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A CHARTER plane with eight Australians heading to the Kokoda Track is missing having failed to reach its destination in Papua New Guinea.

The Twin Otter, twin engine plane was scheduled to arrive at the small village of Efogi at 9.55am (local time), before being due at Kokoda by 10.15am, then back at Port Moresby by 11am.

Authorities hold fears for the missing 13 people on board, including eight Australians heading to the Kokoda Track, and two crew members.

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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A FINANCIAL adviser has barely escaped with his life after being beaten and held hostage for four days … by a gang of old-age pensioners.                                           

American James Amburn was beaten until his ribs broke, burnt with cigarettes and hit with a Zimmer frame by the gang of five pensioners furious that he’d lost their £2 million ($4.1 million) savings.

Living in Germany, Mr Amburn was ambushed as he left a café and driven in the boot of an Audi to a house, where he was dumped in a cellar.

“I was jumped from the rear and struck,” he told UK tabloid The Sun.

“Then they bound me like a mummy with masking tape. It took them quite a while because they ran out of breath.”

In four days, the pensioners fed him just two bowls of soup, burned him with cigarettes and threatened to kill him “again and again”, angry that he had invested their money in a failed Florida property scheme.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

He escaped once but was recaptured and beaten until his ribs broke.

Mr Amburn was eventually rescued after convincing his captors to let him fax a Swiss bank in an attempt to get their money.

He left a note for police at the bottom of the fax and armed cops stormed the house in Bavaria on Saturday.

The “Furious Five” as they have been dubbed, face 15-year sentences for hostage-taking and torture.

Source  :  www.news.com.au  

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Socceroos star Tim Cahill relived his 2006 World Cup heroics with two second half goals against Japan to ensure Australia ended their qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010 in triumph. 

Australia won 2-1 at the MCG on Wednesday night, meaning they went unbeaten through the eight games of their final phase of qualifying and stayed ahead of Japan at the top of their group to earn Asian bragging rights.

Cahill, who scored the first two goals in Australia’s World Cup history to spark a famous 3-1 comeback victory over Japan in Germany in 2006, was again the shining light for the Socceroos against the Blue Samurai.

While both sides were already guaranteed World Cup qualification before Wednesday night’s match, Cahill’s second half heroics at least gave an MCG crowd of 69,238 plenty to cheer about.

There had been precious few moments for the green and gold army to get excited about before the break, as Australia continued the effective but unadventurous style that had served them well previously in the campaign.

Their one real chance of the first half came in the 10th minute, when Cahill ran onto a long ball in the box.

His left foot shot was not hit with enough venom to trouble goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki, who blocked it away.

But the rebound ended up with Mile Sterjovski, whose much more powerful shot required a brilliant reflex move by the `keeper to deflect it over the crossbar.

Cahill had another chance from the resultant corner, with a header from the box, but was wide of the target.

Japan did most of most of the attacking for the rest of the half and eventually opened the scoring through Tulio Tanaka in the 40th minute.

Tanaka made a well-timed run into the middle of the box from a corner kick and leapt over Cahill to head it home.

It broke a seven-game streak of clean sheets for Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who had spent his previous 710 minutes in goal without conceding.

But the rare blot on their defensive copybook stirred the Socceroos into life after break and they attacked constantly in the opening stages of the second half.

It took a brilliant Cahill header to level the scores in the 59th minute.

He produced a huge leap above two Japanese defenders at the left side of the box to connect with a long-range Vince Grella free kick and head it into the right side of the net.

The goal seemed to inspire Cahill to press even harder for the winner, getting onto the end of several promising attacking moves in the following minutes.

He eventually gave the Socceroos the lead in the 76th minute, when a Nicky Carle corner kick from the right side floated over a pack of players in the box.

Cahill, lurking at the back, got enough of his right leg to the ball to send it home and lift the crowd to their feet.

It was his 16th goal in 33 internationals and he was later given a huge ovation as he walked to the bench in the 86th minute, having once again lifted Australia to a comeback victory over Japan.

But, asked after the match about his scoring record against Japan, Cahill would only speak about the Melbourne crowd, a possible snub to the media who have criticised the Socceroos’ playing style.

“I’d just like to thank the crowd, the lads, a great turnout in Melbourne, I’m so proud to be here, so proud to play tonight so I think the credit just goes to the crowd, you were brilliant,” he said.

“This is a step forward for us, it’s great to finish top of the group.”

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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POLICE have charged a 17-year-old boy – a former volunteer firefighter – after a spate of more than 20 deliberately lit fires in the Perth Hills this week.

The teenager has been charged with four counts of arson after he was arrested by detectives from the arson squad this afternoon. bush fire

Police say they expect more charges to be laid over the outstanding fires in the Shire of Mundaring on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The arrest comes after a six-month operation between FESA, the Department of Environment and Conservation and the police arson squad targeting arsonists in the Perth foothills

Detective Sergeant David Gorton said police had focused their attention on the teenager since mid-March.

“We will allege that this young man lit two fires (Wednesday) – one in Hovea and one in Parkerville – in the space of about 15 minutes,” Det-Sgt Gorton said.

“The previous charges relate to February this year in Glen Forrest and then March in Parkerville again.”

It is understood the teenager was a volunteer firefighter when he allegedly lit the Glen Forrest and first Parkerville fires, but he resigned from the position two weeks ago.

“No property was damaged in relation to these fires however, some of the fires were lit in close proximity to houses so there was always a danger that given a wind direction change or other circumstances that property could have been damaged,” he said.

“Certainly there was the potential for property and lives to be lost in relation to what he was doing.”
The teenager has also been charged with five counts of making malicious phone calls to 000 earlier this year.

The maximum penalty for bushfire arson convictions is a $250,000 fine and/or 14 years in jail.

www.news.com.au

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