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Urgent investigation into potential cancer cluster after mass diagnosis

<p>An urgent investigation has been launched into a potential cancer cluster after five women from the same workplace all developed cancer. </p> <p>Liverpool City Council confirmed five staff members working at its Moore Street office building, in Sydney’s southwest, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer within three to five years of each other. </p> <p>Four of the five workers are taking part in an urgent investigation by the NSW Department of Health, while sixth worker who has reported a thyroid condition has also opted out.</p> <p>The staff members were all working on the sixth floor of the office building, which has since been shut down upon the commencement of the investigation, with workers being relocated to other floors. </p> <p>Jenny Havilah, who works on level six of the building and was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/liverpool-council-cancer-cluster-investigation-three-staff-diagnosed-thyroid-cancer/75ef3ccd-1ca6-4b41-b3b5-8c614886f093#:~:text=Liverpool%20Council%20has%20made%20the,were%20%22well%20and%20working%22." target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-tgev="event119" data-tgev-container="bodylink" data-tgev-order="75ef3ccd-1ca6-4b41-b3b5-8c614886f093#:~:text=Liverpool%20Council%20has%20made%20the,were%20%22well%20and%20working%22." data-tgev-label="national" data-tgev-metric="ev">9News</a></em> she was concerned for her colleagues' health and safety. </p> <p>“It certainly sounds very sinister,” she told the outlet when asked about how three of her workmates who sat five metres apart were experiencing the same health issue. </p> <p>“I’m worried about my colleagues, not just on the sixth floor (but) that worked in that building.”</p> <p>“I had my thyroid and some lymph nodes removed and I’ll get the results in a week or so.”</p> <p>In a statement, Liverpool City Council said it was taking the matter “very seriously”, and have employed a third-party environmental health consultant while the NSW Department of Health undertakes a separate epidemiological investigation.</p> <p>“The decision to relocate staff is in response to the council’s high level of concern for the welfare of its staff,” the council said. </p> <p>“Our thoughts are with those affected and we wish them a prompt recovery.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News </em></p>

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Investigation launched over "major security breach" at Princess Kate's hospital

<p>New reports have claimed that there was an alleged security breach at the hospital where the Princess of Wales was treated, and an internal investigation is currently underway. </p> <p>According to the <em>Daily Mirror's </em>Royal Editor Russell Myers, bosses at The London Clinic have launched a probe into the claims that Kate Middleton's confidentiality was breached by staff.</p> <p>"The reason [for the alleged investigation] is that there is allegations that a member of staff accessed her private medical records," Myers, said on <em>Today </em>this morning.</p> <p>He also described it as "a major security breach," citing an unidentified insider who claims that Kensington Palace was contacted by the hospital bosses  immediately after the alleged incident and "assured the Palace there would be a full investigation."</p> <p>"Kensington Palace and indeed the Princess of Wales have been extremely guarded about the nature of the surgery," he added. </p> <p>"Sources have told me that it's something she may wish to discuss in the future but it is a private medical matter now in the UK."</p> <p>Myers also claimed that he had spoken with London's Metropolitan Police, but said that they "haven't confirmed they are involved" at this stage.</p> <p>Just yesterday, Myers commented on the footage of Princess Kate <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/princess-kate-filmed-in-public-for-the-first-time-since-christmas" target="_blank" rel="noopener">out in public </a>for the first time since Christmas, calling it "the video that everybody had been clambering for."</p> <p>"The main thing is, Kate looks very happy and fully healthy," Myers said on the <em>Today</em> show. </p> <p>Kensington Palace and The London Clinic have not provided a comment on the matter at this stage. </p> <p>The Princess of Wales is expected to return to her royal duties after easter. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Police investigate after young lawyer killed in "cowardly act"

<p>The tranquility of a Sunday morning was shattered for residents of Tamarama in Sydney's eastern suburbs, as news emerged of a tragic incident involving a young lawyer.</p> <p>Mitch East, a 28-year-old legal professional, was discovered critically injured on a street just metres away from his home, only to succumb to his injuries shortly after. What makes this loss even more devastating is the suspicion that his death was a result of a hit and run.</p> <p>The details of the incident paint a picture of a night that turned fatal in the early hours of February 17. Mitch East had been enjoying a night out and had opted for a responsible choice by catching an Uber home. However, he was allegedly struck by a passing car on Fletcher St, leaving him with fatal injuries.</p> <p>Detectives from the Crash Investigation Unit are now leading inquiries into the circumstances surrounding Mr East's untimely demise, with their focus on <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">locating the driver of a white Subaru Outback, believed to have been in the vicinity at the time of the incident.</span></p> <p>As friends and loved ones grapple with the shock and grief of losing Mitch, tributes pour in, reflecting the impact he had on those around him. Described as having a "hilarious yet kind nature" and an uncanny ability to befriend everyone he met, Mitch's presence left an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to have known him. A testament to his character, a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-mitch-and-in-support-of-loved-ones" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe page</a> initiated by Kane Dunkley has garnered significant support, surpassing $80,000, aimed at alleviating the financial burden on his family and partner.</p> <p>In professional circles, Mitch East was regarded as a highly talented lawyer whose potential was yet to be fully realised. His journey in the legal field saw him achieve remarkable milestones, from graduating with first-class honours from the University of Otago to pursuing further studies at Harvard Law School on a prestigious scholarship. His career trajectory was promising, with roles at esteemed institutions such as the New Zealand Supreme Court and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch Terrorist Attack before joining Sydney law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler in 2022.</p> <p>As investigations continue, NSW Police Detective Inspector Jason Hogan issued a plea for accountability, urging anyone with information regarding the incident to come forward “before we knock on their door”.</p> <p>“It is a cowardly act to drive away after colliding with another human,” he said.</p> <p><em>Images: GoFundMe | NSW Police</em></p>

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Two more infant deaths at Queensland hospital spark coroner's investigation

