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  • More Australians want sound economics than promised tax cuts, poll reveals
  • More than twice as many Australians support Labor scrapping the stage 3 tax cuts than sticking by them, a new study has revealed.

    The poll by the Australia Institute reveals 41 per cent of Australians support repealing the tax cuts, while 22 per cent oppose and 37 per cent are unsure.

    Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has so far vowed to push on with the cuts, despite public sentiment and pressure from the crossbench, ostensibly to avoid breaking an election promise.

    READ MORE: House prices keep falling as borrowers brace for next rate hike

    However, the poll reveals a majority of Australians surveyed (61 per cent) think adapting economic policy to suit the changing circumstances is more important than keeping an election promise.

    When asked which is better for Australia's long-term interests, 60 per cent chose "increased spending on government services like health and education" while only 15 per cent selected proceeding with the stage 3 tax cuts and 15 per cent selected increased defence spending.

    The poll also revealed higher-income Australians were both more aware of the tax cuts and more likely to support their repeal.

    What are the stage 3 tax cuts?

    In its 2020 federal budget, the former Coalition government legislated a series of prospective tax cuts with the support of the crossbench.

    Stages 1 and 2 of the plan have already been implemented.

    Stage 3 creates a flat 30 per cent tax rate for all Australians earning between $45,000 and $200,000 from July 1, 2024.

    The cuts have been criticised for overwhelmingly benefiting high-income earners, primarily older men, whereas stages 1 and 2 benefitted low- and middle-income earners.

    Critics say Australia cannot afford $243 billion in tax cuts at a time of budget deficit and upwards inflation.

    So, how likely are they to go ahead?

    When Labor took government earlier this year, it vowed to support this final stage of the Coalition's tax package.

    Both Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers are adamant their position has not changed.

    Speaking on the ABC last week, Chalmers said "our policy is as it has been".

    The next federal election will likely be held some time within a year of the stage 3 tax cuts coming into effect.

    However, momentum is building from the Greens and the crossbench, who want the government to abandon them.

    The Greens want the money instead put into Medicare, affordable housing or funding universal childcare.

    Jacqui Lambie, who originally voted to support the tax package, says she did so to support low- and middle-income earners, believing stage 3 would be scrapped if it was no longer economically viable.

    She now says she made a mistake.

    "I look back at those words and think how optimistic I was. On the other hand I say how bloody naïve I was," she said.

    "We're told we can't afford anything because Labor's got a budget mess to clean up, it's like a garbage bag has split and fallen all over the floor in your kitchen and you're wiping down the bag."

    Australia Institute executive director Richard Deniss points out more than one-third of Australians are still making up their minds, indicating there's still a debate to be won or lost.

    "Australians are receptive to having a big, honest conversation about the economy – indeed this research shows that conversation is already happening," he said.

    "Voters expect responsible management of the economy and the fact is that the economic conditions of 2022 and budget projections over the forward estimates are vastly different to when these tax cuts for high income earners were first announced by Scott Morrison in 2018.

    "The research shows the public want investment in quality, essential services like health and education far more than they want tax cuts for the rich."



  • Found family photo points to happier times before inconceivable tragedy


  • Cricket Australia apologises to child sex abuse survivors
  • Cricket Australia has apologised to survivors of sexual child abuse involved in cricket, and told states and territories to urgently join the national redress scheme.

    "Historical child sex abuse is an appalling issue that society and many sports including cricket are grappling with," CA chair Lachlan Henderson said in a statement today.

    "We can't change what happened but we need to do what we can to assist victims.

    READ MORE: Changes to sex assault laws in Victoria

    Dr Lachlan Henderson speaks to the media

    ''On behalf of CA I want to apologise to anyone who has suffered sexual abuse while involved in Australian Cricket."

    Henderson said CA was "encouraging" all states and territories to sign up to the national redress scheme.

    He also said CA is exploring other ways to further help survivors of abuse.

    Henderson said the organisation had improved its policies and procedures around child safety, describing them now as "rigorous".

    The national redress scheme, established in the wake of the 2017 child abuse royal commission, has been operating for four years.

    It offers capped amounts of compensation to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

    READ MORE: Huge avalanche hits Himalayas base camp

    Cricket Australia headquarters in Melbourne.

    Currently only Western Australia has signed up to the scheme.

    New South Wales and Victoria have indicated they are close to signing up.

    Many of Australia's most high-profile sporting clubs and institutions came under the microscope of the royal commission.

    If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.



  • Cheating scandal at US tournament rocks competitive fishing world
  • There's something fishy going on in the competitive fishing world.

    The would-be winners of almost $45,000 at an Ohio fishing tournament were disqualified on Friday, after it was discovered their fish were stuffed with lead weights and fish fillets.

    Jason Fischer, director of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament, told CNN he was immediately suspicious when one team's fish weighed almost twice what he expected they would at the Cleveland championship weigh-in.

    READ MORE: Teen breaks record after catching 29-year-old fish

    The competitors allegedly used fillet and lead balls to weigh down their walleye. Anglers win based on the weight of the fish they catch.

    The walleye in the bucket looked like they should each weigh around 1.8 kilograms, but the total weight indicated they would have to be at least 3.2 kilograms pounds each, he said.

    "I thought, there's just no way," he said. "I could also hear the crowd grumbling, like 'no way, there's no way.' "

    "I physically felt the fish, I could feel hard objects inside the fish," he said.

    The moment when Fischer discovered the alleged cheating was documented in several now-viral videos posted on social media, showing Fischer, surrounded by competitors, slice open the fish with a knife and pull out what he said was a lead ball.

    Jacob Runyan, one member of the two-person team who allegedly cheated, stood by silently watching in one video Fischer shared with CNN.

    "We got weights in fish," Fischer shouted. The crowd lobbed insults at Runyan.

    "You just lost everything," one person is heard saying to the angler. The video also shows Fischer telling Runyan to leave and telling the crowd not to touch him.

    READ MORE: Man accused of killing 22 older women goes on trial again

    Lead weights were found inside the team's catch.

    Runyan and his teammate, Chase Cominsky, were set to win a $44,675 prize, Fischer told CNN. The prize money at each tournament he hosts comes from the entry fee each angler pays to compete.

    Fischer hosts around eight tournaments over the course of the year, drawing competitors from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, he said. Competitors face off to see who can achieve the highest total weight for a bucket of five walleyes caught in Lake Erie.

    Neither Runyan nor Cominsky responded to CNN's request for comment.

    Fischer said tournament officials are in touch with local authorities.

    Stephanie O'Grady, media and outreach specialist at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, told CNN the department collected evidence Friday and is preparing a report for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

    "As this is an open investigation, we have no further comment at this time," she wrote in an email to CNN.

    Fischer was "absolutely disgusted" when he discovered the alleged cheating, he said. "This is a family atmosphere," he said. "We all take pride in this sport."

    "Everyone sacrifices so much" to stage and compete in tournaments, he said.

    Orchestrating the large event takes precious time away from his family, he added. "For someone to essentially cheat them out of not only money but family time, I can't believe that they would."

    Fischer said he knew Runyan and Cominsky from other tournaments, noting they won several tournaments previously.

    But he said they won't be competing at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament again anytime soon.

    "They would never be able to fish at mine," he said.



