Edmondson Park, NSW, neighbourhood becomes viral sensation for its ‘half houses’


As shocked as Bishnu Aryal was to find out his dream home was a “half house”, at least he’s not alone.

There are two other houses, just a stone’s throw from Mr Aryal’s $721,000 home, that likewise only have three walls with windows.

The fourth wall on each house is a grey windowless slab that looks as if it should be the dividing wall between two units of a duplex – except the next door unit doesn’t exist.

“It looks so weird,” one neighbour in the Sydney suburb of Edmondson Park said of Mr Aryal‘s home.

Since Mr Aryal told the television show A Current Affair about his predicament, the story of his half-house has become a viral sensation.

He told the program he was so shocked when he saw what the builders had done he nearly fainted.

On Thursday evening, he stood chatting with neighbours as his son played in the dry weeds that cover the neighbouring lot.

“There’s been a lot of emails, messages and calls with sympathy and empathy in the last few days,” he said.

“But nobody has been able to help.”

He said he feels cheated by the builder and had no idea that what he thought would be a stand-alone house would turn out this way.

The builder, Zac Homes, has acknowledged “it‘s a mess” and said they will try to work out a solution with the council.

The company said the people who own the lot next door didn’t want to proceed with building their part of the duplex.

It wasn’t clear if Zac Homes built the other two “half houses” as well, but neighbours said they assumed they did because the buildings look so similar.

A Google Street View image taken in November 2020 shows a ute emblazoned with Zac Homes’ logo parked outside one of the other half houses.

They’re both on the street that’s parallel to the one where Mr Aryal lives.

Neither appeared to be occupied as of Thursday, though neighbours said they were built months ago.

One of them looks a lot like Mr Aryal’s house – 50 per cent of a duplex, with a windowless fourth wall facing an empty lot.

The third half house, a few doors down, is harder to spot, because a stand-alone house has been built on the adjoining lot that makes the flat wall less visible and jarring.

“You would have thought they were going to build the other half of the house, but instead they just fill it in with like, an ordinary house, which seems really unusual,” a neighbour said.

“I’m assuming it’s done by some garbage builder.”

Like many neighbours, the man was amused by the situation but sympathetic and wished there was something that could be done for Mr Aryal.

Mr Aryal said he was trying to get legal advice and was hoping he could find someone who would help him pro bono, since he had spent his savings on the home.

“There’s not another house in Australia like this one,” he said.

“Well, except those other two.”



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How to ditch bad boys and start dating good guys


After 36 years of thinking I’ve been cursed with an attraction to bad boys and bad boys only, it is with great happiness I can report I’ve cracked the code!

Yep, I’ve worked out how to put a halt on the big throbbing heart beat that pumps out of my chest for blokes you would steer clear of in a dark alley, and direct my big puppy dog eyes to a much nicer, kinder, and yet equally dreamy kinda bloke. The good guy. All this, without even being forced on a date with one. I. kid. you. not.

You see, it all started in a flurry of flashing lights, emergency sirens and IV drips. I’m not kidding. A few weeks ago I was suffering from some chronic pain and spent a very unintended morning in the emergency ward of my local hospital.

RELATED: Postcodes I won’t date people from

It was all very dramatic, involving me screaming in pain, a gorgeous receptionist trifling through my bag to find my Medicare card and me shouting out for the green whistle.

(Anyone who has ever been given the green whistle while in absolute agony will know just how glorious it really is.)

I was told that the green whistle was only given off-site, and as I was in the hospital I would be assessed first. So after plenty of prodding and poking from a nurse, a doctor was called to provide me with some serious meds.

As I withered around in pain, looking an absolute sight, he met me with some very kind eyes, had a brief assessment and decided, yep, this called for morphine. As the nurse set me up, the doctor held my hand, offered nothing but kind words, and tried to keep me distracted from the pain.

