Qld govt keeps Mason Lee report secret

Queensland’s opposition has accused the Labor government of a cover-up after it withheld a full report into the death of Sunshine Coast toddler Mason Jet Lee for at least another year.


Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday announced the report into Mason’s June 2016 death would only be released publicly after charges against his mother and her former partner had been dealt with.

It came as Queensland Family and Child Commissioner Cheryl Vardon handed down her report into the “post-death” reaction to the 22-month-old’s death, which recommended an overhaul of the way such cases are reviewed by government departments.

In an unprecedented move, the government sought the advice of Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Byrne QC who advised cabinet not to release the more comprehensive Child Death Case Review Panel’s report.

Mr Byrne told cabinet if the contents of the report were made public, it could prejudice the manslaughter and child cruelty trials of Mason’s mother Anne Maree Lee, stepfather William O’Sullivan and teenager Ryan Robert Hodson.

Ms Palaszczuk defended cabinet’s decision and promised to release the panel’s report once the court cases were finalised.

“I will make no comment that will jeopardise justice for Mason. The community wants justice, I want justice,” the premier said.

But the Liberal National Party took aim, with child safety spokesperson Ros Bates alleging a cover-up which “stinks to high heaven”.

“The premier announced last year that she would release all of the findings into Mason Jet Lee’s death. What we see now is a report that tells you nothing,” Ms Bates said.

“The Palaszczuk Labor government has had 10 months to come up with solutions about what happened to Mason Lee and yet today, we are seeing a cover-up.”

Ms Bates pledged to release the report in full if the LNP were elected to government before the court matters are finalised.

The election is scheduled before May next year, which is likely to occur before all three of the accused go to trial.

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls also criticised the timing of the decision, saying the government cynically wedged it between Cyclone Debbie and Easter.

Mason was found dead in his Caboolture home in June 2016, suffering from horrific injuries, and it was determined he died from a ruptured bowel.

Three Child Safety staff were stood down in November last year over the case, and another nine are facing disciplinary action following a departmental review.

While not making specific comment about any pre-death findings, Ms Vardon said she was “concerned and upset” by what had happened to Mason.

‘In the lead-up to his death he had many eyes on him, but no one truly saw him, or did enough to protect him,” she said.

The government announced it would implement several of Ms Vardon’s recommendations, including $40.8 million over four years to provide more frontline staff to work with families, as well as better co-ordination of health and child protection systems.

No ‘silver bullet’ for housing affordability: Morrison

Scott Morrison has laid out Australia’s housing affordability problems, ranging from young people trying to raise a deposit to older people using their superannuation lump sum to pay off the mortgage.


The treasurer also used a pre-budget speech in Melbourne to discuss shortages in the rental and community housing markets.

He reiterated a national affordable housing agreement with the states wasn’t working and “just shovelling money out the door” won’t solve the problem.

“Obviously there’s not a single national housing market and affordability is not impacting all Australians the same way or at the same time,” he told an audience at an Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute address in Melbourne.

“However, it is worth remembering Sydney and Melbourne are home to forty per cent of Australians and the significant housing challenges faced in Sydney and Melbourne do have national implications.”

Housing affordability is expected to be a key plank of the May 9 federal budget.

Mr Morrison admits there’s no single or easy solution and blamed previous governments for avoiding the issue.

“Failure to confront these issues in the past can be traced back to the problems we face today,” he said.

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Obstacles to housing supply had to be removed. These include planning delays and regulation, infrastructure and services, development costs, taxes and charges and access to sites, including government land.

He’s also made clear the federal government won’t be touching negative gearing, after describing it as a “structural component” of Australia’s housing market.

“Disrupting negative gearing would not come without a cost, especially to renters, let alone the wider economic impacts,” he said.

“Proponents of disruptive negative gearing changes have ignored this fact.”

But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government was being “pig-headed” because Labor got in first with it plan to reform negative gearing tax concessions.

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“They would rather play politics and stamp their foot than help young Australians get into their first home,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

However, the Property Council of Australia agreed with the treasurer that it was better to use “a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer” to boost housing affordability.

“It’s why we believe there is scope, as part of broader tax reform, to reduce the capital gains tax discount to 40 per cent (from 50 per cent) in the May budget,” PCA chief of housing and policy Glenn Byres said in a statement.

