Four dead, including attacker, after London terror strike

Five people were killed and 40 others injured in a terror attack in central London on Wednesday when a man drove into pedestrians and stabbed a police officer before being shot dead.

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The attack took place on Westminster Bridge near Big Ben and the British Houses of Parliament, popular landmarks that draws millions of tourists.

The attacker’s car struck pedestrians on the bridge before crashing into the railings surrounding the heavily-guarded Houses of Parliament.

The assailant then ran through the gates brandishing a knife and stabbed unarmed 48-year-old PC Keith Palmer to death before being shot dead by another officer.

PC Keith Palmer who was killed during the terrorist attack on the Houses of Parliament, London. (Metropolitan Police)Metropolitan Police

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A woman from South Australia is among those injured.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed the Australian permanent resident was receiving treatment in hospital.

British police have arrested a number of people in a raid on a property in Birmingham just hours after the deadly attacks, according to news reports in London.

The raid was linked to the assailant from Wednesday’s attacks.

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack as “sick and depraved” in an address from Downing Street in which she confirmed the UK parliament would meet as normal on Thursday.

Following an emergency cabinet meeting Mrs May said Britain’s alert level would remain unchanged at severe.

“We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart,” Mrs May said.

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A woman from South Australia is among the injured in the London terror attack, parliament has been told.

Inviting British High Commissioner Menna Rawlings into the parliamentary chamber on Thursday to listen to condolence speeches, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed an Australian permanent resident had been injured and was receiving treatment in hospital.

Islamist-related terrorism

Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley said the five victims included the policeman guarding parliament, three members of the public and the attacker.

“Islamist-related terrorism is our assumption,” Rowley told journalists.

He said investigators believe they know the identity of the assailant and police would be examining the scene of the attack through the night.

Queen Elizabeth II postponed her appearance on Thursday to open the new headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police, where the force’s flag was flown at half-mast following the incident.

The attack came a year to the day after Islamic State jihadists killed 32 people in twin bomb attacks in Brussels and after a series of deadly assaults in Europe that had hitherto spared Britain.

WATCH: Eyewitness describes the London attack

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Parliament was locked down for several hours and hundreds of lawmakers and visitors were later evacuated to nearby Westminster Abbey and the Metropolitan Police headquarters.

An air ambulance flew in and police cordoned off a large area, while tourists on the London Eye, a popular visitor attraction, were stuck up to 135 metres in the air for more than an hour.

Related:’Everybody started screaming’

Witness Matt Haikin told SBS News he initially thought the attack was just a car accident. 

“Then when I heard the shots it was clear something had happened. At that point I was starting to get a bit worried that this could have been much, much bigger,” Mr Haikin said. 

Another witness, Steve Voake, said he was walking across the bridge at the time of the attack. 

“Suddenly everybody started screaming and one of the buses stopped. At first I thought someone had been run over perhaps,” he told SBS News. 

“I saw there was a shoe on the side of the road, a body on the other side of the road and another body further up. When I looked over the side of the bridge there was a body floating face down in the water as well”. 

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Mr Voake said it took around four minutes for emergency services to begin arriving on the bridge. 

“It probably seemed like about four or five minutes before anything happen,” he said.

“The first person to arrive was a medic on a bike I think. Then some ambulances arrived pretty quickly, then just after that police started to arrive.” 

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Craig Meichan was with a group of 15 friends at the time of the attack and said they struggled to find each other in the immediate aftermath.

“You don’t expect this thing to happen to you, so when it does you get this incredible feeling of vulnerability and fear,” he told SBS News.

Australia stands in resolute solidarity with the people of Britain in war against terrorism. Our heartfelt sympathies are with the victims.

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 22, 2017’We are not afraid’ 

Britain’s last terror attack was the assassination of MP Jo Cox by a pro-Nazi sympathiser in her constituency in northern England.

The worst previous attack in London was in 2005 when four British suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked the transport system, killing 52 people.

