Nic Cage stars in Replyallcalypse

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 30 November 2012 | 20.01

His career is on the skids but he's still a star in the eyes of NYU students. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

WHENEVER an apocalypse rears its ugly head, you can be sure Nic Cage will make an appearance.

Most of the disasters he's in are his own direct-to-video movies, but every now and then his face pops up on an email that brings the world to its knees.

His latest starring role is the result of a "reply all" accident at New York University.

It started when student Max Wiseltier hit the wrong button when he replied to a message sent by the bursar's office to the university's 39,979 students reminding them to fill out a tax form.

What he wanted to do was forward the email to his mum, with the message "do you want me to do this?". But he hit "reply all" instead. He quickly sent an apology email - "SORRY!!!!!! Gmail switched my reply to reply all!" - but by then it was too late.

His mistake had exposed the fatal flaw in NYU's email system: anyone could reply all.

The Replyallcalypse was born and soon people started using the email thread to ask all sorts of things, like:

- Does anyone have a pencil I could borrow?

- Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or 1 horse sized duck?

- Does anyone have a copy of the movie Good Burger?

- Does anybody want to be my friend?

- Is Professor Rosenblatt still having office hours at 10.45? I'm really struggling with this paper.

Nic Cage, as NYU's 40,000 students saw him. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

And then came the photo of Nic Cage.

This led to desperate pleas for the out-of-control chain to end and for everyone to "SHUT THE F*** UP".

The best of the Reply Alls can be seen on BuzzFeed

NYU authorities deleted the chain, with David Vogelsang, of NYU's Student Resource Centre, saying he was to blame for the madness:

"I'm the culprit behind the blunder. I was assisting the Bursar with an email message and in populating one of the SRC Listserves did not realize the list I was using was one that allowed for responses and thus the 'replyallcalypse'".

"This morning I deleted everyone on the list. ITS had disabled around midnight, but there were so many that responded, emails were still in the que. Thanks to ITS, the que was cleared and the listserve deleted. We are monitoring for any residual emails."

The last time Cage appeared in an email disaster was six months ago, when an unlucky job seeker attached a photo of him looking wild-eyed and crazy instead of her CV.

Some people think Nic Cage isn't an acceptable CV. Those people are wrong. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

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Tricks to make your hotel room safe

There are ways to make your hotel room burglar-proof. Picture: Bob Barker

This is an extract from the Lonely Planet Book of Everything. Picture: Lonely Planet

WE all know to lock the door and use the hotel safe, but there are some sneakier tricks that will help stop you from being an easy target for thieves.

From creating your own warning system to turning down the phone in your room, find out how to stay safe in your hotel room, according to The Lonely Planet Book of Everything.

Before you go
- Make a list of your valuables, including models and serial numbers, and take photos of them. Leave a copy of this at home – you don't want your list to get stolen.
- Consider insuring your valuables.
- In case you are robbed, it's a good idea to have copies of all your important documents (air tickets, passport, visas etc); keep one set in a separate spot to the originals, and give another copy to someone at home. The most awesome travel tricks ever

Upon arrival at the hotel
- When choosing your room, make sure the entrance is well lit. You may want to check if the hotel has security cameras. Remember, travellers make great targets for thieves, you don't yet know your way around, or even who should be around.

Whenever you leave your room
- Leave the lights on. You could leave the TV or the radio on too.
- Close the blinds so no one can see what's inside or if anyone is there.
- Don't forget to lock the doors and close the windows - and the balcony door if you're lucky enough to have a balcony.
- If there's a telephone in the room, turn down the ringer so that no one can hear it ring out.
- Pack your belongings back into your suitcase before you leave your room; lock it if you have a lock. If someone enters your room and there's nothing on display they may not bother to look for anything. It's an obstacle, at least.
- Don't return your key to the front desk on leaving your hotel if the key and room number will be hanging behind the desk, visible to everyone, and announcing that you're not in there.
- Protect your valuables. Don't leave any cash, jewellery or your passport in your room. If you must, then make it hard for them to be found – don't leave them out in the open. Thieves will want to get in and out quickly.
- If the hotel has a safe, consider putting your valuables in it.
- If you need to leave your valuables, consider hiding them by using tape to fasten them to the underside of a wardrobe or another piece of furniture.
- If you see anyone suspicious, let reception know.

When you are inside your room
- Keep the door locked at all times when you're inside.
- If someone knocks on your door and you don't know who it is, don't open it.
- Place a wedge under the door or a chair under the handle or something against the door, so that if someone tries to open it while you're asleep you will know.
- You could even make your own alarm system; stack several glasses (or other objects that will make a noise) next to the door. If the door opens the objects will fall over and make enough noise to wake you. Don't forget to test your system.
- When you're sleeping, separate your cash and credit cards/ATM cards and put them in a few different locations.

If you're burgled
- Get out of your room; the thief might still be in there!
- Call hotel security and the police.

This extract is adapted from The Lonely Planet Book of Everything by Nigel Holmes, © Lonely Planet 2012.  In stores now, RRP: $29.99 The most awesome travel tricks ever

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The 13 worst tourism traps in the world

The Mona Lisa at the Louvre, Paris, can be disappointing for some. Picture: Coulter Sunderman/Flickr. Source: Supplied

The Louvre, in the City of Love, can also be skipped. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

IT happens to most people at some point in their travels.

You arrive at the most-hyped part of your trip, take a photo, look around, and are struck with the thought: "Is that it?".

While some of the most popular tourist attractions absolutely live up to the hype, others are simply underwhelming.

Here are 13 tourist traps so overrated you may want to skip them altogether, according to travel website

Secret tips: Top tricks to make your hotel room safe

The Statue of Liberty

For one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, actually visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York is a complete disappointment. If you're desperate for a photo with the symbol of freedom, just hop on the free Staten Island ferry, which sails right past.

The Louvre Museum, Paris

Most tourists that make it to the Louvre are there for one reason: to see the Mona Lisa. But why? It's not much bigger than a postage stamp, for starters, and good luck getting close enough to get a decent look. Talk about underwhelming.

Stonehenge, Amesbury, UK

This bunch of rocks in the middle of a field isn't much more than that. You can't get close enough to touch them, and there is nothing nearby to see - no museum, no tourist centre, and definitely no nice weather to at least make a nice day of it.

Rome's Colosseum

It's the most famous monument in Rome, and you can tell by the queues to get in. The weather is usually good year-round, but there's every chance it will have changed by the time you get in. And if the wait doesn't ruin your sight-seeing, the pickpockets likely will.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

You had the bright idea of having a photo pushing it back up? Or struggling under its weight? Or leaning on it? Well it's been done before, many times.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. Picture: Andy Hall/Flickr Source: Supplied

Mannekin Pis, Brussels

So, it's mildly entertaining to have a statue of a boy weeing, sure. But, really? Is it so impressive it deserves to be on all the postcards?

The Astronomical Clock, Prague

It's the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world, and that's quite impressive. But you crowd around at the bottom on the hour, waiting for it to chime. And then that's it. Tick it off your list.

The Great Wall of China

Yet another underwhelming tourist trap, and probably a great deal more impressive space than from the frantically busy Earth.

Las Vegas

Vegas's popularity is one of life's enduring mysteries. Tacky, soulless, and garish, any time spent in Vegas is shared with drunk bogans dressed in shiny, tight and cheap clothes.

Las Vegas is garish and tacky, and yet is a tourist hot-spot. Picture: Patrick Martins/Flickr. Source: Supplied

The Grand Canyon

It might be an incredible natural wonder, but after driving six hours from Vegas, and you have a bit of a gander at it, that's it. It just goes on and on. And on. And then you have to drive for hours more to get back to a decent-sized town.

Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark

Kind of like Mannekin Pis. It's just a statue, right?

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

About as far from glitzy Hollywood glamour as you can get, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is packed with tacky souvenir shops, celebrity impersonators and  hoards of clueless tourists. All on a regular, dirty, LA street.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the most over-rated tourist sights in the world. Picture: vistavision/Flickr. Source: Supplied


This might be controversial, but London's not actually that great. It's really crowded, and full of tourists, expensive, and the weather is horrid. There aren't even any exciting attractions to make it worth it. Completely overrated.

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Daughter poses for sexy car shots

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 29 November 2012 | 20.01

Kim Ridley's daughter, Lexxa, poses for her father's car ad. The US man says he often uses sexy photographs of his daughter and her friends to sell items.
Source: Supplied

WHEN US man Kim Ridley wanted to showcase his 1977 Datsun on eBay, he tried to make it look more attractive by adding a provocatively posed and somewhat underdressed young woman with it.

If she was a professional model, there would probably be little surprise. But what has shocked people is that the young Oregon woman in question is the seller's 20-year-old daughter, Lexxa.

The eBay images show Lexxa, dressed in hot pants and a low-cut top, draped over the Datsun in a variety of sexy poses.

Click here to see the full gallery of images

Advertising industry journal Adweek said the images "put a strange and newly unwholesome spin on the 'sex sells' motif that goes beyond the usual cliches".

However Mr Ridley said he has no regrets about taking or using the images. "If I felt bad about it, I wouldn't do it," Mr Ridley told Adweek, adding that he often used sexy photographs of Lexxa and her friends to sell items.

