Roseanne Barr insists she isn't a racist, 'gains insight' by listening to Kanye West

Roseanne Barr has insisted she isn't racist.

The 65-year-old actress - who recently came under fire for making a racist remark on social media about former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett - has taken time to "reflect" and "gain insight" by listening to the music of Kanye West and watching a documentary on racial equality activist Malcolm X and doesn't feel the allegations against her are fair.

She wrote on Twitter: "1) I want u all2 know I'm fine. I've been using this time2 reflect &2 gain insight on what I said & how it was misunderstood...

"Needless2 say I'm NOT what people have accused me of! I've never practiced "RACISM" in my entire life & never will. Meantime...

"2) I've been watching this new doc called "Malcolm X: An overwhelming Influence on th Black Power Movement." Directed by my dear friend Thomas Muhammad (my campaign manager in 2012)who called me immediately when my show was canceled.

"If you have any questions for me, direct them to Mr. Muhammad please. Be sure to watch his brilliant movie!

"Thomas Muhammad has agreed to speak for me, as he knows the work I have done in civil rights against racism ALL MY LIFE & understands my tweet was about Iran's regime, not race.

"MUCH LOVE 2 U all-thanks for helping and praying for me! It worked! Listen to @kanyewest new album about mental illness, it's the greatest thing ever (sic)"

The star - whose show Roseanne was axed in the wake of her comments - also claimed she has found "relief" by going back to nature and promised to speak out in detail "soon".

Roseanne's original tweet saw her liken Valerie, a former aide of Barack Obama, to an ape and accused her of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood political party, and she insisted there was a reason behind her remarks.

She posted: "Rod Serling wrote Planet of The Apes. It was about anti-semitism. That is what my tweet referred to-the anti semitism of the Iran deal. Low IQ ppl can think whatever they want.(sic)"

And Roseanne - who blamed her original outburst on sleep medication Ambien - claimed her health had been affected by the "stress" of the scandal.

She wrote: "I have developed a bit of palsy in my head and hands due to the stress I have lived thru-I sleep alot now-without ambien too, thank G0D!! goodnight-we are winning! don't give up! PEACE is coming."

Her show was cancelled by ABC following her comments directed at a former advisor to Barack Obama. Source: Breakfast

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US meets Saudi king over disappearance of journalist

America's top diplomat met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday (local time) over the disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

It’s believed Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside his country’s embassy in Turkey, causing a diplomatic crisis.
Source: 1 NEWS

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiled and shook hands with both men, who warmly greeted him just hours after a Turkish forensics team finished a search inside the Saudi Consulate, looking for evidence of the Washington Post columnist's alleged killing and dismemberment.

A high-level Turkish official told The Associated Press that police found evidence there of Khashoggi's slaying, without elaborating. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the investigation was ongoing.

Police plan a second search at the Saudi consul's home nearby, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said. Leaked surveillance footage show diplomatic cars traveled to the consul's home shortly after Khashoggi's disappearance at the consulate on Oct. 2.

Saudi officials have called Turkish allegations that the kingdom killed Khashoggi "baseless," but reports in U.S. media on Tuesday suggested the Saudis may acknowledge the writer was killed at the consulate, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir greeted Pompeo when he landed in Riyadh. The former CIA chief didn't make any remarks to the media.

Soon after, Pompeo arrived at a royal palace, where he thanked King Salman "for accepting my visit on behalf of President (Donald) Trump" before the two went into a closed-door meeting.

Pompeo then met a smiling Prince Mohammed, the 33-year-old heir apparent to the throne of the world's largest oil exporter. Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia and took up a self-imposed exile in the United States after the prince's rise, and had written columns critical of his policies.

"We are strong and old allies," the prince told Pompeo. "We face our challenges together — the past, the day of, tomorrow."

Trump, who dispatched Pompeo to speak to the monarch over Khashoggi's disappearance, said after talking with King Salman that the slaying could have been carried out by "rogue killers." Trump provided no evidence, but that statement appeared to offer the U.S.-allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it," Trump told reporters Monday. "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial."

Left unsaid was the fact that any decision in the ultraconservative kingdom rests solely with the ruling Al Saud family.

"The effort behind the scenes is focused on avoiding a diplomatic crisis between the two countries and has succeeded in finding a pathway to deescalate tensions," said Ayham Kamel, the head of the Eurasia Group's Mideast and North Africa division.

