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Hackett to sue over botched pre-nups

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 30 Desember 2012 | 23.08

Candice Alley and Grant Hackett ended their five-year marriage in May. Picture: Richard Dobson Source: The Daily Telegraph

EXCLUSIVE: FALLEN swim star Grant Hackett claims a botched pre-nuptial agreement with pop star wife Candice Alley has left him with financial losses.

Hackett, 32, has launched Supreme Court legal action against his former solicitors, the Brisbane-based Mullins Lawyers.

Court documents allege Hackett employed them on retainer between 2006 and 2009.

Olympians life turned upside down

Gallery: Hackett and Alley call it a day

He says he asked them to draft a financial agreement, which was executed in March 2007, less than a month before his lavish wedding to Alley in Albert Park.

HAPPIER TIMES: Grant Hackett and Candice Alley with their twins Jagger and Charlize. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Financial agreements are Australia's version of a pre-nuptial agreement but can also be made during the marriage or after separation.

Hackett's personal fortune is understood to be about $8 million.

In court documents, Hackett says the agreement was amended in May 2009. The couple's twins, Jagger and Charlize, were born in September that year.

The statement of claim alleges the 2007 financial agreement was drafted in a way that did not comply with legal requirements.

It further claims that Mullins Lawyers failed to take the opportunity to fix the problem when changes were made to the agreement in 2009 and did not tell Hackett there was any "defect".

Grant Hackett trashed the couple's Southbank apartment in October, 2011. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hackett accuses the lawyers of neglecting or failing to perform their services with due care because they didn't ensure the agreement was "effective, operative and enforceable".

He says he was never told each party was required to have independent legal advice in order for the 2009 changes to comply with law.

"As a result of the breaches ... the Plaintiff has suffered loss including legal costs," court documents say. "The Plaintiff's loss is continuing."

The statement of claim alleges Hackett will continue to suffer loss because of Mullins Lawyers' negligence and asks for damages.

A spokesperson for Mullins Lawyers said yesterday they did not want to comment on the case.

Grant Hackett tearfully told 60 Minutes he wanted to end his marriage the night he trashed his Southbank apartment. Picture: Channel 9

Hackett did not respond to calls.

Hackett's marriage came to a dramatic end in May when the former swim star drunkenly trashed his Melbourne city apartment.

A piano was up-ended, a door smashed and furniture strewn across the home in what Hackett tearfully told 60 Minutes was an attempt to end the five-year marriage.

katie.bice@news.com.au


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Greig was with family in final hours

Tony Greig pictured with his family on Christmas Day 2012. Picture: Channel9 via Twitter Source: Supplied

Tributes have flowed following the passing of cricket legend Tony Greig.

Tributes have flowed following the passing of cricketing legend Tony Greig.

IT was the last Christmas Day cricketing legend Tony Greig would share with his family.

This precious image captured Greig surrounded by his loved ones, including wife Vivian, daughters Samantha and Beau and sons Mark and Tom as they celebrated Christmas together.

The day the photo was taken Greig posted a holiday message on Twitter: "Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you all. Would love to be at Test but son Tom and I will be tuned in."

Channel 9 yesterday tweeted the family photo, saying: "Our thoughts are with Tony's family."

Messages of support continued to flow from the public yesterday as news spread of the 66-year-old's death.

"The Great Commentator Tony Greig No More ... We all will miss his Awesome style," Shantanu Newse wrote on Facebook.

Greig passed away with his family by his side at 1.45pm on Saturday at St Vincent's Hospital.

He had advanced lung cancer and died following a cardiac arrest.

On Saturday night a moment's silence was held at an Australian domestic Twenty20 match, while yesterday flags flew at half-mast at the Sydney Cricket Ground in his honour. The SCG Trust is encouraging spectators to wear wide-brimmed hats - which Greig was well known for - as a tribute to the cricketing legend for the New Year's Test.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said yesterday the respected commentator would likely be honoured during the Sydney Test.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Culture of snooping among ATO staff

Michael D'Ascenzo. Picture: Kym Smith Source: National Features

THE personal tax files of Australians, including those of celebrities, are being increasingly accessed by Australian Tax Office staff.

The ATO is scrambling to stem a 45 per cent increase last financial year of reported cases of unauthorised access of the private details.

Advice obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveals outgoing ATO Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo was briefed before a Senate estimates hearing in October that 200 cases were reported, up from 138 previously.

The issue accounted for 68 per cent of all ATO misconduct cases but the ATO blamed "refinements made to our active detection methods, including data mining" and said only a quarter of the reported cases could be substantiated.

Reasons listed for the breaches included helping family and friends to gain access, locating information for themselves and browsing out of curiosity. "In rare instances, to commit fraud (i.e. identity takeover for financial gain)," the brief said.

Yesterday Opposition workplace relations spokesman Eric Abetz said the ongoing problems of unauthorised access showed there was a cultural problem.

"Australians will be outraged at this unauthorised prying into their personal affairs," he said.

"Clearly there is an ingrained cultural problem with Tax Office employees snooping on Australians' private tax information."

In July and August, 13 cases were finalised and during 2011-12 two staff were referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Shares still beat property and cash

Cash now represents 23 per cent of total household assets, above the decade average of 20.4 per cent. Source: National Features

AUSTRALIANS frustrated by poor returns from real estate and the sharemarket in recent years have flocked to bank deposits, but a new analysis delivers some surprising results.

Property and shares lost popularity as cash became king after the global financial crisis.

However, while bank deposits offer safety and have paid good interest rates to savers and retirees, cash comes third in the race for investment returns over the past decade.

AMP Capital examined the growth and income provided by property, shares and cash since 2003, and found shares easily had the highest investment return of 8.7 per cent per year.

Property was 5.5 per cent and cash 5.3 per cent.

''The last five years have been bad for shares, they are still one-third down from their high in 2007 and that's why people are feeling depressed,'' said AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.

He said shares looked good in the 10-year analysis because it also covered the boom years of the mid-2000s, and included the solid dividend income paid by shares averaging about 4.5 per cent a year over the past decade.

''Property also had a great run until 2008 with a once-in-a-generation boom that got under way in the mid-90s. But it fell out of bed in 2008 with a lot of forced sales and low confidence.

''Cash has had a great run but it's starting to slow down.''

Dr Oliver said bank deposit interest rates were likely to fall further in 2013 as the Reserve Bank was expected to continue lowering the official interest rate.

Last week's wealth data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed households have amassed cash holdings of a record $749 billion.

Cash now represents 23 per cent of total household assets, above the decade average of 20.4 per cent.

Research group Lonsec has predicted shares to rise about 8 per cent by July next year, driven by falling interest rates.

''People's incomes from cash are getting low and they start sniffing around to see what's out there there are some good yields available on the ASX,'' Lonsec head of equities research Bill Keenan said.

''We're now five years since the peak, and we have got to a point where most of the selling has been done, so there's momentum for buying shares.

''Shares are obviously a lot more volatile than cash but when mums and dads are saying they don't like the sharemarket, it will probably take off.''

Forecasters do not expect big gains from property in 2013, although falling interest rates are likely to support house prices.

Mr Keenan said a deterrent for property was the high costs of buying averaging about 6 per cent of the purchase price and the high costs of selling of about 2 per cent.

AMP's Dr Oliver said the key message for savers and investors was to diversify across cash, shares and property.

''Cash was the place to be in 2011 but there's a danger for ordinary Australians. Trying to pick what asset is the best place to be for the next year, on the back of what happened last year, is bound to be a loser's game.''


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Early detection saves Dan's life

Dan Thomas and wife Julia Morris. Picture: Richard Dobson Source: The Daily Telegraph

HOUSE Husbands star and breast cancer campaigner Julia Morris's husband Dan Thomas has undergone a mastectomy to treat the disease.

The diagnosis - rare in men - came just four days before Christmas, with the actress saying early detection saved his life.

Morris, who donated her 2011 Celebrity Apprentice winnings to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, tweeted the news, urging other men to check themselves.

"Friends, Dan was diagnosed with breast cancer dec21 & had a mastectomy. He is recovering well. Love to his medical team ... North Gosford Private staff, Dr Whiteson, beloved Dr Cohen & love to anyone who checked thmslvs ths yr," she wrote, adding the cheeky hashtag #f ... offbreastcancer.

Thomas, an illustrator and comic, co-hosted the annual short film festival JMoFest with Morris as a fundraiser for NBCF research.

The couple, who celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary today, have two daughters, Ruby, 5 and Sophie, 3.

Breast cancer in men accounts for just 1 per cent of all breast cancer cases. An October 2012 government report on the disease found about 105 Australian men are diagnosed every year, with other research suggesting one in 688 men will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Men have breast tissue like women, meaning cancerous cells can also develop - typically behind the nipple. High oestrogen levels, a family history, some testicular disorders and ageing can be risk factors.

Morris tweeted: "We owe Dan's life to early detection. Check your breasts & don't f ... around if anything seems weird. Dan doesn't need chemo or radio (therapy). xj"


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

India gang-rape victim was to marry

The body of a gang-rape victim has arrived back in New Delhi after her death sparked a wave of protests.

  • Six men face murder charges
  • Police chief calls for calm
  • Delhi city centre sealed off

THE victim of a gang-rape which triggered an outpouring of grief and anger across India has been cremated at a private ceremony in New Delhi as it emerged she was planning to get married in February.

The unidentified 23-year-old, the focus of nationwide protests since she was attacked on a bus in New Delhi two weeks ago, was cremated at a ceremony kept secret by authorities only hours after her body was repatriated from Singapore.

The funeral pyre was lit after traumatised relatives and friends said their final prayers at a ceremony in southwestern Delhi, according to mourners who revealed she had been due to wed a boyfriend who was injured in the same attack.

"They had made all the wedding preparations and had planned a wedding party in Delhi" for February, said Meena Rai, who was a close friend and neighbour.

India's treatment of women has been denounced as police charge the men accused of a gang-rape, with murder.

"I really loved this girl. She was the brightest of all."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the main ruling Congress party, were at Delhi airport to console her parents as they arrived home on a chartered plane with their daughter's body at around 4am local time.

After initial treatment in a Delhi hospital following the attack, she was flown to Singapore on Wednesday night where doctors were unable to prevent a multiple organ failure. She was pronounced dead in the early hours of Saturday.

Indians hold candles as they mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India, on Saturday. Picture: AP

Her killing has prompted government promises of better protection for women, and deep soul-searching in a nation where horrifying gang-rapes are commonplace and sexual harassment is routinely dismissed as "Eve-teasing".

Several thousand people massed again yesterday in the centre of the Indian capital - some to express sympathy for the victim who had been out to watch a film with her boyfriend, others to voice anger at the government.

Stringent security measures that have seen government offices and other public areas sealed off in New Delhi to prevent protests have been seized on by critics as further evidence of an out-of-touch government bungling its response.

Indian police patrol outside the cremation ground in New Delhi today. Picture: AFP

"We cannot understand the high-handedness of the police. This is our city, we should be free to move around and protest peacefully," said 21-year-old protester Mahima Anand, who works for a multinational company.

"She was not just one woman, she epitomises every Indian woman who has been wronged in some way or the other," she added from the Jantar Mantar area of Delhi, where protesters have been allowed to gather.

About a dozen protesters tried to break the barricades that riot police erected around the area, while a handful also threw stones and were immediately detained.

Indians shout slogans and march on a street as they mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India, on Saturday. Picture: AP

Waves of protests erupted across India after the attack on December 16 when the woman was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted with an iron bar, leaving her with terrible intestinal injuries.

Thousands took part in late-night candlelit vigils on Saturday after 80-year-old Mr Singh, criticised for reacting slowly to the crime, led appeals for calm to prevent a repeat of the sometimes violent protests.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also sent his condolences to the victim's parents and family.

An ambulance transporting the body of a gang-rape victim is seen outside her residence in New Delh.The woman's body was flown back to India after the 23-year-old died of her injuries ina Sinmgapore hospital. AFP /Sajjad Hussain

"Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated," Mr Ban's spokesperson said.

As police said the six accused of murdering the unnamed woman could face the death penalty, there was widespread determination that the killing should serve as a tipping point for how the nation deals with violence against women.

"We are aware that this is not the first case, nor will it be the last case of gang-rape in India, but it is clear that we will not tolerate sex crimes anymore," said Bela Rana, a lawyer who joined a rally in central Delhi.

Doctors say a young Indian woman who was gang-raped and severely beaten on a bus in New Delhi has died at a Singapore hospital.

But Sunday's Hindustan Times said more than 20 women had been raped in New Delhi since December 16 and the Press Trust of India news agency reported another alleged murder and gang-rape yesterday in the state of West Bengal.

According to police and prosecutors, the ordeal suffered by the victim of the Delhi crime began when six men lured her and her boyfriend onto a bus that they thought would take them home.

