Law and justice

  • Trump criticises automakers for failing to support repeal of fuel efficiency rules

    United States President Donald Trump has criticised automakers for failing to support his administration’s plan to repeal fuel efficiency rules. Mr Trump singled out Ford in particular for backing a deal with California for stricter fuel economy standards. The President said company founder Henry Ford would be “very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs ... ► Read more

  • Cardinal George Pell loses child sex offences appeal

    The Victorian Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of Cardinal George Pell for child sexual offences. Cardinal Pell was appealing his conviction by a jury in March that resulted in a sentence of six years’ imprisonment for five offences when he was the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. In a two-one decision the Court of Appeal ruled that the former Vatican treasurer’s conviction will stand. He will be eligible for parole in ... ► Read more

  • ASIC promises lawsuits against banks by end of 2019

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will file lawsuits against some of the country’s biggest financial institutions by the end of the year. ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel told the Australian Financial Review on Monday that the regulator has “a very large number of investigations on foot and there will be cases being issued in coming weeks, which are the result of those investigations.” In a report published on Sunday, ASIC said it intends to ... ► Read more

  • One woman dead, another injured in Sydney CBD

    The body of a 21-year-old woman has been found a short distance from where civilians restrained a man armed with a knife who stabbed another woman in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday afternoon. Police do not believe the attack is terror-related or that the suspect, 21-year-old Mert Ney, has links to any terrorist organisations. The ABC reported that the suspect is an escapee from a mental health facility, and police have confirmed Mr Ney has a ... ► Read more

  • ATO whistleblower launches crowdfunding campaign for legal defence

    Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whistleblower Richard Boyle has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for his legal defence against 66 criminal charges totalling a maximum sentence of 161 years’ imprisonment. The former public servant told ABC News that he will continue his fight against the “excessive and unjust” charges. As part of the GoFundMe campaign launched today, Mr Boyle said his case may be the first to test whistleblower protection laws “and could be ... ► Read more

  • Norwegian mosque shooting investigated as a “possible act of terrorism”

    A shooting at a Norwegian mosque on Saturday is being investigated as a “possible act of terrorism”, police said on Sunday (local time). Shots were fired during the attack on the Al-Noor Islamic Centre near Oslo, but no one was killed or injured and the suspected perpetrator was overpowered by a person inside the mosque before police arrived. The suspect had expressed far-right and anti-immigrant views online, assistant police chief Rune Skjold said during a ... ► Read more

  • Boris Johnson orders review of dangerous offenders’ sentences

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a review of sentencing of offenders in response to concerns that dangerous criminals are being let out of prison too soon. The Prime Minister’s office said on Sunday (local time) that the review would focus on whether violent and sexual offenders are receiving sentences that adequately reflect the seriousness of their crimes. “We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending ... ► Read more

  • Epstein estate to be sued by sex abuse victims

    Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein will file civil lawsuits against his estate, following his apparent suicide in New York on Saturday. Mr Epstein, 66, was found dead at 7:30 am (local time) in his New York federal jail cell, where he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking offences. Los Angeles-based attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two women, said her clients had held off suing while federal ... ► Read more

  • Police and worshipers clash outside Israeli mosque

    Israeli police clashed with Muslim worshipers at a major holy site in Jerusalem during prayers on Sunday to mark the start of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha. Palestinian medics said at least 14 people were wounded in skirmishes with police at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa Compound and Jews call the Temple Mount. Police said at least four officers were wounded and witnesses say at least two people were arrested. Officers ... ► Read more

  • Russia asks Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events”

    Russia’s communications watchdog has asked Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events” on its YouTube video-hosting platform, following a large political protest in Moscow on Saturday. Tens of thousands of people gathered to demand free elections for the legislature of the Russian capital, defying a crackdown on such rallies. Roskomnadzor — the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media — said information about illegal protests was being spread via YouTube’s advertising ... ► Read more

  • More protests planned as Hong Kong recovers from another weekend of demonstrations

    Hong Kong is recovering from yet another weekend of clashes between anti-government protesters and police, but further protests are expected on Monday. In response to the protests, police blocked multiple roads in key commercial and shopping districts and stormed Metro stations. Metro services resumed on Monday and streets were being cleaned of debris. Shares in the airline Cathay Pacific, which is based in Hong Kong, have dropped almost 4% after the Chinese aviation authority ordered ... ► Read more

  • Bodies of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky found, police say

    Canadian police say they have found two bodies they believe are the teenagers suspected of murdering three people, including Sydney man Lucas Fowler. Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, were wanted in connection with the 15 July murders of Mr Fowler, 23, and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24. They were also charged with the murder of university lecturer Leonard Dyck, 64. All three bodies were found in the province of British Columbia, on ... ► Read more

  • China warns Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters

    China warned Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters on Tuesday that “those who play with fire will perish by it”, a day after the most widespread unrest of the two-month crisis. In its harshest warning yet Beijing said the immense strength of the central government should not be underestimated as police in the semi-autonomous city announced they had arrested 148 people in connection with Monday’s violence. The city has been plunged into chaos by weeks of protests ... ► Read more

