RSL Anzac Flame on final leg of journey

RSL Anzac Flame on final leg of journey Picture: Supplied
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Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

TweetFacebookState Presidents, Sub Branch Presidents and representatives from RSLs across Australia, including Newcastle RSL Sub Branch President Mr Ken Fayle, joined the Camp Gallipoli Foundation on Saturday to celebrate the final leg of the RSL ANZAC Flame’s journey ahead of the historical ANZAC Centenary.

The Flame’s journey began in Albany, Western Australia, and will now travel from the Australian War Memorial to city and regional townships, who are representing Camp Gallipoli across the nation.

Victoria Cross recipients Ben Roberts-Smith VC and Daniel Keighran VC along with Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, attended this significant ceremony that was emceed by Ray Martin.

During the ceremony the Australian Federation Guard presented the RSL ANZAC Flame to state and regional RSL representatives who have become the custodians of the flame, ahead of Camp Gallipoli events on 24th to 25th April this year.

Victoria Cross recipient Daniel Keighran conducted the symbolic flame lighting ceremony at Albany, Western Australia in September 2014: “The flame has journeyed from Albany, the departure point of our 11,410 brave ANZACs 100 years ago.

As a soldier, this flame doesn’t just represent the sacrifice of our ANZACs, it reflects the journey of the ANZAC Spirit that was forged at Gallipoli, and is still alive today.

It will be a very special and emotional moment when the flame arrives at Camp Gallipoli events, to light the memorial cauldrons, honouring the spiritual return of our fallen soldiers.” Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, said he was honoured to host Camp Gallipoli on the grounds of Australia’s central place of wartime commemoration.

“One hundred years after these events that convulsed our young nation we have an opportunity and responsibility to honour them, their courage, service and sacrifice. Every nation has its story. This is ours. Camp Gallipoli is one powerful way to express our pride and gratitude.

It is fitting to host it at the Australian War Memorial.” Rear Admiral Ken Doolan, the National President of the Returned and Services League (RSL), is honoured to be involved with Camp Gallipoli:

“This bold initiative has the potential to do a great deal to educate young Australians and New Zealanders about the sacrifices our forebears made during the First World War. Those who paid the supreme sacrifice, those who fought at sea, on land and in the air and the families who supported them, have left a wondrous legacy – the freedoms and great strengths of our vibrant and enviable democracies.”

Camp Gallipoli is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all Australians and New Zealanders to come together on the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli to sleep out under the same stars as the original ANZAC heroes did 100 years ago.

In a series of major locations around Australia and New Zealand families, schools and community groups are invited to join in a special night of remembrance, entertainment, mateship and the birth of the ANZAC Spirit.

Emirates airline pilot answers the questions you always wanted to ask

Think you could land a plane? Photo: iStock Think you could land a plane? Photo: iStock
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Think you could land a plane? Photo: iStock

Think you could land a plane? Photo: iStock

Could I land an A380 in an emergency? Why does no one ever ask if there’s a doctor on board? What’s the worst airport in the world to land at?

As a total plane nerd, there are plenty of things I’ve always wondered about the people with the hats and epaulettes sitting up the front of the plane. What are their lives like? How the heck did they get that job?

So when I had the chance to chat to Ian Haines, a pilot and trainer on the Emirates A380s, I jumped at it. (And yes, I could totally land a plane.)

How do you go from never having flown a plane to piloting A380s for Emirates?

The way I did it was by taking what they call a “trial introductory flight”, which you can do at most little airports in Australia. That’s a half-hour flight with an instructor in a little Cessna, and you go up and just have a play really, flying the aircraft around the sky. The instructor lands the aircraft for you. After that I was hooked. I thought, I like this. I then worked for Australian Airlines for five years, then Swiss Air for 13 years, and then I came to Emirates in 2002.

Do you ever get nervous while you’re flying?

No, not at all! As a pilot you understand what’s going on, and that’s your job. Why would I be scared? I understand flying, I know what’s happening, and it’s my job to make sure it’s a safe operation.

Last year there were a few highly publicised air crashes. How much control do you as a pilot have over where your plane flies?

As the captain, you’re responsible for the operation of the flight. We have a flight dispatch team, who have state of the art equipment, and they provide us with a routing for the flight. So Sydney to Dubai, they would optimise the route for the best winds, and avoiding the worst of the weather – for example up over the Bay of Bengal, we would be routed around that. At the time prior to the flight I would look at the weather situation and decide if I’m happy with the routing, and if I have no concerns I accept the flight plan. If that’s not the case I contact the flight dispatch people and we come up with a solution.