Instead the group, who had been drinking heavily, launched a savage attack lasting some 40 minutes that ended when the victims were thrown off the bus.

An Indian police convoy escorts an ambulance transporting the body of an Indian gang-rape victim towards her residence in New Delhi after it arrived back in India from Singapore. AFP/Sajjad Hussain

Protesters and the Indian media have demanded that the government unveil measures to make the country safer for women, while introspecting on how to uproot deep prejudice and misogyny in Indian society.

Initial government proposals include a public register for sex offenders and forcing convicted rapists to undergo chemical castration - the use of drugs to suppress sexual urges.

The government has already promised to bring in tougher sentences for the most extreme sex crimes and speed up a notoriously slow justice system that often fails to deliver timely verdicts.

Funeral workers in Singapore unload the body of the young Indian woman who died after injuries from a brutal gang-rape on a bus.

Human Rights Watch called on the government to ban the use of the so-called "finger test" in which a doctor tests the laxity of a rape victim's vagina, apparently to determine if she is "habituated to sexual intercourse".

Such tests result in "unscientific and degrading findings" that often wrongly discredit complaints from women, the New York-based rights group said.
 

An Indian ties a black band as he arrives to attend a gathering to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Mumbai. The incident has galvanised Indians to demand an end to sexual crimes against women.

A man attends a candlelight vigil in memory of the young woman who died after being gang-raped by six men on a bus in New Delhi.

Indians lie down on the ground mimicking dead bodies as they mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi.

An Indian woman protests against the brutal gang-rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Lucky escape as plane debris hits car

Cars hit by plane debris, wheel, hurtling onto motorway from runway crash that claims 4 lives in Russia.

HEART-stopping video has emerged of how close motorists came to becoming victims of the deadly Moscow plane crash.

The incredible video shows how a casual weekend drive could have resulted in catastrophic consequences when a  passenger airliner careered off the runway at Russia's third-busiest airport while landing, broke into three pieces and caught fire, killing at least five people.

The driver's camera captures the moment the plane crashes into the highway, and you can even make out one of the plane's wheels hurtling into another vehicle in front.

The vehicles travel on the highway next to Vnukovo Airport, just seconds before the plane crashes.

After a screeching of brakes and loud impact noise, the driver casually brings the car to a halt by the side of the road.

State television news channel Vesti showed a photo of the wrecked plane's fuselage with the livery of the low-cost Russian Red Wings airline. Its nose, including the cockpit area, appeared sheared off.

The frightening moment when a large piece of debris from the doomed airliner strikes a car on a highway. Miraculously, nobody in the car was hurt.

Russian investigators have blamed a defective brake system for the crash that killed five crew members.

Rescue workers recovered the flight recorders from the four-year-old Tu-204 of tycoon Alexander Lebedev's Red Wings airline late Saturday as Russia began mourning its latest post-Soviet crash fatalities.

The car ploughs through a rain of debris as the plane crashes just metres away.

"The plane touched down in the proper landing area but for some reason was unable to stop on the strip," Federal Air Transport Agency chief Alexander Neradko said in televised remarks.

"According to preliminary data, the pilots used all the brake systems available on the plane," an unidentified investigator told the Interfax news agency.

The car ploughs through a rain of debris as the plane crashes just metres away.

"But for some reason, the aircraft failed to stop and continued moving" down the runway. "Most likely, the cause was defective reverse engines or brakes."

Red Wings said a flight attendant died of her injuries yesterday, bringing the toll to five. Three others were recovering in a stable condition.

The car comes to a halt, the driver and occupants lucky to be alive.

Greater loss of life was averted only because the 210-seat liner was empty except for the eight crew returning from a charter flight to the Czech Republic.

Mobile phone footage of the accident posted online showed chunks of debris hurtling over the highway and crashing into cars whose drivers had to swerve and make emergency stops.

Rescuers work at the site of a Red Wings Tu-204 plane that careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.

The jet split into three pieces and required the temporary shutdown of both the Kiev Highway and Vnukovo - Moscow's third largest airport and the site of a special terminal for Kremlin officials.

Red Wings owner Alexander Lebedev - a billionaire famous for his critical view of the Kremlin and his ownership of the London Evening Standard and The Independent in Britain - said the jet had recently passed a meticulous check.

Moscow 24 TV airs dramatic footage of rescuers helping survivors after plane crash on highway.

"Plane number 47 had accumulated 8500 flight hours and underwent its last thorough check on November 23," Mr Lebedev said on his Twitter feed.

He also suggested that traffic controllers' initial refusal to authorise landing - requiring the plane to complete several circles over Vnukovo in bad weather - may have been a contributing factor.

A passenger jet has careered off a runway at Russia's third-busiest airport, killing at least four people.

"All machinery has its limits, even when it is new," Mr Lebedev wrote.

Russian media said the authorities had concerns about the Tu-204 jet's ability to stop in various weather conditions even before Saturday's crash landing.

Rescuers work at the site where a plane careered off the runway at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.

They cited a letter sent by the state aviation watchdog Rosaviatsya to the jet's maker on Friday asking about an incident last week in which the engines failed to fire into reverse on landing.

The manoeuvre is required for the plane to slow down quickly upon touchdown.

The russianplanes.net aviation website said the very same jet had suffered an engine failure and was forced to make an emergency landing in June 2009.

It said Mr Lebedev's airline had in fact decided not to order any more Tu-204 planes after the 2009 incident because of the engine problems.
 

Government officials believe the cause of the crash could be pilot error.

Witnesses said heavy gusts accompanying a light snowfall were swirling over the airport at the time the plane came in for landing on Saturday afternoon.

But on Sunday, a security source said investigators had brushed aside poor weather conditions or pilot error and were focusing on technical problems with the Tupolev as the most likely cause.

"According to preliminary information, the Vnukovo catastrophe may have been caused by problems with the plane, which became exposed in difficult weather conditions," the unnamed official told the Interfax news agency.

The Russian-made Tu-204 jet was flying in from Pardubice, in the Czech Republic after dropping off tourists and then returning to its home Moscow base with just crew on board. 

Officials said there were eight people aboard the Tu-204 belonging to Russian airline Red Wings that was flying back from the Czech Republic without passengers to its home at Vnukovo Airport.

Emergency officials said in a televised news conference that four people were killed and another four severely injured when the plane rolled off the runway into a snowy field and partly onto an adjacent highway, then disintegrated.

Russian medics on Sunday began identifying the bodies.

Rescue workers recovered the flight recorders from the four-year-old Tu-204 late on Saturday as Russia began mourning its latest post-Soviet crash.

"The plane touched down in the proper landing area but for some reason was unable to stop on the strip," Federal Air Transport Agency chief Alexander Neradko said in televised remarks.

The plane's impact with the highway embankment sent the severed nose sliding over the icy road while the rest of the jet rested just past the airport's fence - its tail linked to the rest of the body by only a tangle of wreckage.

The plane's cockpit area was sheared off from the fuselage and a large chunk gashed out near the tail.

Russian state television showed live footage of rescuers climbing into the wreck with search lights as night fell over Moscow with the plane still blocking traffic on the busy Kiev Highway.

''According to updated information, four people were killed and four more were injured,'' the interior ministry said in a statement.

A health ministry official said the four survivors were being treated for head injuries at various Moscow hospitals.

The Interfax news agency said both pilots were among the dead.

The crash occurred amid light snow and winds gusting up to 15 metres a second, but other details were not immediately known.

A spokesman for Russia's top investigative agency, Vladimir Markin, said initial indications were that pilot error was the cause.

But Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said all possible causes were being explored, including pilot error, the weather or a technical malfunction.

Several state media outlets speculated only hours after the incident that something might be wrong with the brake system of the Tu-204 planes.

The state news agency RIA Novosti cited an unidentified official at the Russian Aviation Agency as saying another Red Wings Tu-204 had gone off the runway at the international airport in Novosibirsk in Siberia on December 20.

The agency said that incident, in which no one was injured, was due to the failure of the plane's engines to go into reverse upon landing and that its brake system malfunctioned.

On Friday, the Aviation Agency sent a directive to the Tupolev company's president calling for it to take urgent preventive measures.

They cited a letter sent by the state aviation security watchdog Rosaviatsya to the jet's Tupolev maker on Friday expressing concern over last week's incident.

The manoeuvre is required for the plane to slow down quickly upon touchdown.

Czech officials stressed that the plane was in fine working order when it landed at an airport 100kmeast of Prague earlier in the day.

Vnukovo airport spokeswoman Yelena Krylova said it had enough personnel and equipment to keep the runway fully functional on Saturday.

The airport resumed receiving planes after a break of several hours.

Prior to Saturday's crash, there had been no fatal accidents reported for Tu-204s, which entered commercial service in 1995.

The plane is a twin-engine midrange jet with a capacity of about 210 passengers.

Vnukovo, on the southern outskirts of Moscow, is one of the Russian capital's three international airports.

Red Wings - which serves destinations in Russia and abroad as well as offering charter flights - is owned by Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev whose assets also include the London Evening Standard and The Independent in Britain.

Red Wings owner Lebedev said the jet had passed a meticulous check in November.

"Plane number 47 had accumulated 8500 flight hours and underwent its last serious check on November 23," Lebedev tweeted.

He also suggested that traffic controllers' initial refusal to authorise landing - requiring the plane to complete several circles over Vnukovo - might have been a contributing factor.

"All machinery has its limits, even when it is new," Lebedev wrote.

 Air safety in Russia is a major headache for the authorities following a severe deterioration in the quality of domestic services following the Soviet Union's collapse.

Officials blame most problems on pilot inexperience as well as poor maintenance by small and poorly regulated airlines that sprouted up across Russia in the past two decades.

The images of the stricken plane stranded on the motorway are a major embarrassment for Russia as it seeks to promote an image as a safe country ahead of its hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2018 World Cup.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had been personally informed about the accident while Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation into its causes.

The incident also risks causing travel chaos as Russians depart from the capital in hordes for the country's lengthy New Year holidays.

Flights were diverted for several hours to Moscow's two other major airports after the crash.

The accident came days after all 27 people on board a Kazakh military jet were killed in a crash in the south of the former Soviet Central Asian state.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Future of Tinkler's stable in serious doubt

The future of Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm horse training stud is in doubt. Picture: Nic Walker Source: Supplied

NATHAN Tinkler's Queensland racing dream could be over.

The former billionaire's Patinack Farm racing stable scratched every runner in Brisbane on Saturday, with racing industry insiders claiming the Newcastle Knights owner is set to place his Queensland operations on ice until his business empire bounces back from mounting debts.

More than 30 people are employed at Patinack's Canungra base in the Gold Coast hinterland and many are already reportedly looking for new jobs as speculation continues that Mr Tinkler's racing empire is on borrowed time.

The mogul has closed his Melbourne stables and speculation continues that Queensland will be next to go.

Patinack Farm has 15 horses listed for sale at next month's Magic Millions carnival after more than 300 were offloaded in a fire sale earlier this year.

Retail king Gerry Harvey has confirmed loaning Mr Tinkler millions of dollars.

A win to Ferment in NSW at the weekend was a rare bright spot for Patinack on the same day four horses were scratched at Doomben, sending the racing rumour mill into overdrive.

Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm base at Canungra.

No Patinack horse has won in Brisbane for 28 starts, placing further financial strain on the business.

Patinack Farm is easily the biggest employer at Canungra, but locals say many staff have had enough.

"It's already come out that a lot of them weren't getting their super and a lot of them are looking for new jobs," a Canungra trader said.

"They can see the writing on the wall and it's been the talk of the town."

Another trader said it would be a sad end to a sorry saga if Mr Tinkler closed Canungra's Patinack operations.

"It's sad because when he set up Patinack out here everyone thought of him as a saviour who was going to drive the economy for the whole town," he said.

"But he got a lot of people offside right from the start."

Some contractors and suppliers contacted by The Courier-Mail yesterday said they were paid up to date, but others have cut their losses.

Mr Tinkler bought his Canungra holdings three years ago for a reported $28 million, but real estate agents said he would be lucky to get close to $20 million for it now.


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Andre's TV show halted after death

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 23 Desember 2012 | 23.08

Singer Peter Andre has postponed the airing of his reality show after the death of his older brother Andrew last week. Source: Getty Images

GRIEVING Peter Andre has asked for the airing of his reality TV show to be postponed - because it features scenes of his older brother, Andrew, dying of cancer.

The singer, 39, is ''devastated'' by the death of Andrew, 54, who lost his battle with kidney cancer last Sunday.

Some parts of the most recent episode of Peter Andre: My Life were filmed just over a week before Andrew's death and showed his family spending the final days with him.