For more go to 

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Hot in the city - here comes summer

The state's chief health officer has issued a warning ahead of blistering temperatures today

The heat can be uncomfortable, but Aussies know how to deal with it. Source: PerthNow

THE average forecast top for Australia's capitals is over 31C. Guess which city is the first to get a 40C baking this summer.

Melbourne will be the hottest city in the country today with a forecast top of 38C, though that could go even higher.

But there has been a reprieve for Adelaide, which was expected to get to 40C.A cool change has hit the city early, bringing the mercury down.

In Darwin, the crocs won't fancy a heavy lunch at a sizzling 34C.

And in Canberra, the Libs won't need to try baking the PM, who may well sweat more than a disgraced union official at 33C.

Brisbane will be perfect one day, though for the moment it will have to settle for a sticky 31C.

Sydney won't be so bad at 28C, although that's by the harbor. Rough estimate for a Western Sydney roadside... maybe 65C?

And Hobart will be mild, of course, but any hotter than the forecast 27C and Antarctica may melt.

So, what's the coolest place in Australia? Well, Perth should be positively shivering at 20C, and they've also copped a nasty storm.

The scorching temperatures come as the UN weather agency said extreme temperatures and violent weather afflicted the planet this year, with heatwaves, droughts, floods and devastating storms as well as unprecedented ice melt in the Arctic.

"Climate change is taking place before our eyes and will continue to do so," World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) chief Michel Jarraud said in a statement.

January-October 2012 was the ninth warmest such period since records began in 1850, the WMO said.

While in Italy a freak tornado smashed into the southern Italian town of Taranto, causing damage to a local steel mill.

For a more detailed, and more serious, rundown of weather around the nation, click here.

And you simply must see the world's Top 10 most amazing meteorological sites. All hot... and all very, very cool.

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Zoo slammed over degrading pictures

One of the pictures Zoo Weekly was ordered to remove from their Facebook page. Source: Supplied

AUSSIE lads' mag Zoo Weekly has been forced to remove several pictures from its Facebook page after they were ruled exploitative and degrading to women by the industry watchdog.

One picture, posted in October, showed a bikini-clad woman chopped in half across her stomach, along with the caption: "Left or right? But you've got to tell us how you came to that decision.''

The other depicted a woman's bottom with a Nintendo logo on it and the caption: "What would you call this console?''

Both posts caused outrage among Facebook users and online feminist communities after attracting hundreds of sexist comments from Zoo's fans.

Many are too offensive to republish, featuring graphic sexual descriptions and obscene language.

The Advertising Standards Board this month ruled both posts were in breach of two sections of the code of ethics relating to discrimination or vilification on the basis of gender, and of objectifying, exploiting and degrading women.

It also ruled that comments posted by Zoo's fans on the pictures were in breach of the code for using "strong or obscene language''.

Since July the ASB has considered the content of commercial Facebook pages, including comments from fans, to be a form of advertising and have subjected them to the Advertising Code of Ethics.

However Zoo has criticised the ASB's decision, arguing that its Facebook page is simply an extension of its printed product and therefore should be considered editorial.

"To describe Zoo's Facebook page as a 'marketing communication' is to misunderstand the nature of modern media organisations and the way in which they use social media to engage with their audience,'' they wrote in their official reponse to the determination.

"Zoo's Facebook page, like its website and the associated magazine, is a publishing platform comprising of editorial content supported by some advertising content. The content complained of was clearly editorial content and its publication on a Facebook page does not alter that characterisation.''

- Petra Starke is News Limited's National Social Media Reporter

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Woman leaves $12.5m to neighbour

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 28 November 2012 | 20.01

Betty Harris left this multi-million dollar house in Point Piper to her neighbour. Picture: Google Maps Source: The Daily Telegraph

Friendly neighbour... Beatrice Gray has been left with $12.5 million from her neighbour Betty Harris for buying her bread and milk and helping her with chores. Source: The Daily Telegraph

A RICH but lonely old lady has left her entire estate, worth $12.5 million to her neighbour, who bought her bread and milk and helped her manage her daily chores.

Betty Harris, who died aged 95 in 2009, chose to leave her estate to her neighbour in the millionaires enclave of Point Piper in Sydney after she felt her niece was trying to force her into a nursing home.

When Mrs Harris died, leaving her estate to neighbour Beatrice Gray, a bitterly fought legal battle ensued with Mrs Harris's niece in the Supreme Court.

Speaking from her Point Piper home this morning Mrs Gray told The Telegraph "I'm extremely grateful to Betty Harris".

She declined to comment further.

Property records show Mrs Harris' four-bedroom and six-garage home has been rented out since she died in 2009. Belle Property Double Bay is leasing the home for $2800 a week.

Prior to her death Mrs Harris said she wanted to leave her money to Mrs Gray and her husband Robert because they were not expecting it and she trusted them.

 "The Grays would be surprised, (while) my family are waiting for me to die," Mrs Harris said.

"I am determined that my relatives after what they have put me through will not get one cent."

The court heard Mrs Harris lived alone, and had no close friends after her husband died in 1991. She was not close to any of her relatives and her only interest was horse racing.

In his ruling today, Justice Richard White found that Mrs Gray - a wealthy Sydney University academic and barrister - was entitled to the estate because Mrs Harris' will, written in April 2005 was valid.

Justice White rejected arguments by Mrs Harris's niece Coralie Hart that the will was invalid because Mrs Harris was deluded when she began thinking her greedy niece was trying to gain control of her fortune.

Mrs Harris had no children and was largely estranged from her nieces and nephews, telling hospital staff in 2005 that she had not spoken to them for 13 years, a court heard..

In 2005, shortly after she changed the will, Mrs Harris complained of her niece and nephews "they all want their bit of money". The court heard she complained her nephews were " a pretty pathetic lot" and called another niece, Anne Nickolls a "b***h".

Mrs Nickolls said that Mrs Harris had always "sworn like a trooper".

Justice White found that there was "no doubt" that Mrs Harris had "some degree of cognitive impairment" but she was still capable of signing a will.

An earlier will - written in 1996 - had left the entire estate to Mrs Hart, but Mrs Harris revoked it after she became "angry" with Mrs Hart who wanted to put her in a nursing home and appoint a legal guardian to take control of her finances, a court heard.

Mrs Hart applied for control over Mrs Harris's affairs when Mrs Harris became ill in 2005. Justice White found Mrs Hart applied for control in order to "protect her inheritance".

"She was suspicious that Mr and Mrs Gray would attempt to take control of Mrs Harris' finances," Justice White found.

During a stay in hospital, a geriatric doctor had diagnosed Mrs Harris as suffering from "moderately severe dementia" .

The court heard that Mrs Harris was "humiliated" at losing her independence and having to ask for money from a financial manager, appointed by the Guardianship Tribunal in 2005.

During this time Mrs Harris borrowed money from Mrs Gray and her then husband Robert.

The Gray's lived next door to Mrs Harris in Wyuna Road, Point Piper for 33 years, until she died on September 17, 2009 aged 95, a court heard..

The Grays helped Mrs Harris pay her bills, organise her car registration and the reinvestment of her money Mrs Gray's late husband also helped Mrs Harris to replace light bulbs and wheel out her recycling bin.

The couple also checked on Mrs Harris's house to make sure she had not been robbed, and they kept a spare key for Mrs Harris.

Mrs Harris was the widow of Keith Harris, a former vice chair of the Sydney Turf Club and a horse breeder who was jailed in 1987 for a conspiracy to bribe the Corrective Services Minister, Rex "Buckets" Jackson, over a prisoners' early release, a court heard.

Keith Harris made his fortune making radios and televisions.

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Prominent jockey's son killed in accident

Charlie Galloway, 18 months, was playing in a garage when he was struck and killed by a car. Source: Supplied

GRIEF-stricken Gold Coast jockey Scott Galloway and his partner Lisa have paid a heart-wrenching Facebook tribute to their toddler son Charlie, who was killed in a freak car accident at Hope Island on Tuesday.

"Rest in pure peace and harmony our baby boy. Forever in our hearts and every thought. love From Mummy and Daddy and your Family xx 21/3/2011 - 27/11/2012," the post reads.

Charlie Galloway, 18 months, was playing in the garage of a house at Hope Island when he was struck by a Range Rover 4WD about 9am when the woman who lives there drove in after dropping her own children at school.

Mr Galloway and his partner Ms Cuddihy, who live at Benowa, were visiting the Hope Island family after attending the weekend wedding of trainer Brian Smith.

Inspector Geoff Palmer said the driver screamed frantically to Mr Galloway and Ms Cuddihy, who were inside the house and they attempted to revive their son until paramedics arrived.

However, the boy was declared dead at the scene.

A devastated Mr Galloway yesterday spoke briefly of his shock, as friends described a man who lived for his children.

"You never expect something like this to happen," he said.

Close friend and fellow jockey Joe Bowditch said Mr Galloway was devastated by the accident.

TRAGIC CRASH: Charlie Galloway died when hit by a car in a garage at this Hope Island estate. Mike Batterham

"I spoke with him earlier and he was just distraught . . . it's just bloody tragic," Bowditch said. "Scott is a proud dad who lived for his kids.

