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US presses China for help with N. Korea

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 14 April 2013 | 23.08

China and the US has vowed to work together to try to defuse nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula.

CHINA and the United States have vowed to work together to try to defuse nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula, as US Secretary of State John Kerry says the world stands at a "critical" juncture.

During an intense day of diplomacy in Beijing, Kerry warned Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping that the stakes were high as China's erratic ally North Korea threatens a missile launch that would extend a weeks-long crisis.

China is Pyongyang's sole major ally and backer, and is widely seen as the only country with leverage to influence its actions - although it is also reluctant to risk destabilising the regime.

State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who is in charge of Beijing's foreign policy, said China was committed to "advancing the denuclearisation process on the Korean peninsula" and "will work with other relevant parties including the United States to play a constructive role".

Mr Kerry said China and the United States "must together take steps in order to achieve the goal of a denuclearised Korean peninsula" and were "committed to taking actions".

But neither side gave details of any specific measures, and the top US diplomat said there would be "very focused continued high-level discussions about the ways to fill in any blanks".

Mr Kerry said he wanted to ensure that Saturday's pledges were "not just rhetoric, but that it is real policy".

He predicted he would be making "many trips" to Beijing, hailing what he called "an extremely positive and constructive day... beyond what I anticipated in many regards".

NORTH KOREA'S FURY AT US WAR GAMES

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping shortly before their meetings at the Great Hall of the People Saturday, April 13, 2013 in Beijing.

A LOOK AT NORTH KOREA'S MISSILE POWER

The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey is to visit Beijing this month along "with other members of the intel community", he said.

The secretary of state flew in from talks in South Korea with President Park Geun-Hye, where he offered public support for her plans to initiate some trust-building with the North.

The region has been engulfed by threats of nuclear war by Pyongyang in response to UN sanctions imposed over its recent rocket and nuclear tests, and Mr Kerry stressed that China, which has backed Pyongyang since the 1950-53 Korean War, holds a unique sway over it and leader Kim Jong-Un.

China is estimated to provide as much as 90 per cent of its neighbour's energy imports, 80 per cent of its consumer goods and 45 per cent of its food, according to the US-based Council on Foreign Relations.

But analysts say it is wary of pushing too hard for fear of a regime collapse sending waves of hungry refugees flooding into China and ultimately leading to a reunified Korea allied with the United States.

"Mr President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues," Mr Kerry told Mr Xi earlier in the Great Hall of the People, on the second leg of his Asian tour.

As well as "issues on the Korean peninsula", he cited Iran's nuclear ambitions, Syria and the Middle East, and the world's economic woes. 

WHY ALL THE HUBBUB

South Korean protesters shout slogans during a rally denouncing the joint military exercises between South Korea and US and demanding US Secretary of State John Kerry go to North Korea for peace talks. Picture: Lee Jin-man/AP

Since the 1950-53 Korean War, North Korea has feared that Washington is intent on destroying the regime.

The US worries that Pyongyang will re-ignite the conflict with South Korea, and is uneasy because little is known about Kim Jong Un, the North's new, young leader, and considers him unpredictable.

Both sides have ratcheted up the rhetoric and military muscle moves in recent weeks. North Korea threatened a pre-emptive strike against the US, and conducted an underground nuclear test in February and a rocket launch in December.

The threats are seen as an effort to pressure Washington and Seoul to change their North Korean policies and convince the North's people that their new leader is strong enough to stand up to its foes.

US and South Korean troops have been conducting annual joint military drills in the region since early March, including bringing out nuclear-capable stealth bombers and fighter jets in what the US Air Force acknowledged was a deliberate show of force.

As North Korea ramps up talk of a nuclear attack, here's a quick look at how the US, Japan and South Korea can counter a missile launch.

NORTH KOREAN MISSILES

North Korea has been steadily working to display an increasing capability to launch missiles. Last year it failed in an attempt to send a satellite into space aboard a long-range rocket.

A subsequent launch in December was successful, and that was followed by the country's third underground nuclear test on February 12.

US officials believe the North is preparing to test fire a medium-range "Musudan" missile.

And a section in a new Defense Intelligence Agency assessment concludes with "moderate confidence" that the North could deliver nuclear weapon by ballistic missiles. The report notes that the delivery system is still not considered reliable.

US RESPONSE

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which has responsibility for US homeland defense, is watching the region via satellite and the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain, Navy destroyers armed with sophisticated missile defense systems, have been positioned to best be able to detect and track a missile launch.

The US is confident it would be able to shoot a missile down, but would do so only if it appears to be a threat to America or its allies.

The US is also prepared to provide military assistance to South Korea in the event of any other type of attack by the North.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea not to conduct a missile test, saying it will be an act of provocation that "will raise people's temperatures" and further isolate the country and its people.

