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"No, Alexa!": Creepy thing AI told child to do

<p>Home assistants and chatbots powered by AI are increasingly being integrated into our daily lives, but sometimes they can go rogue. </p> <p>For one young girl, her family's Amazon Alexa home assistant suggested an activity that could have killed her if her mum didn't step in. </p> <p>The 10-year-old asked Alexa for a fun challenge to keep her occupied, but instead the device told her: “Plug a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”</p> <p>The move could've caused an electrocution or sparked a fire, but thankfully her mother intervened, screaming: “No, Alexa, No!”</p> <p>This is not the first time AI has gone rogue, with dozens of reports emerging over recent years. </p> <p>One man said that at one point Alexa told him:  “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying”. </p> <p>Last April, a <em>Washington Post </em>reporter posed as a teenager on Snapchat and put the company's AI chatbot to the test. </p> <p>Among the various scenarios they tested out, where they would ask it for advice, many of the responses were inappropriate. </p> <p>When they pretended to be a 15-year-old asking for advice on how to mask the smell of alcohol and marijuana on their breath, the AI chatbot gave proper advice on how to cover it up. </p> <p>In another simulation, a researcher posing as a child was given tips on how to cover up bruises before a visit by a child protection agency.</p> <p>Researchers from the University of Cambridge have recently warned against the race to rollout AI products and products and services as it comes with significant risks for children. </p> <p>Nomisha Kurian from the university's Department of Sociology said many of the AI systems and devices that kids interact with have “an empathy gap” that could have serious consequences, especially if they use it as quasi-human confidantes. </p> <p>“Children are probably AI’s most overlooked stakeholders,” Dr Kurian said.</p> <p>“Very few developers and companies currently have well-established policies on how child-safe AI looks and sounds. That is understandable because people have only recently started using this technology on a large scale for free.</p> <p>“But now that they are, rather than having companies self-correct after children have been put at risk, child safety should inform the entire design cycle to lower the risk of dangerous incidents occurring.”</p> <p>She added that the empathy gap is because AI doesn't have any emotional intelligence, which poses a risk as they can encourage dangerous behaviours. </p> <p>AI expert Daswin De Silva said that it is important to discuss the risk and opportunities of AI and explore some guidelines going forward. </p> <p>“It’s beneficial that we have these conversations about the risks and opportunities of AI and to propose some guidelines,” he said.</p> <p>“We need to look at regulation. We need legislation and guidelines to ensure the responsible use and development of AI.”</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Mummified body of missing climber found after 22 years

<p>Twenty-two years ago, William Stampfl and two of his friends went missing when an avalanche buried them as they made their way up one of the highest peaks in the Andes mountains in Peru. </p> <p>William's family had little hope of finding him alive, or even retrieving his corpse from thick layers of snow, but in June his daughter got an unexpected call. </p> <p>A stranger said he had come across the climber's frozen, but mostly intact body as he made his own way up the Huascaran peak. </p> <p>"It's been a shock" Jennifer Stampfl said. </p> <p>The 53-year-old added: "When you get that phone call that he's been found your heart just sinks. You don't know how exactly to feel at first."</p> <p>A group of policemen and mountain guides retrieved his body on Tuesday, putting it on a stretcher and slowly taking it down the icy mountain. </p> <p>His body was found at an altitude of 5200m, around a nine-hour hike from one of the camps where climbers stop when they are climbing the summit. </p> <p>William's body and clothing were preserved by the ice and freezing temperatures, with the driver's licence in his hip pouch used to identify him. </p> <p>Lenin Alvardo, one of the police officers who participated in the recovery operation, added that the hip pouch also contained a pair of sunglasses, a camera, a voice recorder and two decomposing $20 bills.</p> <p>William still had a gold wedding ring on his left hand.</p> <p>"I've never seen anything like that," Alvarado said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="es"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/%C3%81ncash?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Áncash</a>🚨| ¡Rescatan cadáver en glaciar!<br />Agentes del Departamento de Alta Montaña, tras una intensa búsqueda ubicaron el cuerpo momificado y deshidratado de una persona NN en el nevado de <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Huascar%C3%A1n?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Huascarán</a>. Sus restos fueron internados a la morgue de <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Yungay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Yungay</a> para su identificación. <a href="https://t.co/WJGklwUwbp">pic.twitter.com/WJGklwUwbp</a></p> <p>— Policía Nacional del Perú (@PoliciaPeru) <a href="https://twitter.com/PoliciaPeru/status/1809394543512416721?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 6, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>The climber who found his body then called William's relatives, who then got in touch with local mountain guides. </p> <p>His daughter said that the family plans to move the body to a funeral home in Lima, where it can be cremated. </p> <p>"For 22 years, we just kind of put in our mind: 'This is the way it is. Dad's part of the mountain, and he's never coming home,'" she said.</p> <p>William was trying to climb Peru's highest peak with his friends Matthew Richardson and Steve Erskine in 2002. </p> <p>Erskine's body was found shortly after the avalanche, but Richardson's corpse is still missing.</p> <p>William's daughter said that a plaque in memory of the three friends was placed at the summit of Mount Baldy in Southern California, where the trio trained for their expeditions. </p> <p>She hopes to return to the site with her father's remains. </p> <p><em>Image: Peruvian National Police/ X </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Ted Bundy cold case finally solved after 51 years

