Sydney residents face blackout after storm

More than 16,000 Sydney homes and businesses are preparing to spend a night without power after a severe storm ripped through the city bringing trees crashing down on power lines, houses and cars.

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Trains and flights were delayed while commuters heading home experienced traffic chaos on Wednesday afternoon with damaging winds and heavy rain.

Residents in Mount Druitt and the Hills District were the worst hit with lightning and strong winds cutting power to 33,000 properties at the peak of the storm late Wednesday afternoon.

By the evening, power was restored to around 17,000 properties but just over 16,000 were still without electricity, an Endeavour Energy spokesman told AAP.

Residents in Mount Druitt, Castle Hill and Penrith will remain without power overnight and into Thursday with additional crews brought into the storm-affected area to help clean up and repair work.

In Sydney’s north 800 homes in Berowra were under a blackout while 1300 were in the dark in the Central Coast suburbs of Woy Woy and 400 in Saratoga.

But those residents can expect to have power back up by midnight, an Ausgrid spokeswoman told AAP.

The NSW SES received 418 calls for help mostly in western Sydney with several reports of trees falling on roofs and cars.

“It’s been quite a quick, fast, intense storm that’s come,” SES spokeswoman Becky Gollings said.

A child who was reported missing in floodwaters in the western Sydney suburb of Shalvey was safely pulled from the water by friends.

Train commuters to the Central Coast were left stranded with cancelled services while Blue Mountains travellers were delayed by 20 minutes.

In St Marys, lanes in the Great Western Highway were closed after a tree fell onto power lines.

The storm dumped up to 20mm in just a matter of minutes in some suburbs. Baulkham Hills was pelted with 27mm in 15 minutes.

The storms are expected to move over the city on Wednesday evening after unstable conditions persisted throughout the day.

Wind gusts reached 85km/h at Cowra in the central west and Goulburn in the southern tablelands.

The Bureau of Meteorology said even stronger gusts could be recorded in Sydney.

Conditions should settle by the end of the week, however, with only a few showers expected on Thursday and Friday.

Girl born with four legs has surgery success

A baby girl from the Ivory Coast born with four legs and two spines has been successfully separated from a parasitic twin in a rare and complex surgery at a Chicago hospital.

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Ten-month-old Dominique underwent a six-hour procedure involving five surgeons at the Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, on March 8. She is now thriving with the Chicago foster family who will look after her until she is well enough to return home, her doctors and foster mother told Reuters on Monday.

“It’s going rather well. She was only in the hospital a total of five days. She’s been home with ‘step-mum’ and just doing very, very well,” said paediatric and reconstructive surgeon Frank Vicari.

Dominique was born with a parasitic twin. The bottom half of her not-fully-developed twin’s body protruded from her neck and back.

Watch: Baby Dominique’s new lease on life

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“A parasitic twin is an identical twin that fails to fully separate in development,” said John Ruge, a paediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital. “In other words, not another independent twin, but a twin that was dependent on her body system, such that Dominique’s heart and lungs provided the nourishment.”

Doctors did not give Dominique’s family name.

Nancy Swabb, from Edgebrook, Illinois, has looked after Dominique since she arrived in the United States for the surgery.

“She’s been a joy. We really enjoyed having her in our family,” said Swabb.

“We send a lot of photos and updates and so we know that Dominique’s family sees what she’s doing and seeing that she has two new teeth and she’s learning to wave and doing all sorts of special things.”

Swabb said she did not want to think about saying goodbye to Dominique when she returns to her family in the Ivory Coast.

“She has touched our hearts. She’s a member of our family,” Swabb said. “She’s pretty amazing.”

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Guterres wins Timor Leste election, bringing hope for greater stability in the region

With 100 per cent of the ballots counted after Monday’s election, Guterres secured 57 per cent of the vote, according to figures from the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration which were released on Wednesday.

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His closest rival, social affairs and education minister Antonio da Conceicao, was in second position with 32.5 per cent.

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Guterres will be the first presidential candidate to have won a clear majority in the first round since independence hero Xanana Gusmao was overwhelmingly elected as president in 2002.

The result is expected to be confirmed on April 2.

Guterres is backed by the Fretilin party and CNRT, the party founded by Gusmao, who provided key support to Guterres during his election campaign.

