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May 30, 2015

U2 tour manager, Dennis Sheehan dies in Los Angeles hotel room at 68

U2 tour manager, Dennis Sheehan dies in Los Angeles hotel room at 68

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

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Image: Antonio Cruz/ABr.

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Dennis Sheehan, U2‘s tour manager, died in his Los Angeles hotel room on Wednesday at 68 years of age.

In their second show at the Los Angeles Forum, U2 paid tribute to their tour manager. According to The Guardian, in-between songs U2’s lead singer Bono reflected on Sheehan’s life to the audience, saying how he was family to the band. Bono said, “U2’s family — it’s a brotherhood, although there’s a lot of sisters in it too… but the extended family is very important to us and we look after each other. It takes a lot to put on a show like tonight, and last night we lost a member of our family. Dennis Sheehan was his name. He was U2’s tour manager for 33 years.”

During the show, Bono also added, “A lot of U2 songs over the years were written to fill a void, an absence, a hole in a heart left by a loved one. With the loss of Sheehan, U2 now has such a wound.”

According to Rolling Stone, Sheehan was with the Irish band U2 on their five-day Los Angeles tour. He was discovered dead in his West Hollywood hotel room and pronounced dead from a heart attack on Wednesday morning after paramedics were called at 5:30am local time. According to Billboard, the paramedics found Sheehan unresponsive before pronouncing him as dead soon after.

The band earlier on announced the death of their tour manager via their website, and in a statement, Bono said, “We’ve lost a family member, we’re still taking it in. He wasn’t just a legend in the music business, he was a legend in our band. He is irreplaceable.” Arthur Fogel, Chairman of Global Touring for Live Nation Entertainment also stated his thoughts on the loss of Sheehan: “With profound sadness we confirm that Dennis Sheehan, U2’s longstanding tour manager and dear friend to us all, has passed away overnight. Our heartfelt sympathy is with his wonderful family.”

Having been a tour manager for U2 for over 30 years, Sheehan began his career at the age of 19, and started working with the band in 1982. Sheehan also toured with Led Zeppelin in the 70s and worked with other artists such as Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop. Rolling Stone quote Sheehan talking to U2 Magazine in 1984 about how special the band was: “There is something extremely special about U2… Whether it be in their social lives, which they are very particular about, or in their business life… they go for the best, and in turn the people that work for them give of their best.”

U2 are currently on their international “Innocence and Experience” tour which concludes in November.



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Non-parole period extended to 43 years for Australian rapist and murderer

Filed under: Archived,Australia — admin @ 5:00 am

Non-parole period extended to 43 years for Australian rapist and murderer

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

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Australian Adrian Ernest Bayley, 43, previously convicted of rape and murder, has been sentenced on Thursday to a further 18 years in prison for three more rapes.

Bayley had already been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 35 years, over the 2013 rape and murder of ABC employee Jill Meagher. The additional 18 year sentence means Bayley would not be eligible to apply for parole until the year 2058. He would then be age 86.

The judge presiding over the case, Judge Pullen said, “Your repeated violent offending and gravity of that offending provides little to offer the faintest glimmer of hope”, as the sentence was handed down. Senior Crown Prosecutor Peter Rose QC supported the decision made by Judge Pullen saying, “Given the history of the prisoner Bayley, the only finding available to the court is that the prisoner represents a serious danger to the community”.

Bayley committed rape and attempted rape at age 19. Later, in 2000, he raped six prostitutes in the Melbourne suburb of Saint Kilda. He was sentenced for these crimes to at least eight years in jail and was on parole in 2012 when he raped a Dutch backpacker and in 2013 raped and murdered Jill Meagher.

During the trial for the 2013 rape and murder of Jill Meagher, Bayley told the court “They should have the death penalty for people like me […] How many chances does a person need? They should never have let me out.”



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May 29, 2015

Tony Blair resigns as envoy of Quartet to Middle East

Filed under: Archived,Middle East,Palestine,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Tony Blair resigns as envoy of Quartet to Middle East

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Friday, May 29, 2015

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced on Wednesday his intention to resign from his post as the Quartet‘s envoy to the Middle East, to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Blair has held this position for the past eight years, and his resignation is to take effect in June.

The Quartet on the Middle East, formed in 2002, is made up of Russia, the United States, the UN, and the EU. Its purpose is to promote the Israeli–Palestinian peace process and to help develop the Palestinian economy.

The Independent suggests deterioration of Blair’s relationship with leading figures in the Palestinian National Authority. Reportedly Blair means to continue with his diplomatic efforts after his resignation; to “concentrate on strengthening relations between Israel and the wider Arab world”, as well as “focus on encouraging Israel to take measures to dramatically improve the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Preceding Wednesday’s meeting on the peace process by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Brussels, Blair’s office wrote in its last report to the committee: “Over a year on from the breakdown in talks between Israel and the Palestinians, there is still no tangible political horizon in sight.”

