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Dodgy gambling websites that target Australians to be blocked as they cost the country $100 million 

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Australia’s communications watchdog will block illegal gambling websites hosted offshore under new powers now in effect. 

Punters have been warned by The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to withdraw their funds now from any illegal overseas gambling sites before they go offline.

Internet gambling dens such as Emu Casino and FairGo Casino which are run from Curacao in the Caribbean and target vulnerable Australians will be among the first to be blocked, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 

Internet gambling sites such as Emu Casino and FairGo Casino, run from Curacao in the Caribbean, target Australians and will be among the first to be blocked

Internet gambling sites such as Emu Casino and FairGo Casino, run from Curacao in the Caribbean, target Australians and will be among the first to be blocked

Internet gambling sites such as Emu Casino and FairGo Casino, run from Curacao in the Caribbean, target Australians and will be among the first to be blocked

Australians spend up to $400million on the dodgy sites each year.

ACMA said on Monday it will ask internet service providers to block websites in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 using new internet censorship powers now in effect.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ability to have service providers block websites was a valuable weapon in the fight against illegal online gambling. 

‘In many cases these sites refuse to pay significant winnings, or only a small portion,’ she said in an emailed statement on Monday.

‘Customers had also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorisation. There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators.’

‘If you have funds deposited with an illegal gambling site, you should withdraw those funds now.’

Ms O’Loughlin said public education was crucial in deterring vulnerable people from using illegal offshore gambling websites as they explicitly target Australians.

 ‘Many illegal offshore gambling websites target Australians by using Australian themes and images, such as the Australian flag and native animals,’ she said.

ACMA publishes a list of licensed gambling services where people can check if online gambling websites are legal in Australia on their website here

Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said many people were losing money on more than 1000 illegal offshore gambling sites, and this accounted for about $100 million in lost tax revenue each year. 

‘Too often these offshore operators are defrauding Australians and their websites typically provide very few, if any, harm minimisation controls,’ Mr Fletcher said.

‘Consumers have no recourse to retrieve their money.’ 

Punters have been warned to withdraw their money now while they still can

Punters have been warned to withdraw their money now while they still can

Punters have been warned to withdraw their money now while they still can

Mr Fletcher said the ACMA had a range of other powers including issuing formal warnings and civil penalty orders, but these were difficult to enforce against overseas operators. 

Legislation strengthening ACMA’s powers was passed in 2017 and Mr Fletcher said an arrangement had been reached with internet service providers. 

The ACMA’s new powers fulfil one of three legislative recommendations that came out of a 2015 review of interactive gambling.

The review, overseen by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell, made 19 recommendations to the government.

It raised a number of problems with the sites, including that they lacked Australian consumer protections and had links with organised crime.

More than 65 illegal companies have pulled out of Australia since 2017 when the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules. 

 

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Residents claim their homes were left to burn as ‘all the trucks went straight to Russell Crowe’ 

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Fire-ravaged residents claim their homes were left to burn while fire trucks drove straight past them to Russell Crowe’s property.

The Academy Award-winning actor’s 400-hectare property in Nana Glen, an emergency zone on the New South Wales mid-north coast, was under threat on Tuesday.

Properties were just metres away from being engulfed in flames before water-bombing helicopters saved the homes near Coffs Harbour.

Smoke from a large bushfire is seen outside Nana Glen, near Russell Crowe's 400-hectare property

Smoke from a large bushfire is seen outside Nana Glen, near Russell Crowe's 400-hectare property

Smoke from a large bushfire is seen outside Nana Glen, near Russell Crowe’s 400-hectare property 

Properties were just centimetres away from being engulfed in flames before water-bombing helicopters saved the homes, causing residents to become emotional (pictured)

Properties were just centimetres away from being engulfed in flames before water-bombing helicopters saved the homes, causing residents to become emotional (pictured)

Properties were just centimetres away from being engulfed in flames before water-bombing helicopters saved the homes, causing residents to become emotional (pictured)

The heat is continuing into the evening as winds pick up, but furious residents in the area have claimed firefighters prioritised Crowe’s property.