"He loved them to bits. He was always telling me how good they were going.

"I'm a father myself and I cried all morning. I had a lot to do with the little fella (Charlie) since he was born last year.

"This is probably the worst thing that could ever happen in your life."

Mr Galloway has another son, William, aged about four, and an 11-year-old stepson, Jarred.

Mr Bowditch said the racing community would rally around the bereaved family.

"There are already moves to set up a fund to help him and Lisa," he said.

"Money's probably the last thing on his mind at the moment but he's probably going to need an extended break from racing to deal with his grief and the bills don't stop.

Scott Galloway winning the Chairman's Handicap at Doomben on Hume in May this year. Picture: Peter Wallis

"I've been speaking to a few of the boys (fellow jockeys) and we'll look after him."

Insp Palmer said it was a "tragic time" for everyone.

"It's a traumatic event and we will be looking at counselling for everyone who attended the scene," he said.

"The forensic crash unit are speaking with all parties involved as well as the parents of the child involved."

Two older children were also in the house at the time and all have been offered counselling, Insp Palmer said.

The family is well known in racing circles. Lisa Cuddihy is the daughter of former leading jockey Peter Cuddihy.

Mr Galloway has won multiple Gold Coast premierships and regularly races in Brisbane.

Yesterday his manager Glen Courtney said his eight rides across the next few days had been cancelled.

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Two and a Half Men star sorry for rant

Angus T. Jones also known as Jake in the show calls the show 'Filth' and urges people to switch off.

Sorry: Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones in a still from his YouTube video rant. Picture: ForeRunner Source: Supplied

Christopher Hudson's ForeRunner Chronicles have many worried for Angus Jones's mental wellbeing. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

TWO and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones has apologised for slamming the show as 'filth'.

The 19-year-old made headlines after appearing in a YouTube clip alongside his new religious mentor, controversial Seventh-day Adventist leader Christopher Hudson, and branding the show the devil's work.


"I apologise if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that," he said in a statement today.

"Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and a Half Men with whom I have worked and over the past 10 years who have become an extension of my family," he added.

In the video, which has gone viral, Jones suggested the show was promoting the word of Satan and warned viewers to switch off.

"A lot of people don't like to think about how deceptive the enemy is," he said.

"There's no playing around when it comes to eternity ... people will see us and be like, 'I can be a Christian and be on a show like Two and a Half Men.' You can't. You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can't."

Hudson is a Seventh-day Adventist and is famous for his fiery online sermons.

His series of videos, called the ForeRunner Chronicles, are a bizarre trip into extreme conspiracy theories and have many worried about Jones' well-being.

Even Charlie Sheen, who was sacked from the show following his own public meltdown, has called Jones' behaviour "cult-ish".

"With Angus's Hale-Bopp-like meltdown, it is radically clear to me that the show is cursed," Sheen told People magazine.

Jones, who plays the half man in Two and a Half Men and is paid a reported $350,000 an episode, also has his family worried.

His mother, Carey told the Mail Online: "I'm concerned he's being exploited by the church."

The actor says he turned to religion after his parents' divorce. "When I look back now I see that ... the enemy was trying to push me in a different direction, but God ... pulled me out right at the last second," he says.

Jones, who plays the half man in Two and a Half Men and is paid a reported $350,000 an episode, suggests in his testimonial that TV can have a damaging effect on viewers' psyche and that some shows are evil.

"If you watch Two and a Half Men, please stop watching Two and a Half Men. I'm on Two and a Half Men. I don't want to be on it. Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth, please," he says.

"People say (TV) is just entertainment. The fact that it's entertainment - do some research on the effects of television and your brain and I promise you, you'll have a decision to make when it comes to the television and especially with what you watch on the television. It's bad news," he says.

Angus Jones with his mentor. Jones says Hudson's ForeRunner Chronicles are packed with great information. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

In one of his videos, Hudson claims that Jay-Z called his latest album The Blueprint 3 because "the blueprint albums are special markers indicating Jay-Z's progress in his obtaining degrees in the secret order known as the Freemason".

In another video he claims to have exposed Barack Obama's pro-gay agenda and likens the President to Hitler. "Obama's Christianity is just a thin veneer to mask his espousal of the New Age agenda."

He claims that reports of Osama bin Laden's death last year were part of a conspiracy (Bin Laden actually died in 2007, he claims) and that Michael Jackson's death was a distraction for the Pope's call for a "new world order."

And the gas crisis in New York sparked this outburst: "If the trucks are cut off you're going to start eating something if you don't control your appetite and your baby might start looking like a chicken wing."

Hudson also believes masturbation is an unnatural act and claims he is still a virgin.

Jones' future with Two and Half Men hangs in the balance but he is yet to talk to the show's bosses about his outburst or whether he will actually be leaving.

"(He) is in showbiz limbo, because he hasn't quit Two and a Half Men and show execs haven't fired him after he trashed the show," reports TMZ.

Hudson claims Jay-Z is a Freemason who is in league with Satan. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

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Crane fire at UTS sparks traffic chaos

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 27 November 2012 | 20.01

A scramble for safety in Sydney as a crane takes aim at the UTS building. Vision Channel 7

Nick Whyte from the ground manages to film a crane next to the UTS tower catch fire and then moments after it suddenly collapses.

The crane up in smoke. Picture: John Grainger Source: The Daily Telegraph

Emergency services were at the scene of the burning crane. Picture: John Grainger Source: The Daily Telegraph

The fire sparked on the 65 meter crane. Picture: John Grainger Source: The Daily Telegraph

5.54pm update: SYDNEY'S CBD has been thrown into traffic chaos after a crane fire and job collapse in Ultimo this morning.

Motorists are facing extensive delays across Sydney, compounded by the breakdown of three city buses earlier in the day.

Transport Management Centre spokesman David Wright said traffic flow in Sydney's CBD "started to go pear shaped'' when three State Transit buses broke down on Clarence St, Erskine St and Druitt St about 8am.

He said city-bound buses were delayed by up to an hour.

"That's when it all started to go pear shaped,'' Mr Wright said. "We were still dealing with the fall out of that when the crane fire which blocked Broadway which exacerbated those delays.''

The Transport Management Centre said road closures in the city and Ultimo near Broadway have caused massive delays, advising advised motorists to use the following routes:

- Exit the CBD via the Anzac Bridge using Pyrmont Bridge Road and Market Street;

- Access the Sydney Harbour Bridge via Harbour Street, Macquarie Street, Eastern Distributor or Cross City Tunnel.

- Bus passengers can use their bus ticket for travel on Sydney Ferries and CityRail trains across the entire Sydney metropolitan area.

Across Sydney, Henry Lawson Dr is blocked southbound at Georges Hall following a multiple vehicle accident near Beale St, with traffic diverted into Georges Cr and Haig St.

In St Ives, traffic lights are blacked out on Mona Vale Rd at Link Rd after a truck brought down power lines, causing traffic bedlam and significant delays.

A car and motorbike crash on the Princes Highway near Engadine Ave in Engadine has brought southbound traffic to a standstill, with queues stretching back to Old Bush Rd.

South bound traffic has eased on Lane Cove Rd at at Riverside Dr after an earlier truck breakdown.

Twenty workmen ran for their lives after the crane crashed into the University of Technology Sydney.

The fire and collapse brought traffic to a standstill at UTS just after 10am when the city's Parramatta Rd at Broadway was closed for hours.

Even after the road was reopened, traffic was chaotic, with many motorists slowing as they drove past the scene.

Angry construction workers said they had walked off the job three weeks ago with safety concerns about the crane claiming it was dripping diesel.

"We asked for something to be done about it but nothing was done," union state secretary Brian Parker said.

A 20 metre boom crashed into the building earlier this morning. The crane is the biggest industrial crane in Sydney's city.

The workmen were working on the building when the crane exploded into flames.

"The crane was in the air and you just heard the cable snap one by one," a witness told the Daily Telegraph.

"The crane then crashed into the building which the guys were working on."

100 people were evacuated from the site and another hundred were evacuated from the area. Emergency crew members said the position where the crane crashed is making it stable.

A workman has been injured after he was hit on the shoulder by one of the snapped metal cables.

The crane driver ran down from the cabin just 10 minutes before the crane was engulfed by flames.

Earlier, eight fire crews raced to Broadway following reports a high crane inside a construction site opposite the university just after 10am.

About 1000 litres of diesel which powers the generator sparking the fire caused the cables to snap.

About 20 firefighters who attempted to climb the boom to extinguish the flames quickly ran down from the unsafe crane and instead allowed the fire to extinguish itself.

At 11am, smoke was still issuing from the crane deck but the flames have since subsided.

The top of the crane was on fire and the flames were clearly visible from the ground.

"It has the potential to be quite a large fire because of building material nearby,'' a NSW Fire Brigade spokesman.

Traffic chaos: Red indicates heavy traffic. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Sydney's CBD has been thrown into traffic chaos following the crane fire. Three buses broke down in the city blocking main streets, a truck blocked main roads in Auburn and a horse strayed across the M4.