Following Blair’s resignation, the Quartet issued a formal statement saying “As the Quartet’s envoy on the ground during the last eight years, Mr Blair demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the cause of Israeli–Palestinian peace and made lasting contributions to the effort to promote economic growth and improve daily life in the West Bank and Gaza”.



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May 28, 2015

Joe Hockey agrees to lobby states to ditch tampon tax

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Oceania,Politics and conflicts,Tony Abbott — admin @ 5:00 am

Joe Hockey agrees to lobby states to ditch tampon tax

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Australian treasurer Joe Hockey has agreed to reconsider the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons and other hygiene products after being confronted about the issue on Q&A Monday night. Mr Hockey was responding to a question from student activist Subeta Vimalarajah.

“I started a petition against taxing the sanitary products under the GST. It now has over 86,000 signees and 11,000 submissions to the Better Tax Review. Mr Hockey, do you think that sanitary products are an essential health good for half the population?” she asked.

“Do I think sanitary products are essential? I think so,” Mr Hockey responded “Should the GST be taken off them? It probably should, yes. The answer is yes.”

He said that he will raise the issue with the next meeting of the state treasurers in July.

“I understand there’s long been a push to take the GST off goods, which are one way or another regarded as health products,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. “It’s certainly not something that this Government has a plan to do.”

He said he interpreted Joe Hockey’s remarks as meaning it was a matter for the states.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said the matter deserved serious consideration.

“Why did it take till Mr Hockey was asked a question on live TV for him to acknowledge this was an issue?” he asked.

“I understand the concerns with taxing sanitary products — concerns that go back to the introduction of the GST by the Coalition.

“These are in effect health products and aren’t simply a matter of choice for women.”

The GST was introduced in Australia in 2000. The then Prime Minister John Howard said the tax on tampons was not a woman’s issue.

“I mean, of course if you look at tampons in isolation – just as you look at something else in isolation – you can mount an argument to take the tax off it,” Mr Howard said at the time.

“I could mount an argument to take the tax off children’s clothes. I could mount an argument to take the tax off old people’s clothes, I could mount an argument for a whole lot of things. But we’ve had that argument and if you start doing that, you will have no GST in the end, and the whole system will begin to unravel.”



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B.B. King\’s daughters allege blues musician was poisoned

B.B. King’s daughters allege blues musician was poisoned

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  • U2 tour manager, Dennis Sheehan dies in Los Angeles hotel room at 68
  • B.B. King’s daughters allege blues musician was poisoned
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

B.B. King in 2006.
Image: Eric Draper.

Two daughters of blues legend B.B. King are claiming on Monday that he was poisoned by business manager LaVerne Toney and personal assistant Myron Johnson. The allegations were made by daughters Karen Williams and Patty King in affidavits provided by their lawyer to the Associated Press.

“I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances,” Williams and King said in identically worded sections of the affidavits. “I believe my father was murdered.”

Williams and King also allege that family members were prevented from visiting their father prior to his death. The lawyer for King’s estate says the claims are ridiculous.

“I hope they have a factual basis that they can demonstrate for their defamatory and libelous allegations,” lawyer Brent Bryson said in a statement to the Associated Press.

Bryson says that King was appropriately cared for by medical professionals up until his death on May 14 in Las Vegas.

An autopsy of B.B. King’s body was carried out on Sunday by the Clark County, Nevada coroner’s office. The coroner’s office said on Twitter that it would be a minimum of six to eight weeks before results of the autopsy are finalised.

The Las Vegas Police department said that a potential homicide investigation into the death of the blues legend will depend on autopsy findings.



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May 27, 2015

Torrential rains cause deaths, wreak havoc across much of Texas

Filed under: Archived,North America,Original reporting,Texas,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Torrential rains cause deaths, wreak havoc across much of Texas

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recently, record breaking rainfall has doled out severe destruction over much of the state of Texas, United States. The state’s governor called the effects of the storms “absolutely devastating”. At least two people died over the weekend, while twelve more were reported missing.

File photo of a Texas family being rescued from flood conditions, 2007.
Image: Unknown U.S. Army official.

Various rainfall records have been broken all over the state in recent days. On Sunday alone, over three inches of rain fell in the city of Dallas. In Hays County, one official described the flooding as “the largest flood in the history of this region” — at least 350 homes there were destroyed and an additional 1,000 homes suffered damage.

While both Oklahoma and Mexico have seen effects of the storms, the two killed in Texas were a girl returning from her prom and a 14 year-old boy. A photo from The Weather Channel showed flooding at The Galleria shopping mall in Houston, preventing employees from leaving. In the eastern part of the state, heavy rains have struck nearly every day in May, washing out patches of roadways.



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Pro-government forces in Iraq launch operation to reclaim Ramadi from Islamic State

Pro-government forces in Iraq launch operation to reclaim Ramadi from Islamic State

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

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An aerial view of Ramadi and the Euphrates River.
Image: Cpl. Jeremy M. Giacomino, USMC.

