Wimbledon quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios is set to appear in court in Australia next month in relation to an allegation of common assault. Police said it follows an incident in December last year which Kyrgios’ barrister says was “in the context of a domestic relationship”.Kyrgios is now scheduled to appear at the Australia Capital Territory Magistrates’ Court on 2 August.He will play Chile’s Cristian Garin in the Wimbledon last eight on Wednesday. Kyrgios’ barrister Jason Moffett, speaking to The Canberra Times in Australia, said: “The nature of the allegation is serious, and Mr Kyrgios takes the allegation very seriously.”Given the matter is before the court, he doesn’t have a comment at this stage, but in the fullness of time we’ll issue a media release.”A police statement said: “ACT Policing can confirm a 27-year-old Watson man is scheduled to face the ACT Magistrates’ Court on 2 August in relation to one charge of common assault following an incident in December 2021.”The player’s legal team said: “At the present time, the allegations are not considered as fact by the court, and Mr Kyrgios is not considered charged with an offence until the first appearance.”Kyrgios was on site practising at SW19 on Tuesday but moved to a court out of the view of reporters and photographers and did not answer any questions. In a statement, the Association of Tennis Professionals said: “The ATP is aware of the Australian case involving Nick Kyrgios but as legal proceedings are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
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Published3 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Jayde StruhsTwelve members of a religious group have been arrested over the death of an eight-year-old girl in Australia.Elizabeth Struhs died on 7 January at a home south of Brisbane, after the type one diabetic was allegedly denied insulin for almost a week.Earlier this year, her parents were charged with murder, torture and failing to provide necessities of life.Police now say they will charge another 12 people – aged between 19 and 64 – over the girl’s death.The group had been aware of Elizabeth’s deteriorating medical condition, but did not seek help, Queensland Police said in a statement.Her parents – Jason and Kerrie Struhs – are members of a small, tight-knit religious group in the city of Toowoomba that is not associated with any mainstream church, according to local media.Police allege the pair and others prayed for Elizabeth’s recovery as she became gravely ill, the news outlets said.Authorities weren’t called until a day after the child died.Detective Acting Superintendent Garry Watts said police had been surprised by what they found, calling the investigation unprecedented.”In my 40 years of policing, I’ve never faced a matter like this,” he said.”And I’m not aware of a similar event in Queensland, let alone Australia.”In a fundraiser set up to support Elizabeth’s siblings, her oldest sister Jayde Struhs said her extended family had been left “completely shattered and heartbroken”.”We have faced the brutal reality that the people who should have protected her did not, and we may never know the full extent of what took place,” she wrote.She said her estranged parents were part of a “fear-driven and controlling” cult that took religion to its extremes.The 12 people arrested on Tuesday are expected to appear in court on Wednesday. Jason and Kerrie Struhs will return to court later in July.
Published5 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Leena ManimekalaiA film poster that depicts a woman dressed as Hindu goddess Kali smoking a cigarette has sparked anger in India.Director Leena Manimekalai had tweeted the poster of her new film Kaali on Saturday.On Tuesday, police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh registered a complaint against the director for the “disrespectful depiction” of Hindu gods.Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, is worshipped by millions of people.Ms Manimekalai’s tweet had generated thousands of responses from angry Hindus, who accused her of offending their religious sentiments.On Monday night, the Indian High Commission in Canada said it had asked the organisers of the event where Ms Manimekalai’s film was to be screened to withdraw the “provocative” poster.It added that it had also conveyed “complaints from leaders of the Hindu community in Canada” to the organisers.Earlier in the day, Ms Manimekalai’s name had trended on social media in India as many called for her arrest.Super thrilled to share the launch of my recent film – today at @AgaKhanMuseum as part of its “Rhythms of Canada”Link: https://t.co/RAQimMt7LnI made this performance doc as a cohort of https://t.co/[email protected] @TorontoMet @YorkUFGS Feeling pumped with my CREW❤️ pic.twitter.com/L8LDDnctC9— Leena Manimekalai (@LeenaManimekali) July 2, 2022
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterThe filmmaker, who is currently studying in Canada, told the BBC that the goddess she depicts in her film “champions humanity and embraces diversity”.”As a poet and filmmaker, I embody Kali in my own independent vision,” she said. The depiction of religious figures on screen is a sensitive issue in India. In 2015, the country’s censor board demanded several cuts in the Bollywood film Angry Indian Goddesses, which showed images of Hindu goddesses. Many other filmmakers and actors have faced protests for portraying religious themes or references in their movie. India has also recently seen major protests from Muslims over comments made by a politician about the Prophet Muhammad. Last week, police in Rajasthan state arrested two Muslim men who have been accused of killing a Hindu man – in a video, they said the act was in retaliation for his support for the remarks.Several