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Kate And William: Royals Visit Aussie Beach

Written By andika jamanta on Jumat, 18 April 2014 | 20.48

By Paul Harrison, Royal Correspondent

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have taken to the beaches of Sydney - but kept their shoes on.

Accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, William and Kate watched a surf life-saving demonstration and met with some of the lifeguards taking part.

The Duchess seemed at ease on the sand despite wearing wedges as she started a race between eight youngsters.

At the end the royal couple was presented with a surfboard, but there would be no riding the royal wave.

Kate meets life guards Kate meets some of the lifeguards of Manly Beach, Sydney

Earlier the Duchess delivered her first and only speech during this tour as she and the Duke visited the Bear Cottage children's hospice, which is forging links with the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), a UK charity of which she is patron.

"I am delighted that Bear Cottage and EACH are planning to be part of a 'community of best practice'," she told those gathered.

"The haven that you have created here is inspirational, and there is so much that you can share with each other as you continue to support and nurture those in your care."

Kate meets some of the residents of Bear Cottage Kate meets some of the residents of Bear Cottage

The Duchess then added that her family had enjoyed a warm Australian welcome.

She said: "If I may, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has welcomed me and George so incredibly warmly on our first visit. 

"To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories."

Earlier, during a wool demonstration at the Sydney Royal Easter Show Kate - wearing a dress by Australian designer Zimmerman - poked fun at her husband's bald patch.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge see some giant pumpkins The Duke and Duchess see some giant pumpkins

The Duchess was handed some alpaca wool, at which point she turned to William, gestured towards his bald patch and suggested he might need it more than her.

At the show, one of Australia's largest annual events attracting 900,000 visitors each year, William and Kate also came face to face with Fred the ram and a giant pumpkin.

At one point Fred appeared to bow to the future king, while Kate just settled for a quick pet.

Prince William talks to a resident of Bear Cottage children's hospice Prince William talks to a resident of Bear Cottage children's hospice

As well as being treated to a sheep shearing demonstration, the royal couple were wowed by displays of giant fruit and veg produce.

Student Mikayla Rendall had been standing in the sun for four hours waiting for the Duke and Duchess.

She said: "Kate apologised for keeping us waiting in the sun and William said they never get this much sun at Buckingham Palace."


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Ferry Disaster: Sewol Captain Faces Arrest

Prosecutors have asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for the captain of the South Korean ferry which sank leaving 25 dead and hundreds missing.

Two other crew members are also being sought after the court appeal on Friday. No charges have been specified.

It comes as it emerged captain Lee Joon-Seok was not at the helm of the ship when it capsized, according to investigators.

The third officer was understood to be piloting the ship when the tragedy occurred, an investigating prosecutor told a news conference, and the captain may not have been on the bridge.

Family members of missing passengers who were on a South Korean ferry which capsized on Wednesday, wait for news of their family at a gym in Jindo Family members of missing passengers wait for news at a gym in Jindo

The investigator said: "He may have been off the bridge... and the person at the helm at the time was the third officer.

"The captain was not in command when the accident took place."

Investigators are also looking at whether the third officer ordered the vessel to make an abrupt turn, which caused it to tilt severely and take on water, according to prosecutor Park Jae-Eok.

It has also been revealed the 68-year-old delayed evacuation for half an hour after the distress signal was sent, suggesting more lives could have been saved had he acted sooner.

Crane arrival A crane arrives at the scene

Oh Yong-Seok, a helmsman on the ferry with 10 years of shipping experience, said when the crew gathered on the bridge and sent a distress call, the ship was already listing more than five degrees - the critical angle at which a vessel can be brought back to even keel.

About half an hour after passengers were told to stay where they were, Mr Lee finally gave the order to abandon ship, according to Mr Oh. He added he was unsure in the confusion on the bridge if the order was relayed to the passengers.

Several survivors have said they did not hear any evacuation orders.

By the time the order was given, it was impossible for crew members to move to passengers' rooms to help them because the ship was tilted at an impossibly acute angle, he said.

It has been suggested the evacuation delay also prevented lifeboats from being deployed in time.

Captain of sunken ferry Lee Joon-seok Lee Joon-Seok was not at the helm when the ship began listing

The confirmed death toll from the sinking of the Sewol is 25, but that number is expected to rise sharply with about 270 people still missing. Officials have so far confirmed only 179 survivors.

Some 325 of the passengers were students from Danwon High School near Seoul.

