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Is this the next US ghost city?

Written By kom limapulan on Selasa, 02 September 2014 | 15.48

In two weeks the Showboat, left, and Revel, right, casinos have closed in Atlantic City. Pic: AP. Source: AP

Whats News: Revel Casino in Atlantic City will close its doors in September. Spanish priest infected with ebola has died. Sale of Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer has closed. AMC teases Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. Joanne Po reports. Photo: Getty Images

ANOTHER American city is falling victim to tough economic times, with a spectacular and costly failure of the gambling industry it is renowned for.

This week, Atlantic City's Revel Casino Hotel will close its doors. The $2.4 billion white elephant is shutting down just two years after it opened with high hopes of revitalising the struggling gambling market in the city.

It's the fourth casino to close this year in a city where 8000 workers will have lost their jobs as it faces major competition from neighbouring states.

The Revel casino has closed after just two years open. Pic: AP. Source: AP

"It's kind of sad," said Andrew Tannenbaum of Edison, who has stayed at Revel a dozen times in the past year.

"Compared to other casinos, this was a lot nicer. There wasn't the riffraff here. But I think they overspent, went overboard and got in over their heads. When the Borgata opened, that should have been the last of the high-end casinos for Atlantic City."

The Revel Casino had been unable to find a buyer after going bankrupt twice in two years.

Showboat has also closed down after 27 years, axing more than 2000 jobs. Source: AP

It's the second of three Atlantic City casinos to close in a two-week period. The Showboat Casino Hotel closed its doors Sunday, and Trump Plaza is closing September 16.

So what is killing them?

Analysts and competitors say Revel was hampered by bad business decisions and a fundamental misunderstanding of customers.

"The timing of it could not have been worse," said Mark Juliano, president of Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and the former CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City.

"The financial climate while Revel was developing and when it opened were completely different."

Revel officials declined to comment.

It comes after Showboat Casino was forced to close its doors, taking the number of people who lost their jobs in the last week to more than 5000.

However some officials say the city will do better with fewer casinos. Ratings agency Fitch released a report this week predicting that gambling revenue will stay in the city making other venues more popular.

The beach at Atlantic City. Pic: AP. Source: AP


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‘Someone’s smoking heavy s**t’

Martina Hingis Source: News Limited

17-year-old Belinda Bencic has produced one of the shocks of the US Open, ousting ninth seed Jelena Jankovic in straight sets.

MARTINA Hingis, the former darling of women's tennis, was kicking around in the US Open doubles when she smelt something odd today.

Hingis and her Italian doubles partner Flavia Pennetta were playing against Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova and Ajla Tomljanovic at the time.

As the five-time grand slam winner made her way towards the umpire's chair for the change of ends, she waved her hands in front of her face and said: "Someone's smoking some heavy s**t."

You would assume she was referring to marijuana.

Hingis has not competed in the main draw of a grand slam singles tournament since her retirement in 2007, but has made her way back onto the court via doubles.

She and Pennetta overcame the fumes to triumph 6-1 6-4 and move into the quarter-finals.

Hingis has had issues with drugs in the past, banned from the game for two years after testing positive to cocaine.

Hingis sends down a serve. Source: News Limited

MEET THE NEW MARTINA HINGIS

TEENAGE phenomenon Belinda Bencic has followed in Hingis' footsteps and fought her way into US Open history this tournament.

The 17-year-old Bencic — who is also Swiss and considers Hingis a friend and mentor — knocked off ninth-seeded Jelena Jankovic 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 and became the youngest player to reach the quarter-finals in Flushing Meadows since — coincidentally — Hingis in 1997 (also at 17).

Belinda Bencic, 17, reacts after defeating Jelena Jankovic of Serbia at the US Open. Source: AFP

Bencic is coached by Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor, and yesterday she put on a performance to be proud of.

"It was always a dream to play on this court,'' said Bencic, the youngest player to reach the quarters in a grand slam since Nicole Vaidisova at the 2006 French Open.

"I was overwhelmed. Everything was so huge."

Bencic next faces China's Shuai Peng in the quarter-finals.


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12 biggest mysteries scientists can’t solve

This man has no idea who he is, nor do scientists. He's just one of several mysteries nobody has the answers to. These dumbfounding puzzles remain unsolved to this day. Source: Supplied

WHILE Harry Houdini prided himself on leaving audiences from around the world mystified at his illusions and escapes, modern science has revealed how he accomplished many of his spectacles of grandeur. Time doesn't always shed light on unexplained mysteries, though. Consider the 5-tonne statues that dot remote Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or 5,000-year-old coins that have been found buried in the United States. Such oddities continue to baffle modern science as experts continue — to date in vain — to search for rational explanations to the world's greatest unsolved mysteries, which are as confounding as they are exhilarating.

12.The Moai statues of Easter Island

How these were constructed remains a head scratcher. Source: News Corp Australia

The mystery of Easter Island and the Moai statues that inhabit it is something that most of us are at least vaguely familiar with, but the fact that there are still so many legitimate unanswered questions surrounding the island is in itself quite remarkable. Back in Easter in 1722, a Dutch explorer happened upon something strange. He was originally in search of a hypothetical land mass called Terra Australis, thought to exist because at the time they thought that the northern and southern hemispheres should be balanced. Instead though, he discovered an island in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean, which he would later name Easter Island due to the date of its discovery. He was surprised to discover that the island was inhabited, and he reported seeing 2,000 to 3,000 people there. This was surprising, because the island is ... well … really far from anything else at all. A staggering 1,900 kilometres away from the nearest inhabited land, and about 3,500 kilometres off the coast of Chile. And yet despite its incredible remoteness, The Rapa Nui people who called the island home managed to carve and transport a mind-blowing 887 statues, some measuring 33 feet tall and weighing up to 82 tonnes, an average of 17 kilometres each. And this all happened roughly 700 years ago. The biggest remaining question mark concerning the statues themselves is definitely their transportation. Theories have been proposed that involve ropes, sleds, rollers, levelled tracks, or even that the people slowly rocked the statues back and forth to their destination. Attempts have been made to recreate the methods that could have been used, but most resulted in damage to the statues, or would have required hundreds of people making just 0.08 kilometres of progress per day. The truth is, we don't really know exactly how they did it. But however the Rapa Nui managed to move the Moai, they would have certainly needed to be incredibly patient, creative, and organised to make them a reality.

