Abundant takes extreme veggies to market

It has bred tough tomatoes that can sweat out Pakistan’s summer and “cutecumbers” that need little water, now specialist seed supplier Abundant Produce is planting itself on the ASX.

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Abundant Produce specialises in developing seeds that can grow in extreme conditions.

“We are breeding under quite extreme conditions and we put our breeding populations through the stress of hot and cold,” Abundant Produce chief executive Graham Brown told AAP.

The company’s tomatoes can survive 50 degree temperatures thanks to a bit of outback muscle, combining a standard tomato with the Australian bush variety.

Abundant is expected to list next week at an issue price of 20c a share, giving the Sydney-based outfit an estimated market capital around $9 million.

Its hardy cucumber seeds, already selling to Bunnings and US-based seed giant Burpee, will be shortly followed by tomatoes and chillies, pumpkins and other offerings are in development.

Abundant aims to sell seeds to large growers, international seed companies and fresh produce companies and Mr Brown is hoping the new varieties will prove popular at retail level.

“Consumers have a shorter attention span. They’ll want the new taste experience,” he said.

Already describing the new “cutecumber” as perfect for school lunch boxes, Mr Brown said Abundant is targeting a gap in the market for new and interesting breeds of vegetables.

Abundant does not use genetic modification for its seed products, with Mr Brown saying it was a practical and ethical choice to steer clear.

“It also differentiates ourselves from the bigger players… given the choice I’d probably choose to have non-GMO (genetically modified organism),” Mr Brown said.

The company has worked with Sydney University’s Plant Breeding Institute – with which Mr Brown has a longstanding relationship – to create hybrid seeds through techniques such as cross-breeding.

Although testing is done mainly at a facility in western Sydney, Abundant also puts its products to the test in the hot Punjab province of Pakistan.

As part of an aid program the company helped develop tomatoes that can survive the extreme conditions of the region.

The hardier seed gave farmers a more valuable crop, Mr Brown said.

America is great right now: Obama taunts Trump

US President Barack Obama has opened his final presidential campaign – against Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

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His name won’t be on November’s ballot, but Obama is slowly embracing his role as the anti-Trump, using the contrast between himself and the boastful billionaire to paint Trump as anything but presidential.

A Trump victory in the presidential race would mark an overwhelming rebuke to Obama and the likely demise of many of his policies.

So with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders still fighting it out in the Democratic primary, it has fallen increasingly to Obama to take on Trump in ways that no other Democrat can.

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For months, Obama and his aides mostly avoided getting dragged into the fray or letting the campaign din distract from Obama’s agenda.

The White House would sidestep questions about the latest Trump controversies, refusing to turn Obama into a pundit on the race to replace him.

When Obama waded in, it was only to offer implicit rebukes of the Trump phenomenon, such as Obama’s assertion in September that “America is great right now” – a not-so-veiled reference to the business mogul’s campaign promise to “make America great again.”

Now the Trump critique is coming with increasing frequency and ease. Asked whether Trump’s proposals were already damaging US relations, Obama answered unequivocally: “Yes.”

“I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made,” Obama said. “They don’t expect half-baked notions coming out of the White House. We can’t afford that.”

The Democratic National Committee quickly circulated video of Obama’s remarks, arguing they illustrated how Trump “simply doesn’t have the temperament necessary to be commander in chief.”

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Yet by calling attention to Trump’s positions, the White House risks further elevating him, while giving Obama’s critics a fresh reason to get behind the billionaire businessman.

Obama has said repeatedly he doesn’t believe Trump will win, and White House officials said there was no concerted effort to insert Obama more visibly into the election debate. After all, every minute Obama spends talking about Trump is a minute wasted when it comes to Obama’s many unfinished pieces of business.

Eagle Priddis the poster boy for success

If West Coast midfielder Matt Priddis ever gets a trophy named in his honour, it should be a macaroni figurine awarded to the most professional player.

