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Ben Cousins in SAS security scare

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 15 Maret 2015 | 23.08

Ben Cousins has been detained for the second time in a week. Source: News Limited

DOCTORS of former West Coast Eagles captain Ben Cousins remain "concerned about his mental state" after he was released from a mental health facility after being caught behind the secure fences of an SAS army base.

Nine News Perth reported on Sunday night that the ex-AFL star was apprehended at the Campbell Barracks in Swanbourne about 11:15pm on Saturday.

"Somebody inside spotted a man trying to enter the grounds, and that man was Ben Cousins," read the report.

The barracks where Ben Cousins was found in Perth. Source: Supplied

He was assessed in the mental health ward at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, where Seven News reports he was held under a "mental health watch".

According to Seven, Cousins was moved out of hospital yesterday afternoon, but doctors "remain concerned about his mental state".

"Police apprehended the 36-year-old man and he was conveyed to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for a health assessment", read the police report.

Cousins had allegedly scaled two fences of the home of Australia's elite special air service, which has played host to the likes of Prince Harry.

The Defence Force said no personnel were implicated in the breach.

Police have not yet formally interviewed the former footballer.

Last week, the premiership player was charged after allegedly being caught driving recklessly and refusing to give a breath test.

Police said at the time that a 36-year-old Bicton man was arrested after allegedly driving erratically and not stopping when requested by police.

The Brownlow medallist is due to appear in the Fremantle Magistrates Court on April 8. 

The Brownlow medallist is due to appear in the Fremantle Magistrates Court on April 8. Source: Channel 7

Cousins fell from grace following a string of off-field incidents and substance abuse problems.

The father-of-two was suspended for one year by the AFL in 2007 for bringing the game into disrepute before making a comeback with Richmond. He retired in 2010.

Originally published as Ben Cousins in SAS security scare
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aussie viewers abandon US shows

The NCIS team investigates the crash of an armoured transport bus carrying Naval brig detainees after four prisoners escape, including a black market broker who is one of the country's biggest national security threats. Courtesy: NCIS: New Orleans

Aussie viewers have given drama series Revenge the thumbs up. Source: Supplied

AUSSIE viewers are turning their backs on American TV shows, with no standout ratings hit for more than three years.

Instead it is locally made shows such as My Kitchen Rules, Offspring, Love Child, The Block and MasterChef that have been viewer favourites.

Channel 10 will be hoping to beat the curse when it premieres American sitcom The Odd Couple, with former Friends star Matthew Perry, on March 23.

In the top ten ... Viola Davis in How To Get Away With Murder. Source: Supplied

But the glory days when CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Desperate Housewives, Two and a Half Men, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy ruled the local ratings are long gone.

In 2015, the only US show to crack one million viewers in Australia is The Big Bang Theory — and it is all downhill from there.

Revenge is the next most successful US show with around 850,000 (consolidated) viewers across Australia's five capital cities — but that is around half the viewers it averaged three years ago.

America's hot new drama, Empire, is a bonefide US sensation in its homeland, seen by around 15 million people, but can't buy a viewer over here.

LATE NIGHT: Is 9pm the new 8.30pm for networks?

US smash .... But Empire, starring Jussie Smollet as Jamal, Terrence Howard as Lucious, and Bryshere Gray as Hakeem, can't take a trick here in Australia. Source: AP

A whole swag of US shows — NCIS (806,000), How to Get Away with Murder (762,000), Forever (744,000), NCIS: Los Angeles (659,000), and State of Affairs (649,000) — perform solidly but not spectacularly.

And US sitcoms have done even worse. Modern Family still rates but Ten's The Millers stiffed, Seven's The Goldbergs was relegated to late night, and Vicious was shunted on to one of Seven's digital channels. Mixology and The McCarthys never even made it to air.

US reality stalwarts American Idol, Survivor and The Amazing Race - once the backbone of Australian network programming - are on the slide, relegated to graveyard slots or digital channels.

For fans only ... American Idol (Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr) has been relegated to Eleven. Source: Supplied

"There hasn't been an American breakout hit over here in more than three years," media analyst Steve Allen says.