As I slowly relaxed into a pain-free glow he stayed with me the whole time as we waited for my blood test results to come back. It was in this incredibly vulnerable moment that I realised what I was feeling was something fairly similar to love.

You see, this man held the traits every girl secretly (or not so secretly) craves: compassion, dedication and kindness.

RELATED: One word that shows he’s a gaslighter

A few hours later I left the hospital with a prescription, a sick note and a whopping big crush.

As I told the girls about it over dinner a few nights later, we all agreed that when a bloke helps you in a vulnerable moment, it’s a pretty big turn on.

Who needs oysters as an aphrodisiac? Just offer us help with our taxes when we’re freaked out during the month of July, or offer to fix our car when we are stuck on the side of the road. Seriously, is there anything sexier than a bloke coming to your rescue?

Now listen, I get it, it’s 2021 and YES of course we can do all these things ourselves, but every now and then you find yourself in a tough situation and well … I’m just saying, it’s human nature to suddenly find this spring to action pretty darn alluring.

I’m sure it goes back to the caveman days when a man would go and gather a wilderbeast for dinner, or some such (sexy) rubbish.

RELATED: Reason I turned down ‘dream’ man

It made me recall a work trip I went on a few years ago to New Zealand. I was working for a travel show and we went on a white water rafting adventure in Rotorua.

It was all great fun, until I popped off my life jacket and the buckle swung up, hit me in the face and chipped my tooth. Not a small chip either, a whopping big one. I looked like I belonged on Tiger King.

Our tour guide flung into action. Seeing my discomfort at being surrounded by a film crew while looking like Cousin Itt, he drove me back to the hotel, offered to take me to the dentist and ordered soft food for dinner so I didn’t have to manoeuvre a steak with scary chompers. His kindness took me by surprise, and despite him not being my normal type, I found myself looking at him in a new light. A warm, slightly va va voom light.

So I’m telling you ladies, we gotta change the way we look at blokes. No more sooking over blokes who don’t text us back or leave us constantly thinking ‘WTF?’ Let’s look out for the bloke that helps someone lift a heavy item into their car, or picks up your flying tampon next time you stack it at the supermarket and your handbag items go everywhere.

As someone who has always been the ‘fixer’ as opposed to the one that needs fixing, I took away from this scary hospital moment a new outlook on the ‘good guy.’ Turns out he can be actually pretty darn sexy.

Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking | Jana (with a J)





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NSW woman, 48, reportedly dead after receiving COVID-19 vaccine


A 48-year-old woman developed blood clots after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and died in NSW.

The Central Coast woman was given a jab on Friday and developed blood clots hours later, according to reports.

It’s believed the woman, who was diabetic but otherwise in good health, was placed in an intensive care unit and died on Wednesday.

It was not known if the vaccine was an AstraZeneca or Pfizer shot.

A NSW Health spokesperson could not confirm any link between the vaccine and the woman’s death.

“NSW Health does not speculate on or discuss individual cases, but the death of anyone is always a tragedy and our condolences are with the family and loved ones of the person who has passed away,” it said in a statement on Thursday evening.

“The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is responsible for regulating and monitoring the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia.

“Monitoring involves detecting and responding to any emerging safety concerns related to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly any adverse events following immunisation.”

The spokesperson said in the statement provided to NCA NewsWire any adverse reactions following a vaccination was reported to NSW Health.

“NSW Health investigates these events and refers its expert panel findings to the TGA, which is responsible for assessing causality,” the department said.

“Many conditions can arise during normal life, whether or not a vaccine is administered, but it remains important to report any new serious or unexpected events so that safety can be appropriately monitored.”

Reports of the death comes after the Prime Minister demanded the country’s leaders and health authorities ramp back up to a war footing, admitting the stalled vaccine rollout faces “serious challenges”.

The rollout has fallen well short of initial expectations, compounded further by blood clotting concerns with the AstraZeneca shot.

Scott Morrison wants national cabinet to recommence regular meetings from Monday in a bid to “get the program back on track”.