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Persistence, professionalism, and precision are three of the best words to sum up Priddis, who will notch his 200-game milestone in Saturday night’s western derby against Fremantle at Domain Stadium.

Even getting to one AFL game was an achievement for Priddis.

The curly-haired midfielder spent three years banging on the draft door before finally getting a chance on West Coast’s rookie list.

What Priddis lacked in speed and finesse, he made up for with unwavering commitment.

Such is Priddis’ attention to detail, he revealed several years ago of his knack of weighing out 275 grams of pasta – no more or no less – to eat for dinner the night before each game.

It’s this level of dedication that has helped take Priddis to the top, culminating in his 2014 Brownlow Medal success.

When teenagers are drafted to West Coast, Priddis soon becomes their poster boy for success.

“I’m sure every club has their warriors. But he’s ours,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

“He’s a great role model for the club and for the AFL, and any young kids coming through.”

West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern was the perfect example of how talent means nothing if it’s not accompanied by a strong work ethic.

The 23-year-old was banished from the team in late 2013 after rocking up to day one of pre-season training overweight.

McGovern worked hard to get back into shape, and he’s now considered as one of the best swingmen in the AFL.

He said Priddis was a constant inspiration for everyone at the club.

“He sets the standard for everyone, which is what you need in a club and you need in a leader,” said McGovern.

“A lot of the young boys look up to him.”

Even Fremantle coach Ross Lyon can’t help but admire Priddis.

“To come off a rookie list – as Denis Pagan says: `It doesn’t build character, it eliminates the weak’,” Lyon said.

“So he’s clearly a strong character.

“He just reflects possibility mindset – that anything is possible if you apply yourself.”

Federal government to consider Lindt Cafe siege findings

The federal government will consider mandating all of its agencies to forward any correspondence that may raise national security concerns to ASIO.

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It follows a recommendation made by NSW Coroner Michael Barnes, who delivered his findings into the deadly Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney on Wednesday.

The man responsible for the act of terror in December 2014, Man Haron Monis, wrote a number of letters to senior government figures between 2007 and 2014.

A letter addressed to Attorney-General George Brandis two months before the siege stated: “I would like to send a letter to Caliph Ibrahim, the leader of the Islamic State, in which making some comments and asking some questions. Please advise me whether the communication is legal or illegal.”

RELATEDNSW Coroner’s findings on police raid on cafe

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The Monis letter was passed on to the attorney-general’s department’s national security law and policy division.

A month later senior official Karen Horsfall replied to Monis.

She noted Islamic State was listed as a terrorist organisation, but that the department did not provide legal advice and could not specifically address the legality of his proposed actions.

Mr Barnes, in his 495-page inquest report, said there did not appear to be an effective policy in place to require the commonwealth bureaucracy to forward concerning correspondence to ASIO.

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He recommended the attorney-general develop a policy to ensure such letters should be referred to ASIO and an agency known as the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre – which currently only exists in Queensland.

“If the FTAC system had existed in NSW and Monis’ letter to the attorney general had been referred to it that letter could have been placed in its proper and complete context,” he said.

“That, in turn, would have permitted the hyperbolic escalation of Monis’ ‘warning behaviours’ to be identified and then addressed.”

Senator Brandis, addressing a Senate hearing on Wednesday, noted the coroner did not make any findings adverse to the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police or ASIO but welcomed the constructive recommendations.

“The government will study (them) closely and as a matter of high priority, and which will be acted upon as appropriate,” he said.

More NSW Coroner’s findings on police raid

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Senator Brandis said his department had routinely referred correspondence that might raise national security concerns to ASIO – at his behest – since 2015.

“In light of the coroner’s recommendation, we will, of course, consider whether to extend such procedures more broadly across government.”

The hearing was told that, following a Senate inquiry in 2015, officers from his department sought assurances from other agencies that they have procedures in place to deal with letters of that kind.

But they did not mandate a policy to be deployed across government.

Earlier, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assured Australians that agencies were working tirelessly to keep them safe.

