‘Death threats’ prompted SA man charged over childlike sex doll to move to Victoria, court told

The first South Australian to be charged with possessing a childlike sex doll was forced to relocate to Victoria after receiving death threats, according to his lawyer.

James David Ryan Sharp, 31, is yet to enter pleas to five major indictable offences related to the possession and purchase of child abuse material.

Defence lawyer Dylan Walsh told the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court that he had been unable to gain instructions from his client because he now resided in Victoria.

“Following our client’s arrest there was heavy media involvement which resulted in death threats,” Mr Walsh said.

“An application was brought forward to allow the defendant to relocate to Victoria.”

Mr Walsh said hard border restrictions meant Mr Sharp had been unable to visit his legal office in Mount Gambier.

Requesting a short adjournment, he said that problem had been resolved thanks to the recent relaxation of restrictions for cross-border community members.

Magistrate Maria Panagiotidis granted the adjournment and the matter was listed to be heard on December 22.

Cross-agency collaboration

South Australian authorities launched an investigation in November after receiving information from New South Wales Police and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

The investigation led to detectives searching Mr Sharp’s premises on January 14.

During the search, police allegedly located and seized the childlike doll, children’s clothing, a computer, a mobile phone and a bank card.

Australian Federal Police arrested and charged Mr Sharp with numerous offences.

The defence lawyer told the court his client was unable to visit Mount Gambier for appointments due to border restrictions.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

Police alleged Mr Sharp purchased the doll from a supplier in China in 2018.

He also allegedly purchased a variety of children’s clothing, including school uniforms, swimwear and underwear.

Mr Sharp could face 15 years behind bars if he is convicted of possessing the anatomically correct doll.

He was the first person in South Australia to be charged under the new offence, which came into force on September 20, 2019.

The AFP Acting Commander of South Australia Gail McClure said the dolls objectified children as sexual beings and could desensitise anyone who used them to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by sexual abuse.

“The Australian Federal Police does not condone any form of child exploitation, or activity of any kind that reinforces the sexualisation of children,” she said in a statement in January.

“This arrest highlights the collaborative work undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.”

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St Kilda considering move for delisted Don

ST KILDA is weighing up whether to throw another AFL lifeline to delisted Essendon tall Shaun McKernan.

McKernan, 30, was last month delisted by Essendon after 87 games scattered across 11 seasons with Adelaide and the Bombers. But he could yet find himself at Moorabbin and at a third AFL club.

McKernan was delisted by the Crows at the end of 2014 before the Bombers came knocking for the ruck/forward in the rookie draft. Essendon then delisted him in late 2016 before re-drafting him as a rookie.

St Kilda has two quality ruckmen in Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall, but the Saints cleaned out a lot of tall talent in the wake of a semi-final loss to Richmond.

Rucks Ryan Abbott and Jack Bell have been delisted, while key position players Logan Austin and Jack Mayo were also cut. Another key tall, Nathan Brown, announced his retirement earlier this year.

It leaves only raw prospect and former US-based basketballer Sam Alabakis as St Kilda’s ruck insurance.

McKernan would add valuable depth and ruck cover, while also capable of playing forward if need-be.

It’s understood McKernan is also weighing up some attractive offers from a number of local clubs for 2021.

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GWS Giants’ Jye Caldwell requests move to Essendon Bombers

Caldwell was persuaded by the Bombers’ pitch to come to the Hangar, explaining that while from the outside a group of players leaving a club created the impression of a walkout, each player leaving the club was doing so for personal reasons and there was not a thread tying all of them together.

Caldwell joins Aidan Corr, Jackson Hately, Jeremy Cameron and Zac Williams in indicating their desire to leave the Giants this off-season.

GWS confirmed Caldwell’s decision in a statement on Thursday.

“Jye has informed us that he would like to return home to Victoria,” GWS football chief Jason McCartney said.


“We had tabled a very competitive offer for a second-year player but we’ll now work to facilitate a trade that will provide a strong result for our football club.”

