'We're not heroes' - British diver insists they were just doing their jobs in cave rescue of 12 Thai boys

The British diver who first found the 12 Thai boys trapped alive in a flooded cave has downplayed his hero status, as he touched down at London's Heathrow Airport to awaiting media.

John Volanthen said he's just relieved the boys are all alive, and praised the collective effort of the international contingent of rescuers. 

"We're not heroes, what we do is very calculating, very calm, it's quite the opposite. We're very relieved that they're all alive. At that point we realised the enormity of the situation," Volanthen said.

Nevertheless, the Thai Navy SEAL diving team, who controlled the operation to rescue, have been celebrated for their efforts in their home country.

They returned to their base on the Gulf of Thailand where they received a hero's welcome, and took time to remember the former Thai Navy SEAL who died while volunteering on the rescue. 

John Volanthen told media divers were just doing their job as he touched down at Heathrow airport. Source: Breakfast



Pasifika leaders call for action after Florida bar trademarks Fijian bula greeting

Pasifika leaders in New Zealand are calling for people to post one-star reviews for a Florida bar that has trademarked the word 'bula'.

The commonly-used Fijian greeting was trademarked this month by United States businessman, Ross Kashtan.

This sparked outrage online.

Ross Kashtan owned three "bula" businesses spread across Florida - Bula Kafe, Bula on the Beach and Bula Coco Beach.

He probably did not expect a huge backlash when he went to trademark the word "bula".

But he got one.

Among those to express their fury online was Josiah Tualamali'i, who is one of the members of the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry panel and the chairperson of New Zealand Pasifika youth charity PYLAT.

Mr Tualamali'i wanted people to leave one-star reviews on the Facebook page of one of Mr Kashtan's bars.

"I just thought 'well they have 4.9 as their overall rating so let's pull that back a bit'," said Mr Tualamali'i.

"We know they are listening because they removed my comment and some others, so this has got to them and that was the point."

Dozens of angry people have left such reviews.

The word Bula itself is a commonly-used traditional Fijian greeting.

Trademarking it meant Mr Kashtan could attempt to prevent other businesses like his using the word.

"They are trying to steal something that doesn't belong to them," said Mr Tualamali'i. "It really has to end."

Mr Kashtan's bula logo appeared on many of his business' products and advertising, from signage and bottle branding, to "bula babe shorts".

Checkpoint repeatedly tried to get in touch with Mr Kashtan, but only got as far as one of his workers who was well aware of the unfolding drama.

"It's not to inhibit anyone to use it, we just don't want anyone calling their businesses that because we have a ten-year-old business called 'bula'," the worker said.

"It's not too hurt anybody...we are really good people I promise."

He said he would pass along Checkpoint's contact details to Mr Kashtan, but we have not heard back.

It's not the first time United States businesses have been accused of cultural appropriation.

Illinois restaurant chain Aloha Poke Company copped criticism just last month for sending cease and desist letters to other restaurants using the word 'aloha'.

The US Patent and Trademark office lists 43 companies which have trademarked the word 'bula".

The New Zealand government was unimpressed with this recent trademark.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, said more needed to be done to stop this kind of thing happening.

"This is a disturbing revelation and will be distressful not only to Fijians in New Zealand but to all Fijians throughout the world," he said.

"It is unbelievable that a company from another country can trademark what belongs to another group of people."

- by Logan Church

rnz.co.nz

Bula Kafe. Source: Facebook

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Black-market home-brew kills Sydney man

Black market home-brew is believed to be behind the death of a 57-year-old Sydney man, prompting a warning from police.

The man was admitted to Liverpool Hospital on September 11 after a fall and police were alerted.

His condition deteriorated through the week until he died on Tuesday.

"Investigators have been advised by health authorities that the man was suffering the effects of acute methanol poisoning, with a post mortem examination still to be conducted," NSW Police said in a statement on Wednesday.

The man was a regular drinker but not to excess, investigators have been told - and the alcohol may have been illegally sourced home-brew.

It's feared the alcohol, known as Rakia or Rakija, is being sold in the community.

Ten bottles of the alcohol have been seized from the man's home in West Hoxton Park and taken for forensic tests.

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

Group of home brew craft beer bottles
Home-brew alcohol (file picture). Source: istock.com


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Reality show doctor and woman allegedly used 'good looks' to lure victims into California drug rapes

A California physician who appeared in a reality TV dating show and an alleged female accomplice have been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, and authorities said today there could be many more victims.

