Tag Archives: AUSTRALIA

Happy New Year 2010

May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your gastro-enterologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and the I.R.S.

May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs and your stocks not fall; and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count and your mortgage interest not rise.

May New Year’s Eve find you seated around the table, together with your beloved family and cherished friends. May you find the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper, and the pleasure much more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily do that night.

May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell the world about your virtues.

May the telemarketers wait to make their sales calls until you finish dinner, may the commercials on TV not be louder than the program you have been watching, and may your check book and your budget balance – and include generous amounts for charity.

May you remember to say “I love you” at least once a day to your spouse, your child, your parent, your siblings; but not to your secretary, your nurse, your masseuse, your hairdresser or your tennis instructor.

And may we live in a world at peace and with the awareness of God’s love in every sunset, every flower’s unfolding petals, every baby’s smile, every lover’s kiss, and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous beat of our heart.

World War One Australian soldier dies at aged 110

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) – The last remaining Australian to serve in World War One has died at the age of 110, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Alan Griffin said on Wednesday.

John “Jack” Ross, who was also Australia‘s oldest man having turned 110 in March, died in his sleep early Wednesday morning at a nursing home in Bendigo in the state of Victoria.

Ross was 18 when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1918 and trained at the wireless training school, but the war ended nine months later and before he could be posted overseas. He was discharged on Christmas Eve that year.

“Mr. Ross showed his willingness to serve Australia and her allies in what was an extremely tumultuous time in our history, and for that we are grateful,” said Griffin in a statement.

“While he did not travel overseas, he completed his training, ready for deployment.”

Griffin said Ross was the last of 417,000 Australians who served in World War One and one of only a handful of remaining veterans from that war.

Ross served Australia again in World War Two as a member of the Volunteer Defense Corps. As a civilian, he worked for the Victorian railways before retiring in 1964.

“It now falls to Australians everywhere to ensure that veterans memory is kept alive. We must ensure that their contribution to Australia’s wartime history is passed on to future generations, so that their sacrifice is never forgotten,” said Griffin.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy)

Earth Hour 2009 – Malaysia

Courtesy from thestar online..

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An aerial view of Hulu Langat where Malaysian landmarks including the KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers observed a “lights off” hour from 8.30pm in conjunction with 2009 Earth Day.

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Sub-editors at The Star Publications working in the dark during 2009 Earth Hour.

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Menara Star in Petaling Jaya observed a ‘lights-off’ hour in conjunction with 2009 Earth Hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm

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Residents of Perumahan Polis Desa Tasek swtiching off their lights in conjunction with Earth Hour celebrations.

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The Star Online joins in the 2009 Earth Hour celebrations – 28 March, 2009

Happy Woman’s Day

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Women are amazing creatures
Moulded with dazzling features
Women are an object of mystery
Have their own place in history

Women are great
They make the best dates
Except when they turn up very late

Without women
What will become of us?
No more noises on the bus
No one to make all the fuss

Without women
What will become of men?
Who will teach them,
How to behave and learn?

Women are the spicy ingredient of romance
Women are the juicy parent of importance
Women are a heavenly treasure
The epitome of human pleasure

Without women
Would this earth have survived?

Without women
Imagine how many will feel deprived

Women are simply delicious
Beware they can be serious
Especially when suspicious
And turn to Mrs Vicious

Women are priceless
Without women
Life will be without spice
Simply lifeless

Australia bushfire’09

A bush fire burns in Victoria, Australia.

Fires are continuing to burn in the Australian state of Victoria, as residents grieve for friends and relatives who were killed in fast-moving flames.

Residents of Kinglake gather at a community meeting after the fire.

Residents of Kinglake, one of the worst-hit towns, gathered to console each other and determine who was still missing after fires devastated the region over several.

Police stand amid debris in Kinglake, Victoria, Australia.

There are suspicions that some of the fires were deliberately lit, leading police to secure the towns as potential crime scenes.

Firefighters hose a burnt shed at the Yarra Glen railway station, Victoria

About 170 people have died and hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the fires

Grieving family in Healsville, north-east of Melbourne.

Officials have warned Australians to prepare for more bad news, saying the death toll is likely to rise further as rescuers search the remains burned houses.

 

A man surveys the damage in his backyard after a bushfire in Bendigo, Victoria

Many families have been left counting the cost of the disaster, with some admitting they felt lucky just to be alive.

A tree plantation north of Melbourne, 08/02

Aerial images from north of Melbourne show how vast tracts of forest were swallowed up by the flames.

