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Geoffrey Rush scores major court win against the Daily Telegraph

<p>The Sydney <em>Daily Telegraph</em> will have to pay actor Geoffrey Rush a record <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-02/daily-telegraph-loses-defamation-appeal-in-geoffrey-rush-case/12414536" target="_blank">multi-million amount</a> in damages after the tabloid lost its appeal against a defamation ruling.</p> <p>The paper and its publisher Nationwide News had launched an appeal after an Australian Federal Court ruling last April awarded Rush almost $2.9 million in damages over defamatory articles published in 2017.</p> <p>The stories alleged Rush behaved inappropriately towards co-star Eryn Jean Norvill during the 2015-16 run of the Sydney Theatre Company production of <em>King Lear</em>.</p> <p>Nationwide News said the imputations in the articles were substantially true, calling on Norvill and her colleagues as witnesses in the original defamation trial.</p> <p>In her evidence, Norvill told the court Rush had deliberately touched his breast during a live performance without consent.</p> <p>Rush denied the claims.</p> <p>The full Federal Court dismissed all grounds of the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-53259355" target="_blank">appeal against the judgment and the payout size</a> on Thursday, meaning that the awarded damages stand.</p> <p>The appeal court agreed with the original judge Justice Michael Wigney that Norvill was “at times prone to embellishment or exaggeration”.</p> <p>It also agreed with Justice Wigney’s decision to reject new evidence from another actress who came forward with allegations about Rush.</p> <p>The actress, Yael Stone, has accused Rush of acting inappropriately towards her while working on a different production.</p> <p>Nationwide News was ordered to pay Rush $850,000 for non-economic losses, $1,060,773 for past economic losses, $919,678 for future economic losses and $42,302 in interest.</p> <p>Ben English, the editor of the <em>Daily Telegraph</em>, said he was “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jul/02/geoffrey-rush-case-daily-telegraph-and-nationwide-news-lose-defamation-appeal-against-actor" target="_blank">very disappointed</a>” by Thursday’s decision.</p> <p>He said he had hoped the full court would “reverse Justice Wigney’s findings as to the credibility of Eryn Jean Norvill or reverse His Honour’s decision to exclude the testimony of Yael Stone”.</p> <p>“We will continue to report on the issues such as these which are of great concern to the Australian public. As stated by High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel last week, there is no place for sexual harassment in any workplace.”</p>

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Meghan Markle's bombshell court papers

<p><span>Meghan Markle has made incredibly sensational claims in bombshell court papers that she felt “unprotected” by the Royal Family’s “institution.”</span><br /><br /><span>The Sun has reported the Duchess is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (who own The Daily Mail).</span><br /><br /><span>She stated in numerous documents that she was unable to defend herself, which left her friends “rightly concerned for her welfare when pregnant”.</span><br /><br /><span>The 38-year-old went on to claim she felt “tremendous emotional distress” by media coverage, while her pals felt “silenced” by Kensington Palace and unable to defend her.</span><br /><br /><span>The legal documents also revealed that Meghan denied saying in a personal letter that she felt “victimised” by her father.</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan is suing ANL for publishing the personal letter to her dad, although the media group claims Mr Markle made it public after five of her pals gave an interview about it to People magazine.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CCHigKNAG-x/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CCHigKNAG-x/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Dr Music (@drmusiic)</a> on Jul 1, 2020 at 4:24pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>The Duchess today named the pals, although they are only referred to as A, B, C, D and E in the papers, and they could now be called to testify at a trial.</span><br /><br /><span>People magazine previously described them as “Meghan’s inner circle – a longtime friend, a former co-star, a friend from LA, a one-time colleague and a close confidante’”.</span><br /><br /><span>However the royal has denied authorising her friends to speak out to defend her in the magazine article.</span><br /><br /><span>She said she learned an article about her was due to appear shortly before it was published, but did not know it would be in People magazine or its contents.</span><br /><br /><span>The possible trial would focus on whether Meghan had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter to her dad.</span><br /><br /><span>In 2019, the dad told the Mail on Sunday the the five-page letter was a “dagger to the heart” which left him feeling “devastated”.</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan though, says she didn’t feel “victimised” by him, and dismissed claims she told him she had “only one father”.</span><br /><br /><span>She felt he “raised concern Mr Markle had consistently allowed himself to be manipulated by the tabloid media despite her trying to persuade him not to speak to them for his own good”.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CCHevIQJx8I/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CCHevIQJx8I/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">I will always love you. . . . . #harryandmeghan #royalfamily #royal #sussex #queen #babyarchie #royalwedding #meghanmarkle #princeharry #kensington #queenelizabeth #buckingham #royals #couple #love #royalty #style #dress #princessDiana #princeharry #tb #new #foryou</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/harryandmeghansource/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Sussex Royal Fan Page</a> (@harryandmeghansource) on Jul 1, 2020 at 3:51pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>The Duchess says she believes she is entitled to a “reasonable expectation of privacy” and thought its contents would never be published.</span><br /><br /><span>In the documents, Meghan also spoke on that she believed her Royal Wedding made Britain $1.8 billion in tourism cash.</span><br /><br /><span>The Duchess believes the money that was raised from the wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 “far outweighed” the contribution stumped up by the taxpayer towards security.</span><br /><br /><span>Her legal team have stated the royal wedding was “not, in fact, publicly funded, but rather personally financed by HRH The Prince of Wales”.</span><br /><br /><span>The royal wedding that finished with a huge firework display, cost an estimated $57 million.</span><br /><br /><span>The legal team’s documents said: “Any public costs incurred for the wedding were solely for security and crowd control to protect members of the public, as deemed necessary by Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police.”</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan also said she believes she should be allowed to do land work like her cousin-in-laws, Beatrice and Eugenie, and also mentioned Prince Michael of Kent.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CCG9TJpnUOA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CCG9TJpnUOA/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by ♛ 𝒯𝒽𝑒𝒮𝓊𝓈𝓈𝑒𝓍𝒯𝑒𝒶𝓂 (@thesussexteam)</a> on Jul 1, 2020 at 10:59am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>She named the trio while clarifying that members of the royal are, in fact, allowed to undertake paid work.wnd hit back after it was stated in legal papers that she is “a member of the royal family and does not undertake paid work”.</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan said it was wrong to say as “several member[s] of the Royal Family do ‘undertake paid work’ including, for example, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York and Prince Michael of Kent”.</span><br /><br /><span>Princess Beatrice works in finance and consulting and Princess Eugenie is a director at a London art gallery.</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan is estimated to have made around $7.2 million from her acting career before marrying Prince Harry.</span><br /><br /><span>Since quitting royal life she has resumed her career and recently narrated the Disney film Elephant.</span><br /><br /><span>In the legal documents, Meghan added that she “was also the founder of the commercially successful lifestyle website The Tig”.</span></p>