"Because of that, the importance of US shows (to programming schedules of channels Seven, Nine and Ten) has diminished greatly."

But within the bad news, there might be some good news for the local industry.

Channel 9 recently announced that it will expand its investment in Australian drama over the next two years.

One of the major reasons for the move is that Nine's US drama slate isn't a powerhouse anymore.

The Mentalist is old hat. Hostages tanked. Gotham got some good early numbers but faded. Person of Interest is late night. The Following and Arrow had limited success.

Nine persists with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: NY but it is a law of diminishing returns.

Success story ... The Big Bang Theory is one of the few American shows to rate big in Australia. Source: Supplied

Despite a stumble with Gallipoli, Nine has had much more ratings success with local dramas, particularly The House of Hancock, Love Child and House Husbands.

"US drama doesn't rate as high as it used to," Nine's head of programming and production, Andrew Backwell says.

"I remember the time at Nine when we had CSI pumping. (That is why) we are going to increase our output of (local) drama significantly over the next couple of years."

Foxtel has grabbed some of the most talked-about American shows in recent times, including Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones but even it is expanding its roster of Aussie shows with Wentworth and A Place to Call Home.

This year, Ten has launched NCIS: New Orleans to moderate success. Law & Order: SVU and The Good Wife are still an important part of its line-up despite modest ratings.

The first series of Under the Dome was a hit but series two stalled.

Elementary and Hawaii Five-O have been pushed back to late night. The first series of Scorpion showed promise in the 6.30pm Sunday timeslot.

"US programming remains an important element in the programming mix we present to our viewers across Ten, Eleven, One and tenplay," Beverley McGarvey, Ten's chief programming officer, says.

Seven got one year's worth of strong ratings for Resurrection but it now screens at 11pm. Ratings for Castle, Bones and Grey's Anatomy have been slipping and Parenthood is in its final season.

Former powerhouse ... It is a decade since Desperate Housewives (starring Vanessa Williams as Renee Perry, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis, Teri Hatcher as Susan Mayer and Marcia Cross as Bree Hodge) ruled the ratings. Source: Supplied

Seven is set to launch new local drama 800 Words, with Erik Thomson (Packed to the Rafters), later this year. Another series of Winners and Losers is also in the wings.

"Australians are still embracing overseas dramas but the way they are watching is changing," Angus Ross, Seven's program chief, says.

"Dramas get the biggest boost on time-shifted viewing — often over 30 per cent. All other program genres outside drama (eg reality) are watched 95 per cent live.

"We believe the right shows from overseas can continue to resonate in the Australian market."

US shows such as Tattoo Nightmares (7 Mate), American Dad (7 Mate), and Auction Hunters (Go!) are niche successes on the digital channels aimed at men and younger viewers.

Mr Allen says the fracturing of viewing across digital channels, and the push back to 9pm or later has hurt US dramas.

Piracy and repeats are other issues.

"The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family have been used, abused and caned to death (by Nine and Ten respectively)," Mr Allen says.

"Networks also make the mistake of warehousing many US shows for months on end which is infuriating to viewers. Right now, US shows are not very valuable to Australian TV networks."

THE TOP 10 US SHOWS IN AUSTRALIA

1. Big Bang Theory

2. Revenge

3. NCIS

4. How to Get Away With Murder

5. Forever

6. NCIS: LA

7. State of Affairs

8. Law & Order: SVU

9. The Good Wife

10. Empire


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘How I survived the eye of the storm’

Aid agencies fear that dozens may have died as terrifying Tropical Cyclone Pam smashed into Vanuatu.

Storm surge ... Trees stripped of leaves and tin ripped from buildings litters the streets of Port Vila. Source: Plan International Australia Source: Supplied

A CURFEW has been declared in Vanuatu after looters ransacked homes and businesses as residents describe a horrific storm and chaotic aftermath.

Police warned that people found on the streets after dark faced being arrested on sight as a state of emergency kicked in, with residents surviving without power and scrambling to find food and petrol.

As international aid and supplies began to arrive, aid workers said at least eight people were confirmed dead after the massive cyclone tore through the tiny South Pacific archipelago.

