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Fugitives Gino and Mark Stocco charged with murder after capture near Dunedoo

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Gino Stocco is taken into Dubbo police station. Photo: David MoirHow social media saw itFormer Wagga police chief warns against ‘glorification’ of StoccosGhastly new mystery as Gino and Mark Stoccos’ long run from the law endsUPDATE:Gino and Mark Stocco’s case has been heard in a NSW court after a three-week manhunt that brought an end to the eight years they’ve spent on the run from authorities.
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The Queensland men, aged 57 and 36, did not appear at Dubbo Local Court on Thursday over 17 offences each, including the murder of a man whose body was found on a NSW property where they were arrested on Wednesday.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold excused the father and son from appearing in court and remanded the pair to appear in the same court on January 20.

EARLIER: Fugitive father and son Gino and Mark Stocco have been charged with a string of offences including murder following their captureand the discovery of a man’s body on a remote rural property.

The pair was tracked to theproperty in NSW’s Central Weston Wednesday, and arrested by heavily armed police officers who then discovered the decomposed body of a man believed to have been missing for more than three weeks.

The body is yet to be formally identified but is believed to be that of the Rosario Cimone, a68-year-old Italian-born caretaker of the Elong Elong property, north-east of Dubbo, where the pair were hiding out.

Mark Stocco is taken into Dubbo police station. Photo: David Moir

As revealed by Fairfax Media, Cimone isbelieved to have past links to organised crimeand cannabis cultivation, and was charged 12 years ago with eight others for his alleged role over a $30 million cannabis crop near Nimmitabel, in the Monaro region.

He was working most recently on theremote 385-hectare property, Pinevale, that had no livestock or crops and backed onto the dense Goonoo State Forest.

The two Stocco men were caughtafter a wild chase across two states that began on October 16 after they allegedly shot at police officers.

As they were surrounded by tactical officers and dragged from the ground on Wednesday, the Stoccos allegedly raised the issue of “self defence” when confronted about Mr Cimone’s death, Fairfax Media has been told by a police source.

Mr Cimone’s daughter had made a missing persons report at Green Valley police station, in western Sydney, on October 8.

NSW police on Thursday said Gino, 58, and his son Mark, 36, have been charged with an array of offences including murder, dishonestly obtain property by deception, police pursuit and discharge firearm with intent to resist arrest.

They had previously revealed intentions to charge them with 13 offences, including attempted murder in relation to allegations they fired shots at police in Wagga Wagga on October 16.

The pair was also wanted on warrants for property damage in Queensland dating back to 2008.

They’ve been refused bail to appear in Dubbo Local Court on Thursday.

Fugitives Gino and Mark Stocco case adjourned until Januaryhttps://nnimgt-a.akamaihd杭州龙凤论坛/transform/v1/crop/frm/storypad-GJZ5TVpAk84wrTzsQfLQRB/c7624df3-8e39-4a28-947b-e1e127e384f9.jpg/r2_1_616_348_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgNSW: Fugitive father and son Gino and Mark Stocco have been charged with a string of offences including murder2015-10-29T06:48:58.931546+11:00https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤论坛/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4583315061001https://players.brightcove杭州龙凤论坛/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=4583315061001Acting Assistant Commissioner for the western region Clint Pheeney speaks to Media in Dubbo on Wednesday afternoon.

Z Nation and the art of keeping zombies fresh

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Z Nation unashamedly plays up the schlock factor.Although the gritty television drama Z Nation plays boldly into its genre – zombie apocalypse, in case you did not know – for the keen-eyed fan, there are copious genre references, from Dr Phibes​, a series of cult masterpiece Vincent Prince films from the 1970s, to the DeLorean​ car from the Back to the Future films.
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“There’s tons of stuff,” declares the show’s producer, Karl Schaefer. “We reference other shows a lot. We like doing that kind of stuff.” Those elements, he says, form part of a secondary conversation that has become standard for television in the modern era. Audiences, Schaefer, expect it.

