Family ‘disappointed’ man who stabbed two men in north Queensland home won’t face inquest

Thomas Davy, 27, and Corey Christensen, 37, died after they broke into the home of Dean Webber at Alva Beach, south of Townsville, in October 2018.

The pair were searching for Mr Davy’s girlfriend, Candice Locke, who had been injured and had sought refuge in the 19-year-old’s home, before a fight broke out between Mr Webber and the men.

Both men were stabbed, but Mr Webber was not charged, after police ruled that he acted in self-defence.

Lawyers for the families of Mr Christensen and Mr Davy on Thursday lost a Supreme Court challenge of the Coroner’s decision, to allow Mr Webber to give his evidence in writing.

An ongoing coronial inquest into the deaths of the pair is examining why no one was charged, and the emergency response to the incident by Queensland police and ambulance services.

During an inquest hearing in Cairns last year, lawyers representing Mr Webber applied for him to be excused from giving oral evidence, on medical grounds that it would cause him “severe trauma”, in addition to him already suffering Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

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Queensland rugby union prop Cruz Lemming says he won’t be sidelined by hearing loss

On any given day, 15-year-old Cruz Lemming can be found in the gym or on the footy field, earning his place on the Nudgee College rugby union open team.

Under bright-coloured headgear are two cochlear implants that help him interpret sounds, but profound hearing loss won’t stop the prop playing his best rugby.

In 2019 and at just 14 years old, Cruz was selected in Queensland’s 15 years and under rugby union side, catching the eye of keen Brisbane scouts who later offered him a scholarship to the private college.

“I’ve never been down on myself just because I have slightly worse hearing. I’ve got the devices that make me hear, and I am hearing normally,” he said.

Ten years ago, Gold Coast parents Tracy and Dion Lemming made the “heartbreaking” decision for their five-year-old son Cruz to undergo cochlear implantation surgery.

Cruz’s hearing had rapidly deteriorated over 18 months and while the technology would help him to hear and speak, Mrs Lemming said she felt torn.

“It’s a bit scary when you’re confronted with that. Cruz had a little bit of hearing left, but my husband and I both felt we were taking something off him,” Ms Lemming said.

“We said to him, ‘You’re going to have this operation that will help you with your hearing so you can hear like everyone else. But when you don’t have your hearing aids on, you won’t be able to hear anything’.”

Pronouncing the letter S and high pitch sounds were a struggle for young Cruz, but he soon overcame these difficulties with the help of audiologists, Ms Lemming said.

“When a little kid will ask ‘What are those?’, he will explain what it does, he’s pretty good at educating people and it’s never held him back but we’ve never made a big deal about it either.”

Cruz says he often shares his story with anxious families and their young children who he connects with at not-for-profit specialist support centre Hear and Say.

“They will come in with questions like ‘Will I be able to hear properly, will I be normal at school?’,” Cruz said.

“I’ll catch people staring at my head but it’s not a problem, it’s not every day you come across it. Some people would get annoyed, but I don’t care.”

Hear and Say audiologist Greer McDonald, who has assisted Cruz and his family over many years, says her work involves optimising hearing levels, testing his implants, and ensuring he has spare devices.

“As much as we rehabilitate hearing to the best we can, there will still be concerns with certain areas like noise.

“This will be a lifelong journey for Cruz and me. We do assessments every year.”

Celebrating Cruz’s “beautiful wins” with parents Tracy and Dion is a highlight of the job, Ms McDonald said.

“I enjoy that because I see him so regularly that you see them grow up as people. You see how the intervention has helped them.”

Hearing Awareness Week runs from March 1 to 7.

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Mercedes won’t reveal secrets as Hamilton keeps everyone guessing

Lewis Hamilton said that winning a record-breaking eighth world championship in 2021 would not be the determining factor in whether he quits after the season as Mercedes unveiled its new car for the year ahead.

The attempt to land a drivers’ crown that would move the 36-year-old Brit above Michael Schumacher to become the most decorated driver in the sport’s history will go hand-in-hand with the issue of his future in F1.

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“I’ve made a really important decision in my mind, that I don’t want that to be the deciding factor,” Hamilton said.

“I got into racing because I loved racing and I think that’s got to always be at the core of what I do. If all you’re going for is accolades, if all you’re going for is titles, I feel like you could potentially lose your way.

