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Police end Australian prison riot

Heavily armed police entered the prison to end the riot

Police have regained control of a prison on the outskirts of Melbourne following a major riot.

Staff and visitors were evacuated from a remand centre in Ravenhall after clashes involving hundreds of inmates began at midday on Tuesday.

Heavily armed police stormed the prison in the early hours of the morning, according to the Victorian government.

The Corrections Department said the riot may have started because of a smoking ban in state prisons.

Several prisoners were hurt in the riot and were treated by medical staff, and two staff members suffered minor injuries, said prison authorities.

Fires started

The riot, in which hundreds of prisoners lit fires, broke walls and smashed windows, started not long before a smoking ban was to be introduced in all Victorian correctional facilities.

Local media reported scenes of prisoners armed with sticks and bashing prison doors

About 84% of Victorian prisoners are smokers, according to government figures.

The government said it was introducing the ban to improve the health of prison staff and inmates.

Corrections Victoria said the operation to end the riot was difficult and conducted under the cover of darkness to protect prison staff.

Victoria’s Minister for Corrections, Wade Noonan, said “a thorough investigation” would be undertaken into what caused the riot and how authorities responded to it.

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Heavily armed police have been sent to a prison on the outskirts of Melbourne following a major riot which officials say may be linked to a smoking ban which begins on Wednesday.

Staff and visitors have been evacuated from the Ravenhall facility about 20km (12 miles) west of Melbourne.

Victorian Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard said it was one of Melbourne’s biggest ever prison riots.

Jon Donnison reports from Sydney.

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Australia & NZ agree day-night Test

Australia and New Zealand will meet in cricket’s first day-night Test match later this year.

Starting on November 27, the final Test of their three-match series will be under lights in Adelaide, with a pink ball and both teams wearing whites.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he hoped the idea would increase interest in the game.

The New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association said its members were “nervous” about the experiment.

NZCPA chief executive Heath Mills indicated concerns about the difficulties of playing Test cricket under varying light and of dealing with the pink ball.

He said: “It’s uncharted territory and because of that there will be uncertainty and apprehension.”

Mills added that, despite their reservations, the players could see the “greater good it brings to all levels of the game”.

The pink ball is designed to be visible under floodlights, while still allowing players to wear traditional whites.

Cricket Australia has carried out tests during domestic competitions in an attempt to allay concerns that the ball behaves differently to its red equivalent.

New Zealand Cricket agreed to the day-night match as part of a lucrative financial package secured by arranging their first Test series against Australia since 2011.

Sutherland said: “One of the global challenges with Test cricket is that most of the matches outside holiday periods are played on weekdays, in the middle of the day when people are at work and kids are at school.

“By shifting the playing times, each day’s play can go into the evening and allow people to come in after work or after school to attend the last few hours of play.”

He added it would also allow people “in other parts of the world or other parts of the country” to watch more television coverage of the match.

As part of the break with tradition, the intervals between sessions – traditionally lunch and tea – will be renamed tea and dinner.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/33320393

Australia reviews organ donations

Shivaun Deacon and her brother Amon Leis with a photo of their brother Ivahn Leis

Shivaun Deacon and Amon Leis take comfort knowing their brother Ivahn’s organs saved a life

Despite investing heavily in its organ donation system in recent years, the Australian government is again asking why donor numbers have failed to rise significantly.

Knowing her brother’s heart still beats inside another chest helps Shivaun Deacon deal with the grief that followed his death in a road accident five years ago.

It also makes her one of a surprisingly small group of Australians whose loved ones donate their organs after they die.

In 2010, Ms Deacon’s family were travelling to a family reunion. Still on her way from Sydney, she talked briefly on the phone to her father, who offered to put her 40-year-old brother Ivahn Leis on the line.

“I said, ‘No, I’ll just say hi when I get there,” she recalls.

Difficult decision

A few hours later, Ivahn went for a walk and was hit by a truck. He never regained consciousness.

The family understood the urgent need for organ donations for transplant patients but it was still a difficult decision: the doctors had declared Ivahn ‘brain dead’ but he remained on a ventilator to keep his blood circulating to the organs for transplant.

Family reunions were important for the Leis family

“His chest was still moving, his joints were still mobile, there was no rigor mortis setting in. So, it was very hard to reconcile in my head that he was actually gone,” Ms Deacon told the BBC.

What made the experience ultimately uplifting was the care her family received from specialist hospital staff.