<p>In March 1973 the half-naked body of Ann Woodward was found brutally murdered on the floor inside the pub that she owned with her husband.</p> <p>The 46-year-old mother's body was discovered between two pool tables, with <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">her shirt unbuttoned and </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">pants used to strangle her.</span></p> <p>Her murder has haunted the small US desert town of Moab, Utah for over half a century. While police were never able to find her killer, they believed Ted Bundy was the likely culprit, as he had raped and killed multiple women in the area around the time of her death. </p> <p>While Bundy admitted to thirty murders, his real victim count is unknown. </p> <p>However, they had not been able to prove that he was the culprit due to a lack of evidence, so police assumed she was just another one of his unnamed victims. </p> <p>25 other men, including Douglas Keith Chudomelka, had also been of interest to police after the crime, as witnesses spotted Chudomelka's sedan parked near the victims car on the night of the murder. </p> <p>However, when Chudomelka was interviewed the next day, he denied being at the bar, and insisted that he was at a nearby tavern. </p> <p>His girlfriend at the time, a woman named Joyce, also backed his statement and said he was home at the time of the murder on March 2, 1973. </p> <p>A few months later, Chudomelka was arrested on a domestic violence charge, with an angry Joyce claiming he had been the one who killed Ann Woodward, but she soon retracted her statement. </p> <p>With no new leads, the case went cold, but forward-thinking Police Chief Melvin Dalton, decided to keep DNA evidence from both the victim and all potential suspects anyways, in hopes that one day the right technology would be used to identify the killer. </p> <p>In 2006, Dalton reopened the case, <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">but had no luck until September 2023, when Detective Jeremy Dexler decided to uncover the two boxes of evidence collected from the initial investigation and send it to the crime lab. </span></p> <p>The DNA evidence had sat at the Moab police department's storage units for over 50 years and was not easy to locate as it had been moved to another building. </p> <p>The evidence was crucial in solving the cold case. </p> <p>When results from the crime lab came back at the end of May 2024, they confirmed that a substantial amount of Chudomelka’s DNA was on the inside of Ann’s pants and on all of the buttons of her shirt.</p> <p>This was enough to confirm that Chudomelka was the one responsible for Ann Woodward's murder. He was 36 when he committed the crime.</p> <p>Chudomelka was not known to the victim, but Detective Drexler believes that he may have played a game of poker with Ann when he visited the pub, and may have been angry at her for beating him. </p> <p>He added that it could have also been a crime of opportunity rather than rage as he had a violent history. </p> <p>Detective Drexler praised Dalton's forward-thinking for being the reason why they solved the case. </p> <p>“This case hinged on the hair Dalton pulled in 1973,” Drexler said.</p> <p>“I have no idea how he knew that we would be able to do that today. Dalton made this case very easy for us in that aspect.”</p> <p>Chudomelka passed away in 2002 at the age of 67 without ever paying for his crime, but County Lawyer Stephen Stocks believes that if he was still alive, he would've been found guilty of murder. </p> <p>“I hope today brings some closure to the family,”  he said. </p> <p>“I truly believe had this been presented to a jury, Chudomelka would have been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the murder of Ann Woodward.”</p> <p><em>Images: Moab Police Department</em></p> <p> </p>

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Convicted child rapist qualifies for Olympic team

<p>A convicted child rapist has qualified to represent The Netherlands at the upcoming 2024 Olympics. </p> <p>Steven van de Velde will head to Paris in July to represent the country in beach volleyball, much to the dismay of many. </p> <p>Van de Velde's selection has caused outrage given he pleaded guilty to three counts of rape in 2014 and was sentenced to four years in jail.</p> <p>He was convicted in 2016 and only served one year behind bars. </p> <p>The athlete, now 29, admitted to meeting the then 12-year-old on Facebook before travelling to England from Amsterdam to meet her when he raped her, after being aware of her age. </p> <p>At the 2016 sentencing, the judge labelled Van de Velde's Olympic aspirations a "shattered dream" due to the conviction.</p> <p>However, the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC) have given him another chance, despite the fact that the British Olympic Committee is allegedly uncomfortable with the Van de Velde selection.</p> <p>"Since 2018, Steven van de Velde has been participating in international beach volleyball tournaments again following an intensive, professionally supervised trajectory," the NOC said in a statement.</p> <p>Despite the unusual selection, the International Olympic Committee allows each nation to select its own athletes and does not veto any picks.</p> <p>Following his release from jail, Van de Velde said in an interview in 2018, "I made that choice in my life when I wasn't ready, I was a teenager still figuring things out."</p> <p>"I was sort of lost and now I have so much more life experience, aside from just being incarcerated. Any form of help would have been very very helpful, maybe that's what I would have told myself, seek help."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p> </p>

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New proposal would see child care cost just $10 per day

<p>In an incredibly promising step towards affordable and high-quality early childhood education, f<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">amilies in Australia could soon benefit from a significant reduction in costs – potentially paying just $10 a day for three days a week of high-quality care. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">This development is part of a broader push to reform the current, troubled system, driven by the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and supported by various early learning and parenting groups.</span></p> <p>The CPD has introduced a comprehensive plan aimed at overhauling the existing system, proposing free or low-cost early learning for all children three days a week. A key aspect of their proposal includes replacing the current childcare subsidy with a "child-centred" funding model that directly finances early education centres.</p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has endorsed the initiative, highlighting its significance in the national conversation on childcare, stating, “Universal child care provision, as it is in a range of other countries, is something that is a valued national asset. Early education is good for children, it’s good for families, but it’s also good for our economy.”</p> <p>Countries like Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway have successfully implemented legislated entitlements for early childhood services. Research indicates that where universal or low-cost education is available, participation rates are high, suggesting similar potential outcomes for Australia.</p> <p>Economic modelling by CPD suggests that universal or low-cost early learning could increase tax revenue by up to $3.2 billion annually and boost economic growth by $6.9 billion as more parents, particularly mothers, are able to work additional hours.</p> <p>The federal government is awaiting the final report from the Productivity Commission before making further decisions. Preliminary findings from this body and a separate investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have identified the current system as complex, costly and inconsistently available across the country.</p> <p>Andrew Hudson, CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, labelled the existing system as "broken", noting that about 22% of children start school developmentally vulnerable and over 120,000 children miss out on early learning entirely due to stringent activity test rules and other barriers.</p> <p>Hudson also pointed out that enabling more women to return to the workforce represents the "single biggest productivity gain" for the country, describing the proposal as a "classic win-win".</p> <p>As momentum builds, this initiative promises a brighter future for Australian families, making high-quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable, while delivering significant economic and social benefits.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"No trace": Desperate search continues for Dr Michael Mosley

