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Latest NBN News

HUNTER LINK TO POPE

Few Australians can claim to have met Pope Benedict XVI, but one Newcastle man has memories of the Pontiff that extend back 70 years. Bert Huber grew up in the same Bavarian town as Joseph Ratzinger, where they both attended Hitler Youth and were later trained to shoot down enemy aircraft. The arrival of his old classmate in Australia has brought memories flooding back.

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PROTESTS CONTINUE – 60 ARRESTED

More than 60 people have now been arrested following two days of climate change protests in Newcastle. Police say they’re disappointed by the illegal behaviour, but environmental activists say it shows dedication to their cause. The protests started at daybreak. Five people locking onto coal loading equipment in Kooragang Island. It’s the second day demonstrations against coal mining and climate change have been held in Newcastle.

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NORTHWEST FREEZES

Northern New South Wales shivered today as temperatures dropped to below freezing. Thick snow blanketed the New England and North west region, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland. From Hanging Rock near Nundle to Uralla on the Northern Tablelands – mother nature today painted the countryside white. The cold snap saw temperatures plumment to minus four in some areas overnight – keeping much of the region indoors. Hanging Rock had its own Christmas in July with the snow falling early – the locals there happy to frolic in the icy conditions. ” We’ve had some really good flurry’s come through. Certainly wasn’t much this morning but we had a group of kids here and when they got there it was really, really thick.” At Sheeba Dam there was nothing but quiet – only the sound of soft falling snowflakes. …

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PROTEST WARNING

Police are warning a group of environmentalists camped in Newcastle not to partake in any illegal protest action tomorrow. But protestors say their plan is to remain peaceful. Police boats from Sydney have begun to assemble in Newcastle harbour, while secure busses have also arrived in the city, ahead of tomorrow’s planned climate change protest. Hundreds of environmentalists are now camped in the city. Today they held a peaceful protest, forming a giant ticking clock, with the phrase “Cut Carbon – Now or Never”. But police have learned tomorrow’s action could turn violent. Assistant Commissioner, and Northern Region Commander Lee Shearer says, “Things like charging police lines, throwing missiles at police could certainly be some of the conduct of the people who are planning to attend this protest have in mind to do.” But according to the climate camp’s organiser …

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SACKED STAFFER CALLS FOR FAIR GO

The sacked electorate officer of disgraced former MP Milton Orkopoulos doubts she’ll get a fair go in a new inquiry into the affair. Gillian Sneddon says her life has been destroyed by her treatment at the hands of the Australian Labor Party. Former Aboriginal Affairs Minister and Swansea MP Milton Orkopoulos is serving nine years in jail for a string of child sex and drugs offences. Now an inquiry has been ordered into the treatment of his former electorate officer Gillian Sneddon who was sacked after blowing the whistle on Orkopoulos’s sordid activities. But the inquiry will be held by a government committee, and 8 of the 13 members involved are from the ALP, prompting fears that the enquiry won’t be impartial. “I don’t know that I will get a fair go, in fact I doubt that I will, but …

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LOWER HUNTER WASTE AUDIT

Our rubbish paints an interesting picture about the way we live, as the results of a recent recycling audit in the Lower Hunter show. It seems not all of us are getting the recycling message with up to three quarters of bin content able to be composted or reused. 260 Newcastle homes were chosen for the audit to see whether we’ve improved our bin-habits since 2004. However, just 217 homes put their rubbish out regularly enough to be surveyed – an interesting statistic in itself. “The actual amount in the bin has not changed since 2004, it remains around 17 kilos, per bin and a fill rate of about 60 per cent of the bin.” The preliminary data is still being analysed by the Sydney environmental consultant that conducted the audit, but already we know that despite ongoing recycling campaigns …

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JAIL OVER LILLIE’S DEATH

A 34-year-old woman has been sentenced to four and a half years jail for the manslaughter of Lillie Wood in Newcastle in March 2007. During her trial, Evelyn Lambkin said she was off her face on drugs and alcohol at the time of the attack and decided to rob Ms Wood in her Cooks Hill home because she needed money to buy drugs. Ms Wood was a well-known local identity and her death sent shock waves through the city. Lambkin will be eligible for parole in September, 2012.

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SIX ARRESTED IN COAST DRUG RAID

Six people have been arrested, and over $100,000 worth of drugs seized in raids connected to Outlaw Motorbike gangs. Police say they were tipped-off by residents. During raids of 4 southern Gold Coast properties, police came across cannabis, some raw, some packed and ready to go. They also found, cocaine, amphetamines and drug-making paraphernalia. Six people were arrested. Police say the drugs are linked to local bikie gangs, possibly members or associates of the Black Uhlans and Gypsy Jokers. They’ll now be stepping up their drug raids in the lead up to Indy and Schoolies.

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WALL WOBBLY

A group of Newcastle residents are demanding action be taken to fix a large and dangerous wall in a city street. It was damaged in last year’s June storms and has been on the brink of collapse ever since. For the past 14 months Newcomen street’s south bound lane has been blocked to traffic and pedestrians to keep them away from the wall surrounding James Fletcher Hospital. Today a group of residents held a protest, airing their grievances to Newcastle’s Lord Mayor and the city’s state representative. Demanding the wall, which was severely eroded during last year’s June storms be finally fixed, and the road re-opened. “It’s an ugly eye-sore. What we need is someone to actually take responsibility for it,” one protester said. But that’s the problem, with council, Hunter New England Health and the premiers department passing the …

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