“People, the way they use TV and stuff nowadays is much more interactive,” he says. “We spend a lot of time talking to our fans and watching our fans talk to each other. Keeping the conversation going between episodes [as well as] the whole zombie phenomenon is so interesting.”

Z Nation launched last year. The series was created by Schaefer and Craig Engler​ and is produced by The Asylum, a US production company that specialises in low-budget genre projects. The Asylum’s most famous production is the horror-comedy film series, Sharknado​.

Its story, somewhat familiarly to those who know the zombie genre, began several years into a “zombie apocalypse” – typically, a virus outbreak that transforms part of the population into flesh-eating monsters – and focused on Murphy (Keith Allan), a so-called “patient zero”, who, because of an experiment being carried out at the time, was unaffected by the virus.

The second season picks up where the first left off, with the launch of nuclear weapons. “All the nukes are coming down,” Schaefer says. “We’ll see what happens, and who survives, and who doesn’t make it. And what happens to the world out there.”

The series, perhaps like many in the genre now, has never shied away from killing apparently major characters. Schaefer says that’s simply what is expected in modern storytelling. The years where main characters were insulated from risk because of their perceived star power is largely gone.

“Just to keep the audience on edge and to have some credibility with them,” he says. “If we never kill any of our main characters, then that sort of takes the drama out of those intense scenes. It’s when we sort of go beyond those boundaries … in episode two of this season it’s a fight from minute one through the whole thing.

“It doesn’t turn out well,” he adds. “But, at the same time, that’s what makes the show exciting, and different, and how you’ll tune in, and not know what’s going to happen this week. We want the audience having to pay attention because they never know what’s coming next.”

The series is also noted for its cracking pace, a stark contrast from its genre stablemate The Walking Dead, which has a much slower, more considered narrative.

“In terms of plot movement, it’s a very different show that way,” Schaefer says.

“We get all over the country this season; we’re on the Mississippi, we’re in the woods, we’re in the desert. We go to the Grand Canyon. We have a great sequence that takes us down into Mexico for the season and a really interesting explanation of the only government that’s left operating any more. We’ve got some really cool stuff and a lot of different locations. There’s a lot of travelling this season.”

Z Nation also, to some extent, plays up the schlock factor. “We have some stripper zombies, we have some Z weed this season, we have alien zombies,” Schaefer says, laughing. “If you want them, we’ve got them.”

“We’re the show that says, yeah, we do that, and our idea is that zombies are mutating constantly, so it’s a different threat every week and different things come up. It’s all about trying to keep it all unexpected and to keep the audience guessing what we’re going to do next.”

WHAT

Z Nation

WHEN

SyFy, Saturday, 8.30pm

Dodgy financial firms refusing to pay $17 million owed to their victims

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For the past week, Rowena Lagana has struggled with the pain from her back injury because she couldn’t afford to buy painkillers.
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She was relying on payments from a debt management firm, which last year the Financial Ombudsman Service found had drawn up an “unconscionable” contract. The firm, Clickthru, was ordered to pay Ms Lagana $12,880 plus interest.

But payments stopped three weeks ago. Clickthru went to ground.

“They still owe me nearly $2000. I rely a great deal on those payments. I’ve lost jobs because of my back injury and I’ve been living a bit off my super,” the 59-year-old from Middleton Grange said.

She is among 188 people who are waiting to receive a total of $16.6 million from 33 dodgy financial service providers, after the Ombudsman ruled in their favour.

Some of the victims of poor financial products and advice have waited for more than five years to see even a dollar.

Shane Tregillis, chief ombudsman of the FOS, said about a third of the 33 businesses had gone into administration or liquidation. The rest were ignoring correspondence or claiming the ombudsman had gone beyond its jurisdiction.

He said the solution to the “structural problem” was a compensation scheme of last resort that would be funded by FOS members – the finance industry – through a levy.

