The Guardian 2024-02-25 10:31:15


Police investigate possession of police handgun allegedly used in murder of Sydney couple

Police investigate possession of police handgun allegedly used in murder of Sydney couple

NSW police commissioner Karen Webb expresses ‘heartfelt condolences’ to the families and friends of alleged murder victims Jesse Baird and Luke Davies

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New South Wales police are investigating whether murder-accused senior constable Beau Lamarre-Condon was lawfully in possession of the police-issue handgun which they believe was fired at a Paddington unit where two men were allegedly killed.

Police continued the search on Sunday for the remains of Jesse Baird, a former Channel Ten presenter, and his partner, Qantas flight attendant Luke Davies.

Detectives searched a waterway in the Newcastle suburb of Lambton. Police also returned to the inner-Sydney unit where Baird and Davies were allegedly killed on Monday 19 February.

Det Supt Danny Doherty, the commander of the homicide squad at the NSW police state crime command, said on Friday police will allege Lamarre-Condon – a former partner of Baird – murdered the men at the Paddington unit. He was charged with two counts of murder on Friday.

Doherty said there was “a large amount of blood” at the unit, where detectives also found “a projectile” and a cartridge case, which was later matched to a police-issue service weapon that allegedly belonged to Lamarre-Condon.

The Glock pistol was returned to a gun safe at a suburban Sydney police station at some point after the alleged murder. It was “one of the main lines of inquiry” for police, Doherty said.

Police officers are allowed to take home their service firearms in some circumstances, but must comply with guidelines. Doherty told reporters that officers “can get authority” to possess weapons off-duty, “but we’re not saying that’s the case in this matter”.

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NSW police said they could not comment on questions about whether Lamarre-Condon had authorisation to retain possession of his service weapon at the time of the alleged killings, and whether police policies and practices might be reviewed in light of the allegations.

Speaking on Nine News, Sydney MP Alex Greenwich raised questions about the firearm and called on police to do an “urgent review”.

“What are the protocols in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen again?” Greenwich asked.

In response to questions about whether Lamarre-Condon was lawfully in possession of the firearm, police said: “This in under investigation and will form part of the evidence produced in court – we cannot comment.”

“Investigations by Strike Force Ashfordby detectives are ongoing, and the priority for police is to find the bodies of Mr Davies and Mr Baird,” a police spokesperson said.

“It’s important for the investigation, but more so for the families of both men.

“We appreciate that people have many questions they want answered, and so do we. But as this has been a very fast-moving investigation, the detectives are still in the process of conducting the necessary inquiries in order to collect the information needed.”

Lamarre-Condon was believed to be in the Newcastle area the night before he handed himself in at an eastern Sydney police station on Friday.

The NSW police commissioner, Karen Webb, issued a statement on Sunday extending “heartfelt condolences” to the families and friends of Davies and Baird.

“It is difficult to comprehend the grief and pain of their loss,” Webb said.

“I acknowledge this week’s events are distressing for many and I share the sadness and shock about the alleged nature of Luke and Jesse’s deaths.

“I understand there are many unanswered questions and while I cannot comment on the matter before the courts, I can reassure Luke and Jesse’s loved ones, and the people of NSW, that we are working around the clock to find those answers.

“I ask the community to have patience as police work to determine what happened.”

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US ambassador prepares for Shitbox Rally across outback

US ambassador Caroline Kennedy prepares for Shitbox Rally across outback Australia

At a fundraising sausage sizzle ahead of the rally, Kennedy quoted the words of her father explaining why the US wanted to land a man on the moon

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The US ambassador to Australia might become the first person to complete the charity Shitbox Rally with a blacked-out, armoured SUV in tow.

Caroline Kennedy is to swap her chauffeured BMW for the driver’s seat of beat-up Ford Falcon, driving from Adelaide to Perth in April in a car worth less than $1,500 to raise money for cancer research.

Shitbox Rally was founded in 2010 by James Freeman who lost both his parents to cancer within a year. It has since raised more than $40m for research across Australia, with each rally crew acting as fundraisers for the Cancer Council.

Kennedy’s Falcon, dubbed Moonshot, has been named in honour of US president Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, which aims to eradicate the disease, and as a homage to her father’s ambition to reach the moon in the 1960s.

“We do these things because they’re hard,” said Kennedy, channelling words spoken in 1962 by her father, former US president John F Kennedy, as he explained why the US wanted to land a man on the moon.

“I’ve met so many inspiring scientists here in Australia, who are working to cure cancer and have a lot going on with colleagues in the United States … [and] having met the people I’ve met, I could not be more hopeful.”

On Sunday morning, the ambassador and her team sizzled hundreds of sausages and kilos of onions outside a hardware store to raise money for the Cancer Council.

The rally in April will take drivers from Adelaide to Roxby Downs, on to Yulara in central Australia, west into Warburton, Laverton, Southern Cross and finally into Perth.

It will be far from the glamour of the marble-lined ambassador’s residence at the US embassy in Canberra, with participants packing their own tents, swags, sleeping bags and mattresses to camp overnight at each stop.

Each two-person team needs to raise a minimum of $5,000 to participate.