Caldwell was drafted by the Giants at pick 11 in the 2018 draft. From Bendigo, he has played 11 senior games across his two seasons with GWS. Hately, another of the 2018 draft crop, has requested a move to Adelaide. Xavier O’Halloran, also drafted by GWS in 2018, remains out-of-contract.

The Giants are also poised to lose small forward Zac Langdon to West Coast.

Cameron (Geelong), Corr (North Melbourne) and Williams (Carlton) are all set to leave the Giants as free agents.

It follows a year in which GWS fell from grand finalists in 2019 to miss the finals altogether this season.

The Dons have been circling contracted Western Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley but the Dogs have indicated they are unwilling to part with the 2016 premiership player.

Melbourne forward Mitch Hannan meanwhile has told the Demons that he wants to leave to join the Bulldogs.

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Pelosi, Mnuchin Move Closer to Stimulus Deal Amid Senate Doubts

(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday she’s hopeful for a stimulus agreement this week, which would be crucial to getting a bill passed by Election Day, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned the White House against a bigger Pelosi-led deal before Nov. 3.

“That’s the plan. That’s what I would hope,” Pelosi said about reaching a compromise this week. She spoke to reporters after her latest call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Tuesday.

The White House also expressed some optimism on progress. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on CNBC that “everybody is working real hard” to get an agreement by the weekend, although he cautioned that there are still some outstanding issues.

“I want to stress: We’re not just down to a difference of language and a few dollars,” Meadows said. “We still have a ways to go.”

Even if remaining differences can be bridged, Senate Republicans remain a key roadblock, as many oppose a bill on the scale of what’s now under negotiation. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned the White House not to rush into an agreement before the election, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The administration’s offer has increased to $1.88 trillion, Meadows said. Pelosi is pushing for $2.2 trillion, while President Donald Trump reiterated Tuesday he could be willing to go even bigger.

Stocks Roiled

The twists and turns of the stimulus talks have been roiling equities. The S&P 500 Index slumped 1.6% Monday, then climbed as much as 1.5% Tuesday after Pelosi noted progress being made. The gauge pared gains to close up 0.5%.

S&P 500 contracts edged higher after Pelosi later wrote in a letter to Democratic colleagues that the stimulus package would be “safer, bigger, and better, and it will be retroactive.” S&P 500 futures rose 0.4% as of 10:10 a.m. in Tokyo.

Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said the negotiators are moving closer to an agreement and “both sides are serious about finding a compromise.”

McConnell said his chamber would take up a comprehensive coronavirus stimulus package “at some point” if Pelosi and Mnuchin are able to resolve the final areas of disagreement and get a bill through the House. But he didn’t say whether he would support such a deal, or encourage GOP members to back it.

“It’s very unlikely that a number of that level would make it through the Senate, and I don’t support something of that level,” Senator Mitt Romney told reporters, referring to a number of $1.8 trillion or higher.

Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby said his staff doesn’t have the details from Mnuchin or Pelosi they need to work out a bill.

“I’m not optimistic about us doing anything,” Shelby said. “We should have done something and we had the opportunity and the Democrats wouldn’t do it several months ago.”

Staff Work

Pelosi had tasked House committee chairmen to work out legislative language on a bill with their Senate Republican counterparts. Talks among appropriations committee members stalled because the levels of spending in accounts they are trying to resolve are interlinked with with areas of disagreement in the core Pelosi-Mnuchin talks, according to aides in both parties.

Nevertheless, Pelosi said in a Bloomberg TV interview earlier Tuesday that “we are starting to write a bill.” She added that she was pleased with the Trump administration’s latest position on coronavirus testing and tracing. The two sides are also “in range” on other health care provisions, she said.

While Mnuchin and Pelosi kept up their negotiations, McConnell moved on a separate front Tuesday to try to shame Democrats for blocking specific measures on which there’s bipartisan agreement.

McConnell forced a symbolic vote on the $120 billion Continuing Paycheck Protection Program Act, a standalone bill providing coronavirus relief to small businesses. Democrats showed they have enough votes to block it.

