Monthly Archives:June 2019

Punters have staked a significant amount on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge naming their second baby Alice – leaving one bookmaker facing a potential five-figure payout.

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The odds on heavily pregnant Kate and William calling their baby Alice have tumbled with bookmaker William Hill from 14-1 to 4-1 after the bets were made last week.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: “Alice is the new favourite and we have seen a significant number of bets, particularly from the Tunbridge area – you have to think there is good reason for the gamble.”

If the wagers prove correct the bookmakers face losing a five-figure sum.

After Alice the next fancied moniker among punters is the Queen’s name Elizabeth at odds of 9-2 followed by Charlotte 11-2, Victoria 12-1, Alexandra 14-1, Diana 16- 1, and the boys names Arthur, Henry and James all at 20-1.

Since the mid 19th century a number of royal women have been called Alice, with Queen Victoria calling her second daughter Princess Alice and the wife of the late Duke of Gloucester – the Queen’s uncle – also had the same name.

Paddy Power have also made Alice their favourite, jointly with Charlotte, at odds of 9-2 followed by Elizabeth 5-1, Victoria 10-1, James, Arthur and Alexandra all at 12-1 and Philip 14-1.

Kate held her last public engagements on Friday and will not be seen again officially until she leaves the Lindo Wing, the private maternity wing of London’s St Mary’s Hospital, with her second child, which is due at the end of April.

Odds on the gender of the baby are evens for a boy and 8-11 for a girl.

WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:

A stronger greenback has whacked the Australian dollar almost one US cent lower overnight.

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At 0630 AEDT on Tuesday, the local currency was trading at 76.44 US cents, down from 77.23 cents on Monday.

And the Australian share market looks set to open higher after Wall Street rose more than one per cent amid company mergers and optimism central banks will support growth.

At 0645 AEDT on Tuesday, the June share price index futures contract was up 54 points at 5,909.

ELSEWHERE:

WASHINGTON – US personal incomes grew at a solid pace in February, while consumer spending only rose marginally, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

WASHINGTON – Former US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has returned to public debate over economic policy with the launch of his own blog, a year after leaving the Fed.

SHANGHAI – China’s central bank has lowered minimum down-payment levels on second homes nationwide, scrapping a key policy originally aimed at controlling housing prices as it seeks to boost the economy.

MOSCOW – Russian gas giant Gazprom has offered to extend a supply deal with Ukraine for another three months ahead of a looming deadline that had raised fears for deliveries to Europe.

STOCKHOLM – Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars have announced plans to build its first factory in the United States, 60 years after it started selling cars in the country.

NEW YORK – Horizon Pharma is buying Hyperion Therapeutics for about $US1.1 billion ($A1.42 billion), gaining two treatments for genetic disorders.

NEW YORK – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is buying Auspex Pharmaceuticals for about $US3.2 billion ($A4.13 billion) in a move to strengthen its position on central nervous system condition treatments.

NEW YORK – UnitedHealth says it is acquiring Illinois-based group Catamaran for $US12.8 billion ($A16.5 billion), in a move which would boost the US giant’s pharmacy services.

WASHINGTON – More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, evidence that the spring buying season could open strong after sluggish sales for much of the winter.

The legal system in Australia needs to learn from psychologists or risk inflicting grave injustices on child sex assault victims, the chair of the child sexual abuse royal commission says.

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In a keynote address in Auckland to the 14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect on Tuesday, Justice Peter McClellan will say judges are working off what they thought they knew about how “genuine complainants” behaved and how memory works.

“Assumptions that turned out, with the benefit of empirical research, to be erroneous,” he says.

He will trace the historical legal approach to sex assault cases and cite relatively recent warnings by judges about delayed reporting affecting credibility and the fallible nature of human recollection making evidence about childhood events particularly susceptible to error.

Justice McClellan says these legal propositions were put without a scientific source, yet they became embedded in the fabric of the common law and proved difficult even for parliament to dislodge.

The commission has found it can take more than 20 years for a person to report a childhood sex attack but psychological research has found children are reliable witnesses about stressful events.

“They had profound consequences for complainants in sexual assault cases; particularly complainants who were children at the time at which they were assaulted.”

Justice McClellan says where observations are made about human nature, and these observations go on to inform the law and its practical application, “judges must work to ensure these observations are accurate”.