It happens all the time on movies, but in all the flights I’ve ever taken, no one has ever asked if there’s a doctor on board. Have you had to do that?

You’d be surprised, it’s a more common event now – especially with the A380, we’ve got 550 people on board the aircraft, so you can imagine the chances of having a sick passenger on board are much higher than on an A320 or something like that. And if we have an option of speaking to a doctor on board then that makes our job a lot easier.

Say there’s an emergency, and I, a complete novice with no flying experience, end up in the cockpit. Could I land an A380?

If an instructor could talk to you, then yes, you’d be able to do it. The aircraft is capable of autoland – all you need is an airport, and we could talk you down very easily to land the aircraft. It wouldn’t be a big drama. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be safe.

What do you guys actually do in the cockpit for, say, the 14 hours it takes to get from Sydney to Dubai?

We’re not at the cockpit for 14 hours. We have two crews, so two captains and two first officers. The crew that takes off also does the landing. So say I’m the commander of the flight, the captain on board. We’d have a briefing before the flight, which is about an hour and 15 before take-off. We then go to the cockpit and set up the cockpit. The other crew will do the walk around the aircraft and check that for me. We then take off, climb up to top of climb, at which point the other crew will go back and rest. They will have about five hours’ rest. We will then fly for about five, five-and-a-half hours, then we change control teams. We’ll go back and have a sleep for about six hours, and then come back to the cockpit about an hour before descent and prepare the aircraft for arrival.

Is it hard sleeping in the air?

No, I have no problem sleeping. It’s a nice bunk, comfortable, the right temperature and everything. You have to manage your sleep, which is part of your job.

How do you deal with jetlag?

You just learn to live with it. It’s part of the job. You learn to sleep when you need to. That’s one of the downsides of international flying. It never gets easier, you just get used to it.

How long do you get for a stopover?

Generally most stopovers are 24 hours. So some of that time you have to look at managing your sleep, and other times, sure, you get the opportunity to go and see the sights of the city. By the 15th or 20th time you visit a city though, you might be less interested than you were the first time.

Are any airports particularly hard to land at?

Not so much difficult to land at, but it’s challenging if you have a lot of air traffic, a lot of other aircraft around. I would say coming into the United States can be very challenging, in terms of traffic, and also the weather, if you get a bad snowstorm. O’Hare, JFK, San Francisco… But it’s part of the job.

Have you ever flown a plane? Have you ever heard a call for a doctor on board? Is this a dream job for travellers?

Email: [email protected]南京夜网.au

Instagram: instagram南京夜网/bengroundwater

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Driver charged over death of Illawong man Fred Dib

A driver has been charged over the death of Sydney man Fred Dib, who was found lying critically injured in the middle of a busy road on Tuesday morning.
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The 30-year-old Indian national was arrested at Sutherland police station early on Wednesday and charged with negligent driving causing death and failing to stop and assist after a crash.

Police say they are continuing to investigate exactly how Dib, 45, came to be lying in the middle of the south-bound lanes of Alfords Point Road in Illawong with critical head, stomach and leg injuries just before 6am on Tuesday.

Police believe Dib, who lived a short distance from where he was found, was struck by two cars, but only the second vehicle stopped to help him and waited for emergency services to arrive.

Sutherland Police Superintendent Julian Griffiths said on Tuesday that Dib was believed to have suffered serious injuries to the right side of his head before he was run over the second time.

Dib was taken to St George Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery and died on Tuesday morning.

Detectives will allege that the Indian national, from Engadine, crashed into Dib in his white Toyota Camry before driving away.

Police are also investigating possible bikie gang links to Dib.

Dib was killed a few weeks before he was to be sentenced for an aggravated break and enter and a stalking and intimidation charge.

Court documents reveal he was also due to be sentenced on March 26 for resisting an officer in the execution of his duty at the Sydney Downing Centre.

The 30-year-old driver charged overnight was refused police bail and is due to appear in Sutherland Local Court on Wednesday.

Police are also appealing for the male driver of a white Pantech truck, which stopped briefly at the crash scene before emergency services arrived, to contact them.

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Man on murder charge, who blamed boy’s death on fall from pogo stick, denied bail

A man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s seven-year-old son and later blaming it on an accidental fall from a pogo stick has been denied bail.
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The man, 29, who cannot be identified, is charged with 28 offences, including murder, common assault, inciting an act of indecency, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The boy’s mother, 25, is also charged with murder.