11.The Confederate Treasury

Will the gold rise again? Source: Supplied

The year was 1865, and the American Civil War was drawing to a close. As the Union army marched the final path to victory, however, Confederate Secretary of the Treasury George Trenholm made one last effort to preserve the South's assets: he liquidated them. While a veritable fortune in gold, silver, and jewels had been carried by President Jefferson Davis and his men when they abandoned Richmond, Virginia, when they were captured, it was all gone. All of it, save a few confederate banknotes. And the most improbable part of all was the staggering 4,000 kilograms of Mexican silver dollars that seemed to simply have vanished. Dozens of theories have been proposed to explain the mystery behind the missing treasure. Some maintain that the gold was distributed among plantation owners and buried, waiting for a day when the South will rise again. Many believe that the silver was buried in Danville, Virginia, where it still resides today. Others have claimed that the funds were entrusted with a secret society called the Knights of the Golden circle, so that they could finance a second civil war in the future. But the truth is, the real fate of the Confederate treasury still remains a mystery to this day.

10. Gobekli Tepe

Our understanding of the rise of civilisation crumbles at this site. Source: Supplied

Every so often, a discovery happens that forces us to re-imagine what we think we know about humanity, and how we got to where we are today. Turkey's Göbekli Tepe is certainly one such discovery. The site, located at the top of a mountain ridge, is composed of more than 200 pillars, up to 20 feet in height and weighing up to 20 tonnes, arranged in roughly 20 circles. Many of the pillars have predatory animals engraved on them. And none of this would be surprising if it was built in, say 2000 B.C., but Gobekli Tepe was built more than 13,000 years ago, predating Stonehenge by more than 8,000 years. Its existence completely up-ends the conventional view of the rise of civilisation. The idea of a religious monument built by hunter-gatherers flies in the face of our knowledge about both religious monuments and hunter-gatherers. Prior to the discovery of this site, we believed that the people of that time lacked complex symbolic systems, social hierarchies, and the division of labour — three prerequisites, we thought, for building a 22-acre massive temple. Formal religion, meanwhile, is supposed to have appeared only after agriculture produced such hierarchical social relations. The findings at Göbekli Tepe, however, suggest that we might just have the story backward — perhaps it was the need to build a sacred site that first fuelled hunter-gatherers in their quest to organise themselves as a workforce, to settle down in one place, to secure a stable food supply, and to, eventually, invent agriculture. But the existence of the site raises far more questions than it answers. How did nomadic, neolithic man manage to organise a workforce to complete this site? Why was it built? How come it predates similar structures by thousands of years? Excavation started on the site in 1996, and most of it still remains to be unearthed, but for now these questions must go unanswered.

9. Sea Peoples

Historians have no answer to this seafaring race Source: Supplied

During the late Bronze Age, civilisation was progressing at an impressive rate in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean regions. Kingdoms rose, order was established, and technology advanced. The Mycenaean and Minoans had intricate palaces in Greece and Crete, the Hittites dominated what is now Turkey. And the Canaanites controlled what would become the holy land — Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan. But in the years surrounding 1200 B.C., all of the would change. Over the course of a single generation, all of those civilisations would be almost entirely wiped off the map, and those that did survive would be set back a thousand years, losing the ability to write and turning back the clock on the sophistication of their art, architecture, and pottery in the hundred years to follow. This event was part of what is known as the Bronze Age collapse, and it remains one of the largest dark spots in historians' records. And one of the causes of this bizarre collapse was the mysterious "Sea Peoples" — a technologically inferior, unaffiliated group of seafaring warriors who raided the lands and are often credited with the collapse of these once-great civilisations. The problem is, historians still have little if any idea of where these warriors came from, or what became of them after their conquest finally ended in Egypt. Also unknown is how the Sea Peoples managed to conquer civilisations hundreds of years more advanced in weaponry. But without solid records from the time, and with only scattered details of the origins of these strange raiders, we may never know their true identity.

8. Antikythera Mechanism

Does not compute. The oldest computer known to man was built thousands of years ago. Source: AP

The Antikythera mechanism is an incredibly intricate analogue computer found in a shipwreck near Greece in the year 1900. The device was used to determine the positions of celestial bodies using a mind-bogglingly complex series of bronze gears. The device in and of itself would already be impressive, but the unbelievable part of the mechanism? It was created 100 years before the birth of Christ, and more than 1,000 years before anything even approaching its level of technological complexity and workmanship would be discovered again. The device also came long before our modern understanding of astronomy and physics. The Antikythera mechanism was built over 1,600 years before Galileo was born, and over 1,700 years before Isaac Newton was born. Now, the rational explanation is that the device used working theories on the movements of celestial bodies established at the time, and some remarkably brilliant craftsmen. But if you were looking for a jumping-off point for your new time-travel novel or alien sci-fi epic, this one should hit you like a 10-tonne brick. Because for all the explanations we can offer, the Antikythera mechanism raises even more questions.