Twitter users said the depiction of the goddess on the poster was an insult to Hinduism and called for legal action against the filmmaker. Others asked for all religious sentiments to be respected.Image source, Getty ImagesVinit Goenka, a spokesperson for the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, said the projection of the goddess hurt “the sentiments of Indians across the world” and asked the Indian government to ensure the tweet was taken down.A lawyer in the capital, Delhi, tweeted that he had filed a police complaint against Ms Manimekalai.The director, who is from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, is a film student in Toronto. She was among 18 graduate students chosen under a programme managed by the Toronto Metropolitan University to make works on multiculturalism. The film, Ms Manimekalai says, is a “candid shoot” of herself dressed up as a goddess walking the streets of Toronto.”In my film, Kali chooses me as a spirit, holds a Pride flag and a camera in her hands and meets the First Nations (indigenous people), the People of African, Asian, Persian descent, the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims and the mini-universe that one can capture across any cross-section of Canada,” she says.Deities are a recurring theme in Ms Manimekalai’s filmography. Her 2007 documentary Goddesses was screened at the Mumbai and Munich film festivals. Her 2019 film, Maadathy – An Unfairy Tale, told the fictional story of how a young girl from a marginalised caste group is immortalised as a deity. Ms Manimekalai says that the scene in the poster depicts the goddess showing love as she “kindly accepts the cigarette from the working-class street-dwellers at the park around the Kensington Market”.She also adds that in village festivals in southern India, people often dress up as Kali, drink country liquor and dance.”We artists cannot be choked by the climate of fear. We need to be louder and stronger,” she said. More on this storyAmazon Prime drama sparks controversy in India20 January 2021Why a Bollywood epic has sparked protests25 January 2018
If you are reading this page and can’t see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at [email protected] Please include your name, age and location with any submission. More on this storyHow Australia is becoming more unliveable19 MayAustralia’s epic floods spur new warning systems13 hours agoRescuers try to save stranded cargo ship near Sydney1 day agoAustralia floods: ‘I’m angry it’s happening again’11 March
Published11 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, TopFotoIn 1933, a sari-clad teenager made international headlines. Avabai Wadia, 19, became the first woman from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to pass the bar exam in the United Kingdom. Her success encouraged the Ceylonese government to allow women to study law in the country.This was not the only time Wadia spurred government policies on women’s rights. By the time she died in 2005, she had become a globally respected figure in the family planning movement, combining a lawyer’s acumen with a dedication to socially uplifting women.Wadia was born in 1913 in a progressive Parsi family in Colombo. After qualifying as a lawyer, she worked in both London and Colombo despite omnipresent “masculine prejudice”. Why birth control is a woman’s burden in IndiaShe moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) during World War Two and immersed herself in social work, but found her true calling in family planning. “It seems my life work presented itself to me rather than my consciously searching for it,” she wrote in her autobiography, The Light is Ours. “I did not feel it a waste not to carry on with a legal career, for law was a fortifying element in all that I undertook.”When she began working in the field in the late 1940s, family planning was a taboo topic across much of the world. Aside from stoking opposition from religious conservatives, it also had ugly links with racism and eugenics. “The first time I heard the words ‘birth control’, I was revolted,” Wadia noted. But she was profoundly affected by a female doctor in Bombay who said that Indian women “oscillated between gestation and lactation until death wound up the sorry tale”. Image source, TopFotoDespite the threat of social ostracism, Wadia plunged into the cause. In 1949, she helped establish the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), an organisation she would head for 34 years. FPAI’s work ranged from promoting contraceptive methods to providing fertility services – the latter gave Wadia “a real sense of satisfaction” since she had suffered miscarriages and had no children. It was in large part due to Wadia’s efforts that the Indian government became the first in the world to officially promote family planning policies in 1951-52.Under Wadia, FPAI adopted a decentralised, community-based approach, working with the urban poor and villagers from some of the most impoverished regions of India. India’s dark history of sterilisationThis meant that, quite often, the FPAI did “anything but family planning” – it undertook projects ranging from reforestation to road-building. Linking family planning with a holistic agenda of education, skill development and health, Wadia and her team employed creative communication techniques such as singing bhajans (devotional songs) with social messaging and organising a family planning exhibition which zipped across the country by train. FPAI’s innovative style of work fostered public confidence and led to marked improvements in development indicators. Image source, Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty For instance, a project which began in the 1970s in Malur in Karnataka, resulted in reduced infant mortality, a significant increase in the average age of