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Mad Men season 7 episode 10 The Forecast recap: More than just pretty faces?

Don Draper, who lives only in the moment, with no past, is tasked with outlining the future.Mad Men … Joan and her new man Richard.
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More Mad Men recapsMad Men recaps take a picturesque turn

“What does the future hold?” That’s the question Don asks over and over in The Forecast, but he’s not having an existential crisis, or groping, like a man in a suddenly darkened room, for the edges of his own mortality. He’s been given a task for which he is the absolute wrong man, and he’s going to find some way to sell it.

Roger has received an edict from McCann on high to outline a vision for the future of the firm, and he can’t do it because he’s going away on a boozy Caribbean trip (that’s his future, but he probably won’t be able to remember much of it when it’s over).

Ted was his first choice to sip from this poisoned chalice but he begged off, pleading cold sores and a different burdensome task – performance reviews (HR people of the world take note: they sucked in 1970, they suck now). Don’s simply the lucky mug who found the cup in his hands when the music stopped.

So the man who lives only in the moment, the man with no past, is the man tasked with outlining the future. All the accusations that Matthew Weiner is being a little schematic as Mad Men winds down come home to roost here, but you can either roll with it or resist. I choose the former.

So how does Don go about this task? He asks everyone else what they think the future looks like.

It’s brilliant, and not schematic at all (well, only a little). Advertising is all about using market research to tell the client what he or she already thinks but can’t articulate, in a way they never would have imagined. And no one is better at that than Don. As Ted puts it, “You’re much better at telling a story than I am”.

Ted’s own vision of the future is bigger and better accounts. “I’d really love to land a pharmaceutical,” he tells Don, who looks mildly horrified at the narrowness of his ambition. Clearly Ted’s existential crisis never got on the plane back from Los Angeles.

Peggy takes the question seriously, even though she’s come to Don to talk performance reviews (Ted has told her to write her own – see, HR people, see; the whole thing is a sham – and she demands the real thing because she’s had “a really big year”.)

Don is amused by her earnestness, then opportunistic. “What do you see for the future?”

“Is that on there,” asks Peggy, thinking maybe this whole performance review thing isn’t quite as pro-forma as she’d imagined after all.

Peggy says she wants to be the agency’s first woman creative director. To land something huge. To create a big idea, a catchphrase.

“So you want fame,” Don says and she concedes that yes, maybe she does.

“What else?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes you do.”

“Create something of lasting value,” she says, casting her eyes down sheepishly, either because she’s admitted the thing she’s been hiding from herself or because she knows it’s a lie (it’s impossible to tell which – and maybe it’s both).

“In advertising?” smirks Don.

That’s it. Peggy is furious.

“Why don’t you just write down all of your dreams so I can shit on them,” she says.

It’s the best line of the episode, and one you might want to write down yourself just in case you need it for your own performance review.

Meanwhile Joan is being courted with a tantalising glimpse of an alternative future of her own, thanks to a fling with a retired real estate mogul in LA.

He’s divorced and determined to enjoy life; she tells him she’s divorced too.

“Boy, did he blow it,” he says.

“Yes he did,” she says, laughing, smiling, basking in the fact that someone, finally, sees her for what she is.

But does he? Richard (Bruce Greenwood) has a fantasy of Joan, and it’s all about the way she looks. He wants to take her to a resort so he can see her in a bathing costume; he’s delighted when she suggests he meet her at the restaurant, because then she can “make an entrance”. She’s a picture, only there’s a few inconvenient truths that don’t sit so well within the frame he’s constructing. The fact she works (even if it’s because she wants to, not because she needs to); that she lives with her mother in a small apartment downtown; that she has a four-year-old son.

“I had a plan,” he rails when she tells him all this. “It was no plans!”

The next day he apologises, flowers in hand. “I was a cad,” he says.

Joan tells him she’s been thinking about what he said, and she’s realised she has to choose, and so she’s sending her son away. “I like you too.”

He’s shocked, which is her intention. He says he’s going to buy a place in New York. By the way, where do you live?

“Twelfth street.”

“Oh,” he says, aghast. “I’m not going to buy property down there. I’m going to get a place in a nice neighbourhood near the park and you’re going to visit. All of you. I don’t want to be rigid. It makes you old.”

