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Man allegedly attempts to rob Adelaide service station with piece of stationery



A man is on the run after he allegedly picked up a mundane object from the counter and tried to hold up a service station with it.

A staff member at an Adelaide west service station faced a scary yet bizarre encounter when a man allegedly attempting a robbery threatened him with a piece of stationery.

SA Police were called to the Richmond Rd business at about 5.10am on Wednesday after receiving reports that a man had entered the store and threatened the employee, demanding that he fill a bag with cash.

Police allege the man picked up a pen from the counter and used it to threaten the staffer.

The employee wasn’t afraid of the man’s bizarre weapon of choice, refusing to hand over any money and chasing him out of the store.

The man, described as being of caucasian appearance with receding hair, was last seen running east along Richmond Rd.

He is about 180cm tall and wore a black jacket with dark-coloured pants and red, white and black Nike Air Max shoes as well as a face mask.

There were no reported injuries.

Police allege the same man walked into a cafe in Pirie St in the Adelaide CBD at about 8am and stole cash from the till.

He did not make any threats and no weapon were seen by staff members.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or sees the man is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online.

Originally published as Man allegedly attempts to rob Adelaide service station with piece of stationery




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Northern Territory weather: Rain falls on Uluru national park, waterfalls gushing



Rare scenes spotted in the outback have been described as ‘rare and magical’ as tourists flock to see the unique weather event.

A dumping of rain has created a “rare and magical” waterfall scene in the Northern Territory’s Uluru and Kata Tjuta national park overnight.

More than 22mm of rain fell on the popular outback destination, causing rock holes to overflow and gushing waterfalls down the sides of Uluru and Kaṉtju Gorge.

“While that doesn’t sound like much, the annual average rainfall is just under 300mm,” Parks Australia said via the reserve’s Facebook account.

It mentioned locals and tourists had braved the wet conditions to catch a glimpse of the “unique weather event”.

“With a hot summer ahead, the rain is welcome and locals are hoping for more of it over the coming months,” the post continued.

So much water had flowed down to Kaṉtju Gorge that the viewing platform was almost underwater, the post read.

The waterfalls streaming down the gorge also sparked the burrowing frogs to come out of hiding.

“After 22mm of rain overnight, these noisy creatures which sound like sheep are in frog heaven,” the post read.

“For most of the year these frogs are underground, avoiding hot and dry conditions. They emerge after rain to breed, feed and return underground to evade perishing in the harsh weather conditions.

“They call profusely after enough rain has fallen to entice them from their burrows.”

The rain comes amid scorching temperatures in the NT and Queensland in October, with meteorologists reporting a two-degree increase in average temperatures.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, October was hotter than usual for Australia as a whole, with every state except Victoria noticing significantly warmer-than-average weather.

Queensland experienced its fourth-warmest October ever, with an average increase of 2.12 degrees.

The NT experienced an increase of 2.11 degrees, its third-warmest October on record.

Darwin sweated through its warmest-ever October night on record on the 20th, reaching 26.6C, while Brisbane recorded its hottest October day since 2004, with a top of 36.6C on October 4.

Originally published as Gushing waterfalls as massive dumping of rain falls on Uluru national park




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Melbourne Cup 2021: Natalie Barr’s big win on Melbourne Cup



Sunrise host Natalie Barr pocketed a handsome sum from the race that stops a nation after a chance encounter.

Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr has pocketed $800 from the Melbourne Cup after a handy tip from a colleague’s mum.

The Channel 7 morning show’s sports presenter, Mark Beretta, asks his mum each year to provide her tips to viewers for the race that stops a nation.

The advice prompted Barr to open an online betting account and place $50 on the Chris Waller trained mare, Verry Elleegant.

The novice punter admitted to viewers she had never bet online before, which took her an hour to figure out.

“I thought ‘there’s something called sporting bet or Sportsbet’ and I don’t know what that means, but I’d heard of the TAB, so I set up an account,” Barr said.

“But now I don’t know how to get it out.”

Beretta’s mum, Joan, had provided a windfall for many more Australians with Barr saying her message inbox was full with other viewers who followed the punting advice.

Joan’s tip was particularly welcomed by novice punters given the juicy odds of Verry Elleegant, which was paying about $15 to win.

The Peter Moody trained Incentivise went into the major race as the clear favourite, priced at $2.50.

It sat in second for majority of the 3200m race at Flemington and burst into the lead in the famously long straight.

But Verry Elleegant strode up alongside and steamed into the lead to hand jockey James McDonald his first ever Melbourne Cup victory.