President Barack Obama said his administration would "take all necessary steps" to protect American citizens and he urged Pyongyang to end its threats. North Korea has issued no specific warnings to ships and aircraft that a missile test is imminent. And the country has begun festivities celebrating the April 15 birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung, which is considered the most important national holiday.

China has been a longtime political, military and economic backer of North Korea and is considered to have more real leverage over the North.

US officials say there are indications Chinese leaders have become frustrated with Pyongyang's recent behavior and rhetoric.

In a positive development for the US, China agreed publicly to work with the US to achieve the goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Joint accounts: cute or creepy?

WE all know a couple who can't do anything without their partner. Often it's cute. Sometimes it's a little creepy.

Now, an increasing number of couples are going so far as to join their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Rather than being a sign that these couples are too co-dependent, some suggest it's the modern-day version of opening a shared a bank account.

But there's a difference.

Facebook was created to be all about "you". The pages you like, the pictures you post and the comments you make are all done with an awareness that you're being watched, and you are able to carefully curate how the outside world sees you.

So what does it mean when you want to portray yourself as a couple rather than an individual?

Psychotherapist Dan Auerbach said couples who join social media accounts have a strong identity around who they belong to and who belongs to them.

"Obviously Facebook has tapped into a massive amount of interest in people wanting to present themselves as individuals," said Mr Auerbach from CounsellingSydney.com.au.

"But some people may wish to portray an image of themselves as the couple - they may feel more comfortable with their joint identity."

Mr Auerbach said all people have "a need to individuate and a need to join".

"The need to be joined with someone is very strong," he said. "The need to be separate is stronger in some than it is in others."

Clare and Richard Tapp are married with three children. They have a joint Facebook account but Clare does the majority of the posting.

"I go on it all the time to post photos and keep in contact with overseas family," Ms Tapp said.

"And I guess being a mum is sometimes quite isolating, so I keep in contact with mummy friends without having to go out.

Mr Tapp says it doesn't worry him that his wife does most of the posting.

"We don't tend to join a whole lot of personal pages and stuff, we try to avoid all the advertising sort of things," he said.

Mr Tapp says the couple mainly posts family-oriented photos.

"I think Clare's joined quite a few associations, like the breastfeeding association and things," he said.

"If it was my own page I'd probably join up to hiking pages or stuff more to do with my hobbies."

Dan Auerbach said the way people use Facebook depends on what they latch onto Facebook for.

"Some individuals may use it more separately because they feel more comfortable having their identity in their separate self rather than their couple self," Mr Auerbach said.

"Some couples are much more tightly bonded."

Relationship psychologist Philip Johnson said joining Facebook accounts signalled serious commitment.

"When you have combined cheque accounts, Facebook and Twitter, you're signalling 'were together'," he said.

Victorian couple Leon and Carly Pettifer share a Facebook account, but they aren't afraid to post their differing opinions.

"Sometimes things we put up we both don't agree with, so if we put something up that's our opinion we put a note saying 'Leon' or 'Carly'," Mr Pettifer said.

"It can be politics – I'm sort of starting to swing more to the Liberal side of things but I have been a Labor voter, whereas Carly's always been a Labor voter so we disagree on that.

"And we're very passionate about our sport but I'm a Carlton supporter and she's St Kilda."

Mr and Ms Pettifer originally had separate accounts but they deactivated them to make a joint account.

"Basically half of our friends were mutual friends anyway," he said.

"Our Facebook is very family oriented, we post photos of our boys, we'll post if we're going away for the weekend."

Philip Johnson said sharing social media accounts was not an unhealthy thing to do, but in some instances it could cause relationship problems.

"If you see it causing arguments and your intimacy is being diminished because of the things you're posting I would suggest separating accounts," said Mr Johnson from Choosing Change.

Mr Johnson added that some couples may join accounts for unhealthy reasons.

"And it might be your insecurity that's doing that, it might not be a case of 'here I want to share my relationship because it's a wonderful thing',' he said.
"It could be 'I want to let everyone know I'm in a relationship and he's mine and she's mine'.

"And many people have Facebook accounts that they do actually have trouble with, where they have to reveal passwords, which is the ultimate 'I don't trust you'."

Heidi Stanton-Cook shares a Twitter account with her husband Daniel even though she does all the posting.

"We've been together 16 years, we have three kids, there's not a lot that we can hide from each other," Ms Stanton-Cook said.

"And it's not like I'm flooding our Twitter account with one-sided, full-on political stuff or weird religion stuff or strange musical death metal stuff."

Ms Stanton-Cook said her husband doesn't mind her tweeting on his behalf because her tweets are "fairly light and mainstream".

The couple also shares a Facebook account. Ms Stanton-Cook says their lives are so connected and they have so many mutual friends it doesn't make sense to have separate accounts.

"Even though we have different hobbies and do things separately, they're only for a couple of hours at a time," she said.

"I don't think it's a co-dependency thing or anything I think it's just the fact that working parents are pretty time poor so trying to keep up with what's going on in your social life, home life, then 'What did he say on Twitter?' – that's the sort of stress a lot of modern couples don't have time for."

