Teenager who bashed schoolgirl at McDonald’s faces violent carjacking charges


An Adelaide teenager who was described by a magistrate as “wild and dangerous” before being released after bashing a schoolgirl has been charged over an alleged violent carjacking just weeks after her release.

The 16-year-old girl — who cannot be named for legal reasons — appeared in the Adelaide Youth Court today charged with aggravated robbery and arson.

It will be alleged that a 40-year-old woman was set upon by two girls, aged 15 and 16, at the Elizabeth Shopping Centre last Wednesday before they stole her car.

The car was found allegedly torched at the North Haven Football Club later that day.

She did not apply for bail and her case was adjourned until later this month.

Last month, Magistrate Luke Davis sentenced the 16-year-old girl to six months’ youth detention, suspended after five months — allowing for her release that same day.

The one remaining month was suspended on the condition of good behaviour and that she undertake schooling and counselling services.

She may now have to serve that one-month sentence if she is found guilty over the alleged carjacking and arson.

History of offending

In December 2019, the girl was in Rundle Mall when a friend became involved in a verbal altercation with another person.

It escalated into a physical fight, and the teenager got involved.

About two months later, the teenager believed a 13-year-old girl from her school had been posting racial comments on social media, so confronted her at a McDonald’s outlet.

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Video of the incident was posted online.

That led to the girl pulling her victim to the ground by her hair and punching her before her co-accused kicked her in the face, knocking out her teeth.

The incident was filmed and posted to social media.

“Your vicious and cowardly attack in broad daylight at a public venue where families go to enjoy themselves has caused alarm and outrage within the community,” Magistrate Davis told the girl during sentencing.

“We all suffer as a society when acts of violence occur — which is one of the reasons for the media’s interest in this matter.”

In May, while on bail, the girl was intoxicated with two friends when they assaulted a taxi driver and stole his car before driving to Berri where they were arrested.

The court was previously told that the girl had endured a difficult upbringing — details of which were suppressed by the court.

Magistrate Davis accepted that the teenager was remorseful for her actions and had been taking positive steps towards her rehabilitation.

“I want you to know that society hasn’t given up on you — you’re only just 16, you’ve stuffed up really badly over this time, but you’ve paid a significant price,” he said during sentencing, before the latest arrest.

“You have everything ready and poised to help you get back on track and get on with a positive life.”



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All Blacks square off as North faces South


In Australia, it’s state against state and mate against mate.

In New Zealand, the biggest domestic sporting rivalry pits island against island and brother against brother.

The fabled North v South rugby clash has been resurrected this year after an eight-year hiatus.

The fixture was first played in 1897 and was a mainstay of NZ rugby last century. It was lost during the game’s professional era but returns during the COVID-interrupted season.

Saturday night’s clash in Wellington gives the modern-day All Blacks and aspirants a chance to replicate yesterday’s heroes.

“I’ve never been part of such a unique game,” South representative and Crusaders mainstay Codie Taylor said.

“The superstars of the game, names we still remember today, played in these fixtures.

“For some of them, it created our careers. Now we get the opportunity and we’re really looking to get stuck into it.”

There’s a great anticipation around the game, which could be New Zealand’s biggest of the year given international rugby is yet to be fixtured for 2020.

Taylor said it would be played at “Test match intensity” given the clash pits All Blacks incumbents against aspirants for the national shirt.

“There’s definitely no love lost when you’re going up against mates,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be pretty open too. The ref might play a bit of advantage and let the game flow so it’s quite entertaining for the fans.”

Players will run out for the island that they first played senior representative rugby, rather than the island of their home towns.

That means Taylor, who grew up in Levin near Wellington, will run out in South Island’s white strip.

It also means the superstar Barrett brothers will face off against each other; Beauden Barrett as No.10 for North and Jordie Barrett in South’s No.15.

The Christchurch-born Ash Dixon, who debuted in Napier but now runs out for the Otago Highlanders, will play in North Island black.

“It’s been a long time between drinks … and it’s two outstanding sides that are going to come together and lock horns,” Dixon said.

The last match in 2012 was won by South 32-24, but is best remembered for a touchline brawl.

Dixon said representative rugby, with national team opportunities up for grabs, could see the same again.

“Any game has the potential to boil over,” he said.

“Boys will be pretty keen. They haven’t played footy in a few weeks … so I’d say things could get out of hand. Who knows?”





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So-so networks – Britain’s 5G rollout faces myriad obstacles | Britain


BRITONS HAVE long complained about their mobile networks. A report from the National Infrastructure Commission in 2016 compared Britain’s 4G coverage, unfavourably, to Albania’s. At that time, a much-hyped new technology was on the cards: 5G, or the fifth generation of networks, would offer superfast speeds and lots more capacity. The network went live last year, making Britain one of the first countries to offer it to consumers.