 

Flames in  Peats Ridge, north of Sydney, 08/02

Meanwhile, in neighbouring New South Wales emergency crews were also out in force tackling major blazes – although there have been no reports of deaths.

Fire hit Australia

The number of deaths from bushfires that have already claimed 170 lives in the Australian state of Victoria is likely to rise, officials have warned.

Police believe some of the fires were started deliberately – actions which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said amounted to “mass murder”.

Survivors have recounted how they fled walls of flames. Some people died in their cars trying to escape the fires.

Some rural towns have been completely destroyed.

Police have sealed off a number of sites, including the devastated small town of Maryville, as possible crime scenes.

Victoria State Premier John Brumby said: “We have had whole communities just completely wiped out, completely obliterated, by what people would describe as literally a fireball that just came over the hills and devoured everything before them.

Areas affected by bush fires

 

“It’s the largest natural disaster in our state’s history and Australia’s history.”

Scorching temperatures, drought, tinder-dry bush and constantly-changing wind directions on Saturday helped fan the blazes, affecting an area of some 3,000 sq km (1,200 sq miles).

Temperatures dropped and conditions improved on Monday to help the tens of thousands of firefighters, backed by soldiers, bring the fires under control.

But there were around 30 fires still burning in Victoria with several communities at risk, officials said. More than 700 homes have been destroyed.

Two other states – New South Wales and South Australia – have also been hit by blazes, but the fires there are said to be largely contained or burning away from residential areas.

Forecasters warn temperatures could rise again later.

Shocking stories are emerging from survivors in the worst-hit areas.

The BBC’s Nick Bryant, at a relief centre in the hamlet of Whittlesea near the devastated town of Kinglake, said people thought they had hours when in fact they only had minutes to escape the fast advancing flames.

Some described escaping down roads lined with burning trees, while their cars caught fire in the furnace-like heat.

One man said he siphoned off the water from his vehicle’s radiator to try to save the life of a neighbour who had been set alight.

Kinglake resident Thomas Legrary described finding a neighbour with up to 50% burns on his body. They put him in the swimming pool to keep him cool.

Elsewhere in Kinglake, Jack Barber and his wife fled just ahead of the flames but found their escape route blocked by fallen power lines and trees

They took shelter at a school, but that also caught fire. They then ran to an exposed cricket ground ringed by trees where they found five other people.

“All around us were 100ft (30m) flames ringing the oval and we ran where the wind wasn’t. It was swirling all over the place. For three hours, we dodged the wind,” Mr Barber said.

Hospitals have been dealing with a number of badly-burned people.

“[Here] it has been very busy. We’ve been treating firemen with burns, and sadly getting lots of dead on arrivals,” Karen Farthing, a nurse at a Victoria hospital, told the BBC News website.

A former Melbourne newsreader, Brian Naylor, and his wife were among those killed on Saturday when the flames took hold in the Kinglake district.

Search for friends

Many residents of fire-ravaged towns are now involved in a desperate search for friends and relatives missing since the flames tore through the tiny communities.

The bodies of people have already been found trapped in the burnt-out wreckage of cars and homes, and investigators fear more will be found when a full search of the charred settlements can be carried out.

Prime Minister Rudd announced an aid package of A$10m ($7m, £4.5m).

He said immediate cash payments would be available for victims, and announced the army would help in the recovery efforts.

An emotional Mr Rudd described as “numbing” the numbers of dead, and warned: “I fear they will rise further.”

Asked about suspicions that arsonists were responsible for at least some of the fires, he said: “There are no words to describe it other than mass murder.”

Australia’s federal parliament was suspended to mark what Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard described “as one of the darkest days in Australia’s history”.

Meanwhile, Victoria Premier Mr Brumby has ordered a thorough review into the long-standing policy on dealing with wildfires.

INTERACTIVE MAP
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He admitted that the advice to residents – to evacuate early or stay and defend their homes – had on this occasion not worked.

Australia’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, has spoken of her “shock and sadness” at the number of deaths, and has praised the extraordinary work of the emergency crews at the scene.

The British and New Zealand governments have both offered to help deal with the fires.

The Australian Red Cross, which has about 400 volunteers working in Victoria, has launched an appeal for donations.

Relatives concerned about family members in the affected areas can contact the Australian Red Cross 24-hour helpline on (0061) 393283716 or, from the UK, the British Red Cross international tracing and message service on 0845 053 2004.

Bush fires are common in Australia, but the current blazes have eclipsed the death toll from what had been the previous worst fire in 1983, when 75 people died on a day that became known as Ash Wednesday.