Klaus Neubert: Murderer says he modified weapon to shoot himself in front of Family Court. Posted A man who fatally shot his estranged wife on a busy Hobart road has told the Supreme Court he cut his rifle down to kill himself.
Klaus Dieter Neubert, 75, took the witness stand this morning in a civil case being brought against him by his wife's friend, Josephine Ramos Cooper. Ms Cooper is suing him for $2.4 million in damages after she was shot in the hand trying to protect Olga Neubert in May 2015. Neubert's estranged wife Olga was sitting in the driver's seat of her car at traffic lights on Risdon Road in New Town. The court heard Neubert walked up to the car with a sawn-off rifle and fired five shots, including a fatal shot to Ms Neubert's head.
One of the other bullets hit Ms Cooper in the hand. Neubert, who was found guilty of murder and grievous bodily harm, told the court he did not intend to shoot or harm Ms Cooper. He said he had been suicidal two weeks before the incident and had no memory of the shooting. Battle for Raqqa: US-backed forces 'tighten noose' on Islamic State stronghold in Syria. Posted US-backed forces have "tightened their noose" on Islamic State militants in Raqqa, seizing large swathes of the region in an offensive aimed at dismantling the group's operations in its de facto Syrian headquarters, US officials say.
Key Points: US-backed forces are closing in on north, east and western parts of Raqqa Coalition is aiming for surprise attacks but expects to reclaim city this yearTrump recently authorised supplying weapons to Kurdish fighters for assault Some 3,000 to 4,000 Islamic State fighters are thought to be left holed up in Raqqa city where they continue to erect defences against the anticipated assault, drawing coalition air strikes to stop them, Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, said. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been encircling Raqqa since November in a multi-phased offensive that is also fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq. Reuters. Government to overhaul privacy code amid fears public is losing confidence. Updated The Government's privacy code will be overhauled after a series of high-profile errors and concerns the public is losing confidence in its ability to handle personal information.
Australia's top public servant Martin Parkinson announced the overhaul today after extensive lobbying by Information Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. In a letter to Dr Parkinson, Mr Pilgrim said the Government needed to ensure it respected privacy and community expectations. "I have formed the view that there is a need to strengthen the overall privacy governance processes within Australian Public Service (APS) agencies," he said. "I believe that if this is not done, there is a risk that the community may lose trust in the ability of Government to deliver on key projects which involve the use of personal information. " The Government has been criticised for a number of inadvertent privacy breaches in recent years and Mr Pilgrim said there was an "urgent need" for reform.
George Pell: Police likely to rule on possible charges against Cardinal 'fairly quickly' Posted The head of Victoria Police has indicated a decision is likely in the next few weeks on whether to charge Catholic Cardinal George Pell in relation to sexual abuse allegations dating back to the late 1970s.
Key points: A decision on possible charges would be made based on the evidence, the likelihood of conviction The decision would probably be made fairly quickly, in a few weeksCardinal Pell repeated his denials restated his innocence, saying he would continue to co-operate fully Police confirmed on Wednesday they had received advice from Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP] and were considering whether to lay charges. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said a decision would be made on the basis of the evidence and the likelihood of conviction. Fairfax takeover: Former chairman Brian Powers leads new Hellman & Friedman bid. Updated Fairfax Media has become the subject of a bidding war with a rival offer from yet another American investment group.
Key points: Hellman & Friedman's bid up to 5c per share higher than TPG's latest offerFormer Fairfax chairman Brian Powers an advisor and emeritus chairman with Hellman & FriedmanFairfax board says it is considering both offers Hellman & Friedman has pipped Texas Pacific's Group's $1.20 a share offer with a bid between 2.5c and 5c a share higher, with the upper price valuing the media group at about $2.85 billion. While relatively unknown within Australia, Hellman & Friedman has a strong connection to local media, and Fairfax in particular. Security contractors in PNG stood down after community fears they might be mercenaries. Posted A group of men from an American security firm contracted to provide firearm training to police in Papua New Guinea have been stood down from operations due to community concerns.
Key points: PNG asked the security firm to provide firearms training after Australia refusedPolice in PNG say the men had been conducting raids and drug bustsThere is uncertainty about whether or not the men's activities are legal The five men were reportedly seen carrying automatic weapons in residential streets around PNG, alarming Port Moresby residents and giving rise to rumours that candidates in PNG's upcoming elections were hiring foreign mercenaries to intimidate opponents.