  • Ukraine presses on with counteroffensive
  • Russia attacked the Ukrainian president's hometown and other targets yesterday with suicide drones, and Ukraine took back full control of a strategic eastern city in a counteroffensive that has reshaped the war.

    Russia's loss of the eastern city of Lyman, which it had been using as a transport and logistics hub, is a new blow to the Kremlin as it seeks to escalate the war by illegally annexing four regions of Ukraine and heightening threats to use nuclear force.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin's land grab has threatened to push the conflict to a dangerous new level. It also prompted Ukraine to formally apply for fast-track NATO membership.

    READ MORE: Astronaut photographs 75km black 'scar' across desert

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced yesterday that his forces now control Lyman: "As of 12.30pm Lyman is cleared fully. Thank you to our militaries, our warriors," he said in a video address.

    Russia's military didn't comment yesterday on Lyman, after announcing Saturday that it was withdrawing its forces there to more favourable positions.

    The British military described the recapture of Lyman as a "significant political setback" for Moscow, and Ukraine appeared to swiftly capitalise on its gains.

    Hours after Zelenskyy's announcement, Ukrainian media shared an image of Ukrainian troops carrying the country's yellow-and-blue flag in front of a statue marking the village of Torske, 15 kilometres east of Lyman and within sight of the Russian-held Luhansk region.

    Shortly later, a video posted online showed one Ukrainian soldier saying that Kyiv's forces had begun to target the city of Kreminna, just across the border in Luhansk.

    Outgoing artillery could be heard in the background. Russian military correspondents also acknowledged Ukrainian attacks targeting Kreminna.

    In another online photo, an Ukrainian soldier stood before giant watermelon landmark just south of the village of Novovorontsovka on the banks of the Dnieper River, along the Russian-controlled province of Kherson's northern edge.

    A Ukrainian flag flew above the statue as several apparently deactivated landmines lay beside it.

    In this photo released by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leads a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Ukraine's president says his country is submitting an "accelerated" application to join the NATO military alliance.

    READ MORE: Inside the Russian torture sites in Ukraine

    While Ukrainian forces did not immediately acknowledge a breakthrough, writers close to the Russian military have described a new offensive by Kyiv in the Kherson region.

    In southern Ukraine, Zelenskyy's hometown of Krivyi Rih came under Russian attack by a suicide drone that destroyed two stories of a school early yesterday, the regional governor said.

    The Ukrainian air force said yesterday it shot down five Iranian-made drones overnight, while two others made it through air defences.

    A car carrying four men seeking to forage for mushrooms in Ukraine's Chernihiv region struck a mine, killing all those inside, authorities said yesterday.

    The reports of military activity couldn't be immediately verified.

    Ukrainian forces have retaken swaths of territory, notably in the northeast around Kharkiv, in a counteroffensive in recent weeks that has embarrassed the Kremlin and prompted rare domestic criticism of Putin's war.

    Lyman, which Ukraine recaptured by encircling Russian troops, is in the Donetsk region near the border with Luhansk, two of the four regions that Russia illegally annexed Friday after forcing what was left of the population to vote in referendums at gunpoint.

    In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said: "Over the past week, there have been more Ukrainian flags in the Donbas. In a week there will be even more."

    In a daily intelligence briefing yesterday, the British Defence Ministry called Lyman crucial because it has "a key road crossing over the Siversky Donets River, behind which Russia has been attempting to consolidate its defences."

    The Russian retreat from northeast Ukraine in recent weeks has revealed evidence of widespread, routine torture of both civilians and soldiers, notably in the strategic city of Izium, an Associated Press investigation has found.

    READ MORE: At least 125 Indonesian football fans dead after stampede

    AP journalists located 10 torture sites in the town, including a deep pit in a residential compound, a clammy underground jail that reeked of urine, a medical clinic and a kindergarten.

    Recent developments have raised fears of all-out conflict between Russia and the West.

    Putin frames the recent Ukrainian gains - along with NATO's post-Soviet expansion - as a US-orchestrated effort to destroy Russia, and last week he heightened threats of nuclear force in some of his toughest, most anti-Western rhetoric to date.

    Nine central and eastern European NATO members fearful that Russia's aggression could eventually target them, too, issued a letter of support yesterday for Ukraine.

    The leaders of Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia issued a joint statement Sunday backing a path to NATO membership for Ukraine, and calling on all 30 members of the US-led security bloc to ramp up military aid for Kyiv.

    Germany's defence minister yesterday announced the delivery of 16 wheeled armoured howitzers produced in Slovakia to Ukraine next year.

    The weapons will be financed jointly with Denmark, Norway and Germany.

    READ MORE: Australia targets 'separatists' in new Russia sanctions

    Russia moved ahead yesterday with steps meant to make its land grab look like a legal process aimed at helping people allegedly persecuted by Kyiv, with rubber-stamp approval by the Constitutional Court and draft laws being pushed through the Kremlin-friendly parliament.

    Outside Russia, the Kremlin's actions have been widely denounced as violating international law, with multiple EU countries summoning Russian ambassadors since Putin on Friday signed annexation treaties with Moscow-backed officials in southern and eastern Ukraine.

    Meanwhile, international concerns are mounting about the fate of Europe's largest nuclear plant after Russian forces detained its director for alleged questioning.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency announced yesterday that its director-general, Rafael Grossi would visit Kyiv and Moscow in the coming days to discuss the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Grossi is continuing to push for "a nuclear safety and security zone" around the site.

    READ MORE: Ukraine flag flying in annexed city after Russians retreat

    The Zaporizhzhia plant is in one of the four regions that Moscow illegally annexed on Friday, and repeatedly has been caught in the crossfire of the war.

    Ukrainian technicians have continued running the power station after Russian troops seized it but its last reactor was shut down in September as a precautionary measure.

    Pope Francis yesterday decried Russia's nuclear threats and appealed to Putin to stop "this spiral of violence and death".



  • Man pulled from the water at Bondi


  • Daily tablet could prevent hay fever and thunderstorm asthma, study shows
  • Melbourne researchers believe they have found a pill which could protect people against hay fever and thunderstorm asthma by changing their immune memory cells.

    It's hoped the pills could become be a gamechanger for many people, with up to 30 per cent of the world's population allergic to grass pollen allergens.

    A study done at Melbourne's Monash University has shown pills containing tiny doses of grass pollens have provided long-term protection against allergic reactions such as hay fever and thunderstorm asthma.

    READ MORE: Alleged drink driver on buck's weekend rescued from car crash

    Generic image of woman taking tablet / paracetemol / panadol

    The study, published in the journal Allergy, involved 13 people who were allergic to ryegrass pollen and seasonal rhinoconjunctivitis putting the tablet under their tongue once a day for four months before allergy season.

    Twelve out of those 13 people then reported clinical benefits of the pill for up two years after taking it.

    Through blood samples, researchers were able to identify the memory B cells in those 12 people had been reprogrammed and expressed new markers after the four months of treatment.

    Head of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology Laboratory at Monash University, Professor Menno van Zelm, explained on 3AW that the tablets served "to retrain the immune system".

    But he warned that the tablet "works in many people, but not in everyone".

    The professor said the tablet would be a prescription medication.

