Tag: AP


Prince Andrew and accuser Virginia Giuffre seek witnesses in sex abuse lawsuit


Lawyers for Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre have filed their initial requests for witnesses in her lawsuit accusing the British royal of sexually abusing her at age 17.

Key points:

  • The Prince's legal team is seeking witness accounts from Ms Giuffre's husband and her psychologist
  • Ms Giuffre's lawyers are seeking witness accounts from the Prince's former assistant and a woman who claims to have seen him at a London nightclub with her
  • Ms Giuffre has filed a civil lawsuit against the Prince, alleging she was coerced into sexual encounters with him in 2001

Recently released documents show that the Prince's legal team is seeking witness accounts from her husband, Robert Giuffre, and her psychologist, Judith Lightfoot, as part of the civil case filed in the US.

Ms Giuffre's lawyers, meanwhile, are seeking witness accounts from the Prince's former assistant and a woman who claims to have seen him at a London nightclub with her during the time in question.

The lawsuit cleared a hurdle after a judge earlier this week refused the Duke of York's request to have it dismissed.

Ms Giuffre sued Prince Andrew, 61, in August, saying she was coerced into sexual encounters with him in 2001 by Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Ms Giuffre's lawyers want testimony from the Prince's former assistant.(AP: Bebeto Matthews)

Ms Giuffre said she was sexually abused by the royal at Maxwell's London home, at Epstein's New York mansion and at Epstein's estate in the US Virgin Islands.

The Prince has strenuously denied Ms Giuffre's allegations, telling the BBC in 2019 that sex with Ms Giuffre "didn't happen" and that he had "no recollection" of meeting her.

Recently released documents show that Prince Andrew's lawyers argue Ms Giuffre "may suffer from false memories," and say she should be questioned about "theory of false memories" along with other matters discussed during her sessions with Ms Lightfoot, and any prescriptions written for her.

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Prince Andrew's lawyers want Robert Giuffre to be questioned about the circumstances under which the couple met around 2002 and their household finances.

They want the testimony from the two, who are both Australian residents, by April 29 or as soon as possible after that.

Ms Giuffre's lawyers, meanwhile, have filed similar requests for Prince Andrew's side.

They want testimony from his former assistant Robert Olney, whose name they say appeared in Epstein's phone book under "Duke of York," which they say indicates he knew about the Prince's travel to Epstein's properties.

Her lawyers are also seeking testimony from Shukri Walker, who they say has been quoted in news reports talking about how she saw Prince Andrew at the London nightclub Tramp during the time period in question with a young woman who might have been Ms Giuffre.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Alligators covered in diesel after New Orleans spill get scrubbed, teeth cleaned


Wildlife rehabilitators are decontaminating dozens of alligators, brushing their pointy teeth and scrubbing their scaly hides in the weeks after a diesel fuel spill in a New Orleans area wetland.

Key points:

  • The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has cleaned diesel from 33 alligators
  • Wildlife rehabilitators cleaned the alligators' teeth with dish detergent
  • More than 100 animals were found dead in the spill

A pipeline ruptured outside the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette on December 27, dumping more than one million litres of diesel into the area. 

Since the spill, 78 alligators have been rescued, and 33 of them have so far been cleaned and released into a national wildlife refuge in New Orleans, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.

The department's oil spill coordinator, Laura Carver, said cleaning a two-metre alligator required eight people: four holders, two scrubbers, one person to rinse the gator and one to change the water.

Ms Carver said the impact of December's diesel spill on wildlife was relatively high compared to most spills in Louisiana.

Alligator babies rescued 

Rehabilitating that many alligators at once "is a new one for us", Ms Carver said.

She said a hard piece of wood "almost like a really old-fashioned mop handle" is used to hold the alligator's jaw open while its teeth are scrubbed.

The teeth cleaning comes toward the end of a series of body washes using gradually smaller concentrations of Dawn dish detergent to clean off the gunk.

"They literally get their mouths washed out with soap," Ms Carver said.

"But it's the only thing that works."

The alligators released in Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge include 11 babies less than 46 centimetres long.

Gators have to wait for their cleaning until all polluted food has made it through their digestive systems, Ms Carver said.

Though the babies, all found near each other, shared a kiddie pool, each of the others has its own kiddie pool within a plywood enclosure.

"We've found that cyclone fencing really doesn't work because the larger gators really like to climb," Ms Carver said.

More than one million litres of diesel was spilt. (AP/Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality)Birds, fish, snakes and frogs killed 

Ms Carver said the department euthanised three alligators more than 2m long, that were in deep diesel and "in rough shape".

She said nearly all of the spill went into two artificial ponds, killing about 2,300 fish.

Most were minnows and bait fish, along with some shad, gar, sunfish and small bass.

More than 100 other animals were found dead, including snakes, birds and frogs.

Although 23 live birds were found, only three survived the combination of diesel and cold weather, Ms Carver said.

Two have been released and a third is still being treated.

Birds and smaller reptiles get their mouths swabbed out, often as they're captured or when they're brought in, Carver said.

Some birds were found alive and able to be cleaned after the spill. (AP/Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries )State investigation into spill 

The operator, Collins Pipeline, had known about corrosion on the outside of the pipe at the site of the spill since an October 2020 inspection, according to federal records.

However, it delayed repairs after a second inspection showed the corrosion was not bad enough to need immediate attention.

At the time of the spill the company was awaiting permits for the work and planned to start it later this month, the records show.

The Gulf Coast is in constant danger of spills from corroded oil and gas pipelines, said Dustin Renaud, spokesman for the environmental nonprofit Healthy Gulf.

"It's time we take a systematic approach to reviewing the vulnerability of our oil and gas infrastructure, and start the process of repairing and removing these rust buckets," he said.

"Once the investigation is complete, the department's enforcement division may be asked whether any environmental regulations were broken," he said.

Langley said the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office is leading the state investigation.

The office did not immediately return a call for comment.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


State of emergency declared in Kazakh capital as protests escalate


Protesters in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, have stormed the presidential residence and mayor's office and set both buildings on fire, according to news reports, as demonstrations sparked by a rise in LPG prices in the Central Asian nation escalated sharply.

Key words:

  • Protests in Kazakhstan began over a near-doubling of LPG prices
  • Discontent over poor living conditions is strong in some parts of the country
  • The government resigned in response to the unrest

Police fired on some protesters at the presidential palace before fleeing. They have clashed repeatedly with demonstrators in recent days, deploying water cannons in the freezing weather, tear gas and concussion grenades.

The government has resigned in response to the unrest and the President vowed to take harsh measures to quell the unrest.

In possibly the first of those efforts, Kazakh news sites became inaccessible late in the day, and the global watchdog organisation Netblocks said the country was experiencing a pervasive internet blackout.

Although the protests began over a near-doubling of prices for LPG — which is widely used as vehicle fuel — the size and rapid spread of the unrest suggests the demonstrations reflect a wider discontent in the country that has been under the rule of the same party since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Many of the demonstrators who converged on the mayoral office carried clubs and shields.(AP: Vladimir Tretyakov )

Kazakhstan, the ninth-largest country in the world, borders Russia to the north and China to the east and has extensive oil reserves that make it strategically and economically important.

Despite those reserves and mineral wealth, discontent over poor living conditions is strong in some parts of the country.

Many Kazakhs also chafe at the dominance of the ruling party, which holds more than 80 per cent of the seats in parliament.

Hours after thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the presidential residence in Almaty, Russia's Tass news agency reported that the building was on fire and that demonstrators, some wielding firearms, were trying to break into it.

Police fled from the residence after shooting at demonstrators, according to the report, which was filed from Kazakhstan.

Many of the demonstrators who converged on the mayoral office carried clubs and shields, according to earlier reports in Kazakh media.

Tass later said the building was engulfed in flames.

The city hall building  in Almaty, Kazakhstan was set alight after protesters broke in.(AP: Yan Blagov )

Protesters also broke into the Almaty office of the Russia-based Mir television and radio company and destroyed some equipment, the broadcaster said. It later reported that a crowd broke into the Almaty building of the Kazakh national broadcaster.

The protests began Sunday in Zhanaozen, a city in the west where resentment of the government was strong after a 2011 oil-worker strike where police fatally shot at least 15 people.

They spread across the country in the following days and, on Tuesday, large demonstrations broke out in the capital, Nur-Sultan, and in Almaty, the country's largest city and its former capital.

The protests appear to have no identifiable leader or demands.

In a televised statement to the nation on Wednesday, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said: "We intend to act with maximum severity regarding law-breakers."

Mr Tokayev said police have also died in clashes with demonstrators, but there were no immediate casualty figures for police or civilians.

In the statement, he also promised to make political reforms and announced that he was assuming the leadership of the national security council.

The latter is potentially significant because the council had been headed by Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was president from 1991 until he resigned in 2019.

Mr Nazarbayev dominated Kazakhstan's politics and his rule was marked by a moderate cult of personality.

Critics say he effectively instituted a clan system in government.

After the demonstrations spread to Almaty and the capital, the government announced its resignation, but Mr Tokayev said the ministers would remain in their roles until a new cabinet was formed, making it uncertain whether the resignation would have significant effect.

Mr Tokayev has declared a two-week state of emergency for both the capital and Almaty, imposing an overnight curfew and restricting movement into and around the cities.

At the start of the year, prices for LPG roughly doubled as the government moved away from price controls as part of efforts to transition to a market economy.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


New York’s Attorney-General subpoenas Donald Trump and two of his children


New York's Attorney-General Letitia James has subpoenaed former president Donald Trump and his two eldest children, demanding their testimony in connection with an ongoing civil investigation into the family's business practices.

Key points:

  • It the first public disclosure that investigators are also seeking information from Donald Trump's children
  • The Trumps are expected to file court papers seeking to quash the subpoenas
  • Donald Trump sued New York's Attorney-General last month, seeking to end the investigation

The subpoenas for Mr Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr and his daughter Ivanka Trump stem from an investigation "into the valuation of properties owned or controlled" by Mr Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, according to a court filing made public on Monday.

Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers for the Trumps and Ms James' office.

The attorney-general's attempt to get testimony from the former president was reported in December, but the court filing on Monday was the first public disclosure that investigators were also seeking information from Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

The Trumps are expected to file court papers seeking to quash the subpoenas, setting up a legal fight similar to one that played out last year after Ms James' office subpoenaed another Trump son.

Mr Trump sued Ms James last month, seeking to end the investigation after she requested that he sit for a January 7 deposition.

The Trumps are expected to file court papers seeking to quash the subpoenas.(Reuters: Leah Millis)

Filed in the Federal Court, Mr Trump's lawsuit alleges that the probe has violated his constitutional rights in a "thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates".

Monday's court filing was the attorney-general office's first public acknowledgement that it has previously subpoenaed Mr Trump's testimony.

Ms James, a Democrat, has spent more than two years looking at whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of assets — inflating them to gain favourable loan terms or minimising them to reap tax savings.

Her investigators last year interviewed one of Mr Trump's sons, Trump Organization executive Eric Trump, as part of the probe.

Ms James's office went to court to enforce a subpoena on the younger Trump and a judge forced him to testify after his lawyers abruptly cancelled a previous, scheduled deposition.

Although the civil investigation is separate from a criminal investigation being run by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Ms James' office has been involved in both.

