The Kid Laroi becomes youngest artist with a number one ARIA album


Aussie music prodigy The Kid Laroi, 17, has set a new record as the youngest Australian artist with a number one album on the ARIA charts, eclipsing Delta Goodrem’s record that has stood for longer than he’s been alive.

Laroi, born Charlton Howard on August 17, 2003, has also become just the second Indigenous artist with a number one ARIA album (Dr G. Yunupingu’s posthumous 2018 album Djarimirri is the other).

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Delta Goodrem’s debut album Innocent Eyes hit number one after releasing in March 2003, when she was 18.

Laroi said his new status at the top of the ARIA charts is “insane”.

“Number one in my own country means more to me than anything in the world,” the now LA-based Laroi said.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me and been with me through all of this. I love you all and I can’t wait to see you all again soon,” the teen added.

In a message to Twitter followers Laroi said one of his biggest goals has been “to show the rest of the world what Australia has to offer, and how much raw and unseen talent that we have. It’s not an overnight process, but I can feel it slowly happening,” he said.

It’s the beginning of a new run of records on the chart.

Before this week the number one album was the soundtrack for hit television show Bluey, the first time a children’s album has reached the number one.

In a fitting twist it’s now been replaced by one from an artist who is himself technically still a child.

The album now at number one on the ARIA charts is a deluxe edition of Laroi’s mixtape F*CK LOVE released in July last year, which has delivered hits like Tell Me Why, So Done and Without You.

The deluxe release featured production from fellow Aussies like Khaled Rohaim, Haan, Keanu Beats and JOY, and also peaked at number three on the US Billboard charts, racking up more than a billion streams on Spotify.

Laroi was born in Sydney but spent time growing up in Broken Hill before moving back to the Waterloo area. A mural of him by street artist Scott Marsh now sits on Chapel Lane in the suburb.

He is signed to Chicago rapper Lil Bibby’s Grade A Productions label under Sony Music, which also counts Delta Goodrem as an artist under the Epic Records label.

His label boss congratulated him with a message on Instagram.

“Whole country behind you kid, keep making your people proud,” Lil Bibby wrote, to which Laroi responded with love heart and Australian flag emojis.





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Ralph Macchio was ‘frozen in time’ as the Karate Kid. Then came Cobra Kai


But he just couldn’t shake The Karate Kid. And neither, it seems, could its legion of fans, who began to conjure up alternative histories of the film: What if Danny wasn’t the hero? What if Danny was the villain who bullied the rich, floppy-haired Johnny Lawrence (played by William Zabka), from the Cobra Kai dojo? What if everything you ever knew about The Karate Kid was wrong?

The fan theory became so popular that writers and Karate Kid obsessives Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg pitched a show that was centred on Lawrence’s point of view, where the rich bad boy was now a fiftysomething wastrel still tormented by the All Valley loss, while LaRusso was a successful car salesman who boasts “we kick the competition”. The two reconnect when Lawrence decides to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo and LaRusso tries to stop him.

The rest is history. The first two seasons of Cobra Kai appeared on YouTube Red in 2018 and 2019, but it wasn’t until Netflix scooped it up and it premiered on the streaming service in September last year that, to use a phrase popular in the show, Cobra Kai struck hard. It shot to the top of the Netflix rankings in the US, as well as in Australia and the UK.

The wax was back on, so to speak. So why did Macchio run back to what he had been trying to escape? Well, for that we have to look to another ’80s champ: Rocky Balboa.

“For 30 years, I heard many, many ideas,” he says. “And they were all short-sighted, either one joke ideas or big eye rolls. And then after Pat Morita passed away [in 2005], we lost that component of going back to LaRusso’s life, there was never a tie-in that made sense.

“When [Heald, Hurwitz and Schlossberg] brought this to me, I’m pretty sure I was the last one to come to the party, because I was the most resistant. Because the show is Cobra Kai, it sees the world through the eyes of Johnny Lawrence, at least at the onset.

Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), John Kreese (Martin Kove) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) spar again in season three of Cobra Kai.

Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), John Kreese (Martin Kove) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) spar again in season three of Cobra Kai.

“[Rocky spin-off] Creed had just been released, probably about six or eight months before then. And that was sort of a glimpse into how to take a franchise like Rocky and come in from another perspective. You’re not making Rocky VII, you’re making Creed. And Rocky Balboa then finds his way in that world of where he fits.”

