Swift justice in radio DJ groping lawsuit

US pop star Taylor Swift has won $US1 and long-awaited vindication after a jury decided in a civil trial that a radio host groped her during a pre-concert photo op four years ago.


After a week-long trial over duelling lawsuits, jurors determined that sacked Denver DJ David Mueller assaulted Swift by grabbing her backside during a backstage meet-and-greet.

After the verdict was handed down Swift hugged her crying mother, reiterating her desire to stand up for other women.

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard,” Swift said in a statement.

“Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”

The six-woman, two-man jury also found that Swift’s mother and radio liaison were within their rights to contact Mueller’s employer about the groping.

Mueller sued the Swifts and their radio handler, Frank Bell, seeking up to $US3 million ($A3.8 million) for his ruined career. On Friday, the judge dismissed Taylor Swift from Mueller’s lawsuit, saying he failed to prove that she sought to have him sacked or had any reason to believe that someone else may have assaulted her.

“I’ve been trying to clear my name for four years,” Mueller said after the verdict.

“Civil court is the only option I had. This is the only way that I could be heard.”

The singer-songwriter said in her countersuit that she wanted a symbolic $US1.

Swift’s side have always portrayed the encounter as sexual assault despite not reporting it to police. Swift’s mother testified that she asked Bell to reach out to Mueller’s employer to avoid exposing the singer-songwriter to publicity.

Bell contacted a station vice president and sought an investigation into Mueller. He also sent the station executive the photo in question of Swift, Mueller and Mueller’s then-girlfriend at the meet-and-greet.

In her testimony last week, Swift blasted a low-key characterisation by Mueller’s lawyer, Gabriel McFarland, of what happened. Mueller testified he never grabbed Swift, but she insisted she was groped.

“He stayed attached to my bare ass-cheek as I lurched away from him,” Swift testified.

“It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” she added.

Mueller emphatically denied reaching under Swift’s skirt or touching her inappropriately, and said he only toucher her ribs and may have brushed the outside of her skirt.

The photo shows Mueller’s hand is behind Swift, just below her waist. Both are smiling. Mueller’s then-girlfriend is standing on the other side of Swift. The jury saw the image but it was never publicly released.

Swift testified that after she was groped, she numbly thanked Mueller and his girlfriend before moving onto others waiting in line.

But she said she immediately after the media op was over she went to her photographer, retrieved the image and said what had just happened.

Woods had five drugs in system at time of DUI arrest – report

It is not known if Woods had prescriptions for all of the medications.


Medical marijuana is legal in Florida.

A request made by Reuters to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for a copy of the toxicology report was not returned.

Woods, who is second on the all-time list with 14 major titles, checked into a clinic in June for treatment to help deal with prescription drugs.

He said last month he had completed treatment.

“As I previously said, I received professional help to manage my medications,” Woods said in a statement.

“Recently, I had been trying on my own to treat my back pain and a sleep disorder, including insomnia, but I realise now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance.

“I am continuing to work with my doctors, and they feel I’ve made significant progress. I remain grateful for the amazing support that I continue to receive and for the family and friends that are assisting me.”

Police found Woods stopped on the side of a Palm Beach-area road in his Mercedes-Benz at about 3 a.m. (0700 GMT) on May 29.

He had “extremely slow and slurred speech” after being awakened by a police officer but was cooperative and told officers he takes several prescriptions, including Xanax, according to a police report.

Woods, who had been heading away from his home, could not remember where he was going and told police he was returning from Los Angeles.

A blood test showed he had the painkiller Vicodin and the antidepressant Xanax in his system but no alcohol. He was charged with driving under the influence and improperly stopping his vehicle.

In a statement after his arrest, Woods apologised to fans and blamed the incident on prescription medication he was taking to manage pain from a recent back surgery.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

WA police to increase industrial action

The WA Police Union has instructed members to escalate industrial action by not seeking police costs in court and closing stations if only one officer is present.


The union said in a statement on Tuesday it had told prosecutors in magistrates courts to not seek costs associated with arrests and summonses, which it said would cost the government up to $100,000 a day.

Handing out fewer traffic infringements over the past month had already amounted to more than $230,000 a day in lost revenue, according to union president George Tilbury.

The WA Labor government says it can only afford a flat $1000 wage increase for public servants over the course of a year due to the state’s budget woes.

The union was responding to the McGowan government’s inaction over pay, conditions and additional police officers, it said in a statement.

Police officers would also be instructed to close police station doors if two police officers were not available to attend front counter duties at night.

