Journalist reports own daughter's death in heart-breaking newscast
A broken-hearted journalist in the US has announced her own daughter's death on air while pleading with officials to better address the opioid crisis there.
"The opioid epidemic has hit home in a tragic and devastating way for me personally," newsreader Angela Kennecke told viewers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last week as she paused and winced before carrying on.
"My 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of an overdose," she said. "Her official cause of death was fentanyl poisoning.
"The loss of a child, especially in a sudden and shocking way, has turned my world upside down. I never intended a member of my family to become part of the statistics you hear on the evening news - nobody does."
Ms Kennecke, an investigative reporter who has been covering the opioid crisis for nearly a decade, took time off from work after her daughter's death in May. She discussed her daughter's death upon returning - both on local station KELO-TV and later to a nationwide audience in the US via CBS This Morning.
"There's no recovery for me or my family of the loss of my talented, smart and beautiful daughter," Ms Kennecke said. "The reason I'm doing this is because my only hope in the face of such devastating loss is that Emily's story, my family's personal tragedy, can become a catalyst for change.
"We must come up with better, more affordable ways to treat addiction. We also need to abolish the stigma that prevents many from seeking help, including my daughter."
Fentanyl, 50 times more potent than heroin, kills more than 70,000 Americans per year, making it the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, CBS This Morning pointed out.
And experts predict it's only a matter of time before it's popular in New Zealand, too, due to how easily small amounts can be shipped around the world undetected through the mail. It's already on the rise in Australia.
The drug was first spotted at our borders in 2015 but has not yet infiltrated New Zealand's drug culture to a large extent, experts told 1 NEWS last year.
House mistress who had sex with five students at high school handed 'extraordinarily lenient' sentence by Sydney judge
A former house mistress who unlawfully had sex with five male students at an elite NSW school has been spared further jail time after receiving an "extraordinarily lenient" suspended sentence.
"I am sure that at least the complainants' parents will think my sentence is manifestly inadequate," said Acting Judge Christopher Armitage yesterday in the District Court in Sydney.
But he noted the "extremely unusual circumstances" of the case, the small age difference between the woman and the students and the fact she spent 14 months in protection in jail before being granted bail.
The 25-year-old woman, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty in April to six counts of sexual intercourse with a person under her care and three of aggravated sexual intercourse during 2014 and 2015 with boys aged between 15 and 17 at The Armidale School.
Her guilty pleas were entered half-way through her second trial which followed the discharge of another jury after it could not reach verdicts.
The "extremely psychologically vulnerable" woman was 20 when she began inviting individual students into her room where they had sex and, in some cases, this occurred regularly.
She was an immature young woman, ill-fitted for the house mistress role, Judge Armitage said.
It was "difficult" to understand why a person of her age was chosen to "sleep overnight in a boarding house filled with adolescent boys".
"The potential for trouble of precisely the kind that occurred was, I think, obvious," he said.
He imposed a two-year suspended jail term and placed her on a two-year good behaviour bond, saying she had received "an extraordinarily lenient sentence for what you did".
Referring to the crown's concession that a suspended term was appropriate, the judge said he reached his decision after "anxious consideration" and some degree of reluctance.
He noted the great concern in the community about sexual offending against children, but said "this offender is not a vehicle for a stern sentence".
Texts between some of the boys revealed them showing her "extreme disrespect" while others she sent suggested "enjoyment" and, on occasions, "an enthusiastic pursuit" of them, the judge said.
He found she initially had sex with an 18-year-old student, which was said to be legal but breached her employment contract.
She then had sex with the first complainant, knowing he knew about the older student and believing that if she didn't comply "with his sexual desires" she would be referred to the authorities.
Earlier, her mother told the court the school "has not taken correct responsibility" for her daughter's actions and didn't provide appropriate levels of support and supervision to a junior unqualified staff member.
"My family's deepest and greatest regret is the trust we placed in The Armidale School," she said.
Native American tribes file lawsuit trying to block massive oil pipeline in US
Native American tribes in Montana and South Dakota sued the Trump administration today, claiming it approved an oil pipeline from Canada without considering potential damage to cultural sites from spills and construction.
Attorneys for the Rosebud Sioux tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Reservation asked US District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls, Montana, to rescind the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, issued last year by the US State Department.
The tribes argue President Donald Trump brushed aside their rights and put their members at risk when he reversed President Barack Obama's rejection of the NZ$12.3 billion TransCanada Corp project.
