US politician calls for police reform as protests continue over death of Daunte Wright


High-ranking Congress member Maxine Waters called for an overhaul of policing in the United States as she joined the seventh consecutive night of protests in a Minneapolis suburb over the death of Daunte Wright, a young black man shot dead by a white policewoman.

The 20-year-old was killed during what should have been a routine traffic stop, sparking anger and fresh protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

“Policing has got to be changed,” Ms Waters, chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, said Saturday shortly before the 11 pm curfew.

“We’ve got to reimagine how we can deal with the problems of our society, that young people and people of colour in particular getting killed by police that we pay to protect and serve us.”

Representative Maxine Waters joins demonstrators in a protest outside the Brooklyn Center police station on 17 April, 2021 in Minnesota.

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Ms Waters, a Democrat from California, was speaking to a crowd of nearly 300 people outside the Brooklyn Center Police Station.

Protesters have gathered every night since the killing of Mr Wright in a neighbourhood about 16 kilometres north of Minneapolis.

Unlike Friday night, when police in riot gear moved to disperse what was declared an unlawful demonstration and arrested at least 100 people – including some journalists – Saturday’s gathering appeared to remain peaceful.

Protesters stood alongside the chain-link fence around the police station, chanting “Shut It Down” and waving “Black Lives Matter” flags, but did not appear to try to breach the barrier.

“I’m here because we are tired of police brutality. We are tired of seeing unarmed black men lose their lives for no reason,” protester Joel Reeves told AFP.

Mr Wright was shot dead in his car after police veteran Kim Potter mistook her Taser for a gun during a traffic stop caught on bodycam.

Ms Potter was arrested Wednesday on manslaughter charges and faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Tensions running high in Minneapolis

The previous evening, journalists covering the protest said police impeded their work and used pepper spray against some members of the media who had identified themselves as such.

The alleged mistreatment came despite a temporary restraining order signed earlier on Friday by US District Judge Wilhelmina Wright prohibiting the police from arresting journalists or targeting them with flash-bang grenades, non-lethal projectiles, riot batons and chemical agents including pepper spray.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said he had held a meeting Saturday with journalists and law enforcement officers.

“A free press is foundational to our democracy,” he tweeted.

“I convened a meeting today with media and law enforcement to determine a better path forward to protect the journalists covering civil unrest.”

Tensions are running especially high in Minneapolis with closing arguments expected Monday in the closely watched trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, a black man, in the city last year.

Since then, fresh examples of police killings – including Mr Wright’s not far from the courtroom – have stoked more anger and protests.



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Experts probe possible link between vaccine and woman's death; Federal Court rules Google misled customers on location data; PM flags future of international travel; Royals prepare for Prince Philip's funeral



By Tom Livingstone16 Apr 2021 07:02Scott Morrison thanked the Australian Defence Force personnel who are in Kalbarri and surrounding areas, helping with the recovery effort after Cyclone Seroja swept through on the weekend.He also commended the local SES who helped ensure some 7000 locals were safely evacuated prior to the storm hitting.”Some 7000 or so weren’t there. People who were in this town before that cyclone hit and the commander of the local SES made sure that people got out. That clearly saved lives,” Mr Morrison said.”That quick thinking, that experience that was needed in that moment, the work that was done as a community to get people to safety was extraordinaryand we are now in the position where the injuries here are minor, substantially, and there has certainly been no loss of life and that is, indeed, a miracle, given what we’ve seen happen as a result of this terrible cyclone.”

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The Northern Territory survives a year of coronavirus without death or outbreak


Last April, as coronavirus was taking hold in Australia, Northern Territory health authorities issued a stark warning: community spread of the deadly virus would be inevitable in the NT.

But a year to the day since the NT recorded its first case — a 52-year-old tourist who had been overseas before flying from Sydney to Darwin — the pandemic has so far proven that prediction wrong.

The NT is one of the last Australian jurisdictions to have avoided community transmission, and it also boasts the nation’s lowest caseload and no deaths.

(The ACT has recorded one case from an unknown source, but health authorities do not regard this as community transmission.)

The majority of the NT’s 106 cases have been linked to the federal government’s repatriation program. Its locally acquired cases — all linked to interstate travel — can be counted on one hand.

What is behind the NT’s success in its first year battling coronavirus?

Experts say it is a combination of effective public health controls and the territory’s unique demography — and a healthy dose of luck.

