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Commonly overlooked estate planning matters

<p>Estate planning is a complex business, making it easy to overlook some important considerations, potentially with costly results.</p> <p>Aside from basic issues like forgotten assets (always keep written records) and inaccurate details (double check everything before signing), seven of the most commonly disregarded estate planning matters are as follows:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Wills</strong></li> </ol> <p>Unlike many younger people, for over sixties the more common issue is not the lack of a will, but one which is out of date.</p> <p>Out-of-date wills complicate matters for executors, can delay probate for your beneficiaries, and may not reflect your true wishes (imagine inadvertently leaving everything to your ex or omitting one or more grandkids!).</p> <p>Update your will as your circumstances change – relationships (divorce, new partner etc), births and deaths, adult children getting married or divorced, exiting a business, asset sales, and so on.</p> <p>Retirement often brings its own changes too – e.g. a sea or tree change, new boat or caravan – which also should be updated in your will.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong>Letter of wishes</strong></li> </ol> <p>Wills are typically not read until after a funeral. As such, a letter of wishes is a useful addition for loved ones to have accessible immediately after your death.</p> <p>It can cover everything from funeral arrangements, burial vs cremation, and where you wish to be laid to rest to outlining intentions longer term, such as how any underage children are to be raised and educated, or care arrangements for any pets.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>Super beneficiaries</strong></li> </ol> <p>One of the biggest myths about superannuation is that it is covered by your will. </p> <p>Super is treated separately, meaning you must nominate your beneficiaries within your super fund. And update them as circumstances change.</p> <p>This can be useful for blended families – leaving your super to children/grandchildren from a past relationship without encroaching on the assets of your current partner.</p> <p>Without nominating beneficiaries, the funds could go somewhere else entirely – even to government coffers.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong>Advanced Health Directive (a ‘living will’)</strong></li> </ol> <p>Estate planning doesn’t just cover your wishes once you’re gone. Yet people often focus solely on this aspect and overlook how they want to be looked after in the event of ill health or injury preventing them from being able to make decisions (e.g. stroke, terminal illness, severe accident).</p> <p>An Advanced Health Directive can express your wishes and values on everything from life support and resuscitation to palliative care, medical treatments, and who you wish to be able to speak on your behalf. </p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong>Insurances</strong></li> </ol> <p>Rarely do people have adequate insurance coverage for their needs.</p> <p>There are insurances in super, which may cover death and permanent disability. Insurance of assets. Income protection insurance. And health insurance.</p> <p>It’s important to right-size your insurance for your current needs and adapt that cover as your circumstances change. That means:</p> <ul> <li>Taking out new policies for new assets and investments.</li> <li>Updating policy inclusions and exclusions, such as relating to age.</li> <li>Cancelling insurances you no longer need (e.g. sold assets or professional indemnity once you retire).</li> </ul> <ol start="6"> <li><strong>Tax implications</strong></li> </ol> <p>Because Australia has no inheritance tax, many people are lulled into a false sense of complicity over tax implications in estate planning matters.</p> <p>However, beneficiaries can be liable for both Capital Gains Tax and income tax on inherited assets – potentially outweighing the value of those assets altogether.</p> <p>Additionally, your own tax status should be considered. For instance, you may be paying more tax by holding an income-producing asset rather than transferring ownership to a loved one before you pass away.</p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong>Tailored professional advice</strong></li> </ol> <p>DIY will kits, self-titled “expert” authors, and avoiding advisers to save money overlook the true value of tailored, professional advice given the complexity of estate planning.</p> <p>You don’t know what you don’t know, meaning the margin for error is huge. And when it comes to money, tax and estate law, errors can be expensive indeed.</p> <p>A good lawyer, accountant and financial adviser can more than pay for themselves by helping you avoid overpaying taxes, complex legal disputes, insufficient asset protections and lost wealth creation opportunities.</p> <p>And given estate planning is ultimately about peace of mind, can you – or your family – really afford to overlook such valuable insight?</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em><strong>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au/">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a> </strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Disclaimer: The information in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal financial or product advice. Any opinions or views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations the owner may be associated with in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Helen Baker is an authorised representative of BPW Partners Pty Ltd AFSL 548754.</strong></em></p>

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Michael Schumacher’s family's huge legal victory

<p>Michael Schumacher's family are celebrating a big win against a German magazine, after they published what they claimed was an "exclusive interview" but was actually AI-generated. </p> <p>The family have received a compensation payment of 200,000 euros ($327,065 AUD) more than a year after the magazine printed the fake interview with the Formula One legend. </p> <p>In April 2023, Schumacher appeared on the front cover of German publication Die Aktuelle under the headline, “Michael Schumacher, the first interview”.</p> <p>The publishers left a very small hint on the page that the article wasn't real, although adding that the interview “sounded deceptively real”.</p> <p>The article seemed to be a real interview, featuring artificial "quotes" from Schumacher about his health and his family. </p> <p>However, Schumacher has famously not been seen publicly since his ill-fated skiing accident in the French alps in December 2013, and his health battle has been kept intensely private by his family. </p> <p>But the article appeared to say otherwise, with one of there fake quotes reading, "I can, with the help of my team, actually stand by myself and even slowly walk a few steps.”</p> <p>“My wife and my children were a blessing to me and without them I would not have managed it. Naturally they are also very sad, how it has all happened."</p> <p>“They support me and are standing firmly at my side.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for the Schumacher family confirmed to Reuters the $327,065 judgement had been made against Funke Mediengruppe, the owners of the magazine.</p> <p>Funke Mediengruppe apologised to the family in the aftermath of the article and the editor of Die Aktuelle was sacked two days after it was published.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Attila Kisbenedek/EPA & HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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Riley Keough fights Graceland foreclosure sale