Read More: Senate Democrats Vote Against GOP Small Business Virus Aid Bill

That was the first of two smaller-scale items. On Wednesday, McConnell will seek to proceed with a $500 billion GOP relief package that would extend expired unemployment benefits and provide small business relief and liability protections for businesses, among other provisions.

“There are so many places where their bills are inadequate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday. Pelosi is now trying to get a “big, bold” bill to address the nation’s needs, he said.

If that fails, “we will try to get one in the lame duck and we will try to get one should we win the presidency and the Senate after that,” he said. The lame duck refers to the period between the election and the swearing in of the new Congress.

(Adds S&P 500 futures, in the eighth paragraph.)

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Governor questions Bhupesh Baghel Govt’s special session move

NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh governor Anusuiya Uikey has asked the state government to specify why it wanted a special assembly session, in an indication of a faceoff between the two. The Bhupesh Baghel government returned the file immediately on Tuesday specifying that it wanted to introduce amendments in current laws to help farmers and agricultural labourers.

The Baghel government had requested the governor to convene an assembly session for October 27 and 28 to introduce amendments to mandi laws and override the impact of central farm legislations notified. Uikey returned the file on Tuesday, questioning the need for a special session, pointing out that the monsoon session was held less than two months ago. She asked the government for information on the laws planned for the session. Wiser by the Gehlot government’s standoff with Rajasthan governor Kalraj Mishra, the Baghel government returned the file saying that the state wanted to protect the interests of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers and had to urgently change existing laws.

“The governor does not have the right to raise the issue. We pass 20-30 legislations in the budget session and no question is raised. Now we have sent the file back to Raj Bhavan stating that the government is committed to protecting interests of Chhattisgarh’s farmers and agricultural labourers and that is why the urgency,” Chhattisgarh agriculture minister Ravindra Choubey told ET.

The state government is studying various Supreme Court and high court judgments where the government sought judicial intervention to convene a special assembly session.

“We have many options. But right now, we hope that the governor would allow us to convene a session. There have been several Supreme Court judgments which have clearly shown that the governor cannot deny the right of any elected government to call a special session. When Maharashtra governor refused to convene a session, it was convened after Supreme Court’s intervention,” he said The Chhattisgarh government has also sent amendments being proposed for Uikey’s perusal. The government would bring amendments in Chhattisgarh Krishi Upaj Mandi Adhiniyam and Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code.

They would ensure that the state government had control over private mandis which corporates could open. “We will introduce stock limits, ensure they submit their electronic systems to state scrutiny, ensure labour laws are applicable through these amendments,” Choubey said. Chhattisgarh is a tribal-dominated Schedule V area state and corporates would not be able to acquire land without submitting to state scrutiny, he said.

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Victorian government backflips on move allowing 1,250 people at Cox Plate horse race after heavy backlash

The Victorian government has backflipped on a decision to allow more than a thousand people to be at the 100th running of Melbourne’s Cox Plate horse race this weekend following a wave of backlash.

On Tuesday afternoon, the state government announced 500 owners and connections would be able to attend Moonee Valley for both Friday night’s Manikato Stakes and Saturday’s Cox Plate, in addition to the jockeys, operations staff, media and security officials.

A maximum of 1,250 people were to be allowed on the course at any one time.

Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the meetings would feature a range of COVID-safe arrangements including caps on numbers, staggered arrivals and temperature checks.

The announcement prompted a surge of criticism on social media, most of which cited Victoria’s harsher coronavirus restrictions on funerals and family gatherings.

But late on Tuesday night, Mr Pakula said he had spoken to the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the decision had been reversed.

“Owners won’t return to the race track until we reach the next stage of the easing of restrictions. I apologise for any upset that has been caused,” he tweeted.

“The decision to allow some owners on course for the 100th Cox Plate was motivated only by respect for the occasion & a desire to mark a small step on the path to reopening.

