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



Legalising recreational cannabis could stem NZ’s epidemic of ‘zombie drug’ deaths, Peter Dunne says

Synthetic cannabis has killed more than 40 people in New Zealand since June last year, a massive jump from the previous five years, the coroner recently reported.

One way to serve a blow to the market for the so called zombie-drug in New Zealand would be to legalise recreational cannabis, former MP and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today on TVNZ1's Breakfast.

But the suggestion came with a caveat.

"It would certainly remove some of the incentive for people to try some of these substances," he said. "But...some of these (synthetic drugs) are so potent and so powerful that people may well feel they'll get a better high from these rather than the real product.

"While on the face of it the answer would be yes (to marijuana legalisation), I don't think it's necessarily that simple."

Cannabis and synthetic cannabis are alike in name only. The synthetic variety, often consisting of dried herbs sprayed with chemical compounds derived from old medical studies, encompasses hundreds of different strains, Mr Dunne pointed out.

Two of the most potent versions, described as up to 10 times stronger that the ones that caused a "zombie" outbreak in the US due to the way users reacted to them, have been targeted by the Government for reclassification as Class A drugs.

That would mean penalties for dealing the drugs would increase substantially, from a couple years in prison to up to 14 years.

"I don't think we ever anticipated we'd get new synthetic drugs that would lead to so much harm," NZ Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell told 1 NEWS yesterday.

They're calling for the drug to be classified as Class A – the most harmful and dangerous. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Dunne agreed that the classification for those two strains should change, but he was sceptical that it would do anything to stem the overdose epidemic.

"They're already illegal, so this doesn't make them any more illegal," he said. "We shouldn't get carried away and assume that's going to resolve the problem...We need at the same time to be beefing up our treatment facilities to deal with the people who are suffering adverse consequences because they will continue to do so."

He also suggested putting in place "a coherent international warning system" and regulating the market for the less potent strains of synthetic cannabis - rather than continuing to outlaw all of them, pushing the market underground.

But even with those solutions, eradicating the drug altogether would be difficult because it's so easy to smuggle, he said.

Police are still trying to identify the men as they want to check on their welfare. Source: 1 NEWS

"The problem is there are hundreds of these, and there are rumours of several hundred more yet to hit the market, so this problem's not going to go away anytime soon," he said.

"If you're seeking to bring this stuff into the country, you bring it all in different bits and bobs so it doesn't look like a finished product. Who knows what's put together to give it its added bite."

But there’s a caveat to the idea, the former MP and associate health minister told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

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'Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake' - Engineer casts doubt over plane typo

Cathay Pacific are not shying away from a huge mistake – a typo to be exact.

The airline had a Boeing 777-367 on the ground at Hong Kong airport emblazoned with “Cathay Paciic” after leaving the f out of its name.

The airline referenced the error on its Twitter account but an engineer for sister company, Haeco, cast doubt over the typo.

“The spacing is too on-point for a mishap. We have stencils. Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think,” the engineer told the South China Morning Post.

The Boeing 777 was snapped in Hong Kong this week with the major error for all to see. Source: Breakfast

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Aussie grandfather cheats death after giant metal rod smashes through windscreen

An Australian grandfather cheated death when a giant metal rod fell from a construction truck and plunged into his windscreen.

Joe Sant was driving when a truck, which was travelling in the opposite direction in Sydney’s Peakhurst, lost its load.

The rod smashed his windscreen, but thankfully narrowly missed him.

‘I just go a bit of glass in my eye, that’s all,” he told Nine News.

He went to hospital as a precaution.

Sydney’s Joe Sant was surprised when the metal rod fell froma construction truck and flew through his windscreen. Source: Breakfast


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Inquiry to look at how NSW police investigated dozens of gay hate killings

The way NSW Police investigated gay hate crimes, which drove men over cliffs to their deaths or saw them brutally bashed in their homes or city parks, will be examined by a state parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry to be conducted by the NSW Social Issues Committee, will investigate how NSW Police handled gay hate crimes and why the state's justice system may not have protected LGBTQI people or delayed justice for them and their families.

The committee will investigate the almost 90 gay murders between 1970 and 2010 and also call for public submissions from victims and their families.

A police investigation of 88 suspicious deaths of gay men between 1976 to 2000 found 27 of them were likely murdered simply for being gay.

Committee chair Shayne Mallard said the inquiry would look at gay hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBTIQ community and review current policies to identify shortcomings.

Australia police Source: 1 NEWS