<p>In the wake of a recent healthcare scandal involving infant fatalities at a Queensland hospital, the state coroner is now delving into two more heartbreaking cases at the same facility, as <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-12/coroner-investigating-more-baby-deaths-at-mackay-base-hospital/103573248" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported by the ABC</a>. This development has reignited concerns about the safety and quality of care provided to expectant mothers and newborns at Mackay Base Hospital.</p> <p>The stories of Chloe Stanley and Jenna McGregor echo a disturbing pattern of maternal distress, dismissal of concerns and tragic outcomes. Stanley's baby girl, Everlee, tragically passed away in her arms just seven days after birth in May 2023, while McGregor lost her son, Hugo, five days after his birth, two months prior. Both infants succumbed to hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, a condition stemming from oxygen or blood flow deprivation during birth.</p> <p>Stanley's harrowing experience sheds light on a systemic issue of young mothers feeling marginalised and ignored by healthcare professionals. At just 19 years old, Stanley expressed her belief that she was being "judged" for her ago, leading to dismissal of her concerns about her baby's well-being, ultimately resulting in devastating consequences. McGregor's ordeal parallels Stanley's, underscoring a troubling lack of responsiveness to maternal distress and the urgent need for systemic reforms.</p> <p>These recent tragedies evoke haunting memories of <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-30/mackay-hospital-health-service-babies-obstetrics-review/101411172" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a similar case a decade ago</a>, involving the loss of Jessica Beazley's newborn son, Nathan. Like Stanley and McGregor, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-30/mackay-base-hospital-obstetrics-harming-mother-and-baby/101485862" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Beazley's concerns </a>appear to have  been disregarded, leading to irreversible harm. An investigation into Mackay Base Hospital's obstetrics and gynaecology service in 2022 revealed a disturbing pattern of inadequate care contributing to infant deaths and maternal suffering, prompting calls for comprehensive reforms.</p> <p>The review uncovered 122 recommendations aimed at improving communication, culture and empathy within the hospital's maternity care system. However, despite assurances of progress, Stanley and McGregor's experiences suggest that critical reforms have yet to be fully implemented, leaving expectant mothers vulnerable to similar tragedies.</p> <p>The Root Cause Analysis conducted by the Mackay Hospital and Health Service (MHHS) following McGregor's loss identified several systemic deficiencies, including delays in care escalation, poor collaboration and communication breakdowns. These findings underscore the urgent need for sustained efforts to address systemic failures and ensure the safety of expectant mothers and their babies.</p> <p>Stanley's and McGregor's accounts of feeling dismissed and unheard by healthcare providers highlight a pervasive culture of neglect and complacency that must be addressed. </p> <p>In response to these tragedies, health authorities have pledged to bolster obstetric care and enhance staff training and empathy initiatives. </p> <p>As the Queensland coroner investigates these heartbreaking cases, it is imperative that lessons are learned, and systemic reforms are swiftly implemented to prevent further loss of innocent lives.</p> <p>Expectant mothers like Chloe Stanley and Jenna McGregor deserve nothing less than the highest standard of care and compassion throughout their pregnancy and childbirth journey.</p> <p><em>Images: Mackay Base Hospital \ Getty Images file photo</em> </p>

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Police seize suspect's car in Samantha Murphy investigation

<p>Detectives looking into Samantha Murphy's alleged murder have seized a car as part of their investigation. </p> <p>Police have reportedly been watching accused killer Patrick Stephenson for two weeks prior to his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-samantha-murphy-murder-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrest</a> on Wednesday, according to <em>7NEWS</em>.</p> <p>They also reportedly seized Stephenson's 4WD as part of a probe into whether or not the Ballarat mum was hit by his car. </p> <p>Speaking to <em>The Herald Sun</em>, one neighbour recalled the moment police swarmed a Scotsburn home that Stephenson and his partner were reportedly house-sitting at on Wednesday morning. </p> <p>“There were all sorts of cars, they all looked like unmarked police,” the neighbour said.</p> <p>“It was about 6.30am when I went past… I put two and two together and I said to my wife: ‘I reckon something’s going on, I reckon they were police’.</p> <p>“And sure enough, later that day (the news of an arrest) was released.”</p> <p>Despite his arrest and murder charge, the 22-year-old, who is <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the son of retired AFL player Orren Stephenson</a>, is not cooperating with police as they continue to search for Murphy's body. </p> <p>Murphy's family have shared a desperate plea as they continue to search for answers. </p> <p>“We are hoping he has a bit of a change of heart and that he will co-operate. That will help bring her home,” Murphy's husband, Mick, said on Friday.</p> <p>“We’d just like some more answers now.”</p> <p>Stephenson is due to face a committal mention on August 8.</p> <p><em>Images: 7News/ Facebook</em></p>

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Major development in search for Samantha Murphy

<p>Police are moving to a different search area around 5km away from where Samantha Murphy was last seen, after receiving new information from her mobile data. They now believe that “one or more parties” were involved in her disappearance. </p> <p>The Ballarat mum was last seen leaving her home at 7am on February 4 for her usual morning run. </p> <p>On Friday, detectives from the Missing Persons Squad will lead a targeted search of the Mount Clear area, which is adjacent to the Canadian State Forest where Murphy was known to frequent, as part of their investigation.</p> <p>The search will focus on an area “highlighted by intelligence derived from phone data”.</p> <p>Despite missing for almost three weeks now, police still insist that they did not believe Murphy;'s disappearance was “sinister”, but have now confirmed that she went missing under suspicious circumstances.</p> <p>“Police are treating her disappearance as suspicious due to the length of time she has been missing and given no trace of her has been found,” police said.</p> <p>Detective Acting Superintendent Mark Hatt said that while police are keeping an open mind about what happened to Murphy they have ruled out any type of medical incident as there was nothing to indicate that she left on her own accord. </p> <p>"We are keeping an open mind, but believe the most likely scenario is that her disappearance involves one or more parties," Detective Acting Superintendent Hatt said.</p> <p>“Since Samantha’s disappearance almost three weeks ago, a significant search and investigation has been undertaken in an effort to find her,” he added.</p> <p>“I know that a lot of people, particularly those who live in the local Ballarat community, are extremely concerned about the fact we haven’t yet located Samantha or who may be responsible for her disappearance.</p> <p>“I want to reassure those members of the public that Victoria Police is doing everything we can to find out what has happened and provide some answers to Samantha’s family and the broader community.”</p> <p>Investigators are currently reviewing about 12,000 hours of CCTV footage and following up on over 500 pieces of information. </p> <p>On Thursday, police announced that they have called in additional detectives from <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/new-development-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">specialist units</a> to help with the search.</p> <p>They are also asking residents in the Ballarat East and Mount Helen areas particularly around the Canadian Forest to check their CCTV footage for any relevant information. </p> <p>“I encourage anyone who does have information that could be relevant to this investigation — whether that’s a person or vehicle seen in the area on that day, something unusual such as a damaged vehicle or property — to please come forward and speak to police or provide the information via Crime Stoppers,” Hatt said.</p> <p>“Police remain open to any and all possibilities, so if you know something or have seen something, then we want to hear from you.”</p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWs</em></p>

