Freckle the eagle ray gives birth through rare reproductive process despite nine years alone

A female stingray has given birth to a baby at a Sydney aquarium - despite not having contact with a male in nine years.

Freckle, an 11-year-old eagle ray who lives at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, went through parthenogenesis, a "very rare reproductive strategy where an embro develops without fertilisation," Macquarie University's Adam Stow explained to Nine News.

"It is a rare occurrence among vertebrates such as eagle rays, so this is a very special arrival."

Senior aquarist Libby Eyre said the team noticed something was going on several months ago, but "initially dismissed pregnancy" due to the lack of male eagle rays.

In late July, Freckle's baby Ani - short for Anakin Skywalker, otherwise known as Darth Vader - was born.

The now four-week-old ray was named after the movie villain due to their lack of fathers.

"There were screams of excitement from the staff - everyone was amazed at the process of having produced a little ray with no males in the tank," Ms Eyre said.




Marine experts are stunned by what happened to Freckle at Sealife Sydney Aquarium. Source: 1 NEWS



Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts to threats to force him from power

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has reacted to alleged threats by his opponents to force him from power.

Speaking to state television today, Duterte said: "If the armed forces think that I am not competent, that I am not qualified to be sitting here as president ... it's up to you," Duterte said. "You want another president? Fine."

Opposition politicians said Duterte's TV appearance, which lasted more than an hour, should have focused on growing public concern over inflation, which hit a nine-year high last month, rice shortages and poverty.

A powerful typhoon churning over the Pacific is also forecast to lash the country's agricultural north later this week.

Duterte attempted to explain the legal offensive he has launched against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

He linked Trillanes' political group to an alleged plot to oust him, and said he has ordered the release of intelligence provided by a foreign government about the alleged plan.

Duterte's decision to withdraw a 2011 amnesty granted to Trillanes, a former navy officer who joined past mutinies, has forced the senator to seek refuge in the Senate, where he has been marooned for a week and gained wide media coverage.

Concerns have been raised that Duterte's moves may undermine judicial independence and that the political impasse may ignite restiveness among troops in a country with a recent history of military uprisings.

Military chief of staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. warned troops over the weekend "not to meddle or take part in partisan politics".

Opposition politicians said Duterte's TV appearance should have focused on growing public concern over inflation. Source: Associated Press


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Kiwi should get longer, 12-year jail term for killing Aussie teen, court told

The New Zealand man who killed promising teenage sportsman Cole Miller in Brisbane should have his jail term increased to 12 years, a court has heard.

Lawyers for Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath today argued in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane that the seven-year sentence given to Armstrong Renata for the single-punch death in 2016 was inadequate.

Mr Miller was struck from behind by Renata while on a night out in the Fortitude Valley nightclub district.

The 18-year-old suffered a massive brain trauma and his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support two days later.

"What we have here is bordering on the worst example of that type of offence ... here the starting point needs to be something that resembles ... that maximum penalty," barrister Carl Heaton QC said.

Under his current sentence Renata, 23, who pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawful striking causing death, will be able to apply for parole in less than four years.

The father of Cole Miller bravely fronted media after turning off his son's life support. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Heaton argued in court that Justice Helen Bowskill had erred by using manslaughter cases as a guide in setting Renata's sentence.

He said the offence of unlawful striking causing death was more serious, and deserved a harsher punishment.

A 12-year sentence would require Renata to serve 80 per cent of this time behind bars before he can apply for parole.

Defence lawyer John Allen QC said it would be "unusual" to approach the sentence by working down from the maximum penalty, and that this was not justified in Renata's case.

The court has reserved its judgement.

New Zealander Armstrong Renata, 23, punched and killed 18-year-old Cole Miller in a Brisbane nightclub in January 2016. Source: 1 NEWS

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Pauline Hanson says girl, nine, who refused to stand for Australian national anthem at school deserves 'kick up the backside'

Pauline Hanson says a Queensland "brat" who refused to stand for the Australian national anthem should be kicked out of school.

Kenmore South State School grade four student Harper Nielsen, aged nine, was given detention and threatened with suspension for not standing when Advance Australia Fair was played in assembly.

She said she believes the lyrics "we are young" marginalises Indigenous people.

"The reason why I don't sing it or stand is because Advance Australia Fair means advance White Australia," she told The Courier-Mail.

"When it says we are young it completely ignores the fact that indigenous culture was here for over 50,000 years before colonisation."
Harper has the support of her "proud" dad Mark.

"She's shown incredible bravery in wanting to stick to what she believes in and to make a stance for what she believes is right", he told ABC radio today.

But the stance has angered Senator Hanson, who posted a video on Facebook calling for Harper to be kicked out of school.

"Here we have a kid whose been brainwashed and I tell you what, I'd give her a kick up the backside," the One Nation leader said.

"This kid is headed down the wrong path and I blame the parents for it, for encouraging this.

"No. Take her out of the school."

Senator Hanson said there was support for the anthem amongst the indigenous community as sporting stars regularly stood for the anthem.

"I'm angry about this. I'm proud of the Australian flag and the national anthem as everyone should be and so was Cathy Freeman," she said.

"We were all proud of her, her cultural background, the Aboriginality, and the whole fact that she carried the two flags.

"She stood at the podium with the national anthem being played. Have they told this kid that?

"If it's good enough for Cathy Freeman, Johnathon Thurston, and Warren Mundine to stand for the National anthem, it should be good enough for this nine-year- old brat."

Shadow education minister Jarrod Bleijie echoed Senator Hanson's words, saying on Twitter she deserved suspension if she continued her protest.

"Stop the silly protest and stand and sing proudly your National Anthem. Refusing to stand disrespects our country and our veterans. Suspension should follow if she continues to act like a brat," he tweeted.


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US woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart, kept her captive for nine months, to be released

A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart as a teenager from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002 and hold her captive will be released from prison next week.

The surprise move a comes after authorities determined they had miscalculated the time 72-year-old Wanda Barzee previously served in federal custody.

Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months before Smart was found and rescued.

Utah Board of Pardons and Parole spokesman Greg Johnson said Barzee will be freed on Sept. 19. She will be under federal supervision for five years.

Smart, now 30, didn't immediately have comment.

The board said previously that Barzee would be released in January 2024 after it denied her an early parole following a hearing that she chose not to attend.

Wanda Barzee helped kidnap Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002. Source: Associated Press