“It was a mistake, given that other restrictions remain in place, and we’ve heard the community feedback.”

Time limits were to be placed on how long owners could remain on course, food and beverage services were to be takeaway only, and owners and connections were to be kept away from mounting yards and horse stalls and required to social distance.

Prior to the government’s backflip, Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell said he was delighted to have some spectators on course for the milestone race.

“The 100th running of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate is a significant milestone in our club’s history and to have owners on course to enjoy the race is a great result,” he said in a statement.

“While it is disappointing that we can’t welcome our members and the racing public this year, we look forward to putting on a great carnival that they will enjoy from their living rooms.”

Additional reporting by AAP.

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Clint Bowyer’s Move To Fox Sports Next Season Had Nothing To Do With Lack Of NASCAR Sponsorship

To say that Clint Bowyer is the “odd man out” of anything is putting it mildly. Odd, in a good way of course, as the Kansas native is one of the most colorful personalities in NASCAR and always entertaining.

Bowyer announced last week that he will step out of the No. 14 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing at the end of the year. Odd, considering that when he signed a one-year extension on his contract with the team late last season, he indicated he wanted to return to the team in 2021, and in fact said that he wanted to remain there until his retirement. Something he reiterated as recently as this July.

So, what changed?

After making the announcement that he will move to the broadcast booth with Fox Sports next season, Bowyer met with the media and said he was working on sponsors for next season.

“Yes. Were we working on what’s next as far as being in a race car? Absolutely,” Bowyer said. “Always working with partners. Always trying to understand, trying to help them make an impact in this sport, not only for the racing side of it, but for their business as well. That included working with Rusty from Rush and DeKalb and all of our partners, Peak, everybody it would have took to keep me in that race car.”

Suddenly however, everything changed.

“Yeah, it’s 2020, right? It is what it is,” Bowyer said. “Is it the perfect time to do all of this? I don’t think 2020 is the perfect time for anything. We all wish it was just behind us already, but timing is something. This opportunity came up. It was an opportunity of a lifetime, an opportunity to stay a part of this sport for many years to come, and that’s the coolest thing about it. Was I getting close to being ready to get out of the car and start thinking about it anyways? Yes. Was there a lot of things that happened this year in the schedule and things like that, where I was away from my family doing this on my own that kind of made that decision a little easier yet? Yes. There were a lot of those things, but the fans, the event of a race weekend is something that you just can’t do without.”

While there may be talk of sponsorship troubles for many teams in NASCAR, and all professional sports for that matter, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Bowyer. For Bowyer, his experience in the Fox booth earlier this season, when most of the world was locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Fox broadcast the hastily put together iRacing Series that had drivers racing from their homes via simulators and invited Bowyer to join the coverage, began to change his mind about his future.

“When Fox, and let’s go back to the pandemic, there are always opportunities and crazy things and it’s usually those wild and crazy things in life that open that opportunity,” he said. “This pandemic led to that opportunity to get in the studio with Jeff and Mike and have a ton of fun doing those iRacing races that really kind of kept us on the map with our sport and kept our sponsors propped up, kept the business moving, kept it going around in circles. That was a ton of fun for me and it opened my eyes up in a big way and it was just something that nobody expected that opened the door for this opportunity we took. “

He added that the change came a week before his announcement. But he said:

“You don’t make that decision. They make that decision. There’s not a racer out there, you’ve got a lot of friends and things like that that if they could have stayed in the sport and done something that not be in the seat in a weekly basis that they would have taken that. It was TV gave me that offer and that opportunity. They’re the ones that made that decision, not me. The only thing I had to do is be smart enough to realize the opportunity that was in front of me and to capitalize on it. That’s what we did.”

Fans will get much more of this entertaining personality next season as Bowyer will join the broadcast booth alongside Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon. Bowyer will replace former analyst and retired driver Darrell Waltrip, famous for his “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity” catchphrase.