“We do that by destroying Daesh in the field in the Middle East and by destroying their networks here at home,” he told parliament.

“We continue to use every avenue available at our disposal, providing additional resources whether they be financial or legal, whether it relate to signals intelligence or human intelligence or hard power.”

Since September 2014, when the threat level was raised to probable, there had been 64 arrests for terrorism offences and 12 major plots disrupted.

SYDNEY SIEGE

Tasmanian MPs vote down euthanasia bill

Despite passionate support from some Tasmanian MPs, a bid to legalise voluntary euthanasia has failed in the state’s lower house.

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Parliamentarians spent hours outlining reasons for and against the legislation with a conscience vote late on Wednesday night defeating the move.

The final count was eight in favour and 16 against.

Liberal premier Will Hodgman was one of those to oppose the bill but insisted members of his party voted with their heart, and indeed one – Nic Street – was among the ayes.

“It is a very confronting and challenging issue and I have no fear in saying that I am personally very confronted by it and very conflicted,” Mr Hodgman said.

“We are all being asked, in fact challenged, by some people in this place to make a decision on this bill and I will: I can’t support it.

“It contains significant shortcomings, (which) emphasise the difficulty in constructing a framework to safely provide for voluntary assisted dying.”

Opposition Labor MP Lara Giddings and state Greens leader Cassy O’Connor jointly authored the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, with the latter using the death of her father as an example.

Shane O’Connor, 78, a former state press gallery journalist, died in early May from melanoma.

“I thanked him in that very brief window of hospital days before he was sedated into pharmacological oblivion,” Ms O’Connor said.

While grateful for the chance to say goodbye she said her dad’s final days could have been different if he had the option to end his life.

“I don’t know what dad would have said if given the choice but he wasn’t asked.”

The bill had proposed an avenue for Tasmanians with an eligible medical condition, who are judged competent, access to a lethal drug to end their life.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said it would leave vulnerable people exposed to exploitation and remove protections safeguarding the sanctity of life.

“This is in fact a dangerous bill that will in fact create a different group of cruel tragedies,” he said.

“We’ve said every suicide is too many yet before us is a bill that would sanction suicide.”

Former Tasmanian premier Ms Giddings stressed the proposed law would act as a last resort for people suffering intolerable pain.

“You can only access this pathway when all other care and treatment options have been exhausted,” she said.

In many cases palliative care options were failing patients, who were being subjected to “state-sanctioned torture” that prevented them from ending their lives with dignity, she added.

Three of Ms Giddings’ Labor colleagues voted against the bill.

Senior Liberal Rene Hidding said the proposed legislation was fundamentally flawed.

“You might shoot dogs and horses but you can’t treat humans like they are suffering animals,” he said.

Parliaments in NSW and Victoria recently considered similar legislation amid growing public support for euthanasia rights.

Outside Tasmania’s parliament, people holding banners such as ‘My life, my choice’ rallied in support of legalising euthanasia.

Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

‘Sing with the angels’: More victims named in the Manchester attack

Here is what we know so far about the victims of the terror attack, the deadliest in Britain since the 2005 London bombings.

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‘Sing with the angels’

Olivia Campbell, 15, has been named as a victim of the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester attack.

Her mother, Charlotte Campbell, paid tribute to her on Facebook saying: “go sing with the angels”.

Post by Charlotte Campbell.

‘Beautiful little girl’  

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos from Leyland, a town in Lancashire, northwest England, is so far the youngest named fatality.

She attended the concert with her mother and older sister. Friends said they were both being treated for their injuries in hospital.

Chris Upton, headteacher at the Tarleton Community Primary School, described Saffie as “a beautiful little girl in every sense of the word”.

“She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair,” he said.

“The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”

Saffie Rose Roussos, one of the victims of a attack at Manchester Arena, in Manchester England which left more than twenty dead on Monday. PA via AP

Related readingStudying health care

The death of Georgina Callander, believed to be 18, was confirmed by her school, the Runshaw College Sixth Form Centre in Lancashire.

