Daily News Roundup

November 26, 2020

 

THURSDAY NOV 26

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert says she is departing Iran “with bittersweet feelings” and “as a friend with friendly intentions”, despite spending more than 800 days in prison.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, a University of Melbourne lecturer, was detained for more than two years after being convicted of espionage, a charge she has always denied.

She was reportedly released in exchange for three Iranians held abroad.

In a statement, Dr Moore-Gilbert thanked the Australian Government for working to secure her release and her supporters throughout the “long and traumatic ordeal”.

“I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm-hearted, generous and brave people,” she said.

“It is with bittersweet feelings that I depart your country, despite the injustices which I have been subjected to.

“I came to Iran as a friend and with friendly intentions, and depart Iran with those sentiments not only still intact, but strengthened.”

She asked for privacy for her and her family “during what will undoubtedly be a challenging period of adjustment”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed he had spoken to her this morning and said “it was wonderful to hear her voice”.

“She’s with Australian officials who are giving her all the support she needs, there’ll be quite an adjustment for Kylie, she’s gone through a terrible ordeal, an absolutely awful ordeal,” he said on Sunrise.

“The injustice of her detention and her conviction, Australia has always rejected, and I’m just so pleased that Kylie’s coming home.”

Iran state TV broadcast Kylie Moore-Gilbert boarding a plane.

In an interview with Today the PM declined to comment on whether it was a prisoner swap but confirmed there were no prisoners released in Australia.

This morning, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she was “extremely pleased and relieved” to advise that Dr Moore-Gilbert had been released and would soon be reunited with her family.

She said the release was achieved through “diplomatic engagement” with the Iranian Government, and that Dr Moore-Gilbert had asked for privacy.

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Scotland has become the first nation to make period products free for all.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill unanimously on Tuesday, following its first introduction in 2017.

The Scottish Government will now establish a nationwide scheme that allows anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge, while compensating providers.

It is estimated the scheme will cost around 24 million pounds per year ($44 million).

The legislation also obliges universities, secondary schools, and colleges to make the products available in all relevant toilets, while allowing ministers to designate other public institutions — such as pharmacies or community centres — to offer the products.

Those seeking period products must have access to different types, and can have them delivered or collected “reasonably easily” and with “reasonable privacy”.

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who introduced the bill, told The Guardian it was a “proud day for Scotland”.

“A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood [parliament] chamber, and now it is mainstream,” Ms Lennon said.

“This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates.”

The bill aims to reduce Scotland’s ‘period poverty’, a term that describes a situation where people who menstruate aren’t able to purchase period products because of financial barriers.

For some, period poverty places them into a situation where socks or old newspapers are substituted for these products, while others forgo the products entirely.

Across the globe, this issue has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, as people have lost their jobs, while chokes on the global supply chain have reduced the availability of period products in countries that are import-dependent.

Scottish Government data from 2014-2017 showed that 19 per cent of the nation’s population was in poverty, after taking out housing costs.

Data compiled by British charity, the Trussell Trust, also showed that nappies and period products made up 90 per cent of non-food item distribution in their Scottish foodbanks.

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A five-year-old boy is fighting for life in hospital after being struck by the wheel of a car allegedly performing a burnout.

Queensland police said a utility vehicle was at the intersection of King Street and Morayfield Road in Caboolture about 4:30pm yesterday, when the driver began to spin the tyres as the lights turned green.

It is alleged the rear passenger-side wheel then dislodged from the ute, hitting the boy who was walking with his family along the footpath outside Caboolture Square Shopping Centre.

He suffered life-threatening head injuries and was taken to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in a serious condition.

The driver of the ute, an 18-year-old man, was arrested at the scene and has been charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm and driving a safe but otherwise defective vehicle.

It is also alleged the man was driving an unregistered vehicle and without a license.

He is due to appear in Pine Rivers Magistrates Court today.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating and police are appealing for witnesses or anyone who may have dashcam footage.