The Guardian 2024-03-16 10:01:15


‘More than the usual gastro’: at least 260 people report symptoms after outbreak at Victorian music festival

Those who attended the Esoteric festival in Donald on 8-12 March warned about Shigella bacteria

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Victoria’s health department says at least 260 festival goers have reported gastroenteritis symptoms after attending a dance music festival, with authorities urging anyone showing signs of shigellosis to be tested.

Those who attended the Esoteric festival in Donald on 8-12 March have been warned that the Shigella bacteria had been detected in a number of those with gastroenteritis. Symptoms could take up to a week to emerge after exposure.

The highly contagious bacterial infection causes the acute onset of diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. It is spread by the foecal-oral route or contaminated food.

It could also be transmitted during sexual contact, health authorities said.

Preliminary results suggest the outbreak was caused by an antimicrobial resistant strain of Shigella and would not respond to antibiotics.

“If you attended or worked at the Esoteric festival last weekend and have gastro symptoms, you may have Shigella and be at risk of spreading it,” a Victorian health department spokesperson said.

“We’re asking that you please seek medical care and get a test for Shigella, and not return to work until 48 hours after symptoms resolve.”

They said that those who had the illness and work in food handling, with children, or in aged care should only return to work if they have received a negative test result and have had no symptoms for 48 hours.

Patrons and staff who were returning to locations within Victoria and interstate may develop symptoms in the coming days, authorities warned.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Dr Rebekah Hoffman, chair of the New South Wales and ACT branch of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said Shigella was “really uncommon” in Australia.

“Gastroenteritis is usually viral, not bacterial. When you put lots of people together and they don’t have the best hand hygiene, Shigella is more likely to be spread,” she said.

“You get really sick from it. We really worry about dehydration and you might be sick enough to have blood and mucus in your stool as well. It is more than the usual gastro.”

Symptoms last around a week, she said, but “you’ll feel rubbish for a few weeks afterwards”.

Anyone with symptoms has been encouraged to stay hydrated and practise good hand hygiene.

Those who attended the festival and work with elderly people or children should be particularly vigilant, even if not showing any symptoms, she said, adding that anyone who has had gastroenteritis should avoid swimming pools for two weeks after symptoms clear.

Explore more on these topics

  • Victoria
  • Health
  • Festivals
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Seattle child abuse suspect faked death by jumping off bridge then lived in LA

Christian R Basham spent his life as Mark Clemens, a building maintenance man, after police presumed he was dead

A man suspected of child sexual abuse feigned his death by jumping off a Seattle-area bridge nearly two decades earlier – then spent the final years of his life under an alias and working as a Los Angeles apartment building maintenance man, according to authorities.

The stunning truth about Christian R Basham surfaced after the Los Angeles county medical examiner’s office investigated his 26 February death.

Basham’s body arrived at the LA county medical examiner’s office under the identity of 56-year-old Mark Clemens, who was reputed to be the longtime handyman of a downtown apartment building. But investigators determined Basham’s true identity and on Wednesday notified police in Bremerton, Washington, about 65 miles (105 km) outside Seattle, because he had unresolved criminal charges there.

A statement from Bremerton police on Thursday explained that the agency had arrested Basham on charges of second-degree child rape in 2008. He posted bail in the amount of $350,000 to be released from custody pending the outcome of the case, but he never waited to find out what that would be, police said.

Instead, on 29 March 2009, a witness reported to Bremerton police that Basham had jumped off a local bridge over the Puget Sound. Police later found Basham’s car as well as a suicide note. Authorities used a plane and boats to search for Basham, but they never found his body.

They said they presumed him to be dead, though he remained on a most wanted list and an outstanding warrant to arrest him was kept on file.

None of that apparently prevented Basham from assuming the Clemens name, moving to LA and developing a respected reputation at the downtown apartment building where he lived and worked as the handyman for more than a decade.

“This was our maintenance guy,” building resident Tommy Cuellar reportedly told the LA news station KABC. “This was the guy who had keys to our apartments.”

While Cuellar described having generally positive interactions with him, he said the truth about the man known to him as Clemens was “very shocking” and “troubling to say the least”.

Cuellar said Clemens was already established as their building’s handyman when Cuellar moved in about 10 years earlier.

He told KABC that he wondered whether the Clemens name was a clue about the dark secret in Basham’s past. The author Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens, and two of his most famous characters – Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn – faked their deaths.

Bremerton police said they had since closed the child sexual abuse case against Basham. But they also said that they planned to investigate Basham’s “movements and actions” after faking his death in 2009.

The police’s statement didn’t address how it would proceed if it determined that anyone helped Basham.

Details about Basham’s death weren’t immediately available. Information online from the LA county medical examiner’s office listed his cause of death as “deferred”, or requiring additional investigation, according to the Associated Press.

Explore more on these topics

  • US crime
  • Los Angeles
  • Washington state
  • Seattle
  • California
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Where is Catherine, Princess of Wales? The internet is rife with ‘Katespiracies’

The royal’s absence has led to a proliferation of conspiracy theories after announcement of a mysterious abdominal surgery

It seems that everyone has recently become fixated on one question: where in the world is the Princess of Wales?

