PORTSMOUTH, June 5 -- World leaders gathered on the coast of southern England on Wednesday (June 5) to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history and a feat that helped bring World War Two to an end.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May will be joined for the commemorative events in Portsmouth by veterans and by US President Donald Trump, who is on the final day of a state visit to Britain. French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and leaders and senior figures from 10 other countries are also due to attend. "As we unite to pay tribute to those whose bravery and sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in the Second World War, we will vow never to forget the debt we owe them," Mrs May said. "Their solidarity and determination in the defense of our freedom remains a lesson to us all."
In the early hours of June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 allied troops set off from Portsmouth and the surrounding area to begin the air, sea and land attack on Normandy that ultimately led to the liberation of western Europe from the Nazi regime. By the time of the Normandy landings, Soviet forces had been fighting Germany in the east for almost three years and Kremlin chief Josef Stalin had urged British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to open a second front as far back as August 1942. The invasion, codenamed Operation Overlord and commanded by US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, remains the largest amphibious assault in history and involved almost 7,000 ships and landing craft along a 80km stretch of the French coast.
Shortly after midnight, thousands of paratroopers were dropped. Then came the naval bombardment of German positions overlooking the shore. Then the infantry arrived on the beaches. Mostly American, British and Canadian men, some just boys, waded ashore as German soldiers tried to kill them with machine guns and artillery. Survivors say the sea was red with blood and the air boiling with the thunder of explosions. Thousands were killed on both sides. Line upon line of white crosses honor the dead in cemeteries across northern France. Even the code names of the sectors of the invasion - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword - can draw tears from veterans.
SYDNEY, May 5 -- The Immortal Regiment march commemorating World War II heroes has started in Australian cities. The participants in the procession walked along the central streets of Sydney on Sunday.
"The Immortal Regiment event traditionally attracts a great number of fellow countrymen in Australia, though there are not so many Russians here, but nevertheless our column is becoming increasingly crowded each year. Over 100 people have gathered in the city center carrying portraits of their grandfathers and great grandfathers today despite a heavy rainfall, to commemorate the heroes who died during World War II," the coordinator of the march Kseniya Trifonova said. The Immortal Regiment column walked along Sydney’s central streets from Martin Place to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) memorial where the participants laid flowers to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and observed a moment of silence. The people in the column carried not only the portraits of World War II veterans, but also the Russian and Australian flags. According to the coordinator of the procession in Sydney, the Immortal Regiment event has already become a tradition for Australia. "Marches have been held in Sydney since 2013, though initially the column walked well before Victory Day, on April 25, on Anzac Day. However, this is the third year that it takes place as a completely independent event, which we are attempting to hold on the weekend closest to Victory Day for as many fellow countrymen to be able to participate in it as possible, since people like it," Trifonova said.
The Immortal Regiment event is extremely important not only for Russia-and CIS-born marchers as each year it attracts a growing number of Australians interested in the history of World War II and the role of the Soviet people in achieving the victory in it, the participants of the procession said. Earlier the Immortal Regiment walked along the streets of Melbourne, attracting over 100 people. On Monday, May 6, the column will walk along the streets of Brisbane. On May 12, New Zealand’s Auckland will join the Immortal Regiment march. The Immortal Regiment procession is a public event where people carry photos of their relatives who participated in the Great Patriotic War. The first march was held in the Siberian city of Tyumen in 2007, under the name of the Parade of the Victorious. In 2013, the procession was held in 120 cities. In the following year, citizens of 500 cities in seven countries walked along the streets carrying the portraits of veterans. Sydney joined the event in 2013. The Immortal Regiment marches have taken place in Brisbane since 2015, and in Melbourne - since 2017.
BRISBANE, March 25 -- Airline advertisements accused of “making light” of sexual exploitation in Thailand have been removed from all Brisbane City Council buses.
A recent AirAsia advertising campaign ran a slogan saying "Get off in Thailand" in large type above the words "Fly direct from Brisbane to Bangkok". National regulator Ad Standards said while it had not received any complaints about the advertisement on the bus, it had received one complaint about the same advertisement on a billboard. The same ad is still on a billboard at Brisbane Airport, however the airport tweeted on Monday afternoon that it was being removed as a priority. Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said she was having dinner with friends in West End on Friday night when she spotted the bus parked opposite. Taking a photo, she sent it to her colleagues and they agreed it was a "dog whistle" to people who travelled to Thailand for sex tourism. Ms Liszewski said a research paper had found about 250,000 western men visit Thailand every year for the sole purpose of sexually exploiting women and children.