Now fess up. Do you share an FB account?


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Shark savages defiant Tiger

Should Tiger be disqualified for this drop shot? He may be.

NOT IMPRESSED: Greg Norman says Tiger Woods should have withdrawn from the US Masters for breaching the rules. Source: AP

TIGER Woods has worn a tsunami of criticism for his decision to play on at the US Masters after his ball-drop fiasco instead of withdrawing.

Former world No.1 Greg Norman was typically blunt, but his sentiment summed up the feelings of most former pros among the myriad media at Augusta, who said the onus was on Woods to maintain the sport's etiquette by withdrawing.

"It is all about the player and the integrity of the game. Woods violated the rules as he played," Norman said on Twitter.

FULL MASTERS SCOREBOARD

Norman was true to that sentiment during his career, twice disqualifying himself while leading tournaments - once as defending champion in the 1996 Greater Hartford Open and once in the 1990 Palm Meadows Cup on the Gold Coast.

Both times - once for an illegal drop two days earlier, the other for a possibly non-conforming ball - he pulled out immediately as those potential infractions were brought to his attention.

"(Being world No.)1 carries a greater burden. WD for the game," Norman said.

Brandel Chamblee was equally as forthright on the Golf Channel after Woods escaped disqualification, but carried a two-stroke penalty to begin his third round at one under after admitting he dropped two yards (1.8m) from the original ball's position, not the "nearly as possible" prescribed by the rules.

PGA Tour winner Chamblee said Woods' decision should not be based on provisions within the rules to protect innocent mistakes costing players a disqualification, but rather their intent.

Aussies set for Masterly finish

"Forget provisions for equity and inadvertent signings of scorecards, he gained an advantage and he knows it," Chamblee said.

"When you violate a rule, you don't always gain an advantage.

"But Tiger Woods knows he violated a rule and knows he gained an advantage - that's what's at issue here.

"It helped him save his bogey.

"Does he want to win this tournament by a shot like that?"

Notah Begay, Woods' former college roommate and long-time pro, said the event would "overshadow" the tournament.

"And it will follow the player around ... and be talked about for a long time," Begay said.

"This scandal has made him more human than he's ever been.

"We've all thought he's Superman ... but this is a rule we all know and something that he was totally lost in at the moment."

Pictures: Moving Day at Augusta

Fred Couples, Woods' friend and Presidents Cup captain, disagreed saying the ruling was one of the best ever.

Couples, joint second after two rounds at Augusta, said it had set a "fantastic" precedent to protect players from unwitting mistakes for years to come.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

BBC will play Thatcher 'witch' song

The BBC has defended its decision to play only five seconds of 'Ding Dong! the Witch is Dead' in its weekly music countdown after an anti-Thatcher protest pushed the song up the charts

Ding Dong! The witch is dead has raced to the top of the Amazon download chart in Britain.

The death of Margaret Thatcher this week provoked celebrations among critics of the former leader in Britain. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

THE BBC will play Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead in its weekend chart show after opponents of Margaret Thatcher pushed the song up the charts.

The radio and television broadcaster has agonized over whether to play the 70-year-old song from The Wizard of Oz after complaints of bad taste.

In a compromise move announced on Friday the BBC said it will play part of Ding Dong! but not the whole song on its chart-countdown radio show.

The online campaign to drive the Wizard of Oz song to the No. 1 spot on the UK singles chart was launched by Thatcher critics shortly after the former prime minister died Monday of a stroke at age 87.

As of Friday, the song was No. 1 on British iTunes.

There had been calls for the BBC to promise it won't broadcast the song. John Whittingdale, a lawmaker from Thatcher's Conservative party, told the Daily Mail tabloid that many would find the song "deeply insensitive."

"This is an attempt to manipulate the charts by people trying to make a political point," he said.

Not all Tories agreed that the song should be yanked.

"No song should be banned by the BBC unless its lyrics are pre-watershed," said former Conservative lawmaker Louise Mensch, referring to British restrictions on adult content.

"Thatcher stood for freedom," she wrote on Twitter.

This is not the first time Britain's national broadcaster, which is nicknamed "Auntie" for its "we-know-what's-good-for-you" attitude, has been caught in a bind about whether to ban a song on grounds of language, politics or taste.

The 1960s and '70s saw several songs barred from airplay for sex or drug references, including The Beatles' A Day in the Life, for a fleeting and implicit reference to smoking marijuana.

For The Kinks' 1970 hit Lola, the trouble was not sex or drugs, but product placement. The line "you drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola" fell afoul of the public broadcaster's rule banning corporate plugs. The brand name had to be replaced with "cherry cola" before the song could be aired.

The BBC frequently has been targeted by self-appointed moral guardians, most famously the late anti-smut activist Mary Whitehouse, who campaigned for decades against what she saw as pornography and permissiveness.