He’s seen the future, all right, but not all of it. If he’d bought a slab of the Meatpacking District in 1970 rather than a sliver of midtown he’d be richer than Croesus now. Of course, he’d also be dead.

Or at least very old and wrinkly.

That’s where we’re all heading, of course, and it’s the unspoken thing on everyone’s mind: the passing of time and what it does to our bodies, our faces, which for the likes of Don and Betty are also their fortunes.

Betty is surprised when Glen Bishop (Marten Holden Weiner, son of series creator Matthew), the weird creepy neighbour kid who asked her for a lock of her hair in season one, pops in to visit. “Sally, aren’t you going to introduce your friends,” she says, ignoring the hippy chick in the foyer but practically devouring the little man in front of her.

Sally and Glen share a knowing smile.

“I’m Glen Bishop,” he says.

“My goodness. How old are you?”

“Eighteen.”

“You’ve changed so much.”

“You haven’t changed at all.”

There’s so much heat between these two you could barbecue a leg of lamb in the foyer, if only Sally would get the hell out of the way so they could start making all kinds of weird inappropriate love on the tessellated tiles.

Later, Glen comes back when Sally’s out, and tries to make that little dream a reality. He’s off to Vietnam, and a quick roll with Mrs Francis-nee-Draper “is the only thing that would make it all worthwhile”. He doesn’t get what he came for, but she does take his hand and put it on her face, giving him a small incandescent flame of hope, desire, longing and memory to carry with him through the jungles. And maybe to make her own beauty immortal, in one devoted mind at least. Just so long as he can stay alive.

Back in the office, hollow man Don is called big time by John Mathis (Trevor Einhorn), one of Peggy’s junior creatives. Two of them have argued over a line in front of the client. Pete wants them sacked. “A word beginning with F was used,” he tells Don. “Have you ever heard such a thing?”

No one is getting fired, Don says. “It was a crime of passion.”

The foul-mouthed creative takes this to mean Don is an ally. He knows he’ll have some advice about how to deal with it. And he does.

Don tells him a story about having messed up in front of Lucky Strike, and handling it by telling the clients he was “amazed to see you two have the balls to come back in after the way you embarrassed yourselves”. A heartbeat’s pause, then laughter all round. Ice broken.

Don also tells the young tyro he might try turning up to the meeting with a bar of soap and offer to wash his mouth out.

The doofus takes the Lucky Strike option. It doesn’t go down well, and he blames Don for giving him bad advice.

“Take responsibility for your failure,” Don snaps at him. “That account was handed to you and you made nothing of it because you have no character.”

“You have no character,” Mathis shoots back. “Stop kidding yourself. You’re just handsome.”

Clearly, this final season is going to be all about Don being called out. Over and over people are pointing to the fact he is all surface, no depth. He’s suffering from a severe case of veneer-ial disease.

Sally calls him on it too, when he takes her and three school friends to dinner in a Chinese restaurant before they get on the bus that will take them across country.

Sally’s friend Sarah is a 17-year-old flirt monster. “When I watch television the commercials are my favourite part,” she tells Don, drawing on the cigarette she’s just taken from his packet.

He doesn’t bite – though who knows what might have happened had Sally not been there – but his daughter is unimpressed all the same.

“You can’t stop yourself,” she tells him. “And neither can Mom. Anyone pays attention to you, and they always do, you just ooze everywhere.”

She’s right, and Don knows it, but he thinks she’s only seeing half the equation.

“You are like your mother and me, and you’re going to find that out,” he tells her. “You’re a very beautiful girl. It’s up to you to be more than that.”

And that’s really the question mark that hangs over the future, isn’t it? Will Don Draper ever find the core of humanity that would make him more than just a pretty face?

As the episode ends with Don standing outside the apartment he’s just sold, Roberta Flack’s ode to beauty, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, plays on the soundtrack. It’s a song about a love that lasts forever. Don should be so lucky.

