Qld hammer killer begins life sentence

Financial planner Trung The Ma has been sentenced to life for murdering his best client.A Queensland financial planner who murdered a client in a bid to avoid having almost half a decade of theft revealed has begun serving a life sentence for the crime.

Trung The Ma was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 20 years after being found guilty of the death of Huegio Bonham on the Gold Coast in February 2014.

Ma’s Brisbane Supreme Court trial heard the former child refugee smashed Mr Bonham’s head with a hammer following a business meeting between the pair at Mr Bonham’s home.

The murder occurred when Mr Bonham expressed his desire to take his business elsewhere due to disappointment in the returns Ma’s firm, Brisbane Money Management, had been providing.

Unknown to the 63-year-old, Ma had stolen $706,000 from Mr Bonham over four years and the murder was an attempt by Ma to avoid having his crimes exposed.

The court heard Ma had felt pressure for years from the weight of his father’s expectations that he succeed in life and provide for their extended family.

After killing Mr Bonham, Ma cleaned up, put the body in his car boot, bought a large plastic container and rented a storage shed to hold the remains.

However he made a crucial mistake – he dropped Mr Bonham’s wallet in a car park when he bought the container.

Ma called the car park’s management, asking about the wallet, claiming he was Mr Bonham and saying he would send “his good friend” Ma to pick it up.

The attempt to retrieve the wallet led police to Ma, who progressively broke down under police inquiries before eventually making a full confession.

With time served Ma will be eligible for parole from 2034.

Indy 500 win completes Will Power’s career

n driver Will Power claimed his maiden Indianapolis 500 victory at his 11th attempt.The worry is gone for ‘s IndyCar sensation Will Power.

Although there are still brief, random moments of panic, the Toowoomba product has silenced his doubt – much of it within his own head.

By becoming the first n to win the iconic IndyCar 500, Power put to rest any question marks over his standing in the sport.

The 37-year-old finally crossed the finish line of the famous American race first, after some near misses.

“I had that niggling thought in my mind for so long, ‘you’ve got to win the Indy 500, you’ve got to win the Indy500’,” Power told AAP.

“Every now and then it still pops back up and I’m like ‘OK you’ve done it, now you can relax and try to win another one’.”

Despite winning the 2014 IndyCar Series championship and being a household name on the American tour, there was still something missing.

Power said he would have felt empty about his career – despite sitting eighth for all-time IndyCar race wins – if he retired having never won the Indy 500.

“I’ve probably won more races than anyone over the last 10 years, more laps led, I’ve won a championship,” he said.

“But I was going to be so disappointed in my career if I had not won that race.

“You wouldn’t be recognised as a top driver, you really need to win both (Indy 500 and a championship) to be recognised as a successful driver.

“But I still have to pinch myself sometimes.”

Power is in to visit family but has also stopped by Parliament House to meet the prime minister – the things that come about after writing yourself into n sports history.

He will fly back to his North Carolina base in November with the goal of winning the title and the Indy500 in the same season.

Journalist killing ‘heinous’: Saudi prince

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was heinous.Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince has called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman separately said on Wednesday that the killing of the Washington Post columnist will not “drive a wedge” between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

His comments came at the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

This year’s summit has been overshadowed by the killing on October 2 of Mr Khashoggi.

Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage was allegedly at the consulate at the time.

International business leaders have pulled out from attending the summit over the killing.

The Saudi prince said his “war” is restoring the Middle East to its past glory. He did not mention Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Yemen.

Prince Mohammed received a standing ovation for the comment.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war, which has displaced two million more and helped spawn a cholera epidemic. Saudi-led air strikes have struck medical clinics and markets, killing large numbers of civilians and damaging vital infrastructure.

Earlier, Turkey’s president kept up pressure on Saudi Arabia over Mr Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke by phone with Prince Mohammed just before he arrived with other Arab leaders at the investment summit in Riyadh.

Prince Mohammed immediately addressed the killing after taking to the stage at the event.

“The crime was really painful to all Saudis. I believe it is painful for every human in the world,” he said.

“It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

He continued: “We know that many are trying to use this painful thing to create a kind of wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

“I want to send them a message: They will not be able to do that as long as there is king called King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.”