Now 59, and still ridiculously baby-faced, Macchio says the success of Cobra Kai has “exceeded all expectations” and he’s right. So much of Cobra Kai shouldn’t work – LaRusso is a smug git, Lawrence is a charismatic mess stuck in the ’80s and REO Speedwagon is unironically on the soundtrack – but somehow it does. In my first sitting, I inhaled five episodes in a row, giggling at the old film clips, another sensible school teacher friend admitted to watching it “embarrassingly fast”, and then a very chic journalist friend in Paris said she had a crush on Zabka.

What was going on? Do we all just want to be 10 years old again?

“I call it comfort food,” says Macchio. “It’s the best dish your grandmother ever made that reminded you of a simpler time. And in the case of Cobra Kai, I hear that a lot from the original fans who saw the movie in the ’80s, or watched it on television in the ’90s or in the early 2000s. They feel that slice of nostalgia. That’s the best apple pie ever, you know?

Macchio finally got to go to Okinawa in Japan, home of Miyagi-do, where his character was reunited with an old foe, Chozen (Yuji Okumoto).

Macchio finally got to go to Okinawa in Japan, home of Miyagi-do, where his character was reunited with an old foe, Chozen (Yuji Okumoto).

“But also, as far as the stories and characters go, we’re good. They struck a chord. And maybe it reminds us of a simpler time, certainly in the current climate of the world. Certainly here in the US. It’s really been well embraced.”

The other reason Cobra Kai works is because it’s a top-shelf case study in how to reboot a franchise: it respects the original, surprises the audience and it finds enough grey areas in its old characters to give them new life. Essentially, it takes The Karate Kid lore – but not itself – seriously.

It was the grey areas that interested Macchio the most when he again picked up LaRusso, who fluctuates between the good guy of old and revelling in Lawrence’s misfortune. However, he was also mindful of not trashing The Karate Kid’s legacy (Macchio stands by the controversial crane kick at the end of The Karate Kid).

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“It was not easy for me to dive fully in,” says Macchio of LaRusso’s jerkier aspects. “Sometimes I would say, ‘OK, I see this line is written specifically to gain sympathy for who was the antagonist’ – flip the script, you know? So there was always the push and pull with the writers … It’s kind of fun to play both sides of that as long as the audience sees both of these characters have good intentions.”

While seasons one and two of Cobra Kai focused more on Lawrence’s shambolic side of the story, season three sees LaRusso returning to Okinawa, the traditional home of Miyagi-do. And unlike in The Karate Kid II, where Hawaii was swapped in for Okinawa, this time Macchio actually travelled to Japan.

“It was like a long weekend, sort of like going to Australia for tea one afternoon,” says Macchio, laughing. “It’s around the other side of the planet. We left on a Monday, were back on a Friday and you cross that dateline, you don’t know where you are.

“But it felt close to having the essence of Pat Morita and Mr Miyagi in the show. We got there, you know? It’s like putting the flag on the moon. It was a nice big box to check.”

Season three of Cobra Kai screens on Netflix from January 1.

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Melbourne speed kid to take son of Schumacher’s spot


The 19-year-old won the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2019 before moving up to F3 last year, taking the title in a nail-biting final race of the season at Mugello.

Piastri described himself as ”super excited” to be with the team.

”We had a very successful 2020 season and Prema has proven to be the team to beat once again in F2 this year, so I’m extremely happy to be moving into the championship with them.”

René Rosin, Prema’s Team Principal, said of Piastri: “Not only he is a talented racer with outstanding speed skills. He has a clear understanding of the complexities of today’s motorsports and he is extremely adaptable.

”Having witnessed his progress and success throughout the 2020 season, taking our relationship to the next step for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship felt like the natural thing to do and we look forward to having him on-track right from Bahrain.”



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Mom Who Says Masks Are Child Abuse Throws Kid 250-Person Homecoming Party


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In any other year, a glittering homecoming dance in McDonough, Georgia, wouldn’t be controversial.

But during the raging coronavirus pandemic, from which at least 257,072 Americans have died, Ola High School had no plans to host a mass gathering of singing and sweating teenagers. So parents in the town about 35 miles south of Atlanta did it themselves, with few precautions, on Nov. 14.