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Major claim in investigation into deadly house fire that killed five children

<p>The grandmother of five children who died alongside their father in a tragic house fire has spoken out, claiming her daughter had "begged" their landlord to fix the smoke alarms in the house.</p> <p>In August last year, Wayne Godinet, 34, died along with his four-year-old twins Kyza and Koa, his three-year-old son Nicky, and his stepsons Zack, 11, and Harry, 10, in a <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/6-beautiful-souls-family-break-silence-after-tragic-house-fire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">horrific blaze</a> in Queensland's Russell Island. </p> <p>Mr Godinet and his sons became trapped upstairs of the two storey home after he raced back into the house to save them, while the children's mother, Samantha Stephenson, 28, and her sister were able to escape the fire.</p> <p>On Wednesday, the owner of the rental property, 61-year-old Donna Rose Beadel, was charged by police over her alleged involvement in the tragedy.</p> <p>The family has spoken out in anger, with the grandmother of the five boys, Rebecca Stephenson, claiming that her daughter had spoken to the landlord about updating the smoke alarms in the property just one week before the fire. </p> <p>Ms Stephenson told the Courier Mail, “The week before it happened, Sam texted the landlady and asked for the smoke alarms to be updated.”</p> <p>She claims she knew of at least three times her daughter had asked for the smoke alarms to be fixed.</p> <p>“It was the first thing you noticed when you walked into the house, a smoke alarm hanging from the ceiling and then a marking of one in the kitchen that had been painted over,” she added.</p> <p>Police allege that Ms Beadel's property did not have compliant smoke alarms when the fire broke out, with police further alleging that she wasn’t present when the fire occurred.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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Drug regulator investigates deaths tied to weight loss injections

<p>Australia's drug regulator is investigating further into three different deaths possibly linked to the use of Ozempic and other weight loss injections. </p> <p>Tim Ramsay, 58, started using Saxenda because he wanted to lose weight so he could confidently walk his daughter down the aisle. </p> <p>But, he tragically passed away just 19-days after he started taking the injections, and now his family want answers, after a coroner ruled his cause of death as undetermined. </p> <p>"I don't believe that anybody should die without an explanation, you just don't expire, there has got to be a reason for Tim's death," Ramsay's wife, Sue, told <em>60 Minutes</em>.</p> <p>"19 days between his first injection and the day he left us, alarm bells in our heads, in the TGA's heads, and the coroner's head should be ringing," his daughter Elyse said.</p> <p>Leonie Margetts is also looking for answers, and is angry at the ease in which the injections could be accessed, following her daughter's death after taking Ozempic injections she'd ordered online. </p> <p>Margetts' daughter Naomi wanted to be a mum, but was told she needed to lose weight to to have any chance of falling pregnant.</p> <p>"You just do not expect to find your daughter on her knees in front of the toilet bowl dead," Margetts said.</p> <p>"She was a week away from turning 40 and that's a big thing for any female, she was feeling very vulnerable," she added. </p> <p>The Therapeutic Goods Administration's Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Robyn Langham has responded, and told <em>60 minutes</em> that the TGA has a responsibility to the families of the deceased. </p> <p>"It's a very serious and a very tragic problem for the families that are concerned and we don't wish to minimise that at all," Langham said.</p> <p>She added that they are carefully monitoring reports of severe gastrointestinal side effects caused by the medication, and will withdraw the drug if necessary. </p> <p>"If we do see that there is a need to change the messaging or the information that goes with the drug or even in some cases to withdraw the drug, then we have the power to do so," Langham said.</p> <p>Some people have been using Ozempic for weightloss, which has caused it to "explode" in popularity.</p> <p>"I liken this to when the [Model] T Ford was first invented and suddenly we had changes in transportation and the horse and cart went," Professor of medicine and endocrinologist Dr Katherine Samaras said. </p> <p>But, the professor has warned that Ozempic is only approved in Australia for diabetes, and should only be used when supervised by a doctor. </p> <p>"We don't leave matches in the hands of children," she said.</p> <p>"We shouldn't leave these drugs in the hands of people, it has to be supervised."</p> <p><em>Images: 60 minutes</em></p>

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New Maddie McCann theory has "electrified" investigators

<p>An important witness in the Madeleine McCann case has shared a valuable piece of information which has has "electrified" investigators, as the search for the missing child continues. </p> <p>The witness claims that Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect in Maddie's disappearance, had a burglary tool kit that could unlock any security door, and boasted to friends about his lock picking skills. </p> <p>This new theory has raised fresh doubts over the official theory that ­Maddie’s kidnapper clambered in through a window of holiday apartment 5a in Praia da Luz when she was abducted. </p> <p>German police are said to be “electrified” by discovery, and are also probing the possibility that Christian B used car paint solvent to sedate Maddie.</p> <p>In an exclusive interview from a secret location, Helge B – now in German police witness protection – told filmmaker Jutta Rabe for <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/22893975/madeleine-mccann-suspect-christian-b-lock-pick-kit/"><em>The Sun on Sunday</em>,</a> “He came through the door”.</p> <p>Helge B, 52, who met his fellow German a year before Maddie vanished aged three, said he found the kit at Christian B’s Algarve home.</p> <p>The petty criminal had decided to ransack it with another friend after learning Christian B was serving time for theft.</p> <p>He said, “I knew from Christian that he uses tools to break into holiday resorts, hotels and holiday homes to steal from tourists."</p> <p>“There were passports on the table. There was all sorts of stuff lying around – cameras, suitcases, everything that tourists have with them. I also found a lock pick set.”</p> <p>Helge B, who kept the kit and told German police about it, added, “You can use it to pick any lock, including security locks.”</p> <p>Despite police long believing Maddie's abductor had snuck in through the window, when asked how Christian B might've entered the hotel room, Helge simply said, “Through the door. Easily. He can open any door”.</p> <p>Upon the discovery of the new evidence, a police source said, “The German detectives were electrified by the discovery of the tool kit with the lock picks in it. This evidence is now very important to them."</p> <p>“It confirmed a suspicion that they’d had for a long time – that Christian B entered the apartment through the door.”</p> <p>German prosecutors hope to use the lock picks evidence to nail Christian B, who is in jail for drugs crimes and appealing a seven-year sentence for raping a woman of 72.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Double murder investigation launched into elderly couple who died a year apart

