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‘I’ll call you a pathological liar’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 07 September 2014 | 23.08

On Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program, James Ashby goes into detail on the sexual advances made on him by his former boss Peter Slipper; accusations which rocked Australian politics.

FORMER staffer James Ashby has broken his silence over the Peter Slipper scandal, alleging Abbott government minister Christopher Pyne warned he would call him a "pathological liar" if he went public.

Mr Ashby alleges that he was bombarded with sexually explicit texts by former Speaker Peter Slipper when he started working for him as an adviser on Queensland's Sunshine Coast in 2010.

Allegations ... James Ashby claims he was offered a job and a lawyer.

He took Mr Slipper to court alleging sexual harassment and breach of contract.

He dropped the case earlier this year, citing Mr Slipper's mental illness and exorbitant court costs.

The 35-year-old gay staffer said he went to Mr Pyne, then a senior figure in Opposition, at the suggestion of Queensland MP Wyatt Roy, to discuss making a complaint after Mr Slipper sent him suggestive texts.

Allegations ... James Ashby told 60 Minutes he met with Christopher Pyne to discuss his case. Source: Supplied

Mr Ashby told 60 Minutes he met with Roy twice in the space of a day and showed him the sexually explicit texts.

"He (Roy) was shocked. He didn't know what to do," Ashby said.

"He had no idea. And he said to me that he would have to ask someone else. And he suggested to me the only person he could trust was Christopher Pyne."

Mr Ashby told interviewer Liz Hayes: "Wyatt said to me, 'Once I speak to Christopher I'll get you the information, which will help you make that complaint."

Claims ... former Slipper staffer James Ashby told Lix Hayes he believed Mr Pyne was trying to "pre-warn me that things are gonna get hot". Source: Supplied

The former staffer — who told 60 Minutes he knew the sexual harassment claims would be political "dynamite" — said he went to Mr Pyne's office under the guise of picking up a bottle of wine.

"I said to him (Pyne), 'I just need to know that my job is safe and that a lawyer will be provided.

"And he said they would. He did say to me, though, that I may never want to come back to Canberra, that I may choose to take up a job within state politics instead."

Mr Ashby told Hayes he believed Mr Pyne was to "pre-warn me that things are gonna get hot".

Winery trips ... Peter Slipper, with his wife Inge, was found guilty of miusuing taxpayer-funded CabCharge vouchers. Source: News Limited

"And I remember the conversation didn't last too long at all. We literally got up from his table, he (Pyne) walked me towards the door, he said to me, 'You're a braver man than I am,' as we exited and said, "If you discuss or tell anyone we've had this discussion, I'll be forced to come out publicly and call you a pathological liar."

Mr Ashby told Liz Hayes that the offer of a solicitor and job security gave him the "confidence" to make his allegations of sexual harassment.

During the interview, Mr Ashby alleged that he also made contact with senior Coalition figure Mal Brough, who Slipper lost his seat to.

No involvement ... Education Minister Christopher Pyne has denied having prior knowlege of the sexual harrassment allegations. Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Slipper resigned as parliamentary Speaker in October 2012.

Mr Ashby told 60 Minutes the offer of a lawyer was later withdrawn and he was informed there was by no means any guarantees of work. There was also no legal assistance, none whatsoever."

Mr Ashby, who now works at a graphic design printing company on the Sunshine Coast, said the fallout from the Slipper case continued to haunt him and had even led him to contemplate suicide.

Both Mr Roy and Mr Pyne declined to be interviewed by 60 Minutes.

Seeking advice ... James Ashby claimed he met with Queensland MP Wyatt Roy. Source: Supplied

In a statement issued on Sunday night, Christopher Pyne denied having "specific knowledge" of the allegations made by Mr Ashby.

"All these matters have been aired over and over again for the last three years," Mr Pyne said.

"Mr Slipper has been found guilty of fraud against the taxpayer. Mr Ashby settled a sexual harassment case with the Commonwealth.

"I had no specific knowledge of the allegations made by Mr Ashby and the first I knew that he was suing Mr Slipper was when I read it in the newspapers.

This is a dispute between two individuals – not a dispute that includes me or any other member of the Government."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Freeman lands faulty plane

Veteran star ... Morgan Freeman was forced to land his malfunctioning plane on the way to the Toronto Film Festival. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images

IS there anything he can't do?

In what could have been a scene from one of his action movies, Morgan Freeman safely landed his malfunctioning plane on the way to the Toronto International Film Festival.

