Articles by "Australia"

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (photo by AFP)
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned that the Daesh terrorist group could establish a stronghold in the southern Philippines, the nearest territory to mainland Australia to likely become a hotbed of terrorist activities.
Bishop told local media on Sunday that the leader of the Philippines-based Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group had recently been declared an “emir” — a title given to the leader of a so-called Daesh caliphate.
Citing that development, Bishop said, “There is concern ISIS may well seek to declare a caliphate in the southern Philippines,” using an English acronym for Daesh. “This brings the threat right to our doorstep.”
Daesh, which first emerged in the Middle East and later spread to North Africa and Afghanistan, has been suffering heavy losses in Iraq and Syria, the two countries where it has been significantly active. There is now concern that efforts to eradicate Daesh in those countries are pushing the terrorists to seek a foothold elsewhere.
Government troops are seen at the site of a roadside blast in the village of Matampay in Marawi City, Southern Mindanao, the Philippines, November 29, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Bishop said about 600 militants from Southeast Asia had been in the Middle East fighting for Daesh and could soon return to the region as the Takfiri group loses more territory to security forces fighting to take back land overrun by the outfit.
She said that Australian security forces had already been working closely with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia to identify and eradicate terrorist elements in the region.
The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which has been conducting bombings, abductions, assassinations, and extortions since its emergence in 1991 with seed money from al-Qaeda, pledged allegiance to Daesh in the summer of 2014.
This photo, taken on October 13, 2015 from a video uploaded on YouTube, shows militants in the southern Philippines. (Via AFP)
The Philippine government has been involved in military operations against the group in the south of the country.
Abu Sayyaf’s power has reportedly diminished particularly since 2002, when it was internationally declared a terrorist organization. In 2012, it was estimated that the number of the group’s members had fallen from an estimated 1,250 in 2000 to between 200 and 400 members.
But it could see battle-hardened terrorists coming in from elsewhere, including Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of Australians abandoned their homes as a powerful cyclone bore down on coastal towns in Queensland on Monday, while others ignored authorities' advice to evacuate with winds forecast to reach up to 300 km per hour (185 mph).
Cyclone Debbie is forecast to strengthen to a Category 4 storm before it makes landfall in the northeast state early on Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.
State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned it would be the most powerful storm to hit the country since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, which destroyed homes, shredded crops and devastated island resorts.
About 3,500 people left low-lying townships near Townsville, while authorities advised 2,000 more people in the town of Bowen to also leave, Palaszczuk said, adding that the "window of opportunity to leave is drastically closing" as weather worsens.
A Category 5 storm is the strongest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.
Townsville Airport was closed and airlines Qantas, Jetstar, Rex and Virgin Australia said they had cancelled several flights to and from the region scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
Pictures showed residents who had stayed behind protecting homes and shops with sandbags and plywood boards.
Queensland produces some 95 percent of Australian bananas and while Cyclone Debbie is on course to miss the largest growing regions in the state's far north, analysts said heavy rains and strong winds could cause significant crop damage.
The storm late Monday morning was about 375 kilometers (230 miles) east of Townsville, a coastal city 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Ayr.

James 'Jimmy' Gargasoulas aka Dimitrious Gargasoulas. Photo / Facebook
The case of accused Bourke Street killer driver Dimitrious Gargasoulas is returning to court.
The 27-year-old has been excused from appearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court today when his case is listed for a mention.
Mourners leave flowers and tributes to the victims of the Bourke St mall incident. Photo / Getty














Gargasoulas faces five counts of murder over the January 20 rampage and is expected to be charged over the death of a sixth victim.
He is accused of deliberately driving a car into pedestrians at Bourke St mall before crashing after police shot him.

