Six-year-old girl found dead in Lalor Park home after being shot in neck

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AUGUST 27 2017 – 10:01PM

A six-year-old girl has been found dead at a home in Sydney’s west on Sunday evening.

Emergency services were called to the home on Danny Road, Lalor Park just after 8pm and found the girl with a fatal gunshot wound to her neck.

Emergency services were responding to a report of a domestic. They had been previously called to the address in September last year, responding to a report of multiple gunshot sounds and yelling.

Detectives from Quakers Hill Local Area Command have established a crime scene at the home and are speaking with the family.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Catholics defy church leadership to become biggest backers of same-sex marriage: poll

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A majority of Catholics, Christians and other religious groups support same-sex marriage and are inclined to vote for it in the forthcoming postal survey, according to new polling commissioned by advocates.

The “yes” side starts the campaign with the backing of 66 per cent of all Australians, with support among the non-religious at 79 per cent, compared with 58 per cent among people of faith, the research shows.

Catholics and non-Christian religions were more likely to support same-sex marriage, with two thirds of both those groups indicating they were in favour. For Anglicans, Uniting Church and Church of England, the figure was 59 per cent.

Marriage equality advocates will use the findings to encourage Australia’s 5 million Catholics to ignore directives from the church’s leadership and instead vote with their conscience.

The polling was commissioned by the Equality Campaign. It was conducted last week by Jim Reed of Newgate Research, formerly of Liberal-aligned Crosby/Textor, and surveyed 1000 people online.

They were asked: “If you were to vote, do you think that you would vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to allowing same-sex couples to marry in Australia?” Respondents had to choose between “yes” and “no”.

Mr Reed said the margin of error within each religious category was up to 8 per cent. But even at the maximum margin of error, a majority of people in each group supported same-sex marriage. The overall margin of error was 3 per cent.

The results echoed a survey by Crosby/Textor in 2014, which also found two thirds of Catholics backed same-sex marriage, and put the overall level of support at 72 per cent.

“It really confirms a lot of the other published polls that around two thirds, that is a majority, are intending to vote yes,” Mr Reed told Fairfax Media.

“What we’re seeing in this latest poll is confirmation that there is a majority support for same-sex marriage, even when they’re given the very real decision of a vote rather than more general ideological support.

“They give an indication certainly that a majority of people of the major faiths also support same-sex marriage and probably will do so in this vote.”

Last Sunday, Fairfax Media revealed the Catholic Church was threatening to sack any of its 180,000 teachers, nurses and other parish employees who entered a same-sex marriage, if it were to be legalised.

Subsequently, Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart issued a collective call to arms, telling followers in a letter: “It is vital that we Catholics vote, so that our viewpoint can be heard on this vital public issue.”

But the polling suggests the Catholic leadership is out of touch with its base, 66 per cent of whom said they were inclined to vote for same-sex marriage in the coming postal survey.

“The upper management of the church isn’t listening to the flock,” said Tiernan Brady, executive director of the Equality Campaign and a practising Catholic. “The flock have made their mind up on this, they support marriage equality.”

Monica Doumit, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Marriage, said despite the poll results people of faith “continue to be concerned” about the implications of same-sex marriage for religious freedom.

“This is about more than the narrow protections offered to professional clergy,” she said. Rather, it was about the ability for religious people to express their view on marriage without fear of intimidation.

Malcolm Turnbull calls Abbott-era Lodge cost ‘staggering’

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 Tom McIlroy

Malcolm Turnbull has declared blow outs on renovations at The Lodge “staggering” and says new “adult oversight” will prevent the situation ever being repeated.

His first comments since the release of a critical audit report into the renovation nightmare at the Prime Minister’s official Canberra residence, Mr Turnbull told Channel 10 the $12 million project was completed before his time in the top job.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy at The Lodge.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy at The Lodge. Photo: AAP

The report, ordered by Mr Turnbull as the scale of the costs and delays became clear, blamed the Abbott government for more than 40 contract changes which saw the initial $3.2 million price tag reach a near $12 million bill to taxpayers.

The review was ordered amid reports senior government figures had repeatedly ordered changes to the contract and size of the works.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott with his chief of staff Peta Credlin.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott with his chief of staff Peta Credlin. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

“Not in my time,” Mr Turnbull said on Sunday.

“But the amount that was spent on the renovations on The Lodge, which was about 12 million bucks – staggering.

You could have built several, two new houses of that size.

“It won’t happen again. I’ve made sure we’ve got some adult oversight on any further works that are done on those residences.”

The Lodge after the renovations were completed.

The Lodge after the renovations were completed. Photo: Andrew Meares

Originally expected to see the ageing roof replaced, electrical rewiring and removal of asbestos, the project morphed into a much needed property-wide refurbishment for the 1927 home.

Started during Julia Gillard’s tenure as prime minister, the eventual three-year timeframe denied Mr Abbott the chance to live in the historic Deakin home.

The report released this month found nearly $4.5 million in contract blow outs, or 80 per cent of the cost increases identified by the review, were caused by changes ordered by the government.

They included delays in choosing floor tiles and carpets, improvements to the billiards room, new storage and walk in robes, necessary occupational health and safety upgrades and an $83,000 specialist luggage lift.

The report was released by the Department of Finance after a long running freedom of information appeal by Fairfax Media.

It coincided with Mr Turnbull’s announcement of a new official residences advisory panel to oversee future work at The Lodge and Sydney’s Kirribilli House.

Chaired by environmental and planning lawyer David O’Donnell, the panel is made up of architectural and heritage experts including daughter of former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser, interior designer Angela Marshall.

Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy contributed $130,000 of their own money to The Lodge project, including for restoration of historic furniture dating back to the 1930s.