Mr Erdogan focused in again on Mr Khashoggi’s death.

“We are determined not to allow the murder to be covered up and for those responsible – from the person who gave the order to those who executed it – not to escape justice,” he said in the capital, Ankara.

Letters to the editor October 26 2018

NOW AND THEN: The Lass O’Gowrie in 1982. Reader Ian Roach argues times have changed, largely for the better, over the passing decades. Picture: George SteeleALAN Metcalf (Letters24/10) is right. The I grew up in is gone.

It had about half today’s population but the road toll for NSW alone was higher than for the whole country today. In public and church-run hospitals, the babies of unmarried mothers were routinely stolen. Thousands of children were sexually abused but no-one noticed. Thousands died or suffered disabilities from contagious diseases that have since been eradicated or controlled.

There was widespread corruption in the police forces of several states. Butchers were fined for putting too much meat in their sausages. It was common to see drunks lying in the gutter in the Newcastle CBD in the middle of the day. Advertisers were permitted, and did, make outrageous claims about their products without a shred of supporting evidence. The banks were only open when ordinary people could not get to them.

Aboriginal ns did not have the vote. When a company needed to reduce its workforce, it sacked all its women. You could not drink on a Sunday unless you drove.

There is still plenty of room for improvement but I am thankful that we no longer live in the country I grew up in.

Ian Roach, New LambtonTALK IS KEY TO CONFESSIONI BELIEVE the mistaken instruction from the royal commission onconfessional privacy (‘Sanctity of confessional should be breached: royal commission’, NewcastleHerald14/8/17) needs to be addressed.

Firstly, the words describing a procedure whereby Christian/Catholic persons approach a priest to speak to him about their state of spiritual well-being is their own business.Secondly, the word confession has been replaced by the word reconciliation, which means an encounter with the priest knowing the person can and will be reconciled with a higher power by voicing concerns about wrong-doing and being aware of the repercussions of their action.

From an ordinary person’s perspective, verbalising a concernlarge or smallcan assist that person to be helped in the inner conflict which may be causing them disturbing unrest.It is well known by most people who worry about any situation concerning their own welfare thatif they speak with a trustworthy person, the mere voicing of a subject will bring an alleviation in part of that problem and knowledge of a certain peace within. So it is with reconciliation, butwith one important distinction: the priest is a person who does not usually know who he is speaking with, as most places are chosen for confidentiality and privacy.

However, there is also an alternative:ageneral rite of reconciliation whereby a group of people can attend a gathering and a person can choose to speak confidentially, face-to-face with a priest, after a short ceremony.

One must remember and fully understand that an important aspect of speaking privately to another personis choosing to bare their innermost thoughts. It takes courage and a strong, will plus a controlling nervous disposition to admit any wrongdoing or troubling concerns to anyone.

Colette Embe, RathminesA BUREAUCRATIC CAROUSELI RECKON this could be a primeexample of bureaucratic buck-passing.

Sick of copping foul-mouthed abuse for reminding people of the smoking ban at my local bus stop, I approached Keolis Downer to see if they could provide a simple no smoking sign.

They said no, I’dhave to speak to Newcastle City Council. The council said no,I’dhave to speak to NSW Health. After sixweeks of inaction, I again approached the bus company to be told once again that I would have to speak to the council.

So, do I stay on the merry-go-roundor just accept the fact that laws are useless unless someone cares enough to take responsibility for enforcing them?

Greg Hunt, Newcastle WestBACK IN BLACK, BUT RED FLAGWEDNESDAY’S Herald pointed out that while Newcastle Council had got its finances back in the black, there was still a shortage spent onessential infrastructure (‘Council in black but backlog up’, Herald 25/10).

It is a problem that confronts almost all councils. Back in 2010 we were warned by retiring federal finance minister Lindsay Tanner that our deficit in infrastructure was about $750 billion, which he blamed on our high population growth. That figure is more alarming when you recall that in 1983 the Fraser government was accused of allowing this deficit to reach $20 billion.

