Baird VC goes to War Memorial

A day after Governor-General Quentin Bryce presented Australia’s latest Victoria Cross to the family of Corporal Cameron Baird they have given it to the Australian War Memorial.


It will go on display with other VCs awarded to Australians, including three awarded over action in Afghanistan.

In a brief ceremony at the Memorial’s Hall of Valour, director Brendan Nelson accepted Corporal Baird’s VC – the 100th awarded to an Australian – plus his Medal for Gallantry as an indefinite loan.

Cameron’s father Doug said this was an individual award but the family saw it as an award to all those in the 2nd Commando Regiment.

“We also think very clearly of all the parents, the mums and dads, of all the other fallen soldiers. We see it as something for them as well,” he said.

Mr Baird also had some advice for other parents of servicemen and women.

“Don’t be scared to tell `em you love `em because just don’t know what’s around the corner,” he said.

Dr Nelson said Cameron’s spirit was in the memorial and always would be.

“The generations of custodians of the memorial will forever guard his record with immense pride as we tell his story, your story and that of the very brave men of 2 Commando who have paid the highest price,” he said.

Corporal Baird was awarded the VC for heroism during an attack on a strongly defended insurgent position in Afghanistan on June 22 last year.

Three times he charged an enemy-held building to draw fire away from his comrades. The final time he was mortally wounded.

Following the presentation, family members placed red poppies next to Corporal Baird’s name on the roll of honour.

Aussie Mills earns his Spurs in NBA

San Antonio’s Australian star Patty Mills scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to guide the Spurs to a 113-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday as the NBA resumed from the All-Star break.


Mills finished with 25 points and Tim Duncan had 19 points and 13 rebounds during a foul-plagued 38 minutes as San Antonio opened a 2-1/2 game lead over Houston in the Southwest Division.

Among other key games, LeBron James scored a season high to lead Miami over Dallas, Indiana beat Atlanta with Paul George hot from outside the arc, and Phoenix won in overtime against slumping Denver.

The Spurs beat LA despite being without six-time All-Star Tony Parker, whom coach Gregg Popovich said would be sidelined “for the foreseeable future” because of numerous aches and pains – including a bruised shin, a groin strain and lower back spasms.

Blake Griffin had 35 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, whose lead atop the Pacific Division was trimmed to four games.

Miami’s LeBron James scored a season-high 42 points as the Heat beat Dallas 117-106.

James scored the first eight points in a 14-0 run that put the Heat ahead after they trailed by one point entering the fourth quarter.

Chris Bosh scored 22 points for Miami, which has won six of seven heading into Thursday’s banner clash at Oklahoma City.

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points for the Mavericks, who missed seven shots and had three turnovers while the Heat pulled away for their third-straight season sweep of the Mavericks – six consecutive wins – since losing to them in the 2011 NBA Finals.

Indiana’s Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Pacers over Atlanta 108-98, retaining a 2-1/2 game lead over Miami for the Eastern Conference lead.

David West had 17 points for Indiana, which went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter.

Kyle Korver scored 19 points, shooting 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, for the Hawks, who have lost six straight.

Phoenix’s Gerald Green scored a career-high 36 points, including eight in overtime, to guide the Suns past Denver 112-107.

Toronto broke open a close game in the third quarter and went on to beat Washington 103-93.

Memphis’ Mike Conley scored 22 points in his return after missing seven games with an ankle injury, helping the Grizzlies beat New York 98-93, weathering a second-half Knicks rally.

Charlotte’s Al Jefferson had 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Bobcats to a 108-96 win over Detroit.

And Milwaukee’s Brandon Knight overcame a foot contusion to score 18 points – including the sealing free throws in the closing seconds – as the Bucks edged Orlando 104-100.

Bus should’ve stopped for Daniel: witness

A woman has told court she argued with the driver of a bus about not stopping to pick a boy she later believed to be murdered teen Daniel Morcombe.


However, the driver, giving evidence at the trial of Daniel’s accused killer Brett Peter Cowan, claims no one on the bus questioned his decision to keep going.

The 13-year-old vanished from an unofficial bus stop at Woombye on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.

The court has previously heard he was wearing a red T-shirt when he disappeared about 2pm.

Bus driver Ross Edmonds told the Brisbane Supreme Court he drove past a man and a boy in a red T-shirt, who tried to flag him down.

However, he was under orders to drive on after an earlier breakdown had delayed passengers.

“He (the boy) lifted his finger … and I pointed to him there was another bus coming,” Mr Edmonds said.

Katherine Bird, who was a passenger on the bus, said she believed the boy in the red T-shirt was Daniel although she didn’t know who he was at the time.

She said she also saw a man standing near him and as the bus drove past, she got up and told the bus driver he should have stopped.