‘I’m angry because our friends house is there burning and all the trucks go to Russell Crowe’s,’ resident Debbie Waldon told Seven News through tears.  

‘What about normal, everyday people?’

The NSW Rural Fire Service said Ms Waldon’s claims were nonsense.    

‘firefighters are not aware of whose homes they are being sent to – aerial crews wouldn’t be aware of whose property they are going go,’ a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘Crews are dispatched on priority of jobs and the properties that need it the most, we are not aware of who owns the properties.’  

A number of large bush fires are currently burning in the Coutts Crossing, Coramba, and Glenreagh areas.  

Crowe took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to encourage Australian musician Troy Casser-Daley to use the NSW Rural Fire Service app.

The country singer said his mother was evacuated ‘as a precaution’ to Grafton, in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

‘What’s the best way to be updated down that way @NSWRFS please?’ Casser-Dalley asked his followers on Twitter.

The Academy Award-winning actor owns a 400-hectare property (pictured) in Nana Glen - one of the emergency zones

The Academy Award-winning actor owns a 400-hectare property (pictured) in Nana Glen - one of the emergency zones

The Academy Award-winning actor owns a 400-hectare property (pictured) in Nana Glen – one of the emergency zones

Residents suffering in fire ravaged areas are furious that their homes were left to burn while fire trucks went straight to Russell Crowe's (pictured) property

Residents suffering in fire ravaged areas are furious that their homes were left to burn while fire trucks went straight to Russell Crowe's (pictured) property

Residents suffering in fire ravaged areas are furious that their homes were left to burn while fire trucks went straight to Russell Crowe’s (pictured) property 

‘Get the app mate. It’s very helpful,’ Crowe responded. 

A number of concerned fans have sent messages of support to the Gladiator actor

‘Hope your place is safe. Kindest thoughts and prayers for all threatened by bushfires,’ one wrote. 

‘Just saw the warning for Nana Glen, stay safe Russ x,’ said another. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted NSW Rural Fire Service for comment. 

At 7pm on Tuesday there were more than 70 fires burning in both NSW and Queensland with up to 20,000 firefighters trying to stop them spreading, and the Army preparing to use helicopters to evacuate residents whose lives are at risk. 

On the state’s north coast, a blaze along the Liberation Trail north-west of Coffs Harbour has been updated to emergency level.

‘The fire has breached containment lines and is threatening Yarracooma, Paddys Plain, Cradle Creek and Lowanna. If you are in these areas, leave now towards Dorrigo before it is too late,’ NSW RFS warned. 

Thousands of residents on the NSW mid-north coast have already been told that it is too late to leave their homes.

A change in winds forecast for this time could see fires switch directions instantly, turning the flank of blazes that are under control into towering walls of fire. 

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons urged residents to remain vigilant.  

Long night ahead: The firefighters in the mid-north are facing a long night ahead as a southerly wind picks up around midnight and into Wednesday morning. Pictured: A firefighter at Koorainghat on Tuesday

Long night ahead: The firefighters in the mid-north are facing a long night ahead as a southerly wind picks up around midnight and into Wednesday morning. Pictured: A firefighter at Koorainghat on Tuesday

Long night ahead: The firefighters in the mid-north are facing a long night ahead as a southerly wind picks up around midnight and into Wednesday morning. Pictured: A firefighter at Koorainghat on Tuesday

Jamie Fato tries to stop an out of control fire entering Owen Whalan's property at Koorainghat, near Taree, on the Mid North Coast region of NSW, on Tuesday

Jamie Fato tries to stop an out of control fire entering Owen Whalan's property at Koorainghat, near Taree, on the Mid North Coast region of NSW, on Tuesday

Jamie Fato tries to stop an out of control fire entering Owen Whalan’s property at Koorainghat, near Taree, on the Mid North Coast region of NSW, on Tuesday

‘We have been dealing with fires on the north coast, new fires in other parts of New South Wales, including the Greater Sydney environment, he told reporters just after 5.30pm on Tuesday.