Officials from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse participate on the opening day of their public hearing into cases involving the Anglican Church of Australia in Sydney, Australia, March, 17 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Australia’s Anglican Church has expressed “deep shame” over a government revelation that close to 1,100 people have filed child sexual assault claims against the Church.
“We are deeply ashamed… both in the way we have acted and the way we have failed to act,” the Church’s General Secretary Anne Hywood said during a session of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse in Sydney.
“It tells us that any processes we had in place did not prevent abusers working in our Church, as clergy and lay leaders and, in the roles most trusted to care for our children, as teachers and youth workers,” Hywood told the inquiry.
The Anglican Church’s General Secretary Anne Hywood
The figure of the complaints filed was released in an interim report published by the inquiry on Friday. The report said the complaints identified 569 Anglican clergymen, teachers, and volunteers as alleged abusers. There were also another 133 alleged abusers whose roles at the Church were not known.
The report said most of the victims, who had filed child sexual assault claims against the Church over a 35-year period, had been aged around 11 when they were abused.
The government-appointed inquiry had previously heard that seven percent of Catholic priests working in Australia between 1950 and 2010 were pedophiles accused of child sex crimes.
Few of cases involving those predator priests were pursued through legal channels.
The commission report said 1,082 people had filed complaints between 1980 and 2015 about 1,115 alleged incidents while they were under the care of the Anglican Church. Some of the incidents dated back to 1950.
Church authorities felt a “sense of shame and sorrow… [by] the scope of our failure to tackle child sexual abuse within the Church,” Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, the Church’s primate, said in a statement on social media.
The Anglican Church had paid more than $22 million in compensation to 459 of those complainants, the report said. Another report published by the inquiry last month said the Catholic Church had paid compensation to about three-quarters of complainants.
The inquiry is due to report back to the government in December.

This handout photograph taken and released by the Official Photographer to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on March 16, 2017 shows Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visiting the Tumut 3 power station at the Snowy Hydro Scheme in Talbingo, in the Snowy Mountains. (Via AFP)
Billions of dollars will be pumped into a massive hydroelectric project in Australia, the prime minister said Thursday, as the country faces a growing power crisis after a huge blackout and heatwave strained supplies.
The expansion of the Snowy Mountains Scheme in New South Wales State could provide electricity to 500,000 homes, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described as an “electricity game-changer.”
The project, involving new tunnels and power stations, would boost the capacity of the 4,100-megawatt hydro-electric plant by 50 percent and is estimated by local media to cost up to Aus$2 billion (US$1.5 billion).
“Every Australian should be confident that they can turn the lights on when they need them,” Turnbull said in a statement.
This undated handout photo released on March 16, 2017 by Snowy Hydro Limited shows a view of the Tumut 3 power station at the Snowy Hydro Scheme in Talbingo, in the Snowy Mountains. (Via AFP)
Although Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of coal and gas, there are question marks about its energy security after South Australia suffered a statewide blackout in September and record-high temperatures in recent months put pressure on supplies in the country’s east.
The closure of several ageing coal-fired power plants, strong demand for gas exports and a rise in onshore gas drilling bans have fueled concerns of a looming domestic energy shortage.
“The unprecedented expansion will help make renewables reliable, filling in holes caused by intermittent supply and generator outages,” Turnbull said.
But Danny Price, a former energy adviser to Turnbull, said while the hydro technology was robust and viable, it would not fix current power woes.
The South Australian government on Tuesday unveiled a Aus$550 million plan that included building a new gas-fired power plant and the country’s largest battery to store energy from the wind and sun.

Model and escort Revelle Balmain vanished aged 22. Photo / News Corp Australia
A former Sydney playboy who allegedly claimed that missing model and escort Revelle Balmain was "10 foot under" has been extradited and may be interviewed about the murder mystery.
Mark Coulton, who later denied he had said brothel bosses in Sydney's seedy underworld had murdered the beautiful 22-year-old, is in custody in a Cairns prison.
Revelle Balmain, the fashion model and dancer whose life had veered off track into prostitution and drugs, vanished in 1994 amid a swirl of rumours.
One of her wealthiest clients formerly from Sydney's Palm Beach, Coulton allegedly told a friend Revelle had been "whacked" - murdered - and that her body was "10 foot under".
Coulton, brother of former Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor Dixie Coulton, was extradited back from the UK last month.

