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Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal heartbreaking news that they have lost their baby


Chrissy Teigen has announced she and her husband John Legend have lost their baby, days after she was admitted to the hospital with severe bleeding. 

The model, 34, shared the heartbreaking news with a lengthy post and series of images on social media on Wednesday night, saying their little boy, ‘Jack’, has died following ‘so many complications’.   

Chrissy wrote in her post: ‘We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough’. 

The devastating post included five black and white photos taken at the hospital, showing Chrissy crying on her bed as well as a shot showing her and John cradling their son.  

On Monday, Chrissy, who conceived daughter Luna, four, and son Miles, two, through IVF with John, 41, revealed she was on ‘serious bed rest’ due to bleeding and said she was ‘about halfway through her pregnancy’, which is around 20 – 24 weeks. A stillbirth is when a baby is born dead at 24 weeks or later. 

Tragic: Chrissy Teigen has announced she and her husband John Legend have lost their baby, days after she was admitted to the hospital with severe bleeding

 Tragic: Chrissy Teigen has announced she and her husband John Legend have lost their baby, days after she was admitted to the hospital with severe bleeding

In a heartbreaking addition to the post, Chrissy revealed that ‘for some reason’ she and John had begun calling their unborn baby boy, ‘Jack’ despite only naming their other kids after they were born.

She continued: ‘We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever…

‘To our Jack – I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you…

‘Thank you to everyone who has been sending us positive energy, thoughts and prayers. We feel all of your love and truly appreciate you. We are so grateful for the life we have, for our wonderful babies Luna and Miles, for all the amazing things we’ve been able to experience.’ 

'We are shocked': The model, 34, also penned a lengthy caption explaining the tragedy and expressed her family's grief over the sudden loss

 ‘We are shocked’: The model, 34, also penned a lengthy caption explaining the tragedy and expressed her family’s grief over the sudden loss

Heartbreaking: Chrissy shared a lengthy caption detailing their loss

Heartbreaking: Chrissy shared a lengthy caption detailing their loss 

Losing a baby past 24 weeks is a stillbirth rather than a miscarriage. If a baby dies before 24 completed weeks, it’s known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss. 

Shortly after breaking the tragic news to her followers, Teigen took to her Twitter page to further express her shock from the loss. 

‘Driving home from the hospital with no baby. How can this be real,’ she wrote.

John also took to Twitter to share Chrissy’s post, while writing: ‘We love you, Jack’ alongside five black hearts. 

The four photos uploaded to Chrissy’s Instagram paint a heartbreaking scene, with one of the pictures showing Chrissy crying and cradling Jack in her arms as John leaned next to them.

'We love you, Jack': John also took to Twitter to share Chrissy's post, while writing: 'We love you, Jack' alongside five black hearts

‘We love you, Jack’: John also took to Twitter to share Chrissy’s post, while writing: ‘We love you, Jack’ alongside five black hearts

Forever Jack: 'We never decide on our babies¿ names until the last possible moment after they¿re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack,' explained Teigen

Forever Jack: ‘We never decide on our babies’ names until the last possible moment after they’re born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack,’ explained Teigen

WHAT IS A STILLBIRTH?

A stillbirth occurs when a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy. 

If a baby dies before 24 weeks of pregnancy, it is known as a miscarriage.

Not all stillbirths can be prevented, however, not smoking or drinking, as well as not sleeping on your back and attending all antenatal appointments can reduce the risk. 

What are the signs? 

Signs may include the baby not moving as much as normal.

Pregnant women should contact their doctor immediately if they notice a difference to their baby’s movement. 

What are the causes? 

Stillbirths do not always have an obvious cause but may occur due to complications with the placenta or a birth defect.

They are also more likely to occur if women suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or an infection that affects the baby, such as flu. 

Stillbirths are more likely to occur if women are having twins or multiple pregnancies, are overweight, smoke, are over 35 or have a pre-existing condition, such as epilepsy.

What happens after a stillbirth? 

If a baby has died, women may wait for their labour to start naturally or they may be induced if their health is at risk. 

Bereavement support groups are available to parents who have suffered stillbirths.

Some find it helpful to name their baby or take pictures with them.  

 Source: NHS Choices

Another featured Chrissy sobbing as she held her hands to her face and sat at the edge of her hospital bed in nothing but a blanket and a bonnet. 

The couple had revealed they were expecting their third child together in the music video for John’s new single, Wild, in August.

She had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night after enduring a month of bleeding due to having a weak placenta and had been at the hospital since. 

On Monday, she updated fans on her condition in an Instagram post, revealing she had received two blood transfusions and said: ‘Baby and I are completely fine.’ 

Grieving: 'But everyday can¿t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it,' concluded Chrissy

Grieving: ‘But everyday can’t be full of sunshine. On this darkest of days, we will grieve, we will cry our eyes out. But we will hug and love each other harder and get through it,’ concluded Chrissy

Disbelief: Shortly after uploading her undeniably sad news to Instagram, Chrissy took to her Twitter page to further express her shock

Disbelief: Shortly after uploading her undeniably sad news to Instagram, Chrissy took to her Twitter page to further express her shock 

‘Hello from hospital. about to have my second blood transfusion which truly, truly, truly sounds more dramatic than it is,’ she said. 

