Powered By Mamamn!

Telstra faces $80m hit to earnings

The competition watchdog’s push to make Telstra cut prices for other telcos accessing its copper wire network could affect future investment decisions and eat into profits.


Telstra estimates that the ruling by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last Friday will cut $80 million from the telco’s revenue and earnings.

Chief executive Andy Penn, who on Tuesday addressed his first Telstra annual general meeting since becoming chief executive in May, said the telco was considering an appeal against the ACCC’s order for a 10 per cent price cut.

Mr Penn said any regulated entity should be concerned by the ACCC’s decision, which went against the watchdog’s own principles.

Those principles should allow a regulated company investing in infrastructure, such as Telstra, to recover the costs of providing that infrastructure to every body that uses it.

Otherwise, investment in important infrastructure was unlikely to be made.

“If we’re not able to recover the costs, which is what the principles say, then obviously that has to influence decisions in the future,” Mr Penn told reporters after the meeting.

“The short-term implication is that it impacts Telstra’s profitability by up to $80 million in FY16 (2015/16 financial year).

“But it also introduces price instability during an important period to the NBN (National Broadband Network), so I don’t think it could be good for anybody.”

Telstra had argued that the migration of services to the NBN meant it had to charge its remaining fixed line customers more to maintain the same level of service.

Telstra had 211,000 NBN customers at June 30.

Mr Penn said a separate ACCC ruling on wholesale prices for mobile terminating access services would reduce revenue by $350 million but not have a material effect on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Telstra made a $4.23 billion profit in 2014/15, and lifted total dividends for the year to 30.5 cents per share, up 3.4 per cent on the prior year.

The telco also completed a $1 billion share buy-back.

The annual gathering of Telstra shareholders was a surprisingly short and tame affair, given that the telco has such a large base of “mum and dad” investors.

Questions on the company’s business and financial reports opened with more than a minute of silence from shareholders, and the five subsequent questions from the floor required barely 20 minutes in total to cover.

Parliament to crack down on tax dodgers

The federal government will be seeking the opposition’s support for new laws that crack down on tax-dodging multinationals but Labor looks to be on its own pursuing Malcolm Turnbull over his offshore investments.


There are hopes that the four-day sitting of the lower house starting on Monday will also bring a breakthrough in talks between the government and Labor on passing the China free trade agreement.

Senators will quiz ministers and senior officials in a week of estimates hearings.

Labor spent much of last week’s parliamentary question time attacking the prime minister for making personal investments in the Cayman Islands.

But Deputy Greens Leader Scott Ludlam didn’t think it was a good idea trying to make Mr Turnbull the “poster boy” for multinational tax avoidance.

Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm thought it was “embarrassing” and didn’t think there should be a debate about the prime minister’s wealth.

Labor’s Ed Husic defended the attack saying it is all about options for people, some of which have been taken away by the coalition government, like superannuation contributions for lower income families.

Tax changes introduced by former treasurer Joe Hockey on September 16 will be a priority for the sitting week as they are due to start on January 1.

The bill imposes stronger penalties on large companies that engage in tax avoidance and profit shifting, and introduces country-by-country reporting to give tax authorities greater visibility of multinationals tax structures.

The laws will apply to 1000 large multinationals operating in Australia with annual global revenue of $1 billion or more – companies that pose the highest risk to Australia’s tax base.

Senate estimates hearings will kick off with the environment committee examining the environment department, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and climate-related agencies.

The financial and public administrations committee will examine two parliamentary departments, the Parliamentary Budget Office, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, auditor-general and ombudsman.

The Australian Border Force, which began on July 1, will face its first estimates hearing along with the immigration department and officials from Operation Sovereign Borders.

The rural and regional affairs and transport committee will start its hearings on Monday looking at the infrastructure department and its agencies.

Growing threat from teen radicals

Proposed terror laws to restrict the movements of children as young as 14 were prompted by increasing intelligence from security agencies about the growing threat of teen radicalisation.


The latest national counter-terrorism laws, which among other things would reduce the age from 16 to 14 at which control orders can be applied to terror suspects, have drawn the ire of civil liberty groups as well as cross-bench senators.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has also raised concerns and stopped short of guaranteeing support for the proposed laws, which were announced on Monday night, saying the government must be careful not to “ostracise young people or push them further into the arms of those who would do harm to Australian society and Australians”.

