Air strikes reported near Libya’s Sirte

Unidentified aircraft attacked an Islamic State convoy on Sunday near the Libyan city of Sirte, a resident told Reuters.

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The coastal city has been controlled for months by the militant group, which has used it as a base from which to try to expand its presence in Libya.

The witness account could not be verified, and the air force allied to one of Libya’s competing governments, based in the east of the country, said it had not carried out any strikes.

Also on Sunday, a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard said three boats had tried to attack the oil port of Zueitina.

The guards repelled the attack before the boats reached the port, hitting one of the vessels and setting it on fire, Ali al-Hassi said.

He said Islamic State militants were suspected of carrying out the attack.

Earlier this week Islamic State launched an assault on the major Libyan oil terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, which lie between Zueitina and Sirte.

Clashes over three days left 18 guards dead and more than 50 injured, Hassi said on Sunday, giving an updated toll.

They also triggered fires at seven oil storage tanks that were later extinguished.

Zueitina oil port was closed in November in a move linked to the wider dispute between Libya’s rival governments.

The export terminals at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf have been closed since December 2014.

The UN is currently trying to win support for a plan to form a national unity government, though it has faced resistance from factions on the ground.

Islamist militants have taken advantage of a security vacuum that developed as numerous rival groups have competed for power and for Libya’s oil wealth since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

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No blame from WA bushfire victim’s brother

The brother of a Vietnam veteran, believed to be one of two people killed in a bushfire that destroyed 128 homes in the West Australian town of Yarloop, does not blame authorities.

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Bruce Taylor tried a few times to call his 77-year-old brother, Les, before the blaze tore through the town on Thursday night, but could not get through. Mr Taylor said his brother had not been in good health and may have been asleep when the bushfire ripped through Yarloop.

“I don’t think there’s any cause for blame on the death of my brother, I think it’s just a sad circumstance,” he told 6PR radio on Monday.

WA bushfire costs climb to $60 million

The cost of deadly Western Australian bushfires has climbed to $60 million and the figure is expected to rise, according to insurers.

The Insurance Council of Australia says several hundred calls have been made to insurers following bushfires that killed two people and razed 143 properties in the state’s southwest. The shires of Waroona and Harvey have been hardest hit and the town of Yarloop decimated in bushfires that continue to rage since they were sparked by lightning on Wednesday.

“Insured losses are now estimated at $60 million and are continuing to rise. More detailed figures will be released later in the week,” Insurance Council of Australia said in a statement on Monday.

Bushfires contained but not controlled

Easing weather conditions are helping firefighters battle the bushfire that has killed two people and razed 143 properties in Western Australia’s southwest.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says the fire, which has burned more than 70,000 hectares, has raged since it was sparked by lightning on Wednesday morning.

An emergency warning in place for east of Waroona, Hamel, Yarloop and surrounding areas was downgraded on Monday morning to watch and act.

The fire is now contained but not controlled.

They’ve been fighting the monstrous #WAbushfire for days.The word exhaustion probably doesn’t cover it. Pic:Lucy Dev pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/rxqAVHqVXS

— Claire Grantham10 (@claire_grantham) January 10, 2016

Favourable conditions also saw the alert level drop to advice for Preston Beach and Lake Clifton including the Waroona townsite.

An advice alert remains in place for Pamelup Estate to Binningup townsite including the townsite of Myalup.

Four firefighters have been injured, while a NSW contingent, including 60 firefighters, is now assisting fatigued local crews.

Volunteers who battled to save Yarloop have used social media to defend themselves from criticism that residents were not adequately warned of the danger.

“We were left by the hierarchy to defend our town on our (own), unfortunately we lost,” the brigade posted on Facebook.

“To those of you who want to whinge that we weren’t there, be thankful you have a house left, I and most of my fellow firies and townspeople don’t.”

Deadly WA bushfires seen from space

Smoke produced from the deadly bushfires in Western Australia’s South West can be seen clearly from space, with a NASA satellite capturing an image of smoke billowing into the Indian and Southern Oceans.

The image was captured by the NASA Suomi NPP satellite on Thursday, with the smoke cloud seen to be stretching hundreds of kilometres into the ocean.

