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Local News - Victoria

More human remains found at home in Geelong’s north


More human remains have been found at a property in the Geelong suburb of Norlane, after a grim discovery of a young man’s skull in 2019.

Victoria Police’s homicide squad attended the property near Sparks Road after more bones were discovered on Friday.

The backyard where the remains were found in 2019.

The backyard where the remains were found in 2019. Credit:Nine News

According to police, the remains found at the home are “believed to be related to a death in 2019”.

In September 2019, a man excavating at the home found a skull with shoulder-length hair and a number of bones belonging to a 26-year-old man.



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Hank Aaron, Major League Baseball’s one-time home run record holder, dies aged 86


Major League Baseball (MLB) great Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his successful pursuit of Babe Ruth’s career home run record, has died aged 86.

The Atlanta Braves, Aaron’s long-time MLB team, said he died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given.

Aaron made his last public appearance earlier this month when he received the COVID-19 vaccine. He said he wanted to help spread the word to Black Americans that the vaccine was safe.

“Hammerin’ Hank” set a wide array of career hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, including RBIs (runs batted in), extra-base hits and total bases.

But Aaron will be remembered for one swing above all others, the one that made him baseball’s home-run king.

On April 8, 1974, before a sell-out crowd at Atlanta Stadium and a national television audience, Aaron broke Ruth’s home run record with number 715 off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully famously called Aaron’s milestone home run, in which he highlighted the significance of the achievement.

“What a marvellous moment for baseball. What a marvellous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia,” Scully said in commentary after Aaron triumphantly made his way to the home plate.

“What a marvellous moment for the country and the world.

“A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol.”

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Scully paid his respect to Aaron on Saturday, saying it was a privilege to cover his milestone home run and his career.

“He meant so much more to baseball and the country than just being one of the game’s top home run hitters,” Scully tweeted.

Aaron held the home run record of 755 for more than 33 years, a period during which he slowly but surely claimed his rightful place as one of America’s most iconic sporting figures, a true national treasure worthy of mention in the same breath with Ruth or Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan.

But Aaron’s journey to that memorable homer was hardly triumphant, as he was the target of extensive hate mail as he closed in on Ruth’s cherished record of 714.

Aaron was shadowed constantly by bodyguards and forced to distance himself from teammates. He kept all those hateful letters, a bitter reminder of the abuse he endured and never forgot.

“This is just the way things are for Black people in America,” Aaron once said.

“It’s something you battle all of your life.”

Braves president and CEO, Derek Schiller, said Aaron “basically is the Braves”.

“Our brand is and our team is who we are because of Hank Aaron,” Schiller said.

“I know there are a lot of guys [who] have worn the uniform, but none like Hank.”

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Aaron would be remembered as a legend of the game.

“Hank Aaron is near the top of everyone’s list of all-time great players,” he said in a statement.

“Hank symbolised the very best of our game, and his all-round excellence provided Americans and fans across the world with an example to which to aspire.

“His career demonstrated that a person who goes to work with humility every day can hammer his way into history and find a way to shine like no other.”

A giant of baseball

Aaron spent 21 of his 23 seasons with the Braves — first in Milwaukee, then in Atlanta after the franchise moved to the South in 1966. He finished his career in Milwaukee after being traded to the Brewers following the 1974 season when he refused to take a front-office job that would have required a big pay cut.

While knocking the ball over the fence became his signature accomplishment, Aaron was hardly a one-dimensional star. In fact, he never hit more than 47 homers in a season.

But it can be argued no one else was so good, for so long, at so many facets of baseball.

He posted 14 seasons with a .300 average, the last of them at age 39, and claimed two National League batting titles. He finished with a career average of .305.

Aaron also was a gifted outfielder with a powerful arm, something often overlooked because of a smooth, effortless stride that his critics mistook for nonchalance. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner.

In addition, Aaron posted nine straight seasons with double-figure stolen bases, including a career best of 31 in 1963 when he joined Ken Williams and Willie Mays as only the third member of the 30-30 club — players who have totalled at least 30 homers and 30 steals in a season.

Six feet tall (182 centimetres) and listed at 180 pounds (81.6 kilograms) during the prime of his career, Aaron was hardly an imposing player physically. But he was blessed with powerful wrists that made him one of baseball’s most feared hitters.

Aaron hit 733 homers with the Braves, the last in his final plate appearance with the team on October 2, 1974. Exactly one month later, he was traded to the Brewers.