The show's synopsis says, "As brother Andrew's condition worsens, the singer finds Emily is on hand to help him enjoy his new-found passion for art, and it is not long before he is inspired to have a dabble at painting his muse."

British TV producers were initially planning on airing the episode as a tribute to Andrew, including a message at the start and end acknowledging his death.

But The Sun newspaper reports that after a request from Andre's management the program has been postponed to later in the week out of respect to the family.

Andrew was diagnosed with cancer earlier in February after complaining of stomach pains.

Earlier this month Andre postponed his tour of the UK, so he could spend time with his ailing brother.

Andrew had been living with his wife Magda in the singer's Sussex home and died surrounded by his loved ones.

The singer's spokesperson said: "Everyone was at Andrew's side - his wife, daughter, Pete and their parents -the whole family.

"Andrew woke up, looked around at everyone to say goodbye, and then fell asleep. He passed away in his sleep. It was very peaceful.

"This is the first member of Pete's immediate family to pass away and he is obviously devastated.

"The whole family is in shock and need time and privacy to grieve."

The singer's ex-wife Katie Price sent her support to Andre as he grieves for his brother.

The former model tweeted her condolences, writing "My thoughts are with the Andre family at this difficult time xx".

Peter Andre has two children, Junior and Princess, with Katie and considers her disabled son Harvey to be his own child.


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Smoking volcano has nations on alert

A family watches the Copahue volcano spewing ashes from Caviahue, Neuquen province, Argentina. Authorities in Chile and Argentina issued yellow alerts due to the eruption of the Copahue volcano, placed in the border between both countries. AFP/Antonio Huglich Source: AFP

INCREASED activity at a volcano on the border of Chile and Argentina has authorities in both countries on alert.

The Copahue volcano in Argentina's Neuquen province and Chile's Biobio region began spewing ash and gas early on Saturday, but officials say it's still in an early eruption stage.

Chile's Mining Minister Hernan de Solminihac says the volcano's smoke plume led Argentine emergency officials to issue a yellow alert and constantly monitor its activity in case of a full eruption.

View of the Copahue volcano spewing ashes behind the lagoon of Caviahue, Neuquen province, Argentina. AFP PHOTO / Antonio Huglich

Flights expected to pass by the area around the volcano have been warned.

Officials say there's no need yet to evacuate people near the volcano, which is part of the Andes mountain chain.

View of the Copahue volcano spewing ashes from Caviahue, 1500km southwest of Buenos Aires. The authorities of Chile and Argentina issued yellow alerts due to the eruption of the Copahue volcano, placed in the border between both countries. AFP / Antonio Huglich

A volcano in southern Chile erupted last year, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the evacuation of more than 600 people.

View of the Copahue volcano spewing ashes from Caviahue, Neuquen province, Argentina. The authorities of Chile and Argentina issued yellow alerts due to the eruption of the Copahue volcano, on the border of both countries. AFP / Antonio Huglich


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Deni gets hitched, again, but no Marcia

Singer Deni Hines in her wedding dress at the reception at Middle Head. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: The Daily Telegraph

SHE'S something of a professional bride - married twice before and formerly a wedding singer, even performing at the nuptials of Ricki-Lee Coulter.

But when it came time to walk down the aisle for a third time yesterday, pop singer Deni Hines chose a "quiet and simple" afternoon ceremony to tie the knot with her "soul mate", financier Daniel Moses.

The villainous Celebrity Apprentice contestant and Moses, a sometime musician, have been seeing each other for 18 months.

Just as the searing temperatures started to drop about 4pm, the couple wed before a small group of family friends at Sergeant's Mess in Middle Head, overlooking Sydney Harbour National Park.

The 41-year-old wore a vintage-looking cream silk dress and fastened her veil with a bejewelled tiara.

Hines has been vocal about her desire for children and has made comments about hoping to be pregnant as soon as possible.

Having had brief marriages to INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly and British record producer Dennis Charles, Hines believes Moses is "the one".

"If you'd have told me a couple of years ago that I'd fall for a slightly balding finance guy, I would have laughed at you," she said in August.

"But this man is the love of my life."

The singer has had a publicly volatile relationship with her mother, showbiz veteran Marcia Hines, who could not be seen among the guests yesterday.

Marcia stood up for her daughter earlier this year over the deluge of hate mail Deni received following her headline-grabbing turn on Celebrity Apprentice , where she clashed with beauty queen Jesinta Campbell.

Her wedding is being covered by a women's magazine.

Moses proposed earlier this year, presenting his now wife with a self-designed 1.5 carat ring from upmarket jewellers Fairfax & Roberts.

Ever-blunt, speaking in an interview last year, Hines said: "I plan to be pregnant by the end of the year, but Daniel doesn't know that yet."


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Perverts may make the most of Poke app

Teenagers can face child pornography charges for "sexting" and experts say many young girls are pressured into sending  racy pictures to their boyfriends. Picture: ThinkStock. Source: news.com.au

FACEBOOK'S new photo and video messaging app that mimics infamous sexting app Snapchat has raised concerns it could encourage sexting among teens, and even enable sharing of child pornography.

The Facebook Poke app, which allows users to send each other photos and video that "self destruct" after a few seconds, has already become the most popular free download on iTunes since it was officially launched on Friday.

Users can send messages or pictures instantly to any of their Facebook friends and opt for them to self-delete after one, three, five or 10 seconds.

It is almost identical to controversial messaging app Snapchat, which has attracted worldwide criticism for enabling teens to engage in "sexting" - texting nude or sexy photos - with a perceived lack of consequences.

However there is nothing to stop users of either app taking a screenshot of messages they receive which can be forwarded to others.

Facebook Poke throws up an alert if it detects a recipient taking a screenshot of a message, but users are virtually powerless to take any action to prevent that screenshot being shared.

It is also unclear whether images and video sent through Facebook Poke end up stored on the social media network's servers even after they have self-deleted, or for how long.

Facebook could not be reached for comment.

Sydney psychologist and teacher Collett Smart told News Ltd apps like Facebook Poke and Snapchat could make teens vulnerable to exploitation and could even provide an easy way for criminals to share child porn.

Ms Smart said that over the past six months, she had counselled countless girls who had been pressured into sending nude photos to their boyfriends as a "sexy present", and this app would only cause more harm.

"We have all sorts of issues with child porn and we're supposed to be protecting kids from exploitation and apps like that in no way protect young kids," she said.

"They don't have the capacity to know the dangers.

"Who actually wants to take photos of your holiday on the beach, or your school graduation or something like that and have them dissolve in 10 seconds? We're not dumb, we know what this app will be used for."

A recent parliamentary inquiry in Victoria heard one in five children aged 10 to 15 had either sent or received a sext.

Anyone under the age of 18 taking, sending or receiving naked pictures can be charged with child pornography offences, which carries penalties of up to 15 years in jail and placement on a sex offenders register.

TIPS TO HELP YOU PROTECT YOUR CHILD

Have a Facebook account and try to "friend" your child if possible.

Have access to your child's facebook account and passwords.

Keep technology in public areas of the house, out of children's bedrooms.

Restrict children to using your iTunes account for downloads, so you can monitor them.


 


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DJs starts Boxing Day sales online

Boxing Day sales doors opening at David Jones last year. Picture: Fiona Hamilton Source: Herald Sun

HIGH-end department store David Jones is breaking with 174 years of tradition to start its annual stocktake sale a day early.

For the first time, its web-savvy shoppers will be able to snap up bargains online on Christmas Day.

David Jones boss Paul Zahra said the online option allowed the retailer to look forward to a bumper stocktake sale.

"We expect it to be the best clearance ever," he said. "It's an important time and we expect it to be big.

"We've seen year-on-year increases for clearance and when you add other channels, people have even more options to buy," he said.

Be inspired with our Christmas gift guide

Starting the sale early online last year gave rival Myer its biggest-ever web trading day.

David Jones is expecting a similarly positive result.

Myer said yesterday its stocktake sale would start online at 9 o'clock tonight.

Myer spokesman Steve Carey said the decision to start the sale earlier marked the distinction between online and physical stores.

"It's ... at a time when all the bricks-and-mortar stores were closed. It's also giving customers more time to shop online at a convenient time," Mr Carey said.

But for customers who preferred store browsing to net surfing, Mr Zahra said the Boxing Day tradition at David Jones was still alive and well. The Melbourne and Sydney stores will throw open their doors at 5am on Wednesday.

"It's a genuine sale and customers recognise that," Mr Zahra said. 

Australian Retail Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the earlier start was a sign of things to come.


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Shopper docket fuel deal under the pump

The ACCC will take a closer look at Coles' decision to extend it shopper docket fuel discount deal to see how it is affecting independent petrol stations. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: News Limited

A DECISION by Coles to extend its 8c-a-litre petrol discount until Easter will be investigated by the ACCC as part of its probe into shopper dockets.

The doubling of the usual saving means that Coles shoppers who've spent at least $30 in a single transaction can cut the cost of refilling a Holden Commodore at an affiliated service station by $5.68 per 71-litre tank.

The initiative has attracted the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is already examining whether supermarket docket deals "in the long term lead to consumer detriment".

The fear is that the major supermarket chains will run independent servos out of business then jack up prices.

The consumer cop began an investigation into petrol discounts in July this year. While it has not publicly discussed details of its inquiries, it has said it is scrutinising the "size and duration of the discounts".

An ACCC spokesman said yesterday: "The current episode of extended discounting will be considered as part of that investigation."

However, history suggests the ACCC will probably not end up intervening. In 2004 it found shopper docket petrol scheme provided "significant benefits to consumers" and in 2007 it concluded that they "continue to generate a public benefit in the form of lower petrol prices for consumers, particularly with respect to price-conscious consumers".

Still, ACCC boss Rod Sims recently said that petrol remains, by a considerable margin, the top issue that consumers raise with him.

Coles brushed off questioning about the ACCC investigation, saying it was focused on helping customers save money.

"We know that families are looking to save money wherever they can," said Coles Express general manager Peter Short.

Woolworths does not have a current petrol offer beyond the normal 4c-a-litre discount, a spokesman said yesterday.

The current national average petrol price - $1.40/L - is about the same as it was a year ago, according to Australian Institute of Petroleum data.

And it is about 8 per cent or 12c/L cheaper than four years ago when a weaker Australian dollar was forcing up prices.


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Aussies take off on super-boats that fly

Oracle Team USA's incredible AC72 yacht takes flight in San Francisco Bay during testing for the America's Cup.

  • 34th America's Cup promises dramatic thrills and spills
  • 'Dream Team' skippered by Aussie sailor Jimmy Spithill
  • Hydrofoiling boats can capsize dramatically at 40 knots

AUSTRALIA'S finest sailors will star in the America's Cup next year, crewing the world's fastest racing yacht as it battles the challenger in beautiful San Francisco Bay.

The Aussies are coming: Oracle Team USA's Australian sailors. Top row: Jimmy Spithill, Tom Slingsby, Darren Bundock. Bottom row: Kyle Langford, Joe Newton, Sam Newton. Photo: Oracle

Sailing is a noisy pursuit, typically. Bow crashes on wave, sails heave and billow, ropes grind. But the cutting-edge technology at the sport's pinnacle has introduced a new, eerily silent moment.

It's when the giant catamarans for next year's America's Cup turn downwind, and the sail towering above them - bigger than the wing of a Boeing 747 - catches the wind behind.

The yachts roar with astonishing speed, faster than the wind itself, and then, as the crew take their positions, it happens.

Lift Off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 hydrofoiling during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

No more clash of bow against wave, or chop on the surface. It's quiet, but for the tiny hiss of a fin scything through the water below.

The entire rest of the boat, carrying the crew perched on a side, is - literally - flying.

Lift Off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 hydrofoiling during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

Tom Slingsby, the Australian Olympic gold medalist and one of the many Australians crewing for America 30 years after Alan Bond's triumph in Perth, says the experience is "surreal" and "almost like being on a spaceship".

Thirty years after Australia II's winged keel helped break the US stranglehold on sailing's most prized trophy, a group of Australians renowned as leaders and innovators are at the forefront of the America's Cup challenge again. They will take these inherently perilous yachts around San Francisco Bay next year.

Lift Off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 hydrofoiling during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

On board Oracle Team USA, gung-ho Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill defends the Cup he won in 2011, backed by a tactician, coach and core crew members from the land Down Under.

The yacht's massive 40m high sail generates so much thrust the boat lifts out of the water to glide on hydrofoils at up to 75km/h.

Lift Off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 hydrofoiling during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

Sailing upwind there is so much noise that the only way crews can communicate is via earpieces, downwind everything goes eerily silent.

"It's an amazing feeling," says Slingsby, the team's Australian tactician. "At top speed all the drag is out of the water and the entire boat is skimming on tiny little fins."