In 1972, Whitehouse got the BBC to ban the video for Alice Cooper's School's Out for allegedly being a bad influence on children. The controversy helped the song reach No. 1 in the charts, and Cooper sent Whitehouse flowers. He later said she had given his band "publicity we couldn't buy."

But Whitehouse's campaign to get Chuck Berry's My Ding-a-Ling banned on grounds of indecency was unsuccessful. The BBC's chief at the time told Whitehouse that, while the song's title could be seen as a double entendre, "we believe that the innuendo is, at worst, on the level of seaside postcards or music hall humor."

Paul McCartney may now be the cuddly elder statesman of pop, but his first single with the band Wings, Give Ireland Back to the Irish, caused a storm.

Written after the 1972 killing of 13 Irish nationalist protesters by British troops on "Bloody Sunday" in Londonderry, the single was barred from all TV and radio airplay in Britain - but reached No. 1 in Ireland, where it was not banned.

The Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen - with its opening refrain "God save the queen, the fascist regime" - was released in 1977, the year of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.

The BBC banned it on the grounds of "gross bad taste," and some stores refused to stock it, to the delight of the punk band, whose anti-establishment credentials were cemented by the controversy.

It remains one of the most famous songs never to reach No. 1 on the charts. It hit No. 2, but was kept from the top spot by Rod Stewart's I Don't Want to Talk About It.

Punk fans sensed a conspiracy, and debate still rages over whether the Pistols' song really did reach No. 1.

God Save the Queen and School's Out aren't the only examples of how an airplay ban can boost a song.

In 1984, BBC DJ Mike Read pulled the plug on Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood midway through its first broadcast, calling the thumping, lyrically suggestive song obscene.

Though it wasn't officially banned, the BBC did not play it. The controversy helped push the song by a then-unknown band up the charts, where it stayed in the No. 1 spot for five weeks.

While the moral panics of past eras can seem ridiculous, this week's Thatcher controversy shows that the central issue - which is worse, censorship or causing offense? - is both complex and unresolved.

In 2007, the BBC censored the Christmas song Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, which was first released 20 years earlier, by dubbing out the word "faggot." Some listeners were outraged, but others, including gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, said the BBC had been right to remove the anti-gay slur.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

$14b for schools as funds slashed

There has been a backlash against the government's decision to cut two billion dollars from universities.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised $4000 to school students, while slashing $2.8b in university funding. Picture: Dan Himbrechts Source: News Limited

The Labor govt has announced $2.3b worth of cuts to the university sector to fund its Gonski school reforms.

PUBLIC schools will secure the lion's share of the Prime Minister's plan to boost spending on schools by $14.5 billion over the next six years.

While independent and Catholic schools will secure just $2.4 billion under the plan the nation's struggling public schools would secure a massive $12 billion injection

Julia Gillard will today gamble her election hopes on a plan to slash funding to universities but deliver a $4,000 boost to every school student in Australia.

Vowing to "get it done'' Prime Minister will pledge that if the new spending is averaged across Australia it will equate to $1.5 million extra over six years for every school in the country.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the Gillard government will propose a $14.5 billion boost to public and private schools over the next six years would include a substantial increase in the Commonwealth's share of school funding.

THE GOVERNMENT `BETTER SCHOOLS' WEBSITE.

That figure, over six years, is lower than the $6.5 billion a year proposed by businessman David Gonski to transform the school system but would rise over time.

The sting in the tale is that the states would be required to provide up to half of the $14.5 billion dollars.

But universities and higher education students will pay the price, with the budget razor gang confirming savage $2.8 billion in cuts to universities, discounts for families paying upfront HECS fees, self education tax deduction changes and converting a student scholarship scheme into a loans scheme.

The Australian Education Union (AEU) this morning  said public schools will receive most of the cash under the new funding arrangements.

"Public schools are the only ones that can ensure that every child receives a high quality education," AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said in a statement this morning.

THE GOVERNMENT `BETTER SCHOOLS' FACEBOOK PAGE.

"They are the ones that are open to all, in every community and teach the overwhelming majority of students with higher needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds."

The states now need to get on board to help make the Gonski reforms a reality, he said.

However the union was disappointed some of the money was coming from cuts to universities.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said universities had experienced record levels of funding under the Gillard government, and that assistance would continue.

Universities would be able to "accommodate these efficiencies", he said.

"I think there will be scope for universities, they're very big entities," Mr Garrett told ABC TV this morning.

"It is one of the decisions that governments need to take as they determine how they're going to support additional reform."

"We've developed that model, and now we want to work with the states to make sure it's applied across the federation," Mr Garrett said.

"For states who are looking at their education improvement, here's an opportunity to deploy additional resources ... in a coherent national plan focusing on student improvement."

He said it was up to the state governments to determine priorities in their budget and "think through the consequences" of underinvesting in education.

