Breaking news | February 28

I’m still President: Viktor Yanukovich. Photo: abolotnov/flickr

 

BY YVETTE JURD AND MOHAMMAD AL-AZAR

 
Morwell Mine Fire: Speculation Premier will announce evacuation of town
 
Residents from the Victorian town of Morwell may soon be evacuated due to the toxic smoke emanating from the Hazelwood Coal Mine.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine did not comment on speculation that the smoke-affected town could be partially evacuated. An announcement with health and fire officials is expected at 1pm (AEDT).

Residents have been trapped inside since the fire started on February 9 and have reported health issues including headaches, and trouble breathing.

Invisible particles known as PM2.5 have been found in the air and smoke, and can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs and respiratory system. The concentration of these particulates reached 280 micrograms per cubic metre in Morwell South on Thursday, more than 11 times the daily threshold.

An association between PM2.5 and lung cancer was established by the Department of Epidemiology at Rome’s regional health service, after the department studied more than 100,000 people in five European cities over a decade.

An increase of annual exposure to PM2.5 of just 5 milligrams per cubic metre means a 13 per cent increased risk of heart attack.

Former Navy Recruit Denied PTSD treatment by Department of Veterans Affairs after alleged rape
 
A former Defence recruit has been refused treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) despite the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce acknowledging he was raped at a Navy recruit school.

Aaron Frazer was a recruit at the Navy’s HMAS Cerberus recruit school outside of Melbourne in 2007 when he was raped by fellow recruits as ‘payback’ for getting his dormitory in trouble.

He was beaten and orally raped by two of his roommates, while four others cheered them on and filmed with their mobile phones.

After the assault, the military police deleted the video footage, and assured Mr Frazer there was nothing to worry about. He was not offered the chance to make a formal statement, and civilian police were not called.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce sent Mr Frazer a letter four years later acknowledging that he had been abused at HMAS Cerberus and that Defence had mismanaged his complaint. The letter explained that he was entitled to the maximum repatriation payment of $50,000, however Mr Frazer felt that this was ‘hush money’.
Two of the assailants were found guilty in a military prosecution but his claim for treatment has been rejected by the DVA by what they say is a lack of evidence that the incident occurred. They cited discrepancies in the different versions of what happened, and Frazer not completing his recruit training despite the assault occurring less than two weeks prior to the course finishing.

Ousted Ukraine leader Viktor Yanukovych looks to Russia as tensions in Crimea rise
 
Ousted Ukraine leader Viktor Yanukovych has appealed to Russia for protection, saying that his life is in danger.

Despite the appeal, Yanukovych claimed he is still the lawful president of Ukraine based on the fact that he was elected on the basis of free expression of the will of the Ukrainian citizens.

“I continue to consider myself the lawful head of the Ukrainian government, elected on the basis of the free expression of the will of Ukrainian citizens,” he said in a statement released to two Russian news agencies.

Yanukovych also warned that regions in the east and in Crimea, the largely Russian region of Ukraine, will “not accept the anarchy and outright lawlessness” that has gripped the country.
 

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