PNG police commissioner Gari Baki said the men will remain in the country until the Government decides how to proceed. "The men are still in the country. "We've stood them down on the activities they have been undertaking. "They will remain here until I complete the appropriate process that is required. " Bank tax: Regulator doesn't have the power to stop banks passing on costs, says ACCC boss.
Updated Australia's five biggest banks have been put on notice that the competition watchdog will use new surveillance powers to put pressure on them not to pass on the new bank levy to customers or shareholders.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be able to summon bank chiefs for hearings under oath, in addition to accessing internal reports and emails to track whether the $6.2 billion dollar levy over four years is being absorbed or passed through. While the regulator does not have the power to stop banks from defying the Government's demand to pay the levy without passing it through to stakeholders, it is sending a clear message to banks that their every move is being scrutinised. ACCC chairman Rod Sims has kept an unusually low profile since budget night, while quietly forming a surveillance squad to monitor the inner workings of Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ and Macquarie Group.
Queensland Government offers Adani mining group a 'royalties holiday' that could cost state $320 million. Updated The Queensland Government is offering Indian mining company Adani a "royalties holiday" worth hundreds of millions of dollars for its massive Carmichael coal mine in the state's north.
The ABC understands the proposed agreement would see Adani pay just $2 million a year in royalties once the $21 billion project starts operating. The royalty rate will then increase after several years. Sources have told the ABC that under the proposed agreement the state would lose out on a total of $320 million in royalties. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Curtis Pitt have been leading negotiations with Adani over the proposed royalties holiday. Ms Palaszczuk would not confirm or deny the royalty agreement, but emphasised the importance of the Carmichael mine for the state's economy.
Wall St dives as Trump impeachment speculation rises. Updated Stocks on Wall Street have dropped sharply as investors worry about the latest crisis engulfing US President Donald Trump.
Markets at 8:30am (AEST): ASX SPI 200 -1.07pc at 5,720AUD: 74.3 US cents, 57.3 British pence, 82.4 Japanese yen, 66.6 euro cents, $NZ1.07US: S&P 500 -1.8pc at 2,357, Dow Jones -1.78pc at 20,607, Nasdaq -2.57pc at 6,011Europe: Euro Stoxx -0.1 pc at 391, FTSE -0.2pc at 7,503, DAX -0.4 at 12,632Commodities: Gold +2.0pc to $US1,261/ounce, Brent crude oil +0.7pc at $US51.99, iron ore +1.7pc at $US62.20. Donald Trump: Justice Department appoints former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee Russia probe - Donald Trump's America. Updated Besieged from all sides, the Trump administration appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into allegations Russia and Donald Trump's campaign collaborated to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The appointment came as Democrats insisted ever more loudly that someone outside Mr Trump's Justice Department must handle the politically charged investigation. An increasing number of Republicans, too, have joined in calling for Congress to dig deeper, especially after Mr Trump fired FBI director James Comey who had been leading the bureau's probe. Donald Trump hitting back after brutal week featuring James Comey sacking and more Russia talk - Donald Trump's America. Analysis Updated Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.
Video: Donald Trump treated "unfairly" by media (ABC News) ATO official Michael Cranston facing charges over son's alleged $165m fraud. Updated Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Video: AFP seizes cars, planes, firearms (ABC News) One of Australia's most senior tax officials has been embroiled in a major fraud investigation involving his son in which $165 million was allegedly stolen from the Commonwealth. Deputy tax commissioner Michael Cranston has been issued with a court attendance notice, while his son, Adam Cranston, was arrested in Sydney yesterday as part of an Australian Federal Police sting.
Michael Cranston will be charged with abusing his position as a public official relating to the fraud, although he is not believed to be a conspirator. Adam Cranston, 30, was arrested at his flat in the affluent beach suburb of Bondi during raids yesterday and has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. US condemns Turkish bodyguards' attack on protesters outside embassy in Washington - Donald Trump's America. Updated An attack by the Turkish President's bodyguards on unarmed protesters in the US capitol yesterday is an affront to American rights, the mayor of Washington DC says. During a visit by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his country's Washington DC embassy, his security staff moved in to break up an anti-government protests on the street outside, kicking some demonstrators who had fallen to the ground.