“It is with enormous sadness that it appears that one of the people who lost their lives in Monday’s Manchester attack was one of our students here,” the school said, adding that she had been studying health and social care.

Her former school, Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy, added: “Georgina was a lovely young student who was very popular with her peers and the staff and always made the most of the opportunities she had at the school.

“All of our students will gather together today for a time of prayer and reflection and to give thanks for the life of Georgina.”

An image of Georgina Callander on a Go Fund Me page set up to help her family pay for funeral costs.GoFundMe

Related reading’One in a million’

John Atkinson, 26, from Bury in Lancashire, was named by friends as one of those killed.

His Facebook account has been “memorialised” — a process only made possible by verified family members contacting the website directly.

John was “one in a million and loved by so many,” wrote Hayley Turk, who organised an online fund for his family.

“A true gentleman,” she added.

John Atkinson’s image on a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for his funeral costs.GoFundMe

Polish couple

In a Facebook post soon after the attack, York College student Alex Klis made a plea to help find her parents, Angelika and Marcin Klis.

“If anyone comes across my parents please, please let me know as they’ve been missing ever since the attack, this is a picture taken tonight so this is exactly what they were wearing,” she wrote.

Polish parents died in the suicide attack in the English city of Manchester, Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski confirmed on Wednesday.

“The parents came after the concert to collect their daughters and unfortunately we have information that they are dead,” Waszczykowski told private radio RMF FM.

“The children are safe.” 

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Two mums

Alison Howe and her friend Lisa Lees, who arrived at the arena to pick up their children, have been named victims.

Ms Howe’s stepson Jordan Howe posted a photo of her on Facebook, saying: “They took a caring beautiful mum and stepmother away from us all she was amazing to us all x love you loads Alison Howe xx.”

Lee Hunter, the brother of Lisa Lees, posted to Facebook: ‘For those who don’t know, Lisa is gone but never ever forgotten.

“I love you Lisa, I’ll miss you so much.”

An earlier Facebook post by Lisa Lees’ daughter, Lauren Ashleigh Lees, shared a photo of her before her death had been confirmed:

“Recent picture of my mum, she’s no longer blonde like the photo originally shared.

“We are all really worried, still haven’t heard a thing, thank you all for your amazing support.”

SBS

‘You died a hero’

Kelly Brewster, 32, is another victim of the terror incident. 

She helped protect her niece, Hollie Booth, who broke two legs during the attack, and her sister Claire Booth, according to Hollie’s grandmother Tracy Booth.

“Would just like to say Kelly Brewster, you died a hero,” Tracy Booth wrote on Facebook.

“You saved your sister Claire Booth and my granddaughter Hollie Booth, so Kelly, you fly high with the angels.”

Facebook

“We got the news last night that our wonderful, iconic and beautiful Martyn didn’t survive,” Mr Hayward wrote.

“Thankfully I have his wonderful family and amazing friends to keep each other strong.”

Facebook

59 wounded

Among the scores of wounded who were treated at Manchester Arena after the attack, 59 people were taken to hospital, including 12 children under the age of 16.

There were also walking wounded who presented themselves at Manchester hospitals.

“There are a number of individuals who have very, very serious injuries and are requiring intensive care and people who are going to be in hospital for a long time,” said David Ratcliffe, medical director of the North West Ambulance Service.

In a statement outside Downing Street on Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May said that many of the wounded were being treated for “life-threatening conditions”.

Crowdfunding

The Manchester Evening News, the city’s main newspaper, launched a crowdfunding campaign to support the families of those affected by the attack.

The fund had raised more than £500,000 ($650,000, 580,000 euros) by 1800 GMT Tuesday.

Crowdfunding was also under way for individual victims, and for a homeless man begging at the venue who cradled a woman who died in his arms.

Pope asks Trump to be peacemaker

Pope Francis has urged US President Donald Trump to be a peacemaker at their highly anticipated first meeting, and Trump promised he wouldn’t forget the pontiff’s message.