Among the dead were men believed to have been on yachts in Port Vila's harbour when Cyclone Pam struck, according to officials and locals who spoke to News Corp.

Samantha Johnson, a former Sydney resident who runs a Vanuatu resort, described a scene of widespread devastation.

"We don't have a generator yet. Yesterday, everyone was just walking around in a state of shock trying to asses the damage and trying to get in touch with loved ones to find our how they fared," Ms Johnson said from Port Vila.

Blown away ... as the winds from the extremely powerful cyclone begin to subside widespread destruction is revealed. Picture: AP/UNICEF Pacific, Humans of Vanuatu Source: AP

Emergency response teams are on their way to Vanuatu where dozens are feared dead after Cyclone Pam.

Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu: Agencies launch appeals for help

Ms Johnson continued: "Today we are in this incredibly distressing situation where none of the shops are open, the banks aren't open, you can't get fuel, you can't get water.

"You do cyclone prep but you never think in your wildest imagination that you're going to get taken out by a plus category five.

"A lot of people are saying it's similar to Tracy — it was Vanuatu's Cyclone Tracy."

Ms Johnson evacuated guests from her Surfside Resort at Pango two days before the cyclone hit.

She saw out the storm at the home of her parents, who have lived in Vanuatu for 40 years. Her sister was there with her children, four months and eight years old.

"It is by far and wide much worse than anything that has been before.

"We were in the really strong part of our house. All of a sudden the roof started to lift and we were like 'OK we've got to get you out of here'.

"Thankfully my father years ago built this old concrete bunker below the house. The boys took us down one by one and put us into the concrete bunker.

"There was so much smashing going on in the house that we had no idea what we were coming back up to.

"There was glass smashed everywhere, but we kept our roof and we were all safe. A lot of people have suffered a lot of devastation."

Her resort was decimated, with a 10m to 12m swell washing over its villas — and there were also signs of looting.

"This afternoon police declared a curfew from 6pm to 6am because there's been some looting and breaking into homes," she said.

"Even down in my resort this morning went six of the doors had been kicked in. It's stuff like that that makes people feel on edge."

A government official told News Corp the curfew was in place from 9pm. The official said yachtsmen were believed to be among those who died in Port Vila. Their bodies have been taken to a mortuary for identification.

"We're trying to get confirmation so we can know whether they are Australian, Americans, British ... we don't know," he said.

Evacuation centres had been set up at a church, community hall, school and sports complex. Water was back on in Port Vila in the afternoon.

Two Australian air force planes landed on Sunday with supplies of food, shelter, and medicine while a New Zealand military aircraft also arrived loaded with eight tonnes of tarpaulins, water containers, chainsaw packs, generators and water.

Commercial flights were scheduled to resume on Monday.

Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale described the storm as "a monster that has devastated our country", his voice breaking as he described Port Vila's devastation.

"Most of the buildings have been destroyed, many houses have been destroyed, school, health facilities have been destroyed," he told the BBC from Japan, where he was attending a disaster management conference.

Wreckage litters the streets of Port Vila. Picture: UNICEF Source: Supplied

UNICEF spokeswoman Alice Clements said locals endured "15-30 minutes of absolute terror" as the cyclone barrelled into the island.

"People have no water, they have no power, this is a really desperate situation right now. People need help," she told AFP.

World Vision said more than 2000 people had already sought refuge in emergency shelters in the capital Port Vila, but it could take weeks to reach the more remote islands affected.

At this point, no one has heard anything from the outlying islands.

Many residents were forced to hunker a second night in emergency shelters after venturing out on Saturday only to find their homes damaged or blown away, according to aid workers.

The UN had unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in one province.

"A disaster of this magnitude has not been experienced by Vanuatu in recent history — particularly in terms of the reach of the potential damage and the ferocity of the storm," said Sune Gudnitz, who heads the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Pacific.

A Red Cross team is flying from Australia to begin to assess damage in the cyclone-ravaged nation. The field assessment team will start looking at the water and sanitisation on Sunday afternoon, as well as accommodation needs following Super Cyclone Pam.