  • US and Germany accused of meddling in Russian politics

    The Russian Foreign Ministry will submit official notifications to Washington and Berlin over alleged interference of American diplomats and German media in domestic affairs, the Russian news agency TASS reports. Russia claims the United States Embassy was involved in planning unauthorised rallies held in Moscow on 3 August. “[T]he embassy of the United States was most closely involved in [the rallies],” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a televised interview with the Rossiya’1 channel ... ► Read more

  • El Paso shooting “domestic terrorism”, police investigating anti-immigration manifesto

    A shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that left 20 people dead and 26 more injured is being investigated as a domestic terror attack, Texan officials said on Sunday (local time). A 21-year-old male is in custody after the mass shooting, one of the deadliest incidents in the state’s history. Police say a racist, anti-immigrant document was allegedly written by the suspect and posted on 8chan, an online messaging board full of racist, ... ► Read more

  • Hong Kong: pro-democracy activists plan city-wide strike

    Pro-democracy protesters hope to ramp up pressure on Hong Kong’s embattled pro-Beijing leaders by launching a city-wide strike on Monday in a bid to show there is still broad public support for their movement despite weeks of chaos. A widespread strike would be a rare accomplishment in the freewheeling finance hub where unions traditionally have little sway. But the movement is experimenting with more varied civil disobedience techniques after huge rallies failed to move Beijing. ... ► Read more

  • Five Eyes nations vow to step up efforts to counter online child abuse material

    Security officials from the Five Eyes security alliance have called for tech giants to allow backdoor access to encrypted content on WhatsApp and other communications platforms in order to combat sex offenders and the circulation of child abuse material. The “Five Eyes” nations — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — say urgent action is needed from the companies to combat live-streaming of child sexual abuse. Executives from Google, Facebook, ... ► Read more

  • Clive Palmer settles with largest creditor in Qld Nickel case

    Clive Palmer has reached a settlement with the largest creditor of his failed Queensland Nickel company. Barrister Shane Doyle QC, who acts for the liquidators of the company, told the Queensland Supreme Court that a “resolution” had been reached on the $90 million claim of Aurizon Holdings Ltd. The details of the settlement have not been made public. According to Mr Doyle, talks are also continuing between the liquidators and the billionaire mining magnate to ... ► Read more

  • China warns Hong Kong protesters in military propaganda video

    China’s military has released a propaganda video showing a drill of armed troops quelling a protest in Hong Kong, in a thinly veiled warning to the city’s pro-democracy movement. The video, posted to social media on Wednesday (local time) by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong, has a caption in which the military declares it has the “confidence” and “capabilities” to maintain security in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city. The three-minute ... ► Read more

  • Bill legalising abortions to be introduced to NSW Parliament this week

    New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said it is “time for change” when it comes to abortion law, ahead of the introduction of a new bill which would see pregnancy terminations regulated as a medical procedure around the state. Currently, abortions in NSW are dealt with under the Crimes Act 1900. The Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill 2019 — a private member’s bill — will be introduced to the NSW Parliament this week by the independent ... ► Read more

  • Moscow protest: nearly 1400 detained

    Close to 1400 people were detained by police in Moscow following a mass protest on Saturday (local time), according to monitoring group OVD-Info. OVD-Info, which monitors police arrests, said the number of the detentions from Saturday’s protest reached 1,373 by early Sunday (local time) — making it the largest number of detentions at a rally in the Russian capital this decade. While the majority of people were released shortly after their arrest, 150 remain in custody. ... ► Read more

  • Dutton to push for child abuse material crack down at Five Eyes meeting

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will push for the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries to prioritise preventing online child exploitation material at a meeting in London on Monday. FVEY is an intelligence-sharing network which includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the United States. “There needs to be greater international engagement in the battle against child exploitation,” Mr Dutton told The Australian ahead of flying to London. “Now with the internet, pay-per-view, [offenders] can direct material ... ► Read more

  • US Government condemned for reinstating federal death penalty

    The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has reinstated the federal death penalty, 16 years after it was last applied, and has immediately scheduled the execution of five federal death row inmates. Litigation surrounding the drugs used for lethal injections has prevented the Government from carrying out executions, but the Trump Administration has taken steps to eliminate barriers to the practice. “Congress has expressly authorised the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives ... ► Read more

  • Ukraine seizes Russian tanker, frees crew

    The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) seized a Russian oil tanker in the Ukrainian port of Izmail on Thursday (local time). SBU alleges the tanker was involved in an incident in the Kerch Strait near Crimea last year which saw Russian border forces capture a Ukrainian naval ship and its crew, who remain in Russian custody. The Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office told Reuters that 10 of the tanker’s crew members had been interrogated as witnesses. ... ► Read more

  • Trump was not exonerated, Mueller tells Congress

    Former special counsel Robert Mueller has testified to the United States Congress that he did not exonerate US President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice. Mr Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 35 people and three companies on matters related to the election, but did not charge any members of the Trump family. However, Mr Mueller has rejected the President’s assertion that the investigation “totally exonerated” him. Instead, Mr ... ► Read more