"It’s appalling that an ad like that would appear on a Brisbane bus," she said. "Looking at the bus advertisement I’m not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it was an accident."
AirAsia began a new direct flight route between Brisbane and Bangkok in February this year. An AirAsia spokesman said the campaign had since ended and the last advertisements were being removed around the city. "We take community feedback extremely seriously and sincerely apologise for the concerns raised," the spokesman said. ALP councillor Kara Cook (Morningside) said she had written to public and active transport chair and deputy mayor Adrian Schrinner on Monday calling for any buses still carrying the slogan to be pulled off the road. "This advertisement is completely inappropriate and makes light of the appalling situation facing many women and children who are victims of sexual exploitation in Thailand," Cr Cook said. "We know that Thailand has high rates of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children, this is a serious issue and these buses should be immediately removed from circulation. "Council cannot sit on their hands when it comes to council-owned buses. We have a responsibility." A Brisbane City Council spokeswoman said AirAsia had advised the council the campaign had ended and the advertisements had been removed in a process starting on March 17. "The wraps were installed on buses from 18 February, however, have all since been removed as part of the campaign ending," the spokeswoman said. The council spokeswoman said the council didn't determine the suitability of individual advertisements. "The Advertising Standards Bureau sets advertising guidelines to deem what is acceptable and also deals with complaints about advertising," she said. But Ms Liszewski said that wasn't good enough and said the lesson for all companies was to take responsibility. "They are responsible for what they put on their vehicles, on the front of their businesses and even the owners of the billboards and signs, they also have a responsibility," she said. "There is some advertising which is just blatantly sexist and in this case promoting sex tourism, that’s horrific. How did that get through so many people? "You can’t fob these things off to Ad Standards board."
MELBOURNE, March 17 -- Full race results for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, round one of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
1. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 58 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 20.886s
3. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 22.520s
4. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 57.109s
5. Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari + 58.230s
6. Kevin Magnussen DEN Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 87.156s
7. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault F1 Team + 1 lap
8. Kimi Raikkonen ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1 lap
9. Lance Stroll CAN SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1 lap
10. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1 lap
11. Pierre Gasly FRA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 1 lap
12. Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team + 1 lap
13. Sergio Perez MEX SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1 lap
14. Alexander Albon THA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1 lap
15. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1 lap
16. George Russell GBR ROKiT Williams Racing + 2 laps
17. Robert Kubica POL ROKiT Williams Racing + 3 laps
Ret. Romain Grosjean FRA Rich Energy Haas F1 Team
Ret. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team
Ret. Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team
MELBOURNE, March 16 -- Full results from qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, round one of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Formula 1 2019 Australian Grand Prix - Qualifying Results
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1m20.486s
2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 0.112s
3. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 0.704s
4. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 0.834s
5. Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari + 0.956s
6. Romain Grosjean FRA Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.340s
7. Kevin Magnussen DEN Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.613s
8. Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team + 1.818s
9. Kimi Raikkonen ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.828s
10. Sergio Perez MEX SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 2.295s
-- Q2 CUTOFF 1m22.532s --
11. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault F1 Team 1m22.562s
12. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team 1m22.570s
13. Alexander Albon THA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 1m22.636s
14. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing 1m22.714s
15. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 1m22.774s
-- Q1 CUTOFF 1m22.966s --
16. Lance Stroll CAN SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 1m23.017s
17. Pierre Gasly FRA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda 1m23.020s
18. Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team 1m23.084s
19. George Russell GBR ROKiT Williams Racing 1m24.360s
20. Robert Kubica POL ROKiT Williams Racing 1m26.067s
CHRISTCHURCH, March 15 -- Gunmen entered two mosques and began shooting in New Zealand's city of Christchurch on Friday killing at least 40 people - an unprecedented attack in the quiet country in the Pacific.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that 20 others were in serious condition after the "terrorist" attack. Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects were in custody - three men and a woman. Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began. He told Al Jazeera a man entered with an automatic weapon and began firing.