If a member of the public attends a police station during these times and requires immediate assistance for a life threatening matter, backup will be requested from the nearest car to protect officers but community safety would not be compromised, Mr Tilbury said.

There had been major incidents at Perth police stations this year, including an officer being stabbed at Gosnells and drive-by shootings outside Armadale and Rockingham.

That action would target Labor’s election promise to extend the opening hours of certain police stations, without fully resourcing them, he said.

“The cost of sorting this out would have been significantly less than the financial loss it has suffered to date, which will only get worse,” Mr Tilbury said.

Girl dies as car drives into French pizzeria, terrorism ruled out

The episode came just five days after a terror-linked car attack on soldiers, the latest in a string of assaults in France since early 2015.


Investigators have “ruled out the terrorist hypothesis” behind the latest incident, which took place in the town of Sept-Sorts, 55 kilometres (34 miles) east of Paris, a source close to the inquiry said.

The man, who was arrested, said “he had tried to kill himself yesterday (Sunday) without success and decided to try again this way,” the source said.

In Paris, interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the fatality was a girl aged 13, and not aged eight as initially reported.

Four people were seriously hurt, after a preliminary figure had been given of six. 


— LaZouille (@ZoeChachaa) August 14, 2017

❗️#SeineEtMarne Opération en cours à #SeptSorts. Ne gênez pas les opérations de secours. Respectez les périmètres de sécurité@Place_Beauvau

— GendarmerieNationale (@Gendarmerie) August 14, 2017

The driver, born in 1985, “is not known to the intelligence services and has no criminal record,” Brandet said.

One of the four was the girl’s younger brother, police said.

Earlier, the public prosecutor’s office in the town of Meaux said investigators believed the act was “deliberate… but apparently has no connection with a terrorist act.”

France is on edge after suffering a string of terror-related attacks, including the use of cars as weapons.

On August 9, six soldiers were injured after they were hit by a rented BMW in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. A BMW was also involved in Monday’s incident.

The suspect, a 36-year-old Algerian man, was later shot and wounded after a dramatic motorway chase.

The death toll from jihadist attacks in France has exceeded 230 since January 2015.

The country has been under a state of emergency since the Islamic State group attacked in Paris in November 2015, leaving 130 people dead.

Concerns follow China’s successful GM puppy clones

Of the two beagles playing inside a lab located north of downtown Beijing, one – puppy Longlong – looks like the offspring of the older beagle, Apple.


But he’s not.

Longlong is Apple’s clone.

Mi Jidong is the General Manager of the Beijing biotech company behind the clones, Sino Gene.

“These two dogs, Longlong and Apple, are 99.9 per cent the same. Longlong’s birth is a breakthrough in terms of genetic modification and cloning and its application to dogs.”

Two other puppy clones, Qiqi and Nuonuo, were born a month later.

Sino Gene says the dogs will be used to study gene-based diseases – such as heart disease and diabetes.

The reason this breakthrough is so significant is because dogs – though they may not look like it – are more genetically similar to humans than other animals.

Apple’s DNA was altered so he would have higher levels of blood lipids – a trait associated with high cholesterol, says Mi Jidong.

“This will be helpful in the development of new medicines and studying the mechanism of certain diseases.”

The company also wants to produce ‘super dogs’ for police search and rescue teams: puppies born with a superior sense of smell and intelligence.

It says cloning a genetically-edited animal makes that more efficient.

But animal welfare groups are concerned.

Peter Li is the China Policy expert of Humane Society International and based in the United States.

“Cloning has many problems. Large numbers of animals are used as donors and surrogate mothers. But the success rate is very small. So it’s a huge waste of animal life.”

Mr Li says the experimentation has also raised ethical questions around cloning.

“If we see cloned animals as a testing object, I wonder how soon this work will be applied to humans.”

Fabiene Delerue is an animal geneticist at the University of NSW.

He believes the breakthrough is impressive, but says the lack of transparency in Chinese labs is worrying.

“Doing it on animals doesn’t mean it can translate with the same outcome in humans, but obviously once you’ve allowed this technology to do something it may well be more complicated to say no, you should not use it for something else.”

But Zhao Nanyuan, a retired professor from Beijng’s Tsinghua University, believes western ethical standards hold back scientific progress.

“I’m sure other countries will lag behind china when it comes to human genetic research because of their concerns.”

Apple and these puppies may be the world’s first genetically modified canine clones, but they’re probably not the last.