“I just didn’t think this day would ever happen,” he said after Tuesday’s major event. “I ride in these races, I really want to win but sometimes you can overthink it and try too hard.

“I was very confident in the mare today. Thoughts went through my mind at the 500m when I saw Incentivise getting shoved along but I knew he would fight. There wasn’t a horse that was going to come from behind me, it was just a matter of catching him.”




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Victoria politics: Liberal MP Tim Smith insists he is not an alcoholic amid drink driving scandal



A drink-driving MP is under intense pressure to quit the Liberal Party after its leader said he did not want him to contest the next election.

A Victorian Liberal MP who crashed his car into a family home while drunk has insisted he is “not an alcoholic” while vowing to never drink alcohol again while in public life.

Tim Smith resigned from the front bench and his position as the state’s attorney-general after he crashed his car into a Hawthorn home on Saturday, returning a blood alcohol reading of 0.131.

Mr Smith on Wednesday begged for forgiveness and said he was assessing his future in politics amid speculation his career was over.

“I hadn’t eaten all day, the reading was much higher than I could ever have imagined. I was shocked and amazed by what happened with regards to the reading,” he told 9 radio.

“I have done something shameful and stupid and I’m so, so sorry for the embarrassment and the harm that I have caused.”

Police said Mr Smith crashed his car into a parked vehicle before ploughing into the wall of a family home on Saturday night.

He has lost his licence for 12 months.

The crash caused significant damage to the home’s wall, causing a crack in the interior plaster within the room where an eight year-old boy was sleeping.

He has apologised to the family and will pay the estimated $100,000 in damages.

Mr Smith denied he was an alcoholic and claimed he did not have mental health issues, describing the incident as “an appalling lapse of judgment”.

“I certainly spoke to my GP about not ever drinking again, certainly whilst in public life,” he said.

“I don’t think I’m an alcoholic but I certainly have consumed too much alcohol on too many occasions.”

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy this week met with the reportedly distressed MP and made it clear he “wouldn’t find his way onto the frontbench of any parliamentary Liberal Party I lead”.

An angry Mr Guy said he told Mr Smith to not recontest the next election.

“I made it clear that I didn’t want him to nominate at the next election,” Mr Guy told reporters on Tuesday.

“I think he’s exceedingly remorseful, you know, this has potentially cost him his career and you would expect anyone in that position to be not just remorseful but certainly very sorry for what has occurred.”

While Mr Smith said his actions were “the most stupid thing I’ve ever done”, he declined to commit to quitting politics altogether, instead telling the radio station he was reflecting on his future in politics.

It’s expected he will make a decision the next two weeks before preselection nominations.

Mr Smith has been meeting with Kew branch members and senior politicians and has reportedly told some he will ride out the scandal.

“The (branch members) are very disappointed, they’re very angry and I suppose the key question to them is should one horrendously poor judgment render someone’s career over immediately,” he said.

“I can’t give you a definitive answer this morning, but I’m certainly speaking to the branch members in Kew.”

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Originally published as Liberal MP Tim Smith breaks silence following drink-driving scandal




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Cop26, G20: Scott Morrison not a liar, former finance minister Mathias Cormann says



A former colleague of Scott Morrison has rushed to his defence amid claims he has a reputation as a liar.

Scott Morrison’s reputation has again been called into question by predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, but a former colleague has trashed claims the Prime Minister has a track record of lying.

On the sidelines of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Mr Turnbull said he had no doubt French President Emmanuel Macron had been deceived over the $90bn submarine deal.

He claimed he had experienced similar from Mr Morrison during his time in the top job.

“Oh, he’s lied to me on many occasions,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“Scott has always had a reputation for telling lies.”

But Mathias Cormann, who served as finance minister under both Mr Morrison and Mr Turnbull, has categorically rejected the latter’s stinging character assessment.

Asked if Mr Morrison had a track record of telling lies, the OECD secretary-general said: “No.”

“I had a very good working relationship with Scott Morrison. I had a good working relationship with Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott as prime minister,” Mr Cormann told ABC Radio National on Wednesday morning.

“I’ve always done my best to serve them to my best ability, and the opportunity to catch up with Scott at the G20, also at Cop26 … we had some very, very good conversations about the challenges ahead.”

The former prime minister’s comments echo those made by Mr Macron, who on Monday told reporters he “knew” he had been lied to by Mr Morrison.

Later, text messages between the two leaders that seemingly discredited Mr Macron’s versions of events were leaked to the media.

Key crossbench senator Rex Patrick told 2GB on Wednesday morning that Mr Morrison’s behaviour harmed Australia’s reputation on the world stage.