The breakdown of three buses on clogged city streets this morning has gridlocked large parts of the CBD, causing delays of more than an hour.

State Transit buses entering Sydney's CBD from across the Harbour Bridge are being diverted to North Sydney station, while traffic entering the city across Anzac Bridge is also affected.

Around Wynyard Station, Clarence Street and Erskine Street were closed for parts of peak hour after buses struck mechanical failures.

Keep up to date on the latest bus cancellations and diversions here.

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Heroic mum murdered for standing up to gangs

Former Mexican Mayor and anti-drug campaigner Maria Gorrostieta.   

A WOMAN hailed as a heroine for fearlessly standing up to Mexico's brutal drug cartels has been found tortured and beaten to death at the side of a road.

Dr Maria Santos Gorrostieta, 36, the former mayor of Tiquicheo, west of Mexico City, had survived two assassination attempts and the murder of her first husband.

The mother of three and her second husband, Nereo Delgado Patinoran, were abducted nearly two weeks ago. He is still missing.

Dr Gorrostieta pleaded with her captors for her young daughter to be spared, the Daily Mail reported.

She was abducted right after dropping her daughter off at school. She begged the drug gang to leave alone the little girl, who cried for her mother as she was driven away,

Dr Gorrostieta was killed by a blow to the head. But she had also been stabbed, her legs and hands had been bound and her waist and chest were covered in burns, suggesting she had been tortured.

Her body was found by residents of San Juan Tararameo who were heading to work in the fields.

Dr Gorrostieta was once described as a "heroine of the 21st century" for standing up against the drug cartels who have turned large areas of Mexico into a war zone.

In October 2009, gunmen opened fire on her car, wounding her and killing her husband, Jose Sanchez.

Three months later, a masked group carrying assault rifles ambushed her van, firing 30 shots. She was hit by three bullets and this time her injuries were more severe, leaving her scarred and in constant pain.

In a famous act of defiance, Dr Gorrostieta posed for pictures, showing the extent of her wounds to draw attention to the brutality of the drug gangs. She ran for the Mexican Congress but failed to win a seat.

More than 50,000 people have been killed in clashes between drug cartels and Mexico's security forces since President Felipe Calderon ordered a clampdown in 2006.

More than 20 mayors have been murdered.

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Bondi beach on toxic red alert

Karina Newmarch and her daughter Isabella check out the algal boom at Clovelly Beach. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph

The red aglae bloom forced the closure of Bondi beach this morning. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: News Limited

SEVERAL popular Sydney beaches, including the iconic Bondi, resembled scenes out of a apocalyptic film today after an algae bloom turned the water blood red.

Patches of the red algae, a natural phenomenon that can be exacerbated by certain weather conditions, were sighted between Bondi Beach and Maroubra Beach this morning.

Both Bondi Beach and Clovelly Beach were closed while authorities conduct tests in the water.

Gordon's Bay was also closed due to the algal bloom, with Beachwatch posting a photograph on Twitter showing water the colour of tomato juice.

Waverley head lifeguard Bruce Hopkins said the bloom was spotted drifting off the north side of Bondi Beach at around 6.30am.

"It has got quite a fishy smell to it,'' Mr Hopkins told AAP.

"It can irritate some people's skin but generally not much more than that.''

Mr Hopkins said the bloom has a "reddy-purple'' tinge and sits on the surface like oil sheen.

The bloom was dissipating off Bondi, with hopes the beach might be reopened by this afternoon, he said.

Red algae was uncommon but not unheard of at Bondi, Mr Hopkins added.

A seagull searches for a meal in the algal bloom which has killed many fish on the coast of Sydney. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph

At just before 12.30pm Beachwatch NSW announced that Clovelly Beach had also been closed because of the bloom.

The closures will come as a blow to tourists and other beachgoers if they continue throughout a week which is forecast to have soaring temperatures peaking at more than 40C on Saturday.

A Randwick Council spokesman said red algae can potentially be dangerous to humans exposed to it.

"There are some possible risks to human health from red algae including skin rashes and eye irritation, and for this reason the beach will remain closed until the algae dissipates,'' the spokesman said.

"Signage has been installed at Clovelly Beach, and council lifeguards are advising people not to swim.''

The red algal bloom at Clovelly beach. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph

A spokesman for the NSW Office of Water said testing was being done to discover what caused the bloom.

One cause, he said was an upwelling of colder nutrient-rich water.

He said algal blooms, sometime referred to as "red tides'', are more common around spring and autumn when there are higher water temperatures and greater movements in ocean currents.

The NSW Office of Water expects the test results some time on this afternoon but could not confirm the beaches would be opened by the end of the day.

It comes after toxic algal bloom was detected in Botany Bay, south of Bondi on Friday.

That particular species of algae produced paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins, the NSW Department of Primary Industries said.

The NSW Office of Water spokesman said the two blooms were "probably not related'', but were unable to confirm further details until test results on the algae at Bondi became available.

While many locals have been deterred by the phenomenon, many people - believed to be tourists - are still swimming in the water.

The red algal bloom at Bondi Beach. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Daily Telegraph

Bondi local Michael Strum said the algae had stopped him swimming in the water.

"It looks like pink sludge, it's disgusting,'' he said.

"You can even see it on the sand.''

Irene Eristian, 33, said the colour of the water was "quite intense''.

"I wasn't sure if I should let my daughter into the water as I wasn't sure what it was,'' she said.

Some, like 18-year-old Bondi woman Josie Capel, said she was curious to find out what the effects are and "what the risks are, if there are any''.

Late this afternoon Bondi beach was reopened after the algae bloom broke up sufficiently to allow swimmers to safely return to the water.

A spokeswoman for Waverley Council said most of the algae had either washed up, or broken up in the water.

Further south, Clovelly beach remains shut.

It is believed the red algae will continue to break up overnight, with Waverley Council not expecting to need to close beaches again tomorrow.

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How bosses pick the employees they promote

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 26 November 2012 | 20.01

Companies need to know who their leaders of the future are and nurture them. Picture: Thinkstock Source:

LEADERS of tomorrow could be buried in companies who don't have the management skills to unearth hidden gems and recognise rising stars.

While most businesses talk about employee engagement and development, many don't have a strategy to identify their best employees, often investing in office self-promoters and corporate psychopaths.

"The wrong people do sometimes get to the top of organisations – and more frequently than we feel comfortable about," Professor David Clutterbuck, a world expert on leadership and management, recently told the HRIZON human resources conference in Melbourne in September.

"Organisational psychopaths get to the top of organisations and ruin everything while they are doing it."

To prevent that, companies need to know who their leaders of the future are and nurture them.

"What businesses have got to look at doing is equipping their managers to be talent scouts," says Mark Busine, General Manager of DDI, experts in talent management.

"They need to have a better set of criteria to identify who is a hidden gem and has the potential to grow, lead and bring out the best in others."

One of the biggest management mistakes, Clutterbuck pointed out, is when managers are asked to describe what they are looking for when they promote people and they say 'someone like me.'

"Companies need to approach finding the talent within their organisations as a process, we spend a lot of time on other processes, but often not on people," Busine says.

Here are 7 ways to help rising stars make sure they aren't shot down or overlooked when it comes to being singled out as a future leader...

Can you take to feedback and constructive criticism? "You will get staff members who are really vocal about what they have achieved or have done, but when you give them feedback, they reject it," says Busine. That's the mangers cue to reject you as a potential leader of the future...

Great employees show initiative rather than just sit back and hope someone else will solve the issue for them or give them a step up. Ask your boss if you can become involved in new projects, get onto training programmes and be exposed to how management works.

Do you have an aptitude for learning new skills, technology and programmes? "Managers should be looking for learning agility here," says Busine. "They want people who can learn quickly and adapt to new environments."

Try to get a full understand of what talent actually means to the organisation you are working for. Ask your boss or the HR department to give you information on what is valued and what skills they believe the company will need in the future.

Getting results is great, but not if it is at the expense of the values of the organisation you are working for. "An employee may get results, but they could be leaving a trail of disaster," warns Busine.

If you want to be a future leader, then you need to show you are a team player; share your success, give credit to others, be inclusive and don't blame other people for failures. You will be demonstrating to your boss that are good at building relationships and it will also help to build your good reputation too.

Can you deal with complex issues and problems? You may know that you can, but you need to demonstrate that to your manager if you want to move up the chain.

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Ajay reveals Biggest Loser secrets

Ajay Rochester has lashed out at former winner Adro Sarnelli and revealed some of the secrets used to achieve weight loss on the show. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: The Sunday Telegraph

Adro Sarnelli won the first season of The Biggest Loser in 2006. Picture: Channel 10 Source: The Daily Telegraph

FORMER Biggest Loser host Ajay Rochester has lifted the lid on some of the secrets of the show in an online tirade against former winner Adro Sarnelli.

Rochester lashed out on her personal blog after Sarnelli referred to her as "massive" in a Facebook post, calling his comments "disgusting, pathetic and sad".

But during the online stoush, Rochester revealed some of the extreme and unhealthy dieting practices used on the show to achieve maximum weight loss.

The former host said producers allowed contestants to complete their final weigh in days before the grand finale went to air, in order to let them recuperate from their starved state and look fresh for the cameras.