‘It’s an IV, but instead of fluids, the blood of some kind human being out there. Baby and I are completely fine, just missing the little things like walking…cooking…playing with the other buttbutts.’

Teigen had already been on strict bed rest earlier this month but explained she was admitted to the hospital after her bleeding had worsened. 

‘I’m about halfway through pregnancy and the blood has been going on for about a month, maybe a little bit less than a month. We’re talking about more than your period girls, it’s definitely not spotting. A lot of people spot but it’s usually fine. Mine was a lot,’ she added. 

Teigen was hospitalized on Sunday evening after a month of bleeding

Teigen was hospitalized on Sunday evening after a month of bleeding 

What is a blood transfusion? 

The NHS writes: ‘A blood transfusion is when you’re given blood from someone else (a donor). It’s a very safe procedure that can be lifesaving.

‘A blood transfusion may be needed if you have a shortage of red blood cells.

‘This may be because your body’s not making enough red blood cells or because you have lost blood.

‘For example, you may need a blood transfusion if you have

‘a condition that affects the way your red blood cells work – such as sickle cell disease or thalassaemia

‘a type of cancer or cancer treatment that can affect blood cells – including leukaemia, chemotherapy or stem cell transplants

‘severe bleeding – usually from surgery, childbirth or a serious accident

‘A blood transfusion can replace blood you have lost, or just replace the liquid or cells found in blood (such as red blood cells, plasma or cells called platelets)’ 

‘Everytime I go to the bathroom it would be blood, and honestly just laying there there would be blood.’

Despite the scare, she assured her fans she and her baby were doing well and said the her son was ‘healthy, growing stronger than Luna or Miles.’  

‘He moves so much, so much earlier than they ever did. I’m so excited for him, he’s the strongest little dude. He’s the strongest coolest dude in the sh***iest house.’

‘So his house is like falling apart. It didn’t have a good foundation to begin with, he didn’t have the strongest chance at the very, very beginning so all we’re doing now is trying to make sure he has a lot of fluid around him and I’m resting as much as possible.’ 

Teigen and Legend wed in 2013.

After Chrissy announced the news, some of the couple’s closest friends, like Kim Kardashian and Gabrielle Union, voiced their condolences in the comment section.

‘We’re always here for you and love you guys so much,’ wrote Kim, 39, who shares four children of her own with husband Kanye West, 43. 

Gabrielle, 47, made sure that Chrissy and John knew that her family would be there for them during this trying time. ‘We love you guys so much and we will be here for whatever yall need. Always,’ she commented.

Paris Hilton, who recently opened up about her own pregnancy plans, said that her ‘heart breaks for [Chrissy] and John. ‘I am so sorry for your loss. Sending you and your family so much love. Love you beautiful,’ wrote the 39-year-old heiress. 

Hailey Bieber expressed sympathy for John and Chrissy’s unfortunate situation in Chrissy’s Instagram comment section. The 23-year-old model, who is married to Justin Bieber, wrote: ‘I’m so so sorry. Thinking of you and John, praying for you guys and sending you so much love during this time.’

Channing Tatum let the couple know that he is ‘sending so much love to [them] right now,’ while Jersey Shore star Snooki informed Chrissy that she is ‘praying for [her] and [her] beautiful family.’  

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who just became a dad for the first time with husband of seven-years Justin Mikita, 35, said that he wish he could ‘take away [Chrissy’s] heartbreak.’ 

John and Chrissy have been candid in the past about their journey with IVF and their fertility struggles. It took her several rounds of IVF before she got pregnant with her daughter, Luna, who was born in 2016.

She told The Cut in 2018 that she it was ‘devastating’ when her first round of IVF didn’t work, and she admitted to blaming herself. ‘You just look for anything to blame, especially yourself,’ she explained. ‘I think hearing stories is just really important. You realize there’s no right way to do it, or right way to react.

‘I don’t know. There’s no right way to do IVF. You just have to keep hoping that it will happen. It’s easy for some, and not for others. And that’s okay.’

Support: After Chrissy announced the news, some of the couple's closest friends, like Kim Kardashian and Gabrielle Union, voiced their condolences in the comment section

Support: After Chrissy announced the news, some of the couple’s closest friends, like Kim Kardashian and Gabrielle Union, voiced their condolences in the comment section

Take away the pain: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who just became a dad for the first time with husband of seven-years Justin Mikita, 35, said that he wish he could 'take away [Chrissy's] heartbreak'

Take away the pain: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who just became a dad for the first time with husband of seven-years Justin Mikita, 35, said that he wish he could ‘take away [Chrissy’s] heartbreak’

In 2015, prior to having kids, Chrissy divulged details of their fertility journey, when she appeared on ABC show FABLife to reveal she and John had trying to conceive for years. She said: ‘I will say honestly John and I were having trouble. We would have had kids five, six years ago if it happened’.

She went on: ‘But my gosh it’s been a process. We’ve seen fertility doctors and once you open up about those things to other people you learn that a lot of other people in your life are seeing these people and they have this shame about it.’

She also said it was painful when people questioned her about when she and John are going to start a family.  ‘It’s kind of crazy because I can’t imagine being that nosy to be like, ‘So, when are the kids coming?’ because who knows what somebody’s going through,’ she said.