“What is frustrating is there’s a general acceptance there is a gap in the consumer protection framework,” Mr Tregillis said.

“In the scale of the finance sector, it’s a relatively small problem that affects a small number of financial service providers. It’s a problem that obviously has a large impact on each of the individual consumers.”

The compensation scheme was first proposed in 2009 and again raised in the Financial Systems Inquiry and, more recently, the Scrutiny of Financial Advice Inquiry.

The big banks – tipped to chalk up combined earnings of $30 billion this financial year – expressed sympathy to victims at the latest inquiry, but downplayed the situation as a non-urgent issue. They said they didn’t want to “write a blank cheque”.

About a quarter of all compensation awarded by FOS to consumers in relation to investments, life insurance and superannuation is unpaid.

Ms Lagana won her dispute against Clickthru in October last year. In its effort to avoid paying compensation, Clickthru claimed she should have sold her car to pay her debts that it had failed to manage, despite the fact it was aware she was living in the car.

Her solicitor, Alexandra Kelly from the Financial Rights Legal Centre, said although FOS was an effective dispute mechanism, its “weakness and powerlessness” were exposed where financial businesses avoided the liability.

“The FOS Compensation scheme is a measured approach to plug existing gaps, and I am hopeful it garners the support by industry and government as there is a distinct need that needs to be addressed,” she said.

Sophie Gerber, director of financial consultancy firm Sophie Grace, said there was a definite trend in businesses cancelling their licence simply to avoid paying compensation to victims.

“[The issue of avoidance] is most concerning for small n financial services licence holders who do not have much to lose by cancelling their licence and moving on to operate under a different structure, or simply exiting the industry,” she said.

But she does not fully support the proposed compensation scheme.

“Setting up such a scheme is just penalising [licence] holders who do the right thing and have funds available to meet their liabilities for the actions of disreputable [licence] holders. It will just encourage this problem to get worse,” she said.

Gerard Brody, chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, said a last-resort compensation scheme would help restore the trust between ns and the finance industry.

“It’s appropriate that a scheme be industry funded through a levy imposed by government,” he said.

Rio chief launches Hunter fundraiser with bold prediction

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Kitty Chiller on Wednesday.FIFTEEN gold medals and a top-five finish. That’s the lofty ideal for at next year’s Rio Olympics, according to chef de mission Kitty Chiller.
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Speaking at the launch of the Hunter’s Olympic fundraising dinner, to be held at Wests Leagues on March 5, Chiller predicted a vastly improved team performance after a disappointing London campaign.

“Finishing top five in the medal tally is absolutely one of our goals,” the Sydney 2000 pentathlete said. “That’s going to be tough, considering we were seventh and 10th in gold and overall in London.

“We’ll need to win 14 or 15 gold medals, and around 45 overall medals, to finish in that top five.

“On paper today, I could name 15 gold medallists. But Olympic Games don’t go according to paper, unfortunately. These are tough goals, aspirational goals, but ones we’re not backing away from.”

won seven gold and 35 overall medals at London three years ago.

Chiller said her other main objectives were that all 460 members of ‘s team enjoyed a “positive life experience” in Rio and there was a “unity of purpose” among all athletes wearing the green and gold.

Wednesday’s launch was attended by several generations of Hunter Olympians, including hockey ace Michelle Mitchell, nee Andrews (Atlanta 1996), softballer Natalie Ward (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) swimmer Donna McGovern, nee Proctor (Seoul 1988), shooter Daniel Repacholi (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and marathon veteran Scott Westcott, who has run a qualifying time for Rio.

Next year’s dinner at Wests is expected to attract a crowd of 500, including some high-profile special guests who will be announced closer to the event.

‘‘As you know, the n Olympic team doesn’t receive any government funding,’’ Chiller said. ‘‘We totally rely on the generosity of corporate and the people of .