The election was the first since United Nations peacekeepers left the country in 2012.

Supporters of Presidential Candidate from Fretilin party Francisco Guterres Lu’Olo shout slogans as Guterres arrives at Fretilin’s headquarter in Dili.EPA

Analysts said the outcome of the election is likely to strengthen stability in the tiny nation of 1.2 million people.

East Timor’s economy is heavily reliant on oil revenues but its $US16-billion sovereign wealth fund derived from petroleum money is fast drying up, analysts said.

The country remains one of the world’s poorest, with about 40 per cent of its population categorised as poor.

Violence erupted after East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia in a UN-sponsored vote in 1999 as Indonesian troops and pro-Jakarta militia unleashed a campaign of destruction.

The United Nations administered the former Portuguese colony until 2002, when it became formally independent, but a UN mission stayed until 2005 to help the fledgling country establish state and security institutions.

A UN peacekeeping mission was deployed in 2006 after a new bout of political violence.

Timor Leste election

Coe praises ‘candid’ Russian apology for doping scandal

Russia’s athletics boss Dmitry Shylakhtin told an IAAF Congress, held on the eve of the World Athletics Championships, that his country’s ban from the sport was correct and that he was determined to fight doping.

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He said he was sorry to “all athletes who have had gold and silver medals snatched from them at competitions.”

Despite his comments, the IAAF Congress voted in favour of maintaining the ban, imposed in November 2015 after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report found evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia.

“I thought it was a very candid response today, a very candid presentation,” IAAF president Coe told reporters.

“The whole Council and the whole Congress was pleased…that the Russian federation recognised themselves that they have been through some pretty torrid times and are doing everything possible to make sure the federation is reengineered.”

Coe said he was also “pleased” that Russia accepted the criteria for its reintroduction.

“I think it was a very constructive day and I think progress is being made, but the (Congress) supports the recommendations of the task force that this was not the moment to reinstate Russia,” said Coe.

“We need to do everything over the next few months to normalise this situation.”

“The guiding principle has always been that we wanted to separate the clean athletes from the tainted system,” he added

Nineteen Russian athletes will be competing as neutrals at the World Athletics Championships which start in London on Friday, having met strict IAAF criteria.

The head of the IAAF’s Task Force, Rune Andersen, said on Monday that Russia had yet to meet several of the criteria for reinstatement.

Drug-testing was still insufficient and banned coaches were still operating freely, he told reporters in London after a presentation to the IAAF Council.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

Hot, windy weather sparks Europe wildfires

Wildfires are threatening homes south of Athens, a famed hikers’ route in Corsica and Albania’s Riviera as high winds and unusually hot weather hits many areas of Europe.

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After ravaging northern Corsica, wildfires raged on Thursday in the southern half of the French Mediterranean island, prompting some evacuations north of the regional capital of Ajaccio and on slopes of the hikers’ route known as the GR20.

Planes and helicopters were involved in firefighting efforts on Thursday around Palneca, a stop on the GR20 route where a blaze broke out on Wednesday, according to the regional authority for southern Corsica.

The efforts were complicated by the rocky terrain. Another fire in nearby Appietto broke out on Wednesday but firefighters brought it under control.

Authorities put out warnings about soaring temperatures expected in Corsica and the southern French mainland.

In Greece, three firefighters had been hospitalised with burns and local authorities issued an evacuation order for residents near a seaside town south of Athens as a wildfire fuelled by high winds threatened homes.

About 100 people were told to evacuate near Kalyvia, 40 kilometres of Athens, the local mayor’s office said. The fire burned two cars and damaged a fire truck, they said. About 70 firefighters and volunteers were involved along with two water-dropping helicopters.

Winds up to 60km/h were hampering the firefighting effort, while temperatures in the area reached 35C.

About 300 firefighters and military personnel were working in Albania to keep under control 25 new wildfires that broke out in the past 24 hours.

Albanian authorities asked for assistance from the European Union to fight 20 wildfires in the Vlora district along the country’s Riviera.

The interior ministry on Thursday reported that a fire at a forest in the capital Tirana’s district was extinguished after burning 10 hectares.

In southwestern Albania, wildfires were threatening the Llogara National Park as the firefighters were unable to extinguish the blaze in the region’s steep mountains. Helicopters were being used to keep fires under control.

