Video: Pen-fiddling news anchor hits out at ABC, cuts ties with Aussie network

The Australian ABC news anchor who was caught live on air fiddling with a pen before gasping in front of viewers has slammed the network and quashed rumours the viral gaffe was a publicity stunt. 

Presenter Natasha Exelby told The Daily Telegraph, "People give me way too much credit ... and I should have been an actor", in defence of the gaffe which she said was accidental.

Ms Exelby is now working in crisis management and consultancy after she cut ties with ABC.

She said she "strenuously rejected any conduct claims" after rumours circulated she was banned from performing on air roles by the network. 

"Even though they (the ABC) didn't do the right thing by me I wanted to do the right thing by them."

Politicians, broadcasters and the public jumped to her defence posting online and uploading their own on-air gaffes, however ABC denied banning Ms Exelby. 

ABC told Nine News that Ms Exelby can return to the network if she wanted to. 

"Natasha Exelby has chosen not to do some casual shifts she was rostered for," an ABC spokesperson said in a statement.

"Natasha was not taken off-air because of a 'blooper' and ABC News has been clear that we're open to working with her again, including the possibility of future presenting shifts."

The Australian ABC anchor's reaction when she realises the broadcast crosses back to her is brilliant. Source: ABC Australia



New Zealand girl, 12, believed critically hurt in Queensland shark mauling

A young girl believed to be from New Zealand has been attacked by a shark at the same Queensland island where a Tasmanian mother was mauled less than 24 hours earlier.

The 12-year-old was rescued by helicopter from Cid Harbour in the Whitsunday Islands on Thursday afternoon after being bitten on the upper leg.

The girl, who was holidaying with her father and sister, was flown to the Mackay Base Hospital in a critical condition and will have surgery.

Queensland Ambulance Service operations manager Tracey Eastwick said the girl had lost a significant amount of blood after she was mauled on the thigh.

"It is horrific ... for us as a community of paramedics it is quite confronting to have two similar incidents in the space of less than 24 hours," she told reporters in Mackay.

"In north Queensland, shark attacks are not that common."

The last attack in the area was eight years ago.

The Queensland government will set three drum lines in the Cid Harbour area tomorrow, in a bid to prevent any further attacks.

Fisheries officers and water police are also patrolling the area, while swimmers are being told to stay out of the water at the popular holiday hotspot.

On Wednesday evening, Justine Barwick, 46, was also mauled off the same island, while snorkelling, and is lucky to be alive.

Ms Barwick, a mother of two, was flown to Brisbane on Thursday evening for medical treatment after undergoing surgery at Mackay Base Hospital.

She would likely have bled to death from a severe wound to her left thigh without the quick-thinking actions of people in nearby boats.

A rescue helicopter scrambled to the region was just 15 minutes away from the scene due to an earlier operation.

The hovering chopper drew the attention of John Hadok, an emergency doctor from Mackay Base Hospital, who was sailing nearby and soon joined the effort to save Ms Barwick's life.

Dr Hadok's direction ensured correct first aid was given to Ms Barwick, allowing her to be safely winched into the helicopter.

RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter crewman Ben McCauley said the doctor and others who gave first aid to Ms Barwick before she was winched aboard had likely saved her life.

"The original first aid was actually really well done," Mr McCauley told reporters on Thursday.

"We actually didn't have to do anything with the leg, it was pretty much tourniqueted up, bandaged up and bleeding had stopped. They'd done a really good job."

Although he didn't see the wound, Mr McCauley was told Ms Barwick had "quite a big chunk of leg taken" and had suffered arterial bleeding.

She also suffered puncture wounds to her calf muscle.

The helicopter then stopped at Proserpine to refuel, allowing blood from a local hospital to be transfused and other medical treatment given.

Emergency services say the young girl lost a lot of blood in the Whitsunday Islands attack. Source: Breakfast

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Maryland suffers another mass shooting, months after newspaper targeted

Three people were killed overnight in a shooting at a distribution centre for a US pharmacy chain, officials said.

