Hundreds of Armed Right-Wing Militia Members Take Over Federal Building - And more 10am Zedlines

Police are prepared to wait out armed militia members who have taken over a government building in Harney County, Oregon, and plan to occupy the building for several years and turn it into a safe haven. (Image source: liveleak.com)

In local news…

No interested Mayoral candidates: Moreton Bay Regional Council

NO mayoral candidates have declared their interest in running for the top job at next year’s Moreton Bay Regional Council elections, in March.

Queensland University of Technology election expert Dr Mary Crawford said she was not surprised no one had put up their hand to run for mayor with “ugly politics” creeping in during recent State and Federal elections.

Mr Whiting is now the state Labor member for Murrumba and said he was surprised no one had declared their interest with less than three months to go.

New years fireworks run early due to inclement weather

IT was a disappointing end to the year for some Bribie Island families who missed out on seeing New Year’s Eve fireworks which ran earlier than scheduled.

“Pyrotechnicians reported that wind gusts were causing waves to come over the side of the fireworks barge, creating workplace health and safety concerns for their staff,”

The planned 8.30pm family fireworks at Bongaree ran close to half an hour early, Many gathered at the Sandstone Point Hotel to watch the display and took to the hotel’s Facebook page to voice their disappointment at the lack of information available.

“Event organisers will take on board feedback from local residents as they plan next year’s event, including advising to event-goers ahead of time that fireworks may start early due to inclement weather and utilising social media where possible to notify of any emergent changes.”

In national news…

Electronics retailer Dick Smith has gone into voluntary administration

Electronics retailer Dick Smith has gone into voluntary administration after company directors fail to secure restocking funds.

Management has been unable to convince the company’s bankers to provide finance to restock empty shelves for up to the next six weeks.

The mega-retailer stopped trading on the share market yesterday at 36 cents while reports of low sales and cash generation fell below predictions made for the December trading period.

Advisory firm McGrathNicol have been appointed as voluntary administrators.

Penny wong condems Malcolm Turnbuls lack of action re: leaked photo

Acting Opposition Leader Penny Wong has condemned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s lack of action over the leaked photo of a female diplomat involving Liberal MP Jamie Briggs.

Senator Wong says Mr Turnbull’s response, issued in the form of a statement yesterday, is insufficient and has called for an investigation into the photo leak.

Ms Wong says the Prime Minister has also refused to “front up and answer questions” about a number of his ministers’ conduct, calling it a “disappointing display of weakness”.

Mr Turnbull has instead called for the privacy of the young woman in question to be respected.

In international news…

Hundreds of Armed Right-Wing Militia Members Take Over Federal Building

Police are prepared to wait out armed militia members who have taken over a government building in Harney County, Oregon, allegedly to provoke a standoff with the federal government.

The occupation began after a large group protested on the building’s grounds, demanding the release of Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, two Oregon ranchers convicted of arson charges in 2012.

According to The Oregonian, Bundy’s group plans to occupy the building for several years and turn it into a safe haven for so-called sovereign citizens whose aim is to live outside the reach of a “tyrannical” federal government. The group is armed and told local press that militia members won’t hesitate to fire upon police and federal officials.

Death penalty on the rise despite drop in number of countries where practice used

An Amnesty International report has found there was a 28 percent increase in death sentencing around the world in 2014, despite a drop in countries where the practice is used.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and the United States are leading the surge, making them four of 28 nations where government execution is still legal.

A United Nations analysis of the data pointed to terrorism and drug-related offenses as primary causes of the jump.