Part science, part environment, part luck

Hassan Vally, an epidemiologist with La Trobe University, said the NT government’s decision to act swiftly and decisively throughout the pandemic — including by closing the border for several months — effectively stamped out risk.

He said several factors unique to the NT had also played out in its favour, including its small population, low population density, and reduced air travel compared to major cities.

On top of that, he added, was a strong element of chance.

“I think this is one of those situations where chance plays a huge role, and sometimes we underestimate the role of chance,” he said.

“When you have low transmission, which we’ve sort of had in Australia in general, randomness and random effects and chance play an even greater role.”

Hugh Heggie, the NT’s Chief Health Officer, agrees luck has played a role — including when the 52-year-old tourist visited a busy Darwin hotel and grocery store before testing positive.

“We do also fortuitously have an outdoor lifestyle, unlike [where the virus originated] in China, where there’s very dense living in high-rise apartments.”

Dr Hugh Heggie is the NT’s Chief Health Officer.(

ABC News: Felicity James

)

The ‘gold standard’ quarantine facility

Asked what he thought the year’s major risks had been, Dr Heggie pointed to the efforts to repatriate Australians from the coronavirus-stricken city of Wuhan and the Diamond Princess cruise ship via Darwin.

But he said two early choices — the decision to quarantine those people at a former workers camp south of the city, and to engage specialist health teams — helped keep those risks at bay.

Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett agreed.

She said the Howard Springs facility, which has been deemed the ‘gold standard’ of quarantine, is a key part of why the NT dodged hotel quarantine-related outbreaks that prompted lockdowns and restrictions in other states.

The same factors allowed the NT to play a leading role in the ongoing effort to repatriate stranded Australians on federal government-organised flights.

“So less pressure, better natural facilities available that could be adapted for quarantine, and stopping that spread into the community via the quarantine workers or people being released too soon,” she said.

“All those things have been kept with a really tight lid on, and that’s what’s protected the community from these wider spread transmission events.”

A worker at the Howard Springs quarantine centre dons personal protective equipment.
Workers at the facility follow strict infection control protocols.(

AAP: Glenn Campbell

)

Professor Bennett also agreed the NT had also been lucky, pointing to a surge in quarantine demand in Alice Springs last year that saw hundreds of people arriving from a hotspot overload available facilities.

Outbreak not ruled out

Does the NT’s success so far mean its contact tracing and public health systems lack the experience of other states?

Professor Bennett did not necessarily believe so.

“Sometimes you just don’t know until the system’s tested. But the good news Australia-wide is that our chief health officers are all working together, and so other states are learning from states that have had more community transmission,” she said.

“The other [risk] is, the less exposed people have been to the direct and indirect impacts of COVID, the less front-of-mind it might be for the importance of vaccines.”

NT Deputy Chief Health Officer Di Stephens receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse.
The coronavirus vaccine rollout began in the Northern Territory last week.(

ABC News: Michael Franchi

)

Dr Heggie said the early stages of the vaccination rollout were progressing as planned.

But he has repeatedly warned about the risk complacency poses to the NT, and said the battle to prevent community transmission is not over yet.

“I can’t say we won’t, because there’s always the possibility of breaches of infection control, and there’s also sometimes breaches of behaviour,” he said.

“We’ve got a way to go, for most of this year, to continue to protect us.”

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Former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock remembered as ‘a treasure of the Liberal Party’ following his death at 82


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says his predecessor as Kooyong MP, former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock, “combined great elegance, style and substance” and would be missed after his death at 82.

Mr Peacock’s chief Liberal Party rival John Howard, meanwhile, says the Victorian “played a dominant role” in the party’s history and the pair had “buried the hatchet” long ago.

Mr Peacock, dubbed the “colt from Kooyong,” served in parliament for over 28 years, was a minister in the Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments and led the Liberal Party to two elections.

He was also foreign minister from 1975 to 1980 in the Fraser government.

Mr Peacock died on Friday at his home in the United States.

Former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock has died at the age of 82 in the United States.

AAP

Mr Frydenberg, the current member for Kooyong in Melbourne’s east, said Mr Peacock had “left an indelible mark” on Australian politics.

“He carried the baton of his (Kooyong) predecessor Sir Robert Menzies – there was no more popular, no more respected Victorian Liberal than Andrew Peacock,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters on Saturday.

“His passing will be mourned by those on both sides of the political aisle because he pursued his politics as he pursued life – with vigour, with dignity and with the utmost decency.”

