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Radio boss threatens to sack Alan Jones following Jacinda Ardern comments, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. Radio boss threatens to sack Alan Jones following Jacinda Ardern comments.

Radio bosses have threatened to tear up Alan Jones‘ multi-million dollar contract as advertisers boycott his breakfast show over his comments about New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate issued a warning to the controversial broadcaster on Saturday, threatening to sack Jones if he continues to use offensive and violent language about women.

Alan Jones, 78, criticised Jacinda Ardern on Thursday after she said “Australia has to answer to the Pacific” on climate change at a forum in the island nation of Tuvalu.

He said Ms Ardern was a “joke” for preaching about climate change and suggested to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that he “shove a sock down her throat”.

The breakfast radio host later recognised his comments were “careless, unnecessary and wrong”.

“In the radio game you have to choose your words carefully and I didn’t do that. There is no excuse,” Jones wrote.

“I have written privately to Prime Minister Ardern to sincerely apologise for what I said.”

Chairman Russell Tate acknowledged the comments had caused offence to many people.

“He indicated that he had apologised sincerely to Prime Minister Ardern for any offence given, and had certainly not intended to suggest any harm through his comments,” the chairman said on Saturday night.

“Notwithstanding his apologies, I have today discussed the matter with Alan and advised him that any recurrence of commentary of this nature will result in the termination of his contract.”

Macquarie Media only re-signed Jones on a lucrative two-year contract in May following months of tense negotiations.

Several companies have indicated they intend to pull advertising from Jones’ on breakfast program – which is broadcast on 2GB in Sydney and 4BC in Brisbane – following his remarks about Ms Ardern.

They include ME Bank, Snooze and Bing Lee.

“Behaviour like this don’t reflect our values here so it was an easy choice to pull advertising,” ME Bank tweeted.

Ms Ardern herself brushed off Jones’ comments, while Mr Morrison said he had gone too far.

“I find that very disappointing and of course that’s way out of line,” he told reporters on Thursday.

It comes less than a week after Nine Entertainment offered to take full ownership of Macquarie, which owns 2GB, 4BC and 3AW in Melbourne.

2. Peaceful Hong Kong protest attended by 2 million.

Hong Kong’s streets turned into rivers of umbrellas as hundreds of thousands of people marched through heavy rain down a major road in the Chinese territory.

Organisers say at least 1.7 million participated.

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The assembly was peaceful, with no reports of violence, making for a rare calm weekend in 11 weeks of protests that have been marked by violent clashes with police.

Law enforcement officers kept a low profile on Sunday, with no riot police seen from the procession’s main routes. When stragglers convened outside a government complex in the late evening, other protesters urged them to go home.

“We hope that there will not be any chaotic situations today,” organiser Bonnie Leung said earlier in the day. “We hope we can show the world that Hong Kong people can be totally peaceful.”

Her group, the Civil Human Rights Front, had organised three previous massive marches in Hong Kong since June but the movement has been increasingly marked by clashes with police as demonstrators vent their frustrations over what they perceive to be the government’s refusal to respond to their demands.

Police granted approval for the rally but did not approve an accompanying march. Demonstrators nevertheless fanned out and filled the streets as there was not enough space at the designated assembly area.

Trains did not stop at stations near the assembly because of overcrowding.

Jimmy Shan of the Civil Human Rights Front said the group estimated that at least 1.7 million took part in the rally. He said the figure did not include those who were not able to make it to Victoria Park, where the march began, because of traffic constraints.

Police estimated the turnout during the designated time period and location to be 128,000. Many protesters, however, did not follow pre-approved guidelines laid out by the authorities.

In Beijing, You Wenze, a spokesman for China’s ceremonial legislature, condemned statements from US legislators supportive of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

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He called the comments “a gross violation of the spirit of the rule of law, a blatant double standard and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs”.

He said Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people and the Chinese population rejected the actions of a “very small group of violent protesters” as well as “any interference of foreign forces”.