But the head of the federal parliament’s key security and intelligence committee says there is a growing body of evidence that tougher laws are needed.

“There is, as far as I understand it, evidence that’s coming through from the agencies and from the police saying, ‘Look we have to do something now about people aged 15 and 14,'” said Liberal MP Dan Tehan, who chairs the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.

“It’s very sad that this is what’s happening and that people are deliberately going out and grooming these children.”

Mr Tehan’s comments on Tuesday follow similar warnings from ASIO chief Duncan Lewis, who has previously described it as “heart-breaking” that children as young as 14 are being targeted by terror groups such as Islamic State, also known as ISIL.

Attorney-General George Brandis said he is comfortable with 14-year-olds being detained without charge, pointing to the execution-style murder on October 2 in Sydney’s west in which 15-year-old Farhad Jabar shot dead a NSW Police civilian employee.

“Sadly, the Parramatta shooting shows that people younger than 16 are capable of being inspired to commit terrorist crimes and the law must reflect this reality,” Senator Brandis told AAP.

The announcement of the new laws on Monday night came after NSW Premier Mike Baird wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling for the control-order age to be lowered following the Parramatta shooting.

Senator Brandis insisted the laws would include “protections and safeguards for minors”, including limiting the capacity of police to question or deal with suspects “in a way that is regarded, given the age of the person, to be unreasonable”.

Mr Shorten said Labor is willing to work with the government on the new laws, but will not be offering “an automatic agreement”.

“So whilst on one hand it sounds draconian to have control orders on 14-year-olds, I also get that the police are trying to work through the issues,” Mr Shorten said.

Bret Walker SC, a former independent national security legislation monitor, said there is “justification” in lowering the age of those who can be covered by a control order but he warned that authorities could also justify lowering it further when “something is perpetrated by someone even younger”.

“We need to brace ourselves for what happens when a 12-year-old is discovered doing something that ought to be the subject of questioning,” Mr Walker said.

A final draft of the counter-terrorism bill will be sent to state and territory governments this week, with the federal government wanting the legislation dealt with by the parliament before the end of this year.

Search called off in Canada boat sinking

Five Britons have died and a sixth person, believed to be Australian, is missing and feared dead after a whale-watching boat carrying 27 people capsized near Vancouver Island off Canada’s Pacific coast.


The search and rescue operation was called off on Monday after 21 survivors were plucked from the water, Lieutenant Commander Desmond James of he Coast Guard’s rescue centre in the provincial capital Victoria told AFP.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police dive team later took over, scouring the ocean bed and the rugged coastline nearby for any sign of the missing sixth person, who has yet to be identified.

AAP has been told by the family of a Sydney man, 27, that he was on the boat with his girlfriend and her family when it went down.

Her father was one of five British citizens confirmed dead.

Officials admitted there was little chance the passenger would be found alive, almost 24 hours after the Leviathan II sent out a distress call to say it was sinking.

“We still remain hopeful, but we have to assume the worst,” said RCMP Corporal Janelle Shoihet.

Federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigators, meanwhile, secured the site of the wreckage.

In London, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the four men and a woman who perished in the capsize were all British citizens.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of all those affected by this terrible accident,” Hammond said in a statement.

Two of the victims were Canadian residents while the other three were tourists, said the British Columbia coroner’s office.

They were aged 18 to 76.

The Leviathan II went down some 12 kilometres off Tofino, a resort town on the western edge of Vancouver Island.

Owned by Jamie’s Whaling Station and Adventure Centres, the 20-metre cruise vessel was reportedly out on one of its last tours of the season, which ends October 31.

“This particular boat has done this exact same trip for 20 years twice a day. Yesterday was no different than any other day,” said tour company owner Jamie Bray.

But for reasons yet unknown, the ship capsized in waters less than seven metres deep, its bow remaining visible above water.

Locals told Canadian media the vessel may have hit rocks.

“It’s much too early to say what the causes of this accident might be,” said TSB Director of Marine Investigations Marc Andre Poisson.

A company spokeswoman said the incident happened “so quickly” that the crew was unable to send out a distress signal.

Once in the water, the crew set off flares that attracted the attention of local aboriginal fishermen nearby.