Photos on social media show students wearing bronzer and hoop earrings. Boys wore rented tuxedos and boutonnières to match their dates’ blue satin. Bright green homecoming court sashes sat draped across sequin dresses and giant crowns rested atop loose curls.

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Instagram

“It’s my daughter’s senior year, so I hosted a dance,” one parent, Beth Knight, told The Daily Beast over Facebook messenger. “It was terrific.”

“We sold over 300 tickets, but only about 250 kids actually showed up because they were warned by teachers and coaches that they should not attend because of the virus,” Knight added. “The kids who came had fun.”

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A trawl of social media accounts linked to the event—with not a mask in sight—appeared to confirm that. It was just the latest in a laundry list of weddings, dances, religious gatherings, and concerts that appeared to flout public health guidance as pandemic fatigue set in across the country. Couples, parents, and church leaders have gathered in crowds together despite months of repeated messages from authorities about masks and hand-washing and distancing—and warnings about an impending, deadly holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.

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Instagram

“Dancing it off,” one apparent attendee posted on Instagram, squatting in front of a wall, with students in black and red dresses behind him. “This do be our last hoco,” wrote another student. (“Hoco” appears to be the vogue term for “homecoming.”)

Do you know something we should about the coronavirus, or how your local or federal government, school, or business is responding to it? Email Olivia.Messer@TheDailyBeast.com or securely at olivia.messer@protonmail.com from a non-work device.

Last week, The Daily Beast reported that parents at a school in Rolla, Missouri, threw a homecoming dance for up to 200 students in that community. As infections spread in the aftermath of the event, the school was forced to return to fully remote learning, and the public health department fell significantly behind in its contact-tracing efforts.

When asked on Monday if she feared that her own event could turn into a “superspreader,” creating a pre-Thanksgiving surge of cases in McDonough, Knight seemed to take issue with the question.

“It seems the liberals and the Democrats want to keep the virus agenda front and center,” she told The Daily Beast. “The conservatives, on the other hand, are ready to embrace freedom again. This whole virus plandemic scamdemic has totally ruined 2020. The media [is] paralyzing people with fear so they will do mail-in ballots to rig an election. They succeeded in election fraud. The election is over. People need to stop bowing down to the virus. Forcing people to wear masks is a crime.”

Famously, no significant evidence of voter fraud has emerged in the 2020 election.

“The dance was nine days ago,” Knight continued. “I have not heard of anyone testing positive who attended the dance. Kids need to have some normalcy to help with anxiety and depression. Don’t you agree?”

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Instagram

Knight was unwilling to list any COVID precautions taken by organizers of the dance. This appeared to be consistent with posts on her Facebook page in the days surrounding the event, which featured a #burnthemask hashtag, along with allegations that “making kids wear masks is child abuse.” She also shared a post arguing that the top infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, “should be in prison.”

Two students who said they were in student leadership at Ola High School spoke to The Daily Beast on Monday under the condition of anonymity. The pair said they helped plan the dance but were afraid that press coverage would “ruin” their football team’s efforts to compete in one last game of the season on Friday.

“I’m going to cry,” one of the students said in a phone interview.

“For senior year, any event that’s been cancelled, I’ve been doing everything I can to have that event, even if it’s outside of school,” added the student. “None of the football players went, so that, just in case, they could play in the playoffs.” (Of course, any number of dance attendees could have infected members of the football team or others in the community in the days afterward.)

With help from parents and classmates, the students found a venue, hired a DJ, and planned a list of precautions. Those precautions, the students said, included a COVID waiver with safety information, contactless temperature readings on-site, optional masks, hand sanitizers, and pre-packaged food.

Phone messages and emails left for the high school’s administrators were not returned on Monday, but a statement from JD Hardin, executive director of communications at Henry County School District, confirmed on Monday that “school leaders did hear of the private, non-school affiliated party.” Hardin, however, would not clarify whether school administrators were aware of it before it took place, as one student told The Daily Beast on Monday.

“This was a private party and in no way sanctioned/sponsored by the school or the school district,” said Hardin. “Henry County Schools continues to adhere to the guidelines and protocols set forth by the CDC, Department of Public Health, and local medical professionals. All guidelines and protocols have been incorporated into our board of education-approved, district-adopted guidelines and response plans. We continue to remind everyone in our community the important role they play in mitigating any spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing hands, and watching the distance between individuals.”