<p>Elvis Presley's granddaughter Riley Keough has taken legal action against a company's plan to publicly auction Graceland estate in Memphis county, after she accused them of providing "fraudulent" documents. </p> <p>A public notice for a foreclosure sale of the 13-acre estate was posted in early May said that Promenade Trust, the company which controls the Graceland museum, owed $US3.8 million ($5.7 million) after failing to repay a 2018 loan.</p> <p>Keough's late mother, Lisa Marie Presley, allegedly signed the deed of trust and used Graceland as collateral. </p> <p>Naussany Investments and Private Lending, a Missouri-based company who managed the loan, claims that Lisa Marie failed to repay the loan. </p> <p>A public auction for the estate had been scheduled for Thursday this week, but a judge has blocked the sale after Keough sought a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit. </p> <p>In the lawsuit, Keough asserts that her mother never borrowed any money, and alleged that Lisa Marie’s signatures were forged and that Naussany Investments isn’t even a legitimate company.</p> <p>"Lisa Maria Presley never borrowed money from Naussany Investments and never gave a deed of trust to Naussany Investments," Keough's lawyer wrote in a lawsuit.</p> <p>“These documents are fraudulent.</p> <p>“Furthermore, the notary listed on the documents denies notarising Lisa Marie’s signature or ever meeting her.”</p> <p>A source told <em>The New York Post</em> that Keough is “traumatised” at what has unfolded and “never thought that a historic piece of property could even be considered to go into the hands of any random stranger”.</p> <p>An injunction hearing is set for Wednesday. </p> <p>Elvis bought the Graceland estate in 1957. After his death in 1977, his daughter Lisa Marie Presley inherited it and opened it up as a public museum five years later. After her death last year, her daughter Riley Keough became the heir. </p> <p><em>Image: Carl Timpone/BFA.com/ Shutterstock Editorial</em></p> <p> </p>

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Scarlett Johansson slams tech giant's AI update

<p>Scarlett Johansson has issued a furious public statement, claiming that tech giant OpenAI used a voice that is “eerily similar” to hers in the latest version of ChatGPT.</p> <p>In the statement published by <em>NPR</em>, the actress claimed that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman had approached her last year asking if she would be interested in voicing their new AI voice assistant. </p> <p>After further consideration and "for personal reasons" she rejected the offer. </p> <p>She claimed that Altman then reached out to her agent again just days before the AI voice assistant was released, but before she had a chance to respond, the voice "Sky" was released. </p> <p>“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference,” she said in the statement. </p> <p>She also said that the similarity seemed intentional, as Altman tweeted the word "her" upon Sky's release, which is the same name as a 2013 movie she was in where she voiced a chat system. </p> <p>“In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity,” the actress said in her statement. </p> <p>“I look forward to resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected.”</p> <p>OpenAI announced that it had paused the use of the “Sky” voice on Sunday, and insisted that it wasn't Johansson's voice, but another actress. </p> <p>“We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice — Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” the company wrote.</p> <p><em>Image: Alessandro Bremec/NurPhoto/ Shutterstock Editorial</em></p> <p> </p>

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World No.1 golfer breaks silence after bizarre arrest

<p>World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has broken his silence after he was arrested and charged by police on Friday, ahead of the second round of the PGA Championships. </p> <p>Scheffler was detained by Louisville Metro police, after he drove onto a curb to try and get around a fatal accident that occurred in front of the Valhalla Golf Club. </p> <p>Earlier that morning, a man who was working  for a vendor at the tournament, was hit and killed by a shuttle bus while attempting to cross the street near the golf club.</p> <p>The tragic incident caused the road to close in both directions, but Scheffler reportedly “refused to comply and accelerated forward” when Detective Bryan Gillis stopped the golfer to give instructions.</p> <p>The police report obtained by <em>ESPN </em>also said that the detective who stopped him “suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee." </p> <p>Scheffler was charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic and was released almost four hours later. </p> <p>He returned to the golf course and issued a statement on the incident before completing his second round. </p> <p>“This morning I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” Scheffler began.</p> <p>“It was a very chaotic situation, understandably considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier and there was a big misunderstand of what I thought I was being asked to do.</p> <p>“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.</p> <p>“I am hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.</p> <p>“Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything into perspective.”</p> <p>After completing the second round, he spoke further about the incident and said: “My head is still kind of spinning, I can’t really explain what happened this morning." </p> <p>He also recalled stretching and doing his warm-ups in the jail cell, in attempt to lower his heart rate. </p> <p>“I was never angry. I was just in shock, and I think my body was just -- I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour. It was definitely a new feeling for me," he said.</p> <p>An officer even offered him a sandwich. </p> <p>“I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll take a sandwich’. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I mean, they were really kind. I’m grateful that we have such strong police, and they’re our protectors out there, and like I said, we just got into a chaotic situation this morning. That’s really all it was," he recalled. </p> <p>Scheffler’s lawyer Steve Romines said that there was a bit of confusion as the officer directing traffic didn’t appear to be part of the tournament traffic detail “and that’s where the miscommunication arose”.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">He also said that they will be pleading not guilty and told </span><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The Golf Channel </em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">that charges against Scheffler “will either be dropped or we will go to trial because Scottie didn’t do anything wrong.</span></p> <p>“We’re not interested in any sort of settlement negotiations or anything like that. It was just a big miscommunication.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

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$2 billion lotto win tears family apart