Mr Frydenberg said Mr Peacock “combined great elegance, style, and substance” and he was honoured to follow in his footsteps as Kooyong MP.

Mr Peacock launched Mr Frydenberg’s first campaign to win the Kooyong seat and was one of his referees for pre-selection, along with Mr Howard.

Mr Peacock and Mr Howard – who served as prime minister from 1996 to 2007 – tussled for the Liberal leadership for much of the late 1980s.

Mr Howard said he had long ago “buried the hatchet” with Mr Peacock, who he labelled a man of flair and distinction with a deep understanding of US politics.

After leaving parliament in 1994, Mr Peacock served as Australia’s ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 1999.

“As is well known, Andrew and I had our differences but we well and truly buried the hatchet many years ago,” Mr Howard said.

“We were both very committed to the future of the Liberal Party and, above all else, to our country.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement on Friday night that “Andrew Peacock was a great Australian and a treasure of the Liberal Party”.

“He was one of our greatest Liberals who helped shape Australia and the Liberal Party over three decades,” Mr Morrison said.

“To his wife Penne and his family, Jenny and I extend the sympathies of the government and the Liberal Party.”

Mr Peacock’s daughter Ann Peacock said on social media she was devastated.

“To my beautiful, loving, most caring, thoughtful, generous and brilliant father, you will be so greatly missed, your guidance and deep love for us will live in my heart, we are absolutely devastated,” Ms Peacock said.

“Daddy, love you more than the world, please continue to look after us all. You will live within us forever and ever.”

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett tweeted that he and Mr Peacock “shared a long friendship of political highs and lows”.

Mr Morrison also said Mr Peacock had the difficult job of being minister for the army during the Vietnam War.

He was also minister for external territories and was instrumental in gaining Australian acceptance for independence for Papua New Guinea, whose government later made him an honorary chief.



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Family of Jason Langhans pleads for justice after teenager’s death following party assault


A grieving mother has made an emotional plea for help to find justice for her teenage son, who died several weeks after being assaulted at a 16th birthday party in Melbourne’s south-east.

Jason Langhans was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries in the early hours of March 21, after he was attacked at a house party in Tooradin with what police believe was a screwdriver.

After spending nearly three weeks fighting for life in intensive care, the Cranbourne North boy died on Saturday afternoon.

“Jason courageously battled for three weeks … but his injuries were unsurvivable,” Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said.

“The family had to make the horrendous decision to remove life support.”

Jason’s mother Carolyn Langhans said the last few weeks had been a “nightmare”.

“It’s been horrible … just watching our son lie there, just wishing he’d open his eyes and talk to us,” she said.

Homicide Squad detectives are calling on the public to help identify three unknown males, who arrived at the party as it was winding up.

“Nobody knew these three. They’re certainly not from the local area and they were certainly not invited,” Inspector Stamper said.

Inspector Stamper said the party had been well supervised and without incident until the arrival of the three males, who “seemed to be looking for trouble”.

It is believed a confrontation took place after the trio was asked to leave, with Jason stepping in to act as the “peacemaker”, trying to de-escalate the situation by saying “everyone, let’s go home”.

Police say one of the males – without provocation — then struck Jason twice on the head with a sharp implement. He was then hit again by a second unknown male.

The trio then took off “into the darkness” into the grounds of nearby rural properties and were chased by a large group of party guests.

Police believe a second confrontation took place nearby and want to speak with anyone with information about the later altercation.

The three men of interest are perceived to be middle eastern in appearance, and police believe they may have travelled from Melbourne’s western suburbs.

All three men are described as approximately 170 centimetres tall.

One man has dark-coloured short hair and was wearing dark clothing, while the second has dark wavy hair which was brushed across his face. He was also wearing dark clothing.

The third man has a dark-coloured short crew cut and was wearing dark clothing. Police believe he may have facial injuries to the left side of his face.

Police are still searching for the weapon and have asked owners of properties in the area to be on the lookout.

Carolyn Langhans described her son as an outdoorsy “loving, caring and gentle person” who was passionate about fishing, camping and four-wheel driving.

Jason was about to begin an apprenticeship and was planning to get his driver’s licence when he turned 18 in July.

Immediately after Jason was assaulted, he was given first aid and a bandaid for his head wound — the severity of which was not yet understood — before a parent took him home.

During the drive to Cranbourne North, Jason’s condition deteriorated and by the time he arrived home, he was falling in and out of consciousness and was subsequently rushed to hospital.