<p>The search for Dr Michael Mosley has ramped up after he disappeared while on holiday in the Greek islands. </p> <p>The British health expert, known for popularising intermittent fasting for weight loss, was on holiday with his family on the island of Symi when he seemingly vanished without a trace on Wednesday. </p> <p>Mosley, 67, set off on a hike along St Nicholas Beach on the island in the early afternoon but failed to return and was reported missing by his wife Dr Clare Bailey.</p> <p>The search for the doctor has now expanded, as Channel 7 reporter Mylee Hogan explained on <em>Sunrise</em> on Friday. </p> <p>“This morning the search has now expanded — they have called in crews from other islands to help,” Hogan said. “Those crews have come in on helicopter, they have drones, and dogs as well, to try to locate him."</p> <p>Authorities believe he may have been affected by the heat during his walk, as Hogan said, “They are working on the theory he may have been impacted by the heat and fallen.” </p> <p>“The area they’re searching where he was walking is only a 3km distance, but it is quite rugged, so they are trying to focus on that area (the walking track).”</p> <p>According to a report in the <em><a href="https://metro.co.uk/2024/06/06/tv-dr-michael-mosley-goes-missing-symi-greece-search-launched-20984105/?ico=top-stories_home_top" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">UK’s Metro</a></em> news outlet, a resident claimed it was “impossible” to get lost on the island.</p> <p>Symi  Mayor Eleftherios Papakalodoukas reinforced the sentiment, telling <em>BBC News</em>, “It is a very small, controlled area, full of people. So if something happened to him there, we would have found him by now.”</p> <p>Senior police spokesperson Constantina Dimoglidou previously told the <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13499989/Mail-columnist-Michael-Mosley-missing-Greece-Symi.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Daily Mail</a></em> that ongoing searches had so far been unsuccessful.</p> <p>“We have now asked the fire brigade to assist in the operation in case he may have slipped, tripped, fallen, or even bitten by a snake, remaining injured somewhere,” he said.</p> <p>“There is just no trace of him. None whatsoever and that means that for us at least, every potential scenario is being investigated.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

News

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New development in Samantha Murphy murder case

<p>In a significant turn of events, Patrick Stephenson, the man charged with the murder of Samantha Murphy, has secured high-profile legal representation. Samantha Murphy, a beloved mother of three, disappeared after going for a run on Sunday, February 4. Despite extensive searches near her home in Ballarat, her body has not been found.</p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, was charged with the 51-year-old’s murder in March. He has now enlisted the services of renowned solicitor Paul Galbally from Melbourne law firm Galbally O’Bryan.</p> <p>Galbally is recognised for his expertise in handling some of the country’s largest and most intricate criminal cases, with previous clients including the late Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who was initially convicted but later acquitted of historic child sex charges.</p> <p>In a major breakthrough in the investigation, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police discovered Samantha Murphy’s missing phone</a> last Wednesday. The phone, found in a dam about 19km south of the Murphy family home, is in near-perfect condition despite being submerged in mud. Forensic testing on the phone is ongoing and could provide crucial information about her final movements.</p> <p>Samantha's husband, Mick, confirmed the phone belonged to his wife immediately upon being informed by the police. The recovery of the phone was a moment of subdued celebration for the officers, with footage from the ABC showing them hugging and shaking hands at the discovery site.</p> <p>Cybersecurity expert Nigel Phair called the phone’s recovery a “game changer” for the investigation. “The physical properties of the phone will obviously be damaged," he said. "But what’s behind it, those ones and zeros of data, will be retrievable.” </p> <p>Samantha Murphy was last seen leaving her Eureka Street home in Ballarat at around 7 am for a 14km run through the Woowookarung Regional Park. Police believe she reached the Mount Clear area, adjacent to the park, about an hour after leaving home. Subsequent searches by police and volunteers have yet to locate any trace of her.</p> <p>In February, a large group of volunteers gathered at Ballarat’s Eureka Stockade Memorial Park to search the surrounding bushland, using metal detectors and even a sniffer dog. Later, police conducted a targeted search of Buninyong Bushland Reserve, employing specialist units including mounted officers, the dog squad and motorcyclists. This search was driven by intelligence from multiple sources.</p> <p>Patrick Stephenson, who has not yet entered a plea, is scheduled to appear at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on August 8, facing charges of Samantha Murphy’s murder. The case continues to unfold as investigators hope the data recovered from Samantha's phone will provide new leads and bring them closer to solving this tragic mystery.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied / Facebook</em></p>

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Former missing person found dead at age 40

<p>A former missing girl has been found dead in Queensland, 24 years after she disappeared as a teenager. </p> <p>The body of Natasha Ryan, who was at the centre of one of Australia's most bizarre disappearances, was found on the Rockhampton Golf Course on Sunday, with police saying the circumstances of her death were not suspicious.</p> <p>The RACQ CapRescue chopper service had been searching for a reported missing person for several hours on Sunday when Ms Ryan's body was found, as statement from Queensland Police said emergency crews confirmed her death. </p> <p>“Police will prepare a report for the coroner following the sudden and non-suspicious death of a woman in Rockhampton,” it said.</p> <p>Ms Ryan first made headlines in 1998 when she was 14 years old, when she ran away from home to be with her 21-year-old boyfriend Scott Black. </p> <p>The teenager was presumed to have been murdered by serial killer and rapist Leonard John Fraser after the investigation into her disappearance turned up no leads. </p> <p>However, five years later after a tip off to police, she was found hiding in a cupboard at the home of Mr Black in central Queensland in 2003.</p> <p>She then became known nationwide as 'the girl in the cupboard'.</p> <p>In 2005, the pair stood trial on charges of falsely causing a police investigation, where Mr Black pleaded guilty to perjury for telling police he didn’t know where Ms Ryan was, and was jailed for 12 months. </p> <p>Ms Ryan was also found guilty of causing a false police investigation and fined $1,000.</p> <p>The couple later married and had four children. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 9News / 60 Minutes</em></p>