"I also remember how you (Sarnelli) presented yourself at your final weigh in (behind closed doors and a few days before filming so contestants had time to recover and look healthy)," Rochester said on her blog "You were starving, pale, had shallow breathing, low blood pressure, cracked lips and you were unable to stand on your own two feet – hardly a great advertisement for healthy weight loss."

She also accused the season one winner of using drugs to drop significant amounts of weight.

"All the contestants begged me to ask the producers to have you drug tested. I took that request to the producers and was told they didn't want to know the truth, they just wanted a good winner and told me to shut up and go away. This was one of the many problems I faced in the job I became known for being difficult in... because I spoke up when I felt it was wrong or that we were being deceitful."

Rochester also claimed that Sarnelli had bullied producers and threatened them with legal action after he was voted off.

"It's funny, I REMEMBER how you got back into Biggest Loser to make it to the final four," Rochester wrote. "Adro, if you remember, you were eliminated by the game and fellow contestants but you threatened the producers with a court case and all sorts of things, which in the first year of a show, a costly court case and scandal was not what they wanted or needed to make the show a success. You forced them into giving you another chance, threatening to make trouble for them and so they rewrote the series and gave you a second chance, reluctantly. You think you won that fair and square?"

But in lashing out at the 2006 winner, she also revealed some of the other tricks used by contestants before their final weigh-ins.

"I complained when I had to participate in a cover up for the contestant (who also went on to win) who drank bottles and bottles of tea tree oil (and whose relative was caught smuggling more in) to lose gross amounts of weight and more."

Tea tree oil is reportedly used as a slimming agent to reduce craving of food and water.

She also accused former contestant Sam of spiking people's drinks by switching the labels on full-fat and low calorie chocolate topping.

"If there was ever an opportunity to complain about getting kicked out that was it," she said.

Sarnelli later replied to Rochester's claims on his Facebook page.

"As for you making it personal Ajay yes me getting voted out was contested and the reason you already know was because the biggest loser asked us to make the show 2 weeks longer and filled it with returned guests!" he wrote. "One of who voted me out! You know that had we said no we couldn't commit to the extra 2 weeks when they asked us way before it happened that the show would've ended with me Fiona and Kristy in the final 3. Fair??? I think not.

"With the finale, I got there because I pushed my body to its absolute limits, it was a game show and I was in it to win it….I owned my body and made it win.

Sarnelli also told Confidential: "She has made some pretty ridiculous allegations here. I made the mistake of using the word 'massive', which I probably shouldn't have. But the point I was making was that it's a shame Ajay hasn't been able to keep the weight off ... I know as much as anyone how frustrating it can be."

The Biggest Loser will be back on our screens on Network TEN in 2013.

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Witness: I remember the smile on his face

The man accused of murdering Daniel Morcombe will face his committal hearing on Monday.

FOLLOW our rolling coverage of the Daniel Morcombe case on Tuesday as committal proceedings of accused murderer and child abductor Brett Peter Cowan take place in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

4.33pm: Dr Bennett told the court the shoes found at the crime scene had the same ''wear patterns and angulation'' as Daniel's other shoes.

Court has now adjourned for the day, with Mr Bosscher set to continue the cross examination of Dr Bennett tomorrow.

4.11pm: In cross examining, Mr Bosscher said Dr Bennett was given a pair of shoes that Daniel had worn two years earlier to compare with the shoes found at the crime scene.

He asked whether shoes Daniel had worn as an 11-year-old would have had a different wear pattern, given his weight, height and the length of his gait would have been different.

''(It) would or could have had an effect on any comparison,'' Mr Bosscher said.

''To a limited degree,'' Dr Bennett replied.

3.29pm: The third witness to be sworn in is Dr Paul Bennett, a forensic podiatrist.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe in front of a painting of their son. PIC: Megan Slade

Dr Bennett was asked by police to examine the shoes recovered from the Glass House Mountains to see whether it could be determined if they belonged to Daniel.

''(I look at) the size and the magnitude of the wear patterns,'' he said.

Dr Bennett told the court there were ''some wear characteristics evident'' on the right shoe and both would have been worn by someone aged 12 or 13.

He said he could see from the wear on one shoe that the wearer had ''muscle tightness'' in the back of the leg but agreed that other wear patterns could have been caused by ''environmental perish''.

2.56pm: Mr Meehan said there were discrepancies in Ms Cummins recollections of where the man had been standing outside the car.

He said given her description, the man would have had to have been standing behind the car, out of her view.

Ms Cummins agreed that her statement could have been confused, insisting that the car had not been blocking her view.

''He look neat and clean - he wouldn't be working with tools,'' she said.

Daniel Morcombe went missing while waiting for a bus at the Kiel Mountain overpass bridge Woombye. Picture: John Wilson

She said she thought at the time that perhaps the man was an uncle picking the boy up.

''I saw the child walking to the car,'' Ms Cummins said.

''When I watched the scene I watched a child being picked up and I saw him being invited to the car.

''I thought maybe I shouldn't watch.

''I felt uneasy because I shouldn't have been watching.''

2.47pm: The court has now moved on to the cross examination of its second witness, a Marian Cummins in Noumea, who is giving evidence via video link.

The court heard Ms Cummins provided police with information that led to a sketch or ''comfit'' image being produced.

Tim Meehan, for Bosscher Lawyers, representing Cowan, said Ms Cummins provided a statement to police in May, 2004, about an old blue station wagon she saw five months earlier - on December 7 - while being driven by her husband.

''It was stopped not in a normal way,'' Ms Cummins said.

''It was stopped to pick up somebody.

''Because it was someone picking up a child, I took time to look at it.

''It was off the main road.''

Ms Cummins said media reports describing the clothing Daniel had been wearing prompted her to call police.

''The colour of the clothes reminded me that this was the child I saw.''

Mr Meehan said Ms Cummins described in her statement seeing two people - aside from the child - at the car.

''One outside standing up and I presume there was one inside (the car),'' Ms Cummins said.

''I could only see the silhouette.

''I remember the face of the person standing up and the smile on his face.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the Daniel Morcombe Foundation office in Maroochydore. Picture: Glenn Barnes

''(It was) inviting.

''He realised that I was watching. He looked in my direction.''

2.24pm: The court was shown photographs of items of clothing found near a small wooden bridge on Coochin Creek.

A pair of dark shorts remained largely in tact, as did a dark belt.

But the remains of a pair of underpants were almost unrecognisable, with only the waistband and edging left.

1pm: Court breaks for lunch.

12.54pm: Another bone fragment was found at a "cluster site" on September 9 after police went back to search to a deeper level.

It was the last find for police, although they would continue the search for more than a month.

Another crime scene had been set up in the Coochin Creek area, where police divers had found the remains of a pair of underpants in the creek bed in late August.

A later search, where divers felt their way down to 25cm under the sand-based creek bed, turned up a Rip Curl t-shirt, a belt and some fabric.

''Later on, we did excavate the creek itself and found nothing,'' Insp Van Panhuis told the court.

12.23pm: More bone fragments were found on September 3, as police called back a geotechnician to help them narrow down search zones.

Mr Bosscher described it as a ''cluster'' of bone fragments, all found within a metre of each other.

''We were having results, so we decided to continue with the same search methodology,'' Insp Van Panhuis said.

''The remains we were finding were exceptionally fragile.

''If we entered into a search methodology using mechanical means, we would have risked damaging them.''

On September 4, another six ''items of interest'' were found. The court heard two of those items have never been identified.

Three days later, following a ''walk through'' by police, it was decided that one of the crime scenes had been ''exhausted'' and no further searches would take place.

Police had scoured sand, a well and tobacco drying sheds during the search.

It was also the crime scene that had previously held the demountable - later renovated and moved off site.

Carpet that once lined the floor of the demountable was taken and forensically tested but nothing arose from those tests, the court heard.

11.57am: By September 1, police had uncovered partial bone fragments in the mud further north in the search zone.

By now, police were using bobcats and other machinery to dig up the earth.

They also searched a disused sand mine, where they had to dig to a depth of about a metre.

Police divers searched a dam, moving between 10 to 15m from the bank.

''There was no area of high priority - the entire area was a high priority,'' Insp Van Panhuis said.

10.58am: Mr Bosscher said the locations of the shoes and the first bone to be discovered were not found at the exact spot where police had been told Daniel's remains were located.

He said the items could not have moved from the place where police concentrated their search, by the flow of water.

''For the bone to be located where it was, it certainly couldn't have ended up there by water,'' he said.

''If that was flow, it was going against the flow.''

Insp Van Panhuis agreed, saying it was "highly unlikely".

He said it was also "highly unlikely" the shoes had been moved by the flow of water.

On August 21, another bone was found.

10.46am: The court was shown a close-up image of the shoe as it was found partly buried in mud.

''As you can see, it is clearly visible through the top there,'' Insp Van Panhuis said.

As excavation work continued, investigators were able to make out the brand name "Globe" on the shoe.

That was the only discovery for police on August 17, the court heard.

The following day, the search was condensed even further on the small dam area.

On August 20, the second shoe was found.

