhang mit dem genannten Text und nur bei Nennung der Bildquelle verwendet werden.)  Foto: Germanwings

French investigators say usable data has been recovered from the first black box recorder of the Germanwings plane, ruling out a mid-air explosion over the French Alps.

Investigators are still searching the scattered debris for the second flight recorder, in the hope it will explain the disaster that killed 150 people, including two Australians. 

The recovery operation also began before nightfall with helicopters airlifting the remains of the victims from the disaster zone.

Flight 4U 9525 was travelling from the Spanish city of Barcelona to Dusseldorf in Germany when it plummeted 32,000 feet in eight minutes.

Experts in Paris have begun analysing the black box for clues as to why the Airbus went down in good weather.

The budget airline’s parent company Lufthansa says it’s an “inexplicable” disaster because the pilot was experienced and the plane was in perfect condition.

Remi Jouty, head of French air crash investigation agency BEA said experts have recovered information, but they still have no idea what sent the plane crashing down.

“We have just succeeded in extracting usable data from the cockpit voice recorder,” he said.

“At this stage, clearly, we are not in a position to have the slightest explanation or interpretation on the reasons that could have led this plane to descend…or the reason why it did not respond to attempts to contact it by air traffic controllers.”

The most likely reason being reported was that the cabin suffered a sudden loss of air pressure.

Every plane has two black boxes; one records data about the plane’s operation and its position, while the second records the voices of the pilot and any other noises in the cockpit.

French president Francois Hollande said they are a step closer to finding the second one, after search and rescue teams recovered the casing for it but not the box itself.

Meanwhile Mr Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy flew over the crash site to see the tragedy for themselves before meeting recovery teams outside the crisis centre.

Grieving relatives of victims have arrived at a nearby village, where a counselling centre has been set up.

Meanwhile tributes continue to pour in for Melbourne victims of the disaster, Carol Friday and her son Greig who were holidaying through Europe. 

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop revealed the identities of the pair in Parliament.

"I don't think it gets any easier announcing the death of Australian citizens in a tragedy overseas," Ms Bishop said.

         

Their family, crippled with grief, released the following statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Our family is in deep disbelief and crippled with sadness and would like to ask for privacy. Carol was a loving mother of two, a devoted wife to her husband, Dave, and a sister to three brothers. She celebrated her 68th Birthday on March 23. Greg was to turn 30 on 23 April," she said.

“He was a loving son to Carol and Dave and an exceptional brother to his sister, Alex. He was adored by all his family and friends.

"Carol and Greig were enjoying a few weeks holiday together at the start of his European stay, where Greig was to teach English this year. 'They were both extraordinary and exceptional people who were loved by many, who they loved in return. They will forever be with us in our hearts, memories and dreams."

Investigators described a scene of devastation where the airliner crashed with aerial photos showing smouldering wreckage and a piece of the fuselage with six windows. 

"We saw an aircraft that had literally been ripped apart, the bodies are in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage," Bruce Robin, prosecutor for the city of Marseilles said after flying over the crash zone in a helicopter.

The terrain where the plane descended is said to be very difficult to access.

Helicopters have begun the grim task of airlifting the remains of the victims from the disaster site in the French Alps. 

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Tags: germanwings, plane crash, french alps

Posted: 23 March, 2015

Easter Choc Recall

Better be hoping the Easter Bunny hasn't done all his shopping just yet!

Target Australia's announced a recall of its own branded eggs, rabbits, and ducks.

It's because the products contain undeclared allergens including peanuts.

Their Customer Service Experience Centre can be reached on 1300 753 567.

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Posted: 20 March, 2015

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser Has Died Aged 84

Australia's 22nd Prime Minister passed away after battling a brief illness.

Image: AAP

Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is being remembered as a "fierce Australian patriot."

His office has released a short statement: "It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015.

"We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time."

Fraser severed as Australia's 22nd Prime Minister from 1975, famously coming in to power after the dismissal of Labor's Gough Whitlam. 

He remained in Government until 1983 when he was beaten by Bob Hawke. 