A law enforcement official in Maryland with knowledge of the shooting stressed that the number of dead is based on preliminary information. The official wasn't authorized to discuss details by name and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

The incident took place at an aid distribution centre near Baltimore. Source: Breakfast

A suspect was taken into custody and was in critical condition, Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told a news conference.

It appears there was only one weapon, a handgun, that was used and there were no shots fired by responding law enforcement officers, Mr Gahler said. Mr Gahler also said multiple people had been killed and wounded in the shooting, without giving any other details on casualties.

A Baltimore hospital said it had received four patients with gunshot wounds from the shooting. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center spokeswoman Monica Stone said in an email today that she was unable to provide details about the patients' conditions.

Mr Gahler said the call about shots fired came in from the Rite Aid distribution centre at about 9.06am (local time) and deputies and other officers were on the scene in just over five minutes.

"We are so preliminary in this investigation," Mr Gahler said. "It's so important that we deal in facts." He said authorities don't want to "make it worse" for the families involved by giving out incorrect information.

At a nearby fire station, family members were waiting to be reunited with loved ones. Police blocked off the road outside but were waving in cars driven by people who said they were there to meet up with people who were at the distribution centre.

The attack came nearly three months after a man armed with a shotgun attacked a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five staff members. Authorities accused Jarrod W. Ramos of attacking The Capital Gazette because of a longstanding grudge against the paper.

The FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an "active shooter situation" and said its Baltimore field office was assisting.
In a tweet, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his office is monitoring the situation in Aberdeen and that the state stands ready to offer any support.

Susan Henderson, spokesman for Rite Aid, said the shooting happened on the campus of a company distribution centre in Aberdeen. She described it as a support facility adjacent to a larger building.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said that unfortunately, incidents like this are "becoming a too-often occurrence not only in Harford County but in the country".

Shirley Pollack, of Perryville, Md. reacts to what authorities have called a shooting with multiple victims in Perryman, Md. on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Authorities say multiple people have been shot in northeast Maryland in what the FBI is describing as an "active shooter situation."   Pollack,was concerned about her son  who worked near the scene of the shooting.  (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
Concerned mum Shirley Pollack waits for word of her son, who works near the site of a mass shooting in Maryland. Source: Associated Press

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WWE wrestler turned Tennessee mayor to return to the ring in Australia

A new mayor of a US town who's also a semi-retired pro wrestler will once again don his "Kane" gear to participate in the WWE Super Show-Down pay-per-view event in Australia.

The Knoxville (Tennessee) News Sentinel reports Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said Wednesday the Oct. 7 event is what he and WWE CEO Vince McMahon agreed to when Mr Jacobs' election became likely. While campaigning, Mr Jacobs said he wanted to focus on running the county, but wouldn't rule out a special appearance.

The Melbourne event is billed as the largest collection of WWE superstars and legends to appear in Australia.

FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2018 file photo, Republican Glenn Jacobs waits for early results to come in for the mayoral race in Knoxville, Tenn.  The Tennessee mayor will once again don his “Kane” gear to participate in the WWE Super Show-Down pay-per-view event in Australia. Jacobs said Wednesday, Sept. 20,  the Oct. 6 event is what he and WWE CEO Vince McMahon agreed to when it became likely Jacobs would be elected. (Caitie McMekin/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, File )
Republican Glenn Jacobs, otherwise known as WWE wrestler Kane, waits for early election night results to come in during the 2 Aug. 2918 mayoral race in Knoxville, Tenn. Source: Associated Press

Mr Jacobs also announced WWE will donate NZ $150,000 to the Knoxville Public Safety Foundation "in appreciation for making a series of appearances for WWE this fall". It's unclear how many other events Mr Jacobs might do.

KANE / FINLAY - 25.09.2009 - WWE Smackdown et ECW Live Tour - Palais Nikaia de Nice,    (Photo : Icon Sport via Getty Images)
WWE wrestler Kane (centre), otherwise known as Glenn Jacobs, performs in France in 2009. Source: Getty


World Anti-Doping Agency reinstates Russia

The World Anti-Doping Agency declared Russia's scandal-ridden drug-fighting operation back in business Thursday, a decision designed to bring a close to one of sports' most notorious doping scandals but one bitterly disputed by hundreds of athletes and described as "treachery" by the lawyer for the man who exposed the corruption.

