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'I've been on a diet since 1974'

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 07 April 2013 | 23.08

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall posing for a photo at the premiere of Sex And The City 2. Source: Supplied

KIM Cattrall has admitted that she is able to continue being "a sexy siren" on screen at the age of 56 because she has "been on a diet since 1974".

The 56-year-old actress - who is best known for playing Samantha Jones in Sex and the City - admits it is a struggle for her to retain her slender shape, particularly as she gets older.

She said: "I joke that I've been on a diet since 1974, which is basically true.

"I like to eat, and my body type is not naturally this thin, especially at this age. I have a big appetite."

Cattrall admits she is astonished that she still lands roles as a "sexy siren", as she thought once she hit 40, the sort of parts she would be offered would change.

She told the May edition of Woman & Home magazine: "When I hit my 40s I thought, 'I can't play a sexy siren any more.' Almost 20 years later, it's still going on."

And despite being single since splitting from chef Alan Wyse in 2009, the blonde actress insists she doesn't try to intimidate guys with her image and success.

She added: "If my accomplishments frighten someone it's nothing to do with me - that's to do with them."
 


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aussies urged to act on silent killer

An estimated 440,000 people aged 30-65 have undiagnosed high blood pressure. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

HALF a million Australians are harbouring a silent killer that could cause a heart attack or stroke - but they don't know it.

An estimated 440,000 people aged 30-65 have undiagnosed high blood pressure, new data from National Heart Foundation suggests.

While one in three Australians have been told by a doctor they have high blood pressure - one in eight don't actually know what their blood pressure is.

Health officials are urging people to get themselves checked out.

''It's often called a silent killer because there are no obvious symptoms. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to ask your GP for a regular check-up,'' says Heart Foundation chief Dr Lyn Roberts.

''High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke so we're very concerned that almost half a million Australians have high blood pressure without knowing it.

''The good news is that you can reduce your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease by making lifestyle changes and taking medication if needed.''

Key tips to reduce blood pressure include maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol.

Reducing salt in the diet can also help.

The Heart Foundation says consumers should check nutrition panels on packaged food and look for products with less than 120mg of sodium per 100g.

The George Institute for Global Health has developed a smartphone app Saltswitch with health fund BUPA to help shoppers choose low salt foods.

The institute says Australians are eating more than double the daily recommended level of salt and reducing intake by an average of 3 grams a day could cut the number of deaths from stroke by a quarter and the number of deaths from coronary heart disease by one fifth.

Although there is no firm rule about what defines high blood pressure most people should aim for a reading of less than 120/80.

It's recommended everyone over 45 and people of all ages with other risk factors for heart disease, such as being overweight, smoking or a family history, get their blood pressure checked every one to two years. 


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Julia Gillard's teachers bonus hoax

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is under scrutiny for her $10,000 election pledge to teachers. Picture: Dan Himbrechts Source: News Limited

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard's election pledge to deliver $10,000 bonus payments for top teachers has been exposed as a hoax.

Confidential documents prepared by the government confirm that payments to the states under the plan will cease in 2014, the same year thousands of teachers hoped they would finally secure the cash.

It will be up to the states to decide whether to pay teachers the promised bonuses or not.

The Council of Australian Governments funding deal outlines the government's formal offer to the states to implement the so-called Gonski school reforms and includes demands new teachers undergo literacy tests and that children be subjected to "school readiness tests".

The 47-page National Education Reform Agreement outlining the next four-year funding deal for all states confirms that the bonus payments for teachers are no longer guaranteed.

"If a state or territory signs this agreement, payments under the Rewards for Great Teachers National Partnership will cease on 1 January, 2014," the documents say. Teacher unions had opposed the bonus scheme for top teachers, suggesting all should be paid more.

Promised by the Prime Minister during the 2010 election campaign, the Rewards for Great Teachers program pledged to deliver cash bonuses for up to 25,000 teachers.

But the program was quickly gutted in government, with the original $425 million spending cut in half and the number of teachers who could expect bonuses reduced.

Since 2010, not a single single teacher has secured a bonus under the scheme, with the government confirming they will not force the states to implement the program. Education Minister Peter Garrett confirmed it was now up to the states whether the promised scheme is rolled out.

While he hoped the states would offer bonuses next year, the Gillard government would not compel them to do so.