The couple told police the boy died after he fell off a pogo stick at a home in Sydney’s south on May 21, 2013.

But it is alleged the couple abused the boy for months before he died.

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The man made an application to be released from jail on Monday, arguing the case against him was weak and he needed to be free to prepare for a complex murder trial.

He appeared in the NSW Supreme Court via audiovisual link to hear the decision on Wednesday, wearing prison greens and rosary beads, and waving at relatives sitting in the court.

Justice Lucy McCallum, in denying his application, noted the strength of the Crown case and the risk that he would not comply with bail conditions.

“The charges alleged in brief summary are a series of acts committed by the applicant towards a seven-year-old boy,” Justice McCallum said.

“He appears to have earned [his partner’s] trust and converted her to a style of parenting which many would find offensive.

“In short … the murder charge is based in a contention that the applicant forced the boy to stand for a lengthy period of time on a coffee tin.”

Autopsy results cast doubt on the man’s version that the injuries were caused by an accidental fall from a pogo stick, Justice McCallum said.

The court heard that an alternative approach to the murder charge would be that he showed “reckless indifference” to the boy’s life by not getting immediate help when it was obvious the boy was suffering serious head injuries.

“I do not accept the submission that there’s a weak Crown case so far as the charge of murder is concerned,” Justice McCallum said.

The man grinned and gestured wildly on screen upon hearing the decision, before the audiovisual link was cut off.

He and the co-accused are due to appear in court later this month.

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Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry at vigil for Bali nine duo

A Supreme Court judge who this month visited the Bali nine duo on death row says they have completely redeemed themselves in prison.
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Justice Lex Lasry, who visited Australian men Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran while in Bali over the last three weeks, spoke at a vigil for the pair outside the County Court on Wednesday.

“When I have been there over the years, I have witnessed their courage. I have seen them with their families and their supporters. These are two remarkable young men and their lives are valuable,” Justice Lasry said.

“This morning you are here because you support these two men and because you recognise the tragedy that it would be for them to be executed after almost 10 years of complete redemption.”

About 500 of Melbourne’s legal fraternity observed a minute’s silence for the pair, including Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes and a number of magistrates. Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, QC, was also at the vigil, which was hosted by the Law Institute of Victoria.

Justice Lasry previously represented Australian man Nguyen Tuong Van – who was convicted of drug trafficking and executed in Singapore in 2005 – before he joined the bench. He has also spoken in defence of Chan and Sukumaran on social media network Twitter.

The judge’s speech followed Indonesian Attorney-General HM Prasetyo’s announcement on Tuesday that Chan and Sukumaran’s transfer to the island of Nusakambangan would be postponed and would no longer take place this week. Justice Lasry said this provided a “glimmer of hope” their executions could be avoided “and they can be given the chance to live and to continue to serve Indonesia in Kerobokan Prison in the way that they have been doing for years”.

“Let’s hope that with more work and more reasoned argument and discussion the lives of these men can be spared.”

Justice Lasry said the pair would now have more time to pursue their scheduled hearing in the Administrative Court on Tuesday and the Australian government could continue to make their case to the Indonesian government on their behalf. “It gives Indonesia clear air to seek to rescue their citizens on death row internationally.”

Chan and Sukumaran’s families were very moved by support they had received from Australia, Justice Lasry said: “There is no question but that it helps them cope their most difficult and uncertain situation.”

Mr Dreyfus told Fairfax Media: “Along with every other Australian, I think we’re hoping that the Indonesian government will show mercy towards these two men.”

Anti-death penalty campaigner and former science minister in the Hawke government, Barry Jones, said he was deeply concerned about the “ambiguous role” of the Australian Federal Police in Chan and Sukumaran’s case.

The AFP, he said, needed to reconsider their guidelines so that police did not pass on information that led to Australians being arrested in other countries for offences that carried the death penalty.

“They could have been apprehended either leaving Australia or when they arrived in Australia,” Mr Jones said. “Because it’s our practice not to extradite people to a death penalty jurisdiction it seems inconceivable to me that … we pass the information on so that they can be arrested and tried in a death penalty jurisdiction. That’s very troubling as a matter of public policy.”

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Beverly Hills mega mansion with an asking price of $600,000 a month

This mansion on Lania Lane in Beverly Hills is after a tenant with plenty of cash. Photo: Beverly Hills Real EstateWhat is being billed as the most expensive mansion in the United States, on 10 hectares in Beverly Hills, is looking for a tenant with a spare $US475,000 ($609,000) a month.
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That’s just about the median house price in Melbourne.

