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Warner leading from front in Swans’ engine room

Camera IconChad Warner has made an imposing start to the season with a host of star Swans midfielders missing. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP Warner leading from front in Swans’ engine room Shayne HopeAAPMarch 22, 2024 10:05AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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Australian shares dip, but set to finish week higher

Camera IconThe ASX200 was up 1.1 per cent since last Friday’s close. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP Australian shares dip, but set to finish week higher Derek RoseAAPMarch 22, 2024 10:05AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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No-faith motion against Speaker defeated

By Saman Indrajith Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday revealed in Parliament that he had been asked by some foreign powers to take over the executive presidency while the country was in crisis owing to the Aragalaya protests. “The objective of those who made that request was to create another Libya or Afghanistan here. They did not want to resolve the crisis or restore law and order to protect this country,” the Speaker said. Making a speech soon after the defeat of a no-faith motion against him, Abeywardena said during the uprising many parties had pressured him to accept the post of Executive President. He said that there were both local and foreign forces. “I was asked to name a Prime Minister and Cabinet of ministers and rule the country. “However, I was determined to uphold democracy,” the Speaker said, adding that he was surprised to see some of those who asked him to become the President of the country had signed the no-faith motion against him. “When I rejected that call, they resorted to intimidation. There were threats too. Among those who exerted pressure on me were leading Bhikkhus and leaders of other religions. The then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called me and sought my opinion on transferring power to me. However, I knew that if I accepted that position without powers vested in me by the Constitution to do so, this country would end up in anarchy,” he said. Speaker Abeywardena said that about Rs 45 million had been spent on the debate on the no-confidence motion against him and it was a waste of money. “This is not the first time a no confidence motion has been brought against a Speaker in our parliament. There were four previous instances. Among the charges against the Speakers in those motions were violating Standing orders and other statutory provisions. But for the first time, there has been an allegation of violating the Constitutional provisions, in the motion against me. That charge has been levelled on the basis of my conduct at the CC voting to approve the appointment of the IGP.” The Speaker said on that occasion he had acted to safeguard national security as the country needed a permanent IGP.

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Prosecutor not filing charges in Nex Benedict case following nonbinary teen’s suicide

No criminal charges will be filed against anyone involved in the high school bathroom brawl with nonbinary teen Nex Benedict, who took their own life the following day, an Oklahoma prosecutor said. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said in a statement Thursday he agreed with Owasso police investigators that the fight between Benedict and three girls was an “instance of mutual combat.” “When I review a report and make a decision to file a charge I must be convinced — as is every prosecutor — that a crime was committed and that I have reasonable belief that a judge or jury would be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed,” Kunzweiler said. “From all the evidence gathered, this fight was an instance of mutual combat.” Speculation ran rampant over whether injuries Benedict suffered from the fight might have contributed to the sophomore’s death. But police said late last month the 16-year-old did not die as a result of trauma. Kunzweiler also said that authorities found a “suicide note” that was written by Benedict, who went by they/them pronouns. “An important part of the Owasso Police Department’s investigation was the discovery of some brief notes, written by Benedict, which appeared to be related to the suicide,” Kunzweiler said. “The precise contents of the suicide note are a personal matter which the family will have to address within the privacy of their own lives.” But the district attorney added the suicide note did not mention the bathroom fight or other difficulties at school, though Benedict had told family they were picked on at school for “various reasons,” according to the statement. Kunzweiler said in the days leading up to the fight involving the two groups of students, both sides had been antagonizing each other. Benedict was sent to the hospital following the brawl, but was discharged the same day. Benedict told a police officer from a hospital bed that the girls had been picking on them and their friends because of how they dressed and laughed. As a result, Benedict said they poured water on them leading to the fight. The teen was found unresponsive by paramedics on Feb. 8 inside their home before dying at the hospital from what the medical examiner later said was an overdose of drugs. The district attorney’s office noted both drugs used by Benedict were legally inside the home. A lawyer representing Benedict’s family said he didn’t expect the family to comment on the district attorney’s statement. The high-profile case of the student has led to sharp political divisions and a focus on school bullying, particularly against LGBT students. With Post wires If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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Medicine Hat mayor sanctioned by colleagues, pay cut in half

The sanctions imposed upon Clark stem from a tense exchange between her and city manager Ann Mitchell at the Aug. 21, 2023 council meeting. At that meeting, Clark pressed Mitchell for several minutes when council was discussing the city’s administrative reorganization. Clark argued the process followed by the city was improper. In response, Mitchell described the mayor’s line of questioning as “an inquisition.” “I think this is highly inappropriate and I’d like to stop this discussion right now,” Mitchell said. “This isn’t a question period. This is a diatribe and I’m probably more offended than you are.” After that meeting, council voted to retain Kingsgate Law, an Edmonton-based law firm, to investigate a complaint from a council member that Clark had contravened council’s code of conduct bylaw. ‘No need for that line of questioning’ Andy McGrogan, a Medicine Hat councillor, said the situation has been unfortunate, but that Clark’s conduct at the meeting last summer warranted the unprecedented sanctions. “There was really no need for that line of questioning,” he told Postmedia Thursday. “I don’t want to use the word malicious, but it seemed to be … just an opportunity to voice her displeasure. She knew the answers to the questions she was asking.”