Industry super fund Cbus CEO David Atkin said funds could play a role in investing to help improve the supply of affordable housing.

But said letting first home buyers dip into their retirement savings for a house deposit was not the answer and “should be ruled immediately”.

Mr Morrison declined to comment on reports the government could provide incentives for older people to downsize to free up housing stock.


Marcus Leonard at tax consultants BDO said the stamp duty cost of changing residences was now so high it discouraged people from moving.

“While the best option would be to remove stamp duty completely from residential housing, the provision of stamp duty concessions for older persons when they downsize their houses may have some effect in providing some more supply to the system,” he told AAP.

The Treasurer also indicated foreign investors who bought units but kept them empty and out of the market had not escaped his attention.


‘Disgust, dismay’ as official Kokoda commemoration goes MIA

The prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday visited Kokoda and laid a wreath at the Bomana war cemetery outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and there will be a ceremony held in Canberra in November.


Kokoda is considered Australia’s most significant battle of the war in the Pacific, in which the Japanese were for the first time defeated on land.

Veteran George Palmer points to his figure in one of the most famous Kokoda campaign photographs by Damien Parer: of Australian soldiers trudging through the mud.

“I’m the second one, there, now of the six of us there are two still alive, myself and Arnold Forrester, who lives in Townsville,” he said.

The 95-year-old veteran of the 39th Battalion is now fighting another battle, to preserve the memory of Kokoda, and is upset the official Australian commemoration will not be held in PNG.

“It’s wrong, just wrong. You must never forget the sacrifices my mates made,” he said.

Kokoda was fought between July and November 1942 on what was then Australian soil, the territory of Papua.

Historian Patrick Lindsay, the chair of the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF), said he has been asking the government since last year about when the PNG commemoration would be held.

“I’m dismayed and disgusted,” he said.

“It’s the second time we’ve done this to these diggers, they didn’t get the credit they deserved at the time and after the war.”

Kokoda tour operators say they have also been awaiting confirmation since last year and feel they will now have to take up the commemorative task.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives via an Australian Army helicopter to the Isurava Memorial to lay a wreath at the Kokoda Track, April 8, 2017. (AAP)FAIRFAX POOL

“Yeah, it is disappointing,” said Frank Taylor, who has been running tours to PNG for three decades and is head of the Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KOTA).

“If the historical linkages are failing a little, as perhaps you could argue is being demonstrated with no offshore (Kokoda commemoration in PNG), it looks like a lot of that will pass on to the operators.”

More than 600 Australians died in the Kokoda campaign and there were thousands more casualties in brutal jungle warfare and on the beachheads, including an untold number of Papua New Guineans.

More than 10,000 Japanese and hundreds of US soldiers were also killed.

The 75th anniversary is expected to be the last time the few surviving veterans will see a major commemoration.

“Seventy-five years ago Australia was unprepared to defend itself,” the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Saturday at the Bomana War Cemetery wreath-laying ceremony.

“All of our best soldiers, best trained soldiers were abroad. Militia men, reservists, were sent here to the Kokoda track.

“These men with very little training, rose to the occasion and kept Australia free, in the most horrific conditions.”


The Governor General is expected in PNG for the only other Australian commemoration – on Anzac Day.

“It’s at least it’s an honour, and the PM should do that, but the real people who should be involved in the commemoration are the surviving veterans and the families of the diggers who laid down their lives there,” said Mr Lindsay

The Department of Veterans Affairs told SBS, “the Australian Government will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the New Guinea Campaign in World War Two with a national commemoration in Canberra on 2 November 2017, including a Last Post service at the Australian War Memorial”.

“For the health and safety of the veterans, the Australian Government made the decision to not continue veterans’ missions after the 70th anniversary.

“Commemorations in Papua New Guinea are a matter for the Papuan (sic) Government, or in some cases services are organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs Post.”

One hundred years on from the World War I Gallipoli campaign, it is still officially commemorated in Turkey by the Australian government, long after the last veteran has passed

“If we could do that, and we did for the 75th of Gallipoli, why aren’t we doing it for Kokoda?” said Mr Lindsay.

PNG will mark Kododa on November 3, for the so-called “fuzzy wuzzy angels” who served alongside the veterans like George Palmer.

