Watch: Seven Sharp reporter nabs rare interview with Dunkirk star Harry Styles on the red carpet

Rebecca Wright was the only southern hemisphere journalist to speak with superstar Harry Styles at the film's New York premiere.

Rebecca Wright was the only southern hemisphere journalist to speak with superstar Harry Styles at the film's New York premiere. Source: Seven Sharp

MOST
POPULAR STORIES


Virginia suspends new policy barring women visiting inmates from wearing tampons, menstrual cups

Virginia is suspending a newly introduced policy that would have barred women who visit inmates at state prisons from wearing tampons or menstrual cup.

Secretary of Public and Homeland Security Safety Brian Moran said today on Twitter that he had ordered an "immediate suspension until further review."

The abrupt about-face comes a day after widespread media coverage of state prison officials' plan to ban tampons starting next month as a way to prevent contraband from being smuggled into prisons.

Moran said he understands the worries about contraband, but added that "a number of concerns have been raised about the new procedure."

"I feel it appropriate to immediately suspend the newly developed policy until a more thorough review of its implementation and potential consequences are considered," Moran said.

Inmate advocates have been sharply critical of the now-suspended policy, saying it violates the privacy rights of female visitors.

ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Gastanaga said the policy should be permanently put to rest rather than simply suspended.

And Phyllis Randall, a former chairwoman of the state Board of Corrections, sent Moran a letter Tuesday saying the policy "represents a major systemic failure and an admission" that Moran and Department of Corrections Director Harold Clark "have lost the ability to effectively keep contraband out of Virginia's prisons."

Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Kinney previously said that the agency had consulted with the state Attorney General's Office about how to implement the policy and "it was decided that facilities would offer pads to women who are wearing tampons while visiting a prison so the tampons don't appear as possible contraband on a body scan."

She said that when potential contraband is seen on a body scan, visitors are offered the choice of a strip search or leaving the prison without visiting with an inmate. She said at the time that the new policy "aims to help visitors avoid that altogether."

"Offenders in Virginia have died of drug overdoses while inside our prisons. It's our job to keep the offenders and staff as safe as we can," Kinney said.

Close-up of male feet in chains
Source: istock.com

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Texas mum pleads guilty over deaths of two toddlers left for hours in hot car

A 20-year-old Texas mother whose two toddlers died after they were left for hours inside a hot vehicle has pleaded guilty.

The Kerrville Daily Times reports Amanda Kristene Hawkins pleaded guilty yesterday in Kerrville to two counts each of child abandonment child endangerment and injury to a child in the June 2017 deaths of her two daughters.

Hawkins could receive up to 20 years in prison for each count when she's sentenced December 12.

Investigators believe Hawkins intentionally left one-year-old Brynn Hawkins and two-year-old Addyson Overgard-Eddy in her vehicle through the night and into the following day while she visited friends.

Temperatures reached the late 20s while the girls were in the car.

Kerrville is 105 kilometres northwest of San Antonio.

Amanda Kristene Hawkins. Source: Kerr County Sheriff's Office

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Cast for TV adaptation of Kiwi writer's Booker Prize winning The Luminaries named

The lead cast members in the BBC drama adaption of Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries have been revealed, with NZ actor Marton Csokas taking a main role. 

Csokas will join play Francis Carver in the television version of the book, BBC Two has confirmed.

He will join Eva Green, who will take on the role of Lydia Wells, and Eve Hewson, who will play Anna Wetherell.

The six-part adaptation of the story - a Victorian mystery tale set during the New Zealand gold rush - was originally announced in 2016.

Catton adapted her own novel for the screenplay and the series will be directed by Australian film-maker Claire McCarthy.

The New Zealand author became the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize - aged 28 - when The Luminaries won in 2013.

The 832-page book was also the longest work to win in the prize's history. 

rnz.co.nz

The Luminaries.


Boy, 13, found naked, chained in US home, forced to sleep in dog crate - officials

A 13-year-old boy was forced to sleep in a dog crate at night and was found naked and chained at the ankles in a home in the US state of Alabama, officials say.

Three people have appeared in court on charges of aggravated child abuse, Fox News reports, citing the Montgomery Advertiser.

Danielle Martin, 32, and Joshua Martin, 26 - the boy’s mother and stepfather - and  Vickie Higginbotham, 58, the boy’s grandmother, were taken into custody after police received an anonymous call last Friday NZT about the child being chained inside the home in the city of Prattville.

An investigation showed the boy had been bound by chains and padlocks for at least 18 hours before police went to the house, the newspaper reported.

Officials said the child had been chained before and was even forced to sleep in a dog crate at night.

The Martins blamed Higginbotham for the alleged abuse and claimed they didn’t know what was happening to the child. 

Joshua Martin placed blame on his long work hours.

"How can you do these things, allow these things to take place, when you are in a lucid, conscious state?" Autauga County District Judge Joy Booth was quoted as saying during the court appearance today.

The trio are being held on $US30,000 bond.

The 13-year-old boy was taken to the hospital and treated for malnutrition. 

Two other children, aged five and 12, were taken from the home and placed in custody with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

Danielle Nicole Martin, 32, Joshua Daniel Martin, 26, and Vickie Seale Higginbotham, 58, were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse. Source: Autauga County Sheriff's Office