We’ve long known the world is watching the royal family, but the visible absence of Catherine has sent social media and US news outlets into a tailspin – driving even those ordinarily not interested in the royals to pay attention.

The latest saga surrounding the royal family began when Kensington Palace announced on 17 January that the future queen consort was due for a mysterious abdominal surgery at the London Clinic. The world was told that she would be in the hospital and out of commission for “10 to 14 days” – therefore out of the public eye until Easter. Prince William postponed some engagements that same day.

Then a series of coincidences made internet sleuths suspicious.

Victoria Howard, a royal commentator and founder of a website devoted to the royal family called The Crown Chronicles, offered some clarity on the princess’s recent accidental entrance into the global spotlight.

“The length of Kate’s absence is unusual which suggests a significant procedure, but the lack of details is what is driving the rumor mill,” Howard said. “For those abroad, who don’t have a royal family and liken them more to celebrities, they can’t quite understand why the details aren’t being shared.”

Shortly after, on 5 February, it was announced that King Charles was diagnosed with cancer. Now, two leading figures in the royal family have health issues around the exact same time but only one of them has been seen.

“There is a bit of a vacuum in the royal family right now, because of both ongoing health issues, so this lack of news and public visibility of royals is driving some of this narrative,” Howard said. “The timing is unusual being so close together but for me it’s an example of how the offices do not communicate that well, and equally their different approaches with the level of detail provided.”

But Howard cautioned coincidences can happen and that “health often doesn’t align with your schedule”.

“As Kate is not monarch there is no cause for concern. Charles has counsellors of state who can be appointed and step in should he be incapacitated,” she said.

Still, rumors are swirling and many outside the UK, particularly in the US, have become obsessed with this Middleton mystery.

Theories, or “Katespiracies”, about the princess’s whereabouts range from Kate being revealed as the newest contestant on the TV gameshow The Masked Singer to getting a Brazilian butt lift (or some other cosmetic work).

Howard called some of these conspiracies “quite frankly ludicrous”.

“To not be away for so long due to real health issues would be highly risky and take advantage of public goodwill,” she said. “No sensible communications team would allow them to do that.”

Middleton was reportedly seen on 4 March in a car with her mother, but the poor quality of the photo has not convinced some of her fans.

On 10 March, things reached a bit of an apex when it was revealed that a family photo of Catherine and her three children posted by the princess on her Instagram account was Photoshopped. Various discrepancies in the image led to even more speculation, prompting major news agencies such as the Associated Press to pull the photo from distribution “because at closer inspection, it appears that the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet AP’s photo standards”.

This proved cataclysmic for gossip, which seemingly pushed the princess to issue a rare statement explaining the situation: “Like many amateur photographers, I occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C”

The metadata of the file shows that the image was processed in Photoshop first on 8 March at 9.54pm local time and again on 9 March at9.39am local time, per an ABC News report.

The very next day on 11 March, William and someone who appeared to be Catherine were seen leaving Windsor Castle together in a car. But faces were obstructed so it’s not clear if it was actually the princess.

Still, the princess’s spokesperson doubled down on Catherine’s perfectly normal condition: “We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant.”

The spokesperson underscored the princess was “doing well”.

The US, which has no royal family, is giving the princess the “celebrity-in-crisis” treatment previously seen with the likes of Britney Spears or Amanda Bynes. If not by those on social media like TikTok, the media coverage of Catherine’s every move has shown no signs of letting up.

US news outlets like the Washington Post, ABC News and NPR have even weighed in on the altered photo debacle. The Los Angeles Times likened Kate and sister-in-law Duchess of Sussex’s drama to that surrounding Diana, Princess of Wales, who dominated international news headlines in the late 80s and 90s.

The royals expert and former BuzzFeed News reporter Ellie Hall told Nieman Lab last week that she believed the obsession with Catherine stems from “distrust” people have of the royals – in no small part to Diana’s legacy.

“People have started to really distrust not just the royal family – as an institution/bureaucracy, not necessarily the individual members – but the reporters and outlets that cover the royal family,” Hall said, adding: “A lot of people still hold a grudge against the royals because of Princess Diana and wonder about the circumstances of her death. I also feel like a lot of this distrust stems from what Harry and Meghan have said since leaving working royal life. Their descriptions of a back-stabbing, machiavellian organization in interviews and Harry’s memoir Spare have definitely made an impact on the public’s perception of the monarchy and the royal reporting beat.”

So, what’s really going on and who has the answers?

Howard noted that “Kensington Palace has been very reactive”, which is unusual because they mostly don’t “comment or respond in other cases”. She says it’s “the wrong approach if they wanted to ease people’s worries” and “doing so shows real concern about the conversation and indicates their level of panic essentially”.

Perhaps the former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said it best in 2020, pointing out: “It is unusually difficult to judge the reliability of most royal reporting because it is a world almost devoid of open or named sources.