The US Congress has the power to pass legislation affecting Hong Kong’s relationship with the US in ways that could further erode the territory’s reputation for stability and rule of law.

That includes the recent reintroduction of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would require the secretary of state to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy to justify special treatment.

More directly, President Donald Trump could issue an executive order suspending Hong Kong’s special trading status with the US, which could have a devastating effect on the local economy at a time when Beijing and Washington are engaged in a bitter trade war.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to Beijing in 1997 under the framework of “one country, two systems”, which promised residents certain democratic rights not afforded to people in mainland China, but some Hong Kongers have accused the Communist Party-ruled central government of eroding their freedoms in recent years.

The protest movement’s demands include the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, democratic elections and an independent investigation into police use of force.

Members of China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police force have been training for days across the border in Shenzhen, including on Sunday morning, fuelling speculation that they could be sent in to suppress the protests.

3. Ian Healy and Shane Warne condemn booing of Steve Smith.

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Ian Healy has slammed the “disgusting” behaviour of a small group of fans who booed Steve Smith after he was hit on the neck by a bouncer at Lord’s.

Smith copped a frightening blow on day four of the second Ashes Test, when he misread a Jofra Archer delivery that could have done serious damage.

Batting partner Pat Cummins and a stack of fielders rushed to Smith, while Australia’s team doctor Richard Saw sprinted out to the middle and insisted the batsman retires hurt.

Smith was able to walk off the field without assistance and passed a concussion test, returning to bat at the fall of the next wicket.

There was a standing ovation when the 30-year-old walked off the ground, most members of the crowd also stood and applauded when he resumed his knock.

But some opted to boo the batsman, who has copped plenty of abuse and jeers during both the World Cup and Ashes in his comeback tour from a year-long suspension, at both junctures.

Healy, who is hosting Nine Network’s coverage of the showpiece series, was shocked.

“It was disgusting,” Healy said.

“Lord’s won’t be happy with that either. They don’t like any ‘yobbo’ element of crowd behaviour.”

Australian Cricketers’ Association bosses Alistair Nicholson and Greg Dyer also went into bat for Smith on Sunday, declaring enough was enough.

“Cricket deserves much better than that. And Lord’s, the home of cricket, deserves much better than that also,” they said in a joint statement.

“What we witnessed was bravery from an outstanding young man. It should be commended not vilified.

“When someone is hurt, yet the boos continue, it’s time to call ‘enough.’

“At any rate, the players have already served the toughest penalties in the history of cricket. Surely it is time to move forward.”

Australia coach Justin Langer shrugged his shoulders then choose his words wisely when asked about the boos.

“What can I say? … I’ve spoken enough about the boos, there’s nothing we can do about the boos,” Langer said.

“There is also a lot of people standing and applauding him.”

The Barmy Army, who taunted Smith for his role in the Cape Town cheating scandal throughout the Edgbaston series opener, distanced itself from those booing the stricken superstar.

But paceman Chris Woakes opted against condemning the noise.

“People are entitled to do as they wish, that’s up to them and what they feel is necessary,” Woakes said.

“What they think as a person is right and wrong. For Steve to come out, having been hit the way he was, does show some courage and character.”

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Mark Taylor, who is on deck at the home of cricket as a Nine pundit, lashed the booing as “very disappointing”.

Shane Warne suggested booing Smith in other instances was one thing but to add insult to injury was not on.

“Just get up, clap and say that’s courageous, very brave,” Warne said in commentary.

4. NZ police continue their hunt for the gun used in campervan slaying.


New Zealand authorities are still searching for the gun used to kill Australian surfer Sean McKinnon, ambushed in the dead of night while his Canadian fiancee ran for her life.

A man has faced court charged over the 33-year-old’s shooting murder at Raglan – a popular North Island surf spot – on Friday.

Sean McKinnon’s shattered family say they “don’t know how to begin to put life together without him”.

