SYN News at 4: 28 August 2013

Coming up over the next fifteen minutes.

  • Hundreds mourn baseballer CHRIS LANE
  • Election campaign dominated by the economy ahead of tonight’s leader’s debate
  • US forces “ready” for a strike against Syria
  • And the fallout from the Essendon saga continues

 Good afternoon, I’m EDDIE WILLIAMS. Welcome to SYN News at 4. Our top story today… Hundreds of people have gathered in Essendon to mourn the death of young Melbourne baseballer CHRISTOPHER LANE. The 22-year-old was shot and killed in a random attack in Oklahoma on August 16, where he had been studying on a baseball scholarship. He was farewelled at Essendon’s St Therese’s Church, with his American girlfriend SARAH HARPER travelling to Melbourne for the service. LANE’S father PETER described him as a “superstar son and brother” and a “much loved grandson, nephew and cousin”. One of LANE’s former coaches has launched a petition for a little-league field in Essendon to be named in his honour. Two American teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder over the death.To politics now, and the economy has dominated campaigning today, ahead of another ‘people’s forum’ between the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader tonight.  Shadow Treasurere JOE HOCKEY announced 31.6 billion dollars in savings to help pay for the Coalition’s election promises, including the contentious paid parental leave scheme. MR HOCKEY hit out at accusations from the Labor Party that he planned to make savage cuts to the economy. “There are no cuts to health and education. There is no increase in the GST. There is no $70 billion black hole. In fact, so much of what we’re doing is trying to fix Labors’ black hole.” But at a debate with MR HOCKEY at the National Press Club, Treasurer CHRIS BOWEN said the Coalition had still not announced all of its budget savings. “You can’t trust an alternative government if they are not prepared to fulfil the most basic obligation of outlining to the Australian people the impact on the budget bottom line of the policies.” MR BOWEN committed to a budget surplus in 2016/17, but MR HOCKEY dismissed the promise. “Well deja vu. Here I am again. Another Labor Treasurer saying they’re going to deliver a surplus in the next term of government. Hogwash! Labor will never deliver a surplus.” MR HOCKEY didn’t say when the Coalition would deliver a budget surplus, leaving him open to more criticism from MR BOWEN. “A lot of huff, a lot of puff, a lot of bluster, a lot of blowing, no date.” Meanwhile, Palmer United Party leader, CLIVE PALMER, has hung up on ABC Radio’s Jon Faine, after Faine brought up past allegations of violence against women which had been made against two of MR PALMER’s Victorian Senate candidates. Palmer: “Why don’t you talk about reducing the pension? I’m not going to talk about things which aren’t true. These are allegations in a court, the court’s dealt with them and found them to be no case to answer.”Faine: “No, they didn’t find it to be no case to answer. In one instance, in fact, an order was made and agreed to.”Palmer: “Look if you want to talk about policy… Goodbye.” And Democratic Labor Party Senator, JOHN MADIGAN, has addressed a rally outside the Indonesian embassy in Melbourne, protesting against alleged human rights abuses in West Papua, while the Greens launched a nine billion dollar national healthcare package.The United States could launch a military strike against Syria within days, with Defence Secretary CHUCK HAGEL declaring American forces in the region are “ready to go.” MR HAGEL says intelligence authorities are putting together final confirmation that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack last week. Australian Prime Minister KEVIN RUDD says there is overwhelming evidence that the Assad government has used chemical weapons, while Foreign Minister BOB CARR believes the international community must take action. “The sheer horror of a government using chemical weapons against its people, using chemical weapons in any circumstances, mandates a response.” That audio courtesy of the ABC. Australia will soon take up leadership of the UN Security Council, and SENATOR CARR says Australia needs to engage with China and Russia to resolve the situation in Syria. But, Australia will not send troops to the conflict. According to the Syrian opposition, at least 500 people were killed by rockets carrying a nerve gas last Wednesday. More than a 100,000 people have died during the two-year old Syrian conflict.The two men at the centre of the Australian Defence Force Academy’s Skype sex scandal have been found guilty of sending offensive material over the internet without consent. 