‘We need people to remain vigilant and act in accordance with their plan and any guidance provided by the authorities. We still have many hours yet of these strong dry winds to dominate and influence weather and fire behaviour.

‘We’ve still got the southerly change expected to move through later tonight, across the fire grounds still burning up in northern New South Wales. We’re watching very closely at the fire north of Hawkesbury, in the north of the Hawkesbury area, moving into Putty Road. It’s developing a fairly significant smoke column, so we’re mindful of the potential for that fire to continue to burn and burn aggressively for some time.’

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a ‘state of emergency’ on Sunday, handing control over the management of the bushfires to the Rural Fire Service.

As part of this move, RFS officers have the ability to force people to evacuate at risk areas even if they want to stay and defend their homes.

The shirts of their back: The three men successful managed to put out the majority of this blaze, but know there is more ahead

The shirts of their back: The three men successful managed to put out the majority of this blaze, but know there is more ahead

The shirts of their back: The three men successful managed to put out the majority of this blaze, but know there is more ahead

Warning: Fire bosses warned against complacency and said the fires are likely to spread throughout the day. Pictured: A fire near Taree, mid New South Wales on Monday

Warning: Fire bosses warned against complacency and said the fires are likely to spread throughout the day. Pictured: A fire near Taree, mid New South Wales on Monday

Warning: Fire bosses warned against complacency and said the fires are likely to spread throughout the day. Pictured: A fire near Taree, mid New South Wales on Monday

Sydneysiders woke up to a smoky but calm morning with two infernos – one in the Hawkesbury and another in the Blue Mountains – under control.

What does a state of emergency mean? 

A state of emergency allows emergency services personnel to:

Direct the public to evacuate an area or not enter an area

Order power and gas supplies to be shut off

Shore up or pull down buildings

Enter premises to facilitate the exercise of these powers.

But fire bosses warned against complacency and said the fires are likely to spread throughout the day, potentially threatening 100,000 homes around the Harbour City.

‘The reality is conditions will simply continue to get worse and deteriorate over the coming hours,’ Mr Fitzsimmons said.

‘They will continue to strengthen and build ahead of the passage of that cold front that’s moving across the state.

‘Later on today, we’re expecting the southerly to start influencing and driving like a southerly buster up the coastal strip, and more southwesterly-southerly across the ranges and further inland.’

While a cool change would normally be seen as good news, meteorologist Rob Sharpe explained the dangers of it to Sky News.

‘Any fires burning near the coast will become extremely dangerous as the change arrives as the fire flank will suddenly become the fire front,’ Mr Sharpe said.

‘We’ve noticed that at 9am the cool change crossed the Victorian and NSW border slightly ahead of the forecast.

Destruction: An aerial view shows burnt bushland near Port Macquarie, with some trees orange and others turned to ash

Destruction: An aerial view shows burnt bushland near Port Macquarie, with some trees orange and others turned to ash

Destruction: An aerial view shows burnt bushland near Port Macquarie, with some trees orange and others turned to ash

‘The southerly buster is due to reach Wollongong around 5pm, Sydney at 6pm or 7pm and Newcastle close to 8pm.’

Adding to the pain for firefighters and residents in at-risk is a distinct lack of rain on the horizon over coming days. 

Four people were charged by NSW Police on Tuesday for breaching a total fire ban, including a nine-year-old boy.

The youngster was caught using a blowtorch to light a fire in long grass behind Sullivan Street at Worrigee, near Nowra. He was issued a warning under the Young Offenders Act.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned against complacency, saying this morning was the ‘calm before the storm’.

