Aussies Should Have A Say In Nuclear Plants Location

People should be able to vote in local plebiscites to choose whether their communities had nuclear power plants, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

His comment comes a day after Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile said locally binding plebiscites could decide the future of nuclear power in Australia.

Speaking at the Nepean Rowing Club in Penrith in Sydney's west, Mr Howard told reporters the nuclear question was at least a decade away.

"When the time does come for plants to be considered in particular parts of Australia, I believe local communities should be given a vote and I think having a plebiscite in a local community would be a good demonstration to the rest of the nation," he said.

Just last week, Mr Howard told parliament that commercial investors, not politicians, would determine the location of nuclear reactors.

"(It is my) opinion that in 10, 15, 20 years time, public opinion will have shifted on this issue and people will see nuclear power as a very sensible alternative," he said today.

Treasurer Peter Costello also said today that local communities should be consulted before a reactor was built in their area.

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Seven Killed In Cannabis Affected Driving

THE main cause of a crash that killed seven people in Victoria's northwest was the cannabis-affected driving of one of the motorists, a coroner has found.

Max Purdue was among the four adults and three children killed when the car he was driving smashed into a van on the Borung Highway, near Donald, on September 26, 2006.

Chief Magistrate Ian Gray said toxicological evidence showed Mr Purdue and a passenger, Dan Kelly, had been smoking cannabis before the smash.

"The principal cause of the collision was the cannabis drug-impaired driving of Maxwell Purdue," Mr Gray said.

But Mr Gray said the aspects of the road design, including signage, increased the risk of collisions at the intersection.

"This intersection was deceptive and dangerous," he said.

"I accept that the signs were appropriately positioned, but they did not, either separately or in combination, give explicitly clear warning to drivers that the intersection was dangerous."

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Postman - Key Suspect To Queen Elisabeth's Missing Mail

A POSTMAN has been arrested by British police on suspicion of stealing mail addressed to the Queen.

Citing an unidentified Royal Mail source, The Sun tabloid said the 60-year-old man was seen burying items destined for the monarch in the grounds of the Queen's Sandringham home in eastern England.

"A 60-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of intending to delay mail contrary to the Postal Services Act," a local police spokeswoman was quoted as saying by the paper.

According to The Sun, a Sandringham gamekeeper noticed a van parked in woodland that surrounded the residence, and alerted police, who set up a surveillance operation.

A spokesman for Royal Mail told the tabloid that the company had "zero tolerance" for dishonesty of that kind.

"We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust."

The man was apparently questioned by police officers before being released on bail, and has been suspended by Royal Mail.

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Unsafe Soyabeans From US Found In China

China said Wednesday it had discovered many safety problems with soybeans imported from the United States, urging US authorities to deal with the problem.

"Inspection and quarantine units in various areas have discovered a large number of quality and safety problems with imports of US soybeans," the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.

"We have reported this to the US side, demanding that it look into the causes and adopt effective measures to ensure that a situation like this does not repeat itself," it said on its website.

It detailed a series of safety problems, including the discovery of sorghum halepense and other exotic harmful weeds among the soybeans.

There was no mention in the statement of any plan to restrict or halt imports of US soybeans.

Recent global scares over the safety of China's exports -- ranging from toys to clothes to toothpaste -- have not made major headlines in the nation's state-run media.

However, frequent reports have emerged about safety problems in goods imported into China, especially from the United States.

On Monday, China said it had returned 272 heart pacemakers imported from the United States after they failed quality inspections.

The Xinhua news agency quoted the general administration as saying the pacemakers posed potential threats to patients' lives as they could cause misdiagnoses.

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Gwen Stefani Goes Modest For Her Malaysian Show

Gwen Stefani was a good girl in Malaysia, just like she promised. The 37-year-old pop star wowed fans in Muslim-majority Malaysia on Tuesday, performing in costumes that showed almost no skin after Islamic critics claimed that her revealing clothes could corrupt the country's youth.

She burst onto the stage wearing a black leotard under a white short-sleeved shirt and black-and-white striped hot pants suit, with black gloves up to her elbows.

"I am very inspired tonight," Stefani told some 7,000 cheering fans at an indoor stadium.

She changed costumes for every song, remaining fully covered as she belted out tunes such as "The Sweet Escape," "Rich Girl," "Wind it Up" and "Hollaback Girl."

Stefani had promised to dress modestly after the 10,000-member National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students charged that her skimpy outfits and cheeky performances clashed with Islamic values.

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The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party also accused her of promoting promiscuity and corrupting the country's youth.

In an interview with Galaxie, a local entertainment magazine, Stefani said she had made many changes for Malaysia, calling it a "major sacrifice."

"I've been in the music industry for 20 years and this is the first time that I'm facing opposition from people who have misunderstood me," she was quoted as saying.

"I'm not a bad girl," she said.

Media photographers weren't allowed to take pictures for copyright reasons, and those attending the show had to leave their cameras outside.

Most fans in the stadium said protesters had gone overboard with their criticism.

"I think they were making a big ho-ha for no reason.

Even the local artists, they dress even much worse, much more indecent," said Denise Chan, a 15-year-old ethnic Chinese.

Fans also said Stefani had shown respect for Malaysia's cultural values.

"All international artists have to dress down a bit to respect our religion," said Linda Yusof, 33, a Malay Muslim.

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Under government guidelines, a female artist must be covered from the top of her chest, including shoulders, to her knees. No jumping, shouting or throwing of objects onstage or at the audience is allowed. Performers also cannot hug or kiss, and their clothes must not have obscene or drug-related images or messages.

Ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 percent of Malaysia's population of 26 million, with ethnic Chinese, who are Christians and Buddhists, making up 25 percent. Ethnic Indians, most of them Hindus, are about 10 percent.

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