Big challenges for Shorten, Turnbull

“The challenge for us as Liberals is to come to terms with the fact that it is no longer about convincing Australians to be on our side, but to convince Australians that we are on theirs.


Treasurer Scott Morrison hit the nail on the head in his speech to the Liberal Party’s federal council in Sydney in June.

The overwhelming feeling in the electorate 12 months on from the federal election is “they just don’t get it”.

Labor has led the Liberal-Nationals coalition in the polls consistently since jMalcolm Turnbull scraped back into power with the slimmest of margins on July 2 last year.

Bill Shorten puts this down to a simple formula.

As the opposition leader said in a speech to local government representatives recently: “People want a real conversation about the things which make a difference in their lives.”

Labor’s success is recognised in polls which give it a substantial lead over the coalition on who is “best trusted” to deliver on education, health, protecting jobs and making housing more affordable.

In recent months Turnbull and Morrison have acknowledged this gap.

The May budget sought to junk the least-fair aspects of the 2014 Abbott-Hockey budget and show voters the government understood their concerns about health and education in particular.

The jury is still out on the Gonski 2.0 schools funding package and the government’s Medicare Guarantee Fund as effective political “resets” as well as the more recently embraced issue of power prices.

Clouding the impact of such policies is the fact millionaires and businesses will receive a tax cut, while average workers watch their wages flatline and face a tax hike in the form of a Medicare levy rise in the near future.

It’s difficult to get voters’ ears when the wage share of income has hit its lowest point in over 50 years, while the profit share has doubled.

It doesn’t help the prime minister that Labor keeps reminding voters of his immense wealth and proximity to corporate bigwigs.

However, former Liberal campaign director Tony Nutt says Turnbull is a positive for the government.

He puts this down to Turnbull’s standing, credibility and trustworthiness – in other words, he looks and acts like a prime minister.

In contrast, Liberal research has found Shorten’s leadership is a “net negative” for Labor, with voters seeing him and his party as weak on the key issues of budget management and soft on border protection.

Published polls show about a third of voters don’t prefer either leader and are willing to switch their vote as elections come around.

These are the voters Shorten and Turnbull will need to win over ahead of the next election, which could be held as early as August 2018.

Both major parties would do well to embrace the same theme: “We’re on your side”.

PM grapples with shaky global outlook

The whims of two unpredictable men created strategic headaches for the Turnbull government in the 12 months following its re-election.


Donald Trump’s election as US President in late 2016 caught most of the world by surprise.

So unprepared was Malcolm Turnbull for that outcome, a scrambling prime minister sought out Australian golf legend Greg Norman – a close mate of Trump’s – for the president-elect’s mobile number.

A second phone chat, after Trump’s inauguration in January, was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Turnbull sought assurances the new administration would honour a deal Canberra struck with the Obama administration to resettle refugees being held on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The PM didn’t find a receptive audience.

Trump reportedly berated Turnbull, labelling their conversation the “worst call” he’d had all day.

Later he used Twitter to take aim at a “dumb deal”.

The strength of the Australia-US alliance eventually forced Trump’s hand and he begrudgingly agreed to take up to 1200 refugees but only after “extreme vetting” processes.

In May, it was time to kiss-and-make-up as the two leaders attended an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea aboard US aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York.

But in June Turnbull was embarrassed after footage was leaked of him sending-up Trump at parliament’s annual Mid-Winter Ball.

Trump’s temperamental personality has not been the only thing Turnbull has had to dance around.

The US President pulled the pin on American involvement in the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership – a 12 country free trade deal – virtually killing it off, much to Turnbull’s dismay.

Ditto Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the 197-nation Paris agreement on climate change action which aims to limit global warming to below two degrees, with an aspiration target of 1.5 degrees.

On the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic weapons testing program and its loose cannon dictator Kim Jong-un, Trump and Turnbull are on the same page as they urge Beijing to wield some clout with Pyongyang.

Turnbull has also walked a tightrope when it comes to security links with the US and economic ties with China.

Notably, he’s been keen to make the case for ongoing American leadership in the Asia-Pacific region to uphold the “international rules-based order” and regional security.