Britain’s allies reacted with shock and vowed to stand with London in the fight against terror.

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US President Donald Trump and French President Francois Hollande both spoke to May and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany stood with Britons “against all forms of terrorism”.

Lights on the Eiffel Tower in Paris were switched off at midnight in solidarity with victims of the attack.

‘International victims’

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is due to travel to London on Thursday morning to visit three French pupils on a school trip who were among those hurt.

Five South Korean tourists were wounded, the Yonhap news agency reported, while the Romanian foreign ministry said two Romanians were also injured.

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A Portuguese man was hurt, the country’s government said, while a seriously injured woman was rescued from the River Thames following the incident.

A doctor at nearby St Thomas’ Hospital said they were treating people with “catastrophic” injuries.

Watch: Dramatic footage of the moment of attack on Westminster Bridge

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Islamic terrorism linked to attack: Fallon

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says the working assumption is that the London attack is linked to Islamic terrorism.

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He told BBC Radio Four’s Today program: “It was no accident that this attack was on Westminster, because it is at Westminster that we debate differences, very sharp differences, very freely and respectfully between us, and this kind of Islamic terrorism doesn’t respect those differences, so it is no accident that there was an attack here.”

Fallon said police were investigating whether the attacker acted alone or had help.

“Our forces are working extremely hard to identify those who are involved in this and I have every confidence they will be able to track down the associates of this particular man.”

Asked if it was known the attacker had associates, Fallon said: “No. The police have to proceed on the assumption that he may well have been assisted in this task. There may well have been others involved. They have to check all that and they are doing that.

“The working assumption is that this is related to Islamic terrorism in some form. That is their assumption at the moment, but they don’t have a full enough picture of this man and his known associates, and who may, or may not, have helped him prepare this attack. That work is still going on.”

Fallon praised the police response, saying: “They have been working right through the night, looking into his background, and how he got hold of the vehicle, where the vehicle has been in the last day or two, and who may, or may not, have helped him.”

Asked if the attacker was known to police, he said: “I can’t confirm that, you will have to ask the police that.”

Fallon said a spirit of defiance was the best response to such attacks.

“It is also, I think, evident form everyone involved yesterday that we are not going to let this kind of terrorism win.”

Scientists closer to anti-ageing drug

Scientists are a step closer to unlocking the mystery of how to reverse the ageing process.

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They’ve discovered that a natural compound found in fruit and vegetables including avocado and broccoli can help repair DNA that’s been damaged by ageing and radiation exposure.

Their discovery has attracted interest from US space agency NASA and sparked hope that it might one day help improve the long-term health of children with cancer.

So far the scientists from the University of NSW and Harvard Medical School in the US city of Boston have only tested the compound known as NMN in mice.

They plan to start clinical trials to test its safety in 25 people later this year in Boston.

Their work, published in the prestigious journal Science on Friday, builds on previous studies demonstrating the anti-ageing effects of NMN in older mice.

The latest study focused on NMN’s ability to repair DNA, which gets damaged every time we go out into the sun or are exposed to radiation.

The ability of our cells to repair the damage decreases as we age.

The scientists found that giving mice a dose of NMN in their drinking water improved the ability of their cells to repair DNA damaged by radiation or old age.

“The cells of the old mice were indistinguishable from the young mice after just one week of treatment,” the study’s lead author professor David Sinclair, who works at the UNSW and Harvard and shot to fame after identifying anti-ageing qualities in red wine more than a decade ago.

“This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that’s perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if trials go well.”

NASA is working with Prof Sinclair and his UNSW colleague Dr Lindsay Wu to see if NMN could help protect astronauts from having their body cells age prematurely as a result of being exposed to cosmic radiation.

The scientists won a NASA competition in 2016 designed to help the space agency send astronauts to Mars.

“That trip will take two years in each direction, so that’s four years of being exposed to cosmic radiation and this is likely to cause a substantial amount of DNA damage to those astronauts,” Dr Wu told AAP.

