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US air strike, Syrian government’s chemical attack, the world in horror

13/04/2019 | 成都桑拿 | Permalink

US President Donald Trump was shaken by photos of the nerve agent strike in Syria. Photo: APWhile US PresidentDonald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were midway through their meal of pan-seared Dover sole with champagne sauce on Thursday evening, a US naval destroyer was launching the first of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, lighting up the sky in eastern Syria.It had been just 63 hours since the Syrian government’s horrific chemical attack on civilians.
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Earlier that day, the US President had been shaken by shocking photos from the nerve agent strike – far more graphic than those the public had seen.

According to senior administration officials and members of Congress who spoke with Trump, the President had been especially struck by two images: Young, listless children being splashed with water in a frantic attempt to cleanse them of the nerve agent; and an anguished father holding his twin babies, swathed in soft white fabric, poisoned to death.

“What the world saw last night was the United States Commander-in-Chief, and also a father and grandfather,” said Kellyanne Conway, counsellor to the president, on Friday. “The world recoiled in horror at babies writhing and struggling to live. And who could avert their gaze – and that includes our very tough, very resolute, very decisive President.”

Over an intensive 2½ days, the President’s national security team convened several high-level meetings with representatives from the Pentagon, the State Department, intelligence agencies and the National Security Council. “I don’t think it was an emotional reaction at all,” said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was involved in the discussions. “President Trump evaluated the facts, that the attacks occurred on his watch, and [as he] reflected upon prior responses or lack of responses, he came to the conclusion that we cannot yet again turn away, turn a blind eye from what’s happened.”

It all began during the early hours of Tuesdaywith bombs falling on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-held territory of Idlib Province. Video footage of the attack quickly surfaced, showing women and children gasping for breath and foaming at the mouth as they fought the effects of what officials later said was sarin gas, a brutal nerve agent. Behind closed doors, the US President was already eyeing a response:

Tuesday: 10.30am:Trump huddles at the White House with his military and national security advisers for what his aides now describe as an extensive briefing on the attack. The President had questions. “He was very interested in understanding better the circumstances of the attack and who was responsible,” said national security adviser, Lieutenant-General HerbertR. McMaster.

Wednesday:Midday:Trump makes his first public comment about the carnage in Syria, telling a group of reporters the attacks are unspeakable. As his advisers continue working on details for a military strike, Trump remains uncharacteristically disciplined about any plans. Asked by a reporter whether he intends to take any action with regard to Syria, Trump says, “You will see.”

Wednesday: 1.15pm:At a news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Trump says his horror at the images of “innocent children, innocent babies” choked by poison gas has led him to reassess his approach to Syria. “It’s very, very possible, and I will tell you it has already happened, that my attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much,” he said, adding “It crossed a lot of lines for me.”

Wednesday 3pm:Trump convenes a meeting of his National Security Council. Over several hours, the President’s top military and national security aides present him with three options for action in Syria, which he narrows down to two. Aides reveal Trump was looking for something aggressive but “proportionate” that would be sufficient to send a signal.

Thursday: 9am:As the President participates in an event honouring wounded veterans, he mulls his options. He tells the veterans they are “real heroes” who have sacrificed for their country. “I call them America’s winners because they’re winners,” said Trump.

Thursday: 4pm:Trump lands at his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and is whisked to another meeting with the National Security Council where military options are now homed in on a Tomahawk cruise missile strike at Al Shayrat airfield which, they say, was used to launch the Syrian government warplanes that dropped the chemical weapons.

Thursday 6.30pm:After posing for pictures, Trump sits down for formal dinner with Xi, who arrived in Florida earlier that day. An hour later, from a phone line in a small, nondescript room at the United States Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, American commanders begin warning their Russian counterparts of an imminent strike. That warning comes no more than 90 minutes before the strike, according to one American official. In other words, it is a notification rather than consultation. The conversation is described as lengthy with the Russians doing much of the talking.

Thursday: 7.40pm:At 2:40amlocal time in Syria, two destroyers, the USSPorter and the USSRoss – already in position in the eastern Mediterranean – fire 59 Tomahawk missiles towards the airfield, targeting aircraft, shelters, radars, an air defence system, ammunition bunkers and fuel storage sites. Meanwhile, as dinner wraps up in Florida and with the missiles about to hit their targets, Trump pulls Xi away from other guests and informs him of the strike. Aides describe it as a brief, matter-of-fact discussion.

