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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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Morocco: Police use water cannon on protesting teachers | World News

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Thousands of teachers in Morocco have staged a protest amid growing anger over low wages and temporary contracts.

Sunday’s march in Rabat, Morocco’s capital city, came a day after police used water cannon to disperse teachers who were sleeping outdoors in protest.

The teachers marched from the education ministry to the front of parliament – and demanded permanent contracts that deliver civil service benefits including a better retirement pension.

Some of them shouted slogans such as “this is a corrupt country” and “we are ruled by a mafia” – and urged Prime Minister Eddine El Othmani to resign.

- A Moroccan protester raises his arms in front of water cannons used by the police during a demonstration in the capital Rabat on March 24, 2019. - The police dispersed during the night a gathering of teachers who reportedly attempted to camp in front of the parliament, demanding permanent contracts within the national education system.
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Police have been criticised after using water cannon on protesting teachers

The government insists that teachers on temporary contracts have the same starting salary as those employed permanently, which is about 5,000 dirhams (£395) a month.

However, many protesters are demanding that their monthly pay is raised by 1,500 dirhams (£118) per month.

The government has warned that teachers face the sack unless they return to the classroom.

But one young teacher, Abdelilah Taloua, told Reuters: “We are not intimidated by the threats of the education ministry’s because we came to claim our right to be integrated in the civil service and defend the public school.”

Teachers have been on strike since 3 March, holding demonstrations for the past three weeks in front of educational institutions across the country.

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Nike pays £10.7m penalty over football merchandise sales | Business News

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Nike has been fined €12.5m (£10.7m) after falling foul of EU rules regarding cross-border online sales.

The European Commission found that between 2004 and 2017 the US sportswear firm blocked choice and raised prices for consumers by stopping licencees from selling merchandise for many top clubs outside of their direct territory.

It said that Nike had threatened to rip-up contracts if they did.

The case related only to merchandise for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma and the French Football Federation, officials said.

Manchester United have unveiled their kit for the new season
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Nike’s most recent relationship with Manchester United ran from the 2002/3 season until 2014/15

The inquiry formed part of the commission’s sector inquiry into e-commerce.

The goods affected included official mugs, bags, bed sheets, stationery and toys.

Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said: “Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers.”

The company, which was yet to give its response to the penalty, had its fine reduced by 40% because it cooperated with the investigation.

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UK urged to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia over Yemen war | World News

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The leaders of Britain’s five main opposition parties have demanded the UK government halts arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in the war in Yemen, stops all British military operations in the kingdom and condemns Riyadh’s conduct in the conflict.

The message was due to be delivered to foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in a letter marking the fourth anniversary of the civil war between Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

“After four years of intolerable suffering and degradation, time is running out. Yemen stands on the brink of catastrophe,” wrote the five leaders, who included Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP’s Ian Blackford, whose party organised the letter.

“The UK government must condemn the reckless and barbaric behaviour of the Saudi government, immediately suspend the sale of arms to the regime for use in the war on Yemen pending a comprehensive and independent investigation of all alleged war crimes, and halt all conventional military operations in the country.”

The letter which was sent by the five opposition leaders
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Part of the letter which was sent by the five opposition leaders

The leaders, also including Sir Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats, Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, said they welcomed a visit by Mr Hunt to Yemen at the start of the month.

He became the first British foreign secretary to visit Yemen in more than 20 years.

But they raised allegations made by colleagues last October of the UK being complicit “in fuelling this conflict for profit” and listed what they described as crimes by the Saudi-led coalition.



Martin Griffiths







Failure in Yemen would be ‘quite appalling’

This included 10,852 of the 17,640 UN documented civilian casualties in Yemen.

“There are 20 million people who don’t know if they’re going to be able to get their next week’s supply of food, and 85,000 children are estimated to have died of starvation in the country,” the opposition leaders said.

They accused the UK of being unwilling to accept any correlation between the UK’s arms trade and support for the Saudi government, a key ally in the region.

The leaders said the UK’s £4.6bn of arms export licences to Saudi Arabia “eclipses” the aid given to the people of Yemen.

Afaf Hussein, 10, who is malnourished, sits next to her stepmother as her father Hussein Abdu, 40, gives her a slice of an orange at a hotel in Sanaa, Yemen, February 14, 2019. Afaf, who now weighs around 11 kg and is described by her doctor as "skin and bones", has been left acutely malnourished by a limited diet during her growing years and suffering from hepatitis, likely caused by infected water. She left school two years ago because she got too weak. "Before the war we managed to get food b
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Around 85,000 children are estimated to have starved in Yemen, according to the letter

“You and your colleagues in government have often affirmed that the UK’s closeness to Saudi Arabia gives the UK influence over them,” the letter said.

“Given the extent to which we supply weapons to Saudi Arabia, the leverage we hold over them must be considerable yet their behaviours and appalling human rights abuses have continued unrestrained,” it said.

“The UK cannot be a partner for peace if it continues to sell arms to a murderous regime with one hand and give aid – miniscule in comparison – with the other.”

The letter was signed by the five main opposition leaders, including Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford
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The letter was signed by the five main opposition leaders, including Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford

After his visit to Aden, Mr Hunt told Sky News a fragile, United Nations-brokered ceasefire in Yemen would fail – possibly within weeks – unless both sides deliver commitments made at peace talks.

He said it was an “absolutely critical moment” for a nation torn apart by war since 2015.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other members of a coalition backing the Yemeni government agreed to stop airstrikes against Houthi rebel forces in the port city of Hudeidah as part of negotiations made during the December talks in Stockholm.

In return, Houthi rebels were supposed to leave their positions in the area.

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