Top police at odds on hospital bomb probe

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May 30, 2017 01:00


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NRSA calls for 10-year review of charter and ‘political virtue system’

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May 30, 2017 01:00


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Civilian killed, four others wounded in gunfire, blast in northern Baghdad

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Baghdad ( A civilian was killed, four others were wounded in gunfire, IED blast that took place in north Baghdad, police sources said on Sunday.

“Unknown armed persons opened fire against a civilian while getting out of his house in al-Rashidiya, causing his immediate death,” the source told AlSumaria News.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said, “security troops cordoned off the accident spot.”

Meanwhile, another police source said, “A bomb, placed on the side of the road in al-Mushahda region in Tarmiyah district, north of Baghdad, exploded in the morning causing injury of four civilians.”

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Violence and armed conflicts claimed the lives of 317 Iraqis, and caused injuries to 403 others during the month of April, according to a monthly count by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

Nineveh, where U.S.-backed Iraqi government troops are caught up in battles against Islamic State militants in Mosul since October, came on top of the most affected governorate, with 276 casualties (153 killed, 123 injured). Baghdad Governorate came next with 55 killed and 179 injured. Salahuddin came third, with 15 killed and 43 injured.


Source : Iraqi News

Fourteen Islamic State militants killed in Mosul’s Old City: Federal Police

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Mosul ( Fourteen Islamic State militants were killed and motorbikes were destroyed in Mosul’s Old City, the Federal Police declared on Monday.

In a statement, Lt.Gen.Shaker Jawdat said, “Federal Police troops in al-Zanjili district, north of the Old City, are deploying addition troops toward al-Sihha district in order to gain control on all of the area, amid missile shelling.”

“The selling targets IS defenses ahead of advancing,” he said adding that “The drone shelling left 14 militants killed and nine motorbikes in the narrow alleys of the Old City, destroyed.”

The Old City is home of the ancient Grand Nuri Mosque, from which the group’s Supreme Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave a famous sermon in 2014 declaring the establishment of the ‘caliphate’

Previously in May, the Joint Operations Command said more than 16,000 IS fighters were killed since start of Mosul operations in October.

Iraqi commanders say they at least 90 percent of territories in western Mosul is under Iraqi troops control, predicting to retake the city before the end of May. Only two districts besides the Old City are under IS control.

Iraqi forces have been sweeping through northwestern neighborhoods over the past few weeks in a way to invade the strategic Old City, after finding it hard to invade from the south.

The eastern side of Mosul was retaken in January after three months of battles. Another major offensive was launched in February to recapture the western flank of the city.


Source : Iraqi News

Sheikh Mohammed has Iftar with UAQ ruler in Dubai

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, exchanged the Ramadan greetings with His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, at Zabeel Palace on Monday evening.

The event was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain.


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Rashid also exchanged the greetings with a number of ministers, senior officials and dignitaries on the occasion. They all wished well to the wise leadership, more welfare for the people of the UAE, and progress to the nation.


Among others present were H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, Director-General of Dubai Information Department, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.


Source : Khaleej Times

‘Favours granted’: ATO’s Michael Cranston let taxpayer off prosecution hook

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MAY 30 2017 – 7:18AM

Noel Towell

Senior tax official Michael Cranston was investigated by the ATO’s anti-fraud unit last year over claims he improperly used his influence to have a court case against a “high-wealth individual” dropped, internal Tax Office documents reveal.

Although the deputy commissioner of taxation was cleared by the probe, the public servant who was ordered to drop the case is demanding a “proper and independent” investigation and says they were ordered to act outside proper ATO procedures in stopping the prosecution.ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston allegedly ordered public servants to drop a court case as a favour to ...

A cache of Tax Office documents seen by Fairfax show Mr Cranston, who is facing criminal charges linked to the alleged “Plutus” payroll scam, was approached about the case by the taxpayers’ accountant, a partner with accounting giant KPMG, on the day in late 2015 before the matter was due in court.

Mr Cranston then told another senior Tax Office executive to “look at this matter urgently” and speak directly to the accountant, whose client was in trouble for failing to lodge GST returns.

When the prosecuting tax officials were ordered by a third senior public servant to drop the case and instead send the taxpayer a warning letter, they were told he had a good compliance history and that he did not owe the Tax Office any money.

The prosecution team’s protests, that the man did not have a good compliance history and actually owed the Tax Office $110,000, fell on deaf ears, according to the complaint.

The Tax Office declined on Monday to answer questions about the case, saying whistleblower protection legislation prevented it from making any comment and KPMG did not respond to questions.

The internal emails show the frontline public servants struggling to justify the orders from above to withdraw the prosecution.

“On what basis am I withdrawing that fits current practice and/or procedure,” one tax officer asked their boss.

“Ummm, that’s a tough one,” replied the supervisor.

When a member of the prosecution reported the affair internally, they alleged Mr Cranston used his influence to to confer an advantage on the KPMG client.

“I find it wrong that that a taxpayer gets treated in a way because of influence and other do not get the same treatment,” the public servants told investigators.

But five months after making the detailed complaint, the prosecution team member received a three-line email from a member of the Internal Investigations team stating “there is no evidence to support misconduct or criminality against any person.”

A request for a formal investigation report did not get a response.

The internal whistleblower whose disclosures launched the inquiry and who is no longer employed by the Tax Office, still has grave concerns and wants and “independent and proper” investigation into the matter.

The new revelations look set to increase the pressure for an inquiry into the Tax Office’s internal culture with its top bosses due to be grilled in Senate estimates in Canberra on Tuesday.

The internal whistleblower has supplied a dossier of documents to shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh, claiming the protections of the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

In the attached complaint, made through the public servant’s union, The Australian Services Union, the whistleblower demands an independent investigation into “the extent of favours granted by [senior executive service] tax officers to large public and private groups and high wealth individuals”.

The whistleblower also wants a fresh probe into the November 2015 affair to determine if Mr Cranston or other have breached the public service code of conduct.

Mr Cranston is currently suspended without pay as he faces charges of of abusing his position as a public official and is due to appear in court in June

His son, Adam Cranston, 30, and his daughter, Lauren Anne Cranston, 24, have also been charged over the alleged $165 million payroll scam.

 Source : The Canberra Times

Canberra weather: Tuesday one of the coldest mornings of the year

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It was impossible to miss the chill in the air on Tuesday as Canberra shivered through one of its coldest mornings of the month.

And residents better get used to it, with morning temperatures set to fall even lower as the week progresses.It was minus 4 degrees in Canberra this morning, our second coldest temperature of the year.

With still, clear skies and a thick morning frost, temperatures dropped as low as minus 4C.

Throughout this year it has only been colder once, when the mercury dropped to a chilly minus 4.4C at Canberra Airport on Monday, May 8.

Morning lows will stay around minus 3C between Wednesday and Friday, before dropping to minus 4C on Saturday and minus 5C on Sunday.

The good news is that there is not a rain cloud in sight for the rest of the week, and calm, sunny days are on the cards after braving the morning frost.

Historical climate data from the Bureau of Meteorology shows that, for May, the average lowest temperature is 2.3C.

The lowest daily temperature recorded in May since 2008 is minus 6.9C, which was recorded on May 15, 2011.

The lowest yearly temperature, as measured at Canberra Airport, was minus 8C on July 29 2011.



Meanwhile, Sydney has recorded its coldest May night in nearly two decades, but the temperature there didn’t even hit zero.


Source : The Canberra Times