He added while Australia was right to walk away from the conventional submarine deal with France, the way it was handled left much to be desired.

“I absolutely supported the decision to withdraw from the French contract,” he said.

“But in this instance, I’m not convinced that we exited this program in a manner which was proper and in a manner which was fair to the French.

Originally published as Scott Morrison not a liar, former finance minister Mathias Cormann says

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Cleo Smith found alive: Expert says discovery a ‘miracle’



A leading criminologist has described finding Cleo Smith alive as a ‘miracle’ before weighing in on the key that may have solved the case.

Finding missing four-year-old Cleo Smith alive was a “miracle” and “highly unusual” according to a leading criminologist.

“I had been expecting the worst,” Dr Xanthe Mallett told Sunrise just hours after Cleo was found at a home in Carnarvon in Western Australia.

“It is highly unusual to find an abducted child alive and well after so long. This is a miracle.”

Cleo went missing from a remote campsite in WA 18 days ago, sparking a wide-scale search and fears she had been abducted.

WA Police Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch released a statement on Wednesday morning announcing the extraordinary development.

He also revealed “phone data” helped lead police to the house where Cleo was found.

“It will become apparent when we put the puzzle together … it all led us to one place,” he told the Today show.

Cleo was found when officers dramatically broke into a locked house in Carnarvon in the early hours of the morning, he said.

Dr Mallett said she wasn’t completely surprised that there was finally a conclusion to the case that had baffled detectives for almost three weeks.

“Strategically, police seemed to be clear on where they were going,” she said.

“I am just incredibly pleased it is a positive outcome.”

She was then asked about the vehicle that was spotted leaving the carpark of the campsite just hours after Cleo was last seen by her parents.

Police said it was likely she was abducted in the dead of the night since the tent zip was opened to a height she could not have reached.

A major focus of the police investigation has a mystery vehicle that was spotted by two people.

They said it turned right off Blowholes Rd onto North West Coastal Highway, heading towards Carnarvon, between 3am and 3.30am the day Cleo disappeared.

“It may be that car that was the key to solving this … it may have been something else,” Dr Mallett said.

“They have looked closely in the local community. We always felt this was something targeted. To me, it made no sense this was a random.

“They have looked very closely at those in the community, those who possibly know Cleo. There will be a link to Cleo and her family. Over the next day or so, will find more about what has happened.”

Search crews combed the coastline near the remote camping ground where Cleo went missing, but efforts proved futile.

Police also examined CCTV footage from businesses and homes that might have captured the car or anything else that might be relevant to the investigation.

They then moved search efforts to Cleo’s parents home, which they searched three times. Police said her parents were not suspects and the move was “standard practice”.

Officers searched the home for several hours before leaving with two evidence bags.

A 36-year-old man is now in custody and being questioned by police after Cleo was found at his home in Carnarvon.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the man had no connection to the family.

Originally published as Criminologist describes finding Cleo alive a ‘miracle’ before touching on key evidence




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Ashes news; Steve Waugh says Pat Cummins should take Tim Paine’s spot as Australian captain



Tim Paine will turn 37 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test and his successor as Australian captain will be a talking point all summer.

Test legend Steve Waugh says “it’s time” for a bowler to be given the Australian captaincy and endorsed Pat Cummins to take over from skipper Tim Paine when he steps down.

Paine, who turns 37 on the opening day of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba on December 8, is racing the clock to be fit for the clash as he continues his recovery from neck surgery.

He was forced to have surgery in September to repair a pinched nerve in his neck and has only just begun light duties. Paine remains hopeful of making his playing return in a second 11 game for Tasmania in mid-November.

But speculation around Paine’s successor as Test skipper is set to linger throughout the five-match series against England, with Australia set to tour Pakistan, Sri Lanka and then India in 2022.

Cummins, who is national vice-captain of the Test, one-day and T20 teams, would be the first fast bowler since Ray Lindwall in 1956 to captain Australia in a Test match. Lindwall only did it for one match against India.

Waugh, who captain Australia for seven years and finished with a 72 per cent winning rate, was one of the mentors brought in by coach Justin Langer during the 2019 Ashes in England and spent time with all the players.

He was adamant Cummins, who was recently made one-day captain of NSW, should get the opportunity to be skipper

“I’d like to see Pat Cummins have an opportunity,” Waugh said on Wednesday

“They say bowlers can’t do it, but they said keepers couldn’t do it. I think we have to find out if a bowler can be a captain of Australia. I don’t see why not.”

