Captain Cook's Endeavour may have been found in US

US and Australian archaeologists hunting for Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour may have finally discovered its location on the east coast of America.

The search in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island, has pinpointed one or two potential archaeological sites.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and the Australian National Maritime Museum teamed up to search for the HMS Endeavour and will announce their results at an event in Rhode Island on Friday.

die HMS Endeavour des Captain Cook beim Maritime Museum in der Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour und der Sydney Tower und Skyline im Hintergrund
A replica of the Endeavour in Sydney, Australia. Source: istock.com

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Donald Trump defends Saudi arms sales amid fury over missing journalist

President Donald Trump has defended continuing huge sales of US weapons to Saudi Arabia despite rising pressure from lawmakers to punish the kingdom over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist who lived in the United States and is now feared dead.

As senators pushed for sanctions under a human rights law and also questioned American support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, Mr Trump appeared reluctant to rock the boat in a relationship that has been key to his strategy in the Middle East and which he described as "excellent." He said withholding sales would hurt the US economy.

"I don't like stopping massive amounts of money that's been pouring into our country. They are spending 110 billion on military equipment," Mr Trump said, referring to proposed sales announced in May 2017 when he went to Saudi Arabia in the first overseas trip of his presidency. He warned that the Saudis could instead buy from Russia or China.

Mr Trump maintained that the US is being "very tough" as it looks into the case of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi leadership and a contributor to The Washington Post who has been missing since October 2. He had entered a Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul to get marriage paperwork as his fiancee waited outside and hasn't been seen since.

Turkish officials say they fear Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered Mr Khashoggi but have offered no evidence beyond video footage of the journalist entering the consulate and the arrival in the country of what they describe as a 15-member Saudi team that allegedly targeted him. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegation as "baseless".

In Istanbul, Turkish media said that Saudi royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert had been part of the team flown in and targeting Mr Khashoggi. Those reported details, along with comments from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared aimed at gradually pressuring Saudi Arabia to reveal what happened while also balancing a need to maintain Saudi investments in Turkey and relations on other issues.

Mr Trump, questioned by reporters at the White House, said, "If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling this situation" besides cancelling arms sales. He did not elaborate.

He said earlier on Fox & Friend" that "we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey" and with Saudi Arabia on the case, but he provided no evidence or elaboration.

Meanwhile, there was a clear and growing disconnect between many in Congress, who want tougher action, and the president.

Even before Mr Khashoggi's disappearance, lawmakers had soured on a Saudi government they view as having a high-handed attitude. Some have been incredulous at its denials of wrongdoing and contention it has no recorded video footage from the consulate showing Mr Khashoggi, who had been living in self-exile in Virginia for the past year.

"There's a sense of entitlement, I hate to use the word, arrogance, that comes with dealing with them," said Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Part of that may be that they have an incredibly close relationship with the administration."

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy voiced doubt there would be support in Congress to approve another arms sale to Saudi Arabia - although lawmakers haven't blocked sales before. He also called for at least a temporary halt in US military support for the Saudi bombing campaign against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.

If Saudi Arabia is not telling the truth about Mr Khashoggi, he told reporters, "why would we believe them that they are not intentionally hitting civilians inside Yemen?" Murphy was among seven senators who wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday raising concerns over last month's certification that a Saudi-led coalition was taking actions to protect civilians despite what the lawmakers described as a dramatic increase in deaths.

The Trump administration, however, is heavily invested in the long-standing, US relationship with Riyadh. It relies on Saudi support for its Middle East effort to counter Iranian influence and fight extremism. Mr Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has cultivated close ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and was instrumental in last year's $US110 billion arms package.

Turkish officials have released footage of a squad of Saudi men arriving in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi vanished. Source: BBC

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One charge dismissed against Harvey Weinstein amid concerns detective coached witness to remain silent

Prosecutors in New York City abandoned part of their sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein today after evidence surfaced that a lead police detective coached a witness to keep quiet when she raised doubts about the veracity of one of the allegations.

Weinstein, 66, looked on as a judge agreed to dismiss the lone charge related to Lucia Evans, who helped spark the #MeToo movement a year ago when she told The New Yorker that the Hollywood mogul had forced her to perform oral sex in 2004 when she was a college student and fledgling actress.

Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, unsuccessfully urged Judge James Burke to deep-six the whole case, telling him: "The integrity of these proceedings has been compromised."

The bulk of the prosecution case remains intact, with Weinstein still facing five charges over allegations that he raped an unidentified woman in his Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. A conviction on the most serious charges could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

Weinstein denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The turn of events, which had been simmering for weeks in closed-door meetings and sealed court documents, enraged Evans' lawyer, who took to the courthouse steps to blast Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. for walking away from her client. Evans told the truth and never misled investigators, lawyer Carrie Goldberg said.

"Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client's sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein's guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucia's consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein," Goldberg said outside the courthouse.

"It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA's office and its mishandling of my client's case."

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon insisted in court that the rest of the case is strong and said the district attorney's office was looking into the possibility of bringing additional charges.