The scientists believe NMN could also help repair the damaged DNA of aircraft passengers exposed to cosmic radiation as well as children with cancer who have undergone radiotherapy.

Dr Wu said nearly all childhood cancer survivors go on to develop by age 45 chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s – conditions usually associated with older adults.

The radiotherapy is blamed for causing the children’s cells to age prematurely.

“Our primary goal at the moment is treating the side effects of radiotherapy primarily because that’s where the biggest need is,” Dr Wu said.

“There’s nothing else out there to treat those side effects.”

Strains grow in Republicans’ unhappy marriage with Trump

Trump took barely 18 months to conquer the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, swatting aside more traditional challengers as he seized the Republican White House nomination in last year’s US election.

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But six months into his presidency, his disconnect with many in his party is clear, after the departure of two party stalwarts from the White House and the public shaming of his own attorney general.

And after a recent humiliating defeat in the Senate on health reforms, party insiders are warning Trump can expect similar setbacks unless he learns to work constructively with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“His presidency will only be successful if he has allies throughout the government, and that includes the legislative branch,” said Alex Conant, a former senior aide to Senator Marco Rubio.

“If he spends his entire presidency at war with Congress, it will be a very unfulfilling four years,” added Conant, who classed the current relationship between party and president as “awkward.”

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With chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House spokesman Sean Spicer – both party insiders – exiting within a week of each other, few senior Republicans remain among Trump’s inner circle, besides Vice President Mike Pence.

And while Pence – a former lawmaker in the House – acts as a bridge to Congress, it’s far from clear how much the president is seeking his advice.

After the health debacle, instead of regrouping with Republican senators to find a common way forward, Trump rebuked them on Twitter, saying they would be “total quitters” if they abandoned his reforms.

Offence taken

Establishment Republicans have long winced at the probe into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential race and the swirling allegations into whether his campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

More recently, they have taken offence at the president’s attacks on his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former Republican senator who has significant support among congressional conservatives.

As pressure mounts on Trump, senior figures are becoming bolder in their criticism.

Senator Jeff Flake has urged Republicans to speak out if the president plays to his populist base in ways that damage the party’s ability “to speak to a larger audience.”

As a former Republican National Committee chairman, Priebus had impeccable connections and so his ouster last week has deprived the White House of a valuable link with Capitol Hill.

Spicer – who went a week earlier – was also a long-time Republican insider who owed his position as Trump’s mouthpiece more to his party connections than his close relations with the president.

In Priebus’s place, Trump brought in John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who has little experience in dealing with Republican lawmakers in either the House of Representatives or Senate.

Other key White House staff – such as chief strategist Steve Bannon, a former head of the fiercely right-wing Breitbart News media outlet – are also far removed from the Republican establishment.

The president’s chief economic advisor, former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, is a registered Democrat who has donated to both parties.

Trump’s daughter and son-in-law Ivanka and Jared Kushner, both senior advisors, are self-styled New York progressives.

The little trust that existed in the first place between Trump and the Republican establishment may well have been shaken in the president’s first six months in office.

But Richard Keil, a former Washington-based strategist who now works with the Hill + Knowlton consultancy, said ties were not necessarily beyond repair as long as the two sides could identify shared goals, such as tax reforms.

“If he can help them deliver what they want, that repairs relations pretty quickly,” Keil said.

Decision looms for Bombers veteran Stanton

Essendon insist Jobe Watson’s future won’t be decided until after the season, but a call on fellow AFL veteran Brent Stanton could come sooner.

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A consistent performer throughout his 252-game career, Stanton has struggled in his return to senior football after serving a doping ban last season with 33 other past and present Bombers.

The 31-year-old has languished in the VFL for much of the season, with his last senior appearance coming in round 11.

Coach John Worsfold has confirmed Stanton is in ongoing discussions with the club about his future and an announcement could be made before the end of the season.