The first members of the Save the Children disaster response team are also due to arrive in the islands on Sunday and the rest will follow early this week.

Alex Mathieson, Oxfam Australia's associate director of international programs and former country director in Vanuatu, said there were "particularly grave fears" for the roughly 33,000 residents living on the outer islands directly in the cyclone's north-to-south path.

"The major thing with the outer islands firstly is getting in contact to understand what has happened," he said.

"People there on the whole live in traditional bamboo housing, and based on previous, much smaller cyclones we have a reasonable guess what that would look like.

"The picture coming out of Vanuatu is massive destruction to housing with even relatively sturdy buildings made of concrete having had their roofs ripped off."

Hit hard ... Yachts damaged in Port Vila, Vanuatu, by the raging winds whipped up by cyclone Pam. Picture: AP/UNICEF Pacific, Humans of Vanuatu Source: AP

Oxfam personnel are on the ground supporting with the overall coordination, with additional humanitarian personnel preparing to travel out today. Mr Mathieson said urgent external assistance would be needed.

"The logistics in Vanuatu are difficult at the best of times. It has small infrastructure and inter-island shipping and air transport is not great. Doing the assessment work and then getting the relief to those outer islands is going to be a major challenge."

The full extent of the damage is unknown, with limited communications in place after Super Cyclone Pam, a maximum category five storm, slammed directly into the island country late Friday with gusts up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour.

The storm crossed the main Vanuatu island, home to more than 65,000 people, and a group of islands further south where 33,000 live after affecting the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, where there were no reports of fatalities.

Heavy rain, gales and high seas are expected to hit New Zealand from Sunday night and could cause widespread flooding, power cuts and damage.

Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and northern Hawke's Bay are being urged to prepare for the storm. Waves up to seven metres or more could hit from Cape Reinga to Wairarapa.

The front had begun to weaken, but would be an "intense storm with hurricane force winds near the centre" out to midnight Sunday, the MetService says.

Aid agencies were scrambling for information and preparing to send teams to Vanuatu — with a UN disaster assessment and coordination team expected to arrive later today.

"While it is too early to say for certain, early reports are indicating that this weather disaster could potentially be one of the worst in Pacific history," UNICEF New Zealand's executive director Vivien Maidaborn said in a statement.

"The sheer force of the storm combined with communities just not set up to withstand it, could have devastating results for thousands across the region." Aurelia Balpe, head of the Pacific regional office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said there were unconfirmed reports of casualties in the capital Port Vila.

But they had greater fears for outlying southern islands, home to more than 33,000 people, where communication had been cut.

Salvaging what they can ... People scour through debris damaged and flung around in Port Vila. Picture: AP Photo/UNICEF Pacific, Humans of Vanuatu Source: AP

Located about a quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii, Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands. About 47,000 people live in the capital.

The small island nation has repeatedly warned it is already suffering devastating effects from climate change with the island's coastal areas being washed away, forcing resettlement to higher ground and smaller yields on traditional crops.

Scientists say it's impossible to attribute single weather events like Cyclone Pam to climate change.

The cyclone has already caused damage to other Pacific Islands including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. Authorities in New Zealand are preparing for the storm, which is forecast to pass north of the country on Sunday and Monday.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

If I’m A Celebrity were a Logies ceremony

The former English cricket captain beat sentimental favourite Chrissie Swan on the first Australian season of Im A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!

Another day in paradise, right Freddie? Source: Supplied

IN THE words of the great and, in this writer's opinion, brutally and unjustly robbed-of-victory Chrissie Swan: "I don't know if it feels like not long at all, or if it feels like four years".

Nobody has ever quite so succinctly summed up a reality television finale.

A reality television finale that included an Englishman winning an Australian competition in South Africa. It's the bloody Boer War all over again. Or at least, it's the Boer War according to someone who only read the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article about the Boer War.

So like, according to all of gen Y about everything.

But that's it, Series One of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Done. Dusted. In the can.

No more helicopter flashbacks.

No more endearingly hearty Chrissie Swan guffaws.

No more eight thousand reminders of the voting process.