Real estate mogul Jeff Greene bought the palatial gated Mediterranean villa, called Palazzo di Amore, for $35 million in 2007 and listed the property for $195 million last November. If it sells at this price, it will be the most expensive home in the US.

In the meantime, the trophy home is on the market for rent.

The new tenants will be able to host lavish dinner parties with up to 250 guests in their entertaining complex, and enjoy jaw-dropping features such as a floating glass-floor walkway that connects one complex of the property to another.

A 400-metre tree-lined driveway, past three sets of double gates and security guardhouse, winds up to the 12-bedroom, 23-bathroom mansion, complete with a private-label vineyard.

Inside are limestone floors with marble and maple inlay, hand-painted ceilings, and panelling of maple burl wood.

It has all the bells and whistles a buyer shopping in this price bracket would expect and more, such as a 50-seat cinema, a bowling alley, a commercial-size walk-in refrigerator and a disco/ballroom with a revolving dance floor, DJ Booth and laser-light system.

There is a detached guesthouse for those lucky enough to visit and more than enough cellar storage to hold all the booze – 13,000 bottles plus additional barrels to be exact.

The garage is large enough to store 27 cars, and if that isn’t enough, there’s on-site parking for another 150.

New residents will also enjoy perks including impressive city to ocean views and vistas over Los Angeles Canyons and city lights.

Joyce Rey and Stacy Gottula, of Coldwell Banker Previews International, have the listing.

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Carsales posts record profit, but market hoped for more

Carsales南京夜网.au CEO Greg Roebuck sees growth opportunities overseas. Photo: Jesse MarlowCarsales南京夜网 chief executive Greg Roebuck believes Australia’s economy can get back on track and help deliver strong growth for the online classifieds giant after the company reported a record first-half profit that slightly missed expectations.
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Carsales delivered a 7 per cent improvement in net profit to $46.7 million, below the analyst consensus forecast of $49.4 million. The company attributed the miss to losses from a business investment in Asia and a surge in marketing and interest expenses.

Its shares fell as much as 7.4 per cent following the release of the result, but later recovered most of the losses to trade down 0.7 per cent at $10.25 in afternoon trade.

Mr Roebuck said the result was good in the current economic environment, with unemployment at its highest level in more than 12 years and the Reserve Bank of Australia recently downgrading its growth forecasts.

“Cars are one of those things where people need to feel good about how the economy is performing,” Mr Roebuck said.

“I think [the economy] is a little soft, but we’ve got a lot of positives; lower interest rates are a good encouragement for consumers to replace their vehicles.”

Mr Roebuck has a bullish view of the Australian economy and believes it will improve in 2015. He said Carsales has had a strong start to the second half.

Assuming that market conditions remain the way they are, Mr Roebuck said revenue and EBITDA should “remain solid” during the June half, with net profit growing more moderately.

Carsales revenue jumped 34 per cent to $150.9 million in the six months to December, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 15 per cent at $72.9 million.

Costs increased by 64.1 per cent over the first half, driven by a large increase in sales and marketing, as well as interest expenses.

The company increased its interim dividend from 14.7¢ to 16.2¢. It will be paid on April 15.

Profit growth was stunted by losses at iCarAsia, a business in which Carsales has a 20.3 per cent stake. iCar lowered Carsales’ net profit by $1.8 million, with its results down 122 per cent from the previous corresponding period. iCar is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Carsales highlighted the opportunities for future earnings growth in its overseas markets, particularly Brazil and South Korea. Mr Roebuck said they had an eye out for further acquisitions and investment opportunities, including taking greater stakes in businesses they were already in.

During the half, Carsales completed the acquisition of Stratton Finance, with the company hoping to grow its earnings by providing finance for car purchasers. Carsales has added 20 staff to the Stratton business.

Credit Suisse analyst Fraser McLeish said that Carsales remains his top pick in online classifieds based on valuation.

Carsales shares are trading at 22.3 times forecast earnings.

“The result was a bit below consensus, but when you go through the revenue lines, really the weakness was through display advertising revenue, which is the one which is more cyclical and partly impacted by weakness in the advertising market,” Mr McLeish said.

“When you go through all the other revenue lines, they’re actually pretty solid. Importantly, they’re showing good revenue growth in their early stage offshore businesses.”

Carsales will also change its ASX ticker from CRZ to CAR, which was not available when the company listed.