“Where science progresses and the law lags behind, the criminal justice system risks inflicting injustice on either complainants or the accused.”

He says judges of the High Court had on occasion embraced the work of psychologists to assist their understanding of human behaviour but this happened randomly and there were no agreed rules.

“It is apparent that the law, at least in Australia, has not yet identified the rules which will allow the scientist to speak effectively to the judge,” he says.

Rules which were not informed by science ran the risk of undermining community confidence in the law.

These matters are of particular concern to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and it will address them.

US police have opened fire and one suspect is dead after two men dressed in women’s clothing tried to ram their car onto the grounds of the National Security Agency outside Washington.

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One police officer and a second suspect were hurt in the incident, said the National Security Agency’s director for strategic communications, Jonathan Freed.

It was not immediately clear whether the suspects were shot or wounded when their car crashed into a police security vehicle.

A US official confirmed reports the men were wearing women’s clothing.

An FBI spokeswoman said the incident at Fort Meade, the electronic eavesdropping agency’s super-secure base in suburban Maryland, was not believed to be “related to terrorism”.

Officials said the drama was quickly contained and NSA headquarters staff were not at risk, but it will inevitably recall similar recent security incidents at federal sites.

According to Freed, a vehicle carrying two individuals was directed to turn back after it made an unauthorised attempt to enter the base.

Instead, the car accelerated toward an NSA vehicle blocking the road. Police opened fire, but the car crashed into the security truck.

“One of the unauthorised vehicle’s occupants died on the scene. The cause of death has not been determined,” Freed said, in a statement.

“One NSA police officer was injured and taken to a local hospital. The incident was contained to the vehicle control point.”

The FBI has taken charge of the investigation and the White House said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the situation.

News footage from helicopters showed the crash-damaged police vehicle and a civilian vehicle outside a main gate, and an injured person being transferred to an ambulance.

The FBI said it has opened an investigation, joining other law enforcement agencies and deploying agents to the scene to gather evidence and interview witnesses.

“The shooting scene is contained and we do not believe it is related to terrorism,” said Amy Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Baltimore office.

“We are working with the US attorney’s office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted,” she said.

About 11,000 military personnel and 29,000 civilians work at Fort Meade, which also houses the headquarters of the US Cyber Command and other military units.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has forecast a review of the league’s two drugs policies in the wake of the Collingwoood positive tests.

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McLachlan went as far as saying it might be time to toughen their controversial “three-strikes” illicit drugs policy.

Any attempt by the AFL to harden the illicit drugs provisions risks a major fight with the players, given it is a voluntary code.

McLachlan said he was incredibly disappointed and frustrated by the news that Magpies Lachlan Keeffe and Josh Thomas had tested positive to the banned substance clenbuterol.

The positive tests fall under the ASADA anti-doping code and the players are now under provisional suspension.

Their positive tests are unrelated to the illicit drugs policy.

While the illicit drugs code is specific to the AFL, the anti-doping provisions come under the umbrella of ASADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

But McLachlan said the two positive tests at Collingwood suggested it was time to look at all the ways the league tries to police drug use among its players.

“We have had well-researched, well-considered policies and have had them in place for some time, both with illicit drugs and obviously with our ASADA-WADA policy,” McLachlan told Fox Sports.

“We think we’ve had the right policy settings.

“But I think right now that if the policies aren’t working, then we need to look at them and have a look at what’s going wrong.

“Because after today, I think it’s time to actually have a look at them.”

McLachlan was then asked specifically about the illicit drugs policy.

“This has been a voluntary policy, but things have moved a long way since these policies were brought in place,” he said.

“We acknowledge and accept that players have rights, but they also have responsibilities.

“If they’re not going to live around those responsibilities, then I think we have to address the settings.”

Senior Collingwood officials hope to talk at greater length to Keeffe and Thomas on Tuesday or Wednesday about the positive tests.

They only spoke briefly to the players on Friday, after ASADA officially notified them of the test results.

Keeffe and Thomas are under provisional suspension until their B samples are tested on April 14.

This is expected to be a formality, with the pair likely to face the league’s anti-doping tribunal.

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on Monday night that the players were at a complete loss to explain how they tested positive.

News of the positive tests is another major blow to the AFL ahead of this week’s opening round.

The positive tests were revealed the day before the AFL anti-doping tribunal hands down its verdicts on 34 current and past Essendon players, over charges relating to the club’s supplements scandal.