Last week, it was announced the AstraZeneca jab won’t be offered to Australians under the age of 50 following advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

This led to Mr Morrison refusing to commit to a timeline for the rollout to be completed after previously ensuring the nation all jabs would be provided by October.

“There are serious challenges we need to overcome caused by patchy international vaccine supplies, changing medical advice and a global environment of need caused by millions of COVID-19 cases and deaths,” he said on Tuesday.



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Scarlett Taylor, who allegedly threw bottle before tradie killed, gets bail


A woman who allegedly sparked a fight that left a young tradie dead has been granted bail.

Scarlett Taylor, 21, is charged with unlawful assault and affray charges in relation to a glass bottle being thrown at the feet of tradie Cam Smith’s girlfriend on November 25, 2020.

This allegedly spurred an argument at the Seaford train station during which the 26-year-old was fatally stabbed.

Ms Taylor’s boyfriend at the time, Jack Ledlin, was charged with murder in relation to the death.

During a bail application, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court was told police were concerned Ms Taylor helped her then boyfriend to dispose of a weapon and clothing associated with the murder.

The lead detective in the case claimed Mr Smith’s girlfriend was fearful for her safety if the accused woman was granted bail, magistrate Susan Wakeling said on Thursday.

Ms Taylor repeatedly wiped tears from her eyes and put her head in her hands during the online hearing.

The young woman’s half-sister Holly Stockdale offered to house her sister and gave evidence in the bail application.

But Ms Stockdale told the court she was herself on bail and was arrested for failing to attend court.

She said there was “no excuse” and she made a mistake and felt awful.

“I wouldn’t want my sister to make the mistake I did,” Ms Stockdale told the court.

Ms Stockdale told the court she had pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and at the time was in a bad relationship and using drugs.

“It’s something that I’m very ashamed of,” she said.

Ms Stockdale also said she had been clean for more than two years.

But prosecutors opposed granting Ms Taylor bail.

They were concerned about her living with her sister, believe she posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending and feared she would breach her bail conditions.

The young woman was granted bail shortly after she was charged in relation to the incident at Seaford station but within days was back behind bars for breaching bail conditions.

However, Magistrate Wakeling granted Ms Taylor bail a second time despite noting the woman had complex mental health issues, a poor history of complying with bail and a history of drug use.

The risk could be managed and time spent on remand could exceed the eventual sentence for charges she was facing, the magistrate said.

She granted Ms Taylor bail on the conditions she abide by a curfew, live with her sister, take part in a supervised court bail program, take her medication and not contact any witnesses or co-accused.

Two others including a 17-year-old boy and Liam Casley are also charged with affray offences in relation to the alleged attack.

Ms Taylor will return to court in May.



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Qld man ‘tortured with hammer, gas burner and knife’: police


A man endured a night of horror over the Easter long weekend in Queensland, where he was kept in a house against his will and tortured with a hammer, gas burner and knife, police allege.

They say the man visited a house in Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast on April 4 before being assaulted in the front yard of the property.

It’s believed an older man then forcibly dragged the 30-year-old to his property at Eagleby, an outer southern Brisbane suburb, where he was allegedly beaten and tortured with the various instruments.

The following morning, the younger man fled the residence and sought medical attention for the injuries, which were not life-threatening, police said.

A special task force executed a warrant in Redbank Plains on Thursday and arrested the 38-year-old accused.

He was charged with four counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, two counts of armed robbery and deprivation of liberty, and one count each of torture, possessing dangerous drugs and utensils.

He was granted police bail and is due to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on April 30.

Police said the two men were known to each other and investigations into the incident were continuing.



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Missing campers Russell Hill Carol Clay ‘met with foul play’


A leading criminal psychologist believes missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay “met with foul play” and the latest discovery of two shovels is “enough” evidence for police to make their biggest breakthrough yet.

The pair haven’t been heard from since March 20 when Mr Hill radioed in stating he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps.