“So, in order to believe what we’re being told, we have to take it on trust that there are currently legions of ‘aides’, ‘palace insiders’, ‘friends’ and ‘senior courtiers’ constantly WhatsApping their favourite reporters with the latest gossip. It has been known to happen. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. We just don’t know.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Catherine, Princess of Wales
  • Prince William
  • Monarchy
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

The one thing we’ve learned from the Kate photo scandal? There’s no such thing as a fairytale life

Zoe Williams

They’re trapped in a deal they can’t uphold, scrutinised by a nation of trolls who demand they live perfect, trouble-free lives

Kensington Palace, which remains in its private quarters the London residence of Prince William and Kate (for ever to be known as) Middleton, currently has an exhibition in its public rooms of “Untold Lives”, a medley of royal servants. If any of the tourists walking round on Thursday felt the piquancy of treading so close to a home Kate Middleton may or may not be in (for the first time since her marriage, probably, nobody can say for sure where she is), that didn’t show on their politely interested faces.

The opening portrait is of Bridget Holmes: 96 years old, carrying a mop in comedic representation of her role as a “necessary woman” to monarchs all the way from Charles I to William III. Taking into account the different conception of childhood in the 1590s, when she was born, we can reasonably assume Holmes spent about 90 continuous years shovelling shit, her life remaining untold so that the story of kings could be told.

That’s the deal with the monarchy; inequality needs two halves – a large number of lives debased and made menial to enable some shiny ones at the top. It would have made perfect sense when kings, having divine right, were a bridge between men and God, and a reasonable amount of sense in an age of greater deference, but these days it only makes sense if the spectacle of enormous wealth is itself somehow nourishing to the national psyche.

If William and Kate represent some fantasy life, that we can enjoy remotely as a fairytale, projecting ourselves into it, then – here’s a cute paradox – the more that costs, the more it’s worth it. It never did it for me, but what do I know? The Prince and Princess of Wales only have one job in this contract, which is to enjoy perfect lives. People always go on about how hard the royals work, and I’ve never really bought it – how hard can it be, going places, shaking hands, being polite, going home? But if the real job is to embody a life in which wealth, being magic, has erased every care, then I can see that would be awesomely hard work.

Just how much damage this family has inflicted on itself since Kate was last seen in public on Christmas Day will be impossible to determine until the mystery has lifted. Certainly, they’ve breached their contract with the world’s media. When news agencies had to pull the Mother’s Day photo of the princess and her three children, believing it to have been doctored, this holed them beneath the waterline, trust wise, and it’s hard to see how they could now recover. Phil Chetwynd, global news director of Agence France-Presse, described neutrally on BBC Radio 4 that the Firm had moved into the same credibility bucket as North Korea, which seems harsh – almost nobody, except everyone on the internet, thinks Kate Middleton has been shot in the head – but fair. Trust is pretty binary: you either have it or you don’t.

The relationship between the British press and the royals has been vexed for ages, observably since Meghxit but arguably since Diana. The deal was supposed to be this: the tabloid press would write fawningly about the core team, choose one or two hate figures whose privacy would be traduced and inner life relentlessly speculated upon, and the Firm would enable all that with tactical intel drops and the turning of a blind eye.

It really did seem in 1997 as though that equilibrium had been destroyed. In the aftermath of Diana’s death, the red tops talked about a “vast outpouring of grief”, and that was real, but they omitted to mention the rage people felt towards the newspapers that had hounded her. The palace, though, sought no vengeance. Only Harry admitted even holding a grudge, and things were back to normal pretty soon. Harry and Meghan’s various cases against the press were a mixed bag – some won, some dropped. What they didn’t achieve was any significant realignment of the media/monarchy protocols. In the end, it’s Harry living in the US, trying to make sense of a life he wasn’t born to rule, not the Daily Mail.

With the British public, though, the royals’ contract is completely different. A small but growing number of us wish they would simply desist, become normal, stop costing so much. A sizeable middle doesn’t care one way or the other, and those who do watch these lives with fascinated admiration need them to be perfect. We can talk loftily about William and Kate’s missteps – how could they have been so stupid as to Photoshop an image, and so amateurishly? Don’t they know the first rule of lying, in public life, which is: stop doing it and tell the truth? But they haven’t been stupid at all, they’ve behaved exactly as humans do, trapped in a deal they can’t uphold. They cannot lead the perfect, trouble-free lives that they have to lead in order to make sense.

The rumours and theories about what’s happened to Kate Middleton are so varied and lurid now that whatever the truth is, I anticipate its landing as a bit of an anticlimax, which will hasten the return of normality. So maybe they’ve actually played a blinder, and with their secrecy and cack-handedness generated a drama against which the truth will look like no big deal. But I don’t think this was deliberate. I think their lives are, ironically, a bit like a fairytale, but one of the dark ones, where a troll (or a nation of trolls) holds them hostage to an impossible demand.

  • Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

  • Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a response of up to 300 words by email to be considered for publication in our letters section, please click here.