"We want to see great teachers rewarded," a spokesman said. "The states have asked for flexibility to manage the recognition and career structures of their teachers, which is why we have not mandated rewarding teachers in the draft National Education Reform Agreement."

Victoria and Queensland have not signed up reward partnership. Opposition education spokesman Chris Pyne said the broken election promise was disgraceful.

"Teachers have every right to be disappointed but importantly, this is the latest example of Julia Gillard's grotesque delusions about the truth," Mr Pyne said.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Young, beautiful and dead in bed

One family's bid to combat 'Dead in Bed' syndrome. Meet The Press, Ep07, Seg 5

BY the time 17-year-old diabetic Daniella Meads-Barlow was discovered dead in her bed in November 2011, it was many hours since she had fitted and asphyxiated.

The lively strawberry blonde Year 11 student, who lived with her family in Chatswood on Sydney's north shore, had turned in as usual at 10.30pm.

Sometime in the night, her blood sugar levels had fallen so low she became unresponsive, asphyxiated and her heart stopped.

The cause of death was nocturnal hypoglycaemia, an unusual event but one whose incidence is rising at a rate that has diabetics, their families and doctors alarmed.

That Danii died in silence is a tragic irony to her family and friends: her nickname was ''Moty'' or ''Mo-mo'' short for ''motormouth''.

But that night, in common with a growing number of victims of what doctors call ''dead in bed'' syndrome, she didn't make enough sound to her sleeping family.

There was none of the primitive wailing that usually marked the start of her hypoglycaemic fits.

Donna and Brian Meads-Barlow, who had rescued their daughter from so many other traumatic episodes, are tortured by that silence.

''A parent with a child with diabetes never sleeps with the door closed - and never sleeps properly through the night ever again,'' Donna says.

''They are walking on broken glass forever.

Daniella was discovered dead in bed, aged only 17.

''That night there was nothing unusual, nothing. She came into our room and said 'Good night mummy, I love you so, so much'. Then Brian asked her what her (blood sugar) readings were. Daniella was a bit cranky with the question and said 12.2 which was normal. That's the last thing she ever said to us.''

As Donna and Brian managed police, paramedics and Danii's screaming brothers that morning, they found time to call the man who had been treating her for 12 years, endocrinologist Dr Neville Howard.

Could he come talk to the police and examine Daniella?

Dr Howard, the senior physician at the Diabetes Centre at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, in Sydney's west, is an old school doctor: calm, assured and efficient.

For 30 years he's been trying to unravel the mysteries of the fastest growing childhood disease in Australia, particularly the form known as '' type 1'' and make sense of the sudden deaths from it.

There are 130,000 people in Australia with type 1 and 80 per cent of them have no family history.

Incidence of all forms of diabetes is growing at a rapid rate of three to five per cent a year.

''Dead in bed numbers will rise with that,'' Dr Howard says.

''It is rare but it is devastating. We don't have current figures on it because it's usually called asphyxiation or hypoglycaemia and autopsies are not usually done, so figures are hard to pin point''.

Donna and Brian Meads-Barlow at home. Picture: Adam Taylor

Ancient Egyptians recognised type 1 diabetes 4500 years ago, as a ''wasting disease'', during which young people weakened and died for no apparent reason.

Put simply, it is the misfiring of the body's auto-immune system: it attacks cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

Insulin is an essential metabolic hormone that allows us to take up glucose for the body to use as fuel.

While historically diabetes was a death sentence, in 1922 there was a breakthrough: injecting insulin was the key to survival.

Originally sourced from pigs - the closest match to human insulin - it is now made synthetically.

Surviving type 1 diabetes means a lifetime of daily insulin injections and meticulous monitoring of blood sugar levels.

''Without insulin you can't use glucose and your cells effectively 'starve','' says another juvenile diabetes authority Professor Tim Jones, from Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital.

In a person without diabetes the pancreas works hard to keep blood glucose (sugar) within a tight range.

For the person with diabetes, insulin has to be injected and if there's a mismatch between the insulin you receive and the amount your body uses, that's a problem.

Your pancreas works hard to maintain these levels within a very defined range.

If blood glucose is too high for too long then it damages cells: effectively aging the body faster and resulting in the complications of the disease in the kidneys, eyes and heart.

On the other hand if there is too much insulin then too much glucose goes into cells and blood sugar levels go low.

Your brain only works on glucose so low glucose is a problem, it can result in unpleasant symptoms and if severe it leads to convulsions, coma and even death.