  • $1 million worth of meth found in snow globe shipment

    A haul of the drug ice worth $1 million has been found in a shipment of snow globes from Canada. The liquid form of methamphetamine was found in 15 snow globes after they were X-rayed and tested in a shipment that arrived in Sydney. The snow globes have animal figures inside, including an alpaca, as seen in a video filmed by Australian Border Force officers. The snow globes are subject to further tests, with the ... ► Read more

  • 21 people face court over detention centre riot

    The instigators of a violent riot at a juvenile detention centre will face court today where it will be alleged they committed serious offences against staff and detainees. Last night in dramatic scenes, riot police stormed a building at the Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre in Gosford and brought a 22-hour standoff with law enforcement to an end. NSW Police said 21 people, aged 12 to 20, will be charged and Families, Communities and Disability ... ► Read more

  • Foreign fighters bill sparks concern over Dutton’s growing power

    New legislation to prevent foreign fighters from returning home has sparked concern over Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton’s growing powers. Mr Dutton is pushing to have the Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019 passed by Parliament by the end of the week, as national security is high on the Coalition Government’s agenda. The Bill is a redraft of legislation introduced earlier this year, following a review by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 14 July – 20 July 2019

    Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. “Defensive action”: US warship shoots down Iranian drone A United States amphibious assault ship has shot down an Iranian drone after the unmanned aircraft flew within 900 metres of the American warship, US President Donald Trump announced on ... ► Read more

  • Epstein refused bail while awaiting sex trafficking trial

    Billionaire money man Jeffrey Epstein has been denied bail while awaiting a federal sex trafficking trial in New York. “The Government has established danger to others and to the community by clear and convincing evidence,” the Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Richard Berman said on Thursday (local time). “I doubt that any bail package could can overcome a danger to the community.” The financier has been jailed in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre since his 6 ... ► Read more

  • Yang Hengjun: Australian writer detained in China charged

    Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, has been charged with endangering national security, according to his lawyer. Mr Yang has also been moved to criminal detention in Beijing and is no longer under house arrest. The Chinese Ministry of State Security formally charged Mr Yang through a formal notice at 10:00am Thursday (Chinese local time). The notice says Mr Yang has been detained under section 85 of the Chinese ... ► Read more

  • Prosecutors drop charges against Kevin Spacey

    Prosecutors have dropped a case accusing Kevin Spacey of groping an 18-year-old man at a Massachusetts resort island bar in 2016. Mr Spacey was accused of getting an 18-year-old man drunk and then groping him at a bar and restaurant in Nantucket where the teen worked as a bus boy. Mr Spacey denied the allegations. Mr Spacey’s accuser used the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution to protect himself from self-incrimination. He also refused ... ► Read more

  • Brisbane: Clem Jones Tunnel shut down as police negotiate with armed man

    Queensland Police are negotiating with a man armed with knives on the roof of the M7 Clem Jones Tunnel (Clem 7) in inner Brisbane. Both the entrance and exit of the Clem 7 tunnel were closed at Shafston Avenue in East Brisbane just before 7:30am, and surrounding roads have also been blocked. The man has reportedly been on the tunnel roof since around 9:30am, while the standoff with police has been ongoing since around 7:00am. ... ► Read more

  • ‘El Chapo’ sentenced to life imprisonment in the US

    Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman has been sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 30 years, after a hearing in a federal court in New York on Wednesday (local time). Guzman, 62, was also ordered to forfeit $US12.6 billion ($AU18 billion). He was found guilty by a jury in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel — infamous for being ... ► Read more

  • Adani prosecuted over Carmichael mine report

    The Queensland Government is prosecuting mining company Adani for allegedly providing false and misleading information in its 2017–18 annual report to the Environment Department. “The prosecution relates to information contained in Adani’s 2017/2018 annual return for its Carmichael mine,” the Environment Department said in a statement. “The annual return requires information about planned and actual disturbance of land at the mine. “The department alleges that Adani’s annual return contained false and misleading information about the ... ► Read more

  • Human cost of Ukrainian civil war growing, UNSC hears

    The human cost of the conflict in Ukraine is growing, the United Nations political chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, during a briefing on the current situation in the country. UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo’s briefing to the Council was delivered just days before Ukrainians vote in parliamentary elections on 21 July. Ms DiCarlo expressed her hope that the poll will be “peaceful and democratic”, and inclusive, reflecting the “broadest participation of women”. However, the current ... ► Read more

  • Newly released footage shows unarmed UK police, passersby face Borough Market terrorists

    Newly released footage shows unarmed British police and members of the public trying to apprehend perpetrators of the 2017 London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack. On 3 June 2017, the three attackers — Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba — ploughed down pedestrians in a rented van before embarking on a knife attack at Borough Market. The entire attack lasted around 10 minutes and claimed the lives of eight people. A further 48 ... ► Read more

