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Hurt and shame over Grace’s murder

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New Zealand’s prime minister has spoken of an “overwhelming sense of hurt and shame over the killing of Grace Millane.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s words come just hours after a 26-year-old appeared in a New Zealand court charged with murdering the British backpacker.

Ms Ardern said: “Firstly, I cannot imagine the grief of her family and what they will be experiencing and feeling right now.

“From the Kiwis I have spoken to there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality, on our manaakitanga, especially to those who are visiting our shores.

“On behalf of New Zealand, I would like to apologise to Grace’s family, your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn’t and I’m sorry for that.

“My thoughts and prayers are with her father David who is in the country, and her mother who cannot be here, and her wider family and friends and loved ones.”

Ms Millane’s body was found in an area of bush in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges on Sunday.

The man’s appearance at Auckland District Court was brief and he has yet to enter a plea to the charge of murdering the British backpacker between 1 and 2 December.

The suspect’s lawyer, Ian Brookie, applied for name suppression, saying it was needed for a fair trial.

Judge Evangelos Thomas rejected this argument on the basis of open justice.

Brookie said he would appeal, meaning the man’s identity is temporarily suppressed.

Ms Millane was staying at the Base backpackers hostel in central Auckland prior to her disappearance
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Ms Millane was staying at the Base backpackers’ hostel in central Auckland

Ms Millane’s father David is in New Zealand and, along with other family members, was in court as Judge Thomas addressed them.

In comments reported by Radio NZ, the judge said: “I’d like to acknowledge the presence of Grace’s family.

“I don’t know what we say to you at this time.

“Your grief must be desperate.

Judge Evangelos Thomas makes remarks on December 10, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand
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Judge Evangelos Thomas spoke to Grace’s family during the hearing

“All of us hope that justice for Grace is fair, swift and ultimately brings you some peace.

“That will not be happening today, there will be no judgement today. It is important there is no judgement today.

“There will be in all likelihood a number of procedural issues we need to deal with today.

“Those are all part and parcel of a process that has judgement as its end goal, not its starting point.”

New Zealand police have released an image of a red Toyota Corolla that forms part of their murder investigation
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Police released an image of a Toyota Corolla that forms part of their investigation

The suspect stood dressed in a blue boiler suit and was told he was being remanded in custody until his next appearance on 23 January.

As the accused was walked out of court, a person in the public gallery yelled: “Scumbag”.

Ms Millane’s death comes just weeks after she had left her home in Wickford, Essex, to see the world.

After more than a month in South America, she had arrived in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, on 20 November.

https://www.facebook.com/michael.millane.9
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Grace Millane was described by her father as ‘fun-loving, outgoing and family-orientated’

She was last seen entering a central city hotel with a man more than a week ago and police were called after her regular pattern of communication with family was stopped.

Detectives have released images of a red Toyota Corolla hatchback and have asked anyone who saw the vehicle on Monday 3 December between 6.30am and 9.30am to contact them.

The car was rented in central Auckland on Sunday and later found in Taupo, in the centre of the North Island.

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Trump recognises Venezuelan opposition leader as interim president amid unrest | World News

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Venezuela’s opposition leader has declared himself the new president amid riots which have led to several deaths.

Juan Guaido was met with cheering support after naming himself interim president, raising his right hand as he said he was “formally assuming the responsibility of the national executive”.

Soon after, US president Donald Trump formally recognised Mr Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.

A statement from the White House encouraged other western nations to make the same move.

Venezuelan opposition supporters take to the streets to protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro
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Venezuelan opposition supporters take to the streets to protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a contested second term two weeks ago but has been met by international condemnation.

Thousands of Venezuelans have protested against Mr Maduro, accusing him of usurping power and demanding he step down.

Millions have fled as the country reels from a crushing economic crisis. Those who are forced to stay are going hungry.

The Venezuelan parliament is not likely to convene until Thursday at the earliest.

Stuart Ramsey, Sky correspondent in Venezuela, said: “He was surrounded by people screaming ‘president, president’ as he walked through a rallying point.

“This will end in violence, I can guarantee that, but it has already been violent.

“We know of six dead, two relatively recently, in different parts of the country.

“This question now is what does the president Maduro do?”

He added: “The opposition is hoping the international community will give the support that they need.

“Perhaps proper action, more sanctions, worse. The international community has condemned the leadership here as unelected, Maduro was called a usurper, but we now have two presidents and there is of course, chaos coming.”