Thursday: 9.43pm:Trump again assembles his national security team and other top advisers for a meeting, a photograph of which is distributed the following day. Thirty minutes later, reporters are called in for a statement that Trump delivers to announce the strikes. It is organised so swiftly that media are unable to broadcast it live. The rush also means sound quality is poor though the importance of his words are clear.

“We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world,” said Trump who added: “We hope as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will in the end prevail.”

Washington Post, New York Times

First appeared on SMH

Hunter Valley attracting Sydneysiders who can swap one property for two or three

13/04/2019 | 成都桑拿 | Permalink

Three of the best treechange destinations near SydneyFrom treechange to echange: The trend creating new ‘lifestyle towns’ each yearLife beyond the big smoke – regional centres on the up and up
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The Hunter Valley, 160 kilometres north of Sydney, was first settled by Europeans in the early 19th century, lured by the region’s abundant coal and timber resources.

Within a few decades, the thick forests had been replaced by agriculture – most notably viticulture, with more than 120 vineyards now supplying fine wines to a worldwide market.

Today the region is still attracting settlers except this time, it’s people looking for a lifestyle change and a canny property investment.

According to local real estate agents, the prime attraction is the region’s low prices, with most properties selling in the $600,000-$700,000 range, although there are a few properties selling for as little as $180,000.

“You could sell an ordinary property in Sydney for $1.5 million and buy three in the Hunter, one to live in and two for investment,” says Alan Jurd, of Jurd’s Real Estate.

With property values in the region increasing greatly in the past 25 years, there will have been many winners, but even latecomers can take comfort from the fact that house values have increased by 12 per cent in Cessnock over the past year and 32 per cent since 2011, according to Domain Group data.

Standing to make a motza, however, is not the only reason to pull up one’s roots in Sydney and move north. There must be more.

According to Luke Anderson, of PRDnationwide Hunter Valley, most of the people moving to the region are retirees and semi-retirees looking for the rural lifestyle with none of the city hassle.

When there’s a bit of downtime, they’ve got top-notch golf courses to play, and vineyards and restaurants (six are hatted) to savour, plus the seaside resort of Port Stevens just 45 minutes away.

“Don’t forget the concerts,” Jurd says. Top-flight international performers who have used several open-air venues in the Pokolbin and Broke districts to entertain their fans include Bruce Springsteen. Midnight Oil is scheduled to perform in October.

Search for homes in the Hunter Valley region by downloading the Domain app.

Single-car smash injures father, nearly kills children

13/04/2019 | 成都桑拿 | Permalink

Shane Stevens. Picture: Luka KauzlaricA father who almost died with his children in a horror single-car crash on Remembrance Drive has spoken out in the hope something is done along the strip before another driver is killed.
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Shane Stevens was driving home to Lucas with his two young sons when he suddenly lost control of his 4WD and collided head-on into a tree with a sickening thud on March 12.

Trapped in the front seat with a severely injured leg, Shane panicked because he could only hear one son behind him – the youngest had fallen silent.

“I yelled out Maxy, and suddenly he piped up. Then I looked to my right and there was a guy standing outside who said he’d rung triple-0,” he said.

“I nearly killed my kids – that’s a reality. I’m lucky that didn’t happen, we’ll all make a full recovery. But others are not so lucky.”

‘I could have killed my kids’ TweetFacebook The crash on March 12. Pictures: Luka KauzlaricFour weeks on Shane remains under care at St. John of God Hospital and has made an emotional thank-you to emergency services who rescued his family.

But the issue of what do to along the Avenue of Honour has flared once again, with many in Ballarat at odds over whether to move the trees, erect a barrier or reduce speed limits.

There have been two deaths and four cases of serious injuries along the road in the past five years, VicRoads data shows.

“Remembrance Drive was the main thoroughfare from Melbourne to Adelaide for ever and a day and there was accidents,” Shane said.

“It’s not a major thoroughfare anymore and there’s still accidents.”

It comes after VicRoads started an investigation into what safety improvements could be made to Remembrance Drive following a spate of serious accidents.

However, it remains a sensitive issue given the Avenue of Honour’slink to Ballarat veterans and also its beauty.

VicRoads regional director Ewen Nevett revealed a possible speed limit reduction to 80km/h has been considered.

Regardless, Shane is on the mend and has made mates withfellow St. John patientGeoff Lovel, who injured his back inWarracknabeal.

“The effect he’s had on me mentally is unbelievable. I think he should be a bloody psychologist,” Geoff said.

But Shane reserved special praise for emergency services who came to his family’s aid.

“One of the ambos contacted my wife and asked how the kids were, because he had kids himself,” he said.