The Coalition signaled it may support the tough budget measures in Parliament, warning it could not save the sector from a "bad government".

The new investment would be linked to new transparency demands forcing schools to improve performance in reading and numeracy.
As state premiers prepare to hold talks with the Prime Minister to thrash out a new funding deal for schools, the Prime Minister warned the states that without change schools will face a financial crisis in coming years.

"Today Labor will announce the biggest change to school education in 40 years,'' she told the Sunday Telegraph.

"I want every Australian child to have the start in life that comes with a world class education.

"We know we need to make improvements if we are to take Australia into the world's top five education systems by 2025 and I am determined to get it done.''

The new investment would lift spending on schools to $49.5 billion on average over the next six years to 2019.
New South Wales would secure could expect a $ 5 billion increase. Victoria would secure $ 4 billion. Queensland would secure $3.8 billion. But WA would secure just $300 million.South Australia would secure $600 million and Tasmania $400 million.

Catholic schools would secure $1.4 billion extra, lifting the total investment to $50 billion.
Independent schools would secure $1 billion extra over the six year timeframe.

But the price of the reforms is massive cuts to the universities and student scholarships that the Coalition indicated it would not oppose suggesting the savage cuts would secure the support of Parliament.

"Sadly, this is the price you pay for a government that can't live within its means,'' opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey told the Sunday Telegraph.

Education spokesman Chris Pyne suggested Labor was showing all the policy instincts of a "dog in a butcher shop''.

"We will closely examine the cuts but we are not in a position to save the sector from a bad government,'' he warned.

Greens Leader Christine Milne accused the government of taking Australia's education system closer to a US-style user-pays system and "doing Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's work for him even before he becomes prime minister''.

"Universities and students will be rightly angry they are being forced to pay for the government's unwillingness to stand up to the mining industry,'' she said.

Mr Garrett this morning dismissed suggestions the funding model was skewed to Labor marginal electorates.

"This is not a model that's been derived on the basis of marginal seats where the government holds or doesn't hold seats now or into the future at all," he said.

samantha.maiden@news.com.au


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Plane crashes off coast of Bali

An Indonesian plane carrying 101 passengers has broken in half after missing the runway at a Bali airport.

INVESTIGATORS are trying to work out how an Indonesian passenger plane overshot the runway at Bali airport before crashing into the sea.

All 101 passengers and seven crew on the Lion Air flight survived, although dozens were said to be injured and at least seven were taken to hospital with head wounds and broken bones.

The new Boeing 737-800 had been trying to land at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport about 3.30pm local time (1730 AEST) on Saturday when it crashed.

No Australians were on the plane, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra said.

A Lion Air Boeing 737 lies submerged in the water after missing the runaway during landing at Bali's international airport near Denpasar on April 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/SONNY TUMBELAKA Source: AFP

Photographs on Indonesian television showed the plane's fuselage had split in two just behind the wings, and the plane half submerged in shallow water.

In this photo released by Indonesia's National Rescue Team, rescuers stand near the wreckage of a crashed Lion Air plane in Bali, Indonesia.

The Boeing 737  was on a domestic flight from Bandung in West Java.

Transport ministry official Herry Bhakti initially said the plane overshot the runway, but later clarified his comments to say it landed straight in the water. Officials said they were still determining exactly why it ditched.

Lion Air's general affairs director, Edward Sirait, said the plane had 95 adults, five children and a baby, along with seven crew, on board.

"The plane broke into two pieces,'' he said.

A Lion Air Boeing 737 lies submerged in the water after missing the runaway during landing at Bali's international airport near Denpasar on April 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/SONNY TUMBELAKA Source: AFP

This photo released by Indonesia's National Rescue Team shows rescuers at the crash site of a Lion Air plane in Bali, Indonesia.

An Australian surfer paddling nearby was reportedly among those who helped passengers, mostly believed to be locals, to the shore.

There were three foreigners on board - two Singaporeans and a French national - all of whom suffered slight injuries.

TV footage showed police and rescuers using rubber boats to evacuate the passengers and crew. The Boeing 737 could be seen sitting in the shallow water with a large crack in its fuselage.

"The plane plunged into the sea at high speed,'' said passenger Ignatius Juan Sinduk, 45, from his hospital bed in Denpasar where he was being treated for breathing difficulties.

"Everybody screamed and water suddenly surged into the plane. Passengers panicked and scrambled for life jackets. Some passengers fell, some ran into others, it was chaos.

"I managed to grab one (a lifejacket) and slowly swam out of the plane and to the shore.''

Passenger Santy Wiastuti, being treated at Kasih Ibu Hospital for injuries to her leg, said there was no warning of the impending crash.

"There was no signal, anything, it just happened suddenly," Ms Wiastuti said.

Andis, another passenger, said there was a loud bang as the plane hit the water, prompting panic.

"I looked down. It was suddenly sea," Andis said.