The 77-year-old was flying his own jet from his Mississippi home to attend the world premiere of his latest flick Ruth & Alex in Canada.

But the Oscar-winning actor was more than 90 minutes late for his own pre-reception party because he was forced to make several emergency landings.

"The slats would not retract in the air," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

"On the ground they were fine, but in the air they were a problem. We were about ten minutes in the air trying to get them to retract but they didn't so we went back and landed."

A-listers ... Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton attend the 'Ruth & Alex' premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images

However The Shawshank Redemption actor insisted he was "never in any danger", despite trying take off four times.

"They still didn't work so we went back," he said. "Had to put the plane away and take out the other plane."

Freeman has had his pilot's licence for twelve years and owns two personal jets.

His new film, also starring Diane Keaton, follows the lives of a married couple struggling to move out of their apartment.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Drama and hiccups result in best kitchens ever

Dee and Darren scored an almost perfect 28, but it still wasn't enough to win kitchen week. Source: Channel 9

IT was dubbed "Kitchen Nightmare Week", but after all the drama and the hiccups, five of the biggest and best kitchens ever seen on The Block emerged in all their shiny glory.

Problem after problem threatened to derail each of the teams, but they all managed to get the impossible task done in a week.

Bulkhead dramas, dwindling budgets, plumbing issues and as always, not enough time, were just the start of the problems, with most teams experiencing some of their worst days on The Block.

For the first time this season two teams tied for first with Scotty generously awarding them both $10,000 in prize money.

Michael and Carlene and Simon and Shannon were each awarded scores of 29, just one mark off perfect.

As they say on The Block, "kitchens sell houses", so judging by this feedback, who do you think is going to win?

Michael and Carlene

Michael and Carlene's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

Michael and Carlene's secret weapon was the wow factor of an indoor garden under the stairs, which was described as "brilliant" by the judges and something they'd never seen before. Of the kitchen, Shayna said: "This is hot", while Neale added: "The immediate impact is terrific, it's absolutely superb". The judges praised the well-planned use of the space, while the pantry was described as the "icing on the cake". "It's an entertainer's kitchen, a serious kitchen," said Neale.

Michael and Carlene's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

Michael and Carlene's kitchen. Source: Channel 9


Chris and Jenna

Chris and Jenna's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

Chris and Jenna's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

Chris and Jenna had the biggest kitchen on The Block, with the judges declaring "Chris and Jenna are back in the game" after some lacklustre reviews in past weeks. "This is beautiful," said Shayna. Their copper sink won big points. "I love, love, love this kitchen, I think it's really elegant and sophisticated," said Darren. "You could store two kitchens worth of stuff in here." While Shayna said of the massive pantry: "That is a whole 'nother postcode right there". Chris and Jenna also added a bar and a wine fridge, but the judges said that space could have been used better as a study nook. But Neale concluded by saying, "It spells out luxury with a capital L," adding that luxury is not a word he uses often.

Chris and Jenna's kitchen. Source: Channel 9


Maxine and Karstan

Max and Karstan's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

"Its just massive", was the judges' first impression. "They're really all about space and gloss," said Neale, while praising the "astonishing level of execution" and the separate breakfast bar. But Shayna was harder on the duo, saying they needed to balance the hard, soft and glossy surfaces better. "I'm screaming for some timber in here, screaming for some softness ... its got a very clinical feel to it". The kitchen overall was described as like a working kitchen in a commercial environment. "It's got everything. It has everything you could possibly need ... except soul", said Neale. For once, Shayna actually thought there was too much storage in the butler's pantry, which was described as "like a clinical storage box".

Maxine and Karstan's butler's pantry. Source: Channel 9


Shannon and Simon

Simon and Shannon's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

Despite a nightmare week the boys were immediately praised for their stunning polished concrete floor. This is "cool", said Neale, while admiring the cooktop with the view out to the street. Their kitchen was described as modern, edgy with a "sophisticated palette". Shayna particularly loved the stools underneath a bar that opened out to the bi-fold doors. While Darren loved the great combination of glossy surfaces with great textures. The judges were overwhelmed with the execution of the apartment, with Neale concluding: "If I was to imagine the perfect inner-city Prahran kitchen in 2014, this would be pretty damn close to it."