Trump Organization's business practices under the microscope Letitia James has spent more than two years looking at whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials.(AP: Evan Vucci)

Earlier this year, former district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr gained access to the longtime real estate mogul's tax records after a multi-year fight that twice went to the US Supreme Court.

Before he left office at the end of last year, Mr Vance convened a new grand jury to hear evidence as he weighed whether to seek more indictments in the investigation, which resulted in tax fraud charges in July against the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.

Mr Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to charges that alleged he and the company evaded taxes on lucrative fringe benefits paid to executives.

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Both investigations are at least partly related to allegations made in news reports — and by Mr Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen — that Mr Trump had a history of misrepresenting the value of assets.

Ms James's office issued subpoenas to local governments as part of the civil probe for records pertaining to Mr Trump's estate north of Manhattan, Seven Springs, and a tax benefit that Mr Trump received for placing land into a conservation trust.

Mr Vance later issued subpoenas seeking many of the same records.

Ms James's office has also been looking at similar issues relating to a Trump office building in New York City, a hotel in Chicago and a golf course near Los Angeles.

Her office also won a series of court rulings forcing Mr Trump's company and a law firm it hired to turn over troves of records.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


‘I don’t want to sell my son, but I have to’: Poverty driving Afghans to do the unthinkable


In a sprawling settlement of mud-brick huts in western Afghanistan that houses people displaced by drought and war, a woman is fighting to save her daughter.

Aziz Gul's husband sold the 10-year-old girl into marriage without telling his wife, taking a down payment so he could feed his family of five children. 

Without that money, he told her, they would all starve. He had to sacrifice one to save the rest.

Many of Afghanistan's growing number of destitute people are making desperate decisions such as these as their nation spirals into a vortex of poverty.

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The aid-dependent country's economy was already teetering when the Taliban seized power in mid-August, amid a chaotic withdrawal of US and NATO troops.

Then the international community froze Afghanistan's assets abroad and halted all funding, unwilling to work with a Taliban government, given its reputation for brutality during its previous rule 20 years ago.

The consequences have been devastating for a country battered by four decades of war, a punishing drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legions of state employees, including doctors, haven't been paid in months.

Malnutrition and poverty stalk the most vulnerable and aid groups say more than half the population faces acute food shortages.

World Vision have set up a makeshift clinic in a shipping container near the settlement for people displaced by war and drought.(AP: Mstyslav Chernov)

"Day by day, the situation is deteriorating in this country, and especially children are suffering," said Asuntha Charles, Afghanistan national director for World Vision, which runs a health clinic for displaced people just outside the western city of Herat.

"Today, I have been heartbroken to see that the families are willing to sell their children to feed other family members," Ms Charles said.

"So it's the right time for the humanitarian community to stand up and stay with the people of Afghanistan."

Arranging marriages for very young girls is a frequent practice throughout the region.

The groom's family — often distant relatives — pays money to seal the deal and the child usually stays with her own parents until she is at least around 15 or 16.

Yet with many unable to afford even basic food, some say they would allow prospective grooms to take very young girls or are even trying to sell their sons.

But Ms Gul, unusually in this deeply patriarchal, male-dominated society, is resisting.

Aziz Gul, second from right, is fighting to keep her daughter, Qandi, centre.(AP: Mstyslav Chernov)

Married off herself at 15, she says she would kill herself if her daughter, Qandi, is forcibly taken away.

Ms Gul remembers well the moment she found out her husband had sold Qandi.

For around two months, the family had been able to eat. Eventually, she asked her husband where the money came from, and he told her.

"My heart stopped beating. I wished I could have died at that time, but maybe God didn't want me to die," Ms Gul said.

"Each time I remember that night … I die and come back to life. It was so difficult."

She asked her husband why he did it.

"He said he wanted to sell one and save the others: 'You all would have died this way.' I told him: 'Dying was much better than what you have done.'"

Ms Gul rallied her community, telling her brother and village elders that her husband had sold her child behind her back.

They supported her and, with their help, she secured a "divorce" for her child, but only on condition she repays the 100,000 afghanis (about $1,334) that her husband received.

It's money she doesn't have. Her husband fled, possibly fearing Ms Gul might denounce him to the authorities.

An Afghan man shows off the scar from when he sold his kidney.(AP: Mstyslav Chernov)

The Taliban government recently announced a ban on forcing women into marriage or using women and girls as exchange tokens to settle disputes.

Meanwhile, the family of the prospective groom, a man of around 21 or 22, has already tried several times to claim the girl, she says.

Ms Gul is not sure how long she can fend them off.

"I am just so desperate. If I can't provide money to pay these people and can't keep my daughter by my side, I have said that I will kill myself," she said.

"But then I think about the other children. What will happen to them? Who will feed them?"

Her eldest is 12, her youngest — her sixth — just two months.

Now alone, Ms Gul leaves the children with her elderly mother while she goes to work in people's homes.

Her 12-year-old son works picking saffron after school. It's barely enough to keep them fed and the saffron season is short, only a few weeks in the fall.

"We don't have anything," Ms Gul said.

Hamid Abdullah is selling his young daughters into arranged marriages to pay for his chronically ill wife's medical treatment.(AP: Mstyslav Chernov)

In another part of the same camp, father-of-four Hamid Abdullah was also selling his young daughters into arranged marriages, desperate for money to treat his chronically ill wife, pregnant with their fifth child.

Mr Abdullah borrowed money to pay for his wife's treatments and can't pay it back, he said.

So, three years ago, he received a down-payment for his eldest daughter, Hoshran, now seven, in an arranged marriage to an 18-year-old in their native Badghis province.

He's now looking for someone to buy his second daughter, six-year-old Nazia.

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"We don't have food to eat," Mr Abdullah explained, adding he also had to buy medicine for his wife, who soon would need more treatment.

"She needs another surgery, I don't have one afghani to pay for the doctor."

The family that bought Hoshran is waiting until she is older before the full amount is settled, he explained.

But he needs money now for food and treatments, so he is trying to arrange a marriage for Nazia for about 20,000–30,000 afghanis ($266–$400).

"What should we do? We have to do it, we have no other option," said his wife, Bibi Jan.

"When we made the decision, it was like someone had taken away a body part from me."

After days with nothing to eat, Guldasta told her husband to take their eight-year-old son, Salahuddin, to the bazaar and sell him.(AP: Mstyslav Chernov)

In the neighbouring province of Badghis, another displaced family is considering selling their son, eight-year-old Salahuddin.

His mother, Guldasta, said that after days with nothing to eat, she told her husband to take the boy to the bazaar and sell him to bring food for the others.

"I don't want to sell my son, but I have to," the 35-year-old said.

"No mother can do this to her child but, when you have no other choice, you have to make a decision against your will."

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Salahuddin blinked and looked on silently. Surrounded by some of his seven brothers and sisters, his lip quivered slightly.

His father, Shakir, who is blind in one eye and has kidney problems, said the children had been crying for days from hunger.

Twice, he said, he decided to take the boy to the bazaar and twice he faltered, unable to go through with it.

"But now I think I have no other choice than to sell him," he said.

Buying of boys is believed to be less common than girls and, when it does take place, it appears to be cases of infant boys bought by families who don't have any sons.

In her despair, Guldasta thought perhaps such a family would want an eight-year-old.

Fatima's four-year-old daughter, Nazia, is suffering from acute malnutrition.(AP: Mstyslav Chernov)

The desperation of millions is clear as more and more people face hunger. By the end of the year, some 3.2 million children under five years old are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition, according to the UN.

Nazia is one of them. The four-year-old lay listlessly in her mother's arms after visiting the World Vision health clinic.

Two years ago, Nazia was a plump toddler, her mother Fatima said. Now, her emaciated limbs are just skin covering bone. Her little heart beats visibly beneath her rib cage.

"The prices are high. Flour is expensive, cooking oil is expensive, everything is expensive," Fatima said.

"All day she is asking me to give her meat, yoghurt and fruit. We don't have anything, and we don't have money to buy it for her."

Ms Charles, World Vision's national director for Afghanistan, said humanitarian aid funds were desperately needed.

"I'm happy to see the pledges are made," she said.

But the pledges "shouldn't stay as promises, they have to be seen as reality on the ground".

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Crowd crush at shrine kills 12, 15 injured in India Kashmir during New Year pilgrimage


A crowd surge at a popular Hindu shrine in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 12 people and injured 15 others on New Year's Day, officials say.

Key points:

  • Reports suggest an altercation between a group of devotees led to the crush
  • Tens of thousands of Hindus gathered to pray at Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine
  • The pilgrimage resumed four hours later and an investigation is underway

Initial reports suggested an altercation between a group of devotees led to the crush early on Saturday at the Mata Vaishnav Devi shrine, where tens of thousands of Hindus gathered to pay respects in the hilly town of Katra near southern Jammu city.

"Something happened near one of the gates and I found myself under a crush of people," said Mahesh, who gave only one name.

"I suffocated and fell but somehow managed to stand up.

"I saw people moving over the bodies. It was a horrifying sight, but I managed to help in rescuing some injured people," he said.

Press Trust of India news agency quoted police chief Dilbag Singh as saying that authorities were quick to respond and the order within the crowd was immediately restored.

The pilgrimage resumed after nearly four hours, officials said. An investigation was underway.

Authorities were quick to respond and control crowds to allow the piligrimage to resume.(AP: Channi Anand)Loading

Another devotee named Priyansh said he and 10 friends from New Delhi arrived Friday night to visit the shrine. He said two of his friends died in the crush.

Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in a message on Twitter.

"Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to a stampede," Mr Modi wrote.

Pilgrims often trek on foot to reach the hilltop temple, which is one of the most visited shrines in northern India.

Deadly crowd surges are fairly common during Indian religious festivals where huge gatherings, sometimes in the millions, cover small areas with few safety or control measures.

In 2013, pilgrims visiting a temple for a popular Hindu festival in central Madhya Pradesh state trampled over each other amid fears that a bridge would collapse, and at least 115 people were crushed to death or died in the river below.

More than 100 Hindu devotees died in a 2011 crush at a religious festival in the southern state of Kerala.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Ashraf Ghani details his escape from Kabul in a BBC interview


Afghanistan's former president said he had no choice but to abruptly leave Kabul as the Taliban closed in and denied an agreement was in the works for a peaceful takeover.

Key points:

  • Mr Ghani told the BBC his advisor gave him minutes to decide if he wanted to leave Kabul
  • He said he fled to "to prevent the destruction of Kabul" and rival Taliban factions fighting
  • The former president denied accusations he left with a cache of stolen money

Former president Ashraf Ghani said in a BBC interview that aired on Thursday that an adviser gave him just minutes to decide to abandon the capital, Kabul.

He also denied widespread accusations that he left Afghanistan with millions in stolen money.

Mr Ghani's sudden and secret departure on August 15 left the city rudderless as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years.

"On the morning of that day, I had no inkling that by late afternoon I would be leaving," Mr Ghani told BBC radio.

His remarks conflicted with other accounts.

Former president Hamid Karzai told AP in an interview earlier this month that Mr Ghani's departure scuttled the opportunity for government negotiators to reach an 11th-hour agreement with the Taliban, who had committed to staying outside the capital.