No more live crosses to the campsite to see what people who are variously sitting down and standing up look like.

All we have left is the uncomfortable feeling that a foreigner won, and the very high possibility of being scanned for intestinal worms at Johannesburg airport.

Frair-ie Flin-off, who speaks like he's shaking up only the low-scoring Scrabble tiles in a bag, is the King of the Jungle.

Good on him.

King of the jungle. Source: Channel 10

Chris Brown, winner Freddie Flintoff and Julia Morris. Source: Channel 10

Freddie Flintoff and Barry Hall. Source: Channel 10

Flintoff and wife, Rachael. Source: Channel 10

I do, however, stand by my claim that if they'd shown the footage of Chrissie Swan's reunion with her son Leo before the voting lines had closed, that she not only would have won this competition, she would have also been instantaneously voted the prime minister of a minimum of four different countries.

There are few more touching scenes than a mother unexpectedly hearing her son's voice from a

short distance, the resultant boa-constrictor hug, and the eventual gleeful chucking of rocks into the river by a contented little boy.

Although I suppose Freddie going the pash with his missus and Barry's best mate Gav disliking insects also really twoinked the old heartstrings. I guess? Nah, but when Freddie clocks his WAG sittin' by the river and says "Jeez", it's like roller-skating directly through the pages of a Mills & Boon novel.

As we all know though, a finale episode is all about the montages, and we were treated to no fewer than four hundred thousand in this two-hour episode alone, because we are very lucky Australians who can't win their own campsite-based reality television competitions.

Thusly, based on the multitudinous montages, I'm proposing a number of new Logies categories and winners this year.

The Logie for Best Suggestion That She Would Legitimately Root Someone For A Little Bit Of Saltgoes to: Julie Goodwin.

The Logie for What Was Your Name Again goes to: Tyson Thingo-whatsit.

The Logie For Hogging A Disproportionate Amount Of Time In The Crying Montage goes to: Anna Heinrich.

The Logie for The World's Most Endearing Chuckle goes to: der, Chrissie Swan.

The Logie for Get Him His Own Show Immediately I'm Not Even Kidding goes to: Joel Creasey.

And finally, the Logie for Best Julia Morris in a Julia Morris by a Julia Morris goes to: that's right, Julia Morris.

Aside from all the montages, some actual stuff actually happens in this episode, which I suppose we should touch on.

The very final Tucker Trial consists of a gigantic elephant-themed skate-ramp-cum-slip-n'-slide decorated generously by the Coonabarabran Year 9 Remedial Arts class, otherwise known as The Most Fun Thing Ever.

Chrissie gets it. Most fun thing ever. Source: Supplied

Don't look down. Source: Supplied

Celebrities must slide down one end and up the other end, grasping desperately at stars along the way or, as Kim Kardashian calls it: Saturday night.

Frair-ie Flin-off manages to grab three stars but it doesn't really matter — we all know the final three are getting a fancy meal with proper tablecloths and cutlery on their last night anyway.

We've answered a lot of questions along our I'm-not-going-to-call-it-a-journey South African

journey.

We now know that Freddie Flintoff is an excellent poster boy for removing the stigma from clinical depression. We know that Barry Hall is an excellent poster boy for your average decent,

humble, awesome-as-long-as-you-stay-off-his-bed footy-playing country boy.

And we now know, as we've always known, that Chrissie Swan is the kind of person you totally want to hang out with, and I hope a pizza party at my house at around seven/seven thirty this Thursday is okay with you Chrissie.

Only one last question remains: what in god's name are they going to do with all the surplus elephant dung in South Africa now?

Jo Thornely doesn't get enough attention at her day job, so she writes for various outlets, takes up way too much bandwidth on the internet, and loves it when you explain her jokes back to her on Twitter. Follow her on Twitter @JoThornely


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Face-to-face with accused paedophile

60 Minutes followed police as they arrested Scully, and he agreed to an interview from a Manila jail with presenter Tara Brown, with airs in a special report on Channel 9 Sunday at 8.30pm.

