Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Morning Express: Overheight truck hits sprinklers

The union movement is going strong, says Ged Kearney in an opinion piece for the Herald, but concedes that it's been infiltrated by organised crime.

The president of the ACTU says no one is more outraged than trade unionists by the news of major corruption in the highest ranks relating to lucrative contracts, as revealed by Fairfax and the ABC this week.

"We have the criminal law to deal with criminal behaviour. Allegations such as those raised in the construction industry - with corrupt behaviour alleged against many players including contractors and labour hire firms - should rightly be dealt with by the police," she writes.

It's dry out, but raining inside the Eastern Distributor at Moore Park. An overheight truck damaged the sprinkler system inside the tunnel.

The southbound lanes at Dacey Avenue are shut off and queues have backed into North Sydney. Motorists are being diverted onto South Dowling Street.

Citybound motorists are unaffected, a Transport Management Centre spokesman said.

Overheight truck hit sprinklers inside Eastern Distributor @ Moore Park. Water gushing everywhere. Sthbnd diverted at Dacey Ave off-ramp.

- Paul Latter (@paullatter) January 29, 2014

Short people feel fearful, study says Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

The short man syndrome is real - unfortunately.

Short people are prone to feelings of paranoia, inferiority and excessive mistrust, according to research in a major psychiatry journal.

Scientists showed that making a person's virtual height lower than it actually is can make them feel worse about themselves and more fearful that others are trying to harm them.

"Being tall is associated with greater career and relationship success. Height is taken to convey authority and we feel taller when we feel more powerful," said lead author, Daniel Freeman, of Oxford University.

Remember to say "Happy New Year" tomorrow, because more than a million Australians are preparing to celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year - the Year of the Horse.

Events in Sydney include the Year of the Horse tours at the Opera House, the Galloping Horses exhibition at Customs House and the Our animated chinese new year cards Past bike tour with King Fong. Check out the full calendar here.

Revellers take photos of themselves during Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

A politician in the US did his best impression of the Hulk after being asked an unwelcome question by a journalist.

Michael Grimm, subject of a federal investigation related to his fund-raising efforts, became enraged after the television reporter, Michael Scotto of NY1, asked him about the investigation.

Grimm threatened to throw Scotto off a balcony and said "I'll break you in half."

The clip went viral online.

There's been a serious crash on Olympic Drive at Joseph Street in Lidcombe.

Accident - CLEARED - Lidcombe - Olympic Dr at Joseph St, but traffic is a mess both directions

- Paul Latter (@paullatter) January 29, 2014

Do you smoke? Do you have kids in the car? Well, another ban is set to be slapped on British smokers.

A ban on smoking in cars with children present has moved a step closer in the United Kingdom after peers inflicted a defeat on the government in the House of Lords.

"If enacted a ban would help protect the nearly half a million children who are exposed to toxic second-hand smoke in a car every week," British Lung Foundation's Dr Penny Woods said.

No public reaction from local health campaigners yet.

In finance, the Australian dollar is buying 87.42 US cents.

Local stocks are set to open sharply lower as investors worldwide respond to the US Federal Reserve's decision to continue tapering its economic stimulus. At the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting, the central bank reduced its monthly level of bond purchases by $US10 billion to $US65 billion.

The full federal cabinet will debate the $25 million request for taxpayer assistance for struggling fruit grower SPC Ardmona today in Canberra, reports James Massola.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has signalled he will recommend the rejection of the request. "The parent company of SPC Ardmona, Coca-Cola Amatil, which is an Australian company, in the first six months of this year, had a profit of $215 million, for six months, and yet there is a request for $50 million of taxpayers money," he said on 7.30 last night.

Strategic discussion, the government's legislative priorities and the agenda for the year ahead will also be on the table.

As if Barack Obama hasn't got enough on his plate being leader of the free world, now he's got to deal with a petition to deport pop star Justin Bieber.

Over 100,000 people have signed the petition to have Bieber's green card revoked for his "dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing" behaviour.

No mention of his crimes against music though.

Mug shot ... Canadian teen pop singer Justin Bieber looked unusually happy after being arrested in Miami for drag racing and drink driving. Photo: Reuters

Motorists should be prepared for very slow traffic flow on major citybound roads this morning.

It's particularly slow at Erskine Park on the M4 at Roper Road, Mays Hill also on the M4 at Westmead, Padstow on the M5, and Prestons also on the M5 near the M7 motorway.

There are also roadworks affecting bothways at Atchison Street in St Leonards, and bothways on the M1 Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

They preened, they pranced, they walked among 50 real trees, tangled ivy and giant gold moths perched on sprouting mushrooms.

David Jones enlisted fashion's most beautiful faces and bodies in the form of Jessica Gomes and Cheyenne Tozzi to launch the hottest looks for the next season. Our national fashion editor Georgina Safe gives her verdict here.

Among the star-studded crowd, were Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson and actress Rachel Griffiths who reminisced together - if tweets are anything to go by.

Great chat w fab Rachel Griffiths @ DJs launch. Talk turned to her stint 4 me 20yrs ago as judge on @cleomag Eligible Bachelors List. #funny

- Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) January 29, 2014

The woman struck by a bus in Sydney's CBD yesterday afternoon has died in hospital.

She was pinned under the back wheel of the bus for two hours as paramedics tried to free her.

Footage from the onboard security camera has been passed to investigators.The 70-year-old bus driver was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing.

A 43-year-old woman will appear at Liverpool Local Court today after being arrested for cultivating 160 cannabis plants with a street value of $530,000 at a Canley Vale property.

It's the latest arrest in the Strike Force Zambesi operation - created in April 2011 to target the hydroponic cultivation of cannabis in the south-west Sydney region.

She was arrested yesterday and taken to Cabramatta Police Station, where she was charged with cultivating a prohibited plant, organising drug premises, using electricity without authority and having goods in custody.

A 70-year-old woman was stabbed in her left arm after she tried to stop two men fighting in a Granville house on Wednesday.

The fight between two men, aged 29 and 30, became physical, with furniture thrown at each other. The 30-year-old had threatened the younger man with a knife.

The woman is being treated at Auburn Hospital, while the men were arrested and taken to Parramatta Police Station.

Leading the other front pages today:

The Australian Financial Review says major business and industry groups have baulked at the prospect of a royal commission into the construction industry, preferring instead the speedy restoration of the industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

The Australian reports that the national broadcaster's Australia Network Asian broadcasting service, worth $223 million, is likely to be scrapped in the May budget to save money and end the pursuit of ''soft diplomacy'' in the region through television.

The Daily Telegraph also leads with the Prime Minister's attack on the ABC. It says former ABC chairman Maurice Newman supports Mr Abbott's condemnation following the ABC's coverage of claims Australian navy staff tortured asylum seekers.

Front page of The Sydney Morning Herald

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has staunchly defended the ABC's editorial independence in the wake of some public outrage sparked by its reports that asylum seekers were mistreated by the Australian Navy.

That's the lead story on the Herald's front page. While Mr Turnbull conceded Prime Minister Tony Abbott could critique the ABC, he said: ''Politicians, whether prime ministers or communications ministers, will often be unhappy with the ABC ... but you can't tell them what to write.''

Sharing the front page is a story by property reporter Toby Johnstone on Sydney's rocketing house prices. The media house price has jumped by $100,000 in just one year - 2013 was the year of strongest growth in the past decade.

Good morning, Sydney. The clouds scudding across the sky over Sydney will soon clear, with forecasters predicting a sunny day. The city is set to hit 28 degrees and 33 degrees in Penrith.

All in all, expect plenty of sunshine for the next six days.

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