Photographs and plaster casts were taken of the shoe's tread pattern in the soil.

Later that day - and some distance from the second shoe - search parties found a human bone.

''That was part of the SES, hands and knees, shoulder to shoulder (search)?'' Mr Bosscher asked.

''Yes,'' Insp Van Panhuis replied.

''And those were the only two items found that day,'' Mr Bosscher added.

10.28am: By August 17, SES volunteers continued with their laborious search of an area around a small dam, designated as the "priority" search area.

Mr Bosscher said police knew at that time the dam area was the "most likely" area where Daniel's remains would be found.

"Police were in possession of information that that was the likely place where remains would be found," he said.

Mr Bosscher asked Insp Van Panhuis whether that was the reason for the great majority of search crews being sent to the dam area.

He agreed.

It was on this day that search crews found the first ''item of interest'' - a shoe.

The court was shown a photograph of a muddy patch of swamp where the shoe was found.

10.18am: Police were told by a hydrologist that the Brisbane floods would have had little effect on spreading human remains, despite the Glass House Mountains crime scene areas being under 2-3m of water at the time.

''Our information from the hydrologist was that the water raised and then lowered but there wasn't that much flow,'' Insp Van Panhuis said.

''(Search crews were on their) hand and knees, shoulder to shoulder, going to a depth of about 15cm.''

He said those digging were doing so in areas that were ''hugely overgrown'' with large amounts of leaf litter.

10.05am: On August 14, the court heard, police went to an address on Mill St, Landsborough, where police spoke to the owner of a demountable shed.

Insp Van Panhuis said the demountable had been moved from another location to the Mill St address, where it was extensively renovated.

''Discussions were held about what had occurred in that demountable,'' Mr Bosscher asked Insp Van Panhuis.

He agreed, but said the building was of no forensic value because it had been "extensively" renovated, including the walls having been replaced and chemicals used during the refurbishment process.

9.48am: Inspector Arthur Van Panhuis said police initially did a "surface search" of an area of the Glasshouse Mountains when they moved in, to look for remains on August 13, 2011.

''Just a quick look over the surface to see whether there was anything visible,'' he said.

From there, police used excavators and sandbags to prevent water from coming into certain areas as the search intensified.

One officer on scene was trained in the archeology of human remains, but police soon called in experts to provide assistance.

They included university experts who specialised in DNA, a channel morphologist, who studies the movement of water, a hydrologist, animal behaviourists, and a staff member from the Department of Fisheries to provide advice on the behaviour of marine wildlife.

At this point, the court heard, the search was focused on a small dam area.

9.30am: The first witness to take the stand is Inspector Arthur Van Panhuis, a forensic police officer.

Michael Bosscher, for Cowan, has asked the officer to look at a map of the Glasshouse Mountains where markings show where "items of interest" were located.

"There were three crime scenes in relation to this particular map," he said.

The court heard nothing of significance was found at "Crime Scene 1", other than pieces of carpet that Daniel had been buried in.

9.18am: Charges have been read against accused murdered and child abductor Brett Peter Cowan as committal proceedings begin in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Chief Magistrate Brendan Butler told Cowan he was facing five charges relating to the death of Sunshine Coast teenager Daniel Morcombe.

Daniel, 13, was abducted from a Sunshine Coast bus stop on December 7, 2003.

Cowan was charged with his murder in August, 2011. A week later human remains were found in the Glasshouse Mountains.

Chief Magistrate Brendan Butler told Cowan he was charged with ''enticing away'' Daniel on December 7, 2003, depriving him of his liberty, unlawfully and indecently dealing with the teenager, murder and interfering with a corpse.

The court has heard 52 witnesses will be cross examined in the coming weeks.

9am: As court proceedings began this morning, Daniel's parents were told they were allowed to remain in the court room.

Earlier, Daniel Morcombe's family have been told they may have to leave court when a committal hearing against the man charged with their son's murder starts in Brisbane.

Daniel's parents, Bruce and Denise, and brothers, Dean and Bradley, plan to attend the committal of 43-year-old Brett Peter Cowan, who is accused of abducting and killing the Sunshine Coast teen in 2003.

But they have been told they might be excluded from part of the hearing by Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan Butler because, under the Justices Act, potential future witnesses can be excluded from observing proceedings whilst other witnesses are giving evidence.

Mrs Morcombe said she wanted to hear the evidence rather than "have to read about it" but her husband said he was preparing for the worst.

"Part of the preparation for the committal has been getting into the mental state to accept the judge saying 'can you please remove yourself from court'," Mr Morcombe said.

"I'm only interested in what the judge says because he has to make that call.

"If we are allowed to stay, there are no special privileges or reserved seating for us but we'd certainly like to observe justice being served."

It is understood the court is considering streaming proceedings on television screens outside the court room due to limited seating.

The first two weeks of the committal will adjourn on December 7, the ninth anniversary of Daniel's disappearance, and resume for two weeks from February 4.

This first week is expected to centre on the scientific evidence with experts from forensic laboratories in New Zealand, Melbourne and Adelaide testifying via video-link.

Mr Morcombe said the DNA evidence could be crucial to securing the release of Daniel's remains.

"If the evidence is sound, let's have Daniel's remains released with haste," he said.

A number of witnesses, including those who say they saw Daniel at the Woombye bus stop from which the 13-year-old vanished, will be cross-examined by Cowan's defence team.

Police witnesses - including Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon and a senior detective, Grant Linwood - will give evidence in a closed court in February.

Cowan, who has been in custody since his arrest in August last year, will be present for the hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Defence lawyer Tim Meehan, of Bosscher Lawyers, said Cowan was keen for the evidence to be heard.

"He's just really keen to get into court," he said.

"We've been working very hard on this for a very long time and we're looking forward to having the matter litigated in the courts."

Mr Meehan said his team, who will be challenging the prosecution's DNA evidence, had not yet ordered their own DNA tests on Daniel's remains.

"We need to see where the evidence lies at the end of the committal proceedings and make a determination from there," he said.

"Nothing has been undertaken at this stage."

- additional reporting by Kristin Shorten

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Royal romances rife in Sydney

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 25 November 2012 | 20.01

Royal Zara Philips talks to 60 Minutes about how she met husband and rugby player Mike Tindall at Manly Wharf Bar in Sydney.

Zara Phillips and rugby player Mike Tindall celebrate their wedding last year. Picture: Splash News Source: Supplied

HANG around the right bars in Sydney and the next person to ask if you'd like a drink could be royalty. Or a drunk rugby player.

The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips has revealed she met her future husband, Mike Tindall, at the Manly Wharf bar in Sydney as he drowned his sorrows.

She told 60 Minutes that the romantic encounter took place during the 2003 Rugby World Cup and that Tindall was trying ease the pain of being dropped from the England squad before the semi-finals.

"It kind of went from there," she says in an interview to be aired tonight.

The Manly Wharf bar is a favourite with English tourists and rugby fans, but that isn't to say it isn't classy, which probably saves the royal family from a bit of shame.

The couple's love for each other blossomed and they married last year, with Tindall claiming that it was his "pure charm" that won her heart.

The Phillips-Tindall romance isn't the first royal romance Sydney has had a hand in. Crown Princess Mary famously met her future husband, the heir to the Danish throne, at the Slip Inn during the Sydney Olympics.

What makes Phillips' first encounter with Tindall amusing is that Prince Harry was involved. Harry introduced the drunk rugby player to his cousin at the bar. Phillips should be thankful - the prince's choice of suitor could have been a lot worse.

Mind you, Tindall did get caught cavorting with a blonde girl at a New Zealand bar during last year's World Cup and he did buy Phillips a £2.99 card from a supermarket to mark their one-year anniversary.

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Arafat's body to be exhumed in probe

The body of Yasser Arafat will exhumed to determine how the Palestinian leader died. Source: AP

THE remains of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed on Tuesday as part of a renewed investigation into his death, a Palestinian investigator says.

Arafat died in November 2004 in a French military hospital, a month after suddenly falling ill. Palestinian officials claim he was poisoned by Israel, but have not presented evidence. Israel has denied such allegations.

Earlier this year, the detection of a lethal radioactive substance in biological traces on Arafat's clothing sparked a new investigation. Tests were inconclusive, and experts said they need to check his remains to learn more.

On Tuesday, Swiss, French and Russian experts will take samples from Arafat's bones, said Tawfik Tirawi, who heads the Palestinian team investigating the death.

Arafat will be reburied the same day with military honours, but the ceremony will be closed to the public, Mr Tirawi told a news conference.

Forensic experts are slated to exhume the body of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat to investigate claims he was killed by radioactive poison. Lindsey Parietti reports.

Earlier this month, workers began prying open the concrete-encased tomb in Arafat's former government headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Palestinian Authority, the self-rule government in the West Bank, had hesitated before agreeing to exhume the remains, in part because of cultural and religious sensitivities.

Since mid-November, the gravesite has been surrounded with a blue tarpaulin and roads leading to the Arafat mausoleum were closed.

Arafat is still widely revered in the Palestinian territories, and Palestinian officials said they don't want the process observed by media and others.

Forensic experts will take samples from Yasser Arafat's remains as part of an investigation into his death.