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Sponsored: Top 10 things to consider before a career change

This is sponsored content for Federation University Australia
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Consider your choices carefully when making a career move. Getty images.

Once upon a time people stayed in the same job for life. For those of us in amodern workforce this would seem unthinkable and possibly inhumane.

In the dark old days the thought of a new job, let alone a full career change, was not even a consideration.

But in the current economy and job market people career hop constantly. Reasons peoplechange careers include:toincreaseincome, to work their way up the corporate ladder or a desire for greater job satisfaction.

Whatever yourreason, study our list of things to consider before making the move. There may be more work and thought required than you imagined, but this may be essential to your success.

Skills can be transferred from one industry to another. Getty images

1. Do an inventory on your experience

People often consider moving into an industry they have no knowledge of and haven’t worked in before. To catch the eye of recruiters in this instance you must seek to educate yourself on the industry as comprehensively as you can. You must also be able to tell the employers how your skills are transferrable from one industry to another. It may be that you require further training before moving into your industry of choice so be open to going back to study.

Know yourself, know your strengths, know your options. Getty images.

2. Identify your strengths

To find what area your employment potential lies in,you need to identify your strengths, what you enjoy, and what you’re good at. Getting to know yourself and your strengths will make you more confident and focused in your search for a new role. Career counsellors can also be extremely helpful in working out where your strengths lie and identifying what’s required to achieve your goals. If more training is required they can help pinpoint what courses are available.

Consider your reasons for a change in career. Getty image.

3. Clarify your need for change

The need for constant change can drive many people to continually seek new roles and careers. But changing career should be considered a monumental life step and not be taken lightly. If there are no compelling reasons to change your job or career then it may be best to remain in your current role. This is tied into your career goals. Set out what you want to accomplish by the move and always look twice before you leap.

Don’t leave your career choice up to chance or luck. Getty images.

4. Doing it for the right reasons

The pay packet offered by anew job can entice somepeople to make the switch,but don’t use this as your sole motivation. Even though the promise of a large pay rise may be tempting it is worth considering the full picture. Most employees report it is quality of life, andnot theirpay packet that ultimately determines their job satisfaction.

Identify what your values are to make a perfect career match. Getty images.

5. Work out what your values are

Your values and motivations in life should be a key consideration. Career satisfaction is often obtained when you are receiving personal satisfaction from your job.. What drives you? Is it doing good and helping others such as healthcare or teaching? Or are you more motivated by recognition and a role that gives a clear career trajectory?

The search may be long – stay focussed. Getty images.

6. Be focused

What you are considering is hard work and won’t be easy. It may be tiring and take some time to get the outcome you want so be resilient. Stay focusedabout where you use your energy and time. For any majorchange in your life, perseverance and determination will be required.

Make connections, network and build bridges to help your search. Getty images.

7. Build bridges

To pull off a drastic career change a solid network with contacts in many industries is a must. To fulfil a career dream, plan ahead and speak to people in the industry you want to move into before you start applying for jobs. Be adventurous and daring and let contacts know what you need. Real networking is about getting to know people and identifying who may be able to help you along your way. This will also give you the opportunity to get the real story of the industry you are targeting and see if it marries up with your fantasy.

8. Don’t be sucked-in by the flavour of the month

Its’s easy to be influenced by the latest industry trends. Jobs in these sectors are plentiful, pay well, and seem glamorous. If you are considering a role in a ‘hot industry’ also think about how it will fare once the honeymoon is over and whether you will still want to be there. Always consider if there is room for growth in your career of choice as you don’t want to be left at a dead-end.

Don’t be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. Getty images.

9. Rid yourself of blocks and insecurities

It is the rare person who does not have a fear or insecurity when it comes to their career. The trick is not to let them stop you from doing what you want to do. If something is stopping you from moving ahead identify it, confront it, and deal with it. Get help if you need to from a professional. Getting rid of the blocks will increase your energy and confidence levels.

A career change can mean starting from scratch again. Getty images.

10. Starting at the bottom

Changing careers can mean starting from the bottom of the ladder again. Be sure you are prepared to do this for your chosen career path. Consider this may mean losing your status and, at least to begin with, taking a pay cut. Can you afford to do this?

Top three tips:

1. Think about the reasons for the change – is it justified?

2. If it is a new field make sure you do plenty of research on the industry – leave no stone unturned.

3. Consider your quality of life. Sure the new job may pay more, but if that is because your employerexpects you to be on call 24/7 it may not be worth it.