Counter-terrorism has been a constant focus following domestic incidents and attacks in Nice, Stockholm, Berlin, Normandy, London, Manchester, Kabul, Istanbul, Tehran, Jakarta and Baghdad.

There’s also the threat posed by foreign fighters returning home from the Middle East, and Islamic State cells forming in some south-east Asian countries, notably the Philippines.

Australia increased its military contribution to the NATO-led coalition mission in Afghanistan, bringing total personnel to 300.

In the Middle East, 780 Australian military personnel continue to train Iraqi soldiers and conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq, as coalition forces inch closer to taking IS strongholds Mosul and Raqqa.

In a few months, the government is set to release a new blueprint for Australian foreign policy.

If the past year is an indication, it could be a bit more “choose your own adventure” than business as usual.

One year on: Turnbull ramps up terror talk

Malcolm Turnbull has ramped up his rhetoric on national security and terrorism in the year since his re-election as prime minister – and he’s had good reason to talk tough.


There’s been a resurgence of attacks targeting the West, resulting in the death of four Australians.

A 12-year-old schoolgirl died in a bomb blast at a Baghdad ice-cream shop in May, the same week two young women were killed in the London Bridge attack.

A few days later a man was shot dead during a siege in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton – the fifth and latest incident on home soil since September 2014.

While the terror threat level hasn’t changed in that time, Turnbull has been trying to prepare Australians for the worst.

He’s made three statements to parliament on national security since the July 2 election – in September, November and the most recent in June.

Each has been calm, considered and comprehensive.

Turnbull has repeatedly warned of the growing threat in south-east Asia as networks of extremists galvanised and foreign fighters returned to the region.

He’s also noted the trend in lone wolf attacks and those in crowded places – both of which were hard for authorities to thwart.

The conversation of late, though, has turned to espionage, foreign interference, cyber security and online extremism.

“Very consciously, the prime minister picks out an issue or two and says ‘Here’s what we’re going to be doing about it’,” terrorism expert Jacinta Carroll told AAP.

“He’s talked specifically about the things that need to be done practically … but I don’t think that has resonated as well as it might with the community.”

Turnbull, for example, announced the development of a national strategy for mass public gatherings following a review ordered soon after the election.

But Australians have been told little about its rollout and success.

“For whatever reason, it’s not hitting the mark,” Carroll said.

The prime minister’s change in language, though, has been noticeable.

While it’s far cry from the uninhibited commentary of his predecessor Tony Abbott, it has been getting stronger.

From describing Australian foreign fighters as, essentially, the enemy, to labelling terrorism “a corruption, a disease within Islam”.

There’s also been a shift in policy focus in recent months, with Turnbull using national security as a justification for controversial changes to citizenship laws.

Other counter-terrorism measures are also on their way, as a number of reviews are finalised and consideration is given to the coroner’s report into the Lindt cafe siege.

The use of encryption by criminals and extremists is high on Turnbull’s agenda in 2017, with the prime minister calling out to tech giants for help.

“The privacy of a terrorist can never be more important than public safety. Never,” he told MPs in his June national security statement.

Golf – Lingmerth’s happy memories help him to Quicken Loans lead

The Swede, without a top 10 finish on tour this season in 17 events, missed just two fairways as he carded seven birdies and two bogeys, including one at his closing hole, the par-three ninth.


“That’s one of the main keys out here,” said Lingmerth. “It’s a course where the rough is very penalising, very gnarly. You really got to stay in the fairway to have a chance to make birdies.”

Lingmerth said it was a happy homecoming.

“Obviously, coming here is going to give me great feelings knowing I have won here on the Web,” he said. “It seems to suit my eye really well.”

Six players were bunched one shot back, including Australian Marc Leishman, Canadian Nick Taylor, South Korean Sung Kang and Americans Troy Merritt, Johnson Wagner and Daniel Summerhays, who holed out from 105 yards at the par-four 13th.

Another seven players were tied at three-under 67.

Lingmerth, showing signs of a return to form with four top-20 finishes since late April, started at the 10th and ran off three birdies in a row from 13, capping the string with an 18-foot birdie putt at the 15th.

The Swede knocked his approach inside four feet at 18 for another birdie and made the turn at four-under 31.

He added birdies at the first and fourth, where he rolled in a 20-footer from the fringe, before making bogey at the last after an errant tee shot at the par-three ninth.

