Women who spoke out against sexual harassment named Time Magazine's Person of the Year

"The Silence Breakers" represent the numerous women who've told their stories of misconduct by high-profile men. Source: Breakfast



'Nothing Left' after Hurricane Michael's rampage on Florida Panhandle

Linda Marquardt rode out Hurricane Michael with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When their house filled with surging ocean water, they fled upstairs. 

Now their home is full of mud and everywhere they look there's utter devastation in their Florida Panhandle community: fishing boats tossed like toys, roofs lifted off of buildings and pine trees snapped like matchsticks in 249 km/h winds.

Row after row of beachfront homes were so obliterated by Michael's surging seas and howling winds that only slabs of concrete in the sand remain, a testament that this was ground zero when the epic Category Four hurricane slammed ashore at midweek. The destruction in this and other communities dotting the white-sand beaches is being called catastrophic - and it will need billions of dollars to rebuild.

"All of my furniture was floating," said Ms Marquardt, 67. "'A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there's just nothing left."

At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental US in over 50 years, and by early Friday it wasn't over yet: a tropical storm long after Wednesday's landfall, Michael stubbornly kept up its punch while barreling up the Southeast, dumping heavy rains and spreading flash flooding misery as far away as Virginia.

High winds, downed trees, streets inundated by rising waters and multiple rescues of motorists from waterlogged cars played out in spots around Virginia and neighboring North Carolina. And while forecasters said Michael was gradually losing its tropical traits, it was a new chapter would begin as an extra-tropical storm predicted to intensify with gale force winds once it starts cross out into the Atlantic.

Homes at Mexico Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast have been left shredded in the wake of Hurricane Michael’s 250kmh winds. Source: Associated Press

In North Carolina's mountains, motorists had to be rescued on Thursday from cars trapped by high water. High winds toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power. Flash flooding also was reported in the big North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Raleigh. Similar scenes played out in parts of Virginia as the storm raced seaward.

All told, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

Meanwhile, thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and rescue teams still had much to do in the hardest hit area: Florida's Panhandle. Families living along the Panhandle are now faced with a struggle to survive in a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, the storm debris spread far and wide.

In one community, Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Aluminum siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees. Hundreds of cars had broken windows. The hurricane damaged hospitals and nursing homes in Panama City, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients.

"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything," said Florida Governor Rick Scott, calling it "unimaginable destruction."

An insurance company that produces models for catastrophes estimated Michael caused about $US8 billion in damage. Boston-based Karen Clark & Company released that estimate on Thursday, which includes privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles. It doesn't include losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program.


Live from the Oval Office, it's Kanye West with a jaw-dropping performance

Live from the Oval Office, it's Kanye West with a jaw-dropping performance.

The rapper didn't rap. But, seated across from President Donald Trump at the Resolute Desk, the musician delivered a rambling, multi-part monologue on Thursday that touched on social issues, hydrogen planes, mental health, endorsement deals, politics and oh so much more.

Seizing the spotlight from the typically centre-stage president, West dropped the F-word, floated policy proposals - and went in for a hug.

"They tried to scare me to not wear this hat," West said of his red "Make America Great Again" cap. But, he said, "This hat, it gives me power in a way."

"You made a Superman cape for me," he told Mr Trump.

It was a surreal scene even by the standards of a nonconventional White House. The unlikely allies spoke to reporters before a closed-door lunch that had been billed as a forum to discuss policy issues including manufacturing, gangs, prison reform and violence in Chicago, where West grew up.

Spectators at the show included Mr Trump's son-in-law and top advisor, Jared Kushner, former NFL star Jim Brown, the attorney for a gang leader serving time in federal prison, and a gaggle of reporters.

During one pause, Mr  Trump seemed to acknowledge the oddness of the moment, saying, "That was quite something."

West's mental health has been a question of speculation since he was hospitalised in 2016. In a bizarre performance last month on Saturday Night Live he delivered an unscripted pro-Trump message after the credits rolled.

Addressing the topic on Thursday, West said he had at one point been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but was later told by a neuropsychologist he'd been misdiagnosed.

"So he said that I actually wasn't bipolar; I had sleep deprivation, which could cause dementia 10 to 20 years from now, where I wouldn't even remember my son's name," he said.

The conversation began with an exchange on North Korea among Mr Trump, Brown and West. Mr Trump said the region was headed for war before he took over, and West commended him for stopping it. Brown said he liked North Korea; Mr Trump agreed.

From there, West discussed prison reform and violence in inner-city Chicago. He brought up Larry Hoover, the leader of the Gangster Disciples who is serving a life sentence for murder, claiming: "The reason why they imprisoned him is because he started doing positive for the community. He started showing that he actually had power, he wasn't just one of a monolithic voice, that he could wrap people around."