The eyes of Peter Scully, who is accused of horrific crimes. Source: Supplied

HE'S a tall, slim, middle-aged man with grey hair and a composed demeanour. But this ordinary-looking person is accused of being Australia's worst paedophile.

Peter Scully is charged with some of the vilest acts known to humanity, including the torture and sexual abuse of children as young as 18 months old, human trafficking and the murder of a 12-year-old.

The 51-year-old from Melbourne was arrested in the Philippines, from where he had allegedly been running a global paedophile ring, distributing videos for money online.

The 51-year-old is in prison in Manila after fleeing Melbourne in 2011. Source: Supplied

60 Minutes followed police as they arrested Scully, and he agreed to an interview from a Manila jail with presenter Tara Brown, with airs in a special report on Channel 9 tonight at 8.30pm.

"I felt shaken from the moment I started following the story," Tara said. "It was chilling, to be face-to-face with him. He was strangely detached. He approaches it almost in a philosophical way, as if he wasn't there."

The reporters who watched the video of footage that allegedly shows Scully engaged in depraved acts were anything but detached, with seasoned journalists weeping and calling for him to be physically harmed.

But Scully seemed unmoved. "It was an interesting study in humanity," Tara told news.com.au "It was almost as if he was talking about someone else."

He obfuscated on some questions and quibbled ages, but at no point did he admit or deny anything. Neither did he ever say he was sorry, although he said he felt some "remorse".

"It was completely impossible to relate to him, because he was so detached," added Tara. He seemed relaxed and in control, she said.

Scully was tracked to the Philippines after a global manhunt for a ringleader of a paedophile syndicate. Source: Supplied

Scully was the target of a global manhunt led by the Australian Federal Police and special agents in the Philippines.

Business associates from Australia said he had brought a Malaysian teenager to Melbourne, married her and then pimped her out as a prostitute. In 2009, he was investigated for fraud, and he moved to the Phillippines in 2011, never being prosecuted for the 117 fraud and deception charges.

He is now charged with the abuse of eight Filipina girls aged 18 months to 13-years-old over three years, after allegedly establishing a lucrative online child pornography business.

He was allegedly assisted by two girlfriends, one of whom was just 14 when he reportedly bought her off the street.

He was controlling and manipulative, police claim. All the alleged victims were from impoverished families — Scully or his girlfriends allegedly offered them food and took them home, or paid families for their children, in one case with just a five kilo bag of rice.

After his arrest, police found a skeleton buried under a house he had rented. Scully had allegedly strangled one of the girls to death.

"He charmed his way into many people's lives by offering them what they wanted most — food, shelter and education," said Tara. "It's hard to be in that situation and understand how a parent could hand over a child. It's wrenching to see people who are made vulnerable by poverty and trust."

Tara Brown says it was impossible to relate to someone so implacable. Source: Supplied

One 13-year-old girl said her family agreed she could do domestic work at Scully's home in 2012. Instead, she alleges, she was forced to perform sex acts with other young girls. "They told me they had to take pictures of me naked because there was an American who really wanted to see me naked ... and because the American will pay a large amount," she said.

She said she fled Scully's house after she was told he had sold her to a German, who was coming to collect her.

Scully was arrested after police made the link between allegations and the global paedophile ring and a hard drive of graphic material found in a raid in the Netherlands. Investigators claim the father of two also sold material to clients in Australia.

"There is a market. These people exist," says Tara. "The really frightening thing is they walk among us invisible."

Scully in Mindanao after his arrest. Source: AFP

Scully is writing a journal, which he says will explain everything. He says he is "seeking some understanding of what he's done within himself," says Tara.

In the meantime, he faces a life sentence if he is convicted.

The Philippines is a major hub of a billion-dollar global child cybersex industry, with operators aided by widespread poverty and legal loopholes that allow them to remain anonymous.

But authorities said this footage is the most shocking they have seen, containing images of terrible violence that they will never be able to erase.

"It was upsetting and confronting to be exposed to this very dark side of life," says Tara. "But it's important to know this happens."