Carolyn said she hoped justice would be served after his heartbreaking death.

“Just please let the detectives know so we can get justice for Jason and this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Jason’s older sisters Emma and Stacey said he was a sweet boy who was “incredibly loved” and was always “protecting other people”.

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Death of NSW woman who suffered blood clotting ‘likely’ linked to AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine



The TGA says the death of the 48-year-old who developed blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca shot “is likely to be linked to vaccination”.

The fatal blood clotting suffered by a woman in NSW is “likely” linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine she received, Australia’s medical regulator has announced. 

The revelation came in a statement late on Friday night from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The TGA’s Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG) met on Friday and concluded the blood clotting in the 48-year-old woman’s arteries and veins, as well as her low platelet count, was “likely to be linked to vaccination”.

She was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot on 8 April and admitted to hospital four days later, where she died.

The review of the woman’s death was complicated by her underlying medical conditions, including diabetes, and “some atypical features”, the TGA’s statement said.

It said “anti-PFA antibodies” – which activate platelets, and have been found in almost all other internationally reported blood clot cases – were also absent. 

“Despite the atypical clinical features and the negative antibody test, in the absence of an alternative cause for the clinical syndrome, [VSIG] believed that a causative link to vaccination should be assumed at this time,” the statement said. 

This is the third report of a case of the rare blood clotting disorder linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia and the first death. The other two cases are being treated in hospital and have been recovering well.

Last Thursday, adults in Australians under the age of 50 were warned off receiving the AstraZeneca shot, with Pfizer becoming the preferred vaccine for that demographic. 

The TGA said the woman who died was vaccinated before authorities made the decision later that day, it said in its Friday statement.

Laboratory tests from the woman are still pending and an autopsy will be conducted next week. 

“Given this is an atypical presentation, should the test results and autopsy provide an alternative causation, VSIG would review their decision,” the TGA said.

TGA chief John Skerritt said this week that blood clotting associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine was so rare that “your chances of winning the lotto are much higher”, with the regulator’s Friday statement saying the three cases in Australia so far equated to a frequency of one in 295,000.

Earlier on Friday, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly urged people to continue to get vaccinated, saying the benefits far outweighed any harm.

He said he had read one unpublished overseas study that suggested COVID-19 brought a risk of blood clotting itself.

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Police scene of suspicious death at Gold Coast



Police open crime scene at Gold Coast home following a suspicious death. Credit: Greg Stolz

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Coroner reveals TikTok and Vine star Adam Perkins, 24, died at an L.A. home on April 11 but cause of death remains a mystery while autopsy is underway



The L.A. County Coroner’s office has revealed TikTok and Vine star Adam Perkins died on Sunday April 11 at an L.A. ‘residence’ – but the cause of his death remains unknown. 

Adam made his name on Vine with comedy videos and he was best known for one where he appeared in a bathroom mirror, enthusiastically saying: ‘Hi, welcome to Chilli’s’. 

His death was announced by his twin brother Patrick on social media. Patrick said he did not want to disclose how his brother had died. 

The pair grew up in California. Their father Lars is a tech entrepreneur who sold photography sharpening software to Google in 2004. Their mother Susan is a British actress. 

The family have property on the west coast, in L.A., and in Maine. It’s unclear where his relatives have been living recently, or if he was living alone. 

DailyMail.com understands that police were called to the property where Adam died and that the unit that responded was the LAPD’s West L.A. branch, but no more detail has been given. 

His family are now mourning his death in part with thoughtful tributes on social media.

Patrick has now released an album that his brother had been working on before his death.  Adam studied music at NYU and graduated in 2019. 

His loving parents described him and his brother online as the light and pride of their lives. 

Lars, his father, is on the NASA Advisory Committee. The family seem to split their time now between Maine and L.A.  

After announcing his brother had passed away aged 24, Patrick shared a series of tributes on Instagram and among heartfelt best wishes from fans, he shot down questions about how Adam had died.   

‘Think I need to take this opportunity to explain something to you: if the cause of death is not released, there is a reason…

‘There is intention in every part of this. Please respect both of us by not asking that question… not sure how it’s not obvious that I didn’t say for a reason. Everything in this is intentional. Please respect that,’ he said. 

Patrick’s messages to fans came before he shared a heartbreaking tribute to his sibling on Wednesday.

