Archive for: ‘December 2018’

Cops seek clues in Vic scrub to shooting

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Police are continuing their investigation into the shooting death of Muhamed Yucel in Melbourne.A burnt patch of bushland on Victoria’s surf coast is set to be scoured for clues to solve the case of a suspected mistaken identity execution of a young man.

Muhamed Yucel, 22, was shot in the chest while playing computer games in a Keysborough garage, in southeast Melbourne, in May.

The killing is thought to be a case of mistaken identity linked to Comancheros bikies and the firearm used in the shooting was later uncovered in grassland at Eastern View Beach off the Great Ocean Road, more than 150km from the shooting.

A burn-off on Thursday was designed to allow investigators to clear the area so it could be more closely for clues.

“It’s clear that the firearm used to kill Muhamed has been discarded at this location,” Detective Inspector Tim Day told ABC radio.

“So we work on the assumption or we ask ourselves the question, ‘has anything else been dumped at this location?’.”

Det Insp Day said while detectives were satisfied they had not missed anything during previous searches, they wanted to double check.

The area is set to be analysed on Friday.

Investigators previously said a dark coloured Jeep Cherokee was seen leaving the scene of the Keysborough shooting.

“We believe it to have been a case of mistaken identity and the shots were fired by a gunman at the wrong property on the street,” Insp Day said.

He added a grey Toyota Corolla was spotted near Eastern View Beach in the early hours of May 3, and believed its occupants discarded the firearm in thick scrub.

Det Insp Day had previously said Mr Yucel’s shooting was a ruthless act that “crossed the line, even in the criminal world”.

Mr Yucel’s family joined police to plead for information about the much-loved son.

“There’s not a day that goes past when we can’t think of him,” his father Bekir Yucel said in March.

Australian Associated Press

New road plan bulldozes through family homes

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Fighting on: Adam Mitchell, Ethan, Alyssa and Aiden Bennett, and Heather Smith outside the two homes now in the path of the road corridor.Three generations of the one family are facing the prospect of losing the homes they haven’t even finished building under the State Government’s Bells Line of Road –Castlereagh Connection proposal.

TheBells Line of Roadis a 59-kilometre arterial road that providing an alternative crossing of theBlue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Adam Mitchellwas granted permission to build two houses –one for him and his wife, the other for daughter Alyssa Bennett and her family – on 10 acres at scenic Baileys Lane, Kurrajong Hills, last November.

The frames are up, the windows are in and the family was looking forward to moving into their homes later this year.

But the situation changed drastically on March 26 when plans for the new Bells Line of Road –Castlereagh Connection were announced, showing the road passing directly through both houses.

“[The road] goes straight through the house. They didn’t miss it, they got it all,” Mr Mitchell said.“We had our solicitor do all the homework, there were no existing rights, nothing on the land, we paid extra for that.

“[This road corridor]was the last thing I was expecting. If someone had mentioned it to us we would have thought about what we were going to do [because] we were looking at nine other properties.”

It has left Ms Bennett devastated.

“The plan was one day when [my parents] are older, they don’t have to go to a nursing home, we can still care for them and my kids will eventually live next door in the house Nana and Pop used to live in,” she explained.

The majority of homes on Baileys Lane –and some nearby properties in the surrounding hills – look set to suffer a similar fate under the proposal.

It has lead to angry residents putting “No Perrottet” signs on their property’s gates in reference to Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet, and vowing to fight the proposal.

“The road goes through our place and up to the neighbour’s place,” said Willow Glen Road resident Garry Watterson. “They are going to take the house I drew when I was 18, the house that I built …and just put a road through it.”

Angry: Residents of Bailey’s Lane, Kurrajong Hills, affected by the proposed Bells Line of Road – Castlereagh Connection plan. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Apart from the house -which contains unique elements such as convict bricks and parts of the old Manly wharf -the Wattersons have previously received government grants to preserve the flora and fauna on their property.

“The creek runs through our property and there are platypus in the creek and two species of plants they can’t identify,” Mr Watterson said.

“We worked with local Landcare, we had students from the uni come out to clean out the lantana. We had six to eight people a day for nearly eight weeks from the Green Army helping us to maintain it, which they are now going to put a road through.”

Chris Keen, another Baileys Lane resident, said he was currently considering whether to bother building the house he gained approval for just two days before the government’s announcement.

“It’s all psychological. I can’t build a house and put a garden in when I know people are just going to hit it with a bulldozer,” he said.

A public meeting on the proposal has been organised for May 2 inside the Phillip Charley Pavillion at Hawkesbury showground from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Lobby group Hawkesbury BLOR Corridor Action Group (BLORCAG) stated Transport for NSW representatives would be in attendance, and Mr Perrottet would also be invited.

Hawkesbury Gazette

Labor denies secret Vic firies union deal

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Firefighters union secretary Peter Marshall says he has a secret deal with Premier Daniel Andrews.Victoria’s government doesn’t have a secret deal with the United Firefighters Union and is not being blackmailed, Premier Daniel Andrews insists as the fire services debacle reignites.

Union boss Peter Marshall claims a deal was struck and has threatened to reveal the details before the November state election.

“We made election commitments all of which are public and well known,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

When asked if there was any material, including a secretly recorded tape, that the union has been using to blackmail the government, Mr Andrews replied “no”.