<p>A man who won one of the biggest lottery jackpots in American history has been accused of cutting his family out of their promised share after winning $2 billion (AUD) in the Mega Millions jackpot. </p> <p>The unidentified man has been in a legal battle with his daughter’s mum since November, after he accused her of violating a nondisclosure agreement by telling the rest of the family about his fortune before their daughter's 18th birthday in 2032, according to the Independent. </p> <p>He bought the winning ticket in Lebanon, Maine on January 13 2023. </p> <p>The mum – identified by a pseudonym, Sara Smith – claimed that he was the one who told his family about his lotto winnings, not her. </p> <p>The man's father supported Smith's claim and said that his son told him about the win and all the things he planned to do with his new-found fortune, which he collected through an LLC in a lump sum of over $750 million. </p> <p>“February or March of 2023, my son came to my house … and informed me and my wife that he won a large amount of money in the Maine State Lottery,” his father wrote in new court documents. </p> <p>“I understand that my son has stated that he told me nothing about his money ‘other than the simple fact that I had won’,” the dad wrote. “That is not true.”</p> <p>He also claimed that he didn't ask his son for any money, but the lotto-winner allegedly made a bunch of promises, including building his dad a garage to fix up old cars, buying his childhood home, setting up a million-dollar trust fund and funding future medical expenses for his dad and stepmum.</p> <p>The lotto-winner also allegedly demanded his father to not talk to Smith. </p> <p>"I told him … ‘You are not the son I knew’,” his dad wrote in the filing.</p> <p>“He got angry, calling me a ‘dictator’ and an ‘a**ehole’. I have not heard from my son since, and he has not done any of [the] things he promised.”</p> <p>The half-billionaire refuted his dad and Smith's claims. </p> <p>“I made the mistake of telling my father that I had won the lottery without having him sign a confidentiality agreement,” he wrote. </p> <p>“Our relationship deteriorated quickly thereafter,” he continued.</p> <p>“I did not tell him what I was doing with my money, how I was going to benefit my daughter, or any facts other than the simple fact that I had won.” </p> <p>He also accused his ex-partner of trying to reveal his identity to the world and that she wrongly accused him of trying to kidnap their daughter after he refused to pay for her and her new boyfriend's vacation. </p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

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Hollywood legend targeted on the street in unprovoked attack

<p>During an increase in unprovoked attacks in New York City, a Hollywood A-lister has been targeted in broad daylight. </p> <p>Actor Steve Buscemi was strolling through Kips Bay in mid-town Manhattan last Wednesday when a man walked up and struck the actor in an attack just before midday.</p> <p>The attack on the 66-year-old star is one of the latest unprovoked assaults in the five boroughs, law enforcement sources told <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/12/us-news/boardwalk-empire-star-steve-buscemi-attacked-by-rock-wielding-maniac-in-nyc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The New York Post</em></a>.</p> <p>The actor, who starred in <em>Fargo</em> and <em>Boardwalk Empire</em>, suffered swelling to his face and left eye and was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.</p> <p>His attacker fled the scene and is still at large, according to police. </p> <p>“Steve Buscemi was assaulted in Mid-Town Manhattan, another victim of a random act of violence in the city,” Buscemi’s publicist said in a statement to <em>The Post</em>.</p> <p>“He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to while also walking the streets of New York.”</p> <p>A worker in the area who witnessed part of the assault told the publication, “I saw he was with a woman, and then through the corner of the window I saw him trip and fall backwards.”</p> <p>“He right away got up and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t see who hit him."</p> <p>“It worries me for when we close because we close at 11 and it can get scary around that time,” said the woman.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / NYCPD</em></p>

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“Is that Snoop Dog?!”: Man caught with fake passenger in carpool lane

<p>A US motorist has been handed a traffic infringement after police found him using a dummy to drive in the carpool lane. </p> <p>Not only did his hilarious attempt to bypass morning traffic with the fake passenger whose goatee was "just a little too sharp" get him fined, he helped authorities answer the common question: “If I have a mannequin in the passenger seat, does that count as a second occupant in the vehicle? </p> <p>"The answer is simple… NO."</p> <p>According to an Instagram post shared by the California Highway Patrol Santa Fe Spring, authorities stopped the unnamed driver for crossing a double line when they noticed the plastic passenger. </p> <p>"Officer Kaplan made an enforcement stop on this vehicle for crossing solid double lines only to realise the driver was the only occupant in the vehicle with their plastic friend," they wrote. </p> <p>The mannequin in question had a human-like mask, sported a hoodie and sunglasses, and was seated upright with his seatbelt buckled in just like any other passenger. </p> <p>And he would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for the fake facial hair. </p> <p>"The goatee was sharp … just a little too sharp," they shared. </p> <p>"We've gotta give it to them, the appearance is next-level modelling but at the end of the day ... plastic is plastic." </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C6K7Thkr2CO/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by CHP Santa Fe Springs (@chp_santa_fe_springs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The driver was issued with a number of citations for carpool violations, but many online commenters shared their amusement at the light-hearted nature of the traffic violation. </p> <p>"Is that snoop dog?!" wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Leave Stevie wonder alone," joked another. </p> <p>"I really don’t see a problem here because most people are fake and have lots of plastic on them anyways," quipped a third. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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Woman fined after paid car park gets set up around her parked vehicle