marriage, and the doubling of literacy rates. The project evoked such popular support that villagers took over its management after FPAI exited the scene.Perhaps due to her international upbringing, Wadia brought a global perspective to Indian family planning. Inspired by the success of South Korean mothers’ clubs, which bolstered widespread acceptance of family planning in rural areas, she organised close-knit groups where women could discuss pressing social issues ranging from dowry to female under-representation in politics. At the same time, she became a leading figure in the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), spotlighting the unique challenges faced by India in controlling its ballooning demographics.Politics further complicated these challenges. During the Emergency, which was imposed from 1975 to 1977, the Indian government adopted draconian population control measures including forced sterilisation. Wadia condemned this, warning against coercion in family planning programmes and declaring that participation had to be strictly voluntary. Family planning was beginning to show good results but, she lamented, the Emergency “brought the whole programme into disrepute.”In the early 1980s, Wadia faced another formidable challenge as president of the IPPF. She locked horns with the administration of US president Ronald Reagan, which cut funding from the country to any organisation which provided or endorsed abortion services. Although the IPPF did not officially promote abortion, some of its affiliates provided abortion services in countries where it was legal. Image source, Courtesy FPAIThe IPPF refused to cave into US pressure to change this arrangement, resulting in a loss of $17m in funding to its programmes. Wadia ridiculed the Reaganite notion that free market economics would combat population growth. Anyone who believed that, she averred, “has never been anywhere in the developing word – there are too many of the absolute poor, and you just can’t leave it to laissez-faire”.In many ways, Wadia’s career is of pressing relevance to contemporary dilemmas in family planning. In the United States, conservatives have argued that the reversal of abortion rights in Roe v Wade should be followed by reconsideration of rulings on contraceptive access. Wadia – who was involved in conceptualising India’s own abortion law – worried about how abortion could be weaponised in a larger movement against birth control. “Those who try to confuse the public by equating abortion with family planning,” she argued, “are trying to destroy human and individual rights.”Today in India, political debates abound about employing disincentives and coercive elements to restrict the sizes of families. Wadia cautioned against such approaches. “We cannot support disincentives which do not uphold basic human rights,” she said in 2000, when Maharashtra state – in a bid to enforce a two-child norm – considered stripping any third-born child of food rations and free primary education. “In practice, anyway, we have found that disincentives don’t work.”The myth of India’s population explosionThese events have demonstrated that family planning is intrinsically linked to law and politics. Perhaps it was fortuitous, therefore, that India had a pioneering female lawyer as one of the principal architects of its family planning movement.Above all, Wadia’s career is a reminder that family planning cannot be divorced from overall socioeconomic development.A few years before Wadia’s death, MS Swaminathan – the scientist who led India’s Green Revolution, which helped the country achieve food security – paid tribute to this fact. “More than anybody else,” he said, Wadia “knew that if our population policies go wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right”.Parinaz Madan is a lawyer and Dinyar Patel is a historian.More on this storyWhy birth control is a woman’s burden in India27 JuneIndia’s dark history of sterilisation14 November 2014Row over rubber penis in India family planning kit22 MarchWhy do Indian women go to sterilisation camps?11 November 2014
Published13 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, James HarrisOn 27 February, Karl Sprogis and his wife Jill spent most of the night anxiously monitoring flood height data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.Their town, Lismore, was caught in the catastrophic floods that submerged southern Queensland and northern New South Wales in February and March. Those floods have become the most costly in the nation’s history, according to the Insurance Council of Australia. The latest flooding to hit Australia came at the weekend when Sydney was hit with torrential rain. Thousands were told to evacuate their homes and roads were cut by deep water.Back in February, perched on a hill the Sprogis family home was safe, but the couple were worried about their downtown physiotherapy business. It was purposely located on the second floor but even that was not enough.From the water-height charts they could tell the office was going to be inundated, but it was too late to save anything, the authorities had already issued an evacuation order.Image source, Karl Sprogis”We could have put things up higher at that time, had we known, but we didn’t,” says Mr Sprogis, who had been at his practice the night before.”I even left my new laptop on the office desk, thinking, well, [the water has] never been in here before so it won’t come in.” By the following day, his practice was 1.8m underwater, files, records and equipment all damaged or lost.Image source, Karl SprogisMeanwhile in New South Wales in Gibberagee, children’s book author Candy Lawrence watched as 2,000 copies of her books were sucked into the deluge.Ms Lawrence had been carefully watching government flood warnings and gathering supplies, anticipating that nearby