Since Tanner,no government seems game enough to publicly admit to a figure for this shortfall because both sides are committed to policies of high immigration. This, despite the cost of supplying all the essential requirements for a growing population such as schools, hospitals and transport, have grown exponentially and are often disruptive processes.

Don Owers, DudleySKATING ON A THIN SLICENEWCASTLE City Council’s coastal zone management plan recommends that the city “investigate, design and implement opportunities for the relocation of public assets to minimise the potential impacts on coastal hazards (e.g. surf clubs could be relocated further landward when being replaced). That’s fromPart B, page 29.

What I’m wondering is, if the council’s own report thinks we need to relocate surf clubs, why would we consider building a skate bowl east of the sea wall and on the sand at South Newcastle beach even closer to the water (‘Beach bowling ahead’, Herald25/10)?

John Church, The HillTRYING TO PULL MY WEIGHTI TAKE some umbrage from a person who I do not know (Short Takes 20/10)calling me a hypocrite, but maybe I am a bit unkind. Perhaps the gentleman drives a Tesla or is an organic farmer, who knows?

Now I will get on my high horse (or donkey). Most of my hot water is solar, I have solar panels for electricity and I have battery storage.

We have 10 large trees on our land, plus multiple shrubs. I belong to fiveLandcare groups. I was also involved with growing native plants – (roughly12,000 last year,and I was personally involved with planting over 6000. This, I feel, is enough to offset a drive up theHunter Valley in my Prius.

I see time and time again from certain people that if they have no decent facts behind their arguments, they put down the messenger.

So, I would not like to travel anywhere with the person who called me a hypocrite or even respond to any of his future correspondence until he researches his stories and has something useful to add in debate.

Christopher Marley, AdamstownSHARE YOUR OPINIONEmail [email protected]苏州楼凤.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.

Triple amputee earns gold on first go

Triple amputee Mark Ormrod has won Invictus Games gold in the 50-metre breaststroke.Mark Ormrod didn’t think he’d live – let alone swim competitively – after he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan and lost his right arm and both legs.

But the 34-year-old from the United Kingdom earned two gold medals and a silver in the pool at the Invictus Games in Sydney on Wednesday night.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d be here,” Ormrod told AAP.

“The first time I went in a swimming pool post my injury, I nearly drowned and I was a pretty strong swimmer before (Afghanistan).

“That incident kept me out of the water for five years.”

The former Royal Marine became the first triple amputee to survive Afghanistan, after stepping on an improvised explosive device during a routine patrol on Christmas Eve 2007.

Doctors told Ormrod to prepare for life in a wheelchair but instead, the father-of-three used the injury as a “springboard for growth and reinvention”.

He took to the pool at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto after he figured out “how to go in a straight line”.

“It was a complete experiment – I had to adapt (swimming) to my injuries and figure out what to do with my right arm, what body position to have, how many breaths to take,” Ormrod said.

Another experiment for Ormrod was the 50-metre breaststroke, which he won after learning an adapted version of the swimming style just 45 minutes before the race on Wednesday night.

“I only entered it last night because there was only one entrant, so I wanted to give the crowd a race,” he said.

“I had a quick little go just now in the warm-up pool and I think I figured it out.”

Ormrod beat former n sniper team commander Garry Robinson by just 29 milliseconds in the race, which had the crowd on its feet.

Robinson said it was an honour to come “second or last” to Ormrod.

“Every time I swim now I’m thinking about my mates who died, whenever I’m hurting or tired they get me through it,” Robinson told AAP.

“To have Mark beside me was very emotional.”

Robinson suffered a brain injury and had to have his left leg amputated after a Blackhawk helicopter he was travelling in crashed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Three people died, including his mate Private Ben Chuck.

“After the accident I thought I’d never get back on the sporting field, I was going through serious bouts of depression and anxiety, and I thought, the old Garry’s gone,” Robinson said.

“But tonight, the old Garry is back.”

On Thursday Ormrod is set to compete in shot put and discus, while Robinson will participate in archery.

Japan journalist freed from Syria

Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda has been freed after being held in Syria for three years.A Japanese journalist freed after more than three years of captivity in Syria says he’s safe in neighbouring Turkey.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says embassy officials met with the freelance journalist, Jumpei Yasuda, at an immigration centre in southern Turkey near the border with Syria.

