Power failure causes Sydney traffic chaos

Faulty equipment inside an Ausgrid substation in south western Sydney is to blame for a massive power outage which closed both directions of the M5 East tunnel during peak hour, causing traffic chaos on Sydney streets.


The power failure in Canterbury happened just as thousands of commuters were trying to get home or travel into the city for Vivid, the AFL at the SCG and to ANZ Stadium for the NRL.

The power started to return about 6pm, with the M5 East tunnel westbound re-opening and the eastbound tunnel re-opening about 6.30pm.

However, it was a close call – with the tunnel minutes away from losing all battery back-up, which would have meant a reboot for the whole system, roads minister Melinda Pavey told the Seven Network.

“It’s going to be a long time to clear the mess but we were also looking at maybe a six to eight-hour window of it being closed,” she said.

With kilometres of traffic backed up across the city as a result of the outage, Ms Pavey advised motorists to “stay in the city as long as you can – delay your trip or at least catch a train home”.

Up to 100 sets of traffic lights were also blacked out in Croydon, Canterbury, Bexley, Roselands, Kingsgrove, Wolli Creek, Mascot and Burwood Heights.

Light rail services were also affected, with no services running between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill and a limited service running between Central and Lilyfield between about 4pm and 6.30pm.

Ausgrid emergency crews restored power to about 60,000 homes and businesses in Sydney’s inner west and south west that were also affected.

Crews were on scene at the Canterbury substation investigating how the incident happened.

UK youth jailed for planting bomb on Tube

A former altar boy has been jailed for 15 years for planting a home-made bomb on a busy Tube train in London.


Weapons-obsessed Damon Smith built the device at home with a clock from a supermarket after finding an online al-Qaeda article titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom”.

Smith, 20, claimed it was a Halloween prank but was found guilty of possession of an explosive substance with intent following a trial at the Old Bailey.

The defendant, who has autistic spectrum disorder, smiled in the dock as Judge Richard Marks QC sentenced him to 15 years in a young offenders’ institution.

The judge said on Friday that although Smith had an interest in Islam, he was not motivated by terrorism.

But he told the defendant: “Whatever the position, the seriousness of what you did cannot be overstated, not least against the background of the fear in which we all live from the use of bombs here and around the world, an all too timely reminder of which were the events in Manchester earlier this week.”

Smith’s lawyer, Richard Carey-Hughes QC, said Smith was “sorry” for the fear and disturbance he had caused and had “learned his lesson”.

The trial heard Smith packed a rucksack with explosives and ball bearings on the morning of October 20, 2016.

The college student was caught on CCTV flicking through a textbook before getting off the train and leaving the bomb on the floor, timed to go off within minutes.

Passengers spotted the abandoned rucksack and alerted the driver, who at first dismissed it as lost property and took it into his cab, jurors were told.

During the journey, he spotted wires coming out of the bag and raised the alarm as he pulled into the station.

Gallen plans to play on in NRL in 2018

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen plans to play on beyond his 37th birthday, confirming he has no intention to retire after the 2017 NRL season.


Gallen, who will turn 36 in August, is off contract at the end of the year and had previously said little about whether 2017 would be his last.

However, he revealed on Friday night he had already discussed playing on into next season with Cronulla, and he had full intentions of another year at the Sharks.

“I really do want to play next year,” he told the Triple M NRL radio program.

“I haven’t signed but I’ve spoken to the club – It’ll happen, I think.

“There’s no reason why I can’t keep playing. I’m still doing what I did two, three, four or five years ago.”

If he does play on, it will mark an incredible 18th consecutive NRL season since his 2001 debut.

Gallen retired from representative football last season – ending a six-year stint as NSW State of Origin captain – but had still played a huge role in the Sharks’ premiership defence in 2017.

He is averaging 170 metres per match, while making more than 30 tackles.

“I look at myself to other players in my position, what I’m doing, what I’m getting through on the field,” he said.

“There’s a lot of statistics these days in play-the-ball speed, wins and losses and tackle wins and losses. And I rate very highly in the side.

“They’re the very simple things I’m asked to do well in my position. As long as I keep doing them well, I can keep playing.”

Gallen’s announcement comes just a month after fellow Sharks veteran Luke Lewis’ confirmation of his intention to stay on next year – also for an 18th-straight year in the NRL.

Egypt shooting: Gunmen kill more than 20 Coptic Christians

Masked gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians on a visit to a monastery south of the Egyptian capital on Friday, killing at least 26 people, officials said.