The new probe into his death began this summer, after a Swiss lab discovered traces of polonium-210, a deadly radioactive isotope, on clothes said to be his.

The clothes were provided by Arafat's widow, Soha, and given to the lab by the Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera.

Separately, Mrs Arafat asked the French government to investigate, while the Palestinian Authority called in Russian experts.

Arafat's death has remained a mystery for many.

While the immediate cause of death was a stroke, the underlying source of an illness he suffered in his final weeks has never been clear, leading to persistent conspiracy theories that he had cancer, AIDS or was poisoned.

Many in the Arab world believe Arafat, the face of the Palestinian independence struggle for four decades, was killed by Israel.

Israel, which saw Arafat as an obstacle to peace, vehemently denies the charge.

There is no guarantee the exhumation will solve the mystery.

Polonium-210 is known to rapidly decompose, and experts are divided over whether any remaining samples will be sufficient for testing.


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'Julia Gillard knew nothing'

The PM's former lover says she "knew absolutely, categorically nothing" about the union fraud scandal. Courtesy: Weekend Today

Bruce Wilson at his NSW home. Picture: Liam Driver Source: Herald Sun

Mr Wilson says Prime Minister Julia Gillard knew nothing about the AWU scandal. Source: PerthNow

JULIA Gillard's ex-lover Bruce Wilson has declared the Prime Minister knew nothing about a 1990s union fraud scandal.

Speaking out for the first time the former Australian Workers Union boss said Ms Gillard "knew absolutely, categorically nothing" about the affair.

Mr Wilson - who now works as a cook on the Central Coast - said: "They can go on a witch-hunt for as long as they like and they will find nothing that will do her (Gillard) any harm.

"It's just a waste of time, they will find nothing."

Mr Wilson also rounded on the union bagman Ralph Blewitt, attacking his former mate as a "very risky" person for Ms Gillard's critics to rely upon.

"Relying on Ralph to be your star witness is a very, very risky strategy," Mr Wilson told The Sunday Telegraph.

"It's not one I would be prepared to take."

Mr Wilson - referring to those who are pursuing the AWU story - said "there is a group of people who are being funded by God knows who - good luck to them".

"But they are going to come unstuck - big time."

The Prime Minister has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the establishment of a union slush fund when she worked as a lawyer in the 1990s.

As the Coalition warned the issue would dominate parliament during the final sitting week and accused the Prime Minister of "stonewalling", the Treasurer also attacked the credibility of Mr Blewitt.

Mr Blewitt, a self confessed patron of Balinese brothels and union bagman has admitted he's "no angel".

And Penelope Lennon, Mr Blewitt's younger sister who said she been estranged from Mr Blewitt for years, said she wouldn't trust his evidence.

"I haven't changed my mind. He is a crook," she told The Sunday Telegraph yesterday.

"They should lock him up and throw away the key."

Mr Blewitt told The Sunday Telegraph: "I have a sister and others tipping the bucket on me right now. It's a private family matter, we haven't seen each other for 35 years."

Mr Blewitt's Australian ex-wife, who asked not to be named, also confirmed that she had no idea Mr Blewitt had bought a house in Melbourne in the 1990s with union cash despite the fact they were married at the time.

Previously, Mr Blewitt has conceded he has used the services of prostitutes but rejects suggestions he is a "sex predator" as claimed by the humorous political website Vex News.

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Taser cops struck twice in the one night

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 24 November 2012 | 20.01

Damian Ralph and Daniel Barling were involved the Taser incidents of Roberto Curti (bottom left) and Marcello Jimenez (R). Source:

  • Man, 27, Tasered on same night as Roberto Curti
  • Marcello Jimenez victim of "unwarranted" Taser use
  • Two officers were involved in both incidents

TWO police officers under investigation over the death of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti had been at the scene of another Taser shooting in the area just hours beforehand, a court has heard. can reveal the then Probationary Constable Daniel Barling and Senior Constable Damian Ralph were part of a group of officers who helped break up a fight using a Taser in the early hours of March 18, Downing Centre Local Court heard.

Today magistrate Janet Wahlquist dismissed four charges against the victim, Marcello Jimenez, after ruling the use of the Taser had not been warranted, with police using "very poor judgment" during the arrest in Sydney's CBD.

In summing up the prosecution's evidence in the three-day hearing, Ms Wahlquist said the now Constable Barling had noted some of his recollection had been affected "because it was the same night a Brazilian student had been tasered and died".

Constable Barling is among five officers criticised by NSW Coroner Mary Jerram over the death of Mr Curti, 21, who was tasered after stealing two packets of biscuits from a convenience store after taking LSD.

In handing down her findings earlier this month Ms Jerram noted: "Nothing excuses his five ... deployments (of the Taser) in the drivestun mode. He must, or should, have known that they would cause pain, hence causing more struggling, be unlikely to subdue, and were unnecessary."

In the case of Senior Constable Ralph his "use of OC spray was unnecessary and excessive, and aggravated rather than subdued Roberto".

The Police Integrity Commission is set to hold hearings into the controversial incident.

Ms Walhquist said today's case, where Jimenez was fighting two charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police, hinged on whether the use of the Taser had been warranted.

"Is it reasonable to fire a Taser into someone's back without warning?" she said.

"It would be a fairly long way down on the list of the items that police would resort to to take control of the situation.

"I'm not satisfied that the use of the Taser was warranted. What flows is that the police were not acting in the execution of their duty."

Jimenez had earlier pleaded guilty to a single count of affray and released on a 12-month good behaviour bond. He was also fined $500 and had a conviction recorded.

Outside court the 27-year-old, who received a number of serious facial injuries during the arrest told he was grateful he had escaped Mr Curti's fate.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said. "I was lucky that didn't happen to me."

Before his arrest Jimenez had drunk up to 10 beers at an afternoon barbecue, then another "six or seven" at a club after heading into town with friends.

When officers arrived he was yelling abuse and facing off against other men outside Scruffy Murphy's Hotel in Goulburn St, the same place where Mr Curti had earlier met friends to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

The court heard it was a Constable Hugh Michelson who fired the Taser at Jimenez and CCTV footage revealed he had not identified himself as an officer before shooting.

The footage also showed the heavily intoxicated Jimenez had his back to police and it was possible he had not seen them arrive, Ms Walhquist ruled.

The incident happened just a few blocks away from where Mr Curti died.

The magistrate noted Jimenez sustained "significant injuries" from numerous elbow strikes and hammer fists to his face, neck and chest during his arrest and transportation to Surry Hills police station.

Ms Wahlquist said she had "significant concern about the judgment" in the use of the Taser and the officers' subsequent actions.

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Baby declared dead comes to life

Chicago family celebrates the miracle birth of their baby after doctors told the parents that their baby had died during birth. Source Fox News

Baby Noah Ignacio Guzman was declared dead in his mother's womb by two doctors but came to life. Picture: FoxNews Source: Supplied

  • Two doctors said that  the baby had died in the womb
  • Doctors were operating on the mother when the baby gasped

A BABY who was declared dead inside of his mother's womb is being called a miracle.

Noah Ignacio Guzman was born at Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago, on Thanksgiving Day, ABC7 reported.

Dr Kimberly Sampson, of Sinai Medical Group, said: "It's a miracle - you can't say anything other than that."

The baby was not alive when his mother Jocelyn Robinson and father Ignacio Guzman arrived in an ambulance at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Noah's mother was suffering severe complications.

"I was scared... I really, really was," said Robinson.

Doctors immediately did an ultrasound.

"I had to sort of be very honest with her and say: we don't have a heartbeat," said Dr Sampson. She called a second doctor.

"Another doctor came in and said, 'I'm sorry, your baby passed. We can't find the heartbeat.'"

Mr Guzman said when he was told the awful news, he began to cry.

The medical team sought to save Ms Robinson. The placenta had blocked her cervix - a condition called placenta previa. Doctors began surgery when Dr Sampson noticed the baby gasp.

"The baby did it again, and as quickly as we could possibly - I almost felt like I was throwing the baby at the nurse - like, quick, the team just responded immediately," said Dr Sampson.

Noah, weighing 2.2kg, is now in intensive care. But he is alive.

"They told me he was alive, so it was wonderful - you know, everybody's happy, everybody's crying now, because it was life," said Mr  Guzman.

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Dallas star Hagman dead at 81

Larry Hagman, the star of the TV series Dallas,  has died at 81. Source: Supplied

  • Actor underwent cancer treatment last year
  • Role as J.R. Ewing made him one of TV's biggest stars
  • Co-stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray 'with him when he died'
  • Gallery: Larry Hagman remembered

DALLAS star Larry Hagman has died at the age of 81.

Hagman, famed for playing the villainous oil baron J.R. Ewing, passed away at a Dallas hospital after losing his battle with cancer. 

"When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones,'' the star's family said in a statement. "It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for.''

According to the statement, Hagman died late on Friday afternoon at Medical City Dallas Hospital.

"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,'' the statement said.

Larry Hagman with his co-stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, who were at his bedside when he died, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January.

"Larry's family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday.''

Hagman's Dallas co-stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy, who played his wife Sue Ellen and brother Bobby, were at his bedside when he died, The Sun newspaper reported.

