US woman accused of having fake firefighter husband to scam people for donations

An American woman is suspected of making up a firefighter husband to scam people into giving her thousands of dollars that she said would be donated to Cal Fire crews battling wildfires in the state.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department are investigating her and say the San Clemente woman, Ashley Bemis, 28, received $11,000 worth of donations in cash and gifts.

On August 10 Bemis posted on the San Clemente Facebook page that she would be delivering food and other items needed by her husband and other California Department of Foresty and Fire protection firefighters and she requested the public's help.

She wrote in a post “Shane works for Cal Fire and is out on the Holy Fire right now."

“I also have two other family members and many friends out in the fire and other fires burning here in California. I received a text today from Shane saying it’s pretty much a living hell out there battling the unpredictable Holy Hell Fire,” reported the Los Angeles Times

The Facebook post has since been deleted.

Community members in the Facebook group, including one who was a Cal Fire employee said they had suspicions about the woman and reported her to the police.

Carrie Braun a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s department said: "A Cal Fire employee ran the name ‘Shane Goodman’ in an internal database and learned that the person is not a Cal Fire employee.”

Investigators have interviewed Bemis , several people who donated to her and the owners of businesses where Bemis collected donations.

She hasn't been arrested or charged.




Kiwi cartoonist defends Aussie colleague over Serena Williams depiction - 'There's not a chance he would even contemplate doing a racist cartoon'

New Zealand Herald’s cartoonist Rod Emmerson has defended Australian cartoonist Mark Knight after his depiction of Serena Williams was labelled as ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’.

“There is not a chance he would even contemplate doing a racist cartoon,” he told 1 NEWS today.

The image made headlines around the world and has caused controversy in the US with commentators saying it is an example of Australia’s "blind racism".

He says it has been blown out of proportion.

“I think people are trying to find something that is not there.”

But he says Mr Knight should have "understood the repercussions" of his image.

“We’ve got to be very careful before we put pen to paper.”

The cartoon comes after tennis star Serena Williams made several outbursts to the umpire at the US Open final.

Emmerson says Knight is “ … very big on sportsmanship and doesn’t like people throwing ‘wobblies’.”

This dominated the 6-2 6-4 final win by Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

Mark Knight is in hot water after his depiction of Serena Williams was labelled ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’. Source: 1 NEWS


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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


Dunedin Botanic Garden staff catch man allegedly performing indecent act in women's toilets

Police are praising the "vigilance and quick actions" of staff at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, after they assisted in catching a man who was allegedly performing an indecent act in the women's toilets yesterday afternoon.

Police say a 47-year-old Timaru man was apprehended by staff allegedly performing an indecent act in the lower garden women's toilets.

The man is currently before the courts.

Police are continuing their investigation into other recent incidents at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens and encourage anyone noticing suspicious activity in that area to report it to them immediately.

They ask the public to call Dunedin police on (03) 488 0642 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with any information.

Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Source: Wikimedia Commons