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Accidental ocean floor discovery solves 120-year-old mystery of coal ship disappearance

Accidental ocean floor discovery solves 120-year-old mystery of coal ship disappearance

SS Nemesis sank in rough seas with 32 crew off the coast of Wollongong in 1904

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The 120-year-old mystery of the disappearance of a coal ship off the coast of New South Wales has been solved, after a commercial company looking for lost cargo accidentally stumbled upon its ocean-floor wreckage.

SS Nemesis and its 32 crew – which included Australian, British and Canadian members – set off from Newcastle loaded with coal on 9 July 1904.

The 73-metre long vessel was bound for Melbourne, but never arrived.

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It was last seen in distress in rough seas off the town of Wollongong, just south of Sydney, by another ship also caught in the storm.

In the following weeks, bodies of crew washed up on Cronulla Beach, along with fragments of the ship’s steering wheel, doors and other wreckage.

Despite a media storm and intense public interest at the time, the ship was never found.

Then, in 2022, Subsea Professional Marine Services, a remote sensing company that was scouring for lost cargo containers off the coast of Sydney, accidentally stumbled across the wreck.

It was found 26km offshore, 160m metres underwater. The ship’s iron wreck was resting upright on a sand plan. Its bow and stern were significantly damaged.

NSW Heritage experts’ initial hunch was that it was the SS Nemesis, but they had difficulty verifying its identification given the depth of the shipwreck.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) then became involved, capturing underwater imagery that confirmed the ship’s distinctive features when compared with historical photographs and sketches of the SS Nemesis.

The investigation also revealed how the ship went down: researchers believe its engine became overwhelmed in the storm. When it was hit by a large wave, it sank too quickly for life boats to be deployed.

Ed Korber, managing director of Subsea Professional Marine Services, which has a history of discoveries at the ocean’s floor, said his team navigated several obstacles in its initial search.

“It has been an absolute honour to have discovered this wreck which will now finally bring some closure to the families of its lost crew members,” Korber said.

NSW environment and heritage minister Penny Sharpe noted that about 40 children lost their parents in the wreck.

“I hope this discovery brings closure to families and friends connected to the ship who have never known its fate,” she said.

Local Wollongong MP Paul Scully said that just 105 of the more than 200 believed shipwrecks off the NSW coast have been discovered, praising the importance of continued search works.

CSIRO voyage manager Jason Fazey said later investigations created a high-resolution map of the entire wreck to help identify the ship’s features.

“Our technical team aboard CSIRO research vessel, RV Investigator, did an amazing job in mapping the entire site and capturing very clear vision of the wreck using one of our underwater camera systems,” he said.

“Using RV Investigator’s advanced multibeam echosounders, we were able to create a high-resolution map of the entire wreck and measure key dimensions to aid in its identification.

“Everyone aboard was honoured to be able to contribute to this project and assist Heritage NSW’s maritime archaeology experts in the successful identification of SS Nemesis to help bring closure to another one of our nation’s maritime tragedies.”

Australia’s federal science minister Ed Husic said “every Australian should take heart in the curiosity and persistence our scientists have shown in this project”.

“I admire how determined they were to solve a century-old mystery, demonstrating once again the value of working together and backing that up with the latest knowhow,” Husic said.

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Middle East crisis live: Israel war cabinet reportedly approves sending negotiators to Qatar for truce talks

More now on Israel’s war cabinet approving to send negotiators to Qatar for more truce talks.

Negotiators held secretive talks over the weekend in Paris, where the head of Israel’s overseas intelligence service Mossad and his counterpart at the domestic Shin Bet security service met with mediators from the US, Egypt and Qatar.

Agence France-Presse reports that national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in a televised interview Saturday evening that the “delegation has returned from Paris – there is probably room to move towards an agreement”.

The negotiators had asked to speak to the cabinet “to bring us up to speed on the results of the Paris summit”, he added shortly before the meeting.

Israeli media later reported that the meeting had concluded, with the cabinet agreeing to send a delegation to Qatar in the coming days to continue negotiations on a weeks-long truce involving the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

In his interview on Saturday, Hanegbi said Israel wanted the release of all hostages seized in the 7 October attacks, starting with the women, but added: “Such an agreement does not mean the end of the war.”

He also indicated that Israel would not accept any deal between the US and Saudi Arabia for a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu said in a statement that Saturday’s cabinet meeting would discuss “next steps in the negotiations”.

He also reaffirmed his aim for troops to go into Rafah in southern Gaza, despite widespread concern about the impact on hundreds of thousands of civilians who have fled there to avoid bombardments.

Pressure has steadily mounted on Netanyahu’s government to strike a deal to free the hostages, with thousands gathering in Tel Aviv Saturday at what has come to be known as “Hostages Square” to demand swifter action.

“We think about them (the hostages) all the time and want them back alive as soon as possible,” said Orna Tal, whose close friend Tsachi Idan was kidnapped from the Nahal Oz kibbutz.

“We’ll protest again and again until they’re back,” she told AFP.

Middle East crisis live: Israel war cabinet reportedly approves sending negotiators to Qatar for truce talks

More now on Israel’s war cabinet approving to send negotiators to Qatar for more truce talks.