Local media reported that Albania had asked neighbouring Greece to assist in fighting the wildfires.

Three UK men get 20 years for terror plot

Three British men convicted of planning a knife and bomb attack on troops or police inspired by Islamic extremism have been sentenced to at least 20 years in prison.

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An accomplice received a minimum 15-year-term.

Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz were convicted in a London court on Wednesday of preparing terrorist acts after a trial that was partly held in secret for national security reasons.

Ali, Hussain and Rahman met while serving prison terms for terrorism offences, and later set up a group called the “Three Musketeers” on a messaging app.

The men were arrested in August 2016 after weapons were found in Ali’s car, including a partial pipe bomb and a meat cleaver with “kaffir” – infidel in Arabic – on the blade. Prosecutors say they intended to attack police or military targets.

Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones said the defendants probably intended to use their cars as weapons in an attack, as well as knives and the pipe bomb.

Judge Henry Globe sentenced Ali, Hussain and Rahman to life with no chance of parole for 20 years. He said Aziz, a late recruit to the plot, must serve at least 15 years before being considered for parole.

The judge noted that Britain had experienced four deadly attacks during the four-and-a-half month trial. He said that had the “musketeers” gang not been caught, “there would have been not dissimilar terrorist acts in this country using at the very least the explosives and or one or more bladed weapons”.

The defendants, from central England, denied the charges and accused police of planting evidence. Defence lawyers also criticiced the decision to hear from two witnesses in secret as they discussed claims by the defendants that Britain’s domestic spy agency had tried to recruit them.

Gareth Peirce, lawyer for Ali and Hussain, released a statement after sentencing expressing “profound concern that the jury in this case has got it wrong”.

Constitutional reform can combat brutality

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner says a constitutionally-enshrined voice to parliament can address indigenous “powerlessness” that manifests itself in youth justice scandals.

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In a speech on Friday to the Garma Festival by June Oscar, the first Aboriginal woman appointed to the role at the Australian Human Rights Commission, both sides of politics will be urged to back an indigenous advisory body.

Ms Oscar, who took up the role with the national human rights monitoring body in April, says such structural change may prevent the next generation from enduring the “brutality, injustice (and) intolerance” that indigenous children face today.

Ms Oscar cites last week’s nationwide protests following the acquittal of a man who ran over Aboriginal boy Elijah Doughty in Western Australia, and the tear-gassing of former Northern Territory juvenile inmate Dylan Voller.

“Our kids know the odds that they are up against. They know the stories of young Elijah from Kalgoorlie and Dylan Voller,” Ms Oscar says.

“We feel the same immense pain and loss of what happens to our people each time they die in custody, are locked up for unpaid fines, and each time that the justice served up by our system seems so grossly inadequate.”

She laments the establishment of “yet another inquiry” in response to the Don Dale Detention Centre abuses, saying little progress has stemmed from royal commissions into black deaths in custody and the stolen generation.

“The fact that we sit here decades later with little learned and little changed is a hard fact for our peoples to swallow,” Ms Oscar says.

Ongoing deaths, mistreatment and government inaction only feed an existing discontent, while NT indigenous communities are still reeling from the intervention which began a decade ago, she says.

However bold constitutional reform could prevent such discriminatory government policies from occurring again, while laying a path to reconciliation.

“An indigenous voice means government walking the talk on indigenous disadvantage,” Ms Oscar says.

“The ground has shifted, and our politicians must shift too.”

Last week Ms Oscar led 19 other senior Aboriginal figures in backing the final report recommendations of the Referendum Council, including Professor Tom Calma, Noel Pearson, Pat Anderson, Roy Ah-See, Thomas Mayor and Jackie Huggins.

Tesla surges as Wall St bets on Model 3

Tesla Inc has jumped 6 per cent as its quarterly report fuelled bets that its new Model 3 sedan will propel the luxury electric car-maker into the mainstream.

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Chief executive Elon Musk is counting on the Model 3, Tesla’s least pricey car to date, to make the company profitable and establish it as the leading electric car-maker ahead of BMW, General Motors and other long-established players.

Tesla’s stock is up 63 per cent in 2017, underscoring Wall Street’s confidence in Musk.