They were last known to be camping off the Dry River Track.

The investigation deepened on Wednesday as police moved their search 80km northwest to the Mount Hotham area, marking the first time the search had strayed from Wonnangatta.

Two shovels were then found in dense bush off Great Alpine Road during the search just after midday – police put them into plastic evidence bags.

But the search of the new area was abruptly paused on Thursday, with police confirming search and rescue teams would not return until forensic results came back.

Criminal psychologist Tim Watson-Munro – who has gained the trust of some of Australia’s scariest men, such as Julian Knight and Alphonse Gangitano, in his line of work – expects the story to “unfold more rapidly” from hereon.

“This recent discovery suggests to me that police forensically have enough to start interviewing people,” he said.

“What forensic evidence is it, why has the search stopped now? Maybe there is DNA evidence on the shovels that links to someone police suspect already.”

Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 before collecting Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham in his white Toyota LandCruiser.

The friends then travelled via Licola, spending one night at Howitt High Plains, before heading into Wonnangatta Valley on March 20.

Ms Clay told friends she was heading away and was expecting to return home on March 28 or 29.

Campers found Mr Hill’s vehicle with signs of minor fire damage at their campsite, which was completely destroyed by fire, near Dry River Creek Track in the Wonnangatta Valley on March 21.

Mr Watson-Munro – who started his career at the notorious Paramatta Prison – had a bleak prediction of what happened to the believed-to-be high school sweethearts.

“I think they’ve met with foul play,” he said.

“It’s highly unlikely it was a bizarre, ritualistic suicide because they loved each other based on reports.

“The destruction of the campsite was obviously an attempt to destroy forensic evidence or throw police off the scent.

“They’re both reasonably well-adjusted people, healthy … my gut reaction is a domestic dynamic where possibly a third party was involved.”

Mr Watson-Munro said if that third party was somebody with expert knowledge of the dense bushland, then it could mean Mr Hill and Ms Clay would “never be found”.

“Some people just disappear forever, tragically so,” he said.

“If it is a deliberate targeted killing they may well be buried or deposited in something that may not be discovered in a long time.

“The density makes it difficult to be found, but anyone with a knowledge of the forest adds another layer to this – they would know where there are secret cabins and caves.

“It could only be purely by chance that someone is strolling through the forest one day and makes a discovery.”

Missing persons squad Detective Acting Inspector Tony Combridge said on Wednesday investigators believed “someone else was involved” in the baffling disappearance that has attracted widespread interest.

“I don’t think anything’s off the table, but we look at what’s in front of us, and the likely scenario is that somebody else is involved,” he told reporters.

“We could be one phone call away. That’s the position we hold … from this matter being resolved.”

In a statement Victoria Police said: “Investigators are continuing to appeal to anyone who was in the Wonnangatta area around that time, including campers, 4×4 day trippers, hunters, fishermen or trail bike riders, regardless of whether they saw or heard anything.

“Detectives are also keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of Howitt Plains and Zeka Spur Track on 19 or 20 March and the Wonnangatta Valley and Wonnangatta Station between 20-24 March. Anyone who has not yet made contact with police is urged to come forward.”

Detectives also established Mr Hill was camping alone with his LandCruiser in the area of the King Billy and Bluff Track between March 11-13, last year.

Police were also keen to speak to anyone who was in that area on those dates.

Information was later received about the sighting of “an older person or pair” in the Black Snake Creek, Eaglevale River crossing and the Ollies Jump area on March 22-23 – but police have not been able to establish if this was the missing campers.

Detectives called for anyone in this area, or any older couple who may be these people, to also come forward.

Anyone who sights Mr Hill or Ms Clay should phone triple-0 immediately.

Anyone with any other information should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

anthony.piovesan@news.com.au



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PM Scott Morrison takes swipe at China, urges support from New Delhi in Indo-Pacific


Scott Morrison has delivered a thinly-veiled swipe at China, warning economic coercion and cyber attacks are becoming the new “tool of statecraft” of authoritarian regimes.