<p>Josephine Williams had been leaving her car in a gravel clearing at Westgate in Auckland, alongside other commuters to catch the bus into the city for months. </p> <p>The New Zealand woman was left with a "nasty surprise" when she returned from work on Monday to find a NZ $85 ($77) fine sitting on her windshield. </p> <p>"To my unfortunate surprise - and many others - I was greeted by an $85 parking ticket for a breach and a flyer from Wilson Parking saying paid parking had started that day," Williams told <em>Stuff</em>.</p> <p>"But what breach exactly was made? How was I supposed to know paid parking started that day when there was nothing at all displayed anywhere in the car park?"</p> <p>Williams claimed that the Wilson Parking car park had been set up around her already parked car, even providing dash cam footage that showed her pulling into the gravel clearing at 7.45am, with no paid parking signs or Wilson branding in sight. </p> <p>By 6pm, a large red and white Wilson sign had been put up at the entrance, with "12 hours for $4" written on it. </p> <p>"Wilson deliberately put their sign up sometime after 9am and then took it upon themselves to fine every single car that was already parked there from the morning," Williams said.</p> <p>"$85 is a lot of money - it would have been two weeks' worth of grocery shopping for me," she added. </p> <p>"I'm lucky that I know the law and my rights, but some other people might not. What about students or the elderly or people who don't know English well?"</p> <p>She estimated that there was usually around 50 and 100 cars in the gravel clearing. </p> <p>Wilson argued that the carpark was always there and they had just added more signage, but have since waived Williams' fine after she lodged a request to have it reviewed by Parking Enforcement Services. </p> <p>Wilson Parking also said that they had started to set up the car park and installed a "clear signage" on April 22. </p> <p>"It was not set up around parked cars on 29 April as suggested," a Wilson spokesperson said.</p> <p>"Several payments were made by customers via the Parkmate app from 22 April proving that signage on the site was clear and effective," they said.</p> <p>They added that on April 29 more signs were added to all entry points of the car park. </p> <p>"In acknowledgment of the increased signage added on the 29th at the entry we've made the decision to refund all payments made until 30 April and waive any breach notices issued up to this date."</p> <p>They also denied issuing any breach notices before the signs were put up.</p> <p>"Payment options were available and signed from 22 April - but no infringement notices were issued prior to the 29th."</p> <p><em>Images: Stuff</em></p> <p> </p>

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AstraZeneca admits to Covid vaccine's deadly side effect

<p>AstraZeneca has admitted that their Covid vaccine carries a very rare but deadly side effect, as "dozens" of class-action lawsuits pile up. </p> <p>The UK pharmaceutical giant could be facing damages of up to $38 million, as lawyers representing complainants whose loved ones who were injured or killed from the jab called the vaccine "defective". </p> <p>Those who received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine could be susceptible to a rare and potentially blood clotting disorder called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS, in which patients suffer from blood clots as well as a low blood platelet count. </p> <p>While the side effect is rare, recent research from RMIT University and Monash University found Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout likely prevented the death of 17,760 people aged over 50 in New South Wales between August 2021 and July 2022, with some researchers suggesting that AstraZeneca alone helped saved as many as six million lives worldwide, according to the <a title="nypost.com" href="https://nypost.com/2024/04/29/world-news/astrazeneca-cops-to-rare-deadly-side-effect-of-covid-jab-as-lawsuits-mount/"><em>New York Post</em>.</a></p> <p>AstraZeneca, which is contesting the claims, acknowledged in a February legal document that its vaccine can “in very rare cases,” cause the clotting condition, while also acknowledging that the potential complication was listed as a side effect of the vaccine since its release.</p> <p>So far, 51 cases have been filed in London’s High Court, estimated to be worth around $190 million (GBP100 million) total, according to the UK newspaper<a title="www.telegraph.co.uk" href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/04/28/astrazeneca-admits-covid-vaccine-causes-rare-side-effect/"> <em>The Telegraph</em></a>.</p> <p>However, thanks to a deal struck between AstraZeneca and the UK government during the worst of the pandemic, the drugmaker has been pre-emptively indemnified against future lawsuits – which means any successful claims for payouts will be born by taxpayers.</p> <p>One of the claimants is father-of-two Jamie Scott, who was left with a permanent brain injury after suffering a clot following receiving the vaccine in April 2021. </p> <p>His wife, Kate, told <a title="www.telegraph.co.uk" href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/04/28/astrazeneca-admits-covid-vaccine-causes-rare-side-effect/"><em>The Telegraph</em> </a>she’s hopeful the company’s admission will accelerate the outcome of their case.</p> <p>“We need an apology, fair compensation for our family and other families who have been affected. We have the truth on our side, and we are not going to give up.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Property tycoon sentenced to death over $27 billion fraud

<p>A Vietnamese billionaire was sentenced to death on Thursday in one of the biggest corruption cases in history, an estimated $27 billion in damages - a figure equivalent to six percent of the country’s 2023 GDP. </p> <p>Truong My Lan, chair of major developer Van Thinh Phat, was found guilty of embezzlement, after looting from one of the country's biggest banks, Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) for over a decade. </p> <p>“The defendant’s actions... eroded people’s trust in the leadership of the (Communist) Party and state,” the verdict read at the trial in Ho Chi Minh City. </p> <p>After a five-week trial, 85 others were also charged for their involvement in the fraud, with charges ranging from from bribery and abuse of power to appropriation and violations of banking law. </p> <p>Four were given life imprisonment, while others received jail terms ranging between 20 years and three years suspended. Lan's husband was Hong Kong billionaire Eric Chu Nap Kee, was sentenced to nine years in prison.</p> <p>Lan and the others were arrested as part of a national corruption crackdown.</p> <p>Lan was initially believed to have embezzled $12.5 billion, but on Thursday prosecutors have said that the total damages caused by the fraud now amounted to $27 billion. </p> <p>The property tycoon was convicted of taking out $44bn in loans from the bank, according to the <em>BBC</em>, with prosecutors saying that $27 billion of this may never be recovered. </p> <p>The court ordered Lan to to pay almost the entire damages sum in compensation. </p> <p>It is also <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-68778636" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> that she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime. </p> <p>“In my desperation, I thought of death,” Lan said in her final remarks to the court, according to state media. </p> <p>“I am so angry that I was stupid enough to get involved in this very fierce business environment -- the banking sector -- which I have little knowledge of.”</p> <p>Police have identified around 42,000 victims of the scam, and many of them were unhappy with the verdict. </p> <p>One 67-year-old Hanoi resident told the AFP that she had hoped Lan would receive a life sentence so she could fully witness the devastating impact of her actions. </p> <p>“Many people worked hard to deposit money into the bank, but now she’s received the death sentence and that’s it for her,” they said. </p> <p>“She can’t see the suffering of the people.”</p> <p>The resident has so far been unable to retrieve the $120,000 she invested with SCB. </p> <p>Police have said that many of the victims are SCB bondholders, who cannot withdraw their money and have not received interest or principal payments since Lan’s arrest. </p> <p>Authorities have also reportedly seized over 1000 properties belonging to Lan. </p> <p><em>Image: Twitter</em></p> <p> </p>