The lightning-sparked bushfire has killed two people and destroyed more than 143 properties in the Shires of Waroona and Harvey, burning through 72,600 hectares.

Third missing person found safe after two deaths

A third person feared missing in a bushfire, south of Perth, has been found alive.

Work continues to formally identify two elderly men suspected of being killed in the blaze that tore through Yarloop and destroyed at least 128 homes.

West Australian Police said it was possible further missing person reports could be made as time went on.

They’re urging all residents from fire-affected areas to register with the Australian Red Cross.

Human remains, believed to belong to two men aged 73 and 77, were found at two burnt-out homes in Yarloop on Saturday evening.

Malcolm Taylor is believed to be one of the men.

A family member told AAP that no one had heard from him since Thursday evening before the blaze ravaged the small town, which has a population of 545.

When she last spoke with the 73-year-old, who requires a hearing aid, he said he was going to stay at his house.

“He goes to bed early, around 7.30pm, so we’re worried that he turned off his hearing aid and went to sleep and then the houses went up so quickly,” she said.

“If Malcolm was all right, he would have rung someone by now.”

The family had also seen footage on the news of Mr Taylor’s razed house and the remains of his burnt-out car.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan tweeted his support for the victims late on Saturday night: “Terrible news tonight of lives lost in the South West fires. Thoughts are with family, friends and neighbours of those tragically taken.”

Premier Colin Barnett visited one of the evacuation centres on Saturday.

An emergency warning remains in place for a large part of the region, including east of Waroona, Hamel, Yarloop and surrounding areas.

But more favourable conditions has seen the alert level drop to a watch and act for some areas including Waroona, Harvey, Cookernup, Preston Beach and Lake Clifton.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says forecast weather conditions are expected to assist firefighters on Sunday, but the blaze is still uncontained and uncontrolled.

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At least 143 properties, including the 128 houses in Yarloop, have been destroyed, including sheds, caravans and community buildings.

Disaster assistance will be available for victims under the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Four firefighters have been injured battling the blaze, while 60 firefighters, five paramedics and three management support staff from NSW are assisting local crews battling fatigue.

Several roads and recreation sites remain closed, with dairy farmers forced to dump thousands of litres of milk.

Nicole Ferraro said her father and brothers stayed to defend their properties and managed to save most of the herd, their homes and dairy, while the rest of the farm suffered “a blackened fate”.

“For the short term, their main focus is the well-being of the animals, keeping the cows milked and fed, as well as the supply of diesel which is needed to run the generator to keep the dairy operational and the milking herd healthy,” she wrote on Facebook.

Western Power says thousands of properties remain without power but burnt trees and debris in danger of collapsing must be cleared before crews can rebuild the network.

About 835 people have registered at two evacuation centres.

People wanting to help can make monetary donations through the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund and the state government has already committed $1 million.

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Figures show dangers of using dating apps

The number of alleged crimes potentially involving people’s use of dating apps Tinder and Grindr increased more than sevenfold in two years – including reports of rape, grooming and attempted murder.

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Just 55 reports of crimes in England and Wales mentioned Grindr or Tinder in 2013, according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

This jumped to 204 in 2014 and 412 in the year to October 2015, according to the 30 police forces who gave figures.

There were 277 crime reports in which Tinder was mentioned in 2015 – up from 21 in 2013. And 135 alleged crimes in which Grindr was mentioned were recorded in 2015, up from 34 reported in 2013.

Tinder is used predominantly by heterosexual daters while Grindr is a gay dating app.

Reports of violent and sexual crimes were the most common, with 253 allegations of violence against the person and 152 reports of sex offences, including grooming, rapes and the sexual exploitation of children.

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, said it was a “growing problem, particularly around sextortion-type activities”.

He said: “If we are going to base the formation of a relationship on a photo and a few lines of text, how do we know that person is who they say they are and they have the right intentions?

“And there will be people who are using these apps to coerce and groom children, sadly.”

An NSPCC spokesman warned that some children are being groomed online.

He said: “Dating apps are, by their very nature, not safe online spaces for children. It’s all too easy for children to say they are older, or for an adult to pretend to be younger.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on violence and public protection, Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke, said: “The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes.”