A new report from Opensignal, a network-analytics firm, compares the experience of using 5G in a dozen countries where it is available. Britons have little reason to cheer. British 5G users spend less than 5% of their time on the new network, compared with nearly 20% for Americans; 5G download speeds are in the bottom third; overall average download speeds are the lowest in the set (see chart).

One culprit is geography. The countries on Opensignal’s list that perform best are either small, such as Taiwan, or very big but with most people concentrated in a few urban areas, such as Saudi Arabia and Australia. Britain, like Germany, has some dense areas but also many sparsely populated rural areas where building lots of cell-towers is expensive, and returns slim. The lay of the land matters too. Hills and trees interfere with mobile signals. A second reason is planning. Other European countries have more liberal planning laws, says Karen Egan, a telecoms analyst with Enders Analysis, a research firm. Councils present one obstacle. The farmers on whose land towers need to go present another.

The way in which spectrum is allocated also affects the quality of the service. Just as more water flows through a broader pipe, the more spectrum an operator has, the better the service it can provide. Many countries have just three networks. Britain has four. That means more competition and lower prices, but also less spectrum for each. Moreover, only half of the 5G spectrum has so far been auctioned. When the next chunk is bought up, networks may find themselves with fragmented bits of spectrum. Ms Egan describes the operators’ spectrum as “barcode-like: rather slim slivers of it, rather than large bands”.

That might be fixable. Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, is open to facilitating swaps between networks, says Greig Paul, a networks expert at the University of Strathclyde. But new problems have arisen, such as the government’s decision to ban equipment manufactured by Huawei, a Chinese company, from 5G networks. That will slow its roll-out and increase its cost. Conspiracy theories linking 5G to covid-19 and other ailments do not help either.

This matters—not just for consumers but also for industrial and agricultural uses. The real promise of 5G is in vastly increased capacity. The new network can handle up to 1m connections per square kilometre, compared with some 2,000 for 4G. That is why much of the hype surrounding 5G has been about filling factories full of sensors or connecting cows to the internet. But uncertain rules slow progress and raise costs. As Mr Paul puts it, “you cannot possibly charge £10 per cow” per month. Operators will have to find a way to spend on infrastructure, control prices and greatly increase the number of connections all at the same time if they are to milk 5G.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Moobile networks”



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Teen faces murder charge after 64yo found dead in burnt home near Kyogle


A teenage male has faced court accused of murder after allegedly starting a fire in the far north of New South Wales that killed a 64-year-old man.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also facing charges of inappropriately interfering with a corpse and malicious damage to property by fire.

Police laid the charges at the weekend in relation to the discovery of the man’s body inside the remains of a burnt home on a rural property on Smiths Creek Road, west of Kyogle, on August 16.

Detectives from the Richmond Police District, assisted by the State Crime Command, established Strike Force Kumulla to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cause of the fire.

The teenager appeared via video link from a South Grafton detention centre in Ballina Children’s Court on Monday.

The incident occurred on a remote bush block west of Kyogle.(ABC North Coast: Bronwyn Herbert)

Magistrate Paul McMahon granted forensic applications for the boy to undergo mouth swabs to allow DNA to be collected from the inside of his cheek in order to assist the investigation.

“I’m satisfied there are no other reasonable investigative tools the police can use to compare the forensic material that has been located during the course of the investigation,” Magistrate McMahon said.

The teen has been ordered to undergo the forensic testing within seven days.

The court also heard the boy was on bail at the time of the alleged murder.

The police prosecutor said those matters were “related to the more serious offences” the boy was now facing.

There was no formal application for bail and it was formally refused.

The 17-year-old has also been charged with a separate apprehended violence order which is not connected to the alleged murder, the court heard.

He has entered no formal pleas to any of the charges and will return to Lismore Children’s Court on October 30.



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Kabe Goddard, accused of lighting dangerous Adelaide River bushfire, faces court


A 24-year-old man has faced court accused of lighting a bushfire south of Darwin as authorities battled the worst fire conditions seen in the Top End for half a decade.

Kabe Goddard was refused police bail when he was arrested in Pine Creek on Friday and did not make an application for bail in the Darwin Local Court.

He faces one charge of causing a bushfire.

Police allege Mr Goddard lit bushfires around the Adelaide River area about 7:30am on Thursday when the fire danger in the Top End was at catastrophic levels.

Josh Fischer, Bushfires NT’s assistant director of operations, said around 190 hectares of land was burnt and it took volunteers and staff around 34 hours to bring the fire under control.

“We had a total of eight volunteers and staff, plus an incident management team managing all incidents,” Mr Fischer said.