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Under clear blue skies, Trump, who exchanged sharp words with the Pope during the US election campaign last year, received a tribute from the Swiss Guard in a Vatican courtyard when he arrived.

He entered a small elevator taking him to the third floor of the Apostolic Palace and, after a long ceremonial walk past frescoed corridors, shook the Pope’s hand at the entrance to the private study, which the frugal pontiff uses only for official occasions.

Before the door of the wood-lined elevator closed, a Vatican protocol official was heard quipping to the president that it was not “like Trump Tower in New York”.

Francis smiled faintly as he greeted Trump outside the study and was not as outgoing as he sometimes is with visiting heads of state. Trump, seeming subdued, said “it is a great honour”.

Even when the two were sitting at the Pope’s desk in the presence of photographers and reporters, the Pope avoided the small talk that usually occurs before the media is ushered out.

The two talked privately for about 30 minutes with translators.

Both men looked far more relaxed at the end of the private meeting, with the Pope smiling and joking with Trump and his wife Melania.

Francis’s interpreter could be heard translating a comment by the Pope to the First Lady: “What do you give him to eat?”

Francis then gave the president a small sculptured olive tree and told him through the interpreter that it symbolised peace.

“It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” the Pope said, speaking in Spanish.

Trump responded: “We can use peace.”

Francis also gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is Nonviolence – A Style of Politics for Peace, and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.

“Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said.

During his election campaign, Trump described as a hoax scientific findings that human economic activity contributed to global warming. As president, he has proposed deep cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency and the elimination of many environmental regulations.

Trump gave the Pope a boxed set of five first-edition books by murdered US civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

As Trump and the Pope said goodbye at the door of the study, Trump told the Pope: “Thank you, thank you. I won’t forget what you said.”

Asked how the meeting with the Pope went, Trump said: “Great. He is something. He is really good. We had a fantastic meeting.”

Bombers consider making AFL bid for Martin

Essendon have confirmed they are considering a bid for Richmond star Dustin Martin when he becomes an AFL free agent at the end of the season.

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The Bombers’ potential interest in Martin comes as the AFL weighs up relaxing the rules surrounding free agency.

Any changes to free agency would be part of the new players pay agreement, which is understood to be close.

Martin and Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe are the biggest names among the players who become eligible for free agency at the end of the 2017 campaign.

St Kilda and North Melbourne have also been linked to Martin.

Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell said on Wednesday that their list management committee were considering a range of potential targets.

He admitted that they are keen to see how the scenario unfolds with Martin, but added it was “very preliminary stages”.

“We’re open to exploring all those ways that we can add value to our list, and we’ll continue those discussions,” Campbell told SEN.

“We certainly haven’t been to the point where it (going after Martin) has been raised anywhere outside list management or certainly at a board level – when it gets to the free agency market, that’s a pretty pivotal part of the process.

“Dustin’s a super talent and he’s a genuine match-winner, and we’ll see what happens.”

Also on Wednesday, The Age reported that the players association is pushing for free agency changes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement.

One proposal is free agency for life, where a player remains eligible after eight years in the game, no matter how many years he has been at a club.

Lindt siege was a terror incident: coroner

Man Haron Monis carried out an act of terror when he held 18 people hostage in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe, NSW Coroner Michael Barnes has found.

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“The siege was a terrorist incident,” the coroner said on Wednesday as he handed down his inquests into the fatal events of December 2014.

The conclusion on whether the 17-hour siege was a terror attack or not was important to assessing the actions of the agencies involved.

Experts on terrorism, radicalisation and Islamic State gave evidence at the inquest into the siege that resulted in the deaths of Monis, cafe manager Tori Johnson and Sydney barrister Katrina Dawson.

Monis had walked into the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place on the morning of Monday December 15 with an ageing sawn-off shotgun and an Islamic flag and took 18 people hostage.