7. Oak Island Money Pit

Is there treasure deep down? Source: Supplied

Throughout history, we've never ceased to be enamoured with tales of buried treasure, secret inscriptions, and booby traps. But one of the most enduring treasure mysteries of all time comes from a tiny island off the coast of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. Oak Island is the home of what is informally known as the "Money Pit," an incredibly deep hole of incredibly elaborate construction discovered in 1795. Over two centuries of excavation have unearthed no treasure thus far, but what has been discovered is arguably just as fascinating. Underneath the surface of the pit are a series of wooden platforms, and even deeper, flooding mechanisms formed from multiple underground canals leading to water. The first time someone managed to dig deep enough, the entire pit was immediately flooded, and due to the construction of the mechanism, it would fill back up with water as fast as you could remove it. At the 90-foot mark, an inscribed, encoded stone tablet was found that was revealed to say "forty feet below, two million pounds lie beneath." In search for whatever the island is hiding, the money pit has attracted the attention of hundreds of search parties, including former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who in his youth spent a summer with fellow Harvard grads in search of the treasure. It's truly a historical oddity, but considering that we're no closer to finding out who dug the pit and why, after 200 years of searching, one must wonder if we ever will.

6. The Voynich Manuscript

Forget the Art of War, this is book you'll never finish because no one knows the language. Source: Supplied

History is littered with ancient languages that have been decoded, and ciphers that have been cracked, but if there is one bizarre occurrence that marks a thorn in historians' sides, it has to be the Voynich manuscript. Purchased by rare-book dealer Wilfrid Voynich in 1912, the text doesn't appear particularly remarkable at first glance. A series of paragraphs over the course of 240 pages accompanied by illustrations and diagrams, broken into what appear to be six distinct sections. The sections appear to describe different topics of herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, and pharmaceutical nature. What is so remarkable about the manuscript, then? Well, It's written in a language unknown to man, and has evaded all attempts to decipher its contents to this day. The writing is composed of over 170,000 characters written in patterns that resemble natural language. Twenty or 30 glyphs can account for nearly the entire text, with the exception of a few stray characters that appear only once. It was written smoothly, with no evidence of errors or corrections anywhere, and no evidence of pauses during writing, which one would expect with encoded text. Almost as to suggest that the language was natural for whoever wrote it. Carbon dating revealed that the script was written between the years 1404 and 1438, and although theories have been offered, nobody actually knows the author of the work. Due to the numerous failed attempts to decipher the Voynich manuscript, many have suggested that the manuscript is an elaborate hoax, and can't actually be deciphered. But until the truth becomes known, this strange text will remain one of history's most fascinating unsolved mysteries.

5. The WOW! signal

Aliens, are you there? Source: Supplied

On a summer night in 1977, Jerry Ehman, a volunteer for SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, recorded the strongest hard evidence of extraterrestrial life in human history. Ehman was scanning radio waves from deep space, as his volunteer position entailed, hoping to come across a signal that bore the hallmarks of one sent by intelligent aliens. And on that night, he saw his measurements spike, in a big way. The signal lasted for 72 seconds, the longest period of time it could possibly be measured by the array that Ehman was using. It was unmistakable, and appeared to have originated from within the Sagittarius constellation near a star called Tau Sagittarii, 120 light years away. Ehman wrote the words "Wow!" on the original printout of the signal, thus its being known as the "Wow! Signal."

Wow indeed. Source: Supplied

If you're wondering what the fuss is about the signal, think of it this way — the signal that was received was at precisely the right frequency that wouldn't be interpreted as noise, and wouldn't be intercepted along its journey. In other words, if we were going to send a signal out into the universe to try to communicate with an alien race, that's exactly the frequency we would use. Despite the incredible occurrence however, all attempts to locate the signal again have failed, leading to much controversy and confusion about its origins and its meaning.

4. The real identity of Benjamin Kyle

Who do you think you are? Source: Supplied

In 2004, A man that would soon adopt the name Benjaman Kyle woke up outside of a Burger King in Georgia without any clothes, any ID, or any memories. He was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia, unable to remember who he was, and with no identification, unable to find out. Now, if this was like any other story about amnesia, it would have probably resolved itself soon afterwards. But the trouble was, authorities couldn't identify him either. Local and state police failed to discover him in any known records despite an exhaustive search. And then in 2007, the FBI became involved, but were also unable to identify him, making him the only US citizen in history listed as missing despite his whereabouts being known. One particularly unfortunate side effect of not having your own identity is that, without a social security number, he is unable to obtain full-time employment, and without memory of any past skills or disciplines, the problem is only amplified. After a student documentary was created about Benjaman, news media picked up the story, which attracted the attention of local business owners. One of the owners offered him a job washing dishes, a job which he is still working today. This enabled him to move out of the woods where he was sleeping, and into an air-conditioned shed, where he now stays. But his true identity and past remain a mystery to this day.

3. The Dancing Plague of 1518

Long before music festivals dancing fever took hold of people. Source: Supplied

The story of the dancing plague sounds like something straight out of fiction. On a summer's day in the town of Strasbourg during the year 1518, a woman began dancing wildly in the street. The day turned into night, the night turned into morning, and she was still dancing. Within a week, 34 others had joined her, dancing as though they were possessed, without stop, for no apparent reason. And within a month, the number of dancers had reached 400. Religious sermons were called to address the issue. Physicians were called in to document the event and try to find a solution. And all the while, the dancing worsened. Many became ill or died as a result of exhaustion, strokes, or heart attacks. The authorities eventually decided that the only way the dancers would recover is if they danced it out of their systems. Gild halls and a grain market were opened to the dancers, and a wooden stage was even constructed for them. Musicians were even brought in to keep those affected moving. Numerous theories have been proposed for the cause of the bizarre event, including poisoning, epilepsy, typhus, mass psychogenic illness, and even secretly coordinated religious rituals, but to this day we still have no answer for this truly unbelievable historical event.