‘So anytime somebody asks if I’m going to have kids I’m just like, ‘One day you’re going to ask that to the wrong girl who is really struggling and it’s going to be really hurtful to them and I hate that. Stop asking me.’

For help and support with related issues, visit The International Stillbirth Alliance at www.stillbirthalliance.org or stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage charity Tommy’s at www.tommys.org

Her loves: Chrissy is pictured with her daughter Luna, four, and son Miles, two

Her loves: Chrissy is pictured with her daughter Luna, four, and son Miles, two



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Serena Williams Withdraws From French Open With Achilles Injury : NPR


Serena Williams serves during her Women’s Singles first round match against Kristie Ahn on day two of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on Monday in Paris, France.

Julian Finney/Getty Images


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Serena Williams serves during her Women’s Singles first round match against Kristie Ahn on day two of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on Monday in Paris, France.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Serena Williams unexpectedly ended her latest bid to tie the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles early. She withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday because of an Achilles injury.

“I’m struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover,” the tennis player said during a press conference.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, injured her Achilles in a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka earlier this month. She was set to play Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday. But after a “very short” warm up, she and her coach decided it was best to not play.

On Monday, she beat Kristie Ahn in a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory.

Williams has been bidding for her 24th major singles trophy for the last few years, which would tie with Margaret Court for most in history. Her next chance will be the Australian Open in January.

She thinks she’ll need to take four to six weeks to recover.

“I think Achilles’ is a real injury that you don’t want to play with because that is not good if it gets worse. I think it’s one of the worst. So I don’t want it to get to that point,” she said.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to play another tournament this year,” she added.



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The Best Movies and TV Shows New to Netflix, Amazon and Stan in Australia in October


Every month, streaming services in Australia add a new batch of movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for October.

OCTOBER 2

When documentarian Kristen Johnson realized her father, Dick, was in declining mental and physical health, she proposed an idea: What if they prepared for his demise together, by filming a series of simulated deaths? The one-of-a-kind documentary “Dick Johnson Is Dead” combines those strange and sometimes beautiful scenes — which also include a funeral and some guesses at what the afterlife might be like — with wonderful footage of a lovable old man and his doting daughter, spending their last years together. This is a special film, turning an imminent loss into an occasion for reflection and joy.

Based on the popular podcast of the same name, “Song Exploder” invites well-known musicians to analyze their own work, breaking songs down track-by-track and line-by-line. The four-episode first season covers Alicia Keys’ “3 Hour Drive,” Ty Dolla $ign’s “L.A.,” R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” and “Wait for It” from the Broadway hit “Hamilton.” In each half-hour installment, the host Hrishikesh Hirway talks to the artists about the choices they made, trying to clarify the mystery of creation by asking for a practical explanation of how music gets made.

OCTOBER 9

A hit at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the writer-director Radha Blank’s dramedy “The 40-Year-Old Version” also stars Blank as a struggling New York playwright, who reinvents herself as a rapper who rhymes about getting older. Shot in lovely black-and-white, this movie is witty and wise about the compromises some artists have to make to get their voices heard, and about the creative options available to those willing to risk failure and embarrassment.

“The Haunting of Bly Manor” is the writer-producer-director Mike Flanagan’s follow-up to his earlier Netflix horror series “The Haunting of Hill House.” Where the earlier show adapted and updated a Shirley Jackson novel, this new season is based loosely on the Henry James novella “The Turn of the Screw,” about a governess who sees ghosts. Some of Flanagan’s cast returns (including Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Kate Siegel), but the characters and the plot are entirely new. What won’t change: Flanagan’s command of quietly disturbing moods.

OCTOBER 16

The TV and movie writer-producer Aaron Sorkin — the man behind “The West Wing” and “A Few Good Men” — returns to the director’s chair for the film “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a look back at the legal aftermath of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention. Sacha Baron Cohen plays the counterculture hero Abbie Hoffman, leading a cast that includes powerhouse actors like Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance. Sorkin’s usual fast-paced dialogue and his willingness to plunge headlong into controversial material makes him a good match for this still-resonant story of dissidents forced to answer in court for acts of civil disobedience.

OCTOBER 21

Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 Gothic novel “Rebecca” has already been adapted into a movie classic: the atmospheric and creepy 1940 Alfred Hitchcock version, which marked the director’s transition to Hollywood. Now another distinctive British filmmaker is tackling du Maurier’s book. Ben Wheatley, known for the edgy cult films “Kill List” and “High-Rise,” directs a stylish new version of “Rebecca” that emphasizes the glamour of the setting: the seaside estate of Manderley, where an emotionally distant aristocrat (played by Armie Hammer) deposits his naïve young bride (Lily James), leaving her to cope with his disapproving housekeeper (Kristin Scott Thomas) and the unsettling mystery of what really happened to his late first wife.

OCTOBER 23

In the animated adventure “Over the Moon,” Cathy Ang is the voice of Fei Fei, a handy teenager who builds a rocket-ship and flies to the moon. Once there, she tries to impress the charismatic goddess Chang’e (Phillipa Soo) by embarking on a quest that involves a handful of nutty lunar creatures. Written by the late Audrey Wells and directed by the veteran Disney animator Glen Keane — with codirection by another Disney alum, John Kahrs — this is a colorful, energetic and emotional movie about a kid and an adult both dealing with personal heartbreak in their own unusual ways.