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Peter Dutton hints at deal with Vietnam to accept return of asylum seekers

The HMAS Choules, pictured off Manus Island in 2013, is understood to have travelled south of Ho Chi Minh City to return 50 Vietnamese asylum seekers. Photo: Kate GeraghtyImmigration Minister Peter Dutton has indicated that a “bilateral” deal in which Vietnam is believed to have accepted the return of 50 asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian Navy last week includes the government not talking about the swap.
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Mr Dutton said he could not comment on reports that Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules last week travelled to a port city south of Ho Chi Minh City to hand over the group of Vietnamese.

Their boat is believed to have made it to somewhere north of Australia before being stopped.

When pressed, Mr Dutton raised the relationship with Vietnam for his inability to comment.

“I’m not in a position to comment in relation to water operational matters … we’ve been able to on a number of occasions, on a bilateral basis, deal with countries to get a good outcome [and] to make sure we meet our international obligations in screening people and we don’t send people back to a country where we think they are going to be persecuted,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.

“There are many aspects to this, including the bilateral relationship, which is very strong with Vietnam, very strong with other countries in the region and we respect those friendships and those relationships very much.

“These are tough decisions to take, but the last outcome I want is for the boats to restart.”

Fairfax Media reported over the weekend that Australia’s Vietnamese community had received reports that asylum seekers had been landed in Vung Tau, a coastal city in the south.

On Friday, Thang Ha, president of the Vietnamese Community in Australia, NSW Chapter, said the Abbott government should be aware it could be “throwing people back into hell” by returning them to Vietnam.

A report published last year by the leading international group Human Rights Watch found that “the human rights situation in Vietnam deteriorated significantly in 2013, worsening a trend evident for several years”.

It said that the year was marked by “a severe and intensifying crackdown on critics, including long prison terms for many peaceful activists whose ‘crime’ was calling for political change”.

Mr Dutton also insisted on Tuesday that a delayed flight carrying refugees from Nauru to Cambodia for resettlement would go ahead and asylum seeker advocates should not try to influence those on Nauru not to accept relocation because they will never make to it Australia.

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Immigration officials screened Vietnamese asylum seekers aboard navy ship

The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty
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The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The HMAS Choules, which carried 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Immigration Department officials evaluated and rejected the asylum claims of 46 Vietnamese aboard an Australia navy vessel before the entire group was handed back to the Communist government last week, Fairfax Media has learned.

The on-water processing represents a new development in the Abbott government’s hardline approach to border control.

A large group of Sri Lankan Tamils who were kept at sea for a month on the Customs ship Ocean Protector last year had their claims heard over the phone.

The screening by department officials aboard HMAS Choules is believed to have happened over a number of days after a single boat carrying 46 Vietnamese was intercepted north of Australia.

They were returned to southern port city of Vung Tau, south of Ho Chi Minh City last weekend. Two Defence sources confirmed to Fairfax Media that the Choules, which has been moored at Manus Island, was used in the operation.

Australian Vietnamese community leaders have warned that the Abbott government would be “throwing people back to hell” by returning asylum seekers. There were reports last year that an asylum seeker from the ethnic minority Montagnard hill tribe was badly bashed by Vietnamese government officials after being returned by Cambodia.

Amnesty International said on Wednesday that the claims of persecution by the Vietnamese cannot have been adequately assessed by government officials at sea.

“These reports are extremely concerning and represent a fundamental violation of refugee rights by the Australian government,” said Amnesty refugee campaign co-ordinator Graeme McGregor.

“To prevent refugees from being returned to persecution, all asylum claims should be subjected to a fair and rigorous assessment process, with translation and legal representation offered. Basic screening procedures at sea cannot be relied upon to make such life and death decisions.

“The government has repeatedly excused its secretive boat turn-backs by trying to claim that they save lives. The return of Vietnamese asylum seekers – possible refugees – to the very country and government that they have escaped from, exposes the truth about the government’s polices: that they do not save people, but repel people who may need our help.

“Instead of digging itself deeper into disrepute by negotiating secretive deals to return asylum seekers, Australia should be helping those in need and identifying safe, practical ways for refugees to reach safety.”

The Human Rights Law Centre said Australia should “respect democracy and respect the rule of law” by fairly and transparently assessing asylum claims rather than “operating behind a veil of secrecy that is a deliberate subversion of both”.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has refused to comment on the return of the Vietnamese to Vung Tau.