Ashraf Ghani said he left "to prevent the destruction of Kabul".(AP: Rahmat Gul)

Mr Karzai said he invited the Taliban into Kabul "to protect the population so that the country, the city doesn't fall into chaos and the unwanted elements who would probably loot the country, loot shops".

But Mr Ghani in his radio interview with British General Sir Nick Carter, former chief of defence staff, said he fled "to prevent the destruction of Kabul," claiming two rival Taliban factions were bearing down on the city and were ready to enter and wage a bitter battle for control.

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There was no evidence upon the Taliban entry of the rival factions Mr Ghani referred to.

The insurgents, who in the days prior to the push into Kabul had swept over much of the country as Afghan government forces melted away or surrendered, quickly took control of the palace.

According to humanitarian aid workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they wanted to speak privately and who were there at the time, the Taliban moved to protect their compounds.

Still, the Taliban takeover was met with widespread fear and a deep longing by many to flee their desperately poor homeland, despite it receiving billions in international money over the 20 years the US-backed governments had been in power.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 16 seconds16s Desperate civilians cling to the outside of a US aircraft as it departs Kabul.

In the BBC interview, Mr Ghani denied widespread accusations that he left Afghanistan with a cache of stolen money.

The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, has been tasked with investigating those allegations.

Two minutes to decide 

Successive Afghan governments, as well as independent foreign and Afghan contractors, have been accused of widespread corruption, with dozens of reports by Mr Sopko documenting the most egregious incidents.

Washington has spent $US146 billion ($200 billion) on reconstruction in Afghanistan since the overthrow in 2001 of the Taliban, who had harboured Al-Qaida and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

The US spent billions of dollars on reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

Yet, even before the insurgents returned in August, the poverty level in Afghanistan was at 54 per cent.

Earlier this week, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an investigative reporting organisation with 150 journalists in more than 30 countries, listed Mr Ghani among the world's most corrupt leaders.

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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was named the most corrupt, with Mr Ghani, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz among the finalists for the title of most corrupt.

After being told by his national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib that his personal protection force was not capable of defending him, Mr Ghani said he decided to leave.

Mr Mohib, who "was literally terrified," gave him just two minutes to decide whether to leave, Mr Ghani said, insisting he was not sure where he would be taken even after he was on the helicopter getting ready to take off.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 2 minutes 12 seconds2m 12s Al-Jazeera aired live footage of Taliban fighters inside the Afghan presidential palace.

Mr Ghani did not address the rapid and swift collapse of the Afghan military in the weeks leading up to the Taliban takeover, but he did blame an agreement the United States had signed with the Taliban in 2020 for the eventual collapse of his government.

That agreement laid out conditions for the final withdrawal of the remaining US and NATO forces, ending America's longest war.

It also provided for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, which Mr Ghani said strengthened the insurgent force.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Time capsule believed to be from 1887 uncovered under Robert E Lee statue


Conservation experts in the US state of Virginia have pulled books, money, ammunition, documents and other artefacts from a time capsule found in the remnants of a pedestal that once held a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.

Key points:

  • Local residents, organisations and businesses contributed objects to the capsule
  • There was speculation the capsule might contain a rare photo of deceased US president Abraham Lincoln
  • The statue of Lee was removed in September

The lead conservator for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Kate Ridgway, said the measurements and copper construction of the box match historical accounts.

As the contents inside were unpacked, they appeared to match the description of the 1887 time capsule they had been looking for.

"It does appear that this is the box we expected," she told reporters.

Records maintained by the Library of Virginia suggest that dozens of residents, organisations and businesses in the state capital of Richmond contributed about 60 objects to the capsule, including confederate memorabilia.

The box was discovered and carefully extracted from the monument site a day earlier, marking the end of a long search for the elusive capsule.

Ms Ridgway said the box, which weighed 16 kilograms, was found in water in a little alcove of the pedestal.

Buttons, coins, documents and other artefacts were found in the time capsule.(AP: Steve Helber)

The contents were damp, but "it's not soup", Ms Ridgway said.

"I think it's in better shape than we expected," she said.

Historical records had led to some speculation that the capsule might contain a rare and historically significant photo of deceased president Abraham Lincoln.

One line from a newspaper article listed among the contents a "picture of Lincoln lying in his coffin".

On Tuesday, conservators found a printed image from an 1865 issue of Harper's Weekly in the time capsule that Ms Ridgway said seemed to show a figure grieving over Lincoln's grave — but did not appear to be the much-anticipated photo.

Harold Holzer, a historian and Lincoln scholar, had previously said he believed it highly unlikely that the time capsule contained an actual photograph of Lincoln in his coffin because the only known photo of Lincoln in death was taken by photographer Jeremiah Gurney in City Hall in New York on April 24, 1865.

The contents of the tightly packed box had expanded from the damp and stuck together, making unpacking difficult, so conservators decided to relieve pressure by cutting down one side.

"Not ideal, but it's the way it is," Ms Ridgway said.

A pile of rubble is all that is left after the removal of the pedestal that once held the statue of Robert E Lee on Monument Ave.(AP: Steve Helber)

Along with several waterlogged books, pamphlets and newspapers, the box contained an envelope of Confederate money, which conservators carefully separated, and two carved artefacts — a Masonic symbol and a Confederate flag said to have been made from the tree that grew over the original grave of general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's original grave.

Conservators also pulled buttons, coins and Miniè balls, a type of bullet used in the Civil War, from the box.

A bomb squad had checked the capsule on Monday, partly to make sure there was no live ammunition.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the enormous equestrian statue of Lee removed, amid the global protest movement sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

Litigation pushed back his plans, and the statue was not removed until September after a court cleared the way.

Calls for the statue to be removed reignited after George Floyd's death.(AP: Steve Helber)

Contemporaneous news accounts from the late 1800s detailed the placement of the time capsule in the foundation of the pedestal, and imaging tests conducted earlier this year appeared to confirm its existence. But a lengthy search during the September statue removal came up empty.

Earlier this month, Mr Northam ordered the pedestal removed as well, and crews working on the project again started to search for the artefact.

A time capsule was discovered two weeks ago, generating excitement, but hours of painstaking and ultimately anti-climactic examination suggested that artefact was placed by someone else, perhaps someone involved with the construction.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Christmas lights illuminate cities across the world at end of dark year


In the darkest days of the year, in a very dark time, there is a longing for illumination.

And so, all around the world, the holiday lights go on — some of them humble, some of them spectacular, all of them a welcome respite from the dark.

They make the streets an interactive experience.

There are tunnels of light to walk through, as pedestrians do in Tokyo, at the zoo in Johannesburg, and at the Holiday Road light show in Calabasas, California, to drive through, like at a mall in Panay, the Philippines, where visitors remain in their cars to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Visitors walk through a light tunnel at a Holiday Road light show in Calabasas, California. (AP: Jae C. Hong) This light tunnel is part of Johannesburg's Joburg Festival of Lights, in the city's zoo.(AP: Jerome Delay) Drive-through Christmas installations have been set up in Pasay, Philippines, as a safety measure to help curb the spread of COVID-19.(AP: Aaron Favila)

There are real trees and man-made trees and ginormous trees, like the light sculpture in Vigo, Spain, which is said to be the biggest tree in the world, so big that adults and children stroll inside.

A woman holds a child as they stand inside a Christmas tree made of lights in Vigo, Spain.(AP: Lalo Villar)

Vigo goes all out for Christmas, stringing 11 million LED lights on more than 350 streets.

The Kremlin Wall, the Spasskaya Tower, Red Square, the GUM department store, the St Basil's Cathedral and the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge are decorated for Christmas and New Year in Moscow.(AP: Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Some displays are municipal, like the silvery strings of light that adorn the lampposts of Moscow.

An electronics store at Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece, is lit up with Christmas lights.(AP: Thanassis Stavrakis)

Some are commercial, like the lights that wrap an electronics store in Syntagma Square in Athens, turning it into a massive giftbox.

Residents of Brooklyn's Dyker Heights neighbourhood are renowned for their displays of over-the-top Christmas light decorations with life-sized Santas, reindeer, toy soldiers, sleighs and snowmen.(AP: Wong Maye-E)

And some are private, like the over-the-top trimmings of homes in the Brooklyn, New York, neighbourhood of Dyker Heights.

Christmas lights are reflected in a pond in Lenexa, Kansas.(AP: Charlie Riedel) Pedestrians walk past a Christmas tree next to Taksim mosque at Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey.(AP: Francisco Seco) The Old City of Damascus in Syria is decorated for the Christmas holidays.(AP: Omar Sanadiki) A giant figure of Santa Claus endures wet weather in Naples, Italy.(AP: Gregorio Borgia) Visitors interact with clock lighting on the Palace of Stardust light at Hampton Court Palace in south-west London.(AP: Matt Dunham) Houses are decorated in the US city of Baltimore.(AP: Julio Cortez) Christmas decorations illuminate one of the main avenues in Barcelona, Spain.(AP: Emilio Morenatti) An Aymara woman walks though Tejada Sorzano Square in La Paz, Bolivia.(AP: Juan Karita) A person dressed as folk saint La Santa Muerte poses for a photo in Mexico City's main square.(AP: Marco Ugarte) A Christmas tree lighting ceremony is held outside the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel.(AP: Oded Balilty) A nun cleans the floor after decorating the entrance to a church in Jerusalem's Old City with Christmas lights.(AP: Oded Balilty)

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Russian court fines tech companies Google and Meta $127 million


A Moscow court has slapped Google with a nearly $100 million fine and also fined Facebook's parent company Meta $27 million over their failure to delete content banned by local law, as Russia seeks to step up pressure on technology giants.

Key points:

  • Authorities say Google and Meta failed to remove more than 2,000 items despite courts requests
  • This is the first time a Moscow court has calculated a fine based on company revenue
  • Authorities also demanded foreign tech giants store the personal data of citizens on servers in Russia

The Tagansky District Court ruled that Google repeatedly neglected to remove the banned content, and ordered the company to pay an administrative fine of about 7.2 billion rubles (AU$135 million).

Google said it would study the court documents before deciding on its next steps.

Later, the court also slapped a 1.9 billion ruble (AU$35.7 million) administrative fine on Meta for failure to remove banned content.

Russia had previously imposed smaller fines on Google, Facebook and Twitter this year and Friday's rulings marked the first time the size of the fine was calculated based on revenue.

The Russian communications watchdog warned the tech companies may face more revenue-based fines for failure to delete the banned content.(Reuters: Dado Ruvic)Facebook's facial recognition to go

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Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said Google and Meta were specifically accused of violating the ban on distributing content that promotes extremist ideology, insults religious beliefs and encourages dangerous behaviour by minors, among other things.

The agency said that Facebook and Instagram have failed to remove 2,000 items despite the courts' requests to do so, while Google has failed to delete 2,600 such items.

It warned that they may face more revenue-based fines for failure to delete the banned content.

Russian authorities have steadily ramped up pressure on social media platforms, accusing them of failing to purge content related to drug abuse, weapons and explosives and extremist views.

Fine should send 'clear message'

Earlier this year, authorities criticised tech companies for not deleting announcements about unsanctioned protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Russian authorities also have demanded that foreign tech giants store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia, threatening them with fines or possible bans if they fail to comply.