For his latest Netflix mini-series, the writer-director Scott Frank — who previously created the western “Godless” — adapts “The Queen’s Gambit,” a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, the author of “The Hustler” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon, a top-rank chess master who pulled herself up from a miserable childhood thanks to her singular skills, but who struggles with addiction and self-doubt as an adult. The book is beloved, and Frank and Taylor-Joy are talented enough to give it the sensitive and lively TV version it deserves.

Also arriving: “New Girl” Seasons 1-7 (October 1), “Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood” (October 1), “Emily in Paris” (October 2), “Vampires vs. the Bronx” (October 2), “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet” (October 4), “Hubie Halloween” (October 7), “To the Lake” (October 7), “Deaf U” (October 9), “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts” Season 3 (October 12), “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” (October 14), “Social Distance” (October 15), “Grand Army” (October 16), “La Révolution” (October 16), “Someone Has to Die” (October 16), “Unsolved Mysteries” Volume 2 (October 19), “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” Season 3 (October 21), “Cadaver” (October 22), “Barbarians” (October 23), “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine” (October 27), “Holiday” (October 28), “Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight” (October 28).

OCTOBER 1

Riffing on both grim British police procedurals and dark-toned science-fiction, the sitcom “Code 404” has Daniel Mays playing a London detective who gets murdered during an undercover operation, and then brought back to life as an experimental cyborg. The charmingly irascible Stephen Graham plays the hero’s former partner, who isn’t so sure he wants to help his old buddy solve the mystery of his own death. Though craftily plotted and acted with real conviction, this offbeat crime series is brisker — and funnier — than the typical cops-and-killers fare.

OCTOBER 4

Based on James McBride’s 2013 National Book Award-winning historical novel, the mini-series “The Good Lord Bird” stars Ethan Hawke as the radical abolitionist John Brown, who in 1859 led a violent antislavery demonstration that helped spark the American Civil War. Hawke also cocreated this series, which blends deadpan comedy with white-knuckle action — aided by a stellar cast that includes Daveed Diggs, Wyatt Russell, Rafael Casal and Joshua Caleb Johnson — to make the distant past feel more immediate.

In the 1970s and ’80s, the West Hollywood nightclub The Comedy Store became a launching pad for stand-up comics who would go on to dominate American pop culture for decades, including David Letterman, Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr, Sam Kinison, Jimmie Walker, Jerry Seinfeld and more. The docu-series “The Comedy Store” looks back at the club’s fascinating history, considering how some of the most memorable comedy routines of all time were nurtured at a place where rivalries, disputes and drugs often made what was going on backstage as exciting at what was happening in the front of the house.

OCTOBER 16

Based on Aldous Huxley’s seminal 1932 dystopian novel, the slick science-fiction series “Brave New World” offers an adults-only depiction of a decadent future, where the ruling class pass their idle hours with drugs and orgies. Alden Ehrenreich plays John, an unusually clever lower-class “savage,” who becomes a novelty to the elites, even as he questions how they live. And while the source material is now nearly 90 years old, this show’s illustration of how social revolutions can rapidly take hold is strikingly relevant in 2020.

Also arriving: “Harlots” Seasons 1-3 (October 1), “MisUnderstandings of Miscarriage (M.U.M.)” (October 1), “Where’s Wally?” Season 1 (October 2), “Bran New Dae” (October 7), “Miranda” Seasons 1-3 (October 7), “Cold Feet” Seasons 1-9 (October 8), “The Flash” Season 6 (October 9), “The Spanish Princess” Season 1 — Part 2 (October 11), “Mr. Robot” Seasons 1-3 (October 12), “Mr. Selfridge” Seasons 1-4 (October 14), “Unforgotten” Season 3 (October 19), “Valor” Season 1 (October 22), “Informer 3838” Season 1 (October 27), “The Bay” Season 1 (October 28), “Condor” Season 2 (October 31).

OCTOBER 6

Although the innovative production company Blumhouse is best known for hit horror films like “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious,” the new film series dubbed “Welcome to the Blumhouse” has a somewhat broader scope, encompassing the company’s long history of supporting different kinds of genre pictures and indie dramas. The series’ first two movies, debuting October 6, are “The Lie” (a suspenseful story about parents protecting their possibly murderous child) and “Black Box” (about an amnesiac turning to quack science to piece together his past). One week later brings “Evil Eye” (based on an audio play about an Indian woman who worries that her daughter’s fiancé is the reincarnation of someone horrible) and “Nocturne” (about a pianist who goes to extremes to outperform her more gifted sister).

OCTOBER 16

In Heidi Schreck’s Tony-nominated Broadway play “What the Constitution Means to Me,” she appears onstage as herself — embodying both the 15-year-old who used to win prize money by giving speeches touting the magnificence of the U.S. Constitution, and the adult whose life experiences have made her turn a more critical eye toward what the document does and doesn’t do. Before the show wrapped its run last year, the director Marielle Heller filmed the production, capturing Schreck’s funny and provocative examination of how school kids are too often encourage to limit themselves to a one-dimensional kind of patriotism.