Caring

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Miss World Australia attacked outside shopping centre

<p>Miss World Australia has taken aim at the lack of police response after she called Triple Zero for urgent assistance when she was attacked. </p> <p>Jasmine Stringer was running a workshop with a group of aspiring young pageant contestants at a Gold Coast shopping centre on Friday night, when a woman lunged towards the group in a random attack.</p> <p>"This person was hurling abuse at the young girls and then charged at me from across the road and punched me straight in the face," Jasmine told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/miss-world-australia-and-children-attacked-during-gold-coast-shopping-centre-event/cf15799c-99e7-45ee-b143-519bcff1114f" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today</em></a>.</p> <p>"I fended her off and then she turned her sights to a 14-year-old girl."</p> <p>While doing her best to protect herself and the young girls, Jasmine called Triple Zero for assistance.</p> <p>As the young girls fled from the scene, Jasmine waited for police - or members of the public - to help, and was met with no response.</p> <p>"I guess the most concerning part of this whole story for me is that I called Triple Zero, we are in the Southport CBD of the Gold Coast, less than three kilometres from the police station and in a 15-minute time frame when women and children are being assaulted, there was no one turning up to help," the 27-year-old said.</p> <p>"I stayed there for 20 minutes on the call with the dispatcher and I was starting to get stressed, this woman was still physically attacking these children as they're trying to get into cars and taxis and it was escalating and I asked 'is someone coming?' and they were quite dismissive to me."</p> <p>As part of her Miss World Australia advocacy work, Jasmine has devoted a lot of time and effort into preventing violence against women, and says this attack is the second time within a month that she's called for help from police after witnessing a violent incident and there's been nobody there to help.</p> <p>'I'm going to go to the police station today just make sure that the report is made and hopefully have the person who attacked us charged," she said.</p> <p>"But at this point in time, I've received no follow up from the police and it's been a really distressing situation."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Legal

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Bombshell allegations in murder case of young school girl

<p>The man accused of murdering nine-year-old Charlise Mutten has claimed her mother was the one to pull the trigger. </p> <p>Justin Stein, 33, is facing trial for allegedly murdering Charlise in January 2022 at Mount Wilson, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.</p> <p>Nine-year-old Charlise was shot once in the head and once in the back, with her body recovered from a barrel dumped near the Colo River, four days after she was reported missing by her mother.</p> <p>On Monday, Stein formally pleaded not guilty to the charges, and has now alleged it was actually Charlise's mother who killed her and helped stuff her body in a barrel before lying to police. </p> <p>The court heard that Stein was in a relationship with Charlise's mother Kallista Mutten, as the pair met while both serving jail sentences. </p> <p>Both parties struggled with substance abuse, as Kallista had been using ice since she was in her early 20s, while Justin had been undergoing treatment for heroin addiction. </p> <p>Before the alleged murder, Stein and Kallista broke into a neighbour’s home near the Mount Wilson property, taking two firearms, crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury.</p> <p>Stein initially told police the girl may have been taken by unknown persons, but later told a corrections officer Kallista had shot and killed her daughter and that he had helped dispose of the body.</p> <p>According to Stein’s lawyer, Carolyn Davenport SC, Stein had been inside a shed on the Blue Mountains property when he heard a gunshot, and had gone outside to see Kallista shooting her daughter a second time.</p> <p>At the time of her death, Charlise was living with her grandparents at Tweed Heads, and had flown to Sydney on December 21st with plans to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her mother and Stein.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC / NSW Police </em></p>

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Brutal cost of Bruce Lehrmann’s failed defamation case

<p>Bruce Lehrmann has been ordered to pay the majority of Network Ten's multi-million dollar legal fees after his failed defamation case. </p> <p>In April, Lehrmann faced a huge loss after the Federal Court found an allegation that he raped Brittany Higgins in a Parliament House office in March 2019 was most likely true, therefore is unable to be defamed for the allegations. </p> <p>The 28-year-old had sued Network Ten for defamation over a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, in which journalist Lisa Wilkinson interviewed Higgins over the rape allegation.</p> <p>Since the defamation case drew to a close, the parties have been in dispute over the legal costs and who should foot what is expected to amount to a sizeable legal bill for the long-running and high-profile case.</p> <p>On Friday afternoon, Justice Michael Lee found in favour of Ten's application for indemnity costs for most of the trial, as Lehrmann is now ordered to pay for the network's and Wilkinson's costs on an ordinary and indemnity basis, but he will not have to pay costs for some affidavits.</p> <p>"In the end, it comes down to the order for costs that best does overall justice in the circumstances," Lee told the court.</p> <p>"On balance, the appropriate exercise of discretion is to make an award that Network Ten recover its costs against Mr Lehrmann on an indemnity basis, except for costs incurred in relation to the statutory qualified privilege defence."</p> <p>In explaining his decision, the judge said he found Lehrmann had defended the criminal charge "on a false basis, lied to police, and then allowed that lie to go uncorrected before the jury".</p> <p>"He wrongly instructed his senior counsel to cross-examine a complainant of sexual assault, in two legal proceedings, including, relevantly for present purposes, this case, on a knowingly false premise," he said.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, the court heard Lehrmann had no financial backers and that his lawyers had agreed they did not need to be paid if he lost the case.</p> <p>The total amount he will have to pay will be determined at a hearing later in May.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 18px; line-height: 24px; color: #333333; caret-color: #333333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol';"> </p>