Negotiators held secretive talks over the weekend in Paris, where the head of Israel’s overseas intelligence service Mossad and his counterpart at the domestic Shin Bet security service met with mediators from the US, Egypt and Qatar.

Agence France-Presse reports that national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said in a televised interview Saturday evening that the “delegation has returned from Paris – there is probably room to move towards an agreement”.

The negotiators had asked to speak to the cabinet “to bring us up to speed on the results of the Paris summit”, he added shortly before the meeting.

Israeli media later reported that the meeting had concluded, with the cabinet agreeing to send a delegation to Qatar in the coming days to continue negotiations on a weeks-long truce involving the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

In his interview on Saturday, Hanegbi said Israel wanted the release of all hostages seized in the 7 October attacks, starting with the women, but added: “Such an agreement does not mean the end of the war.”

He also indicated that Israel would not accept any deal between the US and Saudi Arabia for a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu said in a statement that Saturday’s cabinet meeting would discuss “next steps in the negotiations”.

He also reaffirmed his aim for troops to go into Rafah in southern Gaza, despite widespread concern about the impact on hundreds of thousands of civilians who have fled there to avoid bombardments.

Pressure has steadily mounted on Netanyahu’s government to strike a deal to free the hostages, with thousands gathering in Tel Aviv Saturday at what has come to be known as “Hostages Square” to demand swifter action.

“We think about them (the hostages) all the time and want them back alive as soon as possible,” said Orna Tal, whose close friend Tsachi Idan was kidnapped from the Nahal Oz kibbutz.

“We’ll protest again and again until they’re back,” she told AFP.

Education minister hints at relief on Hecs debt and university course fee changes

Education minister hints at relief on student Hecs debt and university course fee changes

Jason Clare responds to the launch of a major review of Australia’s tertiary sector

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University course fees may be changed and students given more support in paying their Hecs and Help debts, as part of a proposed massive overhaul of the tertiary education system being considered by the education minister, Jason Clare.

The changes may include paying some students to complete work experience as the government plans for the “workforce of the future”.

The final Australian University Accord report was released on Sunday and lays out plans to ensure at least 80% of Australia’s workforce receives higher qualifications, either through vocational training and Tafe or university by 2050.

It recommended more support for students from lower socioeconomic and underrepresented backgrounds to reach university or vocational training and to complete it.

While the official government response to the report’s 47 recommendations is still under consideration, Clare gave early support to changing fee structures and financial arrangements for students who need additional support.

Recommendations to change how students pay back deferred university fees, by overhauling the Hecs and Help systems, are top of the agenda, with Clare implying changes could be made as early as the May budget.

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The changes could include a tiered repayment structure, where people on lower incomes pay back less.

“For example, if we were to go down this path, it says that someone on an income of $75,000 a year would pay every year about $1,000 less,” Clare told ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

“That is something that could provide people with an immediate cost-of-living benefit once they finish uni and are in the workforce.”

Indexation, where the interest on university deferred loans increases according to inflation, is also under a microscope, with a recommendation to link it to the wage price index rather than the consumer price index.

“We will look at those [recommendations] and cost those and prioritise what we do first in the response we put out in the next few months,” Clare said.

The main priority, according to Clare, was establishing fairer conditions to ensure students could complete their degree no matter their financial background.

“I spent a fair amount of time while I was at university cooking cheese toast at Sizzler rather than working in the area I was studying, which was a law degree,” Clare said.

“That’s an area where can you help people with the cost of living. On paid practice, it makes the point, if you are a nursing student you are spending 800 hours working in a hospital where are you not paid; if you are a teaching student, 300 hours in the classroom where you are not paid.

“Students often have to move to do the paid practice, often have to give up a part-time job. I’ve spoken to nursing students and teaching students who … drop out because they can’t afford the practice, or they end up sleeping in a car because they can’t afford the bills.”

The report recommends increasing the number of 25-to-34-year-olds with a university degree from 45% to 55%, while also increasing vocational qualifications to 40%.

“We’ve got to do it otherwise we have an economy with the handbrake on,” Clare said. “We have to get rid of that invisible barrier that stops a lot of young people from poor families from the regions and from the outer suburbs of our big cities from getting a crack at university.”

Clare also raised the prospect of scrapping the Morrison-era changes to university fee structures, which made humanities and arts degrees more expensive but discounted degrees in areas such as nursing and teaching as recommended in the report.

The review recommends a student contribution system based on potential lifetime earnings.

The accord recommendations were welcomed by Universities Australia who want the government to fast-track establishing an implementation advisory committee to prioritise the reform rollout.

The Greens want the government to immediately scrap the Morrison era university funding hikes and implement fairer fee measures as one of its first actions.

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Ukraine war live: West should seize more Russian assets, says UK PM

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urged the West on Sunday to be “bolder” in seizing Russian assets and to send interest already accrued on frozen funds to Ukraine.

On the second anniversary of Moscow’s invasion, the UK leader said Western allies must go “further” with their sanctions to “shake” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belief “that he can simply wait us out”.

Sunak wrote in an article in the Sunday Times:

We must be bolder in seizing the hundreds of billions of frozen Russian assets.

That starts with taking the billions in interest these assets are collecting and sending it to Ukraine instead.