2. The S.S. Ourang Medan

Did ghosts kill the crew of a cargo ship? Source: Supplied

In June 1947, multiple ships travelling trade routes in the strait of Malacca, off the coast of Malaysia, received a terrifying SOS message that read: "All officers including captain are dead lying in chart room and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead." After a short period of time, one final message was received, that read simply ... "I die." Nearby ships identified the source of the signal as coming from a Dutch freighter, the SS Ourang Medan. The nearest merchant ship, The Silver Star, travelled as fast as they could to the source of the distress signal. But upon boarding the Ourang Medan, they were horrified by what they found: Every member of the crew lay dead, their corpses scattered on the decks. The eyes of the men were still open and expressions of sheer terror were frozen on their faces. The Silver Star's party found the deceased radio operator as well, his hand still on the Morse Code-sending key, and eyes wide open. But strangely, there were no signs of wounds or injuries on any of the bodies. The Silver Star's crew decided to tow the ship back to port, but before they could get underway, smoke began emanating from the decks below. The boarding party quickly returned to their ship and barely had time to escape before the SS Ourang Medan exploded and swiftly sank. Some theorised that clouds of noxious natural gases bubbled up from fissures in the seabed and engulfed the ship, and others have even blamed the occurrence on the supernatural, but to this day, the exact fate of the ships crew remains a mystery.

1. Baghdad Battery

Shocking! Was electricity used thousands of years before we switched it on? Source: Supplied

When we think of electricity, most of us recall back to a time in school where we learned about Benjamin Franklin, a metal key, and a kite. The year of Franklin's fateful discovery was 1752. But the existence of the Baghdad batteries suggests the possibility of far more shocking scientific advances in the field — a mind-blowing 2,000 years earlier. Discovered in 1936, and thought to have been created in the Mesopotamian region, these clay pots contain galvanised iron nails wrapped with copper sheeting, and some archaeologists theorise that an acidic liquid was used to generate an electric current inside the jar. If correct, these artefacts would predate the currently accepted timeline for the invention of the electrochemical cell, attributed to Alessandro Volta, by more than two millennia. Whether or not the artefacts were in fact used as batteries is highly contested by archaeologists, and what the resulting electrical current was used for is also a complete mystery, as we have no historical records from that time. Some people theorise that they might have been used for electroplating objects, but such evidence of their use for that purpose is yet to be found. What we do know, however, is that the batteries would actually work, at least in theory. At least twice, experiments were conducted to test replica constructions of the batteries, including once on the show Mythbusters, and both experiments showed that the batteries were indeed capable of producing electricity when filled with an acidic solution. But for now, the true purpose of these artefacts remains unknown.


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Singer’s shocking rape outburst

Singer Cee Lo Green has pleaded no contest to giving a woman ecstasy during a 2012 dinner in Los Angeles. Green, whose real name is Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, was sentenced to three years of probation and 360 hours of community service. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, file) Source: AP

Grammy-winning singer Cee Lo Green has shocked fans with a series of since-deleted tweets in which he argued that sex with an unconscious person cannot be classed as rape.

The F**k You singer this week pleaded no contest to a charge of giving a woman ecstasy before going back to her hotel, but insisted he was innocent.

Green was accused of giving ecstasy to a 33-year-old woman without her knowledge while dining at a Los Angeles restaurant in July 2012, before returning to the woman's hotel.

Prosecutors did not charge him with rape of an intoxicated person, citing insufficient evidence.

In posts that were later deleted from his account but still available to view elsewhere, Green addressed the case, tweeting, "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!"

"If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent," he added.

Green drew further ire from fans when he appeared to equate rape with home burglary:

"When someone brakes on a home (sic) there is broken glass where is your plausible proof anyone was raped," he wrote.

The former Gnarls Barkley frontman has since deleted his Twitter account. Source: AP

A judge on Friday formally charged Green with one felony count of furnishing a controlled substance. He was sentenced to three years probation, 360 hours of community service, 52 Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous classes and ordered to register as a controlled substance offender.

Green has now deleted his Twitter completely, but not before using the platform to tweet out an apology for his earlier comments:

"I sincerely apologize for my comments being taken so far out of context," he wrote.

"I only intended on a healthy exchange to help heal those who love me from the pain I had already caused from this. Please forgive me as it was your support that got me thru this to begin with. I'd never condone the harm of any women. Thank you."

Green attends a hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court House on August 29. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images


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Telstra gave up 85,000 customer records

Written By kom limapulan on Senin, 01 September 2014 | 15.48

Watch the full cringe-worthy interview of Attorney-General George Brandis as he attempts to descibe what 'metadata' is.

POLICE and government agencies accessed at least 84,849 Telstra customer records in the 12 months to July, the telco has revealed in its first full-year transparency report.

The vast majority of the records — some 75,448 — related to basic customer information, carriage service records, or basic pre-warrant checks, which are used to determine whether customers were still with Telstra.

Customer information can include a customer's name, address, previous address, service number, connection dates, and date of birth.

Carriage service records can include data on phone, text and internet communications, including when, to whom and for how long communication is made.

The report reveals 6202 records were provided to agencies in response to emergency situations, such as Triple Zero calls, with 598 provided in response to court orders, typically relating to civil disputes.