“Of course it’s the ultimate dream, but I don’t think that’s necessarily going to be the deciding factor whether to stay or keep going.”

Hamilton denied that a one-year extension to his contract had increased the possibility that the upcoming season could be his final one in the sport.

“I am in the fortunate position where I have achieved most of the stuff that I wanted to, so there is no real need to plan too far into the future,” he said.

“We are living in an unusual period of time. I just wanted one year, then we can talk about if we do more and keep adding to it by one if we have to.”


The Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance builds on the solid base of its predecessor but includes considerable aerodynamic changes alongside improvements to areas as such as the suspension, cooling system and power unit.

It will be seen on the track for the first time in pre-season testing in Bahrain on March 12, before the season-opening grand prix takes place on March 28.

However, Mercedes were secretive about how they have used their two allocated “tokens” to spend on heavy duty upgrades, which each team has been given in response to the limited aspects of cars that can be transformed because of financial reasons, on account of the pandemic.

Technical director James Allison said: “We have spent our tokens, but we won’t reveal how we used them just yet.

“That’ll become clear in good time.”


One of Hamilton’s crusades has been to promote and develop more diversity in F1.

As a result the car’s black base livery remains for a second season “to underline the team’s commitment to improving diversity and inclusion within the team and our sport”.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the team had set itself targets to back up its words with actions.

“We’ve set ourselves the goal of at least 25 per cent of all new starters coming from under-represented groups for the next five years,” he said.

“The latest step is a joint foundation that we will create together with Lewis to improve all aspects of diversity in motorsport.

“All of these measures are encouraging, but we know that real change takes time and we’re at the start of a very long journey.”

Hamilton added: “The main priority in the past was just winning championships but now it’s about pushing for (diversity).

“Last year there was a lot of discussion about equality and inclusion and there was a lot of talk. This year it’s about pushing for diversity and really making sure that action is taken. So that’s kind of at the core at the drive for me.”


Wolff insisted that despite seven successive constructors’ titles the team had the “same fire, hunger and passion” as when he arrived in 2013.

“Every year we reset our focus and define the right objectives,” he said. “That may sound simple but it’s damn hard and is probably why there are no sports teams out there with seven consecutive titles.

“So many things can happen and it’s very natural to get used to success, and therefore not fight as hard for it. But this team has not shown any of that.”

Wolff said Hamilton and Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, who underlined Mercedes’ dominance by finishing second in the 2020 drivers’ standings, always have new challenges which keep them motivated.

“I see the same fire, hunger and passion now as I did the first time I walked through the doors in 2013,” he said.

With AFP

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Six Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Six Dr. Seuss books including And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said on Tuesday.

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families.”

The other books affected are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.

The US National Education Association, which founded a reading day aligned with the birthday of Dr. Seuss, has been distancing itself from his works.(



The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company said in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process,” it said.

“We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalogue of titles.”

Dr. Seuss second in earnings of dead celebrities

Books by Dr. Seuss, who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904, have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries.

A man in a grey suit and glasses pauses as he speaks.
Dr. Seuss is just one of several authors whose work has been increasingly criticised in recent years.(

AP: File


He died in 1991 but has remained popular, earning an estimated $US33 million ($42.3 million) before taxes in 2020, up from just $12.2 million five years ago, the company said.

Forbes listed him second on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind pop star Michael Jackson.

As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.

The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasised Dr. Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.

The Cat in the Hat still available

The cover of a book titled The Cat in The Hat  shows a cartoon cat in a striped top hat who grins and holds its hands together.
Problems with The Cat in the Hat have been raised but it will continue to be sold for now.(



School districts across the US have also moved away from Dr. Seuss.

In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticised a gift of 10 Dr. Seuss books from former first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes”.

In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype.

The Cat in the Hat — one of Dr. Seuss’ most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio”.

Numerous other popular children’s series have been criticised in recent years for alleged racism.

In the 2007 book, Should We Burn Babar?, the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended the Babar the Elephant books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilise” his fellow animals.

One of the books, Babar’s Travels, was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans.

Critics also have faulted the Curious George books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa.

And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s portrayals of Native Americans in her Little House On the Prairie novels have been faulted so often that the American Library Association removed her name in 2018 from a lifetime achievement award it gives out each year.