Of the 29 crew members, 20 people including Mr Lee survived.

After the tragedy, he made a brief, videotaped appearance, although his face was hidden by a grey hoodie.

He said: "I am really sorry and deeply ashamed. I don't know what to say."

Family members of passengers onboard the capsized South Korean ferry Sewol cry during a Buddhist ritual in Jindo Anxious relatives take part in a Buddhist ritual

Divers are working in shifts to try get into the upturned ship to pump oxygen into the vessel to help any survivors, but their attempts are being hampered by strong currents and freezing temperatures.

The 146-metre (480ft) ship had left Incheon on the northwestern coast of South Korea on Tuesday for the overnight journey to the southern resort island of Jeju.


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Vice-Principal Rescued From Ferry Found Hanged

S Korea Ferry: Final Contact From Doomed Vessel

Updated: 11:59am UK, Friday 18 April 2014

A transcript of communications between the stricken Sewol ferry and the coastguard has lifted the lid on the final minutes before the order was given to abandon ship.

The conversations show panic setting in on board the vessel, with officers asking for help to "please come quickly" as it began to tilt to the left, three hours from its destination of Jeju Island.

The transcript also appears to back up claims that the evacuation order may have come too late for some passengers as officers said the ship was tilting so much it was "impossible to move" to check on them.

The communication, which begins with the first distress call made by the ferry on Wednesday morning, has been translated by The Associated Press.

It reads:

8.55am

Sewol: Harbour affairs Jeju, do you have reception of The Sewol?

Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Centre (VTS): Yes, Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju.

Sewol: Please notify the coastguard. Our ship is in danger. It's listing right now.

8.56am

Jeju VTS: Where's your ship? Yes, got it. We will notify the coastguard.

Sewol: This ship has listed a lot. Can't move. Please come quickly. We're next to Byeongpung Island.

Jeju VTS: Yes, we got it.

8.58am

Jeju VTS: Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju. Do you have reception? Sewol, harbour affairs Jeju.

8.59am

Sewol: Harbour affairs Jeju, this is Sewol.

Jeju VTS: Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju. Channel 21, please.

9.00am

Jeju VTS: Sewol, this is harbour affairs Jeju.

Sewol: Jeju, Sewol here.

Jeju VTS: What's the current situation?

Sewol: Currently the body of the ship has listed to the left. The containers have listed as well.

Jeju VTS: OK. Any damage of the human life?

Sewol: It's impossible to check right now. The body of the ship has tilted, and it's impossible to move.

Jeju VTS: Yes, OK. Please wear life jackets and prepare as the people might have to abandon ship. 

Sewol: It's hard for people to move.

Jeju VTS: Yes, got it.

9.05am

Sewol: Harbour affairs Jeju, do you have reception of Sewol?

Jeju VTS: Yes, this is harbour affairs Jeju, Sewol.

Sewol: What's going on with the coastguard?

Jeju VTS: Yes, we have notified the coastguard. Currently we are calling Jindo VTS and Wando VTS. Please hold for a moment.

After this, Jeju VTS notified other ships and Wando VTS.


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One Dead As Boat Capsizes In Devon

One person has died and another has been injured after a boat capsized at Bideford Bar, north Devon.

More follows...


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Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial Evidence 'Wrong'

Written By andika jamanta on Kamis, 17 April 2014 | 20.49

Oscar Pistorius was "wrong" in his version of events about what happened on the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the prosecution has claimed.

During cross-examination by lawyer Gerrie Nel, forensic expert Roger Dixon appeared to contradict what the athlete told the court about the position of a magazine rack in the bathroom.

In a graphic photograph showing a pool of Ms Steenkamp's blood around the toilet bowl, the witness, whose expertise was heavily criticised by Mr Nel during questioning on Wednesday, pointed out a rectangular-shaped mark.

Oscar Pistorius Is Tried For The Murder Of His Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Mr Nel, who grilled Pistorius for five days, is quizzing a forensic expert

He said this shows the magazine rack was in the position it appeared in in a police photograph, something Pistorius, who claims police officers moved objects in his house, rejects.

Mr Nel told Mr Dixon: "Remember when I asked whether the accused's version was correct? You have now showed us the accused's version was wrong."

The claim was made on the 25th day of Pistorius' trial - the last before a two-week break for the Easter holidays.

Oscar Pistorius trial

As Mr Nel continued his attempt to identify inaccuracies in the defence case, Mr Dixon admitted he did not measure the angles of any specific bullet holes in the bathroom door.