Barbara Eden, Hagman's co-star in I Dream of Jeannie, paid tribute to the actor on Twitter, describing him as "the Texas Tornado".

"Not just a great actor, not just a television icon, but an element of pure Americana," Eden tweeted. "I'll miss him." 

She later wrote: "Amidst a whirlwind of big laughs, big smiles and unrestrained personality, Larry was always, simply Larry."

WATCH this iconic clip to the original series of Dallas where JR gets shot in his office.

Hagman revealed last year that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, saying: "As J.R. I could get away with anything - bribery, blackmail and adultery. But I got caught by cancer."

He underwent treatment for his cancer and was back filming the new Dallas series in January, reprising his role as the legendary villain who TV viewers loved to hate.

Hagman, who was born in Forth Worth, Texas, shot to fame in 1965 when he landed the role of Anthony Nelson, Barbara Eden's "master", in the popular sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

His role as the scheming oil tycoon JR Ewing in Dallas, which debuted in 1977, made him one of the biggest stars of television. In the final scene of the 1979 season, Hagman's character was shot by an unknown assailant, launching the landmark "Who Shot JR" storyline and breaking ratings records.

Larry Hagman played the notorious Texan oil tycoon JR Ewing in the long-running hit series Dallas.

In 1995, Hagman had a liver transplant after nearly 50 years of alcoholism. He later revealed how he used to down bottles of champagne on the Dallas set.

"I was loaded all the time, all the time, all during Jeannie, all during Dallas I was loaded," he told the BBC in 2001.

"I never got sober. Do the first scene, get it into the can, hopefully by nine o'clock and so I'd reward myself, I'd open a bottle of champagne and start to imbibe."

Hagman, whose mother was Broadway star Mary Martin, married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson in 1954 and the couple had two children. Maj was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008.

A heavy smoker as a young man, he later quit and recorded several public service announcements pleading with smokers to stop and urging non-smokers never to start.

WATCH as Larry Hagman stars along side Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie.

Dallas the iconic American drama TV series that revolves around the Ewings returns to television in a new series for 2012.

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Gastro outbreak hits cruise passengers

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 23 November 2012 | 20.01

The Voyager of the Seas, which cruised into  Circular Quay last night, has been hit by a gastro outbreak. Picture: Bill Hearne Source: News Limited

Guests on board the mega liner who began to feel unwell after boarding today were offered a free consultation at the medical centre. Source: Supplied

BOARDING of the mega liner Voyager of the Seas was thrown into chaos yesterday following an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness thought to be norovirus.

Some 135 passengers already aboard the ship, which arrived from New Zealand on Thursday, were struck by the illness, along with eight staff, a spokeswoman confirmed, adding this was about 4 per cent of the ship's guests.

"Those affected by the short-lived illness have responded well to over the counter medication administered on board the ship"' Royal Carribbean said in a statement late yesterday.

Queues at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay stretched hundred of metres as frustrated new passengers were kept waiting for hours.

The company tried to distance yesterday's long boarding delays from the illness outbreak, saying the two were unrelated. This contradicted earlier advice given in writing to boarding passengers.

A spokeswoman for the ship's owners Royal Caribbean said the queues winding around Circular Quay were mostly the result of thousands of new passengers disregarding allocated staggered boarding times.

A statement issued yesterday afternoon said thousands of new passengers for an overnight cruise had instead arrived early and en masse, in the hope of getting aboard ahead of their allocated time.

Earlier in the day, however, boarding passengers were given a statement which gave the norovirus outbreak as the reason for the delay in boarding.

Passengers were asked to fill out forms revealing whether they had recently suffered from gastro or flu-like symptoms.

Those who ticked `yes' were taken aside for medical check ups.

"In an abundance of caution, we are conducting some enhanced cleaning onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal ... To help prevent any illness from affecting your cruise," said a statement from owners Royal Caribbean.

But many passengers said they were not informed of the outbreak or any other the reason for the delay.

Passenger Hayley Walls of Brisbane, who was travelling with a friend, said she wasn't informed about the situation.

"Nobody said anything to us about it, we didn't receive any paper informing us either," she said.

"I wondered what was going on, why they were cleaning so much."

She said they had waited for an hour and a half in the line, without the delay being explained.

Another passenger, Anne, of Newcastle, also said she wasn't informed.

"Nobody said anything about it, I had no idea. People were complaining about the long line and the wait for rooms to be ready," she said.

"I'll make sure to wash my hands a lot."

Passengers were unable to enter their cabins upon boarding and were instead directed to the Windjammer restaurant.

Rooms that were meant to be ready at 1pm were closed for cleaning until 4pm.

Passengers waiting to board the Voyager of the Seas this afternoon were left in the queue for hours after an outbreak of gastro on board. Picture: Sophie Schneider Source: Supplied

Some in the long queues winding around Circular Quay became increasingly frustrated. Staff were handing out information sheets explaining the gastro breakout, which Royal Caribbean said had been limited to "a small percentage of guests."

Guests on board who began to feel unusual after boarding today were offered a free consultation at the medical centre.

Those who felt uncomfortable cruising following the gastro scare were offered replacement cruises at a later date.

Voyager of the Seas, the largest mega liner to call Australia home, cruised into Sydney Harbour on Thursday night for her debut season.

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Author Bryce Courtenay dead at 79

Watch a video message recorded two weeks ago from the master story-teller Bryce Courtenay to his readers.

  • Much-loved writer penned 21 works in 24 years
  • Born storyteller died peacefully at Canberra home
  • Prolific author described as "latter-day Charles Dickens"
  • Timeline: Bryce Courtenay's life

BEST-SELLING Australian author Bryce Courtenay has died at the age of 79, his family has confirmed.

The South African-born Courtenay, who moved to Australia in the 1950s, had been suffering from stomach cancer.

He died yesterday at 11pm at his home in Canberra with his wife Christine, his son Adam, and pets by his side.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard this afternoon offered her condolences to the family of Courtenay.

"Bryce Courtenay is such a well known name to Australians and much loved," Gillard said today.

Best-selling author Bryce Courtenay has died at his Canberra home.

"Millions of people have loved to read his books and absorb his stories.

"Bryce Courtney came to Australia from South Africa and the way in which he told that tale of apartheid really helped people understand at a human level what apartheid meant and what a great evil it was.

"He has delighted Australians and people around the world with his story telling.

"I want to pass my condolences on to his wife Christine and his sons Adam and Brett. "

Bryce Courtenay and his wife Christine in September 2012. Picture: Penguin Books

Obituary: Bryce Courtenay a great story teller

Courtenay penned 21 works including The Power of One, The Persimmon Tree and Jessica

A statement from Penguin Books said the much-loved writer had passed away peacefully with his wife Christine, his family and his beloved pets by his side.

Christine Courtenay said: "We'd like to thank all of Bryce's family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of his extraordinary life.

Bryce Courtenay. Picture: Tim Bauer

"And may we make a request for privacy as we cherish his memory."

Courtenay published his 21st and final book, Jack of Diamonds, on November 12.

Bob Sessions, Courtenay's long-standing publisher at Penguin, today paid tribute to the author, who took up writing  writing in his 50s after a successful career in advertising.

"He was a born storyteller, and I would tell him he was a 'latter-day Charles Dickens', with his strong and complex plots, larger-than-life characters, and his ability to appeal to a large number of readers," Sessions said.

Bryce Courtenay in Sepember 2012. Picture: Penguin Books

"Virtually each year for the last 15 years, I have worked with Bryce on a new novel. He would write a 600-page book in around six months, year in, year out.

"To achieve that feat he used what he called 'bum glue', sometimes writing for more than 12 hours a day.

"He brought to writing his books the same determination and dedication he showed in the more than 40 marathons he ran, most of them when he was well over 50. Not to have a new Bryce Courtenay novel to work on will leave a hole in my publishing life. Not to have Bryce Courtenay in my life, will be to miss the presence of a very special friend.''

Timeline: The life of Bryce Courtenay

Courtenay, a father-of-three, soared to the top of the bestseller charts with his 1989 debut, The Power of One, which was subsequently made into a film starring Morgan Freeman.

At the time, he was married to his first wife, Benita, who he met while studying journalism in London in 1955. He followed her to Australia, the pair were married in 1959 and had three sons - Brett, Adam and Damon.

Damon, who was born with haemophilia, contracted HIV/AIDS through an infected blood transfusion in 1991 and died at the age of 24. Courtenay's 1993 bestseller April Fool's Day, was a tribute to his youngest son.

Courtenay continued to churn out bestsellers almost every year for two decades including The Potato Factory and Tommo & Hawk.

As with most of his books, his final novel, Jack of Diamonds, featured a talented young protagonist fighting the odds to reach great personal and professional heights amidst adversity.

The novel - Courtenay's 21st in 24 years - drew on his love of music and his own experiences working in a Rhodesian mine as a teenager.

Courtenay  became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 and was also honoured with a postage stamp after being named an Australia Post Literary Legend.

with Fran Metcalf

A tribute to Bryce Courtenay to which he reflects on his personal achievement as a novelist and thanks you for sharing his life stories.

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