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WILDLIFE officers have appealed to the public for information about a dolphin that was slashed across the throat and left on the lawn of a house in Bremer Bay, on Western Australia’s south coast.

The dolphin was dumped under a tree of a Bremer Bay property about 500 metres from the beach.

A wildlife officer from the Department of Environment and Conservation’s Nature Protection Branch in Albany will travel to Bremer Bay today to investigate the incident, question locals and examine the carcass.

Acting chief wildlife officer Kevin Morrison said it was not clear whether the dolphin had been slashed before or after its death.

“The photos provided to us indicate that someone inflicted quite deep serious wounds to the throat of the dolphin, but it’s not possible to say conclusively if it was while the animal was still alive, or post mortem,” Mr Morrison said.

“Unfortunately now, the only way we’d be able to determine whether the animal was killed or the injury inflicted post-mortem is if we get information from members of the public.

“We’re relying heavily on information from the public in order to get a result.”

Mr Morrison said it was believed the animal was a striped dolphin, but more would be known when the wildlife officer examined the carcass tomorrow.

The officer would be liaising with police from Ongerup investigating the disturbing incident.

Source  :  www.heraldsun.com.au

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The public are being asked not to approach whales during their annual migration.

Several whales have been spotted near Perth, off Ocean Reef over the weekend.

Whales often seek out protected waters close to shore and if people harass them they are likely to leave the area.

Whales are not accustomed to people, and may defend themselves when approached.

People who get up close on surfboards and boats are at particular risk, as these whales may react violently, which can result in serious injury or death.

In Western Australia, boats must be within 100m of a whale by law.

You need to keep your distance so they can continue their journey without interference.

People should be able to enjoy the spectacular sight of  whales off Perth’s shores for the next few weeks.

If boats and surfers keep their distance, we can all get a view of these creatures from the beach as they pass through our waters.

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TWO Australian women on a bus tour of Hollywood stars’ houses have told of the chaotic scenes as they accidentally witnessed the King of Pop’s final exit.

Helen Battaglia of Alfred Cove and her friend, Sally Wilson of Melbourne, were on a Starlight bus tour when their driver decided to show them Michael Jackson’s mansion.

“We turned into where Michael Jackson’s been staying and as we came round the corner we saw a fire truck.”                                                                  The+Best+Of+Michael+Jackson

“The driver said ‘Oh there’s a fire truck here, there’s a bit happening’.”

Ms Wilson said the bus pulled up in front of the gates of the mansion while photographers milled around the entrance.

“All of a sudden the gates open and out came the ambulance while paparazzi were all running and banging and trying to take photos in the back of the ambulance,” she said.

Ms Battaglia said the scene became chaotic as Jackson’s staff fought to block the paparazzi from grabbing final pictures of the dying star.

Ms Wilson said passengers on the bus had no idea what they were witnessing.

“It was all happening. We weren’t sure who was in the car at that stage,” she said.

“They were just yelling out and then the ambulance took off and two black SUVs came out of the driveway and followed it.”

The women said photographers dashed to follow the ambulance.

“The paparazzi were running towards our bus saying ‘go go go’,” Ms Battaglia said.

“They got in a car and took off driving erratically, chasing the ambulance,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe what was going on. It was surreal.”

As their bus then left the scene, the driver paused to speak to a local woman who sells maps to the stars’ houses.

“She was crying on the phone and the bus driver stopped and said “Mary, what’s going on? Is it him?” Ms Wilson said.

“She was wailing and crying but she couldn’t talk, she just said “Yes, it’s him. It’s Michael.”

The two women were feeling flat after their brush with celebrity death.

“Today we’re a bit sad about the whole thing,” Ms Wilson said.

The event lent a bizarre and tragic twist to a celebrity-filled day for the two Australians, who were staying at the historic Hotel Roosevelt, once home to Marilyn Monroe and Clark Cable.

Earlier that morning, Ms Wilson ran into Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as they were leaving the hotel.

“That was about 10.30 in the morning. I was just walking down a corridor with no one else there and this door flicks open and there’s Brad and Angelina,” she said.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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AN Australian family who met Michael Jackson more than 20 years ago and became lifelong friends was devastated by the pop star’s surprise death.

Joy Robson, mother of choreographer Wade Robson, said her family could not come to terms with the news the King of Pop was dead.          Michael_Jackson_1971_got_to_be_there

”We are all in shock right now,” Ms Robson, sobbing heavily, said.

”We’re devastated.”

A Los Angeles County Coroner’s office spokesman has confirmed Jackson had died.

