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Public warned against revenge after arson charge As he was driven away from Morwell Magistrates Court on Friday, angry residents hurled abuse at the man who has been charged with arson causing death, intentionally or recklessly causing a bushfire, and possessing child pornography. He could face 25 years in jail. The accused man\’s lawyer said on Friday his client was in a fragile mental state. “He should be seen to by a doctor,” the lawyer said. The man, who cannot be named, was taken from Morwell to Melbourne for his own safety and was remanded in custody to reappear in Melbourne Magistrate\’s Court on Monday. “We have a very emotive environment out there,” Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Dannye Moloney told reporters. “People are pointing fingers, people are jumping to conclusions. “Rumours and innuendo are being spread. We do not need that. “Let Victoria Police do its role and identify this person. “We are prosecuting this person on behalf of the community. “If we left a person there it would only be a situation where the people may go to where they believe him to be held and I don\’t think they need the trauma.” The court imposed a suppression order on all details of his identity. Callignee resident Gavin Wigginton (Wigginton), who lost his home in the Churchill blaze, said he thought anyone convicted of arson was either insane or a murderer. “If this person is not insane, then I think he should be in jail for a very long time,” Mr Wigginton told AAP. “Essentially, if he\’s culpable, (if) he\’s all there, he must have known that this was going to kill people and that clearly is murder.” Twleve people died in Callignee, four in Hazelwood and Koornalla, and one in Jeeralang. Another Callignee resident, Daryl Payne, who also lost his home said arsonists should be forced to see for themselves the death and destruction they had caused. “I reckon they should be going up there taking bodies out of cars,” he said. Premier John Brumby said anyone who lit fires deliberately put the community and human life at great risk. “It\’s an unspeakable and heinous crime,” he told reporters. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had earlier in the week likened arsonists to mass murderers and said they should “rot in jail.” The almost-36,000ha Churchill fire in the Latrobe Valley region of Gippsland remains out of control, but is no longer posing a threat to communities in the region. Police also confirmed on Friday the Marysville blaze which killed up to 100 of the town\’s 500 residents was being treated as suspicious, along with the fires at Murrindindi, Buxton and Narbethong. Police would like to speak to anyone who was near the Murrindindi Mill between the towns of Yea and Glenburn last Saturday. The total death toll from the blazes that ripped through the central highlands and Gippsland last Saturday still stands at 181 but is expected to jump above 300. On Friday, police said 1,831 houses had now been destroyed and more than 7,000 people had been made homeless by the fires. The Marysville residents made homeless by the inferno which wiped out their entire community will be allowed back into the town for the first time on Saturday. But any hope of being able to pick through the ruins of their lost homes will be dashed. Aboard a fleet of shuttle buses, they will be accompanied by counsellors and police officers but will not be allowed off and will be told they cannot take photos, even from inside the vehicles. “I want to go and look at the town, we are calling it ash-ville now,” Marysville resident Monica Raymond told AAP. “I don\’t intend being emotional but it might not be pleasant on the bus with people emotional and having fits.” Meanwhile, Mr Brumby has appointed former Supreme Court Justice Bernard Teague to chair a Royal Commission into Victoria\’s bushfires. The commission will provide an interim report this year to allow recommendations to be implemented in time for the 2009-2010 bushfires season.

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Stimulus plans under scrutiny at G7 talks Top economic powers urged action to help the world scramble out of a deepening recession, as their stimulus plans came under scrutiny on at downbeat talks of the Group of Seven finance leaders. International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn emerged from the opening dinner of the G7 summit saying that the mood was downbeat and observing that the world was in a “deep recession.” “I can\’t say people are singing and dancing on the tables” at the gathering, he told reporters. ‘Exceptional and complementary’ measures sought The United States urged “exceptional” measures as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arrived for bilateral talks with several other top delegates from the seven leading industrialised nations. “These extraordinary times call for exceptional and complementary measures by all,” Geithner\’s delegation said in a statement at the start of the two-day gathering of finance ministers and central bank heads. “The Secretary will encourage his counterparts to take strong actions to address macroeconomic and financial sector challenges.” Geithner was set to discuss his vast US financial stabilization plan, which received a sceptical reaction in the United States and has prompted calls for more details. “There is still some need for more elaboration” on the US financial plan, Canada\’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters in Rome as ministers gathered for the G7 opening dinner on Friday evening. Stimulus plans compared, consensus explored The G7 officials were to kick off their main talks on Saturday, comparing notes on stimulus packages and trying to forge a consensus on the next steps, including possible new rules for global finance. “The first thing we need to do is make sure that our own financial systems in our countries are well regulated and therefore credible,” said Flaherty, who was due to meet with Geithner on Saturday. “Then we need to have some sort of international cooperation where we have validation of that integrity of finance systems. That\’s going to be a major topic of conversation here.” More measures of the crisis emerged on Friday, with data showing the eurozone economy slumped by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the European Union joined it and several individual EU countries in recession. “The growth figures we have been given today are not really a surprise but are underlining the seriousness of the situation,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers. “We do have the strong hope that in the last quarter of 2009 growth will be back and that in the course of 2010 the situation will greatly improve, but … we have to live for a long period with the consequences of this crisis.” Protestors rally As the ministers gathered, tens of thousands of people thronged a square in Rome under a sea of red flags to protest against the economic crisis. Fresh data on Friday showed Italy too is deeper in recession than expected. Ahead of the talks, several delegates voiced alarm over protectionism, which they fear may undermine efforts to ease the downturn. Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa has warned that his G7 delegation would take a “resolute stance” against the “absolute evil” of protectionism — when countries take measures that favour their own economies at the expense of other. Nakagawa said on Tuesday that the G7 nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States — were expected to discuss a sensitive “Buy American” clause in a pending US economic stimulus package.