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Nick Kyrgios hits back after Boris Becker calls him a rat

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has clashed with former World No. 1 Boris Becker over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the way that the tennis community is handling it.</p> <p>Kyrgios called out German tennis star Alexander Zverev on Monday after he was spotting at a club in the French Riveria.</p> <p>Zverev played at Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour in Belgrade and Croatia earlier this month which led to four competitors contracting coronavirus. </p> <p>Zverev claimed he would "follow self-isolating guidelines" but apologised when footage emerged of him in the club.</p> <p>“No matter how lazy, sloppy and selfish players are about following public health guidelines mid-pandemic, they sure can spring to quick action to cover their asses,” respected tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Sascha Zverev six days ago after Adria Tour coronavirus cluster: <br /><br />“I deeply apologize to anyone that I have put at risk...I will proceed to follow self-isolating guidelines...stay safe 🙏.”<br /><br />Sascha Zverev four hours ago: <a href="https://t.co/vqBXvYdxkv">pic.twitter.com/vqBXvYdxkv</a></p> — Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1277307634807382016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 28, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Zverev tested negative to coronavirus last week, but Kyrgios was quick to slam the behaviour.</p> <p>“Sascha Zverev again, man. Again, again, how selfish can you be?” Kyrgios said.</p> <p>“If you have the audacity to put out a tweet that you made your management write on your behalf, saying you’re going to self-isolate for 14 days, and apologising to the general public about putting their health at risk, at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days.</p> <p>“Jesus, man. P***ing me off. This tennis world is p***ing me off, seriously. How selfish can you all get?”</p> <p>Becker quickly jumped to Zverev's defence, calling Kyrgios a "rat".</p> <p>“Don’t like no rats! Anybody telling off fellow sportsman/woman is no friend of mine!” Becker posted to Twitter on Tuesday.</p> <p>“Look yourself in the mirror and think your (sic) better than us.”</p> <p>Kyrgios defended his comments.</p> <p>“For goodness sake Boris, I’m not competing or trying to throw anyone under the bus,” the 25-year-old replied.</p> <p>“It’s a global pandemic and if someone is as idiotic as Alex to do what he has done, I’ll call him out for it. Simple.”</p> <p>However, Becker continued to call Kyrgios a "rat".</p> <p>“We all live in the pandemic called COVID-19! It’s terrible and it killed to many lives,” the German posted. “We should protect our families/loved ones and follow the guidelines but still don’t like rats.</p> <p>“(Zverev) broke the quarantine rules and he should be ashamed of himself! He is a role model for many tennis fans a bright star on the horizon but still don’t like rats.</p> <p>“There is an unspoken understanding between athletes! Whatever happens on the court stays there including the lockers! Nobody will talk about it.”</p> <p>Kyrgios continued to hold firm and poked fun at Becker.</p> <p>“Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I’m just looking out for people,” Kyrgios tweeted.</p> <p>“WHEN my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing. And you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something.</p> <p>“(Becker) is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though.”</p> <p>After receiving massive backlash on Twitter for his remarks, Becker joked with Kyrgios.</p> <p>“Your funny guy … how is it down under? Respect all the guidelines?”</p> <p>Kyrgios wasn't having any of it and bluntly replied.</p> <p>“Haha nah bro I’m good, don’t act like you’re my friend now because you got sat down.”</p> <p>This isn't the first time Kyrgios has called someone out, as he slammed Novak Djokovic and his wife for their "boneheaded decision" to organise the tournament during a pandemic.</p> <p>“Prayers up to all the players that have contracted COVID-19,” Kyrgios tweeted last week.</p> <p>“Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ — this takes the cake.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

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“I want to serve time in jail”: Accountant confesses to stealing $500k from employer

<p>A former accountant who stole more than half a million dollars from her employer to fund her extravagant lifestyle has been jailed after telling police she wanted to spend time in prison.</p> <p>Donna Zanin, 42, was ordered to serve two years and three months behind bars on Tuesday after she admitted to siphoning $551,451 from the company’s finances.</p> <p>The accountant pleaded guilty last month to six counts of theft, which was carried out in 57 individual transactions ranging from $2,000 to over $20,000 between November 2014 and January 2019.</p> <p>Zanin had been the only financial manager at the Schnitz food chain until she was made redundant in a 2018 company restructure. She was later re-hired on a contract basis.</p> <p>The new financial head Regan Cheriton noticed the suspicious transactions and told Zanin on June 6, 2019 that he was working with ANZ to investigate them.</p> <p>Zanin confessed to the thefts at Richmond police station the day after, showing the 34 international flights bought with the stolen funds on her passport.</p> <p>She also sent an apology text to Schnitz founder Roman Dyduk, saying: “I’ve decided I’m ruining my life and have been enacting a plan to ruin my life for some time.</p> <p>“I sound insane but I will serve time in jail. I want to serve time in jail. I’m at the police station now confessing.”</p> <p>County Court judge David Sexton said while Zanin showed significant remorse, he was “somewhat bewildered” by her explanation.</p> <p>“You told police in that interview that you had been stealing money from your workplace for an extended period of time and you had been waiting to get caught,” he said in the Melbourne County Court on Tuesday, as reported by <em><a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/schnitz-accountant-stole-500k-told-cops-she-wanted-to-go-to-jail-20200630-p557md.html">The Age</a></em>.</p> <p>“You had spent the money mostly on extravagant holidays, expensive restaurants, alcohol.</p> <p>“You also provided a sustained and detailed narrative about wanting to get caught, wanting to self-sabotage, purposefully stealing an extreme amount of money and knowing you would probably go to jail.”</p> <p>Judge Sexton said Zanin’s offending was a significant breach of trust and seriously affected the family business Dyduk built with his sons.</p> <p>Zanin will be eligible for parole after 16 months.</p>