    



  • Bolsonaro, Lula headed to runoff after tight Brazil election
  • Brazil's top two presidential candidates will face each other in a runoff vote after neither got enough support to win outright on Sunday in an election to decide if the country returns a leftist to the helm of the world's fourth-largest democracy or keeps the far-right incumbent in office.

    With 98.8 per cent of he votes tallied on Sunday's election, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had 48.1 per cent support and incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro had 43.5 per cent support.

    Brazil's election authority said the result made a second round vote between the two candidates a mathematical certainty.

    READ MORE: Downpours, floods across Australia in coming week

    Nine other candidates were also competing, but their support pales to that for Bolsonaro and da Silva.

    The tightness of the result came as a surprise, since pre-election polls had given da Silva a commanding lead.

    The last Datafolha survey published Saturday found a 50 per cent to 36 per cent advantage for da Silva among those who intended to vote.

    It interviewed 12,800 people, with a margin of error of two percentage points.

    "This tight difference between Lula and Bolsonaro wasn't predicted," Nara Pavão, who teaches political science at the Federal University of Pernambuco, said.

    Carlos Melo, a political science professor at Insper University in Sao Paulo, said: "It is too soon to go too deep, but this election shows Bolsonaro's victory in 2018 was not a hiccup."

    Bolsonaro outperformed in Brazil's south-east region, which includes populous Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states, according to Rafael Cortez, who oversees political risk at consultancy Tendencias Consultoria.

    "The polls didn't capture that growth," Cortez said.

    Bolsonaro's administration has been marked by incendiary speech, his testing of democratic institutions, his widely criticised handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in 15 years.

    READ MORE: Two men charged over alleged attack on Prince Andrew heckler

    But he has built a devoted base by defending conservative values, rebuffing political correctness and presenting himself as protecting the nation from leftist policies that he says infringe on personal liberties and produce economic turmoil.

    While voting earlier Sunday, Marley Melo, a 53-year-old trader in capital Brasilia, sported the yellow of the Brazilian flag, which Bolsonaro and his supporters have coopted for demonstrations.

    Melo said he is once again voting for Bolsonaro, who met his expectations, and he doesn't believe the surveys that show him trailing.

    "Polls can be manipulated. They all belong to companies with interests," he said.

    A slow economic recovery has yet to reach the poor, with 33 million Brazilians going hungry despite higher welfare payments.

    Like several of its Latin American neighbours coping with high inflation and a vast number of people excluded from formal employment, Brazil is considering a shift to the political left.

    Bolsonaro has repeatedly questioned the reliability not just of opinion polls, but also of Brazil's electronic voting machines.

    Analysts fear he has laid the groundwork to reject results.

    At one point, Bolsonaro claimed to possess evidence of fraud, but never presented any, even after the electoral authority set a deadline to do so.

    He said as recently as September 18 that if he doesn't win in the first round, something must be "abnormal".

    Da Silva, 76, was once a metalworker who rose from poverty to the presidency and is credited with building an extensive social welfare program during his 2003-2010 tenure that helped lift tens of millions into the middle class.

    But he is also remembered for his administration's involvement in vast corruption scandals that entangled politicians and business executives.

    READ MORE: Supermarket war intensifies as Coles, Woolies drop prices

    Da Silva's own convictions for corruption and money laundering led to 19 months imprisonment, sidelining him from the 2018 presidential race that polls indicated he had been leading against Bolsonaro.

    The Supreme Court later annulled da Silva's convictions on grounds that the judge was biased and colluded with prosecutors.

    Social worker Nadja Oliveira, 59, said she voted for da Silva and even attended his rallies, but since 2018 votes for Bolsonaro.

    "Unfortunately the Workers' Party disappointed us. It promised to be different," she said in Brasilia.

    Others, like Marialva Pereira, are more forgiving. She said she would vote for the former president for the first time since 2002.

    "I didn't like the scandals in his first administration, never voted for the Workers' Party again. Now I will, because I think he was unjustly jailed and because Bolsonaro is such a bad president that it makes everyone else look better," said Pereira, 47.

    Speaking after casting his ballot in Sao Bernardo do Campo, the manufacturing hub in Sao Paulo state where he was a union leader, da Silva recalled that four years ago he was imprisoned and unable to vote.

    Bolsonaro grew up in a lower-middle-class family before joining the army.

    He turned to politics after being forced out of the military for openly pushing to raise servicemen's pay.

    During his seven terms as a fringe lawmaker in Congress' lower house, he regularly expressed nostalgia for the country's two-decade military dictatorship.

    His overtures to the armed forces have raised concern that his possible rejection of election results could be backed by top brass.

    On Saturday, Bolsonaro shared social media posts by right-leaning foreign politicians, including former US President Donald Trump, who called on Brazilians to vote for him.

    Israel's former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed gratitude for stronger bilateral relations and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also praised him.

    After voting Sunday morning, Bolsonaro told journalists that "clean elections must be respected" and that the first round would be decisive.

    Asked if he would respect results, he gave a thumbs up and walked away.

    Leda Wasem, 68, had no doubt Bolsonaro will not just be reelected. Wearing a jersey of the national soccer squad at a polling place in downtown Curitiba, the real estate agent said an eventual da Silva victory could have only one explanation: fraud.

    "I wouldn't believe it. Where I work, where I go every day, I don't see a single person who supports Lula," she said.



  • Optus announces external review into data breach
  • Optus has commissioned an independent forensic review into the cyberattack against the telco, which saw thousands of customers' personal information leaked.

    The review will be conducted by international services company Deloitte and will look into the cyberattack itself, Optus' security systems as well as its controls and processes.

    "As part of the review, Deloitte will undertake a forensic assessment of the cyberattack and the circumstances surrounding it," Optus said in a statement release on Monday.

    READ MORE: The 'on-off' switch that could stop hackers using your data

    Optus says the review was recommended by CEO Kelly Bayer Rosamarin.

    In the statement, Bayer Rosmarin said they're determined to find out what went wrong.

    "This review will help ensure we understand how it occurred and how we can prevent it from occurring again," she said.

    It's unclear when the investigation will begin.

    READ MORE: Optus 'not cooperating' with government over data breach

    Full statement from Optus: 

    Optus is appointing international professional services firm Deloitte to conduct an independent external review of the recent cyberattack, and its security systems, controls and processes.

    The review was recommended by Optus Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, and was supported unanimously by the Singtel Board, which has been closely monitoring the situation with management since the incident came to light.

    As part of the review, Deloitte will undertake a forensic assessment of the cyberattack and the circumstances surrounding it.

    Ms Bayer Rosmarin said the forensic review would play a crucial role in the response to the incident for Optus, as it works to support customers.

    "We're deeply sorry that this has happened and we recognise the significant concern it has caused many people. While our overwhelming focus remains on protecting our customers and minimising the harm that might come from the theft of their information, we are determined to find out what went wrong.

    "This review will help ensure we understand how it occurred and how we can prevent it from occurring again. It will help inform the response to the incident for Optus. This may also help others in the private and public sector where sensitive data is held and risk of cyberattack exists.

    "I am committed to rebuilding trust with our customers and this important process will assist those efforts."

    Deloitte's global specialists will work with the Singtel and Optus teams and other international cyber experts. Optus will continue also to engage with relevant stakeholders.



