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View of the Sydney Opera House from the oceanView of the Sydney Opera House from the oceanBy: Hpeterswald

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  • Minutes before 10 a.m. on Monday morning, a sudden commotion seized a Sydney chocolate shop just off Elizabeth Street. Onlookers across the street took notice. Looking from a nearby television studio, producers originally thought it was an armed robbery. But then, minutes later, they saw it: the flag. Two captive women pushed a black flag, emblazoned with Arabic in a white font, against the window. This wasn’t just a robbery, journalist Glenn Connley said. Few details are definite. There has been no official confirmation from officials that the Sydney siege is an act of Islamic extremism. “We don’t yet know the motivation of the perpetrator — although obviously there are some indications that it could be politically motivated,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in statement.
  • Police have declared the siege over in Sydney after armed officers stormed the chocolate shop at the center of a hostage crisis and hostages were seen fleeing amid the sound of explosions. At 10:19 a.m. ET, a group of at least seven heavily armed police officers went into the Lindt cafe under the cover of loud bangs of what local news Channel 9 is calling stun grenades. Shortly after the police stormed the café, at least two hostages emerged, looking visibly shaken. A few minutes later, a few paramedics were seen entering the café behind police officers with medical packs -- followed by at least two stretchers.
  • Australian commandos have stormed a cafe in Sydney, ending a 16-hour siege by a gunman identified as an Iranian refugee who took dozens of hostages. Paramedics carrying stretchers raced towards the cafe moments after the commandos entered the building. Several people were injured. Unconfirmed local reports said two people, including the gunman, died. The centre of the city has been in lockdown since the gunman seized the hostages early on Monday morning. Early in the siege, hostages were forced to hold up a black Islamic banner at the window. The cafe is located in Martin Place, a busy shopping area in Sydney's financial district.
  • Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe on Tuesday and freed a number of hostages being held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which three people were killed and four wounded. New South Wales police said two men, aged 34 and 50, and a 38-year-old woman died. The attacker was among the fatalities. Heavy gunfire and blasts from stun grenades filled the air shortly after 2 a.m. local time (1500 GMT on Monday).
  • A gunman entered a cafe in downtown Sydney, Australia early Monday and took hostages in what became a 16-hour siege that ended with his death and the deaths of two hostages. Police believe the hostage-taker was a man named Man Haron Monis, who was born in Iran and sought political asylum in Australia in 1996. He also went by the names Sheikh Haron and Mohammad Hassan Manteghi.
  • At least one gunman took about a dozen people hostage Monday at a chocolate shop in Sydney, Australia, local TV news was reporting live. Police had closed off a number of streets in the area and had evacuated nearby office buildings, authorities said. State and federal police were responding to the incident, the prime minister said, and police have urged people to leave or avoid the area. "Police are dealing with an armed incident and specialist officers are attempting to make contact those inside a café," New South Wales police said in a statement.
  • Canada once had a shot at being the world's leader on climate change. Back in 2002, our northern neighbors had ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the world's first treaty that required nations to cut their emissions or face penalties. In 2005, the country hosted an international climate change conference in Montreal, where then-Prime Minister Paul Martin singled out America for its indifference. "To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience," Martin said.
  • Australians like to think of themselves as green. Their island country boasts some 3 million square miles of breathtaking landscape. They were an early global leader in solar power. They’ve had environmental regulations on the books since colonial times. And in 2007 they elected a party and a prime minister running on a “pro-climate” platform, with promises to sign the Kyoto Protocol and pass sweeping environmental reforms. All of which makes sense for a country that is already suffering the early effects of global warming. And yet, seven years later, Australia has thrown its environmentalism out the window—and into the landfill.

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