Alexander Khinshtein, head of the committee on information policies in the lower house of Russian parliament, said the massive fine should send a clear message to all IT giants.

He added that Russian law envisages other forms of punishment for failure to comply with court orders, including slowing down traffic and complete blocking.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Fire erupts on Bangladeshi ferry, killing 39 and injuring 72


A massive fire has swept through a crowded river ferry in southern Bangladesh, leaving at least 39 dead and 72 injured.

Key points:

  • Seven of the injured passengers are in critical condition
  • Many passengers jumped off the ferry and swam to shore
  • Overcrowding is common on ferries in Bangladesh

The ferry was overcrowded, carrying 800 passengers from the capital Dhaka to Barguna, when the blaze broke out on Friday.

Police officer Khalilur Rahman said all 72 of the injured passengers were admitted to hospital, with seven of them in critical condition with severe burns. 

The rescue mission was ongoing and the number of casualties was likely to rise, firefighter Fazlul Haque said.

Terrified passengers, including Anisur Rahman, jumped off the vessel and swam to shore.

"I was sleeping on the deck and woke up hearing screams and a loud noise," Mr Rahman said.

"To my utter shock, I saw thick smoke coming out from the back of the ferry.

"I jumped into the freezing water of the river in the thick fog like many other passengers and swam to the riverbank."

Firefighter Kamal Uddin Bhuiyan, who led the rescue operation, said the fire might have started in the engine room.

He said 15 fire engines took nearly two hours to control the blaze.

The government set up two committees to investigate the fire and ordered them to report their findings in three days.

Ferry accidents are common and are often blamed on overcrowding and lax rules in Bangladesh, which is crisscrossed by about 130 rivers.

Ferries are a leading means of transportation, especially in the southern and north-eastern regions.

In August, a passenger boat sank after colliding with a cargo vessel, leaving at least 22 dead.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Roman treasures discovered in the Mediterranean off the coast of Israel


The remnants of two shipwrecks have been discovered off the Mediterranean coast near Israel, replete with a sunken trove of hundreds of Roman and medieval silver coins.

Key points:

  • The artefacts were found near the ancient city of Caesarea during an underwater survey 
  • The items include hundreds of Roman silver and bronze coins dating to the mid-third century
  • The Roman ship is believed to have originally hailed from Italy

The finds made near the ancient city of Caesarea were dated to the Roman and Mamluk periods, around 1,700 and 600 years ago, archaeologists said.

They include hundreds of Roman silver and bronze coins dating to the mid-third century, as well as more than 500 silver coins from the Middle Ages, found amid the sediment.

They were found during an underwater survey conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority's (IAA) Marine Archaeology Unit in the past two months, said Jacob Sharvit, head of the unit.

Among the other artefacts recovered from the site near the ancient city of Caesarea were figurines, bells, ceramics and metal artefacts that once belonged to the ships, such as nails and a shattered iron anchor.

Figurines, bells, ceramics, and metal artefacts were among the discoveries.(AP: Ariel Schalit)

The IAA made its announcement just days ahead of Christmas and underscored the discovery of a Roman gold ring, its green gemstone carved with the figure of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders.

Robert Cole, head of the authority's coin department, called the item "exceptional".

"On the gemstone is engraved an image of the 'Good Shepherd,' which is really one of the earliest symbols of Christianity," he said.

It's believed the artefacts came from ships that originated in Italy.(AP: Ariel Schalit)

Mr Sharvit said that the Roman ship is believed to have originally hailed from Italy, based on the style of some of the artefacts.

He said it remained unclear whether any remnants of the wooden ships remained intact beneath the sands.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Anti-vax NBA star Kyrie Irving enters COVID health and safety protocols


Kyrie Irving's return to the Brooklyn Nets is starting with a trip to the NBA's health and safety protocols — and Kevin Durant is joining him.

Key points:

  • Kyrie Irving has been a vocal anti-vaxxer and had been sidelined as a result
  • Irving rejoined the Nets this week, but was only allowed to play away games
  • Irving now needs five days of negative tests before he can attend training again

The Nets' outbreak worsened on Saturday when they announced both stars were in protocols, giving them a league-high nine players on the injury report for that reason.

Durant was already scheduled for a night off to rest on Saturday against Orlando on the opening night of a back-to-back. Instead, he became ineligible to play anyway when he was added to the injury report.

The Nets decided on Friday that Irving would rejoin them for practices and road games, though he remains ineligible to play at home because he hasn't met New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for athletes playing in the city's public venues.

He has to test to be cleared to play, and apparently he either tested positive or had an inconclusive result.

Kevin Durant (right), pictured with Australia's Patty Mills, will also go into COVID protocols.(Getty: Ron Schwane)

James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre' Bembry, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, Paul Millsap and James Johnson are all listed as out because of the protocols.

Needing to have eight players to start a game, the Nets scrapped their plan to rest Patty Mills and said he would be available. They also signed swingman James Ennis III and guard Shaquille Harrison to 10-day contracts.

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Chicago previously had 10 players in health and safety protocols, causing two of their games this week to be postponed. Three of them were cleared as of Friday, putting the Bulls on track to resume on Sunday against the Lakers.

Brooklyn's woes make Orlando's seem minor. The Magic still have five players out for protocols.

Also on Saturday, Cavaliers rookie forward Evan Mobley entered health and safety protocols.

Mobley has been a major reason for Cleveland's unexpected and surprising start this season. The No 3 overall draft pick has been as good as advertised while helping the Cavs go 18-12 and surge into fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


US to introduce further sanctions on China over Uyghur human rights abuses


The Biden administration says it will impose new sanctions on several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies for actions in Xinjiang province, the latest move against Beijing over human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims in the country's western region.

Key points:

  • The sanctions target 11 research institutes using biotechnology to support the Chinese military

  • US companies will be barred from selling components without a license

  • More sanctions are expected

The Commerce Department is targeting China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes that focus on using biotechnology to support the Chinese military.

The move will bar American companies from selling components to the entities without a license.

"The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives," commerce secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the PRC (People's Republic of China) is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups.

"We cannot allow US commodities, technologies, and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to US national security."

US intelligence said Beijing had set up a high-tech surveillance system across Xinjiang.(ABC News: Tracey Shelton)

The Treasury Department is also set to issue penalties against several Chinese entities, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the soon-to-be-announced moves.

The official, explaining the Commerce Department's actions, said US intelligence had established that Beijing had set up a high-tech surveillance system across Xinjiang that uses biometric facial recognition and had collected DNA samples from residents as part of a systematic effort to suppress Uyghurs.

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The department, in a rule detailing its decision, said a review by multiple federal agencies had determined that the Chinese academy and research institutes "use biotechnology processes to support Chinese military end uses and end users, to include purported brain-control weaponry".

The Treasury Department last week also announced a ban on US investment in the Chinese facial recognition company SenseTime over concerns the technology was being used to oppress Uyghurs.

The White House announced last week it would stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China's "egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang".

US athletes will continue to compete but Mr Biden will not send the usual contingent of dignitaries.

The administration also said this week that it supported bipartisan legislation that bans imports into the US from Xinjiang unless companies can demonstrate the goods were not produced by forced labour.

China has denied any abuses and said the steps it took were necessary to combat terrorism and a separatist movement.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Kentucky tornado sends photo more than 200km across US


When Katie Posten walked outside to her car parked in her driveway, she saw something that looked like a note or receipt stuck to the windshield.

She grabbed it and saw it was a black and white photo of a woman in a striped sundress and headscarf holding a little boy in her lap.

On the back, written in cursive, it said, "Gertie Swatzell & J.D. Swatzell 1942".

A few hours later, Ms Posten would discover that the photo had made quite a journey — more than 200 kilometres on the back of monstrous winds.

Ms Posten had been tracking the tornadoes that hit the middle of the US Friday night (local time), killing dozens of people.

The small Kentucky town of Dawson Springs was devastated by a tornado.(Reuters: Minh Connors/USA Today)

They came close to where she lives in New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. So she figured it must be debris from someone's damaged home.

"Seeing the date, I realised that was likely from a home hit by a tornado. How else is it going to be there?" Ms Posten said in a phone interview.

"It's not a receipt. It's well-kept photo."

So, doing what any 21st century person would do, she posted an image of the photo on Facebook and Twitter and asked for help in finding its owners.

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She said she was hoping someone on social media would have a connection to the photo or share it with someone who had a connection.

Sure enough, that's what happened.

"A lot of people shared it on Facebook. Someone came across it who is friends with a man with the same last name, and they tagged him," said Ms Posten, 30, who works for a tech company.

That man was Cole Swatzell, who commented that the photo belonged to family members in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, almost 210 km away from New Albany, as the crow flies, and 270km away by car.

In Dawson Springs — a town of about 2,700 people — homes were levelled, trees were splintered and search and rescue teams continued to scour the community for any survivors.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 57 seconds57s A deadly tornado has struck the US, destroying homes and leaving dozens dead.

Dozens of people across five US states were killed.

Ms Posten plans to return the photo to the Swatzell family sometime this week.

"It's really remarkable, definitely one of those things, given all that has happened, that makes you consider how valuable things are — memories, family heirlooms, and those kinds of things," Ms Posten said.

"It shows you the power of social media for good. It was encouraging that immediately there were tons of replies from people, looking up ancestry records, and saying 'I know someone who knows someone and I'd like to help'."

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Ghislaine Maxwell accused of touching child’s breasts during massage


Another key accuser at the sex-abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell has testified that Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein forced themselves on her during a 1996 visit to the financier's sprawling New Mexico ranch when she was just 16.

Key points:

  • Witness Annie Farmer used her real name while other accusers used pseudonyms or first names only
  • Ms Farmer says she was 16 when she met Jeffrey Epstein on a 1996 trip to New York City to visit her older sister, who was working for him

  • Ms Farmer's testimony follows that of three other women who claimed Ms Maxwell recruited them to give Mr Epstein massages meant as a ruse for sexually abusing teens

Annie Farmer told jurors she accepted an invitation to the ranch hoping that Ms Maxwell and Mr Epstein wanted to help her with academic endeavours.

Instead, she said, Ms Maxwell ended up fondling her breasts and Mr Epstein climbed into bed without her permission, she said.

Ms Farmer recalled the unwanted physical contact making her feel like she "just wanted the weekend to be over. … I wanted to be done with it."

"All these experiences made me feel like they had a very different interest in me."

Asked by a prosecutor at the start of her testimony if she saw anyone in the courtroom who had ever given her a massage, Ms Farmer identified Ms Maxwell, who was sitting at the defence table.

Ms Farmer, now 42, took the stand using her true identity — a departure from the decision by three other accusers with similar stories who testified under pseudonyms or first names only to protect their privacy.

Witness Annie Farmer told jurors that the British socialite tried to coax her — at just 16 — into a sexual encounter with financier Jeffrey Epstein.(AP: Elizabeth Williams))

The three others claimed Ms Maxwell recruited them to give Mr Epstein massages meant as a ruse for sexually abusing teens.

Two said they were just 14 when the abuse started and that Ms Maxwell sometimes participated in the encounters.

Ms Maxwell, 59, has denied charges she groomed underage girls for Mr Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019.

Her lawyers say the government is making her a scapegoat for alleged sex crimes committed by her one-time boyfriend.