“It’s possible if we come to a decision before the end of the season, and that will just be the ongoing discussions with Brent (about) how he’s feeling and where we’re at,” Worsfold said on Wednesday.

“We’ll be really open and honest in terms of what his role may be at the club next year and how he’s feeling.

“If we get to that decision before the end of the season we’ll certainly announce that but I can’t say that it will (definitely) happen.”

With 10th-placed Essendon still in the race to make the finals, Worsfold said former skipper Watson remained on track to play out the season before making a call on his future.

The 32-year-old faced scrutiny for his poor performance during Essendon’s loss to the Western Bulldogs, with some pundits suggesting the game has passed him by.

While several high-profile veterans have recently confirmed their retirement plans ahead of season’s end, Worsfold didn’t expect Watson to map out his own farewell game.

“Hopefully not, because you can’t plan a farewell game in the finals, and that’s our aim,” Worsfold said.

“He hasn’t been best on ground every week but he hasn’t been poor. I’ve been pretty happy with the way Jobe’s bounced back to footy this year considering where he’s come from.”

Essendon must win every remaining game, including Saturday’s meeting with 17th-placed Carlton, in order to scrape into the top eight.

The long rivalry between the clubs, and the fact Carlton beat Essendon earlier in the season, will add extra intrigue to what Worsfold described as a “critical” match at the MCG.

Trump holds Maduro ‘personally responsible’ for jailed opponents’ health

Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were both already under house arrest when they were taken into custody, and the Venezuelan Supreme Court later alleged that they had been planning to flee, either into hiding in Venezuela or abroad.

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“The United States condemns the actions of the Maduro dictatorship,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.

“Mr Lopez and Mr Ledezma are political prisoners being held illegally by the regime.”

The senior US diplomat for the Americas, Acting Assistant Secretary Antonio Francisco Palmieri, tweeted that this was “another step in the wrong direction for Venezuela.”

“This action is further evidence of the Maduro regime’s authoritarianism,” he added, speaking one day after senior US officials declared for the first time that they now regard Maduro, who was elected as a socialist, as a dictator.

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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also condemned the detentions, saying in a tweet that the United States is “deeply concerned.”

On Monday, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on Maduro, and National Security Adviser HR McMaster compared him to notorious strongmen Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.

“The United States holds Maduro — who publicly announced just hours earlier that he would move against his political opposition — personally responsible for the health and safety of Mr Lopez, Mr Ledezma and any others seized,” Trump said.

“We reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.”

0:00 UN calls for release of Venezuelan opposition leaders Share UN calls for release of Venezuelan opposition leaders

The raids, carried out in the dead of night, came just one day before a new assembly elected on Sunday is supposed to take office, superseding the opposition-controlled legislature.

In a statement, the Venezuelan Supreme Court said Lopez and Ledezma were sent back to prison because they had violated the terms of their house arrest by making political statements.

Authorities acted with urgency, it said, because they had received intelligence that the pair “had a plan to flee” — something the men’s lawyers vehemently denied.

In a video he pre-recorded in case he was sent back to jail, Lopez urged his supporters to keep fighting Maduro’s government.

“If you’re seeing this video, it’s because they illegally and unjustly came and returned me to prison. I’m a political prisoner,” he said.

“We must not give up the fight. We must never surrender. We must not tire of demanding a better Venezuela.”

Lopez, the Harvard-educated founder of the Popular Will party, also announced that his wife, Lilian Tintori, was pregnant, calling it “the best news” since he was arrested in 2014, and “one more reason to fight for Venezuela.”

The men are two of Venezuela’s most high-profile opposition leaders. Both had called for a boycott of Sunday’s vote for an all-powerful “constituent assembly” tasked with rewriting the constitution.

The United States, which has already slapped sanctions on Maduro and top officials, was scathing in its reaction to the latest news.