The line would carry up to 830,000 barrels (132 million litres) of crude daily along a 1900-kilometre path from Canada to Nebraska. The route passes through the ancestral homelands of the Rosebud Sioux in central South Dakota and the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes in Montana.
"The tribes are talking about cultural sites, archaeological sites, burial grounds, graveyards - none of that has been surveyed and it's in the way of the pipeline," said Natalie Landreth, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, which is representing the tribes.
The tribes said a spill from the line could damage a South Dakota water supply system that serves more than 51,000 people including on the Rosebud, Pine Ridge and Lower Brule Indian Reservations.
An existing TransCanada pipeline, also called Keystone, suffered a spill last year that released almost 10,000 barrels (1.5 million litres) of oil near Amherst, South Dakota.
State Department spokeswoman Julia Mason said the agency had no public response to the lawsuit. The department has jurisdiction over the pipeline because it would cross the US-Canadian border.
Calgary-based TransCanada does not comment on litigation and was not named as a party in the case.
In August, US District Judge Brian Morris ordered the State Department to conduct a more thorough review of Keystone XL's path through Nebraska. The move came in response to litigation from environmentalists and after state regulators changed the route.
In yet another lawsuit involving the line, the American Civil Liberties Union and its Montana affiliate sued the US government last week for the release of details related to preparations for anticipated protests against the line.
The groups cited confrontations between law enforcement and protesters, including many Native Americans, which turned violent during construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through South Dakota.
Hurricane Florence seen from space carrying winds of up to 209 km/h as it looms off US east coast
Florence exploded into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane today as it closed in on North and South Carolina, carrying winds up to 209 km/h and water that could wreak havoc over a wide stretch of the eastern United States later this week.
The South Carolina governor ordered the state's entire coastline to be evacuated starting at noon today and predicted that 1 million people would flee.
The storm's first effects were already being seen on barrier islands as dangerous rip currents hit beaches and seawater flowed over a state highway. Communities along a stretch of coastline that is vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change prepared to evacuate.
For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other dangerous conditions.
The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous eastern hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to linger over the Carolinas once it reaches shore.
People living well inland should prepare to lose power and endure flooding and other hazards, he warned.
"It's not just the coast," Graham said. "When you stall a system like this and it moves real slow, some of that rainfall can extend well away from the centre."
A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 30 degrees celsius, hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats.
Today, Florence was centred about 1,985 kilometres east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and moving west at 20 km/h. Its centre will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas tomorrow and Thursday and approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Friday, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic. Hurricane Isaac was expected to lose strength as it reaches the Caribbean, and Helene, much farther out to sea, may veer northward into the open ocean as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.
In the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia triggered warnings for multiple Hawaiian islands as it blew west toward an arrival over the state as soon as late tomorrow or early Thursday.
Preparations for Florence were intensifying up and down the densely populated coast. Since reliable record-keeping began more than 150 years ago, North Carolina has been hit by only one Category 4 hurricane: Hazel, with 209 km/h winds, in 1954.
The parking lot has been full for three days at the Ace Hardware store in coastal Calabash, North Carolina, where manager Tom Roberts said he sold 150 gas cans in two hours today, along with generators, plywood, rope, manual can openers, sand bags and a plethora of other items.
"I've been doing this since 1983," Roberts said as he completed an order for another 18-wheeler full of supplies. "This is the craziest one."
Many newcomers have moved to the coast in the nearly 19 years since the last strong hurricane — Floyd — threatened the area.
Mr Roberts said he's telling them to get out of town.
"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm worried about the rain and tornadoes too," Mr Roberts said.
Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did last year over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad.
"I think this is very Harvey-esque," said University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy. "Normally, a landfalling tropical cyclone just keeps on going inland, gradually dissipating and raining itself out. But on rare occasions, the steering patterns can line up such that a storm slips into a dead zone between troughs and ridges."
On North Carolina's Outer Banks, Dawn Farrow Taylor, 50, was gathering photos and important documents and filling prescriptions today before heading inland. She grew up on the island chain, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated.
"I don't think many of us have ever been through a Category 4. And out here we're so fragile. We're just a strip of land — we're a barrier island," she said.
In the village of Buxton, Liz Browning Fox plans to ride the storm out in her house on top of a ridge. She believes her home, built in 2009, will be secure, but it's hard to foresee all potential hazards.
"You never know, there could be tree missiles coming from any direction," she said. "There is no way to be completely safe."
In announcing his evacuation order, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said an estimated 1 million people would be fleeing the coast.
Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and U.S. 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said his state was "in the bullseye" of the storm and urged people to "get ready now."