And then, with the G7, we must find lawful ways to seize the assets themselves and get those funds to Ukraine too.

The prime minister’s comments follow G7 leaders pledging Saturday to explore “all possible avenues by which immobilised Russian sovereign assets could be made use of to support Ukraine”.

The grouping of advanced economies confirmed Russia’s already seized sovereign assets will remain frozen “until Russia pays for the damage it caused to Ukraine”.

Ukraine needs almost half a trillion dollars to cover the reconstruction costs of Russia’s invasion, the World Bank, European Union, United Nations and the Ukrainian government said in a joint report earlier this month.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal has said that the confiscated Russian assets should foot most of the bill. Kyiv wants the West to unlock around $300 billion of frozen Russian assets to fund the rebuild of its cities, roads, bridges and energy facilities destroyed or damaged by Russia’s two-year assault.

Trump soundly defeats Nikki Haley in Republican primary

Trump soundly defeats Nikki Haley in South Carolina Republican primary

Result called for Trump almost immediately after polls close as former South Carolina governor suffers stinging home-state loss

  • Trump defeats Haley – see the primary results in full

Donald Trump defeated Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina, a stinging setback that narrows her vanishingly thin path to the nomination.

The Associated Press called the South Carolina primary for Trump right when polls closed at 7pm ET, in a clear indication of his large victory in Haley’s home state. Trump locked in approximately 60% of the vote, with Haley hovering at about 40%.

Palmetto State voters have a long history of choosing the party’s eventual nominee, and Trump is on track to clinch the Republican nomination months before the party’s summer convention in Milwaukee.

“I just want to say that I have never seen the Republican party so unified as it is right now,” Trump told supporters at his victory party in Columbia. “This is a fantastic evening. It’s an early evening, and fantastic.”

Trump had stormed through the early voting states, racking up wins – and delegates – in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Beating Haley, who served as his ambassador to the United Nations, in her home state delivers another stinging blow to her candidacy, moving the nomination even further out of her reach.

Addressing supporters in Charleston, Haley insisted she would not drop out of the race despite her four straight losses, arguing that Trump is unable to defeat Joe Biden in the general election.

“What I saw today was South Carolina’s frustration with our country’s direction. I’ve seen that same frustration nationwide. I share it. I feel it to my core,” Haley said. “I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I will continue to run for president. I’m a woman of my word.”

Haley’s campaign announced on Friday it was launching a “seven-figure” national cable and digital buy ahead of Super Tuesday on 5 March. On Sunday she will host a rally in Michigan, which holds its primary on 27 February, before embarking on a cross-country swing through several Super Tuesday states.

Her refusal to be driven from the race has frustrated Trump and his allies. They say Haley, who has compared herself to David taking on Goliath, has no path to victory, and accuse her of relying on wealthy donors to keep her long-shot bid alive and merely prolong the inevitable.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said on Saturday before polls closed: “The fact is that Haley’s campaign has now turned into a full-fledged Never Trump operation with her as Crooked Joe Biden’s biggest surrogate. The primary ends tonight, and it is time to turn to the general election.”

But Haley’s supporters say they are grateful for her presence in the race as a reminder of what a future Republican party might look like. Some believe the 52-year-old Haley is laying the groundwork for a future presidential run, or positioning herself to be the obvious second choice in the extraordinary event Trump can no longer serve as the party’s nominee.

Trump faces 91 felony charges as well as mounting legal fees and vast financial penalties that he has tapped his campaign fund to help pay. At her events, Haley tells voters that it is “not normal” for a candidate to spend more time in the courtroom than on the campaign trail, or to ask donors to foot his legal bills.

But Trump’s legal travails, which stem in part from his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his role in the 6 January assault on the US Capitol, have only strengthened his support.

In recent days, Trump’s campaign has already started to turn its attention toward the general election contest against Biden, who is gliding to his party’s nomination without a serious primary challenge. Trump’s team has moved aggressively to take control of the Republican National Committee, which is expected to remain neutral in the primary.

South Carolina primary: read more

  • Analysis: defeated Haley pushes on

  • Key dates for the 2024 election

  • Who’s running for president?

Trump began his day in Washington, where he delivered a dark speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) before returning to South Carolina to attend an election-night watch party in the state capital, Columbia.

Earlier in the day, Haley cast her ballot on Kiawah Island, her home precinct. Later, her cross-state Beast of the Southeast bus tour rolled into Charleston, where she spoke at an election-night watch party. In her remarks to supporters, Haley framed her presence in the race as a democratic obligation.

“In the next 10 days, another 21 states and territories will speak,” Haley said. “They have the right to a real choice, not a Soviet-style election with only one candidate. And I have a duty to give them that choice.”

Even as Haley has vowed to stay in the primary race as long as possible, Trump has made clear that he is already turning his attention to the general election. When he addressed his supporters in Columbia, Trump predicted that his decisive victory in South Carolina would soon be replicated in Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

“Michigan’s up. We’re going to have a tremendous success there. And then we have a thing called Super Tuesday,” Trump said. “South Carolina, thank you very much. Go home. Get rest. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Joe Biden weighed in on Saturday night as the results from South Carolina came to a final close.