  • More clashes in Hong Kong between police and protesters

    Clashes between police and protesters have continued in Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill that would allow Beijing to extradite Hong Kong residents to mainland China. The latest protest began late on Sunday afternoon (local time) when a small group of protesters threw objects at police, dismantled roadside metal barriers and set up barricades to separate themselves from police, who formed into a line. Protesters put on face masks, helmets and goggles and armed ... ► Read more

  • French police fire tear gas at protesters following Bastille Day celebrations

    French police have fired tear gas at Yellow Vest protesters following Bastille Day celebrations near the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Beforehand, Yellow Vest protesters booed French President Emmanuel Macron as he was driven down the avenue. Police say they apprehended more than 150 people, including two Yellow Vest leaders accused of staging an unauthorised demonstration. A few hundred protesters were attempting to occupy the road following the celebrations. They attempted to block the road with metal ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 7 July – 13 July 2019

    AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18 The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is ... ► Read more

  • Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney warns Australia on press freedom

    Amal Clooney has cautioned Australia on press freedom at the inaugural Defend Media Freedom conference in the United Kingdom, which was attended by Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. “What happens in a country like Australia, or the UK or the US will be looked at by every other leader in the world and potentially used as an excuse to clamp down even further on ... ► Read more

  • Referendum on Indigenous recognition within three years, announces Ken Wyatt

    A referendum will be held within the next three years to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt announced today. Mr Wyatt stressed the importance of ensuring the proposed constitutional amendments are “right” in a speech delivered at the Australian Press Club. “Constitutional recognition is too important to get wrong, and too important to rush,” he said. “We need to design the right model to progress to a point at ... ► Read more

  • Alek Sigley denies he was spying on North Korea

    Alek Sigley, who was released from detention in North Korea last week, has denied allegations by Pyongyang that he is a spy. Mr Sigley was studying in the North Korean capital before he went missing on 25 June. He was released last Thursday with the help of Swedish diplomats and left for Tokyo where he was reunited with his wife. He wrote for Western media, such as NK News, during his time in North Korea. ... ► Read more

  • AFP accessed journalists’ metadata almost 60 times in 2017–18

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) accessed the metadata of journalists almost 60 times in one year, according to disclosures made to the first review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime. Under amendments made to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act in 2015, all telecommunications service providers are required to store detailed phone and Internet records for their customers for a minimum of two years. Government agencies, including the AFP, can access that information by obtaining ... ► Read more

  • Hong Kong: Controversial extradition bill “dead”, says Lam

    Hong Kong’s head of government Carrie Lam has said a controversial bill that would have allowed extradition to the Chinese mainland is “dead”. In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Lam declared the Government’s work on the bill a “total failure”, but again stopped short of announcing its complete withdrawal, as protesters have demanded. The proposed legislation sparked weeks of demonstrations across the city, prompting the Government to previously announce that progress on the bill ... ► Read more

  • Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking

    Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. Mr Epstein was arrested over the weekend after returning to the United States from Paris. Mr Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls”, prosecutors allege in a newly unsealed 13-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment. Some of the victims were 14 years old, prosecutors claim. Mr Epstein is accused of recruiting underage girls ... ► Read more

  • “Appalled”: US’ detention of migrant children may violate international law, says UN rights chief

    Conditions in which migrants and refugees are being held in the United States are appalling, said the United Nations human rights chief on Monday (local time), underscoring that children should never be held in immigration detention, or separated from their families. “As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate ... ► Read more

  • British Airways faces $328m fine for breaching European privacy rule

    British Airways faces a A$328 million fine after their website was hacked last year, compromising the personal details of 500,000 customers. The penalty is the largest imposed yet under the General Data Protection Regulation, which was implemented last year in the European Union. The airline, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), revealed last September they had been hacked and customers’ addresses, emails, names, credit card numbers, expiration and three-digit security codes were all ... ► Read more

  • Lawyers for Australian writer detained in China urge Government to intervene

    Lawyers for Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has been detained in China since January, are urging Canberra to intervene. The calls come after Mr Yang’s wife, Yuan Xiaoliang, was prevented from leaving China to return to Australia by officers from the Ministry of State Security on Sunday. Ms Yuan was not detained but has been questioned by Chinese authorities and is subject to an exit ban. She was interrogated for two hours on Sunday, according ... ► Read more

  • “All-consuming crisis”: UN human rights chief demands Venezuela ends rights violations

    The Venezuelan authorities should take immediate steps to halt widespread rights violations being perpetrated against the country’s people and work to resolve “this all-consuming crisis”, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday (local time). Ms Bachelet’s appeal to the Government of Nicolas Maduro comes ahead of her address to the Human Rights Council on Friday and follows her official visit to Venezuela from 19 to 21 June. Her comments follow ... ► Read more

  • Does Hong Kong have a future divorced from Beijing?