Iraq has started a new military operation to push back Islamic State by reclaiming the city of Ramadi, according to an Iraqi paramilitary spokesperson yesterday. Ramadi, which is the capital of the province of Anbar, fell to Islamic State earlier this month.

The new offensive includes both government troops and paramilitary forces — Hashed al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Brigades, which largely consists of Shiite militias.

The operation in the Anbar province seeks to cut off Islamic State supply routes to prepare the way for the recapture of Ramadi. There has so far been fighting reported to the south and west of Ramadi as pro-government forces make their advance.

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq stated it is carrying out airstrikes near Ramadi to support the Iraqi advance. The U.S. is also supplying the Iraqi forces with military equipment, including anti-tank weaponry.

A meeting is scheduled for June 2 in Paris between representatives of countries fighting Islamic State. John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, is amongst some 20 or more foreign ministers to attend; the meeting is to focus on strategy.



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Citizenship of Australian terrorists overseas under question

Filed under: Archived,Australia — admin @ 5:00 am

Citizenship of Australian terrorists overseas under question

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

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  • 5 June 2015: Australian businessman Alan Bond dies aged 77
  • 30 May 2015: Non-parole period extended to 43 years for Australian rapist and murderer
  • 28 May 2015: Western Australia police close in on murder suspect, arrest warrant issued
  • 28 May 2015: Joe Hockey agrees to lobby states to ditch tampon tax
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File photo of Tony Abbott at flag raising and citizenship ceremony, January 2015.
Image: Nick-D.

Yesterday, Australia‘s Prime Minister proposed his government might strip individuals of their Australian citizenship if authorities consider them involved in terrorist activity.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated, “As flagged by me in my national security statement in February, we will be legislating within a few weeks to strip dual citizens involved in terrorism of their Australian citizenship”.

The Coalition government’s bill aims to empower the immigration minister to revoke Australian citizenship of dual nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity.

Speaking of procedural for stripping individual citizenship, immigration minister Peter Dutton said he would take advice from intelligence agencies, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Dutton said, “We would gather as much evidence as was possible and we would make a decision whether or not we thought somebody was captured by what is a tight definition in relation to somebody committing an act of terrorism, an act preparatory to, fundraising or supporting a terrorist organisation or providing financial support or indoctrinating young people into the ways of one of these cults.”

This news comes as the Australian wife of Islamic State fighter Khaled Sharrouf, Tara Nettleton, attempts to re-enter the country with her children. Khaled’s seven-year-old son appeared in an internet image Khaled posted last year — in which the boy was holding a severed human head.



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May 26, 2015

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten moves towards legalising same-sex marriage

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten moves towards legalising same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten announced today, they will present a private bill to Parliament next Monday to legalise same-sex marriage, with the support of deputy leader Tanya Plibersek.

This move towards same-sex marriage follows the Greens‘ initial announcement this morning, saying they planned senate debate of a marriage equality bill in June.

Bill Shorten announced his plan to bring same-sex marriage to Australia through a statement, saying, “I have given notice that I will move a Private members Bill in the House of Representatives on Monday which will finally bring about marriage equality in Australia”.

The Irish referendum which saw a majority of voting citizens support same-sex marriage over the weekend has brought the issue back to the front of public debate In Australia.

On the possibility of a similar process in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, “Referendums are held in this country where there’s a proposal to change the constitution […] I don’t think anyone is suggesting the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.”

In order for the bill to pass through Parliament, votes are not only needed from the Labor party, but also the Coalition MPs. Tony Abbott has said it is up to the Coalition party room whether MPs will be permitted to have a conscience vote, rather than being required to vote their parties’ position.

Talking about the effect the private bill will have, along with the freedom to vote, Bill Shorten says, “It will challenge the deeply held personal beliefs of MPs and senators on both sides of politics. This is why Labor members have the freedom to vote their conscience, a freedom Tony Abbott is currently denying his party.”



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May 24, 2015

Taylor Swift breaks Vevo record

Taylor Swift breaks Vevo record – Wikinews, the free news source

Taylor Swift breaks Vevo record

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Swift performing in 2014.
Image: Clarence Ji from London, United Kingdom.

Taylor Swift has set a new Vevo record with her music video Bad Blood getting 20.1 million views in 24 hours this past week. The artist took the title from Nicki Minaj who had 19.6 million views for Anaconda in August 2014.

The country-turned-pop singer premiered the video at the Billboard Music Awards where she won several awards including Top Artist and the Billboard Achievement Award.

The video featured celebrities including Mariska Hargitay, Zendaya, Cindy Crawford, Ellen Pompeo, Lily Aldridge and more. Selena Gomez portrays the antagonist.

Victorias secret model Karlie Kloss believes the video could turn into a feature length film.

“I think she should turn it into a movie… premiering next year at Cannes,” she said.



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