Eighteen people were hospitalised, several suffering from hypothermia, media said.

“The response here has been nothing short of phenomenal, the way that people are bringing out blankets and clothing and food, donating what they can and offering all of the services that they have,” Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne told broadcaster CTV.

“Tofino’s thoughts and prayers are with passengers, crew, emergency responders and their families. Thank you all for your messages of support,” she wrote on Twitter.

A “shocked and saddened” prime minister-elect Justin Trudeau offered his thoughts and prayers to passengers, the crew and families of the victims.

An employee who answered the phone at Jamie’s Whaling Station said the company was focused on the passengers and crew.

Tofino is a popular surfing and whale-watching town near the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Jamie’s Whaling Station, one of the area’s largest tourist boat outfitters, was hit by a deadly tragedy once before, in 1998.

According to TSB records, two of the four people aboard a whale-watching ship, Ocean Thunder, died after a “large swell wave struck the boat from the port side.”

Pioneering female jockey not ready for pasture yet

When Debbie Waymouth started riding race horses, a career as professional jockey was closed to women.


“When I was 13 my Dad needed a track rider so good ol’ Debbie would do it and I remember saying to Dad ‘How do I pull him up at the winning post?’ and he said ‘Oh he’ll stop at the winning post’,” said Waymouth of her first ride.

Waymouth competed in the women-only races in the 1970s, known colloquially as the Powder Puff Derbies.

And while it was a thrill to compete against a full field, she said it was frustrating to see winning horses advance to bigger races while their jockeys could not.

“You’d get offered rides and you’d win on them and then they’d go into other races that were only for men,” she said.

“So you sort of missed out that way.”

But in 1989, she had her first chance to race against the men.

“It was Balnarring Cup day, I had three rides and I was lucky to ride three winners and I rode the Balnarring Cup winner and that was a really big thrill,” said Waymouth.

Now 60 years old, Waymouth is entering her forty-second year on the circuit and still can’t be caught.

This year she took out the Healesville Cup on Tearaway Tommy, a horse trained by her daughter Rebecca Waymouth.

The mother and daughter jockey and trainer team is unusual in the industry.

“It certainly bucks the mould but hey we can’t all be the same,” said Rebecca Waymouth.

The first official licenses for female jockeys were given out in 1979, and since then the number of women apprentices coming in to the sport has reached par with the men in many states.


The sport of kings is fast becoming the sport of queens.

“We definitely have a high number of applicants and currently more than 40 per cent of our apprentices are female, and since 2011 it averages about 50 per cent the intake,” said Melissa Weatherley from Racing Victoria.

In the past two years, five female jockeys have been killed.

But Ms Weatherley insists the sport is just as dangerous for men as it is for women.

Related reading

“They were unfortunate and they were all really unusual situations and we work really hard to always be improving the safety for our participants,” she said.

“I don’t think it had a negative outcome in terms of applications – we still have, if not as many, more female jockeys applying for our apprenticeship program.”

And the new recruits are likely to have Debbie Waymouth to contend with.

The veteran sayid she was still not ready to hand in her reigns

“Every time I think I might Becky gets another horse and I think ‘Oh yes that’s a nice horse I’ll give it another go.'”

Related reading

Australian travellers heading to Europe to help migrants

But she’s told SBS none of what she saw there compared to the scenes she’s witnessed on the Greek island of Lesbos where she is working with aid agency Medecins du Monde Greece.


“In terms of the amount of people and the injuries that we’re seeing and how destitute they are, and the sad looks on their faces and the sheer shock of what they’re going through. It’s really sad,” she said

Related reading

Dozens of refugees including many children have died trying to make the short but perilous journey from Turkey to Greece’s outlying islands in recent months, often in overcrowded inflatables.

More than half a million people, many of them fleeing Syria’s civil war, have managed to reach Greece on that route on their way to central and northern Europe.

Ms Zahos said in recent days at least seven people had died, including two babies who died on arrival.

She said despite the tragedy of the stories, she’s heartened by the response of many Greeks on the island who are doing what they can to help.

“People leaving garage doors open so they can shelter, handing out food, volunteering and making soup, and even handing out clothes. There was one man as we were bringing the boat that were running down with his own towels from home trying to dry children off.”