“I may never see them again, but they’re the unsung heroes of every accident.”

First appeared on The Courier

State of the NationSunday, April 9 2017

13/04/2019 | 成都桑拿 | Permalink

State of the NationNeedanational newssnapshotfirst thing?Well, we have you covered.
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REGIONAL NEWS INSTA @low_angled_shots Retro clowns at the #royaleastershow #clown #clowns #retro#xploresydney #seeaustralia #wanderlust #skies #sky #ilovesydney #colours #colourful #rides #beautiful #justgoshoot #outdoors #getoutstayout #instadaily #niceview #primeshots #up #homebush #view #easter #cloudlovers #eastershow #sydney #instasky #sydneyroyaleastershow #bokah

►PORT PIRIE, SA:Hundreds have turned out for the Woodward Park Relay for Life. More here.

►WHYALLA, SA:Shadow AssistantMinister for Manufacturing Nick Champion believes nanotechnology could play a big part in the future of ‘s steel industry, and in particular at the Whyalla Steelworks. More here.

►ESPERANCE, WA:Police have announced the threat to the community has been safely resolved after hours of negotiating. The man was inside a bus acting in an unpredictable manner. More here.

► MANDURAH, WA:The driver of a Toyota Landcruiser was trapped in his vehicle after it rolled for unknown reasons in Lake Clifton. About 6.30pm on Friday night, the four-wheel drivewas travelling north on Forrest Highway whenit rolled north of the Old Coast Road intersection. More here.

►BUNBURY, WA:A beautiful sunny day at Hay Park saw thousands pack out the 2017 LiveLighter Bunbury Show on Saturday. There was something for everyone at the event from showbags, to prizes and an unlimited choice of food vans to fill your stomach. More here.

► KATHERINE, NT:The two detention centreescapees who left Katherine, have been captured.Territory Response Group officers deployed tyre deflation devices (TDD) and deflated one of the tyres. It was enough to eventually immobilise the vehicle and allow an arrest. More here.

►NORTH QLD:A strong line of competitors were drawn to the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust triathlon last weekend.Juniors showed they were just as capable of the challenge as their parents on Friday. More here.

►JIMBOOMBA, QLD:A Warwick man has been charged with match fixing after five harness racing properties were searched, including one at Logan Village. More here.

►ALBURY-WODONGA, NSW/VIC:Jody Martin has been in Holbrook for 17 years, and for not one of those years has she missed the district’s annual race meet. But this year was a bit different to the norm –Mrs Martintook the title of Most Elegant Lady with a Spice Clothing Albury dress. More here.

►WARRNAMBOOL, VIC:There was no shortage of people at Killarney giving their opinions on Saturday to the state government about racehorses training on the nearby Belfast Coastal Reserve. More here.

► BALLARAT, VIC:A father who almost died with his children in a horror single-car crash on Remembrance Drive has spoken out in the hope something is done along the strip before another driver is killed. More here.

►TAMWORTH, NSW: Tragedy has struck at Saturday’s Warialda Cup meeting with the death of popular North West jockey Darren Jones.Tamworth’s Jones was one of three jockeys who came down after a terrible fall in the Warialda Sprint (1100m). More here.

►BENDIGO, VIC:THUNDER and lightning have descended on central Victoria, with patrons at the Nitro Circus at Tom Flood Sports Centre ducking for cover as heavy rain arrives. More here.

►NEWCASTLE, NSW:FORMER ABC radio presenter Carol Duncan has been confirmed asone of at least two fresh faces to run on the Labor ticket in the upcoming September local government elections. More here.

►DUBBO, NSW:If you were lucky enough to purchase or win tickets to this weekend’s Westview Drive-In movie revival in Dubbo this weekend you might have overlooked some important things in all the excitement. More here.

►QUEANBEYAN, NSW: A makeshift flower memorialwas beginning to pile-up on Friday left by a community in shock at the brutal killing of a service station attendee the night before in Queanbeyan. More here.

►TAS:One of the worst crashes in the history of Supercars racing has ended the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint in unbelievable scenes at Symmons Plains Raceway. More here.

►TAS:Corey Baker and Karina Dambergs are not okay with drinking and driving. But they are okay with driving drinks around the state. More here.

NATIONAL NEWS►Stockman Murray Wilkinson hasdeveloped his own secret language of whistles that he uses to direct as many as nine working cattle dogs at the same time. More here.