But on Tuesday he hinted at a “bilateral” deal with Vietnam that he did not wish to break by speaking publicly on the asylum seekers’ fate.

“I’m not in a position to comment in relation to water operational matters … we’ve been able to on a number of occasions, on a bilateral basis, deal with countries to get a good outcome [and] to make sure we meet our international obligations in screening people and we don’t send people back to a country where we think they are going to be persecuted,” he told Sky News.

“There are many aspects to this, including the bilateral relationship, which is very strong with Vietnam, very strong with other countries in the region and we respect those friendships and those relationships very much.

“These are tough decisions to take, but the last outcome I want is for the boats to restart.”

Meanwhile, Mr Dutton has appeared in a video to be shown to asylum seekers on Nauru, urging them to take up the offer for them to resettle in Cambodia.

“Cambodia provides a wealth of opportunity for new settlers. It is a fast-paced and vibrant country with a stable economy and varied employment opportunities. It is a diverse nation with a blend of many nationalities, cultures and religions,” Mr Dutton said in the three and a half minute video.

Immigration officials have established a hotline on Nauru for families to talk about joining the delayed flight to Phnom Penh.

Mr Dutton thanked the asylum seekers who have already agreed to resettle.

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Former Liberal senator Brett Mason named as Australia’s ambassador to the Netherlands

Former senator Brett Mason Photo: Andrew Taylor Former senator Brett Mason replaces Neil Mules as Australia’s next ambassador to the Netherlands. Photo: Rob Homer
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Former senator Brett Mason Photo: Andrew Taylor

Former senator Brett Mason Photo: Andrew Taylor

Former Liberal senator Brett Mason has been named as Australia’s next ambassador to the Netherlands, just six days after resigning from the Senate.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the appointment of Dr Mason, who served as her parliamentary secretary for the first 15 months of the Abbott government before a demotion in December’s reshuffle, on Tuesday afternoon.

Fairfax Media reported at the time that the Queenslander was tipped to be offered a posting following his move to the backbench.

Dr Mason’s appointment is the latest in a string of diplomatic postings handed to former Liberal MPs, though when Labor was last in government it took a similar approach.

Former Liberal foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer was named high commissioner to London in February 2014, with former Labor South Australian premier Mike Rann who was previously in the position moved on to Italy. Similarly, former Victorian Labor premier Steve Bracks was blocked from taking up the post of consul-general to New York. The plum posting was instead given to former Liberal finance minister Nick Minchin.

And former Liberal MP Barry Haase was appointed administrator of Christmas Island, replacing another former Labor politician in the shape of ex-ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope.

Labor also appointed former leader Kim Beazley as ambassador to Washington when in power, a posting the Coalition government has since extended.

Announcing the appointment, Ms Bishop praised her former colleague’s service in the Senate from July 1999 to April 15, 2015 and highlighted his experience as a lecturer in criminology lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, a human rights officer with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia and as Commonwealth prosecutor.

She said he would be Australia’s permanent representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the nation’s diplomatic representative to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and to other international legal bodies in The Hague, including the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

Dr Mason will take up the job in mid-2015, replacing Neil Mules.

Fairfax Media has contacted Labor and the Greens for comment on the appointment.

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Two elderly women inside car swept away in Hunter flood, police confirm

Rescuers rush toa car that is stranded in flood waters in Maitland. Photo: Peter Stoop Inspector Brian Tracey, of Maitland police, talks to the media at Cessnock Road. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
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A woman and her baby being brought across the flooded road. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

A young mother and her seriously ill four-month old baby are taken across the flooded Cessnock Road in an inflatable boat. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

A young mother and her seriously ill four-month old baby across the water in an inflatable boat. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

LIVE: Sydney battered by storm Three killed, homes washed awayThe aftermath as Sydney hit by severe weather

“There are people in there!” a man cried out as bystanders raced to help a woman trapped in a car in floodwaters outside Maitland.

The moment was captured by Fairfax Media photographer Peter Stoop, who was covering the floods in the Hunter region on Wednesday morning.

The woman had driven from Gillieston Heights into Maitland and was returning when the tragedy happened, Inspector Brian Tracey, of Maitland police, said.