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Man gets banned from every Bunnings store after elaborate scam goes wrong

<p><span>A man has been banned from Bunnings stores across the country for attempting to steal $1300 worth of product and threatening to stab a manager with a syringe.</span><br /><br /><span>Thief Christopher John Richards was handed a prohibition letter at Bunnings in Balcatta in August 2018, warning him he was not permitted to go anywhere near any of the hardware stores in Western Australia.</span><br /><br /><span>The next day Richards stole a pair of Ray Bans from a Sunglass Hut before returning to the same Bunnings, <em>The West Australian</em> said.</span><br /><br /><span>The thief picked up a used receipt he found outside the store and filled a trolley with the same items as well as some other items.</span><br /><br /><span>Bunbury Magistrate's Court heard in court last week the elaborate scam the man had been using.</span><br /><br /><span>Police prosecutor Sergeant Karl Rep told the court Richards was approached by a store manager and claimed to have a syringe with him.</span><br /><br /><span>He took a boxing stance, swore at staff and said “‘if you don't back off I'm going to stab you with a needle’,” Sgt Rep said.</span><br /><br /><span>Richards then swiftly grabbed some pebbles and threw them at the store manager before heading to the exit.</span><br /><br /><span>He showed the receipt to checkout staff and walked out of Bunnings with the stolen goods, but was tracked down by police and taken into custody.</span><br /><br /><span>Richards tuned into court through a video link while he sits in Hakea Prison - which is where he has been since he was arrested last October.</span><br /><br /><span>He pleaded guilty to scene charges, including pretending to be armed in a way that may cause fear, threats to injure, endanger or harming any person, three charges of stealing and two trespassing charges.</span><br /><br /><span>“These offences are serious and call for imprisonment,” Sgt Rep told the court.</span><br /><br /><span>Magistrate Michelle Pontifex handed down a sentence of eight months and 15 days, but took into account that he had already spent a substantial amount of time behind bars since he was arrested for his offence.</span><br /><br /><span>Richard will be released from prison in the coming day.</span><br /><br /><span>“This type of offending is unacceptable, you simply cannot go around doing that,” Ms Pontifex told Richards.</span><br /><br /><span>She said Richards' offending was “brazen” but accepted his guilty plea and demanded he repay Bunnings $1,390 for the stolen goods he attempted to take.</span></p>

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Third fatal brawl on Melbourne streets in two weeks

<p>A man has died and four have been arrested after a brawl in Melbourne’s southeast on Monday night.</p> <p>Homicide detectives are investigating the incident, which took place just before 8pm near the entrance to Eaton Mall on Atherton Road in Oakleigh.</p> <p>Thomas Tran, 20, <a href="https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/melbourne/man-dead-four-arrested-after-oakleigh-brawl/ar-BB167G9X?li=AAgfYrC">died at the scene</a>.</p> <p>Tran’s partner Trish Nguyen remembers the Springvale man as a “dreamer” with “the goofiest laugh”.</p> <p>“He has a smile that when you look at it you just admire how great it looked,” Nguyen said.</p> <p>“He loves his family, loves his friends – he’s just a great guy and he didn’t deserve that.”</p> <p>The four people who were arrested have been released pending further inquiries, the <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/man-dies-in-oakleigh-brawl-four-men-arrested/news-story/0f0f34aeed56ce90d7b0699af7d4bb6e" target="_blank">Herald Sun</a> </em>reported.</p> <p>It was the third fatal brawl on Melbourne’s streets in the past two weeks.</p> <p>Last Monday, 21-year-old Machar Kot died after being stabbed outside a Melbourne CBD hotel. Marco Deng has been charged with Kot’s murder.</p> <p>Teenager Solomone Taufeulungaki died in Deer Park on June 16 after being ambushed on his way home from school. Seven boys aged between 13 and 16 have been charged with affray over the Deer Park brawl.</p> <p>Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.</p>

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Grim discovery in Maddie McCann suspect's van