He said in a statement: “In 2020, I ran for president because the very soul of America was at risk. Last night in South Carolina, Donald Trump stood on stage to make shameful, racist comments that tap into a hatred and divisiveness that is the very worst of us. We all have more to do to push towards a more perfect union, but Trump wants to take us backwards.”

He added: “Despite the threat that Trump poses, I will say again to the American people: I have never felt more optimistic about what we can do if we come together. Because I know that America believes in standing up for our democracy, fighting for our personal freedoms, and building an economy that gives everyone a fair shot.

“To Republicans, Democrats, and independents who share our commitment to core values of our nation, join us. Let’s keep moving forward.”

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Trump soundly defeats Nikki Haley in Republican primary

Trump soundly defeats Nikki Haley in South Carolina Republican primary

Result called for Trump almost immediately after polls close as former South Carolina governor suffers stinging home-state loss

  • Trump defeats Haley – see the primary results in full

Donald Trump defeated Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina, a stinging setback that narrows her vanishingly thin path to the nomination.

The Associated Press called the South Carolina primary for Trump right when polls closed at 7pm ET, in a clear indication of his large victory in Haley’s home state. Trump locked in approximately 60% of the vote, with Haley hovering at about 40%.

Palmetto State voters have a long history of choosing the party’s eventual nominee, and Trump is on track to clinch the Republican nomination months before the party’s summer convention in Milwaukee.

“I just want to say that I have never seen the Republican party so unified as it is right now,” Trump told supporters at his victory party in Columbia. “This is a fantastic evening. It’s an early evening, and fantastic.”

Trump had stormed through the early voting states, racking up wins – and delegates – in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Beating Haley, who served as his ambassador to the United Nations, in her home state delivers another stinging blow to her candidacy, moving the nomination even further out of her reach.

Addressing supporters in Charleston, Haley insisted she would not drop out of the race despite her four straight losses, arguing that Trump is unable to defeat Joe Biden in the general election.

“What I saw today was South Carolina’s frustration with our country’s direction. I’ve seen that same frustration nationwide. I share it. I feel it to my core,” Haley said. “I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I will continue to run for president. I’m a woman of my word.”

Haley’s campaign announced on Friday it was launching a “seven-figure” national cable and digital buy ahead of Super Tuesday on 5 March. On Sunday she will host a rally in Michigan, which holds its primary on 27 February, before embarking on a cross-country swing through several Super Tuesday states.

Her refusal to be driven from the race has frustrated Trump and his allies. They say Haley, who has compared herself to David taking on Goliath, has no path to victory, and accuse her of relying on wealthy donors to keep her long-shot bid alive and merely prolong the inevitable.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, said on Saturday before polls closed: “The fact is that Haley’s campaign has now turned into a full-fledged Never Trump operation with her as Crooked Joe Biden’s biggest surrogate. The primary ends tonight, and it is time to turn to the general election.”

But Haley’s supporters say they are grateful for her presence in the race as a reminder of what a future Republican party might look like. Some believe the 52-year-old Haley is laying the groundwork for a future presidential run, or positioning herself to be the obvious second choice in the extraordinary event Trump can no longer serve as the party’s nominee.

Trump faces 91 felony charges as well as mounting legal fees and vast financial penalties that he has tapped his campaign fund to help pay. At her events, Haley tells voters that it is “not normal” for a candidate to spend more time in the courtroom than on the campaign trail, or to ask donors to foot his legal bills.

But Trump’s legal travails, which stem in part from his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his role in the 6 January assault on the US Capitol, have only strengthened his support.

In recent days, Trump’s campaign has already started to turn its attention toward the general election contest against Biden, who is gliding to his party’s nomination without a serious primary challenge. Trump’s team has moved aggressively to take control of the Republican National Committee, which is expected to remain neutral in the primary.

South Carolina primary: read more

  • Analysis: defeated Haley pushes on

  • Key dates for the 2024 election

  • Who’s running for president?

Trump began his day in Washington, where he delivered a dark speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) before returning to South Carolina to attend an election-night watch party in the state capital, Columbia.

Earlier in the day, Haley cast her ballot on Kiawah Island, her home precinct. Later, her cross-state Beast of the Southeast bus tour rolled into Charleston, where she spoke at an election-night watch party. In her remarks to supporters, Haley framed her presence in the race as a democratic obligation.

“In the next 10 days, another 21 states and territories will speak,” Haley said. “They have the right to a real choice, not a Soviet-style election with only one candidate. And I have a duty to give them that choice.”

Even as Haley has vowed to stay in the primary race as long as possible, Trump has made clear that he is already turning his attention to the general election. When he addressed his supporters in Columbia, Trump predicted that his decisive victory in South Carolina would soon be replicated in Michigan, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

“Michigan’s up. We’re going to have a tremendous success there. And then we have a thing called Super Tuesday,” Trump said. “South Carolina, thank you very much. Go home. Get rest. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Joe Biden weighed in on Saturday night as the results from South Carolina came to a final close.

He said in a statement: “In 2020, I ran for president because the very soul of America was at risk. Last night in South Carolina, Donald Trump stood on stage to make shameful, racist comments that tap into a hatred and divisiveness that is the very worst of us. We all have more to do to push towards a more perfect union, but Trump wants to take us backwards.”