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Instagram

As for how many students at the high school have COVID-19, Hardin said one student was reported as being infected the week of Nov. 9-13 and another was reported for the week of Nov. 16-20.

The largest hospital in the area, Piedmont Henry, stopped responding to The Daily Beast’s emails seeking an interview with hospital administrators after a spokesperson learned what the story was about. The mayor of McDonough, Georgia, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Monday.

“I didn’t want to see a tradition that we’ve had for over 20 years taken away,” one of the students told The Daily Beast. “I wanted to see kids that have been doing nothing for eight months experience some joy.”

The other student, also a senior, said: “There were a lot of people against us, but we had a lot more support than critics. Our tradition at our school runs very deeply.”

That much appeared to be true. There were at least 10 parent chaperones, the students said, and others proudly posted about their children or grandchildren attending the event on Facebook.

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Facebook

Tony Sargent, a 48-year-old native of the McDonough area, said his son, a senior, “had a great night” at the dance and that he wasn’t worried about it. Sargent said he believed COVID transmission wasn’t something his son needed to be worried about because it has more severe effects on older people than it does on teenagers.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that most children infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, “some children can get severely ill from COVID-19,” including requiring hospitalization. In rare cases, teens have died from the virus.

“There was massive interest in an event like this,” said Sargent. “Obviously not everybody went, so I guess if somebody had a problem they just didn’t go.”

A viral pandemic makes things a bit more complicated than that. And as for the idea that the dance had seemingly gone off without epidemiological incident, the health department wasn’t so sure.

“We are seeing an increase pretty much everywhere,” Hayla Folden, spokesperson for Georgia’s District 4 Public Health, which covers Henry County, told The Daily Beast.

“If you give it to the end of the week, we may be able to link some cases to this event,” added Folden, noting that it would have been difficult to trace before, considering the department wasn’t even aware of the mass gathering until asked about it. “We’re continuing to see higher numbers of cases in Henry County, but they also have the highest population in our district.”

As of Monday, the county had 8,262 cases and 133 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. About 609 of those cases were diagnosed in just the last two weeks, Folden explained.

Parents Tried to Cover Up a ‘Superspreader’ Dance. Disaster Ensued.

To be clear, the COVID-19 data out of Georgia has come under intense scrutiny since the pandemic began, with experts in July claiming that Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration presented the state’s coronavirus dashboard data in a way that made it appear healthier than it was. One local magazine called the ensuing distrust in the state’s numbers “a disaster,” with others calling the numbers “a lie” designed to make a reopening look safer than it actually was.

Folden acknowledged that folks in many areas of her district have been reluctant to wear masks, and have been vocal about COVID fatigue. But she said it’s another thing entirely to throw a large, non-distanced event.

“It is frustrating when our staff are working around the clock to contact-trace and test. We know it doesn’t just affect older people. It can affect everyone. It’s a pretty personal illness. Having had it myself, it attacks everyone just a little bit different,” said Folden.

Now, according to the students interviewed by The Daily Beast on Monday, others at neighboring schools have reached out to see how they can throw similar parties in the coming weeks, which they called “winter balls.”

“We all deserved a dance,” said one of the seniors interviewed by The Daily Beast. “We’ve been trying to help them.”

Unsurprisingly, Folden had one single piece of advice for parents thinking about throwing parties like this: “Please don’t. Please. Don’t.”

“There’s no way to know if one healthy teenager is going to be OK and one healthy teenager is going to end up in the hospital,” said Folden, who is based out of LaGrange, Georgia. “That is just too much of a risk.”

What’s more, while teens are less likely than older adults to die from the virus, they can still deal with long-term, debilitating health complications. And studies show they are just as likely to transmit it to others. Worse still, large events can kill those who aren’t present, like the notorious wedding in Maine over the summer that led to 170 infections, killing at least seven people who did not even attend the event.

“We have encouraged people not to do this,” Folden said of the homecoming dance. “Policing is a bit more difficult. The only thing we would be able to do, if we were aware, is ask state patrol to make a drop-in visit, and—if the governor’s executive order is not being enforced, then they could assist us in asking people to close that down.”

“But again,” said Folden, “we can’t even do that if we don’t know it’s happening.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Brandon Smith caught red-handed, kid cries, Melbourne Storm, stolen lollipop


For Brandon Smith, taking candy from a baby is as easy as, well, taking candy from a baby.