The prime minister on Thursday declared liberal values were “under assault” in a world increasingly threatened by authoritarianism, urging democracies to stick together in the Indo-Pacific.

“There is a great polarisation that our world is at risk of moving towards,” he said.

“A polarisation between authoritarian regimes and autocracies, and the liberal democracies that we love.

“A liberal democracy and a liberal set of values that underpin the global world order that has delivered so much for the world.”

Mr Morrison made the comments to the Raisina Dialogue, a multicultural meeting held annually in New Delhi, where he urged Australia and India to maintain a “shared mission” in the Indo-Pacific.

RELATED: PM to join historic Quad talks, but government insists move is ‘not about China’

The prime minister warned the region of “great promise” was increasingly becoming the focus of authoritarian regimes.

“We’re not blind to the geopolitical realities. The Indo-Pacific is the epicentre of strategic competition,” he said.

“Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, including from state-sponsored actors, and frequent.

“Economic coercion is being employed as a tool of statecraft.

“Liberal rules and norms are under assault.”

The comments were an apparent reference to an ongoing trade assault launched by Beijing against Australia, seemingly prompted by Canberra’s push for an independent probe into the origins of COVID-19.

The Australian National University was also rocked by a cyber attack in 2018, which the federal government attributed to a “state actor”, widely believed to be China.

Earlier this month, Mr Morrison joined a historic four-way meeting of the Quad, where he discussed the Indo-Pacific with US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

It was the first time talks between the Quad – a strategic alliance between the four countries – were attended by its members’ leaders.

“That meeting was historic, a historic first and a mark of the momentum that continues to be built amongst like-minded countries in our region,” Mr Morrison said.

“Four leaders of great liberal democracies in the Indo-Pacific … all leveraging our agency, working on a positive and inclusive agenda for the Indo-Pacific.”

It comes after Mr Morrison’s former colleague Christopher Pyne warned Australia faced a potential war with China in the Indo-Pacific within the next decade.

The former defence minister said China’s strategic posture was “no longer benign”.

“The reality is that China is confident and capable and is not embarrassed to show it,” he said.

“Five years ago, I would’ve said that the possibility (of war) was very unlikely. Now, I would have to say that the possibility is more likely than it was then.

“Not a cyber war, but a real one involving loss of life, destruction of military platforms, with aggressors and defenders on different sides.

“This isn’t rhetoric, this is something that you and I may well have to confront in the next five to 10 years.”



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Qld only state in Australia to treat public drunkenness as a crime


Queensland is the only state in Australia where public drunkenness remains a crime despite a royal commission recommending it be abolished 30 years ago.

A landmark report borne out of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made hundreds of recommendations, with a key suggestion being the removal of laws allowing police to lock an individual behind bars for intoxication.

In February, Victoria passed legislation to abolish the crime after an inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day.

She was placed in a police sell to “sober up” after being found in late 2017 on a train.

Ms Day hit her head during the incident and suffered a brain haemorrhage, which eventually led to her death in hospital 17 days later.

“Them fellas, right after putting mum in that van, drove to pick up a drunk white woman around the corner and drove her home safely and didn’t even issue her a fine,” Tanya Day’s daughter, Apryl, said at an Invasion Day rally in January.

RELATED: Stat reveals Australia’s 30 year shame

A spokesperson for Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said there were “no plans” to abolish public drunkenness but said officers were encouraged to consider alternatives to detaining intoxicated individuals.

“The approach police take is about prioritising the safety of the intoxicated person and others who may be around them rather than imposing penalties,” the minister’s office said in a statement provided to NCA NewsWire.

“The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act means a police officer can deliver an intoxicated person to their own home, a hospital or diversionary centre that provides care for intoxicated people.”

The state’s Attorney-General, Shannon Fentiman, said she would consider steps to abolish the crime.