    Hong Kong has seen weeks of protests sparked by a proposed law that would allow residents of the special administrative region (SAR) to be extradited to mainland China for prosecution. Increasingly, Hong Kong residents are questioning the continued viability of the “one country, two systems” policy that has maintained Hong Kong’s relatively high degree of economic freedoms and personal liberty since the British returned it to China in 1997. Some are pushing for Hong Kong ... ► Read more

  • Search for missing Belgian tourist Theo Hayez suspended by police

    New South Wales Police have suspended the search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez, who disappeared in the Byron Bay area on 31 May. However, the investigation into Mr Hayez’s disappearance is still ongoing, police say. Tweed-Byron Police Commander Superintendent Dave Roptell said in a statement: “We met with Theo’s family today and we send our thoughts to them all, both here in Australia and abroad.” Mr Hayez, 18, was last seen walking through Byron ... ► Read more

  • Libya attack: UN says preliminary information indicates “war crime”

    The United Nations has said an airstrike on a detention centre in Libya’s capital Tripoli could be a war crime and is calling for an investigation. The number of people killed by the airstrike continues to rise, with some reports putting the death toll as high as 80. At least 130 people are understood to have been injured. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted: Meanwhile, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations ... ► Read more

  • Suspected terror plotter to face court

    A man arrested in a counter-terrorism operation across Sydney’s west earlier this week will face court in Parramatta today. Isaak el Matari, 20, has been charged with three offences: planning a terror attack, being a member of terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS), and preparing to fight overseas. Police allege Mr el Matari was planning attacks on multiple Sydney landmarks, including police stations and churches. However, he had not chosen a specific target or time to ... ► Read more

  • Sri Lanka police chief and former defence secretary arrested for negligence

    Sri Lankan Police on Tuesday (local time) arrested the country’s police chief and former defence secretary for alleged negligence ahead of the Easter Sunday bombings that killed 258 people. The former defence secretary, Hemasiri Fernando, and police chief, Pujith Jayasundara, were arrested at hospitals yesterday where they were in custody, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara. The arrests came a day after prosecutors asked police why they had not arrested Mr Fernando and Mr Jayasundara ... ► Read more

  • Counter-terrorism operation: three arrested in Western Sydney over alleged links to Islamic State

    Three men have been arrested over alleged links to terrorist group Islamic State (IS) as part of a counter-terrorism operation in Sydney’s west and inner west. It is understood the men are aged 20, 23 and 30, and will be charged later today. The New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) executed six search warrants as part of the operation, which targeted several suburbs including including Canada Bay, Chester Hill, Greenacre, Green Valley, Ingleburn ... ► Read more

  • Charges dropped against Canberra man who helped end wife’s life

    A Canberra man who helped his wife to die has had assisted suicide charges against him dropped after prosecutors decided it is not in the public interest to prosecute him. Neil O’Riordan’s wife, Penelope Blume, was in the advanced stages of motor neurone disease when she ended her life in his arms at their home. They shared a last meal and talked until the early hours of the morning before Ms Blume used an item ... ► Read more

  • Hong Kong: Protesters storm parliament, police respond with tear gas

    Hundreds of protesters stormed Hong Kong’s parliament building on the anniversary of the city’s 1997 return to China on Monday night. Protesters shattered windows and pried open steel security gates to enter the building, destroying pictures and graffitiing the walls. The occupation ended after three hours when police deployed tear gas shortly after midnight, causing protesters to flee. The incident is part of ongoing dissent over a proposed law that would allow residents of the ... ► Read more

  • Tax cuts in focus as Parliament prepares to resume

    Tax cuts are prominent on the Coalition Government’s legislative agenda as Parliament prepares to resume on Tuesday. The Coalition is hoping to deliver its election promise of $158 billion in income tax cuts to be rolled out in three stages over the next five years. However, Labor has maintained its resistance to the plan, with opposition leader Anthony Albanese saying his party will try to bring some of the tax cuts sooner than planned. Labor ... ► Read more

  • Folau unable to reach settlement with Rugby Australia

    Israel Folau was unable to reach an agreement with Rugby Australia (RA) today at a Fair Work Commission hearing over his sacking in May. The matter will now be referred to the High Court. Following the Fair Work hearing, Mr Folau said: “Very, very disappointed about the outcome today, but I would like to thank all those who have supported me throughout this time, and I’ll continue to stand up for the freedoms of all ... ► Read more

  • Turnbull wanted to involve Governor-General in Liberal leadership spill

    Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wanted to involve the Governor-General in the August 2018 leadership spill that saw Scott Morrison succeed him as leader of the country. Mr Turnbull argued with Attorney-General Christian Porter over whether Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove should refuse to appoint Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as leader of the Government if Mr Dutton won the leadership spill. As a matter of constitutional convention, the Governor-General plays a ceremonial role in the ... ► Read more

  • ABC, Nine, News Corp unite to demand media, whistleblower protections

    In a rare show of public unity, executives from three of Australia’s major media organisations are demanding increased protections for journalists and whistleblowers. The demands follow last month’s Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home and the ABC’s headquarters in Sydney. The raids, or “search warrant executions” as the AFP refers to them, were conducted in response to stories which contained leaked highly classified information. The National Press Club (NPC) ... ► Read more