The figures come from police reports where the apps are mentioned in the crime report and does not automatically mean the app was used directly by the criminal.

But there have been documented cases in which they were.

Last August, Daniel Edwards and his partner Kristofer Wagner, from Gloucester, were jailed for blackmail after threatening to expose a married man they met on Grindr.

And former teacher Gary Pearce, from Sidcup in Kent, was jailed for five years last September for grooming a 14-year-old boy he met on Grindr.

Grindr and Tinder did not reply to requests for a comment.

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ASX200 slides to lowest point in two years

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index skidded to 4,880.

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1 at 1120 AEDT, its lowest point since July 2013, before rallying back above 4,900 soon after.

The resource and energy sectors are the hardest hit after another tumble in commodity prices.

Oil players Santos and Origin are down more than four per cent, while mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have also lost more than four per cent.

The banks are also well down, with best performer ANZ down 1.33 per cent.

IG market analyst Angus Nicholson said that whether the market finished above the 4,910 level cited by analysts as a possible floor for stocks could be crucial for investor sentiment.

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“Everyone’s going to want to see a close above that but on top of that is whether we start to see some consistent intervention by the chinese government in the FX and equity markets,” Mr Nicholson said.

“If we do start seeing that today and tomorrow, that might start changing investor perception and perhaps bring a bit more buying to the market.”

The continued selloff in Australia comes after Wall street ended a volatile week with its worst five-day start to a year ever.

“It’s looking like a pretty messy open as things are slowly unwinding,” Mr Nicholson said, adding that IG Markets expected a drop of about 1.4 per cent for the day.

The big four banks were all in negative territory, with Commonwealth Bank down 86 cents, or 1.08 per cent, at $78.56, and National Australia Bank down 32 cents, or 1.15 per cent, at $27.40.

ANZ dropped 22 cents, or 0.86 per cent, to $25.32, and Westpac was down a relatively modest 17.5 cents, or 0.56 per cent, to $30.82.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were hit again, with both mining giants declining more than 3.5 per cent as the price of iron ore continued to fall. BHP was down 60 cents, or 3.67 per cent, at $15.75, while Rio was down $1.65, or 3.94 per cent, at $40.25.

The energy sector’s woes continued, with Santos down 9.0 cents, or 2.66 per cent, to $3.29, and Oil Search, Orora and Woodside Petroleum showing similar declines.

Shares in iSelect slumped 33 cents, or 30 per cent, to 77 cents after the comparison website sharply cut its full year EBIT guidance to $15-$18 million, from $26 million.

“That’s quite shocking, the fact they’re reporting such errors in their management,” Mr Nicholson said.

“It looks like quite a lot of mismanagement going on there and investors are pounding it at the open.”

Key facts:At 1200 AEDT on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 83 points, or 1.66 per cent, at 4,907.8 pointsThe broader All Ordinaries index was down 82.4 points, or 1.63 per cent, at 4,967.4 pointsThe March share price index futures contract was down 70 points at 4,860 points, with 23,152 contracts tradedAt 1216 AEDT, national turnover was 872 million securities traded worth $2 billion

 

 

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Blanchett, Miller eye Golden Globes

Australian duo Cate Blanchett and George Miller will continue their hunt for Oscars glory when they compete for Golden Globes.

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The Globes, set to begin at midday on Monday (AEDT) in Beverly Hills, are traditionally one of the big tests for Oscar campaigns and Blanchett and Miller need wins to give them a boost.

Another Australian, Ben Mendelsohn, is nominated for a TV supporting actor Globe for his role in the US drama series Bloodline.

Blanchett, a nine-time Globe nominee, and Miller, who surprisingly has been nominated for a Globe just once before, are not favourites for this year’s ceremony.

Blanchett is nominated for the dramatic actress trophy for her performance in Carol.

Bookmakers have her pegged as second favourite, with Brie Larson for Room the top pick to win the Globe and the Oscar on February 28.

Blanchett does have some backers, with her odds shortening, while one-time second pick Saoirse Ronan’s (Brooklyn) odds have drifted to third.

Prolific Australian filmmaker Miller has two nominations for Mad Max: Fury Road – directing and best dramatic picture.