Lieutenant Fred Corral told CNN Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead at 2:26pm (0726 AEST) local time after reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Robsons, formerly of Brisbane, befriended Jackson when Wade, at the age of five, won a dance competition in Australia where first prize was a meeting with the star.

When Jackson toured Australia in 1987 the pop star invited Wade to perform at his Brisbane concert.

Robsons, formerly of Brisbane, befriended Jackson when Wade, at the age of five, won a dance competition in Australia where first prize was a meeting with the star.When Jackson toured Australia in 1987

Two years later, with the help of Jackson, the Robsons moved to the US so Wade could pursue his dancing career.

Wade appeared in three of Jackson’s music videos, Black or White, Jam and Heal the World and today, at the age of 26, is one of the world’s most renowned choreographers, hosting his own MTV series The Wade Robson Project, working with Britney Spears and N’SYNC and winning two Emmy Awards.

Wade, Ms Robson and her daughter, Chantal, were called as witnesses at Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial in California.

Jackson was eventually acquitted.

The Robsons spent many nights at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. After Jackson’s acquittal in 2005, the Robsons were again in tears, but back then it was tears of happiness.

”I’ve never questioned Michael,” Ms Robson said in 2005.

”That’s the bottom line. I’ve never ever had a second of a concern.

”I don’t care what people say of me.

”You have to know Michael to understand.

”I’ve always said to Michael I wished the world could know the Michael we do.

”He’s not what the media makes him out to be.”

Jackson, aged 50, died in Los Angeles today, although a cause of death is yet to be officially announced.

Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at Jackson’s $US100,000 ($A124,378.11) a month rented mansion in the exclusive LA suburb of Holmby Hills, just after midday.

He was taken to the nearby UCLA Medical Centre but was pronounced dead.

RIP

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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I know if Jane were here today, she would have been so happy to see that so many Australian women and their families are being helped by the work the McGrath Foundation is doing each day.

Executive Director of the Foundation TracyBevan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Memorial services will be held across the nation today to honour breast cancer victims including Jane McGrath, one year after her death.

The McGrath Foundation, led by her husband and former cricketer Glenn McGrath has raised more than $5.5 million for cancer research.jane McGrath

Jane and Glenn co-founded the McGrath Foundation in 2002, to raise money for breast cancer nurses and to raise awareness about the disease.

The cancer campaigner lost her own battle with cancer on June 22 last year, sparking an outpouring of grief.

Today memorials will be held in the Art Gallery of NSW and at other sites across Sydney, as well as in Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

Executive Director of the Foundation Tracy Bevan says it’s a significant day.

“Today is a hard day for us, but it’s also a very proud day. I know if Jane were here today, she would have been so happy to see that so many Australian women and their families are being helped by the work the McGrath Foundation is doing each day.”

The foundation currently has 45 McGrath Breast Care Nurses working in health care facilities across the country, with another eight to be placed in coming months.

Source  www.livenews.com.au

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AN MP wants Queenslanders to be buried in cardboard coffins in natural bush cemeteries where the decomposing bodies can promote vegetation growth.

coffinThe “green in death” approach has been advocated by Labor’s Barbara Stone who told Parliament about a body’s “natural nutrients.”

 

She suggested that more local authorities follow the lead of the Gold Coast City Council which is planning the state’s first natural bushland cemetery.

 

“The site will be an old quarry to be filled with suitable soil so that bodies can decompose and provide valuable nutrients that encourage the rejuvenation of native flora,” she said. 

Body disposal should have as little impact on the environment as possible after taking into account the deceased’s personal, cultural or traditional practices, Ms Stone said. If someone wanted to be buried in a cardboard box “under a shady tree” this should be permitted.

Ms Stone, who represents Springwood, said responsible Queenslanders should go to their grave in eco-friendly coffins made from fibre waste.

“Testing has shown that they release half the emissions of a standard coffin,” she said.

Of the 24,500 coffins used in Queensland last year, less than 100 were made from this alternative material.

This represented a waste of timber and valuable metals and exposed the environment to toxic embalming chemicals.

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have bushland cemeteries where only native stone can be used as burial markers.

But Ms Stone said that if there was no stone the “savvy techno can have a GPS device placed in their hands so their families can return to honour the bushland settings and their loved ones”.

Queensland bans burials on private land although there are some exceptions – former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen is at rest in the grounds of his home Bethany, near Kingaroy.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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What is superannuation?

Superannuation is a way of saving for your retirement. Both you and your employer can make contributions that accumulate over time andsuper this money is then invested in shares, government bonds, property, or other appropriate investments.                                 