Her small silver hatchback had joined a procession of cars trying to cross flooded Wallis Creek on Cessnock Road shortly before 9am when a red Falcon in front of it stalled.

Witnesses say the hatchback tried to go around the stalled Falcon, but it was quickly caught in the fast flowing waters.

About a dozen people ran into the water, but the car was swept away, sinking nose first, and went bobbing into the main body of water.

Anthony McAndrew, of Gillieston Heights, who had been in the car that stalled, dived in and swam after the floating car. His vehicle was also swept away.

Three men on the opposite bank also dived into the water.

A district fire officer yelled out to the occupants of the car to wind down the windows. She said the passenger door opened and she called out to close it. A rear passenger door then opened and she called on the occupants to close it but the car sank within seconds.

“I yelled at them to swim for it as they started to sink but they didn’t,” the fire officer said. “I had been on shift all night and I had just come across there myself. I rang my captain and told him I had aquaplaned across and I told him to block the road.”

Peter Gray, a deputy captain of Fire and Rescue NSW, said police, ambulance, fire and SES crews, using helicopters and boats, began searching for the submerged cars.

Inspector Tracey said the men who had jumped into the waters in the attempted rescue had been accounted for and did not require hospital treatment.

At the same time as the search mission was being undertaken, rescue workers brought a young mother and her seriously ill four-month-old baby across the water in an inflatable boat. They had come from Cessnock and were taken to Maitland Hospital in an ambulance.

Late on Wednesday, the body of an 86-year-old woman was recovered from the floodwaters. Inspector Tracey said the police divers had told him there was zero visibility in the water and that they had to feel their way to the car.

Divers searched the car and, despite fears there might have been a passenger, they now believe the woman was travelling by herself.

The woman’s 66-year-old son had maintained a vigil by the water throughout the day, but just after 7pm any hopes of his mother’s recovery were dashed when paramedics brought out her body on a stretcher. The woman’s death brings to four the death toll from the storms that have lashed Sydney, Newcastle and the Illawarra.

Colleen Deborah Ayers strangled after threesome and drunken party, court hears

Victim: Colleen Deborah Ayers. Photo: Police Media The Lakesland property where the body of Colleen Deborah Ayers was found. Photo: Seven News
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Police at the Lakesland property where the body of Colleen Deborah Ayers was found. Photo: Seven News

Bryon and Judith Green were worried about their missing daughter for a week, unaware she was dead and buried on their farm.

The Greens were on an interstate holiday when they heard their property, in Lakesland, south of Sydney, had been ransacked.

When they returned in late May 2012, they reported their 33-year-old daughter Colleen Deborah Ayers missing.

The NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday heard that Ms Ayers invited a group of people back to the property on May 9, after a day of using drugs and having a threesome, and she was murdered during a sexual encounter with Micheal John Duffy.

Her body was found buried near a dam on May 31.

The jury has been told they will hear evidence that another woman, Rachael Margaret Evans, burst in on Mr Duffy and Ms Ayers as they had sex in a guest house on the property and started choking her with a leather belt.

Mr Duffy, 34, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, is accused of helping Evans strangle Ms Ayers before they robbed the Greens’ house late that night.

The jury has been told that Evans has pleaded guilty to Ms Ayers’ murder and will give evidence.

In her opening address, Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Wilkins, SC, said there would be evidence that Ms Ayers met Mr Duffy, Evans and another woman at a pub in Picton, before the group caught a train to Campbelltown and checked in to a hotel for the night.

Mr Duffy, Ms Ayers and Evans had sex, while another woman filmed them, and the group bought drugs to share in a Campbelltown park the next morning, Ms Wilkins said.

That evening the group, including two other men, caught a taxi to the Greens’ property, where they lit a bonfire, and started drinking in the guest house.

The jury was told of evidence that Evans became agitated when she could hear Mr Duffy and Ms Ayers having sex, and got a leather belt, saying: “I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.”

“Rachael Evans will tell you that she did go in with a belt and she did put it around the deceased’s neck, with the intention of strangling,” Ms Wilkins said.

“But I expect she will tell you that the deceased struggled and bucked her off … and it was at that stage that the accused, Mr Duffy, intervened and also started strangling the deceased.”