<p>Detectives are treating the deaths of Brenda and Lynton Anderson, both aged 94, as a double murder, with the main suspect believed to be someone close to the victims. The couple, who were great-grandparents, passed away a year apart under suspicious circumstances.</p> <p>Speaking at a press conference, Detective Inspector Mark McEachern revealed that both deaths were deliberate acts carried out by the same person, who had a close relationship with the Andersons.</p> <p>"Both were deliberately murdered by the same person who was known and close to both of them," Detective Inspector Mark McEachern told reporters.</p> <p>The suspicions arose due to similarities and irregularities found in the toxicology reports of the deceased couple. It was discovered that the presence of certain medications in their systems was unexplained and raised concerns.</p> <p>"The medication that was in there should not have been there, there was no reason for the medication to have been in their system and that's raised concerns in respect of both deaths," McEachern said.</p> <p>Brenda Anderson's demise initially occurred while she was receiving medical treatment at Noarlunga Hospital in March of the previous year. As her condition worsened, she was transferred to Flinders Medical Centre, where she eventually passed away.</p> <p>During the coronial investigation process, her hospital death came under scrutiny when significant abnormalities were found in the toxicology results. After ruling out any innocent explanation for these irregularities, the investigation turned its focus to the possibility of foul play by a third party known to Mrs. Anderson. The police have expressed confidence in the level of care provided by both hospitals.</p> <p>"Mrs Anderson's hospital death was identified during the coronial investigation process after toxicology results gave significant rise for concern.</p> <p>"When an innocent explanation for toxicology abnormalities was eliminated, the possibility Mrs Anderson's death being a deliberate act by another party became the primary subject of the investigation.</p> <p>"It is believed Mrs Anderson was killed by a person known to her and in close enough relationship to have been visiting her while she was in hospital.</p> <p>"Police have no concerns about the level of care in either hospital, which was exemplary," <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">McEachern</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> said.</span></p> <p>In the case of Lynton Anderson, he was discovered unconscious at his residence in Hackham by a caregiver on April 30. He was immediately transported to Flinders Medical Centre by SA Ambulance but succumbed to his condition the following day.</p> <p>Detectives also became suspicious of the toxicology results for Lynton after analysing Brenda's case. However, they have ruled out the involvement of external carers in his death. The police have identified a suspect but declined to provide further details at this stage of the investigation.</p> <p>Authorities are now urging anyone who had contact with the Anderson couple and possesses information related to their deaths and the events leading up to them to come forward. They are particularly interested in hearing from individuals who may have knowledge of any prescribed or non-prescribed medications used by the couple or discussed by them.</p> <p>The community has been left shocked and saddened by the tragic deaths of Brenda and Lynton Anderson. As the investigation into these distressing circumstances unfolds, the hope is that justice will be served and the truth behind these untimely losses will be revealed.</p> <p><em>Images: SA Police</em></p>

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Matt Wright accuses police of overlooking evidence in helicopter crash investigation

<p>Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright has revealed what he believes caused the helicopter crash that killed his friend and co-star Chris Wilson in 2022, accusing police of ignoring crucial evidence.</p> <p>Wright is facing seven charges regarding his conduct after the fatal crash, including attempting to pervert the course of justice, fabrication of evidence and destruction of evidence.</p> <p>Chris “Willow” Wilson was killed on February 28, 2022, while collecting crocodile eggs in a remote area of West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.</p> <p>The 34-year-old had been suspended in a sling from a helicopter when the aircraft crashed, resulting in his death.</p> <p>Sebastian Robinson, the pilot of the Robinson R44 helicopter suffered severe spinal injuries from the crash.</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with <em>The Sunday Telegraph</em>, Wright revealed the ongoing police investigation is “focusing on picking apart my life and business” rather than the events leading to the fatal crash.</p> <p>“I do seriously wonder why the NT Police are not focusing on whether the helicopter was refuelled and the fact the toxicology report reveals the detection of cocaine derivatives in the pilot’s blood sample,” he said.</p> <p>No one has been charged for Wilson’s death, and Wright has “strenuously” denied any wrongdoing.</p> <p>Wright previously claimed that Mr Robinson’s blood sample tested positive for cocaine and that has been supported by a letter sent by his lawyer David Newey to Senior Crown prosecutor Steven Ledek.</p> <p>The letter was used as evidence during a court hearing in relation to Wright’s charges in Darwin in April 2023, highlighting information contained in the prosecution’s brief of evidence.</p> <p>Wright told the publication he recently learned Mr Robsinson, the pilot who was externally contracted for the flight, “was at a party into the early hours of the day before the crash, where people were using cocaine”.</p> <p>A man who wished to remain anonymous told <em>The Sunday Telegraph</em> that he was introduced to Mr Robinson at a party in Virginia, 30km southeast of Darwin, two nights before the crash.</p> <p>The outlet reported he came forward after hearing about the toxicology report being referred to in the court case.</p> <p>Wright described the new revelations as “extremely concerning”, especially given the references to the toxicology report in court, and said if he were aware of what it suggests occurred before the flight “it never would have taken off”.</p> <p>He also said the preliminary Australian Transport Safety Bureau report suggested the helicopter was not refuelled en route to the egg collection. He believes that is likely what caused the crash.</p> <p>The helicopter was expected to leave Darwin and refuel at Mr Borradaile on the way to a preparation area near King River in Arnhem Land, where it would land, attach the sling and connect a person before beginning the egg collection.</p> <p>Wright told <em>The Sunday Telegraph</em> his Darwin fuel stations use “blue fuel” but the station at Mt Borradaile near the crash site used “green”. The colour indicates lead levels. It was reported that the fuel at Mt Borradaile was provided by a third party company involved in egg collections.</p> <p>The ATSB report said investigators drained “about 250ml of blue fuel from the main tank’s bladder” following the crash.</p> <p>“This makes me question whether the helicopter was refuelled at Mount Borradaile and whether it was fuel exhaustion that caused the crash,” Wright told the outlet.</p> <p>A pilot flying another helicopter joining the fatal mission told the Australian there was “no possible way” fuel exhaustion caused the crash because he filled the crashed R44’s tank himself at a fuel-drum site near Mt Borradaile shortly before the crash.</p> <p>Tim Luck said he flew from Noonamah to the drum site with another pilot and saw Mr Wilson filling up the tank. He also noted he jumped out and took over pumping.</p> <p>“I’m 100 per cent sure that machine was filled to the top,” he said.</p> <p>However, Mr Wright said Mr Luck was not “authorised or trained in refuelling helicopters” as that responsibility, he said, was up to the pilot in command.</p> <p><em>The Sunday Telegraph</em> obtained a photo which appears to show Wilson sitting in the right-side pilot’s seat with the helicopter’s controls in his hands. Wright said the picture shows Wilson flying the aircraft in the pilot’s seat and Robinson sitting on the left, with both of his feet off the pedals.</p> <p>“This was a commercial flight, the pilot was not an instructor and Chris Wilson did not have a commercial helicopter licence,” he said.</p> <p>According to <em>The Sunday Telegraph</em>, the image is time stamped at 7:43am, 40 minutes after the aircraft left Darwin, and appears to show the fuel gauge indicating the tank was about three quarters full. It was an estimated 90 minute flight from Darwin to fuel the drums.</p> <p>He was not blaming Wilson, describing him as a “true legend” in tributes on social media, for being behind the controls, but could not understand why the “pilot went against protocol”.</p> <p>NT Police said in a statement they were “continuing to investigate all matters relating to this incident”.</p> <p>The ATSB’s final report into the cause of the crash is set for release by September 2023.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