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Daniel Prude: US police who pinned and spit-hooded black man won’t face criminal charges over his death

Police officers who put a hood over the head of a mentally distraught black man, then pressed his body against the pavement until he stopped breathing will not face criminal charges after a grand jury declined to indict them.

Daniel Prude, 41, died last March, several days after his arrest by police in Rochester, New York. Police initially described his death as a drug overdose.

The 23 March video of the fatal encounter was initially withheld by police in part because of concerns it would inflame street demonstrations occurring nationwide over George Floyd’s death.

Ultimately released 4 September, it showed officers placing a mesh bag over Mr Prude’s head to stop him from spitting after they detained him for running naked through the streets. Mr Prude had been evaluated at a hospital for odd behaviour a day earlier, but he wasn’t admitted.

One officer pushed Mr Prude’s face against the ground, while another officer pressed a knee to his back. The officers held him down for about two minutes until he fell unconscious. He was taken off life support a week later.

Attorney General Letitia James, whose office took over the investigation, said her office had “presented the strongest case possible” to the grand jury, but couldn’t persuade it that the officers had committed a crime.

“I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community and communities across the country will rightfully be disappointed by this outcome,” Ms James said.

She said she was bound to respect the grand jury’s decision, but she also condemned a system that she said had “frustrated efforts to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the unjustified killing of African Americans.”

“What binds these cases is a tragic loss of life in circumstances in which the death could have been avoided,” said Ms James, who, like the mayor of Rochester and the city’s current and former police chiefs, is black.

“One recognises the influences of race, from the slave codes to Jim Crow, to lynching, to the war on crime, to the over-incarceration of people of colour: Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. And now Daniel Prude,” she said.

Lawyers for the seven police officers suspended over Mr Prude’s death have said the officers were strictly following their training that night, employing a restraining technique known as “segmenting.” They claimed Mr Prude’s use of PCP, which caused irrational behaviour, was “the root cause” of his death.

The US Justice Department planned to review the attorney general’s findings, according to a joint statement from its Civil Rights Division, the US attorney in western New York and the FBI.

Ms James also issued a report recommending, among other things, that officers be trained to recognise the symptoms of excited delirium syndrome, which can make people vulnerable to cardiac arrest.

The attorney general also called for communities to minimise or eliminate police responses to mental health calls and to find alternatives to the type of “spit sock” officers placed over Mr Prude’s head. She said the mesh hood clearly added to Mr Prude’s stress and agitation.

The county medical examiner listed the manner of death as a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint” and cited PCP as a contributing factor.

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NSW restrictions eased, Pfizer vaccine bungle in Queensland, JobSeeker payment increase won’t rise, NZ records three COVID-19 cases

“That’s all been thrown out of the window,” she says.

Like many operators in the travel industry, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on Caffery’s small, but previously profitable, business in Melbourne’s Malvern East.


While Caffery and two of her employees at Travel Sense each receive a fortnightly JobKeeper payment of $1000 from the federal government, her share has been entirely consumed by business costs and customer refunds.

At the end of March, the JobKeeper payments keeping her 13-year-old travel agency afloat are set to come to an end. She’ll have to let go of her staff, a sad, but unavoidable outcome after a horror 12 months.

“It breaks my heart,” she says, her voice wavering.

She’s applied for work in office administration, catering and at hotels, but hasn’t heard back from anyone yet. She knows competition is fierce and suspects her age might be working against her.

Read more here.

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Pfizer vaccine bungle in Queensland, TGA bans vaccine brand name advertising, JobSeeker payment increase won’t rise, NZ records three COVID-19 cases, US COVID death toll surpasses 500,000

Mr Hunt said it was an individual practitioner who made an error. “This is an individual practitioner who has clearly made an error and around the country, and you will remember from multiple press conferences, I’ve indicated that whether it’s the flu, whether it’s other things, during the course of any one year, there would be challenges, issues and errors.

“Ordinarily they wouldn’t necessarily be focused on, they’d be dealt with through the ordinary measures. Because of the national focus on this, it’s natural and understandable that those things which would ordinarily occur are given greater prominence.”

Mr Hunt said an investigation would determine whether the doctor had completed the correct vaccine training.

“On the training, we have highly developed modules. It’s a requirement that anybody who participates has completed those modules,” he said.