BIG BROTHER: Why the government wants to keep your metadata

AWKWARD: George Brandis fails to explain what metadata is

Telstra ... have disclosed how much data they have given to government agencies. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Some 2701 records were obtained via a warrant, allowing agencies to conduct real-time phone taps or access the content of a customer's communication.

Companies are prohibited from disclosing information requests from national security agencies such as ASIO, meaning the overall figure is likely far higher than the reported 84,849.

All Australian telcos are required by law to assist government agencies by handing over customer data in defined situations, such as criminal investigations.

Yet Telstra is one of the few companies operating in Australia to disclose the number and types of these requests.

It released its first transparency report in March, following the likes of tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter.

That report covered the second half of 2013, but the new one is Telstra's first to disclose an entire year of data.

It comes as the telecommunications industry negotiates with the federal government about a controversial proposal to compel telcos to store customer metadata for two years.

Telecommunications Minister Malcolm Turnbull becomes the latest MP to try and explain how the Government's retention of internet data will work.

Spying and law enforcement bodies say mandatory retention of customer data is vital for fighting crime and terrorism.

Critics within the industry counter that extra storage and retention could cost some telcos hundreds of millions of dollars. Unlike most other transparency reports, Telstra did not disclose how many of the requests it challenged or denied.

But because Australian law allows agencies to undertake a pre-warrant check to finetune their investigations, there are relatively fewer illegitimate requests, it said.

Telstra added that its international arm, Telstra global, received fewer than 100 requests for information.


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‘Incest’ mum to face court

Betty Colt, matriarch of the infamous 'Colt' incest family, will have the case returned to court later this month. She is accused of plotting to abduct two of her children from foster care. Source: Supplied

A WOMAN at the centre of one of Australia's most infamous incest cases faced court this afternoon on charges she tried to abduct two of her children.

Betty Colt, 48, was expected to have learned her fate at Moss Vale Local Court today, however a court spokesman told news.com.au the case had been adjourned until September 12 for a decision.

Police allege she attempted to kidnap her children back from foster carers.

Her real identity has been suppressed and the name 'Colt' was given to her by the court to protect the identities of her children.

Police raided the Colt family home in rural south-western New South Wales in July 2012 after a teacher alerted authorities to a conversation overheard in the playground that detailed the incest.

The conversation that shocked the teacher — and triggered the police investigation — was: "My sister is pregnant and we don't know which of my brothers is the father."

The raid on the isolated farm was carried out by police and the Department of Family and Community Services and uncovered the most shocking case of incest Australia has ever seen.

The raids found 38 adults and children living in filthy caravans and tin sheds without electricity, town water or any plumbing. They were the result of four generations from grandparents who were brother and sister.

As well as the attempted abduction charges Ms Colt is accused of recruiting another son to commit a criminal act. Police allege she wanted the son, named 'Bobby' by the court, to help her abduct his siblings.

She is also alleged to have smuggled two of the children a mobile phone and charger to open a secret line of communication.

Prosecutors alleged in Moss Vale Local Court today Ms Colt planned to take her children to South Australia and have them work as fruit pickers to earn money.

They alleged she was not only trying to use them for financial gain but influence them in relation to the ongoing investigation.

The court heard Ms Colt was alleged to have told her son Bobby "not to talk to anyone" and that they "don't know who your father is", The Daily Telegraph reported.

Ms Colt's lawyer Phil Carey argued the plan wasn't kidnapping as the boy didn't voice a clear lack of consent.

In 2012 after the Colt family were discovered some children were placed with foster families, others put in treatment programs for sexualised behaviour and psychological trauma. They have had some contact with their parents and siblings.

Betty Colt was charged with attempting to abduct her children from foster care. Source: Supplied

The public first became aware of the shocking case when the Children's Court, in a rare move, released its findings that led to 12 children being placed in care.

Despite several at-risk reports by authorities into the family it wasn't until the teacher came forward that action was taken.

When the raid occurred Betty Colt was found sharing a marital bed with her brother Charlie and her children, same only as young as 10, were the result of sex between Ms Colt and her brother, father or another close male relative.

The five family groups comprised of sisters, Rhonda, 47, Martha, 33, and Betty Colt, 46, who slept every night with her brother, Charlie, and two of Betty's daughters who each had children who proved to be from unions of related parents.

Charlie Colt fled to the UK in June after fearing he would never get a fair trial in Australia. In an exclusive interview he told the Daily Telegraph he'd never abused anyone in his life.

"I love my whole family dearly, but not sexually. I think it's absolutely disgusting, it's wrong, it's against everything we were brought up with."

Despite genetic testing revealing at least 14 Colt children had parents who were related, Charlie dismissed that as "absolute rubbish".

The Daily Telegraph reported the Children's Court was told that the sister, given the pseudonym Tammy Colt, 29, gave birth to her baby Sally, who died within two months from a fatal genetic disorder known as Zellweger Syndrome. Sally was born "extremely dysmorphic" with the thick short neck and lowset ears typical of the syndrome.

The father was not named on the birth certificate but Tammy has since told counsellors she had been having a relationship for three years with a younger brother.

Genetic testing on the baby girl showed the genetic abnormalities existed as a result of incest and it is believed both parents are carriers of the genetic disease.

A doctor made an appointment for Tammy and her mother, Betty Colt, to see her to warn them of the dangers but neither of them turned up.

The Colt Family tree Source: Supplied

AUSTRALIA'S WORST INCEST CASE

Eight of the Colt children have parents who were either brother and sister, mother and son or father and daughter.

A further six have parents who were either aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, half siblings or grandparents and grandchild.