<p><span>Since the night Madeleine McCann disappeared, her “anguished but unbroken” parents Kate and Gerry have never let the world forget their daughter.</span></p> <p><span>It’s been 13 years since she went missing, but they never stopped searching for answers, and say they hope she is still alive.</span></p> <p><span>But the evidence presented to </span><em>60 Minutes Australia</em><span> could hold vital clues to Maddie’s 2007 disappearance.</span></p> <p><span>On June 4, German authorities made a shock announcement declaring the three-year-old dead, and leading to that announcement is believed to be a disturbing discovery in the campervan of Christian Brueckner.</span></p> <p><span>According to </span><em>60 Minutes</em><span>, over 8000 disturbing pieces of evidence, including videos and pictures of his alleged crimes – along with the swimsuits of little girls – were discovered in the van inhabited by the 43-year-old German sex offender.</span></p> <p><span>When Maddie was taken, on the night of May 3, 2007, Bruekner lived in a house in Monte Judeu, only 8km away from the Ocean Club apartment in Portugal from where the three-year-old disappeared. He also had a “vile and disgusting” shack only 3km from the hotel.</span></p> <p><span>Currently in prison for the torture and rape of a 72-year-old woman, Brueckner was recently named by German police as the most likely offender in Maddie’s disappearance, which is now being treated as murder.</span></p> <p><span>After raiding a deserted factory owned by Brueckner, police discovered thousands of videos and photos of his alleged crimes, </span><em>60 Minutes</em><span> reported.</span></p> <p><span>Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation into Brueckner, told the program he was not able to say if there is or isn’t any pictures of Maddie.</span></p> <p><span>“I mean he was into child pornography and torture and he did crimes against children at a very young age and according to the current information, he also filmed his offences,” Mark Hofmann, a Berlin-based Crime &amp; Intelligence Analyst who also works with German police, told reporter Liz Hayes.</span></p> <p><span>Police also revelead that back in 2013, Brueckner wrote in a paedophile chat room about how “bad” he wanted to abuse a little girl.</span></p> <p><span>“He’s very, very clear about his fantasy, about abducting children and torturing them and using them for a couple of days. So these are very clear words,” Mr Hoffman said.</span></p> <p><span>Mr Hoffman said he believes that if Brueckner abducted Maddie, it’s also likely he killed her.</span></p> <p><span>“And killing is likely for different reasons. Number one, it’s likely because it’s part of the fantasy, but number two, it also just could have practical reasons not to be arrested for this crime, because she was old enough to talk,” he told Hayes.</span></p> <p><span>Christian Brückner has not yet been charged with any crime relating to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance or death.</span></p>

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Shopper spots hilarious mistake in supermarket aisle

<p><span>A South Australian Coles supermarket shopper took to Facebook to share a hilarious fail he found in an aisle of his local store.</span><br /><br /><span>Clayton pointed out in a post two signs that left him feeling “confused”, as it showed two tickets on the range of Masterfoods Recipe Base sachets appeared to contradict one another.</span><br /><br /><span>In one sign, a “Customer notice” notified shoppers the items had been limited to two per customer due to coronavirus purchasing restrictions.</span><br /><br /><span>However, just barely 10 centimetres away, another sign advertised a “3 for $6” special on the packs.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836727/coles.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b8a09f0bb9424208bc1cb357fbdea699" /></p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em><br /><br /><span>A Coles spokesperson has since said in a statement the signs were a simple ticketing error.</span><br /><br /><span>Clayton admitted that at the time, he was confused by the notices.</span><br /><br /><span>“Dear Coles. Explain to me how this works please?!?!” he wrote.</span><br /><br /><span>Other shoppers agreed with Clayton’s reaction, with one saying: “Ha ha, three for $6 but sorry you can only buy two!”</span><br /><br /><span>Another added: “Maybe it’s two lots of three that you’re allowed? That’s so confusing.”</span><br /><br /><span>A coles spokesperson told <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.7news.com.au" target="_blank"><em>7NEWS.com.au</em></a> that there are no restrictions on the Materfood sachets.</span><br /><br /><span>“Coles does not currently have any purchase limits in place for meal bases and the incorrect signage spotted in one of our stores over the weekend was removed as soon we were made aware,” the spokesperson said.</span><br /><br /><span>“We’d like to thank the customer who brought it to our attention and encourage all customers to check the most up-to-date list of purchase limits on the Coles website before they shop.</span><br /><br /><span>“Customers can also find more tips on shopping safely in our stores in our ‘Coles Speedy Shopper’ video, including how to use our product locator app.”</span></p>

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Teens from prestigious school guilty of bashing stranger for his bag and shoes

<p><span>Five teenage boys have admitted to bashing a man at Perth’s Stirling train station so badly doctors were forced to put him in a coma, after pleading guilty to downgraded charges.</span></p> <p><span>The five, who cannot be named, were students of Churchlands Senior High School and beat 20-year-old Matthew Henson (pictured) on February 13 just before they stole his shoes and bag.</span></p> <p><span>Mr Henson suffered severe head injuries and was initially placed in an induced coma at Royal Perth Hospital.</span></p> <p><span>After spending weeks in intensive care and another specialised ward, he was transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital to start rehabilitation.</span></p> <p><span>The five boys, aged between 15 and 16, were charged with aggravated robbery and causing grievous bodily harm. </span></p> <p><span>But those charges were quickly dropped by the Perth Children’s Court on Thursday, including for one boy who had already pleaded guilty.</span></p> <p><span>All of them pleaded guilty to a new, lesser charge of intent to harm, doing an act as a result of which Mr Henson’s life, health or safety was, or was likely, to be endangered.</span></p> <p><span>They also pleaded guilty to stealing his shoes and one of the boys pleaded guilty to stealing his bag.</span></p> <p><span>All charges were dismissed against a sixth boy and not replaced with any new charges, resulting in him walking free from court.</span></p> <p><span>Psychological and juvenile justice reports will be prepared for most of the boys before their sentencing on August 18.</span></p>

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Baby Archie is suing the paparazzi