‘‘Without the support of communities such as this, we would not have a team to send to the Olympic Games … these committees, these events, these people in the communities are the lifeblood. It’s what we go to Olympic Games for, to represent you well.’’

There were 11 athletes from the Hunter at London, and that number could be even higher in Rio.

Triathlete Aaron Royle has already qualified, and he could be joined by Simon Orchard, Matt Dawson and Mariah Williams (hockey), sailors Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, basketballers Suzy Batkovic and Katie Ebzery, swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Richie Campbell and Nathan Power (water polo), Mollie Gray, Sarah Halvorsen and Tanisha Stanton (rugby sevens), archer Matt Gray, Westcott and shooters Daniel Repacholi and Michael Diamond.

The Walking Dead have miles to go, says producer Greg Nicotero

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Filming the series every week is like doing a movie, says its producer. Photo: SuppliedThough both The Walking Dead (and its cable stablemates, such as Game of Thrones) have enjoyed astonishing success, 2015 will be remembered as a red-letter year for genre television.
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To some extent neither show gets the respect it deserves, though changes to the voting structure of the television industry’s Emmy academy meant that Game of Thrones won best drama this year. And in ratings terms, The Walking Dead has built what looks like an unassailable margin on its competitors.

“We still have a larger audience than them and we’re very proud of that,” says the show’s executive producer Greg Nicotero​, wryly.

“[They are] set in a similar world, almost an apocalyptic world … [but audiences] can identify with our characters easier. All these characters that I think people can really identify with. And there’s something for everybody, the cast is so large now. [The audience can ask] if this were to happen, who would I be?”

Since its premiere in 2010, The Walking Dead has evolved significantly. Stylistically, says Nicotero, the series has aspired to lift the bar every year.

“Every day you’re on set, every time you collaborate with an actor, every time you collaborate with a writer, you become a better filmmaker,” he says.

“I wanted to really aim high visually and I wanted the episode to feel bigger than it had ever felt before, so in the design of some of the sequences, I designed them as if we were shooting a $100 million movie,” he says.

It doesn’t just end with the first episode … it’s not like the first episode is huge and then we take a breather. You’ll never catch your breath. This entire season is going to be spent gasping for the next moment.  It’s exhausting and it’s exhilarating and it’s rewarding.”

Sustaining the series is a big challenge, though Nicotero is quick to point out that while Game of Thrones has caught up to its source material, The Walking Dead still has a large library of comic book material to tap. Maintaining a momentum is, he says, not difficult, the bar has been set high.

“Thank God we have a show runner [Scott M. Gimple​, who replaced Glen Mazzara​] who respects the genre, understands the genre and respects the source material,” Nicotero says.

“It’s challenging, because we keep doing more and more and more, and it’s the mistake that I made up as a makeup effects guy years ago, which is, they go, we want more, but we have less time and less money,” he says. “Then you pull it off, and they go … now you can do this, here’s less time.”

The Walking Dead’s challenge, he adds, is that the scripts have become more ambitious over time.

“Bigger and bigger, and it’s challenging, but Scott has such an astute eye for the direction of the show,” Nicotero says. “He’s been at the helm for three seasons and the show has skyrocketed in terms of the material that we’ve been able to provide for viewers.”

The sixth season of The Walking Dead will comprise 16 one-hour episodes, broken into two eight-episode blocks. The first block launched in October; the second in February, 2016.

The season premiere delivers an episode which picks up where the series off, but shifts its time frame a little. “We didn’t want this premiere to feel similar to other premieres; we wanted to do something bigger and something a little different,” Nicotero explains.

“Scott Gimple and Matt Negrete​ wrote an episode that had a very interesting timeline, where we jump back and forth between our present day and flashbacks. Technically this episode happens about four days after the season finale, but we kind of shift in time a bit.”

And despite the success of the series and its lengthening shelf life – around 70 episodes and growing, and a spin-off prequel in Fear The Walking Dead – the comic book itself still has a clearly defined fandom and, Nicotero says, a very distinct identity.

