SYN News at 4: 2 August 2013

Coming up in the next fifteen minutes:

  • The Government has released its updated economic statement
  • The Coalition announces a turnaround in support of Gonski
  • More evidence into a Volkswagon inquest
  • And a mining company in the Northern Territory is found guilty of desecrating a sacred Aboriginal site

 Good afternoon, I’m Jordyn ButlerAnd I’m Kirrily Schwarz. Welcome to SYN News at 4. The top story on SYN this afternoon:The Government just released its updated economic policy.  A key feature of the new policy is a 0.05 per cent bank levy, payable on deposits of $250,000 or more.   Money collected from the levy will be put into the new Financial Stability Fund, which will protect investors in the event of a bank collapse. Banks will have to pay the levy, but industry representatives say this cost will ultimately be passed down to bank customers. Treasurer Chris Bowen defended the new levy. “Of course, this is a controversial decision, but I believe that it is the right decision.  It may not be needed for a long time, but the time may well come when people look back, in maybe 20 or 30 years time and say it’s a good thing that this Labor government took this decision, preparing for the future.”    Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey says the statement is a “bad policy” made because the Government has run out of money. This levy is one of several new revenue raising measures the Government announced this week, including the increased cigarette tax. These changes will contribute to a $17.4 billion difference to the national budget.[JORDYN]  And the Coalition has announced a turnaround in it’s support of the governments Gonski school funding program.  Sarah Maunder has the story Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced if the Coalition win this years election, they will honour Labor’s funding commitments across the four years of the budget estimates. Previously, the Coalition had said they would only honor Gonski for the first year.  In an announcement earlier today, Tony Abbott said there was no difference between himself and Kevin Rudd when it came to school funding.  ‘Under the coalition, you’ll get the funding, but you won’t get the strings attached. So what I want to say today is that as far as school funding is concerned, Kevin Rudd and I are on a unity ticket. There is no difference between Kevin Rudd and myself when it comes to school funding. The differences, if any,  is how schools should be run, how that funding should be utilised, and I want to work constructively with the state’                                   [JORDYN] A Victorian Coroner is considering an application to include more evidence for the inquest into the death of a Volkswagen driver on the Monash Freeway in two-thousand-and-eleven.  Melissa Ryan, thirty-two, was killed when her two-thousand-and-eight Volkswagen Golf suddenly stopped, resulting in a truck hitting her car from behind.  Coroner Heather Spooner was due to hand down her findings on Wednesday, but delayed the proceedings after the family of Ms Ryan asked her to consider more evidence.  Since the inquest some Volkswagen drivers have come forward describing instances where their cars have lost power, but these have not been included in the inquest.  A spokesperson for the Coroner’s Court says Ms Spooner is yet to determine whether she has jurisdiction to accept the application.  In June Volkswagen recalled some automatic models as a result of complaints about power failure. Ms Ryan’s car was a manual. [KIRRILY] Mining company O-M Manganese has been found guilty of desecrating an Aboriginal sacred site in the Northern Territory.  It’s the first case of desecration brought against a mining company under Australian law. The company pleaded guilty to damaging the site, but not guilty to the desecration charges.  The site, known as Two Women sitting down at the Bootu Creek Mine, is situated north of Tennant Creek.  The Darwin Magistrates’ Court heard the company used explosives to break up ground in the area back in two thousand and eleven (2011). [JORDYN] A fourteen-year-old-boy has been arrested by police for the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Melbourne’s west earlier this year.  Police say the woman was walking in Sunshine North, pushing her child in a pram, when a male grabbed her from behind and sexually assaulted her.  The child was not harmed but the woman had minor injuries to her hands and upper body.  Police say that the boy is assisting police with their inquiries. [KIRRILY] NMIT, the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, will buy the Swinburne University Prahran campus next year. The campus’ fate has been uncertain since the government announced three hundred million dollar ($300m) TAFE funding cuts last year. NMIT is proposing to transform the campus into a creative arts centre, and will offer up to sixty courses in design, performing arts, digital media and professional writing from the site. The exact sale price is yet to be finalised, but it’s speculated to be tens of millions of dollars.[JORDYN]  A mother of three who was attacked and killed in her Pakenham home yesterday was found by her 11-year-old twin daughters. Kylie Blackwood, forty-two, was found dead on Thursday afternoon in her Mc Caffrey Rise home. Police say the daughters are extremely traumatised by what they’ve seen after coming home from school. Police are investigating whether the assault is linked to other crimes in the area. Ms Blackwood has been described by neighbours as a devoted mother and wife. Police are interested in speaking to anyone who may have noticed anything unusual in Mac Caffrey Rise or any neighbouring suburbs on Thursday.[JORDYN] To the U-S, Ariel Castro, the kidnapper of three women in Cleveland, has been sentenced to life with an additional one thousand years in jail. Victoria Knauf has the story: Ariel Castro held his victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight hostage over a period of 10 years. He pleaded guilty to 937 of 977 charges in June. Only a plea deal spared him from the death sentence. In his hearing, Castro said he was not a monster or a violent predator, but sick. 32-year old victim Michelle Knight was heard in court. “You took eleven years of my life away. The death penalty would be so much easier. You don’t deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive you but I will never forget.”