<p><br /><span>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son Archie is taking a stand against the photo agency Splash News for breaching his privacy, reports have confirmed.</span><br /><br /><span>The toddler is taking legal action against the Los Angeles based photo agency, and the case will be taken all the way through to the UK High Court.</span><br /><br /><span>Lodged by law firm Schillings, the case was brought by “Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor and The Duchess of Sussex, HRH”.</span><br /><br /><span>In the legal papers, Meghan is described as Archie’s “litigation friend”, which is due to the fact he is a minor.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B_2KLHOpFHs/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B_2KLHOpFHs/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Royal Windsors (@britishroyalfamily5543)</a> on May 6, 2020 at 5:21am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>The case was lodged with the courts on March 25, just days before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially finished up their roles as senior members of the royal family.</span><br /><br /><span>The royals are suing the photo agency after they snapped photographs of Meghan Markle walking through a park on Vancouver Island in Canada last January without their permission.</span><br /><br /><span>In the photographs, the starlet was seen holding Archie in a sling while the tot was purposefully shielded from the camera.</span><br /><br /><span>The child was wrapped in winter clothes and had his back to the lens while the photograph was being taken.</span><br /><br /><span>Splash photography agency said that they will “defend itself vigorously” against the lawsuit.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBu-XADqgwz/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBu-XADqgwz/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Royal Ladies Now (@royal.ladies.now)</a> on Jun 22, 2020 at 3:26am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been spectacularly private about their only son, despite being flung into the spotlight time and time again.</span><br /><br /><span>The couple are particular with what they share about Archie and have only released a handful of photographs and video clips of the one-year-old.</span><br /><br /><span>Harry and Meghan moved to the United States to start their life independent of the Royal family after they left The Firm back at the end of March.</span></p>

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"Truly tragic": Dr Preethi Reddy murdered by ex-partner, coroner finds

<p>Sydney dentist Preethi Reddy was murdered by her ex-partner in the bathroom of a hotel before he attempted to conceal his “heinous act”, a coroner has found.</p> <p>The 32-year-old was reported missing by her family after she failed to return from a dental conference in St Leonards in March last year.</p> <p>Her body was found in a suitcase in her car hours after Tamworth dentist Harshwardhan Narde took his own life in a car crash on the New England Highway on March 4, 2019.</p> <p>“Far too often, we see women who are killed by their domestic partners,” the NSW coroner Carmel Forbes said on Wednesday.</p> <p>The coroner said she was satisfied Narde, 34, murdered Reddy in his Swissotel Sydney room on March 3 sometime after the woman called her current partner at 11.06am.</p> <p>CCTV captured Narde later that day extending his hotel booking and buying a large suitcase and garbage bags, along with towels and cleaning products.</p> <p>“Dr Narde’s actions subsequent to [11.06am] are consistent with him attempting to conceal his heinous act,” Forbes said.</p> <p>Reddy and Narde attended the same conference separately and had dinner together at a Crows Nest restaurant on March 2. The restaurant owner noted there was no “happiness or laughter” between the two, Forbes said.</p> <p>Reddy was last seen alive entering Narde’s room about 3am on March 3.</p> <p>“The circumstances of Dr Reddy’s death are truly tragic and horrifying,” Forbes said.</p> <p>“There is ample evidence that supports the opinion expressed by Dr Reddy’s sister Nithya that Dr Reddy was with Dr Narde that night trying to be compassionate and understanding towards him and trying to give him closure on their ended relationship.”</p> <p>Narde made a statement to police the day after at the insistence of her sister and lied about the last time he had seen Reddy. He also claimed he had been at a backpackers’ hostel on the night of March 2.</p> <p>Narde intentionally drove his car into a truck after leaving Tamworth police station for a second time.</p> <p>Reddy was held in high regard by friends and colleagues, the coroner said.</p> <p>“Her death has been an unbearable loss to her family and partner,” Forbes said.</p> <p>The homicide will also be examined by the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team.</p> <p>In March this year, Nithya Reddy shared a tribute to her sister on social media.</p> <p>“Wherever you are Preeths, I’m never going to stop loving you and I’m never going to stop talking about the incredible person you are,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I’m so lucky that I got 30 years of having you as a big sister, you taught me so, so much about life and love.”</p> <p><em>If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, contact the 24-hour support line 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit <a href="http://1800respect.org.au/">1800RESPECT.org.au</a>.</em></p>

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New search launched for William Tyrrell after coronial inquest

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Police officers on Monday scoured bushland on the NSW Mid-North Coast as part of a new search to find William Tyrrell.</p> <p>The area searched is about a 10-minute drive north of Kendall, where the three-year-old vanished while playing outside his foster grandmother's home almost six years ago.</p> <p>Investigators are now focusing on an area near an old sawmill where convicted paedophile Frank Abbott lived in a caravan at the time of the toddler's disappearance. </p> <p>SES volunteers and officers spent hours cutting through the thick bush around Walkers Creek next to an old train line. </p> <p>A coronial inquest into the boy's suspected murder has previously heard the 79-year-old Abbott would often ramble to neighbours about the smell of a "dead human" near Herons Creek.</p> <p>Shop owner Jan Anderson told the inquest that Abbott became obsessed with the Tyrrell case.</p> <p>"He used to go on and on about a peculiar smell … We said it's probably a dead animal, a kangaroo."</p> <p>"He said, 'no, it's not that.' We said, 'why don't you go and tell the police?'</p> <p>He said, 'I'm not going to do that … because if there's something up there, I'll get blamed for it."</p> <p>Abbott currently remains a person of interest linked to William's disappearance but has never been arrested or charged.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: </em><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-22/new-search-for-william-tyrrell-begins-in-bushland/12380822" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink">ABC</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div>

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Room where a disabled woman sat in a chair for "12 months" revealed