Scientists suspect the increase in type 1 diabetes is related to the modern world's high levels of hygiene - and to infant feeding.

Westmead's Dr Howard says: ''We see that as countries become more 'westernised' so their rates of type 1 diabetes increases.

''The hypothesis is that when a baby's born it gets an incredible dose of antibodies from breast milk. From an early stage the little baby's body and more importantly its immune system is trying to work out: 'what belongs inside me and what doesn't? What is foreign and what is acceptable?'

''One theory is that processed rather than breast milk is responsible -or the early introduction of other processed baby foods.

''By not exposing our babies at a very young age to germs, dirt, and all forms of bacteria, the body never really learns to differentiate between the good cells and the bad - there's only a limited time for the body to learn these things.

Daniella had plans to travel.

''Today even disposable nappies are used, rather than cloth, so the baby's skin doesn't get the chance to have urine or faeces against it for long. It's soaked up by efficient nappies so the cells never get a chance to learn what's harmful and what's not.

''If you have a perfectly healthy baby that's fine. But if, due to genetics, your baby is pre-disposed to diabetes then these sorts of behaviours can trigger your susceptibility.''

Even the most deprived household in Australia, Howard says, is far cleaner than a good bulk of the world, perhaps this is creating the abnormal growth in westerners.

To test this hypothesis leading endocrinologists from around the world are sharing their diabetes statistics in a number crunching experiment, known as the TRIGR trial.

''It's the largest and perhaps most ambitious primary type 1 diabetes trial in the world,'' Dr Howard, one of the principle investigators in Australia and New Zealand, says.

The trial will culminate in September at a symposium in Barcelona.

There, they will try to make sense of the results. Why is it that Scandinavia, Australasia, the US are seeing such growth?

(Princess Margaret's) Jones notes ''a rise in Type 1 diabetes documented progressively since World War Two.

''For example when the Berlin Wall came down in the 1990's diabetes increased in eastern European countries, so we know it's something to do with our modern lives,'' Dr Howard says.

Daniella never complained about having diabetes, her mum says.

''But we have no actual proof of what exactly is responsible.

''(Diabetes) is a huge burden on the community and to find the answers is going to take a collaborative effort.''

At Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital paediatric endocrinologist and associate professor Bruce King cautions against being alarmist about type 1 diabetes.

''Since 1922 there have been consistent and progressive improvements in the management of people with type 1 diabetes. With appropriate management, the vast majority of people will live happy, meaningful, productive and long lives. Research and advances in technology continue to produce improvements in management of type 1 diabetes and through these advances we hope that tragedies caused by the dead in bed syndrome can be prevented.''

It's a big ask, given Daniella seemed well the night she died - which is usual for victims of dead in bed syndrome according to recent research.

A study by Tu et al of 400 autopsy reports of type 1 diabetics who died aged under 40 from nocturnal hypoglycaemia, published in the Australian Medical Journal in 2008 noted: ''Typically, these people are in good health when they retire to bed, only to be found dead the next morning. In deceased young people with type 1 diabetes examined by the coroner, acute diabetic complications, unnatural causes, and sudden unexpected deaths were the predominant causes of death. The relatively high frequency of sudden unexpected deaths, such as dead-in-bed syndrome, requires further investigation.''

DONNA Meads-Barlow is a businesswoman, poised and polished with a ''let's-cut-to-the-chase'' approach to life; but on the day I visit, her entire being seems to ache as she sits in the kitchen, staring into space, her worst fears as a mother realised.

Hanging above her is a huge photo of three giggling children in happier times: Daniella, 14; Josh, 12; and Codey, 9.

She and Brian made sure they were always prepared, from the time Danii was diagnosed, at five years old.

Thereafter they were hyper-vigilant. If the situation became critical, the first line of defence was a first aid kit with GlucaGens injection in bright orange syringe; it's an emergency hormonal injection of Glucagon used if patients can't respond to food or drinks

''We always had the kit ready,'' Brian says.

It is still sitting in the usual spot, on a shelf in the fridge door. And still stuck to the kitchen wall are the diabetes emergency numbers, in a child's handwriting.

Every member of the family was on alert.

Losing their larger-than-life sister has created a traumatic shift in the boys.

Josh, 16 and now the eldest, is a gentleman, soulful with a sudden, infectious laugh.