Explore more on these topics

  • Monarchy
  • Opinion
  • Prince William
  • Catherine, Princess of Wales
  • Prince Harry
  • Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex
  • comment
Share

Reuse this content

Conspiracies and kill notices: how Kate’s edited photo whirled the rumour mill

With Princess of Wales out of sight for health reasons, impact of altered family photo has been magnified

On Tuesday, as the crisis in Gaza continued, turmoil built in Haiti and Joe Biden and Donald Trump were confirmed as their parties’ presidential candidates, the White House press secretary was asked a question by a journalist that caused her, briefly, to laugh.

“Does the White House ever digitally alter photos of the president?”, Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter.

“Why would we digitally alter photos? Are you comparing us to what is going on in the UK?” she replied. “No – that is not something that we do here.”

When Kensington Palace released an apparently candid photograph last weekend of the Princess of Wales and her children, timed to coincide with Mother’s Day, it no doubt expected the usual warm reception, perhaps with a few approving front pages.

One week on, it is fair to say things have not gone to plan. After multiple clumsy edits to the photo were identified, five leading photo agencies issued an almost unprecedented “kill notice” of the “manipulated” image.

Since then, not only the White House press corps but large sections of the world’s media have been fascinated by the photograph – and what it may say about the princess, who has been recovering from surgery – putting the royals at the centre of a dangerous crisis of credibility.

If you’re caught being untruthful once, after all, why should anyone ever believe you? In Spain, some outlets have repeated claims, rubbished by the palace last month, that the princess is in a coma. On US talkshows, longstanding if highly libellous rumours about the royal marriage, similarly denied, are being openly aired and mocked.

And on social media, needless to say, the unfounded conspiracies are wilder still. Kate has had a facelift, or she is in hiding, or has been replaced by a body double. Most are easy to dismiss, but when even the ITV royal editor, Chris Ship, one of the select handful of “royal rota” journalists who are briefed by the palace, posts a tweet that begins: “I’ve never been much of a conspiracy theorist but …”, the Firm undeniably has a problem.

Who would be a royal? According to the palace, lest we forget, the 42-year-old mother of three has undergone major abdominal surgery and is not well enough to appear publicly. When the operation was first revealed on 17 January, Kensington Palace said she was not expected to make any appearances until at least Easter. That, they insist, has not changed. So why the frenzied conspiracies?

Perhaps because Catherine remains media catnip, and is incredibly important to the royal public image; three months without her was always going to be a challenge. Things would arguably have been more manageable were it not for the unhappy coincidence of King Charles’s announcements of his prostate treatment and cancer .

While Catherine had requested privacy over her diagnosis, the king and his Buckingham Palace press team opted to be more open, though the type of cancer has not been revealed. Most were happy to accept this as the princess’s right, yet the fact the king has remained somewhat visible, even while undergoing cancer treatment, made the absolute silence from Catherine all the more evident.

What tipped online mutterings into febrile speculation was when the Prince of Wales pulled out of the funeral of his godfather on 27 February, citing only a “personal matter”. The Mother’s Day photo was evidently an attempt to settle the mood; instead, its inept handling turned an uncomfortable drama into a full-blown crisis. Even a brief apology, signed in Catherine’s name, did not help. Either palace advisers had not grasped the gravity of their mistake, or – just possibly – the royal couple, so protective of their children’s privacy, were resisting their guidance.

Can they recover from it? Only if they change tack, says Emma Streets, an associate director at the communications agency Tigerbond who specialises in crisis PR. There remains a lot of empathy towards the princess, she says, adding: “I think [the episode] proves that she’s only human. But it’s crucial that the palace do not repeat a [mistake] on this scale.”

They will have to provide some form of update on the princess’s health by Easter, says Streets, whether or not Catherine is well enough to resume normal public appearances. “I think they really need to maintain that timeline to avoid any further controversy. So the pressure is on for the comms team to handle that without putting a foot wrong, and really, meticulously, plan.”

Streets says the royal family’s long-practised strategy of “never complain, never explain” is outdated. “That doesn’t work today, given the speed that this story will spread online, and I think that massively needs addressing from a strategic point of view.”

That view is echoed by Lynn Carratt, the head of talent at digital specialists Press Box PR, who says she has been “racking my brains” trying to understand why Kensington Palace did not simply release the undoctored image. “They could have put this to bed straight away,” she says.

“There needs to be an overhaul of their comms strategy and a bit of honesty and trust with the press. I kind of understand why there isn’t – but they need a whole new approach to PR, to bring it into the modern world of the media.

“We’re not just talking about print press and broadcast, when it’s now social media and the digital space where people are consuming the news. It’s very different, and you need to do PR differently for that space.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Catherine, Princess of Wales
  • Monarchy
  • Social media
  • Digital media
  • features
Share

Reuse this content

City bustle returns to Melbourne and Sydney – largely thanks to weekends and Taylor Swift

Foot traffic near Melbourne’s town hall recorded at highest since 2015, as Eras tour concert coincides with busiest day of 2024

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

The pre-pandemic hustle and bustle of the central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne is returning, and in Melbourne’s case it’s busier than it’s been for nearly a decade.