Thirty-one players broke par but two of the top names in the field were not among them.

Rickie Fowler posted an even-par 70, while this season’s three-time winner Justin Thomas suffered a nightmare round.

Thomas made five birdies but signed for a four-over-par 74, fuelled by a quadruple bogey nine at the par-five 10th.

Thomas pulled his tee shot left into heavy native scrub land beyond the thick rough. He failed twice to advance the ball and finally took a penalty stroke and dropped a ball, which he sent across the fairway into more trouble.

He was tied for 93rd, nine strokes off the pace.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Ian Ransom)

Stockholm attack: Suspect had residence permit application rejected

The suspected Stockholm truck attacker had shown interest in extremist groups and had his permanent residency application rejected in June 2016, Swedish police said.


“We know that he showed interest for extremist organisations like IS. He was applying for a residence permit that was rejected in 2016,” police chief Jonas Hysing told reporters.

Hysing added that two Swedes, one Briton and a Belgian were killed in the attack.

Stockholm district court judge Helga Hullman also told AFP that a second suspect has been formally placed under arrest in connection with the attack.

“I can confirm that a second person has been arrested,” Hullman said.

It comes as thousands of people gathered in central Stockholm for a vigil against terrorism.

Shocked by Friday’s attack that left four dead and 15 injured, Stockholmers mobilised on Facebook to organise a vigil at the Sergels Torg plaza near where the truck rammed into shoppers.

The main suspect, a 39-year-old Uzbek man, is in custody following the attack.

Sweden has been trying to get back on its feet after what authorities termed a terror attack, the motive for which was still unknown.

The method however was similar to previous attacks using vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, all of them claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.


There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the Stockholm attack – the third in Europe in two weeks, coming on the heels of the car and knife assault outside London’s parliament and the Saint Petersburg metro bombing.

Police have not named the suspected driver of the truck, whom they arrested on Friday evening, but authorities said he was known to Sweden’s intelligence service for undisclosed reasons.

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The man is suspected of speeding a stolen beer truck several hundred metres down the bustling pedestrian street Drottninggatan in the heart of Stockholm.

The vehicle mowed down shoppers before slamming into the facade of the busy Ahlens department store.

“There is nothing to indicate that we’ve got the wrong man. On the contrary, the suspicions have strengthened,” Swedish police chief Dan Eliasson said Saturday.

He said police found a suspect device in the cab of the truck.

“A technical examination is ongoing, we can’t go into what it is right now… whether it’s a bomb or a flammable device.” 

Six people were taken into custody for interrogation on between Saturday and Sunday in several areas across Stockholm, police said, without adding further details. 

Become ‘even more open’

Ten people, including one child, are still in hospital. Four of them are in “serious condition”, health authorities told AFP. 


In neighbouring Norway on Sunday, police said they had destroyed a suspect “bomb-like” device in the capital Oslo and made one arrest. 

Friday’s attack in Stockholm deeply shocked the usually tranquil Scandinavian nation, which prides itself on its openness and tolerance.

All day Saturday, crowds milled behind the security fences blocking off the scene of the attack, laying flowers on the ground or poking them into the fence.

Several police cars parked near the scene were also covered in flowers by Swedes, who widely praised the emergency crews’ speedy response to the attack.

“Maybe something good will come of this,” Inger Morstedt, 75, told AFP, expressing hope that her fellow Swedes would become “even more open and welcoming”.

“In some ways it’s unreal,” said 40-year-old Johan.

“I’ve come here to honour the victims and the society in which we live.”

Flags flew at half-mast at public buildings across Stockholm on Saturday.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who beefed up border controls on Friday after the attack, announced a national minute of silence to be held in honour of the victims on Monday at noon (1000 GMT).

“Today, all of Sweden is in mourning, but we’re going to get through this together,” he told reporters on Saturday after laying a bouquet outside the Ahlens department store.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, who returned to Stockholm on Saturday after cutting short a visit to Brazil, also addressed the nation outside the palace. 

“The consideration people are showing each other shows the strength of our society,” he said.

“There are so many of us who want to help, many more than those who want to hurt us.”

Friday’s attack was the second terror attack in Stockholm. 

In December 2010, a suicide bomber blew himself up, also on the Drottninggatan street, lightly injuring several passersby.