But the karma bus came crashing into the Melbourne Storm star after he was caught red-handed making Craig Bellamy’s grandson cry because he was playing mind games with his coach.

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As the Storm marched onto their bus bound for Brisbane ahead of Saturday night’s 36-24 qualifying final win over Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium, supporters at the club’s Sunshine Coast base made a guard of honour to wish them well.

Among the fans was Bellamy’s grandson but Smith showed him no love at all, casually plucking a lollipop out of the unsuspecting youngster’s hand as he strolled past.

The problem — apart from the bleeding obvious of Smith bringing the little fella to tears — was the Storm utility was unaware he had a camera trained on him, which captured his every move.

It’s why the New Zealand hooker was forced to wear headgear during a live TV interview on Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday night, because he was declared “goose of the week” for his cold-blooded crime.

“They had a little wall for us before we got on the bus to go away for our trip to play at Suncorp,” Smith said.

“I thought I’d get one up on Bellamy and I stole his grandson’s lollipop.

“I didn’t know the camera was watching us and when I stole the lollipop he started crying and everyone saw it.”

Melbourne sent the vision of Smith’s sin to Nine and it was played for footy fans everywhere to see.

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Smith said life in the “bubble” isn’t too taxing because Storm players and staff are relaxing in the Queensland sunshine while Melburnians have suffered through lockdown during a bitter Victorian winter.

He’s hopeful his side can win the premiership as a way of lifting the spirits of fans who have been among those Australians most affected by COVID-19.

Melbourne have this weekend off before playing a preliminary final the following week for a spot in the grand final.



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Ellyse Perry photo with Hayley Silver-Holmes when she was a kid, Sydney Sixers teammates


Seven years ago, Hayley Silver-Holmes was taking selfies with Australian cricket star Ellyse Perry.

Now, the kid from Bowen Mountain is getting ready to play her third WBBL season alongside her old sporting idol at the Sydney Sixers.

But even today, Silver-Holmes admitted that she can’t believe she gets to call Perry a teammate.

“I’ve idolised her since I started (playing cricket), the person she is, how great of a sportswoman she is, I’ve always wanted to be like her, to play with her is something special,” Silver-Holmes said.

Perry said that Silver-Holmes has impressed her since she debuted for the Sixers as a 15-year-old back in 2018.

“She’s an incredibly talented cricketer who possesses a level of maturity and understanding about her bowling that is beyond her years,” Perry said.

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our club and Cricket NSW to play a continued role in Hayley’s development. She has the potential to be a world class T20 bowler.”

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In her first two WBBL seasons, Silver-Holmes played 28 matches and claimed nine wickets.

Last year, the 16-year-old became the second youngest NSW Breaker to debut in the Women’s National Cricket League.

Silver-Holmes said she is excited to continue developing her game under the guidance of Perry and the Sixers.

“It’s unreal to be playing, getting signed for my third and fourth season, it’s an exciting time for women’s cricket coming up and I’m glad to be part of it” Silver-Holmes said.

After watching her former teammate 18-year-old Annabel Sutherland debut for Australia during this year’s T20I tri-series, Silver-Holmes said she is determined to take her game to another level this summer.

“I played with Annabel in South Africa for the Under 19s … seeing her play in the Aussie team really inspires young girls like myself and Stella (Campbell) to want to get there too” Silver-Holmes said.

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Wife suspects her husband had a kid with her best friend


Even though they’ve taken a paternity test, Phoebe is sure she’s right.

Phoebe broke into a wide smile as her best friend *Kaitlyn waved a positive pregnancy test in her face.

Her grin stayed intact even as Kaitlyn explained she had unexpectedly fallen pregnant after a one night stand – and the man didn’t want anything to do with her or the baby.

Despite the tricky circumstances, Phoebe couldn’t help that she was beyond thrilled her perpetually single friend was finally joining the motherhood club.

She couldn’t wait for the baby to be born so she and Kaitlyn could raise their kids together – just like they had always talked about doing.

But shortly after Kaitlyn had given birth, Phoebe had drastically changed her tune.

In fact, she struggled to be around Kaitlyn’s baby boy at all – feeling her stomach clench in fear every time she caught a glimpse of him.