OCTOBER 30

The frequent collaborators Nick Frost and Simon Pegg re-team for “Truth Seekers,” a horror-comedy about a paranormal investigator who uncovers a possible world-ending conspiracy. The pair cocreated the series with James Serafinowicz and Nat Saunders, and Frost also stars as the hero, Gus, an intense loner who works as a cable installer while hunting ghosts. Pegg has a smaller role as Gus’s mysterious boss. Although the duo don’t spend much on-screen time together, this show is still a must for fans of “Spaced” and “Shaun of the Dead.”

Also arriving: “Mirzapur” (October 23), “The Challenge: ETA” (October 30).



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Bougainville Elects Former Revolutionary Leader as President ahead of Tough Talks on Independence — Global Issues


Following an almost unanimous 97.7 percent referendum vote in November of last year for Independence from PNG, the people of Bougainville returned to the polls last month to decide on a new government. Bougainville’s main town of Buka. Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS
  • by Catherine Wilson (canberra, australia)
  • Inter Press Service

“I, as your mandated President, am ready to take Bougainville forward, focussing on law and order, anti-corruption policies, the ratification process and improving the fiscal self-reliance of Bougainville,” Toroama said in a public statement on the occasion of his swearing in as President in the region’s main town of Buka on the Sept. 25. He will be supported in a caretaker government for the next two weeks by his new Vice President, Patrick Nisira, MP for Halia constituency in North Bougainville, and Therese Kaetavara, Women’s Representative for South Bougainville.

Toroama, who defeated 24 other presidential candidates, is a strategic choice. Following an almost unanimous 97.7 percent referendum vote in November of last year for Independence from PNG, the people of Bougainville returned to the polls last month to decide on a new government. It is now tasked with carrying the autonomous region on a challenging political journey toward the long held local aspiration for nationhood.

“The referendum was a turning point…looking at all the 25 candidates, people were looking for who could deliver and successfully talk about Independence ,” Aloysius Laukai, Manager of the local New Dawn FM radio station, told IPS. Laukai claims that “the election was conducted well” and widely accepted as free and fair. The campaigning and voting periods were reported as organised and peaceful, in spite of some alleged cases of misplaced voting papers.

The islands of Bougainville, with a population of about 300,000 people, are located more than 900 kilometres east of the PNG mainland. Bougainville hit the world headlines in 1989 when an indigenous landowner uprising against the then Rio-Tinto majority owned Panguna copper mine on Bougainville Island escalated into a civil war which raged on until a ceasefire in 1998. The peace agreement, signed in 2001, provided for establishing an autonomous government, which occurred in 2005, and a referendum on the region’s future political status.

Despite having only one recorded case of COVID-19, to date, the Bougainville government declared a state of emergency in March, which led to the delay of the general election, originally planned during the first half of this year.

Former President John Momis, who has led Bougainville for the past 10 years and been a prominent local political leader and figure of stability for more than four decades, bowed out of the race, having served the maximum two terms in office. The field then mushroomed into an unprecedented more than 400 candidates vying for 40 parliamentary seats and 25 hopefuls for the presidency.

Alluding to the stakes ahead, Momis called for unity as voters turned out to cast their ballots from Aug. 12 to Sept. 1. “Let us all walk this journey together as one people and one voice to decide our leaders for this next government that will lead us to our ultimate political future that is within the confines of democratic values and international best practice standards,” Momis stated on Aug. 17.

While also a pro-Independence advocate, Momis, a former Roman Catholic priest with extensive experience in peacetime politics, is a contrasting figure to Toroama. His achievements include serving in the national parliament, playing a major role in the region’s peace negotiations and serving as Bougainville’s governor after the conflict from 1999 to 2005.

The new President was a commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla force which instigated an armed uprising following grievances about the environmental devastation and economic inequity associated with the foreign-owned Panguna mine. He has not been a political leader or served in government administration, although he played a vital role in the peace talks which ended the conflict. More recently, he has been a successful cocoa farmer.

Geraldine Valei, Executive Officer of the Bougainville Women’s Federation, offered another perspective on the overwhelming support Toroama received at the ballot box. “The reason why we say that he is the right person is because, in our Melanesian way of resolving conflicts, if you start the war then you are the one to resolve it,” Valei told IPS, adding that, “he will, of course, need support from very good advisors to lead as President.”

Toroama’s rivals for the top office included James Tanis, who held the office of President briefly from 2008 to 2010, another former rebel ex-combatant, Sam Kauona, and local businessman, Fidelis Semoso. There were also two female candidates in the running: Ruby Miringka, a healthcare professional who has also worked for the Bougainville Referendum Commission, and Magdalene Toroansi, a former Bougainville Minister for Women.

Bougainville’s fourth government will face enormous challenges in the next five-year term to build a weak economy, improve governance and the capacity of institutions, all still in need of reconstruction and development following widespread destruction on the islands during the conflict. 

Valei told IPS that she would like to see the new President “strengthen good governance, have zero tolerance of corruption, strengthen law and order and advocate for the ratification of Independence from Papua New Guinea”.

Toroama also faces huge public expectations to bring about the region’s long held dream of Independence. Aspirations for self-determination in the region pre-date both the civil war and PNG’s Independence. The islands of Bougainville were brought under the umbrella of the new Papua New Guinean nation in 1975. But they are geographically located far from the PNG mainland and the islanders trace their ethnic and cultural kinship instead to the Solomon Islands, an archipelago to the immediate southeast of Bougainville.