It is not suggested that Coulton was in any way involved in Revelle Balmain's suspected murder.He is charged with conspiring to smuggle 18kg of pseudoephedrine, a precursor to methamphetamine, from Africa.
But will Coulton be able to provide new clues as to the fate of Revelle, whose loving family still hold out hope that her 1994 disappearance and suspected murder may be solved?
Former playboy and Revelle's wealthiest client, Mark Coulton, 56, is extradited to Cairns on an alleged drug conspiracy last month. Photo / News Corp Australia
News.com.au has learned that police may consider interviewing Coulton, who will first have to face a committal hearing into the drug trafficking conspiracy charges.
At the time of her disappearance, Revelle Balmain was in the process of extracting herself from Sydney's seedy drug and escort world, and escaping to Japan.
Coulton has admitted he gave her cash to make good her escape overseas.
But Balmain never made the flight, and one of her shoes, her bag, keys and belongings were found scattered over four streets in Sydney's east after she vanished.
But it was alleged he claimed that a brothel boss wanted Revelle dead over a money dispute, and that he had been at one time supporting Balmain after "pinching" her from a brothel.
Mark Coulton was flown from the United Kingdom under police guard on February 20 to await trial on the alleged drug importation plot.
The 56-year-old brother-in-law of Sydney barrister Don Grieve, QC, who is married to Dixie Coulton, is charged with conspiring with Peter Mitchell, of Port Douglas, to import pseudoephedrine pills from Kenya.
Revelle's parents Ivor, who died in 2010, and Jan Balmain. Photo / News Corp Australia













The former private schoolboy, who once owned Sydney's Hard Rock Cafe, comes from a prominent cotton-producing family in northern NSW.
He has previously confessed to importing fake jeans, and was forced to apologise to the Levi Strauss company.
Another failed scheme was his plan to import organic tampons, in 1995 with his then partner, model Robyn Galwey who died from surgery complications the same year.
At Revelle Balmain's 1999 inquest, Coulton said he has used her services "two or three times" and had given her a $1000 gift to help her leave the escort business.
"It was after a job and when I paid her she asked if she could have an extra $1000 because she wanted to go to Japan to dance," Coulton said.
"I'm pretty generous and she said she wanted to get out of the business and I felt sorry for her so I did, otherwise I wouldn't.
"Revelle came from a good Eastern suburbs family and why she was in that situation I didn't know but I wanted to help her get out of it.
"I gave her a cheque, which subsequently bounced, and she came back two weeks later and I gave her the money in cash."
But he denied telling an associate Jeremy Coughlan, over drinks after Revelle's disappearance, that he would have sex with Balmain "up to a dozen times a week".
Coghlan had given evidence at the inquest that Coulton told him he paid Revelle a $500-$1000 allowance, which was "cheaper than $200 an hour" at the brothel.
Balmain wanted to leave Australia and dance in Japan. Photo / News Corp Australia














"I never had a conversation like that with Jeremy Coughlan - it's rubbish," Coulton said.
He also denied saying to Coughlan during the same conversation that Balmain was "a nasty little gold-digger and a coke [cocaine] addict" and that she was "10 foot under".
Coghlan gave evidence at the inquest that Coulton that he had heard that Revelle had been "whacked", escort industry speak for murdered.
According to his statement, which was tendered to the inquest, Coghlan had been at a party at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Double Bay with Coulton when "Coulton said something like, 'Aren't people gullible and stupid? You've heard the story about Revelle Balmain. First there was a story about an Arab prince who took her back to Saudi Arabia ... what a load of crap.
"No-one will find her body. That's what you get for moonlighting and ripping off the brothel that she worked for, and drugging clients ... stealing all their money.
"Basically, the owner of the brothel wanted her dead because she was destroying his business.
"Isn't it amazing what money can buy to make people disappear?"
But, when he appeared before the inquiry, Mr Coghlan agreed that both men "might have been a bit drunk" on champagne and, at the time, he gave no credence to Mr Coulton's story.
However, Revelle's parents, Jan and Ivor Balmain, were profoundly disturbed by Coghlan's statement.
Mrs Balmain, a ballet teacher, was due to meet her daughter off the train at Newcastle station for lunch on November 6, 1994.
Missing dancer Revelle Balmain's last client Gavin Samer said he dropped her off at the Red Tomato Inn. Photo / News Corp Australia