Current Prime Minister Tony Abbott has paid tribute to Fraser and said the fact he made amends with Whitlam is a testament to his character. 

"The friendship he built in later life with Gough Whitlam does speak volumes about the character of both men at the centre of this crisis. In their own different ways, they were both fierce Australian patriots."

"Malcolm Fraser held true to the belief that his actions were in the bests interests of Australia.

"It was the grestest win in Australian political history and it confirms that he had correctly read the public move."

Former political leaders have also paid tribute to Fraser: 

John Howard: 

... a passionate nationalist.

Kevin Rudd: 

He will be remembered as a compassionate Australian, who cared for people at home or arbroad, who had little or nothing to protect them.

Julia Gillard: 

With the loss of the great Gough Whitlam last year, the chapter in our nation's history that included the controversy of the dismissal has closed. However, our memories of that era encompass far more than the constitutional crisis and today we remember all of Malcolm Fraser's life and works with respect.

Paul Keating: 

I always though Malcolm would be around a lot longer. I must say, I wished he had been.

 

Former PM Malcolm Fraser on Melbourne's Hot Breakfast in 2012:

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Tags: Malcolm Fraser

Posted: 19 March, 2015

Powerful Gun Shop Stunt Makes Potential Buyers Rethink

The social experiment highlights the danger of guns.

Image: States United to Prevent Gun Violence

A gun shop recently opened in Manhatten’s Lower East side, geared towards first time gun owners.

...But all was not what it seemed. It was actually a social experiment conducted by the States United Against Gun Violence organisation.

The aim was to make potential gun owners question the reason they had for wanting a gun in the first place.

"This is a .22 caliber, 6-inch revolver," the shop worker tells a customer.

"It’s also a gun that a 5-year-old found in his parents bedroom went down and shot his 9-month-old baby brother with it."

Their reactions say it all...


Watch the incredibly powerful video here:

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Posted: 19 March, 2015

NBN Deadline Looms

Land lines to be cut to 3500 homes and businesses

Pic Credit: Getty

An important deadline in the NBN rollout today for almost 3500 local homes and businesses.

Areas of Zillmere and Redbank Plains that are wired up for NBN are about to have the old copper cables disconnected.  Locals who haven’t signed up for the NBN by today face losing their landlines in the next 10 days.

The switchover to NBN is not automatic- you have to get in touch with your internet and phone provider to organise it.  

NBNCo's Matt Horan says they've been in touch with as many affected people as possible, but they're keen to ensure they don't miss anyone.

"In particular we've been trying to talk to business owners who have EFTPOS and fax machines which operate over those landline connections, and importantly, people who have medical alarms which operate over those landlines as well," he says.

Are you affected by the deadline?  Click here to see if NBN is available at your place.

Areas of Nudgee are next to get the rollout- locals can look forward to download speeds of 50 megabits per second.

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Tags: NBN, Internet, Phone, Cable, Connection

Posted: 19 March, 2015

Beer Is About To Become Much Healthier

Researchers making a re-hydrating beer to reduce hangovers

Pic Source: Getty

It's every beer drinker's dream.. a brew that won't leave you with a hangover.  

Researchers at Griffith Uni are working on improving the hydrating properties of beer, without affecting the taste

"People who've been involved in exercise or exertion as part of their work, we often see them drink beer socially when they're thirsty," says Associate Professor Ben Desbrow.

"Obviously the alcohol content of beer means that large amounts of fluid will be lost," he says.

"The reality is that people are likely to continue to drink beer so we're looking for a harm minimisation strategy. If you're going to drink beer, is there a healthier alternative that we can provide to you."

"We've looked at different amounts of electrolytes in different concentrations of alcohol, to see if there's a particular magic formula if you like, to come up with an ideal profile to aid in fluid retention."

But he needs some advice from beer drinkers as he puts the finishing touches on the brew.

"We're keen to know are there particular properties or elements of the beer that they would like us to work on, in order to make the beer more appealing to them."

If you can help, click here to take his survey

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Tags: Beer, Hangover