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Angela Rayner says questions about her tax affairs were ‘manufactured’

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said a controversy about her tax affairs was “manufactured” in an attempt to smear her. Ms Rayner, the shadow housing secretary, has faced questions about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the sale of her former council house due to confusion over whether it was her principal residency. “I’ve been very clear there’s no rules broken,” she told BBC’s Newsnight programme. “They [the Conservatives] tried to manufacture a police investigation. “They [the police] said there’s no issues there. I got tax advice which says there was no capital gains tax. It’s a non-story manufactured to try and smear me.” A book by former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, Red Queen? The Unauthorised Biography of Angela Rayner, suggested that she failed to properly declare her main residency. Ms Rayner insists the property in Vicarage Road, Stockport – which she sold in 2015 for a reported £48,500 profit before she entered Parliament – was her “principal property” despite her husband living elsewhere at the time. Government guidance says tenants can apply to buy their council home through the right-to-buy scheme if it is their “only or main home”. HMRC rules state married couples or civil partners can only count one property as their primary residence. “I was a home care worker, you know, I didn’t have an accountant,” she said. “I had, as most people would: you put your house on the market, you get a legal conveyancing solicitor, and you get an estate agent. “But since those allegations were put to me, I got expert tax advice to make sure that I hadn’t done anything wrong.” She continued: “No, I wasn’t aware of the HMRC rules… when I sold that property. “I sold it as most people would put it on the market, got the solicitor and the estate agents, etc. Since those allegations were put to me, the tax laws on capital gains tax and principal private residency, etc. is very complex, including marriage. “I got that advice that is categoric that I do not owe any capital gains tax on that.”

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Illinois iLottery player hits nearly $1 million jackpot in online game

The Illinois Lottery says one lucky player hit a jackpot worth nearly $1 million in a Fast Play game this week. According to Lottery officials, the player hit a jackpot worth more than $985,000 in the Super Jackpot game, setting a new record for the game. Prices of just under $800,000 and approximately $885,000 have also been captured in the game since it debuted. The progressive game costs $20 per play, with a starting jackpot of $50,000. That jackpot continues to grow with each ticket sold until a player wins it, according to officials. More than $16.7 million in prizes have been awarded in the game since it debuted in Oct. 2023. The Super Jackpot and other FastPlay games can be found on the Illinois Lottery’s app, and via the lottery’s website. Games can also be played at retail outlets. There are more than two dozen games available at multiple price points.

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Ukraine Sets Sights on ‘Important Target’ in Crimea

Kyiv’s military has set its sights on Russia’s newly constructed railway that is connecting parts of occupied Ukraine with the Crimean Peninsula.Speaking on national television Thursday, Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) spokesman Andriy Yusov said that the railroad—which passes through the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia region to connect the port city of Rostov-on-Don with Crimea—was a “serious challenge” and “significant target for Ukraine’s Armed Forces.”Russian officials said in November that construction had begun on the railway to help transport goods—such as grain, iron and coal—to mainland Russia in light of the attacks against the Kerch Straight Bridge, which has become a key target for Ukraine as it ramps up its attacks against Crimea. At the time, Yevgeny Balitsky, Moscow’s appointed head of the Zaporizhzhia region, said that building the raillroad would “solve the problems of the military.””They [Russia] are not satisfied with what is happening with the Crimean Bridge,” Yusov said on Thursday, according to a report by The Kyiv Independent. “Therefore, they are trying to strengthen the railroad connection.”Yusov added that Russia was using the railway to help supply its forces fighting in Ukraine. The Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, served as an important military hub prior to Moscow launching its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.Newsweek reached out to Russia’s Ministry of Defense for further comment via email late Thursday night.The Crimean Bridge was shut down earlier this month after Moscow accused Kyiv of carrying out drone strikes in the area. Russia’s Defense Ministry said that in the early hours of March 3, Ukraine had targeted Crimea with 38 airborne drones in an overnight attack and that traffic on the bridge was “temporarily blocked,” but Moscow claimed that its defense systems were able to intercept all incoming drones.Ukraine has also in recent months successfully targeted Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based around the peninsula. Kyiv’s military claimed in February that it had taken out 20 percent of the naval fleet since the start of the war. The U.K. Defense Ministry has seconded that claim.British intelligence said on Wednesday that Russia had begun deploying decoy ships to the Black Sea to help thwart Ukraine’s attacks. According to the report, Russia is disguising its vessels with black paint to “make their warships appear smaller and a less appealing target.””Silhouettes of vessels have also been painted on the side of quays, probably to confuse Ukrainian uncrewed aerial vehicle operators,” U.K.’s Defense Ministry added.

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