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Do parolees really ‘walk free’? Busting common myths about parole

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>Parole is a hot topic in politics and in the media at the moment, fuelled by several high-profile parole applications.</p> <p>Recently, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/no-parole-for-convicted-baby-killer-keli-lane/xoykrtvxe?cid=testtwitter">Keli Lane’s</a> attempt to be released on parole after years in jail for the murder of her baby daughter was unsuccessful. <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/how-frankston-serial-killer-paul-denyer-will-apply-for-bail/news-story/4613d1b3fced1f4aeaa9c4e08e8b81e0">Paul Denyer</a>, known as the “Frankston Serial Killer” for murdering three women in the 90s was also denied parole.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Snowtown accomplice <a href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-sa/bodies-in-the-barrels-helper-mark-haydon-released-on-parole/news-story/fdfbbbe7b59267d8009c6910249de585">Mark Haydon</a> was granted parole with strict conditions, but is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-01/snowtown-accomplice-mark-haydon-still-in-custody-after-parole/103653934">yet to be</a> released.</p> <p>Some media coverage of such well-known cases is littered with myths about what parole is, how it’s granted and what it looks like. Here’s what the evidence says about three of the most common misconceptions.</p> <h2>Myth 1: people on parole walk free</h2> <p>Parole is the conditional release of an incarcerated person (parolee) by a parole board authority, after they have served their non-parole period (minimum sentence) in jail. This isn’t always reflected in headlines.</p> <p><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/snowtown-murders-bodies-in-barrels-murders-mark-haydon-release-south-australia/f4b62a72-ec3d-4238-94d2-64697fbcdef3">Some coverage</a> suggests people on parole are released early and “walk free” without conditions. This is not true.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/what-parole/purpose-and-benefits">Adult Parole Board of Victoria</a>: "Parole provides incarcerated people with a structured, supported and supervised transition so that they can adjust from prison back into the community, rather than returning straight to the community at the end of their sentence without supervision or support."</p> <p>Parole comes with strict conditions and requirements, such as curfews, drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring, program participation, to name a few.</p> <p>People with experience of parole highlight its punitivism and continued extension of surveillance.</p> <h2>Myth 2: most parolees reoffend</h2> <p>Another myth is that the likelihood all parolees reoffend is high. Research over a number of years has consistently found parole reduces reoffending.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004865815585393?journalCode=anja">a 2016 study in New South Wales</a> found at the 12 month mark, a group of parolees reoffended 22% less than an unsupervised cohort.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Publications/CJB/2022-Report-Effect-of-parole-supervision-on-recidivism-CJB245.pdf">2022 study</a> by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found parole was especially successful in reducing serious recidivism rates among incarcerated people considered to be at a high risk of reoffending.</p> <p>More recently in Victoria, <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">the Adult Parole Board</a> found over 2022–23, no parolees were convicted of committing serious offences while on parole.</p> <p>In contrast, unstructured and unconditional release increases the risk of returning to prison.</p> <h2>Myth 3: parole is easy to get</h2> <p>While the number of parolees reoffending has dropped, so too has the total number of people who are exiting prison on parole.</p> <p>Over a decade ago, Victoria underwent significant parole reforms, largely prompted by high-profile incidents and campaigns. In just five years following Jill Meagher’s tragic death in 2012, the Victorian government passed <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10345329.2018.1556285">13 laws reshaping parole</a>.</p> <p>The result is the number of people on parole in Victoria has halved since 2012, despite incarceration numbers remaining steady.</p> <p><iframe id="maNRy" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/maNRy/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>These reforms have made it more difficult for people convicted of serious offences to get parole, as well as preventing individuals or specific groups from being eligible for parole (such as police killers, <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-body-no-parole-laws-could-be-disastrous-for-the-wrongfully-convicted-191083">“no body, no parole” prisoners</a>, and certain high-profile murderers).</p> <p>Similar laws can be found in other states. For example, no body, no parole was introduced in all other Australian states and territories, except for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.</p> <p>As a consequence, more people are being released at the end of their full sentence. This can be detrimental not only for the incarcerated person but the wider community, because they are not receiving the reintegration support parole provides.</p> <p>Aside from restricted access due to political intervention, parole is facing a new crisis, which has nothing to do with eligibility or suitability.</p> <p>Last year, 40% of Victorian parole applications were denied, often due to reasons <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">unrelated to suitability</a>.</p> <p>Housing scarcity played a significant role, with 59% of rejections (or 235 applications) citing a lack of suitable accommodation as one of the reasons parole was denied. This is playing out <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-11/women-on-bail-parole-increased-risk-of-homelessness-qld/102717002">across the country</a>.</p> <p>Parole is vulnerable to community and media hype, and political knee-jerk reactions in response to high profile incidents involving a person on parole. Because of the actions of a few, parole as a process has been restricted for many.</p> <p>While the wider community are active in advocacy efforts to restrict parole from certain people or groups (for example, this petition for <a href="https://www.change.org/p/lyns-law-no-body-no-parole">Lyn’s Law in NSW</a>), public efforts to restrict parole seem at odds with its purposes.</p> <p>Despite this, research suggests when the public are educated about the purposes and intent of parole, they are more likely to be <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3125829">supportive of it</a>.</p> <p>The susceptibility of parole to media and community influence results in frequent, impactful changes affecting individuals inside and outside prisons. Headlines such as “walking free” have the potential to mislead the public on the purpose and structure of parole. Coverage should portray parole beyond mere early termination of a sentence by accurately reflecting its purpose and impact.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226607/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, Lecturer, Criminology &amp; Justice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, Associate Lecturer in Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, Lecturer - Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, Associate Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, Associate Dean, Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-parolees-really-walk-free-busting-common-myths-about-parole-226607">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Rebel Wilson exposes A-lister who "threatened" her over book release