Waugh said Cummins, who is now 28 and has played 128 games for Australia across all formats, including 34 Tests, had the right “acumen” to be a successful leader

“I’ve always thought that if he’s bowling the vice-captain could set the field to give him a mental break,” Waugh told SEN.

“He has good acumen, the respect of the players and he’s ready to go.

“I think when Tim Paine steps down, Pat Cummins is the man to step in.”

Originally published as Australian cricket legend Steve Waugh wants Pat Cummins to be Australia’s next Test skipper




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Cleo Smith miracle: Recovery of missing girl comes just two months after successful search for NSW boy Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak



The discovery of Cleo Smith has eerie similarities to toddler ‘AJ’, who was found four days after going missing.

Two months. Two missing children. Two successful searches.

As news of Cleo Smith’s safety reverberates across the nation, echoes of a similarly desperate – and ultimately successful – search are coming back around.

It was just 10 weeks ago that the family of three-year-old Anthony “AJ” Elfalak feared the worst after the non-verbal autistic boy went missing near his home in the NSW Hunter Valley.

But after being lost in rugged bushland for three days, a blurry image taken from a police helicopter showed him drinking muddy water at a creek on September 6.

The boy’s reunion with his family triggered a wave of emotional scenes as family members threw their hands in the air, screaming and crying from happiness and relief.

“Thank you for everyone. Thank you for the government. Thank you for the police. Thank you very much,” AJ‘s mum Kelly told Nine News at the time.

Australians were similarly united in joy after waking to the news on Wednesday that Cleo Smith had been recovered “alive and well” from a locked house in Carnarvon, having been missing for 18 days.

Detectives found Cleo in the early hours of the morning, about 70km from the campsite at the Quobba Blowholes where the four-year-old disappeared.

“A police team broke their way into a locked house in Carnarvon about 1am (Perth time). They found little Cleo in one of the rooms,” Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch said in a statement.

“One of the officers picked her up into his arms and asked her ‘what’s your name?’ She said, ‘My name is Cleo’.”

Cleo was reunited with her parents a short time later, with her mother Ellie acknowledging her recovery by sharing a photo of Cleo on Instagram.

“Our family is whole again,” she wrote.

A 36-year-old Carnarvon man with no connection to the family has been taken into custody and is being questioned over the incident.

The seemingly fruitless effort to locate the missing girl involved hundreds of police officers searching vast swathes of the countryside and hundreds of kilometres of roadside bins for evidence, with thousands of calls coming in to CrimeStoppers during the nearly three-week ordeal.

Similarly, the recovery of AJ back in September involved a co-ordinated multi-agency response, with assistance from trail bike officers, police rescue, the dog unit, police divers and PolAir.

Police were assisted by NSW Ambulance, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service, and the Volunteer Rescue Association, while more than 100 emergency service workers and volunteers also helped with the search.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old William Callaghan was returned to his family in July last year after spending two nights lost in freezing temperatures at Mount Disappointment north of Melbourne.

The boy, who has non-verbal autism, was found by volunteers and spent a short time in hospital before being released.

Originally published as Miracle Cleo Smith news comes just two months after successful search for missing NSW boy Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak




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Tullamarine crash: Van with nine people inside rolls, treated by paramedics



Paramedics have treated nine people at the scene of a nasty crash where a van rolled onto its side.

Nine people crammed inside a van have been injured after it crashed and rolled onto its side in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Emergency services were called to the intersection of the Western Ring Rd and Tullamarine Freeway in Tullamarine about 10.15pm on Tuesday.

Police believed a van carrying nine people rolled onto its side after it collided with another vehicle.

Everyone inside the van was treated by paramedics and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the incident attended Broadmeadows police station and was assisting police with their inquiries.

Anyone with information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Originally published as Nine people injured after van and car collide in Tullamarine




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Ben Fordham breaks down as Cleo Smith is found



The radio host broke down as he confirmed the news Australians had spent 18 days hoping to hear.

Sydney radio host Ben Fordham has broken down on air while relaying the news that four-year-old Cleo Smith had been found “alive and well” after being missing for 18 days.

The 2GB host’s voice broke as he confirmed WA Police had broken their way into a locked Carnarvon house in the early hours of Wednesday morning and found the child in a room.

Fordham said the news had hit him “so hard”.

“As the father of little girls, I’m just so happy for their family,” he said.

“I don’t know why it hits so hard it just does – when it’s a little person.”

Fordham spoke to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller who told him his WA counterpart had also broken down after hearing the news.

“When he got the call this morning he broke down and cried. That speaks volumes,” Mr Fuller said.

“I thought the chances of finding her alive were so slim.”

Originally published as Ben Fordham breaks down as Cleo Smith is found




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