The company late on Wednesday reported quarterly results that beat average analyst estimates, and it said it received more than 1,800 reservations per day for the Model 3 since its launch last week.

Tesla had $US3 billion ($A3.8 billion) in cash on hand at the end of the June quarter, reassuring investors who were worried after Musk warned on Friday that the automaker would face six months of “manufacturing hell” in ramping up production of the Model 3.

Musk said investors should have “zero concern” that Tesla would fail to reach its production target of 10,000 vehicles each week by the end of 2018.

Sceptics believe Tesla’s aggressive production targets are unrealistic and that the company’s electric cars will be overtaken by larger automakers.

At least two brokerages raised their price targets following Tesla’s report. RBC Capital Markets raised its target price by $US31 to $US345, pushing it well ahead of the median price target of $US322, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“While we don’t have meaningful reason to doubt that Tesla can eventually achieve its targets, doing so in a timely manner without some growing pains could prove challenging,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak wrote in a research note.

The $US35,000 base-price Model 3 is Tesla’s least expensive car. It is designed and priced to compete with high-volume luxury sedans like the Audi A4, BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-Class. Those typically sell for between $US40,000 and $US50,000, or about half the price of Tesla’s previously launched cars, the Model S or Model X.

Also on Thursday, Consumer Reports said GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric car, priced at $US37,495, reached 250 miles (402km) on a single charge, beating out Tesla’s 2016 Model S 75D and 2016 Model X 90D.

“A new Tesla Model S or X 100D would probably beat the Bolt’s range, but you’d have to pay $US100,000 or more for one of those cars,” Consumer Reports said.

Russian spies charged over massive Yahoo cyberattack

The indictment unveiled in Washington by the US Justice Department links Russia’s top spy agency, the FSB, to the massive data breach at Yahoo, which began in 2014 and which officials said was used for espionage and financial gain.

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The Russian agents were identified as Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, both of whom were part of the successor agency to Russia’s KGB.

Dokuchaev was an officer in the FSB Center for Information Security, known as “Center 18,” which is supposed to investigate hacking and is the FBI’s point of contact in Moscow for cyber crimes.

WATCH: Russian spies indicted in Yahoo hack

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The 33-year-old was reported to have been arrested in Moscow earlier this year on treason charges. He is accused of directing the Yahoo hack along with his superior, the 43-year-old Sushchin.

The two officers “protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the United States and elsewhere,” acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord told reporters.

This wanted poster provided by the FBI shows Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43 AAP

They hired Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, described as “criminal hackers,” to carry out the attacks, which continued until late 2016.

McCord said the attack was directed at gathering information “clearly some of which has intelligence value,” but added that “the criminal hackers used this to line their own pockets for private financial gain.”

The hackers sought to cash in on the breach by accessing stolen credit or gift card numbers, and through a series of spam marketing schemes.

The US indictment includes 47 criminal charges including conspiracy, computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets and identity theft.

Journalists, diplomats targeted

The indictments come amid a high-stakes US investigation into claims of Russian cyber-meddling in the US election, potentially to aid the winning efforts of Donald Trump.

Asked if there were any links between the Yahoo hack and the wider question of Russian interference, McCord said, “We don’t have anything that suggests… any relationship,” adding that the election case “is an ongoing investigation.”

Targets of the Yahoo breach included Russian and US government officials, including cyber security, diplomatic and military personnel, McCord said.

“They also targeted Russian journalists; numerous employees of other providers whose networks the conspirators sought to exploit; and employees of financial services and other commercial entities,” she added.

The US statement said some targets were “of predictable interest” to the Russian spy agency including Russian and US government officials and employees of a prominent Russian cybersecurity company.

Other accounts compromised belonged to employees of commercial entities, such as a Russian investment banking firm, a French transportation company, US financial services and private equity firms, a Swiss bitcoin wallet and banking firm and a US airline, according to the Justice Department.

McCord said Baratov, a Canadian national, was arrested this week on a US warrant in Canada.

Belan, 29, has been indicted twice in US cases involving the hacking of e-commerce companies, and is listed as one of the FBI’s “Cyber Most Wanted criminals.”

FBI executive assistant director Paul Abbate said the agency has asked Moscow for assistance in apprehending the suspects but noted that “we have had limited cooperation with that element of the Russian government.”