He shows me the wood and metal work tributes he's crafted with ''Danii'' carved into a delicate metal bracelet and seems surprised when I say how beautiful they are.

Codey, 13, and I chat about other things: Bob Marley, Finding Nemo.

He demonstrates his ''drop and roll'' falling technique, leaping off a rock on Australia Day.

The boys shake their heads and laugh.

Brian says they were the front-line of caring for their sister.

''The loungeroom door would burst open at night and Josh would just yell 'Daniella!','' he recalls.

''We'd grab the GlucaGen kit and my glasses and race to her. It was pretty dramatic when a fit happened, plunging this huge needle into her thigh muscle.

''She'd come back around from a fit and see me cradling her, crying over her, and she'd look at me and say, 'It's alright Daddy, you had to do it, I'm alright',''.

The loss of his only daughter, a vivacious kid with an impish sense of humour like his own knocked him ''for six'' he says.

On another occasion when I spend time with the family, he's just returned from the weekly shopping, clearly upset.

He had bumped into parents of students from Daniella's old school at the supermarket.

They turned away, uncertain how to address the death of a much-loved child.

He's stoic but hurt by their reaction.

''That's alright, it's their issue, there's nothing I can do,'' he reasons in loud, staccato sentences as he packs away the groceries.

Later, family friend Craig Davies confirms the devastation the loss of Danii has wrought.

The Davies and the Meads-Barlows have known each other 20 years, shared holidays, watched their children grow up together and relied on each other for favours.

But nothing matched the call for help the morning Daniella was found dead.

''It's impossible to describe,'' Davies says.

''We went around within an hour. It was surreal. The house was hollow, there was a vast emptiness no words could portray. The feeling then and now is still this massive void.

''Brian did go to a very dark and horrible place. Donna addresses and handles everything and is engaged, but Brian was going inward. The fact they're alive and kicking still, well, they are the two strongest people I know.''

Another parent who has had to be strong is Jan Marnell, who lost his son Lewis to nocturnal hypoglycaemia in January.

A champion skateboarder, Lewis was on a winning streak.

The 29 year-old from Fitzroy, Melbourne had signed a sponsorship deal with Nike and had a dream holiday with relatives and friends back in Stockholm before they headed back to Australia for his wedding just seven weeks before he died.

''Friends and relatives in Sweden couldn't believe how the lovely boy they knew had grown into a man,'' Jan says proudly when I call him in Stockholm.

''He managed the diabetes very well and he was very well aware of his eating and balanced that with his lifestyle. Lewis had hypos before but this time...it was no good''.

Lewis was found lifeless at home in the loungeroom on January 18 this year.

As with Daniella, he had been apparently well when he went to sleep that Friday afternoon.

There are painful silences has Jan reflects.

''These things can still happen,'' he says.

''We were so fortunate to have that time together. Lewis was a great proof of living life to full''.

Daniella Meads-Barlow also packed a lot into her short life, she dreamed of being an entertainer and loved to sing.

She'd just scored her driver's licence and had a swathe a good mates.

She was a member of the Australian Girls' Choir and a beaming photo of her in its uniform is among dozens displayed around the family home.

The girls sang their familiar anthem, I Still Call Australia Home at her funeral.

Danii was a seasoned globe-trotter thanks to her parents' travel business.

''Daniella never complained about her disease,'' Donna says.

''By the time she died, she'd tested her blood sugar by pricking her fingers, 760,000 times. But she did say to me: 'How will I survive, Mummy, unless I live up the road from you? How can I live?',''.

Managing diabetes was a tightrope walk for parents who wanted to safeguard their child, but not keep her in cotton wool.

''You want your child to go out into the world, enjoy being a teenager, dance, spend time with friends, but if a diabetic doesn't constantly check their blood sugar levels then the worst can happen,'' Donna says.

Out of their loss has come the determination to help others avoid a tragedy likes theirs, Donna says.

''The morning we found Daniella, Neville Howard sat here in our kitchen with me and said 'There's technology available that may have prevented this',''.

With him, Donna and Brian have set about the task of bringing it to Australia, creating a foundation to fund the endeavour.

Known as 'connected care', the equipment is a continuous glucose monitor (about the size of an old fashioned 'walkman') connected via catheter at the waist with a pump - to deliver insulin - and an alarm that will sound when there's an approaching blood-sugar emergency.

It replaces your need to prick your fingers 10 times a day.