“I am looking with interest at the reforms passed in Victoria which decriminalised public drunkenness and instead treated the conduct as a health issue,” she said.

First Nation Australians represent just 3 per cent of the country, but since the royal commission, the number of Aboriginals behind bars compared with the prison population has more than doubled from 14 to 30 per cent.

In some regions, that figure is closer to 90 per cent.



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Plea to help find missing 15-year-old Gold Coast girl


The family of a missing a teenage girl have pleaded for help to find the 15-year-old last spotted on the Gold Coast.

The girl was last seen in person on Saturday in Southport and spoke to a relative on Tuesday, but hasn’t been sighted since.

Police said the family was worried about the health of the teen, who is known to frequent the Brisbane CBD, Southport and Surfers Paradise.

“Concerns are held for her welfare as she was receiving treatment for injuries, including a leg wound, following a recent accident and requires medication and further treatment,” authorities said.

She is described as Middle Eastern, about 165cm tall with brown eyes and brown hair.

The girl or anyone with knowledge of her whereabouts is asked to contact police.



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Qantas hints international travel bubbles could include Japan, Singapore, Fiji


Qantas boss Alan Joyce says he is standing firm but flexible on the October 31 overseas travel date, as the Australian airline gears up to restart international travel with New Zealand.

Speaking from Sydney’s First Class International Lounge on Thursday, Mr Joyce said that after the launch of the trans-Tasman travel bubble, he would like to see additional travel bubbles established in the future.

Mr Joyce said while the airline is sticking with the October deadline, as touted during the company’s half-yearly results in February, “bubbles could happen a lot earlier”.

“We have complete flexibility,” Mr Joyce said.

“We are getting our aircraft and people ready for the end of October, but we have complete flexibility. If we need to open bubbles before, we can and that may happen. If we need to push things out because the vaccine rollout isn’t as fast as we would expect we can do that.

“But we still think the end of October is the best date.”

RELATED: Qantas says there’s no reason for borders to stay closed

RELATED: Qantas makes big change to airport lounges

Mr Joyce said that the key for a bubble forming comes down to the level of COVID-19 being recorded within the specified country.

“It all depends on what level of COVID is in an individual country, and what level of restrictions and testing will be put in place,” he explained of future bubble decisions.

“There’s clearly a lot of countries in the region, especially in the Asia-Pacific, and have had a tight control on COVID, but they give us market opportunities for Singapore, markets like Japan, markets like Taiwan for us to potentially open up.

“But also actively looking at the Pacific Islands, because there (are) real good opportunities in places like Fiji and the Pacific Islands to open up.”

Australia is New Zealand’s number one market for tourism, with New Zealand coming in at number two – behind China – for Australia.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Greg Hunt dampened international travel hopes even further, claiming even after the whole country is vaccinated against COVID-19 there is no “guarantee” borders will reopen.

With Australia’s vaccine rollout being pushed even further behind schedule due to AstraZeneca now only being recommended for people older than 50, there have been growing concerns about what it means for international travel.

However, Mr Hunt said having the majority of the population vaccinated isn’t a magic key that will unlock international travel again.

“Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“And this was a discussion that in fact I had with Professor (Brendan) Murphy in just the last 24 hours, that if the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders.”

Mr Joyce said that while the airline remains “flexible” on when and how they resume overseas flights and future travel bubbles, any setbacks on vaccine uptake could “leave Australia behind” compared to the rest of the world.

“There should be no reason why we don’t open up international borders,” Mr Joyce told media on Thursday, just days before the highly anticipated trans-Tasman travel bubble launches across the ditch next week.

“We can’t fall behind,” Mr Joyce stressed of Australia’s reopening.

“We know other countries are ahead of us (with the vaccine rollout) … and cannot be laggers here and fall behind the rest of the world. We will fall behind economically and some sectors will take a hit. I think the government is aware of that.

“Anything that speeds up the vaccination in Australia is a great thing, and gets us up to the numbers we are seeing around the rest of the world.”



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