Ms Wilkins said some of the group washed Ms Ayer’s body before burying her, destroying evidence, and robbing the Greens’ house.

The same taxi driver who dropped off the group picked them up the next morning, and asked them how their night was.

“[Rachael Evans] said ‘Yeah, it was great, very exhilarating,’ ” Ms Wilkins said.

Defence barrister James Trevallion told the jury it was Evans and a teenage girl, who cannot be identified, who killed Ms Ayers.

“The motive Rachael Evans had, I expect you’ll hear, is simply a twisted desire to kill somebody.”

Mr Trevallion said Evans and the girl agreed to blame Mr Duffy if they were questioned by police.

“It’s the defence case that this is what happened.”

Mr Trevallion said there was no issue that Mr Duffy helped bury the body, and stole some items from the Greens’ house.

The trial continues before Justice David Davies. 

Conservative columnist Katie Hopkins reported to police over asylum seeker views

The column in The Sun.’Tiny hearts and balls of steel’
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Controversial British columnist Katie Hopkins has been reported to police for allegedly inciting racial hatred in an article applauding Australia for threatening asylum seekers “with violence until they bugger off”.

In an article for The Sun comparing North African migrants to “cockroaches”, Katie Hopkins praises Australians for being like British people but with “balls of steel, can-do brains, tiny hearts and whacking great gunships”. Europe should adopt Australia’s turn-back-the-boats policy for migrants attempting to arrive from North Africa, she wrote.

On Monday, Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore were reported to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office over the article by the Society of Black Lawyers.

In the complaint, published by The Independent, Society of Black Lawyers chairman Peter Herbert described Hopkins’ comments as “some of the most offensive, xenophobic and racist comments I have read in a British newspaper for some years”.

Herbert said that Hopkins’ use of the term “cockroaches” echoed the use of the word to describe the Tutsi minority and Hutu moderates during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

He wrote: “The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) therefore requests that this matter is investigated as a matter of urgency under the Public Order Act 1986. I am aware that this section requires some intention but given the scale of the tragedy currently unfolding, the likelihood some of these migrants may already be in the UK having fled during previous  months or likely to land here in due course these comments can amount to incitement to racial hatred.

“We are in the process of writing formally to the International Criminal Court to petition for an investigation into these comments under the provisions of incitement to commit crimes against humanity.

“Given the huge circulation of these comments in The Sun and in the media generally, the propensity for racial violence against people of African descent in the UK is obvious. We request that these matters be investigated as a matter of urgency and the case file be passed to the [Crown Prosecution Service] for a decision to be made as to the merits of a prosecution.”

A petition calling for The Sun to sack Hopkins over the article has attracted over 200,000 signatures.

Around 1300 migrants are estimated to have died in less than a fortnight in the waters south of Sicily. On Monday European Union leaders announced that they would launch new military operations against people smuggling networks in Libya, including destroying ships, as well as expanding search-and-rescue patrols.

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Who hit this pup? Bashed dog found wandering in bushland

The Staffordshire terrier-cross puppy is in a critical condition. Photo: RSPCA NSWIt is hoped the distinctive markings on a puppy fighting for its life after another suspected act of animal cruelty will help authorities identify and locate its owner.
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The emaciated animal was found wandering around in bushland near Cessnock on Monday with a fractured skull, the Newcastle Herald reports.

The disturbing discovery comes only six weeks after nine of an 11-puppy litter of bull-terrier cross dogs were bashed to death by the side of the road at nearby Kurri Kurri.

RSPCA Northern Region team leader Scott Meyers said X-rays showed a number of injuries that suggest the dog, a male cross-bred Staffordshire terrier about 12 months old, was deliberately bashed in the head and dumped.

“The dog is emaciated, and I mean emaciated, and it has this really nasty injury to its skull, we are not sure if it will survive,” Inspector Meyers said.

The RSPCA was contacted at 8pm on Sunday after a member of the public saw the pup walking along the road on Gibsons Loop, which is in Werkata National Park, about 10km outside Cessnock.

“They tried to call him over to the car but they realised he needed more help,” RSPCA spokeswoman Jessica Conway said.

Efforts to find the dog failed due to the weather  but the search resumed on Monday and  the dog was found and  taken to the Rutherford hospital for urgent veterinary assistance.