But Revelle, due to depart the following day for a six-week stint in Japan as a dancer, failed to appear and Jan Balmain never saw her daughter again.
At Revelle's inquest, it was revealed that the slender young blonde's last official sighting was allegedly by her final client Gavin Samer, a surfer who worked for his parents' clothing company.
Revelle had spoken with Select Companions, one of two agencies that she worked for, run by husband and wife, Jane and Zoran Stanojevic.
According to evidence presented to the Coroner, Jane Stanojevic told her to see Samer at 4pm at his Kingsford house in Sydney's east.
At 5.50pm, Revelle called the agency to say that her assignment with Mr Samer had finished and that she was leaving.
But according to evidence tendered at the inquest, Samer said Revelle stayed with him for another hour under a private arrangement.
He said he then dropped Revelle at the Red Tomato Inn, a Kingsford hotel, where he bought a bottle of Strongbow cider and cigarettes and went home to watch Hey Hey It's Saturday before falling asleep.
Two days after Balmain's disappearance on November 5, a cork-heeled platform shoe, her cane make-up bag, her diary and the keys to her Bellevue Hill unit were found scattered in four streets in the Kingsford area.
The coronial inquiry identified Samer as the main person of interest.
"While Samer certainly had the opportunity to kill Balmain, and rightly in my view is the main person of interest to police, there is no plausible motive proved," then deputy state coroner John Abernathy said but recommended no charges.
Samer denied he was involved in Balmain's disappearance.
The inquiry also canvassed suggestions that Balmain might have been murdered by Zoran Stanojevic of Select Companions, who provided contradictory evidence to police and the inquiry about his whereabouts on the day she disappeared.
Model and escort Revelle Balmain vanished aged 22. Photo / News Corp Australia













No adverse findings were made against Stanojevic, who has consistently denied he had anything to do with her disappearance.
In 2008, the then NSW Homicide Squad commander, Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford, said the cold case unit, using advances in forensic procedures, had gathered new evidence from the Kingsford house where Ms Balmain had allegedly been on her last day.
Revelle's father, Ivor Balmain died in 2010, tragically not knowing what had happened to his daughter.
Jan Balmain, now aged in her 80s, is kept informed by the NSW Homicide Squad's Unsolved Homicide Team as to any updates.
The team may interview Mark Coulton in the future after his case is dealt with in the Queensland courts.
Coulton has not make an application for bail and is remanded in custody to appear for committal mention on May 2.
NSW Police are offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to a conviction and detectives urge anyone with knowledge of Revelle Balmain's suspected murder to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Derryn Hinch opens up on Home Delivery. Photo / ABC
Journalist turned politician Derryn Hinch has opened up about a traumatic childhood event in a new interview, recalling the night a family friend molested him.
Appearing as the guest on this week's episode of Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery, the 73-year-old Senator went into detail about a distressing event that took place in 1953, when he was just a nine-year-old boy growing up in his native New Zealand.
Hinch had just been gifted a commemorative silver-coated crown to mark Queen Elizabeth's coronation when his parents threw a party at their home.
"This night, this brother of one of my father's friends showed inordinate interest in my crown. He offered to buy it off me for a pound. Then [when] he'd made a connection, he came into the room my brother and I were sharing.