European Union and Balkan leaders have agreed to a 17-point plan to manage the movement of refugees and migrants through the Balkan Peninsula.

Measures agreed on include 100,000 places in reception centres be made available along the route from Greece to Germany – half of them in Greece, and the other half in countries to its north.

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said it was also agreed that the EU’s border agency Frontex would strengthen border management.

Migrants ‘particular concern’ for bushfire season

Are you prepared for bushfire season?

With scientists warning Australia is headed for a major El Nino, more hot spells and a raised bushfire risk are predicted this summer.


Migrants are being encouraged to get educated about the dangers and what to do in an emergency.

Phillippa Carisbrooke reports.

Bushfires are a reality in Australia.

In primary school, children are taught about the dangers of life in the so-called sunburnt country and how to protect themselves.

But many migrants miss out on those important life lessons.

That concerns consultant psychologist Rob Gordon, who has advised governments on how to help people affected by disasters.

“It’s very important that people who come from other cultures really be aware they’ve got to actually really try to understand this phenonomen in a way that’s more intensive than for people who’ve just had it all their lives.”

Over the last 32 years, Dr Gordon has helped countless bushfire survivors and their families.

He says it is significant that the migrants he has worked with have tended to be city dwellers who encountered trouble during trips to the country.

“Very often, the areas I’ve been involved in (that were) affected by bushfires don’t have very high populations of recent immigrants. They’re sort of rural areas or outer-suburban areas, and so it’s not such a factor. But I think visiting is a major problem, particularly if they’re not well aware of danger.”

The Australian Red Cross has released a new four-step, emergency-preparation guide to help people survive disasters, including bushfires.

It advises people to learn the risks they face and connect with members of their communities so they can help each other in case of emergencies.

The Red Cross’s Emergency Services National Preparedness Coordinator, John Richardson, says, for new arrivals, it is a good conversation starter.

“We would certainly encourage them to talk to their own community associations or people from their community who may have lived in Australia for some time. We’re aware that, certainly, the Fire Services will have information translated into other languages.”

The Australian Psychological Society Disaster Reference Group says children living in areas vulnerable to bushfire should be involved in their households’ preparations.

Senior psychologist Susie Burke says it gives them a greater sense of control and eases their fears.

Dr Burke says carers should be mindful that, in an emergency, even children not directly threatened can become anxious listening to media reports and hearing adult conversations.

“We call that a vicarious distress. But it can be quite powerful for children. It can be quite unsettling. And so, in that situation, one of the things that we recommend parents do is to reassure the children that they themselves are safe and that the people they love and care for are safe.”

A schoolgirl’s account of Victoria’s worst bushfire, the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, illustrates a person does not need to be in the centre of an emergency to be traumatised by it.

This is what she wrote:

“Personally, I was safe. I lived two kilometres from the heart of Traralgon … However, it was terrifying … The sky glowed … Embers showered down over our driveways and gardens. It was apocalyptic … Radios everywhere blurted out round-the-clock updates, and we all listened carefully to the names of tiny towns and held our breath at the news of another victim.”

In all, 173 lives were lost in the Black Saturday bushfires.




AFL 2016 fixture elements emerge

The New Zealand experiment is in jeopardy, Carlton are banished from the Friday night spotlight and the AFL will trial Kevin Sheedy’s new big idea.


These are the latest developments as the league drip-feeds features of the 2016 fixture ahead of Thursday’s announcement.

The AFL also released the pre-season schedule on Tuesday, with new AFL coaches Brendon Bolton and Don Pyke to go up against their old clubs in the first round of the pre-season cup.

Bolton’s Carlton will open the 27-game schedule on February 18 in Launceston against three-time premiers Hawthorn.

Bolton made his name as an assistant coach at the Hawks before landing his first senior job with the Blues.

Similarly, Pyke will be in charge of Adelaide for the first time in a home game at suburban Unley Oval on February 21 against losing grand finalists West Coast.

Pyke, a two-time West Coast premiership player, left his assistant role at the Eagles to take over the Crows.

Another notable feature of the pre-season cup will be John Worsfold’s first game as Essendon coach, on February 28 against Carlton at Visy Park.

The last regular-season game between the two fierce rivals at Visy Park was round 10, 1992.