<p>Rebel Wilson has slammed a Hollywood A-lister for allegedly threatening her over the release of her new memoir. </p> <p>The Aussie actress is set to release her autobiography <em>Rebel Rising</em> on April 2nd, which details her rise to stardom from Australia to the US. </p> <p>In the book, she has dedicated a chapter to one particular actor who she had an unfortunate experience with on the set of a movie in 2014. </p> <p>Now, Rebel claims Sacha Baron-Cohen, husband of Aussie actress Isla Fisher, has "threatened" her about the release of such information in the upcoming book. </p> <p>Taking to her Instagram, Rebel named and shamed the actor, writing, “I will not be bullied or silenced with high priced lawyer or PR crisis managers. The ‘a**hole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is Sacha Baron Cohen.”</p> <p>"Now the a**hole is trying to threaten me. He’s trying to stop press coming out about my new book. But the book WILL come out and you will all know the truth.”</p> <p>Sacha Baron-Cohen was quick to release a statement in response to the allegations, with his representative sharing the statement with <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2024/03/25/rebel-wilson-calls-out-sacha-baron-cohen-book-memoir/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>TMZ</em></a>. </p> <p>“While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby,” the statement said. </p> <p>Wilson and Baron-Cohen worked on the comedy film <em>The Brothers Grimsby</em> in 2014, where Rebel alleges that Baron-Cohen acted sexually inappropriate towards her for the duration of the shoot. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Pierce Brosnan apologises after pleading guilty to Yellowstone offence

<p>While we've seen Pierce Brosnan tackle villainous masterminds and save the world countless times on screen, it seems he couldn't resist the allure of real-life adventure, landing himself in some hot water – quite literally.</p> <p>Brosnan, the incredibly suave actor who portrayed James Bond for a span of 10 years from 1994-2004, found himself in a rather sticky situation. No, he wasn't dodging bullets or defusing bombs; instead, he was caught red-handed... or rather, red-footed, for wandering off the beaten path in Yellowstone National Park.</p> <p>It appears that even the smoothest of spies can't resist the call of forbidden territory. Brosnan, on a casual visit to the park, decided to channel his inner explorer and took a detour into a thermal area, perhaps hoping to uncover the secret lair of a Bond villain hidden beneath the bubbling hot springs. Alas, all he found was trouble with the law.</p> <p>Despite his valiant efforts to evade capture, Brosnan was caught and fined $US500 – a small price to pay for a taste of real-life espionage. He was also ordered to make a donation to Yellowstone Forever, proving that even 007 isn't above the law of charitable contributions.</p> <p>In a move straight out of the Bond playbook, Brosnan took to social media to issue a public apology, demonstrating a level of humility rarely seen in secret agents. His heartfelt message, complete with the obligatory hashtag #StayOnThePath, garnered praise from fans around the globe, who were quick to forgive their silver-screen idol.</p> <p>"As an environmentalist I have the utmost respect for and love of our natural world," he wrote. "However, I made an impulsive mistake - one that I do not take lightly - when entering a thermal area covered in snow in Yellowstone National Park to take a photograph. I did not see a 'No Trespassing' sign posted that warned of danger nor did I hike in the immediate area. I deeply regret my transgression and offer my heartfelt apologies to all for trespassing in this sensitive area. Yellowstone and all our National Parks are to be cared for and preserved for all to enjoy. #StayOnThePath"</p> <p>The response from fans was immediate and overwhelming. "On behalf of America, I forgive you. Also, you were terrific as James Bond. Please reprise the role," wrote one respondent. </p> <p>"Integrity and sincerity always win….so does owning our mistakes. Many world leaders would do well to take a leaf from your book. Respect. 💛" wrote another.</p> <p>Yet, amidst the sea of supportive comments, one fan's suggestion stood out: a personal visit from Brosnan himself, to console those who have swooned over him since his Remington Steele days.</p> <p>"I think you should visit personally all the women who have been in love with you since they first saw you in Remington Steele… our husbands wouldn’t mind a visit and we would love to meet your beautiful wife as well… I think that would more than make up for your slight indiscretion! 😉"</p> <p>It seems Brosnan's charm knows no bounds, even extending to placating aggrieved spouses with the promise of a celebrity encounter.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C4gjI90vK94/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C4gjI90vK94/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Pierce Brosnan (@piercebrosnanofficial)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>While Brosnan may have momentarily traded in his tuxedo for hiking boots, his legacy as one of Hollywood's most beloved leading men remains untarnished. From thwarting international criminals to navigating the perilous terrain of America's national parks, Brosnan proves that true adventure knows no limits – just remember to heed the warning signs and stay on the path.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Major development in Madeleine McCann case