Ms Farmer testified that she met Mr Epstein at age 16 on a 1996 trip to New York City to visit her older sister, who was working for him at his Manhattan mansion.

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When they visited him at the home, he "seemed very friendly and down to earth", and even offered to mentor her, she said.

She said that during an outing to the movies with Mr Epstein, he reached over to hold her hand and caress her leg.

"I felt sick to my stomach," she said. "It was not something I was expecting at all."

When Ms Farmer returned home, she stayed in touch with the billionaire and accepted an invitation to travel to New Mexico with a plane ticket he purchased.

But she said she had reservations, because: "after what happened in the movie theatre, I didn't want to be alone with him."

She said initially felt more comfortable because Ms Maxwell was there. But when they took her to the movies, he "right away began to hold my hand" and rub her foot and arm throughout the film, she said.

Once home, Ms Maxwell insisted on giving Ms Farmer a massage and told her to take off her clothes, Ms Farmer testified.

Ms Maxwell "pulled down the sheet and exposed my breasts and starting rubbing on my breasts," Ms Farmer said.

"It didn't make sense to me that would happen," she said. "I so badly wanted to get off the table and have the massage be done."

The next morning, she said, Mr Epstein came into her bedroom and told her he wanted to cuddle.

After he climbed into bed, she froze, thinking: "I just have to get through this."

He pressed his body against her, she said.

She finally made up an excuse to go to the bathroom.

"I wanted to be in there long enough that this situation would be over," she said.

Ms Farmer accepted $US1.5 million ($2 million) from a fund set up to compensate Epstein victims, she testified.

The encounters occurred in New Mexico, which did not have a specific age of consent statute, although its laws criminalised all sexual contact of a minor under the age of 13 when coercion or force is involved.

On cross examination, a defence lawyer repeatedly emphasised through her questions that Ms Maxwell was not involved in the most egregious behaviour described by Ms Farmer and elicited that Ms Farmer was not sure she was naked during her massage, although she was certain that her breasts were exposed.

Ms Farmer's testimony caps the trial's second week.

It is unclear whether the government will finish presenting its case on Friday, as expected.

Judge Nathan suggested that closing arguments in the trial — originally expected to span six weeks — might occur as soon as December 20 if the defence presentation next week only lasts a day or two.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Parents of alleged Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley plead not guilty to manslaughter


A judge imposed a combined $US1 million  ($1.4 million) bond for the parents of the Michigan teen charged with killing four students at Oxford High School, hours after police said they were caught hiding in a Detroit commercial building.

Key points:

  • Both parents entered not guilty pleas to each of the four involuntary manslaughter counts
  • The judge assigned a bond of $714,000 each and required GPS monitoring if they pay to be released
  • Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes

James and Jennifer Crumbley entered not guilty pleas to each of the four involuntary manslaughter counts against them during a hearing held on Zoom.

Jennifer Crumbley sobbed and struggled to respond to the judge's questions at times and James Crumbley shook his head when a prosecutor said their son had full access to the gun used in the killings.

Judge Julie Nicholson assigned bond of $714,000 to each of the parents and required GPS monitoring if they paid to be released, agreeing with prosecutors that they posed a flight risk.

Defence attorneys for the Crumbleys still argued on Saturday that they never intended to flee and had made plans to meet their lawyers early that morning.

Attorney Shannon Smith accused prosecutors of "cherry picking" facts to release publicly, including an accusation that their teenage son had unrestricted access to the handgun prosecutors say his father purchased for him days before the shooting.

"Our clients are just as devastated as everyone else,"  Ms Smith said, adding that the gun "was locked".

She didn't provide more detail during Saturday's hearing.

The judge assigned a bond of over $700,000 each.(AP: 52-1 District Court)

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald's office filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the Crumbleys on Friday, accusing them of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — "blood everywhere" — that was found at the boy's desk.

The Crumbleys committed "egregious" acts, from buying a gun on Black Friday and making it available to Ethan Crumbley, to resisting his removal from school when they were summoned a few hours before the shooting, Ms McDonald said on Friday.

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Authorities had been looking for the couple since Friday afternoon.

Late on Friday, US Marshals announced a reward of up to $US10,000 ($14,000) each for information leading to their arrests.

Ms Smith, the Crumbleys' attorney, had said on Friday that the pair left town earlier in the week "for their own safety" and would be returning to Oxford to face charges.

During Saturday's hearing, Ms Smith said they were in touch by phone and text on Friday evening and blamed prosecutors for failing to communicate with her and fellow defence attorney Mariell Lehman.

"Our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in; it was just a matter of logistics," she said.

But Ms McDonald said on Saturday that the couple took $US4,000 ($5,700) out of an ATM on Friday morning in Rochester Hills, not far from the courthouse where they should have appeared that afternoon.

"These are not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own," she said.

Details become clearer

On Friday, Ms McDonald offered the most precise account so far of the events that led to the shooting at Oxford High School, roughly 50 kilometres north of Detroit.

Ethan Crumbley (centre) is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes(AP: Paul Sancya)

Ethan Crumbley, 15, emerged from a bathroom with a gun, shooting students in the hallway, investigators said.

He's charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes.

Under Michigan law, the involuntary manslaughter charge filed against the parents can be pursued if authorities believe someone contributed to a situation where there was a high chance of harm or death.

Parents in the US are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children, even as most minors get guns from a parent or relative's house, according to experts.

School officials became concerned about the younger Crumbley on Monday, a day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone, Ms McDonald said.

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Jennifer Crumbley was contacted and subsequently told her son in a text message: "Lol. I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught," according to the prosecutor.

On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan's desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointing at the words, "The thoughts won't stop. Help me," Ms McDonald said.

There also was a drawing of a bullet, she said, with words above it: "Blood everywhere."

Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and is bleeding.

He also wrote, "My life is useless" and "The world is dead," according to the prosecutor.

The school quickly had a meeting with Ethan and his parents, who were told to get him into counselling within 48 hours, Ms McDonald said.

The Crumbleys failed to ask their son about the gun or check his backpack and "resisted the idea of their son leaving the school at that time", Ms McDonald said.

Instead, the teen returned to class and the shooting subsequently occurred.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Survivor hauled out of Russian coal mine but six more deaths recorded


Rescuers have found a survivor in a Siberian coal mine where dozens of workers are presumed dead, following a large methane explosion, the local governor said.

Key points:

  • A mine explosion in Siberia has led to at least 20 deaths
  • There are still 31 people trapped underground
  • Local authorities say it is unlikely more survivors will be found

Sergei Tsivilyov, Governor of the Kemerovo region where the mine is located, said on the messaging app Telegram that the survivor was found in the Listvyazhnaya mine in south-western Siberia, and "he is being taken to the hospital".

Acting Emergency Minister Alexander Chupriyan said the man found in the mine was a rescuer who had been presumed dead.

There have been 20 deaths associated with the disaster.

Six bodies were found on Friday, after authorities had confirmed 14 total deaths the day before.

Of those 14, there were 11 miners and three rescuers died later while searching for others who were trapped at a remote section of the mine.

Authorities have said 31 people remain missing.

Mr Tsivilyov said finding other survivors at this point was highly unlikely.

Hours after the explosion fire filled the mine with toxic fumes on Thursday, rescuers were forced to halt the search because of a build-up of methane and carbon monoxide gas from the fire.

A total of 239 people were rescued from the mine — 63 of them, as of Friday morning, have sought medical assistance, according to Kemerovo officials.

The state TASS and RIA-Novosti news agencies on Thursday cited emergency officials saying there was no chance of finding any more survivors and put the death toll at 52.

Rescuing a survivor on Friday morning brought that down to 51.

It appears to be the deadliest mine accident in Russia since 2010, when two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 people at the Raspadskaya mine in the same Kemerovo region.

Regional officials have declared three days of mourning.

Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a criminal probe into the fire over violations of safety regulations that led to deaths.

It said the mine director and two senior managers were detained.

One more criminal probe was launched Friday into the alleged negligence of state officials that inspected the mine earlier this month.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


‘He will now rest in peace’: Three men found guilty of murder of unarmed black man Ahmaud Arbery in US


A jury has found three men guilty of the murder of black man Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot while jogging in the US state of Georgia in February 2020.

Key points:

  • The men face minimum sentences of life in prison
  • Defence attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen's arrest when they set off after Mr Arbery
  • But prosecutors said there was no evidence Mr Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants' neighbourhood

The convictions for Greg McMichael, son Travis McMichael and neighbour William "Roddie" Bryan came after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours.

The McMichaels grabbed guns and jumped in a pick-up truck to pursue the 25-year-old man after seeing Mr Arbery running in their neighbourhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick.

Bryan joined the pursuit in his own truck and recorded a mobile phone video of Travis McMichael fatally shooting Mr Arbery.

The video leaked online two months later.

The convictions come as part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice in the US.

A mural of Ahmaud Arbery painted on the side of The Brunswick African American Cultural Center in Brunswick, Georgia.(Reuters: Octavio Jones)

The men face minimum sentences of life in prison. It is up to the judge to decide whether that comes with or without the possibility of parole.

During the trial, the jury sent a note to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley soon after returning to court Wednesday morning asking to view two versions of the shooting video, the original and one that investigators enhanced to reduce shadows.

Jurors returned to the courtroom to see the videos and listen again to the 911 call the defendants made from the bed of a pick-up truck about 30 seconds before the shooting.

The McMichaels told police they suspected Mr Arbery was a fleeing burglar when they armed themselves and jumped in a pick-up truck to chase him, with Bryan joining the pursuit when they passed his house.

Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan will face additional hate crime charges from federal authorities in February.(Reuters)

On the 911 call the jury reviewed, Greg McMichael tells an operator: "I'm out here in Satilla Shores. There's a black male running down the street."

He then starts shouting, apparently as Mr Arbery is running toward the McMichaels' idling truck with Bryan's truck coming up behind him: "Stop right there! Damn it, stop! Travis!" Gunshots can be heard a few seconds later.

Defence attorneys contend the McMichaels were attempting a legal citizen's arrest when they set off after Mr Arbery, seeking to detain and question him as a suspected burglar after he was seen running from a nearby home under construction.

Travis McMichael testified that he shot Arbery in self-defence, saying the running man turned and attacked with his fists while running past the idling truck where Travis McMichael stood with his shotgun.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence Mr Arbery had committed crimes in the defendants' neighbourhood.

He had enrolled at a technical college and was preparing to study to become an electrician like his uncles.

Though prosecutors did not argue that racism motivated the killing, federal authorities have charged the men with hate crimes, alleging they chased and killed Mr Arbery because he was black.

That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.

Family welcomes verdict Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, says her son can now rest in peace.(AP: Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

Moments after the verdicts were announced, Mr Arbery's father, Marcus Arbery Sr, was seen crying and hugging supporters outside the courtroom.

"He didn't do nothing but run and dream," he said.

Ben Crump, the attorney for Mr Arbery's father, spoke outside the courthouse, saying repeatedly: "The spirit of Ahmaud defeated the lynch mob."

Mr Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, thanked the crowd gathered outside the courthouse and said she did not think she would see this day.

"It's been a long fight. It's been a hard fight. But God is good," she said.

Of her son, she said: "He will now rest in peace."