At one point the witness picked up one of Pistorius' prosthetic legs, on which traces of varnish were found.

He revealed he did not check whether the varnish - apparently from the door the 27-year-old kicked down to reach Reeva Steenkamp - could have come from contact with other doors in the house.

Oscar Pistorius murder trial Pistorius covered his ears as the court heard about Ms Steenkamp's injuries

Mr Dixon was previously branded "irresponsible" by Mr Nel, who accused him of addressing the court without having properly read a post-mortem report about Ms Steenkamp's death.

Pistorius, 27, admits shooting his partner but denies a charge of premeditated murder, claiming he mistook her for an intruder.

The athlete lowered his head and clasped his hands around his ears as further details about Ms Steenkamp's injuries were read to the court.

Reeva Steenkamp Ms Steenkamp was shot dead at Pistorius' home on Valentine's Day last year

Mr Dixon said the shock of the first bullet fired through the bathroom door may have caused her to twist and fall.

He told the court a further bullet hit Ms Steenkamp's head as she slumped to the floor, hitting her back on the magazine rack as she did so.

On Wednesday, Mr Dixon said a bullet that struck the model's arm caused such serious damage it was like "an instant amputation".

Put your questions on the Oscar Pistorius trial to Sky's Martin Brunt

The day began with a stark warning from Judge Thokozile Masipa to people watching the case in an adjoining 'overspill' room, who she said clamber over benches and "cheer, boo and do what they like".

"Something disturbing has come to my attention," she said.

As well as premeditated murder, Pistorius, who won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, denies two further counts related to shooting a gun in public on separate occasions prior to the killing.

The trial is scheduled to resume on May 5.


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Ferry Disaster: Desperate Texts During Sinking

Teenagers on the stricken South Korean ferry sent heartbreaking messages to their families as it capsized and sank.

Mobile phone footage and messages from passengers suggest they were advised to stay where they were as they vessel listed severely to one side.

But the advice may have effectively sealed the fates of many of those on board, making escape impossible as the ferry sank into the icy depths.

One 18-year-old student messaged his mother on the KakaoTalk messaging app at 9.27am (00.27am GMT)  - shortly after the ferry sent its first distress call.

He wrote: "Mum, I'm sending this because I might not be able to say it later. I love you."

Seven minutes later his mother - unaware of the trouble the vessel was in - replied: "Why? ... I thought you don't check your KakaoTalk messages.

"Me too son... I love you."

There are reports that the young man involved may be one of the lucky 179 survivors rescued before the ship capsized and went under the water.

Vessels involved in salvage operations are seen near the upturned South Korean Sewol ferry in the sea off Jindo The search has been hampered by high winds and choppy sea conditions

Another student sent a series of messages to friends in a theatre club just after 9am.

He wrote: "Hey really seriously.

"Love you all for real.

"Looks like we really are gonna die.

"No really the ship's tilting.

"You guys really.

"If I've wronged any of you. Forgive me."

A female passenger, also 18, messaged her father at around 10am (1am GMT) as the ship started to sink.

She wrote: "Dad don't worry too much. I am wearing a life vest and am with other girls."

South Korea Ferry Survivors Search Continues Relatives of passengers have been desperately hoping for good news

A few minutes later, as the situation deteriorated, she added: "I can't. It's too tilted. Can't move ... it's more dangerous if I move."

Her distraught father wrote back, urging her to try to get out, but it was already too late.

"Dad, I can't. The ship is too tilted. The hallway is crowded with so many people," she responded in a final message.

At 9.23am a 16-year-old called Kim Woong-Ki texted his older brother saying: "Brother, I'm riding a ship to Jeju Island and the ship hit something and it can't move."

After he was asked how bad the damage was, he said: "I don't know about that, since I'm inside. I don't have good coverage and just now the Coast Guards arrived."

The teenager's brother replied: "The rescue will arrive soon. Don't panic. Be calm and strong. You just need to move quickly as instructed. When you have coverage contact me again."

An icon on the brother's phone shows that his last message was not read and Kim was listed among almost 290 unaccounted for.

Some parents managed a last, traumatic phone call with their children as they tried to escape.

"He told me the ship was tilted over and he couldn't see anything," one mother recalled of a panicked conversation with her student son.

"He said 'I haven't put on the life jacket yet', and then the phone went dead," the mother told the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper.