He added: “Despite the threat that Trump poses, I will say again to the American people: I have never felt more optimistic about what we can do if we come together. Because I know that America believes in standing up for our democracy, fighting for our personal freedoms, and building an economy that gives everyone a fair shot.

“To Republicans, Democrats, and independents who share our commitment to core values of our nation, join us. Let’s keep moving forward.”

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Australia seal T20 series sweep of New Zealand with resounding win in 10-over slog

Australia seal T20 series sweep of New Zealand with resounding win in 10-over slog

  • Australia (118-4) bt New Zealand (98-3) by 27 runs (DLS method)
  • Steve Smith dismissed for four runs early in rain-affected clash

Australia have endured three rain delays on their way to a clean sweep of their T20I series with New Zealand, posting a 27-run win in Auckland.

However, former skipper Steve Smith suffered another setback on Sunday as he attempts to make the squad for June’s T20 World Cup, failing to deliver once more.

Australia posted 118-4 from 10.4 overs in an innings interrupted twice by Auckland showers.

A third rain delay ended their innings and set the Black Caps a revised total of 126 to chase in 10 overs, but the hosts were well held to 98-3 by Australia’s bowlers at Eden Park.

With little on the line in the dead rubber, most attention centred on Smith’s performance with the bat.

The 34-year-old has been reinvented as a top-order option late in his career, and was given another shot at opening with David Warner absent.

But Smith departed meekly after three balls to suggest he has a tenuous grip on a place in the squad for what would be his fourth World Cup.

The 34-year-old got off the mark with a textbook pull to the boundary, but two balls later was caught half-heartedly attempting to cut a rising Adam Milne delivery, snicking it to wicketkeeper Tim Seifert.

Smith was the only Australian batsman dismissed without leaving a significant mark on the rain-affected clash.

Matt Short (27 off 11 deliveries) and Glenn Maxwell (20 off nine) played explosive hands, with Travis Head (33 off 30) accumulating well.

Finishers Josh Inglis (14 off eight) and Tim David (eight off three) were left when the rain ended their stint at the crease.

New Zealand, understrength again with key absences including Kane Williamson, Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra, never looked likely in their chase.

The early dismissals of Will Young and Tim Siefert brought the key duo of Finn Allen and Glenn Phillips to the crease, needing 96 from 43 balls.

Phillips fumed as Nathan Ellis produced four straight dot balls with outswingers, an over which saw the required run-rate push out from 12 to 15 an over.

It only ballooned further when Allen holed out off the bowling of Adam Zampa soon after, the contest getting away from the Black Caps.

Phillips was New Zealand’s best with an unbeaten 40 off 24, but was unable to find partners able to go with him.

Spencer Johnson (1-10 off two overs) impressed with the ball, as did Ellis (0-11 off two).

Mitch Marsh, Australia’s skipper for the opening two matches, was named player of the series.

“To win three-nil is a fantastic effort,” Marsh said. “Coming here to New Zealand, it’s always been a tough challenge … especially their T20 side, it’s a tough unit.”

Australia made three changes for the third match, with Marsh, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood rested ahead of the Test series beginning at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Thursday.

Black Caps captain Mitch Santner rued missed opportunities in the field – counting seven dropped efforts – but said the losses wouldn’t hurt confidence for the Tests.

“The series didn’t go as well as we wanted but we can park that … and move onto the Tests,” Santner said. “Playing Australia at home is always a massive occasion.”

The result means Australia retains the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, which was previously contested only in ODIs, but is now in play during all short-form series.

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Security guard dies and charge laid after alleged punch to head outside pub

Security guard dies and charge laid after alleged punch to head outside Sydney pub

Police said the guard was allegedly punched by a patron who had been asked to leave the venue

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A security guard has died after he was allegedly punched in the head during an altercation at a hotel in Sydney’s south, and a man charged with assault occasioning death.

Emergency services were called to a licensed premises on East Parade in Sutherland about 2am on Sunday.

Officers found a man, believed to be aged in his 30s, unconscious outside the hotel.

They performed CPR before the man was treated by paramedics but he died at the scene.

The man has not been formally identified.

A crime scene was established and an investigation has begun.

Police were told the security guard was allegedly punched to the head by a patron after an altercation.

“It’s alleged the patron had been requested to leave the hotel prior to the assault,” NSW police said in a statement on Sunday.

A 31-year-old man has since been arrested and taken to Sutherland police station, where he was charged with assault occasioning death.

He is due to appear before Sutherland local court on Monday morning.

Inquiries were continuing.

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‘Grave concern’ over Wednesday heat spike after six homes destroyed

‘Grave concern’ over Wednesday heat spike in Victoria after six homes destroyed in bushfires

Firefighters continue to battle blazes as they brace for temperatures to exceed 40C in western parts of the state this week

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Six homes have been destroyed by bushfires in Victoria, as authorities issue a warning of “grave concern” for fire danger in the state on Wednesday.

On Sunday morning, Victoria’s emergency services minister, Jaclyn Symes, announced that after 228 impact assessments were carried out following fires in western Victoria, six residential homes were deemed to have been destroyed.

“Obviously, that is very sobering news for those families,” Symes said, adding that there would be “support measures” for those communities.