It has also emerged that the Blues will go from six Friday night games this season – which became contentious when they played so badly – to none next year.

The closest they will come to the marquee time slot is when they open the season with the traditional Thursday night blockbuster against Richmond at the MCG.

Also, the AFL website reports that St Kilda’s Anzac Day match in NZ will not go ahead next year after negotiations with Christchurch’s city council did not work out.

The Saints have played Anzac Day matches in Wellington for the past three years, but the crowd has dropped each time.

They hope to eventually play matches in Auckland.

“While we will not play a match in NZ next season, we are in positive discussions about growing the game of AFL in NZ and capitalising upon the growing support for AFL in Auckland in particular,” Saints chief executive Matt Finnis said.

And the round-four match between Essendon and Geelong at the MCG will be the AFL’s inaugural country game.

The match will honour Australia’s farmers, with the Yarra Park around the ground to host a country festival.

Sheedy was a key figure in the AFL’s latest themed game.

He also had a major role in the creation of the Essendon v Collingwood Anzac Day blockbuster – now the AFL’s biggest match outside the finals – and the Dreamtime At The ‘G indigenous match between the Bombers and Richmond.

The pre-season cup will run until March 13, with each team playing three matches over four weekends.

The Blues and Tigers will open the regular season on Easter Thursday, March 24.

Sirtex eyes markets in China, Japan

Cancer treatment biotech Sirtex Medical wants to expand into China and Japan.


Sirtex Medical’s lead product is a targeted radiation therapy for liver cancer, called SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres.

The microspheres deliver substantial doses of radiation directly to inoperable cancer tumours in the liver.

A major clinical study has shown that the microspheres, when combined with standard chemotherapy, are able to hold back the growth of liver tumours.

“We continue to investigate the expansion of our innovative SIR-Spheres microspheres product into additional markets, including formulating the most appropriate entry strategies for the potentially large markets of China and Japan,” Sirtex Medical chief executive Gilman Wong said on Tuesday.

Mr Wong told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Sydney that the incidence of primary liver cancer in China was more than 10 times greater than in the United States.

The incidence of colorectal cancer was about double that of the US.

Japan the second largest medical device market in the world, was a high-priced market.

“Both markets therefore represent attractive, long-term opportunities for Sirtex,” Mr Wong said.

Sirtex also wants to extend the use of its product outside the liver and into organs such as the kidney.

Sirtex achieved record growth in dose sales of the microspheres in fiscal 2015.

“I am pleased to report that the 2016 financial year has commenced strongly, with global dose sales thus far tracking slightly ahead of our expectations,” Mr Wong said.

He said that in September Sirtex sold more than 1,000 doses globally – the first time sales had passed that level in a single month.

Sirtex generated a 69 per cent lift in net profit to $40.3 million in fiscal 2015.

Hundreds die in Afghanistan-Pakistan quake

The death toll could climb in coming days because communications were down in much of the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range where the quake was centred.


In one of the worst incidents, at least 12 girls were killed in a stampede to flee their school building in Taloqan, just west of Badakhshan province where the tremor’s epicentre was located.

“They fell under the feet of other students,” said Abdul Razaq Zinda, provincial head of the Afghan National Disaster Management Agency, who reported heavy damage in Takhar.

Shockwaves were felt in New Delhi in northern India and across northern Pakistan, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them. No deaths were reported in India.

“We were very scared … We saw people leaving buildings, and we were remembering our God,” Pakistani journalist Zubair Khan said by telephone from the Swat Valley northwest of the capital Islamabad.

“I was in my car and, when I stopped my car, the car itself was shaking as if someone was pushing it back and forth.”

0:00 Share

No Australians seeking Asia quake help

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was not aware of any Australians seeking consular help after the Afghanistan-centred quake, which has toppled buildings and knocked out power.

The United States and Iran were among countries that offered to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, which already depends heavily on foreign aid after decades of war that have wrecked its economy and infrastructure.

The quake was 213 km (132 miles) deep and centred 254 km (158 miles) northeast of Kabul in Badakhshan province. The U.S. Geological Survey initially measured the magnitude at 7.7, then revised it down to 7.5.

Just over a decade ago, a 7.6 magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people.

Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & expressed condolences on the loss of lives due to the quake. Offered all possible assistance from India.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 26, 2015

In Afghanistan, where rescue and relief work is likely to be complicated by security threats created by an escalating Taliban insurgency, more than 50 people were reported dead in several provinces including Badakhshan, where hundreds were killed in mudslides last year.

Hundreds of houses were destroyed, creating additional hardship with wintry temperatures setting in.

Remote areas cut off

In Pakistan, the head of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Disaster Management Agency, Amer Afaq said the death toll had reached 167, while military spokesman General Asim Bajwa said nearly 1,000 were injured.

Officials said most of the casualties had occurred in northern and northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan and the death toll was likely to rise.

Dr. John Ebel, chairman of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College in the United States, said the depth of the earthquake had limited its severity and meant damage was likely to be spread broadly rather than focused in one disaster zone.

But he said landslides on the unstable slopes of the mountainous region could pose a major problem to rescuers in the coming days.

“Obviously if a landslide comes in to a village, it will take out buildings, but landslides can also take out roads and communications and power systems, so you lose the ability to access remote areas,” he said.

In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was ready to provide emergency shelter and relief supply kits to alleviate immediate hardship.

In Pakistan, the northern area of Chitral, where 20 people were killed, was particularly hard hit.

Journalist Gul Hammad Farooqi, 47, said his house had collapsed. “I was thrown from one side of the road to the other by the strength of the earthquake. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said.

“There is a great deal of destruction here, and my house has collapsed, but thankfully my children and I escaped.”

Further south, the city of Peshawar reported two deaths and at least 150 injured people were being treated at the city’s main hospital, the provincial health chief said.

In Afghanistan, international aid agencies working in northern areas reported that cell phone coverage in the affected areas remained down in the hours after the initial quake.

“The problem is we just don’t know. A lot of the phone lines are still down,” said Scott Anderson, deputy head of office for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Kabul.

Badakhshan provincial governor Shah Waliullah Adib said about 1,450 houses had been destroyed.

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives there and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed there.

The Hindu Kush mountain region is seismically active, with earthquakes the result of the Indian subcontinent driving into and under the Eurasian landmass. Sudden tectonic shifts can cause enormous and destructive releases of energy. 

The #earthquake caused panic among the residents of #NewDelhi Details: 杭州桑拿,杭州夜生活,/KneAMzko1Y pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/qEILi10nQx

— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) October 26, 2015

Sydney man feared dead in boat sinking

An Australian man is missing feared dead and five British nationals have died after a whale watching boat sank off Vancouver Island.


AAP has been told by the family of a Sydney man, 27, that he was on the MV Leviathan II with his girlfriend and her family when it went down.

Her father was one of five British citizens confirmed dead.

The parents of the missing Sydney man were desperately trying to arrange an emergency passport on Tuesday to travel to Canada.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was providing consular assistance.

The ages of the four men and one woman, two of whom were Canadian residents, ranged from 18 to 76.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have sent an underwater recovery team to search for the missing man, with assistance from the Coast Guard and local search and rescue personnel.

“We still remain hopeful, but we have to assume the worst,” said RCMP Corporal Janelle Shoihet.

The others onboard were rescued, some by members of the local indigenous community who rushed to help, but the cause of the sinking is not known.

The 20-metre boat sent up a flare late on Sunday afternoon on a calm, clear and sunny day 12km off Tofino, a resort town on the western edge of Canada’s Vancouver Island.

The boat, undertaking one of the last tours of the whale-watching season, capsized in waters less than 10 metres deep, raising suggestions it may have hit rocks.

Jamie Bray, the owner of the operating company, is cooperating with investigators.

“Traumatised would be an appropriate word. Disbelief,” Mr Bray told reporters of the capsizing.

The boat – which had 24 passengers and three crew – had visited the area almost every day for the past 20 years with an unblemished safety record.

“This is something just totally out of the blue,” Mr Bray said.

He said life jackets are not worn on ships that have enclosed compartments in the event of a sinking because of the difficulty they cause in trying to exit a vessel.

“On larger vessels we’re not required to have the passengers wear the life jackets. On smaller open boats they are,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed in a statement that the five killed were UK nationals.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of all those affected by this terrible accident,” Mr Hammond said.

Marc-Andre Poisson, from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, said it was too early to say what were the causes and contributing factors.