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G7 sets sights on urgent economic reform Italy\’s Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti called for a “new world economic order” as he wrapped up the crisis meeting of finance leaders from the Group of Seven leading economies over which he presided here. In a joint declaration, the G7 called for “urgent reforms” of the international financial system and reiterated a bleak outlook for the world economy, after fresh data showed the eurozone recession deepening. The G7 delegates in a joint statement vowed to avoid protectionism as they seek to stabilise the tottering world economy and financial markets and said stabilisation of the world economy was their “highest priority.” The global crisis “has highlighted fundamental weaknesses in the international financial system and that urgent reforms are needed,” the statement said. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made his debut on the world stage, after taking office last month and launching a vast US financial stabilisation plan that received a sceptical reaction in the United States. He vowed that his country, the biggest economy in the world and the source of much of the financial drama in recent months, would work with other nations for a consensus on reforms. “We need to begin the process of comprehensive reform of our financial system and the international financial system, so the world never again faces a crisis this severe,” Geithner said after the talks. “The key elements are to make sure that we\’re making banks strong enough that they can be supportive of recovery,” he told reporters. “It will require ways to bring in private capital, provide public capital when that\’s necessary and it\’s going to require direct action to try to get credit markets working again.” Main problem for governments Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – the body coming to the rescue of some crisis-hit countries – said restructuring banks damaged by the credit crunch was the main problem facing governments. The G7 reiterated the view of several top delegates that protectionism – when countries take measures that favour their own economies at the expense of others – was a threat to stability. The United States is among the countries that has prompted concern over protectionism due to a “Buy American” clause in a $787 billion stimulus package, passed by lawmakers late Friday with the sensitive clause toned down. “The G7 remains committed to avoiding protectionist measures, which would only exacerbate the downturn, to refraining from raising new barriers” to business across borders, the joint statement said. Geithner highlighted a line in the document that praised China for its “continued commitment to move to a more flexible exchange rate.” China has been accused of letting its currency slip to protect the price of its exports. Grave economic stakes The financial leaders from the G7 grouping of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus Russia met amid mounting warnings of the talks\’ grave economic stakes. Grim data on Friday showed that the eurozone economy slumped by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. The European Union overall and several individual EU countries – including G7 host Italy – are also in recession. A grouping of 20 key advanced and emerging economies (the G20) is due to meet in April to discuss financial reform – reflecting the growing clout of rising economic powers such as China. “We will work closely with our colleagues in the G7 and the G20 to build consensus on reforms that match the scope of the problems revealed by this crisis,” Geithner said. Tremonti said a so-called set of “legal standards” discussed in Rome would be presented to the G20 and a summit of the Group of Eight (G8) world powers in July.