He and fiancee Bianca Buckley had been sleeping in their campervan about 2am on Friday when the accused gunman allegedly demanded the keys and shot Mr McKinnon before driving off with his body inside.

Ms Buckley managed to run to a nearby farm for help before Mr McKinnon’s body was discovered in the abandoned van about 80km away on Gordonton Road, near Hamilton.

Police said on Sunday they are still looking for the gun used in the attack and say they’re working to return his body to his family in accordance with their wishes.

Police are also urging anyone who may have spotted hitchhikers around Waikato township Gordonton or at nearby Whitikahu during the day on Friday to contact them.

Mr McKinnon’s 23-year-old alleged killer appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Saturday charged with offences including murder, aggravated robbery and making threats to kill.

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The man, whose identity has been suppressed from publication, was remanded in custody after a public tip-off led to his arrest in the Waikato area on Friday night.

Outside court, Mr McKinnon’s sister, Emmeline, told reporters “we just don’t know even how to begin to put life together without him”.

“The worst thing was telling my mother,” Ms McKinnon added.

She said her brother’s fiancee had been “amazingly resilient and strong”.

“I cannot even begin to understand what she’s gone through.”

“She’s a really strong young woman. We’re just really glad she’s alive.”

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said Ms Buckley remained shocked and traumatised from her ordeal.

“She is thankful that an arrest within a 24-hour period has occurred and we’re working with her and her family, and we’ll continue to be in touch with her around her welfare,” he said.

Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack.

Mr McKinnon grew up around Warrnambool in southwest Victoria.

Friend Julian Smith said his mate loved to surf big waves along the Victorian coastline.

“He was a lovable, knockabout Aussie guy, loved his surfing,” Mr Smith told AAP.

Mr McKinnon’s alleged killer is expected back in court on August 27.

5. Latrell Mitchell vows to keep shaming “coward” racists.


NRL star Latrell Mitchell has vowed to maintain his stand against “coward” racism and revealed Adam Goodes reached out to support him.

Mitchell made his mark back on the field on Sunday, scoring a try double as his Sydney Roosters trounced the Warriors 42-6 at the SCG.

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But it’s been off the field where Mitchell had the biggest impact in the past week.

His decision to screenshot and share vile social media abuse against him became one of the most high-profile anti-racism stands in Australian sport since AFL superstar Goodes stood up to booing crowds in 2015.

“Adam reached out the other day and that was awesome,” Mitchell said.

“He just gave me a message and said ‘I love what you’re doing’ for standing up for myself as well.

“He said it was pretty much similar to what he went through in his career.

“I take my hat off to him – getting booed every game is nothing you want to be going through as a footy player. It’s only a game.

“I’m very emotional when it comes to these things because we don’t need to run out and be booed.

“We go out and do what we love to entertain people.”

Mitchell revealed he’d also spoken to Swans star Lance Franklin, and thanked NRL boss Todd Greenberg for his support.

The Kangaroos centre confirmed it was not the first time he’d been targeted.

But he said from here on, he would continue to call out racist online behaviour in a bid to assist societal change.

“I’ll name and shame whoever does it, I don’t care,” Mitchell said.

“I want it to start there. I look in my backyard and I know where I want to be.

“But I need people to start looking in theirs and making sure what they teach their kids. It’s going to take another generation before this is even thought about again.

“One person says it, 10 people think it, and that’s where I want to stop that.

“I’m not going to stand back and take it on the chin. Everything that is said about Aboriginal people really affects me.

“It’s a coward act (the racist social media post), it’s hiding behind a phone.”

Roosters coach Trent Robinson reaffirmed his support for Mitchell’s stance.

The 22-year-old was arguably the Roosters’ best player on Sunday, scoring two tries and throwing the last pass for another.

“I’ve been very impressed with him,” Robinson said.

“It’s a pretty important lesson in life. I thought he did really well in dealing with it.

“Making a call and then being really positive about the way he was going to play.

“And it’s not this week and it’s finished – it’s his whole life.”

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