London mosque attack suspect named by media

Nine people were hospitalised after a white driver, who witnesses said shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims”, slammed into a crowd near a mosque in the Finsbury Park area of London.

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One elderly man, who had collapsed moments before the van appeared, was pronounced dead at the scene, although police have not yet confirmed whether he died as a result of the attack.

Locals held onto the suspect until he was detained by police and later arrested on charges of “the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder.”

The terror probe led investigators to the Welsh capital Cardiff, where they searched a property said by media to be the home of Darren Osborne.

0:00 Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque says he guarded attacker from angry mob Share Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque says he guarded attacker from angry mob

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Five residents speaking to the Press Association journalists identified images of the man being arrested as their neighbour, Osborne.

“I know him. I’ve lived here for five years, he was already living here when I moved in,” said 50-year-old Saleem Naema.

“If I ever needed anything he would come. I just can’t believe that he did that. I am a Muslim.”

Another neighbour, Khadijeh Sherizi, said Osborne was a father and lived with his family in the house next door.

“I saw him on the news and I thought ‘Oh my God’ that is my neighbour.

“He has been so normal. He was in his kitchen yesterday afternoon singing with his kids,” she told AFP.

Another neighbour said Osborne could often be seen in the street arguing with his wife. 

A woman living next door to the property being searched told an AFP photographer her neighbour was Osborne, without linking him directly to the attack.

The BBC was among other media which identified the man arrested as Osborne, while London’s Metropolitan Police said it would not name the suspect until he was charged.

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Robby Gordon banned for Darwin hooning

American driver Robby Gordon may not compete in Australia again after motorsport officials flagged banning him for hooning in Darwin’s CBD on the weekend.

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Super truck driver Gordon, who’s also had a successful NASCAR career in the United States, was caught doing burnouts on the city’s main Mitchell Street on Saturday night.

He was charged with driving offences, including driving in a dangerous manner, and fined almost $4000 after appearing in Darwin Local Court on Monday, according to the ABC.

Gordon was in Darwin competing in Stadium Super Trucks, which he formed.

He came second in Sunday’s race at Hidden Valley Raceway, which also hosted the weekend’s V8 Supercars championship race.

The Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) will indefinitely deny him applying for a competition visa on health and safety grounds.

“With CAMS actively engaging more than ever with local communities, government, and corporate Australia to grow and promote our sport, so-called ‘hoon’ behaviour on public roads is not reflective of our values, nor our member base, and will not be tolerated,” chief executive Eugene Arocca said in a statement.

“It is unfortunate that such actions have taken place after an otherwise professional and well organised event at Hidden Valley Raceway, and such behaviour is not reflective of the organising committee of that event or Supercars.

“We are disappointed that this incident is not demonstrative of the requisite level of professionalism demanded by modern motor sport.”

After his court appearance on Monday, Gordon downplayed his actions.

“I think I did two doughnuts … not to make excuses, but maybe less than five kilometres an hour,” he told reporters.

“Obviously the wheels were faster than that, but I did two doughnuts and put it back on the trailer.”

Muslim teen killed after leaving Virginia mosque ‘not a hate crime’

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, have charged a 22-year-old local man, Darwin Martinez Torres, with the teenager’s killing but said it was an apparent road rage incident.

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Authorities are “NOT investigating this murder as a hate crime,” police said on Twitter.

Social media lit up with anger over the crime, which follows a series of deadly attacks on Muslims in North America.

While the teen has yet to be officially named by police, friends and worshippers at the mosque in Sterling, known as the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, identified her as Nabra Hassanen, from the nearby community of Reston.

The attack occurred in the early hours of Sunday as a group of young Muslims were walking back from the town center plaza after midnight prayers at the mosque, according to accounts by police and worshippers.

“A man who appeared to be drunk got out of his car with a bat,” one of the youths, Tasneem Khan, wrote on social media.

This image provided by the Fairfax County Police Department shows Darwin A. Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, Va. Fairfax County Police Department

All of the youths with the exception of Hassanen managed to run back to the mosque upon seeing the assailant.

The police department said “this tragic case appears to be the result of a road rage incident involving the suspect, who was driving and who is now charged with murder, and a group of teenagers… walking and riding bikes in and along a roadway.”

The statement appealed for “patience” as an autopsy and inquiry were being conducted.

Fairfax County police spokesman Don Gotthardt told AFP the assault is not being treated as a hate crime because “there is no information connecting the victim’s faith or religion to the crime.”

Still, on Twitter, many people expressed incredulity.