Interviews with the Colts revealed the family saga began back in New Zealand, in the first half of last century when June Colt was born to parents who were brother and sister.

June married Tim and in the 1970s the couple emigrated to Australia.

The family would then move, several times, between South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria, usually living in remote rural communities, shying away from public knowledge about the truth.

Tim and June gave birth to four daughters and two sons.

Three of the daughters — Rhonda, 47, Betty, 46, and Martha, 33, and at least one of the sons, Charlie, form the elder members of the family group in the NSW bush camp.

Betty had 13 children.

She contended their father was a man called Phil Walton, now dead, who was known to the family as Tim.

But genetics show one of her children, Bobby, 15, was fathered either by her father, whose name was Tim, or the brother she was sleeping with.

Four more of Betty's children were fathered by a close family member.

Betty's eldest child, Raylene, now aged 30, has a 13-year-old daughter, Kimberly.

Raylene insists Kimberly's father is a man called Sven, from Sweden or Switzerland.

Testing identifies Kimberly's father as either her half brother, an uncle or a grandfather.

A police and social services raid found Betty Colt sharing a bed with her brother — and some of her children were the result of sex with her brother or father. Source: Supplied

Betty's second oldest child, Tammy, now aged 27, has given birth to three daughters, one of whom died from a rare genetic disorder, and all of whom, she eventually admitted, were fathered by her closest brother, Derek, 25.

Betty's younger sister, Martha Colt, 33, has five children, four of whom were fathered by her own father, Tim, or by her brother, and another who is the product of a union with a close relation.

It was the 10 youngest of Betty and Martha's children, and Raylene's daughter, Kimberly, 13, who ran wild in a sexual spree about the property.

Betty's children, Bobby, 15, Billy, 14, Brian, 12, Dwayne, 9, and Carmen, 8, all have parents who are close family members.

Martha's children, Albert, 15, Jed, 14, Ruth, 9, and Nadia, 7, are also the product of closely-related parents.

DEPRAVED SECRETS

Court documents obtained by news.com.aurevealed the shocking extent of the conditions the family lived in although a court order forbids news.com.au saying exactly where the family lived in.

-Exposed electric wires, bags of rubbish and chainsaws lay about.

-There were no toilets, showers or baths.

-The children were unwashed and wore dirty clothes.

-They were shy and made little eye contact.

-Few were capable of intelligible speech; almost all had fungal infections in their feet.

-Some had oddly-formed features, which scientific tests would later reveal was a result of "homozygosity" or identical gene patterns of both of the children's parents.

The children were sexually involved with each other and only one, the youngest, a five-year-old girl, had parents who weren't related.

Police and welfare officers saw a social time bomb exploding before their eyes with one officer reportedly saying she would never get over it or forget it.


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What’s happened to all the kale?

At Corrigan's Farms with owner Deborah Corrigan. Source: News Corp Australia

IT'S official; we're running out of kale.

Yes, we've been devouring this leafy superfood at such a great rate of knots that one of the world's largest kale seed providers, Benjo Seeds based in the Netherlands, says it has run out of every type of kale.

Australian producers aren't far behind. Bruynen Farms, southeast of Melbourne, had to stop crowing other crops juts to make room for this superfood, and it's no surprise as their kale crop per season increased from about 3000 to 4000 to 25,000 due to popular demand.

Among the largest Australian kale suppliers are Deborah and Darren Corrigan, who sell to Coles and Woolworths. From 1500 seedlings as a trial to the 150,000 they now plant, they say it's hard to find enough supply to keep up with demand.

What's the big deal?

Besides the fact Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it, it's hard to believe just how many nutrients are packed into one plant.

Kale is high in fibre to keep you feeling full, higher in iron than beef so vegetarians love it, high in vitamin K which is essential for healthy bones and vitamin A for healthy eyes and skin. Plus it helps protect against cancer thanks to its huge number of antioxidants and kale can help lower cholesterol to keep your heart happy. No wonder we're running out!

Tuscan kale is a great source of fibre and iron. Source: News Corp Australia

Should we panic?

Kale is great but there are plenty of alternatives that will give you all the same benefits. Let's break it down into the main nutrients:

• Fibre

"Add fibre-rich vegetables to your diet daily such, as cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, beans and peas," recommends body+soul Naturopath, Mim Beim, "Also replace fruit and vegetable juice with fruit and vegetables. Fruit juice, in particular, is high in sugar and low on the valuable fibre that fruit in its unprocessed form offers."

• Vitamin K

You'll need to stick to dark, leafy vegetables as your best sources of vitamin K, thanks to chlorophyll. With kale out of the picture, it's time for spinach to make a comeback. Remember spinach? That little green leaf we loved before we were swept up in the kale craze? Other good sources include broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts.

• Iron

Sure you could turn to red meat, chicken, fish and eggs, but there are still plenty of plant-based options.

Kale, quinoa and roasted pumpkin pilaf makes a nice side to a BBQ. Source: Supplied

"You can get iron from wholegrain bread and cereals including wheat germ, legumes (lentils, peas, baked beans, humus), nuts and seeds (LSA mix, nut butters, tahini), green leafy vegetables (spinach and silverbeet) and dried apricots," suggests body+soul Nutritionist, Lisa Guy.

• Vitamin A

Protect your eyes with carrots and sweet potato, or move away from vegies and get replace it with milk and egg yolks.

• Antioxidants

This is probably the easiest one to replace; just think fruit and veg. Most of the antioxidants we eat come from plants, so if you make sure to get your recommended two serves of fruit and five of vegetables a day, you'll be fine.

The easiest way to keep track?