  • Australian Christian Lobby donates $100k to Israel Folau, launches fundraiser

    The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has launched a new fundraising campaign for Israel Folau on their own website after GoFundMe removed the controversial rugby player’s fundraising page. The ACL made an initial $100,000 donation to the new fundraiser, which has already raised over $400,000. “There is an outpouring of support for Israel Folau from the Australian community, who see Israel’s case as their case,” said ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles. Regarding the $100,000 donation for ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 16 June – 22 June 2019

    “Very big mistake”: Trump responds to US drone downing United States President Donald Trump has said Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US drone, while Iran has defended the action and pledged to “zealously defend our skies, land and waters.” See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. Tory leadership: Johnson and Hunt last men standing Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have emerged as the final two candidates that will be put ... ► Read more

  • Key quotes from Russia’s annual presidential Q&A

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual live question and answer session on Thursday (local time) where he touched on a range of pressing issues. Mr Putin takes questions from a large audience and even responds to queries over the phone. Here are the highlights. On whether he has become tired of the presidency “No, otherwise I wouldn’t have run for this term.” On arrests related to economic crimes “I would like to say: you ... ► Read more

  • Medevac ruling likely to be appealed as Dutton warns of more boat arrivals

    A ruling that an appointment is not required before a doctor can determine that an asylum seeker needs treatment in Australia is likely to be appealed as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warns the decision will lead to more boat arrivals. On Tuesday Justice Mordy Bromberg ruled in the Federal Court that under last year’s “Medevac” amendments the Migration Act 1958 doctors can make an assessment remotely on the basis of an asylum seeker’s medical records. Although ... ► Read more

  • MH17: four suspects to be charged with murder

    Five years after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has announced it will charge four men with murder over the deaths of all 298 people onboard, including 38 Australians. The JIT — made up of investigators from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine — named Russians Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko. They will be prosecuted by ... ► Read more

  • Controversial Hong Kong extradition bill may lapse

    The head of the Hong Kong Government, Carrie Lam, has indicated that a controversial bill to allow extradition to mainland China may lapse following the region’s most violent protests since 1997. In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Lam apologised for the political turbulence and said that the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 would not be reintroduced during her time in office if concerns cannot be adequately ... ► Read more

  • Victorian assisted dying law commences

    From today, Victorians will be able to access assisted dying services, as voluntary euthanasia legislation passed in 2017 comes into effect. The main provisions of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 commenced in Victoria on 19 June 2019. The Act allows Victorians with terminal illnesses to end their lives with dignity, subject to strict controls and requirements. “This is about giving people a compassionate choice, a dignified option at the end of their life – if they qualify – ... ► Read more

  • Israeli First Lady convicted of misusing state funds

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara has admitted to misusing state funds. Mrs Netanyahu was accused of spending US$99,300 ($145,000) on restaurant-cooked meals while falsely claiming there were no cooks available at the prime ministerial residence. She dodged goal-time by taking a plea deal which reduced a fraud charge to a lesser offence. The Israeli First Lady will need to pay the state 45,000 shekels ($18,000) in reimbursement and a 10,000 shekel ($4000) fine. ... ► Read more

  • Pell sued over failure to respond to abuse complaints

    A man abused by notorious paedophile Christian Brother Edward “Ted” Dowlan has filed suit against George Pell, alleging the Cardinal did nothing to protect him from abuse. The victim was a student at Cathedral College in East Melbourne when he was abused by Dowlan, who in 1996 was imprisoned for the sexual abuse of 11 boys in the 1970s and ‘80s, and convicted again in 2015 for offences against a further 20 victims. In taking ... ► Read more

  • Morrison treads lightly amid press freedom row

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given cautious responses to questions about the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) raids conducted at a News Corp journalist’s home on Tuesday and the ABC’s headquarters in Sydney yesterday. Mr Morrison said his “government is absolutely committed to freedom of the press” but that “no one is above the law”. “These are matters that were being pursued by the AFP operationally, at complete arm’s length from the Government, not with the ... ► Read more

  • Child sex offences “impossible”, George Pell’s lawyer tells appellate court

    The child sex offences for which George Pell was convicted are “impossible”, his lawyer told the Victorian Court of Appeal today as the Cardinal seeks to have the jury’s guilty verdict overturned. Last year, Cardinal Pell was convicted of the sexual abuse of two choirboys and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment after a jury found him guilty in the County Court. In written submissions appealing against the conviction, his legal team has listed 13 reasons ... ► Read more

  • AFP raids ABC offices in Ultimo

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are raiding the ABC’s office in Sydney over a 2017 investigative series into Australia’s clandestine operations in Afghanistan. The series is based on classified files acquired by journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, which detailed “incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children”. According to the ABC, the AFP’s search warrant names Mr Oakes, Mr Clark and the public broadcaster’s Director of News Gaven Morris. The raid comes a day ... ► Read more

  • Four killed, one injured in Darwin shooting

    Police have arrested a 45-year-old man suspected of killing four men and injuring one woman in a deadly armed rampage across Darwin’s CBD last night. Authorities say the suspect began shooting at a motel in Woolner before driving to four other locations in a ute. According to witnesses, the man was armed with a pump-action shotgun. He was arrested after attempting to enter Northern Territory Police headquarters. Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the suspect, who ... ► Read more

