Monthly Archives: January 2019

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Police continue probe into WA murders

Police continue their investigations at a Margaret River property in WA where seven people died.The family of seven people killed in a suspected murder-suicide in rural Western are grappling with how the tragedy happened, as detectives and forensic experts embark on the third day of their investigation.

Police believe Forever Dreaming Farm owners Peter and Cynda Miles, aged 61 and 58, are among the dead at the Osmington property, northeast of Margaret River.

The others are believed to be their 35-year-old daughter Katrina Miles and her four children – daughter Taye, 13, and sons Rylan, 12, Arye, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, eight.

Katrina Miles and her four children.

All of the deceased, who are yet to be formally identified, were shot by firearms licensed to Mr Miles.

In a statement, family members said they were devastated.

“We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen,” they said.

“We respectfully ask that the community refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.”

Others have remembered the deceased as “lovely people” who were “deeply connected” to their community.

Cynda Miles, believed to have been one of the people found at the Osmington property.

Cynda ran her own business called Cynda’s Soft Salvage, and her social media profile shows she loved op-shopping and sustainability, referring to herself as a “waste warrior”.

“I love fabric and buttons and brown paper, and I really don’t like waste, so here is my little business creating useful and pretty stuff to help you navigate life without plastic and a whole lot more,” she wrote on Facebook.

Days before her death, Cynda posted about making boomerang bags and had also previously posted about Mother’s Day.

Augusta-Margaret River shire president Pamela Townshend said Cynda “had a deep commitment to the environment and she’ll be so sadly missed.”

Katrina’s Facebook page lists her employment as “parent of four beautiful children”.

There are unconfirmed reports her children had autism.

According to a Gumtree advertisement posted on Wednesday, Mr Miles was looking for “vineyard and farm work” in the area.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said a two-minute emergency phone call was made at 5.15am on Friday from the property, and local police arrived shortly after 6am.

He said police knew whose phone the call was made from, but would not confirm whether it was Mr Miles.

Mr Dawson also clarified that only one body was found outside, while one woman was located inside the main house, and another woman and four children were discovered inside a converted shed.

The examination of the crime scene is expected to take several days.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

Europe must help stop Syria war: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received a peace prize at Assisi’s Basilica.Europe needs to do more to end the war in Syria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as she received a peace award from Franciscan monks in the birthplace of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.

Merkel was given the Franciscan order’s “Lamp of Peace,” joining previous recipients such as former Polish president Lech Walesa, the Dalai Lama, the late Israeli president Shimon Peres and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

In an acceptance speech in the basilica, Merkel called Syria “one of the biggest humanitarian tragedies of our time” and said politicians had to work harder to end it.

“This conflict has become a conflict of regional interests, a conflict of religions … and that’s why today’s award reminds me and many other European leaders that we should be more involved in solving this conflict,” she said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said on Saturday more than half a million people have been killed in the Syrian war since it erupted seven years ago.

About 85 per cent of the dead were civilians killed by the forces of the Syrian government and its allies, according to the Observatory.

Speaking of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Merkel said “Those who thought that the end of the Cold War would bring peace to Europe were wrong”.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since April 2014 in a conflict that pits Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Intermittent clashes continue despite a notional ceasefire and diplomatic peace efforts.

Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran minister in what was then East Germany, lit a candle on the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint of preached peace and defence of nature.

The head of the Assisi convent, Father Mauro Gambetti, said the Franciscans had decided to give the award to Merkel, who has defended the rights of refugees trying to find a better life in Europe, because of her “commitment to promoting peaceful coexistence among peoples.”

“This lamp is an inspiration for me. I will keep it on my desk,” she said

Trump welcomes N Korea’s nuclear site plan

North Korea says it will dismantle its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, in a dramatic event that would set up leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with US President Donald Trump in June. Trump welcomed the “gracious gesture.”

In a statement carried by state media, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said all of the tunnels at the country’s northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion, and observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed.

Kim had already revealed plans to shut the test site by the end of May during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month. Analysts say that while the closure of the site is important, it doesn’t represent a material step toward full denuclearisation.

“A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25,” depending on weather, the Foreign Ministry’s statement said, adding that journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain will be invited to witness the dismantling.

The ministry said the North will continue to “promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighbouring countries and the international society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and over the globe.”

Trump, in a tweet Saturday, thanked North Korea for its plan to dismantle the nuclear test site, calling it “a very smart and gracious gesture!”

Following the Moon-Kim meeting, Moon’s office said Kim was willing to disclose the process to international experts, but the North’s statement on Saturday didn’t address allowing experts on the site.

South Korea had no immediate response to the statement.

The North’s announcement comes days after Washington announced that the historic summit between Kim and Trump will be held June 12 in Singapore.

South Korea has said Kim has genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits. However, there are lingering doubts about whether Kim would ever agree to fully relinquish the weapons he probably views as his only guarantee of survival.

During their meeting at a border truce village, Moon and Kim vaguely promised to work toward the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula, but made no references to verification or timetables.