The attack on Yahoo, disclosed last year, was one of the largest ever data breaches and at the time was blamed on a “nation-state” attacker.

Yahoo’s assistant general counsel Chris Madsen said in a statement that the indictment “unequivocally shows the attacks on Yahoo were state-sponsored,” and added, “We are deeply grateful to the FBI for investigating these crimes and the DOJ for bringing charges against those responsible.”

Cookies, erectile dysfunction

The indictment showed a series of techniques used by the hackers in accessing user accounts.

In some cases, they used emails disguised as legitimate messages, a technique known as “phishing.”

Another scheme directed users searching for erectile dysfunction medications to a fake website that included malicious software.

The hackers were also able to produce forged “cookies” or bits of software used to authenticate users, and used stolen Yahoo credentials to compromise accounts of other webmail providers, including Google.

“Today we continue to pierce the veil of anonymity surrounding cyber crimes,” said FBI director James Comey. “We are shrinking the world to ensure that cyber criminals think twice before targeting US persons and interests.”

One attack led to another at Yahoo

Russian hackers working with Russian spies did not crack Yahoo security all at once – they methodically made their way deeper into Yahoo’s network over the space of months, maybe years, according to US officials.

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Here is a look at how the breach occurred.

USER ACCOUNTS

Hackers got their initial access to Yahoo’s network about early 2014, although it is not clear exactly how.

By the end of the year, they had made two valuable finds.

The first was a back-up copy of Yahoo’s user database, which contained information that could be used to reset passwords and gain entry to Yahoo accounts, including phone numbers, answers to security questions and recovery email addresses.

The database also contained scrambled user passwords, which Yahoo uses to verify users as they log in.

The second was an internal tool Yahoo used to access and edit information in the user database. Together, they allowed hackers to start unlocking Yahoo accounts at will.

FOOL ME ONCE, FOOL ME TWICE

In effect, hackers created a Yahoo skeleton key by fooling the service into thinking they had already signed into particular accounts, even if they did not know their passwords. Web service providers typically use data called cookies to let you stay signed into an account via a web browser.

The hackers used malware and the scrambled passwords in the user database to manufacture fake cookies. To Yahoo, it then appeared the hacker was the authorised user, who was already logged in without entering a password.

That method worked so long as users did not change their passwords after early November 2014. Hackers used this technique to target more than 6500 user accounts.

BEYOND YAHOO

The hackers targeted employees of specific companies by searching the database for recovery emails that used employer domains, according to the indictment.

Hackers also searched emails for the existence of other accounts controlled by the same user. Some were at Yahoo, others at Google’s Gmail and other companies. The hackers could then send emails designed to dupe recipients into installing malware or providing passwords for those other accounts.

MAKING MONEY

While Russian intelligence officials were interested only in a limited number of accounts, hackers used access to Yahoo’s network for their own financial gain.

For instance, they manipulated servers so searches for erectile dysfunction medications generated a link that took users to an online pharmacy that was paying commissions to the hackers.

Hackers also searched users’ email accounts for credit card information and electronic gift cards. Hackers also searched emails for contact information of friends and colleagues; such data enabled spam that appeared to originate from those friends and colleagues.

THE OTHER BREACH

The 2014 breach was the second of two major breaches at Yahoo and involved at least 500 million user accounts. Yahoo later revealed it had uncovered a separate hack in 2013 affecting about one billion accounts, including some that were also hit in 2014. Wednesday’s indictment did not address the 2013 breach.

‘Completely detached from reality’: EU slams Turkish fascism claims

The European Union’s top officials have sharply criticised Turkey for accusing EU states Germany and the Netherlands of fascism, saying the charges were driving Ankara further away from its goal of joining the bloc.

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A war of words between Turkey and the EU has erupted this month over planned rallies by Turkish politicians in Rotterdam and other European cities that aimed to drum up support for plans to give Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers in a referendum on April 16.

The Dutch banned the Rotterdam rally at the weekend, fearing tensions in Turkey over the referendum could spill over into its expatriate Turkish community. Erdogan retaliated by branding the Netherlands “Nazi remnants”. He has also accused Germany of “fascist actions” for cancelling several planned rallies.