“We are extremely pleased that we have confirmed the safety of Mr. Jumpei Yasuda,” Kono told reporters.

Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, known at the time as the al-Nusra Front, after contact with him was lost in June that year. A war monitoring group said he was most recently held by a Syrian commander with the Turkistan Islamic Party, which mostly consists of Chinese jihadis in Syria.

“My name is Jumpei Yasuda, Japanese journalist. I have been held in Syria for 40 months,” Yasuda said, somewhat haltingly, in English in comments broadcast by Japan’s NHK public television.

“Now I am in Turkey. Now I am in safe condition. Thank you very much.”

NHK said the video was shot inside the immigration centre and was released by the local government in Turkey’s Hatay province.

News of Yasuda’s release came late Tuesday from Qatar, which helped in obtaining his freedom along with Turkey and other countries in the region, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Asked if any ransom was involved, Suga said: “There is no fact that ransom money was paid.”

Yasuda’s wife, a singer who goes by the name Myu, was on a live talk show on Japanese television and shed tears when she heard Kono confirm that her husband was safe.

“First I want to tell him welcome back, and then praise him for enduring,” she said.

“I’m so glad he survived.”

Yasuda’s parents earlier said they couldn’t wait to see their son return home.

“I was just praying for his safe return,” his mother Sachiko Yasuda, 75, told Japan’s NHK public television as she and her husband stood in front of their home outside Tokyo, holding a “thousand cranes” well-wishing origami ornament that she had added to every day for three years.

Crows observed putting together DIY tools

The finding is remarkable because the crows received no assistance or training at all.Clever crows have shown how they can assemble tools from two or more non-functional components, a feat previously only seen in humans and great apes.

Scientists videoed captive Caledonian crows slotting together rod pieces to create a tool long enough to extract a food reward.

In one experiment, the birds were presented with the barrels and plungers of disassembled syringes.

Without any help or demonstration, four of the eight birds partially inserted the plunger to manufacture the right length of tool.

One star performer, called Mango, was able to make compound tools out of three and even four parts.

The birds used the tools to drag a piece of food, a grub, along a slot to an open doorway.

Researcher Dr Auguste von Bayern, from Oxford University and the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, said: “The finding is remarkable because the crows received no assistance or training in making these combinations, they figured it out by themselves.”

New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides), from the island chain of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, are renowned for their tool-making ability.

In 2002, a New Caledonian crow called Betty famously became the first animal shown to be able to create a hooked tool by bending pliable material.

Professor Alex Kacelnik, from Oxford University, said: “The results corroborate that these crows possess highly flexible abilities that allow them to solve novel problems rapidly, but do not show how they do it.

“It is possible that they use some form of virtual simulation of the problem, as if different potential actions were played in their brains until they figure out a viable solution, and then do it.

“Similar processes are being modelled on artificial intelligences and implemented in physical robots, as a way to better understand the animals and to discover ways to build machines able to reach autonomous creative solutions to novel problems.”

The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Qld bid China’s only Olympic hope: AOC

AOC CEO Matt Carroll says a Queensland bid for the 2032 Games would be a viable option.A south-east Queensland bid is ‘s only hope of securing the 2032 Olympic Games.

That is the view of n Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll, who has ruled out the possibility of a return to Melbourne or Sydney – the respective homes of the 1956 and 2000 Olympics.

Caroll has talked up the possibility of the Games returning to after a 32-year absence, putting Brisbane and the Gold Coast right in contention.

He said Queensland was ideally placed because of its warmer climate and already having appropriate stadiums in place, mainly due to this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“One thing that I’m happy to say puts a limiting on that (other cities) is the Olympic Games need to be held in July or August,” Carroll told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

“It’s a little bit cold in the southern hemisphere since it’s our winter time.

“When you start to look at cities which can host it, you’ve got to be above the Tweed (River).”

The 1956 Olympics in the Victorian capital finished in December, while the Sydney Games 18 years ago started in September.

But the International Olympic Committee’s preference is to hold the Games during the northern hemisphere summer.

Carroll said there was enough time for Queensland to launch a successful bid, with the 2032 host not announced for another seven years.