Membrey astray, Dockers beat Saints in AFL

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson is confident Tim Membrey will soon fix his goalkicking woes after the forward endured a shocker in Saturday night’s 30-point loss to Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

In a topsy-turvy AFL clash, Fremantle led by 43 points early in the third quarter, before the Saints closed to within 13 in the final term.

But a wayward night from Membrey proved costly, with Fremantle making the most of St Kilda’s misses to secure the 13.11 (89) to 8.11 (59) win in front of 41,752 fans.

Membrey finished with 1.5 in a horror outing.

The 23-year-old should have closed the margin to eight points early in the final quarter, but he sprayed a set shot from 20m out.

Membrey booted a combined 82.32 over the past two seasons.

But he has 6.12 to his name this year in what has become a worrying issue for the Saints.

“Tim, historically for us, has been a good a kick as we have,” Richardson said.

“At the moment he’s having some issues with his set shot. He’ll work through this.

“He’s hurting, we’re hurting. They were opportunities he would normally nail.

“No one works harder on their skill. He’s a real pro. That will turn.”

Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe boosted his Brownlow medal chances by tallying 36 disposals, 13 clearances and a goal against the Saints, while Aaron Sandilands (41 hitouts) starred in the ruck.

The Saints barely put up a whimper in the first half, and lost star swingman Jake Carlisle to concussion in the second term.

Carlisle had dominated until that point, clunking five marks in defence.

But his night was ended when Fyfe’s left knee accidentally collected Carlisle in the head while the Saints’ defender was on the ground.

Fyfe also had a clash of heads with Seb Ross after laying a hip-and-shoulder, but coach Ross Lyon is confident his star charge won’t have anything to worry about.

“I think he just went in and tackled. Gee whiz I would be shocked (if he got suspended).

“Obviously (the) Carlisle (one) was an accidental clip to the head. Accidents happen on the footy field.”

Fremantle’s win was a positive end to what had otherwise been a nightmare week.

Lyon has been in the firing line over the sexual harassment storm which has engulfed him.

Club president Dale Alcock and chief executive Steve Rosich were forced to publicly back Lyon amid rumours the besieged coach might be sacked.

And the drama didn’t end there, with Bradley Hill’s run-in with police adding more unwanted attention to the Dockers.

But the players managed to put the distractions to one side to secure the win, despite the late withdrawal of Stephen Hill (quad).

St Kilda haven’t tasted victory since round one, and they are facing a horror four-week stretch of games against Collingwood, Richmond, West Coast and Sydney.

Membrey had 0.3 to his name by halftime on Saturday night, and the Saints trailed 54-11 early in the third quarter.

But St Kilda finally clicked into gear, booting six of the next seven goals to close the margin to just 14 points by the final change.

However, poor goalkicking continued to haunt them to the very end, with Membrey missing two set shots in the final quarter.

Manly end five-game losing streak in NRL

Manly have celebrated a 38-24 win over Brisbane to end a five-match losing streak.A two-try performance from Jake Trbojevic has spearheaded Manly to a breakthrough 38-24 win over Brisbane that ended one of the toughest periods of the NRL club’s history.

Trbojevic crossed twice in the first half to help the Sea Eagles to a four-point lead on Saturday, before they kicked on after halftime with tries to Api Koroisau and Akuila Uate.

A magical Anthony Milford play in the 63rd minute gave the Suncorp Stadium crowd some hope, but Joel Thompson replied with his second try of the night to end their five-game losing streak.

Jamayne Isaako scored a consolation try but it wasn’t enough as the Sea Eagles also ended a period that included the Jackson Hastings saga and doubts over the future of coach Trent Barrett.

Trbojevic finished with a game-high 180 metres and 19 carries, while brother Tom and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans also starred by playing a hand in five of their six tries.

The crucial win lifts the Sea Eagles from equal last to 12th spot on six points alongside Canterbury, North Queensland and Gold Coast, four points adrift of the top eight.

It also ended a run of six straight defeats – and 11 of their past 12 – away from Lottoland.

However the win may have come at a cost, with young forward Taniela Paseka limping off with a suspected knee injury following an awkward carry early in the second half.

Jake drew first blood early in the contest when he latched onto a Cherry-Evans grubber that was fumbled by both Nikorima and Jack Bird in the third minute.

The Broncos hit back through soft tries to Andrew McCullough and Sam Thaiday from close range, however the Sea Eagles responded with two of their own down their left edge.

The lead would’ve been bigger if not for a courageous trysaving tackle from Broncos rookie Payne Haas just moments after getting his dislocated shoulder popped back in by medical staff.

The 38 points is the most Brisbane have conceded through the opening ten rounds of the year.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said not even his big names would’ve changed the result.

“When we defend like we did tonight .. those guys aren’t going to be the difference when we’re playing like that tonight, quick play-the-balls going through our ruck,” he said.

“We get some progress, then we go backwards, we regress. A couple of good weeks, a good month actually, (but) fifth week we’re not consistent enough.”

Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said the team were relieved after a trying period that also included five players getting fined for breaching a curfew in Gladstone last month.

“Words can’t describe how relieved we are and how happy I am for the players and for the footy club in general, for our fans, we needed that more than ever,” he said.

“Not many teams come up here and do that. We’ve got a lot of young blokes in there, hopefully they never have to go through the month we’ve had again.”