Source  :  The Canberra Times

Germans are inheriting more now than ever before

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Germans are inheriting more now than ever before
Inheritances and donated assets have reached a peak of €109 billion in Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on Wednesday.

Last year, Germans received €108.8 billion worth of donations and inheritances, according to a Destatis report. This is about six percent more than in 2015, meaning that inheritances and donations have reached a record level since the documentation of new records began in 2002.

“The rise in inherited and donated assets does not necessarily have to do with the economy, but with a generational change,” said Margrit Kaiser from Destatis, as reported by Zeit Online.

Kaiser explained that assets currently being inherited or gifted are those amassed by the post-war generation. Meanwhile companies set up by that generation are also now being passed on to the next generatio

But Destatis does not have complete figures on the total amount of assets being inherited in Germany.

recent DIW study estimated that between 2012 and 2027, up to €400 billion per year will be inherited in Germany, 25 percent more than previously reckoned.

Another finding from the Destatis report is that inheritances and donations have developed differently.

Last year, assets of around €44 billion were inherited, just under 16 percent more than a year before. In comparison to 2014, there was an increase of almost 14 percent. But gifts rose at a much more modest 1 percent in comparison with 2015.

The tax revenues generated by inheritances and donations have also risen overall.

Taxable inheritances last year came out to about €38 billion, nearly eight percent more than in 2015. That amounted to around €7 billion in inheritance and gift taxes. Revenue thus rose for the fourth year in a row.


Source  :  The Local Germany

Former VW engineer gets 40 months in ‘dieselgate’ scandal

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Former VW engineer gets 40 months in 'dieselgate' scandal
A US court on Friday sentenced a former Volkswagen engineer to nearly three and a half years in prison for his role in the company’s emissions cheating scandal.

James Robert Liang was sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay a $200,000 fine after pleading guilty to charges he conspired to defraud the United States and violate the Clean Air Act, the court announced.

The sentencing comes several weeks after former VW executive Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges in the “dieselgate” matter, which has brought one of the world’s top automakers into disgrace.

Liang was ordered to serve two years of supervised release upon his release from prison, according to a spokesman for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

However, US authorities may choose to deport Liang to Germany once he is released, the spokesman said.

The sentence was significantly harsher than what prosecutors had recommended.

In exchange for Liang’s cooperation, Justice Department officials had recommended a sentence of only three years and a fine of just $20,000.

A lawyer for Liang had instead asked for a year of probation and home confinement, noting that Liang’s cooperation had resulted in criminal charges against three other defendants.

Liang pleaded guilty in September to a role in a nine-year conspiracy to develop devices that hid emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide during pollution tests on Volkswagen’s diesel-powered cars.

Prosecutors have reportedly charged as many as eight current and former executives in connection with the emissions scandal, with Liang being among the most junior.

The company has set aside more than $24 billion to cover the fines and compensation in the scandal, in which it admitted in 2015 to equipping about 11 million cars worldwide with so-called defeat devices to mask emissions.

In March, Volkswagen brought an end to Washington’s criminal pursuit of the company, agreeing to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal fines and plead guilty to charges it likewise had defrauded the United States and violated the Clean Air Act.

The March settlement was in addition to the $17.5 billion that the company agreed to pay to US and Californian authorities and to compensate car owners and dealers, as well as to cover the costs of environmental remediation.

Volkswagen’s emissions cheating – which allowed the company to sell diesel cars without meeting emissions standards that would have hurt performance – persisted for seven years until it was discovered by independent researchers.

Source  :  The Local Germany

Germans’ biggest concern still immigration, but poverty is catching up

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Germans’ biggest concern still immigration, but poverty is catching up
More than half of Germans are worried about how the country will cope with immigration. But integrating foreigners has become less of a concern since last year, an annual study shows.

The study, published by GfK Verein on Friday, shows that 56 percent of Germans are concerned about migration and integration, a clear drop from 2016 when 83 percent expressed this concern.

People in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and the US all also saw immigration and integration as the biggest challenge facing their country in 2017.

The study, called Challenges of Nations 2017, was conducted in 24 different countries and based on interviews with 27,500 people.

“Since the Balkan route has been closed for refugees and the EU-Turkey deal came into force in March 2016, the number of refugees coming to Germany has fallen considerably,” said GfK Verein head Raimund Wildner.

“But even if those things have put the brakes on further migration, many Germans are still concerned about the task at hand involved in integrating the migrants.”

READ ALSO: Integration of Muslims better in Germany than in rest of Europe: study

The second most concerning issue for Germans was poverty, which has risen up the rankings in comparison with recent years. Some 17 percent of Germans said they were worried about poverty, a jump of ten percent in comparison with last year. Respondents were particularly concerned about poverty among pensioners.

Fear of criminality was also on the rise, with 16 percent saying this was something that concerned them. Terrorism also took its place among the ten things Germans are most worried about for the first time since the survey was first undertaken – 9 percent said it was an issue.

In several other countries unemployment was seen as the biggest challenge facing their governments. Respondents in France, India and Italy all put this as the number one concern.

A decade ago unemployment was also the biggest worry in Germany, but in this year’s survey only 16 percent said it was a problem.

Source  :  The Local Germany

Death Toll Rises to 17 After Bus Plunges Into Kerch Strait

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Aug 25, 2017 — 09:42— Update: Aug. 25 2017 — 09:48

Emergency Situations Ministry

At least seventeen people have died after a bus carrying oil workers fell into the Kerch Strait in southern Russia, the state-run RIA Novosti agency reports, citing the Emergency Situations Ministry.

The bus was returning workers home from the Tamanneftegas oil terminal on Friday morning, when it fell into the water at the height of the Volna village in the Krasnodar region, for reasons that are as yet unclear.

According to media reports, the bus was carrying around 40 passengers.Twenty-four people have been rescued.

Source  :  The Moscow Times