A passenger injured in a plane crash on a stretcher is carried for a medical treatment at a hospital in Jimbarn, Bali, Indonesia.

Another survivor, Rusmaya, 50, said the crew yelled at passengers to put on life vests.

"My hand was shaking so someone helped me take it. The water was already in the plane," she said.

A spokesman for Lion Air, a low-cost carrier, said at a news conference that the plane crashed about 50 meters ahead of the runway. The weather was cloudy with rain at the time of the incident.

"It apparently failed to reach the runway and fell into the sea,'' said the spokesman, Edward Sirait.

He said the Boeing 737-800 Next Generation plane was received by the airline last month and was declared airworthy. The plane originated in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, and had landed in two other cities on Saturday prior to the crash.

This handout photo released by the Indonesian Police on April 13, 2013 shows a Lion Air Boeing 737 submerged in the water after skidding off the runaway during landing at Bali's international airport near Denpasar.

"We are not in a capacity to announce the cause of the crash,'' Sirait said, adding that the National Safety Transportation Committee was investigating.

"The aircraft was in landing position when suddenly I saw it getting closer to the sea, and finally it hit the water,'' Dewi, a passenger who sustained head wounds in the crash and uses one name, said.

"All of the passengers were screaming in panic in fear they would drown. I left behind my belongings and went to an emergency door,'' she said. "I got out of the plane and swam before rescuers jumped in to help me.''

Rapidly expanding Lion Air is Indonesia's top discount carrier, holding about a 50 per cent market share in the country, a sprawling archipelago of 240 million people that's seeing a boom in both economic growth and air travel.

The airline has been involved in six accidents since 2002, four of them involving Boeing 737s and one resulting in 25 deaths, according to the Aviation Safety Network's website.

The wreckage a crashed Lion Air plane sits on the water near the airport in Bali, Indonesia.

Lion Air commercial director Edward Sirait said some passengers had been taken to a hospital in Denpasar.

"All passengers and crew are safe, 101 passengers and seven crew. They've been taken to the nearest hospital,'' he said.

Mr Sirait said that the plane was new, and began operating last year.

"The plane is Boeing 737-800 NG, Next Generation. It's a new one, a 2012 product,'' he said.

"It actually has sophisticated technology to anticipate accident. Let's see what the data says about that accident.''

Lion Air started operating in 2000 and services more than 36 destinations, mostly in Indonesia.

The airline last month agreed to buy 234 Airbus planes and announced that it planned to target new routes in Asia, as well as a venture in Australia.

Lion Air is currently banned from flying to Europe due to broader safety lapses in the Indonesian airline industry that have long plagued the country. Last year, a Sukhoi Superjet-100 slammed into a volcano during a demonstration flight, killing all 45 people on board.

Passengers said on Facebook they were stranded at the airport.

"A landing plane has overshot the runway and ended up in the water," one tourist, from Perth, said.

"As a result, the whole airport is closed and we're stranded."

Indonesia is one of Asia's most rapidly expanding airline markets, but is struggling to provide qualified pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and updated airport technology to ensure safety.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Gillard's two-for-one school funding deal

PM Julia Gillard has offered state and territory governments $2 for every extra $1 they invest in education.

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has offered state and territory governments $2 for every extra $1 they invest in education, under her plan to boost schools funding.

Ms Gillard announced details of Labor's schools improvement plan, saying it was vital to Australia building a world leading education system.

At the heart of the deal is extra base funding of $14.5 billion over six years from 2014.

"It's a lot of money, but I believe it is a wise investment in our children's future and our nation's future," she told reporters in Canberra.

ALBANESE: 'MORE CUTS NEEDED TO PAY FOR GONSKI'

This will require the federal government to index its funding contributions at 4.7 per cent a year.

It will be calling on the states and territories to index their contributions to at least three per cent.

Jacinta Collins, PM Gillard and Peter Garrett at today's press conference in Canberra. Picture: Strange Ray

"Today I make an offer for the extra money required to get us to the school resourcing standard," the prime minister said.

"For every one dollar they are prepared to put in to get there, I am prepared to put in two dollars," she said.

This equates to the commonwealth paying 65 per cent of the extra investment - or $9.4 billion.

THE GOVERNMENT 'BETTER SCHOOLS' FACEBOOK PAGE

Ms Gillard said that as part of the agreement, she'd be asking the premiers to promise not to make any further cuts to education.

"No more taking money out of schools, as we have seen around the country," she said.

Anthony Albanese Meet The Press Ep8 Seg1

As well, every school would have to have a transparent school improvement plan to ensure it was trying to reach national education benchmarks on numeracy and literacy.

Ms Gillard said it was vital a deal was struck between the state and federal governments, because failure would lead to $5.4 billion less in commonwealth funding for schools.

GILLARD CLAWS BACK $2.8BN IN UNI FUNDING.

"It means a future of underfunded schools," she said.

If an agreement wasn't reached, the states would be left to fight among themselves for the limited resources available.