  • Doorbell camera films helicopter crashing into California yard
  • A neighbour's doorbell security camera has captured the moment a helicopter spun out of control and crashed in the front yard of a home in central California, hurting a pilot and passenger.

    The helicopter clipped the edge of the house and sheared off the top of a palm tree before crashing and coming to rest on its side in southeast Fresno around 10am Saturday, said police Lt. Charlie Chamalbide.

    Two men aboard, the 47-year-old pilot and a 33-year-old passenger, were hospitalised with minor injuries, Chamalbide said. Nobody on the ground was hurt.

    READ MORE: House prices keep falling as borrowers brace for next rate hike

    A pilot and passenger have been injured after a helicopter crashed into the front yard of a home in California.

    The aircraft was a surveying helicopter on a test run, the lieutenant said.

    He did not have information about who owned it or who the occupants were working for.

    “They heard a pop and then they started losing altitude — that’s as far as we know,” Chamalbide told reporters.

    READ MORE: Man accused of killing 22 older women goes on trial again

    A doorbell security camera caught the moment the helicopter came crashing down from the sky.

    Neicy Miramontes told the Fresno Bee that her 9-year-old son, Ezekiel Carranco, was walking to a friend’s house when he saw the helicopter in trouble.

    “All of a sudden he looks up and sees the helicopter spinning and after that he heard a loud boom,” she said.

    The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.



  • Huge avalanche hits base camp in Himalayas
  • A major avalanche has steamrolled base camp at Manaslu, taking out dozens of climbers' tents on the world's eighth-highest mountain.

    Dramatic footage captured by Tashi-Lakpa Sherpa showed the large avalanche rumbling down the 8163-metre Himalayan peak and hitting a hopelessly exposed base camp.

    No fatalities or injuries have been confirmed.

    A huge avalanche hit Manaslu base camp

    READ MORE: House prices keep falling as borrowers brace for next rate hike

    Mountaineers, Sherpa and workers are seen scrambling for safety in the footage, and voices can be heard frantically urging people to "get inside".

    Tashi told 9news.com.au via message the avalanche hit at 9:37 am today (local time).

    Writing in a post on Instagram, Tashi said the avalanche destroyed around six camps and more than 30 tents.

    Manaslu, regarded as the world's fifth most dangerous mountain, had been hit by heavy snowfall recently, he wrote.

    Last week an avalanche which struck above Camp III, killed one guide and injured 13 climbers who had been heading for the summit.

    Manaslu claimed another life last week, too.

    Renowned US extreme skier Hilaree Nelson was attempting to ski down from the summit when she fell off the mountain.

    Jiban Ghimire Ghimire of Shangri-La Treks told Everest Chronicle Nelson, 49, lost an edge a few metres below the summit.

    READ MORE: How a record number of people suddenly climbed 'savage mountain'

    The sun rises on Manaslu, the  8163-metre peak in Nepal.

    READ MORE: Famous wood cabin falls off mountain in Alps

    Nelson fell off the vertical side of the peak, he said, while estimating it could have been a 3000-metre freefall.

    Rescuers searching by helicopter located Nelson's body on Wednesday after failing to find her on Tuesday and Monday, when bad weather hampered their search.

    Hundreds of climbers and local Sherpas are attempting to reach the summit during Nepal's autumn climbing season.



  • Astronaut photographs 75km black 'scar' across desert


  • Inside the Russian torture sites in Ukraine
  • The first time the Russian soldiers caught him, they tossed him bound and blindfolded into a trench covered with wooden boards for days on end.

    Then they beat him, over and over: legs, arms, a hammer to the knees, all accompanied by furious diatribes against Ukraine.

    Before they let him go, they took away his passport and Ukrainian military ID — all he had to prove his existence — and made sure he knew exactly how worthless his life was.

    Mattresses lie on the floor in a holding cell at the basement of a police station which was used by Russian forces

    READ MORE: House prices keep falling as borrowers brace for next rate hike

    “No one needs you,” the commander taunted.

    “We can shoot you any time, bury you a half-metre underground and that’s it.”

    The brutal encounter at the end of March was just the start.

    Andriy Kotsar would be captured and tortured twice more by Russian forces in Izium, and the pain would be even worse.

    Russian torture in Izium was arbitrary, widespread and absolutely routine for both civilians and soldiers throughout the city, an Associated Press investigation has found.

    While torture was also evident in Bucha, that devastated Kyiv suburb was only occupied for a month.

    Izium served as a hub for Russian soldiers for nearly seven months, during which they established torture sites everywhere.

    Based on accounts of survivors and police, AP journalists located 10 torture sites in the town and gained access to five of them.

    They included a deep sunless pit in a residential compound with dates carved in the brick wall, a clammy underground jail that reeked of urine and rotting food, a medical clinic, a police station and a kindergarten.

    The AP spoke to 15 survivors of Russian torture in the Kharkiv region, as well as two families whose loved ones disappeared into Russian hands.

    Two of the men were taken repeatedly and abused.

    One battered, unconscious Ukrainian soldier was displayed to his wife to force her to provide information she simply didn't have.

    The AP also confirmed eight men were killed under torture in Russian custody, according to survivors and families.

    All but one were civilians.

    READ MORE: Man accused of killing 22 older women goes on trial again

    Unidentified graves of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers are marked with a crossMykola Mosyakyn stands in a room of a former medical clinic where Russian forces tortured him

    READ MORE: Stomach-turning find in can of peaches from Coles 

    At a mass grave site created by the Russians and discovered in the woods of Izium, at least 30 of the 447 bodies recently excavated bore visible marks of torture — bound hands, close gunshot wounds, knife wounds and broken limbs, according to the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s office.

    Those injuries corresponded to the descriptions of the pain inflicted upon the survivors.

    AP journalists also saw bodies with bound wrists at the mass grave.

    Amid the trees were hundreds of simple wooden crosses, most marked only with numbers.

    One said it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers.

    At least two more mass graves have been found in the town, all heavily mined, authorities said.

    A physician who treated hundreds of Izium’s injured during the Russian occupation said people regularly arrived at his emergency room with injuries consistent with torture, including gunshots to their hands and feet, broken bones and severe bruising, and burns.

    None would explain their wounds, he said.

    “Even if people came to the hospital, silence was the norm,” Dr Yuriy Kuznetsov said.

    He added that one soldier came in for treatment for hand injuries, clearly from being cuffed, but the man refused to say what happened.

    Men with links to Ukrainian forces were singled out repeatedly for torture, but any adult man risked getting caught up.

    Matilda Bogner, the head of the UN human rights mission in Ukraine, told the AP they had documented “widespread practices of torture or ill-treatment of civilian detainees” by Russian forces and affiliates.

    Torture of soldiers was also systemic, she said.

    Torture in any form during an armed conflict is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, whether of prisoners of war or civilians.

    “It serves three purposes,” Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch said.

    “Torture came with questions to coerce information, but it is also to punish and to sow fear. It is to send a chilling message to everyone else.”

    READ MORE: Optus sends confusing text to customers after cyber attack

    Items left behind sit in the deep sunless pit in a residential compoundMykola Mosyakyn shows scars on his back after torture by Russian soldiers

    No safe haven

    AP journalists found Kotsar, 26, hiding in a monastery in Izium, his blond hair tied back neatly in the Orthodox fashion and his beard curling beneath his chin.