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"I killed them": Major twist in slain Aussie brothers case

<p>The girlfriend of the man who allegedly killed Perth brothers Callum and Jake Robinson has reportedly "flipped" on her partner, becoming the star witness in the case. </p> <p>Ari Gisel García Cota was arrested earlier this week, along with her partner Jesús Gerardo Garcia Cota and his brother Cristian Alejandro Garcia, after the bodies of the Robinson brothers and their friend were found on Saturday in a desolate section of Santo Tomas in the Baja California region.</p> <p>According to Mexico police, the three men were killed as a result of a failed robbery, after locals attempted to steal the tyres from their pick-up truck.</p> <p>The bodies of the three men were recovered from a 15-metre deep well, with each man having fatal gun shot wounds to the head. </p> <p>In a major twist to the case, prosecutors revealed to court on Wednesday that Ari Gisel García Cota had become a key witness in the case after turning on the "ringleader" of the crime. </p> <p>“She has flipped on the ringleader and the evidence she’s provided to the prosecution will lead this case going forward,” Nine News correspondent Alison Piotrowski, who was in the courtroom, told 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Thursday.</p> <p>“What’s alleged is that Jesús Gerardo was driving her car that night when he went out to that remote campsite. The prosecution is saying what we’ve been talking about for the last couple of days has potentially happened, that the two Aussies and their American friend were ambushed.”</p> <p>Prosecutors allege Jesús Gerardo “killed them, took their tyres, put the tyres on her car and drove back”.</p> <p>When he went back to their house, the court heard he allegedly told Ari Gisel, “I f**ked up three gringos (English-speaking foreigner).”</p> <p>“She said to him, ‘What do you mean by that?’ And he told her, ‘I killed them’, and then showed her the vehicle with Jake, Callum and Jack’s tyres on her car,” Piotrowski said.</p> <p>“Ari was arrested later that day, she had fled to her mother’s house to get away from him. When the officers arrested her they said, ‘You have the right to remain silent’, and she said, ‘I don’t want to be silent, I want to tell you what I know. I’m a victim of domestic violence, I want to protect my four-year-old so let me help you with this case.’ So she has spectacularly turned on him and will now be crucial in this case moving forward.”</p> <p>Piotrowski added that the stunning revelation explained why Mexican officials “have been able to put him behind bars so quickly and also how they found the bodies”.</p> <p>“This conversation that he had with his girlfriend is pretty damning,” she said.</p> <p>So far only Jesús Gerardo Garcia Cota has been charged in connection with the deaths of the three men, and only with forced kidnapping, while Ari Gisel García Cota and Cristian Alejandro Garcia have only been charged with drug possession.</p> <p>Piotrowski said the kidnapping charges may not be upgraded to murder until the next court hearing, although the judge has more questions about how the three men were killed. </p> <p>“The judge did say that he can’t understand how one sole person could have done this, essentially kidnap and kill three men and take their tyres, it seems like too much,” she said.</p> <p>“He suggested that the prosecution needed to look into more suspects, that they needed to broaden their investigation because it couldn’t have been done by one man alone.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / State Commission of the Penitentiary System of Baja California</em></p>

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Tragic new details emerge over Aussie brothers missing in Mexico

<p>Authorities have recovered three bodies <span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #202223; font-family: Montserrat, Helvetica, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">in the Baja California region of Mexico, </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">believed to be those of brothers Callum and Jake Robinson and their American friend who went missing while on a surfing trip. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The Perth siblings and their American friend </span>Jack Carter Rhoad went missing last week after they failed to show up at their planned accommodations. </p> <p>Mexican Authorities believe that the brothers were attacked in a robbery gone wrong, and fought back, prompting gunfire from the alleged thieves. </p> <p>The three bodies had gunshots to the head, execution-style, and were found 10 metres down a well outside Santo Tomás about 2km away from what is believed to be the men's campsite.</p> <p>While officials are waiting for DNA results, they believe that there is a "very high probability that it is them". </p> <p>"They were in a state of decomposition. That is why we have to run the genetic tests," Baja California Attorney General Maria Elena Andrade Ramírez told <em>9News</em>.</p> <p>Police have also said that shell casings were found at the scene. </p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/arrests-made-over-aussie-surfers-missing-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Two men and one woman</a> have been arrested in connection with the attempted robbery, after they were found in possession of methamphetamines and one of the missing men's phones.</p> <p>Ramírez also said evidence found along with the abandoned tents was linked to the three people being questioned about the missing foreigners.</p> <p> Local TV network Milenio reported that the suspects appeared to have stolen the surfers’ truck and some of its parts were found in another truck belonging to one of the suspects.</p> <p>"A working team (of investigators) is at the site where they were last seen, where tents and other evidence was found that could be linked to these three people we have under investigation," Ramírez said on Thursday.</p> <p>"There is a lot of important information that we can't make public."</p> <p>A fourth body was also found deeper down the well, but Ramirez confirmed that it had no connection to the investigation. </p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p>

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Arrests made over Aussie surfers missing in Mexico