“The source material pays a great tribute to George Romero​ and Night of the Living Dead, I mean that’s where the genesis of the show is,” he says.

“When we shot the pilot, I remember having dinner with Frank Darabont​ years before we ever shot the pilot, and he was fascinated with the world and he’s like, listen, I would love to do a zombie movie.”

By the time the show’s sixth season wraps, Nicotero adds, it will have reached 83 hours.

“People go, are you going to do a Walking Dead movie? We do a movie every f—ing week. There’s no reason to try to truncate the story that we’re telling into two hours. We’ve had 83 hours to tell this fascinating story. It’s a world rich with options.”

WHAT

The Walking Dead

WHEN

FX, Monday, 1.30pm and 8.30pm

Cannabis to be trialled on epileptic Queensland kids, MS sufferers: Premier

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Queensland will trial medicinal cannabis in 2016, aiming specifically at those suffering from severe epilepsy. Queensland children with severe epilepsy and multiple sclerosis patients will have access to medical marijuana from next year.
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The Palaszczuk government will work with its NSW counterparts to begin a $3 million medicinal cannabis trial at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to help treat children with drug-resistant epilepsy from 2016.

The trial will help determine whether medicinal cannabis is suitable as a treatment.

“This is about helping sick Queensland kids,” Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement.

“We are listening to Queenslanders, particularly the families of children with severe forms of epilepsy who have exhausted other forms of treatment.”

NSW announced earlier this week it would move into the trial stage in 2016.

But Health Minister Cameron Dick said Queensland would also move to change legislation to allow for the use of Sativex, a pharmaceutical medicinal cannabis spray, which can help ease multiple sclerosis symptoms in adults.

The spray can help alleviate severe spasticity, a painful symptom in multiple sclerosis patients, which causes muscles to spasm and lock.

The chronic central nervous system disease affects more than 3700 Queenslanders.

Sativex has been legal in for three years, but required changes to state legislation for it to be legitimately used in Queensland.

Mr Dick said he would move to make the necessary changes to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulations 1996 early next year, so neurologists could begin prescribing it to adult patients.

“Multiple sclerosis is unpredictable and progressive,” he said.

“There’s no cure and we need to do everything we can to treat the symptoms.”

‘s attitude towards medicinal marijuana has changed in recent months, to where all the eastern seaboard states have made moves to trial it on the path to legalisation.

Victoria announced it would legalise access to medicinal cannabis products from 2017, while NSW will spend up to $9 million for its trials.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley announced earlier this month that the Commonwealth would legalise the growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The move towards legalisation, coming on the back of half of US states legalising the drug, came after intense lobbying from the families of chronically sick people, sharing stories of intense pain they believe could be alleviated through regulated use of the drug.

Both Multiple Sclerosis Queensland and Epilepsy Queensland had been calling for the drug to be available as an additional treatment resource for sufferers.

Victory made to sweat for FFA Cup semi-final win as dogged Hume push to the end

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Melbourne Victory will host the FFA Cup final against Perth Glory on the first Saturday in November after overcoming a determined Hume City through a first-half Besart Berisha penalty and two late goals – the first a Kosta Barbarouses strike with two minutes remaining, the third from defender Jason Geria deep into stoppage time.
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The A-League champions might have monopolised possession, but they were at no stage able to relax as the National Premier League club from Broadmeadows played out of their skins to stay in the match until the 88th minute, when Barbarouses struck.

The third goal rather rubbed salt into the wound and made the scoreline look less competitive than the game was.

Hume themselves could well have had a penalty in the fifth minute when Theo Markelis, a former Victory forward, got clear on the left and fired over a cross which appeared to strike  Geria on the hand.  Hume claimed a spot kick which could have changed the nature of this game dramatically but, referee Ben Williams waved play on.

Hume made their intentions clear from the start, chasing, harrying, tackling and trying to shut down Victory.