The assailants sprayed the bus headed for Saint Samuel monastery in Minya province with gunfire before fleeing, provincial governor Essam el-Bedawi told state television.

“They used automatic weapons,” he said.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told state television that 26 people were killed and another 25 wounded.

Bedawi said police were fanning out along the road where the attack took place and had set up checkpoints.

The shooting followed church bombings in December and April claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group that killed dozens of Copts.


The jihadists threatened more attacks against the Copts, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90-million population.

Suicide bombers with the jihadist group struck a Cairo church on December 11, next to the seat of the Coptic pope, killing 29 people.

On April 11, bombers attacked two churches north of Cairo on Palm Sunday, killing 45 people, in the deadliest strike in living memory against the Copts.

The Copts’ Pope Tawadros II had been leading a service in one of the two churches attacked that day.

The bombings prompted President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency.

The Egyptian affiliate of IS has also killed several Copts in North Sinai, forcing dozens of families to flee the province in January.

Friday’s shooting came after a historic visit to Egypt by Roman Catholic Pope Francis to show solidarity with the country’s Christians.

In his late April trip, Francis visited one of the bombed Coptic churches and condemned violence carried out in the name of God. 

Egypt says it has identified those behind the church bombings, saying they were part of an extremist cell based in southern provinces, offering a reward for their capture.

Sisi has defended the performance of his security forces and accused jihadists of trying to divide Egyptian society by attacking vulnerable minorities.

However, rights groups accuse the former army chief of crushing even peaceful opposition to his rule.

A pro-state daily, Al-Bawaba, said on its website that an edition critical of security provisions after the church bombings had been banned from publication.

UK minister denies police budget cuts link to bombing

A British voter has angrily confronted Home Secretary Amber Rudd over police cuts, prompting her to deny the suicide bombing that killed 22 at a concert in Manchester was linked to falling police numbers.


The exchange highlights how police budgets are set to become a major issue as campaigning for a June 8 election resumes on Friday following a pause after the attack.

“We’re now 20,000 police officers down, and we get atrocities like this. Does the government not expect this?” the voter, who was not named, asked on the BBC on Thursday night.


Rudd said counter-terrorism was adequately resourced and denied the cuts had hindered the authorities’ ability to prevent Monday’s attack.

“I don’t accept that… We must not imply that this terrorist activity wouldn’t have taken place if there had been more policing,” she said.

However, the voter replied: “Well, I think it is about police numbers because it’s low-level intelligence which gives you the information.”

The Labour Party pledged to boost police numbers by 10,000 as it and the governing Conservatives restarted national campaigns on Friday.

Government figures show the number of police officers dropped by 19,000 between 2010, when the Conservatives returned to power as part of a coalition, and 2016.

‘Hearts are broken’

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says “hearts are broken” across America after the bombing, claimed by IS, adding US’ takes full responsibility for the leaking of photos to the media of the crime scene, but its relationship with Britain will withstand the tension.

He said efforts will be intensified to defeat IS on the battlefield.

Manchester attack: Grieving mothers speaks

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Gallagher gig for Manchester bomb families

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher will perform his first-ever gig as a solo artist in Manchester, with profits to be donated to the families of the concert bombing victims.

He announced a string of solo shows on Twitter, and the money raised from the Manchester show on May 30 will be donated to the Manchester Evening News’ British Red Cross appeal, which was set up to help relatives of those affected by the tragedy.

“I just knew I had to. I’m not in it for the money. The gig was going to happen anyway and we all have to do what we can. I want to try and help pick people up,” he told the paper.

Manchester sings Oasis

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Britain falls silent in honour of the Manchester victims

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Of Monday night’s suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, the Manchester-born said: “It’s outrageous. Just so sad. What can you do? It’s just f***ing out of order. There are kids and people dying all over the world. And for what?”

“I’d gone to bed early – about 10pm – then got up in the morning to a text from my other brother saying what had gone on and I put the TV on. It’s just unbelievable.”

Tickets are also on sale for shows in Brixton, Dublin and Glasgow, which will take place in early June.

Oasis formed in Manchester in 1991 and was led by Gallagher and his brother Noel.

The band split up in 2009.

Gallagher’s announcement came after video went viral of Manchester crowds spontaneously breaking into Oasis’s 1990s hit Don’t Look Back in Anger after a minute’s silence for attack victims.