“They were there for my brother, first and foremost, and then for us, and the dignity and compassion they showed my brother in the end was just beautiful,” she says.

“Knowing Ivahn was an organ donor and his heart is still beating inside someone else, it gave us something to hold on to and take some comfort in.”

Organ donation basics

•Organs that can be transplanted include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestine, and pancreas

•Tissues that can be transplanted include heart valves and other heart tissue, bone, tendons, ligaments, skin and parts of the eye

Ivahn was one of about six million Australians, or 30% of the adult population, who are registered as would-be donors.

Australia has one of the highest rates of registered donors per capita in the world and is a world leader in transplant surgery. But that does not translate into a high level of actual organ donation.

Losing momentum

In recent years, a A$250m ($194m, £122m) government investment to boost organ donation numbers has helped push the country’s world ranking to 20th place from 32nd.

But Australia is still way behind world leader Spain and momentum slipped last year, prompting the federal government to order a review.

Currently Australians can register if they want to donate organs but only about 1% of hospital deaths each year are suitable.

Announcing the review, Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash said many families were “failing to uphold the wishes of the deceased” by not allowing donation to proceed.

Many countries struggle to convince their citizens to donate their organs after death

Some advocates are calling for “opt out” organ registration – where adults are deemed to be consenting donors unless they formally oppose it.

Others want to follow the practice adopted in some United States jurisdictions where families cannot overrule a person’s decision to donate.

The Organ and Tissue Authority, whose performance is being questioned by the review, says the overall upward trend in donations is the key indicator of success.

Traumatic process

It says Spain had annual fluctuations in its early days too and that getting systems right across Australia is a “10-year process of change in clinical practice”.

Australia’s organ donation rate has been described as “shamefully low”

But ShareLife Australia, an organ donation lobby group, says the current rate is “shamefully low” and argues the system has failed both to identify all potential donors, and to support all families through the traumatic process of death and donation.

For Leanne Campbell, there was no question her family would consent to donate her son Brett’s organs, after the 22-year-old died in an accident in 2009.

But she says she felt “ambushed and confronted” by the reality at the time.

Mrs Campbell and her husband were exhausted, forgotten by staff in key moments, left with unanswered questions, and had to “tick off” which organs they were prepared to donate in the presence of their distraught teenage children.

“The process itself can be quite destroying to families,” she says.

“You’re absolutely stressed, the grief hits … and they’re telling you to enter into this contract, to make these decisions, with so little knowledge and at the worst time of your life, and they want you to be happy with it.”

The families of organ donors should be looked after as much as the recipients of organs

Families need time, care, expertise and information, explains Assistant Professor Holly Northam, a board member of ShareLife and Donor Families Australia.

Prof. Northam says her research shows people need to “know the process, to be able to say goodbye, to know their loved one is not suffering, and to assure themselves that (his or her) needs were addressed before and after death”.

She says one of the reasons Spain leads the world is not that it has an ‘opt out’ system – in fact, families there still get the final say – but that organ donation is “normalised”.

“In every death, they talk to the family about it, even if it’s to discuss why it wouldn’t be suitable in that case, and that spreads into every aspect of the health care system,” she explains.

“We haven’t got anywhere near there yet.”

Marie McInerney is a Melbourne-based writer specialising in health issues.

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Mafia ‘ties to Australia officials’

The Australian national flag flies over Parliament House in Canberra on 20 June 2011.

Politicians from both the Labor and Liberal parties were reportedly lobbied by mafia-linked donors

Australian politicians have been infiltrated by the Calabrian mafia, according to an investigation by Fairfax Media-ABC Four Corners.

It says politicians at both state and federal level are exposed to “potential corruption” with “loopholes” in the political donation system.

The year-long investigation quoted confidential police reports.

The Calabrian Mafia, known as ‘Ndrangheta, runs a drugs and extortion business worth billions of euros.

It is is one of the world’s most powerful criminal groups, extending its influence and networks from Italy across the world.

According to Australia’s national broadcaster ABC, the group operates in Australia using threats and violence in both legitimate businesses, such as fruit and vegetables, and illegitimate businesses, such as drugs.

‘Mafia-linked donors’

The joint investigation by ABC’s Four Corners programme and Fairfax Media found a number of contacts between “known and suspected criminals” belonging to the group and senior politicians.

The report says a man with “deep mafia associations” met the then-Prime Minister, John Howard, and other top party officials at a fundraising event for the Liberal Party in the early 2000s. However, it says there was no suggestion that Mr Howard knew of the man’s alleged criminal links.

