SYN News at 4: 31 July 2013

Coming up in the next fifteen minutes:

  • State Labor opposes government’s East-West tunnel proposal
  • Sydney man pleads not guilty to kidnapping his 8-month-old son
  • US Soldier Bradley Manning facing up to 136 years in jail
  • And St.Kilda’s Ahmed Saad the latest footballer to be investigated for taking banned substances

 Good afternoon, I’m EDDIE WILLIAMS. Welcome to SYN News at 4. The top story on SYN today,  State Labor has declared they are unambiguously against the Coalition government’s proposed east-west tunnel. The 6 to 8 billion dollar proposed project will connect the Eastern freeway at Clifton Hill to the Tullamarine freeway, but opposition Leader Daniel Andrews say the money would be better spent on a road linking the western suburbs to the Port of Melbourne, and a 9 billion dollar metro rail tunnel back by Federal Labor. In a video message released today, Mr Andrews argued the east-west will significantly delay other projects. “Denis Napthine’s $8 billion tunnel puts every other road and public transport project on the backburner for years.” But the Coalition has released a similar web video, with Treasurer MICHAEL O’BRIEN labelling the MR ANDREWS as “dead end Dan”. “He’s opposed to building East-West Link, he’s opposed to 3200 new jobs, and he wants to consign Victorians to decades of gridlock and congestion.”  Tecoma residents continue their fight against the development of a McDonalds fast food restaurant in the Dandenong Ranges.  Over sixty thousand residents have signed an online petition in protest of the McDonald’s Development. Despite the fast food chain taking court action to stop the protest action, the anti-McDonald’s group have gathered at the development site since 5am this morning in peaceful protest and are not standing down. Singing: “We know that lots of people eat McDonald’s, but not in the hills!” That audio courtesy of Fairfax.  The New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption – better known as ICAC – has recommended former Labour Ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald face criminal charges. The long running investigation found the former ministers acted corruptly by conspiring to defraud taxpayers over a multi-million dollar mining license in the upper hunter region. PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD has condemned corrupt activity in the Labor Party, but Opposition Leader TONY ABBOTT has accused him of hypocrisy. “Kevin Rudd is trying to wash his hands of this by saying ‘I’m appalled by corruption, but he has been the beneficiary of the NSW Labor Party’s activities.” That audio courtesy of the ABC. Yesterday it was confirmed the final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand would be held at the MCG. Sports reporter Alex Darling took to the streets to find out why people thought Melbourne was the sporting capital of Australia. “I think we’ve got all the facilities really.“We have the most sporting arenas of any state in Australia.”“Close to train stations and public transport, it’s all relatively together.”“Can’t beat the classics.” More sports news coming up later in the bulletin.A Sydney man accused of kidnapping his eight-month old son last week has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and breaching a restraining order.  The 24 year old, who cannot be named, is also accused of kidnapping the boy’s sixteen year old mother, and having sex with a juvenile. He will remain in custody and is set to apply for bail in August. A woman whose partner died in the Black Saturday bushfires is suing a convicted arsonist for compensation. KITTYANNA VERGHESE is launching Supreme Court action against BRENDAN JAMES SOKALUK, who is serving a minimum fourteen year prison sentence after being found guilty of arson causing death. SOKALUK, a former volunteer firefighter, started a fire in Churchill, which killed ten people in February 2009, including MS VERGHESE’S partner, SCOTT FENDO. The case has been adjourned until November, so that a lawyer can be found to represent SOKALUK.  The most powerful computer in the country has been booted up at the Australian National University today. The computer cost fifty million dollars to build, and is named Raijin, after the Japanese god of thunder and rain. Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister, KIM CARR, says the computer will be a valuable resource for scientists, particularly in the areas of climate and the environment. The computer is bigger than a house and has the same memory as forty thousand standard PCs. US soldier BRADLEY MANNING could be facing up to 136 years in jail for leaking confidential documents while serving in Iraq. A military court martial has found MANNING not guilty of aiding the enemy, but has convicted him for a range of other offenses, including espionage, theft and computer fraud. MANNING’S leaks included reports on the progress of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which the prosecution say were viewed by al-Qaeda. His sentencing hearing will begin on Wednesday