It ended when Monis was shot by specialist police who stormed the cafe after Mr Johnson was killed.

Ms Dawson was fatally wounded after being hit by police bullet fragments.

Mr Barnes looked at the command system operated during the police response.

“Generally, it worked well,” he added.

The NSW Police Tactical Operations Unit was called out and a forward command post established.

“The transition from a system for dealing with a routine high-risk situation to that of a terrorist incident also proceeded swiftly and in accordance with relevant policies,” Mr Barnes said.

“There is a clear dividing line between senior executive officers of the police force and operational incident commanders responsible for decisions about the management of a terrorist incident.”

The primary police strategy was to contain and negotiate.

“That was adopted during the Lindt cafe siege. Sadly, it failed.”

Mr Barnes’ report examined how that strategy was applied.

“Contain and negotiate was the appropriate initial response to the siege. It continued to be so even after the siege was assessed to be a terrorist event” he said.

“How long it remained at the appropriate primary response depended upon a rigorous evaluation of its effectiveness. There was no evidence of an adequate examination was made.”

He recommended the NSW Police Force review the training and accreditation of negotiators and consider drawing on international experience.

But Mr Barnes “readily accepted” the view of an international expert who told the inquest the siege “would have challenged any police force in the world”.

For the NSW police force, “the challenge was greatly increased the fact that this was the first terrorism-related siege in Australia”.

“Training and exercising cannot completely equip any organisation to respond to a novel threat.”

Kohli wants relaxed India at Champs Trophy

India’s best chance of defending the Champions Trophy title next month will be if they do not burden themselves with that prospect, skipper Virat Kohli said on Wednesday.

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Kohli was part of the Indian team that defeated hosts England in the 2013 final at Edgbaston, and he said he recalled no creased foreheads in that victorious dressing room.

The same carefree attitude has been the hallmark of the Indian team that are currently the No.1 Test side, and Kohli saw no reason why it would not work in the one-day format.

“I think the first challenge is not to think that we are defending the title,” the 28-year-old told reporters.

“When we went there last time, we just wanted to enjoy ourselves as a young unit and we ended up winning the tournament and creating a team which has done so well so far.

“Right now, the mindset is very similar – to go out there and enjoy our cricket, which we’ve done in the past couple of years.”

Kohli demanded from his team the kind of “ruthlessness” evident when they won 10 of 13 Tests on home soil last season.

India’s batting mainstay also reminded his team that there would be little margin for error in the June 1-18 tournament featuring the top eight one-day sides.

“Because the tournament is much shorter (than World Cup) and you got top eight teams in the world, the competitiveness of the tournament is much higher, right from the word go,” he said.

“In Champions Trophy, you need to be on top of your game from game one.

“If not, your chances go down pretty soon.

“I think that’s the biggest challenge in Champions Trophy.”

Troops deploy as Britain goes on top terror alert

Britain deployed soldiers to key sites Wednesday and raised its terror alert to the maximum after the Manchester suicide bombing by a local man of Libyan origin who may have been radicalised in Syria.

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Security services believe the suspected bomber, Salman Abedi, was likely to have had help from others in staging the attack that killed 22 people including a girl aged just eight.

Interior minister Amber Rudd said the 22-year-old had been on the radar of the intelligence community before the massacre late Monday at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande.

Investigators were trying to piece together the last movements of Abedi, a Manchester-born man of Libyan descent whose parents had reportedly fled the now fallen regime of Moamer Kadhafi.

After arresting a 23-year-old man on Tuesday, police said they had taken three more men into custody on Wednesday in south Manchester, where Abedi lived.

Abedi was reported to be a former business student who dropped out of university and turned to radical Islam.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the bomber had “likely” been to Syria, citing information provided by British intelligence services to their counterparts in Paris.

Collomb told French television the suspect “grew up in Britain and then suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then likely to Syria, became radicalised and decided to carry out this attack”.

“In any case, the links with Daesh are proven,” he said, using a term for the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday.