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Devastating update on investigation into Hillcrest Primary School deaths

<p>An inquest into the tragedy that unfolded at Hillcrest Primary School has hit an unexpected hurdle, as WorkSafe Tasmania is refusing to release the findings of their investigation. </p> <p>The devastating incident unfolded in December 2021 when <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/just-shattering-outpouring-of-grief-after-fatal-primary-school-incident" target="_blank" rel="noopener">six children died</a> after a jumping castle was blown into the air during an end-of-year celebration at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania. </p> <p>As the inquest into the incident was due to proceed to determine what caused the accident, it was revealed in a pre-inquest hearing on Tuesday morning that WorkSafe Tasmania will continue to refuse to provide its report because it believes it will prejudice "any potential prosecutions" under work, health and safety laws.</p> <p>Coroner Olivia McTaggart said the decision was "unfortunate" and the inquest was adjourned pending an appeal in the Supreme Court in April.</p> <p>Ms McTaggart went on to say that because she did not have access to expert opinions and engineer reports, she could not properly investigate.</p> <p>"They are crucial to issues such as causation," she said.</p> <p>"In the absence of that material, the inquest cannot proceed."</p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">Sam Thompson, who was representing WorkSafe Tasmania, told the coroner the decision to not disclose the report was "most regrettable".</span></p> <p class="_39n3n" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1rem; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">He said an initial investigation into the tragedy had been completed, saying, "[It] is large and has been referred to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions]."</p> <p class="_39n3n" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1rem; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">He said a second "supplementary investigation" was ongoing and in its early stages, adding that not disclosing the report findings was for the "importance of protection". </p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">The coroner and lawyers representing families of the children will appeal to have the WorkSafe documents released in order for the inquest to proceed. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">Image credits: Twitter</span></em></p>

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Investigation launched after helicopter crash sees four dead

<p>Investigators have begun searching for answers about the fatal helicopter crash that left four people dead on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>After a mid-air collision on Monday afternoon, the distressing scene played out in front of thousands of guests visiting Sea World, and the busy Gold Coast Broadwater for the New Year’s Day public holiday.</p> <p>Initial reports suggest one helicopter was taking off as the other was landing when they collided.</p> <p>“One was trying to leave and they both smacked into each other,” a witness told 7NEWS.</p> <p>“Then they broth dropped and one of the helicopters actually lit on fire.”</p> <p>Another witness described the explosion that followed the collision.</p> <p>“We just looked up and they instantly hit each other,” she said.</p> <p>“Blades went flying, flames everywhere.”</p> <p>One helicopter fell upside down into a sandbank at the water’s edge scattering debris over a wide area around 2 pm on Monday near the popular theme park.</p> <p>On board, four people were killed and three passengers were critically injured.</p> <p>The second aircraft landed safely, but the windscreen was damaged. Queensland Ambulance supervisor Jayney Shearman said another six patients were treated primarily for glass shrapnel wounds.</p> <p>He said the “airframe has crashed and it was upside down”, and its front was severely damaged.</p> <p>The helicopter had no nose and no windscreen, after both were blasted off in the moment of impact and those below the crash could only run from the blades of the first helicopter spearing into the sand.</p> <p>Tourists became rescuers, as people on jet skis and in boats rushed to help the victims at the small sandbank before paramedics and police arrived on the scene.</p> <p>They were confronted with a “significant incident”, Queensland Police Acting Inspector Gary Worrell said.</p> <p>Members of the public rendered immediate assistance, working alongside police to remove people - including at least one child - from the wreckage as it burst into flames.</p> <p>They commenced first aid and tried to get those people to safety from the airframe that was upside down, Worrell said.</p> <p>Jayney Shearman from QAS said they attended to 13 people from both helicopters.</p> <p>“There were three critical patients that were treated and there were six with minor injuries that were all transported through to hospital,” she said.</p> <p>“The minor injuries were mainly glass shrapnel that had come from the impact.”</p> <p>Shearman said there were a number of critical injuries, “what we call multi-system trauma which means that there was a lot of impact to the body”.</p> <p>In the initial stages, she said, it was very important to have some basic life support which was being conducted by first-aiders.</p> <p>Two people, a woman and a child were taken to Gold Coast University Hospital while another child was airlifted to Queensland Children’s Hospital.</p> <p>Six other people are at Robina Hospital being assessed in the emergency department and it is understood some may be eventually transferred to Gold Coast University Hospital.</p> <p>Sea World’s chief pilot Ashley Jenkinson has been confirmed as one of the victims. He leaves behind a wife and a young son.</p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p>

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Australia is investigating whether ex-defence personnel provided military training to China. Would it matter if they did?