Read: Full statement by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

US warships diverted from Australia to Korean Peninsula

US warships, including the supercarrier USS Carl Vinson and several guided-missile destroyers, have been diverted from a planned visit to Australia to Korean waters to safeguard American interests from a “reckless, irresponsible and destabilising” North Korea.


The Third Fleet’s forward-deployed strike group was in Singapore and scheduled to sail to Australia for training and port calls.

The move comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un aggressively ramps up his ballistic missile test program.


It also follows US President Donald Trump’s decision on Thursday to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield to “send a message” to Syria President Bashar Al-Assad after chemical weapons were used on citizens in Idlib province.

“Third Fleet ships operate forward with a purpose: to safeguard US interests in the Western Pacific,” said Commander Dave Benham, spokesman for the US Pacific Command.

“The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilising program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”

North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday into the East Sea just ahead of Mr Trump’s meeting in Florida with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Watch: Japan and South Korea condemn North Korean aggression

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North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs were one of the top issues on the agenda, with China and its economic influence considered key to taming the North Korean dictator.

US Secretary Rex Tillerson said America’s “policy of strategic patience has ended” with North Korea and “all options are on the table” while Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has condemned North Korea for its “total disregard” of global security.

The USS Carl Vinson-led strike group’s presence in the region will likely escalate tensions.

A supercarrier is the largest type of aircraft carrier.

“US Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson strike group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” Commander Benham said.


Stockholm suspect an IS sympathiser who ‘partied and drank’: media

Media quoted his colleagues as saying he was not “particularly religious” and that he “partied and drank”.


Swedish dailies Expressen and Aftonbladet meanwhile named the man as Rakhmat Akilov and published his picture on Sunday.

Swedish police have only identified the suspect as a 39-year-old Uzbek national. He is accused of barrelling a stolen beer truck down a busy pedestrian street on Friday afternoon, mowing down shoppers before smashing into the facade of the Ahlens department store.

Four people were killed — two Swedes including an 11-year-old girl, a British man and a Belgian woman — and 15 others were injured.

The suspect was arrested Friday evening in Marsta, a suburb around 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Stockholm.

According to sources close to the investigation cited by various media, the suspect, bloodied from the crash and with shattered glass on his clothes, fled the scene and ran into the nearby T-centralen subway station, taking advantage of the panic to blend into the crowd.

At 2:55 pm (1255 GMT), video surveillance cameras caught him in the subway system.

He took an express train to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, leaving a bloody trail all the way from central Stockholm, reports said.

He then picked up a bus from the airport to Marsta. His odd behaviour at a petrol station convenience store raised sales clerks’ attention, who alerted police.

Police arrested the man at the wheel of a white van, various media reported, and placed him under arrest on suspicion of a “terrorist crime (by committing) murder”.

Expressen reported Sunday he had allegedly confessed to the crime, telling investigators he was “pleased with what he had done” and had “accomplished what he set out to do”.

Gone underground

Investigators have meanwhile remained relatively tight-lipped about the suspect.

According to police, he applied for a permanent residency permit in 2014 but was rejected in 2016.

“In December 2016, he was informed by the Migration Agency that he had four weeks to leave the country. In February 2017, the case was handed over to the police to carry out the order, since the person had gone underground,” a senior police official, Jonas Hysing, said.

The suspect had been wanted by police since February 27 after not responding to a deportation order.

Police said Sunday he was known to have “shown sympathies for extremist organisations” such as the Islamic State (IS) group.

According to Aftonbladet, Akilov had posted IS propaganda films on his Facebook account and “liked” an image of people covered in blood taken seconds after the Boston marathon bombings on April 15, 2013.

Expressen said several of his Facebook contacts were linked to the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

On Sunday police said they had found components in a bag in the truck that could be used to make a “dangerous device”.

‘Partied and drank’

According to press reports, police at the weekend raided an apartment Akilov had been renting for a couple of months in Varberg, a working-class suburb of Stockholm.

A father-of-four, he lived alone in Sweden, while his family remained in Uzbekistan, and worked in  construction.

“He came (to Sweden) to work so he could send money to his family,” a female acquaintance, whose name was not disclosed, told Aftonbladet.

