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  1. Arsenal of weapons and drugs discovered

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    October 21, 2018 by admin

    CUSTOMS officers stopped almost 250,000 weapons, including more than 1100 guns and gun parts, and more than three tonnes of drugs and precursor chemicals from entering Australia last year.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Figures show more illegal packages were seized last year than ever before as Australia’s borders come under siege from organised criminals.

    As a drug trafficking scandal engulfs Customs officers at Sydney Airport, it is believed an increased focus on intelligence-based interceptions has reduced the influence corrupt officials can have on screening packages.

    The Australian Federal Police arrested another man on Wednesday morning as part of Operation Marca, the codename given to a multi-agency investigation focusing on drug importation and corruption. Eleven people have been arrested, with Fairfax revealing on Wednesday that up to four Customs officers suspected of involvement in serious corruption remain working at the airport.

    The Customs and Border Protection acting chief executive officer, Michael Pezzullo, was unable to comment on the case, but said drug seizures had doubled in the past year.

    He said that focusing on intelligence gathering in the past five years had meant an increase in the number of illegal packages detected, while the total number of inspections had dropped.

    More than 80 per cent of illicit drug and precursors seizures and 85 per cent of firearm seizures were made because of intelligence.

    “It’s the work our officers do before the border that’s crucial to ensuring we can target the right people, mail and containers – catching those who seek to break the law, while minimising the impact on legitimate trade and travel,” Mr Pezzullo said.

    Customs has had a rise in the number of seizures since intelligence capacity was beefed up in 2007.

    In 2007-08, there were 6.2 million inspections of air cargo, with 870 packages containing illegal goods found. Four years later, and there were more than 2000 packages found from only 1.5 million inspections.

    While more than two million shipping containers arrived last year, that number will leap to about five million by 2020.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  2. Sex abuse inquiry facing ‘huge’ task

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    October 21, 2018 by admin

    Justice Peter McClellan … spoke publicly for the first time since his appointment.THE head of the royal commission into child sexual abuse has described the task facing the body as ”huge” after the six commissioners met for the first time in Sydney on Wednesday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Justice Peter McClellan said in order to run it as efficiently as possible, the government would amend the Royal Commission Act to allow hearings to take place without all commissioners present. Some hearings may need to be private to protect victims.

    Speaking publicly for the first time since his appointment on Friday, Justice McClellan also sought to allay concerns some matters may be excluded from examination because of confidentiality agreements.

    ”We wish to emphasise that under the Royal Commission Act, the commission has powers to compel the production of evidence including documentation and we will not hesitate in appropriate circumstances to exercise those powers,” he said.

    Justice McClellan said there may be some instances where constraints would have to be placed on the reporting of matters before the commission.

    However, the commission ”expects that those institutions which have entered into confidentiality agreements with individuals will co-operate with the commission in relation to the discovery of those materials”.

    Justice McClellan met his fellow commissioners, the former Queensland police commissioner Bob Atkinson, the Family Court judge Justice Jennifer Coate, the Productivity Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald, an Aboriginal health academic, Professor Helen Milroy, and the former West Australian senator Andrew Murray in Sydney. Most of them had not met previously.

    Justice McClellan said it would take some time to hire staff and organise resources and it was impossible to know how long it would be before hearings would start. But the commission has set up a phone number where people can leave messages, which staff will follow up when they are hired.

    Gail Furness, SC, will be counsel assisting the commission.

    ”The task before the commission is large,” Justice McClellan said. ”However, until the commission has commenced its work and people come forward to give us an account of their personal circumstances, we can’t gauge the full extent of that task.”

    The commission would make arrangements for people living overseas to attend hearings where required, he said.

    The commission was not a prosecuting body but would co-operate with local authorities in each state and territory, he said.

    ”It is also important to understand that the commission is not charged [with determining] whether any person is entitled to compensation.”

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    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  3. Iran ready to make its own version of Argo

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    October 21, 2018 by admin

    Illustration: Rocco FazzariIRAN is to make its own movie about the American hostage drama during the 1979 Islamic revolution to counter the ”distorted” film Argo by Ben Affleck, which swept the Golden Globes awards.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Iranian actor and filmmaker Ataollah Salmanian was quoted in media reports as saying the screenplay for the Iranian movie was ready.

    ”The draft of the movie, Setad Moshtarak (The General Staff), has been approved by [Iran’s] art centre and it awaits budget to start shooting,” Salmanian said. ”The movie is about 20 American hostages who were handed over to the US embassy by Iranian revolutionaries at the beginning of the [Islamic] revolution. This movie … can be an appropriate response to distorted movies such as Argo.”

    On November 4, 1979, Iranian Islamist students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage, holding them for 444 days in an action that caused the rupture of diplomatic ties between Washington and Tehran.

    Argo chronicles the hostage drama, with Hollywood actor-director Affleck playing a CIA agent who rescues six US diplomats from the Canadian ambassador’s residence in Tehran.

    The movie has been accused of taking liberties with history, by exaggerating the role of the CIA in getting the US diplomats out, at the expense of the Canadian envoy in Tehran at the time.