But the weekend crowds appear to be doing most of the heavy lifting.

Near Melbourne’s town hall, the average general pedestrian activity is at the highest it has been since 2015, and two-and-a-half times higher than it was in 2020, according to data from the City of Melbourne.

The high level of foot traffic recorded in Melbourne appears to be partly due to the influx of people travelling through the city to attend Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, with the pop superstar’s concert held on 17 March, marking the busiest day in 2024.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Sydney’s CBD has almost returned to full health, according to the most recent data, but it has been healing in a different shape.

The weekly average number of people heading into the city on Sundays in December was at 137% above pre-pandemic levels, outperforming weekdays for recovery, according to the City of Sydney.

Meanwhile, the weekly average number for December was back to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, with Tuesdays and Fridays the weekdays with the strongest comeback at 81%

A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said there were still people choosing to work from home rather than travelling to the office in the city.

“According to our recent community wellbeing survey, 72% of employed residents surveyed can work from home. Of these, more than half work from home two or three days per week, while one-fifth do so one day a week,” the spokesperson said.

In Melbourne, the sensors that capture pedestrian numbers across the city have seen numbers grow year-on-year since the pandemic.

The biggest increase has been recorded at Melbourne Central and Southern Cross stations, up by 135% and 162% respectively since 2020.

“We’ve had a lot more tourists and people coming out to the city, which is brilliant, but we haven’t see our regular workforce come back as much during the week, which is disappointing,” said David Malaspina, the owner of Pellegrini’s espresso bar on Melbourne’s Bourke Street.

“It seems like Thursdays are our new Fridays though because more people seem to work from home on Fridays now.”

Just outside Melbourne’s CBD, Thais Azevedo, who works at the Queensberry hotel, said the favoured haunt among university students is seeing the opposite effect.

“We’ve had all the students here after class during the week, so that is what keeps us busy,” she said.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia news
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

City bustle returns to Melbourne and Sydney – largely thanks to weekends and Taylor Swift

Foot traffic near Melbourne’s town hall recorded at highest since 2015, as Eras tour concert coincides with busiest day of 2024

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

The pre-pandemic hustle and bustle of the central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne is returning, and in Melbourne’s case it’s busier than it’s been for nearly a decade.

But the weekend crowds appear to be doing most of the heavy lifting.

Near Melbourne’s town hall, the average general pedestrian activity is at the highest it has been since 2015, and two-and-a-half times higher than it was in 2020, according to data from the City of Melbourne.

The high level of foot traffic recorded in Melbourne appears to be partly due to the influx of people travelling through the city to attend Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, with the pop superstar’s concert held on 17 March, marking the busiest day in 2024.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

Sydney’s CBD has almost returned to full health, according to the most recent data, but it has been healing in a different shape.

The weekly average number of people heading into the city on Sundays in December was at 137% above pre-pandemic levels, outperforming weekdays for recovery, according to the City of Sydney.

Meanwhile, the weekly average number for December was back to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, with Tuesdays and Fridays the weekdays with the strongest comeback at 81%

A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said there were still people choosing to work from home rather than travelling to the office in the city.

“According to our recent community wellbeing survey, 72% of employed residents surveyed can work from home. Of these, more than half work from home two or three days per week, while one-fifth do so one day a week,” the spokesperson said.

In Melbourne, the sensors that capture pedestrian numbers across the city have seen numbers grow year-on-year since the pandemic.

The biggest increase has been recorded at Melbourne Central and Southern Cross stations, up by 135% and 162% respectively since 2020.

“We’ve had a lot more tourists and people coming out to the city, which is brilliant, but we haven’t see our regular workforce come back as much during the week, which is disappointing,” said David Malaspina, the owner of Pellegrini’s espresso bar on Melbourne’s Bourke Street.

“It seems like Thursdays are our new Fridays though because more people seem to work from home on Fridays now.”

Just outside Melbourne’s CBD, Thais Azevedo, who works at the Queensberry hotel, said the favoured haunt among university students is seeing the opposite effect.

“We’ve had all the students here after class during the week, so that is what keeps us busy,” she said.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia news
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Two injured at Westfield Liverpool after teenager accidentally reverses display car into department store

A man in his 50s and another in his 30s have been taken to hospital after being hit by an SUV at a Sydney shopping centre

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Two people are in hospital after being struck by a display car at a busy shopping centre in Sydney.

A teenager was sitting in the SUV when it accelerated forward and hit a glass panel before it reversed into a department store, New South Wales police said.

The incident happened at Westfield Liverpool at 12.30pm on Saturday.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

A man in his 50s suffered minor head injuries and another in his 30s suffered chest injuries.

Both were taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Police said officers spoke to a 14-year-old boy who later left with a family member.

Images of the incident posted to social media show a red vehicle at a standstill next to a cosmetics counter, with mannequins lying flat on the floor nearby.

SafeWork NSW is investigating and a crime scene has been set up.