British police and intelligence agencies have arrested three more suspects in connection with the Manchester suicide bombing.

Three more men arrested over bombing in Manchester

 

They said three men were arrested on Wednesday in south Manchester, where a day earlier a 22-year-old man was also arrested and a number of homes were searched following a suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester.

 

Security services believe the suspected bomber, Salman Abedi, was likely to have had help from others in staging the massacre that killed 22 people including one girl aged just eight.

More raids – and three more arrests – in #Manchester @SBSNews pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/Yv9gWbRHD8

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) May 24, 2017

Interior minister Amber Rudd said the 22-year-old had been on the radar of the intelligence community before the attack late Monday at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande.

She said he had been known to security forces “up to a point”.

Security services were trying to piece together the last movements of Abedi, a Briton of Libyan descent, amid media reports he had travelled recently to Libya and possibly Syria.

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Rudd declined to give any further information about Abedi but told BBC radio: “It was a devastating occasion, it was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before, and it seems likely – possible – that he wasn’t doing this on his own.”

The minister said she was “not surprised at all” that the attack had been claimed by the Islamic State group, but said there was no information yet to confirm the extremist organisation’s active direction.

Britain ordered soldiers to key sites on Wednesday after going on maximum alert for fear of an imminent new terror strike.

May raises UK threat level to ‘critical’ 0:00 Share

Prime Minister Theresa May placed the country on its highest level of terror alert – “critical” – for the first time since June 2007, following an attack on Glasgow Airport.

The last time troops were deployed on British streets was after an airliner plot in 2007.

Troops will fan out at sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster and foreign embassies in London to free up armed police for anti-terror duties.

May said a new attack “may be imminent” but the authorities stressed that the soldiers would remain under police command.

“This is a temporary arrangement in order to respond to an exceptional event,” Rudd said.

Related reading’Sing with the angels’

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since July 7, 2005 when four suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London’s transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people.

A Polish couple living in Britain were confirmed among the Manchester victims, along with 15-year-old Olivia Campbell, whose mother had issued heartrending appeals for help when her daughter was still listed as missing.

Next to a photograph of Olivia, Charlotte Campbell wrote on Facebook: “RIP my darling precious gorgeous girl Olivia Campbell taken far far to soon go sing with the angels and keep smiling mummy loves you so much.”

A total of 59 people were taken to hospital, many with life-threatening conditions. Twelve of them were aged under 16.

British media said Abedi was born in Manchester and that his Libyan parents had fled the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Police on Tuesday staged an armed raid on a Manchester address believed to be where Abedi lived, carrying out a controlled explosion to gain entry after arresting a 23-year-old man as part of the investigation.

Messages of hope at vigil

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Abedi was reported to be a former business student who dropped out of university and turned to radical Islam.

Britain’s best-selling newspaper The Sun carried pictures Wednesday of eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who was killed in the attack, and of Abedi under the words “PURE” and “EVIL” respectively.

Monday’s attack came just over two weeks before Britain votes in a general election and campaigning remained suspended by all the main political parties.

Related readingBlack armbands

The plan for the troop deployment, which has never before been used and is codenamed Operation Temperer, was first revealed after the November 2015 Paris terror attacks and is believed to allow up to 5,000 troops to be deployed.

France has already grown used to the sight of rifle-toting soldiers on the streets of its major cities under a state of emergency imposed after the attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and elsewhere in Paris.

Related reading

British police had already announced extra security measures for upcoming sporting fixtures including Saturday’s FA Cup football final.

Manchester was the latest in a series of deadly incidents across Europe claimed by IS jihadists that have coincided with an offensive on the group’s redoubts in Syria and Iraq carried out by US, British and other Western forces.

@SBSNews The two prior critical UK terror threat levels (2006 and 2007) remained in place for less than a week @SBSNews pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/lBTGCR0WwN

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) May 23, 2017

In a city famed globally for its football teams and pop bands like Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Take That, showbusiness stars and teams have joined political leaders worldwide in expressing their horror at the carnage.

