Daily News Roundup

September 12, 2019

Thursday,  September 12 

A Perth couple, who have been held by Iranian authorities as political prisoners for 10 weeks, were arrested for reportedly flying a drone.

The travel bloggers, Mark Firkin and Jolie King, have been travelling the world since 2017 documenting their trip online.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has released a statement from the couple’s families which said they were hopeful they would soon be released.

“Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible. We have no further comment to make at this stage,” the statement said.

Ms King is a dual Australian-British citizen and the UK Government overnight demanded the couple’s release.

The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called in the Iranian ambassador overnight.

The UK Foreign Office said he “raised serious concerns about the number of dual national citizens detained by Iran and their conditions of detention”.

Another Australian-British dual citizen, a Melbourne-based academic, is also being held by Iran and has reportedly been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

All three Australians are held at the notorious Evin jail, north of Tehran, which is used to house political prisoners.

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The NSW Coroner has released new photos of abducted three-year-old William Tyrrell and the transcript of an interview with a key witness five years to the day since he disappeared.

The five images show the then three-year-old drawing on a verandah at his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall on the NSW mid-north coast the same morning he went missing on September 12,  2014.

He is wearing the Spiderman costume he vanished in and is sitting next to another young child who is also drawing.

In addition to the photos, a transcript from a 2017 police interview with a witness who claims he was the last person to see William alive was also made public.

Kendall resident Ronald Chapman told a recent inquest into William’s disappearance that he saw the boy being driven away in a car at high speed, moments after the toddler vanished.

In the transcript dated April 4, the 78-year-old revealed he called the driver of the car a “stupid bitch” for having a child unrestrained in the backseat.

“The car was very close to being in the drain,” Mr Chapman told detectives.

“And that’s when I saw William in the back seat of a four-wheel drive with his two hands up on the window in his Spiderman suit, unrestrained.

“And under my breath I called the woman a stupid B.”

Mr Chapman told detectives the woman was in her “late 20s” and of “fair appearance” and was being tailed by another car driven by a man.

“She had blonde hair, it was all combed up in a bun on the top of her head,” the transcript said.

“About 50 yards behind her was a six-cylinder Ford Sedan.

“It came around the corner and by the time they got to the top of the hill the car would have been right behind her.”

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to recall parliament after a report showed a no-deal Brexit could trigger medical shortages and food price rises.

The opposition seized on the release of Operation Yellowhammer assessments of the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement to insist MPs return to Westminster.

It comes after Scottish judges branded the suspension of parliament “unlawful”.

While releasing analysis on impacts of no deal, the government refused to comply with a similar Commons demand to make public personal messages from special advisers regarding the controversial five week prorogation of parliament.

The move came as judgment was due on Thursday in a legal challenge that argued the government’s Brexit strategy will damage the Northern Ireland peace process.

The “reasonable worst case planning assessments” of a no-deal exit which were released at the demand of MPs showed that major hold-ups at channel ports could occur, along with “significant” electricity price rises and a return to a hard border in Northern Ireland.

On food, the document warned that some fresh supplies will decrease and that “critical dependencies for the food chain” such as key ingredients “may be in shorter supply”.

It said these factors would not lead to overall food shortages, “but will reduce the availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups”.

“Low-income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel,” the document also said.

The analysis said the flow of cross-Channel goods could be reduced to 40 per cent of current rates on day one, with “significant disruption lasting up to six months”.

“Unmitigated, this will have an impact on the supply of medicines and medical supplies,” it said.

“The reliance of medicines and medical products’ supply chains on the short straits crossing make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays.”

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