“Anyone want to explain to me why this isn’t being investigated as a hate crime? I am disgusted and so very saddened by this,” wrote a user with the handle @MaisieRae.

“We need strong leaders in this country condemning hate crimes or we need new leaders who will,” added @paulshread.

RelatedLast days of Ramadan

A vigil for the slain girl has been scheduled for Wednesday evening in Reston.

The attack occurred during the waning days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when observant Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. In North America, Ramadan is due to end with Eid al-Fitr celebrations starting Saturday.

The teens had apparently gone out to eat at a restaurant before starting their fast at sunrise. Hassanen was reported missing around 4 am and her remains were found at a nearby pond around 3 pm.

Police would not immediately confirm the exact manner of her death, pending a review by the chief medical examiner.

A widely distributed Snapchat photographic montage showed Hassanen smiling, sporting a Muslim veil as well as a golden nose ring.

Last month, two men were fatally stabbed in Portland, Oregon as they intervened to stop a man hurling anti-Muslim slurs at two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab. Another man who tried to halt the attack was also wounded.

In Quebec, six worshippers were shot dead in an attack on a mosque in January.

Passive smoking, rheumatoid arthritis link

Smokers exposed to tobacco as a child through passive smoking have an even higher risk developing rheumatoid arthritis, new research suggests.

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The results of a French study presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology 2017 in Spain confirmed the link between smoking and the risk of developing RA.

The results also suggested that passive smoking in childhood significantly increased this risk.

To analyse the impact of active and passive smoking on the risk of developing RA, researchers at University Hospitals of South Paris tracked the health of more than 70,000 women born between 1925 and 1950 who were followed since 1990.

Passive smoking was assessed by the following question: When you were children, did you stay in a smoky room?

Patients were considered exposed if the answer was “yes” to a few hours a day.

In the smokers who had childhood passive exposure to smoke, the risk ratio was 1.73.

The risk ratio was 1.37 in active smokers not exposed to passive smoke during childhood.

“Our study highlights the importance of avoiding any tobacco environment in children, especially in those with a family history of RA,” said lead author Professor Raphaele Seror.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and swelling in the joints – usually in the hands, feet and wrists.

The analysis also revealed that smoking worsened the effects of patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis of the spine.

“Smoking constitutes a major risk factor not only for disease susceptibility but also disease severity in patients with AS,” said Professor Servet Akar from Izmir Katip Celebi University Faculty of Medicine in Turkey.

“Rheumatologists should work hard to encourage their AS patients to quit smoking as this could have a major impact on future quality of life,” Prof Akar said.

Gonski 2.0: We’re sticking to schools’ plan, says Birmingham amid internal unrest

At least two Liberal senators and a lower house MP are indicating they won’t support the $18.

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6 billion package, or a compromise with the Greens, on the floor of parliament.

“The government remains committed to its model, to its plans,” Senator Birmingham told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday ahead of a joint coalition parties meeting.

“I’m not anticipating changes being discussed or adopted in the party room.”

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The Catholic schools sector claims the overhaul will cost it more than $4 billion, and it has the support of retiring Liberal senator Chris Back.

Veteran Liberal senator Eric Abetz is refusing to back it because he’s “very concerned about the Catholic sector” and a possible government deal with the Greens.

“I hope they haven’t done a dirty deal with the Greens because that would be absolutely horrific,” he said.

Meanwhile, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews has flagged he might also vote against any amended package agreed to with the Greens.

With parliament due to rise at the end of the week for the winter break, the coalition needs 10, or possibly 11, extra votes in the Senate to get its package through.

Senior officials from the Catholic Education Commission met Senator Birmingham on Monday night.

The discussions apparently didn’t go well, with The Australian quoting a source saying the minister was told the government would “wear this like an albatross around its neck until the day of the next election”.

The Greens have been offered a compromise that includes reducing the rollout timetable from 10 years to six, more accountability on state government funding and an independent watchdog.

The minor party will meet on Tuesday to discuss the offer, which could add up to an extra $5 billion in funding.

“The worst thing we could do is try and see a bill rushed through the parliament. I think the primary consideration is getting it right,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale said.

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He insisted the party was “on a unity ticket” on schools’ funding, despite reports its NSW branch want senators to insist on the original Gonski deal struck with the Gillard Labor government.

The party’s decision could be swayed by reports of a split within the teachers union, which has been staunchly against the changes even though they benefit public schools.