  • Police raid journalist’s home over national security story

    Officers from the Australia Federal Police (AFP) have raided the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst in relation to a story published last year concerning potential new powers for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). The story included images of letters between the heads of the Departments of Home Affairs and Defence discussing whether the ASD should be allowed to monitor Australian citizens and businesses on home soil, rather than being limited to gathering ... ► Read more

  • Boris Johnson ordered to appear in court over £350 million Brexit claim

    Conservative MP Boris Johnson has been ordered to appear in court over claims he lied during the Brexit campaign by saying the United Kingdom gave the European Union £350 million a week. The frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of misconduct in public office after making the claim during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. Campaigner Michael Ball crowdfunded £200,000 to launch the private prosecution of the ... ► Read more

  • Sydney’s lockout laws may be relaxed after parliamentary review

    Sydney’s lockout laws may be relaxed after New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian ordered their review, saying it was time to “take stock” of their impact on the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross. A cross-party committee will be established to examine the laws, while the the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) and Greens push to scrap the laws. SFF MLC Robert Borsak and Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann have both tabled motions in the NSW ... ► Read more

  • Ivan Milat returned to prison after receiving terminal cancer treatment

    Notorious serial killer Ivan Milat has been returned to prison after receiving treatment for terminal cancer at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. The 74-year-old was transported in the custody of the NSW Department of Corrective Services’ extreme high security escort unit to Long Bay Prison Hospital in Sydney’s south on Tuesday. He spent the last two weeks in hospital receiving treatment after several lumps were found in his stomach and throat earlier this ... ► Read more

  • Water restrictions in Sydney for first time in a decade

    Water restrictions will be enforced in Sydney for the first time in a decade. From Saturday 1 June 2019 all hoses must be fitted with a trigger nozzle or instant off switch, and can only be used to water gardens before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm. The watering of hard surfaces — including paths and driveways — will be prohibited, as will the use of sprinkler systems. Normally level one restrictions come into force ... ► Read more

  • Iraqi court sentences three French IS members to death

    An Iraqi court sentenced three French nationals to death on Sunday, after finding them guilty of joining Islamic State (IS). Thousands of suspected IS members are being tried in Iraqi courts, including hundreds of foreigners arrested as the militant organisation’s strongholds collapse throughout the country. Kévin Gonot, Léonard Lopez and Salim Machou were extradited to Iraq in February and were among the 14 French nationals included in a group of 280 detainees handed over by ... ► Read more

  • US announces new charges against Julian Assange

    The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced 17 new espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as it seeks to extradite him from the United Kingdom. The new indictment charges Mr Assange for violating the US Espionage Act of 1917 by publishing thousands of classified documents. In the 18-count superseding indictment, the DOJ alleges Mr Assange directed former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in ... ► Read more

  • Banned CFC emissions traced to eastern China

    Researchers say they have traced the major sources of a global increase in emissions of the ozone-depleting gas CFC-11 to eastern China. According to research published in Nature, global emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) have increased since 2013, and the results indicate a violation of the universally-ratified 1980 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol has been successful in reducing CFC emissions and restoring the ozone layer, which absorbs most ... ► Read more

  • UN demands UK hand Chagos Islands to Mauritius

    The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution demanding that the United Kingdom give control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. The non-binding resolution was supported by 116 states, with only six voting against the resolution, and 56 abstentions, including France and Germany. Mauritius claims it was forced to give up the Indian Ocean archipelago in 1965 in exchange for the country’s independence from the UK. Today, the islands form the UK’s British Indian ... ► Read more

  • One Nation truck set alight; Hanson blames “the left”

    A One Nation campaign vehicle was set alight at a shopping centre in Hobart on Sunday. The truck was being driven by One Nation Senate candidate Adam Lambert, who was buying groceries at the time. A bar attendant at the nearby Shoreline Hotel said she saw flames erupt from the car park and called police shortly after 5:00 pm. Tasmanian Police said the fire looked “suspicious” and were investigating its cause. One Nation leader Pauline ... ► Read more

  • Swiss voters back EU gun control regulations

    Voters in Switzerland have approved a referendum to tighten gun laws in conformity with European Union regulations. Almost 64% of voters in Sunday’s referendum to introduce tougher restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it risked being removed from the open-border Schengen Area if it had voted against “no” in the referendum. Switzerland ranks highly by private gun ownership in Europe, with an estimated 48% of Swiss ... ► Read more

  • Trump signs order barring US telcos from using foreign equipment

    United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday (local time) intended to bar American telecommunications networks from using equipment provided by foreign suppliers. Executive order 13873 declares a “national emergency” and claims that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services”. The order directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to prepare rules that restrict the purchase of information and communications technology from companies “owned by, controlled ... ► Read more

  • Australia took in accused Rwandan terrorists as part of US “people swap”