Miller, despite a resume of award-winning films including Lorenzo’s Oil, Babe, Dead Calm, The Year My Voice Broke and Flirting, has failed to excite Globes’ voters, with his 2011 animated hit Happy Feet his only past Globe nomination.

This year Miller, along with Mad Max producing partners Doug Mitchell and PJ Vouten, is nominated for best dramatic picture, although Fury Road is considered a longshot, with Spotlight – based on the real story of how Boston Globe reporters uncovered a Catholic child abuse scandal – the favourite.

The Revenant and Carol are also considered stronger candidates.

Miller was the second favourite for directing behind Ridley Scott for The Martian, but the Australian’s odds have drifted with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant) moving into second place.

Competing with Mendelsohn for the Globe supporting actor in a TV series, movie or mini-series are: Damian Lewis (Wolf Hall); Christian Slater (Mr Robot); Alan Cumming (The Good Wife); and Tobias Menzies (Outlander).

The Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday.

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What is catfishing? A brief (and sordid) history

“Catfishing” is suddenly in the news again, with reports that the University of Virginia gang rape scandal may have been rooted in a romantic scam.

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At the heart of the scandal, according to documents filed in a lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine, was a troubled young woman who fell for a guy who failed to return her affections. Instead of moving on, the woman invented a fictitious upperclassman who claimed to be enamored with her – presumably with the hope of showing her real crush what he was missing. From there, reputations were ruined, a campus was roiled and national outrage ensued.

This phenomenon known as catfishing is a uniquely modern one: a single lie, enabled by the cloak of technology, that stretches, morphs and multiplies until whole personas are fabricated, emotions are manipulated and hearts are broken. So, why do they call it that again?

Let’s go back. Way back to 2010, when the term first entered the lexicon. It began with a documentary about a New York City man lured into an Internet relationship with an attractive 19-year-old woman in the Midwest. Or so he thought. When inconsistencies began to arise in the woman’s story, Nev Schulman, along with his brother and a filmmaker friend, traveled to Michigan to meet the woman, ultimately discovering that he’d been corresponding with a 40-year-old housewife all along.

It was that woman’s husband who inadvertently coined the phrase “catfish.” Sitting outside with his elbow perched on the back of a bench, he tells the filmmakers about live cod being transported from Alaska to China. During the journey the fish would become lethargic; by the time they arrived, he says, “their flesh was mush and tasteless.” But someone discovered that if catfish were put in the tanks, the cod would remain active. The man said he thanks God for people who play a similar role in life – those “who keep you on your toes, keep you thinking, keep you guessing.”

The victims of catfishing might not agree. The 2010 film spawned a popular MTV series that revealed how widespread the deceptions had become. The rise of the Internet, with its dating sites, chat rooms and virtual-reality simulators, enabled people to become whoever they wanted to be – at least for a while. Don’t like the way you look? Download a headshot of a fashion model and make that your profile pic. Have a crappy job? Not anymore. You’re now an esteemed artist (whose works you pilfered from an online gallery.) Whatever you dreamed, you could become (or at least pretend to be). And you could convince others it was the truth.

Lies told in the name of romance are nothing new. (See the 1969 film “The Honeymoon Killers,” based on an infamous series of true-life romantic scams from the 1940s.) But the modern need for human connection, even at the cost of honesty, is especially sad. Many of the perpetrators of catfishing don’t believe they can be loved as they truly are. It is only through lies that they can have the relationships they so deeply desire.

In one of the most famous instances of catfishing, former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o publicly mourned the death of his girlfriend throughout the fall of 2012. Until, that is, he found out she never existed. “This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about,” he said at the time. “But over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realise that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.”

Catfishing frequently involves a story about a tragic disease or a long-distance deployment or a stint in rehab. Anything to prevent the person on the other end of the deception from insisting on a face-to-face meeting. Because then it all blows up.

But it almost always blows up anyway.

With the U-Va. case, the only difference is that it came with a kind of mushroom cloud of devastation rarely seen before. This unrequited freshman crush ultimately resulted in the duping of a professional journalist and waves of public outrage as the young woman’s story was told – and then peeled back to a pit of deceit.

Surely she didn’t know how big and ruinous her lie would become. But then, one never does.