Inside Shannon and Simon's kitchen. Source: Channel 9

"That is the perfect place for a microwave", said Darren. Source: Channel 9


Dee and Daz

Inside Dee and Daz' kitchen. Source: Channel 9

Inside Dee and Daz's pantry. Source: Channel 9

The judges said from the floor up, the kitchen was "spectacular and hugely successful". Said Neale: "The marble becomes the hero of this room ... everything feels exactly right," adding that the kitchen was the perfect mix of contemporary and traditional. But Shayna said she looked "silly" sitting on the stool in the study nook and the area would best be used as a place to "dump the bills" and paperwork. The judges concluded that this kitchen had a "sense of family and a sense of home". While Shayna said of all the kitchens, this one was like a "warm hug" and Neale added "it has a lovely spirit".

Inside Dee and Daz's butler's pantry. Source: Channel 9

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Chopper flight nets two finals

Jady Brkic get a helicopter from Coburg to Drysdale to play in both her football and netball grand finals. Picture: Andy Brownbill Source: News Corp Australia

JADY Brkic charged out of the helicopter with her football gear on but with netball glory beckoning.

There was little time to spare. Her B-grade netball grand final at Drysdale was about to begin.

The 23-year-old had faced a difficult decision when it became apparent that her two great loves — netball and football — had collided on the most critical of days: Grand Final day.

Or so she had thought.

"We're putting you in a helicopter," Jady's Geelong Amateurs netball coach explained as she arrived at Queens Park for training during the week.

Before her double header, Jady explained the situation.

"My two grand finals landed on the same day but one final's in Melbourne and the other is in Drysdale, so the helicopter was offered and it's been organised," Jady said

Jady ran out for the North Geelong Magpies in the Victorian Women's Football League grand final at 12.15pm before suiting up as goal shooter for the Ammos' B Grade season decider against Torquay.

Jady left Coburg City Oval, the venue of her Division 2 football grand final against Seaford Tigers, at three-quarter time.


Fresh from her footy grand final in Melbourne, Jady Brkic played in goals for the Geelong Amateurs in a netball decider against Torquay. Picture: Andy Brownbill Source: News Corp Australia

The three quarter siren went off, I went to the girls said good luck and I left," she said.

"We won by a point, when I left we were two goals up and I had to leave and I didn't want to leave.

"I've just been talking to the girls — most of them cried. It would have been amazing but I wanted to be a part of (the netball) as well. I'll have my own celebrations when I see them."

The 15-minute flight to Drysdale meant she arrived for her B Grade grand final just after her teammates took the court.

"I actually wasn't relaxed, I wasn't thinking about netball I was thinking about football because we were playing so good and I didn't want to leave,"

"The helicopter ride was amazing. I got to take my Dad for Father's Day and he was taking so many photos. He was enjoying it more than me I think.

"Once I stepped on to the court I got a massive cheer from the crowd and that was fantastic and then I went in there and shot."

However it wasn't a fairytale ending for the shooter, with Ammos losing their Grand Final to Torquay by 15 points.

Jady Brkic in action. Source: News Corp Australia

"It's the best day of my life. To find out I've won one, at least one it definitely tops it off," Jady said.

"I only missed about three or four shots so it was a good shooting day, it just wasn't enough."

Jady was reluctant to disclose the name of the kind-hearted person who had made her grand final dream possible, declaring it was "just a good friend".

"My football coach wanted me to commit fully but I couldn't really refuse a helicopter ride. It made me feel special that they want me there so badly," Jady said.

"I wouldn't say I'm a key player but I've been the shooter for the whole season.''

Remarkably, Jady is only in her maiden football season.

"This is only my second year playing netball as well and I fell in love with Ammos," she said.

"I just went for a pre-season in football, I just wanted to get fit, and I realised I could kick the ball all right so I thought I'd give it a go.

"But I didn't know finals would land on the same day. This is the third time that I've had to choose between my football and my netball.

"Last week I had to flip a coin and netball won that toss and the other time football won, so I've had to flip a coin twice.

"I'm just so excited to be part of two grand finals. I've worked really hard with all of my girls."

Originally published as Chopper flight nets two finals
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aussie dead in Kenya bus crash

Horror crash ... at least one Australian has died ni a bus crash in Kenya. Picture: Twitter: Martin Cuddihy Source: Supplied

AT least one Australian is reported to be dead after a bus crash in Kenya.

A tour bus travelling to Maasai Mara overturned outside the city of Nairobi on Sunday night, an ABC report says.

The victim was reportedly an elderly Australian woman.

Local media in the African nation is reporting that up to two Australians could be dead.

It is believed the crash occurred after a tyre burst, the bus ended up in a nearby creek and eight people were taken to hospital.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the Australian High Commission in Nairobi was responding to a fatal bus crash in Kenya in which a number of Australians were believed to be involved.