Hank Aaron laughs while sitting down at a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of his 715th career home run in 2014.
Aaron, pictured in 2014, is regarded as one of the greatest all-round players in MLB history.(AP: David Goldman)

Aaron became a designated hitter with the Brewers but managed just 22 homers over his last two seasons. He retired after hitting .229 in 1976.

Even so, his career numbers largely stood the test of time. The home run mark lasted until Barry Bonds hit his 756th on August 7, 2007.

Bonds retired with 762 homers, but many consider Aaron the true home-run king because of steroid allegations that continue to hound his successor.

Aaron still has more RBIs (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856) than anyone in baseball history. He ranks second in at-bats (12,354), third in games played (3,298) and hits (3,771), and fourth in runs scored (tied with Ruth at 2,174).

He was the National League’s MVP in 1957, when the Milwaukee Braves beat the New York Yankees in seven games to give Aaron the only World Series title of his career. It also was his lone MVP award, though he finished in the top 10 of the balloting 13 times.

Aaron was selected for the All-Star Game in 21 consecutive years — every season but his first and his last.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, which was his first year of eligibility. He was just nine votes short of being a unanimous choice.

In 1999, MLB began honouring its top hitter with the Hank Aaron Award, akin to the Cy Young for pitchers.

Aaron was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, by then-president George W Bush in 2002.

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Local News - Victoria

Couple to spend three months living in Federation Square eco home


Passers-by can peer into their kitchen and the patio garden the couple have tended for months, yielding everything from pumpkin to beans and pomegranates, and which also boasts a bee hive.

The couple will host $395-per-head dinners from January 30 and give $10 tours of the house. Guest experts will present free live-streamed talks on topics such as architecture and mushroom growing.

The project's producer, Joost Bakker, in the kitchen, which has tiles made from skateboards.

The project’s producer, Joost Bakker, in the kitchen, which has tiles made from skateboards.Credit:Wayne Taylor

The house, called Greenhouse By Joost, is the idea of environmental advocate Joost Bakker, who has contributed $150,000 to the project.

His mother, Lia Bakker, invested $500,000 from the proceeds of the sale of her Monbulk farm. When the Federation Square project finishes in April, the Greenhouse will be moved to her new property for her to live in.

Mr Stone and Ms Barrett, who have starred on TV show MasterChef and who until last year were executive chefs at Oakridge Wines in the Yarra Valley, said they’ve loved learning everything from how to make milk from tiger nuts, to how to raise trout, yabbies and barramundi in an aquaponics system that uses fish poo to fertilise plants.

But the couple’s main aim is to inspire others to grow and make their own food.

Prime real estate: the house is beside the Yarra River behind Federation Square.

Prime real estate: the house is beside the Yarra River behind Federation Square.Credit:Wayne Taylor

“I think after COVID, people are ready to make changes in their lives,” Ms Barrett said.

“They’re focusing on their homes. They want to be connected with nature. And if you do live in the inner city, here’s the perfect way to do that.”

Mr Stone advised newbies to start with parsley, basil and tomatoes in pots. “It’s not going to change overnight, it’s about small steps.”

The Greenhouse also showcases sustainable building. The kitchen wall tiles are made from old skateboards, while the wall panels are derived from recyclable and biodegradable wheat straw.

The stairs, cupboards and tables are made of wood from fallen sugar gum and cypress trees.

Federation Square acting chief executive Suzana Bishop said the organisation supported the Greenhouse as “a way to showcase sustainability and show what the future of living sustainably can look like”.

Dinner and tour dates (bookings essential) and live-streamed talks can be found at www.futurefoodsystem.com

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Katie Perinovic and three children found dead at home


A devastated neighbour of the mother and her three children who were found dead in their home in grim scenes has revealed details of a conversation he had with her less than 24 hours before her death.

It comes as forensic advisers and specialists spent “all night” methodically examining the crime scene to establish a clearer picture and to “understand and appreciate” how the “tragic event” in metropolitan Melbourne occurred.

The bodies of 42-year-old Katie Perinovic, her two girls Claire, 7, Anna, 5, and three-year-old son Matthew were found inside their Tullamarine home at 12.20 on Thursday afternoon.

Her husband, Tomislav Perinovic, 48, was sitting in the front yard when police arrived at the scene and was the one who called emergency services, police said.

He was still assisting officers with inquiries on Thursday night.