"A gunman - dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun - came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there," said Clarke. Police confirmed a second shooting occurred at the Linwood mosque during Friday prayers in the South Island city, but no details were immediately available. Ardern said: "This is, and will be, one of New Zealand's darkest days." Authorities have not described the scale of Friday's shootings but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. New Zealand media reported between nine and 27 people were killed, but the death toll could not be confirmed. Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques "anywhere in New Zealand". A lockdown imposed throughout Christchurch was called off at about 05:00 GMT.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the suspects was an Australian national, calling him an "extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".
Dressed in black
Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror. He said he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived. Peneha - who lives next to the mosque - said he went into the building to try and help. "I saw dead people everywhere." One man in the mosque, with blood stains all over his clothes, said he hid under a bench as the shooting took place. He said about 50 people were inside the building. Clarke said some worshippers managed to escape through windows and doors but "many people had been hit, some as young as 16". About 10 to 15 people were seen outside the mosque, "some alive, some dead", he said. "It was unbelievable. I saw about 20 people, some dead, some screaming," one eyewitness told local television. "I saw on the floor so many bullet shells, hundreds. I saw one guy trying to run out and he was shot dead."
One of the gunmen shared a livestream of the attack on Facebook and posted content on Instagram. Facebook said it has taken down the video and was removing praise for the gunman. "Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online," a police statement said. "We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed." There were reports racist literature was left behind at the scene denouncing "invaders". Commissioner Bush said local police officers apprehended the four suspects. "There's been some absolute acts of bravery," he said without elaborating. "I won't assume there aren't others but I don't have any information to that effect," Bush told a press conference. He said a number of bombs were detected and neutralised on the attackers' automobiles. "There were a few reports of IEDs strapped to vehicles which we were able to secure," he said, referring to improved explosive devices.
Asked by reporters whether police considered Friday's carnage a "terrorist attack", Bush said an investigation was under way.
MELBOURNE, March 15 -- Full results from Free Practice 2 for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, round one of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1m22.600s
2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 0.048s
3. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 0.800s
4. Pierre Gasly FRA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 0.842s
5. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 0.873s
6. Kimi Raikkonen ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 0.972s
7. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault F1 Team + 0.974s
8. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team + 1.044s
9. Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari + 1.154s
10. Romain Grosjean FRA Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.214s
11. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1.333s
12. Kevin Magnussen DEN Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.388s
13. Lance Stroll CAN SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1.411s
14. Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team + 1.533s
15. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.693s
16. Sergio Perez MEX SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1.801s
17. Alexander Albon THA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 2.075s
18. Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team + 2.133s
19. George Russell GBR ROKiT Williams Racing + 3.853s
20. Robert Kubica POL ROKiT Williams Racing + 4.055s
MELBOURNE, March 15 -- Full results from Free Practice 1 for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, round one of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1m23.599s
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 0.038s
3. Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari + 0.074s
4. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 0.193s
5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 0.267s
6. Kimi Raikkonen ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.217s
7. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1.233s
8. Pierre Gasly FRA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda + 1.333s
9. Kevin Magnussen DEN Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.335s
10. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault F1 Team + 1.416s
11. Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.567s
12. Romain Grosjean FRA Rich Energy Haas F1 Team + 1.625s
13. Alexander Albon THA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1.631s
14. Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team + 1.686s
15. Lance Stroll CAN SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1.689s
16. Sergio Perez MEX SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team + 1.899s
17. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team + 2.035s
18. Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team + 2.367s
19. Robert Kubica POL ROKiT Williams Racing + 4.315s
20. George Russell GBR ROKiT Williams Racing + 5.141s
MELBOURNE, March 14 -- Formula One's long-serving and widely respected race director Charlie Whiting died suddenly in Melbourne on Thursday, leaving a "huge void in the sport" just days before the opening Grand Prix of the season.
The 66-year-old Briton, who had been at the helm since 1997 and was in charge of everything rules-related in the highly technical sport, suffered a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot. "It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing," FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement.
"I have known Charlie Whiting for many years and he has been a great race director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport," he said.
"Formula 1 has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie," he added.