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Phoebe is fairly sure Kaitlyn’s son is her husband’s. Source: iStock

But she has a good explanation…

This aversion to Kaitlyn’s son has only gotten worse over the years.

The little boy is now three – and Phoebe honestly can’t stand to look at him without feeling like she is about to throw up.

Although Phoebe acknowledges that her reaction to her best friend’s son is somewhat unusual – she does have a good reason for it.

“This kid looks EXTREMELY like my husband like to an insane degree,” Phoebe explained on Reddit.

“The hair colour, eyes, face everything.

“My husband has even been out with my friend and her son and people have mistaken him to be the dad before.”

“No one has ever seen who he is”

For Phoebe, the issue isn’t just that Kaitlyn’s son looks like her husband – it’s that it’s entirely possible that the pair could have slept together at some point.

Phoebe’s husband is also good friends with Kaitlyn and they were all living in the same neighbourhood when she fell pregnant.

And then there is the small matter of the fact that Kaitlyn refused to identify her son’s father.

“No one has ever seen who he is,” Phoebe said.

“Also she refused to show me a pic of the biological father which is incredibly unlike her.

“So putting two and two together it’s hard to come to any other conclusion.”

“I asked for a test”

Although this has been rolling around in Phoebe’s head for years – a few weeks ago she finally cracked and confronted Kaitlyn and her husband about it.

Obviously, they both denied the affair, but Phoebe wasn’t buying it.

Instead, she requested that they get a paternity test for Kaitlyn’s son.

“The resemblance was unavoidable and it was eating at me so much that no amount of therapy could help,” Phoebe explained.

“I did ask for the test calmly but was met first with no response.

“So obviously I escalated until it worked. I don’t think it was a huge deal either just to ask for a test given the circumstances.”

“I wouldn’t have known”

To make sure the test wasn’t faked, Phoebe even accompanied everyone to a nearby testing centre – and watched as the cheek swabs were done.

She was so confident that the test had been legit that she was thrown when the results came back showing that Phoebe’s husband wasn’t the father.

But within a couple of days, she had worked out how Kaitlyn and her husband could have conspired to get a negative result – even if he was really the father of the little boy.

“My friend chose this centre and I had no say,” Phoebe theorised.

“She could have bought them off or influenced them without any way for me to know.”

Infidelity in a relationship can leave you with many questions, especially the reason why it happened in the first place. We talked to Dr Rowan Burckhardt about the psychology behind why people cheat.

“Did I f**k up and how badly?”

To Phoebe this explanation sounds completely reasonable- but saldy, neither her husband nor Kaitlyn saw it the same way.

In fact, after Phoebe suggested they had falsified the test result, Kaitlyn broke off their friendship.

“My husband has also moved out for the time being and I’m worried this is the end of our marriage,” Phoebe adds.

“I thought my husband would slightly understand since even he sees the obvious resemblance between him and this kid but clearly not.

“Did I f**k up and how badly?”

“You can’t really blame them”

Unfortunately for Phoebe, the commenters on Reddit were pretty certain that she had seriously f**ked up.

Over 900 commenters jumped on the post, slamming Phoebe for continuing to believe that her husband was the father of Kaitlyn’s son, even after the paternity test said otherwise.

“I’d be angry about the constant poking and refuse to feed it. That’s not odd behaviour that’s the behaviour of someone with boundaries and a spine,” one man wrote.

“You let your insecurities get the better of you to an insane degree. You can’t really blame them for leaving you after that,” a fellow Redditor chimed in to add.

“What a mess. You need professional help. I don’t think it will save your marriage or friendship but hopefully it will save you from yourself,” another commenter added.

“I have a hard time believing if they hung out often that they both would be able to keep it secret for this long. People get drunk, emotions, and can’t keep secrets,” a woman wisely suggested.

*Names have been changed



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FAKE ALERT: UP police saves Muslim kid, gets falsely blamed for his arrest


CLAIM
Facebook page by the name of Owaisi Supporter posted an image of a Muslim kid with a claim that he was arrested by police for the “crime of wearing a skull cap and being born in a Muslim family”.
In the photo, the kid can be seen with a police official and a jeep. One leg of the kid is tied with a chain.

A loose translation of the sarcastic Hindi text accompanying the photo reads, “He is even a bigger criminal than Vikash Dubey. He is so dangerous that he openly dons skull cap and was born in a Muslim family. Brave cops arrested him.”
Md Saqib Abid and many others shared the image with the same claim on Twitter.