She said hot temperatures forecast for Wednesday were now the main focus for authorities.

Forecasters are predicting temperatures to exceed 40C in western parts of the state on Wednesday, spiking firefighters’ concerns.

“What we know already is that the indicators are in the extreme range,” Symes said.

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She noted that the Country Fire Association chief, Jason Heffernan, has “expressed his grave concern about what may eventuate on Wednesday”.

Heffernan said Wednesday “could quite potentially be the worst fire day Victoria has seen in four years”, the Age reported.

On Sunday Heffernan said he had met with the emergency management commissioner and fellow chiefs to discuss strategy and resourcing over the next couple of days.

“We are expecting half of the state to be in the high end of extreme fire danger on Wednesday and depending on how the models firm up in the next few days, we may see the potential for some catastrophic conditions in the Wimmera weather district,” he said.

Authorities were “very focused” on the Bayindeen fire but “as any seasoned firefighter would know, it’s the fire that you don’t have at the moment that could potentially be the trouble for you”, Heffernan said.

“So we are preparing to protect those communities that will experience extremely hot weather and hot northerly winds next week.”

Symes said they were expecting “not only high temperatures but also wind is expected and given the hot weather that we have had in recent weeks, a lot of drying has occurred, particularly in the west of the state.”

The forecast for Wednesday was predicting 44C in Mildura in the state’s far north-west, with many other towns expected to hit the high 30s – including 36C in Melbourne.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the hot weather will be joined by strong, gusty winds.

“All of the elements that do lead to dangerous fire conditions are starting to rear up again on Wednesday,” senior meteorologist Angus Hines said.

“We’ve got many areas of western Victoria at extreme fire danger for Wednesday … there’s a possibility that even more areas could see that extreme fire danger rating or even a chance they could be upgraded to catastrophic fire danger,” Hines said.

The large fire west of Ballarat had burned through more than 16,000 hectares of land by the end of Saturday.

There were about 550 firefighters on the ground on Sunday as part of fire suppression efforts, Symes said.

One watch and act warning was in place on Sunday morning for towns including Amphitheatre and Elmhurst, while an advice warning was also in place for areas surrounding Ballarat. Another advice warning was in place for Lakes Entrances beach on the other side of the state.

Residents who were told to evacuate from the towns of Amphitheatre, Avoca, Bayindeen, Beaufort, Ben Nevis, Buangor, Chute, Crowlands, Elmhurst, Eversley, Glenlofty, Glenlogie, Glenpatrick, Glenshee, Green Hill Creek, Landsborough, Main Lead, Middle Creek, Mount Cole, Mount Cole Creek, Mount Lonarch, Nowhere Creek, Percydale, Raglan, Warrak, Warrenmang and Waterloo were on Sunday being told it was still not safe to return.

Symes said government officials would meet with the Bureau of Meteorology and fire agencies to “get a sense of what Wednesday looks like”.

“We will have more to say in the coming days, but I do want to take the opportunity to remind Victorians who are in fire-prone areas, particularly the west and central parts of the state, you must act,” she said.

She said residents needed to have fire plans developed.

“You must have the conversations with your family members, your neighbours, and know what you’re going to do in the event of an evacuation,” Symes said.

– Additional reporting by Royce Kurmelovs, AAP

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How ‘smart keys’ have fuelled a new wave of UK car crime

Gone in 20 seconds: how ‘smart keys’ have fuelled a new wave of car crime

One London resident watched on CCTV as a thief walked up to his £40,000 car and drove away. Now manufacturers say they are being drawn in to a hi-tech ‘arms race’ with criminals

Read more: car industry was warned keyless vehicles vulnerable to theft a decade ago

When Steve Jessop’s electric Hyundai car was stolen outside his west London house on a rainy day earlier this month, he appealed to neighbours for potential footage of the crime.

He quickly secured a CCTV video and was stunned at the ease with which his car had been taken. A hooded figure approached it, opened the doors without forced entry, started the engine and drove off.

Jessop’s car had gone in 20 seconds. The keys to his Hyundai Ioniq 5 were still inside his house and there was no sign of an accomplice.

“It was just incredible,” said Jessop. “I looked at it and thought: how did that happen? I genuinely thought with all the technology in this car that no one could steal it.”

Jessop got no further clues from the Metropolitan police. He filed a report on the night of the theft on 8 February and was told by email at lunchtime the next day the case had been closed.

While Jessop was left mystified at how his car had been stolen, motor industry sources who spoke to the Observer last week were less surprised.

They revealed that hi-tech devices disguised as handheld games consoles are being traded online for thousands of pounds and are used by organised crime gangs to mimic the electronic key on an Ioniq 5, opening the doors and starting the engine.

The device, known as an “emulator”, works by intercepting a signal from the car, which is scanning for the presence of a legitimate key, and sending back a signal to gain access to the vehicle. Many owners of Ioniq 5s, which sell from around £42,000, now use steering locks to deter thieves.

Hyundai says it is looking at measures to prevent the use of emulators “as a priority”. But it is not the only carmaker whose vehicles appear to be vulnerable. An Observer investigation found that models by Toyota, Lexus and Kia have also been targeted.