It also said that both Labor and Liberal politicians had been lobbied by mafia-linked donors on issues of interest to their legitimate and non-legitimate businesses.

According to the 2013 police report, ‘Ndrangheta had used a number of well-known party donors to put a “legitimate public face” on its activities.

One lobbying campaign, the investigation reported, was aimed at obtaining a visa for a mafia boss who was later jailed for drug trafficking and implicated in a murder plot.

Meanwhile, the investigation discovered that the son of “another alleged mafia boss” did a work experience placement at the Australian embassy in Rome, which was described in one police report as “a major lapse”.

The ‘Ndrangheta, which emerged in the mid-1970s, operates mostly across Europe and has links with the Colombian drug cartels.

Cocaine is thought to be its biggest source of revenue, along with extortion and money laundering.

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Australia IS militant ‘may be alive’

IS militants posing with the Jihadists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin.

Convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf is one of many Australians fighting with IS

Australian Islamic State (IS) militant Khaled Sharrouf may still be alive, according to local media.

The Australian government had been trying to confirm reports Sharrouf and fellow Australian Mohamed Elomar were killed in the Middle East.

It is now believed Elomar died in an air strike, but convicted terrorist Sharrouf may have survived.

The two men came to public attention last year after they posted pictures of severed heads in Syria on social media.

Some of those photos showed Sharrouf’s seven-year-old son holding up the severed head of a Syrian soldier.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said last week the government was close to verifying Elomar’s death.

However, on Sunday she said security and intelligence agencies were working to verify reports that Sharrouf had survived the coalition air strike “which is believed to have killed Mohamed Elomar”, reported Nine News.

‘Faked’ death

The two Australian men had travelled to Syria and then Iraq in 2013 to fight with IS.

Local media on Monday reported Elomar was recently killed by a drone strike but his friend was not killed.

Members of Sharrouf’s family in Sydney also said Elomar had been killed.

Sharrouf’s mother-in-law Karen says her daughter wants to come back to Australia

Security officials are now checking the possibility Sharrouf faked his death in a bid to get his family back to Australia, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

His wife, Tara Nettleton, and their five young children, joined him in Syria, where his then 13-year-old daughter married Elomar.

Sharrouf was sentenced to four years in prison in 2009 for his role in a terror plot involving targets in Sydney and Melbourne.

He was arrested with several others in 2005 in what was then the largest anti-terror raid in Australian history.

Ms Nettleton’s mother, Karen Nettleton, says her daughter and grandchildren want to return to Australia.

The Australian government has not offered them any assistance to return.

Officials have suggested Tara Nettleton might be prosecuted for supporting terrorist activity.

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Australia 0-1 Japan

Holders Japan reached the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup with a narrow victory over Australia in Canada.

Mana Iwabuchi was the heroine for Japan, stroking in from close range with three minutes remaining after Azusa Iwashimizu’s shot was blocked.

Women's World Cup Catch-Up: Lionesses make history in Canada

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Women’s World Cup Catch-Up: Lionesses make history in Canada

Forward Shinobu Ohno could have broken the deadlock early in the first half, but lobbed an effort over the bar.

Samantha Kerr’s tame shot was the closest Australia came against Japan, who play England or Canada next.

Despite shocking Brazil in the previous round, Australia were underdogs going into the match, and played much of the game on the back foot on a scorching day in Edmunton.

Alanna Kennedy struck a free-kick wide from 30 yards in the first half, with their best chance falling to midfielder Kerr, who could only roll an effort into the goalkeeper’s hands after going in on goal.

But Japan showed how clinical they can be by winning their fifth straight game in the competition by a one-goal margin.

They had more of the possession and made it count late on as Iwabuchi popped up to score the winner after Australia failed to clear a corner.

Australia v Japan

Japan are the only team to have won all five games at the World Cup

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(CNN)It looks as if someone has made a cut in a wedding cake, but no one is celebrating.

With visible fractures observed in Australia’s Wedding Cake Rock formation, the country’s National Parks and Wildlife Service has warned visitors to stay away from the beloved attraction located along Sydney’s Royal Coast Walk.

A recently completed geotechnical assessment of the formation’s condition shows that the rock is “precariously balancing on the edge of the cliff and severely undercut,” according to an NPWS news release.

The service says the entire rock formation could collapse anytime within a decade.

“We have now received the results and the report is clear — standing on the rock platform risks a truly tragic outcome,” said Gary Dunnett of the NPWS in New South Wales.