“Rotterdam… totally destroyed by the Nazis, which now has a mayor born in Morocco: If anyone sees fascism in Rotterdam they are completely detached from reality,” European Council President Donald Tusk told the European Parliament on Wednesday.

WATCH: Erdogan’s Srebrenica accusation ‘unacceptable’: Rutte

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Tusk’s remarks were echoed by the head of the executive European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who told parliament he was “scandalised” by the Turkish accusations.

Erdogan, who survived a military coup last summer, has defended his plans to amass greater powers, saying Turkey needs greater stability. But his crackdown on dissenting voices among the judiciary and the media since the failed coup has drawn strong criticism in the West.

Still, the EU is caught between holding Erdogan accountable and guaranteeing the continuation of a deal to control the flow of refugees and migrants who pass through Turkey to Europe.

This deal has given the EU a badly-needed breathing space after more than a million people, mostly fleeing conflicts in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, fled to the bloc in 2015-16 via Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.

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Black lung likely linked to Qld deaths

The mining union says a black-lung “cover-up” is about to be exposed, as a Queensland parliamentary inquiry is told a similar disease could be affecting more workers.

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Nineteen cases of the illness, otherwise known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and caused by long-term exposure to airborne coal dust, have been recently confirmed in Queensland.

Stephen Smyth from the CFMEU told Channel Nine’s Today Show the problem has been overlooked for a long time.

“The departments within the government is where the real issues lie,” Mr Smyth said on Thursday.

“They are the ones that have been asleep at the wheel not enforcing the law and not providing the appropriate health services to our coal miners.”

The inquiry also revealed thousands of X-rays of coal workers’ lungs had been stored in a shipping container next to a Queensland Health facility at Ipswich, while others were kept in a broom closet.

Dr Robert Cohen, an international expert on black lung who gave evidence at the inquiry on Wednesday, expressed his concern that the lack of diagnoses over recent decades in a state with 30,000 coal miners didn’t ring alarm bells.

“It sort of beggars the imagination,” he said on Wednesday.

“You would wonder if there was something wrong with the surveillance as opposed to congratulating yourself that you’ve eliminated the disease.”

Dr Cohen also said it was “very likely” former coal miners who have died in the intervening decades were suffering from undiagnosed black lung.

He also insisted workers on Brisbane’s Legacy Way and Airport Link should undergo silicosis testing, and described exposure to silicone as “probably more dangerous” than coal dust, The Courier Mail reported.

Dr Cohen seemed unsettled when asked by chairwoman Jo-Ann Miller if workers on the projects should be tested, replying: “I hope you don’t mean to tell me that they’re not being tested.”

A report is due back to parliament in April.

French woman with Down syndrome fulfills weather presenting dream

Melanie Segard provided a summary of the weekend weather on France 2, achieving a personal goal that she hopes will also boost awareness for people with Down syndrome.

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She soared to prominence after an advocacy group, UNAPEI, launched an awareness campaign ahead of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, entitled “Melanie can do it”.

On her Facebook page, Melanie announced that her dream was to present the weather, and vowed to do it if she scored more than 100,000 “likes”.

Within 10 days, she had picked up 200,000 “likes” and drawn a following of thousands on Twitter.

France 2 heard of the buzz and gave her a chance.

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Before her broadcast, the channel showed her rehearsing her lines and being made up for the cameras.

Segard, shy and clearly moved by the event, was flanked by the channel’s forecaster, Anais Baydemir, who paid tribute to her flawless delivery, as did her fans on Twitter.

“A magical television moment,” said one. “Bravo, Melanie, we are all equal,” said another. 

Melanie herself tweeted, “That’s it, I’ve done it, I’m finally a weather girl,” adding: “I am different, but I can do lots of things.”

Down syndrome is the most common genetic form of intellectual disability.

Also known as trisomy 21, the condition is caused by the presence of an extra, or third, copy of chromosome number 21. 

Humans normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes, which together contain up to 25,000 protein-coding genes.

Around one in 1000 people have Down’s, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In France, there are an estimated 65,000.

Segard’s achievement comes on the heels of a 19-year-old woman with Down syndrome, Laura Hayoun, who presented the headlines on news channel BFMTV in 2013.

Last month, Madeline Stuart, a 20-year-old Australian model with Down syndrome, took part in a fashion show in New York and debuted her own label, called “21 Reasons Why”.

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