Police search two men suspected of 15 armed robberies
Police have released CCTV images of two men believed to be involved in the armed robbery of newsagencies, service stations, liquor stores and hotels in the past two months across Sydney’s inner west. The men entered each of the premises armed with a pistol and demanded cash before fleeing the scenes. One of the men is described as being of Pacific Islander appearance, about 175cm tall with a medium build and was filmed wearing high-visibility clothing. The second man is also described as being of Pacific Islander appearance, about 180cm tall with a medium to solid build. They are believed to be driving a Kia Carnival Van (pictured). “The men conducting the armed robberies are brazen in their attacks and have been conducting them in broad daylight,” Detective Inspector Adam Barwick said.
Canadian Prime Minister responds to shooting
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has thanked other countries for their support following the shooting in Ottawa. “It will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world,” Mr Harper said. “We will always stand together.” Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday stated, “I regard Stephen Harper, their Prime Minister, as a friend and almost a brother. So an attack on their Parliament is an affront to this Parliament, too.” Mr Abbott also warned, “The threat to free countries and free institutions is very real indeed.”
A $2 million pay rise for Qantas CEO
The vote to pay Qantas CEO Alan Joyce an extra $2.5 million will be decided in today’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Melbourne. Mr Joyce currently earns $2.1 million a year and the additional payment will be worth 120 per cent of his pay packet, rewarded for “performance rights”. Union and members of the Australian Shareholders Association vowed to vote against the proposal and remuneration report, which includes $2 billion in cost reductions by 2017. In a letter to members, the Australian Services Union said Qantas was unfairly rewarding those at the top who had “ripped the heart out of the airline and whose strategies had resulted in this massive loss”. “We do not see why Alan Joyce should be rewarded for off-shoring jobs and making staff redundant, freezing salaries and damaging the Qantas brand,” the letter said.
Sickie busters to crack down on public departments
Unscheduled absences in Australia, known colloquially as sickies, may become a thing of the past with public service departments forming sickie-busting units. The Department of Human Service’s annual report revealed the unscheduled absence result for 2013-14 was 16.26 days per full time equivalent (FTE) staff member, an increase on 15.97 days per FTE in 2012-13. Poor performance on unscheduled absences was also recorded for the Agriculture department, Australian Taxation Office, Infrastructure Department and Health Department.
UPDATE: Wedderburn shooting
Ian Jameson, 63, has been charged with three counts of murder in an out-of-court court sessions hearing in Bendigo. Mr Jamieson had called triple-0 on Wednesday night and “said he had killed three people”, the court heard. Peter Lockhart, 78, Mary Lockhart, 75, and Greg Holmes, 48, were all killed as a result of a long running dispute between neighbours, which police received complaints about a month ago.
Australian doctors help fight Ebola
Infectious disease specialist Dr Nick Coatsworth and his team of 24 nurses, doctors and logisticians are on standby to help fight the spread of Ebola in West Africa. The team will remain in Australia until better evacuation procedures are available. Dr Coatsworth is confident in the training and ability of his team who will increase the chances of survival of West Africans by 50 per cent, if they can be isolated. “If you really have an Ebola patient, you have about 48 to 72 hours before you start to vomit, diarrhoea and haemorrhage. If that happens in an aircraft, that’s a very dangerous situation for the patient and the people around them,” Dr Coatsworth said.
Federal Government rejects Royal Commission into CBA
There will be no Royal Commission into Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) following 61 recommendations made by the Senate economics committee. The Senate recommendations involved an inquiry into the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s handling of a scandal involving financial advisers at CBA that lost the savings of 1100 clients. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the focus was now on outstanding grievances from affected CBA customers. “The government considers that the open advice review program and the various related initiatives as undertaken by CBA should be given the opportunity to work,” he said. In conjunction with the Federal Government, ASIC have set up a $5 million public register to verify credentials of financial advisors. The register will be up and running March 2015. – Bianca Mureddu with additional reporting by Cameron Ploner
Top photo courtesy of Police Media