21 year old cadet, DANIEL MCDONALD, filmed himself having sex with another cadet in 2011, and then sent the images to 20 year old DYLAN DEBLAQUIERE. The defence claimed that the woman knew she was being filmed, but the jury at the ACT Supreme Court disagreed. MCDONALD was also found guilty of committing an act of indecency. Melbourne has been named the world’s most liveable city for the third year in a row, edging out Vienna and Vancouver. Australia had four cities in the top ten, with Adelaide at number six, Sydney at 7, and Perth coming in 9th. Canada had three cities in the top 10, while the Syrian capital Damascus was named the world’s least liveable city. Papua New Guinean capital, Port Moresby, was named the ninth worst place to live.But Melburnians shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves, with Victoria’s crime rates rising, according to figures released today by Chief Commissioner KEN LAY. Homicides and abduction increased by 3.4 per cent from June 2012 to June this year, with drug offences up by twelve per cent. COMMISSIONER LAY says drugs and family violence are two of the biggest problems in Victoria at the moment. It’s not all bad news though, with a 16 per cent drop in robberies and property offences, and a 9.6 per cent decline in motor vehicle thefts.Heading interstate, and three people are injured after a bomb attack at an Aboriginal community in Broome last night. Police say that two people have suffered damage to their hearing and eyesight, while another sustained spinal injuries while attempting to flee the explosion.Revenue and attendance rose at this year’s Formula One Grand Prix, according to figures released by the State Government today. More than 320,000 people attended the three-day event, generating more than forty million dollars in revenue. But, this figure is not as high as the fifty million dollars which the government paid to subsidise the event. Tourism and Major Events Minister LOUISE ASHER has told the ABC that this year’s Grand Prix was “better value” than previous racesTeenage Pakistani activist MALALA YOUSAFZAI has been awarded the 2013 International Children’s Peace Prize. The sixteen year old is an advocate for children’s and women’s rights, and was shot in the head by the Taliban last October, because of her campaigns for girls to receive an education. Malala will receive one hundred thousand euros, which will be used for more campaigns to improve girls’ access to schooling.Welsh activists are calling on singer TOM JONES to boycott a scheduled concert in Israel. The Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign has launched a petition called ‘It’s not unusual to boycott apartheid Israel,’ and say it has received more than a thousand signatures. But the Israeli consulate in New York says it’s not unusual to love Israel, and has called on MR JONES to go ahead with his show in Tel Aviv in October. A number of other British musicians, including Annie Lennox and Elvis Costello, have already boycotted Israel in recent times.And the SBS reports Japanese nuclear regulators have raised the severity of the latest leak of radiation-contaminated water at the damaged Fukushima plant from an “anomaly” to a “serious incident”. TEPCO said last week around 300 tonnes of highly contaminated water had leaked from the plant’s storage Tank, the worst leak since the start of the nuclear disaster 2 years ago.Closer to home, and a study in New South Wales has shown a drop in the number of adolescents drinking alcohol. The NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey found that 49% of 12-year-old boys had consumed alcohol at some stage, compared to 38% of girls. Among 17-year-olds, drinking rates rose to around 90%.Still in New South Wales, and independent MP ALEX GREENWICH will introduce a bill to prevent private schools from expelling students for being gay. MR GREENWICH has told the ABC that many gay students go to school in an environment of “fear and intimidation,” and he expects widespread support for his bill. Labor’s education spokeswoman Carmel Tebbutt says she is “sympathetic” to the proposed legislation.And in science news, a measles-like virus is believed to have killed hundreds of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say an outbreak of a disease infecting the dolphins’ lungs and brain has caused 333 deaths since July. According to experts, there is no way to prevent the virus from spreading between dolphins, but it is unlikely to spread to humans.And now here’s Alex Darling with sport. ALEX: Thanks EDDIE The AFL continues to feel the fallout of the Essendon saga, with players voicing their opinions on the penalties handed to Essendon a day after they were laid. Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak said he was glad the saga was finally over so that the game could start talking about the final series next month. However his teammates Dom Cassisi and former Bomber Angus Monfries took to twitter to express their remorse for Essendon players, who went through “Nine months of blood, sweat and tears to chase a premiership dream taken away” in Cassisi’s words. Essendon is banned from competing in this year’s finals series, meaning Carlton, North melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and West Coast all have the chance to make the finals with the final round of the season this weekend.  The club is also banned from the first two round of the 2013 and 2014 draft, as has been fined fined $2 million. Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown wasn’t surprised by the sanctions, while Sydney co-captain Kieran Jack said he also felt for the players, though said the saga was a timely reminder to footy clubs to get their due diligence right across the board and hopefully we never see something like this again.” Coach James Hird was also banned from the game for 12 months, and addressed the media about his suspension today: “I am deeply sorry for what happened at our football club in 2012. I do take a level of responsibility… I think for the good of the game, and for the good of our football club, and most importantly for our players and supporters, I’m so glad that this has finished. And that the game can move on and our players can move on” Earlier today Essendon captain Jobe Watson said the playing group want him back as coach and they don’t feel betrayed by him. Essendon chairman Paul Little previously said the coaching job would be available for Hird to return to at the end of 12 months. There is still no word on who his replacement will be. In soccer, the Socceroos named their squad for the friendly against Brazil next month, with striker Rhys Williams returning from injury and the Mariner’s Mitchell Duke the surprise inclusion. Duke, a striker for the Central Coast Mariners, has risen in profile over recent months after scoring regularly at the East Asian Cup and training with West Ham in England. Other big name strikers in Holger Osieck’s 22 man squad include Josh Kennedy, Tim Cahill and Archie Thompson, and are joined by big names Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill and Mark Bresciano. Australia’s friendly against Brazil takes place in Brasilia on September 7, and the Aussies will have to put on quite a show to attract attention away from Week 1 of the AFL finals and the Federal election, all held on the same day. In tennis, Sam Stosur has made a shock exit from the US Open, beaten in 3 sets by American teen Victoria Duval in the first round. The 2011 Open champion started well enough, taking the first set 7-5 and leading 4-2 in the second. But the 296th ranked Duval held her nerve to win the next 4 games and take the second set. Stosur then saved 3 match in the third points before Duval delivered a forehand winner to take the game out in 2 hours and 39 minutes. Stosur will likely fall out of the top 15 world ranking as a result of the loss, and her demise epitomizes a tough start to the Open for the Aussies, with Casey Dellacqua also bowing out and Bernard Tomic being pushed to 5 sets by Spain’s Alberto Ramos yesterday local time. The big names had no such trouble advancing through to the second round, with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki all winning through in straight sets. And the Australian’s hopes of retaining the women’s ashes are on shaky ground after England won the first of 3 T20 matches by 15 runs. English wicket keeper Sarah Taylor smashed 77 runs of 58 balls, a record score for womens T20 cricket, setting the aussies a total of 147 runs to win, while the loss of early wickets made the Southern Star’s task all but impossible. The victory gives England a lead of 8 points to 4 in the multi-format series, and the Southern Stars must win the remaining two games to retain the trophy. And EDDIE, thats sport. EDDIE: Thanks ALEX. To the WeatherCurrently it’s 20 degrees in the city, with north easterly winds up to 20km/h predicted tonight. We’re headed for an overnight low of TWELVE, before a partly cloudy and windy Thursday, with a few showers and a top of 21 degrees. For those on public transport this afternoon, Metro trains reports There may be delays of up to 15 minutes on the Lilydale line due to a police request at Ringwood East. Recapping our top stories this afternoon:

  • Economy remains major talking point for the election campaign
  • Melbourne remains the world’s most livable city despite crime rates rising
  • Protesters ask: Why, why why doesn’t Tom Jones boycott Israel?
  • And Sam Stosur bows out of the US Open in the first round

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 28th 2013
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