However, the decisive result of last year’s referendum is non-binding. Long and complex negotiations between the PNG and Bougainville governments to agree the region’s new political status will occur over the coming months and years. Talks at the national level will be informed by input from local forums in Bougainville, comprising representatives of communities, ex-combatants, business leaders, women and youths. The final decision will then be ratified by the PNG Parliament. There is no deadline for this process, but Toroama has indicated he would like a decision reached within two to three years.

PNG’s Prime Minister, James Marape, has voiced his support and respect for the process ahead and the wishes of the Bougainville people. “I look forward to working with President-Elect Toroama in progressing consultations on the outcome of the recent referendum and securing long term economic development and a lasting peace for the people of Bougainville,” Marape said in a statement issued soon after the election results were announced.

Yet, the PNG Government is known to not favour full secession, preferring the region to remain within a ‘united’ PNG under a form of greater autonomy.

Looking ahead, economic experts claim that, with a weak economy and heavy dependence on international aid and funding from the national government, Bougainville would face a long period of transition to being an economically viable state, potentially up to 20 years.

© Inter Press Service (2020) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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Biden Slammed Facebook Over Trump Election Posts


The Biden campaign has demanded that Facebook ramp up enforcement of misleading and inaccurate posts by President Donald Trump, accusing the social media giant of failing to live up to its recent promises to clamp down on election-related falsehoods.

In a strongly worded three-page letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg obtained by Axios, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon called Facebook “the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process.” She pointed to the company’s pledge in early September to “protect our democracy” by “clearing up confusion about how this election will work” and by “fight[ing] misinformation.”

“Three weeks have now passed,” Dillon wrote. “Rather than seeing progress, we have seen regression. Facebook’s continued promise of future action is serving as nothing more than an excuse for inaction.”

In response to Dillon’s letter, a Facebook spokesperson said the company hears vigorous complaints from both sides of the partisan divide. “We’ve faced criticism from Republicans for being biased against conservatives and Democrats for not taking more steps to restrict the exact same content,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We have rules in place to protect the integrity of the election and free expression, and we will continue to apply them impartially.”

On Sept. 3, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would remove lies and misleading claims about the voting process that could cause somebody to lose the chance to cast a ballot. He also declared that Facebook would not allow political advertisements during the week before the election.

“We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy,” Zuckerberg wrote at the time. “That means helping people register and vote, clearing up confusion about how this election will work, and taking steps to reduce the chances of violence and unrest.”

The very same day that Zuckerberg made the announcement, Trump wrote a Facebook post that encouraged some people voting by mail to vote a second time in person. Facebook added a label at the bottom of the post saying, “Voting by mail has a long history of trustworthiness in the US.”

Trump has made a number of false and misleading claims on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in the weeks since.

On Monday, for example, he claimed on both platforms that “Ballots being returned to States cannot be accurately counted.”

Twitter put a label on Trump’s tweet that urged people to click through to “learn how voting by mail is safe and secure.” Facebook initially put a label on its post that linked to the company’s Voting Information Center “for election resources and official updates.” After an online backlash, Facebook changed the label to make it more clear that the post was misleading.

In her letter to Zuckerberg, Dillon argued that Facebook should go further: “remove Mr. Trump’s posts, which violate your policies.”

“[B]y now,” Dillon added, “Mr. Trump clearly understands that Facebook will not hold him to their clearly stated policies.”





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South Korea says slain man tried to defect to North Korea



SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea said Tuesday that a government official slain by North Korean sailors wanted to defect, concluding that the man, who had gambling debts, swam against unfavorable currents with the help of a life jacket and a floatation device and conveyed his intention of resettling in North Korea.

Senior coast guard officer Yoon Seong-hyun said at a televised briefing that there was a “very low possibility” that the man could have fallen from a ship or tried to kill himself because he was putting on a life jacket when he was found in North Korean waters last week.

Yoon said tidal currents at the time would also make it extremely difficult for him to drift into North Korean waters naturally.

The coast guard said its assessment was based on an analysis of tidal currents in the area, a visit to a government boat the official had been aboard before his disappearance, investigation of his financial transactions and a meeting with South Korean Defense Ministry officials.

Yoon said the man conveyed his wish to defect before his death. He cited intelligence showing North Korea knew the man’s name, age, height and hometown as an evidence of his communication with the North.

Yoon didn’t elaborate. But some experts said he likely was referring to South Korea’s interception of communications among North Korean officials about the man.

Coast guard officials have previously said the 47-year-old official was a father of two with some debts. Yoon said Tuesday the debts totaled about 330 million won ($282,240), 80% of which were from gambling.

It’s still unclear whether Tuesday’s announcement would sooth mounting questions about why the man was in North Korean waters. The brother of the late official has said it was more likely that he fell into the sea by accident. The official had been aboard a government inspection ship before he disappeared.

South Korea has accused North Korea of having fatally shot him and burning his body. North Korea acknowledged that its troops killed him because he refused to answer to questions and attempted to flee. But North Korea said its troops only burned the man’s floatation device.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has offered a rare apology over the man’s death, but his government hasn’t confirmed the man was trying to defect.

The man’s shooting has triggered a huge political firestorm in South Korea, with conservatives launching fierce political attacks on liberal President Moon Jae-in, who espouses greater ties with the North.