"Riyadh will have to provide some explanation of the journalist's disappearance, but in a manner that distances the leadership from any claim that a decision was made at senior levels to assassinate the prominent journalist."

CNN reported that the Saudis were going to acknowledge the killing happened but deny the king or crown prince had ordered it — which does not match what analysts and experts know about the kingdom's inner workings.

The New York Times reported that the Saudi royal court would suggest that an official within the kingdom's intelligence services — a friend of Prince Mohammed — had carried out the killing. According to that reported claim, the crown prince had approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but the intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself. Both reports cited anonymous people said to be familiar with the Saudi plans.

Saudi officials have not answered repeated requests for comment over recent days from the AP.

Saudi officials have been in and out of the building since Khashoggi's disappearance without being stopped. Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic posts are technically foreign soil that must be protected and respected by host countries.

Turkey has wanted to search the consulate for days. Permission apparently came after a late Sunday night call between King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish inspection team included a prosecutor, a deputy prosecutor, anti-terror police and forensic experts, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

Erdogan told journalists on Tuesday that police sought traces of "toxic" materials and suggested parts of the consulate had been recently painted, without elaborating.

On Tuesday, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official acknowledged police want to search the Saudi consul's home as well. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, gave no timeline for the search.

Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a driving ban for women. Those policies are all seen as initiatives of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman, who is next in line to the throne.

Prince Mohammed has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. But Khashoggi's disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of an upcoming investment conference in Riyadh.

Trump previously warned of "severe punishment" for the kingdom if it was found to be involved in Khashoggi's disappearance, which has spooked investors.

Trump's warning drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. The U.S. president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran.


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US Lottery jackpot balloons to whopping NZ$996 million

The fourth-largest lottery prize in US history will be on the line as numbers are drawn for the Mega Millions game's $US654 million (NZ$996 million) jackpot.

The grand prize for tomorrow's (NZT) draw has grown so enormous because no one has won the jackpot since July 24.

Although the jackpot is massive, the odds of matching all six numbers and becoming instantly wealthy are remarkably small at one in 302.5 million.

The estimated $US654 million jackpot refers to the annuity option, paid out over 29 years. The cash option, which is favoured by nearly all winners, is $372 million (NZ$566).

Mega Millions is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mega Millions lottery tickets
Mega Millions lottery tickets Source: Associated Press

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex 'couldn't think of better place' than Australia to announce baby news

Britain's Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, mentioned his impending fatherhood for the first time today, at a reception at Admiralty House, the Australian Governor-General's official residence.

The news of the pregnancy was announced after Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan arrived in Sydney on Monday.

Thousands of people turned out in the city to see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today. Source: 1 NEWS

"Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome and the chance to meet so many Aussies from all walks of life," the Duke of Sussex said.

"And we also genuinely couldn’t think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby – be it boy or a girl, so thank you very, very much."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were welcomed to Sydney's Admiralty House for the first official engagement of their Australian tour. Source: Associated Press

The couple are on 16-day visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

News that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first baby came on October 15. Source: Associated Press


Stephen Hawking, in message from beyond the grave, warns science, education are under threat around the world

Stephen Hawking spoke from beyond the grave to warn the world that science and education are under threat around the world.

The words of the scientist, who died in March at 76, were broadcast at a London launch event for his final book "Brief Answers To The Big Questions."

Hawking warned that education and science are "in danger now more than ever before." He cited the election of US President Donald Trump and Britain's 2016 vote to leave the European Union as part of "a global revolt against experts and that includes scientists."

Acknowledging that science had yet to overcome major challenges for the world - including climate change, overpopulation, species extinction, deforestation and the degradation of the oceans - the physicist still urged young people "to look up at the stars and not down at your feet."

"Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist," he said. "It matters that you don't give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future."

Hawking lived for more than five decades with motor neuron disease that left him paralysed, communicating through a voice-generating computer. In June, his ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey, between the graves of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.

Hawking's daughter Lucy, who attended the book launch, said hearing her father's unmistakable voice had been "very emotional."

"I turned away, because I had tears forming in my eyes," she said. "I feel sometimes like he's still here because we talk about him and we hear his voice and we see images of him, and then we have the reminder that he's left us."

1 NEWS’ Joy Reid spoke with Professor Hawking’s daughter about her father’s final message. Source: 1 NEWS