    He had no way to safely contact his loved ones, who thought he was dead.

    Back in March, after his first round of torture, Kotsar fled to the gold-domed Pishchanskyi church.

    Russian soldiers were everywhere, and nowhere in Izium was safe.

    Hiding amid the icons, Kotsar listened to the rumble of Russian armoured vehicles outside and contemplated suicide.

    He had been a soldier for just under a month and had no idea if anyone in his little unit had survived the Russian onslaught.

    When he emerged from the church a few days later, a Russian patrol caught him.

    They kept him a week.

    His captors’ idea of a joke was to shave his legs with a knife, and then debate aloud whether to slice off the limb entirely.

    “They took, I don’t know what exactly, some iron, maybe glass rods, and burned the skin little by little,” he said.

    He knew nothing that could help them.

    So they set him free again, and again he sought refuge with the monks.

    He had nowhere else to go.

    By then, the church and monastery compound had become a shelter for around 100 people, including 40 children.

    Kotsar took up a version of the monastic life, living with the black-robed brothers, helping them care for the refugees and spending his free hours standing before the gilt icons in contemplation.

    In the meantime, Izium was transforming into a Russian logistical hub.

    The town was swarming with troops, and its electricity, gas, water and phone networks were severed.

    Izium was effectively cut off from the rest of Ukraine.

    Ukrainian paratroopers drive with a Ukrainian flag on a pontoon bridge across Siverskiy-Donets river

    Screams in the night

    It was also in the spring that the Russians first sought out Mykola Mosyakyn, driving down the rutted dirt roads until they reached the Ukrainian soldier’s fenced cottage.

    Mosyakyn, 38, had enlisted after the war began, though not in the same unit as Kotsar.

    They tossed him into a pit with standing water, handcuffed him and hung him by the restraints until his skin went numb.

    They waited in vain for him to talk, and tried again.

    “They beat me with sticks. They hit me with their hands, they kicked me, they put out cigarettes on me, they pressed matches on me,” he recounted.

    “They said, ‘Dance,’ but I did not dance. So they shot my feet."

    After three days they dropped him near the hospital with the command: “Tell them you had an accident.”

    At least two other men from Mosyakyn’s neighbourhood, a father and son who are both civilians, were taken at the same time.

    The father speaks about his two weeks in the basement cell in a whisper, staring at the ground.

    His adult son refuses to speak about it at all.

    That family, along with another man who was also tortured in the basement cell on Izium’s east bank, spoke on condition of anonymity.

    They are terrified the Russians will return.

    Mosyakyn was captured again by a different Russian unit just a few days later.

    This time, he found himself in School No. 2, subject to routine beatings along with other Ukrainians.

    AP journalists found a discarded Ukrainian soldier’s jacket in the same blue cell he described in detail.

    The school also served as a base and field hospital for Russian soldiers, and at least two Ukrainian civilians held there died.

    But the soldiers again freed Mosyakyn.

    To this day, he doesn’t know why.

    Nor does he understand why they’d release him just to recapture him a few days later and haul him to a crowded garage of a medical clinic near the railroad tracks.

    More than a dozen other Ukrainians were jailed with him, soldiers and civilians.

    Two garages were for men, one for women and a bigger one — the only one with a window — for Russian soldiers.

    Women were held in the garage closest to the soldiers’ quarters.

    Their screams came at night, according to Mosyakyn and Kotsar, who were both held at the clinic at different times.

    Ukrainian intelligence officials said the women were raped regularly.

    For the men, Room 6 was for electrocution.

    Room 9 was for waterboarding, Mosyakyn said.

    He described how they covered his face with a cloth bag and poured water from a kettle onto him to mimic the sensation of drowning.

    They also hooked up his toes to electricity and shocked him with electrodes on his ears.

    It was here that Mosyakyn watched Russian soldiers drag out the lifeless bodies of two civilians they’d tortured to death, both from Izium’s Gonkharovka neighbourhood.

    Kotsar was taken to the clinic in July and received a slightly different treatment, involving a Soviet-era gas mask and electrodes on his legs.

    AP journalists also found gas masks at two schools.

    By the time Kotsar arrived, people had already been there for 12 to 16 days.

    They told him arms and legs were broken, and people had been taken out to be shot.

    He vowed that if he survived, he would never allow himself to be captured again.

    They released him after a couple of weeks.

    He craved familiar faces and people who meant him no harm. He returned to the monks.

    “When I came out, everything was green. It was very, very strange, because there had been absolutely no colour,” he said.

    “Everything was wonderful, so vivid.”

    Soviet-era gas masks lie on the floor at the corridor of School No. 2 which was used as a Russian military base and torture site in the recently retaken town of Izium

    Shallow grave

    In mid-August, the bodies of three men were found in a shallow forested pit on the town’s outskirts.

    Ivan Shabelnyk left home with a friend on March 23 to collect pine cones so the family could light the samovar and have tea.

    They never came back.

    Another man taken with them reluctantly told Shabelnyk’s family about the torture they’d all endured together, first in the basement of a nearby house and then in School No. 2.

    Then he left town.

    Their bodies were found in mid-August, in the last days of the occupation, by a man scavenging for firewood.

    He followed the smell of death to a shallow grave in the forest.

    Shabelnyk’s hands were shot, his ribs broken, his face unrecognisable.

    They identified him by the jacket he wore, from the local grain factory where he worked.

    His grieving mother showed the AP a photo.

    “He kept this photo with him, of us together when he was a small boy,” Ludmila Shabelnyk, in tears, said.

    “Why did they destroy people like him? I don’t understand. Why has this happened to our country?”

    His sister, Olha Zaparozhchenko, walked with journalists through the cemetery and looked at his grave.

    “They tortured civilians at will, like bullies,” she said.

    “I have only one word: genocide.”

    The Kharkiv region’s chief prosecutor, Oleksandr Filchakov, told the AP it was too soon to determine how many people were tortured in Izium, but said it easily numbered into the dozens.

    “Every day, many people call us with information, people who were in the occupied territories,” he said.

    “Every day, relatives come to us and say their friends, their family, were tortured by Russian soldiers.”

    A destroyed bridge in Kupiansk, Ukraine.

    Missing no more

    After his final escape, Kotsar hid in the monastery for more than a month.

    Without documents and a phone connection to prove his identity, he was too afraid to leave.

    Kotsar’s family had no idea what happened to him.

    They had simply reported him missing, like so many other Ukrainian soldiers caught on the wrong side of the frontline.

    He spoke with effort to AP journalists, and at one point asked them to turn off the camera so he could compose himself.

    The AP contacted the Commissioner for Issues of Missing Persons Under Special Circumstances, which confirmed the missing person report and his identity through a photo on file.

    Then Kotsar’s own unit, which had left Izium in disarray, returned and tracked him down.

    Kotsar doesn't know what comes next.

    Ukrainian officials are still in the process of restoring his identity documents, and without them he can’t go anywhere.

    He would like psychological treatment to deal with the trauma from repeated torture, and for now he’s staying with the monks.

    “If it weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have survived at all,” he said.

    “They saved me.”