The homicide squad is leading the probe, but Victoria Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Robert Hill said ­assumptions should not be made about what had occurred inside the home.

Mr Hill said investigators were keeping open minds to a number of possibilities, ­including murder-suicide.

When police arrived at the scene they were greeted by Ambulance Victoria in the front yard with the 48-year-old man. Police were directed to go inside where they made the grim discovery.

Mr Perinovic has since been assisting detectives from the Homicide Squad with their inquiries while the next of kin have been notified. Police say there are no other parties involved in the deaths.

Neighbour John Constantino told The Age he had spoken to Ms Perinovic the night before she died and that nothing seemed out of the ordinary, in fact, she seemed “happy”.

“I was watering the garden about 7.30pm and she walked past and she seemed happy and everything,” he said.

“She asked me what I was going to do tomorrow, I said, ‘I might mow the lawn’ and she said ‘yeah, it’s not going to be a hot day’.”

Acting Deputy Commissioner Bob Hill said Mr Perinovic had provided police with his account of what happened and that it was “very important we do not speculate” over the events of the deaths.

When asked if police had any suspects Mr Hill declined to comment.

“At this point in time, the investigation is in its very early stages,” Mr Hill said.

“It’s very important we do not speculate. The circumstances of this event are yet to be determined.

“We cannot afford to make any assumptions as to what occurred.”

Another neighbour told NCA Newswire that Ms Perinovic would go for a walk with her children almost every day.

“She’d say hello, stop for a chat – she’s a nice lady,” he said.

“It’s really shocking.”

Ms Perinovic worked at a local physiotherapy clinic for the last seven years but according to the Herald Sun, she left the clinic “unexpectedly” three months ago.

The clinic is a 10-minute drive from the family home.

The Herald Sun was told Ms Perinovic may have been suffering from depression,” the publication reported.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Mark Galliott said information currently indicated the Mr Perinovic was not injured.

There was no family violence history associated with this family, Mr Hill said.

Asked if it could be a murder-suicide situation, he said there were “a number of possibilities and that’s one”.

Police would not reveal details about any injuries the victims suffered.

“We just need to understand the facts, and unfortunately they’re not known to us but will be in the fullness of time,” Mr Hill said.

“We have a long way to go before we can actually understand and appreciate what occurred.”



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Victorians stranded in Queensland must wait one more day for news on returning home


He thanked Victorians and Queenslanders who had been tested over the past few days.

Victoria recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus and six new cases in hotel quarantine on Sunday. One of those cases was an airline crew member.

The state now has 45 active cases, having recorded four straight days of zero cases within the community.

Victoria’s COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar said international air flight crews had one of the highest hit rates for the virus.

He said more than 16,000 international airline crew members had been tested over the past four weeks and 11 had returned positive results.

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Mr Weimar said it was the highest hit rate of any cohort and the results confirmed the need for the rigorous testing regime.

He said none of the new cases in hotel quarantine were the UK strain of the virus, but that there had been five cases of the more contagious strain within the quarantine system in the last few weeks.

More than 23,000 tests were processed on Saturday as it was revealed a woman recently released from a Melbourne hotel after a 10-day stay had tested positive in Queensland to the highly contagious UK strain.

Both federal and Queensland health authorities came to the defence of Victoria, saying the state’s health officials had acted in accordance with quarantining rules.

Mr Foley said he was satisfied that the correct guidelines had been followed when the woman, who tested positive in Queensland on Friday, was released from a Melbourne hotel on January 5.

On Saturday, at least a dozen flights landed from Brisbane into Melbourne with passengers allowed to isolate at home – despite the Department of Health closing borders to Greater Brisbane at midnight Friday.

Meanwhile, frustrated members of the public who have been waiting a week for test results from Melbourne’s Frankston Hospital have been promised results by Monday.

Peninsula Health confirmed that delays from an “unplanned IT outage” this week with private pathology provider Dorevitch was to blame for the still outstanding results.

Earlier this week the Department of Health said there had been 10,000 negative test results caught up in the IT glitch but insinuated all had since been forwarded to people who were tested.

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Travellers rush to get home after Victoria closes border to Greater Brisbane


The Queensland Government instated a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane on Wednesday, following the discovery of COVID-positive hotel cleaner carrying the more-transmissible UK strain of the virus, with the woman visiting different parts of the city until testing positive on Wednesday.

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Jetstar flights from Brisbane to Melbourne were cancelled on Saturday, leaving many Victorians struggling to get home.

