Fallout from Trump's sacking of FBI Director continues: Rebecca Wright has the latest

Our US Correspondent talks about what’s been happening in Washington after James Comey’s dismissal. Source: Breakfast



Woman who accuses Harvey Weinstein of rape releases video of him propositioning her hours before alleged incident

A woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape has released a video showing the disgraced film producer propositioning her in the hours before the alleged incident.

Melissa Thompson, who sued Weinstein in June, said she made the recording, shown by Sky News, while demonstrating video technology for the movie mogul-turned-#MeToo villain at his New York City office in 2011.

Weinstein is seen on the video rejecting a handshake from Ms Thompson and then hugging her instead and rubbing her back.

He then caresses her shoulder as they sit side-by-side in front of her laptop computer during what was supposed to be a business presentation.

After quickly agreeing to use the technology to promote his movies, Ms Thompson said Weinstein put his hand up her dress.

The video, which only captures the two from the waist up, doesn't show Weinstein's hands at that point, but does show Ms Thompson reacting with discomfort and telling Weinstein, "That's too high. That's too high."

Melissa Thompson says the Hollywood mogul put his hand up her dress during a computer presentation Source: Associated Press

In an interview with Sky News, Ms Thompson said Weinstein's behaviour was distracting and she struggled to stay "on script" with the product pitch. She said his affect changed from the start of the meeting, that his eyes had darkened and he "looked like a predator".

Ms Thompson said she later met Weinstein at a nearby hotel bar, where she said she expected to close the technology deal. She said Weinstein led her to a hotel room and raped her.

Along the way, she said, he rebuffed her attempts to fight or get away.

A statement released today by Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said: "Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video. The video, when viewed in its entirety, in context and not select excerpts, demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual if not awkward flirting from both parties."

"Anything short of that is intended to make Mr Weinstein appear inappropriate, and even exploitative. It was producer by Ms Thompson to bolster her position in a civil lawsuit seeking money," the statement added.

The director handed himself into police last week, and could face 25 years in prison if convicted. Source: Breakfast

Sky News aired only portions of the video.

Weinstein has been charged in New York with assaulting three women. Ms Thompson is not among them.

Weinstein is free on bail pending trial.


Topics


Investigation underway after woman dies days after being sent home from Brisbane hospital after giving birth

The Brisbane Mater Mothers' Public Hospital is investigating the death of a woman who died just days after being sent home after giving birth.

It's understood she was discharged from hospital last month and had suffered a suspected blood clot after having a caesarean delivery.

Mater Health Chief Executive Officer Sean Hubbard confirmed today the woman's death was being investigated but gave no further details.

"As would be the case with any unexpected clinical outcome, Mater will conduct a thorough and detailed review into the care and treatment provided while she was at Mater," he said in a statement.

"The case has also been referred to the coroner."

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles did not comment directly on the woman's case but did say Queensland public maternity services are among the safest in the world.

"The Palaszczuk government has focused on increasing resources and staff, making sure that Queensland mums and bubs, and their families have the very best pre and post-natal care," Mr Miles said in a statement.

Despite this, any maternal death was a tragedy, he said.

Unrecognizable nurse with medical report, selective focus
Nurse (file picture). Source: istock.com

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Experts prepare plan to capture ill orca as last alternative

Federal biologists said today they are preparing a plan to capture and treat a sick, critically endangered orca if there is no other way to save her in the wild.

Officials said they will intervene and rescue the orca only if she becomes stranded or separated from the rest of her tightly knit group of whales.

They want the 4-year-old orca known as J50 to survive in the wild and contribute to the recovery of southern resident killer whales, without putting the rest of the orcas in her pod at risk.

"We don't intend to intervene while she's with her family. If we are presented with a situation where a rescue is the only viable alternative, we will rescue her," Chris Yates, assistant regional administrator for NOAA's protected resources division, told reporters during a call.

Veterinarians believe they have exhausted treatment options in the field that included twice injecting the free-swimming whale with antibiotics in Pacific Northwest waters. Despite the treatment, J50 is thinner than ever due to undetermined health issues.

