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Bourke Street attack ‘trolley man’ says ‘I’m no hero’

The man who tried to bring down an Islamic State-inspired terrorist with nothing more than a shoppin..

The man who tried to bring down an Islamic State-inspired terrorist with nothing more than a shopping trolley says he is "no hero".

Key points:

  • "I got him. I didn't quite get him down," says Michael "trolley man" Rogers
  • The co-owner of the iconic Pellegrini's Espresso Bar was killed in the attack
  • Premier Daniel Andrews has urged Victorians to turn out in force for Armistice Day events

Dubbed "trolley man" for his efforts, Michael Rogers has become a cult figure in the city in the past 36 hours.

The acclaim comes after he was seen on video of Friday's Bourke Street terrorist attack using a shopping trolley to try to prevent Hassan Khalif Shire Ali from continuing his deadly rampage.

Shire Ali, a 30-year-old Somali-born man who moved to Melbourne in the 1990s, lit his ute on fire near one of Melbourne's busiest thoroughfares on Friday afternoon, before stabbing three passers-by.

One of his victims, the 74-year-old co-owner of the iconic Pellegrini's Espresso Bar, Sisto Malaspina, died at the scene.

Shire Ali died in hospital after being shot by a rookie police constable who was just three months out of the academy.

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While it took a bullet to finally stop Shire Ali, Mr Rogers had already bravely attemped it by ramming Shire Ali with a trolley.

But he has since played down his contribution.

"I threw the trolley straight at him, and I got him. I didn't quite get him down, though. I'm no hero," he told Channel 7.

"I have seen the trolley to the side, so I've picked it up and I ran and threw the trolley straight at him.

"[I] got him but didn't get him down. And I did that motion quite a number of times, but it just was not getting him down."

A black and white portrait of a smiling man in his 70s

Mr Rogers's efforts were recognised by the chief commissioner of Victoria Police.

"People act in the spur of the moment in those sort of things, and that's what he's done," Graham Ashton said.

"He's attempted to support the police there, and do what he could."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Mr Rogers, who is believed to be homeless and to have had his phone destroyed while trying to assist police.

"He's a hero in our eyes and he can do what he feels best with any funds he receives," the campaign's page said.

"He risked his own life that day for nothing in return and you can't put a price on that."

Man plays violin outside Sisto Malaspina's restaurant

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville paid tribute to the two junior police officers who were confronted by Shire Ali.

"They were backed up pretty quickly … but those two police officers showed incredible courage, bravery," she said.

"I have met many new recruits and graduates, and they are still learning, and what they showed [on Friday] is that they have the right training, the right state of mind and they executed that to protect Victorians very quickly and as appropriate.

"I have a huge admiration for both of them.

"It would have been a pretty confronting situation … my thoughts and prayers are with them as well and their families as they deal with this."

Police tape surrounds a body, covered by white material, lying on road.

Premier urges Victorians to celebrate Armistice Day

As investigations into the attack continue, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is urging people to show up en masse for Armistice Day events.

While police have stressed there was no ongoing threat after Friday's attack, security has been stepped up around Melbourne as the city prepares to commemorate 100 years since the signing of the armistice to end World War I.

The Shrine at night, lit up in red

Events will take place this morning at the Shrine of Remembrance, while around the city, 100 buglers will line the streets of the CBD to sound the last post at 11:00am.

Mr Andrews said the best way to condemn the violence was to commemorate those who had defended our freedom.

"Remembrance Day is so, so, so important, but the centenary year is particularly important," Mr Andrews said.

"[It's] an opportunity for us to affirm those values and say thank you to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.

"I'll be at the shrine and I would encourage all Victorians to be involved."

Inspired by Islamic State

Shire Ali had his passport cancelled in 2015 after ASIO assessed he was planning to travel to Syria.

Police confirmed on Saturday that he had been "radicalised" and "inspired" by Islamic State, and the group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is also understood Shire Ali had recently moved from his family's Werribee home because of problems with substance abuse.

Toxicology results are expected in the next few days.

A sheikh from the Werribee mosque that his family attended said Shire Ali was "not mentally fit".

"The family told me three days ago … that [he thought] he was being chased by people with spears," Sheikh Isse Musse, from the Virgin Mary mosque, told the ABC.

He said police raided the family home in the early hours of Saturday morning, and added that the family was distraught.

"This is the moment to grieve, and they have not been allowed to do that."

A police officer wearing body armour, helmet and face mask stands behind police tape outside a house

Sharmake Farah from the Somali Community of Victoria said the entire African-Australian community was "shocked and deeply saddened" by what happened.

"We condemn it with the strongest terms possible," he said.

"We stand with the victims of this incident and send our deepest and sincere condolence to their family and friends."

He said the community was very proud of the way police handled the situation, calling the force "one of the finest in the world".

Police were confronted by a knife-wielding man after responding to a car fire.

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China deploys anti-ship missiles in the desert making them harder to intercept

Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-we..

Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-west region, saying the weapons have the capacity to destroy US ships entering disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Key points:

  • The missiles can fire long distances and would be difficult for US ships to shoot down
  • Defence strategy expert Dr Malcom Davis said the move means China can back up its threats
  • The news came after a US guided missile destroyer passed through the South China Sea

The DF-26 missiles — which have been previously dubbed the 'Guam Killer' or 'Guam Express' by Chinese media and defence experts — are capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads.

They have a range of 4,500 kilometres, making them capable of reaching as far as Guam in the east and Indonesia in the south, providing Beijing with a powerful weapon as tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea.

External Link: @globaltimesnews: China's df-26 missiles

According to Chinese state media publication The Global Times, the DF-26 missiles are now stationed in north-west China's sparse plateau and desert areas, carried on the backs of trucks able to traverse the harsh terrain.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Beijing-based military expert told the Times that positioning the missiles deep in China's mainland made them more difficult to intercept as it allowed the missile to enter its final stages at a high speed.

Footage on CCTV showed trucks carrying the missiles driving through rough terrain and sand dunes.

The missiles were first paraded in 2015 and China confirmed they were now operational in April last year, but this is the first footage of the missiles outside of a parade.

It is unclear when the missiles were moved to the northwest region, the Times reported. (more…)

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Melbourne driver who cheated death when sign fell on car in no rush to drive again

Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign

The Melbourne ..

Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign

The Melbourne driver who cheated death when an overhead road sign fell and crushed her car says she cannot believe such an accident could happen in Australia.

Key points:

  • A second sign on the Tullamarine Freeway has been taken down as a precautionary measure
  • An inspection of similar-sized sign and gantries is underway
  • VicRoads says an independent investigator has been brought in to determine what happened

Extraordinary dashcam footage shows the moment the five-by-four metre sign fell in front of, and then on top of, Nella Lettieri's car as she was travelling on Melbourne's Tullamarine Freeway earlier this week.

While the 53-year-old was not seriously injured, she is bruised and battered — and wondering how she is still alive.

"It felt like a roller door had slammed shut in front of me," Ms Lettieri said.

"I've gone to swerve, but as I swerved, it just felt like the sign was actually falling on the car.

"And it just kept bouncing, and I felt like it was pushing me to the right, and I'm thinking, 'OK, is it going to stop?'"

A woman smiling and looking off camera.

She thought the metal object may have been from a plane landing or taking off from the nearby Essendon Airport, or from a truck on the freeway.

But she was shocked to discover it was actually an overhead sign, meant to be directing drivers to their destination. (more…)

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In his Brexit speech in Wakefield, Jeremy Corbyn again demanded the impossible

Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit i..

Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit impasse that appears effectively impossible: a general election.

In what is likely to be his last major public statement before MPs vote on the withdrawal agreement next Tuesday, he attempted to redefine the terms of the question facing both the Labour leadership and its MPs – from those that threaten to stretch his fissiparous electoral coalition to breaking point, to those which, on paper, unite it.

That resulted in a speech whose thrust was an appeal to class consciousness from Remainers in Tottenham and Leavers in Mansfield, rather than any meaningful debate over the validity or viability of Brexit itself. “Youre up against it,” Corbyn said, citing austerity, stagnant wages, and the cost of living crisis, “but youre not against each other.”

Accordingly, his cursory repetition of Labours policy – that a second referendum should remain on the table as an option in the event a general election does not happen – came with a caveat so huge that it amounted to an implicit dismissal of a so-called peoples vote. “Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.”

But despite the fact that his attention was more or less exclusively focussed on the question of what sort of future relationship with Europe would negotiate – with the fact of the divorce undisputed – Corbyn categorically ruled out doing anything but whipping his MPs to vote against the withdrawal agreement. The vast majority of them will do so on Thursday, after which point Corbyn said, as expected, that Labour would table a motion of no confidence in the hope of securing an election and with it the chance to renegotiate Brexit (rather than, say, holding a second referendum).

Notably, however, he did not specify a timescale for tabling a confidence vote after Mays deal falls – despite several of his shadow cabinet ministers insisting that he would do so “immediately”. He instead put on the record the more cautious line briefed by his team yesterday: “Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.”

That statement of intent was followed with a caveat seldom offered by shadow cabinet ministers sent out to spin the partys line on Brexit. “Clearly,” Corbyn said, “Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own.” As he himself alluded to when he urged opposition MPs to join Labour in voting against the government, Labours chances remain slim until such time that the ten DUP MPs drop the government. (That every other party will is a racing certainty.) Paradoxically, the defeat of the withdrawal agreement – and with it the backstop Mays sometime coalition partners object to – will make that chance even slimmer.

We know from what Corbyn said this morning that the Labour leadership will not whip its MPs to approve Theresa Mays Brexit, back a second referendum out of choice – both courses threaten its electoral base in different ways – or support any attempt by Downing Street to make the Brexit deal more amenable to Labour MPs by tacking on guarantees on workers rights. That strategy has held until now.

But failure to roll the pitch for any alternative at all – or, indeed, for the inevitable breakdown in party discipline after Mays vote is defeated and Labour has no way to bind MPs who seek mutually exclusive Brexit aims – will make the messy politics of the aftermath of next Tuesday rather more difficult to finesse.

Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent. (more…)

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