Officer couple Steph Dugina and James Tomich said it was the frantic calls from family members in Victoria that made them come home from their holiday a day early.

Instead of visiting Dreamworld with four other Melbourne friends as planned, the pair spent a “stressful” night refreshing their phones and rebooking cancelled Jetstar flights three times over.

“We were just watching the cancellation messages come through. We didn’t know whether to risk paying for more flights or not,” Ms Dugina said.

James Tomich and Stephanie Dugina arrived into Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning after spending time at the Gold Coast.

James Tomich and Stephanie Dugina arrived into Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning after spending time at the Gold Coast. Credit:Jason South

“Then we booked with Virgin and just stayed up all night, waiting for it to be gone too.

“My mum said she wouldn’t sleep until we were actually on the plane – she was so relieved when I gave her a quick call to say we’d boarded.

“There’s a testing place just next to us, so we’ll just get tested and then go home.”

Those flying from Queensland had their ID checked before and after they got off the flight, and were greeted by rows of authorised officers in full personal protective equipment.

Authorised officers and Australian Federal Police at the Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning.

Authorised officers and Australian Federal Police at the Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning.

But travellers who flew into Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning said they were not explicitly told while on the flight or afterwards by authorised officers whether they needed to be tested for COVID-19 or isolate.

Peter Bentley had travelled to Queensland for a family member’s funeral but only spent a single day in Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast before booking a return flight.

Staying less than 40 kilometres the Moreton Bay Council, which has now been declared a ‘Red Zone’, he was worried if he didn’t leave the state he would be stuck there indefinitely.

Peter Bentley came back from the Sunshine Coast after just a day.

Peter Bentley came back from the Sunshine Coast after just a day.Credit:Jason South

“I thought if they were going to proceed to shut down the Sunshine Coast, I’d be locked up there,” Mr Bentley said.

“I looked up flights coming back from the Sunshine Coast (on Saturday), and tickets were up to $1160, so I then had to fly through Brisbane.

“It was good when I got here that they had a big team of people checking ID.”

GP Sally McAleese and her husband Stu raced back from the Gold Coast hinterlands with their children Orla, 11, and Patrick, 13, fearing Victoria would close the border to Queensland swiftly “like they did for New South Wales”.

Stu and Sally McAleese with their children Patrick, 13, and Orla, 11, at Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning.

Stu and Sally McAleese with their children Patrick, 13, and Orla, 11, at Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning. Credit:Jason South

“As soon as we saw the news breaking, we decided to get out. We just didn’t want to get stuck there, to be honest,” Mr McAleese said.

Passengers are tested at Melbourne Airport on Saturday.

Passengers are tested at Melbourne Airport on Saturday.Credit:Jason South

Dr McAleese said they “didn’t realise the border had shut” to those from Greater Brisbane overnight.

“It was very stressful, just not knowing what was going to happen. Even on the plane, we weren’t sure if we would have to hotel quarantine,” she said.

“There was a lot of people there to meet us off the plane, they were asking lots of questions … like what we did during our time, so they could trace us if there was any issue.

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“There weren’t necessarily any checks, but you would assume everyone was being honest.”

Virgin Airlines said on Friday night it was operating Queensland services as usual but planned to make changes after the hotspot declaration.

The airline asked passengers travelling within the next three days to avoid calling and to visit its website instead as border restrictions were an “evolving situation”.

Health Minister Martin Foley urged Victorians not to go to the five local government areas in Greater Brisbane across the next three days “in the interests of everybody”.

Health Minister Martin Foley.

Health Minister Martin Foley.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

“The Queensland government, backed by the Prime Minister, have made it clear they are doing a short, sharp, three-day lockdown to deal with these issues, so as to allow the contact tracing teams to get on top of it,” he said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“If you are in those five local government areas, stay where you are, do not move for three days, if you are in the rest of Australia, including the rest of Queensland, do not go to those areas.

Deserted Queen Street Mall in Brisbane's CBD.

Deserted Queen Street Mall in Brisbane’s CBD.

“As we have established through this pandemic this virus does not respect state borders or holiday plans, it creates real havoc with the best-laid plans of Victorians and Australians.”

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Australian News

15 rifles stolen from NSW home


More than a dozen rifles have been stolen from a home in the NSW Central Tablelands.

Police are calling on the general public to help provide any information after the 15 guns were taken from the Hartley Vale property.