    Affleck won best dramatic film and director awards at the Golden Globes for the movie.

    Argo has been banned in Iran but pirated copies are being circulated in the country. Iranian media criticised the Golden Globes as a ”political ceremony”.

    ”Argo is a sign of Ben Affleck’s attempt to re-create Tehran in 1980. While his attempt might be ridiculous for Iranians, it has delighted American experts and critics,” said the daily 7Sobh.

    Agence France-Presse

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  4. When a stranger calls: human nature under microscope in dark tale

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    October 21, 2018 by admin

    Need to please … Ann Dowd plays a fast-food manager in Compliance. COMPLIANCE is a movie based on a true story – a claustrophobic and unsettling account of human nature and its capacities that has had a strong, sometimes polarising impact on audiences since it was first screened last year at the Sundance Film Festival.
    Nanjing Night Net

    It is set in a fast-food restaurant in a small American town. The middle-aged manager, Sandra (Ann Dowd), has already had to deal with a couple of unresolved problems before she takes a call from a police officer with an allegation about one of her employees.

    How she chooses to deal with it – and what happens as other people become involved – is the unnerving heart of the movie. To go into too much detail would risk undermining the film’s slow building effect.

    Its writer and director, Craig Zobel, became aware of the events on which the film is based through reading about the Milgram experiments of the early 1960s, which explored people’s responses to instructions from authority figures. When he came across the story that is the basis of Compliance, he became fascinated with the process of rationalisation that followed it.

    He says: ”It was a revealing and fascinating story that I could not stop thinking about”.

    It wasn’t an easy film to cast, he says. It was a low-budget movie but he wasn’t looking for well-known faces who might look out of place behind a fast-food counter. He wanted actors who had the ”right spirit” for the roles, he says. Finding them involved talking to them about the story and seeing if there were aspects of the characters or situation they could identify with.

    ”What was interesting about that story was that a bunch of people were talked into doing things they would normally never ever think they were capable of doing,” Zobel says. ”So you should be able to watch it and have some empathy for Sandra” – whatever you might think of her judgment or lack of it.

    Dowd’s performance has won her the National Board of Review award for best supporting actress.

    Sandra takes the accused employee to a back room at the restaurant, as she is told by the police officer, and events begin to unfold. For Zobel, there were challenges involved in the choices he made about these aspects of the narrative.

    ”It was incredibly difficult to decide how to depict the scenes that turned towards the darker elements of the story,” he says.

    ”I talked a lot with the actors and with my other collaborators. I proposed things, asked how they would be interpreted by my teammates.”

    In the end, he says, the decisions were his and he had to follow his instincts. But, he adds, ”I thought it should feel as uncomfortable as it must’ve been in that room; just put us in there and realise how insane it was that these types of things got this far”.

    There were, however, challenges in Compliance that Zobel was able to enjoy wholeheartedly.

    ”Considering how dark this movie is, it feels weird to admit that the fast-food restaurant was a blast to design,” he says.

    He and designer Matthew Munn made research trips ”to every fast-food restaurant we could find” to help devise the look and feel of the fictional ChickWich chain. And, he adds, he even came up with the initial drawing for its logo.

    Compliance opens on January 24 at Dendy Newtown.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

  5. Latrobe salutes an icon

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    October 21, 2018 by admin

    IVOR Kirkwood did his final lap of honour yesterday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Hundreds packed into the grandstand at Mr Kirkwood’s beloved Latrobe Football Ground for his funeral, celebrating the life of a community icon.

    “People couldn’t mention him without mentioning where he lived,” Melinda Poon said, speaking on behalf of Mr Kirkwood’s grandchildren.

    “Pop and Latrobe went hand in hand.

    “He was born here and he died here and that’s exactly what he would have wanted.

    “I believe when we die we go to a better place, some believe that’s heaven, but I think Pop thought it was a big Latrobe in the sky.”

    Mr Kirkwood’s achievements were many, he was involved in the Latrobe Bicycle Race Club, Rotary and the Latrobe Football Club.

    “Let me say without fear of equivocation, that no community, particularly one as small as Latrobe, can afford to lose a citizen of the calibre of Ivor Kirkwood,” friend Peter Lyons said.

    “There’s a common saying in football that there’s a go-to player, one that you can count on in any situation, well Ivor was unquestionably that player.”

    At the end of the service, the hearse did a lap around the cycling track before, on the home straight a guard of honour was made for Mr Kirkwood by those in attendance.

    As the vehicle passed slowly by the rows of people, the bell, a sound associated with the Latrobe Wheel, which Mr Kirkwood spent much of his life helping organise, rang out through the silence, and Mr Kirkwood left the ground for the final time, roughly 70 years after he first joined the Latrobe Football Club.

    “Almost seven decades later, we gather to show our gratitude to respect and acknowledge almost a life long association to not only the Latrobe Football Club but to our community as a whole,” Latrobe Football Club’s Peter Freshney said.

    PAYING RESPECTS: A section of the large crowd at Ivor Kirkwood’s farewell yesterday.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.