Lou Acevski’s men had not played a competitive game for a month, but their workrate and commitment  belied any rustiness they might have felt.

Markelis looked Hume’s most threatening forward, with midfielder Nick Hegarty, the captain, trying to prompt and create from midfield.

At the other end,  Barbarouses, Conor Pain, Jesse Makarounas – the latter pair given rare starting opportunities – and  Berisha looked to pull the part-timers rear-guard out of position and beat them for pace and finesse.

Pain fired wide on a number of occasions, his best effort coming when he ran through the Hume defence to make space for himself for the shot.

Makarounas tested Hume goalkeeper Chris Oldfield with a drive from distance which the goalkeeper did well to palm away, then forced the keeper into another save with a free kick.

Hume worried Victory fans behind Danny Vukovic’s goal  when Matthew Hennessey got up to meet Jai Ingham’s lofted free kick, but his header bounced wide of the post.

Berisha has not looked as sharp in front of goal as he usually does this season, but the Albanian frontman was the central figure in Victory’s opening goal, winning the penalty when Williams decided that Hume defender Bradley Walker had brought him down as the pair looked to deal with Barbarouses’ cross. Berisha got up and converted to ease the champions nerves.

Hume winger Ingham robbed Scott Galloway just after the restart and drove in a cross which Matthieu Delpierre scrambled way for a corner.

Oldfield produced a fine double save to keep the deficit at one goal, saving first from Makarounas and then Barbarouses as Victory looked to put the game to bed.

But Hume resisted stubbornly and could have had their own equaliser in the 67th minute after Souheil Azagane turned Victory new boy Giancarlo Gallifuouco to leave himself one on one with Vukovic. It was a golden opportunity, but Azagane shot straight at the grateful keeper.

Things to do in Rome, Italy: Three minute guide

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Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land
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Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land

Piazza Navona’s fountain at night, one of the countless delights of Rome. Photo: Visions Of Our Land

Why

Rome is the world’s greatest open-air museum. From ancient ruins to baroque grandeur, where else can you can take a wander through more than 2000 years of history without ever being more than a few steps away from a restoring glass of vino? Visit

Ancient pilgrims were gobsmacked by the wonders of Rome and even today, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Limit yourself to one major sight a day – whether that’s the Colosseum, the Vatican or the marvellous Galleria Borghese – and allow yourself time to explore the smaller, often overlooked marvels such as the Basilica di San Clemente (basilicasanclemente杭州龙凤论坛m). At this layer cake-like edifice, a 12th-century church sits on top of a 4th-century church built on top of a 2nd-century pagan temple and a 1st-century Roman house, and you can visit them all. Eat

Gourmet travellers usually arrive in Rome with a list of culinary experiences to tick off. For local classics start with Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio (ristorantevelavevodetto.it/en/home): the tripe is superb but if that’s not your cup of tea, try the pasta all’Amatriciana or spaghetti carbonara. Rome’s Jewish delicacies can be enjoyed at Piperno (ristorantepiperno杭州龙凤论坛m) in the Ghetto – go for the fried artichoke – while for a buzzing vibe and creative flavours, Glass Hostaria (glass-restaurant.it/en/) is the place to go. For creative gelato, connoisseurs rate Gelateria del Teatro’s seasonal flavours such as lavender and white peach or cheese, fig and almond. Look

You don’t have to set foot in a single museum to see some of Rome’s greatest art: its countless churches are crammed with treasures. Step inside the next one you see, and you might discover anything from masterpieces by Raphael and Michelangelo to the bones of dead Capuchin monks. Ones to add to your list include San Luigi dei Francesi​ near Piazza Navona​ for its Caravaggios, and Santa Prassede for its Byzantine mosaics. Must

There is more to Rome than history, so go off-piste and discover the city’s more modern side in its happening neighbourhoods. Pick of the bunch is Il Pigneto, where Rome’s hip young things congregate in funky bars and restaurants. Sleep

Fuel the fantasy of living in Rome at Babuino 181 (mrandmrssmith杭州龙凤论坛m), a collection of chic apartment-style suites near the Piazza del Popolo. If you prefer a more luxurious lodging, make like George Clooney and head for the Hotel de Russie​ (roccofortehotels杭州龙凤论坛m), built around an immense terraced garden filled with climbing roses and yew trees. Tip

Rome in summer can be ghastly, its streets clogged with tourists and endless queues at the big attractions. Come in the off-season for a much more pleasant experience.