“Overnight, the regime of the Venezuelan dictator Maduro detained two leading opposition figures following its outrageous seizure of power through sham elections this weekend,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

“The United States condemns the actions of the Maduro dictatorship and we hold the regime responsible.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Maduro’s administration to “lower tensions” and “find avenues for political dialogue,” an appeal echoed by EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini’s spokeswoman.

Lopez and Ledezma were picked up by the intelligence service known by its acronym Sebin, their families said, adding that they held Maduro responsible for the men’s lives.

Related readingFamilies in the dark

“They just took Leopoldo away. We do not know where he is or where they are taking him,” Tintori said on Twitter.

She released home security camera footage in which four uniformed police officers and three others in civilian garb are seen putting her husband into a car and taking off, with other cars escorting them.

Ledezma’s family also released a cell phone video in which the mayor is seen being hauled from home in a pair of blue pyjamas as his neighbors scream.

Lopez, 46, was transferred to house arrest in July after serving three years and five months in prison as part of a 14-year term. He had been convicted of instigating violence during protests against Maduro in 2014 that left 43 people dead.

Ledezma, 62, was arrested in February 2015 on charges of conspiracy and racketeering and was placed under house arrest three months later for health reasons.

Opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara said the re-arrests were aimed at “frightening us and demoralizing us.”

Four months of street demonstrations since April against Maduro have left more than 120 people dead, including 10 over the weekend.

The new constituent assembly is to start working on Wednesday. It is made up only of members of Maduro’s Socialist party, including his own wife. The opposition has called for protests against the inauguration.

0:00 Maduro blasts ‘desperate’ US sanctions Share Maduro blasts ‘desperate’ US sanctions

‘Imperial orders’

Maduro has dismissed the US sanctions and criticism, retorting that he will not heed “imperial orders.”

Latin American nations including Colombia, Mexico and Peru joined the US in saying they did not recognize the results of Sunday’s election, while Brazil, Costa Rica and Panama joined the condemnation of Lopez and Ledezma’s arrest.

Officials say more than 40 percent of Venezuela’s 20 million voters cast ballots Sunday.

The opposition says turnout was closer to 12 percent — on a par with the population of state employees, who were under major pressure to vote.

According to polling firm Datanalisis, more than 70 percent of Venezuelans oppose the new assembly.

GC casino halt will deter investors: LNP

The Palaszczuk government’s decision to reject a $3 billion casino plan on the Gold Coast will “send shockwaves” through the investment community, the state opposition claims.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday put a halt to development plans for the northern end of the Spit, announcing cabinet had rejected a proposal by Chinese-backed ASF to build an integrated casino and resort on the crown land.

Instead, the government will develop a master plan over the next 18 months for the area, including an enforcement of a three-storey height restriction on any development.

Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls on Wednesday said the decision would raise concerns among investors that government support for projects could suddenly fall away.

“You can consult for years, you can invest millions of dollars in good faith with the government … and then at the eleventh hour, with an election around the corner, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor can … pull up stumps,” he told ABC Radio.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate, however, will continue his push to have a terminal built on the ocean side of the Spit, at an estimated cost of between $170 and $450 million.

The idea was sparked early last year after the collapse of a Newman government proposal for a combined cruise ship terminal and casino in the Southport Broadwater.

The plan was rejected by the Palaszczuk government in 2015.

Cr Tate said Tuesday’s decision did not change the city council’s intention to put forward a business case for the cruise ship terminal shortly.

“The cruise ship terminal was a mandate that I took to both elections,” he told reporters.

“At the moment council’s working hard on environmental impact studies.

“We’ve got a few business case studies to plan, once they’re complete then I’ll be able to put forward a plan.”

Save Our Broadwater vice-president and former Labor state MP Judy Spence said the mayor already spent $3 million in ratepayer funds on feasibility studies and deviated from his original intended use for the terminal.

“He told us it was only going to be a day port and now he’s committed to building a home port,” Ms Spence told AAP.

“That is quite a different proposition because it involves immigration, it involves fuel depots, involves a whole lot of infrastructure that a day port doesn’t.”