<p>The room where disabled woman Ann Marie Smith police allege was slowly left to die has been seen for the first time.</p> <p>Detectives are now appealing for public help as Ann's friends are in shock and "regret".</p> <p>Police believe that Ann had been living in the same chair for 12 months.</p> <p>"The state of the house when police arrived, the state of Ann when she was taken to hospital, it was obvious that she'd been neglected," Detective Senior Sergeant Phil Neagle said to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/ann-marie-smith-room-revealed-as-investigation-into-death-continues/63bb57db-13ae-4b63-b701-6b381c5c4c54" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink"><em>9news</em></a>.</p> <p>Ann had cerebral palsy and died at the age of 54 after being rushed to hospital semi-conscious.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836627/chair-disabled-lady-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/483a680a97174ff89e7ed90338d458dc" /></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836628/chair-disabled-lady.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2b71e477caed42b7810764731f0c11a9" /></p> <div class="body_text "> <p>One of Ann's oldest friends is among those who are helping police piece together her life.</p> <p>"She was always my friends, (although) I hadn't spoken to her," she said.</p> <p>"That's been the hardest part, I just feel so guilty, you always think what if?"</p> <p>"She was loved and it hurts to hear comments, (like) where were her family and friends, and you do have friends that you don't see all the time," she said.</p> <p>Friends say Ann rarely left her home in recent years but was in regular contact with them via social media and text messages.</p> <p>Ann's carer Rosemary Maione is now at the centre of the police investigation.</p> <p>Rosemary was employed by Integrity Care SA, but has since been sacked.</p> <p>"We're examining the level of care provided by the carer as well as by the care provider," Senior Sergeant Neagle said.</p> <p>Detectives are also investigating<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://o60.me/RZH4zp" target="_blank">missing jewellery and money</a><span> </span>as well as the alleged misuse of Ann's car.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: </em><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/ann-marie-smith-room-revealed-as-investigation-into-death-continues/63bb57db-13ae-4b63-b701-6b381c5c4c54" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink">9news</a></em></p> </div>

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“I’m a murderer”: Outburst in court from man charged with Emerald Wardle slaying

<p>A New South Wales man has told a court “I’m a murderer” during his first appearance after being charged over the death of his teenage girlfriend.</p> <p>Jordan Brodie Miller, 20, was arrested after 18-year-old Emerald Wardle was found in a home in Maitland on Saturday.</p> <p>Appearing in Newcastle Bail Court via audiovisual link on Sunday, Miller had to be told by his lawyer to remain quiet after multiple outbursts.</p> <p>“I am a murderer. I wrapped my hands around Emerald Wardle’s throat… She was lying in bed,” he said.</p> <p>Lawyer Gillian Jewison asked the link to be cut off and Miller was removed from the screen.</p> <p>Miller has been ordered to undergo a physical and psychological assessment.</p> <p>No bail application was made.</p> <p>Miller was arrested in the front yard of a Metford home on Saturday morning after “a short scuffle”, said Detective Inspector Ranald Urquhart, crime manager for the Port Stephens-Hunter Police District.</p> <p>“Domestic violence does not respect age; domestic violence can involve people of all ages,” Urquhart said.</p> <p>Friends of Wardle told reporters they are in shock after her death.</p> <p>“She’s lovely, she’s kind, fun-loving, always making sure you’re okay and checking up on you,” friend Cassidy Baker told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/emerald-wardle-alleged-murder-jordan-miller-nsw-court-outbursts-mental-health-assessment/9eda94f9-891e-4dc5-879f-baca678b3160">9News</a></em>.</p> <p>“Unfortunately, things went a bit too far for my friend Emmy.”</p> <p>The matter will be heard in Maitland Local Court on Wednesday.</p> <p><em>If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, contact the 24-hour support line 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for more information on support and services that can help your situation.</em></p>

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Cancer fraudster faces another jail term

<p>A Melbourne woman who faked having cancer and scammed money from friends and family has been jailed for eight months.</p> <p>Hanna Dickenson, 26, was ordered to serve eight months in prison by Victorian County Court Judge Paul Lacava for breaching a “<a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/despicable-cancer-fraudster-jailed-for-fundraising-rort-victoria/5faa2d08-f7b7-4e3f-828a-2734a6a62117">lenient</a>” sentence and continuing to defraud those around her.</p> <p>Dickenson was jailed for three months in 2018 after she convinced her parents to give her money for cancer treatments.</p> <p>Dickenson’s parents rallied up $42,000 from neighbours and friends, but she spent the cash to party with friends, go on overseas holidays purchase alcohol and drugs, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-10/woman-who-faked-cancer-duped-friends-and-neighbours-jailed/9638464">a court heard</a>.</p> <p>Following a successful appeal against the jail term, she received a <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/cancer-conwoman-hanna-dickenson-avoids-jail-after-successful-appeal/news-story/d4d06db6d612c1286eb522a2d23b32d1">two-year community corrections order</a>, which required her to complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and undergo drug and mental health treatment.</p> <p>Last year, Dickenson breached the order after she attempted to falsify documents to get a $30,000 car loan. She was sentenced to another three-month prison term in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, but immediately appealed the decision.</p> <p>This month, the court heard Dickenson is facing other charges, including using other people’s identity to acquire mobile phones and a Commonwealth offence relating to the disability pension.</p> <p>“You did not take the opportunity to rehabilitate yourself or to learn from your mistakes,” Judge Lacava said.</p> <p>The judge re-sentenced Dickenson for the crimes on Monday. “The public needs to be protected from you and you will be sent to prison,” he said.</p>

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“I know he did it”: Best friend of Madeleine McCann suspect speaks out