The Danii Meads-Barlow Foundation is also subsidising the funding of 30 Hypomon alarm devices for critically ill diabetics.

The Hypomon, is a very different device to the continuous glucose monitor.

It's an Australian invention and monitors changes in heart rhythm.

It resembles an iPod dock with the monitor strapped around the user's chest at night.

''It might be a bit clunky now but it's a step in the right direction,'' Howard says.

A Hypomon currently costs about $3000.

The foundation's subsidy brings each one down to about $500.

''We want families from all walks of life to have access to it,'' Brian says.

There's often confusion about diabetes 1 and 2, Dr Howard explains: ''Diabetes Type 1 is where the body doesn't make insulin due to pancreas damage from the bodies own auto immune system, where Diabetes Type 2, under pressure from poor diet their bodies can't make enough insulin and they develop insulin resistance but in Type 2 it's still those people genetically susceptible that develop it.''

Like all teenagers, Daniella kept secrets from her family.

About a year ago, her parents unlocked her school computer.

They discovered a story she had written almost three years before she died, about trying to get home from school.

''After a whole humid day of not normal readings (9 and up) I felt dizzy in the head so I did another (blood) test at a low. I went to the escalator. I had an Oreo then...an apple juice...it was getting really hectic.

''I knew I was really low...I got to the Pacific Highway crossing, I burst into tears, I couldn't see properly anymore, I was crying so hard that people walking past me probably thought I had a brain problem.

''I tried really hard to get a lady's attention. She looked at me and I tried really hard to get out what I had to say. I said: 'Help, please help me. Please.'

''I was so lucky I had my diabetes band on. One of the ladies was a nurse and went into the Toyota shop to see if she could get some food for me. I was very thankful but I was horrified. It is so scary to go through something like that. I'm sure it would have been just as scary to watch.''

Community attitudes must change, Princess Margaret Hospital's Jones says.

He has a simple desire in relation to type 1 diabetes.

''I wish for kids to know it's not their fault,'' he says.

''It's not a lifestyle disease, it's not their fault they have it. The community should be more aware of it. People need to know how to support people who have it, because it is around them and it is growing.''

King in Newcastle echoes the sentiment.

''I wish people knew it wasn't anyone's fault. There was nothing the Meads-Barlows' did or that Daniella ate that caused the diabetes. It was no one's fault that Daniella got diabetes, just one of those awful things.

''People with diabetes deserve the same respect and opportunities as anyone else. Schools, workplaces, sporting fields, everywhere should operate in a way that allows people with diabetes to be normal.''

''Loss is a very real part of the job,'' Dr Howard acknowledges.

With her parents' permission, he talks about Daniella, how she danced the day before she died, her last supper - a bedtime snack of custard and bananas - about how she was found that morning, dead, despite all the years of careful nurturing, not least by him.

And then his guard is down for just a second. Pain sweeps across his face like a sheet of rain.

Daniella also wrote on her computer in 2008: ''I ran into the office where my Dad was and gave him a hug. I was so happy to see him and feel properly safe again. Diabetes isn't easy, as you may have noticed. And people need to be aware of it. But thank you to those who helped me back to safety. I feel much better now and more than that I feel happy and safe.''

Go to www.danii.org.au for more information.

Watch the full story on today's Meet the Press on Channel Ten


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Coogee Shore controversy as cops called

Geordie Shore boys soaking up the sun in Coogee. Picture: Mitch Cameron Source: The Sunday Telegraph

Reality TV show Geordie Shore filming on location in South Coogee. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: The Sunday Telegraph

Geordie Shore girls keep their caps down at Coogee. Picture: Mitch Cameron Source: The Sunday Telegraph

GEORDIE Shore has only just started filming in Sydney but is already causing controversy, with police called in on the first day of production.

The perma-tanned party animals have taken up residence in a multi-million dollar house in a quiet residential street in south Coogee. But neighbours aren't fans of the MTV hit show, complaining to police after fans blocked the road in a bid to see the cast on Friday night.

"We attended the premises after a vehicle stopped outside (the house) and a group of fans got very excited," a NSW Police spokesman said.

Producers have promised to work more closely with police - and have hired extra security.

Stars Sophie Kasaei, Vicky Pattison, Holly Hagan, Gary Beadle and James Tindale spent their first night out in Sydney hitting the Kings Cross Hotel and nearby nightspot The Club.