"This is a very sick whale," said Joe Gaydos, a wildlife veterinarian and science director of SeaDoc Society. "We don't think she has long."

Another whale in the same pod, known as J35, triggered international sympathy this summer when she kept the body of her dead calf afloat in waters for more than two weeks.

The two whales are among just 75 of the fish-eating orcas that spend time in Pacific Northwest waters.

The southern resident killer whales don't have enough chinook salmon, the staple of their diet. They also face threats from toxic contamination as well as vessel noise and disturbances that disrupt their ability to communicate and forage.

There hasn't been a successful birth in the population since 2015. Losing J50 would also mean losing her reproductive potential.

NOAA Fisheries said the next steps could include doing a hands-on physical exam, which could lead to quick medical treatment and release. Another option at that point would be holding her in a marine net pen in Puget Sound for a short time for rehabilitation and medical care before returning her to the wild to reunite with her family.

J50 has lagged behind her group in the ocean, at times trailing for miles, raising questions about what criteria would be used to determine if she has separated enough for scientists to attempt capture.

Yates said J50 would have to show more extreme behavior than what she has exhibited so far, and scientists will act if they don't believe she'll reconnect with her pod.

An international team of Canadian and U.S. whale experts has mounted an intensive effort to help the orca since concerns were raised in mid-July.

They have taken breath and fecal samples but still don't know for certain what's wrong with J50.

Response teams have tried to give her medication to help with parasitic worms, which they believe she has based on fecal samples taken from her mother.

Teams have also dropped l live salmon from a boat as J50 and her pod swam behind — a test to see whether fish could be used as a means of delivering medication.

Drone images taken Monday showed J50 much thinner than she was last year. Her mother, J16, has also declined in the past month, perhaps because of the burden of helping catch and share food with J50, experts said.

"We don't want to take her from her mom where we have a J35 situation," Gaydos said. "These are very hard questions to answer and I think that right now the good thing is we're talking about all the options."

NOAA Fisheries announced two meetings in Washington state this weekend — in Friday Harbor and Seattle — to get public input.

What to do to help J50 has generated intense emotional reactions on social media and other forums. Some have pleaded with federal officials to do everything they can to save her, including feeding her or capturing her. Others worry that more intervention would stress her and her family members. They think that nature should be allowed to run its course.

"We would love J50 to survive," said Susan Berta, co-founder of the Orca Network, an advocacy group. "At what point are we doing more harm than good?"

Orca (file image)
Orca (file image) Source: 1 NEWS


Recall after needles found in strawberries purchased in three Australian states

Consumers are being urged to throw out strawberries purchased over the past week in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria after needles were found inside the fruit.

Health officials and police on Wednesday said sewing needles were hidden in at least three punnets of strawberries supplied to Woolworths from a southeast Queensland farm.

Those strawberries were bought in Queensland and Victoria, but it is unclear if the brands involved, Berry Obsession and Berry Liscious, are supplied to other retailers.

"I'm out here today to advise people if they've brought any strawberries in Queensland, NSW or Victoria since early last week, that they should dispose of them," Queensland Health's chief health officer Jeanette Young said.

"If someone were to swallow a sewing needle it could get caught up in their gut."

Police launched an investigation on Sunday after a Queensland man reported swallowing a contaminated berry.

"I found a needle, bit into it by accident and it snapped in half - or what felt like it snapped in half - and my knee jerk reaction was to swallow," the man told 7 News.

"I found the other half of the needle in the strawberry. I was in complete shock."

Two people in Victoria have since come forward after similar experiences.

Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence would not say at what point in the supply chain police believe the needles were planted.

He declined to name the farm involved but said investigators had been in contact with its operator and Woolworths representatives.
"It's been some time for us to look at this sort of investigation, quite some time," he said.

Woolworths removed strawberries from its shelves on Wednesday and consumers can be confident in purchasing them from today onwards, Dr Young added.