_______________________________________________[KIRRILY] In Russia now, U-S intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has left a Russian airport after being granted asylum in the country for one year. Snowden, who has been at the airport for five weeks since arriving from Hong Kong, thanked Russian officials for granting him asylum. He’s now on the way to an undisclosed secure location. WikiLeaks has released a statement condemning the U-S government’s actions under international law. [JORDYN] An investigation into the two-thousand-and-ten chilean mine collapse, which trapped thirty-three miners underground for over two months, has failed to find anyone responsible. Prosecutors have closed the case, saying there is no evidence of criminal liability. On August fifth two-thousand-and-ten, the thirty-three miners were trapped seven hundred metres underground and were rescued sixty-nine days later on October 13. [KIRRILY] NATO forces in Afghanistan have launched an investigation after a U-S air strike against Taliban forces killed five local policemen. Afghan and US troops called for aerial support while fighting in the province of Nangarhar where local officials reported special forces reacting to a Taliban attack on a police post.Two other policemen were also wounded during the attack.Accidental casualties are a major cause of friction between President Hamid Karzai and his western allies. The deaths come as the United States tries to restart talks with President Karzai about the size of military presence in Afghanistan.  SCIENCE BRIEF 00’30” – Scientists grow teeth from Urine [JORDYN]  In science news, and scientists in China have used cells generated from urine to grow structures resembling human teeth.  The experiment, published in the Cell Regeneration Journal, could be a new way for transplanting tooth buds into the jaws of patients.  The urine generated teeth have similar qualities to human teeth but are not as strong and have a thirty per cent success rate.  Scientist are hoping that these findings will lead to the “final dream” of total regeneration for human teeth.  [KIRRILY]  The story of how Vegemite was created looks set to be made into a movie, after the inventor’s grandson sold the rights to his book.  Jamie Callister sold the rights to his book, The Man Who Invented Vegemite, to Melbourne-based firm The Film Company.  The book tells the story of how his grandfather, Doctor Cyril P Callister, created the iconic Australian spread and his life during two world wars and the Great Depression. [JORDYN]  Film director James Cameron has announced he is planning to make three sequels to his two-thousand-and-nine blockbuster film Avatar.  Cameron, who initially planned two sequels for the film says they are to be released between two-thousand-and-sixteen and two-thousand-and- eighteen.  The movies will be filmed simultaneously beginning in two-thousand-and-fourteen.  Cameron’s Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time, fetching three point one billion Australian dollars at the box office.  [KIRRILY]: And now here’s EDDIE WILLIAMS with sport. Thanks KIRRILY. Australia will look to ram home its advantage against England when Day 2 of the third Ashes Test begins tonight. The Aussies overcame a controversial umpiring decision to reach three for 303 at stumps on Day One at Old Trafford, with skipper MICHAEL CLARKE unbeaten on 125 and STEVE SMITH not out on 70. Earlier, USMAN KHAWAJA was given out caught behind off Graeme Swann. KHAWAJA reviewed the decision but was still given out, despite clear video evidence that he had missed the ball. KEVIN RUDD tweeted that it was one of the worst decisions he’d ever seen, while former Australian spinner SHANE WARNE voiced his outrage on Sky Sports. “I just can’t believe that. That’s just a staggering decision. The technology has shown clearly that there was enough evidence to overturn a mistake.”Aussie swimmer JAMES MAGNUSSEN has gone some way to atoning for his sins at last year’s Olympic campaign, picking up gold in the men’s hundred metres freestyle at the World Championships in Barcelona overnight. MAGNUSSEN, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the Olympics and was then embroiled in a stilnox scandal, finished ahead of America’s JAMES FEIGEN and NATHAN ADRIAN. Meanwhile, Australian also picked up a silver medal in the four by 200 metre freestyle relay.Australia’s men’s basketball team, the Boomers, have named a near full-strength side for a two game series against New Zealand later this month. NBA stars PATTY MILLS and ARON BAYNES are both in the squad, along with JOE INGLES and MATT DELLAVEDOVA. The first match of the series will be in Auckland on August 14.  In rugby league, Penrith Panthers winger Travis Robinson has signed a two-year deal with the Melbourne Storm. And in the round-ball code, Bayern Munich has had a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the Audi Cup.To the AFL, and Essendon coach JAMES HIRD has hired prominent lawyer JULIAN BURNSIDE to represent him, as the ASADA investigation into the Bombers’ supplements program continues. The results of the inquiry are expected to come out next week, with HIRD and the club denying allegations of wrongdoing. And Finally my tips for round 19 (selections in bold):North Melbourne v Geelong, Etihad StadiumGWS v Melbourne, Skoda StadiumHawthorn v Richmond, MCGWest Coast v Gold Coast, SubiacoCarlton v Fremantle, EtihadBrisbane v St Kilda, GabbaBulldogs v Sydney, EtihadAdelaide v Port Adelaide, AAMI StadiumCollingwood v Essendon, MCGAnd now back to JORDYN with the weather. [JORDYN]: Thanks Eddie[JORDYN] To the weather, And right now in the city, it’s thirteen degrees. We’re headed for an overnight low of 7, with a top tomorrow of 14 degrees Sunday will have a shower or two, top of 14 degrees.Monday: Partly cloudy with isolated showers, top of 18.And Tuesday there will be a chance of rain, a top of 17 degrees.[KIRRILY] And for those on public transport, expect delays to CBD trams this afternoon due to a rally on the corner of Flinders street and Swanston at 4.30. And just a reminder it’s Jeans for Genes Day today. To recap our top stories this afternoon: 

  • The Government released its updated economic statement
  • The Coalition announces a turnaround in support of Gonski
  • More evidence into a Volkswagon death inquest
  • And a mining company in the Northern Territory has been found guilty of desecrating a sacred Aboriginal site

[JORDYN] That’s all for our bulletin this afternoon. But when we’re off air, you can keep up with the news by following us on twitter at News SYN.Panorama’s coming up at 4.30 and we’ll be back with an update at 5pm.

August 3rd 2013
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