TRUTH
The claim made with the photo is false. The image is two years old when the police officials had rescued and handed over the kid to his family members.
VERIFICATION AND METHODOLOGY
Using reverse-image search, we found a tweet dated January 20, 2018 from the verified handle of ‘Call 112’. Call 112 provides immediate assistance from Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police. Its services can be availed for fire, ambulance or other emergency services in UP.
The tweet carried the same image as the one shared above.

As per the tweet, the Muslim kid in question was freed from his chains by UP Police in Gautam Buddha Nagar. He was rescued and later handed over to his family by the cops.
VERDICT
Times Fact Check has found that a two year old photo of a Muslim kid rescued by UP police is being shared with a false claim that he was arrested for being a Muslim.





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How beloved author Brian Falkner could meet your kid


AWARD-WINNING childrens’ author Brian Falkner could be coming to your child’s school to present an exclusive writing workshop.

The internationally-published novelist has written titles such as Outlaw, Katipo Joe and
1917: Machines of War.

To win one of two workshops for their school, all students have to do is list their five favourite books as part of QSuper’s Top 5 Book Challenge.

There are also eight $500 book vouchers to be won.

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Student pirates walk the plank at St Francis Xavier

Mr Falkner said developing a love for reading while young helped keep the “windows of your imagination” “wide open” into adulthood.

“Personally, I’m a big fan of Roald Dahl, and Matilda would be my favourite,” Mr Falkner said.

“It’s a wonderful, wacky and creative story that shows off Dahl’s imagination.”

Students have until August 28 to take part in QSuper’s Top 5 Book Challenge. Picture: Contributed.

Mr Falkner said he was looking forward to hosting workshops focused on helping students create stories others wanted to read with believable and empathetic characters.

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QSuper chief executive officer Michael Pennisi said the sixth Top 5 Book Challenge was launched in conjunction with the Premier’s Reading Challenge that inspired students’ love for reading.

“Last year, more than a hundred students told us about their favourite books and we’re hoping for even more young readers to get involved in 2020,” Mr Pennisi said.

“It’s fantastic to see the initiative go ahead this year despite the impact of the pandemic on Queensland schools.

“It’s a testament to the important work of teachers and librarians across the state.”

The competition closes on August 28.

To find out more, visit https://qsuper.qld.gov.au/prc2020





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Walkerton’s tainted water made her sick as a kid. 20 years on, it’s led her to study medicine


Jaclyn Spitzig was just four years old when the water in Walkerton, Ont., made her sick. Her family worried and prayed as she spent about 10 days in the hospital.

She has few memories from that time. Spitzig knows her family had the choice to move her between hospitals by a helicopter but they chose a car (something she’s still bitter about). She also remembers the Barbie balloon she was given, which flew away when she was leaving the hospital.

She does think this time shaped her, though. She’s now a third-year medical student at the University of Ottawa, planning to study pediatrics or family medicine.

“From as far as I can remember, which is about four years old, I’ve wanted to go into health care to some degree,” she said.

Spitizig smiles with her dad Dave after getting sick during the Walkerton E.coli outbreak in 2000. She’s wanted to go into health care since around that time. She also credits her grandmother, who was a nurse. (Submitted by Jaclyn Spitzig)

As her rural Ontario community marks 20 years since E.coli contaminated its water, locals are dealing with the aftermath differently. Seven people died and more than 2,300 fell ill. Some people are still sick today with long-term effects like kidney damage.

“The majority of people would like to move on, have moved on,” said Chris Peabody, the area’s mayor. “We didn’t fold up and die.”

He was helping co-ordinate a memorial service to mark the anniversary — the first such event in many years — but it was cancelled because of COVID-19. He knows some locals don’t want to talk about it anymore.

“We don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives but it is part of our history,” he said. “I’m not here to erase history.”

Watch: archival footage of water testing during the Walkerton outbreak

Archival look at the rural Ont. community during its deadly epidemic. 0:59

‘I remember those children crying’

Dr. Paul McArthur and his wife were working in the emergency department at Walkerton’s hospital when the patients began arriving. Rumours had been flying about a problem, but he realized what was happening on the May long weekend.

McArthur remembers how chaotic it became — a flood of sick, weak locals coming in with bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and fevers.