On a 9-2 vote, the executive committee took the advice of the agency's compliance review panel and declared RUSADA as having satisfied conditions of reinstatement that were gradually softened over the summer.

In most tangible ways, the decision doesn't change much: RUSADA has been up and running for a while, bringing one of the world's largest testing programs back on line with the help of officials from Britain and elsewhere. And Russia's Olympic committee was brought back into the fold after the Pyeongchang Olympics, where athletes who could prove they were clean were able to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia."

But RUSADA's reinstatement now clears the country to again bid for major international events — although soccer's World Cup was held there this summer despite that restriction.

It also clears a major hurdle for Russia's track team to be declared compliant by that sport's international governing body, one of the few to take a strong, consistent stand against doping.

Perhaps most importantly, hundreds of athletes and dozens of world anti-doping leaders see it as a stinging rebuke to the ideal of fair play.

"WADA's decision to reinstate Russia represents the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history," said Jim Walden, the attorney for Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director who exposed much of the Russian scheme.

WADA had been telegraphing the move since Sept. 14, when it released the recommendation of its compliance review committee. Olympic champion Beckie Scott resigned from that committee afterward.

"I'm profoundly disappointed," Scott said to Canadian broadcaster CBC after the decision. "I feel this was an opportunity for WADA, and they have dealt a devastating blow to clean sport. I'm quite dismayed."

Even in Russia, where the news was welcomed, it came with a sense that there's still work to be done.

"These questions will always follow us," said RUSADA CEO Yuri Ganus, whose appointment to the job was part of the housecleaning at the agency that WADA demanded. "These aren't the kind of skeletons which can lie unnoticed in the closet. These are the skeletons which will be banging on the closet door all the time."

The two biggest roadblocks to RUSADA's reinstatement involved the country accepting findings from a report by investigator Richard McLaren that concluded the government had engineered the doping scandal to win medals at the Sochi Olympics. It also involved Russia agreeing to hand over a trove of data and samples that could be used to corroborate potential doping violations that stemmed from the cheating.

Over a summer's worth of correspondence between WADA leaders and Russia's sports minister about how to bridge the gap, a pattern emerged of WADA backing down from its initial requirements and, at one point, essentially asking Russia what it would be willing to say in a letter designed to satisfy the WADA review committee.

"We think that a small addition to the letter, if acceptable to you, could ensure that the letter is well received ... and that a positive recommendation is provided," WADA CEO Olivier Niggli wrote to sports minister Pavel Kolobkov in May in a letter obtained by BBC Sport .

In the end, Russia agreed to accept findings of an IOC-commissioned report that put less onus on the Russian government for the scheme, a move that Rodchenkov said earlier this week was done "for the pure purpose of protecting their top-level apparatchiks who destroyed the Olympic Games in Sochi."

Russia also agreed to hand over the samples and data by Dec. 31. If it does not, RUSADA will again be declared noncompliant.

"Without this pragmatic approach, we would continue with the impasse and the laboratory data could have remained out of our reach indefinitely," WADA president Craig Reedie said after Thursday's executive committee meeting in Seychelles.

Critics said reinstating RUSADA before obtaining the data only amounts to accepting another promise from a country that hasn't kept many over the five-year course of the scandal.

Travis Tygart, the CEO for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision "bewildering and inexplicable," and urged a full revamping of WADA; Reedie also serves as a member of the IOC, which is one of the many conflicts of interest that bother critics of the agency.

"Let's be clear: Absolutely nothing will be off the table for how we, the anti-doping community, begin the work of reforming WADA," Tygart said.

Reedie said "WADA understands that this decision will not please everybody."

Vladmir Putin is walking a very fine line with his reaction to the downing of the jet, Paul Buchanan says.
Source: Breakfast

"Clean athletes were denied places at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as other major events, and others were cheated of medals," he said. "It is entirely understandable that they should be wary about the supposed rehabilitation of offenders."


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