Orthopedic surgeon Grant W. Robicheaux, 38, of Newport Beach and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, of Brea were arrested September 12 after being charged with rape by use of drugs, oral copulation by anaesthesia or controlled substance, and other crimes, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told a news conference in Santa Ana.

Investigators were meticulously going through "thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux's phone, many also including Riley," Rackauckas said.

Some videos show women who "appear to be highly intoxicated beyond the ability to consent or resist, and they're barely responsive to the defendant's sexual advances. Based on this evidence, we believe that there might be many unidentified victims out there," he said.

The district attorney showed reporters video of Robicheaux from a now-cancelled Bravo TV show called "Online Dating Rituals of the American Male" in an episode titled "Three's A Crowd."

"We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey," Rackauckas said, releasing an array of information about many locations and events associated with Robicheaux and Riley.

The defendants, who were released on $US100,000 bail, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Grant W. Robicheaux and Cerissa Laura Riley. Source: Associated Press


North Korea agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced a sweeping set of agreements after their second day of talks in Pyongyang today.

They included a promise by Kim to permanently dismantle the North's main nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures, the acceptance of international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Declaring they had made a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders were side by side as they announced the joint statement to a group of North and South Korean reporters after a closed-door meeting today.

"We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace that is free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat," Kim said as he stood by Moon's side at the guesthouse where Moon is staying.

"The road to our future will not always be smooth and we may face challenges and trials we can't anticipate. But we aren't afraid of headwinds because our strength will grow as we overcome each trial based on the strength of our nation."

Kim and Moon earlier smiled and chatted as they walked down a hallway and into a meeting room to finalize the joint statement, which also said that the leaders would push for a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons and to "eliminate all the danger of war." They agreed that Kim would visit the South in the near future.

The statement caps off the third summit between Kim and Moon, who is under increasing pressure from Washington to find a path forward in its efforts to get Kim to completely — and unilaterally — abandon his nuclear arsenal.

But while containing several tantalising offers, it appears to fall short of the major steps many in Washington had been looking for — such as a commitment by Pyongyang to provide a list of the North's nuclear facilities, a solid step-by-step timeline or an agreement to allow international inspectors in to assess progress or discover violations.

The question is whether it will be enough for President Donald Trump to pick up where Moon has left off.

Trump has maintained that he and Kim have a solid relationship, and both leaders have expressed interest in a follow-up summit to their meeting in June in Singapore. North Korea has been demanding a declaration formally ending the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 by a cease-fire, but neither leader mentioned it as they read the joint statement.

In the meantime, however, Moon and Kim made concrete moves of their own to reduce tensions on their border.

According a joint statement signed by the countries' defense chiefs, the two Koreas agreed to establish buffer zones along their land and sea borders to reduce military tensions and prevent accidental clashes. They also agreed to withdraw 11 guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone by December and to establish a no-fly zone above the military demarcation line that bisects the two Koreas that will apply to planes, helicopters and drones.

Though not directly linked to security, the leaders' announcement that they would seek a joint Summer Olympics was a significant move in terms of easing tensions and building trust. It also flows from the North's decision to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February, which was regarded as a success for both sides.

Other agreements aimed at removing some longstanding irritants from their relations — such as allowing more contact between families divided by the Korean War. Moon also appeared to be making good on his proposals to help build up the North's infrastructure and open cross-border rail links.

Unlike Mr Trump's initial tweets praising the summit, the news brought a quick and negative response from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who tweeted he was concerned the visit would undermine efforts by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to impose "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

"While North Korea has stopped testing missiles and nuclear devices, they have NOT moved toward denuclearization," he tweeted.
With the main business of the day over, North Korea was expected to hold a huge mass games spectacle in the evening, with Moon as the special guest.

The North had put the iconic games, which feature tens of thousands of performers dancing and flipping placards in unison to create giant mosaics and slogans, on a back burner for the past several years, but revived them for this month's celebrations of its 70th founding anniversary. In a performance for the anniversary, a giant photo of Moon and Kim shaking hands at their first summit in April was projected onto one side of the stands in Pyongyang's 150,000-seat May Day Stadium.

In this image made from video provided by Korea Broadcasting System (KBS),  North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands at the end of their joint press conference in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (Korea Broadcasting System via AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands at the end of their joint press conference in Pyongyang, North Korea. Source: Associated Press


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