Keeping a food diary, like the body+soul revolution Online Diary, is a simple and beneficial way to make sure you're getting the right nutrients each day.

"Many people think they're eating healthily but when they keep a food diary they get a surprise," says body+soul GP, Dr. Cindy Pan, "Food diaries are like the fuel gauge on a car — if we didn't have it we wouldn't know much fuel was needed."


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The shocking real-life hazards of eating out

Beware of wet floors. You risk public humiliation and a broken bones. Source: ThinkStock

EVERY time you walk out your door you're faced with all kinds of risk — speeding drivers, potholes hiding under rain water and falling pianos. That last one may have been a Wile E Coyote skit.

But it seems one of the times when it's fraught with danger is when you're eating out. At least it certainly seems that way if the most common insurance claims from food venues are anything to go by.

SLIPS AND FALLS

As expected, 'slips and falls' are the most common type of liability claim made by restaurants and cafes, according to insurance company AAMI.

Venues which fail to signpost a wet area can face a customer who's not only embarrassed the hell out of themselves with their impression of a novice cartoon ice-skater, they can also be slapped with a lawsuit for injuries such as a cracked coccyx. That's your butt bone by the way.

UNEXPECTED SURPRISES

AAMI has also received a whole buffet of claims lodged by restaurants after their patrons found 'foreign objects' in their meals — metal screws, pieces of Perspex (mm, crunchy) and fragments of wood (mm, earthy). Inexplicably, the insurer has received claims for "metal shavings". Maybe the sous chef mistook a chunk of metal for truffle or pecorino?

Shaved cheese is a welcome addition to many dishes but shaved metal? Not so much ... Source: ThinkStock

Of course, none of sound as bad as a recent case in the US state of Utah. A woman was hospitalised after drinking iced tea laced with lye — a particularly harsh chemical compound. The lye was accidentally mixed into the drink because it was mislabelled in the kitchen. Yikes.

FOOD POISONING

Food contamination could lead to hours and days hunched over a toilet bowl. For a restaurant, it could lead to thousands of dollars in damages or a swath of bad online reviews. So it's a lose-lose for everyone. According to AAMI, the most common food contamination claims have involved foods such as raw eggs in homemade concoctions such as custard and mayonnaise, and cured meats such as salami.

Lawsuits for food poisoning aren't uncommon. Last year, a WA man threatened to sue a function centre after nine guests at his wedding, including the poor bride, spent the night being sick after eating the pork.

FLYING OBJECTS

Another hazard when you're dining out is being hit with collapsing umbrellas and flying signs. If it's a windy day and that flapping awning outside the cafe looks a bit loose, here's a hint: don't sit under it. AAMI said it's received many claims for injuries caused by marquees, umbrellas and signs that weren't secured properly.

HOT COFFEE

Warning: it's hot. Source: News Limited

And then there's the classic hot liquid danger. They have been plenty of claims filed for employees who have accidentally spilt hot liquid on a customer, causing some nasty burns.

Last year, a 22-year old Adelaide woman, Jessica Sussan Wishart, sued a McDonald's because she had spilt hot McDonald's coffee on her own lap while in a moving car. She claimed McDonald's failed to warn her that the hot coffee was hot.

In 1994, a jury in the US famously awarded a woman $US2.8 million in a lawsuit when she suffered burns to six per cent of her body after spilling McDonald's coffee in her lap.

Of course, you can't stay hiding in your house under your safety blanket forever. Sometimes, those amazing marinated beef ribs are worth leaving your abode for. But if you're looking for an excuse to cook at home more, the five above make a convincing argument.


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Ukraine civilians abandoned as Russia invades

Written By kom limapulan on Minggu, 31 Agustus 2014 | 15.48

Fighting continued near Mariupol, Ukraine, on Wednesday morning, even after face-to-face talks between Russias Vladimir Putin and Ukraines Petro Poroshenko. Photo: AP

Ukrainian loyalist fighters from the Azov Battalion stand guard on a hill on the outskirts of Mariupol. Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

WITH pro-Russian rebels looming threateningly at its gates, fighters loyal to the city of Mariupol are having to face a hard truth: they will be unable to save this vital Ukrainian port alone.

"We're the only ones here," sighs 'Botsman', the leader of one unit in the Azov volunteer battalion trying to hold out as pro-Russian rebel forces sweep west.

From a headland above the Azov Sea, in the "no man's land" between the two lines, he can see Novoazovsk, a seaside town just across the bay captured by the rebels on Wednesday after days of fierce fighting.

Since it fell, the south-eastern port city of Mariupol has felt like a place awaiting its fate.

"The Ukrainian army has pulled back," says 'Panther', a fellow loyalist fighter covered in tattoos who identifies himself as a "Ukrainian nationalist".

The situation, says Botsman, is getting bad.

Ukrainian loyalist fighters from the Azov Battalion stand guard on a hill on the outskirts of Mariupol. Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

Pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine warned yesterday that they will launch a fresh offensive against government troops, days after seizing swathes of territory. Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

While Mariupol waits, there is an uneasy calm. Just behind the last roadblock held by the army, hundreds of people have gathered, many dressed in the sunflower yellow and sky blue of Ukraine's national flag.

Ukrainian loyalists demonstrate by the last checkpoint controlled by Ukraine's army on the eastern side of Mariupol. Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

In the fields beside them, a series of trenches are being dug to try to halt any future advance into the city from the east, while soldiers sing "Ukraine is not dead".

The other slogans tell of a population still proudly loyal to Kiev, even as the tide in the east seems to be turning against them.

"Glory to Ukraine," and "Putin out", shout some of the fighters. "Agents of the Kremlin: know that Mariupol is Ukrainian", echo the crowd.