Juan Guaido declared himself president
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Juan Guaido declared himself president

Mr Maduro was re-elected last month but the country’s opposition does not recognise the election and says it was fraudulent.

The US recognition of Mr Guaido will mount pressure on Mr Maduro to step down.

Four people died in overnight clashes between opposition supporters and regime loyalists as they prepared for rival rallies on Wednesday after a failed military mutiny.

According to the Social Conflict Observatory a 16-year-old who suffered a firearm injury during a demonstration was among the dead.

Much of the unrest took place in Bolivar state on the border of Brazil. Police said there were three deaths during a looting in the capital Bolivar City.

A statue of revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez was torched by protesters in San Felix.

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French nappies found to contain weedkiller and other potentially toxic chemicals | World News

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Potentially toxic substances, including a widely-used weedkiller linked to cancer, have been discovered in nappies made and sold in France.

Environment agency ANSES revealed its findings in a new study published on Wednesday, with scientists testing 23 types of nappies as they were worn by children.

The tests uncovered butylphenyl methylpropional – used in beauty products – and some aromatic hydrocarbons.

The weedkiller chemical found was glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer and had been subjected to attempts by some European leaders to have it banned.

Regarding its discovery in nappies made in the country, the government said it was vital that manufacturers and retailers ensured the substance was removed.

In a joint statement, the health, environment and finance ministries said: “We call on manufacturers and retailers to take measures within the next 15 days to eliminate these substances from babies’ nappies.”

Emmanuel Macron wants Europe to have a dedicated army
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Emmanuel Macron has previously said he wants glyphosate to be banned

Health minister Agnes Buzyn also moved to assure parents that there was no immediate risk to their children, and said the report was “a precaution to protect our children from possible effects”.

She added: “Obviously we should continue putting nappies on our babies – we’ve been doing that for at least 50 years.”

President Emmanuel Macron has previously said he wanted the glyphosate to be completely phased out, but farmers are likely to be exempt as there are no credible alternatives.

As well as being potentially dangerous to humans, scientists have warned that the controversial pesticide could also be killing bees.

But it remains registered in around 130 countries, including the UK, where it is commonly used to spray pests.

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‘I can’t say I’m sorry’: Trump hat teen Nick Sandmann defends himself over Native American encounter | US News

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A US high school student has said he wished he “walked away and avoided” his encounter with a Native American protester.

Nick Sandmann was filmed apparently smirking while standing just a few feet from Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Friday in a video that has gone viral.

But the teenager said he did not intend to be disrespectful, insisting “I’d like to talk to [Mr Phillips]”

“I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing. But I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there,” he told NBC’s Today programme.

Nick Sandmann (L) and Nathan Phillips were filmed at the Lincoln Memorial
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Nick Sandmann (L) and Nathan Phillips were filmed at the Lincoln Memorial

Asked if he felt he owed anyone an apology or has assumed fault for the clash, he instead blamed a group of black men styling themselves as Hebrew Israelites who were also there.

The men were filmed taunting and insulting both the indigenous people gathered with Mr Phillips and the boys, many of whom, including Sandmann, wore red hats bearing President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“They started shouting a bunch of homophobic, racist, derogatory comments at us. I heard them call us incest kids, bigots, racists. They called us f*****s,” Nick Sandmann said.

The Hebrew Israelites were filmed taunting the boys. Pic: NBC
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The Hebrew Israelites were filmed taunting the boys. Pic: NBC

The Covington Catholic High School students, who were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally, outnumbered their aggressors but the teenager said he “definitely felt threatened.”

Nathan Phillips, a tribal elder, activist and Vietnam War veteran, was singing and playing a drum as he took part in an indigenous people’s march.

He locked eyes with Nick Sandmann while around them some of the teenager’s classmates from the private, all-male school in Kentucky, were seen dancing and jumping around, apparently mocking Mr Phillips.

Donald Trump wearing one of his MAGA hats at a campaign rally
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Donald Trump wearing one of his MAGA hats at a campaign rally

Some were also wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and sweatshirts and one removed his top.

President Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Wednesday the White House has “reached out and voiced our support” to Nick Sandmann and his fellow students.

She said no one understands better than Donald Trump when the media jumps to conclusions and “attacks you for something you may or may not have done.”

On Tuesday, Mr Trump defended the students, tweeting that they had been “smeared by the media” and had become “symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be”.

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