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


French women on the march in their thousands against violence, harassment and abuse


Tens of thousands of protesters have marched through Paris and other French cities to demand more government action to prevent violence against women. 

Key points:

  • More than 220,000 women suffer physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their partner each year

  • Rights groups say 101 women have been killed by a partner or ex-partner in France since January

  • Demonstrators want President Emmanuel Macron to earmark 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) a year to tackle the problem

The demonstrations on Saturday come amid growing outrage in France over women killed by their partners and as French women are increasingly speaking out about sexual harassment and abuse.

Protesters marched in Paris behind a large banner saying: "Stop sexist and sexual violence."

"We are always putting the blame on the women," Parisian demonstrator Ghislaine Gireire-Revalier said, expressing sympathy for women trapped in violent domestic situations. 

"What we forget is the phenomenon of being in one's grip … little by little it's like a spider that surrounds you in its web."

Rights groups say one woman has been killed by her partner every three days this year in France.

Groups fighting violence against women said at least 101 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France so far this year — about one woman every three days. 

More than 220,000 women are suffering physical or sexual abuse by their partners each year, according to a 2017 nationwide study.

Activists are urging President Emmanuel Macron's government to dedicate 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) each year to fight violence against women, instead of the 360 million euros ($406 million) spent now, in part to create more shelters.

Demonstrator Meryll Le Goff said "there are measures that have been put into effect like the telephone for those in serious danger", a special phone with a button to push to alert police. 

More than 2,500 such phones were being deployed in the country in September, the Justice Ministry said.

"But there aren't enough for everyone," she said.

"Measures half done, men who are detained temporarily or even imprisoned but are eventually released without any measures that follow … that's the problem," Le Goff said.

The protests are part of a week of global actions marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


The Thai festival that honours the river goddess has begun polluting the water it reveres


Thais are flocking to rivers and lakes in an annual festival honouring the goddess of water, with the hundreds of thousands of floats adorned with flowers clogging the country's waterways.

Key points:

  • The Thai festival is called Loy Krathong and it marks the end of the rainy season

  • Believers symbolically float their misfortunes away and start the new year with a clean slate 

  • The thousands of floats made with materials like Styrofoam are polluting the waterways

Within hours on Friday, workers began trawling the rivers to fish the offerings back out.

The Loy Krathong festival allows believers to symbolically float their misfortunes away on "krathongs" and start another year with a clean slate. 

The festival is celebrated on the night of the full moon of the 12th lunar month, which traditionally marks the end of the rainy season.

The number of endangered sea creatures found dead ashore in Thailand doubled between 2017 and 2020. (AP: Sakchai Lalit)

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a leading Thai marine biologist, said getting people to stop using harmful materials such as polystyrene foam — Styrofoam — for their floats remains the priority because they caused the most damage to the water and aquatic life. 

The number of endangered sea creatures found dead ashore, which he believes stems from the problem of ocean trash in Thailand, doubled from 2017 to 2020.

Activists have noted a change in people's behaviour over decades, pointing to rising awareness of the damage krathongs cause. 

The total number of krathongs collected in Bangkok has fallen from more than 900,000 in 2012 to just over 490,000 last year, and there has been a sharper reduction in the number of floats made of Styrofoam, from 131,000 to fewer than 18,000 over the same period.

Workers collect the floating krathong from Chao Phraya River. (AP: Sakchai Lalit)

Even so, some conservationists advocate a more radical solution.

"We need to revolutionise the practice, allowing the ecosystem of the waterways to be restored," said Tara Buakamsri, Thailand country director for the environmental group Greenpeace. 

"We should not release any floats, because even if they are made from natural materials, the amount of them exceeds what rivers can naturally deal with," Mr Buakamsri said.

"We depend on clean water for our livelihood and the aim of Loy Krathong should be to protect and rejuvenate our rivers without putting anything in them," he said.

Sales of materials for krathongs have been slow this year due to the pandemic, said Nopparat Tangtonwong, a vendor at Pak Klong market, famous for selling flowers.

"COVID-19 causes the economy to be sluggish, so people prefer saving their money and floating online instead," she said.

At the same time, children are uninterested in banana-leaf floats, the main natural alternative to Styrofoam, she said.

Families set their krathongs afloat together on rivers, lakes or canals during the festival.(AP: Sakchai Lalit)

"They prefer fancy floats made of ice-cream cones and bread because they can feed the fish at the same time."

Such an approach is not helpful, said Wijarn Simachaya, president of Thailand Environment Institute. 

"If you float somewhere with no fish, those floats will cause pollution in the water. It is difficult to collect them, too, as the bread absorbs the water and sinks into the river," said Mr Simachaya.

"In addition, the sellers usually put chemical colors in those floats, which is harmful to the water," he said.

Banana leaves are the best krathong material because they do not decompose too quickly, and once collected, can be used for making fertiliser, Mr Simachaya said.

"Doing a virtual Loy Krathong celebration is another good solution to avoid environmental damage, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, but I don't think it can satisfy people as they still want to enjoy the festival," Mr Simachaya said.

Late on Friday night after people floated their cares away, municipal workers come out to scoop up a sea of floats that drifted along canals and down the Chao Phraya River before they decomposed and contaminated the water.

A Thai woman prays before floating a krathong into Ong Ang canal.(AP: Sakchai Lalit)

Dozens of small boats travelled along the river, each carrying about half a dozen people with hand-held nets to collect the krathongs.

The boats then took their catch to a moored mothership, where it was dumped into a large shredding machine, then compacted and hauled away by garbage trucks for landfill in a waste dump.

"We have been campaigning for people to stop using Styrofoam and we have received support from the public," said Chatree Wattanakhajorn, a top Bangkok official. 

"We hope that this year the numbers of Krathongs made with Styrofoam will continue to decrease and will be less than last year. And we will finish our clean-up operation before 5 o'clock in the morning."

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Oscar Pistorius up for parole but must meet parents of murdered Reva Steenkamp


Eight years after killing his girlfriend, South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius is eligible for parole, but he must meet with Reeva Steenkamp's parents before he has a chance of being freed.

Key points:

  • Oscar Pistorius has been eligible for parole since July
  • Under South African law, the family of the victim is allowed to meet with the offender
  • The lawyer for Reeva Steenkamp's parents would not say if they would oppose parole for Pistorius

Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet door on Valentine's Day in 2013.

Pistorius was convicted of her murder in 2015 and was ultimately sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.

He became eligible for parole in July after serving half his sentence.

A parole hearing for Pistorius was scheduled for last month and then cancelled partly because a meeting between Pistorius and Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, had not been arranged, lawyers for both parties said on Monday.

Julian Knight, a lawyer for Pistorius, said another hearing was scheduled for October but was called off because a full report on Pistorius's time in prison was not available.

Mr Knight said another hearing date had not been set.

The Steenkamps want a face-to-face meeting with Pistorius before he is considered for early release from prison, as is their right under South Africa's victim-offender dialogue policy.

The pair have previously said they want to challenge Pistorius on why he shot their daughter.

"They [Barry and June Steenkamp] feel that Reeva has got a voice," their lawyer Tania Koen said.

"They are Reeva's voice and they owe it to their beloved daughter."

The Steenkamps will also be allowed to make recommendations to the parole board, although Ms Koen would not say if they would oppose Pistorius's release.

Parole boards do consider the opinion of victims' families when deciding whether to release an offender.

Parents of the late Reeva Steenkamp, June (left) and Barry (right) will meet with Pistorius before his parole hearing.(Pool via AP: Antione de Ras)

Mr Knight said he was hopeful the meeting between Pistorius and the Steenkamps, which must happen before a parole hearing, could take place by the end of the year.

Ms Koen said it was a "huge surprise" for the Steenkamps when corrections officials contacted them last month to say Pistorius was eligible for parole.

Pistorius' sentence doubled

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal increases Oscar Pistorius' murder sentence to 13 years and five months after the state argues his original sentence of six years was "shockingly lenient".

Read more

They believed he would first be eligible in 2023.

"[It] opens a lot of wounds, or rips off the plasters they had put on those wounds," she said.

The confusion over when he would be eligible emanated from Pistorius's long and protracted murder trial and two subsequent appeals by prosecutors.

Pistorius went on trial in 2014 but his case was only finalised in 2018.

He was initially found guilty of culpable homicide — an offence comparable to manslaughter — for shooting Reeva Steenkamp with his licensed 9mm pistol.

He argued at his trial it was a tragic accident and he mistook his girlfriend for a dangerous intruder.

Prosecutors appealed against the manslaughter finding and secured a murder conviction.

Pistorius was sentenced to six years in jail for murder, but prosecutors again appealed against what they called a shockingly light punishment for murder.

The Supreme Court of Appeal then more than doubled his sentence in 2017.

The time Pistorius had served since he was convicted for culpable homicide counted towards his parole eligibility.

AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Mooski, Chris Brown & A Boogie wit da Hoodie – Track Star Lyrics


[Intro: Mooski]
Ah, ah, ha-ha
(She’s a runner, runner, runner, runner, runner)
This the remix, yeah-yeah
(Oh, oh, oh, oh)

[Verse 1: Mooski]
Shawty gon’ run when she in a bind
A track star, we never seen the finish line
Can’t confide or commit, she scared to trust somebody
On your mark, go, set, go, she ’bout to dust somebody
Do what it take, do what’s gon’ make it last
She can’t take the pain that come with that
Hit the brakes ‘fore it’s too late, she fast
Once she set her pace, she don’t look back
Now I know I looked ovеr the signs
Girl, do you ever gеt tired (You know) of runnin’, runnin’?
Oh, why?

[Chorus: Mooski & Chris Brown]
She’s a runner, she’s a track star
She gon’ run away when it gets hard
She can’t take the pain, she can’t get scarred
She hurt anyone that gets involved
Don’t wanna commit, why take it this far (Oh, why?)
She gon’ do the race, just not this one (Oh, why?)
Love is a game, you used to cheer for (No, oh-oh, woah)
When I was down to talk, you weren’t here for it (Ooh, woah, oh, oh)

[Verse 2: Chris Brown]
She’s a liar, she a capper
She’d do anything for the Black Card
She give you her pain with a black heart (No)
Should of never let that shit get that far (Woah, woah)
It’s always been games with you (Oh)
Keepin’ score and changin’ moods (Oh)
I was all for it, but lately you (Oh)
Showed me that side, that crazy you (Oh, crazy you)
And you can get to packin’ all of your bags
You can leave the racks with all of them tags
Gon’ do your thing and don’t look back
Damn, girl, you fast (Woah, woah)

[Chorus: Mooski & Chris Brown]
She’s a runner, she’s a track star (Oh, she, she)
She gon’ run away when it gets hard (Away, yeah)
She can’t take the pain, she can’t get scarred (No, oh-oh, woah)
She hurt anyone that gets involved (Ah, yeah, oh-oh, babe)
Don’t wanna commit, why take it this far (Oh, why? Oh, why?)
She gon’ do the race, just not this one (Oh, why? Oh, why?)
Love is a game, you used to cheer for (Woah)
When I was down to talk, you weren’t here for it