    Australia reportedly resettled two Rwandan men accused of murdering eight tourists as part of the “people swap” deal with the United States that was brokered by the Coalition Government. American news outlet Politico reported that Leonidas Bimenyimana and Gregoire Nyaminani were relocated to Australia and accepted as “humanitarian” entrants. In 1999 the two men were charged with terrorism offences by US prosecutors for murdering the tourists, including two Americans, with machetes and axes. They were ... ► Read more

  • Serial killer Ivan Milat diagnosed with terminal cancer

    Convicted serial killer Ivan Milat will remain hospitalised after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Milat, Australia’s most notorious serial killer, was transfered from the supermax Goulburn Correctional Centre on Monday to undergo diagnostic tests at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. It was initially thought organ failure may be behind the 74-year-old’s rapid weight loss and that he would return to solitary confinement at Goulburn, but the tests revealed he is in the “advanced stages” ... ► Read more

  • Election: Labor promises new wage theft tribunal

    Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten has promised to establish a new tribunal that will crack down on wage theft if his party forms government after the upcoming federal election. “It shouldn’t be too hard, it shouldn’t be too costly, to get what you are owed for a day’s pay,” Mr Shorten said. Workers who have been underpaid by employers could have claims of up to $100,000 resolved in a day by the tribunal. Mr Shorten ... ► Read more

  • Serial killer Ivan Milat transfered to Sydney hospital

    Convicted serial killer Ivan Milat has been transfered from the supermax Goulburn Correctional Centre to undergo diagnostic tests at Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, the Department of Corrective Services confirmed on Tuesday evening. The 74-year-old is being housed in a secure annex and is expected to return to Goulburn in the coming days as his condition is not deemed life-threatening. “We’ve made very strong security arrangements for that, we’ve got specialist teams to ensure ... ► Read more

  • Sweden reopens rape investigation involving Julian Assange

    An investigation by Swedish prosecutors into a rape allegation made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010 has been reopened. The inquiry was revived at the request of the alleged victim’s lawyer. Mr Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. The 47-year-old was evicted last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions. ... ► Read more

  • Chelsea Manning released from jail after refusing to testify

    Former United States intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from jail, despite refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks. The 31-year-old was held in custody for 62 days after a Virginia judge found her in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena. Ms Manning will be required to appear before a grand jury on 16 May, having been served with another subpoena prior to her release on Thursday. “Today marked ... ► Read more

  • Trump blocks release of unredacted Mueller report; House Judiciary Committee finds US A-G in contempt

    United States President Donald Trump has invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of the unredacted report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee sought the unredacted report from Attorney-General William Barr, but negotiations between the committee and the Justice Department broke down on Tuesday (local time). The Judiciary Committee has now recommended that the House of Representatives find Mr Barr in ... ► Read more

  • Election: PM egged by protester in Albury

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison was egged by a protester at a Country Women’s Association (CWA) event in Albury. A 25-year-old woman walked up behind the Prime Minister and threw an egg at him, which bounced off his head without smashing. The protester, who the CWA says is not a member, had a carton of eggs with her and was tackled to the floor by security. An elderly lady was knocked over during the struggle was ... ► Read more

  • No enforcement of death penalty for gay sex, claims Brunei

    Brunei will not enforce the death penalty for persons convicted of having gay sex, following fierce global criticism of the country by international human rights organisations and celebrities. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to legislation prohibiting gay sex, after celebrities called for tourists to boycott a string of luxury hotels owned by the country, of which the Sultan, as absolute monarch, is both head of state and head of government. ... ► Read more

  • First charges laid under Western Australia’s new “revenge porn” law

    A man who posted intimate images of his ex-girlfriend on social media has become the first person charged under Western Australia’s new “revenge porn” legislation. During their relationship the 24-year-old took consensual intimate images of his ex-girlfriend. WA Police allege that after the couple broke up, the man created an Instagram account in the victim’s name and posted seven intimate images of her without her consent. “It will be further alleged when the Instagram account ... ► Read more

  • Election: MP Kerryn Phelps targeted with “disturbing” emails

    MP for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps says she has referred “disturbing” emails about her to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Emails sent yesterday to an unknown number of voters contained incorrect voting information, claims that Dr Phelps is ineligible for election, and several anti-Semitic remarks. The emails falsely claim that Dr Phelps is ineligible to stand for election because she is an Israeli citizen. The emails say “Kerryn Phelps has been disqualified from election, she ... ► Read more

  • Assange sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment over bail breach

    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment for disobeying an order to surrender to court in 2012. Mr Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 after the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that he should be extradited to Sweden for questioning over an alleged sexual assault. He claimed he was seeking political asylum because he believed his extradition to Sweden would eventually see him extradited ... ► Read more

  • Mueller frustrated over portrayal of Russian interference report

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is frustrated over the way his findings on Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election are being portrayed, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) official. Mr Mueller wrote to the DOJ after US Attorney-General William Barr issued a four-page summary of the special counsel’s conclusions about whether the campaign of current President Donald Trump colluded with Russia and whether the President had attempted to obstruct the investigation. ... ► Read more