An Ukrainian soldier digs a trench on the outskirts of the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Picture: Alexander Khudotepky Source: AFP

Residents of Mariupol dig trenches and make fortifications with sandbags as they assist Ukrainian troops in organising their defence. Picture: Anatolii Boiko Source: AFP

The mood among fighters is equally defiant, but matched with an awareness that as things stand, it would not take long for them to be outgunned.

Botsman, a Russian by blood and a veteran of the war in Chechnya, says he is here to fight Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He starts to go through the list of what the pro-Kiev fighters need: tanks, drones, heavy artillery, up-to-date-maps, a less-chaotic form of leadership.

"As you can see, what we have here is hardly the top-grade material" on show at the Kiev military parade, he says, sardonically.

The Azov battalion is said to be one of the most radical nationalist groups fighting in the area. They won Mariupol back from the separatists in June.

A villager looks at a pro-Russian fighter pasting a paper on the wall of a supermarket in downtown Novoazovsk, 50kms east of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

The paper reads "The Fredom Army of Novarussia welcomes you, we are here and planning to stay for a long time. Do not believe in rumours that we are about to leave the city. Our goal is to go further, your goal is to build up a peaceful and honourable lifestyle". Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

An Orthodox priest (R) salutes Ukrainian soldiers defending the last checkpoint on the eastern side of Mariupol. Picture: Francisco Leong Source: AFP

If the town falls again, it will be the second notch for the separatists along this southern coast. Another few hundred kilometres, and the path reaches Crimea, the region annexed by Russia in March.

As well as its strategic importance, the loss of the town would be a symbolic blow for Kiev, whose army has been pushed back over the last week from the south-eastern front.

"It is the last big town in the region under Ukrainian control, home to half a million people," the commander of the Azov battalion, Andrey Biletsky, tells AFP.

He admits that there are few official troops and tanks now here, but insists that the situation is not yet "critical", and says he is confident "the army will send reinforcements".

A dog looks out the window of a car queuing at a checkpoint as people flee Mariupol in the Donetsk region amid fears of an offensive by pro-Russian militants. Picture: Anatolii Boiko Source: AFP

Ukrainian troops stop cars at a checkpoint as people flee Mariupol. Picture: Anatolii Boiko Source: AFP

Panther is convinced that they are up not just against pro-Russian rebels but regular Russian troops as well. Asked how he rates their chances, his assessment is glum.

"We can hold them off, but for how long? We don't have the strength to beat them." Another difficulty is that even in this pro-Kiev bastion, not everyone is with them. Their flags are sometimes painted red by pro-Moscow locals among the population.

Biletsky says it is clear "that part of the population here no longer supports Ukraine, but we cannot abandon those who are depending on us."

Yesterday, things were calm between the lines of Mariupol, the loyalists of Novoazovsk, and the separatists fighting to defeat them.

Botsman thinks their enemies are afraid of the mines, or are considering, instead, an attack on Olenivka to the north.

"If they take Olenivka, the northern road to Mariupol will also be open," he says. "And if they take Mariupol, they will not stop." On the other side of the front, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) away, a fighter called "Svat" guards the pro-Russian position.

"We wait," he says, although he doesn't add what for.

Ukrainian soldiers park their hardware on the roadside as they wait for the start of the march into the town of Mariupol on Wednesday. Picture: Sergei Grits Source: AP


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Australia to send weapons to Iraq

PM Tony Abbott confirms Australia is joining an airlift of military equipment to Iraq at the request of the Obama government.

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed Australia will deliver weapons to fighters battling IS militants at the request of the Obama Government.

Confirming the airlift of military equipment to Iraq in Canberra today, Mr Abbott said the weapons drop was about doing "what is right for our country and what is best for our world".

The weapons will be supplied to help the anti-Islamic Kurdish Peshmerga troops who are fighting on the front line against the IS incursions in northern Iraq.

GUN RUN: PM answers Obama's SOS call

Military drop ... Tony Abbott said "this is about what is right for our country and what is best for our world". Picture: AAP

Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft will be involved in the airlifts that also include Canada, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

The first mission to deliver equipment to Erbil will be undertaken "in coming days", Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott told reporters in Canberra the situation "remains severe and will reman severe as long as the ISIS movement maintains control over parts of northern Iraq and Syria."

"We've seen beheadings and mass executions — it's severe," he said.

Mr Abbott said there was a certain type of terrorist "who hate us not because of what we do, but because of what we are".

"They hate us, just as much as the people they are attacking.

"Just because we would prefer to stand aside from these conflicts doesn't mean they will stand aside for us."

Taking action ... Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Source: AAP

At least 60 Australians were known to have joined the fighting in Iraq, Mr Abbott said.

He described the Australians involved in ISIS as "radicalised, brutalised and accustomed to kill in the name of God".

"There's no reason to think the same people won't do likewise if they get the chance to do it elsewhere — like Australia," he said.

Mr Abbott said he wanted to to stress that there was no specific request from the US or the Iraqi Government "for Australia to participate in airstrikes in Iraq".

He said there are requests for humanitarian assistance, for military airlifts but no specific request for military engagement

"There is no role envisaged for combat troops on the ground," he said.

"Any military activity by Australia over and above the airdrops and military airlift will be along with allies and it would be at the request of the government of Iraq. But no specific request has been made and no specific decision has been made.

"None of us want to get involved in another Middle Eastern war, but it is important to do what reasonably can be done to avert potential genocide."

Australia's involvement in the airlift received bipartisan support from Labor.

"This is happening because of one reason - there are vulnerable people who need help and they need it now," Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.


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