The WA division says the package should be passed if it compels states to meet their funding obligations because it gives a better deal for that state, The West Australian newspaper reports.

Labor won’t support the coalition plan, arguing it represents $22 billion less than it had planned for when in government.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government’s commitment was not fake funding unlike Labor’s plan.

“What we’ve got is real funding,” he told reporters.

Young voices set sights on foreign affairs

When it comes to engaging with foreign policy, young people are connected to the global community more than any other generation before them, a new report has found.

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Politicians and youth leaders assembled in Canberra on Tuesday to launch a report by advocacy network Oaktree outlining a vision for foreign policy.

“Not all young people are apathetic, privileged, smashed avocado-eating, latte-sipping individuals,” Oaktree CEO Sashenka Worseman said.

The ‘Collective Future’ report seeks to capture the values and recommendations of young Australia as the government crafts its new Foreign Policy White Paper.

“Young people are connected to the global community more than any other generation before them,” Ms Worseman said.

“But they are also more acutely aware of the transnational threats that this particular community faces.”

Following consultation with various groups, the report found the global issues young people prioritised were climate change, migration and asylum seeker rights, overseas development assistance and equality.

It also named six crucial values identified by young people as equality, partnership and community, transparency and compassion, open-mindedness and sustainability.

Many young people are quite sceptical of traditional decision-making spaces and Australia needs to tap into the dynamism of its young voters, Ms Worseman said.

In the Brexit referendum last year, 75 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 voted to remain in the EU.

Only 37 per cent of young Americans voted for Trump in the US election last year.

Opposition international development spokeswoman Claire Moore says the government’s foreign policy blueprint needs to reflect the values of young people.

“Happy day it could actually reflect all those things; not so happy day, we’ve got some work to do,” Ms Moore said.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad says he’s an advocate for increasing foreign aid, and Australia has to choose between a selfish or selfless approach.

“We haven’t sold what we have done well enough for long enough,” Mr Broad said.

“Changing the world isn’t free. It isn’t a tweet, it isn’t a ‘like’. It will mean you have to roll up your sleeves. It will mean you have to get involved.”

Labor to vote against citizenship shake-up

Labor says the government’s proposed citizenship changes are a “massive over-reach” and will be opposed in parliament.

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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has proposed migrants wanting to become Australians will have to sit a stand-alone English language test before being allowed to apply for citizenship and demonstrate a “competent” level of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The government also wants to change the period of permanent residency from one year to four, introduce a new values test, and stronger character checks.

As well, an applicant can be barred for two years if the minister has refused to approve them becoming a citizen on grounds other than failing to meet the residence requirement.

Labor spokesman Tony Burke says the caucus unanimously decided on Tuesday to oppose the bill, meaning the coalition will need to seek 10 crossbench votes to pass it through the Senate.

“The government in its bill has engaged in a massive over-reach … and they have taken some steps, which, put simply, Australia should never take and are inconsistent with who we are as a country,” Mr Burke told reporters in Canberra.

He said it had nothing to do with national security.

“If there is a national security problem for these people, then why on earth does the government have them already living here permanently?” Mr Burke said.

Labor also took exception to the longer time frame for people to wait for citizenship and the English language test.

“Once you set the test at a level by definition large numbers of permanent residents will never reach, no matter how hard they try, that changes our country.”

Mr Burke also took aim at Mr Dutton, saying the minister was playing a “dangerous game” linked to leadership tensions in the Liberal party.

Labor will back a Senate inquiry into the bill.

If the inquiry comes up with any reasonable changes, Labor would support them being included in a new bill.

Property, wages key risks for NSW budget

Australia’s richest state has flagged a cloudy outlook for two of its biggest tax revenue earners, highlighting the broader concerns about the country’s economy that is troubling regulators.

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The NSW government’s budget papers on Tuesday pointed to the housing market outlook as the largest risk to its forecasts, given the sector’s capacity for large flow-on effects across the economy.

It also noted concerns about wages growth as an issue that could impact consumption and economic activity.

“A significant slowdown in dwelling approvals could see the pipeline exhausted and activity decline by more than expected in 2018/19. Higher than expected interest rates or a sharp decline in dwelling prices could also bring an end to the cycle,” the budget papers said.

On the other hand, strong population growth or supportive government policies could boost demand and drive higher than expected activity, it said.

NSW’s budget surpluses have been propped up on the back of the booming Sydney property market, with transfer duty on residential property accounting for more than 30 per cent of the state’s tax revenue.