<p>In the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, German police have descended upon a property in Braunschweig, Germany, in search of a key associate of Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect in the case.</p> <p>The urgency of the search stems from the belief that this individual may possess crucial information regarding the fate of the missing girl.</p> <p>The focus of this operation was a residence linked to a 56-year-old man identified only as Ralph H. According to reports from <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/26665050/hunt-madeleine-mccann-christian-b-pal/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Sun</em></a>, Ralph H. is a long-time friend of Brueckner, suspected of being involved in criminal activities alongside him, including home robberies.</p> <p>The property, located just outside Braunschweig, was surrounded by armed officers – however, the operation hit a roadblock as police were unable to enter the premises due to the absence of a search warrant. </p> <p>The urgency surrounding Ralph H. is palpable, with authorities stressing the need to speak with him promptly. “We must find him to ask him about missing Madeleine McCann,” said a<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> detective from Germany’s federal investigative agency, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA). </span>“He’s not at home, he doesn’t answer the phone, he’s apparently disappeared.”</p> <p>Neighbours of Ralph H. corroborated reports of his absence: “They surrounded his home and shouted out his name but with no luck,” one said. “The officers later asked me if I had any idea where Ralph could be. It was about midday and I thought he was out working. But it turns out he hasn’t been seen for nearly a week now.” </p> <p>Meanwhile, Christian Brueckner, the main suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, is embroiled in a separate legal battle. Currently facing trial for unrelated sexual offences, Brueckner's defence has maintained his silence, refusing to respond to the charges against him. Despite his denial of involvement in Madeleine's case, suspicions loom large, given his proximity to the scene of her disappearance and his criminal history.</p> <p>As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight remains on individuals like Ralph H. and Brueckner, whose connections and actions may hold the key to unraveling the mystery that has gripped the world for nearly two decades.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Verdict delivered over fatal Rust shooting

<p>The armourer on the set of the film <em>Rust</em> has been charged with involuntary manslaughter over the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. </p> <p>Halyna Hutchins, who was 42 and a mother to a young son, died after being fatally shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of the Western movie in October 2021. </p> <p>Baldwin has repeatedly denied responsibility, insisting he did not pull the trigger.</p> <p>Now, armourer Hannah Gutierrez has been found guilty, with the jury hearing that Gutierrez, 26, had been ultimately responsible for the use of live rounds on set. </p> <p>Over a 10-day trial in New Mexico, the court heard how she had repeatedly failed to adhere to basic safety rules by leaving guns unattended on set, and allowing actors — including Baldwin — to wave the weapons around.</p> <p>“This is not a case where Hannah Gutierrez made one mistake and that one mistake was accidentally putting a live round into that gun,” prosecutor Kari Morrissey told the jury in her closing argument Wednesday.</p> <p>“This case is about constant, never-ending safety failures that resulted in the death of a human being and nearly killed another.” </p> <p>The judge remanded her in custody ahead of her sentencing, which is not expected before next month, as she faces up to 18 months’ prison.</p> <p>Despite Baldwin long claiming his innocence over the shooting, ballistics experts have dismissed the claim, saying the gun could not have discharged any other way.</p> <p>His own involuntary manslaughter trial is expected in July.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Does the royal family have a right to privacy? What the law says

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gemma-horton-1515949">Gemma Horton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sheffield-1147">University of Sheffield</a></em></p> <p>From court cases to conspiracy theories, the royal family’s right to privacy is, somewhat ironically, nearly always in the spotlight. The latest focus is Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, whose whereabouts have been the subject of <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a60008117/kate-middleton-health-speculation-conspiracy-theories-online/">online speculation</a> after it was announced she was undergoing abdominal surgery and would be away from public duties until after Easter.</p> <p>This comes just weeks after King Charles <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68208157">revealed that he is undergoing treatment for cancer</a>, and a legal settlement between Prince Harry and Mirror Group Newspapers over <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68249009">illegal phone hacking</a>.</p> <p>Interest in the personal lives of the royals and other celebrities <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2016.1150193">is a constant</a>, driving newspaper sales and online clicks for decades. You only needs to consider the media frenzy that followed Princess Diana to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17512786.2013.833678">see this</a>, and its potentially devastating consequences.</p> <p>From a legal perspective, the British courts have ruled that everyone – the royal family included – is entitled to a right to privacy. The Human Rights Act incorporates into British law the rights set out by the European Convention on Human Rights. This includes article 8, which focuses on the right to privacy.</p> <p>In the years after the Human Rights Act came into force, courts ruled on a string of cases from celebrities claiming that the press invaded their privacy. Courts had to balance article 8 of the convention against article 10, the right to freedom of expression.</p> <p>Rulings repeatedly stated that, despite being in and sometimes seeking the limelight, celebrities should still be afforded a right to privacy. Some disagree with this position, such as prominent journalist <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/prince-harry-hacking-piers-morgan-b2336442.html">Piers Morgan, who has criticised</a> the Duke and Duchess of Sussex asking for privacy when they have also released a Netflix documentary, a broadcast interview with Oprah Winfrey and published a memoir.</p> <p>But the courts have made the position clear, as in the case concerning Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas after Hello! Magazine published unauthorised photographs from their wedding. The <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/190559/3/Final%20Edited%20Version%20-%20Celebrity%20Privacy%20and%20Celebrity%20Journalism-%20Has%20anything%20changed%20since%20the%20Leveson%20Inquiry_.pdf">court stated</a> that: “To hold that those who have sought any publicity lose all protection would be to repeal article 8’s application to very many of those who are likely to need it.”</p> <p>There is no universal definition of privacy, but scholars have identified key concepts encompassing what privacy can entail. In my own research, I have argued that the <a href="https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/190559/3/Final%20Edited%20Version%20-%20Celebrity%20Privacy%20and%20Celebrity%20Journalism-%20Has%20anything%20changed%20since%20the%20Leveson%20Inquiry_.pdf">notion of choice</a> is one of these. Privacy allows us to control the spread of information about ourselves and disclose information to whom we want.</p> <h2>Privacy and the public interest</h2> <p>There are exceptions to these protections if the person involved had no reasonable expectation of privacy, or if it was in the public interest for this information to be revealed. There is no solid, legal definition of the “public interest”, so this is decided on a case-by-case basis.</p> <p><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17577632.2021.1889866">In the past</a>, the public interest defence has been applied because a public figure or official has acted hypocritically and the courts have stated there is a right for a publisher to set the record straight.</p> <p>When it comes to medical records and information concerning health, case law and journalistic <a href="https://www.ipso.co.uk/editors-code-of-practice/">editorial codes of conduct</a> are clear that this information is afforded the utmost protection.</p> <p>Model Naomi Campbell was pictured leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and these images were published by the Daily Mirror. The court found that there had been a public interest in revealing the fact she was attending these meetings, as she had previously denied substance abuse.</p> <p>The House of Lords accepted that there was a public interest in the press “setting the record straight”. Nonetheless, the publication of additional, confidential details, and the photographs of her leaving the meeting were a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/may/06/mirror.pressandpublishing1">step too far</a>. The House of Lords highlighted the importance of being able to keep medical records and information private.</p> <h2>Royal health</h2> <p>When it comes to the royals, the history of <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a23798094/lindo-wing-st-marys-hospital-facts-photos/">publicity</a> around royal births, often posing with the newborn royal baby outside of the hospital, has set a precedent for what the public can expect about the royals’ medical information. When they choose to go against this tradition, it can frustrate both royal-watchers and publishers.</p> <p>King Charles made the choice to openly speak about his enlarged prostate to “assist public understanding”. And, as Prostate Cancer UK noted, this has worked – they noted a <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/king-charles-cancer-statement-treatment-b2494190.html">500% increase in people visiting their website</a>. However, he has chosen to not to divulge information about his cancer diagnosis beyond the fact that he is receiving treatment. This is his right.</p> <p>While revealing further information might stop speculation and rumours about his health, it is not the king’s duty to divulge private, medical information. However, if his health begins to impact his ability to act as monarch, the situation could change.</p> <p>It might be that the press finds more information about his health without his knowledge, but unless they have a genuine public interest in publishing this information, privacy should prevail.</p> <p>You would no doubt want your private medical information kept secret, not shared around your workplace and speculated on unless it was absolutely necessary. It is thanks to these laws and court precedent that you don’t have to worry about this. The royal family, regardless of their position, should expect the same standard.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gemma-horton-1515949"><em>Gemma Horton</em></a><em>, Impact Fellow for Centre for Freedom of the Media, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sheffield-1147">University of Sheffield</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-the-royal-family-have-a-right-to-privacy-what-the-law-says-224881">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Papa Swift vs Paparazzi: Taylor Swift's dad accused of assault