See the first in the series -Sponsored: Hot jobs for 2015 and beyond

See the second in the series – Sponsored:Job success after a career break

See the third articlein the series – Sponsored: Recession proof your career

See the fourth article in the series – Sponsored: Top 10 things employers want

US Vice-President Joe Biden in new ‘creepy’ photo with wife of Defence Secretary Ashton Carter

The notoriously hands-on US Vice-President Joe Biden has renewed his claim as Washington’s most grabby politician after cameras captured him in a close encounter with the wife of the new Defence Secretary.
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At a press conference for the swearing in of Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defence on Tuesday, Mr Biden gestured to Mr Carter’s wife, Stephanie, to join them on stage.

He placed his hands on her shoulders as he stood behind her.

Mr Biden kept his hands on her shoulders for almost 30 seconds as her husband thanked the Vice-President for swearing him in.

At one point, Mr Biden bent down and whispered into Mrs Carter’s ear in an almost-nuzzling gesture, which has since been shared across social media amid a storm of excoriating commentary and ridicule. RT @AboveTopSecret: Creepy #JoeBiden What are you up to with Stephanie Carter, wife of the new Secretary of Defense? pic.twitter南京夜网/l2bAhStCE0 — Rob Stockman (@HngOver) February 17, 2015

It is not known what the Vice-President said to Mrs Carter, but she remained straight-faced throughout the encounter.

Described by The Washington Post as “the world’s most powerful close talker”, this is not Mr Biden’s first foray into controversy for his overly intimate style.

In January, Mr Biden’s name circulated in headlines alongside the word “creepy” as a photograph of him grasping the arm of Maggie Coons, daughter of Senator Chris Coons, and leaning in to kiss her on the head, went viral on social media.  This video is like Mike Tyson going for Evander Holyfield’s ear — Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 7, 2015

In 2012, Mr Biden was courting voters in an Ohio diner when he motioned for a biker to sit in a chair in front of him before pulling his signature whisper move, as her friends watched on in visible discomfort.   Never forget when Biden snuggled with a biker chick. Still the greatest photo I’ve ever seen. pic.twitter南京夜网/ShmmmCUuOu — Cullen Hawkins (@SirCullen) December 8, 2014

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Hot January extends run of record worldwide warmth

Jury is in on climate change: Brian SchmidtClimate change science for dummies
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Worldwide temperatures are showing little sign of easing back from 2014’s record levels, with January matching the warmest tallies for the month in 125 years of data, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The agency said average global surface temperatures last month were 0.29 degrees above the 1981-2010 average and 0.68 degrees above the average for the 20th century.

That reading tied with 2002 and 2007 as the warmest January in records going back to 1891, the agency said.

The next warmest was 2010, with an anomaly of 0.21 degrees above the 1981-2010 average.

The US space agency NASA ranked January as its second warmest on record, behind 2007. The NASA data, though, shows the 12 months ending in January were the hottest on record, according to science blogger Greg Laden.

The JMA last month joined NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organisation in declaring 2014 to have been the hottest year on record, eclipsing 2005 and 2010.

For Australia, January was close to the long-term average in warmth while 2014 was the third-warmest year, trailing 2013 and 2005.

Even the US, which has attracted wide media attention for a string of winter snowstorms that have blitzed the north-eastern states, had a relatively warm January.

Record warm days in the lower 48 states exceeded record cold ones by more than a four-to-one ratio, NOAA reported recently, with national snow cover below average.

Average temperatures were 33 degrees Fahrenheit  (0.6 degrees Celsius), or almost 3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, making it the 24th warmest January on record for the contiguous US states.

El Nino fears

The unusual warmth has come even without an El Nino climate pattern forming in the Pacific. During El Nino years, ocean heat uptake slows or even reverses, warming the atmosphere and adding to the background run-up in temperatures caused by climate change, climatologists say.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology this week said sea-surface conditions in the tropical Pacific were neutral, easing back from a near-El Nino set-up during the previous two months.

Several long-range forecasting models “suggest some renewed warming may occur beyond May”, the bureau said, noting that predictions beyond the first quarter of the year “tend to be less reliable than those made at other times”.

Even taking that so-called predictability gap into account when conditions in the Pacific reset to some extent each autumn in the southern hemisphere, the bureau said “outlooks favour warm-neutral or El Nino-like ocean temperatures” beyond May.

An El Nino, should it occur later in the year, would most likely make 2015 one of the hottest years on record globally.

For Australia, an El Nino would probably lead to drier and hotter-than-usual conditions for much of the country.

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