Pattison and Hagan had previously spent the afternoon drinking at Doyles in Watsons Bay. Another cast member, Charlotte Crosby, is due to fly in to Sydney this week while former show hunk Jay Gardner will make a guest appearance when he's in Sydney this month.

The city centre was last night's destination with the cast hitting Justin Hemmes Ivy venue for its Pacha night.

"I'm waiting for Scott, he's hot," said Brigidine College Year 11 student Cassandra Meglione, 16. "He will be my boyfriend one day."

The month-long Australian jaunt, which will form the show's sixth season, will air on Foxtel Australia shortly after it hits UK screens in July.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aussie resort manager shot dead

An Australian man has been shot dead at a beach resort in the Philippines.

The Blue Rock Beach Resort in the Philippines, where an Australian was shot dead. Source: Supplied

AN Australian has been shot dead execution-style at the beach resort he was managing in the Philippines.

Blue Rock Beach Resort general manager Paul Dean Davy, 53, was shot in the back of the head while talking to another Australian man at a resort restaurant in Olongapo, 120km north of Manila, on Friday night.

Police said the gunman approached Mr Davy from behind at the beachside restaurant, holding a .45 pistol.

He then pointed it at the back of his head and fired.

Witnesses said the restaurant was full of holiday makers and families at the time of the attack.

Mr Davy was rushed to hospital but later died.

Police described the shooter as a Filipino man aged 30-35 wearing a blue cap and clear prescription glasses.

It is understood Mr Davy knew his attacker.

It was not clear if police had apprehended the suspect.

Mr Davy is believed to be from Brisbane and was the general manager of the popular resort, well-known for its yearly beauty pageant involving local women.

Resort staff were in a meeting and were unable to comment on the incident.

Police have said it was an isolated attack. Officers were still at the crime scene.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the death of a 53-year-old man in the Philippines."


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Korean tension delays US missile test

A South Korean soldier stands on a military guard post near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in the border city of Paju. Source: AFP

THE United States has delayed testing one of its own intercontinental ballistic missiles as some analysts say they believe North Korea can launch nuclear warheads.

A senior defence official has said the Pentagon delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test in order not to inflame already flash-point tensions with the rogue state.

Scheduled to be launched this week from the  Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the official said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to put off the long-planned Minuteman 3 test until sometime next month.

The test was not connected to the ongoing U.S.-South Korean military exercises that have been going on in that region and have stoked North Korean anger and fueled an escalation in threatening actions and rhetoric.

North Korea's military warned earlier this week that it was authorized to attack the U.S. using "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear weapons.

However, North Korea is generally regarded as being years away from perfecting the technology to back up its bold threats of a pre-emptive strike on the United States.

But a recent string of successful tests has introduced a strong measure of doubt.

On Sunday afternoon it was reported that Japan will order its armed forces to shoot down any North Korean missile headed towards its territory.

Under the order, Aegis destroyers equipped with sea-based interceptor missiles would be deployed in the Sea of Japan so they could intercept a North Korean missile if it appeared likely to land in Japanese territory, Kyodo said.

Meanwhile most foreign diplomats in North Korea appear to have taken the decision to stay put, ignoring a warning by Pyongyang that they should consider evacuating amid the soaring tensions.

Pyongyang had informed embassies it could not guarantee their safety if a conflict broke out as concerns grew that the isolated state was preparing a missile launch.

But most of their governments made it clear overnight that they had no immediate plans to withdraw personnel, and some suggested the advisory was a ruse to fuel growing global anxiety over the current crisis on the Korean peninsula.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman, commenting on the North's advisory, said: ``We believe they have taken this step as part of their country's rhetoric that the US poses a threat to them.''

Diplomatic family and staff are given final check by North Korean military police before boarding an aircraft to leave the country yesterday.

Western tourists returning from organised tours in Pyongyang - which have continued despite the tensions - said the situation on the ground appeared calm, with life going on as normal.

"We're glad to be back but we didn't feel frightened when we were there,'' said Tina Krabbe, from Denmark, arriving in Beijing after five days in North Korea.

GILLARD WARNS ON GROWING MILITARY THREAT.

WHAT WILL CHINA DO IF NORTH KOREA ATTACKS?

The embassy warning on Saturday coincided with reports North Korea had loaded two intermediate-range missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast.

"The North is apparently intent on firing the missiles without prior warning,'' South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted a senior South Korean government official as saying.