►Gladys Berejiklian enjoyed an “extremely positive” reception as she joined candidates on the hustings on Saturday morning, but said she expected voters to punish the government for imposing byelections upon them. More here.

►The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service says itis working hard to access national parks and State forests to assess the damage from Tropical Cyclone Debbie and restore public access to camping areas and visitor sites. More here.

►A leader of the once-feared Brothers for Life gang ambitiously boasted of making Sydney his, overseeing a period of intense violence, including five shootings, before his eventual demise. More here.

WORLD NEWS ►With one massive question of war demanding an answer, Malcolm Turnbull found himself reflecting on another moment in time, three quarters of a century ago, when the response of a relative few determined the fate of two nations. More here.

► Hours before the dozens of US air strikes in Syria in response to a chemical attack that killed more than 80 Syrians, Abdul Hamid al-Youssef was mourning the loss of his twin babies, his wife and up to 40 members of his family.More here.

►A man has been arrested after a truck was driven into a crowd on a busy shopping street in Stockholm before crashing into a department store, killing fourpeople, in what the prime minister described as a suspected terrorist attack. More here.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY …0715 – Constantine ended his reign as Catholic Pope.

1770 – Captain James Cook discovered Botany Bay on the n continent.

1926 –Publisher Hugh Hefner was born

1940 – Germany invaded Norway and Denmark.

1955 –ComedianJimmy Tingle was born

1959 – NASA announced the selection of America’s first seven astronauts.

1963 – Winston Churchill became the first honorary U.S. citizen.

1965 – TheRolling Stonesmade their first live appearance on British TV’s “Ready Steady Go!”

1970 – Paul McCartney quit theBeatles.

1990 –Actress Kristen Stewart was born

2007 – TheiTunes Music Storereached 2.5 billion songs sold.

FACES OF AUSTRALIAHow will your life matter?

These were the words spoken during the opening message attheBendigo Baptist Church on Friday, as hundreds of family and friends farewelleda man who touched the lives of so many.

Owen Vincent Curnow lived a life that mattered. As a father, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend, a colleague.

He was a man widely known throughout the Bendigo and greater central Victorian community andwill be remembered as a remarkable man who led a life well-lived. More here.

Socialite Lizzie Buttrose’s run-in with the Real Housewives of Sydney

13/04/2019 | 成都桑拿 | Permalink

Eastern suburbs socialite Lizzie Buttrose denies causing a furore during her guest appearance on Sunday night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Sydney.
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The Housewives claim the 47-year-old niece of Ita Buttrose showed up “uninvited” and “drunk” to “cause trouble” at Victoria Rees’ charity auction for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

When speaking to The Goss at Sydney’s Fashion Palette this week, Krissy Marsh and Nicole O’Neil said in unison, “[Buttrose] acted very inappropriate.”

Marsh explained: “She was drunk ??? She broke a glass in the middle of the auction. She kept shouting out over and over again, disrupting proceedings … She had the worst hair extensions I have ever seen.”

O’Neil added: “We could have raised a lot more funds for Victor Chang if she did not behave the way she did.”

Buttrose is seen confronting Rees at the event that was filmed last November at Joh Bailey’s hair salon in Double Bay, calling her a “bully,” “hideous,” and “revolting”.

Yet to watch the episode in which she appears, Buttrose denied she caused any havoc.

“I certainly didn’t throw a glass or a phone. I spilt a bit of champagne trying to put my phone into my little bag,” she explained to The Goss.

She also contradicts the Housewives’ accusations that she gatecrashed, explaining she attended with a friend who was on the guest list and had a plus one.

“I was not drunk. I was being happy and social,” Buttrose added. “I am friends with Victor Chang’s daughter, Vanessa. I would never do anything rude at a charity event. I am known to attend charity events regularly.”

Despite the drama, Buttrose is open to a regular appearance on the show, however, O’Neil and Marsh said she would not be a welcome addition.

“No, definitely not,” Marsh laughed.

“No, no,” O’Neil added, shaking her head.

Buttrose has been having a bit of a shocker of late. Last month, she made what she described as, a “guest appearance” at Waverly Court where charges were dismissed against her for threatening her son with violence. A few days before she was taken to hospital after she was stung by a stingray while walking her dog on Rose Bay beach.

But right now she said the future is looking bright as she focuses on a new business venture and her wedding to Zoran Stopar – her seventh fiance.

The pair have yet to set a date, but are hoping to get hitched this year at Charles and Christa Billich’s art gallery in The Rocks.

The Real Housewives of Sydney airs on Foxtel’s Arena at 8.30pm.