State of the Nation | Wednesday, January 11, 2017

State of the Nation

Need a national news snapshot first thing? Well, we have you covered. 


► PARKES, NSW: Kath Swansbra has really outdone herself this time.

The master cake decorator has created a magnificent tribute to mark the milestone of 25 years since the first Parkes Elvis Festival. 

Kath said she got the job from Robie Porter (Rob. E.G) but at the time didn’t know who he was. Read more.

► WAGGA WAGGA, NSW: Hydrate, avoid direct sunlight and don’t overdo it.

That is the message being handed down to outdoor workers by Wagga-based St John Ambulance duty coordinator Leia Thiele. 

It comes as Wagga approaches its first 40 degree day since February last year, with the mercury forecast to hit 42 on Friday.  Read more.

MANDURAH, WA: The City of Mandurah’s ranger team has a new addition: an all-terrain patrol vehicle nicknamed ‘Ranger Green’.

The vehicle hit the beaches just before Christmas, and was purchased for $25,000 to increase rangers’ ability to access off-road areas that normal road operational 4WDs cannot access including coastal and quarry areas. Read more.

SWANSEA, TAS: An East Coast cafe will be forced to fork out more than $20,000 after five of its employees were underpaid.

The Fair Work Ombudsman found four waiters and a chef at Saltshaker Café and Restaurant in Swansea had not been paid their entitlements over a 10 month period in 2014-15.

A total of $20,242 was left outstanding with individuals owed between $3341 and $4929. Read more.

BALLARAT, VIC: Powercor’s $8 million Buninyong battery still remains out of action despite the company aiming to have the back-up power source running for summer. 

The South Korean-built battery which is the largest in the country was unveiled in March 2016, but has sat idle since May following noise complaints from neighbours. Read more.

NEWCASTLE, NSW: Central Coast Council hopes for a Warnervale regional airport to rival Newcastle Airport should be stopped before millions more dollars are wasted, NSW Premier Mike Baird has been told. 

A regional airport is “not viable, desirable or necessary”, Yarramalong turf farmer Laurie Eyes told Mr Baird in a letter after a three-year freedom of information battle with the former Wyong Shire Council that has raised serious questions about the regional airport plan, and a proposed aircraft manufacturing project at Warnervale. Read more.

SOUTH COAST, NSW: Eating her lunch of crumbed fish, Narooma resident Suzanne was calm as she watched 10-out-of-10 Keno numbers come up to win her $1 million. 

The win could not have come at a better time. Her 2016 was a terrible year; both her husband and mother died, her son required continuing medical treatment overseas, and she suffered serious illness herself. Read more.

 BENDIGO, VIC: Parents are lending their support to a petition calling for more shade at a McKenzie St West park.

A petition is calling for for shade cloth or more foliage to cover Cooinda Park’s playground and picnic areas. Read more.

► TAMWORTH, NSW: POLICE have tasered a man who they allege lunged at them with a knife after they were called to a Tamworth home.

Eric Bruce Blundell is facing seven charges after he was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Tingira St. Read more.


Finn Kovich with his mother, Nina, at their home in Killara. Both suffer from asthma. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Finn Kovich with his mother, Nina, at their home in Killara. Both suffer from asthma. Photo: Wolter Peeters

 Health authorities have warned Sydneysiders to be on alert as the baking sun sends temperatures and ozone levels soaring and triggers a total fire ban.

The mercury is expected to tip over 40 degrees in parts of Sydney and ozone levels are predicted to exceed national standards, reaching levels that are likely to have a negative impact on health. Read more.

 Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, who was wrongly convicted in the death of her nine-week-old baby Azaria in 1980, has broken her silence on the death of Azaria's father and her ex-husband, Michael Chamberlain.

In a statement released by the Harry Miller Group, she said the news of Dr Chamberlain's death came as a surprise. Read more.

SCEGGS Darlinghurst head Jenny Allum. Photo: Tomasz Machnik

SCEGGS Darlinghurst head Jenny Allum. Photo: Tomasz Machnik

 NSW education leaders are concerned an "incoherent" HSC mathematics syllabus "riddled with mistakes" has been rushed through by the Board of Studies before its transition to the NSW Education Standards Authority.