Police said the resulting fracas injured 11 people, including a Washington police officer, and led to two arrests. Mayor Muriel Bowser said it was a "violent attack on a peaceful demonstration", and DC police said they would work with the State Department and Secret Service to identify those involved and hold them accountable. "We are communicating our concern to the Turkish Government in the strongest possible terms," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. Brain food: What you eat could help manage depression and anxiety - Health - ABC News. The idea that what we eat and drink has direct impact on our mood is not a new one.
Who can deny the salvation in a cup of tea after a rough day? But the theory behind this intuition is now a central field of research, and there's growing evidence for the idea that our brains and our guts are intimately linked. For writer and mental health campaigner Rachel Kelly, author of The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food, teaching people about this connection has become her life's mission. Dos food effect your mood? Group homes for people with a disability must be phased out to prevent abuse, academics say.
Posted There are growing calls to phase out the practice of placing people with a disability together in group homes amid growing reports of neglect and abuse. Key points: More than 100 academics have published an open letter calling for a royal commission into abuse at the homesIndustrial designer says NDIS offers opportunity to go beyond group housing modelThe Government maintains its new NDIS "quality framework" will protect people More than 100 academics have published an open letter calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to hold a royal commission into abuses and neglect in the homes. They say the residences have become the location for similar abuses of the past, and some have said it is time to move to new housing models.
Among those is a former support worker, who only wants to be known as Catherine, who worked in the Hunter Valley for more than a decade. "I saw people with disability being abused by staff," she told the ABC. Bass Strait battle? Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews happy to have King Island. Fidget spinners, Pokemon Go and hula hoops: How does something become a fad? Updated. Emmanuel Macron names new French government, mixing left and right, men and women.
Updated France's centrist President Emmanuel Macron has named his government, appointing a mix of people from different political persuasions to the top jobs as part of his promise to bridge the right-left divide. Thai student activist given human rights award, but kept in jail ahead of lese majeste trial. Posted. Decision to give SA lion's share of Defence shipbuilding funding criticised in WA. Israeli intel experts alarmed by Donald Trump leak but play down any damage - Donald Trump's America. Posted Israeli intelligence experts are gravely concerned US President Donald Trump's sharing of security information with Russia may have compromised an Israeli agent, but do not expect any long-term consequences for intelligence cooperation. 'No body, no parole' laws, Metronet boost and home buyers hit: Wednesday in WA politics. Posted. Referendum on Indigenous recognition in constitution must succeed, Aboriginal MP Linda Burney warns. Posted Federal Labor frontbencher Linda Burney has warned the referendum question put forward to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution must be "winnable".
Federal budget 2017: Who has really been paying their fair share of tax? - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News. The political debate over tax is raging in Canberra, and the battlelines have been drawn. Striking a balance between equity and incentive in tax is always difficult — but both sides claim they have the mix right. Weather: Heavy rain set to drench Australia's east coast, flood warnings issued. Posted. Federal budget 2017: Banks angered by Government gag order over $6.2b tax - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News. Donald Trump: Will the US President be impeached? One expert says it's unlikely - Donald Trump's America. HMAS Adelaide dry-docked as Defence struggles to fix billion-dollar military ship.
Scrounging for money: how the world's great writers made a living. Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine says Australia's standing in Pacific 'at risk' over climate change debate. Is 10,000 steps a day enough to keep you healthy? - Health - ABC News. The FBI's history of scandals: From Bielaski to Hoover, Sessions and Comey - Donald Trump's America. Group home 'hell': Open letter calls for royal commission into treatment of people with disabilities. 3D-printed ovaries successfully restore mouse's fertility in 'holy grail of bioengineering' Donald Trump has entered a war he cannot win — in which truth is the enemy - Donald Trump's America. Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood won't disclose salary at Senate inquiry into public interest journalism. Federal budget 2017: Standard & Poor's reaffirms Australia's AAA credit rating - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News.
Consumers 'pay free-range egg premium for taste, not animal welfare' SA companies' bid to bulk buy power given final approval by competition watchdog. Peter Arthur jailed for 16 years for 'vicious' hammer killing of Samantha Kelly in Bendigo. Ticket inspectors taking tram user's phone to seek proof of identity unacceptable, PTV says. Freedom Centre wants answers from Tasmanian Government over death of sex offender Sonny Day.
