Families of MH370 welcome in Australia: PM Tony Abbott

THE FAMILIES of the 239 passengers and crew on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have been told their visa fees would be waived if they were to make the trip down under.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told federal parliament on Tuesday that Australia would waive the fees for the grieving families and that a formal condolence motion would be moved on Wednesday.

Malaysian Prime Minister last night announced to the world that new information revealed the Boeing-777’s flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean off Western Australia and that there were no survivors.

“It’s highly likely … that in coming days and weeks, many of the relatives of passengers on ill-fated flight 370 will wish to come to Australia,” Mr Abbott said.

“I want them to know that should they come here, they will be in the arms of a decent country.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten commended the Australian led search operation, saying the search had “brought nations together”.

“Australia is proud of the Australian contribution and I believe the world is grateful to them,” Mr Shorten told Parliament.

Man accused of bashing bus driver granted bail

THE man accused of ripping a Gold Coast bus driver from his seat and bashing him on the roadside last week has been granted bail on the condition he leaves the city.

Jean-Adelphe Lasm, 20, is accused of dragging the 63-year-old senior Surfside bus driver from his seat and onto the bitumen in a violent rage and repeatedly punching him in the head following a dispute over a fare in Southport last Friday.

The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

It’s alleged the violent disturbance initiated when the Benowa man’s Go-card failed and the bus driver was unable to change a $50 note.

Bianca Stone from Channel Seven reported the young man’s defence team argued the driver of the bus provoked the attack with a racial slur, allegedly telling Lasm, “get off the bus you little c… you lot are all the same.”

Mobile phone footage captured the incident, as did the CCTV camera on the bus.

Following intense public pressure, the 20-year-old handed himself into police on Sunday and was charged with serious assault of a person over the age of 60.

As part of his strict bail conditions, Lasm – a sound engineer university student – has been ordered to leave the Gold Coast and live with his sister in Sydney.

He was further banned from Surfside buses, slapped with a late night curfew, ordered to pay a $5000 bail, and will be required to report to police three times a week.

MH370: Malaysian PM calls unexpected press conference

UPDATE: THE MALAYSIAN Prime Minister has announced to the world that new data has concluded missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 passengers and crew on board, including six Australians.

Speaking at an unexpected press conference late on Monday night, Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters more light had been shed on the jetliner’s flight path, indicating the plane flew along the southern corridor and “ended in the middle of the Indian Ocean”.

“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” he told reporters at an unexpected press conference at 10pm Malaysian time (01:00am AEDT).

He said the company which provided the initial satellite data and highlighted the possible northern and southern search corridors had conducted “further calculations” on the data which concluded the Boeing-777’s last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, “west of Perth”.

“Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path,” he said.

“Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites.”

Malaysia Airlines briefed the families of the passengers and crew prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement.

“We deeply regret that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Malaysia Airlines said.

“On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.

“We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.”

One relative was stretchered into the back of an awaiting ambulance after fainting while watching the overwhelming announcement from Beijing.

The Malaysian Prime Minister is expected to hold a more in depth press conference today.

UPDATE: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has tonight confirmed an Australian aircraft today found two new objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean, 2500km south-west of Perth, while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The objects were located around 2.45pm (AEDT) by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion, with the search crew reporting seeing two objects – the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object.

HMAS Success is on scene attempting to locate the objects which officials hope will be retrieved within the next few hours.

The latest sightings are separate to those reported by the Chinese earlier on Monday.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the latest developments in Parliament on Monday night, however stressed that the objects were yet to be identified and may not be from MH370, saying “they could be flotsam”.

The US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft remains in the search area after failing to locate objects reported by the Chinese, while a second RAAF P3 and a Japanese P3 are en-route to their assigned search areas.

The AMSA said the last of these aircraft will depart the search area about 11pm (AEDT).

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Malaysian PM Mohd Najib Tun Razak takes a call from Tony Abbott on Monday night, advising of the latest sighting by the RAAF. IMAGE: Supplied

EARLIER: A CHINESE military plane has reportedly located suspicious objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean as the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the 239 passengers and crew on board enters its sixteenth day.

It’s understood the white and “square shaped” objects were spotted by searchers on board the Chinese Air Force IL-76 aircraft today after taking off from RAAF Base Pearce in Perth early on Monday morning.

“Searchers aboard IL-76 saw two big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers,” China Xinhua News tweeted.

The Chinese aircraft was heading back to the search headquarters in Perth when the objects were spotted and has asked Australian officials to deploy additional aircraft to the area of interest.

An United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to relocate the objects, however were unable to do so.

The latest development comes after Australian searchers say they spotted a wooden pallet and straps in the search zone approximately 2,500km southwest of Perth on Saturday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced last Thursday that commercial satellite imagery had identified two large objects, surrounded by smaller objects, floating in the southern Indian Ocean that could have been possible debris from the missing passenger jet.

China and France also released satellite imagery over the weekend, showing similar objects in the same region.

The United States Navy said they will be sending a black box locator, known as a Towed Pinger Locator, to the search zone where it would be ready for deployment in case sightings confirmed the location of the Boeing-777.

More than 10 aircraft have since joined the search in the southern hemisphere, including four military P3 Orion’s and four non-military jets from Australia, Two IL-76 planes from China, two Japanese P3 Orion’s and a P8 Poseidon from the US.

The jetliner vanished from civilian radar on March 8, almost an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing.

Six Australian’s were on board, including two four Queenslander’s and a couple from Sydney.

Speed Cameras to enforce reduced speed on Pacific Motorway

MOTORISTS who refuse to slow down through new roadworks on the Pacific Motorway could now be nabbed by speed cameras.

Police have announced they will be using speed cameras to enforce a reduced 60km/hr speed zone between the Worongary and Mudgeeraba Interchanges while roadworks are underway.

Police said the reduced speed limit is required for the safety of road workers and road users as the highway has been realigned and lane widths reduced to cater for the road upgrade work.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Keating said reduced speed limits were put in place at roadwork sites to ensure the safety of road workers as well as motorists.

“Often drivers don’t pay attention to speed limits and tragically this has resulted in the serious injury and death of road workers, occupants of vehicles and consequential road closures and traffic delays,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Keating said.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and although a reduced speed limit may cause minimal delays it is important to remember that in the long run the upgrades will improve the road network and everyones safety.”

The M1 roadworks are part of a $420 million interchange and upgrade project to improve safety, reduce travelling times and improve congestion along the Pacific Motorway corridor.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in mid-2014.

Man charged with Southport bus driver bashing

UPDATE: A benowa local, accused of violently attacking a bus driver in Southport last week, will remain behind bars for another night.

Jean-Adelphe Lasm, 20, faced court this morning after handing himself in to Surfers Paradise police on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulletin reports the University student claimed the 63-year-old bus driver started the fight last Friday.

Police opposed a bail application alleging Lasm was also due to face court on tuesday over an unrelated, older charge.

Magistrate Michael O’Driscoll reserved his decision on bail and demanded to see footage from the alleged incident.

 

EARLIER: THE man who allegedly ripped a Gold Coast bus driver from his seat and repeatedly punched him in the head in Southport last week has handed himself into police.

The 20-year-old man walked into Surfers Paradise Police Station on Sunday afternoon and was later transferred to the Southport Watchhouse.

He is accused of bashing a 63-year-old Surfside bus driver on Friday morning following a dispute over a fare.

BUS DRIVER RIPPED FROM SEAT AND BASHED IN SOUTHPORT

News footage of the incident allegedly showed the shirtless man dragging the driver across the bitumen on Nerang Street while striking him in the head.

The male driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The Benowa local will face Southport Magistrates Court today charged with serious assault.