    Kotsar’s first call was to the sister of his best friend — the only person in his entire circle of loved ones he was certain was in a safe place.

    He grinned as the connection went through.

    “Tell him I’m alive,” he said.

    “Tell him I’m alive and in one piece.”



  • Green energy titan dies of heart attack


  • Downpours, floods across Australia in coming week
  • The wet season is well and truly underway with every Australian state and territory being warned of heavy rainfall and potential new flooding this week.

    Nine's weather presenter Garry Youngberry said while rain would fall nationwide in the next seven days, the focus was once again eastern Australia.

    The first storm system will move over land tomorrow and Wednesday, bringing heavy rains.

    READ MORE: Perth man claims to find part of syringe in can of peaches

    It will be followed by a second system on Friday and Saturday.

    Queensland is looking at 50mm-100mm of rain for the south-west and southern interior regions, and 25mm-50mm for the south-east corner.

    New South Wales will bear the brunt of the wild weather, with a heightened risk of flash flooding and rain throughout the state.

    READ MORE: Plan to bring wives, children of Islamic State fighters home to Australia

    Heavy rain batters Sydney CBD.

    A total of 50mm-100mm has been forecast for NSW, but the north-west, Central West, and the South Coast will be closer to 100mm

    "I am afraid we will definitely see some flooding from this, and unfortunately it will be the inland areas for our farmers as well, and in Queensland it will be the south-western corner," Youngberry said.

    "They really don't need a great deal of rain. Thankfully, though, north-east corner of NSW, the areas that have been flooded recently will see the lightest falls of 25 to 50mm."

    However, the heaviest falls are set for outback NSW, which "really can't take" the added load.

    "There will definitely be flooding over this next week," Youngberry said.



  • $170 too steep a price to listen to failure of a prime minister
  • OPINION: Please, cut through the theatrical roadshow, the fawning feminists, and the rewriting of history: Julia Gillard was not a victim, she was a failure.

    This week, the former prime minister heads into her bizarre national show-biz tour.

    Now, any sensible person should pay good money not to be locked into a room listening to a former politician justify themselves.

    READ MORE: Australia targets 'separatists' in new Russia sanctions

    But no, these shows are sold out.

    For $170, you can hear her celebrate the approaching 10th anniversary of her misogyny speech.

    Presumably, she won't be tearing strips off herself.

    If the words of her supporters are any indication, the argument will be that this speech was a defining moment, a powerful stand against sexist abuse and mistreatment of women in politics.

    And it is true, it has resounded, with more than five million YouTube views.

    Also true, this speech was politically clever.

    But it looked strategic, more about politics than principle.

    And it lifted her popularity rating.

    But it was a diversion.

    The feminist PM was locked into a piece of staggering hypocrisy, defending a seedy speaker who likened women to seafood.

    But he suited her numbers game.

    He resigned a few days later.

    Second, her government was dying, and this helped to paint her as the young female victim of the evil Murdoch empire, ageing shock jocks, and anybody male and critical.

    The aim, and in many ways it succeeded, was to make it impossible for critics to judge her government harshly without being labelled a misogynist.

    Julia Gillard has every right to go on the road like some type of revitalised juggler.

    She has, after all, been quietly dignified since leaving.

    Her audiences have every right to applaud as she blinds them (presumably) with self-congratulation and spin.

    https://twitter.com/JuliaGillard/status/1546748605624913920

    But have a think about it.

    It's true, Gillard suffered unacceptable and vile criticism based on her gender.

    Who really cared how she looked from behind or what she wore?

    "Ditch the witch" was garbage.

    But that type of thing didn't destroy her.

    Many male politicians have copped more nasty personal abuse about their height, lack of hair, or social views.

    It does not excuse sexism at any level against any person but still, to many on the left, the new social failing is to be white, male, middle-aged and wear a suit.

    Julia Gillard failed because she lost confidence, lost focus, lost direction and lost the trust of both her party and the Australian people.

    Yes, she had a tough time.

    She lasted almost precisely three years, having rolled Kevin Rudd in June 2010, before his first term finished.

    She formed a minority government after the 2010 election and that was tough.

    Trying to negotiate with Greens must be like herding stoned cats.

    She did some good things: the NDIS, improvements to equal pay, and her economic management was not disastrous.

    READ MORE: Optus 'not cooperating' with government over data breach

    But there were strange decisions too, particularly from a woman who has become a feminist icon.

    She undermined single parenting payments, which arguably led to worsened poverty for tens of thousands of struggling women.

    She did not have a cohesive women's policy.

    The broken carbon tax promise is legendary, and for heaven's sake she voted against gay marriage. Now, she champions equality!

    At her sideshow this week, Gillard will probably argue political necessity.

    But that doesn't remove the reality that she was judged as a political beast, not a female political beast.

    And judged she was.

    She oversaw Labor's worst polling figures in 40 years.

    At one stage, only 27 per cent of the electorate supported the ALP.

    Was that really because of her chromosomes?

    Labor was headed for oblivion and she knew it. Rudd and his mates were plotting.

    She lost focus, lost her way, and found it politically helpful to blame men and sexism.

    From my position as an interviewer and commentator, I watched her turn from a competent, strong, powerful and determined leader to an indecisive, stumbling mess.

    She began as an excellent, down-to-earth communicator to whom people could relate.

    She developed into a confused waffler, frightened of saying something lest she say something.

    READ MORE: Thousands of vulnerable Aussies missing out on 'life-changing' support

    Former PM Julia Gillard with her dog Rueben.

    Perhaps it was the atrocious polls.

    Perhaps it was the army of advisers telling her how to do it.

    Perhaps it was Rudd wafting in the background like the grim reaper, albeit with a larger scythe.

    But she was rattled and too rattled to lead effectively.

    Then she threw the switch to gender wars.

    A personal example of the change: one Friday, before she was PM, we had a stand-up shouting debate on radio about a matter of policy.

    It was strong but not personally abusive on either side.

    Blood was spilled, more mine than hers. She was good.

    The next day I saw her at the Formula 1 grand prix, walking towards me in a corridor with her partner.

    "Oops," thought I. This could be trouble.

    But she greeted me like a mate.

    We had a laugh about the strength of the debate and agreed to do it again.

    It had been good, grassroots political disagreement.

    She loved it and she handled it superbly. That was the old Julia.

    Then she became PM and struggled.

    During the 2010 election campaign, she promised to become "the real Julia".

    It insulted every voter who had thought she was already real, not a pretender.

    It promised a political role player, not an authentic leader.

    It suggested she had been elected party leader through some type of marketing trick.

    READ MORE: Army officers appear on Burkina Faso TV, declare new coup

    She was losing the trust of the public and the party.

    So, increasingly, she played the victim.

    The misogyny speech was only part of it. She struggled on for nine months after that.

    Behind the scenes, she seemed to be crafting the role of a female leader wronged by sexism because it suited the political need.

    She told commentators privately their criticism was only harsh because she was female.

    "You would never treat a male prime minister that way," she told one.

    That approach is sad and unfair. It is sad because she did have ability and because it is always sad to see a capable person lose confidence.

    It is unfair because it was not the fault of the few sexist idiots that she shed public trust. This was on her head.

    In the end, she arguably demeaned women as much as did the idiots.

    She demeaned them by suggesting they should get preferential treatment because of their gender.