Sydneysider Spithill, an excitingly aggressive competitor nicknamed "Pitbull Jimmy" by fans, certainly put the $10m catamaran through its paces when he "pitch-poled" it at high speed during testing, digging it into the water and sending his crew flying.

WATCH as Oracle Team USA's AC72 dramatically capsizes during training on San Francisco Bay.

The last thing the crew heard before the flip was Spithill yelling: "keep an eye on your mates."

"We did something we were hoping we would never do," he says. "Capsize an AC72."

Oracle Team USA's AC72 capsizes dramatically during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

With a 14m wide rope mesh platform between the boat's two hulls and no safety harnesses, some sailors fell the equivalent of seven storeys into the water. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries, although the crash is rumoured to have caused damage totalling $2m.

Oracle Team USA's AC72 capsizes dramatically during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

"We've been pushing the boat all the time, every day we push it more and more, and we finally found our limit," says Slingsby, who won sailing gold for Australia in London.

Jimmy Spithill captains ten sailors aboard Oracle's six tonne, $10m carbon fiber yacht, a remarkable racing machine four times lighter than Alan Bond's Australia II, which in 1983 wrestled yachting's most important trophy away from the USA for the first time in 132 years.

Thirty years on, billionaire American software tycoon Larry Ellison has bankrolled the expensively assembled California-based Oracle team, but its core personnel are all Australian.

On board, Slingsby will help Spithill marshall fellow Australians Sam Newton (bowman), Will McCarthy (grinder), Kyle Langford and Joe Newton (trimmers), while Aussie coach Darren Bundock ensures the racers are ready for the greatest challenge of their lives.

Home Sweet Home: Oracle Team USA's AC72 during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

September's finals series will be contested in the shark-infested waters of San Francisco Bay, with contestants battling unpredictable winds swirling off the city's skyscrapers and one of the fastest tides on Earth rushing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

Team USA's "wing" is so powerful it is best described as a cocked trigger primed to explode.

"The new boats are amazing," enthuses an excited Spithill, the youngest man ever to win an America's Cup, who grew up sailing on Pittwater, at the tip of Sydney's northern beaches.

"It's a completely different event from just a few years ago, a complete change."

"It's really stadium sailing. The races last about 30 minutes, and get very physical. Skippering one of these boats is a lot like driving a race car: the harder you push, the faster you go."

Lift Off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 hydrofoiling during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

America's Cup contenders are rolling out technological advances akin to the engineering that characterises Formula One's relentless search for speed and aerodynamic advantage.

With Olympic gold medalists as coach and tactician, plus Great Britain's four time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie at the helm, Spitall's crew is being dubbed yachting's "Dream Team".

Manned by the strongest and smartest sailors in the world, bankrolled by rich tycoons, and backed by sponsors such as Red Bull and Tag Heuer, the defender and one equally expensive competitor will fight it out on the most testing course in America's Cup history.

Over two weeks next September, in front of the Cup's biggest ever live audience, the super yachts will vie for supremacy, framed by Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Home Sweet Home: Oracle Team USA's AC72 during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

"San Francisco Bay is a real test," says Spithill. "It's a very windy bay, the currents are always changing, and it's very tight. One boundary is close to shore, the other moves. It's very demanding, and pushes the boat and the crew to the edge. It's a lot like Formula One."

But unlike Formula One's iconic racetracks, an America's Cup course is never the same.

And while F1 simulators can reproduce almost every aspect of the bitumen, helping drivers prepare in advance, sailors have a whole stack more variables to contend with, including wind, water, gradient and sheer. Which all adds up to speed, danger and excitement.

WATCH dramatic race footage of Jimmy Spithill capsizing Oracle Team USA's AC45.


"Back in the monohull-era there was no risk and the racing wasn't great for TV," says Spithill.

"Now there is real risk involved and sailing is becoming an amazing spectator sport, both in person and on TV. We push it hard, and viewers get engaged with that."

Lift off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

More Batboat than traditional yacht, Oracle Team USA's 22m long AC72 has been designed to be pushed to the limits, with a bow raked backwards to make the powerful boat more stable.

When it reaches top speed the boat sits out of the water on foils, a technology Made in Australia.

Lift off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

"There's very little drag when we are hydrofoiling," says Oracle's five-times America's Cup winning senior engineer, the Dutchman Dirk Kramers: Basically, we're flying."

"It's a very tricky business, getting the whole boat up on foils, with only the board and rudder in the water, and it's tricky keeping control when there are only certain things we can adjust."

Gutted: Jimmy Spithill after Oracle Team USA's AC72 capsized dramatically during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

With a thick rule book, and strict boat design parameters, teams are kept on a level playing field.

Carbon fiber has dramatically reduced the weight of Cup yachts in recent years, with a commensurate increase in speed. Oracle's AC72 weighs six tonnes, when predecessors topped the scales at up to 24 tonnes.

"Weight is drag," says Kramers. "Lose weight and you go fast: very fast."

Add a sail unlike any seen before and the potential for speed, and for disaster, is unprecedented.

Oracle Team USA's AC72 capsizes dramatically during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

"It's a very demanding boat," says Spithill. "It's not like you cruise out and put a sail up, the wing always wants to go, it always creates a lot of thrust. Sailing it takes a lot of concentration."

"We tipped it over from pushing it very hard, that's the risk that is now in the sport today. I don't think tipping is a good thing, but people can see that it is difficult. It engages the audience."

Oracle Team USA's AC72 capsizes dramatically during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

"The danger level has gone up a lot," agrees Kramers. "Safety is a big issue. Our boat is 14m wide, so if you fall off you are falling six or seven stories, jumping into the water or holding on."

"The guys carry safety equipment, knifes, breathing apparatus, and we have a chase boat ready to help. We're really pushing these yachts - but you wouldn't want to take them too far offshore."

Oracle Team USA's AC72 capsizes dramatically during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

"We need 30 people and a big crane just to to get it into the water, and as you lift the wing the boat just wants to fly. She always wants to go sailing."

With multimillion dollar budgets and up to a hundred engineers beavering away in the boatyard, today's America's Cup teams resemble well oiled F1 operations. But by pitting man against the elements with limited technological assistance, the race retains its purity.

Once the boat enters the racing area there is no communication between shore and land, all decisions are made onboard," says Kramers.

There are no engines or motorised winches on Oracle - the most powerful yacht ever built is powered by the muscles of its sailors, and remains forever at the vagaries of wind and tide.

Competed for since 1851, when the schooner America defeated the Royal Yacht Squadron in a race around the Isle of Wight and took the trophy back to the New York Yacht Club, the Cup spent 132 years in the USA before Alan Bond's Australia II finally ended America's stranglehold.

Go Aussie Go: Australia II snatches the America's Cup in 1983. Photo: WA Museum Source: Supplied

The Royal Perth Yacht Club's 1983 victory, after 26 unsuccessful challenges, marked a new era for the America's Cup, and sparked joyous scenes across Australia.

Interviewed that day at a dawn celebration in Claremont, Western Australia, then Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously said "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum".

Lift Off: Oracle Team USA's AC72 hydrofoiling during testing in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Oracle Team USA Source: Supplied

Sydneysider Spithill is hoping a few of his friends back home will be enjoying a day off next September. "Most of my mates are footie players or racing drivers," says the skipper.

"Before they weren't into sailing, now it's high-paced, like a V8 supercar race, they're hooked."

On the 30th anniversary of our greatest sailing triumph, the Aussies are coming again.
 


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Speech driving apps a 'distraction'

Texting while driving is dangerous, but new apps that turn your texts into speech may be just as distracting, police say. Source: News Limited

SMARTPHONE apps that read out and respond to text messages while you're driving are a dangerous distraction and should not be used, police warn.

Text Star, available for Australian Android phones in early 2013, automatically replies to all texts and emails with a preset message of your choice whenever it detects you travelling faster than 16km/h.

Another free android app that's already on the market, DriveSafe.ly, uses text-to-speech technology to automatically read out loud text messages and emails the instant they're received, so you can keep your hands on the wheel and avoid a hefty fine and demerit points.

Police and road authorities say while such apps would help drivers avoid fines for holding or operating a mobile phone, which is prohibited in all states, they could still result in fines for driving while distracted, or even cause accidents.

SA Police Traffic Support Branch's Superintendent Bob Fauser said while use of the apps would not constitute an offence for full licence holders, they were a dangerous distraction and should not be used.

"Inattention and distraction cause about a third of all South Australia's fatal road crashes and a little less than half of all serious injury crashes," he said.

"This new technology will only add to the distractions."

Research into driver distraction has shown that using a mobile phone while driving, even in hands-free mode, can increase the chance of a crash by as much as four times.

Supt Fauser reminded parents considering the apps as a safety measure for teenage children that learner's permit and P1 provisional licence holders were banned from using any mobile phone function, including hands-free features.

"For learner's permit and P1 provisional licence holders the use of these apps would still constitute an offence,'' he said.

Authorities also warn that while these apps may seem an attractive safety measure, learners and provisional licence holders in many states including SA are banned from using mobile phones in any way while driving.

The Drive Safe.ly app requires the driver to switch it on before starting their journey. Then automatically reads out - over a loudspeaker - any text messages or emails received until it is switched off again.

The hands-free app is also available for Blackberry and iPhone, however the iPhone version will only read emails.

Text Star, currently only available in the US, uses GPS to detect when a user is travelling faster than 16km/h and automatically launches a "Personal Texting Assistant" to reply to incoming SMS or email.

Users can create messages such as "I can't respond to your text as I am driving" to be sent on their behalf.


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Swiss send Salvos to Eurovision

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 16 Desember 2012 | 23.08

SWITZERLAND is putting its faith in the Salvation Army, whose guitarist is 94 years old, to win the Eurovision Song Contest when it is staged in Malmo, Sweden, next year.

Swiss television viewers chose the Christian missionary group's rock tune from among five national finalists.

The Eurovision contest is a kitschy fixture on the European cultural calendar watched by more than 100 million people across the world.

Viewers and juries pick the winner from an eclectic mix of bubblegum pop and rock acts representing each European country.

Political songs are forbidden and Swiss media have speculated that the Salvation Army's Christian aims might still fall afoul of the rules.

Switzerland hasn't won the contest since Canadian singer Celine Dion represented the country in 1988.
 


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Tiger launches new routes and aircraft

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority grounded Tiger's Australian fleet in July last year after a series of safety concerns. Picture: James Morgan. Source: Supplied

A YEAR and a half after its Australian fleet was grounded over safety concerns, Tiger Airways has added several routes and a new aircraft to its roster.

A new Airbus A320 aircraft was delivered to the airline at Sydney Airport today.

"The new aircraft will serve the growing number of routes that Tiger is flying," Tiger Airways director Carly Brear said in a statement.

The A320 will operate on two new routes - between Sydney and Mackay and Melbourne and Mackay.

Tiger announced the new routes after an online poll indicated popular demand.

"We aim to meet a consumer need as well as provide a welcome boost for domestic tourism and the local economy," Ms Brear said.

Up to five services will run between Sydney and Mackay each week from Monday, with as many as four operating between Melbourne and Mackay.

The new routes will provide up to 3200 seats between Mackay and the southern capitals weekly.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) grounded Tiger's Australian fleet in July last year after a series of safety concerns, including two low flight approaches into Melbourne and Avalon airports.

CASA said it had lost confidence in the airline's ability to manage safety appropriately.

Tiger was allowed to resume flying in August last year after a six-week grounding.


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Aussies brace for cyclone Evan in Fiji

People walk through debris in Samoa's capital Apia on Friday after cyclone Evan ripped through the South Pacific island nation. Source: AP

NEARLY 700 teenage schoolies are among thousands of Australians bracing for monster Cyclone Evan's arrival in Fiji.

Fijian authorities are scrambling to evacuate people from low-lying areas amid warnings the category 4 tropical cyclone could wreak catastrophic damage.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr says there are 2100 Australians registered with the government as currently being in Fiji, with many more believed to be unregistered.

The 2100 includes 680 schoolies travelling as part of organised tour groups, a spokesman for Senator Carr said today.

''Those 680 have all been accounted for, none of them are wandering about by themselves,'' the spokesman told AAP.

Some of those schoolies managed to get out of the country today but many more could not get flights, reports suggest.

Tour groups have been ferrying many of them from outlying islands to the main island of Viti Levu.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is urging Aussies to stay alert and informed.

''We encourage Australians in Fiji to follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media for the latest developments,'' DFAT said in its latest travel advice issued today.

It also urged them to review and follow hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans.

''You should carry your travel documents at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location,'' it said.

''We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts.''

The government is urging people worried about loved ones in Fiji to contact the Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135.

At least four people were killed when Evan slammed into Samoa, with the toll expected to rise after eight men were reported missing on three fishing boats.