North Koreans go about their business in Pyongyang oblivious to their leader's threats of war. Picture: Brown James

They were reported to be untested Musudan missiles which are believed to have a range of around 3000 kilometres that could theoretically be pushed to 4000 kilometres with a light payload.

That would cover any target in South Korea and Japan, and possibly even reach US military bases located on the Pacific island of Guam.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday Washington "would not be surprised'' by a missile test, which would fit the North's "current pattern of bellicose, unhelpful and unconstructive rhetoric and actions''.

US DEPLOYS UNMANNED SPY DRONE.

THE TWO FACES OF KIM JONG-UN.

No one can tell with any certainty how much technological progress North Korea has made, aside from perhaps a few people close to its secretive leadership. And it is highly unlikely that Pyongyang would launch such an attack, because the retaliation would be devastating.

In this Feb. 22, 2008 file image from television North Korean workers operate equipment at North Korea's main nuclear reactor in Nyongbyon, also known as Yongbyon.

The North's third nuclear test on February 12, which prompted the toughest UN Security Council sanctions yet against Pyongyang, is presumed to have advanced its ability to miniaturise a nuclear device. And experts say it's easier to design a nuclear warhead that works on a shorter-range missile than one for an intercontinental missile that could target the US.

The assessment of David Albright at the Institute for Science and International Security think tank is that North Korea has the capability to mount a warhead on its Rodong missile, which has a range of 1280 kilometers and could hit South Korea and most of Japan. But he cautioned in his analysis, published after the latest nuclear test, that it is an uncertain estimate, and the warhead's reliability remains unclear.

Albright contends that the experience of Pakistan could serve as precedent. Pakistan bought the Rodong from North Korea after its first flight test in 1993, then adapted and produced it for its own use. Pakistan, which conducted its first nuclear test in 1998, is said to have taken less than 10 years to miniaturize a warhead before that test, Albright said.

North Korea also obtained technology from the trafficking network of A.Q. Khan, a disgraced pioneer of Pakistan's nuclear program, acquiring centrifuges for enriching uranium. According to the Congressional Research Service, Khan may also have supplied a Chinese-origin nuclear weapon design he provided to Libya and Iran, which could have helped the North in developing a warhead for a ballistic missile.

But Siegfried Hecker at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, who has visited North Korea seven times and been granted unusual access to its nuclear facilities, is skeptical the North has advanced that far in miniaturisation of a nuclear device.

"Nobody outside of a small elite in North Korea knows - and even they don't know for sure," he said in an e-mailed response to questions from The Associated Press. "I agree that we cannot rule it out for one of their shorter-range missiles, but we simply don't know."

South Korean anti-aircraft armoured vehicles move over a temporary bridge during a river-crossing military drill in Hwacheon near the border with North Korea.

KIM JONG-UN ORDERS ARTILLERY PRODUCTION.

MISSILE THREAT TO AUSTRALIA `REAL'.

"Thanks to A.Q. Khan, they almost certainly have designs for such a device that could fit on some of their short or medium-range missiles," said Hecker, who last visited the North in November 2010. "But it is a long way from having a design and having confidence that you can put a warhead on a missile and have it survive the thermal and mechanical stresses during launch and along its entire trajectory."

The differing opinions underscore a fundamental problem in assessing a country as isolated as North Korea, particularly its weapons programs: Solid proof is hard to come by.

For example, the international community remains largely in the dark about the latest underground nuclear test. Although it caused a magnitude 5.1 tremor, no gases escaped, and experts say there was no way to evaluate whether a plutonium or uranium device was detonated. That information would help reveal whether North Korea has managed to produce highly enriched uranium, giving it a new source of fissile material, and help determine the type and sophistication of the North's warhead design.

The guessing game about the North's nuclear weapons program dates back decades. Albright says that in the early 1990s, the CIA estimated that North Korea had a "first-generation" design for a plutonium device that was likely to be deployed on the Nodong missile - although it's not clear what information that estimate was based on.

This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on March 31, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.

"Given that 20 years has passed since the deployment of the Rodong, an assessment that North Korea successfully developed a warhead able to be delivered by that missile is reasonable," Albright wrote.

According to Nick Hansen, a retired intelligence expert who closely monitors developments in the North's weapons programs, the Rodong missile was first flight-tested in 1993. Pakistan claims to have re-engineered the missile and successfully tested it, although doubts apparently persist about its reliability.