Ellen McCarthy is a feature writer for Style. She is the author of ‘The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook.’

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Unemployment expected to rise to 5.9%

The jobs market is expected to have weakened in December, after enjoying the best two months of employment growth in almost 28 years.

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The number of Australians with a job is forecast to have fallen by 5,000 in December, and the unemployment rate is expected to have risen to 5.9 per cent, according to an AAP survey of 12 economists.

In November, jobs growth was 71,400, after a 56,000 rise in October, the strongest two-month period of employment growth since the 1980s.

That sent the unemployment rate to its lowest level in almost two years, to 5.8 per cent in November.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its December employment report on Thursday.

JP Morgan chief economist Stephen Walters said the November figures were exaggerated by the ABS survey methods but added that the employment market is still strong.

“Recent labour force surveys have looked too good to be true,” Mr Walters said.

“Although we have become increasingly optimistic on the labour market outlook, given the upbeat signals from job ads, business surveys and government welfare data, the official data still appear too firm relative to gross domestic product growth.”

The ABS said last month that that the current group of households it surveys for its labour force report have a higher participation rate in the jobs market, which could inflate the size of the jobs growth figure.

The latest ANZ job advertisements survey, a key indicator of employment growth, showed the number of jobs advertised in December fell 0.1 per cent, following four consecutive months of rises, seasonally adjusted.

In 2015, the number of jobs ads grew by 10 per cent, just short of the above 12 per cent growth experienced in each of the previous three years, figures from ANZ show.

ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said that has helped the unemployment rate fall below six per cent and expects it to stay there in the coming months.

“The solid trend in job advertising bodes well for the near-term employment outlook,” he said.

“For the Australian economy the major risks still appear to be external, as is often the case. Only time will tell whether recent ructions in China are indicative of broader challenges in that economy.”

UNEMPLOYMENT STAYING STEADY

* Unemployment rate to rise to 5.9pct in Dec, from 5.8pct in Nov

* The number of people with jobs tipped to fall by 5,000

* Jobs growth forecasts ranged from a fall of 25,000 to a gain of 25,000

* Participation rate forecast to fall to 65.2pct, from 65.3pct

(Source: AAP survey of 12 economists)

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MTV Australia deletes ‘racist’ Golden Globes tweet

Twitter users are accusing MTV Australia of racism following a hastily-removed tweet making fun of America Ferrera and Eva Longoria’s accents in an English-language Golden Globes speech.

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The official MTV account defended the tweet following initial critism saying it was part of a joke the actresses were making themselves, but swiftly removed both tweets after hundreds of users began tweeting and replying the statement was racist.

Users pointed out the joke the actresses were making was about their similar looks, not their accents, and others made the point that deleting a tweet does not equate to an apology.

I would call you out on this @MTVAUSTRALIA but as I’m Latina, you might not understand what I’m typing here. pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/942hB7mVrW

— Ella Cerón (@ellaceron) January 11, [email protected] @MTVAUSTRALIA *Their* joke was “you think we all look alike”. MTV’s joke was “& their accents are SO heavy we can’t understand”.

— Purl Bailey (@TallGrrl) January 11, 2016Screenshots are forever, @MTVAUSTRALIA. pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/kr9xU5FHOf

— Awqasisa (@lowsell) January 11, [email protected] deleted their racist #GoldenGIobes tweet. Here it is. pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/eANzmk1AKr

— Shane Bazzi (@shanebazzi) January 11, [email protected] @ERN_Malleyscrub @MTVAUSTRALIA luckily the internet is a great thing where screengrabs can live forever. Unlike MTV employees.

— Leon Downey (@ledow) January 11, 2016I swear we’re not all like this, despite particularly strong evidence to the contrary of late #GoldenGlobes pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/YYxPKn8kHi

— Tonile Wortley (@tonilehelena) January 11, 2016Hey @MTVAUSTRALIA, you do know deleting a tweet and saying “we didn’t mean offense” isn’t really an apology right?! pic.twitter杭州桑拿会所,/Q5c35eZqE2

— Ebs (@Ebswearspink) January 11, 2016

UPDATE: MTV Australia has apologised for the tweet.