Explore more on these topics

  • Sydney
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

United Airlines Boeing plane loses external panel in flight

FAA investigating loss of panel before Boeing 737-800 landed safely in Oregon

The US Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 lost an external panel before landing safely in Oregon.

United flight 433 landed at Medford airport at about 1.45pm on Friday carrying 139 passengers and six crew after departing from San Francisco, the FAA and airline said.

The FAA said a post-landing airline inspection of the 25-year-old plane revealed a missing panel. United said it would also investigate. It said no emergency had been declared because there was no indication of the damage during flight.

“We’ll conduct a thorough examination of the plane and perform all the needed repairs before it returns to service,” the airline said.

Boeing did not comment, directing questions to United Airlines.

FAA records show the plane was built in late 1998. The Rogue Valley Times posted a photo of the plane with the missing panel. Traffic was briefly halted at the airport to search for it.

US flight incidents are getting more attention after a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 in mid-air. Boeing has been under heavy regulatory scrutiny since the 5 January incident, with investigations under way into the company’s safety and quality standards in its production process.

Last week a United Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX rolled off the runway in Houston, prompting investigations; and a United-operated Boeing 777-200 bound for Japan lost a tyre after takeoff from San Francisco and was diverted to Los Angeles where it landed safely.

A United Boeing 737 bound for Florida from Houston on 4 March returned to the airport shortly after takeoff because the engine had taken in plastic bubble wrap that was on the airfield before departure. Social media posts showed flames coming out of the engine.

Explore more on these topics

  • Air transport
  • Airline industry
  • United Airlines
  • Boeing
  • Oregon
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Tropical Cyclone Megan: residents warned to prepare for strong winds and rain as system forms off NT

Bureau of Meteorology expects the cyclone to strengthen to a category-two system overnight and into category three by Sunday evening

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

A tropical cyclone has formed over the Top End, with Territorians warned to prepare for destructive wind gusts, heavy rainfall and potential flooding over coming days.

Tropical Cyclone Megan formed over the Gulf of Carpentaria, east of Groote Eylandt, on Saturday afternoon and was expected to move south-east, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Wind gusts to 120km/h were recorded at the centre of the category-one system on Saturday.

The bureau expected the cyclone to strengthen to a category-two system overnight and into category three by Sunday evening.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

The Alyangula community on Groote Eylandt and people across the Queensland border, including in the town of Borroloola but not Ngukurr, have been urged to prepare their properties and enact household plans.

Sustained winds above 125km/h could intensify on Sunday and could compound the effects of heavy rainfall already expected in the Top End over the weekend.

The heaviest falls were expected on coastal and island locations on Saturday, before reaching further inland into the Carpentaria district on Sunday.

“While [the cyclone] is most likely to cross the coast on Monday it will be slow moving, making both the timing of landfall and intensity at that time quite uncertain,” the bureau said.

The weather event will then weaken once it makes landfall and is likely to move west through the NT as a tropical low, bringing heavy winds and rain.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall has also been issued for people in parts of the Arnhem district, north of the cyclone’s watch zone.

It is the second tropical cyclone to hit the region in as many months.

Last month, ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln crossed the territory’s coast in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria as a category one, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall.

It triggered flood watches and warnings in north-west Queensland, the NT and northern WA before moving offshore.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia weather
  • Northern Territory
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Tropical Cyclone Megan: residents warned to prepare for strong winds and rain as system forms off NT

Bureau of Meteorology expects the cyclone to strengthen to a category-two system overnight and into category three by Sunday evening

  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

A tropical cyclone has formed over the Top End, with Territorians warned to prepare for destructive wind gusts, heavy rainfall and potential flooding over coming days.

Tropical Cyclone Megan formed over the Gulf of Carpentaria, east of Groote Eylandt, on Saturday afternoon and was expected to move south-east, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Wind gusts to 120km/h were recorded at the centre of the category-one system on Saturday.

The bureau expected the cyclone to strengthen to a category-two system overnight and into category three by Sunday evening.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

The Alyangula community on Groote Eylandt and people across the Queensland border, including in the town of Borroloola but not Ngukurr, have been urged to prepare their properties and enact household plans.

Sustained winds above 125km/h could intensify on Sunday and could compound the effects of heavy rainfall already expected in the Top End over the weekend.

The heaviest falls were expected on coastal and island locations on Saturday, before reaching further inland into the Carpentaria district on Sunday.

“While [the cyclone] is most likely to cross the coast on Monday it will be slow moving, making both the timing of landfall and intensity at that time quite uncertain,” the bureau said.

The weather event will then weaken once it makes landfall and is likely to move west through the NT as a tropical low, bringing heavy winds and rain.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall has also been issued for people in parts of the Arnhem district, north of the cyclone’s watch zone.

It is the second tropical cyclone to hit the region in as many months.

Last month, ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln crossed the territory’s coast in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria as a category one, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall.

It triggered flood watches and warnings in north-west Queensland, the NT and northern WA before moving offshore.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia weather
  • Northern Territory
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Mike Pence will not endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

Former Indiana governor and candidate for Republican nomination tells Fox News decision ‘should come as no surprise’

Mike Pence will not endorse for president Donald Trump, the man he served as vice-president for four years but whose supporters chanted for Pence to be hanged as they attacked Congress on January 6.