The company has been involved in two previous incidents.

In 1998 one of its vessels capsized during an excursion, sending all four people on board into the water, resulting in the deaths of the operator and a passenger.

In 1996, a boat operator fell asleep and ran into rocks. The boat was destroyed and the operator was seriously injured but there were no passengers on board.

Warning to limit ‘carcinogenic’ red meat

Australians don’t need to stop eating red meat but should limit their intake, say experts responding to international research showing it can cause cancer.


A World Health Organisation review has found that processed meats like sausages and ham cause bowel cancer, and red meat “probably” does too.

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) analysed 800 studies from around the world.

Cancer Council Australia recently released research estimating that more than 2600 bowel cancers diagnosed nationally in 2010 were attributable to processed and red meat consumption.

The organisation’s Kathy Chapman on Tuesday said red and processed meats were associated with around one in six bowel cancers diagnosed in Australia.

“It might be the high fat content, the charring in the cooking process or big meat eaters missing out on the protective benefits of plant-based foods or a combination of these factors,” she said.

“Whatever the mechanism, eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help you to moderate your intake of processed and red meats and can also help to protect against cancer.”

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s recommends people eat no more than 65 to 100 grams of cooked red meat, three-to-four times a week.

Ms Chapman said lean red meat was a source of iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein, but heavily processed meat was nutrient poor by comparison.

But she also said the red meat risk should be put in a context, noting the Australian research had found 11,500 cancer cases each year are caused by tobacco, 3900 were linked to obesity and overweight and 3200 to alcohol

UNSW Professor Bernard Stewart, who chaired the IARC review group, says the evidence didn’t support complete abstinence from red meat.

“We aren’t recommending a ban on bacon or taking the beef off the barbecue altogether,” he said.

“But this latest advice should help make Australians more aware of the cancer risks associated with long-term excess red meat and processed meat consumption.”

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said Australians shouldn’t be concerned by the WHO research.

“If you got everything that the WHO said were carcinogenic and took it out of your daily requirements, well, you are kind of heading back to a cave,” he told ABC radio.

Veterans Affairs Minister Stuart Robert said the answer probably lay in the middle.

“I like bacon and eggs and you can’t have a good Saturday morning breakfast with the kids without bacon and eggs, but I wouldn’t be eating it every day,” he told Sky News.

“Everything in moderation and generally you don’t have a problem.”

Meat & Livestock Australia noted the nation’s red meat dietary guidelines, saying its consumption can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

“Red meat such as beef and lamb is a critical, natural source of iron and zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 – essential nutrients needed to keep the body and brain functioning well,” a spokesman said.

“Children and women are eating less than the recommended amount of red meat and one in five women have some form of iron deficiency.

“When it comes to prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, the evidence suggests a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle is critical – focusing on only one kind of food is not enough.”

Pistorius may appeal prison release delay – lawyer

The board on Monday upheld a decision by South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha, who intervened in plans for Pistorius’ release to say the law requires the athlete to serve a sixth of his sentence before parole can be considered.


Pistorius was due to be released into house arrest in August after serving 10 months of a five-year sentence. His parole hearing was conducted before he had served six months.

“We are considering our position,” Pistorius’ solicitor Brian Webber told Reuters when asked if they would appeal the decision.

The family of the Paralympic gold medallist, whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, said in a statement on Tuesday that they were “concerned about the legality” of the parole decision and believed Pistorius was being unfairly treated.

“This experience leaves us with the uncomfortable conclusion that the public, political and media hype that was allowed to develop around Oscar’s trial has undermined his right to be treated like any other prisoner,” the statement said.

Pistorius was found guilty in September 2014 of culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter, after he fired four 9mm shots through a locked toilet door on Feb. 14, 2013 killing model and law graduate Steenkamp.

At a globally televised trial, he argued that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar.

Prosecutors are appealing the verdict, arguing it should be murder because Pistorius must have known that the person behind the door could be killed, regardless who it was. The appeal is due to be heard on Nov. 3.

A panel of five judges will hear the appeal. The judges could either reject the prosecution’s appeal, order a retrial or convict Pistorius of murder themselves, legal experts say.

(Reporting by Joe Brock and Siyabonga Sishi; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Previous Posts