Watch 60 Minutes on Sundays at 8.30pm on Channel Nine.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Death note: ‘I’ve been bitten’

Vera Kowalski outside the Coober Pedy Police Station earlier this week. Picture: Tom Huntley Source: News Corp Australia

Dane Kowalski's ute where it was found in the desert. Source: SA Police. Source: Supplied

SES volunteers seen searching for Dane Kowalski earlier this week. Picture: Tom Huntley Source: News Corp Australia

The late Dane Kowalski. Source: Supplied

DANE Kowalski, the Melbourne man found dead in the South Australian Outback, left a note saying he was bitten by a snake, his mother claims.

Tragic details have emerged about his fateful final hours alone and helpless in the Outback as the family of the 27-year-old plumber grappled with news of his death after a tireless three-month search.

Mr Kowalski's mother Vera told the Sunday Mail that police found a note near his abandoned ute that said "I've been bitten by a snake."

She said the note, written in pencil on a piece of cardboard, was found on a tree near the vehicle. She said early investigations appeared to suggest that her son had become bogged on a sandy desert track 95km south of Coober Pedy.

"There were sticks under the tyres and on the track,'' Ms Kowalski said. "He had been trying to turn the car around and it got stuck." It's thought that Mr Kowalski was bitten as he was trying to gather sticks to put under the wheels for traction. His body was discovered 340m from his ute.

Police would not confirm if Mr Kowalski was bitten by a snake or if his vehicle had become bogged. The paper understands that the car was fitted with a steering wheel lock. Ms Kowalski had headed to Coober Pedy after police had located her son's vehicle on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Kowalski was last seen on December 13 when he told friends he was heading to Darwin for a fishing trip.

His body was found at 12.30pm on Friday in harsh scrub about 4km off the main highway. It's not clear why he had diverted on to the isolated road or how long his car had been at the location.

"We think he was on his way to Darwin,'' Ms Kowalski, who returned to Melbourne on Saturday, said. Joined by other family and friends, the desperate mother had helped search in the area herself in the days since the ute was located. SES and CFS volunteers had walked methodically in a grid cutting across the desolate Ingomar Station.

"I nearly found him myself. If I kept walking I would have found him," Ms Kowalski said. "I just loved him so much. My sister and I lost our mother when I was 17 and she was nine, and now my beautiful boy has been taken from me."

Ms Kowalski said she deeply appreciated the support from friends and strangers who tried to help find her son. The remains of the young tradesman have been taken to Adelaide for an autopsy. Police have said his death was not suspicious.

Ms Kowalski told The Advertiser on Saturday morning she had lost faith.

"My sister and I lost our mother when I was 17 and she was nine and now my beautiful boy has been taken from me," she said.

"I'm a bit of an atheist now when I never used to be. I've lost my faith now, that's it.''

Ms Kowalski said she deeply appreciated the support from friends and many strangers who tried to help find her son's body.

Police have ruled out foul play.

Originally published as Death note: 'I've been bitten'
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Are these the nastiest TV judges ever?

Cruel ... X Factor New Zealand judge Natalia Kills unleashed on a contestant. Picture: TV3 Source: Supplied

MOVE over Simon Cowell, the nastiest reality TV judges have reared their ugly heads.

X Factor New Zealand judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon have sparked outrage after verbally abusing contestant Joe Irvine on Sunday's live show.

The married couple, both singers, demolished the young performer, comparing him to fictional serial killer Norman Bates and branding his look "disgusting".

In a vicious tirade, Kills accused Irvine of ripping off her husband's look by wearing a suit.

"I personally found it artistically atrocious. I'm embarrassed to be sitting here in your presence having to dignify you with my opinion," the English singer, real name Natalia Noemi Cappuccini-Sinclair, declared.

Bullied ... Joe Irvine remained dignified as he was torn to shreds on stage. Picture: TV3 Source: Supplied

But it didn't end there. Her equally hateful husband, Moon, picked up the torch with this scorcher: "You look like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothing. It's just a little bit creepy and I feel like you're going to stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everybody in the audience."