Ms Palaszczuk said council was free to put forward its cruise ship terminal proposal, which will be considered as part of the master plan consultation.

“Of course we want the council to continue their work in relation the oceanside cruise ship terminal,” she told reporters.

Sydney terror raids: Man released without charge, lawyer says arrest ’caused damage’

Abdul Merhi, 50, was one of four men taken into custody on Saturday when five Sydney properties were raided by NSW and federal police.

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Authorities became aware of an alleged plot to “bring down” a plane using a home-made device and detained the men without charge under terror legislation.

Mr Merhi was released about 7pm Tuesday and his solicitor, Moustafa Kheir, said he endured days of intense questioning.

“It’s a very serious allegation to have against you,” he told AAP on Wednesday.

My client Abdul Merhi has been released without charge. Tough few days, but he’s relieved the truth is out. I will review police action.

— Moustafa Kheir (@Mouskheir) August 1, 2017

“There’s a lot of stress associated there, and not knowing, and he was shocked that he was being questioned.

“It’s just unfathomable that he would be associated with anything like this.”

Mr Merhi’s family was also in shock and his life had been “turned upside down”, Mr Kheir added.

“He just wants to go back to as normal life as possible now.”

Mr Kheir said he would review the actions of police.

“A lot of information was divulged, including his identity,” he said.

“That’s caused a lot of damage to him. We want to review all the information police had and what basis they had to do what they did.”

The three other men can be detained until Sunday evening under the terror legislation.

Federal police have spent days rifling through several properties across Sydney following the weekend raids in Surry Hills, Wiley Park, Lakemba and Punchbowl.

The other three men remain in custody under special powers which allow police to hold them for up to a week.

“This investigation remains ongoing, and further information will be provided at an appropriate time,” a joint statement from the AFP and NSW Police said on Wednesday.

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The alarming plot is reported to have allegedly involved an improvised device and the target was a plane, with one theory suggesting the would-be terrorists planned to use a meat grinder to conceal their home-made device.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways on Tuesday confirmed it was helping Australian authorities with the investigation amid reports the arrests were made after a tip-off from foreign intelligence services.

News agency Reuters cited a US official as saying the plot was “fairly well along”.

Police have until Sunday to charge the men before they are released, however, it’s understood detectives might be able to apply for further detention provisions.

Huge queues at Sydney Airports T2 Domestic Terminal as passengers are subjected to increased security, Sydney, Australia, Monday, July 31, 2017. (AAP)AAP

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Ukraine bars Russia’s Eurovision entry

Ukraine has barred Russia’s entry for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest from entering the country because she violated Ukrainian laws, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s state security service says.

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Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 sent relations with Ukraine to an all-time low, and now even sporting or cultural events are potential sources of tension between the two.

Watch: Russian contestant banned from Ukraine Eurovision

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Ukraine, which won the right to stage the 62nd Eurovision event after its contender won the 2016 competition, has previously said it would deny entry to certain Russian singers it deemed anti-Ukrainian.

“The Security Service of Ukraine has banned the citizen of the Russian Federation Yulia Samoylova from entering the country for a period of three years,” Olena Gitlianska wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

SBS will broadcast the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in May, with Australia again in competition alongside 42 other countries.

Watch: Australian contestant Isaiah Firebrace – Don’t Come Easy  

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Politics – it’s all in the delivery

Politicians often have a strange way of defining “achievement”.

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Wayne Swan famously said when he handed down the 2012 federal budget: “The four years of surpluses I announce tonight … “

The comment, which attracted wide applause at the time and “Back in Black” headlines for the Labor government, is mocked by the coalition to this day.

Despite that, Labor went on to produce a controversial election pamphlet that claimed “We’ve delivered a surplus, on time, as promised”.

It’s a mark of modern politics that “announcements” are equated with “achievements”, and vice versa.

Achievements aren’t black and white – they come in degrees of success.