Thousands more were left homeless and Australia's High Commission was damaged, forcing its temporary closure.

Senator Carr's spokesman says Australia's offer of assistance was ''warmly received'' by the Samoan government and an AusAID official is in the capital Apia to assess the damage and humanitarian needs.

Evan intensified as it moved through the Pacific and forecasters said destructive winds could reach nearly 300km/h by the time it hits Fiji early on Monday.

The Fijian government fear it could prove as devastating as Cyclone Kina, which killed 23 people and left thousands homeless in 1993.

Fiji's military leader Frank Bainimarama warned the storm is an ''impending disaster'' as his government moved to open more than 200 evacuation centres.

At least four people were killed when Cyclone Evan slammed into Samoa and the toll was expected to rise as a search was launched for eight men still missing on three fishing boats.

Only one survivor has been found, said the New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre, which is overseeing the search.

After crossing Samoa, Evan intensified as it ploughed through the Pacific and forecasters said destructive winds could reach nearly 300km/h by the time it hits Fiji early Monday.

Government officials fear it could be as devastating as Cyclone Kina, which killed 23 people and left thousands homeless in 1993.

Squally thunderstorms were expected to flood low-lying areas while coastal villages were at risk of sea flooding, authorities said.

Tourists in luxury resorts on outlying islands were being ferried to the mainland, while Fiji's main airline, Air Pacific, said it had either cancelled or rescheduled its Monday flights.

Philip Duncan, head analyst with the WeatherWatch.co.nz meteorological service, said Fiji could expect to be walloped by the storm, with the prospect of flash flooding and mudslides.

"Gusts may end up climbing to 280km/ per hour or greater around the centre of Evan," Duncan said.

"Some small, low-lying communities and resorts may suffer catastrophic damage and some small islands may be entirely submerged as the storm and storm surge roll by."

More than 200 evacuation centres have been opened and Information Ministry permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns said people at risk should move.

"People living in low-lying areas should consider moving to higher grounds or evacuations centres," she said.

"By sunset tonight everyone should be ready with torches, batteries, candles, supplies and other necessities."

Fiji's military leader Voreqe Bainimarama has warned the storm is an "impending disaster" and offers of international aid have already been received.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Canberra was offering financial aid as well as expert personnel and supplies.

"We're going to work with other nations including New Zealand and France, in doing what we can to save lives, and support search and rescue," he said.

Meanwhile, it could be some days before the full extent of the cyclone damage in Samoa is known because of the difficulty reaching outlying islands.

About 4500 people have been forced to remain in emergency shelters after Evan destroyed houses and damaged electricity and fresh water supplies, Samoan officials said.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele also warned of possible food shortages next year because of the destruction of crops.

The New Zealand Air Force and Tahiti search and rescue authorities were scouring the ocean for the fishing boats missing in rough seas.

New Zealand search coordinator Tracy Brickles said the 30-year-old skipper of one of the boats was known to have survived and made his way ashore after his boat tipped over on Friday but there was no information about his crew.

A vessel fitting the description of another boat has been seen washed up on an island but there was no sign of survivors.


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Community looks for answers to tragedy

As hundreds stand outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which was filled to capacity, a couple embrace during a healing service held in for victims of an elementary school shooting. Picture: AP Source: AP

A GUNMAN has shot 26 people - including 20 children - at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, western Connecticut, after killing his mother and then turning the gun on himself. Updates here as they come to hand. All times are AEDT.

2.55am: A top US Democrat says she will introduce a bill banning assault weapons as soon as the new Congress convenes in January in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

"I'm going to introduce in the Senate, and the same bill will be introduced in the house, a bill to ban assault weapons," Senator Dianne Feinstein said on NBC's Meet the Press.

2.34am: The gunman in the Connecticut shooting rampage committed suicide as first responders closed in, the state's governor has said, raising the spectre that Ryan Lanza had planned an even more gruesome massacre and was stopped short.

Speaking on ABC's This Week, Governor Dan Malloy said Lanza shot himself as police entered the building.

"We surmise that it was during the second classroom episode that he heard responders coming and apparently at that, decided to take his own life," Mr Malloy said.

A man helps a young girl up the stairs while carrying her backpack as they arrive for services at Trinity Church in Newtown, Connecticut. Picture: Jason DeCrow)

Mr Malloy offered no possible motive for the shooting and a law enforcement official has said police have found no letters or diaries left behind that could shed light on it.

2.23am: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy has confirmed the gunman in the school massacre that left 20 small children dead blasted his way through a locked glass door, climbed through and proceeded with his killing spree.

"He shot his way into the school. The school was locked. He used a weapon to open up the glass, and then walked in," Mr Malloy said on the US program This Week.

He later added: "But, you know, this - this sick fellow, you know, clearly mentally ill, killed his mother, proceeded to go on and kill a great number of people."

A woman pays her respects at a makeshift memorial outside St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church before Sunday Mass Sunday. Picture: Julio Cortez Source: AP

Names of victims are displayed on a flag in the business area pf Newtown, Connecticut. Picture: Don Emmert

1.57am:  Brian Koonz of the Connecticut Post is quoting Newtown superintendent Janet Robinson as saying that Sandy Hook Elementary School will relocate to Chalk Hill School in Monroe, about a 15 minute drive away from the site of the massacre.  Sandy Hook students will resume classes on Wednesday.

1.41am: If you would like to donate to the Sandy Hook Elementary community you can do so here.

1.20am: Should the US limit access to guns? Cast your vote here.

Gun control supporters take part in a candlelight vigil at Lafayette Square across from the White House. Picture: Mandel Ngan Source: AFP

1.08am:  Members of the Westboro Baptist Church say they are planning to picket the Sandy Hook Elementary School during US President Barack Obama's visit.

Candles are lit and flowers are left outside of Stratford High School during a candlelight vigil in honour of Victoria Soto, the first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who was shot and killed while protecting her students. Picture: Jared Wickerham

"Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment," Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the church, tweeted.

However, members of website Reddit said they would form a silent blockade if the church members decide to picket.  Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are infamous for their picketing of the funerals of US service members.

12.39am: The 20-year-old gunman in the shooting reportedly had Asperger's syndrome, but experts have downplayed any connection between the disorder and violence.

"There really is no clear association between Asperger's and violent behaviour," said psychologist Elizabeth Laugeson, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Read more here.
 

12.01am:  More information starts coming out about the gunman's victims.

Jillian Soto, center, thanks the hundreds of people who came out to attend a candlelight vigil in memory of victims including her sister Victoria from the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  Picture: AP /The Connecticut Post, Christian Abraham

James Mattioli, 6

Those grieving for James Mattioli extend right down to the New York town of Sherrill, where James' mother Cindy grew up.

"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," Mayor William Vineall told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "Everybody will be there for them, and our thoughts and prayers are there for them."

Olivia Engel, 6

Olivia Engel was described by Dan Merton, a longtime family friend, as a lovely child who enjoyed school and who was the teacher's pet.

Robbie Parker, father of a victim killed in the Connecticut shooting, has spoken to media. Credit: Fox News

"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners."

He said Olivia had planned to make a gingerbread house when she got home from school that day.

Madeleine Hsu, 6

The loss of Madeleine Hsu was described by family friend, Dr Matthew Velsmid, as "the darkest thing I've ever walked into."

Dr Velsmid said he went to the hospital to offer treatment to shooting victims but he said the casualties never came out.

Robbie Parker, the father of six-year-old Emilie who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, fights back tears as he speaks during a news conference in Newtown, Connecticut. Picture: AP/David Goldman

Madeleine was one of three friends that Dr Velsmid's daughter lost in the shooting.

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Catherine Hubbard's parents, Jennifer and Matthew, released a statement following their child's death to give thanks to all who have helped out following the tragedy.

"We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy," her parents said in a statement. "We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."

Chase Kowalski, 7

This photo posted to the Emilie Parker Fund Facebook page shows a family photograph taken of the six year-old. Picture: AP Photo/Emilie Parker Fund

Chase Kowalski's neighbour, Kevin Grimes, described a child who was always outdoors, riding his bike. He said he got a visit from Chase last week to tell him that he had competed in and won his first mini-triathlon.

"You couldn't think of a better child," Mr Grimes said.

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Charlotte Bacon's parents JoAnna and Joel and moved to Newtown, Connecticut four or five years ago. She apparently had begged her mother on the day of the shooting to wear her new pink dress and boots to school. Charlotte's brother Guy also attends the school but was not hurt.

Charlotte's uncle John Hagen told Newsday that his niece " was going to go some places in this world."

Massacre victim Dylan Hockley moved to the US from England two years ago. Picture: Facebook

Noah Pozner, 6

Noah Pozner was described by his uncle, Arthur Pozner, as "extremely bright."

His family had moved Noah, his twin sister and their 8-year-old sister to Newtown because they felt that New York couldn't compare with the education and safety that the Connecticut town had to offer.

"At this stage, two out of three survived. ... That's sad," Mr Pozner said.

11.45pm: The front page of the Sunday New York Times paid tribute to the victims of the massacre, with their names appearing in a simple design.

Noah Pozner, 6, was one of the victims in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

11.06pm:  During a concert in New Jersey on Saturday night, the Rolling Stones took a moment to acknowledge the  victims of the shooting. "We just wanted to send our love and condolences to all the people who lost loved ones in the tragedy in Connecticut," Mick Jagger said early on in the concert as the audience applauded. Jagger noted the entire world was feeling the pain of the stunned nation.

10.21pm: World leaders have expressed shock and horror at one of the worst school shootings in history.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to President Barack Obama in which she said she was "deeply shocked and saddened" to hear of the shootings.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth are with the families and friends of those killed and with all those who have been affected." Read more here.

Briefing reporters in Newtown, Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance said police have uncovered "very good" evidence that should help determine why a gunman forced his way into an elementary school and killed 20 children in one of the worst shooting rampages in U.S. history. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

10.08pm: Saturday Night Live made a rare departure from its comedic opening to pay tribute to the children and adults killed at a Connecticut elementary school.

Not known for treating anything seriously or tenderly, the show made a fitting exception during the first moments of its show. Rather than the usual comedic sketch, a children's choir appeared on camera and angelically sang Silent Night, with the touching refrain, "Sleep in heavenly peace."

Then the members of the New York City Children's Chorus shouted out the show's time-honoured introduction: "Live from New York, it's 'Saturday Night!'"

It was the night's sole reference to the tragedy and struck just the right tone.

Donna Soto (right), mother of Victoria Soto, the first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who was shot and killed while protecting her students, mourns with her daughter Karly (second from right), daughter Jillian (far left) and son Matthew Soto (second from left), at a candlelight vigil at Stratford High School. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Police say the gunman who slaughtered 26 people at a US school forced his way into the building.

9.11pm: A petition posted on the White House's official online forum calling on the Obama Administration to limit access to guns, has topped 113,076 signatures.

Posted on the government's We The People web page, the petition aimed to get 25,000 names to earn the right to a formal response from the US government.

7.50pm: Overcome with grief, the people of Newtown have pulled down some of their Christmas decorations. Signs around town read, 'Hug a teacher today,' ''Please pray for Newtown' and 'Love will get us through.'

A handwritten sign captures the feeling in grief-stricken Newtown. Source: AFP

Firefighters pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the school. Source: AFP

A day after a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut's medical examiner told reporters, "This is probably the worst I have seen." Sarah Irwin reports

6.50pm:  After Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning, police continue to search for a motive as more details of the tragedy emerge.

Police received the first report of the shooting around 9.30am.

The assault lasted about 20 minutes before Lanza took his own life.

As of now, police have not found any connection between the shooter and the school, reports the Washington Times Reporter.

6.20pm: The Herald, a daily South Carolina newspaper, has issued an apology after prominently featuring an advertisement for a gun sale adjacent to a story about Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Huffington Postreports.

A younger photo of Adam Lanza, the suspect involved in the shooting of 26 people. Picture: Screen grab from ABC

The advertisement, for Nichols Store in Rock Hill, S.C., features images of several Smith & Wesson handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle.

5.45pm: The shocking school shooting has prompted Queensland to question it's gun policy.

In August, the Newman government initially announced a six-member panel, comprised of pro-gun lobbyists and gun shop owners, to look at ways to cut red tape faced by gun owners when renewing licences.

Today Premier Campbell Newman insisted the state is not making it easier to own guns, as part of its review of gun licensing.

5pm: Shattered families and grieving residents are struggling with grief after the mass Connecticut school shooting.

Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old brother of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza, is escorted by police into a cruiser in Hoboken, N.J. Picture: WCBS-TV

The 'shy' gunman did not say a word when he entered one classroom and shot a teacher as children looked on.

4.15pm: Police in Alabama have killed two suspects following separate shooting incidents 75 miles apart that left three other people dead and several injured, including two officers.