Whether North Korea has also figured out how to wed the missile with a nuclear warhead has major ramifications not just for South Korea and Japan, but for the US itself, which counts those nations as its principal allies in Asia and retains 80,000 troops in the two countries.

US intelligence appears to have vacillated in its assessments of North Korea's capabilities.

In April 2005, Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea had the capability to arm a missile with a nuclear device. Pentagon officials, however, later backtracked.

According to the Congressional Research Service, a report from the same intelligence agency to Congress in August 2007 said that "North Korea has short and medium-range missiles that could be fitted with nuclear weapons, but we do not know whether it has in fact done so."

In this March 11, 2013 file photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at military officers after inspecting the Wolnae Islet Defense Detachment, North Korea, near the western sea border with South Korea.

In an interview in Germany, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. does not know whether North Korea has "weaponised" its nuclear capability.

Still, Washington is taking North Korea's nuclear threats seriously.

In December, North Korea launched a long-range rocket that could potentially hit the continental US According to South Korean officials, North Korea has moved at least one missile with "considerable range" to its east coast - possibly the untested Musudan missile, believed to have a range of 3000 - 4000 kilometers.

This week, the US said two of the Navy's missile-defence ships were positioned closer to the Korean peninsula, and a land-based system is being deployed for the Pacific territory of Guam. The Pentagon last month announced longer-term plans to beef up its US-based missile defences.

South Korea is separated from North Korea and its huge standing army by a heavily militarized frontier, and the countries remain in an official state of war, as the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty. Even without nuclear arms, the North positions enough artillery within range of Seoul to devastate large parts of the capital before the much-better-equipped US and South Korea could fully respond.

And Japan has been starkly aware of the threat since North Korea's 1998 test of the medium-range Taepodong missile that overflew its territory.

Yet in the latest standoff, much of the international attention has been on the North's potential threat to the US, a more distant prospect than its capabilities to strike its own neighbours. Experts say the North could hit South Korea with chemical weapons, and might also be able to use a Scud missile to carry a nuclear warhead.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, acknowledges the North might be able to put a warhead on a Rodong missile, but he sees it as unlikely. He says the North's nuclear threats are less worthy of attention than the prospects of a miscalculation leading to a conventional war.

"North Korea understands that a serious attack on South Korea or other US interests is going to be met with overwhelming force," he said. "It would be near suicidal for the regime."

- With AP, AFP


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Crows furious over TV privacy breach

Crows forward Ricky Henderson contests for a mark in front of Lions ruckman Matthew Leunberger. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images

ADELAIDE wants answers from the AFL's official telecasters - both Fox Sports and Channel 7 - on why footage of Crows utility Ricky Henderson revealing his genitals in the Gabba changerooms was put to air on Saturday night and turned into a comedy skit.

This also allowed thousands on social media to bombard Henderson on Twitter, increasing his embarrassment.

"Ricky was really stressed (on Saturday night)," said Adelaide football chief Phil Harper.

"He should have been joining his team-mates celebrating a good win against the Lions; instead he was locked away in his room.

"We are quite angry that people chose to put the original footage in other forums, particularly social media.''

Henderson was captured on camera walking into the Adelaide rooms at half-time and opening his shorts out of concern for a groin injury.

It is unlikely Henderson will follow rugby league player Andrew Ettingshausen in legal action. Ettingshausen was awarded $350,000 in damages - reduced to $100,000 on appeal - from a magazine that published a photograph of "ET" in the showers during the 1990 Kangaroos tour of Great Britain.

Ettingshausen had the expectation of privacy in the team showers. But Henderson should have been aware of the cameras that have been placed in AFL team changerooms for more than 10 seasons.

"We thought everything filmed in the changerooms was shown on delay and the telecaster had the opportunity to drop images such as those of Henderson," Harper said.

"Ricky's quite distressed by it all. He plays footy - he is not worrying about cameras when he comes into the changerooms."

Beyond Fox Sport's error, Adelaide has taken exception to how Henderson was lampooned on Seven's Saturday night football coverage hosted by former VFL player Brian Taylor.

AFL Players' Association executive Ian Prendergast says his group will be questioning the telecasters.

"We'll follow up to find out why (the images were put to air)," said Prendergast.

"Cameras are in place in the changerooms on the basis player privacy will be respected."


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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