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Suspected US missile strike kills 27 in Pakistan The strike, among the deadliest yet, defied Pakistani government warnings that the tactic is fuelling extremism in the nuclear-armed Islamic nation. In an interview unrelated to the attack, President Asif Ali Zardari said the Taliban had expanded their presence to a “huge amount” of Pakistan and were even eyeing a takeover of the state. “We\’re fighting for the survival of Pakistan. We\’re not fighting for the survival of anybody else,” Zardari said, according to a transcript of his remarks that CBS television said it would air on Sunday. Many Pakistanis believe the country is fighting Islamist militants, who have enjoyed state support in the past, only under pressure from Washington. Remotely piloted US aircraft are believed to have launched more than 30 attacks since July, and American officials say al-Qaeda\’s leadership and ability to support the insurgency in Afghanistan has been significantly weakened. But Pakistani officials say the vast majority of the victims are civilians. After Saturday\’s strike, Taliban fighters surrounded the flattened compound in the village of Shrawangai Nazarkhel and carried away the dead and wounded in several vehicles. The village is in South Waziristan, part of the tribally governed area along the Afghan frontier considered the likely redoubt of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. The victims included about 15 ethnic Uzbek militants and several Afghans, said Pakistani intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media. The seniority of the militants was unclear. Two of the officials said dozens of followers of Pakistan\’s top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, were staying in the housing compound when it was hit. There was no indication that Mehsud was present. Pakistan\’s former government and the CIA have named Mehsud as the prime suspect behind the December 2007 killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Pakistani officials accuse him of harbouring foreign fighters, including Central Asians linked to al-Qaeda, and of training suicide bombers. No independent verification The accounts of Saturday\’s incident could not be verified independently. The tribally governed region is unsafe for reporters. The US Embassy had no comment, while Pakistan\’s army spokesman was unavailable. The new US administration has brushed off Pakistani criticism that the missile strikes fuel extremist and anti-American sentiment and undercuts the government\’s own counter insurgency strategy. “The government is doing everything possible to stop it and I hope that America listens to the voice of the people of Pakistan,” Pakistan\’s Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said Saturday. Yet, many analysts suspect Pakistan has quietly agreed to the attacks in order not to endanger billions of dollars in American and Western support for its powerful military and its ailing economy. The pro-Western government in Islamabad, led by Bhutto widower Zardari, has signed peace deals with tribal leaders in the northwest while launching a series of military operations against hard-liners. However, government forces are bogged down on several fronts in the northwest, and Taliban militants have sustained a campaign that has included a string of abductions and other attacks on foreigners.

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Vidmar apologises for extraordinary outburst Vidmar, named the league\’s coach of the year only a week ago, labelled Adelaide a “piss-ant town” and blamed internal politics for messing with his players\’ heads to such an extent that they looked a beaten team even before the start of the second leg at Telstra Dome, won 4-0 by the Victory. A public apology was hastily issued in the wake of the outburst, though the damaging effect of Vidmar\’s words cannot be overstated. “In the press conference immediately after our Melbourne Victory match, I regrettably said some things in the heat of the moment,” Vidmar said in a statement. “I would like to apologise to the city and people of Adelaide for the discouraging comments I made. I grew up in Adelaide and I love the city and people. “We have fantastic fans and support for the club and my comments were out of order for a club and city I care so much about.” The damage-control nature of the statement contrasted greatly with Vidmar\’s unbridled fury after the game. “It was a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. We owe the world an apology, a performance like that was a disgrace,” he said on Saturday night. “Politics, that\’s what I put it down to. There are too many people in this club with hidden agendas. That\’s the problem. That 4-0 result tonight was politics, nothing else. Whether you are involved directly or indirectly you have an effect. “Because of a piss-ant town, this club will never win anything until you get rid of that crap.” The Reds\’ season of success in Asia and the the A-League has been irrevocably soured by events of the past few weeks, which saw the minor premiership slip through Adelaide\’s fingers before the hefty loss to the Victory, making it five defeats in as many matches against the Melbourne club in 2008-09. “Things change very quickly in football clubs. If someone\’s not happy with something, they do whatever they can to fracture it. That\’s what they do. Whether it\’s jealousy or ego, whatever it is, it certainly smacks of that at our club at this point of time,” he said. “Everyone is involved. I am not going to name names, everyone involved with the club is involved very heavily. “I couldn\’t give a damn about my future. This club will never win anything until it gets rid of it (political infighting). “I wanna be the coach, yes. We need to work in a happy environment, and this was a very happy place until a few weeks ago.”

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Default utility Image Public warned against revenge after arson charge

As he was driven away from Morwell Magistrates Court on Friday, angry residents hurled abuse...

Default utility Image Stimulus plans under scrutiny at G7 talks

Top economic powers urged action to help the world scramble out of a deepening recession,...

Default utility Image G7 sets sights on urgent economic reform

Italy\'s Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti called for a "new world economic order"...

Default utility Image Suspected US missile strike kills 27 in Pakistan

The strike, among the deadliest yet, defied Pakistani government warnings that the tactic is...

Default utility Image Vidmar apologises for extraordinary outburst

Vidmar, named the league\'s coach of the year only a week ago, labelled Adelaide...

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Default utility Image Public warned against revenge after arson charge

As he was driven away from Morwell Magistrates Court on Friday, angry residents hurled abuse...

Default utility Image Stimulus plans under scrutiny at G7 talks

Top economic powers urged action to help the world scramble out of a deepening recession,...

Default utility Image G7 sets sights on urgent economic reform

Italy\'s Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti called for a "new world economic order"...

Default utility Image Suspected US missile strike kills 27 in Pakistan

The strike, among the deadliest yet, defied Pakistani government warnings that the tactic is...

Default utility Image Vidmar apologises for extraordinary outburst

Vidmar, named the league\'s coach of the year only a week ago, labelled Adelaide...

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