To the tune of Joni Mitchell’s 1976 hit Coyote, from his favourite album Hejira, the late online sensation was seen larking around while filming, having his haircut, driving, petting a dog and many more candid moments from their life. 

He added a caption on the heartbreaking video reading: ‘Adam Perkins 1997 – forever and ever. I love you my brother. Always.’

The Boston-born star’s twin confirmed the news on Instagram, as he revealed the star died on April 11 but did not disclose any cause of death.

Beneath the touching video, Adam’s fans penned: ‘My heart hurts. What a huge part of my youth your brothers vines were rest in peace… 

‘Sending my condolences to you and your family… Life just doesn’t feel real anymore lately, sorry for your loss… One last time as a tribute “Hi welcome to chilli’s!’

As well as having thousands of TikTok followers, Adam was also known for an iconic clip on the social media site Vine which saw him parody an advert for the American restaurant chain Chili’s. 

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Scott Morrison warns against drawing conclusions after blood clotting death in NSW



Prime Minister Scott Morrison says authorities are still investigating the death of a NSW woman who developed blood clots after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Scott Morrison has warned against rushing to conclusions after the death of a person in NSW who reportedly developed blood clots a day after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The 48-year-old woman was a diabetic, the ABC reports, and preliminary tests have not found a conclusive link to the vaccination.

The prime minister on Thursday night said the woman’s death was still being investigated by state and federal authorities.

“I think there is a lot more to understand and learn about that issue and I would caution others in making conclusions about this at this point as well,” he told reporters near Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

“We’ve been very transparent, very transparent when it comes to information on these issues and people can expect us to do that.”

Mr Morrison said potential concerns around vaccine hesitancy meant it was important that the matter was fully investigated by medical experts.

“I think it’s important, because of the fact that people can have concerns, that we follow that important process, to inform ourselves properly,” he said.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and NSW health authorities are probing the death.

“As part of this process, the TGA is seeking further clinical information including clinical test results from the New South Wales Health Department,” a statement on the federal health department’s website said on Thursday night.

When contacted about the reported death, a NSW Health spokesperson told SBS News the department would not speculate on individual cases, but “our condolences are with the family and loved ones of the person who has passed away”.

The TGA is responsible for regulating and monitoring the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, the spokesperson said, but NSW Health is notified when a serious or unexpected adverse event occurs.

“Many conditions can arise during normal life, whether or not a vaccine is administered, but it remains important to report any new serious or unexpected events so that safety can be appropriately monitored,” they said.

It is not yet known which vaccine the woman received.

Australians under the age of 50 were last week warned off receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a link was confirmed between the jab and rare blood clots.

The prime minister received recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on April 8 that the Pfizer vaccine should now be adopted as the preferred vaccine for people aged under 50.

Two people have so far developed bloods clots likely linked to their AstraZeneca jab in Australia – a woman in Western Australia and a man in Victoria, both aged in the 40s.

TGA chief John Skerritt emphasised on Tuesday that blood clotting associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine was so rare, “your chances of winning the lotto are much higher”.

Additional reporting by SBS News.

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Homicide detectives investigating after party assault causes death of ‘fun-loving’ 17-year-old boy


Police are investigating the death of a 17-year-old Cranbourne North boy after he was assaulted at a party last month.

Jason Langhans, who would have turned 18 in July, has been remembered as a “fun-loving” boy with “big dreams” by his family and friends.

He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries in the early hours of March 21, after he was assaulted at a party in Tooradin, south-east of Melbourne.

After spending nearly three weeks fighting for his life in ICU, he died on Saturday afternoon.

His mother, Carolyn Langhans, said she hoped justice would be served after his heartbreaking death.

“Jason you were our whole life, and not a day will go by without us thinking about you and wishing you were here, we love you so much and our lives feel so empty,” she said in a tribute on Facebook.

“You put up a good fight, but unfortunately it was your time to go and now you’re no longer in any pain.

“You are now at peace with Poppy right by your side looking after you and catching that big fish.”

In online tributes, friends and family remembered a much-loved boy with a passion for fishing and a bright future ahead of him.

“You will sorely be missed but never forgotten,” older sister Emma Langhans said on Facebook.

Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the assault.

“Detectives are investigating reports a group of men became involved in an incident with the teen which escalated to a physical altercation,” Victoria Police said in a statement.

“The Cranbourne North boy was taken to hospital at the time with life threatening injuries.

“The investigation remains ongoing.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

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