Another woman who lived at an address where Akilov was also registered told Aftonbladet that he didn’t come across as radicalised.

“He never talked about politics or religion,” she said. “He didn’t pray five times a day from what I know.”

Pierre Svensson, who said he employed the suspect through a contractor for several weeks on an asbestos removal project in Stockholm late last year, described him as a “reserved person”.

“He didn’t stick out. He did his job. You can’t say he was very sociable, we just told him what to do and he did it. He didn’t speak much Swedish,” he told AFP.

After losing his job at the beginning of the year, he had spent his days “smoking and sleeping”, according to a former colleague.

Ablett inspired as Suns shock Hawks in AFL

For the first time in AFL history Gold Coast have defeated Hawthorn, the Suns stunning the Hawks by 86 points at Metricon Stadium.


Both teams entered round three without a win for the season but superstar onballer Gary Ablett inspired his side to a 21.13 (139) 7.11 (53) victory – their largest-ever winning margin.

Suns coach Rodney Eade called for effort from his charges this week and it was delivered in this record-breaking performance.

Gold Coast flew out of the blocks with Ablett delivering to the attacking third and Jack Martin who got the Suns’ first goal in 60 seconds.

Ablett, who was criticised for appearing disinterested in last week’s thumping by Greater Western Sydney, kicked his first goal for the game in the third minute and claimed 36 touches for the match.

The two-time Brownlow Medallist was tagged by Will Langford and received plenty of attention from the rest of the Hawks throughout.

“I thought his performance was quite good, not to his normal excellent standard. I didn’t think he kicked the ball exceptionally well,” Eade said.

“But I thought he got his hands on the ball and worked harder around the contest – that’s his bread and butter. I thought he led the way – his leadership was very good.”

The Suns had three goals in the first five minutes.

David Swallow played dual roles: one part Ablett’s bodyguard, one part midfielder.

The 2014 club champion offered fire and physicality at the contests too – something the Suns had been missing at the start of the 2017 season.

Brandon Matera made sure of the Suns’ win in the second half, setting a new club record against the Hawks with six goals.

Former Sun Jaeger O’Meara had a chance to score against his former club early in the second quarter, triggering the unfamiliar sounds of boos from the 14,728 fans.

O’Meara, who has the record of most consecutive games for the Suns (44), was kept quiet by Jarrod Harbrow who returned from an ankle injury to give the Suns a calm head in defence.

The Suns’ tall forwards struggled to make an impact on Hawthorn early on but hard running from Adam Saad out of defence and Aaron Hall in attack left the Hawks in the dust.

Co-captain Tom Lynch broke through in the third quarter kicking two goals and taking his overall tally as the club’s highest goal scorer to 195.

“I think they won centre bounces 22-6 or something along those lines and clearances by about 22,” Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.

“When you get smashed up around the ball like that it’s hard to get control of it. They ended up having nearly 500 disposals – it’s going to be pretty hard to win a game of footy.”

The last time Hawthorn had a 0-3 start to the season was 2005.

Top Spotify executive among four dead in Stockholm terror attack

The Foreign Office in London confirmed that a British man, 41-year-old Chris Bevington who was a top executive at Sweden-based music streaming company Spotify, was among the dead in a Swedish terror attack on Friday.


Mr Bevington was a father who was described as “talented, compassionate and caring”. 

It is with shock and a heavy heart that I can confirm that Chris Bevington from our Spotify team lost his life in… 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/HXPkWZVWzT

— Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) April 9, 2017

The Belgian foreign ministry also confirmed that a Belgian woman had been killed.

The other two victims were Swedish, one of whom was an 11-year-old girl who was on her way home when the attack happened, her relatives said. 

The fourth victim was a Swedish woman, according to local media.

Nine people remain in hospital, four of them seriously injured, according to health authorities. 


The attack occurred at 1pm on Friday when a stolen beer truck barrelled for several hundred metres down Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s biggest pedestrian street, before slamming into the front of the Ahlens department store.

Witnesses described scenes of panic and horror as authorities quickly sealed off the area.

The attacker fled the scene, with police arresting a suspect later Friday night.

Candles and flowers placed at the Sergels Torg to commemorate the victims of last Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm, Sweden, Sunday, April 9, 2017. AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Authorities have yet to name the man suspected of carrying out the attack, but police said Sunday that he was known to have “shown interest for extremist organisations” such as the Islamic State group.