“It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” the former Indiana governor and former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination told Fox News on Friday.

Asked why, given that he previously promised to endorse the eventual nominee, Pence mentioned 6 January 2021, the day a mob attacked Congress and Trump was reported to have told aides Pence “deserved” to be hanged for refusing to block certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

But Pence placed more emphasis on policies pursued by Trump as he has secured the Republican nomination, a success achieved despite now facing 88 criminal charges under four indictments and suffering multimillion-dollar civil penalties over his business affairs and a rape allegation a judge called “substantially true”.

Pence said he was “incredibly proud of the record of our administration. It was a conservative record that made America more prosperous, more secure, and saw conservatives appointed to our courts in a more peaceful world.

“But that being said, during my presidential campaign” – which he ended in October, months before the first vote, in Iowa – “I made it clear that there were profound differences between me and President Trump on a range of issues, and not just our difference on my constitutional duties that I exercised on January 6.

“As I have watched his candidacy unfold, I’ve seen him walking away from our commitment to confronting the national debt. I’ve seen him starting to shy away from a commitment to the sanctity of human life.”

The US national debt ballooned under Trump and Pence.

On abortion rights, the supreme court to which Trump appointed three rightwingers did remove federal rights in 2022. But Republicans have since suffered a succession of election defeats as Democrats campaign on the issue.

As Trump claims credit for appointing those justices, Democrats are positioning to make reproductive rights a central issue in November.

Pence also cited Trump’s “reversal” on “getting tough on China and supporting our administration’s effort to force the sale of … TikTok”.

Pence refused to speculate on why Trump has come out against forcing the sale by ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company.

He said: “What I can tell you is that in each of these cases, Donald Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on during our four years.

“And that’s why I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump in this campaign.”

Most of Trump’s former rivals for the Republican nomination have now endorsed him. The last to drop out, the former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, has not.

Opponents of Trump welcomed Pence’s decision not to endorse.

Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who retired from Congress over his opposition to Trump, said simply: “Good job Mike Pence.”

Tommy Vietor, an aide to Barack Obama turned political commentator, said: “I did not expect this from Mike Pence. Credit to him for showing some backbone. This is a big deal.”

But Pence, who has outlined plans to spend $20m this year in an attempt to shape the conservative agenda, told Fox News he would not vote for Biden.

“I’m a Republican,” he said. “How I vote when that curtain closes, that’ll be for me.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Mike Pence
  • Donald Trump
  • US elections 2024
  • US politics
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Scientists divided over whether record heat is acceleration of climate crisis

Some believe global anomalies are in line with predictions but others are more concerned by speed of change

Record temperatures in 2024 on land and at sea have prompted scientists to question whether these anomalies are in line with predicted global heating patterns or if they represent a concerning acceleration of climate breakdown.

Heat above the oceans remains persistently, freakishly high, despite a weakening of El Niño, which has been one of the major drivers of record global temperatures over the past year.

Scientists are divided about the extraordinary temperatures of marine air. Some stress that current trends are within climate model projections of how the world will warm as a result of human burning of fossil fuels and forests. Others are perplexed and worried by the speed of change because the seas are the Earth’s great heat moderator and absorb more than 90% of anthropogenic warming.

Earlier this month, the World Meteorological Organization announced that El Niño, a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with the warming of the Pacific Ocean, had peaked and there was an 80% chance of it fading completely between April and June, although its knock-on effects would continue.

The WMO secretary general, Celeste Saulo, said El Niño contributed to making 2023 easily the warmest year on record, although the main culprit was emissions from fossil fuels.

When it came to oceans, she said, the picture was murkier and more disturbing: “The January 2024 sea surface temperature was by far the highest on record for January. This is worrying and can not be explained by El Niño alone.”

Sea surface temperatures in February were also hotter than any month in history, breaking the record set last August, according to Europe’s Copernicus satellite monitoring programme.

Worldwide, the heat above the land and sea was remarkable. Between 8 and 11 February, global temperatures were more than 2C above the 1850-1900 average. Over the month as a whole, Europe experienced heat that was 3.3C above that benchmark.

Carlo Buontempo, the director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said it was a taste of what was to come because of the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: “Unless we manage to stabilise those, we will inevitably face new global temperature records and their consequences.”

Heat records are becoming the norm, but the extent of the anomaly above the seas has prompted concern.

Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s most influential climatologists, said no climate model accurately predicted how high sea surface temperatures would reach during the past 12 months. Given the continued heat over the sea, he said 2024 was likely to be another unusually hot year for the world as a whole.

The anomaly is strongest in the North Atlantic, where Brian McNoldy, a climatologist at the University of Miami, calculated the deviation from statistical averages as a one-in-284,000-year event. “It has been record-breaking warm for an entire year, often by seemingly impossible margins,” he tweeted. He has described the trends as “deeply troubling”.