Then there’s the broader question of the relevance of the achievement or announcement to average voters.

Tony Abbott claimed he had “achieved” free-trade deals with South Korea, Japan and China in his first full year of governing.

However, it took a little longer to put pen to the formal implementation on all three, with Malcolm Turnbull claiming he had “delivered” the China agreement after ousting Abbott.

Abbott also soon after the 2013 election announced he had “abolished” the carbon tax but this, too, was more difficult than expected – getting the axe, in legislative terms, in July 2014.

However, Clive Palmer stopped the abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and other agencies Abbott promised to get rid of to make a clean sweep of Julia Gillard’s climate achievements.

The Liberal party website lists a number of Malcolm Turnbull’s achievements, among which is “signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership to deliver substantial new trade and investment opportunities for Australian businesses” and “Senate voting reform”.

The election of Donald Trump signalled the death of the TPP, which would have also been on the chopping block under a Clinton administration.

Senate voting system changes, coupled with the lower vote quotas of a double-dissolution election, led to a historically large upper-house cross bench, which itself has delivered a mixed bag of “achievements” for the coalition government.

This week, the prime minister claimed a win for free speech with the announcement of changes to the Racial Discrimination Act and the way in which the Australian Human Rights Commission handles complaints.

“We have delivered considerable achievements … we are focused on results and outcomes,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

However, Turnbull’s success might be short-lived, with Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team likely to vote down the law changes this sitting fortnight.

Labor agrees on the need for new AHRC procedures to ensure people get early warning of complaints against them and to head off frivolous claims, but says watering down section 18C is a step too far and will encourage racism.

The government achieved the passing of savings to family welfare payments on Thursday to help fund a childcare package.

However, the deal with One Nation and NXT left about $4 billion in much-vaunted savings on the shelf.

The childcare package is also likely to pass but not in the form the government initially wanted.

The downside is growing cynicism among voters about the promises politicians make.

There are some telling figures in this week’s Essential poll.

Seventy-one per cent of voters said the Liberal party would “promise to do anything to win votes”, while 63 per cent said the same thing of Labor.

Only one in four voters thought the Liberals kept their promises, while 34 per cent said the same of Labor.

It doesn’t help things when the prime minister delivers a scattergun week of policy – attacking union corruption on Monday, defending free speech on Tuesday, reforming childcare on Wednesday.

Broken or watered-down promises, coupled with a narrative with all the cohesion of a Jackson Pollock painting, won’t save marginal seats.

Losing the next election due to a baffled, underwhelmed and frustrated electorate would be quite an achievement.

A tipple good for the ticker say experts

Moderate drinking can cut the risk of suffering a heart attack, angina or heart failure, though taking up exercise is better for you, experts say.

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A new study of 1.93 million people in the UK suggests drinking in moderation, classed as having no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, offers a protective effect for the heart compared with not drinking.

Previous studies have suggested that alcohol has a positive effect on the levels of “good” cholesterol in the blood as well as proteins associated with blood clotting.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, found moderate drinkers were less likely to turn up at their doctor suffering from angina, heart attack, heart failure, ischaemic stroke and aortic aneurysm than non-drinkers.

But the research found heavy drinking, more than 14 units, increased the risk of heart failure, a cardiac arrest, ischaemic stroke and circulation problems caused by fatty arteries.

The authors, from the University of Cambridge and University College London, welcomed the findings but said it would be unwise to encourage individuals to take up drinking as a means of lowering their risk.

“This is because there are arguably safer and more effective ways of reducing cardiovascular risk, such as increasing physical activity and smoking cessation, which do not incur increased risks of alcohol-related harm such as alcohol dependence, liver disease and cancer.”

The authors said it was an observational study, so no definite conclusions could be drawn, but the research was in line with previous studies.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said, it was not possible to draw firm conclusions from the study about cause and effect between moderate alcohol consumption and heart health.