“Words don’t really do justice for how we all feel. We’re numb,” Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said, ahead of Wednesday evening’s Europa League final against Amsterdam giants Ajax.

The players will wear black armbands for the game in Stockholm and a minute’s silence will be held.

In the city centre Tuesday evening, thousands gathered for a multi-faith vigil outside the town hall to remember the victims, with defiant chants of “Manchester! Manchester!” ringing around.

Witnesses describe Manchester attack

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Research breakthrough in women’s disease

Researchers are one step closer to identifying genes linked to a gynaecological disease affecting one in 10 Australian women.

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A global study into the genetic causes of endometriosis has identified a wider array of genetic links to the disease than what was previously known.

The team of researchers, co-led by University of Queensland Professor Grant Montgomery and QUT Associate Professor Dale Nyholt, confirmed nine previously identified genomic regions – sections of DNA that contain our unique genetic code – and discovered an additional five.

The findings will pave the way for better diagnostics and treatments in future.

“We found regions of the genome where there is an increased risk of endometriosis, and that is the first step to finding what genes are affected and how they increase risk,” Prof Montgomery said.

DNA samples taken from 17,045 women living with endometriosis were collected by Australian and overseas researchers and compared to 191,858 samples from women without the disease.

“We don’t understand what the causes of endometriosis are, but if we can find the specific genes affected, then we will be able to understand the biology and the cause,” Prof Montgomery said.

“The next step is to actually work out the genes that are involved.”

Ten per cent of Australian women live with endometriosis, a condition where cells similar to those found in the lining of the uterus grow outside of it, most commonly in the pelvis.

In some cases, the tissue is also found around the heart, lungs, kidneys or other organs.

Symptoms can include severe pain, difficult menstrual cycles, painful sex and infertility.

Endometriosis costs Australian society $7.7 billion a year, with two-thirds of that attributed to lost productivity and the remaining $2.5 billion to direct healthcare fees, a 2014 University of Sydney report found.

Queensland Endometriosis Association president Jessica Taylor said she often heard stories from women who, like her, were incorrectly diagnosed with other medical conditions before their endometriosis was detected.

“On average it takes seven to 10 years for a diagnosis and … if there were measures in place to pick up the disease earlier people wouldn’t go through the horrors that so many do,” the 24-year-old said.

“If you can catch it early, that would change someone’s life. “

Al-Qaeda ‘learning social media from IS’

Al-Qaeda is learning from the way Islamic State is using the internet to radicalise young people and it has Australian authorities concerned.

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The federal government is making social media a key focus in its bid to counter violent extremism and the narrative being pushed by terrorists.

The Attorney-General’s Department sees it as a “significant and enduring issue”, deputy secretary Katherine Jones told a Senate estimates hearing.

But it was not strictly associated with IS – also known as ISIL.

“We see other groups such as al-Qaeda learning from ISIL in terms of much more sophisticated use of social media,” she said on Wednesday night.

“Notwithstanding that ISIL itself may be experiencing some diminishing in its territorial control in Iraq and Syria, we consider the ongoing risks associated with that extremist material to be quite significant.”

Almost $12 million has been allocated towards countering violent extremism in 2016/17, boosted by a one-off funding injection.

Part of that money is being spent on helping NSW set up a support line for families to reach out if they have concerns about their children.

Ms Jones hopes it will be launched in the near future.

“It’s a really important initiative in order to have an alternative mechanism for families or friends of people who are radicalising … so people don’t have to go to law enforcement,” she said.

Attorney-General George Brandis told the hearing countering violent extremism is a relatively new area and the way programs are delivered has evolved across time and agencies.

Intervention programs have now been rolled out in all states and territories, with different techniques being used to help deradicalise young people or those at risk of being radicalised.

Ms Jones said the department was working on a national framework to assess the success of the programs, with evidence only anecdotal at this stage.

“The feedback we’re getting is that people are engaging with programs.”