<p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles <a href="https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/statements/2022-11-09/statement-efforts-recruit-former-adf-pilots" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced</a> he had directed the Department of Defence to investigate reports “that ex-Australian Defence Force personnel may have been approached to provide military related training to China”.</p> <p>This announcement comes just weeks after the British Ministry of Defence <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/top-guns-for-hire-british-pilots-training-chinese-military-slammed-as-morally-repugnant-20221019-p5bqvx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">revealed</a> around 30 of their former military pilots had been delivering flight training services to members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through a company based in South Africa.</p> <p>Marles has <a href="https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/transcripts/2022-11-09/press-conference-parliament-house" target="_blank" rel="noopener">committed</a> to conducting a</p> <blockquote> <p>detailed examination [of] the policies and procedures that apply to our former Defence personnel, and particularly those who come into possession of our nation’s secrets.</p> </blockquote> <p>He explained there’s a “clear and unambiguous” obligation on current and former Commonwealth officials to “maintain [government] secrets beyond their employment with, or their engagement with, the Commonwealth”.</p> <p>Australia’s highly trained defence personnel are a huge asset to us, as much as our cutting-edge physical assets and technologies. As far as possible, we should ensure these assets are protected. There should also be clear guidelines around how and when privileged information can be employed.</p> <h2>Impending investigation</h2> <p>According to Britain’s Minister for Armed Forces and Veterans James Heappey, their authorities had <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/top-guns-for-hire-british-pilots-training-chinese-military-slammed-as-morally-repugnant-20221019-p5bqvx.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">been aware of the situation for several years</a>. None of the pilots had broken existing British law.</p> <p>The BBC <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-63293582" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> the British government issued this “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/oct/18/uk-officials-threat-alert-china-attempts-to-recruit-raf-pilots" target="_blank" rel="noopener">threat alert</a>” to deter other would-be trainers from taking up similar offers. There’s also an updated National Security Bill currently before the House of Commons, which seeks to “create additional tools” to address security challenges like this one.</p> <p>By comparison, it’s unclear whether any ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel took up Chinese offers to train the PLA, or whether such an action would be considered a violation of the secrecy of information provisions of the Australian Criminal Code.</p> <p>Marles <a href="https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/transcripts/2022-11-09/press-conference-parliament-house" target="_blank" rel="noopener">explained</a> the Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce is “currently investigating a number of cases” identified by the department’s initial inquiries.</p> <p>This investigation will also seek to determine whether current policies and procedures are fit for purpose when it comes to former defence personnel and the protection of official secrets.</p> <p>Taking such measures has bipartisan support. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton <a href="https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/politics/peter-dutton-calls-on-albanese-government-to-tighten-up-laws-to-prevent-adf-personnel-spreading-australian-secrets/news-story/37ee6dc4c585922f7abf98edcc51b7b6" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has indicated</a> “if there is a hole in the legislation now, the Coalition will support a change which will tighten it up”. He added that Australia “can’t allow our secrets and our methodologies to be handed over to another country, and particularly not China under President Xi”.</p> <h2>Exposing our tactics</h2> <p>Dutton’s comments highlight an important distinction: while the training of PLA (or any foreign) pilots by ex-ADF personnel may not necessarily constitute a disclosure of official secrets, it still risks exposing the ways in which the ADF is trained to fight to a potential adversary – what are referred to as its tactics, techniques and procedures.</p> <p>There are many exchange personnel from overseas embedded in the ADF (and vice versa). But given the sensitivities involved, these positions are typically restricted to close partners such as the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand or Canada. One of the benefits of close cooperation between militaries is that they can then operate more effectively alongside each other in the event of a conflict.</p> <p>But if ex-ADF personnel train the armed forces of potential adversaries, those opponents may be able to use this knowledge to better develop methods of their own to erode Australia’s military advantages.</p> <p>Professor <a href="https://twitter.com/alessionaval/status/1582232133086892032" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Alessio Patalano</a> of King’s College London points out that</p> <blockquote> <p>skilled personnel are valued capabilities and this know-how is a national security resource, and for the same reason a potential vulnerability.</p> </blockquote> <p>He further <a href="https://twitter.com/alessionaval/status/1582230651834548224" target="_blank" rel="noopener">explained</a> the “reverse engineering of professional skills” has a long historical tradition. That is, personnel undergoing this training would improve their skills, but could also work backwards from the instruction they receive to draw further insights into how the other state might operate in the event of war.</p> <p>For example, in the so-called “<a href="https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2019/december/jump-starting-japanese-naval-aviation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sempill Mission</a>” of British aviators to Japan in the 1920s, British personnel provided detailed instruction to their Japanese counterparts on how to conduct and train for aircraft carrier operations – at the time a brand new and rapidly emerging form of naval warfare. This training mission contributed significantly to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s prowess in aircraft carrier operations displayed in 1941.</p> <p>While foreign governments and intelligence services are always looking for opportunities to obtain classified information about Australia and its partners, the converse is also true.</p> <p>The Daily Express <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1686465/RAF-news-china-uk-nato-raf-pilots-british-security-agencies" target="_blank" rel="noopener">claimed</a> British intelligence services used their knowledge of these recent activities as an opportunity for some pilots to obtain information on the current state of the PLA.</p> <p>The pilots allegedly had first-hand experience flying China’s frontline combat aircraft, and relayed the information to British authorities on their return.</p> <h2>Protecting our assets</h2> <p>Nevertheless, despite the “clear and unambiguous” obligation for former Commonwealth officials “to maintain [Australia’s] secrets”, ex-ADF personnel have been engaged in training foreign militaries for many years. In an interview with the ABC, former Secretary of Defence Dennis Richardson noted his <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-09/ex-defence-secretary-dennis-richardson-adf-members-china/101635972" target="_blank" rel="noopener">surprise</a> “at some of the positions that some former ADF officers have occupied in other countries” and expressed his hope the government’s review “goes beyond China”.</p> <p>The most prominent of these figures is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-14/former-australian-soldiers-caught-up-in-yemen-civil-war/7087566" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Major General (Ret’d) Mike Hindmarsh</a>, a former Commander of Australia’s Special Operations Command who was subsequently appointed as the Commander of the United Arab Emirates’ Presidential Guard.</p> <p>Australia already has <a href="https://www.defence.gov.au/business-industry/export/controls/export-controls/export" target="_blank" rel="noopener">export control</a> regulations, which limits the physical export and intangible transfer of controlled military and dual-use goods and technologies. Also, stringent <a href="https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/education/o-neil-alters-ministerial-sign-off-for-postgrad-students-20220630-p5axwq" target="_blank" rel="noopener">limitations</a> on international students undertaking postgraduate research in Australia on critical technologies were legislated in the last Parliament. However, these measures aren’t being currently being implemented until the government can more clearly define the relevant list of critical technologies.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-is-investigating-whether-ex-defence-personnel-provided-military-training-to-china-would-it-matter-if-they-did-194252" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p>