The rifles were stolen during a break and enter from the Pitts Road home between 5pm on December 29 and 5pm on December 31, 2020.

An investigation has been launched.

Any witnesses or motorists with CCTV or dashcam footage are asked to come forward and contact Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or go online.



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Federal Gippsland MP Darren Chester calls on Victorian authorities to get residents in NSW home


Federal Gippsland MP Darren Chester has urged Victorian authorities to show compassion and get residents stuck in NSW home.

The Nationals minister on Monday told Sky News that the “chaotic” snap border closure between the two states on January 1 should not have occurred.

“If I had my way those border closures would not have happened, but I can’t make premiers do something they don’t want to do,” Mr Chester said.

“I’d be urging the Victorian health authorities to show some compassion here to work with these people who did nothing wrong.

“Don’t blame them for going on a holiday when they’ve been locked up for months … you find a way to get them home.”

Victorians who did not make it back across the border before it closed have been left in limbo after being told they were only able to return to the state with a “rare” exemption – granted for limited reasons – or if they were a permitted worker.

But Mr Chester said Victorians stranded in NSW should be able to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine in their own homes.

He also defended the federal government’s decision not to get involved in the latest border woes.

“It’s a bit unfair to be blaming the federal government for decisions made by the states which have a direct impact on people’s lives and their livelihoods,” Mr Chester said.

“The Prime Minister can’t stop the states from acting within their constitutional rights.”

Scott Morrison has rejected calls for an urgent national cabinet meeting to be held, saying the next one was scheduled for February.

But the tourism industry is the latest group to join Labor in demanding a national approach to border policies.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese accused Mr Morrison of lacking leadership.

“Scott Morrison has shown consistently that he’s a follower … he waits for others to make decisions and lead and then makes a decision over whether to support it or criticise it,” Mr Albanese said.

“It would be far preferable if we had some form of national co-ordination and national leadership of these issues.”



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Australian News

New Zealand Warriors prepare for another lengthy stint away from home ahead of NRL season



The Warriors have vowed not to be put off by the prospect of another year on the road as they begin a minimum three-month stint in Australia.

The New Zealand-based team touched down in Tamworth on Sunday, with uncertainty still surrounding how long they will be away from home.

At this stage, they have committed to remaining in Australia until at least April 4, but whether they can host games in Auckland from round five will depend on COVID-19 quarantine measures.

Monday’s return to pre-season training will mark the first time several players have seen each other since the end of last season.

Pre-Christmas training was done in two separate groups, with those who wanted to remain in Australia at the end of the 2020 season able to train there.

The Warriors won just three of their first 11 games last year in a season full of uncertainty, no home games and players leaving early, before rebounding late.

But while there is again little clarity on whether they will be able to return to Auckland from May, chief executive Cameron George says it will not hurt the team on the field in 2021.

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“Starting the 2021 season in Australia isn’t what we wanted to do but it’s what we have to do,” George wrote in an open letter to fans.

“This time around, however, we’re prepared for what lies ahead and accept that the future still remains very uncertain.

“We want all our fans to know that despite the adversity we are again dealing with, we’re committed to fronting up and having a crack.

“We do not want anyone feeling sorry for us and, while it’s not a perfect situation, it’s what we’ve been tasked to do.”

The Warriors will “host” Gold Coast and Newcastle at Central Coast Stadium in the opening two rounds of the season, before being away in rounds three and four.

It is hoped their round-five clash with Manly will be able to go ahead at Mt Smart Stadium, in what would be one of the most anticipated NRL matches there in memory.

The Warriors have not hosted a game in New Zealand since round 24 of the 2019 season on August 30.

They hosted “home” games in round two and three of the 2020 season on the Gold Coast, prior to the coronavirus break.

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Fatal house fire destroys home


A woman’s body has been found after fire destroyed a home in Sydney’s southwest in the early hours of Sunday, despite the attempts of brave neighbours.

Emergency services were called to Magnolia Place, Macquarie Fields shortly before 1am on Sunday, where a single-level brick and tile house was engulfed in flames.

NSW Police said in a statement a 45-year-old woman had managed to escape the blaze and tell neighbours her mother was still inside.

“Two men attempted to enter the home by kicking in the back door but were unsuccessful,” NSW Police said.

The body of a woman, believed to be in her 70s, was found in the kitchen after the fire had been extinguished.

NSW Ambulance treated five people at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Authorities say the house was completely destroyed, and crime scene officers and fire investigators will examine the site Sunday.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.



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