The continuing strength in the property market in Sydney, and Melbourne, has been a key factor in the Reserve Bank of Australia not cutting interest rates despite tepid economic growth.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Tuesday showed housing price gains of 14.4 per cent in Sydney and 13.4 per cent in Melbourne over the year to March were the driving force behind a nationwide 10.2 per cent rise in property prices.

The banking regulator also introduced fresh curbs on investor lending in late March in an effort to cool the overheated property market.

As a result, the state now clearly expects the housing market to moderate and has cut the growth forecast for residential transfer duty revenue to nearly halve to 5.9 per cent in 2017/18, and ease further to average 5.4 per cent over the next three years.

The other issue the RBA has repeatedly highlighted in recent months is weak wages growth and the impact this is likely to have on consumer spending.

On Tuesday, the NSW government signalled its agreement with the central bank’s assessment, saying the outlook for wages growth is a key risk for the budget.

Payroll taxes contribute about 27 per cent of NSW’s tax revenue.

Over the four years to 2019/20, the NSW government has cut its estimate for payroll tax revenue by $512.7 million.

Extra teachers, classrooms in NSW budget

The NSW government will deliver more than 1500 extra classrooms and employ about 1000 extra teachers to address surging enrolments in state schools.

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The Berejiklian government’s first budget, handed down on Tuesday, injected $1.6 billion into an ambitious school building program, bringing the total over the next four years to $4.2 billion.

The money will be injected into at least 90 new school projects over the next two years, creating 32,000 new student places.

“This is an investment in the future of our state that will transform public education,” Education Minister Rob Stokes said.

High schools will be built or upgraded at Picton, Sydney Olympic Park and Canley Vale and primary schools in Kent Road, Eastwood, Schofields, Riverbank and The Ponds will benefit.

With the Department of Education predicting NSW will need 164,000 public school places by 2031, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the budget shows her government was responding to the “once-in-a-generation” spike, with the budget measures representing a 61 per cent rise in education spending.

The government will also spend $747 million over four years on the school maintenance backlog, including an extra $411 million in the 2017/18 financial year.

Another $46 million will go toward boosting wireless access and internet services in about 900 regional schools, while a community languages school program will receive $11 million in new money.

A rebate of $100 will be given to all students per year from January to cover registration and membership for sport. It will not be means tested.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defended the move against suggestions it was tokenistic.

“It will build our community,” he said.

“To me that initiative is the soul of the budget and it’s also our secret plan to ensure we win the Origin for the next 40 years going forward.”

An anti-bullying strategy will get a $6.1 million boost over three years, while $2.2 billion has been allocated to TAFE NSW and other training providers.

Early childhood services will receive $435 million, while non-government schools will be handed $1.2 billion in 2017/18 to support their 418,000 students.

The government said it will maintain its full six-year commitment to the national education reform agreement until the end of 2019, but the budget papers also highlighted a $1.8 billion funding loss to the state contained within the federal budget.

Lightweight shoes a risk to heavy runners

Lightweight or minimalist running shoes have become popular but they may cause more harm than good for people weighing over 70 kilos.

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Australian research conducted at the University of South Australia has shown these style of joggers are associated with an increased risk of injury in heavier runners.

In fact, a 26-week study of 61 trained runners found those who weighed more than 85 kilos were three times more likely to sustain an injury when training in lightweight runners compared to conventional shoes.

“We found the best shoe choice depended on your body weight,” said Dr Joel Fuller at the Sansom Institute for Health Research.

Co-researcher, Professor Jon Buckley says minimalist shoes can help people run faster but heavier runners should think twice about using them.

“Weight produces higher impact forces that increase injury, regardless if this is the result of being a taller and possibly even heavier person, or a person carrying a little more weight than average.

“So it’s not the BMI to be concerned about, it’s the actual weight,” said Prof Buckley.

Sydney-based podiatrist Nicole Reilly says the wrong shoes for a person’s foot type can be detrimental to their health.

Incorrect footwear can cause heel and ankle pain, knee issues and even lower back pain.

“If you are not trained properly to run in these more minimalist shoes your risk of injury is greater,” Ms Reilly told AAP

“Joggers won’t hurt your feet but it depends on what shoes you are running in,” Ms Reilly, a member of the Australian Podiatry Association, said.

Knowing your foot type, she says, is really important when it comes to choosing the correct shoes for running.

While some shoes may look cool they may be no good for the foot, Mr Reilly said.

“Every single foot is so different, so its very broad to say this shoe is going fit 99.9 per cent of the population and you are not going to end up with heel pain.”