Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart, keep her captive for nine months, to be released

Wanda Barzee helped kidnap Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002. Source: Associated Press



California woman allegedly invents fake husband to scam thousands of dollars

A woman in California is suspected of inventing a fake firefighter husband to scam donors out of thousands of dollars and supplies.

Ashley Bemis is accused of using social media to get donations which she says were for firefighters battling recent deadly wildfires in the US state.

Police say she used a Facebook group to reach out for help for her fake firefighter husband and his colleagues.

Ms Bemis then allegedly pocketed cash and sold items that were donated to line her own pockets.

Police say the money and goods total around $US11,000 worth.

Ms Bemis has not been charged.


Charities pledge $700m to fight deforestation worldwide, by giving more power to indigenous groups

A coalition of charitable groups and the government of Norway pledged today to spend well over half a billion dollars over the next four years to prevent deforestation internationally and recognise indigenous peoples' rights to manage forests.

The charitable groups pledged NZ$704 million to help indigenous groups gain rights to the forests where they live and to help them protect their land. The government of Norway pledged another NZ$50 million to help prevent deforestation in Indonesia and Brazil.

The coalition of more than 15 organisations and Norway made the announcement ahead of an international climate change summit in San Francisco. It includes the Ford and the Rockefeller foundations.

"Evidence shows indigenous communities are the most effective stewards of the land they inhabit and in doing so, they are ensuring that the greenhouse gas levels do not do irreversible damage to people and the planet," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

The funds will support those working to protect, restore and expand forests, help communities make land use more sustainable and empower indigenous people by teaching them about their rights.

National, however, is accusing Shane Jones of flinging money around. Source: 1 NEWS

The endeavour is separate from a New Zealand programme in which the Government has allocated nearly $500 million to the goal of planting 1 billion trees. About $240 million of that was announced last month, when Forestry Minister Shane Jones explained that iwi, private land owners and non-government organisations will be able to apply for the money to cover planting costs.

Mr Jones estimated that the $240 million injection will result in 60 million new trees and the creation of 1000 jobs over the next three years.

In San Francisco today, Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said that to prevent deforestation, the rights of indigenous people need to be secured and governments need to protect those fighting for land and the environment.

About half of the forests in the world are managed by indigenous people but only 15 per cent of those lands are legally recognized as belonging to them, she said, adding that more than 200 land and environmental activists, many of them indigenous, were killed last year.

"If our rights as indigenous peoples are recognized, we can continue to protect these lands for generations to come," she said.

Scientists say forests already remove 30 per cent of carbon emissions added to the atmosphere each year but rampant deforestation driven by a growing demand for animal protein, soy and wood products is undermining trees and the soil's capacity to store carbon.

They say the time to achieve the most ambitious goal - limiting a rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 - has almost passed and that preserving and expanding forests is critical to fighting climate change.

The party wants to move and shake things up when it comes to climate change. Source: 1 NEWS

Erazo Yaiguaje, an indigenous Siona man from South America, travelled from the Colombian Amazon to San Francisco to share his tribe's plight in getting the government to recognize their ancestral land and to publicize his people's fight against cattle ranchers and efforts to clear land mines left behind by a rebel group.

The ranchers, he said, started arriving in the Putumayo areas once occupied by rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who in 2016 laid down their guns after they and the Colombian government reached a peace deal.

Mr Yaiguaje said his tribe lives in 11,000 acres (4,450 hectares) but that the government has refused to recognize their land encompasses 128,000 acres (51,800 hectares).

"The pledge recognises the importance of indigenous peoples and how from the forest and the jungle, we're helping the world," Mr Yaiguaje said.

But he said he hopes the money gets to those it intends to help.

"These funds are usually given to the government and our communities see very little of it," he added.

They’re frustrated with what they say is a lack of Government action.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Conservative Sydney radio host Alan Jones and his team ordered to pay over $4 million in defamation case

Alan Jones and his team have been ordered to pay a record $3.7 million (NZ$4 million) in compensation for defaming a Queensland family by claiming they were responsible for 12 deaths in the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods.

Sydney radio broadcaster Jones, Harbour Radio and 4BC were sued by the prominent Wagner family, who claim they were blamed for the deaths in Grantham when one of the walls of the quarry they owned collapsed.

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Peter Flanagan dismissed the complaint against journalist Nick Cater in handing down the record Australian defamation payout today.

Brothers John, Denis, Neill and Joe Wagner had sought $1.2 million each from the four defendants.

In a summary of his judgment, Justice Flanagan said the defamatory comments were "extremely serious and of the gravest kind".

He said Jones, Harbour Radio and 4BC had failed to establish any defence to any of the defamatory matters published.

He noted the effect the comments had had on the Wagners.

"Prior to the publication of the defamatory broadcasts, each plaintiff enjoyed an excellent reputation for honesty and integrity, both in business and community circles," he wrote.

"The publication of the defamatory broadcasts was very extensive.

"The defamatory broadcasts have caused each of the plaintiffs to suffer profound personal hurt and harm to their reputations, which includes their business reputations."

Denis Wagner said he does not expect an apology from Jones.

"Mr Jones and his co-defendants relentlessly misled their listeners and the people who had trusted them to be honest and truthful," he said outside court.

"We decided to take a stand against this abhorrent, vicious, deceitful, spiteful behaviour.

"Justice Flanagan has delivered a judgment today which has clearly indicated that people, regardless of how much influence they may consider they have, will be held accountable for their words and actions."

While giving evidence, veteran journalist Cater was accused of omitting evidence possibly contradicting his "narrative" about the Wagner family's blame for the deaths.

But Justice Flanagan ruled he did not seek to conduce Jones to defame the family.

The payout smashes the previous Australian record for defamation, with $2.62 million awarded to Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney last year after police defamed him by naming him as the "prime" and "only" suspect in the murder of his wife, Corryn.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 28:  Barbarians coach Alan Jones watches on during the warm-up before the match between the Australian Wallabies and the Barbarians at Allianz Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Conservative Sydney radio host Alan Jones. Source: Getty


Girl, 9, punished with detention for refusing to stand during Australia's national anthem at Brisbane school

The father of a Queensland schoolgirl threatened with suspension for refusing to stand for the national anthem says he is proud of her for standing up for what she believes in.

Kenmore South State School grade four student Harper Nielsen, aged nine, was given detention for not standing when Advance Australia Fair was played in assembly.

She said she believes the lyrics "we are young" marginalises Indigenous people.

"The reason why I don't sing it or stand is because Advance Australia Fair means advance White Australia," she told The Courier-Mail.

"When it says we are young it completely ignores the fact that indigenous culture was here for over 50,000 years before colonisation."
Her father Mark said he supported Harper.

"She's shown incredible bravery in wanting to stick to what she believes in and to make a stance for what she believes is right", he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"We couldn't be more proud of her for wanting to do this."

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