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Karl Stefanovic under investigation

<p>Karl Stefanovic is being investigated by police following claims made by a waiter at a charity event, who allegedly says he was touched.</p> <p>The waiter alleges Stefanovic, aged 48, touched him at a Mercedes-Benz melanoma charity fundraiser in Brisbane.</p> <p>The Today show host attended the gala with his wife Jasmine, aged 38, in August.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CheesW9hde8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CheesW9hde8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jasmine Stefanovic (@jasyarby)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Queensland Police told the Courier Mail that they were investigating an alleged assault said to have taken place on August 20.</p> <p>“Queensland Police are investigating a report regarding the alleged assault of a man at a Newstead business during an event on Saturday, August 20,” a spokesman said.</p> <p>“As investigations are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”</p> <p>Stefanovic has not been charged.</p> <p>The six-hour event saw Karl raise $290,000 for melanoma research.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CheeVe0OrnF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CheeVe0OrnF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by karl stefanovic (@karlstefanovic_)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Investigations continue after 21 teens die in tavern

<p dir="ltr">South African police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the mysterious deaths of 21 people in a local tavern, as survivors describe trying to escape the jam-packed premises.</p> <p dir="ltr">Officials have ruled out a stampede as the cause of the deaths at Enyobeni Tavern in the town of East London, a provincial safety official told AFP news agency, as there were “no visible wounds”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Seventeen people died inside the bar, with another four later dying in hospital. </p> <p dir="ltr">Police minister Bheki Cele has said the youngest victim was just 13 years old, with the remaining victims ranging in age from 13-17 - though a detailed list of the victims hasn’t been produced yet, per the <em><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-61941170" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BBC</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Unathi Binqose, a government official on safety, told the AAP that it is suspected that the cause of their deaths may have been in something they ate, drank, or inhaled while in the tavern.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It has never happened that our country loses children in this manner,” Elleck Nchabeleng, the chair of the parliamentary committee on education and technology, sports, arts and culture, said.</p> <p dir="ltr">It has been reported that those who went to the tavern were celebrating the end of school exams.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sinovuyo Monyane, one of the survivors who was hired to promote an alcohol brand, said she was still “confused” about what happened but felt lucky to be alive.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We tried moving through the crowd, shouting, ‘Please let us through,’ and others were shouting, ‘We are dying, guys,’ and ‘We are suffocating’ and ‘There are people who can’t breathe’,” she told AFP.</p> <p dir="ltr"> She later regained consciousness after water was sprayed on her.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I could have died,” the 19-year-old said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I saw two people, they died.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Luhlemela Ulana, a resident DJ who was also celebrating his birthday that night, said a rush of revellers forced their way into the already-packed venue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though he turned off the music to discourage the revellers, it was to no avail.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4629c71b-7fff-9d91-6fef-ef4446b21e56"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his “deepest condolences” to the victims’ families.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">My deepest condolences go to the families of the 22 teenagers who lost their lives at a tavern in Scenery Park, East London, in the early hours of this morning.</p> <p>— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) <a href="https://twitter.com/CyrilRamaphosa/status/1541018709594185733?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 26, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“This tragedy is made even more grave by its occurrence during Youth Month - a time during which we celebrate young people, advocate and advance opportunities for improved socio-economic conditions for the youth of our nation,” he wrote on Twitter.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-d54a7cee-7fff-d28b-51bd-583726f5a3dc"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

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Bunnings and Kmart investigated for use of potentially "unethical" tech

<p dir="ltr">Some of Australia’s biggest retailers are being investigated for potentially invading customer privacy with facial recognition technology. </p> <p dir="ltr">Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys have been found to be using facial recognition technology on unsuspecting customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">CHOICE has referred the retailers to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to investigate potential breaches of the Privacy Act.</p> <p dir="ltr">Facial recognition analyses images from video cameras to capture each person’s unique facial features, known as a faceprint. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The use of facial recognition by Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys is a completely inappropriate and unnecessary use of the technology,” CHOICE consumer data advocate Kate Bower said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“To make matters worse, we found 76% of Australians aren’t aware that retailers are capturing their unique facial features in this way.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Bower slammed the use of the technology which she said is unethical and affects consumer’s trust. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Using facial recognition technology in this way is similar to Kmart, Bunnings or The Good Guys collecting your fingerprints or DNA every time you shop,” she went on. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Businesses using invasive technologies to capture their customers’ sensitive biometric information is unethical and is a sure way to erode consumer trust.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After conducting a survey, CHOICE found that four in five respondents agreed that retailers must inform consumers about the use of facial recognition.</p> <p dir="ltr">Four in five people had concerns about how the biometric data was stored, and three in four respondents were concerned that retailers would use the data to create customer profiles for marketing or profit purposes. </p> <p dir="ltr">“CHOICE observed that Kmart and Bunnings display small signs at the entrance of stores where the technology is in use. However, discreet signage and online privacy policies are not nearly enough to adequately inform shoppers that this controversial technology is in use,” Ms Bower said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The technology is capturing highly personal data from customers, including infants and children.</p> <p dir="ltr">“CHOICE is concerned that Australian businesses are using facial recognition technology on consumers before Australians have had their say on its use in our community. </p> <p dir="ltr">“With the government currently undergoing a review of the Privacy Act, now is the perfect time to strengthen measures around the capture and use of consumer data, including biometric data.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Shutterstock/Twitter</em></p>

Technology

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Art gallery investigates links to Holocaust