That would be a recipe for educational disadvantage, Ms Gillard said.

Anthony Albanese Meet The Press, Ep08, Seg 2

Under the schools resource standard, base funding would be $9271 for each primary school child and $12,193 for a high school pupil.

This was calculated on what it would cost to raise 80 per cent of students above the national minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.

There would be extra loadings for disadvantaged or vulnerable students.

This would cover schools with pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds, indigenous students, those with limited English proficiency, disability, school sizes and school locations.

The loadings would pay for items such as equipment, specialist teachers, teacher aides and new programs to help students.

Ms Gillard said the new funding model was based on the needs of Australian school children.

Christopher Pyne Meet The Press, Ep08, Seg 3

THE GOVERNMENT 'BETTER SCHOOLS' WEBSITE

"For me, it was education and getting every child a great education that brought me into politics, as a moral cause," she said.

"We cannot have the strong economy that we want tomorrow unless we have the best of education in our schools today."

Labor wants Australia's education system to be ranked in the world's top five for reading, mathematics and science by 2025.

As well, funding for some other education programs, like the computers for schools initiative, would be rolled into the new schools funding agreement.

The prime minister said the states had until June 30 to decide whether they would get on board.

PM Julia Gillard and School Education Minister Peter Garrett join pro-Gonski parents and their children at Parliament House in Canberra ahead of today's schools funding boost. Picture: Strange Ray

She also defended the cuts Labor was making to the tertiary education sector and changes to the superannuation scheme to help pay for schools.

The government on Saturday announced about $2.8 billion worth of cuts to the university sector, but did not specify how much of those savings would go toward schools reforms.

Ms Gillard said Labor had increased funding to universities by more than 50 per cent since being elected in 2007.

The government was asking universities to make "modest" efficiency savings, she said.

This morning on Meet the Press, Leader of the House Anthony Albonese said further funding cuts would need to be found to fully fund the Gonski program.

"The Expenditure Review Committee is working very hard to make sure we can make the space for this reform."

PM Gillard and Schools Education Minister Peter Garrett at today's press conference in Canberra. Picture: Strange Ray

Ms Gillard said the $14.5 billion in extra investment for schools would lift total public funding to $49.5 billion a year on average to 2019.

Of that extra investment, NSW would get $5 billion, Victoria $4 billion and Queensland $3.8 billion.

Western Australia would get $300 million, South Australia $600 million, Tasmania $400 million, the Northern Territory $300 million and the ACT $100 million.

This would be on top of the extra funding secured for each state and each schools sector if the states and territories agreed to more stable indexation of current school spending.

The prime minister will meet state and territory leaders in Canberra on Friday for the Council of Australian governments to thrash out the issue.

The states will be asked to sign a new National Education Reform Agreement, which incorporates the National Plan for School Improvement to lift literacy and numerical standards.

Negotiations are also being held with the Catholic and Independent school sectors.

Government schools are expected to share $12 billion, Catholic schools $1.4 billion and independent schools $1 billion.

If there is agreement and Labor successfully amends education law, the changes will be effective from January 1 next year.

WHAT THE STATES WILL GET UNDER LABOR'S SCHOOLS FUNDING PLAN:

OVERALL:

  • Extra $14.5 billion for public, private schools over six years from 2014
  • Commonwealth to pay 65 per cent, or $9.4bn
  • States to cover the rest
  • Extra funding takes total public schools funding to $49.5bn a year
  • Schools funding to grow if better annual indexation rates agreed with states
  • Federal government funding to rise 4.7 per cent a year if states grow education budgets by three per cent

STATE-BY-STATE:

  • NSW, $5bn
  • VIC, $4bn
  • QLD, $3.8bn
  • WA, $300m
  • SA, $600m
  • TAS, $400m
  • NT, $300m
  • ACT, $100m

The NSW government says it needs more time to consider the federal government's offer of $2 for every extra $1 that states and territories invest in education.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said the government would "examine the details'' of the proposal.

"The NSW Government has constructively supported Gonski because we see it as a win for students,'' Mr Piccoli said in a statement.

"We continue to work constructively with the Commonwealth to turn this review into an opportunity for all of our students.''

The federal government wants agreement from the states and territories at this Friday's Council of Australian Governments (COAG) leaders meeting.

Of the $14.5 billion in extra investment, NSW would get $5 billion, with the majority to go to public schools.

The Victorian government says it is being held to ransom over proposed education funding reforms.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says a total of $14.5 billion would be pumped into the sector from next year, with the commonwealth providing the bulk or 65 per cent.

Victorian schools will receive $4 billion, Ms Gillard said.

However, Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon said the federal government was demanding how the money be spent.

"The federal government are putting the states in a very difficult position,'' he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

"Basically they're saying, 'here's a whole bunch of money, but you've got to do it our way'.

"They should be working with us, not holding us to ransom.''