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Armenia and Azerbaijan fight over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region


media captionTanks ablaze as fighting erupts over disputed region

Fierce fighting continues to rage following a flare-up of a decades-old conflict in the Caucasus region of south-eastern Europe.

Dozens of deaths have been reported in battles between forces fighting for Armenia and Azerbaijan.

At the heart of the conflict is a dispute over control of the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

It is recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since a war ended in 1994.

Tens of thousands of people died during the war and a million others were forced to leave their homes.

Other countries are concerned that the latest fighting could spill out of the region and draw in neighbouring powers, including Turkey, Russia and Iran.

They are also keen to maintain stability because gas and oil pipelines that supply the world run through the area.

  • What is behind the conflict?

The latest intense fighting began on Sunday with both Armenia and Azerbaijan blaming each other for the escalation.

Residents including children have taken cover in bomb shelters during shelling in the capital Stepanakert

image copyrightReuters

image captionResidents have taken cover in bomb shelters after shelling in the capital Stepanakert

Both parties said they had mobilised more soldiers and declared martial law in some areas.

The fighting is the heaviest seen in the conflict since 2016, when at least 200 people were killed in clashes.

Turkey has already declared its support for Azerbaijan, while Russia – which has military bases in Armenia but is also friendly with Azerbaijan – called for an immediate ceasefire.

Armenia has accused Turkey of providing direct military support to help Azerbaijan gain control of territory, a claim denied by Azerbaijan.

On Monday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Armenia must immediately end its “occupation” of the region, which he said would end the long crisis.

In a BBC interview, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan accused Azerbaijan of sabotaging a peaceful settlement to the conflict and insisted Armenia must defend the region.

A spokesperson for Azerbaijan’s presidential administration told the BBC that his country was taking “counter-measures” against provocations by Armenia.

Nagorno-Karabakh – key facts

  • A mountainous region of about 4,400 sq km (1,700 sq miles)
  • Traditionally inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks
  • In Soviet times, it became an autonomous region within the republic of Azerbaijan
  • Internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but majority of population is ethnic Armenian
  • An estimated one million people displaced by war in 1988-1994, and about 30,000 killed
  • Separatist forces captured some extra territory around the enclave in Azerbaijan in the 1990s war
  • Stalemate has largely prevailed since a 1994 ceasefire
  • Turkey openly supports Azerbaijan
  • Russia has military bases in Armenia

What’s the latest from the battlefield?

On Monday, authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, who are backed by Armenia, said another 28 of their soldiers had been killed. They had reported 16 fatalities and more than 100 people wounded on Sunday.

Armenian authorities said 200 Armenians were wounded, according to Interfax.

image copyrightEPA
image captionArmenia published photos of what it said were destroyed Azerbaijani tanks

Azerbaijan said two Azeri civilians were killed on Monday, following the deaths of five people from the same family died on Sunday. It added that 30 civilians were wounded.

Nagorno-Karabakh authorities said their forces had reclaimed some territory taken by Azeri troops on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s government said on Monday that it had occupied strategically important locations in the disputed region.

image copyrightEPA
image captionAzerbaijan released images of what it said were damaged Armenian armoured vehicles
In July, at least 16 people died in border clashes, prompting the largest demonstration in years in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, where there were calls for the region’s recapture.

The international reaction

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “extremely concerned”, urging both sides to stop fighting
  • Russia’s foreign minister held urgent talks both with the Armenian and Azeri leadership
  • France, which has a large Armenian community, called for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue
  • Iran, which borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, offered to broker peace talks
  • President Donald Trump said the US was seeking to stop the violence

What’s the background?

In 1988, towards the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani troops and Armenian secessionists began a bloody war which left Nagorno-Karabakh in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994.

Tens of thousands died in fighting, and many ethnic Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes.

It is now a de facto independent region, relying heavily on support from Armenia. But it is not recognised by any UN member, including Armenia.

Swathes of Azeri territory around the enclave are also under Armenian control.

image copyrightEPA

image captionShelling has caused damage to homes in the city of Martuni

Negotiations have so far failed to produce a permanent peace agreement, and the dispute in the region remains one of post-Soviet Europe’s “frozen conflicts”.

Karabakh is the Russian rendering of an Azeri word meaning “black garden”, while Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “mountainous”. Ethnic Armenians prefer to call the region Artsakh, an ancient Armenian name for the area.

Over the years both sides have had soldiers killed in sporadic breaches of the ceasefire. Landlocked Armenia has suffered severe economic problems due to the closure of borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Russia, France and the US co-chair the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group, which has been attempting to broker an end to the dispute.

Related Topics

  • Azerbaijan

  • Armenia
  • Nagorno-Karabakh



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Huawei CFO Meng back in Canadian court fighting U.S. extradition


By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will be back in a Canadian courtroom on Monday as her lawyers resume their fight to block the United States’ efforts to extradite her.

Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States charging her with bank fraud for misleading HSBC <HSBA.L> about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanction law.

Huawei lawyers will argue that the U.S. extradition request was flawed because it omitted key evidence showing Meng did not lie to HSBC about Huawei’s business in Iran.

Meng, the daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition from her house arrest in Vancouver.