Waltrip was perhaps one of earliest, and best-known, of the colorful personalities in NASCAR during his time racing at NASCAR’s Cup level. Waltrip raced a Cup car from 1972 to 2000 amassing 84 wins in 809 starts and earning three Cup titles. Early in his career Waltrip gained the nickname “Jaws” not only for his aggressive style of racing on the track, and his outspokenness off the track. He was perhaps the last driver of a generation of drivers who cared less about placating sponsors with their words and more about saying exactly what was on their mind, consequences be damned.

After Waltrip retired, drivers seemed to become little more than corporate spokespersons. Much to the disappointment of many fans.

Until Clint Bowyer came along. That’s not to say that Bowyer doesn’t care about his sponsors. He does of course, but Bowyer can spin a yarn or answer a question in a way that puts smiles on faces of fans, competitors, and sponsors.

It’s almost as though Fox, and NASCAR, will be getting “Jaws 2.0” next season. Though many fans hope it will come without the “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity” catchphrase.

As for Bowyer, he makes no apologies for changing his mind and hanging up his helmet, despite making the change seemingly overnight.

“I don’t regret anything,” Bowyer said. “I can promise you this I’ve probably had more fun than about anybody out there these last 16 years, probably too much fun sometimes, but would I take anything back or change anything? Absolutely not. I mean, we got close once — finished second and I think fifth — had good runs within the playoffs and things like that. Did I win as many races I would have liked? No, but I had wonderful opportunities to and raced for a lot of good organizations. I won races for all three manufacturers. That’s something that was super cool. I’ve done a lot. I’m proud of what I’ve done and I’m satisfied, for sure. There’s no question about it.”

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Australia to rejoin ‘quad’ naval exercises in move certain to infuriate Beijing

Diplomatic tensions with China are set to be reignited after Australia was formally invited to take part in large scale military exercises next month involving the United States, Japan and India.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) last took part in Exercise Malabar in 2007, before the Rudd government withdrew from the naval drills the following year because of concerns over relations with Beijing.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has confirmed Australia will participate in Exercise Malabar 2020, which she described as a “milestone activity”.

“High-end military exercises like Malabar are key to enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities, building interoperability with our close partners, and demonstrating our collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Senator Reynolds said.

Japan and the United States have been pushing diplomatically for Australia’s return to the Quadrilateral exercises, which China views as threatening and an effort to contain its military reach.

The exercises improve the four countries’ capacity to work together across the region.(Reuters: Nobuhiro Kubo)

India had been reluctant to allow the ADF to rejoin the powerful military grouping, but the country’s Defence Ministry confirmed a long-anticipated invitation had finally been made.

“As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy,” the ministry said.

“The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.

“They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules-based international order.”

Decision makes Quad ‘very formidable’

HMAS Brisbane with dark clouds behind it.
Sources say HMAS Brisbane could take part in the exercises, but this has not been confirmed.(ABC News: Rachel Riga)

Australia is yet to announce which naval assets will deploy to Exercise Malabar in the Indian Ocean, but defence sources have suggested a warship such as HMAS Hobart or HMAS Brisbane would be likely to go.

The Malabar invitation follows a Quad foreign ministers’ meeting in Tokyo earlier this month, attended by Foreign Minister Marise Payne

“It will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across our region,” Senator Payne said.

“This builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, to which Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Modi agreed on 4 June 2020, and which I progressed with my counterpart, Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar, this month when we met in Tokyo.”

India’s former Naval spokesman DK Sharma, who has long advocated for Australia’s return to the Malabar exercises, said having all four nations taking part made the Quad a more formal security alliance.

“It makes it very, very formidable,” DK Sharma told the ABC.

“The way [China] is moving out, the first island chain and the second island chain, now you have Japan on top, you have the Pacific more or less under the control of the US, then we have Australia which will have a good look towards either the Pacific or Indian Ocean Pacific, and then we have India.

“None of us are behaving in a way China is behaving — there is a difference, we are all talking security, prosperity, peace, tranquillity … Those guys are only talking about grabbing the nations, making their ports, militarising them, grabbing the islands.”

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