More to come.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Is this Jack the Ripper?

A suspicious character ... an etching of a 'vigilance committee' identifying possible suspects in London in 1888. Picture: The Illustrated London News Source: Supplied

THE search to uncover the identity of Jack the Ripper appears to be over.

DNA on a shawl found near one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, reportedly contains a match to both her and one of the chief suspects, Aaron Kosminsky.

The Polish hairdresser, who moved to England with his family in 1881, was committed to a mental asylum at the peak of Ripper hysteria.

Revealed? ... DNA evidence reportedly confirms that Aaron Kosminski is Jack the Ripper. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The breakthrough came when Dr Jari Louhelainen, an expert in historic DNA, was commissioned to study a shawl found with Eddowes, the second-last "confirmed" victim of the Ripper more than 125 years ago.

The shawl — which still retained historic stains — had been bought by a businessman at an auction in 2007.

"It has taken a great deal of hard work, using cutting-edge scientific techniques which would not have been possible five years ago," Dr Louhelainen told a British newspaper.

"Once I had the profile, I could compare it to that of the female descendant of Kosminski's sister, who had given us a sample of her DNA swabbed from inside her mouth.

"The first strand of DNA showed a 99.2 per cent match, as the analysis instrument could not determine the sequence of the missing 0.8 per cent fragment of DNA. On testing the second strand, we achieved a perfect 100 per cent match."

Killing sports ... this map of Whitechapel in the 1800s shows Flower and Dean Streets in purple and the sites of some killings as red spots. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Kosminski was born in Poland in 1865 before moving to Whitechapel, England, in 1881.

The murders attributed to Jack the Ripper began in 1888, with up to 11 deaths around the Whitechapel area linked to the killer.

Frances Coles, believed to be the Ripper's last victim, died in February 1891 — the same year Kosminski was forcibly put in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum.

He remained in mental health facilities until his death in 1919, aged 53.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘World’s smallest house’ for sale

Small scale ... The property in Barnsbury, Islington. Picture: Zoopla Source: Supplied

IT'S BEEN described as "possibly the smallest house in the world" but this hasn't stopped the seller from asking nearly $500,000 for a minuscule terrace in a trendy part of London.

The single-storey property is just five metres across at its widest point and is comparable in size to a garage.

Whoever lives there must climb on the kitchen units to reach the sleeping area. They would also have to shower in the same space where they go to the toilet since there's no barrier between them.

Advertised as a "one-bedroom terraced house" a real estate agent told the Guardian that the property in Barnsbury, Islington is "possibly the smallest house in the world".

Packed in ... The single-storey property is just five metres across at its widest point. Picture: Zoopla Source: Supplied

While photos on the property website Zoopla show the creative use of space, the asking price is further evidence of the massively inflated housing market in major cities.

Not that the house's tiny proportions are putting off potential buyers, with the agent revealing they already had two calls about the place the day after it went on the market.

The agent told the paper: "I think it will probably sell to an investor who'll let it as a short-let on Airbnb. It's a great crash pad for the area."

Use of space ... Stairs lead up to a mezzanine from the kitchen units. Picture: Zoopla Source: Supplied

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Virus left union boss with no pulse

Union man ... Mark Serwotka heads the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), the UK's biggest civil service union. Picture: Twitter Source: Supplied

A BRITISH union leader has revealed how a mysterious virus left him with no pulse and reliant on a machine to pump blood around his body.

Mark Serwotka, who heads the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), the UK's biggest civil service union, contracted the virus in 2010 after walking his dog.

The black Labrador rolled in something disgusting and after cleaning the dog Serwotka discovered the next day that his entire body had swollen up, he told the Guardian in an interview.

A week later his heart rate went out of control, rising to 220 beats a minute, and he was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

Instead doctors discovered that the virus had attacked his internal organs including his heart.

Pretty soon his heart muscle became too weak to pump blood around his body and he was put on a pacemaker. When his condition worsened he was fitted with a ventricular assist device (Vad), which pumps blood around his body.

The pump is next to his left heart ventricle and powered by batteries that he wears in a bumbag and which are connected to the device via a cable that goes in to his body through a hole in his stomach. The device beeps every six hours when the batteries need changing.

He told the paper that the condition has left him with no pulse, adding that carrying the battery-pack around everywhere he goes was "a pain in the arse".

He said: "When I'm watching telly, I plug myself into the mains to charge the batteries. When I'm driving, I use the cigarette lighter."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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