The draft syllabus was savaged as a "cut and paste disaster" by Sydney Grammar's former master of mathematics Bill Pender, and described as "appalling" by SCEGGS Darlinghurst principal Jenny Allum when it was released for consultation last year. Read more

 Staff inside the Centrelink unit responsible for income reviews and eligibility assessments warned officials from the Department of Human Services that automated data matching would lead to incorrect debts being issued to low-income and vulnerable Australians, an insider has revealed. Read more.

 More than 500 trees will be removed from an inner-city park to make way for the next stage of the WestConnex motorway, angering nearby residents.

The Sydney Motorway Corporation, which oversees WestConnex, released a report into trees in Sydney Park last Friday afternoon. Read more.

Footage shows the gunman pointing a pistol at Mr Tanvir and the chef, before they were forced into a refrigerated storeroom. Photo: Seven News

Footage shows the gunman pointing a pistol at Mr Tanvir and the chef, before they were forced into a refrigerated storeroom. Photo: Seven News

 Two teenagers have been arrested and charged after they allegedly robbed two businesses in Sydney's south west in the past month.

Police allege the boys - aged 16 and 18 - were armed with a knife and a handgun, which they used to threaten employees at both shops before fleeing with cash.

On January 3, the pair allegedly entered the Crown Tandoori restaurant on Redfern Road in Minto. Read more.


 BANGKOK: Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has asserted his royal authority five weeks after acceding to the throne, asking for changes to be made to his kingdom's draft constitution. 

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general who seized power in a 2014 coup, told reporters he will honour the king's request made in a letter to the military government. Read more.

JAKARTA: Indonesia's foreign ministry says President Joko Widodo hopes to visit Australia in the first three months of this year in an indication the furore over offensive material at an Australian army base has not damaged the wider bilateral relationship.

"We are still trying to find a date suitable for both leaders … there is a strong commitment from both sides to meet in the first quarter of this year," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told Fairfax Media. Read more

MYANMAR: More than 65,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's strife-torn Rakhine state amid new reports of atrocities allegedly committed by Myanmar security forces.

The United Nations' relief agency says 22,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh camps in the past week alone, the largest number since renewed violence broke out Rakhine in October. Read more.

LONDON: Rolf Harris' sexual assault trial has begun in London with an unusual "video juror parade".

The 86-year-old Australian entertainer is accused of the indecent assault of young girls and women. The prosecution and defence teams have agreed to what is reportedly England's first trial by video.

Harris watched from a remote location on Monday as potential jurors were asked to walk in front of a camera and stand for a few awkward moments at Southwark Crown Court, so the defendant could check whether he knew them. Read more.


1787  -  Two moons of Uranus, Titania and Oberon, are discovered. 

1813 - First pineapples planted in Hawaii.

1838 - First public demonstration of telegraph message sent using dots and dashes at Speedwell Ironworks, Morristown, New Jersey by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail.

1879 - Zulu war against British colonial rule in South Africa begins.

1896  -  Bourke, New South Wales, sees the end of thirteen days of extreme temperatures which kill 47. 

1935  -  Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, California. 

1962  -  Up to 4,000 people are killed in an avalanche and mudslide in Peru. 

1964 - First government report warning by US Surgeon General Luther Terry reports that smoking may be hazardous.

1986  -  The Gateway Bridge in Brisbane, Australia, is officially commissioned. 

2011  -  Despite Brisbane being supposedly flood-proof, a flood of epic proportions begins to inundate the city. 


Lauren Kitchen turns her focus to the Tour Downunder after a disappointing result in Ballarat to start 2017.

Lauren Kitchen turns her focus to the Tour Downunder after a disappointing result in Ballarat to start 2017.

Lauren Kitchen officially started her 2017 season with the WM3 Pro Cycling team in the national road race championship in Ballarat on Sunday.

The Port Macquarie cyclist finished the race in 18th place and admitted the result was not what she was hoping for.

However, she is taking a few positives away from the championship while she builds for the start of the European season at the end of February. Read more.