3.55pm: Gunman Adam Lanza reportedly blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary school, The New York Times reports.

Kitted out in combat gear, the 20-year-old shot his way into the school overpowering its security system which required visitors to be buzzed in.

Police were confronted by an eerie silence when they entered the school armed with rifles, the paper said, as victims lay either dead or dying while other students were quietly hiding, under instructions from their teachers.

Meanwhile authorities said they will conduct autopsies on the shooter and his mother in the hours ahead.  All other post-mortems have been completed.

3:30pm: Mother Diane Licata described how her six-year-old son Aiden ran past the shooter in his classroom doorway to escape after seeing his teacher gunned down.

"They heard noises that he described as initially they thought were hammers falling. Then they realised that it was gunshots," she said.

"And ... Aiden's teacher had the presence of mind to move all of the children to a distance away from the door on the side of the room furthest away from the door and that's when the gunman burst in, did not say a word.

"No facial expressions. And proceeded to shoot their teacher."

3:15pm: The bodies of 20 children and six adults shot dead in the US state of Connecticut have been removed from the blood-soaked school as police search for a motive in the massacre.

The formal identification of the victims in one of America's worst mass shootings has marked a new chapter for the horrified small town residents of Newtown, where a 20-year-old man walked in with at least two powerful pistols and killed everyone he could find in two rooms of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Authorities were able to "positively identify all of the victims" and formally notify their families, said Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance.

The removal of bodies, which were initially left for investigators, "has been accomplished," he said on CBS television. "That was done overnight.

2:54pm: Sandy Hook Elementary will be closed next week - some parents can't even conceive of sending their children back, Leidlein said - and officials are deciding what to do about the town's other schools.

Asked whether the town would recover, Maryann Jacob, a clerk in the school library who took cover in a storage room with 18 fourth-graders during the shooting rampage, said: "We have to. We have a lot of children left."

2:29pm: President Obama is expected to meet with the families of the 26 victims when he travels to Newton later today.

He is also tipped to make an appearance on TV's Meet the Press. 

2.10pm: British victim Dylan Hockley, 6, reportedly lived across the street from suspected gunman Adam Lanza, it has emerged.

1.15pm: Fox has pulled new episodes of Family Guy and American Dad that were to air on Sunday to avoid potentially sensitive content.

The scheduled episode of Family Guy had Peter telling his own version of the nativity story. The American Dad  episode told the story of a demon who punished naughty children at Christmas. Both series plan to substitute reruns.

Actor Jamie Foxx said Hollywood should take some responsibility for such violence as he promoted Quentin Tarantino's upcoming, ultra-violent, spaghetti Western-style film about slavery, Django Unchained.

In an interview, Jamie Foxx said actors cannot "turn their back'' on that fact that movie violence can influence people.

1.01pm: A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy from Britain was one of the victims of the school shooting.

Dylan Hockley and his family had only moved to the US from Hampshire two years ago.

12.30pm: Authorities in California's Orange County said shots were fired at a mall in Newport Beach on Saturday evening. One man was in custody.

Shoppers at a Nordstrom at Fashion Island mall told NBC4 that they were on lockdown, but they were beginning to let "out the back" of the store. A shopper at Macy's said they heard 10 shots fired.

11:09am: While leaders call for prayer and reflection, a petition posted on the White House's official  online forum calling on the Obama Administration to limit access to guns, has already attracted nearly 100,00 signatures.

Posted on the government's We The People web page, the petition states that gun control laws should immediately be introduced into congress.

"The goal of this petition is to force the Obama Administration to produce legislation that limits access to guns. While a national dialogue is critical, laws are the only means in which we can reduce the number of people murdered in gun related deaths," the petition states.

"Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution's intended purpose of the right to bear arms. Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment intends to achieve."

The online petition has attracted 99, 989 signatures.  Any submission posted on that web page with more than 25,000 names earns the right to a formal response from the US government.

11:01am: US President Barack Obama whose emotional press conference yesterday echoed the shock and grief of many Americans, will attend an interfaith prayer service in Newtown.

The White House has announced that the president will join a interfaith vigil being held in the the Connecticut town at 7pm, Sunday, local time.

10:42am: Police remain tight-lipped about what may have triggered the second-deadliest school shooting in US history, though state police Lt. Paul Vance said investigators had found "very good evidence ... that our investigators will be able to use in painting the complete picture, the how and, more importantly, the why." He would not elaborate.

However, another law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said investigators have found no note or manifesto from shooter Adam Lanza of the sort they have come to expect after murderous rampages such as the Virginia Tech bloodbath in 2007 that left 33 people dead.

10:20am: Nancy Lanza's brother James Champion, a law enforcement officer in New Hampshire and uncle of the  shooter, didn't deliver a statement as expected. Instead, the sheriff of Rockingham County, New Hampshire, delivered a statement on the Champion family's behalf:

"The family of Nancy Lanza share the grief of a community and the nation as we struggle to comprehend the tremendous loss that we all share. Our hearts and prayers are with those who share in this loss: their families, teachers, staff and the students of Sandy Brook Elementary school, the first responders, and to all others touched by this tragedy. On behalf of Nancy's mother and siblings, we reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for the incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence that has affected so many.

"The family requests that you respect their privacy during his time of anguish and loss."

The chief of police in Kingston, New Hampshire, said that Nancy Lanza lived in Kingston for a good part of her life and was a "very, very kind, considerate, loving young lady."

"She was very involved in the community and very well respected."

Police meanwhile have found more evidence at the house that Nancy shared with her son Adam, CNN reports.

10:10am: Connecticut Govenor Dannel P. Malloy has paid tribute to"the innocent little boys and girls" who were "taken from their families far too soon."

While many were searching for answers to the tragic mass shooting, he said it was important for the community to focus right now on "courage, love and compassion". The governor's comments came as it emerged that all six of the adult victims killed in the shooting were female.

In a reference to America's controversial gun culture, he also said there will be soon come a time for Americans to discuss "the public policy issues" which the tragedy had raised.

9:55am: Local clergymen are out in force as the community struggles to come to terms with this tragedy.

Few of those preachers have expressed outrage like Reverend Henry Brown from Hartford, Connecticut's main city.

"I hate to say this, but this isn't going to be the last time," said Brown, a member of Mothers United Against Violence who questioned whether America's elected politicians have the courage to enact tougher gun laws.

"It's all right in America for everyone to have a gun -- but if it's alright for everyone to have a gun, then why are we here today?" he asked. "Something is wrong with that picture... People don't need guns."

9:40am: The father of six-year-old victim Emilie Parker has described his daughter as "beautiful and always smiling". Bobby Parker spoke of his love for his daughter, the eldest of three girls. The family had only moved to Newtown eight months ago. 

9:20am: Reports have emerged suggesting the victims were shot multiple times by Adam Lanza.  

8.30am: Connecticut State Police have released the names of the 26 victims shot and killed in the primary school massacre.

All 20 of the child victims - 12 girls and eight boys - were aged six and seven.

Here are the names and ages provided by police:
Charlotte Bacon, 6;
Daniel Barden, 7;
Rachel Davino, 29;
Olivia Engel, 6;
Josephine Gay, 7;
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6;
Dylan Hockley, 6;
Dawn Hochsprung, 47;
Madeline F. Hsu, 6;
Catherine V Hubbard, 6;
Chase Kowalski, 7;
Jesse Lewis, 6;
James Mattioli, 6;
Grace McDonnell, 7;
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emile Parker, 6;
Jack Pinto, 6;
Noah Pozner, 6;
Caroline Previdi, 6;
Jessica Rekos, 6;
Avielle Richman, 6;
Lauren Russeau, 30;
Mary Sherlach, 56;
Victoria Soto, 27;
Benjamin Wheeler, 6;
Allison N. Wyatt, 6

8.20am: Lieutenant Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police has denied earlier reports that alleged gunman Adam Lanza was involved in an altercation at the school earlier this week.

One of the mysteries on which investigators will focus is why Nancy Lanza would have procured so many high-powered weapons. The Sig Sauer and the Glock are top-of-the-range guns used widely by police forces across the US.

It has emerged that Nancy Lanza mother was not a teacher at the school despite early reports.

8.10am: Post-mortems have been carried out on the Sandy Hook massacre victims and all the victims have been removed from the school, police said. 

The full list of the victims has not yet been released.

7.50am: Connecticut medical examiner Wayne Carver has revealed most of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary school Massacre were killed with a Bushmaster assault rifle.

The doctor, who told a media conference the aftermath of the massacre was "the worst thing I have even seen'', said the victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The rambling media conference has caused a storm on social media with the doctor being slammed for inappropriate laughing and joking with the media.

7.40am: A police source has said that alleged gunman Adam Lanza was involved in some kind of trouble at Sandy Hook Elementary School earlier this week.

The source said the altercation was between Lanza and four adults, and occurred on Thursday, the day before the shooting.

Three of those adults, the source added, were killed during Friday's shooting.

The source was unable to say whether the disagreement took place inside or outside the school, but said that it apparently had something to do with him trying to enter the school.

7.25am: NBC Connecticut reports that alleged gunman Adam Lanza tried to buy a rifle at a Dick's Sporting Goods in Danbury, Connecticut, just days before the shooting but was rebuffed because the state has a waiting period for gun sales.

Store employees are currently searching their store surveillance cameras.

Police say the suspect had access to at least six guns.

6.38pm: Adam Lanza's mother was a gun enthusiast who had an extensive gun collection and took her troubled son to shooting ranges,The New York Post is reporting.

"She'd take them to the range a lot.  Nancy was an enthusiast - so much so that she wanted to pass it on to her kids,'' said her former landscaper, Dan Holmes.

"She took her two sons to the gun ranges quite a bit to practice their aim. She was a really great shot from what she told me. Whenever I finished work and went inside to chit-chat, she spoke often about her fascination with firearms. Nancy had an extensive gun collection and she was really quite proud of it.''

CNN is reporting that three weapons were found with the killer: two handguns and a rifle, all registered to his mother.

6.31am: An Oklahoma high school student is in custody on charges he plotted to bomb and shoot students at the Bartlesville High School auditorium on the same day 26 people were shot and killed at an elementary school in Connecticut

Police arrested 18-year-old Sammie Eaglebear Chavez about 4.30 am on Friday after learning of the alleged plot.

An arrest affidavit says Chavez tried to convince other students to help him lure students into the auditorium, chain the doors shut and start shooting. The Tulsa World reports that authorities say Chavez threatened to kill students who didn't help.

The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports Chavez planned to detonate bombs at the doors as police arrived.

6.09am Parents tried to process the deaths of their loved ones by trying to imagine their final moments, a Newtown pastor told TODAY.

Robert Weiss is pastor of St Rose of Lima Catholic Church. He said several parents of children who were murdered by gunman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hooke Elementary School came to him for consolation.

"Many of the questions are just wondering what were the last moments of these people's lives like," he said. "They were wondering did the child even know what was happening, were they afraid, did they see something coming? And of course no one can answer that question because there were no survivors, so these parents are left with those unanswered questions in addition to just why this had to happen, why to their child?"

One murdered girl was going to be an angel in the church's Christmas pageant, and another was due to make her first Holy Communion. A 5 year-old had been excited about scoring her first soccer goal.

While one mother was talking to the pastor her phone buzzed with a reminder. It was a set alarm, telling her to pick her child up from Cub Scouts.

"She ... realised that was never going to happen again," Mr Weiss said. "The emotions of yesterday were just absolutely overwhelming."

5.47am A former pupil at Sandy Hook Elementary School has written a heartfelt column in The Atlantic asking how this tragedy could have happened.

He said he loved growing up in Newtown and hopes it will be remembered for more than just this massacre.

"There is more to my hometown than one horrific shooting, and I want people to know that. I want them to know about the Labor Day Parade and the General Store sandwiches, about Newtown High School soccer and the $2 movies at Edmond Town Hall, about how we put a giant flagpole in the middle of a busy four-way intersection that everyone seems to both love and hate at the same time."

Newtown was previously famous as the birthplace of Scrabble (originally produced by local man James Brunot), and is the current home of The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins.

5.33am Mass killer Adam Lanza, 20, had an argument with four staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the day before he returned and killed 20 children, six adults and himself, NBC News is reporting.

Three of those four staff members were among the victims on his return.

The fourth member of staff was not at school that day and is being interviewed by federal and state investigators.

NBC also said Lanza had four handguns on him when he stormed the school - and a rifle was found in the car he drove to Sandy Hook.

NBC did not report what was the subject of the argument between the shooter and the staff.

5.05am We are still waiting on the official list of the dead, which will be delivered to the media by the police medical examiner once identification has ended and families have been informed.

In the meantime, here are the stories of five of the adults and four of the children who died in the tragedy.

