Sea turtle hatchlings will draw thousands to Mon Repos near Bundaberg. Photo: Paul HarrisTurtle power has been on display up the Queensland coast as shelled reptiles young and old entered or re-entered the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.
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Izzy, a 120-kilogram green sea turtle, spent a year in hospital at the Reef HQ Aquarium after she was attacked by a crocodile and hit by a boat.

Her release back to the wild coincided with the start of turtle hatching season down the coast at Bundaberg.

Reef HQ Aquarium director Fred Nucifora said most turtles needed to be rehabilitated for up to six months, but Izzy’s injuries meant her stay was more than a year.

Izzy and 53.4-kilogram Evie, who was found stranded in mangroves in July, were released in Bowen, where they both were found.

“Our staff develop connections with our turtles but we know our end game is to see them go back fit and healthy into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,” Mr Nucifora said.

“So while the release day is tinged with a touch of sadness, it’s more happiness when we see them go back.”

One of those staff members was turtle carer Krystal Huff, who helped nurse both Izzy and Evie back to health prior to their release in the waters off Bowen.

“The green sea turtles are actually loyal to a feed ground and a breeding ground and they will swim between these two,” she said.

“So we have brought them back to Bowen where they were found, hoping that this is very close to their feeding ground, so they can just go back to their normal life, without having to swim all the way here.”

A satellite tag has been attached to Izzy so researchers can follow her progress.

Down the coast on Mon Repos beach near Bundaberg, tiny loggerhead turtles have started to make their way into the world.

Thousands of visitors are expected to travel to Mon Repos Regional Park, the largest turtle rookery in the South Pacific, to see the hatchlings as they emerge from the rookery and take on the surf for the first time.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service ranger-in-charge Cathy Gatley said the first turtle tracks were spotted last month.

Already, 180 loggerheads and three flatback turtles had arrived to lay their clutches of eggs.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager Rick Matkowski said he hoped more than 28,000 would visit the rookery this season.

“There is no better place in Australia to experience this extraordinary natural encounter, so we expect this to be a huge drawing card for tourists, both locally and internationally,” he said.

“The opportunity to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures is once-in-a-lifetime for most people, but witnessing them lay eggs, or even watching the first breaths of a hatchling, is jaw-dropping.”

Last season, 372 loggerheads, 12 flatbacks and two green turtles came ashore at Mon Repos.

Rookery tours at Mon Repos will run until March 22, 2015.

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Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis allegedly incited his partner Amirah Droudis to murder his ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal, court documents reveal.
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The documents also show that in 2011 Monis told police he had a gun licence – the first suggestion of how the 50-year-old may have obtained the weapon used in the fatal siege.

Police say Ms Pal, 30, was stabbed repeatedly and then set alight in the stairwell of her Werrington home on April 21, 2013.

Seven months later, in October, Monis was charged with inciting, procuring, aiding and counselling Ms Droudis to murder Ms Pal, who died between 4.15 and 4.30pm.

He was also charged with assisting and harbouring Ms Droudis after the murder.

A month later, in November, Ms Droudis was charged with murder.

The pair appeared in court on November 15, 2013 and Monis did not apply for bail and it was formally refused. He was granted bail on December 12, 2013, but he remained in custody as he was unable to meet his bail conditions.

The self-styled sheikh was also charged with sexually assaulting seven women under the guise of “spiritual healing” sessions over more than a decade.

Court documents show Monis was accused of dozens of sexual offences including sexual intercourse without consent, touching the complainants’ breasts, and rubbing their bodies with oil between 2002 and 2014.

Monis was running “Spiritual Consultation”, a registered business, and the alleged assaults took place in a number of suburbs around Sydney including Wentworthville, Burwood and Liverpool.

Monis, who was charged under his alias Mohammad Manteghi, was freed from custody after Soula Droudis, the mother of Amirah Droudis, posted $1000 bail.

It wasn’t the first time Monis and his partner had come in contact with the law.

Seven years ago Monis was charged with sending “offensive and deplorable letters” to grieving families of the soldiers as well as the family of an Austrade official killed in Indonesia.

In August last year, he reluctantly pleaded guilty to 12 counts of using a postal service to send the “harassing or offensive” letters and was sentenced to a two-year good behaviour bond and 300 hours of community service.

Droudis pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting him.

The documents also reveal that two years before Ms Pal was murdered, in July 2011, Monis was charged with stalking and intimidating her.

Court documents show that police accused Monis of stalking or intimidating with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm at Hinchinbrook in south west Sydney.

During an interview with police in relation to this incident, Monis said that he had a firearms licence or a “shooters licence”, though at one point he said this licence was no longer valid.

However Monis was found not guilty of the stalking offence after a hearing.      