Aerial water bombers, ground crews and local residents worked to protect homes in Darwin’s rural area last week.(ABC News: Nicholas Hynes)

At one stage, a home north of Strickland Road was under threat.

Firefighters managed to save the house, but several vehicles on the property were destroyed.

“We had five fixed-wing waterbombers attached to that fire as well as observation helicopters,” Mr Fischer said.

In the brief court appearance today, Mr Goddard sat in the dock but did not say anything.

He was not required to enter a plea.

Mr Goddard will remain in custody and return to court on October 28.

A photo of a group of firefighers standing in front of a fireground.
Bushfires NT responded to 32 fires in seven days last week.(ABC News: Nicholas Hynes)

Mr Fischer said fire weather conditions would increase this week but were not expected to reach the catastrophic levels seen in the Top End last week.

“People shouldn’t be lighting fires full stop, unless they’re authorised to do so,” said Mr Fischer.

Bushfires NT staff and volunteers responded to 32 fires in seven days last week.

“It was a very long week, seven days of continuous fire weather … it was a very busy period, lots of hours put in in quite difficult, horrendous and unsafe conditions,” Mr Fischer said.



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Montenegro election: Long-ruling party faces tough challenge


Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists has ruled Montenegro for 30 years

Montenegrins have voted in a parliamentary election that is pitting the country’s long-ruling pro-Western party against an opposition seeking closer ties with Serbia and Russia.

The Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) has been in power for 30 years.

But pre-election polls have predicted a tight contest in which the DPS may not win enough seats to govern alone.

The campaign has been dominated by divisions over the powerful Serbian Orthodox Church.

There have been months of protests since a law was adopted in December allowing the state to seize religious assets when their historical ownership cannot be proven.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has urged people to vote against the DPS.

A total of 81 MPs will be elected in the vote. An early exit polls suggested the governing party was ahead but short of a full majority.

What’s the background?

Montenegro remained allied in a union with Serbia until 2006 – long after the former Yugoslavia dissolved into independent states.

President Milo Djukanovic, 58, has been in charge there since 1990.

In more recent years, he was instrumental in securing Montenegro’s accession to Nato in June 2017 and has been leading ongoing efforts to gain membership to the European Union.

The opposition is made up of an alliance of parties, called For the Future of Montenegro. They have backed the Church-led protests against the religion law, and want closer ties with Russia and Serbia.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Metropolitan Amfilohije, the Serbian Orthodox Church’s top cleric in Montenegro, has called on people to vote against the ruling party

Montenegrins who identify as ethnic Serbs account for about a third of the country’s 630,000 population, according to the latest census data.

And as the majority of Montenegrins are members of the Church, its influence is considerable.

The opposition has accused Mr Djukanovic and his party of having links to organised crime and running the country as an autocracy.

Mr Djukanovic has denied this and says the opposition, with the backing of Russia and Serbia, is seeking to undermine the country’s independence.

During the previous parliamentary vote in 2016, authorities said they thwarted a planned coup orchestrated by Russian agents and a group of Serb nationalists.

A court in Montenegro last year handed five-year jail terms to two pro-Russian opposition politicians it found to be involved in the plot.

Russia called the inquiry absurd and Montenegro’s opposition called it a “false-flag” operation – a fake act aimed at incriminating an opponent – to keep Mr Djukanovic in power.

A blow for Djukanovic

This result could still play out in a number of ways. But it certainly represents a blow for Montenegro’s president, Milo Djukanovic.

He was not standing for election himself – but he was still very much the face of his Democratic Party of Socialists during the campaign. And it was his decision to pick a fight with the Serbian Orthodox Church which gifted his opponents the chance to declare that they really did have God on their side.

The Church’s involvement may have encouraged the high turnout of more than 75%. And many voters appear to have listened to the bishops’ advice to vote for opponents of a government which passed legislation making it possible for the state to claim Church property.

This has opened the door to the possibility of Montenegro’s first-ever transfer of power via the ballot box. There would be concerns about the pro-Russian, Serbian nationalist elements among the parties opposing the DPS if they managed to form a governing coalition. But a change of government after almost 30 years would send the world a message about Montenegro.

After all, the US human rights organisation, Freedom House, downgraded Montenegro from a democracy to a “hybrid regime” earlier this year. And if nothing else, the turnout and result offer an eloquent riposte.



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‘I want money’: Man faces court over home invasion



A NIMBIN man has been sentenced after he was found in possession of drugs and guns, and assaulted two people in their Goonellabah home.

Nathan James Bradley, 45, was convicted last week in Lismore District Court on several charges, including common assault, possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition, cultivating 11 cannabis plants and failing to comply with bail conditions.