Zeke Hausfather, a scientist at Berkeley Earth in the US, said global sea and surface temperatures were “quite high” but he said they were still well within the projections of climate models: “We don’t have any strong evidence yet from observations that suggests the world is warming faster than anticipated given human emissions.”

The impacts on corals and other forms of marine life are incalculable. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its fifth mass bleaching event in eight years. Meteorologists warn that high surface temperatures may also presage a longer and more active hurricane season.

Raúl Cordero, a climate professor at the University of Groningen and the University of Santiago, said the growing possibility of a cooling La Niña between June and August could bring respite from the global heat, but this would only be temporary: “All recent temperature records will likely be broken sooner rather than later. The situation will continue to deteriorate until we halt the burning of fossil fuels.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Climate science
  • Climate crisis
  • Oceans
  • El Niño southern oscillation
  • Extreme weather
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Squid Game actor O Yeong-su convicted of sexual harassment

The 79-year-old actor who won a Golden Globe for his role as Oh II-nam on the hit Netflix show has been handed a suspended prison sentence

The South Korean actor O Yeong-su, who starred in the first season of the hit Netflix series Squid Game, was convicted on Friday on charges of sexual harassment and handed a suspended prison sentence, a court official said.

The Seongnam branch of the Suwon district court sentenced O to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 40 hours of attendance at a sexual violence treatment programme, the court official said by telephone.

The 79-year-old actor, who was charged with two counts of sexual harassment in 2017, had denied the accusations.

As he was leaving the court, O told reporters he planned to appeal against the decision. He has seven days to appeal or the ruling will be upheld.

He was accused of inappropriately touching a female actor, including hugging her, holding her hand and kissing her cheek. He had previously said he held the woman’s hand while guiding her around a lake. “I apologised because [the person] said she wouldn’t make a fuss about it but it doesn’t mean that I admit the charges,” he said.

O was indicted in 2022 and prosecutors had previously sought a sentence of one year in prison, according to media reports.

Womenlink, a women’s rights group in South Korea, welcomed the ruling and urged O to apologise to the victim.

“The defendant resembles other offenders of sexual violence in theatre in the past who tried to cover up their sexual violence as ‘favour’ and ‘friendship’,” the group said in a post on X.

O won best supporting actor in television at the Golden Globes for his role in Squid Game in 2022, becoming the first South Korean to snatch the award.

He played the elderly character Oh II-nam, one of the main antagonists of the first season.

The controversy over the accusations of sexual harassment saw him dropping out of an upcoming film in South Korea.

  • Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse issues is available from the following organisations. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 500 2222. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html.

Explore more on these topics

  • Squid Game
  • Netflix
  • South Korea
  • Asia Pacific
  • Sexual harassment
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Billie Piper says she dislikes discussing ex-husband Laurence Fox’s comments

Actor also says dealing with press headlines about Fox’s remarks has made her ‘stronger’

Billie Piper has said she dislikes being told or asked about her ex-husband Laurence Fox’s incendiary comments.

However, Piper, 41, who was married to the actor turned political campaigner from 2007 until 2016, believes dealing with press headlines over his remarks had made her “feel stronger in many ways”.

They have two sons together, Winston and Eugene.

The Doctor Who actor told British Vogue she “had to make some choices and a divorce speaks for itself” and that Fox’s family, including sister Lydia Fox and her husband, Richard Ayoade, “might have a more interesting take” on him.

Fox, 45, was sacked as a presenter on GB News last year after “misogynistic” comments he made about journalist Ava Evans, which were found by the regulator Ofcom to have broken broadcasting rules.

The remarks in September by Fox, the leader of the rightwing Reclaim party – in which he asked, “Who would want to shag that?” in reference to Evans – received 8,867 complaints.

Piper, who appears in the upcoming Netflix film Scoop about the infamous Newsnight interview with the Duke of York in 2019, said she has handled Fox hitting the headlines with “enormous difficulty”.

She said: “I close everything down and keep a very strict routine with the kids so that there’s consistency. I keep them close. That’s all I can do.

“I try to keep people from telling me stuff but it’s really, really hard. I don’t read it but everyone wants to talk about it.

“Sometimes I have to say to people: ‘Please don’t bring this to me, now or ever.’”

Piper added: “It’s made me feel stronger in many ways.

“I’ve learned I have a lot of resilience I didn’t know I had. I’ve had to learn the hard way that you can only control yourself and how you react to things. It’s really fucking hard … I hate that.”

Fox responded to Piper’s comments in a lengthy statement on X.

The campaigner said: “The reality is that not all marriages work out and the world isn’t perfect.”

Speaking about his children, he added: “My only focus these past years has been to be present in their lives and be a loving dad.

“I’m not perfect, but I’ve done my absolute best to put the kids first … I take full responsibility for my role in the breakdown of our marriage. It takes two to tango, as they say.”

Piper is now in a relationship with Tribes lead singer Johnny Lloyd, with whom she shares a daughter called Tallulah.

Explore more on these topics

  • Billie Piper
  • Laurence Fox
  • news
Share

Reuse this content