Marsh stars in Australia tour opener

Shaun Marsh made his claim for a place in Australia’s Test team with a century against Kent on the opening day of their Ashes tour.

The left-handed opener, 31, scored 114 as Australia racked up 348-3 after being put in to bat on a true pitch under cloudless skies in Canterbury.

Chris Rogers, vying with Marsh for an opening spot, made 84, while captain Michael Clarke scored 56 off 73 balls.

Steve Smith was unbeaten on 71 at the close, with Shane Watson eight not out.

Clarke’s men are playing Kent, who are bottom of Division Two of the County Championship, as part of their preparation for their defence of the Ashes, with the first of five Tests starting in Cardiff on 8 July.

Marsh cashes in

Marsh, the son of former Australia opener Geoff, scored a century on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2011 but has struggled to hold down a place in the Australia Test side, playing only 14 times in four years.

But here, showing excellent judgement outside off-stump, he drove and cut his way to three figures in a chanceless innings.

He overtook Rogers’s score with a booming drive down the ground and brought up his century off 172 balls.

Looking to accelerate after tea, however, he took a wild heave at Matt Hunn – playing only his fourth first-class match for Kent – and was expertly caught by a diving Daniel Bell-Drummond at deep point.

Rogers lets his bat do the talking

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers made 84 on the opening day of Australia’s tour in England, at Canterbury

Rogers put the furore over his reported involvement in

the attempted sale of hospitality packages 

behind him with a confident innings, littered with fluent cover drives.

The 37-year-old, scorer of three hundreds in the last two Ashes series, missed Australia’s 2-0 victory over West Indies because of concussion.

But he is hoping to reprise his Ashes opening partnership with David Warner, who was rested for this match along with Adam Voges and the in-form pace duo Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Rogers was dropped twice by Adam Riley – on 21 and 79 – but struck 11 boundaries in a partnership of 181 with Marsh before he was trapped lbw by a Hunn delivery that nipped back into his pads.

Clarke and Smith show their class

Kent’s reward for dismissing the two openers was the arrival of Australia’s two finest batsmen.

Steve Smith, who tops the ICC batting rankings after five hundreds in six Tests, signed on with a powerful pull for six, while Clarke scored freely on all sides of the wicket.

Their entertaining stand was briefly interrupted by an over-exuberant supporter, who darted onto the outfield in swimming trucks carrying a tent.

His attempt to set up camp on the outfield was swiftly aborted by the stewards, but not before he attracted one of the biggest cheers of the day from a crowd of more than 5,000 at the Spitfire Ground.

There was one more moment for the Kent faithful to savour before the close as Clarke nicked Hunn down the leg side and was caught by Sam Billings.

What they said

Australia opener Shaun Marsh:

“I haven’t really thought too much about selection. It was nice batting out there with Chris today. I thought we worked really well together and kept each other going. I thought he batted really well so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

“We want to play the brand of cricket we’ve been playing for a little bit and I thought today was a good step towards that. We’ve got a really important day tomorrow. Hopefully we can bat a bit more time and then the bowlers can come out and have a crack as well.”

Kent bowler Matt Hunn:

“I was looking forward to this match ever since we found out we were going to be playing Australia. Luckily enough I was given the nod, and I’m really pleased to have picked up three wickets.

“There was no real margin for error at all, but it was good to test yourself against the best, because then you know where you are at. It was a challenging day, but a good one.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/33277298

Australia navy in A$500m heroin haul

Heroin seized from dhow

The heroin discovered aboard the dhow is the second-largest haul recorded by the Combined Maritime Forces

An Australian warship has seized heroin with an estimated street value of more than A$520m (US$399m; £254m) in the Indian Ocean, a naval official said.

The haul, weighing 581kg (1,280lbs), was found aboard a dhow that was intercepted by the HMAS Newcastle off the coast of east Africa.

The Australian vessel is part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), an international patrol mission.

The CMF aims to tackle piracy, terrorism and drug smuggling.

The naval partnership, involving 30 countries, patrols 2.5 million square miles of international waters in the Indian Ocean and around the Middle East.

The Australian sailors discovered the heroin after boarding the dhow

Brigadier Nagy Sorial, the commander of Australia’s Joint Task Force 633, said in a statement that the haul was the second-largest ever by the CMF.

“The weekend’s find made Australia’s maritime contribution to CMF one of the world’s most effective current heroin interdiction forces,” he said.

The statement did not say which country’s shoreline was closest to the dhow.

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