Our Tweet was in reference to @EvaLongoria & @AmericaFerrera’s #GoldenGlobes joke. We sincerely apologise for causing offence.

— MTV AUSTRALIA (@MTVAUSTRALIA) January 11, 2016

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Chronium pills linked to cancer: research

A nutritional supplement used for weight loss and body building is partially converted into a carcinogenic form when it enters cells, say Australian researchers.

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Chromium supplements also are used by people with metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

The UNSW and University of Sydney findings, published in the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, raise concerns over the risks of taking chromium pills long-term or in high doses.

Chromium is a trace mineral sold as nutritional supplements, with some containing up to 500 micrograms per tablet.

The US National Academy of Sciences has estimated up to 200 micrograms of chromium is a safe and adequate daily dietary intake for adults.

Australia’s current National Health and Medical Research Council Nutrient Reference Values, which are under review, recommend 25-35 micrograms of chromium daily as an adequate adult intake.

UNSW’s Dr Lindsay Wu said the researchers treated animal fat cells with chromium (III) in the laboratory.

A map was created of every chemical element contained within the cell using a synchrotron’s intense X-ray beam.

This allowed them to not only see the chromium spots throughout the cell but also to determine whether they were the carcinogenic form, Dr Wu said.

“We were able to show that oxidation of chromium inside the cell does occur, as it loses electrons and transforms into a carcinogenic form,” he said.

“This is the first time oxidation was observed in a biological sample with the same results expected in human cells.”

They say more research is needed to ascertain whether the supplements significantly alter cancer risk.

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Fire boss defends actions in WA bushfire

Fire authorities have been forced to defend their actions after a “full-on war with mother nature” in Western Australia’s southwest that destroyed 143 structures and killed two people.

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The blaze, which was sparked by lightning on Wednesday, killed two elderly men and wiped out most of the small community of Yarloop, where 128 homes were lost.

But the Department of Fire and Emergency Services has been criticised for what some Yarloop residents claim was a lack of communication about the severity of the threat, including the Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, which said they received no assistance or warnings for people to leave.

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DFES Commissioner Wayne Gregson defended the process and said firefighters were exhausted after battling the giant blaze for several days.

“Over the past four or five days we have been at full-on war with mother nature, I’m told we have not seen a firestorm of this magnitude, in terms of the size,” he told 6PR radio on Monday.

“It can be compared to the greater metropolitan area of Perth from Rockingham to Clarkson and out to Midland – this has been a significant endeavour by all of the response agencies.”

Mr Gregson said there would later be a detailed examination of the decisions made and warnings issued for Yarloop.

“There have been a number of issues raised with me concerning warnings, concerning water supply, concerning the availability of personnel, and we will look at that, but at this point in time it’s too early for me to make comment,” he said.

Mr Gregson said residents were told not to stay to defend their properties without a plan and to not rely on the local water and electricity supply, adding the blaze could not be defended with a garden hose.

“I sometimes think people don’t recognise the enormity of the fire front,” he said.

“I don’t believe anything could have stopped that fire impacting Yarloop.

“Fires get to a point where they just cannot be defended, either from a frontal attack or by the air.”

But the brother of 77-year-old Vietnam veteran Les Taylor, who is believed to have perished in the fire, says he does not blame authorities.

“I don’t think there’s any cause for blame on the death of my brother, I think it’s just a sad circumstance,” Bruce Taylor said.

“He just wasn’t able to be alerted.”

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The other victim is believed to be 73-year-old cancer survivor Malcolm Taylor, who told family he was staying put.

Police are yet to formally identify human remains found at the two homes.

The bushfire threat weakened overnight with a watch and act issued for east of Waroona, Hamel, the Harvey town, Cookernup, Yarloop and surrounding areas.

An advice level is in place for the Waroona town, Preston Beach, Lake Clifton, Binningup, Myalup and Pamelup Estate.

Harvey and Waroona residents can now return to their properties through vehicle control points.

The cost of the deadly blaze has climbed to $60 million and is expected to rise, the Insurance Council of Australia says.

Western Power is working to restore electricity.

Four firefighters have been injured in the fire, which has burnt more than 71,100 hectares and is contained but not controlled.

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