Whiting, a popular and pivotal figure in the sport, began his F1 career in 1977 working at the Hesketh team, then in the 1980s at Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham, where he was chief mechanic during the world title successes of Nelson Piquet in 1981 and 1983. He rose to chief engineer before becoming an integral part of organising the world championship after joining the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile in 1988. His broad role included overseeing track and car safety, procedural matters on Grand Prix weekends and starting the race itself. Whiting died just a day before he was scheduled to officiate at the first practice session of the season at Albert Park in Melbourne. It was not clear who would replace him. Throughout his career, Whiting was a driving force in pushing improved safety and played a key role in the introduction of the halo, the ring-like barrier fitted over drivers' heads as protection.
Formula one managing director Ross Brawn said he was "devastated" at the news, after knowing Whiting all his racing life. "We worked as mechanics together, became friends and spent so much time together at race tracks across the world. I was filled with immense sadness when I heard the tragic news. I'm devastated," he said. "It is a great loss not only for me personally but also the entire Formula 1 family, the FIA and motorsport as a whole."
Red Bull chief Christian Horner said Whiting's death would leave "a huge void in our sport". "He was a man with great integrity who performed a difficult role in a balanced way," he said. "At heart, he was a racer with his origins stretching back to his time at Hesketh and the early days of Brabham."
The Haas team said the "entire motorsport community is in mourning", while Renault called him "one of the pillars and leaders of the sport". "His drive to ensure exciting, safe and fair racing was unparalleled and his passion will be sorely missed," Renault said. Racing great Mario Andretti said the news of Whiting's death was "totally shocking".
"Charlie was a true giant in our sport and very possibly irreplaceable. RIP my friend," he said.
ADELAIDE, January 29 -- A Dutch man who has driven 89,000km from Amsterdam to Adelaide in a small electric car says he is proving to Australians that electric vehicles are a viable alternative.
Since March 2016, adventurer Wiebe Wakker has driven across 33 countries from Europe to the Middle East to south-east Asia and finally to Australia in a 2009 Volkswagen Golf, converted to electric. Over the past seven months he has continued the journey around Australia from Darwin down to Perth, across the Nullarbor to Newcastle, up to Queensland, and back down to Adelaide. After Adelaide, Wakker will finish once he reaches Melbourne and then Sydney. “I expected that by this time I would be exhausted and starving but I’m still having a lot of fun,” he told Guardian Australia from Adelaide. “I’m actually a little bit sad that I’m coming to the end of the journey.” By driving such extreme distances, Wakker said he hoped to bust Australian anxieties over the lack of charging stations and how far electric cars can travel.
Australia has one of the slowest uptakes of electric vehicles in the developed world. In 2016, only 0.1% of all new car sales were electric, compared to 29% in Norway, 6% in Wakker’s native Netherlands and 1.5% in China and the UK. “In Australia the infrastructure for electric cars is still getting off the ground, but it’s already possible to drive all around Australia using charging stations,” he said. “A lot of people say they are just waiting for the price to come down. Others say the electric car is just not viable for Australia because the distances are so big, which is a bit weird I think. The average daily commute is just 20km or so.
“My car is from 2009 and it has a limited range of 200km. Most cars that are available on the market now do 300km to 500km, so if you buy a current car in Australia you won’t have this problem. You can cover the whole country.” Wakker’s car, which he calls “Blue Bandit”, is a first-generation electric car that can be charged on domestic power sockets. “When I started this journey I thought I would mainly charge at people’s homes and whenever I get a charging station that will be a bonus,” he said. He said those with newer electric cars would find the journey even easier. The Royal Automobile Club has built a chain of charges in WA, and the Queensland statement government has built a 2,000km superhighway of chargers from Cairns to Coolangatta, which Wakker used. “Some states are supportive of installing infrastructure – Queensland has been doing very well. But it’s a pity that the [federal] government doesn’t really support it,” he said. “Most Western countries where electric cars are taking off, the government is giving a lot of incentives for electric cars.”
In Norway, electric cars are exempt from import taxes and the 25% VAT, users are exempt from tolls and sometimes get free parking and the right to bus lanes. Despite his positive experience, Wakker said he found the journey between Glendambo to Coober Pedy in South Australia a challenge in his 2009 car. “It was 255km – I knew I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “So I checked on my app to see how the wind was going, I saw that 12 hours later I would have a tailwind. I waited and drove very slow to save energy – 60km. I did 235km, which was my record. Just 20km from Coober Pedy I ran out, I put on a lot of sunscreen and waited for someone who could give me a tow. Someone came by within 10 minutes and said yes.”