<p>In the midst of celebrations marking the conclusion of Taylor Swift's Eras tour in Sydney, an unexpected and troubling incident has emerged involving her father – Scott Swift.</p> <p>The 71-year-old has been accused of assaulting an Australian photographer, Ben McDonald, in the early hours of Tuesday morning at a Sydney wharf in Neutral Bay.</p> <p>According to reports confirmed by NSW Police, the alleged altercation occurred around 2:30am, following Taylor Swift's final performance in the city.</p> <p>It's said that Taylor and her father had been enjoying post-show festivities when the incident took place, tarnishing what should have been a joyous occasion.</p> <p>McDonald, who serves as the chief executive of Matrix Media Group, recounted the events to <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13128721/Taylor-Swift-father-Scott-assault-photographer-Sydney-wharf.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>, shedding light on the confrontation. He stated that Taylor and Scott arrived at the wharf after travelling from Homebush on a luxury superyacht named <em>Quantum</em>.</p> <p>McDonald claims that after they disembarked, Scott allegedly 'charged' at him. McDonald originally thought that it was a security guard, and was surprised when he realised it was Taylor's dad.</p> <p>"In 23 years of taking pictures, I have never seen anything like it," he told the <em>Daily Mail</em>. "He probably decided he needed to defend his daughter, for some reason... She got off the boat, she walked towards security guards who were shoving umbrellas in our faces, and then he charged."</p> <p>Footage capturing the moments leading up to and following the alleged assault has surfaced, providing some insight into the incident. <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13128721/Taylor-Swift-father-Scott-assault-photographer-Sydney-wharf.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The video</a> shows Taylor and her father walking up from the wharf, shielded by large umbrellas held by security guards. Amid the commotion, McDonald attempted to capture the scene, and was obstructed by the guards protecting Taylor and her companions, including Mr Swift.</p> <p>In the aftermath, McDonald reported the incident to authorities. He did not sustain serious injuries, though he described experiencing discomfort and soreness on the left side of his face.</p> <p><em>Images: YouTube</em></p>

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Woman allegedly murders great-aunt with spaghetti

<p>Italian police are investigating the bizarre alleged murder of Maria Basso, 80.</p> <p>Paola Pepe, her young great-niece, was arrested for the alleged murder after she was believed to have force-fed Basso with spaghetti, Italian newspaper <em>Corriere della Sera </em>reported. </p> <p>Basso was vulnerable to choking if she did not eat finely chopped or pureed food, despite this Pepe still took out her great-aunt for a meal in a Sicily restaurant in December 2022. </p> <p>She allegedly bought Basso spaghetti, and two days later her great-aunt was dead, after some of the pasta allegedly got lodged in her airways. </p> <p>Her death initially looked like an accident, until Italian police launched further investigations and found that Pepe had amended her great-aunt's will just two days before the meal.</p> <p>The<em> Corriere della Sera</em> reported Pepe had taken an unusual interest in her great-aunt's finances in the months leading up to her death after she had unexpectedly turned up during Basso's 80th birthday, and spent hours alone with her. </p> <p>Pepe eventually moved Basso to a care home 1300 kilometres away, without telling her close family members, and reportedly did not take any of Basso's medication or personal belongings to the new home. </p> <p>Police alleged that after isolating her great-aunt, she managed to convince Basso to change her will so that Pepe was named sole beneficiary of Basso's estate, which was worth $775,000. </p> <p>Basso initially intended to give her estate to a charity, as she had no children according to local media.</p> <p>Pepe has denied all accusations and was bailed, but is wearing a police ankle bracelet while waiting for her trial. </p> <p><em>Image: Strettoweb</em></p> <p> </p>

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