On retirement, or after disability or death you then receive the money (less charges and taxes) as regular periodic payments (ie, a pension), a lump sum payment, or a combination of both.

Employers must contribute to an employee’s superannuation fund. This is called the Superannuation Guarantee, which came into operation on July 1, 1992.

The amount of the contribution is 9 per cent of an employee’s wages (excluding overtime, leave loading and fringe benefits).

Some employees are left out. The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act says that employers do not have to pay the Superannuation Guarantee in certain circumstances.

Some of the exceptions are:
• employees earning less than $450 per month;
• employees under the age of 18 who work 30 hours per week or less;
• employees over 70 years of age;
• anyone paid to do domestic or private work for 30 hours per week or less.

Can the employer pay more?

An employer can make payments above the compulsory superannuation guarantee as:
• a reward for a worker’s performance;
• a type of co-payment, where the employer’s contribution increases in line with the employees voluntary contribution; or
• a ‘salary-sacrifice’ – this is where the employer makes a contribution that would otherwise be paid as salary.

Note, there are limits to the amount of salary sacrifice that can be made in a financial year.

If you want your employer to pay more, you should get advice from a financial advisor, but keep in mind that employers are limited in the amount that can be claimed as a deduction for superannuation contributions made for a particular employee.

Check with your superannuation fund or the Australian Tax Office to find out what these limits are – they change each year.  www.ato.gov.au

Should I contribute too?

If you have money left over after your weekly expenses, and you want to save for the future, you may want to consider making superannuation contributions as compared to other forms of investment.

Note, there are aged base limits that affect whether or not you can contribute to superannuation – for details, see the Australian Taxation Office web site.

Some of the advantages are:
• generally, you pay less tax on interest from superannuation savings than bank interest;
• with a ‘salary sacrifice’ the superannuation contribution is taken straight out of your wages, so you are not tempted to use it for purposes other than savings.

There are limits to the amount that you can “salary sacrifice”;
• the interest on superannuation savings is ‘compounded’, that is, interest earned by the superannuation fund is added to the total investment, so the interest earns more interest.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority estimates that a sum of money ‘compounded’ at 7 per cent a year will double in value in ten years; and
• you may be able to access the benefits of the low income super rebate and low income spouse rebate.
• you may be able to access financial incentives offered by the Government such as the co-contribution scheme. Under this scheme Government will contribute up to $1500 (depending on your income) when you contribute to your fund.

Check the Australian Taxation Office web site for details.

Ultimately, the pros and cons of contributing to superannuation is something you should get advice about.

What are the tax advantages?

The maximum tax rate for your employer’s contribution is 15 per cent.

The income you earn through the fund’s investments is also taxed at a maximum 15 per cent rate.

Salary sacrifice contributions will be taxed at 15 per cent.

Once you reach 60 you can withdraw your superannuation as a lump sum or income stream tax free.

There are also tax advantages if you contribute to your spouse/de facto’s super fund. The set off depends on their income. Check the Tax Office for details.

What laws apply?

The main laws that apply to superannuation are the:
• Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act and Regulations (regulates most private superannuation funds);
• Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act and Regulations (tells employers the minimum contribution they must pay);
• Income Tax Assessment Act,.

The jargon

Accumulation funds – money is invested and the final benefit depends on the total contributions, plus earnings of the fund.

Annuity – like a pension. You receive regular periodic payments for either fixed amount of time or until you die.

Benefit – the money paid to you out of the superannuation fund or held on your behalf within the fund.

Contribution – the money paid into the superannuation fund by either you or your employer.

Defined benefit funds – the final benefit is paid on the basis of a specific formula, so the employer carries the risk if the growth of the fund does not cover the benefit.

Lump sum – money received in a single payment.

Preserved – money that you cannot withdraw from your fund until retirement or certain other events, eg reaching a certain age and leaving employment either temporarily or permanently. This includes money paid by your employer, interest earned on that money or contributions paid by a self-employed person which have been claimed as a tax deduction and any undeducted contributions you make after 1 July, 1999.

Rollover – transferring money from one fund to another.

Unrestricted or non- preserved amount – money that can be paid to you at any time form your superannuation fund

Rights to information

You are entitled to certain information from your superannuation fund. This includes:
• a member statement which shows the amount of your benefit at the start and end of the relevant period, the amount that is preserved and contact details (generally provided annually);
• a fund report which shows the fund’s financial position (generally provided annually);
• notification of changes that affect you, e.g. a change to the superannuation fund’s rules; and
• a statement that shows your benefit, including death benefits when you leave.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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