<p>A friend of the man suspected of abducting Madeleine McCann said he is sure the convicted sex offender was responsible for the young girl’s disappearance.</p> <p>Earlier this month, German police identified Christian Brückner as the prime suspect in McCann’s case and launched an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jun/03/german-prisoner-named-as-suspect-in-disappearance-of-madeleine-mccann">appeal for information</a>.</p> <p>Austrian drifter Michael Tatschl, who lived with Brückner in Portugal in the early 2000s, said he had told authorities that his “sick” and “perverted” friend was “more than capable of snatching a child”.</p> <p>“I know he did it,” Tatschl told the <em><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/21/interviewchristian-bruckner-best-friend-sure-took-madeleine/">Telegraph</a></em>.</p> <p>“He was my best friend and he was definitely a pervert and more than capable of snatching a child, for sexual kicks or money.</p> <p>“I was sure it was him the minute the police came to find me in Austria.”</p> <p>Tatschl claimed Brückner bragged about making money by burgling apartments in Praia da Luz – where McCann was last seen – and once talked about “selling children maybe to Morocco”.</p> <p>In 2006, the pair spent eight months in the same prison after they were caught stealing diesel from lorries in Portugal, the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8445183/I-know-did-Christian-Brueckners-friend-says-German-guilty-taking-Madeline-McCann.html">Daily Mail</a> </em>reported. They were released five months prior to McCann’s disappearance.</p> <p>Tatschl said he became convinced that Brückner was involved in McCann’s disappearance after watching the Netflix documentary <em>The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann</em>.</p> <p>“The part where the female tourist talked about the man turning up at her door while her child played by the front door, the creepy guy with acne and blonde hair. I just knew it was Christian for sure.”</p> <p>Tatschl gave his testimony in April 2019 after Austrian and German police officers visited his house.</p> <p>“They were very clear with me from the first minute. They said, ‘we are investigating Maddie McCann and Christian Brückner’ and I told them I knew it already. I was convinced it was him,” he said.</p> <p>“I really hope they can finally close this case for the family and find Christian guilty for what he has done. He needs to admit it to the police and close it for good.”</p> <p>Last week, Brückner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher said his client is <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/madeleine-mccann-missing-german-suspect-christian-bruckner-refuses-questions/69be3ad6-0917-462c-92d4-d901c0f99a4f">remaining silent on the matter</a>.</p> <p>“It is the duty of the state to prove that a suspect committed a crime. No accused person has to prove his innocence to the investigating authorities.”</p> <p>Brückner is currently serving a prison sentence in the northern German city of Kiel for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jun/05/madeleine-mccann-suspect-christian-bruckner-being-investigated-over-second-missing-girl">drug trafficking</a>. He was also convicted last year of the rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz in 2005.</p>

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Expensive and dangerous: Why we must fight miners’ push to fast-track uranium mines