<p dir="ltr">The Wollongong Art Gallery in New South Wales is grappling with shocking new revelations that a major donor with a gallery named after him may have been a Nazi collaborator before emigrating to Australia from Lithuania. </p> <p dir="ltr">Bronius "Bob" Sredersas donated approximately 100 works by revered Australian artists to the gallery in 1976, just six years before he died. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite working as a steelworker at Port Kembla, he saved his money to meticulously collect valuable paintings. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, after the gallery’s 40th birthday celebrations in 2018, which also celebrated the central role Sredersas played in its establishment, former councillor Michael Samaras noticed he was described as a policeman for the Lithuanian government's Department of Security.</p> <p dir="ltr">The councillor found the findings suspicious and decided to investigate further. </p> <p dir="ltr">"When all the publicity happened for the 40th anniversary of the gallery there was media, including on the ABC Illawarra webpage, about the fact that he was a policeman in Lithuania before the war," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And I just knew from general knowledge that a lot of the police from Lithuania ended up in what was called the Auxiliary Police Battalion, which actually did much of the killing in the Holocaust.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"The Wollongong City Library local studies section has a whole three boxes of material on him so I got his birth certificate."</p> <p dir="ltr">In uncovering these devastating claims, the Wollongong council, who owns the gallery, has been put on the back foot, with Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery receiving letters from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies who have offered to help work with the council to investigate. </p> <p dir="ltr">"That has to be dealt with in a way that does not hide the past, recognises the allegations if they are proven and how we deal with the Sredersas Collection and how that's represented or interpreted," Mr Bradbery said.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the investigation is ongoing, Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jewish human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has suggested council remove the name of Bob Sredersas from the gallery in the meantime. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said, "I think it's important that a decision is made to remove his name as it's basically a statement that we do not want to honour people who participate in the crimes of the Holocaust."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Wollongong City Council </em></p>

Art

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Major homicide investigation surrounds burnt car with three dead

<p>Police are investigating how a car burst into flames in Perth and claimed the lives of two children and their mother inside the vehicle. </p> <p>The remains of the three bodies were discovered at the devastating scene at John Graham Reserve at Coogee in the city’s south at just before noon on Monday.</p> <p>Emergency services attended the scene to extinguish the flames after reports were called in of a red hatchback on fire. </p> <p>Witness Lincoln Morton said he heard what sounded like gunshots at the popular family meeting spot.</p> <p>“I was coming back from the beach and I heard what sounded like a couple of gunshots,” he told The West Australian.</p> <p>“When I was coming back from the beach that’s when I heard the first couple. I got to my car and I heard a couple more."</p> <p>“Then I saw the heat and embers from the fire on the other side of the bush.”</p> <p>More than a dozen police officers were on the scene overnight as they worked to discover how the tragedy unfolded. </p> <p>Detective Senior Sergeant Cameron Blaine, who led the rescue effort for Cleo Smith, is among those investigating the incident.</p> <p>Authorities are believed to be in the process of identifying the bodies and notifying family members. </p> <p>Detectives will explore whether the tragedy was a murder suicide, if a third party was involved, or if it could have been a tragic accident. </p> <p>They are expected to remain at the scene for several days. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 9News footage</em></p>

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Police investigate Prince Charles

<p dir="ltr">Prince Charles <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/crime/prince-charles-investigated-by-police-c-5726772" target="_blank" rel="noopener">says</a> he would be “happy” to help Metropolitan Police in their investigation of him and a former close confidant after they were reported to police by anti-monarchists.</p><p dir="ltr">Anti-monarchy group Republic made a formal complaint against the Prince of Wales and Michael Fawcett, Charles’ former valet after several newspaper articles alleged a donor to The Prince’s Foundation was offered help securing a knighthood.</p><p dir="ltr">At the time, Clarence House said Charles had “no knowledge” of the alleged cash-for-honours scandal, and Mr Fawcett also resigned as chief executive of the foundation.</p><p dir="ltr">This week, the Metropolitan Police announced there was reason enough to launch an investigation into the scandal - but the news comes just days after Dame Cressida Dick resigned from her role as commissioner.</p><p dir="ltr">“His Royal Highness is happy to help if asked. He has not been,” a source said about the investigation into Charles.</p><p dir="ltr">Mr Fawcett has been accused of promising to help Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, a Saudi billionaire, to achieve British citizenship and a knighthood in exchange for donations to the charity.</p><p dir="ltr">Republic reported Charles and Mr Fawcett to Scotland Yard on suspicion of breaching the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 in September last year.</p><p dir="ltr">Ex-Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker also called on the Met to investigate the allegations made against Mr Fawcett.</p><p dir="ltr">The complaints came after the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10199889/Michael-Fawcett-letter-revealed-Mail-Sunday-key-inquiry-Met-Police.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail</a></em> published a letter Mr Fawcett reportedly wrote in 2017, in which he said he was willing to make an application to change Mr Mahfouz’s honorary CBE to a knighthood and support his application for citizenship.</p><p dir="ltr">The letter to Mr Mahfouz’s aide, written on headed notepaper in Mr Fawcett’s capacity as chief executive of the Dumfries House Trust, read: “In light of the ongoing and most recent generosity of his Excellency … I am happy to confirm to you, in confidence, that we are willing and happy to support and contribute to the application for Citizenship.</p><p dir="ltr">“I can further confirm that we are willing to make [an] application to increase His Excellency’s honour from Honorary CBE to that of KBE in accordance with Her Majesty’s Honours Committee.”</p><p dir="ltr">It said the application would be made in response to “the most recent and anticipated support” of the trust.</p><p dir="ltr">Mr Mahfouz reportedly donated large sums to restoration projects that were of particular interest to Charles, but has denied any wrongdoing on his part.</p><p dir="ltr">The Prince’s Foundation commissioned an investigation into the claims, which found evidence of Mr Fawcett’s “communications and coordination” with “so-called ‘fixers’ regarding honorary nominations for a donor between 2014-18”.</p><p dir="ltr">After police reviewed the independent investigation, Scotland Yard said they “determined an investigation will commence”.</p><p dir="ltr">No arrests or interviews under caution have been made so far, it added.</p><p dir="ltr">Following the announcement of the investigation, Clarence House reiterated its previous statement: “The Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities.”</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-75d36f6c-7fff-5310-e78b-68716a1b6c0f"></span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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