morning US time. New York City mayoral candidate ANTHONY WEINER says he will stay in the mayoral race, despite further revelations of his racy texting.WEINER has dropped from first place to fourth place in the polls amongst the Democrats, after confessing to sending inappropriate texts to women.The texts came after WEINER resigned as a Congressman for accidentally sending a lewd picture over Twitter.WEINER says quitting “isn’t the way we roll in New York CIty”, so he will “fight through”. Zimbabweans are getting ready for elections later today, amidst allegations of vote-rigging.89 year old President ROBERT MUGABE has pledged to stand down if he loses, but many Zimbabweans are skeptical.The last election in 2008 resulted in a power-sharing arrangement between President MUGABE and MORGAN TSVANGERAI, who won the first round of elections, but eventually took on the role of Prime Minister. PRESIDENT MUGABE’S reign has long been associated with violence and high inflation.Closer to home, and CSIRO researchers have developed a food additive which will help to ensure the sustainability of farmed prawns.On average, prawns who are fed the additive grow thirty per cent faster, can be produced without any fish in their diet, and are healthier than other prawns.  Taronga Zoo’s top gorilla is set to retire, living out the rest of its days out in a zoo on the New South Wales south coast. 36-year-old silverback gorilla Kibabu, originally from Holland, has been with Taronga Zoo for 17 years. Taronga Zoo spokesman Mark Williams says Kibabu will be replaced by a new silverback from France, emulating the natural lifecycle of gorilla groups. And just in case you needed another excuse, today is National Orgasm Day.   Now here’s ALEX DARLING with sport. Alex: Thanks EDDIEThe sensational plot of the AFL’s ongoing performance enhancing drugs scandal took yet another twist today, as morning papers reported a current St.Kilda player had allegedly taken a banned substance and was under investigation by the league. It has since been reported that St.Kilda forward Ahmed Saad delivered an irregular sample in a drug test in the last month, and could face up to two years suspended from the game. The allegations come as the findings of the joint AFL-ASADA investigation into the Essendon supplements regime of 2012 are set to be released next Monday. Saad’s sentence could be reduced if he proves he took a banned substance mistakenly, and Fairfax media has been reporting that the 22-year old took the substance, which is yet to be named, inadvertently. If Saad is charged as a result of the investigation, he will face a specially convened AFL tribunal hearing with the power to suspend him. Saad would become only the third AFL player to be suspended over banned drugs, following Richmond’s Justin charles in 1997 and Hawthorn’s Travis Tuck in 2010.   The Wellington Phoenix have signed Reece Caira on a 2 year contract, Football Australia reports. Caira is an Australian under-20 international and a centre midfielder, who spent 3 years with Aston Villa in the EPL before making 2 appearances for the Western Sydney Wanderers last year. Caira’s signing comes barely 2 weeks after the Phoenix’s signing of NZ under 20 captain Luke Adams, and footballaustralia.com says it is “another step on the way to the balance of experience and youth Merrick is seeking” at the club.   David Warner will return for the third Ashes test which begins in Manchester tomorrow, on the back of his knockout innings of 193 for Australia A in South Africa last week.  Despite his lamentable off-field behavior, Warner has the best Test batting record of any player behind captain Michael Clarke, which may prove crucial in a test Australia desperately need to win Australia enters the third test at Old Trafford looking to keep their Ashes hopes alive, deny England their third Ashes win in a row and avoid their worst losing streak in 126 years.  And finally in racing news, Holden Motorsport has confirmed that it will enter a third VF commodore as a Wildcard entry in October’s Bathurst 1000. In a statement, Holden Motorsport said the new entry would be run independently by Red Bull racing Australia, and there are currently no details as to who will be behind the wheel of the car come October.   And that’s all for sport. Back to EDDIE with the weather  Thanks ALEX To the weather now and this evening will be mostly clear, reaching a low of 8 degrees. Tomorrow will be a mostly sunny day with a top of 16, while both Saturday and Sunday will see a top of 14 with rain developing. Right now in the city fourteen degrees. And for those on public transport, there are delays of up to sixteen minutes on the Craigieburn and Williamstown lines.   To recap our top stories this afternoon:

  • State Labor opposes the East-West link
  • Protests continue in Tecoma
  • Zimbabweans set to go to the polls
  • And Ahmed Saad reportedly under investigation over an irregular drug test

 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 1st 2013
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