“An opportunity to host again – it won’t come around very often,” he said.

Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028) have already been locked in to follow Tokyo’s second shot at hosting the Olympics.

A potential south-east Queensland bid would likely come up against India and Indonesia, with both countries already expressing interest.

“After the excellent experience of the Asian Games we now believe we can host the very biggest sporting event,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in September.

Turks to search Saudi Arabia consul’s well

A well at the home of Saudi Arabia’s consul in Istanbul will be searched by Turkish investigators.Turkish investigators are due to begin the search of a well in the garden of the Saudi consul general’s residence in Istanbul, broadcaster NTV says, after Saudi officials had earlier refused to allow them to search.

Turkey’s investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 has been at times delayed by Saudi officials, who have appeared reluctant to grant authorities permission to search places considered Saudi territory.

The state-run Anadolu news agency initially said Saudi officials had refused to allow police to search the well in the garden of the consul’s residence. NTV later said that had been given permission and would conduct inspections on Wednesday.

Since Khashoggi’s disappearance more than three weeks ago, Turkish and Saudi authorities have carried out multiple searches at the consulate and consul general’s residence in Istanbul.

After weeks of conflicting accounts about the fate of the journalist, Saudi Arabia at the weekend said Khashoggi had been killed in a fight at the consulate, in what US President Donald Trump later called the “worst cover-up ever”.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said he would not let those responsible for Khashoggi’s killing escape justice, and has urged Saudi Arabia to search from “top to bottom” to uncover those behind the killing.

A day before Khashoggi’s death, agents arrived from overseas and began to scout locations, including the Belgrad Forest near Istanbul and the city of Yalova to its south, Erdogan said on Tuesday. Police have searched both areas for evidence of Khashoggi’s remains, Reuters has reported.

On Wednesday, Turkish media released images of what they said was a consulate vehicle with diplomatic licence plates used in carrying out exploratory searches in the Belgrad forest ahead of the killing.

Investigators on Tuesday searched a Saudi consulate car in Istanbul. That search is due to continue on Wednesday.

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and columnist for the Washington Post, was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by Saudi agents.

Riyadh called the killing a “huge and grave mistake”, on Sunday, but has sought to shield the crown prince from the widening crisis, saying Mohammed bin Salman had not been aware.

Punk legends rock Newcastle with no-holds barred show

The Bronx, The Cambridge Hotel, October 23

Review: The Bronx prove punk still counts TweetFacebookNo Hat No Playand the political commentary of I Wish Had Its Guns Again.

Musically they mixed ’70s style sharpie glam rock with the early days of punk, and their energy was top notch, as the singer stomped on foldbacks and tossed the microphone around like a toy.

The room began to fill as another Melbourne-based band, High Tension, came onstage. Their name perfectly describes their music; a heavy foray into metal with fast blast beats and bellowing screams from the frontwoman – bringing a strong display of brutal aggression and screaming in the audience’s faces.

Once The Bronx took to the stage, all hell rained loose.

Pummelling through a 17-song setlist comprised of nearly twodecades worth of material, the band quickly jumped (literally) into form. Thirty-nine-year-old frontman Matt Caughthran displayed heavy amounts of youthful exuberance and energy with layers of sweat constantly dripping from his bald head.

Through his thick American accent, he proclaimed the band as locals after taking a dip in Newcastle’s famous Bogie Hole earlier in the day.

About halfway through the set Caughthran hurled himself off the barrier into a moshpit full of maniacal gig goers who passionately screamed every word of every song back to him, like a DIY basement punk show. He even climbed the Cambridge’s foundations and launched into the air like a projectile, exploring the open space between the crowd and the ceiling, until he found himself crowdsurfing atop a sea of hands, still screaming the song’s lyrics deep into the mic.

Apart from Caughthran, the other band members maintained focus on their instruments, while making the most of the intimate nature of the gig, delivering blistering guitar solos and tough, pounding drum beats that rumbled through the venue like a volcano erupting piles of hot ash.

“I feel unstoppable tonight,”Caughthran drooled during their iconic performance, and fans demanded an encore.

Gigs like this show the spirit of punk is still alive and well in 2018.