CNN report that the gunman had tried to buy a weapon a few days before the shooting, but was turned down under the state's strict (for America) gun laws because he did not have the correct paperwork.

4.45am The New Haven Register is reporting new details of the killer's arrival at the school when he began his shooting spree.

According to the Register, Adam Lanza got out of his vehicle in front of the school, shot out the glass next to the main entrance, and then went inside the building.

He began firing at staff members and students with a rifle and a pistol, then proceeded to classrooms where he continued shooting.

4.32am Library clerk Mary Ann Jacob told 18 confused and crying fourth-graders that they were hiding in a storage room for "a drill".

But she knew it was a shooting because she had already called the school office after a strange noise came over the school intercom.

"We were, like, this close together. There were crayons and paper in the storage room, so we tore some (paper) off and gave them clipboards and had them colour."

"They were asking, 'What's going on?' We said, 'We don't know, our job is to stay quiet, it may be a drill, but we're just going to stay here.'"

Sandy Hook Elementary School library clerk Mary Ann Jacob speaks to the press in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 15, 2012. Squeezed into a library storage room with 18 crying and confused fourth-graders, Jacob thought it appropriate to tell a lie in the interests of survival. "We told them it was a drill, so they knew what to do," Jacob told reporters, a day after 20 children and six adults were slain in one of the worst school shootings in US history. AFP PHOTO/Robert MACPHERSON Source: AFP

4.23am Town officials in Connecticut told Associated Press the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary was killed while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him.

Board of Education chairwoman Debbie Liedlien says administrators were coming out of a meeting when the gunman forced his way into the school and ran toward him.

Jeff Capeci is chairman of the town's Legislative Council. Asked whether Mrs Hochsprung is a hero, he says, "From what we know, it's hard to classify her as anything else."

Mrs Hochsprung had worked at the school for two years. Both Ms Liedlien and Mr Capeci say she immediately became a beloved figure. Ms Liedlien says "it's so sad to lose somebody like her" and that residents are feeling "a deep sense of loss" over her death.

3.42am Lauren Rousseau, 30, was a teacher killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Newstimes.com reports.

Devastated friends say she was having "the best year of her life" after landing her first full-time teaching job only months ago.

Lauren Rousseau, 30, a teacher killed in the gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Picture: Facebook.com Source: Supplied

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that three weapons were found with the killer: two handguns and a rifle, all registered to his mother.

3.20am The last murder in Newtown was a decade ago, a police spokesman told a New Times reporter.

Police officers stand at the entrance to the street leading to the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Picture: Getty Images/AFP Source: Getty Images

Lt. J Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police conducts a news briefing in Newtown. Picture: AP Source: AP

3.02am Sandy Hook teacher Kaitlin Roig has told ABC News about the harrowing experience of trying to protect her class as the shooting began.

When gunfire rang out, she gathered her kids together - their classroom had a big, exposed and thus dangerous window - and rushed them into the small bathroom. She pulled a bookcase across the doorway, closed the door and locked it from the inside.

"I told them to be quiet. I told them to be absolutely quiet," Ms Roig said. "I said there are bad guys out there now and we have to wait for the good guys."

Kids would cry. Ms Roig would cup their faces in her hands and try to comfort them. "It is going to be OK. Show me your smile," she recalled saying.

"I'm thinking in my mind, we're next," she told ABC. "I wanted them to know that someone loved them and I wanted that to be one of the last things they heard, not the gunfire in the hallway.".

2.25am Police are hopeful that evidence will "paint a complete picture about how and why this occurred".

An injured school employee "is doing fine and will be instrumental in this case".

And that's it, until we hear from the medical examiner - who will also release the list of the deceased - and the school superintendent.

2.18am "Every crack and crevice" of the school, and the Lanza home are still being searched for evidence.

A medical examiner is finishing their work and will then come to give details of the victims.

The shooter forced his way into the school, Lt Vance says - he was not let in.

2.16am The press conference has begun. A list of victims is about to be released. All families have asked their privacy be respected.

"They are going through a very difficult and trying time," says Lt Paul Vance

"This is an extremely heartbreaking and difficult thing for them to endure."

2.12am: State police have put out a press release about the shooting.

It runs through the timeline of the massacre and the police response, from the first 911 call through to the forensic aftermath.

The families of the victims "have requested no press interviews and we are asking that this request be honoured.

Meanwhile, another victim has been named: six year-old Emilie Parker.  The updated list of victims, as the names come in, can be found here.

Emilie Parker was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Picture: Facebook / Parker family Source: Supplied

1.36am All 28 victims have now been identified, according to NBC - which may account for the delay in the official press conference which was expected to name at least some of the dead.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan reports from Newtown that a truck full of bouquets has pulled up at the firehouse where families of the dead children had gathered before making the sad journey to the school to identify their loved ones.

Sandy Hook firefighters hang bunting on their firetruck, the day after the massacre of children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Picture: AP Source: AP

1.18am A longtime family friend told the New York Daily News that the killer, Adam, had a condition "where he couldn't feel pain."

"A few years ago when he was on the baseball team, everyone had to be careful that he didn't fall because he could get hurt and not feel it," said the friend. "Adam had a lot of mental problems."

Friends and officials have told the media that Adam Lanza suffered from a personality disorder similar to autism or Asperger's Syndrome.

However mental health experts have pointed out that autistic people are no more likely to commit violent crime than people without autism.

"Should the shooter in today's shooting prove to in fact be diagnosed on the autism spectrum or with another disability, the millions of Americans with disabilities should be no more implicated in his actions than the non-disabled population is responsible for those of non-disabled shooters," said an open letter from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

1.02am A letter from the Pope was read to last night's vigil in Newtown, and at a mass for the dead.

Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the community.

The pope "has asked me to convey his heartfelt grief and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the victims and their families, and to all affected by the shocking event," Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said in the letter.

"In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to sustain the entire community," the letter said.

12.48am We are still waiting for this morning's press conference in Connecticut.

A CNN reporter says bells have rung out across Newtown, and families have again gathered at the town's church to seek comfort in their faith and in each other.

The bodies of 20 young children and six adults massacred by the gunman have finally been removed from the blood-soaked school, police told AFP.

The formal identification of the victims marked a new chapter for horrified residents of Newtown.

"By early this morning, they were able to positively identify all of the victims and make formal identification to all of the families of the victims," said Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance.

The removal of bodies, which were initially left for investigators, "has been accomplished," he said on CBS television. "That was done overnight."

11.55pm The police are about to start releasing the names of the dead, in a press conference due to start any minute on a cold morning in Newtown.

Around the town, many are creating makeshift tributes to the lost. Local New York Times writer Emily Rueb posted this picture, of a simple farewell message in the window of the Blue Colony Diner.

A makeshift tribute to the dead, in the window of Newtown's Blue Colony Diner. Picture: rueby.tumblr.com Source: Supplied

11.20pm The first names of the 20 children murdered by Adam Lanza have been identified. The two girls and boy  were all six-years-old.

Ana Marquez-Greene, aged six, died in hospital after being shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Picture: Twitter Source: Supplied

10:52 pm Slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung was always ready with a smile and "passionately" dedicated to the children of her school, shocked community members have said.

Hochsprung, who had just enrolled in a PhD program in education, was shot dead by alleged shooter Adam Lanza.

"She was really nice and very fun, but she was also very much a tough lady in the right sort of sense," Tom Prunty, a friend with a niece at the primary school, told CNN. "She was the kind of person you'd want to be educating your kids. And the kids loved her.

"Even little kids know when someone cares about them, and that was her," he said.

10:33pm The shooter in the Sandy Hook massacre, Adam Lanza, had a form of autism but was seen as "a genius" by neighbours, CNN reports.

A family member told law enforcement officials Lanza had a mild form of autism. Police said he had no prior criminal record.

"You could definitely tell he was a genius," Lanza's high school classmate Alex Israel told CNN, adding she hadn't talked with him since middle school. "He was really quiet, he kept to himself."

Other former classmates and neighbours, who are shocked by the tragedy, described him as "a nice kid, very polite".

A woman comforts a young girl during a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Andrew Gombert, Pool) Source: AP

9.32pm David Connors, the father of three triplets at the school, said at a vigil that his children were taken into a closet during the lockdown.

"My son said he did hear some gunshots, as many as 10," he said. "The questions are starting to come out. 'Are we safe? Is the bad guy gone?'"

Tracy Hoekenga said that she was paralyzed with fear for her two boys, fourth-grader C.J. and second grader Matthew.

"I couldn't breathe. It's indescribable. For a half an hour, 45 minutes, I had no idea if my kids were OK," she said.

9.01pm Parents are reportedly to be called in one by one to positively identify the bodies of children inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys tweeted the news saying he heard it on WNBC.

8.33pm Monsignor Robert Weiss after a vigil at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, said that six or seven kids who had attended the church were among the 20 children who died.

"I think the families are very broken," he said. "I'm sure that they're still wondering and questioning. I think some of them are still hoping that this really didn't happen. The rough days are just ahead of them."

7.05pm Victoria Soto has been revealed as one of the teachers who died in the line of fire as she saved her students in the Connecticut shooting. Mary Sherlach has also been identified as the psychologist who was killed in the shooting with principal Dawn Hochsprung.

6pm Sandy Hook Elementary School and Nancy Lanza's home are still in lockdown, being treated as crime scenes, while a police investigation continues and the medical identification of the victims is underway.

5.50pm Details have emerged about Adam Lanza's family life, from a former nieghbour who spoke to the Washington Post. His parents, Nancy and Peter Lanza, separated about a decade ago, and his mother, raised their sons, Adam and Ryan Lanza, according to Ryan Kraft.

Kraft recalled their divorce had an impact on him. When Nancy would go out to dinner with friends, she sometimes relied on Kraft to watch Adam Lanza, who was too boisterous for Ryan Lanza to manage.

"He would have tantrums," Kraft said. "They were much more than the average kid [had]." Yet he was not prone to violence, Kraft said.

"The kids seemed really depressed" by the breakup, Kraft said.

5.38pm The US premiere of the Tom Cruise action movie Jack Reacher has been postponed following the deadly Connecticut school shooting. Paramount Pictures said "out of honour and respect for the families of the victims'' the premiere won't take place on Saturday in Pittsburgh, where Jack Reacher was filmed.

4.58pm Children who were evacuated from the school are being comforted with their parents at a firehouse where, outside, an American flag flies at half-staff.

Sign our legacy book for victims of the Connecticut shooting.

Counselors such as Rabbi Shaul Praver are helping them cope with the event, which has left them grief-stricken. Some suffered from "terrible anxiety," Praver told CNN.

"My heart is in a million pieces for those families," said mother Lynn Wasik. "Who could do something like this? It's just sickening."

4.15pm Police radios crackled with first word of the shooting at 9.36am. "Sandy Hook School. Caller is indicating she thinks there's someone shooting in the building," a Newtown dispatcher radioed.

Follow the audio of Police and first responders as they communicate from the scene of a mass shooting in Connecticut. CBS News


3.44pm Former Sandy Hook pupil and Newtown local Lily Holmes says she has fond memories of the hero music teacher Maryrose Kristopik who helped rescue 15 children from the horror shooting.

3.32pm Aimee Seaver, the mother of a first-grade girl at Sandy Hook, told CNN's Anderson Cooper that her children are having trouble coping.

"It's a very rough night here," she said.

"When your first-grader goes to bed and says, 'Mommy, is anyone from my class last year – are they all OK?' and you look at them and say, 'I'm not really sure,' it's a rough night to tell that to your seven-year-old."

How parents can talk to their children about the shooting.

3.28pm Janet Vollmer, a kindergarten teacher at the school, says she locked her classroom doors and - to keep her students calm - read them a story.

Vollmer, her 19 students and the adult helpers in her classroom were not injured, CNN reports.

"You could hear what sounded like pops, gunshots. Of course, I'm not going to tell that to five-year-olds, so I said to them, 'We're going over in a safe area,'" Vollmer told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"And we read a story and we kept them calm, did a lockdown drill, closed the doors, locked (them), covered the windows, and kept the children with us."

3.24pm A photo of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown has emerged.

2.58pm People have gathered for a prayer vigil at St Rose Church following an elementary school shooting in Newtown.

Others have gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C., to participate in a vigil.

2.25pm:   As the small community of Newtown held a vigil for the victims of the shooting, incredible tales of bravery by teachers emerged.

Music teacher Maryrose Kristopik was hailed a hero for barricading 15 children inside a closet as killer Adam Lanza stood outside.

Other teachers were also hailed for their calm response as gunshots reverberated around the school.

1.20pm: Alex Israel, who was a classmate of gunman Adam Lanza, described the killer as a "quiet loner"  who was "fidgety" and "kept to himself".