On guard: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Monday at RFS HQ) officially declared a state of emergency which will last for seven days - as fire chiefs warned the infernos will be too dangerous to put out

On guard: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Monday at RFS HQ) officially declared a state of emergency which will last for seven days - as fire chiefs warned the infernos will be too dangerous to put out

On guard: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Monday at RFS HQ) officially declared a state of emergency which will last for seven days – as fire chiefs warned the infernos will be too dangerous to put out

Pictured: Firefighters tackle wildfires in Taree, 350km north of Sydney on Saturday

Pictured: Firefighters tackle wildfires in Taree, 350km north of Sydney on Saturday

Pictured: Firefighters tackle wildfires in Taree, 350km north of Sydney on Saturday 

‘We’re not expecting the front until the early afternoon around 2pm… it will be a strong wind and will blow its way all the way up the coast,’ he told Ray Hadley on radio station 2GB on Tuesday morning. 

But the PM tried to prevent mass panic, adding: ‘Just want to assure people, Ray, that everything that can be done is being done.’  

‘The one mercy in all this is there’s been a few days to prepare and for people to prepare and I trust people have done that,’ he said.  

So far, fires in the NSW north-east have claimed three lives, destroyed more than 150 homes, and razed more than 1 million hectares (3,800 square miles) of forest and farmland since Friday. 

The week-long declaration of a state of emergency gives the Rural Fire Service sweeping powers to control resources and direct other government agencies. 

Officials have advised people to evacuate while they can saying emergency services will not be able to save everyone. Pictured: Flames encroaching a residential street in Harrington, on the Mid North Coast, on Friday

Officials have advised people to evacuate while they can saying emergency services will not be able to save everyone. Pictured: Flames encroaching a residential street in Harrington, on the Mid North Coast, on Friday

Officials have advised people to evacuate while they can saying emergency services will not be able to save everyone. Pictured: Flames encroaching a residential street in Harrington, on the Mid North Coast, on Friday

Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell issued an order to local base commanders to use defence resources in fire efforts. 

Firefighter strike teams have also been transported from Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart to Port Macquarie. 

More than 400 NSW schools were closed on Tuesday, including about 300 public schools and more than 100 Catholic and independent schools. More than 50 did not operate on Monday. About 20 TAFE campuses will also close.   

‘Safety remains the number one priority. If it is not safe to travel to school please do not attend and inform the school of your intention,’ NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell warned.  

Doctors and paramedics have already treated more than 100 people for fire-related injuries, including 20 firefighters, Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan said. 

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Leading GPs call for mandatory home visits to be scrapped

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Leading doctors are calling for home visits to be scrapped because ‘they are too time consuming’.

Under current rules, GPs are required to take call-outs when patients claim they are too ill to make it to hospital. 

Only under special circumstances can doctors refuse these visits, such as if the GP register is full or patients live too far away.

But the Kent arm of the British Medical Association (BMA) is calling for mandatory call-outs to be removed.

It claims home visits are often unnecessary and take up valuable time that could be spent with sicker patients in their surgery.

Leading doctors are calling for the removal of home visits from their contracts because 'they are too time consuming' (file)

Leading doctors are calling for the removal of home visits from their contracts because 'they are too time consuming' (file)

Leading doctors are calling for the removal of home visits from their contracts because ‘they are too time consuming’ (file)

Local medical committee leaders will vote on a motion on November 22 which asks GP Committee England to negotiate a change. 

Kent locum GP Dr Andy Parkin, who put forward the motion, told Pulse Magazine: ‘The main thing is the workload and demand on time in general practice. 

‘It’s not to remove the ability to do home visits if GPs want to. If there are truly house-bound patients or palliative care patients, I think GPs should still be able to do that.

‘The key thing is to remove the expectation that home visits are a part of general practice. 

‘They are the most time-consuming part of the job; they are one of the most litigious parts of the job. 

‘Even trying to triage visits causes a lot of aggravation from patients who ring up and want a visit and don’t need a home visit.’