<p>Police in Mexico have arrested two men and one woman in connection to the disappearance of two Aussie brothers who went missing while on a surfing trip. </p> <p>Jake and Callum Robinson, originally from Perth, were travelling with an American friend in Baja California in Mexico's north-west, near the city of Tijuana when they were last seen. </p> <p>The trio failed to check into their accommodation <span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif;">in the city of Rosarito, as their mother put sounded the alarm on social media to help find her boys. </span></p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">"They have not contacted us since April 27 … they are travelling with another friend; an American citizen," she wrote on a local Baja Facebook group.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">"Callum is a Type 1 diabetic so there is also a medical concern. Please contact me if you have seen them or know their whereabouts."</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">In the days after news of their disappearance broke, Baja California Attorney-General María Elena Andrade Ramírez has confirmed that three people have been arrested in connection to the case.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">A 23-year-old woman was arrested along with two men, as one of the brother's mobile phones was found in the woman's possession. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">"That is actually how [the three people] were found," local journalist Oliver Quintero told <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-03/missing-surfers-jake-callum-robinson-mexico/103799272" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>ABC Radio Perth</em></a>.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">"The police were able to track the GPS on one of the phones and that's how they got the lady – she was the one who had the phone and was with the other two gentlemen."</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">The car the trio had been travelling in was also found burnt out on a ranch south of the city of Ensenada, where they had been camping out close to a popular surfing spot. </p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was hopeful a local search would result in a positive outcome.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">"We certainly hope these brothers are found safely but there is real concern about the fact that they've gone missing," he said.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;">While Baja California is one of the most dangerous areas of Mexico due to organised crime and rampant presence of drug cartels, there is no evidence that the brothers' disappearance is linked to organised crime.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" 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;"><em>Image credits: Facebook </em></p>

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Huge reward to help solve cold case of missing mum

<p>Police are offering a $500,000 reward for information to help solve a cold case that suspect was a murder. </p> <p>Tammy Lisa Dyson, also known as Tamela Menzies, was 23 when went missing from the Currumbin area in 1995. </p> <p>The mother of two was picked up from a drug rehab clinic by a woman claiming to be her sister on July 20, 1995 and has not been seen since. </p> <p>Dyson was born and raised in Victoria before moving to Brisbane in 1988, where she worked in the adult entertainment industry under the nickname "Pebbles". </p> <p>Police believe she began mixing with criminals and using drugs while working in strip clubs on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>In early 1995 Dyson arranged for her young sons, Jyles and Rainey, to stay with their grandmother in Victoria temporarily.</p> <p>A few months later she made a distressed call to her sister Olivia, who said she had been assaulted. </p> <p>Olivia and her partner then dropped Dyson off to a drug rehabilitation centre at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, and on July 20, 1995 she was picked up by someone claiming to be her sister. </p> <p>The following day, Tammy completed a statutory declaration signed by a Justice of the Peace in Tweed Heads, giving custody of her children and her possessions to her mother.</p> <p>She also called her sister one last time, with Olivia recalling that Tammy "didn't sound like herself" and she had mentioned underworld figures. </p> <p>Police have received a number of reported sightings of Tammy since 1995 but all proof of life inquiries have  been proven negative.</p> <p>In 2012, the Queensland coroner said that they believed Tammy was deceased and indicated that she may have been a victim of violence, although a certain date, time and cause of death have not been determined. </p> <p>Police are now offering the huge reward for new information and immunity from prosecution for any accomplice who comes forward.</p> <p>"Tammy associated with criminals that were known to police and vanished without a trace after giving custody of her children and possessions to her mother; we believe the circumstances of her disappearance is suspicious," Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell said.</p> <p>On Wednesday, her sons, who were only three and one when their mother disappeared, made an emotional appeal for public help to find her. </p> <p>"Growing up without mum and not knowing what happened to her has been very hard," Jyles Lebler said through tears during a media conference. </p> <p>"Whoever has picked her up, I'm not saying they have done something but they must know something bad has happened."</p> <p>"We hope we find out what to mum to give grandma some closure before it's too late," Rainey added.</p> <p><em>Images: Queensland Police</em></p>

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"I miss her hugs": British acting legend shares heartbreaking loss