“We actually had a little bit of an argument on the bus and he threatened to throw me off the bus if I didn’t sit down,” she said.

However, Mr Edmonds said he didn’t recall any passenger say anything about stopping.

The bus following Mr Edmonds was five minutes behind, according to bus driver Stuart Rose, who also gave evidence.

He said he said he heard an incoherent radio transmission about something under the bridge but saw no one at the overpass.

Cowan, 44, has pleaded not guilty to indecently dealing with Daniel, 13, murdering him and interfering with his corpse.

Cowan’s trial also heard from a man who claimed he saw what looked like someone being dragged into a faded blue sedan under the overpass in the late morning of December 7, 2003.

And a woman saw what she thought was a boy being violently assaulted in the back seat of a moving blue sedan in the early afternoon.

An elderly Nambour couple told the court Cowan went to their house about 1.30pm on December 7, 2003, to collect a mulcher.

The accused man had worked for their son’s sand blasting business and stayed no longer than 10 minutes, 80-year-old Frank Davis said.

The trial continues.

Australian detained in North Korea ‘knew the risks’

An Australian man being detained by North Korean authorities knew the journey was risky, his wife says.


Christian missionary John Short, 75, originally from South Australia, arrived in Pyongyang on Saturday and was taken from his hotel by local police a day later.

“He went (to North Korea) because it is such a dark and difficult place,” wife Karen Short told AAP from the couple’s home in Hong Kong.

“Being a Christian missionary he wanted to see empathy for the people there.”

Mr Short’s travelling companion was also questioned by police, but was later released.

“They put him on the plane yesterday morning and thought my husband would follow but he didn’t.”

Mr Short’s interrogation is understood to have focused on religious documents.

It is against North Korean law to spread religious material, and interaction between locals and foreigners is also poorly viewed.

“He carried little booklets he’s written himself, that he’s had people translate into the Korean language,” Mrs Short said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has told Mrs Short her husband’s consular case is “different and difficult”.

In a statement DFAT confirmed that Australia’s consular interests in North Korea are handled by Swedish authorities.

“We are in close contact with Swedish officials in Pyongyang to seek their assistance in confirming the well-being of Mr Short and to obtain more information,” the statement said.

Shocked by the news of her husband’s detainment, Mrs Short admitted it is not the first time he has visited trouble spots, having travelled though Vietnam and Burma in more tense times in years past.

“It’s not the easy places that need help,” she said.

Mr Short’s detention continued on Monday as former Australian High Court Judge turned United Nations commissioner Michael Kirby, delivered a scathing assessment of human rights in North Korea.

Mrs Short does not believe there is any link between her husband’s interrogation and the growing international concern for rights in the republic.

In December an American 85-year-old Korean War veteran, detained in North Korean for a short time, described his custody as “comfortable”, having been kept in a hotel room and fed traditional food.

But South Korean man, Kenneth Bae, was in April sentenced to 15 years prison in the northern republic after being convicted of planning to overthrow the government.

His imprisonment includes daily hard labour, reports say.

Mrs Short asked Australians to pray for her husband’s safe return.

Sydney woman in Bali drugs arrest

A Sydney woman is being detained after Bali police raided a villa just two days after convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby was released from jail.


New Zealand national Leeza Tracey Ormsby, 37, was arrested at a villa north of Kuta last Wednesday.

Police say they acted on a tip-off about drugs at a party when they allegedly found the Paddington resident in possession of a marijuana cigarette.

A police report says officers then searched a villa, where they seized six tablets of hashish, seven tablets of MDMA, electronic scales, duct tape and wrapping plastic.

It says the Rotorua-born woman is being investigated for “possessing, keeping … the narcotics of hashish and MDMA”.

At a media conference on Tuesday, Agus Tri Waluyo, the head of Denpasar’s drug squad, said Ormsby had told police there was a party at the villa, but her friends had since left Bali.

“We made the ambush on Wednesday around 8am (1100 AEDT),” he told reporters.

“In that location, we found the evidence.

“From the statement given to investigators, she admitted that several days prior to the ambush, there was a drugs party along with her five other friends.

“But they’ve gone back to their country.”

Police say Ormsby has not yet been charged, but it’s understood she has legal representation.

A report in the Bali Post about Ormsby’s arrest said it showed “the war against illicit drug trafficking in Bali, particularly in Denpasar Police jurisdiction, continues”.

Her arrest came just two days after Corby was released on parole from Bali’s Kerobokan jail.

The Australian was sentenced to 20 years’ jail but could have been sentenced to death after being arrested in 2004 at Denpasar’s airport with 4.1 kilograms of marijuana.

Corby served nine years before qualifying to serve her parole in Bali.