Mr Dixon said he would seek more detail about the proposed changes from his federal counterpart this week.

Premier Colin Barnett says the prime minister's proposed education reforms, which will see Western Australian receive just $300 million from a national package of $14.5 billion, is a "terrible deal'' for the state.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has offered state and territory governments $2 for every extra $1 they invest in education, under her plan to boost school funding.

Ms Gillard on Sunday announced details of Labor's schools improvement plan, with extra base funding of $14.5 billion over six years from 2014.

Under the plan, WA would get $300 million, compared to NSW which would receive $5 billion. Only the ACT would receive less money than WA with $100 million.

Liberal West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has long been a thorn in Ms Gillard's side and came out on the attack against the prime minister's plan.

"Under the Commonwealth's model, there would be 25 per cent less funding per student than WA already provides,'' he said.

Mr Barnett said the model presented a one-size-fits-all approach to education across the country that did not work.

"We have sought further information and clarification from the Commonwealth about the financial assumptions we have received, but to date, this has not been forthcoming,'' he said.

"Julia Gillard needs to explain why NSW stands to receive 16 times more funding than WA.''

The premier said it was "incredibly disappointing'' there had not been constructive discussion about the future of education.

"As I have said before, WA will not sign up to any model that results in a reduction in state government funding to state government schools,'' he said.

BY SECTOR:

  • Public schools, $12bn
  • Catholic schools, $1.4bn
  • Independent, $1bn

EDUCATION SYSTEM:

More than 9400 schools: 71 per cent public, 18 per cent Catholic, 11 per cent independent

More than 3.5 million students: 65 per cent in public schools, 20 per cent Catholic, 14 per cent independent

Under current funding system, federal government pays 15 per cent of public schools funding, 75 per cent of private schools funding.

(Source: federal government)

AAP el/klm/alb


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

PM's 'First Bloke' crashes motorcycle

In Australia, the tragedy of human slavery can seem a world away, but a bunch of bikies with big hearts are riding home a very important message and the nation's "first bloke" is among them

The inaugural Hagar Ride Against Slavery led by the First Bloke, Tim Mathieson. Riders will travel from Sydney via Sea Cliff Bridge to Kangaroo Valley. Picture: Brad Hunter Source: News Limited

The inaugural Hagar Ride Against Slavery led by the First Bloke, Tim Mathieson. Beginning with breakfast at Kirribilli House in Sydney, a group of motorcycle riders will travel down to Canberra via the Kangaroo Valley to raise funds for Hagar. Picture: Brad Hunter Source: News Limited

TIM Mathieson's bid to become First Biker came close to tragedy today when his motorcycle left the ground and crashed into a kerb.

"I thought he was gone. I genuinely thought he was gone," said television identity Greg Evans who was riding behind Mr Mathieson.

The partner of Prime Minister Julia Gillard was leading a run of 27 bikes from Kirribilli House in Sydney to The Lodge in Canberra to raise money for the charity, which fights slavery and helps its victims.

The two-wheeled trip between the Prime Minister's official residences raised more than $40,000 - enough to keep 60 Cambodian children in school for a year.

Tim Mathieson, the Prime Minister's partner, who crashed his motorcycle today on a charity ride. Picture: Malcolm Farr Source: News Limited


But it almost cost a 'First Bloke', who was taking his first major motorcycle ride in five years.

The ride was almost over when Mr Mathieson entered a round-about in outer Canberra and realised that he was not going to get his Triumph Thunderbird around the half circle. His right peg was scraping the road but he was still heading for the gutter.

"He hit the gutter and went in the air, and then his bike did a little fishtail in the air, and it hit the ground and went back down the gutter, fishtailed again and righted itself," Mr Evans told news.com.au.

"It was the closest thing. Evil Knievel, that's his new name."

Mr Mathieson was surprised he was able to tell the story:"I was sure it was going to end seriously."

He said:"Greg's face was red, he was shocked. The bike came down straight, onto the top of the gutter, and it followed the gutter and then went back down on the road."

Tim Mathieson, the Prime Minister's partner, who crashed his motorcycle today on a charity ride. Picture: Malcolm Farr Source: News Limited


Mr Mathieson is still promoting the Men's Sheds campaign for male health but has expanded his efforts to take in Hagar, whose operations in Cambodia he visited two weeks ago.

He corralled a range of donors for the bike ride, from the Eildon  Boating Club, ACTU secretary Dave Oliver, Big Day Out chief executive Adam Zammit, and a church in Toowoomba.

When the 27 bikes arrived in the small town of Kangaroo Valley on the way to Canberra, the locals prepared a scones-and-cream afternoon tea, and passed the hat to raise $200. A service station just outside town, where most of the bikers refuelled, gave $120.

Estimates of the numbers of people in the global slavery traffic range from $21 million to $27 million, and the clear majority are in the Asa-Pacific region.

Hagar is spreading its operations to Afghanistan but most f its work is in Cambodia.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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