British motorists now face an increase in the number of thefts and rising insurance premiums. (Even before Jessop’s car was stolen, his annual car insurance premium had risen from £574 to £2,240.) Car thefts are at their highest level for a decade in England and Wales, rising from 85,803 vehicles in the year to March 2012 to 130,270 in the year to March 2023 – an increase of more than 50%.

Part of the reason, say experts, is the rise of keyless entry. Push-button keyless entry fobs for cars were first introduced in the 1980s and by the late 1990s car manufacturers were introducing keyless ignition systems, but this was generally restricted to luxury cars. Subsequently, modern “smart key” fobs, which unlock the car when the owner approaches without the need to press a button, have become more common, offering new security loopholes for crime gangs.

Motoring lawyer Nick Freeman said: “There is a strong legal argument to say these cars are insecure and not fit for purpose. The motoring industry has been negligent. It has failed to prioritise security and motorists are paying the price.”

An Observer investigation has found how the industry was warned more than a decade ago of problems in the software it was deploying in cars. A report in 2011 from the University of California and the University of Washington warned of the security vulnerabilities of modern cars, implementing an “attack” to “unlock the doors [and] start the engine”.

The next year, Stephen Mason, a retired barrister and co-editor of the book Electronic Evidence and Electronic Signatures, warned in an issue of Computer Law and Security Review that there was an “increasing amount of technical literature on how keyless entry systems can be undermined successfully”. He warned of the risk of “relay attacks” on smart key systems. A thief using this technique can use software to extend the range of the signal the key is broadcasting – even if it is inside a home – activating the unlocking sequence and allowing the car to be driven.

By early 2015, the Met was warning that 6,000 cars and vans a year were being stolen without the keys. Last year insurance company Aviva said owners of modern keyless vehicles were twice as likely to make a theft claim. The Met also identified car models “vulnerable to new theft devices” which included the Kia Niro and the Hyundai Ioniq.

Ben Pearson, a former traffic officer with West Yorkshire police and adviser to Nextbase, a dashcam maker, said most of the car thefts he dealt with during his last year with the force in 2020 involved relay attacks on keyless-ignition vehicles. He said: “It’s amazing that you don’t need any training and you can steal someone’s car in seconds.”

Another common attack is to hack into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port, which is typically under the dashboard and allows access to the vehicle computer systems via a connector for various tasks. It can be used by thieves to programme a new key linked to the vehicle, but they need to find a way to gain entry to the car first.

Martin East, 58, an engineer from Crowborough, East Sussex, had his 2011 Audi S4 stolen last month without the keys, but police have since recovered it. “I wasn’t aware a thief could plug into the onboard diagnostics until a few weeks ago, but the industry has been aware for 10 years,” said East. “I think they’ve been lazy.”

The car industry has implemented various software security upgrades in recent years, but faces criticism for responding too slowly to warnings. Jaguar Land Rover announced a £10m investment to upgrade commonly stolen models built between 2018 and 2022 after a spate of thefts, and complaints from owners that their vehicles were in effect uninsurable.

Last year, Ken Tindell, a vehicle technology specialist at the software consultancy JK Energy, demonstrated how a thief could gain access to the systems of a vehicle via wiring behind the headlight, and exploit a vulnerability to unlock the car and start the engine. The device he obtained was promoted with the claim it could target some Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

Tindell said he had raised his security concerns more than a decade ago with the industry. “The prevailing view was that criminals are nowhere near educated and smart enough to break into the internal car electronics,” he said. “What they didn’t realised was that somebody would make a box and automate it all for them.”

The Observer last week found a range of devices for “programming keys and emergency starts” being promoted online for up to £5,000. The “smart device” claims to cover a wide range of manufacturers.

Steve Launchbury, principal engineer at Thatcham Research, a risk intelligence organisation funded by the UK’s insurance industry, said: “In the old days, there was an effort involved in forcing entry into a vehicle. These devices tend to do it all for you. The industry should be looking to close the vulnerabilities more quickly.”

Launchbury said the advice to motorists was to inform themselves about their vehicle’s security systems and features and, where under manufacturer’s warranty, to consult that manufacturer before installing any electronic theft prevention measures. He said trackers and steering locks could both be effective.

The Met said it “recognises the impact that motor vehicle crime can have on victims,” adding: “Any allegation of crime reported to the police will be assessed to see if there are any viable lines of inquiry including forensic opportunities that can be progressed.”

Hyundai Motor UK said: “We are aware of a small number of Ioniq 5 thefts. This is an industrywide issue. The criminals appear to be using devices to illegally override smart key locking systems. Hyundai is working closely with law enforcement in the UK. To date, we have helped to recover around 75% of vehicles. We are looking as a priority at a number of measures to help prevent or deter these criminal acts.”

Kia did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Toyota, which owns Lexus, said: “Toyota and Lexus are continuously working on developing technical solutions to make vehicles more secure. Since introducing enhanced security hardware on the latest versions of a number of models, we have seen a significant drop-off in thefts. For older models we are currently developing solutions.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that rising theft was not caused by alleged failures in car security, but organised crime groups. The SMMT said vehicle security was a “crucial priority” for the industry, which was working to reduce vehicle theft, but that it was in an “arms race” against criminals.

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