The arrest has strained China’s relations with both the United States and Canada. Soon after Meng’s detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, charging them with espionage.

Meng will appear in British Columbia’s Supreme Court on Monday for five days of Vukelich hearings – in which the judge will ultimately decide whether to allow the defence to admit additional pieces of evidence in their favour.

In this case, Huawei lawyers will use a PowerPoint presentation to show HSBC knew the extent of Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, which they say the United States did not accurately portray in its extradition request to Canada.

In previously submitted documents, Meng’s lawyers claim the case that the United States submitted to Canada is “so replete with intentional and reckless error” that it violates her rights.

The argument is part of Meng’s legal strategy to prove that Canadian and American authorities committed abuses of process while arresting her.

Lawyers representing the Canadian attorney general are arguing for her extradition to the United States.

Vukelich hearings are rare in extradition cases, said Gary Botting, an extradition lawyer based in Vancouver, but given the complexity of Meng’s case it is not surprising.

The defence’s success “depends entirely on the nature of the evidence… and whether or not there is any substance to their allegations,” Botting added.

Meng’s extradition trial is currently set to wrap up in April 2021, although if either side appeals the case, it could drag on for years through the Canadian justice system.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Denny Thomas and Diane Craft)



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Trump Holds $421 Million In Debt, Could Owe IRS $100 Million In Penalties, Times Says



President Donald Trump personally holds $421 million in debt and loans that are largely coming due in the next four years, The New York Times reported Sunday after obtaining more than two decades of his long-sought tax returns.

An ongoing audit by the Internal Revenue Service, meanwhile, could cost Trump more than $100 million.

The Times report also revealed that the president’s vast business interests created potential and real conflicts of interest for years and are under more financial stress than the self-described billionaire has previously disclosed.

Documents obtained by the Times painted a more detailed picture of the president’s personal fortune and his network of 500 business entities, as well as the legal maneuvering he has employed to pay little or no taxes for many years.

The Times found that Trump paid just $750 in personal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and none at all in 10 of the previous 15 years, citing business losses in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to decrease his tax burden.

The Times did not obtain Trump’s personal tax returns for 2018 or 2019, but the breadth of documents — including records for his first two years in office — showed a large increase in income at properties that have become lightning rods for criticism after he refused to divest himself of his businesses while in office.

A lawyer for the Trump Organization told the publication that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate,” and the president himself said the report was “totally fake news” and “made up” in a Sunday news conference.

But the documents, obtained from unnamed sources that had legal access to them, painted by far the most detailed picture of the president’s finances.

Beginning in 2015, Trump was able to earn an extra $5 million a year from his club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida. The tax records detailed monthly credit card receipts that showed transactions ballooned at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and at Trump’s Doral golf resort, both of which have become favored destinations for foreign businesses and dignitaries.

Rental income at some of his properties in the United States has also risen dramatically since he won the presidency, and Trump’s revenue from properties he owns overseas totaled some $73 million in his first two years in the White House — including millions from the Philippines and Turkey.

The president has relied more heavily on those sources of income as other revenue sources dried up or were leveraged, the Times reported. The president took out a $100 million mortgage on commercial space in Trump Tower in 2012 on which he still owes the full amount, which is due in 2022. He also sold more than $200 million in stocks and bonds between 2014 and 2016, pumping much of the proceeds into his properties.

In 2018, Trump businesses reported just $34.7 million cash on hand, 40% less than five years earlier.

At the same time, auditors at the IRS are probing whether the president misused a provision in the tax code that allowed him a full refund — with interest — of the taxes he paid between 2005 and 2008, a total of $72.9 million. If the refund is disallowed, Trump could owe more than $100 million in restitution, interest and penalties.

It’s unclear how Trump’s lenders could force him to pay up should he win reelection; it would be unprecedented for institutions to foreclose on a sitting U.S. president who is personally liable for more than $400 million in loans and debts. That gargantuan figure could likely be leveraged again in the president’s favor: As a tax benefit when declared as losses for years to come, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Trump paid far more in taxes to foreign governments than to his own.

“He reported paying taxes, in turn, on a number of his overseas ventures. In 2017, the president’s $750 contribution to the operations of the U.S. government was dwarfed by the $15,598 he or his companies paid in Panama, the $145,400 in India and the $156,824 in the Philippines,” the Times reported.





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Boris Johnson news: Steve Baker threatens Tory rebellion over PM’s ‘Draconian’ COVID power | Politics | News


He said: “100 Acts of Parliament have been used to put in place about 242 statutory instruments, and there have been about 200 changes.

“When you’ve got a body of law that large, changing that fast, I doubt really anyone understands what that law is.

“This is not a free environment for a free people.

“How do people think that liberty dies? It dies like this with Government exercising Draconian powers without parliamentary scrutiny in advance.”

READ MORE: SNP power to ‘distort’ post-Brexit UK trade thwarted by Boris plan

Mr Baker continued: “How do people think that liberty dies? It dies like this with Government exercising Draconian powers without parliamentary scrutiny in advance.

“It’s extremely serious, I don’t think I look like a hysterical person to you.

“Rishi Sunak brought up this issue that we need to learn to live without fear. At the moment, the public are being deliberately told that they should be afraid.

“The Government has been frightening people into compliance and it hasn’t been working.”

More to follow…





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