West said he "loved Hillary" Clinton, Mr Trump's 2016 Democratic rival, because he loves everyone, but said he connected with Mr Trump's "male energy". He also criticised the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, calling it a "trap door".

Holding out his phone, West showed Mr Trump a picture of a hydrogen-powered plane that he thought should replace Air Force One.

"This right here is the iPlane 1," he said. "This is what our president should be flying."

Added West: "If he don't look good, we don't look good. This is our president. He has to be the freshest, the flyest" and have "the flyest planes."

West also had a sartorial suggestion for Mr Trump, proposing a hat that says just "Make America Great" - dropping the "again."

At the end of West's lengthy, sometimes-hard-to-follow dialogue, even Mr Trump seemed at a loss.

"I tell you what: That was pretty impressive," the president said.

"It was from the soul," West replied. "I just channeled it."

West later told reporters of his verbal stylings: "You are tasting a fine wine that has multiple notes to it. You better play 4D chess with me. ... It's complex."

Taking questions from reporters, the rapper also voiced concern about stop-and-frisk policing. Mr Trump this week called on Chicago to embrace the tactic, which allowed police to detain, question and search civilians without probable cause, though it was deemed unconstitutional in New York City because of its overwhelming impact on minority residents.

Mr Trump said they'd discuss the matter and he'd keep an open mind.

Asked about his comments in 2005 that President George W. Bush didn't "care about black people" after Hurricane Katrina, West said that "We need to care about all people" and that he "was programed to think in a victimised mentality".

Donald Trump and West previously appeared together shortly after Mr Trump's 2016 election in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.

Asked what the two had talked about during their December meeting, West responded briefly that time: "Life. We discussed life."

While Mr Trump has been shunned by much of the Hollywood establishment, he has a fan in West, who tweeted earlier this year that the two share "dragon energy."

"You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother," West wrote.

West is married to reality television star Kim Kardashian West, who successfully pushed Mr Trump to grant a pardon to a drug offender earlier this year.

West himself has suggested he might be open to wading into politics, including a run for president in 2020.

Asked if West could be a future presidential candidate, Mr Trump said, "Could very well be." West shot back, "Only after 2024."

After all that, the president brought the show to a close by suggesting, "Let's go have some lunch, OK?"

The controversial star continues to throw his support behind the controversial president. Source: 1 NEWS


Man shook 'miracle baby' to death while wife waited for kettle to boil

A grieving Sydney mother wishes she had not waited for the kettle to boil because that's when her husband shook their "miracle baby" to death.

Her victim impact statement was read out in the New South Wale Supreme Court today at the sentence hearing for her ex-husband who can't be named and who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their two-month-old daughter.

She died of catastrophic brain injury in hospital five days after he shook the crying baby in November 2015 causing her to become immediately unconscious.

He also has admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, relating to old healed and healing rib fractures and various bruises.

He told hospital staff: "I'm trained as a lifeguard in my country and we were taught to inflict some pain to get a response ... you will find my teeth marks on her because I was trying to get a response."

In her statement, read out by a support person, the mother said: "I feel guilty that I left her that time with him."

"Why didn't the kettle boil faster?

"Why did I need to wash the bottle?

"He took my baby, he took my health, my hope, my last chance."

They met in Australia after both coming here independently as asylum seekers from Iran more than five years ago.

Doctors told the woman she would never fall pregnant due to her diabetes but eventually after a very difficult pregnancy, their "miracle baby" was born, the mother said.

After her daughter's death, she studied child care and recalled a time when a new baby came to the centre.

She was tiny, with beautiful black hair and black eyes but was a bit upset looking for her mother.

"Everyone else held her but she keep searching for her mother," she said.

"But when I held her, she settled in my arms and fell asleep."

The baby had the same name as her dead daughter and "it was like a bomb going off in my heart".

Justice Lucy McCallum was told the father had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had been stabbed in jail while on remand.

She will sentence him on November 9.

Baby Source: istock.com

Singapore Airlines launches mammoth new flight from Singapore to New York - the world's longest

The world's longest direct commercial flight is back and taking travellers from Singapore to the New York region.

Operated by Singapore Airlines, the city-state's national carrier, the trip takes slightly under 19 hours.

Skipping a stopover in Frankfurt will save hours of travelling time, the carrier says.

Starting today, the route between Changi Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey will be served three times a week.

Next week the carrier will offer daily flights, after a second Airbus A350-900ULR aircraft is delivered.

Singapore Airlines launched the record-breaking route in 2004, but cancelled it nine years later because of rising fuel prices.

The service, between Changi Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, is the world’s longest at 18 hours and 45 minutes. Source: Associated Press