Court documents reveal that in March, Bradley had gone to the Goonellabah home of a man he’d previously done business with, to secure car parts.

In November, Bradley had given the man $1000 to buy certain car parts but when the man discovered Bradley was wanted by police and he couldn’t be contacted, he spent the $1000 on something else, according to the agreed facts.

When Bradley asked for his money back in January, the pair made a deal and instead of returning the $1000, the man gave Bradley a 2005 black Subaru Outback as payment.

However, on March 1, Bradley showed up to the man’s home and said, “I want money”, before striking the homeowner in the face.

Bradley then grabbed a weapon he knew was hanging on the wall and used it to threaten the man’s partner before leaving.

He was later arrested at his Nimbin home by police.

Last year, Bradley was also found in possession of multiple firearms and two rounds of ammunition, according to court documents.

Police also discovered 11 cannabis plants when they attended Bradley’s Nimbin home in May this year for a separate matter.

He told police he grew the plants for his “anxiety”, documents revealed.

Bradley was sentenced to three years’ community corrections order, expiring on August 20 2023 and issued a $1000 fine for the ammunition possession.





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Hope in VIC, tragedy in NSW, South Korea faces lockdown


Victoria’s numbers continue their downward trend, border restrictions lead to tragedy, South Korea faces lockdown and storms headed for America’s Gulf region threaten COVID-19 spread.

South Korean soldiers spray disinfectant in Seoul (Image: EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN)

Light at the end of tunnel

Despite protests against Victorian restrictions, evidence is mounting that the lockdown is finally starting to work. Victoria today recorded 113 new infections as it approaches what is hoped to be the final fortnight of its strict stage four restrictions.

There were 12 more deaths recorded.

Tragedy in NSW

A Ballina woman has lost one of her unborn twins after she flew to Sydney for treatment instead of going through the onerous application process to cross the border into Queensland.



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Trump delivered Hollywood-like production – but he faces big challenges that could really hamper his chances | US News


The backdrop was controversial and unorthodox, just like the man. 

Donald Trump transformed the South Lawn on the White House into the stage of a political convention.

And as coronavirus rages, he invited 1,500 visitors to watch him – many not wearing masks.

It was a fitting symbol to a presidency that’s made the abnormal, normal.

The reality TV man delivered a Hollywood-like production, with a creative narrative to fit.

His band of devotees casting the president as the only thing saving America from total anarchy.

Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, summed up the Republican’s main line of attack: Joe Biden will let lawless and looting increase and Mr Trump will stand-up and stop it.

The challenge with that argument of course, is that Mr Trump is the one currently in charge as protests grip the nation.

The president’s daughter, Ivanka, tried a more nuanced pitch, conceding sometimes her father’s tweets were a little “unfiltered” but the “results speak for themselves”.

Image:
The US president appeared on stage with members of his family

She was focused and effective, perhaps more convinced of what she was saying than in 2016.

As for the star of the show, well Mr Trump delivered a speech of two halves.

The beginning felt structured, disciplined and peppered with some optimism about America being a bright shining beacon – a clear rebuttal to Mr Biden’s talk of “darkness” in the country.

But the other half was a Biden-bashing bonanza, more ad-libs, more rally-like and more attacks, as Mr Trump sought to discredit his political record on everything from crime and immigration, to casting him as a traitor of the working class and beholden to socialists.

Donald Trump is seen arriving on stage with his wife Melania
Image:
The president is seen arriving on stage with his wife Melania

The law and order messaging which we’ve heard so much of this week was perhaps his most effective rallying cry.

There were dystopian videos and the declarative claim that “if the left gains power it will demolish the suburbs and confiscate your guns”.

Those kind of lines can strike fear in sections of America and Trump wants that anxiety working its way to the ballot box.

The challenge with arguing only he can restore law and order, is that he is the one currently in charge and protests grip the country.

The speech didn’t have any big concessions, no mea culpas about perceived mistakes or big emotional moments that acknowledged the death toll from coronavirus.

That’s not Mr Trump’s style of course. But time will tell if that’s a mistake.

With 180,000 dead, it’s a hugely sensitive time in America and his leadership in the pandemic is under the intense scrutiny.

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One thing that may play to his advantage is his record on the economy.

It was good before the crisis hit and voters might not chose to punish or blame him for the record unemployment that followed.

Jobs and income are key drivers in the vote and if people remember the good days more than the bad, then he’ll get a big political boost.

But his teams seem very aware that he’s got a lot more ground to make up with African American and white suburban voters.

They are both big challenges for Trump that could really hamper his chances.

Republicans have spent the week trying to convince America the president cares about them all.

The question is do enough believe him?



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