    Women are better than that. Everybody is better than that.

    Many people go through life believing their path to "greatness" has been hampered by one issue or another.

    That's life. If you're a real leader, get on with it.

    Neil Mitchell broadcasts 8.30am to midday, weekdays on 3AW.



  • Royal family releases new picture following Queen's death


  • US mounts largest rescue mission in history in hurricane's wake
  • The largest search and rescue mission in US history is running into trouble as obstacles left behind by the passage of Hurricane Ian hamper efforts.

    At least 77 people have been confirmed dead in the storm's wake, as it continues from Florida into North Carolina.

    The largest impacts remain in Florida, where river flooding may continue inland well into next week, forecasters warn.

    READ MORE: Tech-savvy teens and state-sponsored hacks: Notorious cyberattacks in history

    At Florida's ground zero, Fort Myers, the only highway into town, the I75, has been cut off by flooding.

    Traffic is banked up for 16km, meaning crucial food, fuel and other supplies can't get into the ravaged town.

    People trapped in their cars amid the floodwaters are having to be lifted to safety by the US Coast Guard.

    READ MORE: Putin illegally annexes Ukrainian regions as part of Russia

    Wind gusts, blowing down King Street, twist umbrellas during Hurricane Ian in Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday, September 30, 2022

    Online cameras showed seawater filling neighbourhoods in Garden City to calf level. As Ian moved across South Carolina on its way to North Carolina Friday evening, it dropped from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone.

    Ian left a broad swath of destruction in Florida, flooding areas on both of its coasts, tearing homes from their slabs, demolishing beachfront businesses and leaving more than 2 million people without power.

    READ MORE: Trump threatens Mitch McConnell, makes racial slur against his wife

    In Florida's hard-hit Fort Myers Beach, where a furious storm surge wiped out homes and left little but debris, shaken survivors are coping with what they saw and mourning those they've lost.

    Kevin Behen, who rode out the storm on the second floor of a building in Fort Myers Beach, told CNN Friday night he knew of two men who died making sure their wives escaped a home that had begun to flood.

    "These guys pushed their wives out the windows to where a tree was," Behen said. "They just looked at their wives and they said, 'We can't hold on anymore, we love you. Bye,' and that was it."

    About 90 per cent of the island "is pretty much gone," Fort Myers Beach Town Councilman Dan Allers said Friday.

    "Unless you have a high-rise condo or a newer concrete home that is built to the same standards today, your house is pretty much gone."

    Many of the deaths were drownings, including that of a 68-year-old woman swept away into the ocean by a wave. A 67-year-old man, who was waiting to be rescued, died after falling into rising water inside his home authorities said.

    Other storm-related fatalities included a 22-year-old woman who died after an ATV rollover from a road washout and a 71-year-old man who fell off a roof while putting up rain shutters. An 80-year-old woman and a 94-year-old man who relied on oxygen machines also died after the equipment stopped working during power outages.

    University of Central Florida students use an inflatable mattress as they evacuate an apartment complex near the campus that was totally flooded by rain from Hurricane Ian, Friday, September 30, 2022, in Orlando, Florida

    Another three people died in Cuba earlier in the week as the storm churned northward. The death toll was expected to increase substantially once emergency officials have an opportunity to search many of the hardest-hit areas.

    Rescue crews piloted boats and waded through riverine streets in Florida after the storm to save thousands of people trapped amid flooded homes and shattered buildings .

    Hurricane Ian has likely caused "well over $100 billion'' in damage, including $US63 billion ($98 billion) in privately insured losses, according to the disaster modeling firm Karen Clark & Company, which regularly issues flash catastrophe estimates. If those numbers are borne out, that would make Ian at least the fourth costliest hurricane in US history.

    Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said first responders have focused so far on "hasty" searches, aimed at emergency rescues and initial assessments, which will be followed by two additional waves of searches. Initial responders who come across possible remains are leaving them without confirming, he said Friday, describing as an example the case of a submerged home.

    "The water was up over the rooftop, right, but we had a Coast Guard rescue swimmer swim down into it and he could identify that it appeared to be human remains. We do not know exactly how many," Guthrie said.

    Desperate to locate and rescue their loved ones, social media users shared phone numbers, addresses and photos of their family members and friends online for anyone who can check on them.

    Orlando residents returned to flooded homes Friday, rolling up their pants to wade through muddy, knee-high water in their streets.

    Friends of Ramon Rodriguez dropped off ice, bottled water and hot coffee at the entrance to his subdivision, where 10 of the 50 homes were flooded and the road looked like a lake. He had no power or food at his house, and his car was trapped by the water.

    Friends seeing each other for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Ian stop to embrace, as they walk and bike on the island to collect belongings from whatever remains of their homes, in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Friday, September 30, 2022

    "There's water everywhere," Rodriguez said. "The situation here is pretty bad."

    The devastating storm surge destroyed many older homes on the barrier island of Sanibel, Florida, and gouged crevices into its sand dunes. Taller condominium buildings were intact but with the bottom floor blown out. Trees and utility poles were strewn everywhere.

    Satellite images show level of damage

    Municipal rescuers, private teams and the Coast Guard used boats and helicopters Friday to evacuate residents who stayed for the storm and then were cut off from the mainland when a causeway collapsed. Satellite images show the degree of damage.

    Volunteers who went to the island on personal watercraft helped escort an elderly couple to an area where Coast Guard rescuers took them aboard a helicopter.

    Hours after weakening to a tropical storm while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained strength Thursday evening over the Atlantic. Ian made landfall in South Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h. When it hit Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday, it was a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 240 km/h.

    This combination satellite image provided by Planet Labs shows the Sanibel Causeway, Florida, left, taken on July 4, 2021, and damage of the causeway taken Friday, September 30, 2022, after Hurricane Ian went through the area.

    After the heaviest of the rainfall blew through Charleston, Will Shalosky examined a large elm tree in front of his house that had fallen across his downtown street. He noted the damage could have been much worse.

    "If this tree has fallen a different way, it would be in our house," Shalosky said. "It's pretty scary, pretty jarring."

    Ian's heavy rains and winds of 40km/h were near the North Carolina-Virginia state line at 11am Saturday (1am Sunday AEST) after crossing into North Carolina on Friday evening (Saturday AEST). Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents to be vigilant, given that up to 20.3cm of rain could fall in some areas.

    "Hurricane Ian is at our door. Expect drenching rain and sustained heavy winds over most of our state," Cooper said. "Our message today is simple: Be smart and be safe."

    In Washington, President Joe Biden said he was directing "every possible action be taken to save lives and get help to survivors."

    "It's going to take months, years to rebuild," Biden said.

    "I just want the people of Florida to know, we see what you're going through and we're with you."

    Not just those directly impacted are suffering

    The floods in North Port show the impact of Ian has not been confined to the beaches and tourist towns. The heavy rains from the storm have ended up flowing into suburban and inland towns not part of hurricane warnings.

    It's the rising rivers that do it because of the hurricane's deluge, which continues to cause havoc long after the winds have passed. And it's leading to rescue efforts not that different from those on the coasts.

    Floods were reported all across the center of the state: around Orlando and its theme parks, south to Kissimmee, east to Daytona Beach, Arcadia cattle country. People near rivers were deeply affected.

