Daily News Roundup

April 6, 2018

Image: AFP

Friday, April 6

A US woman is suing a fertility doctor after discovering through an online ancestry website the man had secretly fathered her.

Kelli Rowlette and the parents who raised her, Sally Ashby and her then-husband Howard Fowler, filed the lawsuit in Idaho district court in March against Dr Gerald Mortimer, his wife and the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Associates of Idaho Falls, ABC news reports.

The retired doctor could not be reached for comment. His former practice said the current doctors were not involved.

Ms Rowlette said she took a DNA test in July through Ancestry.com, which identified Dr Mortimer as her father.

Ms Ashby then told Ms Rowlette for the first time that she was conceived through artificial insemination using a sperm donor.

The lawsuit alleges Dr Mortimer used his own sperm for the procedure, secretly and against the couple’s wishes to use a college student.

Ms Ashby and Mr Fowler sought help from Dr Mortimer in 1979 because they were having trouble conceiving a child.

Dr Mortimer recommended artificial insemination, or using a mix of semen from Mr Fowler and an anonymous donor, chosen by the couple based on whatever characteristics they desired.

They chose a donor who was in college and who looked like Mr Fowler — over 1.80 metres tall with brown hair and blue eyes.

Dr Mortimer told the couple he had a donor in mind, and he performed the artificial insemination procedure three times a month throughout the summer of 1980.

Ms Rowlette was born in May 1981. Dr Mortimer delivered her.

The complaint alleges Dr Mortimer instead used his own semen, and when Ms Rowlette was conceived, she was Dr Mortimer’s biological offspring.

“Since discovering Dr Mortimer’s actions, Ms Ashby, Mr Fowler and Mrs Rowlette have been suffering immeasurably,” the complaint states.

The suit alleges medical negligence, failure to obtain informed consent, fraud, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and violations of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.

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Russia has warned Britain it is “playing with fire and you’ll be sorry” over its accusations that Moscow was to blame for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter.

It was the second showdown between Russia and Britain at the United Nations Security Council since the March 4 nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in an English town.

Russia, which requested the council meeting, denies any involvement. Ms Skripal has since made her first public comment since the attack, while her father remains in a critical condition.

The attack has had major diplomatic ramifications, with mass expulsions of Russian and Western diplomats. The 15-member Security Council first met over the issue on March 14, at Britain’s request.

“We have told our British colleagues that, ‘You’re playing with fire and you’ll be sorry’,” Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said during a more than 30-minute speech that attempted to poke holes in Britain’s allegations against Moscow.

He suggested that anyone who watched television crime shows like Britain’s Midsomer Murders would know “hundreds of clever ways to kill someone” to illustrate the “risky and dangerous” nature of the method Britain says was used to target Skripal.

“Great Britain refuses to cooperate with us on the pretext that the victim does not cooperate with the criminal,” Mr Nebenzia said.

“A crime was committed on British territory, possibly a terrorist act, and it is our citizens who are the victims.”

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Donald Trump has said he did not know about the $US169,000 payment his lawyer made to Stormy Daniels, in his first public comments about the adult film actress who alleges she and the US President had an affair.

Asked aboard Air Force One whether he knew about the payment, Mr Trump responded: “No.”

Mr Trump also said he was not aware of why his lawyer, Michael Cohen, had made the payment or where he got the money.

“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael,” he said.

Until now, Mr Trump had avoided any questions on Daniels, though the White House has consistently said the President denies there was a relationship.

Daniels says she had a sexual encounter with the president in 2006 and was paid to keep quiet as part of a non-disclosure agreement signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

Daniels is now seeking to invalidate that agreement.

Her attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted in response to Mr Trump’s remarks: “We very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr Trump’s feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130,000 payment as stated on Air Force One.”

“As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath.”

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