“Trying to find a dog in scrub at night was pretty difficult,” Mr Meyers said.

“We went back this morning and found him about 50 metres down in the bush. He has no chip. I don’t think it has walked there, I believe it has been dumped there. The vet thinks the injury has been sustained in the last 24 hours. We don’t think it has been out in the bushland for very long.

“At the moment we are just pleading for information. If someone has seen it or knows of the dog … it’s a very distinctive looking dog, a white dog with two black patches on its eyes. It’s the kind of dog that you would have noticed. Hopefully someone will come forward with something.”

The RSPCA appealed for public information in March after a member of the public came across the “massacre” of  bull-terrier cross pups in bushland at Kurri Kurri.

The brutal deaths triggered an outpouring of emotion on social media, with police later charging Kurri Kurri man Nathan Thompson, 25, with a number of animal cruelty offences.

He has since been banned from having anything to do with animals for life after pleading guilty to 13 charges.

He will know his fate on May 4 when he returns to Newcastle Local Court for sentencing.

Please phone the animal cruelty line on 1300 278 3589 with any relevant information about the Staffordshire pup.

Newcastle Herald

Government takes aim at controversial WA Aboriginal corporation

Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander regional commissioner Darren Farmer. Photo: Penny StephensThe federal government has asked a West Australian indigenous corporation to show cause why it should not be placed under special administration amid concerns about its handling of millions of dollars in mining company money.
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The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations’ (ORIC) action comes after Fairfax Media last year exposed serious financial, conflict of interest and governance concerns affecting the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC), which is responsible for the interests of outback WA’s Martu.

WDLAC has received about $30 million from mining companies, including Rio Tinto and Reward Minerals, in return for its support for mining on Martu lands.

But little of the money has flowed to the wider Martu community, which largely remains mired in poverty. Instead, millions of dollars have gone towards the salaries and fees of WDLAC’s small staff, some directors and their families, as well as consultants.

A delegate of ORIC registrar Anthony Bevan on Tuesday wrote to WDLAC to invite the corporation to give reasons why it should not be under special administration.

“If I do this, your corporation will be run by a special administrator appointed by the Registrar. That person will have a broad range of powers over the affairs of your corporation,” the delegate wrote.

The show cause letter was sent after ORIC recently received the results of an external examination of WDLAC’s books by former Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigator Adrian Borchok.

ORIC has legislative power to appoint a special administrator in circumstances where a corporation has traded at a loss or where its officers have “acted in their own interests”.

ORIC’s intervention at WDLAC comes two weeks before Martu people will be asked to vote on the WDLAC board’s recommendation that an indigenous land use agreement with miner Newcrest Mining be granted.

As reported by Fairfax Media last year, some WDLAC meetings have erupted in violence between certain directors and Martu men.

Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander regional commissioner Darren Farmer last year spoke out about his violent expulsion from WDLAC after challenging the board over its mining deals and handling of the millions of dollars in proceeds.

Mr Farmer on Wednesday said he was pleased by ORIC’s show cause notice to WDLAC and hoped it would lead to a clean out and restructure of the organisation.

“I got a beating. I got speared over that organisation,” Mr Farmer said.

Late last year, WDLAC advised its members that it could no longer provide financial help to communities or individuals because of a decline in mining activity on Martu lands.

WDLAC has until May 8 to give reasons why it should not be placed under special administration.

Sydney weather: It’s not a cyclone but it sure felt like one

Tree down at Curl Curl after severe winds. Photo: James Brickwood Tree down at Curl Curl after severe winds. Photo: James Brickwood
杭州龙凤

The Pasha Bulka washed ashore in a 2007 east coast low. Photo: Peter Stoop

Tree down at Curl Curl after severe winds. Photo: James Brickwood

Tree down at Curl Curl after severe winds. Photo: James Brickwood

Record rainfall: The east coast low that battered Sydney.

NASA’s satellite view of the storm as it passed over Sydney. Photo: NASA

Live: Sydney battered by wild storms

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the massive storm that dumped the most rain on Sydney in a single day in more than 13 years, blew over huge trees and scoured beaches would in some parts of the world be defined as a cyclone.

As Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist at Weatherzone notes, wind speeds were gale force or stronger for parts of the city and up the coast since midnight Tuesday and even earlier.

“They have been consistently gale force. Gale force is the threshold for being Cat-1,” Mr Sharpe said, referring to the lowest level of a cyclone. “We have seen that in Sydney and the Hunter.”

In North America and Africa, east coast lows of the type endured by Sydney over the past couple of days are described as “east coast cyclones”, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.

“From the wind statistics you can see that the Tropical Cyclone criteria for a sustained one-minute wind gust has been met,” Agata Imielska, a senior climatologist at the bureau, said. “The more important point here is that the winds are damaging. Generally a threshold wind gust of 90 km/h or more is used to define damaging winds.”

Both the bureau and Mr Sharpe are keen to distinguish the storm from tropical cyclones that originate far closer to the equator and typically draw their strength from the much warmer waters to the north – while being dubbed names such as “Larry”, “Pam” or “Solo”.

While east coast lows can develop from ex-tropical cyclones meandering southwards, their origin at this time of year is more usually within a pre-existing trough of low pressure.

For the current event, a relatively weak low-pressure trough on the coast was joined by “a really pronounced upper level trough” of cold air that had moved in from Victoria, Mr Sharpe said.

“Those two systems then combined and we saw that [cyclonic] rotation,” Mr Sharp said. “That rotation was created with the warm moist air along the coast interacting with the really cold upper level air inland.”

The strength of the current event was driven by the steep gradient between the warm over the Tasman and cool air at upper levels of the atmosphere, making for a classic east coast low set-up.

At this time of year, sea-surface temperatures off Sydney are about the warmest they get during the year, and this year they have been abnormally warm – right around Australia.

East coast lows “tend to peter out pretty quickly but that doesn’t stop them being a very powerful system,” Mr Sharpe said.

According to Manly Hydraulics Laboratory, wave heights off Port Kembla were literally off the charts, exceeding 8 metres:

According to Ed Couriel, the principal engineer at the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory, the highest wave recorded off Sydney was a whopping 13.6m, at about 11am on Tuesday.

The maximum significant wave height, a more general measure, was 7.3m, making it the second highest in records going back to 1987, Mr Couriel said..

Last night’s high tide came in a 2.13m, implying a storm surge related to the event of about 0.25m, he said.

Rain and wind

Sydney’s rainfall to 9am on Tuesday was 119.4mm, the most in any day since February 2002 and the most for an April day in 17 years, according to Weatherzone.

Wind speeds were also impressive with Wattamolla to Sydney’s south recording at least 100 km/h winds every hour since just after midday on Monday. Just after 9am on Tuesday they were clocked at 135 km/h, or well within the range of a category 2 cyclone if sustained.

Norah Head and North Head to Sydney’s north were also reporting strong gusts, with Norah Head also clocking 135 km/h before 5am on Tuesday.

That’s the strongest winds for Norah Head since 2007, the same time as another powerful east coast low drove the commodity carrier, the Pasha Bulker, on to shore, according to Brett Dutschke, a senior forecaster at Weatherzone.

The highest significant wave height recorded off Sydney during the 2007 event was 6.9m, placing it now fourth in Manly Hydraulics Laboratory records, Mr Couriel said.

Relief in sight

The good news is that the deep low is likely to weaken and move away from the coast late on Tuesday – but not before dumping as much as 50mm more of rain on Sydney, Mr Sharpe said.

The heaviest falls so far have been at Dungog, north of Maitland, where the town copped a severe thunderstorm cell. That storm dumped about 145mm on the town in three hours, leaving a total of 312mm for the 24 hours to 9am, the highest in more than a century of records, according to Bureau of Meteorology figures.

Paterson’s 242.6mm was also its highest daily rainfall for records going back to 1967, Ms Imielska said.

Williamtown recorded its wettest April and autumn day, with 155.6mm. The tally was the town’s third-highest rainfall for any month in records going back to 1942, she said.

Aside from raincoats, woollens are also coming in handy. Monday’s maximum of 17.2 degrees in Sydney made it the coolest April day in seven years.

Tuesday may struggle to reach even that, with a top so far of just 15.5 degrees at 8.48am.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.