    A car is submerged in flood water in North Port, Florida on Friday, September 30, 2022.

    Near North Port, the Florida Department of Transportation closed a stretch of Interstate 75 in both directions late Friday because of the flooded Myakka River.

    Dozens of National Guardsmen arrived earlier Friday in North Port— about 140 kilometres south of Tampa — to speed up efforts started Wednesday by firefighters from other states and counties. And city officials were scrambling to open an evacuation center at a high school.

    Just west of North Port, the Myakka River was forecast by the National Weather Service to reach record flood stage Friday at 3.8 meters and then crest a bit higher before receding.

    The nearby Peace River was set to hit an even higher mark: almost 7.3 meters, which is about twice the previous record. It runs through mainly rural areas, especially the cattle town of Arcadia which is home to a well-known Florida rodeo.



  • Tech-savvy teens and state-sponsored hacks: Notorious cyberattacks in history
  • The huge Optus cyberattack is only the latest data breach and hack that has disrupted modern society.

    Over past years, businesses, governments, individuals and even militaries have been targeted by hackers.

    From being the the realm of tech-savvy and curious teenagers, hacking today is the arena of government spies, professional thieves and soldiers of fortune.

    READ MORE: PM insists Optus should pay for passport replacements

    Today, it's all about the money, with the development of ransomware offering hackers the chance to reap millions or billions of dollars from their crimes.

    Here is a look at some of the most notorious cyber attacks in history.

    1990: Broke into phone lines to win a Porsche

    Hacker Kevin Poulsen rigged a Los Angeles radio station's phone system to win a Porsche, only to be arrested afterward.

    He successfully locked out other callers but was later arrested for the crime and sentenced to five years in prison.

    1999: Teenager breached Pentagon, NASA systems

    Jonathan James, 15, broke into a Pentagon computer system that monitors threats from nuclear weapons.

    He also hacked into NASA computers that supported the International Space Station, intercepting 3300 government emails and obtaining stolen passwords.

    James, known on the Internet as "cOmrade", was sentenced to six months in jail.

    READ MORE: 'I assume I'm not the only one': Mum blackmailed after Optus data breach

    Pentagon was locked down  due to a "shooting event" that happened outside the building on a bus platform.

    2000: High school student causes chaos

    A Canadian high schooler, known as Mafiaboy, launched a distributed denial-of-service attack on commercial sites, including major companies CNN, eBay, and Amazon.

    The hacks resulted in an estimated $US1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) of damage.

    2007: Entire country targeted by Russian hackers

    A decision by the Estonian government to relocate a Soviet-era war memorial from central Tallinn to a military cemetery sparked a diplomatic spat with its powerful neighbour Russia.

    Just as the removal works started, Estonia became the target of what was at the time the biggest cyberattack against a single country.

    The Estonian government called the incident an act of cyberwarfare and blamed Russia for it.

    READ MORE: Scammer steals pensioner's $25k life savings

    2009: Tech giant blames China

    Google and a dozen other technology companies were hit with a targeted cyberattack that emanated from China.

    Google went public about the attack, said that some of its intellectual property had been stolen, and pulled its search engine servers out of China soon after.

    China has repeatedly and vehemently denied any connection to the attacks.

    2013: Billions of search engine users compromised

    Yahoo's epic data breach in affected 3 billion people in total.

    The company revealed in 2017 that the accounts for every single customer during that time had been breached, including users of Tumblr and Flickr.

    2014: Intimate details of celebrities exposed

    A group of hackers exposed the intimate photos belonging to celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst.

    The cybercriminals posed as members of Apple's online security team and sent emails to the victims asking for their usernames and passwords.

    2016: Popular swinger site breached twice

    The initial hack exposed the sexual secrets of 3.5 million subscribers of alternative dating site Adult FriendFinder.

    But within months, a second data breached the details of 410 million users.

    The company scrambled to calm down users who were worried that their listed sexual preferences would go public.

    2020: Fears over Aussie beer shortage (2020)

    There were fears that Queensland's iconic XXXX beer would be in short supply as its owner Lion Nathan grappled with a major cybersecurity breach.

    It also sparked fears over the availability of Furphy and James Squire beers, along with Dairy Farmers milk and Farmers Union iced coffee and flavoured milks.

    XXXX mascot on side of brewery (AAP)

    - Reported with CNN



  • Surviving the longest and toughest horse race in the world
  • Jessica Di Pasquale was pregnant with her second child when she had an epiphany - she needed to do something for her.

    The Northern Territory woman applied for the Mongol Derby, known as the world's longest and toughest multi-horse race.

    The experienced rider made the cut and was one of about 40 people accepted into the competition.

    READ MORE: Thousands of refugees seeking permanent visas still living in uncertainty

    Jessica Di Pasquale

    After more than 18 months of training and an initial coronavirus delay, the mother-of-two set off for Mongolia.

    For 10 days, Di Pasquale raced for 11 hours a day across the country's wilderness.

    The rider followed a recreated version of the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan in 1224 for 1000km.

    But she wasn't alone.

    Di Pasquale partnered with fellow Northern Territory rider and childhood friend Natalie Bell for the bucket list adventure.

    "We've already been friends for almost a lifetime," she said.

    READ MORE: What happens next to dead Tasmanian pilot whales 'a true marvel of nature'

    Jessica Di Pasquale followed a recreated version of the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan in 1224 for 1000km.

    The two raised money for Sock it to Sarcoma in honour of their late friend Stevie Marcon, who died from a rare type of cancer in 2017.

    Along the way, the riders kept Marcon in their thoughts.

    "She was a really adventurous person," Di Pasquale said.

    But while the pair planned their trip and trained together, the friends were separated early in the race.

    Bell was hit with a time penalty, which resulted in Di Pasquale joining two riders from New Zealand for most of the competition.

    Jessica Di Pasquale partnered with fellow Northern Territory rider and childhood friend Natalie Bell.

    "It was definitely the hardest thing was to leave Natalie," Di Pasquale said.

    "It still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it."

    This wasn't the only challenge Di Pasquale encountered along the way.

    The rider, who works as a farm and stud overseer at Charles Darwin University, knows horses well.

    But the Mongolian horses used for the race "are notorious for being semi-wild".

    READ MORE: Queensland man quits job to create successful Aussie-themed video game 'Dinkum'

    Along the way, the riders remarked at the "unbelievable terrain" which "changed so often".

    "They basically said treat them like wolves," Di Pasquale said.

    "You've just got to get on and ride. No fancy horsemanship."

    One of her fellow riders saw this firsthand after he dropped his reign and it wrapped around the horse's legs.

    The horse then threw the rider.

    "I tried to follow it," Di Pasquale recalled.

    "Sometimes it takes days to find them."

    Di Pasquale said the Mongolian horses used for the race "are notorious for being semi-wild".

    When it wasn't the horses keeping riders on their toes, it was the "unbelievable terrain" which "changed so often".

    None of this defeated Di Pasquale, who crossed the finish line in August, a feat that was not a guarantee for every rider.

    "There were many highs and lows," she said.

    But regardless of the ups and downs, Di Pasquale said the experience overall was a "completely and utterly mind-blowing".

    "I think for anyone who wants to do it, bite the bullet and do it," she said.



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