“In relation to the individual doctor, we’ll leave that to the investigation as to whether or not they either did not understand or did not complete [those modules], but it is a serious breach in terms of following the protocol …

“We have had a couple of medical practices that have made the point that they felt [the training] was too comprehensive – that it was tailored to the specific skill sets of the nurses and perhaps it wasn’t too comprehensive for some of the doctors.

“In fact, it is comprehensive and what it does mean is that everybody has to follow the protocols.”

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The Australian Greens have slammed the Prime Minister’s continued failures to address a toxic parliamentary culture today, calling for an independent inquiry into the failures in responding to Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt also said that it was an issue with men’s behaviour that men needed to solve, and that the PM’s own words underscored his lack of understanding of the problem at hand.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said:

“You shouldn’t need to consult your wife or have daughters to know that women who have been raped should be listened to, believed & supported.”

“Women aren’t “finding themselves in vulnerable situations”, Prime Minister. Men are putting them there.

“Rape and sexual assault is a problem that men need to solve, but the Prime Minister hardly spoke about men at all.

“The ‘boy’s club’ culture means many men feel able to sexually assault women without fear of consequence, allegedly even here in one of the country’s most secure buildings.

“It’s time the PM started getting men to change the way they act and respect women.”

Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson for democracy, Senator Larissa Waters, said:

“The Prime Minister has been missing in action for years on acknowledging that cultural change is necessary to keep women safe in parliament, and that his party has a problem with women.

“There’ve been three young Liberal staffers sexually assaulted who have come forward so far, and no doubt many others who are yet to speak out.

“Brittany Higgins’ case is deja vu of the worst kind.

“The Prime Minister’s decision to charge his own Department with reviewing Brittany’s case, and the broader complaints process, puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.

“With two senior staff from the Prime Minister’s office up to their necks in the cover-up of Brittany Higgins alleged rape, including the PMs ‘fixer’, the PMO is part of the problem.

“Ordering two internal reviews does not give anyone confidence that real change will flow, it’s a continuation of the culture of cover-up that has seen this issue fester and more women assaulted.

“We need an independent review of how the existing complaints process let Brittany down. And a broader review of the toxic culture at APH with recommendations for reform to ensure the women that work here are safe.

“The Greens called for an independent investigation into the culture in Parliament many months ago, and yesterday called for the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to do that review.

“The Prime Minister should pick up the phone to both Ms Higgins and to our Sex Discrimination Commissioner to have an independent, qualified body do the job.”

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Regulators won’t have to do lengthy trials for vaccines modified against new strains

WHO Advisory Group Chairman Alejandro Cravioto says it is “great news” regulatory authorities will not need to undertake long trials of vaccines modified to combat the new strains of COVID-19.

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Huge fines won’t deter NRL players from behaving badly, union boss says

But Newton believes increasing fines will do little to stop players behaving badly off the field, and could instead financially destroy players on more modest salaries.

“We’ve got huge portions of our players are on $150,000 or less,” Newton said. “It’s certainly not as simple as just increasing sanctions to get a better outcome or generate behavioural change.

“We have one of the toughest sanction regimes in Australian sport and these sanctions need to be fair and proportionate to the behaviour.”

As well as increasing fines, the NRL said they would also be working with the RLPA to reviewing how education is delivered to players.

Last year, the NRL moved their two-day face-to-face rookie education camp to a four-hour session online, in an effort to put the responsibility back onto clubs.

Newton said the NRL needed to look at encouraging more players to engage in either work or study while in first-grade.

Payne Haas was fined $50,000 by the NRL this week.Credit:NRL Photos

In 2019, 481 players were engaged in work or study. Just 2.5 per cent were referred to the NRL’s integrity unit for indiscretions.

Meanwhile, 28 per cent of the 78 players not engaged had been referred to the integrity unit at some point during the year.

“I’m yet to see any evidence at the moment that would support that just having mandated bigger fines creates behavioural change,” he said.


“The changes that we make, we can’t be just throwing a dart in the night and hoping it lands on triple 20 or the bullseye.”

In 2019, the NRL mandated that all young NRL players would be ineligible for first-grade selection if they did not partake in at least one day of work or study a week.

But due to COVID-19, the rule was not strictly enforced last year with the game fearing players would have been unable to find employment or study during the pandemic.

The RLPA boss said “industry experts” needed to be invited to discussions around the sanctions review to find the best way forward.

“We have our views and the NRL have theirs, but it’s critical that the right people are in the room for these discussions,” Newton said.

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