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Any successful hostess worth her cheese and crackers will tell you that preparation, presentation, and picking just the right frock are key to throwing a five-star Christmas party. What to wear
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Relieve yourself of the inevitable sartorial stress that comes with hosting a party, and pre-plan your outfit well ahead of time. Think simple and chic, and look for the right dress that suits your shape and aesthetic, is easy to run around in and can bear the odd gravy stain or two. Dresses are the most efficient for no-brainer chic. An elegant satin sheath, sequined silk mini dress or metallic maxi screams party. If you wear the pants, choose an equally effortless summer jumpsuit in a print or luxe fabric like silk, lace or georgette. Team with statement jewellery – jewelled cuff, ropes of pearls, glittering chandelier earrings or a cool ear cuff. Add an evening sandal, or glamourous lamé pump, and finish with a well-applied red lip and you are there. See and smell

Dress your house as stylishly as you are, decking your halls with garlands of fresh flowers, vintage decorations or handmade paper chains courtesy of the kids. For the super-organised, chic sites like missbunting上海龙凤419m.au or thebespokery上海龙凤419m.au are a great go-to for cool decals, glinting gold tassels and pretty paper garlands. Channel your inner-Martha Stewart and spritz pine cones with cinnamon-scented oil. Light scented candles that remind you of Christmas past, opting for nostalgic scents like fruit and flowers with rich base notes of musk, oak and cedar. Throw together your own potpourri, filling glass bowls with a pretty concoction of cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, bright dried orange slices and nutmeg, and place in every room. Sip

Christen your favourite festive tipple this year’s official Christmas cocktail. Instead of creating one at a time, choose a classic like sangria, margarita or a fruit daiquiri, and create one large batch in advance. If using fresh fruit, be sure to make on the day of the party; any earlier and it will spoil. For non-drinkers, try a virgin bellini, a perfectly pretty party drink, prepared easily with two parts each of peach juice and sparkling apple cider. Listen

Compile your own party playlist well ahead of time. For the musically challenged, or those in dire need of some fresh inspiration, try an online music streaming service (try Spotify, Soundcloud or Buddha Radio) and be rest assured that your music is super-cool and expertly chosen. Eat

Prepare food ahead of your guests arriving – that dress does not deserve to be stuck behind the stove. For a stand-up affair, keep food perfectly bite-sized, and on high rotation. Prepare a mixture of hot and cold bite-sized morsels – blinis piled with creme fraiche, roast beef and cornichons, oysters with mignonette, cheese beignets, fresh prawns, crab cakes and savoury tartlets make for a delicious party menu. Finish the evening on a sweet note, with mini-desserts that are a cinch to serve – Christmas pudding ice cream cones, gingerbread trifles or a croquembouche tower of caramel-dipped, cream-filled pastry puffs wrapped in a sugary web. Treat the late-stayers with a midnight supper of Christmas ham glazed with cloves, quince jelly and Dijon mustard. Serve in soft, fresh bread rolls alongside some good condiments, then toss everyone out and be thankful you remembered to buy tomorrow morning’s breakfast. You have earned it.

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Cars, housing and agent fees raise salary cap questionsGlory made Marinkovic, Thwaite marquee players to avoid salary cap breach
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Undisclosed agent fees, cars for players’ use and free accommodation are behind the allegations that Perth Glory have broken the FFA’s strict salary cap guidelines for up to three consecutive seasons.

Documents seen by Fairfax Media show the Glory has not declared a number of payments or service agreements in their annual reporting to the Football Federation of Australia.

In the 2012-13 financial year, at least 15 individual payments with a combined sum of $50,602 to several football agents for transfers, contract negotiations and scouting were not accounted for in the club’s annual A-League player contract register. There is also evidence of undeclared player agent fees relating to the 2011-12 season when they reached the A-League grand final.

The documents also confirm Perth Glory had at least 18 cars on their books in Season 2013-14. It is understood at least half of those cars were used as an incentive to recruit and retain players who were provided with vehicles for the duration of their time at the club but were not included in the salary cap.

Most cars were provided by private sponsors or rented and it is understood they were valued at approximately $20,000 each.

Sources allege the practice was also in place for accommodation allowances in 2012-13. Some players’ had the cost of their entire stay in Perth provided by the club but that was not included in the report, as required.

Some amendments were made for the 2013-14 season to provide more transparency, with at least two foreign players listed as having their accommodation provided by the club for a combined sum of $48,000. Though at least one other accommodation deal was not reported that season.

The A-League salary cap regulations stipulate that all third-party service agreements must be declared to the FFA. These include motor vehicles, accommodation not including in relocation, sign-on fees, performance bonuses, airfares, health insurance and player agent fees.

Fairfax Media revealed on Tuesday that Perth Glory shifted two of their highest earners onto marquee contracts in order to meet the forecasted salary cap of $2.55 million for this season. Their first two matches of the FFA Cup and A-League season were played before FFA approved the new contracts that will prevent the club exceeding the salary cap by June 30, 2015.