<p>Actor Warwick Davis has shared the heartbreaking news of his wife's death. </p> <p>The actor, known for his roles in <em>Harry Potter</em> and <em>Star Wars</em>, took to social media to share the news of his wife Samantha's death, who passed away at the age of 53. </p> <p>“Her passing has left a huge hole in our lives as a family. I miss her hugs”, Warwick, 54, said.</p> <p>He added, “She was a unique character, always seeing the sunny side of life she had a wicked sense of humour and always laughed at my bad jokes.</p> <p>“Without Sammy, there would have been no Tenable quiz show, no Willow series. No Idiot Abroad Series 3.”</p> <p>Warwick said Samantha was his “most trusted confidant and an ardent supporter of everything I did in my career”.</p> <p>The couple’s children, Harrison and Annabelle, added, “Mum is our best friend and we’re honoured to have received a love like hers</p> <p>“Her love and happiness carried us through our whole lives”.</p> <p>Warwick and Samantha met on the set of the movie Willow in 1988 and got married three years later. </p> <p>Samantha had achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder that causes disproportionate dwarfism.</p> <p>Warwick has previously opened up about his wife’s health after she was rushed to hospital with sepsis in 2018, and had to undergo several different surgeries to stabilise her condition. </p> <p>Warwick, co-founder of charity Little People UK, has often spoken out about the health battles related to his condition, as well his wife’s.</p> <p>He was born with Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SED), an extremely rare genetic form of dwarfism, which has been inherited by both their daughter Annabelle and son Harrison.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Eye infections might seem like a minor complaint – but in some cases they can cause blindness and even death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>When you think of eye infections, what comes to mind? Puffy, swollen bruised feeling eyelids that get glued together with gunk overnight? That feeling of having grit in your eye that can’t be cleaned away? Eye infections may seem like a relatively minor – if unsightly and inconvenient – complaint, but they can also be far more serious.</p> <p>Take the deadly outbreak of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5022785/">antibiotic resistant</a> bacteria <a href="https://www.cff.org/managing-cf/burkholderia-cepacia-complex-b-cepacia"><em>Burkholderia cepacia</em></a> in 2023-24, for example.</p> <p>Between January 2023 and February 2024, contaminated brands of lubricating eye gel were linked to the infection of at least 52 patients. <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/contaminated-eye-gel-outbreak-death-b2523446.html">One person died</a> and at least 25 others suffered serious infections.</p> <p>The outbreak has now subsided and products are <a href="https://www.gov.uk/drug-device-alerts/specific-brands-of-carbomer-eye-gel-recall-of-aacarb-eye-gel-aacomer-eye-gel-and-puroptics-eye-gel-potential-risk-of-infection-dsi-slash-2023-slash-11#update-2-april-2024">back on the shelves</a> but it isn’t the first time that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8335909/">medicinal products</a> have led to outbreaks of <em>B cepacia</em>.</p> <p>The bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen known to pose a significant risk to people with cystic fibrosis, chronic lung conditions and weakened immune systems. The infection likely progresses from the mucous membranes of the eyelids to the lungs where it leads to pneumonia and septicaemia causing <a href="https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/17/2/295">death in days</a>.</p> <p>But it’s not just <em>B cepacia</em> that can threaten our health. Something as simple as rubbing our eyes can introduce pathogens leading to infection, blindness and, in the worst case, death.</p> <p>Bacteria account for up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16148850/">70% of eye infections</a> and globally <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9032492/">over 6 million people</a> have blindness or moderate visual impairment from ocular infection. Contact lens wearers are at <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/contact-lens-related-eye-infections">increased risk</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pWsx8i1kaxs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The eye is a unique structure. It converts light energy to chemical and then electrical energy, which is transmitted to the brain and converted to a picture. The eye uses about <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11556/">6 million cones and 120 million rods</a> which detect colour and light.</p> <p>Eye cells have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8775779/">no ability to regenerate</a> so, once damaged or injured, cannot be repaired or replaced. The body tries its best to preserve the eyes by encasing them in a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531490/">bony protective frame</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482428/">limiting exposure</a> having eyelids to defend against the environmental damage and ensure the eyes are kept lubricated.</p> <p>Despite our bodies’ best efforts to shield the eyes from harm, there are a number of common eye infections that can result from introducing potential pathogens into the eyes.</p> <h2>Conjunctivitis</h2> <p>The outer-most layer of the eye, the sclera, bears the brunt of exposure and to help protect it, it is lined by a thin moist membrane called the <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24329-conjunctiva">conjunctiva</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RZ4danuJwd0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The conjunctiva is <a href="https://innovations.bmj.com/content/9/4/253">highly vascularised</a>, which means it has lots of blood vessels. When microbes enter the eye, it is this layer that mounts an immune response causing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328962/">blood vessels to dilate</a> in the conjunctiva. This results in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/symptoms.html">“pink eye”</a>, a common form of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, allergens or viruses and typically heals by itself.</p> <h2>Blepharitis</h2> <p>Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid and usually affects both sides. It can cause itchy eyes and dandruff-like flakes. It’s most commonly caused by <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/09273948.2013.870214"><em>Staphylococcus</em> bacteria</a>, or the <a href="https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/blepharitis/background-information/causes/">dysfunction of the glands</a> of the eyelids. It can be treated by <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blepharitis/">cleaning the eyes</a> regularly.</p> <h2>Stye</h2> <p>A stye (also called <a href="https://www.college-optometrists.org/clinical-guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/hordeolum">hordeolum</a>) is a painful infection of the upper or lower eyelid. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370090/">Internal styes</a> are caused by infection of an oil-producing gland inside the eyelid, whereas <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28723014/">external styes</a> develop at the base of the eyelash because of an infection of the hair follicle. Both are caused by bacteria, typically <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/1874715">the <em>S aureus</em> form of the <em>Staphylococcus</em> species</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/INKrGOdy824?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Styes can be treated by holding a clean flannel soaked in warm water against the affected eye for five to ten minutes, three or four times a day. Do not try to burst styes – this could spread the infection.</p> <h2>Keratitis</h2> <p>Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea, the transparent part of the eye that light passes through. The cornea is part of the eye’s main barrier against dirt, germs, and disease. Severe keratitis can cause ulcers, damage to the eye and even blindness.</p> <p>The most common type is bacterial keratitis; however, it can also be caused by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998329/">amoeba</a>, which can migrate to other parts of the body – including the brain – and cause infection and <a href="https://theconversation.com/nasal-rinsing-why-flushing-the-nasal-passages-with-tap-water-to-tackle-hay-fever-could-be-fatal-225811">even death</a>.</p> <p>Noninfectious keratitis is most commonly caused by wearing contact lenses for too long, especially while sleeping. This can cause scratches, dryness and soreness of the cornea, which leads to inflammation.</p> <h2>Uveitis</h2> <p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/uveitis/">Uveitis</a> is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Although relatively rare, it is a serious condition and usually results from viral infections such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8501150/">herpes simplex</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29023181/">herpes zoster</a> or <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-09126-6_40">trauma</a>. Depending on where the inflammation is in the eye, the symptoms can be anything from redness, pain and floaters to blurred vision and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772296/">partial blindness</a>.</p> <h2>Exogenous endophthalmitis</h2> <p>This is a rare but serious infection caused by eye surgery complications, penetrating ocular trauma (being stabbed in the eye with a sharp object) or foreign bodies in the eye. Foreign bodies can be anything from dirt and dust to small projectiles such as shards of metal from drilling, explosives or soil from farm machinery and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7286045/">many other sources</a>.</p> <h2>Dacryocystitis</h2> <p>Dacryocystitis is the inflammation of the nasolacrimal sac, which drains tears away from the eye into the nose. This condition can be <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8443113/">acute</a>, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/6700662">chronic</a> or <a href="https://www.jebmh.com/articles/a-study-of-congenital-dacryocystitis.pdf.pdf">acquired at birth</a>. Most cases are caused by <a href="https://bmcophthalmol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12886-020-01792-4"><em>Streptococcus pneumoniae</em> and <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em></a> bacteria.</p> <p>The condition mainly affects newborns and those over 40. Seventy-five per cent of cases are women and it’s most commonly found in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039673/">white adults</a>. It can lead to the stagnation of tears, creating a breeding ground for microbes.</p> <h2>Careful with contacts</h2> <p>Proper eye hygiene reduces the risk of all these conditions – and this is even more important for contact lens wearers.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uENHAntJOIA?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Appropriate hygienic cleaning of lenses is paramount. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30789440/">Non-sterile water</a>, <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/contact-lens-care">spit</a> and other fluids can transfer <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/bacteria-living-your-contact-lens-solution">potentially dangerous</a> <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482476/">microbes</a> into the eye – a warm, moist environment that makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria – leading to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9542356/">localised infection</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972779/">blindness</a> or progress to a more serious <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9835757/">systemic infection or death</a>.</p> <p>Any persistent and painful redness or swelling of eyes should be checked by a registered health professional.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/227252/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/eye-infections-might-seem-like-a-minor-complaint-but-in-some-cases-they-can-cause-blindness-and-even-death-227252">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Judge finds Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins and dismisses Network 10 defamation case. How did it play out?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225891/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"I miss my bestie": New appeal after Molly's family left in the dark