Lockett won’t tweak Buddy much: Longmire

For Sydney fans it’s a match made in heaven but don’t expect to see too many more photos of Lance Franklin taking goalkicking tips from Tony Lockett.

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At least according to Swans coach John Longmire, who says his prolific star forward’s game doesn’t need much tweaking – even from the AFL’s all-time leading goalkicker.

Franklin was snapped on Wednesday in his first training session with a trimmed-down Lockett, who has returned to his former club as a part-time specialist forwards coach.

The pair conferred as 30-year-old Franklin geared up for Saturday’s round-one match with Port Adelaide at the SCG.

But Longmire expected Lockett to direct more of his expertise towards the club’s emerging forwards than already established such as Franklin, Kurt Tippett and Sam Reid.

“Really I don’t think he’s going to be working a whole heap with Lance,” Longmire said.

“His focus is probably going to be a little bit Lance, a little bit with Reidy, a little with Kurt and a lot with the younger players.

“I get really excited when I see him working with James Rose and those guys.

“I don’t think he’ll be tweaking Lance too much, Lance has got a lot of experience in how to kick the ball.”

Lockett has backed Franklin as a chance to eclipse his record of 1360 goals – for the Swans and St Kilda – a mark the 51-year-old has held since retiring from his brief comeback in 2002; though it appears near out of reach given Franklin’s current tally stands at 787 majors.

Regardless, Longmire said the rekindled relationship had proven mutually beneficial.

“It’s been great having Tony back, he’s really enjoyed it,” he said.

“He’s loved working with all the players, some of the young kids he’s been working with have really found it fantastic to be able to draw upon.

“He’s just good to have around the place and obviously he’s got a lot of skills and knowledge in regards to goalkicking in particular.”

After years out of the public eye, Lockett was optimistic he could help the Swans go one better than their 2016 grand-final loss to the Western Bulldogs.

“At this stage, a lot of clubs are struggling a bit with their conversion rates and everything like that,” Lockett told the Nine Network’s AFL Footy Show.

“I’m hoping I can make a little bit of a difference up at the Swannies there now.

“I’ve only been up there a couple of times, I’ve been working with six or eight of them already.

“I go up every week and have a bit of fun with it all. It’s pretty low key but I enjoy it.”

Australian among injured in London terror attack

A woman from South Australia is among the injured in the London terror attack, parliament has been told.

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Five people were killed, including the assailant, and 40 others were injured in what UK Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned as a “sick and depraved terrorist attack.”

Inviting British High Commissioner Menna Rawlings into the parliamentary chamber on Thursday to listen to condolence speeches, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed an Australian permanent resident had been injured and was receiving treatment in hospital.

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Mr Turnbull also praised the “act of heroism” of the British MP Tobias Ellwood who tried to resuscitate an injured police officer who subsequently died outside the British parliament.

The MP’s brother Jon died in the Bali bombing in 2002.

“It was an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere in the world,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Westminster is rightly known as the mother of parliaments.”

Australia stood in “heartfelt solidarity” with Britain.

Watch: The dramatic moment of the London attack on Westminster Bridge

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Mr Turnbull said Australians should be reassured agencies are working “relentlessly and tirelessly to keep our people safe”.

“We will never let the terrorists win. Not on the battlefield, not here at home, we will never change the way we live.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten told parliament the opposition shared the government’s commitment to security.

“We say to those who seek to spread fear, who shed blood to spread fear, you will not succeed,” Mr Shorten said.

“You will not divide a people or a world determined and too strong to defeat your ideology of evil.”

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Australia’s Parliament House remained safe.

Watch: “We think we know who the attacker is”, UK police say

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Mr Keenan said $114 million had been spent on the Australian Federal Police presence in the parliamentary precinct in Canberra, including on long-arm rifles and bomb dogs.

A further $126 million had been spent on physical security in the precinct.

AFP officers had been equipped with stab-proof vests as part of a $180 million program to secure them and their office buildings.

Watch: Malcolm Turnbull condemns London attack

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