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Ferry Disaster: Hopes Of Finding Survivors Fade

Rescue teams are battling bad weather conditions as they search for around 290 people who remain missing after a South Korean ferry capsized and sank.

Nine people have already been confirmed dead and the death toll is expected to increase sharply in what could be the country's worst maritime accident in two decades.

The dead include a female teacher, a female member of the crew and three male school students, while the majority of those who remain unaccounted for are from the same school field trip.

South Korean Coast Guard and rescue teams search for missing passengers at the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of Jindo Island. Many of those on board the ferry were school students

So far 179 people have been rescued - among them Kwon Ji-yeon, a six-year-old girl whose parents are still on the missing list.

Strong currents and bad visibility hampered the search as rescue teams hammered on the Sewol's hull, hoping in vain for a response.

The ferry's captain, 69-year-old Lee Joon-seok, faces a criminal investigation, a coastguard official told Reuters, amid unconfirmed reports that he was one of the first to jump to safety 

South Korea. The ferry got into trouble on its journey to Jeju

A man identified by broadcaster YTN and news agency Yonhap as Mr Yoon has appeared on television, his face covered by a grey hoodie.

"I'm really sorry and deeply ashamed," he said, as he was being questioned at the Mokpo coastguard.

Video footage has emerged showing passengers in life jackets as the boat began to sink and of a tannoy message asking people to stay where they are as it would be dangerous to move.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye looks around the site where the Sewol ferry sank and rescue operations are taking place, from a ship in the sea off Jindo South Korean President Park Guen-hye surveys the search area from a ship

Crew member Oh Yong-seok, 58, said the captain waited about 30 minutes before ordering the evacuation because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilise the vessel after it started to list.

By the time the evacuation order was made, it was impossible for crew to reach passengers because the ship was tilted at such an acute angle.

"We couldn't even move one step. The slope was too big," said Oh, who escaped with about a dozen others, including the captain.

Passenger Koo Bon-hee, 36, told reporters many people were trapped inside by windows that were too hard to break.

Family members of missing passengers who were on South Korean ferry "Sewol" which sank at the sea off Jindo, wait for news of their family from a rescue team, at a gym in Jindo. Distraught relatives wait for news in a gym on Jindo Island

Distraught family members are gathered on the quay of Jindo Island, huddled in blankets against the cold as they wait for any news.

"If I could teach myself to dive, I would jump in the water and try to find my daughter," Park Yung-suk told the Reuters news agency.

Some relatives have turned their anger on the government and coast guard, shouting at officials: "The weather's nice, why aren't you starting the rescue?"

The ship set sail from the port of Incheon on Tuesday carrying 475 passengers, nearly 340 of them teenagers and teachers from the Danwon school near the capital Seoul.

South Korean Coast Guard and rescue teams search for missing passengers at the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of Jindo Island. Coast Guard and rescue teams searching for missing passengers

Its destination, along a well-travelled route, was Jeju island around 60 miles (100km) south of the Korean peninsula.

It is not clear why the 6,586 tonne vessel, which was built in Japan 20 years ago, sank in apparently calm waters.

However, some survivors spoke of hearing a loud noise before disaster struck.

State broadcaster YTN quoted investigation officials as saying the ship was off its usual course after being hit by strong winds, which caused containers stacked on deck to shift.

The registered owner of the ship, Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd, has offered an apology but declined to comment further.


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Tube Workers To Strike For Five Days

Tube workers in London are to take five days of strike action in the coming weeks over ticket office closures, the RMT has said.

Members of the union will walk out from 9pm on Monday April 28 for two days and again from 9pm on Monday May 5 for three days.

The first two days of action will take place ahead of a May Day event in London in memory of former RMT leader Bob Crow, and politician and campaigner Tony Benn, who died within days of each other last month.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said assurances given when the union suspended a planned strike earlier this month had been "ripped up and thrown back in our faces".

Mr Cash blamed Tube management for "cynically wrecking" long-running talks aimed at settling a dispute over the closure of ticket offices and subsequent job losses.

More follows...


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Coulson Tells Trial He Heard Hacked Voicemail

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 16 April 2014 | 20.48

Former News Of The World editor Andy Coulson has told a jury he heard voicemail messages hacked from David Blunkett's phone.

The 46-year-old told the Old Bailey the paper's then-chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, phoned him to say Mr Blunkett, who was Home Secretary at the time, was having an affair with a married woman.

