Fears of violence in Tonga after King Tupou VI dismisses PM Akilisi Pohiva and dissolves Parliament

For the first time in Tongan history a monarch has dismissed a Prime Minister and dissolved Parliament sparking fears of violence.

The now former Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and his government now face new elections which must be held by November 16.

Pasifika Director at Massey University Dr Malakai Koloamatangi says given that the kingdom has been moving towards a more democratic government this is highly unusual.

He says in the past ministers have been dismissed but it's the first time it's happened on such a large scale and King Tupou VI must have good reason for doing so.

"Constitutionally he has the power to do it but usually under the advice of the Prime Minister."

Tongan King George Tupou VI.
Tongan King George Tupou VI. Source: 1 NEWS

Dr Koloamatangi says there is a very real fear of violence given that Akilisi Pohiva has a lot of support amongst the people.

A lack of democracy was one of the main causes of riots in 2006 which resulted in the capital Nuku'alofa being torched.

Mr Pohiva, a former democracy activist, has been Prime Minister since 2014.

Of the 26 member parliament, 17 seats are democratically elected and the other nine are elected by Tonga's nobles.

1 NEWS' Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver analyses King Tupou VI's sacking of Akilisi Pohiva. Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Drunk driving UK pensioner leaves trail of destruction in her wake down suburban streets

A drunken UK pensioner has narrowly avoided jail, after she left a trail of destruction in her wake while driving nearly two times over the legal limit down suburban UK streets.

Footage of 71-year-old, Carol Rose's drunken rampage was captured on her car's dash cam in Liverpool.

The video was used in court, leading to her receiving an eight month prison sentence that has been suspended for two years, by the Liverpool Crown Court yesterday.

The disturbing dash cam footage shows Merseyside resident, Rose, driving from her home on a sunny April 26 afternoon.

She then goes on to hit multiple car's side mirrors and slam into a parked Jeep Cherokee, writing it off in the process.

Perhaps most alarmingly Rose is shown driving past a Liverpool school on her erratic journey.

She is finally halted when she ploughs straight into the back of a parked van not far from her house.

Concerned witnesses pulled the 71-year-old from her vehicle then quickly alerted police after smelling alcohol, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Rose claimed that she only had "two glasses of wine", but after undergoing testing by police it was found she had 156mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, a figure that is almost twice the UK's legal limit.

Ms Rose received her suspended sentence due to having a clean record since she began driving in 1967.

She has been banned from driving for three years and is required to attend a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity as part of her sentence.

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'Inhumane and unethical' - Kiwi cheerleading coach slams video showing US teen forced to do splits screaming in pain

A Kiwi cheerleading coach has slammed a series of distressing videos which show young cheerleaders being forced into the splits by their coaches and teammates at a US high school.

The videos show eight cheerleaders at Denver's East High School repeatedly being pushed into splits while their arms are held up by teammates, KUSA-TV reported today.

In New Zealand, the founder of Napier's Bay City Cheerleaders, Christine Crowe, called the practices shown in the video "inhumane and unethical".

She stressed that no coach who has had proper training would condone such actions, saying her coaches use vocal encouragement to help the team stretch, but never physical force.

"You don't sit there on top of another person, the athletes wellbeing is always at the forefront of our teaching," Ms Crowe told 1 NEWS NOW.

Cheerleading coaches and school administrators at Denver's East High School were placed on leave and police have opened an investigation following the release of the videos showing high school cheerleaders screaming in pain while being pushed into splits during practice.

In one video, a girl repeatedly asks her coach to "please stop." KUSA-TV says the videos were shot on the phones of two team members and were sent anonymously to the station.

Denver Public Schools superintendent Tom Boasberg called the videos "extremely distressing".

"We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students' physical and mental health in jeopardy," Boasberg said in a written statement.

"We do not and will not allow any situation in which a student is forced to perform an activity or exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop."

The East High School principal, an assistant principal, the cheer coach, an assistant cheer coach and a district lawyer were placed on leave during the investigation, Boasberg said.

The Denver Police Department said child-abuse detectives were investigating.

Jim Lord, director of the Cheerleading Coaches and Administration Association, told the station the videos show practices that are outdated and damaging.

Lord said forcing athletes into painful stretching used to happen decades ago. But he said coaches are now required to learn safe stretching practices.