Swedish media on Sunday named the suspect as Rakhmat Akilov, an Uzbek construction worker and father-of-four who went underground to avoid being deported from Sweden.

He had also been refused residency in Sweden, having been warned in December 2016 that he had a month to leave the country.

By February this year, his case was handed over to police, police chief Jonas Hysing told reporters in Stockholm on Sunday. 


A second suspect, whose identity was not disclosed, was arrested on Sunday. That person can be detained until Wednesday, at which point prosecutors would have to ask a court for permission to extend their detention.

The Stockholm attack followed a string of similar assaults in Europe using vehicles.

The deadliest came in France on the Bastille Day national holiday in July 2016 when a man rammed a truck into a crowd in the Mediterranean resort of Nice, killing 86 people.

Last month, Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old convert to Islam known to British security services, drove a car at high speed into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before launching a knife attack on a policeman guarding the parliament building.

Five people were killed in the attack, while Masood was shot dead by police.

In 2010, another section of Drottninggatan was the scene of Sweden’s only other terror attack, when a suicide bomber blew himself up, slightly injuring several others.


Palm Sunday bombings kill at least 22 in Cairo and Alexandria

A bomb blast at a church north of Cairo killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens who had gathered for Palm Sunday mass, officials said.


Some 71 people were wounded in the blast, which struck at a Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, 120 kilometres north of Cairo, according to a health ministry toll.

Hours later there was another explosion near a church in Alexandria, according to Egyptian state media.

State television reported that there were “injuries” caused by the Alexandria explosion, which took place near Saint Mark’s Church in the coastal city.

Egypt’s Coptic church said Pope Tawadros II had attended Palm Sunday mass there.

Images broadcast of the Tanta explosion showed bloodstains smearing the whitewashed walls of the Coptic Church next to shredded wooden benches.

Palm Sunday is one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem.

“The [Tanta] explosion took place in the front rows, near the altar, during the mass,” General Tarek Atiya, the deputy to Egypt’s interior minister in charge of relations with the media, told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either blast. 

Copts, who make up about one tenth of Egypt’s population of more than 92 million and who celebrate Easter next weekend, have been targeted by several attacks in recent months.

Pope Francis is due to visit Cairo on April 28-29 to show solidarity with Egypt’s Christian community.


Jihadists and Islamists accuse Copts of supporting the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which ushered in a deadly crackdown on his supporters.

In December, a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed 29 worshippers during Sunday mass in Cairo. 

The bombing of the church within a compound that also holds the seat of the Coptic papacy was the deadliest attack against the minority in recent memory.

A spate of jihadist-linked attacks in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, including the murder of a Copt in the city of El Arish whose house was also burned, have led some Coptic families to flee their homes.

About 250 Christians took refuge in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya after IS released a video in February calling for attacks on the religious minority.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid called Sunday’s bombing “a failed attempt against our unity”.

“Terrorism hits Egypt again, this time on Palm Sunday,” he tweeted.

String of attacks

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also condemned Sunday’s apparent attack, stressing Egypt’s determination to “eliminate terrorism”.

The Cairo-based Al-Azhar, an influential Sunni Muslim authority, said Sunday’s bombing aimed to “destabilise security and… the unity of Egyptians”.

Egypt’s Copts have endured successive attacks since Morsi’s ouster in July 2013.

More than 40 churches were attacked nationwide in the two weeks after the deadly dispersal by security forces of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo on August 14, 2013, Human Rights Watch said.

Amnesty International later said more than 200 Christian-owned properties were attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged, adding that at least four people were killed.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as then army chief helped remove Morsi, has defended his security forces and accused jihadists of attacking Copts in order to divide the country.

In October 2011, almost 30 people – mostly Coptic Christians – were killed after the army charged at a protest outside the state television building in Cairo to denounce the torching of a church in southern Egypt.

In May that year, clashes between Muslims and Copts left 15 dead in the working-class Cairo neighbourhood of Imbaba where two churches were attacked.

A few months earlier, the unclaimed bombing of a Coptic church killed more than 20 people in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria on New Year’s Day.

Pope Francis will visit the site of the December church attack next to Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral – the seat of Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II.