He said Mr Thurlbeck had told him he "believed the story was true" after listening to voicemail messages.

Coulson, 46, who denies the charges against him, said he was on holiday in Italy when he took the call.

His initial reaction was one of "shock and anger" at a "direct breach of privacy", he said.

During his third day in the witness box, Coulson told the court: "I was on my way to the airport to collect my brother who was coming to stay with us. I was lost, I remember that, and I parked up on the side of the road to take the call.

"Neville told me he had a tip that David Blunkett was having an affair with Kimberly Fortier. He said he believed the story was true because he heard some voicemails.

"I was shocked because he told me he had heard some voicemail messages. I was shocked he was telling me this as well because it was in relation to David Blunkett, the Home Secretary.

"I was quite angry about it. I used reasonably colourful language, words to the effect: 'What on Earth do you think you're doing?'

"My concern was it was an apparent breach of privacy and I was concerned also that this was involving somebody who I knew. He was somebody we were broadly supportive of."

Coulson, who later became Downing Street's director of communications, told the court he ordered the reporter to stop the investigation.

However, he said that on his return, his former colleague went to the News Of The World (NOTW) offices to repitch the Blunkett story, saying it was in the public interest and playing the messages to try to convince him of that point.

The revelations were made as the journalist's barrister, Timothy Langdale QC, asked him about the NOTW's relationship with Mr Blunkett which, Coulson said, was good.

Coulson said the more he listened, the more he started to think there was "some public interest justification" in the story but he wanted time to think about it.

He told the court he later decided it was in the public interest because Mr Blunkett was "distracted" by the affair and, Coulson argued, sharing sensitive information.

Coulson insisted he had no previous knowledge of voicemail hacking, adding: "I remained shocked. This was the first and only time a voicemail had been played to me."

Coulson, of Charing, Kent, denies conspiring to hack phones with Rebekah Brooks and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner.

He also denies conspiring with ex-royal editor Clive Goodman to commit misconduct in a public office.

All seven defendants in the phone hacking trial deny the charges against them and the case continues.


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Pistorius Trial: Reeva Bullet Wound Evidence

Oscar Pistorius has buried his head in his hands during a graphic account of how bullets he fired fatally injured his girlfriend.

Forensic expert Roger Dixon, who has suggested neighbours who gave evidence for the prosecution were mistaken in what they heard, gave further evidence on day 24 of the trial. 

Pistorius lowered his head and clasped his hands around his ears as Mr Dixon provided details of the injuries Reeva Steenkamp suffered.

Pistorius promo

A bullet that hit the model's arm caused such serious damage it was like "an instant amputation", he said.

The witness used a photograph placed on the back of a junior member of the defendant's legal team to illustrate where the Black Talon bullets hit Ms Steenkamp's back.

The court also heard how the bullets and fragments damaged her skull after passing through the toilet door in the athlete's home.

Pistorius court arrival Pistorius was handed a note by a well-wisher as he arrived at court

Mr Dixon disputed the prosecution's account that Ms Steenkamp was facing the door when she was shot because the couple were arguing. 

He suggested that if Ms Steenkamp had been facing the door, the shape of the bullet wounds would have been different.

However, he was forced to admit the same Black Talon ammunition had not been used in his gun tests and there was a problem getting hold of them.

Ms Steenkamp's mother June, her agent and friends of the model were in court to hear the graphic evidence.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel challenged Mr Dixon's expertise, pointing out he was not currently registered with any forensic body.

The witness admitted he had no idea about the sound expertise of a person who made a recording of a gun being fired, which has been used as evidence.

He also conceded he did not have qualifications in ballistics or pathology, after he called into question the evidence of experienced experts in both fields who gave evidence for the prosecution.

Mr Nel called Mr Dixon "irresponsible" and accused him of giving evidence without having read the post-mortem report properly, after he said he had not seen a photograph of a bruise on Ms Steenkamp's back.

Put your questions on the Oscar Pistorius trial to Sky's Martin Brunt

The athlete's lawyers have about a dozen witnesses to call as they try to challenge the state's charge that he shot Ms Steenkamp deliberately.

Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled proceedings will adjourn for more than two weeks on April 17 and resume on May 5.

Pistorius, 27, admits shooting his girlfriend but says he believed she was an intruder.

He denies premeditated murder and illegally possessing ammunition.

He also denies two further counts related to shooting a gun in public on separate occasions prior to the killing.

There are no juries in South African murder trials, so the athlete's fate will be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.


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