"In short, your honor, we are moving full steam ahead," she said.

Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, who was one of two investigators who escorted Weinstein out of a police station and into court after his May arrest, is now embroiled in an internal police department investigation and has been thrown off the case. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said today that the department takes seriously the allegations against him.

Prosecutors said in a letter unsealed after today's hearing that they learned weeks ago that a woman who was with Evans the night she first met Weinstein at a restaurant had given DiGaudio a contradictory account of what happened, but that the detective had urged her to keep quiet, telling her "less is more."

The woman, prosecutors said, told the detective in February that Weinstein had offered them money to flash their breasts during the restaurant encounter.

They initially declined, but the woman said that Evans later told her she had gone ahead and exposed herself to the film producer in a hallway. Goldberg disputed that.

The woman also told the detective that sometime after an office meeting where Evans alleged Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex, she suggested what happened was consensual, according to the letter. Weinstein had promised to get her an acting job if she agreed to perform oral sex, and she agreed, it said.

According to the witness, who was not named in the letter, Evans had been drinking and "appeared to be upset, embarrassed and shaking" when she recounted the story.

Prosecutors also disclosed that they had discovered a draft email that Evans had written three years ago to a man who is now her husband that "describes details of the sexual assault that differ from the account" she provided to investigators.

A message left on a phone DiGaudio used in the past wasn't returned. The union for New York City police detectives didn't return a message.

Brafman said he believed Evans had lied both to the grand jury and to The New Yorker about her encounter with Weinstein and suggested she be prosecuted for perjury.

"This is an attack on the fundamental integrity of the grand jury process," Brafman said. "If you have a person willing to commit perjury in the grand jury, that is as serious as the crime of sexual assault because it undermines the fairness of the process for all of us."

The developments in Weinstein's case today capped a tough six-day stretch for the #MeToo movement, bookended by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation amid decades-old allegations that he had committed sexual misconduct. But victim advocates didn't see it as a setback.

"This is so much larger than any singular case," Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center said. "Weinstein may have been the snowball that started the avalanche, but the ability of any one perpetrator being held accountable or getting away with it doesn't alter the national outrage."

The New Yorker, in a statement, said it stands by its reporting and fact-checking process and that "any assertion by lawyers for Harvey Weinstein that The New Yorker had information that contradicted Lucia Evans's account is patently incorrect."

Vance has already been fiercely criticised for declining to prosecute Weinstein when an Italian model accused him of grabbing her breasts in 2015. At the time, Vance cited a lack of supporting evidence, despite the existence of a clandestinely made recording of Weinstein discussing the episode with the woman.

In the months after The New York Times and The New Yorker began publishing stories about Weinstein's interactions with women, activists pressured Vance to bring charges as dozens of people came forward with claims of sexual misconduct against him.

DiGaudio and other police officials poured on the pressure, saying publicly that they believed they had gathered ample evidence to make an arrest.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly, as Evans has done.
Weinstein is free on $1.5 million bail and is due back in court December 20.

FILE - In this July 9, 2018 file photo, Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs to a courtroom in New York. The #MeToo movement has sent dozens of once-powerful men in Hollywood into exile, but it has yet to put many of them in handcuffs or courtrooms. Weinstein has been charged with sexual assault in New York and Bill Cosby has been sent to prison in Pennsylvania in the year since stories on Weinstein in The New York Times and The New Yorker set off waves of revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. But those two central figures have been exceptions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs to a courtroom in New York. Source: Associated Press

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Pacific Update with Barbara Dreaver: Tongan league fans celebrate team’s Auckland arrival, and PNG imports 40 Maserati sports cars for APEC

In this week’s edition of Pacific Update, 1 NEWS’ Barbara Dreaver looks at the warm welcome Mate Ma’a Tonga received in Auckland, and arrival of 40 Maserati sports cars in PNG for the upcoming APEC meeting.

Dreaver also looks at a dramatic new report into climate change, and what it could mean for the region. 

1 NEWS’ Pacific correspondent brings us the latest from around the region. Source: 1 NEWS


'A scary thing to watch' - Texas shooting range bans men over selfie attempt with gun pointed at head

A Texas gun range says it has banned two men for life after one of them was caught on surveillance video pointing a pistol at his friend's head while snapping a selfie. 

It happened on October 5 at Top Gun Range in Houston. 

The surveillance video shows a range safety officer intervening and escorting the men out. 

Kyle Harrison, Top Gun Range Manager said, "It's a scary it's a scary thing to watch." 

While it turns out the gun wasn't loaded, Mr Harrison says it was a clear violation of safety policies and the safety officer who intervened during the incident reacted perfectly and was quick to be sure the weapon was cleared and that the gentleman was disarmed. 

"After they had the incident we took him in the lobby. We recapped with them what rules they broke at our range and then went got their stuff for them and then we banned them for life," Mr Harrison said.

'It's a scary thing to watch," says the Houston gun range manager after surveillance video caught the incident. Source: Associated Press