Speaking to CNN's Piers Morgan, Ms Israel said Lanza was a highly intelligent student - "above the rest of us".

But she said he was never violent.

12:40pm:  A classmate of gunman Adam Lanza described him as "just a kid - just a normal kid."

CBS interviewed the unnamed man on the streets of Newtown, and he said there was nothing about Lanza to suggest the 20-year-old would kill.

"I'm still in shock," the man said.

It's also emerged that the weapons used in the massacre were registered to Nancy Lanza, who was found dead in her home - making her the 28th victim of the shooting spree.

12:25pm:  The sounds of the shooting were broadcast over the school's PA system.

Theodore Varga said he was in a meeting with other fourth-grade teachers when he heard the gunfire, but there was no lock on the door.

He said someone turned on the public address system so that "you could hear the hysteria that was going on. I think whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring.''

Also, a custodian went running around, warning people there was a gunman in the school, Varga said.

"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!''' Varga said. "So he was actually a hero.'' The teacher said he did not know if the custodian survived.
 

11.48am: ABC news in America has obtained a younger photo of Adam Lanza.

According to AP, his brother Ryan Lanza has been extremely cooperative during questioning with police, who is believed to have revealed that Adam suffers from a personality disorder and is "somewhat autistic". 

11:44am:  Latest reports say Adam Lanza, 20, was carrying a .223 rifle and two handguns when he entered the Sandy Hook Elementary school shortly after 9.30am local time (1230am AEDT) and started gunning people down - after he had killed his mother Nancy, 52, at her nearby home.

Witnesses say he was going from room-to-room shooting people after first killing the principal Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist execution-style in the main office.

10:50am:  A body found at the house of alleged gunman Adam Lanza, is his mother, Nancy, who was a teacher  at the school.

Lanza's were separated. It is understood the father is being interviewed by police but is not a suspect.

10.37am:  A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation of the Connecticut school massacre says the brother of the gunman has been ``extremely cooperative'' and is not under arrest.

The official told The Associated Press that Ryan Lanza, of Hoboken, New Jersey, is still be being questioned but is not in custody and is not believed to have any connection to the school killings.

But American television showed images of Ryan Lanza in handcuffs with police officers.

10.33am: More eyewitness reports continue including one 9-year-old who said he was in the gymnasium when the shooting erupted.

"We were in the gym, and I heard really loud bangs," said the boy, as he stood shivering and weeping outside the school with his father's arms draped around him, The New York Times reports.

"We thought that someone was knocking something over. And we heard yelling, and we heard gunshots. We heard lots of gunshots. We heard someone say, 'Put your hands up.''I heard, 'Don't shoot.'

"We had to go into the closet in the gym. Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door. There were lots of people crying and screaming."

10.03am:  The Governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, has told a press conference: "Evil visited this community today."

"Earlier today, a tragedy of unspeakable terms played itself out in this community. You can never be prepared for this kind of incident. What has happened will leave a mark on this community. The perpetrator is dead, as is the person the perpetrator lived with," Mr Malloy said.

10:00am: CNN reports that the school had only recently upgraded its security system, including visual monitoring.

9.48am:  Eight-year-old Sofia Lebinski has told Fox News of the terror of being in a classroom during the shooting.

"I felt scared," the young girl said, adding "everyone was shaking."

Sofia told how after her class heard the first gunshots their teacher - Miss Martin - locked the door and called 911.

"We heard big bangs, like gunshots," Sofia said.

"Miss Martin locked the door and told us to go the corner and she called police and they came."

9.25am:  A young boy tells US television he heard bullets going past him before  a teacher pulled him into a classroom.

"It sounded like someone kicking the door," the  boy said.

A mother is interviewed thanking her child's teacher for saving her life.

A person walks into the information center at a rest stop in Danbury near the Connecticut-New York state line, where a U.S. flag is raised half-staff in honor of the people killed when a gunman opened fire inside a Connecticut elementary school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Source: AP

9.20am: A tentative timeline of events has been put together based on police statements and witness accounts.

CNN reports that at 9.30am local time (12.30am AEDT) the school principal, vice-principal, school psychologist and other staff were in a meeting.

At 9.40am, the gunman - dressed in black camouflage gear and military vest and armed with at least two weapons, entered the building. Almost immediately witnesses reported hearing heard shots.

At 9.41am, calls began coming into 911. The principal, vice-principal and psychologist go to investigate. Others hear more shots and shouts.

By 9.45am, children are being led to safety outside in various parts of the school. Police arrive at around 9.50am but by then the shooting had ceased.

9.03am:  Reports that the school principal, psychologist and four other adults were among the dead.

Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance says police did not discharge their firearms. 

8.55am:  Police say there were very few non-fatal injuries reported, indicating that once targeted, there was rarely any chance of escape, and that the gunman was unusually accurate in his fire.

Lieutenant Paul Vance said the majority of killings "took place in one section of the school, in two rooms.''

The gunman was reported to be carrying at least two handguns.

Local media reported that the shooter began in the kindergarten section where he killed his teacher mother and her class, then moved on.

The child victims were reported to be aged between five and ten. 

People gather for a vigil outside the White House in Washington, DC, following the Connecticut elementary school shooting, December 14, 2012.AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV Source: AFP

8.06am:  A father has told of his six-year old son's dramatic escape from a room when the gunman burst in and opened fire.

Robert Licata said his six-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door,'' he said.

"He was very brave. He waited for his friends.''

Licata said the shooter didn't say a word.

7.55am:  A law enforcement official said the suspect, now confirmed as Adam Lanza, was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and that his older brother was being held for questioning as a possible second shooter, AP reported.

The law enforcement official said the boys' mother, Nancy Lanza, worked at the school as a teacher and was presumed dead.

State police said 18 children were found dead at the school and two later were declared dead, and six adults were found dead at the scene.

They said the shootings occurred in one section of the school but did not give details. Police also said another person was dead at a second scene.

The law enforcement official also said Ryan Lanza's girlfriend and another friend were missing in New Jersey. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.

Mourners gather inside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church at a vigil service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left at least 27 people dead, many of them young children, in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, 14 December 2012. AFP PHOTO / Pool / Andrew GOMBERT Source: AFP

According to the official, the suspect drove to the scene in his mother's car.
Three guns were found - a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols - and a .223-caliber rifle.

The rifle was recovered from the back of a car at the school, and the two pistols were recovered from inside the school.

7.18am: A tearful President Barack Obama makes live address to the US on the shooting, saying the nation will have to "come together to deal with this".

"Our hearts are broken today,'' he said, wiping his eyes during brief comments to reporters in one of the most emotional public moments of his presidency.

He said the children killed were 5 to 10 years old. He said the nation had been "through this too many times'' with recent mass shootings and has to come together to take meaningful action, "regardless of the politics.''

"We have endured too many of these tragedies over the years," Mr Obama said.

Wiping tears from his eyes, Mr Obama said he was speaking as a father.

He says US leaders must "take meaningful action'' regardless of politics in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

The president teared up, at times using an index finger to wipe at the corner of his eyes, as he addressed the nation from the White House.

He also paused repeatedly as he struggled to keep his composure while speaking of the children - ages 5 to 10 - who had died and the life milestones they now would miss.

He said, quote, "Our hearts are broken.''

Shortly before speaking, Obama ordered that US flags be flown at half-staff on public grounds through Tuesday.

People gather for a prayer vigil at St Rose Church following an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DUNAND Source: AFP

7.10am: Police say gunman's mother was  a teacher at the school and she was among the victims.

6.56am: A chilling account from a child at the school, told to the BBC by hairdresser Marcey Benitez:

"They heard shots, their teacher locked the door and threw the children in the closet. The man was kicking the door, saying 'let me in', they kept quiet, then police came."

Meanwhile, a neighbour at the nearby home police attended - where reportedly the body of a woman was found - says two brothers lived in the house, and they were "trouble".

6.50am: More eyewitnesses from the scene:

6.47am: A young child told CNN "there was like police officers down on the roof and in the hallways. They didn't really tell us anything.

"Everybody was like crying and stuff."

NBC, and a New York Times reporter, have reported that the gunman's mother was a kindergarten teacher at the school.

6.37am: There is still plenty of doubt over the identity of the shooter, despite several media sources giving a name. A man named Ryan Lanza, who lives in New Jersey and in Newtown, took to Facebook saying forcefully "it wasn't me".

6.30am: An eyewitness told CNN she was at the school and heard a "pop pop pop" in the hall.

The principal, vice principal and school psychologist went out to see what was happening.

Only the vice principal came back into the room, on his hands and knees and bleeding from his leg.

A parent of a student at the school, whose child was not shot, spoke to Associated Press:

"I could try to explain it, but I'm sure I would fail. There's no words that I could come up with that would even come close to describing the sheer terror of hearing that your son is in a place, or your child's in a place, where there's been violence. You don't know the details of that violence, you don't know the condition of your child and you can't do anything to immediately help them or protect them. It is a powerless and terrifying experience."

6.23am: The Connecticut Post is reporting that the death toll has risen to 29, including 22 children.

6.15am: CNN has identified the shooter as a man named Ryan Lanza.

Here is a timeline of the worst shooting massacres in the US.

President Obama and the state governor are said to be giving statements soon.

6.11am: A home nearby in Newtown was searched by police. Locals told Fox News a body was found inside the home, and there is unconfirmed speculation it is the body of the mother of the shooter.

Meanwhile, though the president said today was not the day to talk about gun control, Twitter is showing no such restraint.

"27 SHOT dead by GUN at CT elementary school, 14 r kids, & if I say our lawmakers & gun laws are killing us I'll be told now ain't the time," New Yorker staff writer Philip Gourevitch wrote.

"We know 27 people were shot and killed, including 18 kids. If this is not time to discuss gun control, when is??" tweeted progressive radio host Bill Press.

"If any other plague was leaving piles of dead bodies all over the country, including children, our country would figure it out," said New York Times media columnist David Carr.

6.05am: Several news sources are reporting that the shooter was a 20 year-old man "with ties to the school."

This appears to be the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. At Virginia tech the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded many more, before committing suicide.

5.51am: State police spokesman Lt Paul Vance did not say that officers had confronted the gunman - which may suggest he was already dead when police arrived.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said today is not the day to discuss gun control.

"I think that day will come, but today's not that day, especially as we are awaiting more information about the situation," Mr Carney told reporters.

5.45am: The governor is on his way later and will give more information then, police say. Families of the deceased are being notified, and no more information on the dead - including the number - will be given at this time.

The public is no longer in danger. They are pursuing search warrants in the area, and in another state.

No questions were taken. That's all the information from the first press conference.

5.43am: A police press conference is under way. The first 911 call came at 9.30am, the officer says.

Both students and staff are among the dead.

The shooter is deceased inside the building.

5.42am: Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

"Everyone was just traumatised," he said.

Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, is in the second grade at the school. His son told him that he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling."

The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived.

"There's no words," Mr Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."

5.40am: The White House says President Barack Obama has "enormous sympathy for families that are affected" by the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Mr Obama was briefed on the shooting on Friday morning (about 0500 AEDT on Saturday).

Spokesman Jay Carney said the White House would "do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement".

Mr Carney would not confirm any details about the shooting. Officials with knowledge of the incident said 27 people, including 18 children, were killed.

The president was first informed about the incident by his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, and will continue to receive regular updates throughout the day

5.38am: A second person is reportedly being questioned over the shooting, though their connection to the shooting is unclear.

Meanwhile a home in Newtown is being searched in connection with the shooting.

The shooting is said to have begun in the principal's office, and the start of the attack was heard across the school over the intercom system.

5.24am: A law enforcement official tells AP the attacker in the Connecticut school shootings is a 20-year-old man with ties to the school.

The official said that a gun used in the attacks is a .223-caliber rifle. The official also said that New Jersey state police are searching a location in that state in connection with the shootings, said by an official in Connecticut to have left 27 dead, including 18 children.

5.20am: One report says an entire kindergarten class is unaccounted for, and "may have been gunned down".

5.16am: Police converge on the home of the shooter, who was reportedly the father of one of the students at the school.

The shooter was dressed in black combat gear and a military vest, and had two guns. One of the weapons recovered from the scene included a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.

According to some reports a second person is in custody in connection with the attack.

Previously:

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way. Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown was killed and apparently had two guns.

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Schools in neighbouring towns also were locked down as a precaution.

A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher had been shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital. Andrea Rynn, a spokeswoman at the hospital, said it had three patients from the school but she did not have information on the extent or nature of their injuries.

State police said Newtown police called them around 9:40 a.m. A SWAT team was among the throngs of police to respond.

A photo posted by The Newtown Bee newspaper showed a group of young students - some crying, others looking visibly frightened - being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

"Everyone was just traumatised," he said.

The White House said President Barack Obama was notified of the shooting.


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