<p>Of all the elements on Earth, none is more strictly controlled under law than uranium. A plethora of international agreements govern its sale and use in energy, research and nuclear weapons.</p> <p>Australian environmental law considers nuclear actions, such as uranium mining, as a “matter of national environmental significance” under the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00777">Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act</a>. This means uranium involves matters of national and international concern for which the Australian government is solely responsible.</p> <p>The states, which own minerals, cannot exercise such oversight on uranium exports and use. So any new uranium mine needs both state and federal environmental approvals.</p> <p>The Minerals Council of Australia wants to change this. In a <a href="https://epbcactreview.environment.gov.au/submissions/anon-k57v-xgcn-w">submission</a> to a <a href="https://epbcactreview.environment.gov.au/">ten-year review</a> of the EPBC Act, the council argues that uranium’s special treatment is redundant, as environmental risks are already addressed in state approval processes.</p> <p>On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/address-%E2%80%93-ceda%E2%80%99s-state-nation-conference">announced</a> that BHP’s <a href="https://www.bhp.com/our-businesses/minerals-australia/olympic-dam/">proposed expansion</a> of the Olympic Dam copper-uranium-gold-silver mine in South Australia was one of 15 major projects set to be fast-tracked for environmental approval. This would include a single, joint state and federal assessment.</p> <p>But responsibility and past performance make a compelling case to maintain our federal environmental laws more than ever. Here’s why uranium mining must remain a federal issue.</p> <p><strong>Our international obligations</strong></p> <p>Australia is a <a href="https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/security/non-proliferation-disarmament-arms-control/nuclear-issues/Pages/treaties">signatory to several international treaties</a>, conventions and agreements concerning nuclear activities and <a href="https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/security/non-proliferation-disarmament-arms-control/policies-agreements-treaties/Pages/australias-uranium-export-policy">uranium mining and export</a>.</p> <p>These include safeguards to ensure Australian uranium is used only for peaceful nuclear power or research, and not military uses.</p> <p>As of the <a href="https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/asno-annual-report-2018-19.pdf">end of 2018</a>, the nuclear material safeguarded under international agreements derived from our uranium exports totalled 212,052 tonnes – including 201.6 tonnes of separated plutonium.</p> <p>Making sure our uranium trading partners don’t redirect that material for the wrong purpose has been the raison d'être of our nuclear foreign policy since 1977. It’s clearly a national legal and moral obligation, and something the states simply cannot do.</p> <p>In response, a spokesperson for the Minerals Council of Australia said a national mechanism to manage safeguards already exists through the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, adding:</p> <p><em>Uranium is further regulated through the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) […] under the provisions of the ARPANS Regulations 1999. The object of the ARPANS Act is “to protect the health and safety of people, and to protect the environment, from the harmful effects of radiation”.</em></p> <p>But ARPANSA regulates radiation safety and not uranium exports. If uranium mining was removed as a nuclear action, then there would be no public process involving our uranium exports – creating more secrecy and reducing scrutiny.</p> <p><strong>Successful rehabilitation has yet to be seen</strong></p> <p>Uranium mines are difficult to rehabilitate at the end of their lives. In my 24 years of research, including visiting most sites, I’ve yet to see a successful case study of Australia’s 11 major uranium mines or numerous small sites.</p> <p>For example, the Rum Jungle mine near Darwin, which operated from 1954 to 1971, <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=2ahUKEwi8x4WknoXqAhXIyDgGHUnhAOcQFjAAegQIAhAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fapo.ansto.gov.au%2Fdspace%2Fbitstream%2F10238%2F327%2F1%2FANSTO-E-748.pdf&amp;usg=AOvVaw1eAQiIJx6NV4QTC6OqJ2Rs">left a toxic legacy</a> of acidic and radioactive drainage and a biologically dead Finniss River.</p> <p>As a military project for the Cold War, it was Australian government-owned, but operated under contract by a company owned by Rio Tinto. The site was rehabilitated with taxpayer money from 1983-86, but by the mid-1990s the works were failing, and pollution levels were again rising.</p> <p>The Northern Territory government is proposing a <a href="https://ntepa.nt.gov.au/environmental-assessments/register/rum-jungle-former-mine-site">new round of rehabilitation</a>. After <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/calculator/">accounting for inflation</a> to 2019 dollars, Rum Jungle has cost taxpayers A$875 million for a return of A$139 million. The next round of rehabilitation is expected to cost many millions more.</p> <p>The former Mary Kathleen mine, also part of Rio Tinto’s corporate history, operated from 1958-63 and 1976-82.</p> <p>Rehabilitation works were completed by 1986 and won national engineering awards for excellence. But by the late 1990s, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00254-005-0014-2">acid seepage problems</a> emerged from the tailings dam (where mining by-products are stored) and overlying grasses were absorbing toxic <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0375674211001439">heavy metals</a>, creating a risk for grazing cattle.</p> <p>Rare earth metals are also present in these tailings, leading to the <a href="https://researchers.uq.edu.au/research-project/41428">possibility</a> the tailings will be reprocessed to fund the next round of rehabilitation. The site remains in limbo, despite its <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-20/former-uranium-mine-now-an-instagram-hotspot-for-tourists/11412040">Instagram fame</a>.</p> <p>Both Rum Jungle and Mary Kathleen were rehabilitated to the standards of their day, but they have not withstood the test of time.</p> <p>Australia’s biggest uranium mine, Ranger, is fast approaching the end of its operating life.</p> <p>Rio Tinto is also the majority owner of Ranger. Despite Ranger’s <a href="https://www.energyres.com.au/media/reports/annual-reports/">recent losses</a>, Rio has retained control and given Ranger hundreds of millions of dollars towards ensuring site operations and rehabilitation.</p> <p>In recent years the cost of rehabilitation has soared from <a href="https://www.energyres.com.au/media/reports/annual-reports/">A$565 million in 2011 to A$897 million in 2019</a>, over which time <a href="https://www.energyres.com.au/media/response-to-media-reports-on-ssb-funding/">A$603 million has been spent on rehabilitation works</a>.</p> <p>Site rehabilitation is required to be complete by January 2026, with Rio Tinto and Ranger <a href="https://www.energyres.com.au/uploads/general/S12_Closure_monitoring.pdf">assuming 25 years of monitoring</a> – although plans and funding for this are <a href="https://www.energyres.com.au/sustainability/closureplan/">still being finalised</a>.</p> <p>The legal requirement is that <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/science/supervising-scientist/publications/environmental-requirements-ranger-uranium-mine">no contaminants should cause environmental impacts for 10,000 years</a>, and no other mine has ever faced such a hurdle.</p> <p>Recently, it <a href="https://amp.abc.net.au/article/12260130">emerged</a> that Ranger had not agreed to continue its <a href="https://www.energyres.com.au/media/response-to-media-reports-on-ssb-funding/">share of funding the scientific research required for the rehabilitation</a> – an issue still unresolved. So despite promises of world’s best ever rehabilitation, concerns remain.</p> <p>The Conversation contacted Rio Tinto to respond, and it referred us to Energy Resources Australia (ERA), which operates Ranger. An ERA spokesperson stated:</p> <p><em>Since 1994, ERA has made an annual contribution to research into the environmental effects of uranium mining in the Alligator Rivers Region under an agreement with the Commonwealth. The agreement provides for a review of funding contributions at fixed periods or at either party’s request to acknowledge changes in Ranger operations.</em></p> <p><em>ERA is required to cease processing in January 2021 in accordance with the expiration of its Authority to Operate under the Commonwealth Atomic Energy Act. Given the impending cessation in processing, ERA believes it is appropriate and reasonable to review the current research funding arrangements.</em></p> <p><em>ERA has followed due process in this matter and welcomes the Commonwealth’s decision to support a process of mediation to resolve the issue.</em></p> <p>No other former uranium mine in Australia can claim long-term rehabilitation success. Nabarlek, Radium Hill-Port Pirie, South Alligator Valley and other small mines all have issues such as erosion, weeds, remaining infrastructure, radiation hot-spots and/or water contamination. They all require ongoing surveillance.</p> <p><strong>Uranium mining is set to be outcompeted</strong></p> <p>Australia’s uranium export revenue from 1977 to December A$2019 was A$29.4 billion. Lithium has now overtaken uranium in export revenue – from 2017 to 2019, lithium earned Australia two to three times our uranium exports.</p> <p>Even if Olympic Dam expands (and especially if it stops extracting uranium in favour of tellurium, cobalt and rare earths also present), this trend is expected to increase in the coming years as Ranger closes and the world transitions to <a href="https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2019">renewable energy</a> and <a href="https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2020">electric vehicles</a> to help address climate change.</p> <p>In response, the Minerals Council of Australia stated that lithium’s contribution to large-scale electricity storage is just beginning, arguing:</p> <p><em>With the development of new nuclear technologies such as small modular and micro reactors, the prospects for the future of both uranium and lithium are positive and no one should be picking winners apart from the market.</em></p> <p>Ultimately, uranium remains an element with immense potential for misuse - as seen with North Korea and other rogue nuclear states. Federal oversight of uranium mining must remain. After all, the price of peace is eternal vigilance.</p> <p><em>Written by Gavin Mudd. Republished with permission <a href="https://theconversation.com/expensive-dirty-and-dangerous-why-we-must-fight-miners-push-to-fast-track-uranium-mines-139966">of The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> </p>

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