WAITING TIMES FOR ROUTINE OPS ON NHS HITS RECORD HIGH

The NHS is on a collision course as it heads into winter with waiting lists for routine operations at an all-time high, experts have warned.

A damning report showed more than 4.41million patients were stuck on waiting lists in England in August – up by 250,000 from last year.

And 662,053 people have waited more than 18 weeks for routine treatments, such as joint replacements – the highest since records began.

Health leaders condemned the figures and said they show the NHS could face its worst winter ever with Brexit, harsh weather conditions and flu on the horizon.

NHS bosses said trusts up and down the country are working ‘incredibly hard’ to prepare for the winter and make sure patients are kept safe.

But the Royal College of Nursing fears more and more patients are going to be treated in corridors as pressure gets piled on the health service.

And the Royal College of Surgeons warned the upcoming winter pressure, Brexit and the NHS pension crisis will create a ‘perfect storm’ for hospitals this winter.

Experts called for ‘swift and far-reaching’ Government action to get the NHS braced for winter. 

He said GPs are being required to travel further distances as more patients from further afield register to their practice. The doctor claimed these visits are often hour-round trips. 

The motion proposes creating a separate arrangement for poorly patients who require urgent home visits.  

Dr Parkin added that, in Kent, there is a home-visiting service run by paramedics and nurses.

Urgent call-outs are referred to them, but ‘they have a limited capacity’ and can only make it to two out of seven requests, the GP said. 

It comes amid a GP recruitment crisis which has seen the average wait for an appointment breach the two-week mark for the first time on record.

Health leaders have repeatedly blamed the shortage on increasing work pressures, hefty tax bills and an ageing workforce.

Many GPs are retiring in their 50s, moving abroad or leaving to work in the private sector, prompting a record 138 surgeries to shut in 2018.

It comes after Welsh GPs called for afternoon home visits to be handed over to ambulance services over the weekend. But leaders at the Wales LMCs conference voted it down. 

Last Friday, hospitals were urged to offer senior doctors salary top-ups to avoid an NHS crisis this winter.

NHS Improvement, which oversees how NHS trusts are run, wants hospitals chiefs in England to adhere to guidance brought in amid the pensions fiasco. 

It says all hospitals should be giving cash to doctors who have quit the retirement scheme out of fear of high tax rates on their pensions. 

The arrangement would mean doctors don’t lose out on employer’s contributions, which are worth 20.6 per cent of the pensionable salary.

But data obtained through Freedom of Information requests show the majority of hospitals are not offering the flexible pension policy. 

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) sent a request to all 153 acute trusts and foundation trusts.

Of the 108 which responded, just 10 trusts had a pension recycling policy, reports the Financial Times.

The HCSA has now said hospitals should be forced to offer cash payments, which are currently a voluntary policy.     

This would be in lieu of employer pension contributions that they are no longer receiving – currently worth 20.6 per cent of their salary. 

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Hillary Clinton condemns `shameful´ delay in Russia…

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Hillary Clinton today slammed the ‘shameful’ delay in releasing a report probing Russian interference in British politics saying ‘people deserve to know’ its findings before the election.

She told the BBC she is ‘dumbfounded’ by the decision and believes ‘every person who votes’ in the UK should see it before Britain goes to the polls on December 12.

The former presidential candidate spoke out while touring British radio studios with her daughter Chelsea promoting their new book ‘Gutsy Women’ – but some have questioned the timing of her own intervention ahead of a UK general election.

The report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was sent to the Prime Minister for approval on October 17 – but it has been held up.   

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Mrs Clinton said the delay was disgraceful given the upcoming election, referencing the proven Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The former secretary of state said: ‘I’m dumbfounded that this Government won’t release the report about Russian influence. Because every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens. 