Nobodies ... married couple Willy Moon and Natalia Kills were plain nasty. Picture: TV3 Source: Supplied

Vicious rant ... Stan Walker looked shocked as Natalia Kills and Willy Moon unleashed on the young singer. Picture: TV3 Source: Supplied

To his credit, Irvine remained dignified as the crowd jeered at the judges' ridiculous comments.

Fellow judge Melanie Blatt, a former All Saints singer, jumped in to defend Irvine as Stan Walker, the fourth judge, looked on in shock.

"You know what Joe, I don't think many people have believed in you. But I tell you right now, I believe in you," Blatt said.

Kind-hearted ... judge Melanie Blatt, a former All Saints singer, jumped to Irvine's defence. Picture: TV3 Source: Supplied

Broadcaster TV3 said on Twitter it had been inundated with comments and complaints about Moon and Kills' grotesque rants.

"TV3 does not condone bullying and are currently on-site with Joe who is doing well," TV3 said in a tweet after the show.

Viewers lashed out at the controversial judges on social media, condemning the brutal and unnecessary attacks.


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘Can you imagine the pain when it cuts?’

Jihadi John ... a former hostage said militant Mohammed Emwazi played a lead role in the mock executions. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Iraqi Kurdish authorities say Islamic State militants have used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against peshmerga fighters. Paul Chapman reports

A FREED Islamic State hostage has given a chilling account of how sadistic militant 'Jihadi John' ran a sword across his throat during a mock execution.

Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa described in the Sunday Times how Mohammed Emwazi took pleasure in the psychological torture.

"Jihadi John … wanted maximum drama. He had brought along an antique sword of the kind Muslim armies used in the Middle Ages. It was a blade of almost a metre in length with a silver handle," Mr Espinosa wrote.

"He caressed my neck with the blade but kept talking: 'Feel it? Cold, isn't it? Can you imagine the pain you'll feel when it cuts? Unimaginable pain'."

He added: "After finishing with the sword he holstered his pistol, a Glock. He placed it against my head and pulled the trigger three times. Click. Click. Click. It's called a mock execution. But not even this terrifying intimidation seemed to satisfy them."

Reunited ... El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa is greeted by his son at the military air base in Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid, on March 30, 2014. Picture: PACO CAMPOS/AFP/Getty Images Source: Supplied

El Mundo journalist Mr Espinosa and photographer Ricardo Vilanova were kidnapped in Syria in 2013 as they headed to the Turkish border.

They were held hostage in "elegant mansions" in Syria for more than six months before the Spanish government struck a deal for their release in March last year, Express reports.

Mr Espinosa said he was afraid to speak out about the atrocities before now because his captors threatened to murder the other hostages if he revealed anything. He said the killing of Alan Henning in October prompted him to open up.

Hostages ... El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa (right) and freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova were held hostage by Islamic State militants in Syria for months. Picture: PACO CAMPOS/AFP/Getty Images Source: Supplied

Mr Espinosa revealed how Emwazi, 26, took pleasure in telling the hostages how they were going to die.

"The Beatles — that was our nickname for the three British militants guarding us — loved this sort of theatre," he wrote.

"They had me sat on the floor, barefoot, with a shaven head, a thick beard and dressed in the 'orange' uniform' that had made Guantanamo, the American prison, famous."

Mr Espinosa said the militants also threatened to shoot his colleague.

"It was one of several episodes of psychological and physical torture, privations and humiliations that became the daily reality for 23 hostages — Europeans, Americans and Latin Americans — held in Syria by Isis," he wrote.

The former hostage said speaking with his captors was "crazy conversation, dominated by their insane notions and sick hatred of the West, where they had grown up".

Sadistic ... Jihadi John has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

He said his captor, George, forced him and the other hostages (more than 20) to look at pictures of Russian engineer Sergei Gorbunov who was murdered in April last year.

"The sheik shot him with an explosive bullet … tell me, what do you see?," Mr Espinosa wrote.

"'I see Sergei, he's dead, there's blood, bits of brain on his beard', I replied."

'Jihadi George' replied: "You might end up with him. We'll make you dig him up and put you in another tomb where you can sleep with him."

'Jihadi John' was last month identified as 26-year-old Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born university graduated who grew up in Northwest London.


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