"I don't recall how long it went for, but my brother started to move like he was waking up and the guy ran out of the room. I climbed back into bed, petrified."I'm in my pyjamas standing there, and I just froze," he told Zemiro.
His brother asked what had happened, but Hinch didn't respond. It was a few minutes later that he let out a cry: "I want my mummy."
He told his mother he wanted to take back the crown the man had bought:
"I didn't want this man to have my Queen Elizabeth crown."
Hinch's mother began to lecture her son about the importance of honouring your word, until his brother Des interjected to say the man had "done something to Derryn."
"Then all hell broke loose," he recalled, saying his parents angrily chased his molester out of the home.
Years later, he asked his parents why they never told the police or sought further action against the man. They told him they didn't want to cause their son further distress - but Hinch says he worried the man had likely gone on to attack more children.
Throughout his career, Hinch has passionately campaigned against paedophiles - his repeated naming of child sex offenders has landed him in prison on more than one occasion.
Perhaps surprisingly, he insists it wasn't his own real-life experience as a victim of childhood sexual assault that led him on this crusade.
"I didn't feel affected by it and it didn't do me any harm. I thought if I come out and say that, it'll almost sound encouraging to molesters. I'm not trying to hide it but it didn't affect me, and it didn't cause me to become this crusader," he said.
Rather, it was Hinch's experience as a journalist, encountering those who've had their lives ruined by childhood sexual assault, that encouraged him to seek justice.
As for those prison stints, Hinch says that "deprivation of freedom is the biggest punishment. You have to do as you're told - guards run the show."
Did prison change him?
"No. Nothing changes me."

Foreign travel advisories are warning tourists against visiting Alice Springs, after a spate of tragedies involving international travellers.
The town, described by Tourism Australia as the "beating heart of Australia's Red Centre', is featured in several European and UK travel advisories updated in the past year.
Germany tells its residents that caution is needed in Alice Springs, "especially in the dark" because of repeated armed robberies and rapes of foreign tourists.
The UK also advises its citizens to take care in the town centre of Alice Springs at night, because of harassment, robberies and attacks including sexual assault.
"There have been some serious sexual assaults against British nationals," says the UK advisory.

"It is not recommended to rent a car to visit the particular areas of interest of the Northern Territory (Ayers Rock and Alice Springs) or areas far from population centres, as the roads are particularly dangerous and a number of tourists have died as a result," reads the Italian Government warning.Canada warns against hitchhiking because of the risk to backpackers, and Italy warns of serious risks to tourists travelling alone in the Northern Territory.
It follows a series of tragic incidents including the exposure-related deaths of two elderly German tourists last month, the stabbing murder of a French tourist last year, and the horrific rapes of German and Finnish backpackers in 2012.
Backpackers have also been the target of carjackings and robberies in the remote town.
Statistics from Tourism Research Australia show the dangerous reputation of the area has already taken a toll.
In the past 10 years, international visitors to the Northern Territory plunged from 354,659 to 292,958 last year, and the biggest falls were of UK visitors (78,450 to 41,342) and Scandinavian tourists down from 12,229 to 6660.
Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan said he believed the town remained a "very safe place" to visit and the foreign advisories were unfair.
"We don't suffer crime any different to other areas of the country but when anything happens in Central Australia it tends to be reported very widely and very quickly," said Ryan.
"The tourism industry has been having an upsurge in visitors over the last two years and a lot of those are foreign visitors."
Charles Darwin University's Associate Professor in Northern Australia Development, Pascal Tremblay, said the Top End's image as a "wild place" could even work in the tourism industry's favour.
"For the Northern Territory, there is a substantial market for young people in search of 'adventure' and wild places, including many Germans and other backpackers for sure," said Tremblay.
Ryan said it was important to take advice before travelling in the Outback and he would encourage visitors to maintain a "personal awareness".
"Within the town there are plenty of very safe places to visit," said Ryan.
"But I think it's best not to impose on community living areas unless they're open to visitors."

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