The premier also said he does not “have a need to speak” to Mr Marshall.

The union official would not confirm if he had a recording of Mr Andrews, but told ABC Melbourne on Wednesday deals were done.

“There was a number of promises and they’ll come out in the near future,” he said.

Mr Marshall came out swinging against the appointment of new Metropolitan Fire Brigade chief Dan Stephens from the UK, calling him an “attack dog against the union”.

The war of words is the latest blow-up in the government’s bid to reform the state’s fire services, nearly two years after Mr Andrews vowed to fix them.

But the premier said he is not frustrated by the union.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called the situation an “unedifying spectacle”.

“If the government made a pre-election deal with the firefighter’s union, well Victorians deserve to know how much it’s worth and what the deal involved,” he told reporters.

The MFB and Country Fire Authority have been locked in bitter, protracted pay disputes with the union for years, resulting in former emergency services minister Jane Garrett resigning, the CFA board being sacked and other officials departing.

It became a federal election issue and the Turnbull government made the CFA pay deal illegal, prompting the state government to try and make it a volunteer-only service while creating a new, expanded professional fire brigade.

But that legislation came to a spectacular end on Good Friday, when two opposition MPs who had asked to be excused from the final parliamentary vote for religious reasons, came back into the chamber and voted down the bill.

Australian Associated Press

Trump may walk if NKorea summit fruitless

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

US President Donald Trump will walk out of a meeting with North Korea’s leader if it’s not fruitful.US President Donald Trump hopes an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be successful after a recent visit to Pyongyang by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but he has warned he will call it off if he doesn’t think it will produce results.

Trump told a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday that his campaign of “maximum pressure” on North Korea would continue until Pyongyang gave up its nuclear weapons.

He also said Washington was negotiating for the release of three Americans held by North Korea and there was “a good chance of doing it.” He did not answer a reporter’s question as to whether that would be a condition for going ahead with the summit.

“I hope to have a very successful meeting (with Kim),” Trump said in Palm Beach, Florida.

“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” he added. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

Trump said earlier that Pompeo, one of his most trusted advisers and his pick to be the next US secretary of state, formed a “good relationship” with Kim when he became the first US official known to have met the North Korean leader.

US officials said Pompeo met Kim when he visited Pyongyang over the Easter weekend, which ran from March 31 to April 2, to lay the groundwork for the planned summit, in which Trump hopes to persuade North Korea to abandon development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea,” Trump tweeted earlier. “Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”

A senior administration official said Pompeo brought up the case of the three American prisoners with Kim in North Korea and that the United States was hopeful for their release.

Pompeo’s visit provided the strongest sign yet of Trump’s willingness to become the first serving US president to meet a North Korean leader.

Trump said on Tuesday he believed there was a lot of goodwill in the diplomatic push, which he has said could take place in late May or early June.

Australian Associated Press

Newcastle scientist on a quest to cure cancerPHOTOS

29/12/2018 Posted by admin

Newcastle scientist on a quest to cure cancer | PHOTOS Under the Microscope: Dr Nikki Verrills is developing a drug to treat breast cancer. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

TweetFacebookThe story of humanity’s drive to crack the cancer code is filled withdedicated scientists on a mission toend suffering.

Also part of this story are the fundraisers who help pay for thisresearch.

These two sides will come together in Newcastle on Saturday night at the Pink Frangipani Ball.

The ball will raise money for the research of DrNikki Verrills, a scientistwith the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute [HMRI].

Dr Verrills is developing a drugthat aims to help cure breast cancer.

Her research is targeting a protein that is switched off in women with breast cancer. This missing protein enables cancer cellstogrow and divide.

“This proteinseems to be switched off in patients who do particularly poorly with current therapy,”Dr Verrillssaid.

“They’re the ones we want to focus on to find better therapies.”

The drugshe is developing switches this missing protein back on. It hasbeen found to kill breast cancer cells grown in a laboratory.

“It kills tumours in mice in pre-clinical models, which is the final step before we can take a drug into human trials,” she said.

Funds raised at this year’s ballwill go towards testing the new drug in combination with standard treatment, like chemotherapy andradiation.

Dr Verrills said a cure for breast cancer was “ideally what we’re after”.

“We’re trying to cure as many patients as we can,” she said.

Breast cancer, if detected early, is treatable for many women.

Butthe current treatment ofchemotherapy and/or radiation is “pretty awful” for patients to go through.

Nevertheless, the curerate for breast cancer patients is 88 to 90 per cent.

“In Australia, we still lose 3000 women every year to breast cancer becauseit’s such a common disease.”

In the Hunter, about 250women die each year from breast cancer.

Dr Verrills said cancer wasa “horrible disease that takes too many lives”.

She has“huge hopes” forthe emerging area of precision medicine, which is “precisely what we’re doing”.

Pink Frangipani Ball founder AndreaRufo said the six previousballs had raised a combined $500,000 for cancer research and awareness.

Mr Rufo, who lost his wife Sandra to breast cancer, said Dr Verills was doing “amazing work”, whichcould lead to the drug she is developing being used in clinical trials in a few years.

“Where would we be without the researchers in every field who do this kind of work?”he said.

“We’d be lost. They’re brilliant people.

“You’ve got to hold them in such high esteem.”