Coming soon: Special badges for Manspreaders and other self-absorbed commuters. Wage growth remains stuck at record lows: ABS. Donald Trump: Administration wades into even murkier waters with latest James Comey allegations - Donald Trump's America. ATO targets corporate tax 'red zone' for companies with interest deductions above $50m. Salt Creek backpacker attacker Roman Heinze has 'anger management issues', jailed for 22 years. MDMA could help treat veterans with PTSD, scientists say. Chelsea Manning will stay on 'active duty' under special status after prison release, US Army says. Wall St finishes flat on mixed economic data. Future cities: How one Australian 'village' raises a child. Donald Trump asked James Comey to shut down Michael Flynn investigation, New York Times reports, citing memo - Donald Trump's America.
Erdogan, Trump hail 'outstanding' US-Turkish ties amid tensions over arming Kurdish YPG fighters - Donald Trump's America. Facebook fined $224,000 by French data watchdog over privacy breaches. What's next for the Ord if Quintis's sandalwood business fails? George Pell: Police considering legal advice, charges against Catholic Cardinal. Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour's 'radical, responsible' UK election manifesto. Donald Trump's version of leak events contradicts the White House's - Donald Trump's America. Court proceedings 'delay action' to remove stranded Oceanlinx wave energy generator. Breakthrough in delirium research 'solves 2,500-year-old mystery'
Private insurers' profit rises 18 per cent after last year's premium hike. When Facebook livestreams a murder, who's responsible? Syrian Government denies US accusation of crematorium at prison to dispose of bodies. Taxes must be raised to balance budget, Bernie Fraser and John Edwards tell Government - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News. Donald Trump: Russia says reports US President revealed classified information 'fake' - Donald Trump's America. South Sudan: Wife of exiled rebel leader warns 'genocide in progress', calls for Australian aid. Retrial granted over Cascade Coal payment to Eddie Obeid 's family. North Korea missile program progressing faster than expected, Seoul says. Ransomware cyberattack: Reused code links WannaCry to North Korea, but it's not definitive proof. Federal Budget 2017: Surplus won't be achieved by 2020-21, says ratings agency Fitch - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News.
If Donald Trump did reveal information to Russia, he didn't break the law - but that doesn't mean it's over - Donald Trump's America. Rare Indonesian albino orangutan named Alba after conservation group calls for suggestions. Ransomware WannaCry attack on NT business 'daunting' and 'scary', says owner. Oakden worker sacked over alleged abuse of patient, as staff suspensions rise to 10. The budget is the Government's Plan B, but what's Plan C? - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News. Ransomware cyberattack: Computer expert who blocked WannaCry virus says he's no hero.
WannaCry ramsomware is appearing in obscure places after global cyber attack. Former WA Premier Colin Barnett ignores journalists' questions on spending probe. Peter Dutton blames 'politics' as bid to deport six refugees fails. Child abuse royal commission: Justice McClellan warns churches to change or risk illegitimacy. Wall St hits fresh record as cyber security firms bounce. Solar panels and the law: Is there a right to sunlight when neighbours build up? - RN. Global ransomware attack makes less than $US60,000 as only 209 victims choose to pay. Union boss wants underpaying employers jailed for 'wage theft' Federal budget 2017: Government rejects demand for full public inquiry into bank levy - Federal Budget 2017 - ABC News.
Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russia during White House meeting, Washington Post says - Donald Trump's America. Syrian regime built crematorium at prison near Damascus to dispose of bodies, US says. Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel agree to work towards 'road map' of reforms for European Union. Manus Island: Asylum seekers told to leave before detention centre closes. Shipbuilding plan confirms skilled foreign workers 'essential' to rapid naval expansion.
Emmanuel Macron names conservative Edouard Philippe as new French prime minister. Childless couples 'on track to be Australia's most common family type' Syria war: Fears of 'catastrophe' on the way for millions trapped in Idlib. Maggots dine on restaurant scraps before becoming fish food in aquaculture shake-up. Jail time 'not an appropriate sentence' for nurse who filmed dementia patient. Why bad moods are good for you: The surprising benefits of sadness. Food allergies may be overlooked as cause of chronic illness in children, Victorian researchers say.
The wake-up call: The gun-running syndicate that shocked Australian law enforcement. Debt probe into Barnett government's spending on major projects announced. Fairytale no more: When love turns to hatefully ever after.