The writer was a guest of Rail Europe and Mr and Mrs Smith.

Push for Royal Commission into people-smuggler cash scandal

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Captain Yohanis Humiang (left) looks on as the head of the Nusa Tenggara people smuggling division Timur Ibrahim, Rote police chief Hidayat and East Nusa Tenggara Timur police chief General Endang Sunjaya count money in June. Photo taken by an asylum-seeker on the original two-deck boat, prior to interception by n Navy and Border Force ship in May. Photo: Amnesty International
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$US32,000 crew members told Amnesty International was paid to them by n officials who intercepted and boarded a boat carrying 65 asylum seekers. Photo: Amnesty International

‘Kanak’, one of two boats which asylum seekers where transferred onto by n Border Force after being intercepted and turned back. Photo: Amnesty International

‘Jasmine’, one of two boats which asylum seekers claim they were transferred onto by n Border Force after being intercepted. Photo: Amnesty International

Asylum seekers in immigration detention in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara in August, after their boat was intercepted and turned back by n officials. Photo: Amnesty International

Sources have confirmed that the HMAS Wollongong was the navy ship that intercepted the asylum seekers. Photo: Navy

Money police say was paid to send asylum seekers on a ‘suicide mission’People smuggler cash: boat captain speaks meets Indonesia over people-smuggler cash claimsSenate to launch inquiry into people-smuggler payment claimsHow events unfolded

Jakarta: n officials who paid people smugglers to return a boat of asylum seekers to Indonesia committed a transnational crime and put dozens of lives at risk, according to a damning report that calls for a Royal Commission into the scandal.

In its report Amnesty International also calls for an investigation into a second case of possible payments to a crew intercepted by the n Navy and Border Force on July 25.

“When it comes to its treatment of those seeking asylum, is becoming a lawless state,” Amnesty International refugee researcher Anna Shea says.

In June Fairfax Media revealed an Indonesian police investigation found people smugglers had been paid more than $US30,000 by n officials to return a boat that was headed for New Zealand.

The revelations – never denied by former prime minister Tony Abbott – prompted a Senate inquiry, due to report next year, and caused a diplomatic incident with Indonesia.

Ms Shea says all the available evidence points to n officials committing a transnational crime by, in effect, directing a people smuggling operation in May this year, paying a boat crew and then instructing them exactly where to land in Indonesia.

The report By Hook or by Crook – ‘s Abuse of Asylum Seekers at Sea says n officials may have also breached the people smuggling provisions in the n criminal code, although some public officials may have immunity from liability.

It accuses n officials of keeping asylum seekers – including a pregnant woman, two children and an infant – in cells for about a week on a Border Force ship after being told they could bathe there. It says some were denied medical care or access to their own medication.

The report also contradicts claims made by the Operation Sovereign Border taskforce that the May 2015 operation was intended to save lives following a distress call.

“The crew and asylum seekers – interviewed separately – consistently told Amnesty International that the boat was not in distress at the time of either interception on 17 or 22 May.”

Instead, Amnesty International says Border Force and Navy officials put dozens of lives at risk by forcing asylum seekers onto poorly equipped vessels, one of which ran out of fuel necessitating a dangerous mid-sea transfer.

“In the circumstances described by the crew and asylum seekers, it. is remarkable that no lives were lost and no one was injured.”

Amnesty International also calls for an investigation into a second possible cash payment on July 25, when intercepted a boat with 25 asylum seekers from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan.