Hillary Clinton is promoting her new book in the UK but used the chance to slam the 'shameful' delay in release of report probing Russian interference in British politics in BBC interviews

Hillary Clinton is promoting her new book in the UK but used the chance to slam the 'shameful' delay in release of report probing Russian interference in British politics in BBC interviews

Hillary Clinton is promoting her new book in the UK but used the chance to slam the ‘shameful’ delay in release of report probing Russian interference in British politics in BBC interviews

Chelsea Clinton (left) and Hillary Clinton are in London promoting their book 'Gutsy Women', which they co-wrote

Chelsea Clinton (left) and Hillary Clinton are in London promoting their book 'Gutsy Women', which they co-wrote

Chelsea Clinton (left) and Hillary Clinton are in London promoting their book ‘Gutsy Women’, which they co-wrote

Hillary Clinton waves outside the BBC yesterday where she spoke to Radio 4 and 5Live and also appeared on BBC Breakfast in pre-recorded interviews

Hillary Clinton waves outside the BBC yesterday where she spoke to Radio 4 and 5Live and also appeared on BBC Breakfast in pre-recorded interviews

Hillary Clinton waves outside the BBC yesterday where she spoke to Radio 4 and 5Live and also appeared on BBC Breakfast in pre-recorded interviews

‘That should be an absolute condition. There is no doubt – we know it in our country, we have seen it in Europe, we have seen it here [Britain], that Russia in particular is determined to try to shape the politics of Western democracies, not to our benefit, but to theirs.

‘People deserve to know what is in that report. We had a somewhat similar problem in 2016.’

The BBC has been accused of ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for Mrs Clinton who herself has been accused of ‘interfering’ in British politics during the general election campaign.  

Although there has been no indication of the precise contents of the report, it will assess the threat posed by Moscow to Britain’s democratic processes following an 18-month inquiry into illicit Russian activities in Britain.

The Sunday Times previously claimed nine Russian business people who have donated money to the Conservative Party were named in the dossier.

BBC listeners and viewers expressed disquiet about Hillary's own decision to speak out during the crunch general election campaign

BBC listeners and viewers expressed disquiet about Hillary's own decision to speak out during the crunch general election campaign

BBC listeners and viewers expressed disquiet about Hillary’s own decision to speak out during the crunch general election campaign

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who has seen the report, has stressed its publication is essential ahead of the General Election, as it contains information ‘germane’ to voters.

Hillary Clinton says she wants to hug Meghan Markle over ‘racism and sexism’ 

Hillary Clinton ‘wants to hug’ the Duchess of Sussex after she was targeted by trolls on social media.

The former US presidential candidate said Meghan’s treatment over the past three years had been ‘heart-breaking and wrong’.

She was joined by her daughter Chelsea, who said that the duchess ‘absolutely’ faced a racially charged backlash after her relationship with Harry began in 2016.

Mrs Clinton said: ‘I think even if you go back and look at social media from the time the engagement was announced, race was clearly an element in it.’

She told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘She has made her own way in the world. Then she falls in love, and he falls in love with her, and everybody should be celebrating that because it is a true love story. You can just look at them and see that.’

A report into Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016 found illegal interference from Moscow occurred in a ‘sweeping and systemic fashion’, according to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mrs Clinton stressed the importance of the UK security report being made public before the General Election to allow voters to make informed decisions.

She continued: ‘(Donald) Trump and his campaign were under investigation for their connections with Russia, and Russians, and Russian cutouts and Russian agents, and others promoting Russian interests.

‘And the public didn’t know before the election. And I would hate to see that happen here. Whatever the outcome.

‘ don’t know what’s in it, any more than anybody else does. But certainly, people who are about to vote in a month or so deserve to know what is in a report that one has to speculate must have something of concern, otherwise why wouldn’t it be publicly disclosed?’

Mr Grieve, chairman of the ISC, has accused the PM of sitting on the report ahead of the December 12 vote.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and a Downing Street spokesman have said the machinery of government is the reason for the delay in publication.

Mr Shapps said that while he was not close to the report, the delay is ‘just the usual way that purdah works’ and incumbent governments are not allowed to publish anything controversial in the run-up to an election.

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