Daily News Roundup

September 12, 2018

Tuesday, September 11

Broadcaster Alan Jones, 2GB and 4BC defamed the Wagner family in a series of radio broadcasts between 2014 and 2015, the Queensland Supreme Court has found.

The Toowoomba-based Wagner family has been awarded around $3.4 million in damages, plus interest, reports the ABC.

Radio station 2GB has been ordered to pay more than $750,000 to each of the defendants, while 4BC has been ordered to pay more than $100,000.

Alan Jones has been ordered to pay $850,000 to each of the four Wagner brothers defamed in his broadcasts.

The Wagners claimed Mr Jones implied they were responsible for the deaths of 12 people in the 2011 Grantham floods when a quarry wall owned by the family collapsed.

They also claimed Mr Jones suggested in broadcasts they stole airspace for their privately-built Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba, and that it was corruptly approved.

Journalist Nick Cater was also sued but the defamation claims against him were dismissed.


NSW Police have commenced a forensic search at the former home of Lynette Dawson, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Ms Dawson, a mother of two, disappeared in 1982. She was 33 at the time and has not been seen since.

Her husband, PE teacher Chris Dawson, said she needed time away and a few days later, he moved his schoolgirl lover into the family home.

Ms Dawson’s disappearance has been the subject of two coronial inquests and intense media speculation, including a podcast.

The two separate coronial inquests recommended to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that a “known person”, identified now as Mr Dawson, be charged with her murder.

Despite the inquest findings, the DPP determined there was insufficient evidence to lay charges.

Mr Dawson continues to maintain he had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance.

Her story has been the subject of News Limited journalist Hedley Thomas’ “The Teachers Pet” podcast, released this year.


Residents in the US states of North and South Carolina and Virginia have been warned to get out of the way of approaching Hurricane Florence.

An Associated Press report said US motorists are streaming inland on highways converted to one-way evacuation routes as 1.7 million people in three states are warned to get out of the way of the approaching Hurricane Florence.

The storm is taking aim at North and South Carolina packing winds of up to 210 km/h and dumping potentially devastating rains.

Florence is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday (local US time) unloading 30-60cm of rain that could cause flooding well inland and wreak environmental havoc at industrial waste sites and pig farms.

Forecasters and politicians are pleading with the public to take the warnings seriously.

“This storm is a monster. It’s big and it’s vicious. It is an extremely, dangerous, life-threatening, historic hurricane,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

“The waves and the wind this storm may bring is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster.”

US President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and South Carolina and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

He said the federal government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for Florence.

All three states ordered mass evacuations along the coast. But getting out of harm’s way could prove difficult.

Florence is so wide that a life-threatening storm surge was being pushed 480km ahead of its eye risking a deluge from South Carolina to Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Residents are rushing to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes or get out of town.

A line of heavy traffic moved away from the coast on Interstate 40, the main route between the port city of Wilmington and inland Raleigh. Between the two cities, about two hours apart, the traffic flowed smoothly in places and became gridlocked in others.

Only a trickle of vehicles was going in the opposite direction, including pickup trucks carrying plywood and other building materials.

Service stations were running out of petrol as far west as Raleigh, with bright yellow bags, signs or rags placed over the pumps to show they were out of order. Some shop shelves were also empty.

At 2pm (local time) on Tuesday the storm was 1,360km southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 28km/h. It was a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm but was expected to keep drawing energy from the warm water and intensify to near Category 5, which means winds of 253km/h or higher.

The storm’s coastal surge could leave the eastern tip of North Carolina under more than 2.7 metres of water in spots, projections showed.

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