Passengers told the human rights organisation that when they were put on a new boat on August 1, crew had two new bags they had not seen before.

“When the passengers became suspicious and threatened to open the bags the ns repeatedly told them not to.”

However an Indonesian police officer told Fairfax Media that crew members and asylum seekers on the second boat had made no mention of bribes or payments made by n officials.

“When we intercepted the boat, we didn’t find any money, just a GPS system given by n officials,” Ibrahim, the people smuggler unit chief for East Nusa Tenggara, told Fairfax Media.

“Where would the crew hide the money? We intercepted them while they were still on the water.”

Amnesty International has taken out full page advertisements in Thursday’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to launch a Royal Commission into the people smuggler payments.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton denied all of the claims being made in the Amnesty report. In response to detailed written questions from Fairfax Media, the spokeswoman said that the Operation Sovereign Borders regime was “conducted consistent with n domestic law and ‘s obligations under international law”.

“People on intercepted vessels are held lawfully in secure, safe, humane, and appropriate conditions by the personnel of the n Border Force and the n Defence Force,” she said.

“To suggest otherwise, as Amnesty has done, is to cast a slur on the men and women of the ABF and ADF.

“The government will always act in the best interests of the n people.”

She did not address direct questions about whether payments had been made by n officials.

In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media this month, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the evidence of the people smuggling payments was “very obvious”.

“But it seems there is very minimum information that the n authorities could share with Indonesia,” she says. “We expressed our concern obviously at that time. I think the message has been conveyed clearly to .”

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The five places that made me: Greg Norman

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Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied
杭州桑拿

Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied

Golfer Greg Norman says he took the Great Barrier Reef for granted when he was a child. Photo: Supplied

World Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, chairman and chief executive of Great White Shark Enterprises.

GREAT BARRIER REEF

It was there on the edge of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef that I spent the first 15 years of my life. I took it for granted back then, but now I realise that I grew up in paradise. I was a fun-loving North Queensland kid who loved growing up on the reef and taking advantage of all it had to offer. I did a lot of skin-diving and fishing, and had access to one of the great wonders of the world. It taught me a lot of life lessons like confidence and self-awareness.

ARNHEM LAND

When visiting Arnhem Land, the history is palpable. It has been occupied by Indigenous people for tens of thousands of years and is the location of the oldest-known stone axe, which scholars believe to be 35,500 years old. This, in itself, is fascinating and awe-inspiring. The Aboriginal rock-art is extraordinary as well. As one of the largest Aboriginal reserves in , I find it incredibly moving to be there, as this area carries so much meaning to our country and to the history of the world.

TANZANIA

I have included Tanzania in this list for an entirely different reason than the other locations. I had a heavy heart after visiting and seeing what the western world has done to the Maasai people. Apparently this is a dumping ground for old flip-phones, and the Maasai, who are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people, have now acquired these old phones. The issue is that they have to pay for monthly service to use the phones and now, for the first time in the history of their population, they are working civilian jobs just to pay for the phones. It is a disgusting display of the west polluting an indigenous culture.

ATACAMA, CHILE

When I was in Atacama, I hiked Lascar volcano, Chile´s most active volcano, at an elevation of 6000 metres. It was one of the most memorable hikes of my life. The landscape in Atacama is remarkable. It is one of the driest places on earth and so unique that they tested the Mars Rover there.

KYRGYZSTAN

I have just returned from Kyrgyzstan, spending 10 days in the mountains and experiencing one of the biggest adventures and ultimate tests of my life. I summited a peak at 5371 metres at -18C temperatures. This was the definition of extreme. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the local people, who are incredibly beautiful, polite and kind souls.

Greg Norman designed the 27-hole plus nine-hole par-3 private golf course at The Eastern Golf Club in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. Eighteen holes are now open with the third nine and nine-hole par-3 due to be complete in April 2016. See easterngolfclub杭州龙凤论坛m.au.

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