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Sydney News: Investigation launched into Sydney Council over Mascot Tower safety saga

Mascot Towers is still abandoned after safety concerns were raised in June, 2019  (ABC News: Josh Bavas)

Here's what you need to know this morning.

Investigation to look into council's handling of building safety

An investigation will be launched into the former City of Botany Bay Council’s handling of the Mascot Towers saga, almost three years after residents were forced to evacuate.

The NSW government has today announced that it would also extend the accommodation assistance package for residents of the 10-storey apartment, for a seventh time.

Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos said the extension was subject to proceedings in the Supreme Court after a body representing the owners lodged an application to terminate the strata scheme.

Residents were forced to evacuate and nine commercial premises on the ground floor were locked out over safety concerns the building would collapse after cracks were found in its basement.

Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman said the council investigation would attempt to "shine a light" on steps taken to avoid the same mistakes in the future. 

"We are advised relevant council documents from that period cannot be located and may be missing. We are determined to gather as much information as possible on the issues that led to the defects in Mascot Towers," Ms Tuckerman said. 

Man charged over allegedly defrauding vulnerable person of $400,000

The man is due to appear at Downing Centre Courthouse today (Facebook: Downing Centre)

A man will appear in a Sydney court today after he allegedly defrauded a vulnerable person of more than $400,000. 

The 52-year-old was extradited from Western Australia after police discovered he had escorted an intellectually disabled person to a bank several times and coerced them into withdrawing money from their account. 

Police allege the man stole around $435,000 from the vulnerable person over more than five years. 

After two years of investigation, detectives were granted an interstate arrest warrant and escorted the accused back to New South Wales yesterday. 

He was taken to Mascot Police Station and charged with knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception. 

The 52-year-old was refused bail and will appear at Downing Centre Local Court later today. 

Assisted dying bill 'important milestone' celebrated by advocates

Advocates are calling for limited amendments to the voluntary assisted dying legislation.  (ABC News)

Dying with Dignity NSW has welcomed the passage of the voluntary assisted dying bill to its next stage in the upper house, after a parliamentary vote of 20-17.

The bill successfully passed the lower house of parliament in November last year, with 52 MPs in favour and 32 against.

It is expected to move to the upper house's committee stage for amendments next week.

"This is an important milestone and we thank everyone in the upper house who has worked together to make this happen," Dying with Dignity NSW President Penny Hackett said.

"Now we're asking for members of the upper house to work together to resolve any amendments in a productive and timely way next Wednesday and proceed to the final vote.

"There are people in NSW with terminal illnesses right now who don't have time to wait."

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, asked MPs to agree to "reasonable amendments" that consider faith-based organisations. 

"I fear, that this bill will dehumanise the medical and nursing professions, creating a health industry where it might become more cost-effective, or expedient, to push people towards death," he said. 

"I fear also for families, that this bill will damage family life, creating tensions where someone is taking a long time to die and pressures on everyone for this to be 'hurried up'."

Burnt handgun found after fatal gangland gym shooting

Omar Zahed (left) was killed in the attack while his brother Tarek Zahed (right) remains in hospital in a serious condition.   (Facebook )

Police are investigating whether a charred handgun found at Berala is connected to a shooting at a south-west Sydney gym on Wednesday night. 

Comancheros boss Tarek Zahed remains in a stable condition in hospital, while his brother, Omar, was killed at Auburn's Bodyfit gym when they were peppered with bullets about 8pm on Wednesday. 

Two Audi Q7 cars were set alight after the shooting at Greenacre and Berala.

Police have confirmed they found a burnt handgun at the Berala scene, and have taken it as evidence, investigating whether the cars and the gun were linked to the shootings.  

Detectives investigating the shootings said a dozen targeted killings in the past two years had The power struggle inside NSW criminal gangs within some of Sydney's major criminal groups.

This, they said, had resulted in former partners in crime turning on one another in an increasingly violent battle for supremacy.

Woollahra Council push to rename street in Ukraine war protest

Councillors say they need to reflect the will of the community. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Sydney's Russian consulate could soon have a new address, on Ukraine Street, if a local council gets its way.

Woollahra Municipal Council, in the Harbour City's affluent eastern suburbs, this week passed a motion to rename the street on which Russia's diplomatic building sits.

After two hours of debate, councillors agreed to start the process of renaming Fullerton Street — although, there are several more hurdles to be negotiated before the new name becomes a reality.

Some councillors saw the renaming as a small but symbolic protest to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The plan to rename the street has already gained the support of Australia's Ukrainian Embassy and other community organisations.

Police search for second diver in cocaine operation 

Police divers are continuing to search for more cocaine believed to be part of the operation. (Supplied: NSW Police, AFP and ABF)

New South Wales detectives say two divers were involved in trying to collect cocaine smuggled into Australia on a bulk carrier.

The body of a dead scuba diver was found near more than 50 kilograms of cocaine at a Newcastle shipping port on Monday.

Police say another 50kg that was part of the haul, made it into the community. 

They believe a second professional diver was involved in the operation to retrieve the drugs.

More charges laid over fatal Darlinghurst brawl 

Evander Tuala was critically injured in an alleged assault at Surry Hills. (Supplied: Facebook)

A fourth man has been charged over a fatal brawl in Sydney. 

Evander Tuala, 23, was knocked unconscious during the fight at Oxford Street in Darlinghurst on Saturday April 9, and died several days later in hospital.

A 19-year-old-man has now been charged with affray and will face court next month after attending Surry Hills Police Station on Wednesday.

Three other men have been charged with affray and are currently before the courts.

Detectives from Surry Hills Police Area Command established Strike Force Nadzah to investigate Mr Tuala's death.

They are still appealing for anyone with information or any witnesses to come forward.

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Dive Deeper:
Bikie boss Tarek Zahed critical, brother dead, after Western Sydney gym shooting
Comanchero kingpin Tarek Zahed is in a critical but stable condition and his brother has died after they were shot…
Power struggle inside NSW criminal gangs underworld after shootings fuels further violence, police say
Police believe the latest violence may be the result of internal power struggles triggered by the targeted killing of a…
Gang members warned after shooting of Tarek Zahed and brother Omar at Auburn gym
Sydney gang members have been warned "we are coming after you" after Comanchero kingpin Tarek Zahed and his brother Omar…
How Sydney's 'Balenciaga bikie' Tarek Zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets
Underworld enforcer Tarek Zahed's profile has been on the rise — now he's fighting for his life after ignoring repeated…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Sydney council's plan to change Russian consulate's address to Ukraine Street
Sydney's Russian consulate could soon have a new address, on Ukraine Street, if a local council gets its way.
Police probe whether 'spectacular' Indonesian drug haul is linked to NSW's dead cocaine diver
An investigation is underway into whether a shipment of drugs discovered near a dead diver in the Port of Newcastle…
Get all your news in one place