[Verse 3: Yung Bleu]
I said don’t you run from me (Don’t you run)
Don’t take my love for granted ’cause you know it can get ugly
She’s a runner, she’s a track star (Oh-oh)
Don’t run away when it get hard, love
I can tell that, you ain’t ever had a gangster
I’m aware of that, he ain’t never tell you, “Thank ya”
How you wear that, you should get a new Wraith, oh-oh (Skrrt)
I’m slidin’ when you tell me it’s convenient (‘Venient)
You know I got the Glock up in ‘Ghini
Grant a couple wishes like a genie
She gon’ keep up runnin’ back if she got access
Got my dick hard like it’s hard to be a Black man
I cut her off and put my feelings in the trash can (Ooh-ooh-ooh)
I guess all this love was just too much love for you

[Chorus: Mooski & A Boogie wit da Hoodie]
She’s a runner, she’s a track star
She gon’ run away when it gets hard
She can’t take the pain, she can’t get scarred
She hurt anyone that gets involved
Don’t wanna commit, why take it this far (Oh, why?)
She gon’ do the race, just not this one (Oh, why?)
Love is a game, you used to cheer for (Na-na)
When I was down to talk, you weren’t here for it (Na-na, na-na)
You-ouu-ouu-ouu-ouu (Ooh, ooh, ooh)

[Verse 4: A Boogie wit da Hoodie]
Baby, stop frontin’ (Stop)
Grab on your waist, that’s gon’ make you stop runnin’ (Stop runnin’)
Diamonds on my chain and watch bustin’
You look at me like you want somethin’
Don’t keep it low, keep it one-hundred
Speakin’ of numbers, I
Here, I gave you the wrong one on purpose, but this one is workin’ fine
Hit my line, call me whenever you want some me
646-992-7453
I’m from the jungle, but I’m not a cheater
Bitch, I’m in my bag now, it’s Hoodie SZN
I’ma set it off if a nigga creep up
And she gon’ take the charge like it’s a misdemeanor
I was mad high, you was off a Xan’, I know
I was tryna fuck you and your friends like (Oh)
Even though that wasn’t in the plans right (No)
Drum with a stick, like a band, I know (Woo)
AP on my wrist, that’s a bustdown, oh-woah
King of this fly shit, yeah, I know
You can hold me down and be more than my ho
Stop actin’ like you love me when you really don’t know
She’s a runner, she’s a track star


Bugzy Malone – Salvador Lyrics


[Intro]
Yeah
It’s Bugz
Listen
Yo, look

[Hook]
I’ve not got around to reading a Bible
Still tryna lead them a worthy example
So I know I gotta get married, it’s vital
I was on one knee right under the Eiffel
Holding a diamond bigger than a blueberry
When I had a blackberry, it was survival
That meant a flicky when anywhere I go
All cause a rival took shots at me with a rifle

[Verse]
Blood on the tips on my fingers
Done a Bruce Lee when I linked him
Bit off the end of a spliff then I lit that
I was on a car, picked him in gun chase tryna get me a six-pack
Dreams of me pushing his wig back
Nightmarеs of me getting 26 in crown
Oh, I’ve nеver been much of a shooter, but I’ll still bang off
That’s man like kid
No coming all the way through an attempted M I didn’t even do
Didn’t cop my phone, then I wouldn’t have been here
Cause I would’ve got released this time last year
And I can barely remember
Saying to [?] that I want a short back and sides, a ‘tache and a beard
Them man are airing my stripes, I told them put a line in my eyebrow, I’m a bad boy out here
Me, I’m just sketching, into my sketch book
I can forgive but I don’t forget
Let me just add an additional bit of perspective
We would eat fish fingers with no ketchup
Now we eat lobster and I’m in a tracksuit
Sat in San Carlo and I’ve got an AP like I’ve been narcos
I’ve got a big business, these boxes at the cargo
You’re looking at a mogul, I might sign me a younger that’s spitting on drill
Teach him the business and make him a star, then build him up until I’ve made him a mil’
But don’t get it twisted, me I’ve had opps but I’ve beat everyone of them 3 or 4 – nil
I’m looking at houses for 3 or 4 mil’
Even though I got a castle in the middle of a field
I miss standing on the roadside with my hat pulled down so the cameras couldn’t see me
I miss getting a bar on my pedal bike, they were the days where with shoeboxes full of money
I miss having beef with a rival gang and having 25 of the mandem with me
I miss getting along with my family, way back in the day when we had that little red [?]
Looking nice went out on the Italian job
I was in the wee game, now that this Cali and dog
I would’ve sold out selling in bags or in little green tops, they can never keep up
It’s mental, I want like a PlayStation 5 and never Nintendo
You might see my personality switch but I’ve never dropped a crumb, I’m no Kevin Wendell
The way I’m speaking into the mic, like Salvador sketching in with the pencil
I get deja vu like Denzel
I’ve got a bendy back and get tekky with a rental
My God, that’s what the waiter said when I got on one knee
Everybody clapping their hands cause a black guy getting engaged, you don’t see just grow up
And you’re lucky if your dad bothers to show
Everybody wants to know you when you blow up
And it’s a shame cah you reap what you sow and I already know this

[Hook]
Still I’ve not got round to reading a Bible
And I’m tryna lead by a worthy example
So I know I gotta get married, it’s vital
I was on one knee right under the Eiffel
Holding a diamond bigger than a blueberry
When I had a blackberry, it was survival
Meant a flicky when anywhere I go
All cause a rival took shots at me with a-
Fuck off


Wiz Khalifa – Dreams Lyrics


Play this song

[Intro: 24HRS]
Lil niggas gotta sit down, or get down
Yeah

[Verse 1: 24HRS]
’24 Chevy, this shit for the big dogs
Lil dog you sit down, my dog keep big rounds
“20, I wanna lick you like you ice cream”
Fell in love with marijuana, I’m a big fiend
I take cash under my wing ’cause my dog got potential
Bad bitch, independent, why would I control her?
Money getting larger and it feel I’m getting older
I just poured a four in a pineapple soda
Jimmy Carter ATL, we used to run the big door
Me and Ricky ruled back when we would do the kick though
[?] that’s a big Glock, and I respect that
Money where my mouth at, and lately that’s where my check at
My niggas never been the type to try to back down
Vibes at the crib, dollar sign in the background
“20 you know YG, can we go to Bompton?”

[Chorus: 24HRS]
Too much McQueen, it’s gon’ really turn to something
Believe in your dreams, you could really turn to something
Too much McQueen, it’s gon’ really turn to something
Believe in your dreams, you could really turn to something

[Verse 2: Wiz Khalifa]
Okay, got ’em upset
Half a hundred M’s, that’s in one check
If you ain’t talking money, switch the subject
If you ain’t talking money, switch the subject
Only rep the gang, that’s one set
Knew she was a hoe, she just ain’t done it yet
If you ain’t talking money, switch the subject, yeah
Convertible Vette, got my name in the headrest
Put my feet up, smoking a J, let my legs rest
Shorty say I’m on her mind, headset
You and her suck me up, y’all both neck and neck
You get mad when I cuss you out in public
Could have that life, it’s the hustle you in love with
Every other day, make sure the bank get deposits
All blue ragtop riding down [?]

[Chorus: 24HRS & (Wiz Khalifa)]
Too much McQueen, it’s gon’ really turn to something
(Rose gold AP and that bitch bussin’)
Believe in your dreams, you could really turn to something
([?] and KK, just got it through customs)
Too much McQueen, it’s gon’ really turn to something
(Seven hundred horses wanna race? I’ma dust ’em)
Believe in your dreams, you could really turn to something
(All my lowriders sittin’ up like it’s doing crunches)


Playboi Carti – New N3on Lyrics


[Intro: Lil Uzi Vert]
(That-that-that-that-that be Maaly Raw)

[Chorus]
(Flat, yeah, I'm from the Flat)
Whole lotta bags, whole lotta cash (Whole lotta flex, slatt)
Whole lotta hoes, whole lotta ass (Slatt, slatt)
Young nigga got swag, hold up (Got swag)
Gotta wave my flag, hold up (Wave my flag)
Got a bitch in the back, yeah (Bitch in the back)
Play with them racks, yeah (Slatt)
Iced-out plaque, yeah (Slatt)
Heart attack, yeah, yeah (Heart attack)
Clapped his bitch, hold up, uh (Hold up)
AP wrist, hold up, uh (Hold up)
Too much gas, hold up, uh
Take this pic, yeah (Take this pic)

[Verse]
Swag for days, hold up (Days, ayy)
Plays on plays, hold up, uh (Yeah)
J's on J's, hold up (Ayy, ayy)
Bag full of haze, hold up (Blatt, blatt)
In the back with your bitch, hold up (Back with your bitch)
In a drop-top Benz, hold up (Skrrt)
You gotta let shawty in (Slatt, slatt)
Make shawty top-ten, hold up (Top ten)
I made a bitch count ten, hold up (What?)
I met a bitch through a DM (Slatt, slatt)
On the block with the D on (D on, D on)

Hellcat look neon (Hellcat)
Tryna see what we on (Hold up, yeah)
Told that bitch to put the V on (V on)
Dripped down, got the flee on (Flee on)
I got these hoes on VLONE (VLONE, slatt)
Got a girl with the neon, huh (VLONE, Tech)
Everything all neon (Yeah, yeah)
And she rockin' all neon (Slatt, slatt)
And she wearin' all neon (Slatt)
Run it up like Deion
Sippin' Tech, eat key lime (Tech, Tech)
And my swag so beyond
Put the bag on a peon (Slatt, slime)
[Chorus]
(Flat, yeah, I'm from the Flat)
Whole lotta bags, whole lotta cash (Whole lotta flex, slatt)
Whole lotta hoes, whole lotta ass (Slatt, slatt)
Young nigga got swag, hold up (Got swag)
Gotta wave my flag, hold up (Wave my flag)
Got a bitch in the back, yeah (Bitch in the back)
Play with them racks, yeah (Yeah)
Iced-out plaque, yeah (Slatt)
Heart attack, yeah, yeah (Heart attack)
Clapped his bitch, hold up, uh (Hold up)
AP wrist, hold up, uh
Too much gas, hold up, uh
Take this pic, yeah (Take this pic)


Armani Caesar – THE LIZ Lyrics


[Intro]
Uh, yo (AC, the motherf*ckin' diva)
Yo

[Verse]
New gun come with a drum, but no beam (Brra)
I get in the booth, no turkey, I go ham (Come on)
Shoutout to the bitches who hate me but still dance (Ha)
Get it how you live, keep f*ckin' that old man (Ah-hahaha)
Frontin' ass niggas, showin' they whole hand (Hand)
Hatin' on the low but really a whole fan (Tuh, facts)
You scared to get it poppin', I'm really a ho's aunt (Aunt)
Call my new Glock jelly, I promise it won't jam (Brra)
Bon appétit, the plan was to eat (To eat)
Like some new orthopedics, bitch, I'm back on my feet (Bitch, I'm back on my feet, uh-huh)
I'm tryna make a million a week (Uh-huh)
And I ain't gon' stop 'til the mission complete (Nah)
Niggas floodin' my DMs, they be tryna meet (Huh)
Elastigirl, I'm so out of they reach, shit (So out of they reach)