roads would be cut off, as often happened when the area flooded.But, like Mr Sprogis, she was not expecting water to sweep through her property and that of her neighbours, some of whom had to scramble onto their roof to escape the fast-rising floodwaters.”I feel like the world is pretty much ending, so why bother educating children?,” she says, referencing her destroyed book collection and the terrifying new weather patterns.Image source, Candy LawrenceLike thousands of others caught in the disaster, Mr Sprogis and Ms Lawrence would have liked more warning. So why wasn’t there a better system, which could alert them in real-time if their properties were in danger?Juliette Murphy, a water resources engineer specialising in hydrology and flooding asked this question after watching her friend’s house in Brisbane flood over the roof peak in 2011. The question came up again after she moved to Calgary, Canada, and witnessed a similarly devastating flood in 2013.Ms Murphy knew that during the Brisbane and Calgary floods, hydrology forecasts had predicted where rivers would peak at certain bridges, but she realised it wasn’t enough. “If you aren’t a hydraulic engineer [who is able] to translate that flood height into an impact to properties – your personal property, your car – it can be very challenging,” she says. Ms Murphy also notes that static flood maps – including those that chart one-in-100-year floods – are also expensive, and can take days, or weeks, to produce. This makes them more suited to development planning and infrastructure design applications, rather than emergency planning and management.”I was thinking, there has to be something more,” says Ms Murphy. Image source, FloodMappShe began dedicating her evenings and weekends to looking for a solution, which eventually led her to co-found FloodMapp with web developer, Ryan Prosser.With a significant research and development investment, FloodMapp was launched in 2018.FloodMapp’s technology can rapidly forecast water levels to map floods before they happen. It does this by ingesting huge amounts of historical data (including things like rainfall and ground saturation levels) and uses artificial intelligence to accurately model the way water will behave.More technology of business:How flowers are ‘put to sleep’ for long sea voyagesWhat parents need to know about online safetyThe staff shortage slowing down air cargo and bagsCould flat tyres soon be a thing of the past?How artificial intelligence ‘blew up’ tennisThe software also uses information about land features and river systems to work out how a flood will affect different areas. The company claims its models can run 100,000 times faster than traditional techniques.An added benefit is that the resulting models can refresh hourly using real-time river sensor data and rainfall forecasts.The technology is not available to individuals, instead it is being integrated into services offered by government agencies in Australia and the US, to better understand floods before, during and after they happen. Researchers at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Infrastructure Engineering are taking a similar approach, understanding that speed is key for emergency planning.Image source, Getty ImagesLike Ms Murphy, flood modeller turned researcher, Dr Wenyan Wu, is looking at ways to simulate flood levels over time, at speed, using machine learning techniques. Importantly, this is being done Dr Wu says without compromising accuracy and without costing the earth.The availability of accurate real-time data that can be interpreted at a property-specific level is a huge part of the challenge, but being able to disseminate meaningful data to the public is also key. As Dr Wu says, “If people’s collective comprehension [of flood risk] doesn’t improve, you will not actually improve the situation.”Even the concept of a one-in-100-year flood is widely misunderstood. (It means a flood event has a one in 100 chance of happening in any given year, as opposed to there only being one major flood every 100 years.)That’s where companies like the Australian-based Early Warning Network (EWN) come in. EWN sends opt-in SMS (text messages), email, landline and app push alerts to residents and businesses in at-risk areas, typically via insurers, councils and other government agencies who have signed up to their services. Flood alerts are primarily based on data collected and distributed by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.Image source, Michael BathHowever, as operations manager Michael Bath explains, EWN has a 24/7 team of human severe weather forecasters (all of whom have an understanding of threats from their experience as storm chasers). This team assess the warnings, eliminate duplication, and send geo-targeted alerts, using custom-made software.This ensures people receive clear and localised information.”If you’ve ever had automated warnings from weather agencies before, [you’ll know] they can be very repetitive,” says Mr Bath. “If you automatically send that to residents, they just get really annoyed with it and tune out.” Mr Bath, Dr Wu and Ms Murphy all agree that ultimately governments need to adopt these systems and technologies, and make planning decisions about whether future development should be permitted on floodplains and whether buy-back schemes are warranted in high-risk areas.However, in many cases, moving entire communities or renovating properties at scale using flood-resistant materials is not practical in the immediate future, given these measures require significant funding and political will.”We need something today, right now, because we are living on floodplains, and emergency warnings and alerts fill a critical role to improve safety, to save lives and prevent damage,” says Ms Murphy. “We have to work together to build a safer future.”