Good morning Ballarat!
The severe weather warning for damaging winds is still in place for our region. Read it here.
We're in for a cloudy day with a very high (95%) chance of rain, becoming less likely late this afternoon and evening. Expect a top of 15 degrees in Ballarat.
Catch up on news here:
Leaders say it is critical a newly elected Ballarat City Council creates a revolutionary Central Business District activity plan connecting the city’s most critical projects. Read more here.
A little girl who took a year to laugh is among the children who have found help with SalvoConnect children’s support worker Sonia Lefevre. Read more here.
Two men allegedly involved in a Ballarat East aggravated burglary which left a man with minor gun-shot wounds will appear in court at later date. Read more here.
Calls are being made for the state government to reverse its decision to move the 7500 litre Erickson Air-Crane from its Ballarat base. Read more here.
Ballarat is poised to finally end a long hiatus from the Australian Rally Championship. An additional race for the 2017 competition has been planned, with the opening round of the series booked for the region between March 17-19. Read more here.
Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered.
► WODONGA: Jack McLean once bragged that he could kill someone and get away with it, because police in the region didn’t speak to each other. Little did he know his Wodonga home, where he and other family members organised break-ins and thefts, was bugged and his conversations recorded. More here.
► MAITLAND: Few embody courage, bravery and selflessness quite like firefighters. But when East Maitland Rural Fire Service’s Ian Turnbull puts on his gear this weekend, he’ll tuck a faded photograph of his mother into his jacket pocket and draw strength from the courage she showed in her final fight against a terrible disease. More here.
► NEWCASTLE: About the quickest way to catch mosquito-borne Ross River virus, experts say, is to be uncovered near the Hunter River in the morning or at dusk. Especially now. More here.
► WARRNAMBOOL: South-west farmers have expressed mixed feelings following suspension of Murray Goulburn’s cash clawback and the lowering of the forecast farmgate milk price. More here.
► COOLUP: Armoured vehicles, authentic military uniforms and cannons from Vietnam and World Wars I and II form just part of an impressive military memorabilia exhibit on display in Coolup. More here.
► WAGGA: Tess was a placid and friendly Staffy cross when she and her owner began boarding with Jacob Menz in his central Wagga house in February. But within weeks, the seven-year-old dog’s demeanour changed from happy and confident to withdrawn and nervous, particularly around Menz. More here.
► TASMANIA: A move to delay decisions on the lowering of the school starting age has been met with mixed reactions from the education sector. An amendment to the proposed Education Act’s clause that dealt with lowering the school starting age will now face further consultation with stakeholders. More here.
► WOLLONGONG: A three-metre tall, $7 million microscope which will help fight superbugs, Alzheimer’s and heart disease at a molecular level will be at the core of a futuristic medical research hub at the University of Wollongong. More here.
► As many as 600,000 illegal guns could be circulating in the Australian underworld, but national efforts to control the spread is being hampered by inconsistencies between states, a firearms intelligence report has found. More here.
► The federal government has slashed the hours of thousands of its casual public servants and now it will not have to pay them for meal or tea breaks. Workers who have spoke to Fairfax say the cut, to a maximum shift of five hours and as little as three, will see their families' incomes slashed by thousands of dollars each year. More here.
► Former Coalition minister Philip Ruddock has been "double dipping" by receiving a parliamentary pension of more than $200,000 a year on top of full pay for his new role as Australia's human rights representative. More here.
► Malcolm Turnbull has publicly contradicted his predecessor, Tony Abbott, suggesting the former prime minister lied by claiming his office was unaware of a 2015 deal to trade a Senate vote for a change in gun laws. More here.
► BANGKOK: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared it is "time to say goodbye" to the United States as he steered his country towards Beijing's sphere of influence during a red-carpet state visit to China. More here.
► LONDON: President of the European Council Donald Tusk has warned Europe may never sign another free trade agreement – a big blow to Australia, which is about to start trying to negotiate one. It is also a shot across the bows of Britain, where Brexiteers have proposed an FTA as a replacement for the single market. More here.
► SHANGHAI: Communications documenting the movement of millions of dollars offshore by Chinese high rollers are now in the hands of mainland authorities following the police seizure of computers, laptops and mobile phones belonging to Crown Resorts' 18 detained employees, Fairfax Media can reveal. More here.
In 1999, Abraham Mamootil retired from his dental career of nearly 50 years, planning to take a rest.
“Rest was not good enough, so I started the creative part,” he said on Tuesday with a smile.
His East Albury home includes some results of the 91-year-old’s efforts - paintings, a world globe made out of coconut shells, a wooden chess table.
But Dr Mamootil’s latest achievement, a book published this month, is available to a wider audience.
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