In this game, shit, Armani major league (League)
I turn dudes into fiends who wake up like Charlie Sheen (Woo)
Hot boss from a pretty team (Ooh)
I'm the first bitch of the winnin' team (Griselda, bitch)
Pull up on you, let thirty fly (Brra)
'Bout that action, Jackson, call me Dirty Di' (Woo, who)
Humble beast, I hate to boast (Damn)
Bruce Leeroy with the flow, bitch, I really got the glow (Uh huh)
Bitch, lady, ho, call me anything but broke (Keep goin')
Gettin' green by a goblin while I'm ridin' in the Ghost (Ooh)
Why the bitches with the least do the most? (Do the most)
Huffin' and puffin', but don't really want the smoke (Tuh, want the smoke)
Rollie or AP, f*ck it, cop 'em both (Cop 'em both)
Doin' donuts in the Demon, but I'm leavin' holy smoke (Skrrt)
Griselda


Future & Lil Uzi Vert – Off Dat Lyrics


[Intro]
DJ Escomoe Ci–

[Chorus: Lil Uzi Vert, Future & Both]
Smoke good gas (Gas), might cough back (Back)
Move good work (Work), that soft pack (Yeah)
Gotta off that (Yeah), gotta off that (Yeah)
Gotta off that (Yeah, skrrt), gotta off that (Yeah)
Gotta off that (Yeah), gotta off that (Yeah)
Gotta off that, then relapse (Yeah)

[Verse 1: Lil Uzi Vert]
This ain't no 48, this that new, new skin (New, new)
Go ahead and just mosh on the stage, f*ck around, lose a tooth, yeah, yeah (Turn it up, turn it up)
She give me that mouth on the stage, she ain't even use no tooth, yeah, yeah (Oh my God)
She give me that box on the stage, I ain't have to get no room, yeah, yeah (Oh my God)
Chrome Hearts, my shit cold like perfume, yeah, yeah
Racin' stripes, now my 'Rari, this go zoom, yeah, yeah
In the kitchen, whip it up just like it's stu', yeah, yeah (Woo)
Bitch, I'm stuck, I'm just geeked to the moon, yeah, yeah (To the moon)
Shoot it up, then them boys better move, yeah, yeah (Better move)
Tiffany blue diamonds hit just like the pool, yeah, yeah
Lots of pink diamonds, shit done changed my mood, yeah, yeah (Woo)
Wearing Gucci shoes ever since I was in school, yeah, yeah (I was in school)
Stuffed up nigga now, I ain't have to buy no Loubs, yeah, yeah (Woo)
Made all the opps scurry, yeah, yeah
Better shoot like Steph Curry, yeah, yeah
Gettin' Bur-burberry, yeah, yeah
Gettin' Bur-burberry, yeah, yeah (Bur-burberry)
Don't leave me like thirsty, yeah, yeah (Leave me like thirsty)
Ain't no way you can swerve me, yeah, yeah (Ain't no way, woo)
[Chorus: Lil Uzi Vert & Future]
Smoke good gas (Gas), might cough back
Move good work (Work), that soft pack (What?)
Gotta off that (Yeah), gotta off that (Yeah)
Gotta off that (Yeah, I gotta off), gotta off that (Yeah, I gotta off)
Gotta off that (Yeah, I gotta off), gotta off that (Yeah, I gotta off)
Gotta off that (Yeah, I gotta off), then relapse (Yeah, yeah)

[Verse 2: Future]
White diamonds lookin' like the damn moon, yeah, yeah
That bitch a Barbie, I'ma f*ck her like a goon, yeah, yeah
I just started, might as well take the shrooms, yeah, yeah

Threw the fishing rod in and took off on a boat, ooh
Cowabunga, diamonds on me blue just like the ocean
Servin' that white girl on the corner, bought her a platinum Rollie
Sent a bird call, niggas gon' be comin' through here torchin'
Swaggin' courtside (Swag), dripped the referee up in some Marnis
Love my princess cuts, love my brr, brr, high performance
I ain't gon' trust no slut, better get naked, cook, don't count my money
Eliantte solitaries, hell nah, these didn't come from Johnny
Jet black double R with a bunny (Brr), clockin' (Brr), cloak
Double C's, pushin' up with the 'Locs (Yeah)
Gucci socks all the way up to my knees (Slime)
Bought me a horse just to match my keys (Ferrari)
Stomp on the gas, can't see when I leave (Skrrt)
Switchin' up gears, Forgiato on the feet
Bust the AP, gotta turn to the team
Dirty diamonds on me, huh, got my money out the streets (Streets)
Ridin' with a brand new Tommy gun, two thousand bullets if I squeeze it
[Bridge: Lil Uzi Vert & Future]
Two hundred, huh, huh, huh, for a feature, huh, huh (For a feature)
You can't pay for these goods (Huh, huh, huh) 'til you turn into a preacher, uh, uh (To a preacher)

[Chorus: Lil Uzi Vert, Future & Both]
Smokin' Anthrax ('Thrax), might cough back (Woah)
Movin' that good work (Work), that soft pack (Yeah)
Gotta off that (Yeah, I gotta off), gotta off that (Yeah, and I gotta go off)
Gotta off that (Yeah, gotta knock a bitch off), gotta off that (Yeah, gotta knock a bitch off)
Gotta off that (Yeah, gotta knock a bitch off), gotta off that (Yeah, gotta knock a bitch off)
Gotta off that (Yeah, gotta knock a bitch off), then relapse (Woah)

[Outro: Lil Uzi Vert & Future]
Gotta knock a bitch off (Uh, then relapse)
Gotta knock a bitch off (Ooh, you gotta off that, uh, uh)
Gotta knock a bitch off (Then relapse)
Gotta, gotta knock a bitch off (You gotta off that)
Gotta knock a bitch off (Bitch, you gotta off that, off)
Gotta knock a bitch off (Gotta off that, off)
Gotta knock a bitch off (Gotta off that)
Gotta knock a bitch off


A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie & Don Q – Flood My Wrist Lyrics


Play this song

[Intro: A Boogie Wit da Hoodie & Don Q]
Yeah, mm (Goat status)
My bitch (Yeah), that my bitch now, mm
Whats good? Yeah
Flood my wrist
Uh, Don, yeah
.30 clip, yeah
Yeah

[Chorus: A Boogie Wit da Hoodie]
Flood my wrist (Flood my wrist)
What you think now? (What you think now?)
VVs in (Ah) Eliantte style (Eliantte style), mm
.30 clip (.30 clip)
Make you put your fist down (Put your fist down)
That’s my bitch (That’s my bitch)
Nigga, you can have that bitch now (You can have that bitch)
For the clique, ayy
Nigga, blow your whole house down (Blow your house down), mm
Leave the bloodstain on your couch now, yeah
Flood my wrist (Flood my wrist)
What you think now? (What you think now?)
VVs in (VVs in) Eliantte style, yeah

[Verse 1: Lil Uzi Vert]
Big ol’ drip (Drip, drip)
Make a bitch like my pic’ (Let’s go, let’s go), oh, yeah
She’s so thick, hit the bitch once, don’t miss, oh, yeah (Yeah, yeah)
I’m so rich, yeah, I could bust down that ho, little wrist (Let’s go)
I drive my double R on with the stick
Yeah, when I go to the club, make it rain
Yeah, when you go to the club, make it miss
Okay, my section lit, yo’ shit dry as a bitch (Woah)
When I smoke gas, I be high as a bitch
Yes, I’m so high I say, “Hi” to a blimp
And then when I get dressed, I be fly as a pimp (Let’s go)
Ain’t nobody, I be in my Maserati
Like the bracelet it cost me a mazi wrist
I got me a brand new Patek all on my
Just to show you niggas what time it is (Oh)

[Chorus: A Boogie Wit da Hoodie]
Flood my wrist (Flood my wrist)
What you think now? (What you think now?)
VVs in (Ah) Eliantte style (Eliantte style), mm
.30 clip (.30 clip)
Make you put your fist down (Put your fist down)
That’s my bitch (That’s my bitch)
Nigga, you can have that bitch now (You can have that bitch)
For the clique, ayy
Nigga, blow your whole house down (Blow your house down), mm
Leave the bloodstain on your couch now, yeah
Flood my wrist (Flood my wrist)
What you think now? (What you think now?)
VVs in (VVs in) Eliantte style, yeah

[Verse 2: Don Q]
Got a redbone, mixed (Redbone mixed)
Can’t give head and no spit, yeah (Can’t give head and no spit)
Make you catch my kids (Let’s go)
Who next? Let me check my list (Let me check my list)
I just checked out with a Tia and Tamera, yeah, uh
(I know that they’ll never leave me forever)
I keep me some twenties, that keep me together
(I know what I need, I keep ’em for pleasure)
In the matte black whip, like “Catch my drift” (Catch my drift)
That’s my bitch, so she match my drip (Match my drip)
Bought her AP so she match my wrist (She match my wrist)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ass that thick (An ass that thick)
Before the ass-shot, she ain’t act like this (She ain’t act like this)
Was a girl good before she had that shit (She had that shit)
Sittin’ on a rope, better have my spliff (Better have)
Then I put her on the stove, make her bag my zips (Bag up, ooh)

[Chorus: A Boogie Wit da Hoodie]
Flood my wrist (Flood my wrist)
What you think now? (What you think now?)
VVs in (Ah) Eliantte style (Eliantte style), mm
.30 clip (.30 clip)
Make you put your fist down (Put your fist down)
That’s my bitch (That’s my bitch)
Nigga, you can have that bitch now (You can have that bitch)
For the clique, ayy
Nigga, blow your whole house down (Blow your house down), mm
Leave the bloodstain on your couch now, yeah
Flood my wrist (Flood my wrist)
What you think now? (What you think now?)
VVs in (VVs in) Eliantte style, yeah

[Outro: Lil Uzi Vert & Don Q]
Big ol’ drip
That’s my bitch, so she match my drip
Make a bitch like my pic’
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ass that thick
She’ so thick
Bought her AP so she match my wrist
Bitch once, don’t miss
That’s my bitch, so she match my drip
Yeah


Feid – XX Lyrics


[Letra de “XX”]

[Intro]
Llegó el weekend
Yo no sé tú, pero yo te quiero volver a ver
Desde la última vez
No se le ha ido a mi hoodie tu olor a Chanel (¡Uh!)
Las horas se me están volviendo días
Las panas tuyas son la fiscalía
Desde que terminamos yo no te veía
Y te quiero a volver a ver (¡Wuh!)

[Coro]
Así pasen los años, mmm-mmm-mmm
Yo todavía te amo, yeah-eh-eh
Verte con otro me hace daño, mmm-mmm-mmm
Todas las noches te extraño
Me acuesto pensando en ti (Wuh)

[Verso]
Baby, él usa Technomarine y yo rompiendo el AP

Él no te necesita pero yo a ti sí
Él comprandote taco y tú esperando Yeezys, ¿qué pasa, ma G?, yeh (Uh)
Amanecí con ganas de verte
¿Dónde estás pa’ yo recogerte?
A los otros bobos diles: “Suerte”
Tú estás suelta si empieza el bellaqueo fuerte (Uh)

[Coro]
Así pasen los años, mmm-mmm-mmm
Yo todavía te amo, yeah-eh-eh
Verte con otro me hace daño, mmm-mmm-mmm
Todas las noches te extraño
Me acuesto pensando en ti

[Outro]
Fumo y es pensando en ti
Yeah
Me acuesto pensando en—




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