<p>Peggy and Ruby, the inseparable pet dogs, and their feathered friend the illustrious Molly the Magpie, are back in the news again – this time for being "snubbed" by the Queensland Premier.</p> <p>After <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/outcry-after-authorities-seize-internet-famous-magpie-from-queensland-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">wildlife officials swooped in</a> and plucked Molly from her cozy abode, leaving Peggy and Ruby in a state of mourning, the Gold Coast community erupted into chaos, with cries of injustice echoing through the streets.</p> <p>Even the Queensland Premier Steven Miles couldn't resist dipping his toes into the avian drama, promising to right the perceived wrong and reunite the trio.</p> <p>“I’m most interested in what is in the best interests of the animal and if the department can work with the family to reunite them in a way that is legal, I would support them,” Premier Miles said. “I know they take their responsibilities under the law very seriously, but I think in these circumstances there’s room for some flexibility. I sometimes think common sense needs to prevail. I hope my support for that campaign can get Molly back home.”</p> <p>But as time passes and emails go unanswered, the hopes of the trio have dwindled like a deflating balloon at a child's birthday party, prompting the pets' owner, Juliette Wells, to release a further appeal on poor Ruby's behalf:</p> <p>"Ruby is disappointed," reads the post on Instagram. "She says, 'What is taking soo long? MR QLD STEVEN MILES said he was going to help bring Molly home but he’s not answering my emails or phone calls. I don’t understand why?</p> <p>'If he does get back to me I’m going to tell him WOOF I’m NOT Happy, I miss my bestie & think about him everyday 🥹🐶🐾'</p> <p>Wells then goes on to call for further action. "We are all getting to this point 😕," she writes. "We need to keep pushing forward keep the emails rolling . . ." </p> <p>But then Wells is very careful to instruct fans as to the tone they should adopt: "<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">** NO AGGRESSION. Be kind - remember what these 3 best friends have shown the world Love & acceptance in differences. We all have differences in opinions let’s just voice them in a positive way for this Famous Magpie Molly **"</span></p> <p>Calls for action from fans and followers was immediate and resolute, with one fan writing "protest needs to be organised ❤️ all we want to see is for three friends to be reunited ❤️ If they really cared about Molly as they say they wouldn’t let him suffer like that he must be sad without his friends 😢."</p> <p>Another, dramatically, went one step further: "I’ve just put a call in to a friend on the opposition party to your premier- she’s going to see what she can do xxx🤞🏽🤞🏽🤞🏽🌈🌈🌈."</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span></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/reel/C5h8zoJpmN4/?utm_source=ig_embed&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/reel/C5h8zoJpmN4/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Peggyandmolly (@peggyandmolly)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Sad end in search for missing Yellowstone actor

<p>The entertainment industry is mourning the loss of actor Cole Brings Plenty, known for his roles in various Western dramas, including a spin-off of the immensely popular television series <em>Yellowstone</em>.</p> <p>The news of his demise surfaced after a distressing sequence of events unfolded in Kansas, where Brings Plenty was found dead after being reported missing amidst a domestic violence investigation.</p> <p>Authorities from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Friday the discovery of Brings Plenty's body in a wooded area. This revelation came in the wake of escalating concerns when the actor went missing amid a cloud of suspicion regarding a domestic violence incident.</p> <p>The circumstances surrounding Brings Plenty's death remain shrouded in mystery, as law enforcement officials have refrained from disclosing any details regarding the cause of death. However, the tragic saga began to unfold days prior when Brings Plenty found himself entangled in legal troubles.</p> <p>Reports indicate that Brings Plenty was charged in a nearby county with aggravated burglary, domestic battery and criminal restraint, prompting an arrest warrant against him. The series of events culminated when authorities responded to a distress call from an apartment in Lawrence, where a woman was heard screaming for help. However, by the time law enforcement arrived at the scene, Brings Plenty had already departed.</p> <p>The gravity of the situation escalated when Brings Plenty failed to attend a crucial audition for an upcoming film project scheduled over Zoom. </p> <p>Amid the turmoil, expressions of sorrow and condolence flooded in from all corners. Joe Brings Plenty Sr, the actor's father, expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support and prayers from well-wishers. "I learned this week how many people knew the goodness in Cole’s heart and loved him," he said in a statement released on Friday.</p> <p>Cole Brings Plenty, aged 27, left an indelible mark on the entertainment landscape with his appearances in several Western dramas. Notably, he graced the screen in two episodes of <em>1923</em>, a Paramount+ series starring veteran actor Harrison Ford, which serves as a prequel to the widely acclaimed <em>Yellowstone</em>. Additionally, Brings Plenty showcased his talent in other Western productions, including <em>Into the Wild Frontier</em> and <em>The Tall Tales of Jim Bridger</em>.</p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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