Tens of thousands of litres of water were donated and distributed to locals during Walkerton’s tainted water outbreak. The anniversary was supposed to be marked by a memorial ceremony but was cancelled because of COVID-19. Last week, the local council voted to support a scholarship, which will help fund a local student to study water treatment or environmental science. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press)

“It was either the water or the air, and these people didn’t all go to the same picnic,” he said. “The implication, which I shared with a nurse that evening, was that somebody’s going to die from this.”

The problem turned out to be manure spread on a nearby farm, which had contaminated the water supply. McArthur lost a family friend, a toddler who was playmates with his kids.

Nurse Jane Mullin remembers how packed the waiting room became — snaking out to the emergency department doors.

“I remember those children crying,” she said. “There were lots of children crying and that was kind of sad.”

Listen: Locals reflect on Walkerton’s water crisis

It’s been 20 years since E.coli bacteria was discovered in the town’s drinking water, leaving seven people dead and more than 2,300 sick. The CBC’s Haydn Watters joined London Morning to talk about what has happened since. 7:16

She also remembers kicking reporters who were trying to talk to sick locals out of the waiting room.

Mullin, now retired, kept a stack of newspapers and magazines from that time, which she recently found while cleaning her home. After 20 years, she’s decided to get rid of them.

“There was no sense keeping them any longer,” said her husband, Vince. “Honestly, they’re starting to smell.”

Jane and Vince Mullin hold up one of the old newspapers they kept from the time of the outbreak. This copy of the Walkerton Herald-Times, from just after E.coli was discovered in the water supply, told locals ‘don’t drink the water.’ (Haydn Watters/CBC)

McArthur, who still works at the hospital, is happy that so much time has passed.

“I’m basically glad to see … people be a little bit confused about where Walkerton is,” he said. “Or get mixed up with Wiarton and Wingham and all the other W names around here.”

‘We became a stronger community’

Judge Dennis O’Connor headed an inquiry into what went wrong with Walkerton’s water. It ultimately faulted both provincial cuts and the area’s public utilities managers, who were brothers. Stan Koebel managed the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission, while his brother Frank was water foreman.

Stan Koebel knew the water was contaminated, but didn’t let authorities know right away, and lied as people started getting sick. The brothers pled guilty to criminal charges in 2004. Stan was sentenced to a year in jail, while Frank got nine months of house arrest.

There are nods to Walkerton’s water history all around the community, including in its logo, which features a water droplet. The tragedy prompted the creation of the Walkerton Clean Water Centre, where water operators from around the province learn and train. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

But locals do not want to talk about blame. Some of those involved still live in the area — or have family there.

Joe Rys chooses to focus on the times the town has come together. He used to be principal at the Catholic high school.

After the outbreak happened, he wanted to take Walkerton on holiday. He arranged for more than 2,000 locals to take in a Blue Jays game in Toronto. They rode school buses and transferred onto a train, clad in matching T-shirts that read “Proud to be from Walkerton Ontario.”

“We all walked from [Toronto’s] Union Station, one big long line of Walkerton with their shirts on and people were looking,” he said. “The citizens of Toronto were saying ‘What in the name of God’s this?'”

Locals wore these matching shirts when they went to a Blue Jays game in September 2000. Joe Rys even arranged for the ‘Walkerton Community Choir’ to sing the national anthem, though that choir didn’t really exist. He ended up putting together singers he knew from church. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

He’s still upset the Jays lost 2 to 1, but said the trip helped take the community’s mind off water, if even for a few hours.

“The water crisis … led us to be stronger citizens, led us to be more conscious of other people,” he said. “That doesn’t sound right, but it is right … we became a stronger community because of that.”

Rys is Spitzig’s grandfather. She calls him “Papa.” The outbreak has come up in her medical classes, along with the crucial role clean water plays in keeping people healthy. It’s something she knows all too well but she said it’s important to recognize problems persist, particularly in Indigenous communities.

‘Papa’ Joe Rys poses with his granddaughter Jaclyn Spitzig in between talking about their community’s water crisis. ‘We’re aware of the past, we respect the past, but we’re moving the future,’ he said. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

“I’m able to look at how it was addressed in our town and how it’s still a problem across Canada today even though you might not think about it,” she said.

“It’s interesting to see how to have clean water is not always as accessible as you think it might be.”



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