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Documents show Glory payments outside capGlory made Marinkovic, Thwaite marquee players to avoid salary cap breach
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When Perth Glory brought former Blackburn Rovers player Jamie Maclaren to the A-League on July 1, 2013, they made sure he could settle quickly in his new home in Western Australia. He was given a three-year contract that offered stability along with clauses providing him with pathways to go back to Europe if the opportunity arrived. On top of this, the club arranged for accommodation for the length of his entire contract to allow for a smooth transition back to Australia. The only problem was that Perth Glory didn’t declare the accommodation to the Football Federation of Australia as part of their salary cap report.

This was one of many small yet significant omissions in a series of bungles that lead to Perth Glory failing to declare player agent fees, player accommodation and cars provided to members of the squad over three past seasons. There is no suggestion Jamie Maclaren or his agent did anything wrong.

Following revelations on Tuesday the club was on course to breaching this season’s salary cap before moving two of their highest paid players to marquee positions, Fairfax Media obtained documents suggesting the club did not disclose specific details relating to player benefits in past seasons. The period in question relates for three seasons; the 2011-12 when they reached the grand final, 2012-13 and 2013-14 A-League seasons. The club confirmed similar practices of player provisions still exist for many of the foreign players in their current squad. It is not alleged they haven’t reported it to the FFA this season.

The club was involved in practices of paying player agents directly for services such as contract negotiations, deal brokering as well as some listed as performing “scouting” duties. The practice of paying player agents directly does not breach salary cap regulations but must be reported and included in the salary cap alongside other signing fees such as contract sign-on bonuses.

In the 2012-13 A-League season, Perth Glory paid $50,602 to player agents for such services but nothing was listed in their final yearly report signed and submitted on May 6, 2013. Former chief operations officer John Broadman was at the club that season.

“Since I’ve been on board with Perth Glory, things have been fantastic in terms of how they’ve managed everything. Everything is done in an appropriate way, all due reporting with items submitted on the right time and duly acknowledged and signed off by the FFA,” Perth chief executive Jason Brewer said.

According to the documents, Perth Glory also failed to declare cars which were allocated to players for the 2013-14 season. Cars were used as part of a package to secure and recruit players to the club. It is believed that most foreign players were granted cars, as well as some Australian players.

It is understood there were 18 vehicles, at least half of which were allocated to players. These cars came from several different companies – one vehicle was obtained from both Barbagello Group and Midway Ford, six from Hyundai, and 10 from Europcar. The total value of the cars is understood to be valued at over $300,000. It is understood that cars were often provided to players only for the life of their contract with Perth Glory.

“With the cars which are provided, that’s a car pool… those cars are part of a central pool that are used there, that is for general club use [for non-playing staff as well]. That’s the applicable part of that,” Brewer said.

Some players were provided with accommodation for the entire stay at the club and was part of several players deals but was not always declared.

The club did not report any player accommodation to the FFA for the 2012-13 season. The following year the club declared two foreign players received club accommodation accounting to a combined sum of $48,000 but omitted one other. The club declared relocation fees for others approved by the FFA and exempted from the salary cap that season.

The current system of providing accommodation still exists this season but it is not alleged the club has failed to report it. When asked about accommodation provided for players, Brewer said;  “With a number of our international players, we obviously set out in the A-League standard player contracts, there is relocation that is applicable and they use some of that relocation to be contributed towards their accommodation… The relocation is specific amounts which is excluded from the salary cap provisions.”

Perth Glory confirmed accommodation was provided for Maclaren as per his contract.

“From what I understand, that house is a club house which was established before me coming on board. I think Jamie was signed the season before I, or during the off season before I, there’s a club house and that’s part of that,” Brewer said.

Last night, Damien de Bohun, the head of the A-League, said: “FFA has no current concerns about Perth Glory’s salary cap compliance, but we will always investigate any credible information provided to us about the operation of the salary cap.”

Questions that need to be answered:

Why were player agent fees not declared?

Documents seen by Fairfax Media show Perth Glory paid thousands of dollars worth of player-agent fees that were not declared to the Football Federation of Australia for the 2012-13 A-League season. These undisclosed fees are understood to total $50,602.

Why was at least one player agent paid a scouting fee?

The club paid at least one player agent a “scouting” fee in its 2012-13 season salary   cap report. A source close to the club alleges the agent did not perform the tasks associated with scouting, but rather performed standard player agent work.

Why were accommodation costs for at least one player mentioned in emails but not disclosed to the FFA?

Jamie Maclaren was brought to the club on a three-year deal before the 2013-14 season, allegedly with the promise that his accommodation would be paid for by the club. That was not declared to the FFA in the salary cap report. It is understood Maclaren still lives in the accommodation, which is said to be owned by the club.

Why did the club fail to declare cars that were allocated to players in the 2013-14 A-League season?

It is understood 18 cars were rented by the club from several different providers and at least half of these cars were used to attract players to the club. It is believed most of the foreign players were provided with cars as well as a few of the locals.

Why did the club shift two of its highest earners to marquee positions at the beginning of this A-League season to avoid breaching the  cap?

Perth Glory played two games in the FFA Cup and two games in the 2014-15 A-League season with a squad that would have exceeded the  cap for that season.

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