News in 5: Search for Aussie in Canada; Violent Melbourne protests; Amazon launches in Australia.

Video via Channel 9

1. “People might know something”: Search for answers after 25-year-old Aussie backpacker disappears in Canada.

Alison Raspa.
Alison Raspa. Image via Facebook.

Alison Raspa, 25, was last seen leaving the Three Below Restaurant and Lounge in the Canadian ski town of Whistler at 11.30pm on Wednesday, November 22.

In the 12 days since the Perth woman's disappearance, no one has seen or heard from her. Authorities, family and friends are now desperate for answers, after rumours where she went missing have started swirling in the tiny town.

MORE FROM Current Affairs

According to news.com.au, police recovered some of Alison's personal belongings, including her mobile phone and a backpack, 5km from where she was last seen the day after she went missing.

A source close to the family has also revealed that authorities believe the 25-year-old - who had been living in Whistler since May and recently extended her work visa - may have been upset about something that happened at work before she went missing.

It's been suggested an incident occurred outside the Three Below Bar and Lounge the night she vanished, a claim an employee has denied to news.com.au.

"[I'm] 100 per cent sure there was no altercation outside the bar that night," the employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the news outlet.

"I know because I was here that night and I have told police everything that happened that night and handed over all the security camera footage.

Advertisement

"There are so many rumours and stories floating around about what happened to Alison right now so it's pretty weird. It's a small place. I mean only about 20,000 people live here at Whistler."

Alison's friends and family have flown to Canada to help in the search, with one friend Katie offering a heartfelt message to her missing friend.

"Just come home," she told 9 News.

"Her family are worried, we're all worried, and we just want to see her home safely."

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are continuing to focus their search efforts around Alpha Lake Park, where Alison's belongings were found.

"Some of the things that we have found have led us to the Alpha Lake area and we are trying our best at this point to put that timeline together to see if we can go anywhere else," RCMP Staff Sergeant Paul Hayes said.

"We are bringing in divers again, we are bringing in helicopters when the weather will allow, we are doing ground searches with friends and with search and rescue.

"We are hoping the public can advise us of anything that they have seen."

Police are also analysing her mobile phone for further clues, but have not yet "ruled out any option in terms of what has happened or where [Alison] could be."

2. Sydney woman found guilty of stabbing her cousin to death over a "scratch on her new $184,000 Mercedes".

Katherine Abdallah
Katherine Abdallah. Image via AAP.

The night before Katherine Abdallah killed her cousin at her Sydney townhouse she told police "she's going to be in serious trouble when I get her", AAP reports.

"You guys will probably be called back," she added in what proved to be an eerily accurate prediction.

Abdallah had been involved in a violent and prolonged argument over her new $184,000 Mercedes before she armed herself with two knives and fatally stabbed 21-year-old Suzie Sarkis.

The now 37-year-old Abdallah claimed she'd acted in self-defence when she killed her cousin at her Brighton-Le-Sands townhouse in February 2013.

However, after almost five days of deliberations, a NSW Supreme Court jury on Monday found her guilty of manslaughter, echoing the verdict at her first trial.

Abdallah originally faced a murder trial but was found guilty of manslaughter and jailed in May 2015 for at least eight years and three months.

Later that year she successfully challenged her conviction and was ordered to face a second trial. She was released on bail in February 2016.

At the retrial, crown prosecutor John Bowers contended the stabbing wasn't done in self-defence but was a continuation of violence by Abdallah after she became angry at her cousin for using her new Mercedes.

"The crown case is that Ms Abdallah stabbed Ms Sarkis as an act in a series of violent acts that were generated or triggered by ongoing hostility and aggression that Saturday because of the incident of the car," he said.

Police visited Abdallah on the night of February 8 after clocking Ms Sarkis doing 112km/h.

The younger woman had driven off after police pulled her over during which she slightly damaged the car when hitting the gutter.

Abdallah became frustrated and agitated, telling police: "I bought that car on finance - do you know how expensive it is to replace parts?"

The next day, a Saturday, she found out her cousin had taken the Mercedes a second time, leading to them fighting in the street.

The jury saw CCTV footage, which did not record sound, from inside the townhouse showing the women verbally fighting before it got physical.

Justice Julia Longergan on Monday revoked Abdallah's bail and adjourned the case to December 13.

3. Queensland researchers have discovered common painkillers could halt the progression of skin cancer.

woman tanning in sun
Image via Getty.

A study by Brisbane-based researchers has discovered that some common anti-inflammatory drugs could stop skin cancers from turning into deadly ulcerated melanomas, The Courier Mail reports.

Researchers from WIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute found that regular use of anti-inflammatory painkillers, like aspirin and ibuprofen, reduced the likelihood of melanomas turning ulcerated, therefore worsening the survival odds.

According to Cancer Council Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - is the third most common cancer in the country.

Cholesterol lowering drugs like statins were also found to lower the risk of skin cancers developing, but research also showed that those suffering from diabetes were at an increased risk of developing ulcerated melanomas.

"Potentially, down the track, we can find some causations and potentially find some modifiable risk factors for melanoma ulcerations," lead researcher Lena von Schuckmann told The Courier Mail.

Cancer Council Queensland chief executive Chris McMillan also said the research was vital to understand "how to detect and treat melanomas early to improve survival."

"If you notice a new spot on your skin or a change in the size, shape or colour of a spot, it's important to visit your GP as early detection saves lives," she said.

The Cancer Council also recommends wearing sun-protective clothing - like long-sleeved shirts, hat and sunglasses - and applying broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure, and every two hours afterwards.

4. Violent protests erupt outside speaking event of 'troll' Milo Yiannopoulos in Melbourne.

Milo Yiannopoulos. Image via Getty.

Violent clashes have erupted in Melbourne, with protesters brawling in the streets and wielding crude weapons at an event for a controversial international right-wing commentator.

Outside the event for alt-right British speaker Milo Yiannopolous on Monday, demonstrations quickly escalated as anti-fascist and hardline right-wing groups clashed.

Hundreds of protesters from left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and two right-wing groups, Reclaim Australia and the True Blue Crew, rallied with a heavy police presence attempting to maintain order.

Convicted racial villifier Neil Erikson attended the rally and said hundreds of supporters would be there to support the speaker.

"We are here to express our freedom of speech," he told ABC.

Despite dozens of officers working to keep the groups separate, at least two men were pepper-sprayed after they started fighting, with others joining in.

Chants of "f*** off Nazis" were yelled by anti-fascist groups, while supporters of Yiannopolous waved Trump flags and wore red "Make America Great Again" caps.

An anti-fascist protester said they wanted to send a positive message that they were against racism, sexism and transphobia.

"Everything that Milo stands for we are against that," Chris Di Pasquale said.

People living in nearby public housing also joined the protest with anti-racism signs and some chanting about Palestinian land rights.

With the departure of right-wing groups, many people believed to be from the flats turned on the police and media, grabbing at cameras and throwing punches.

Rocks were thrown at a police van and the road was closed to traffic in both directions.

Event promoter Damien Costas said the activists were wasting taxpayers' money by protesting against the event.

"Simply because his [Yiannopolous'] views are different from the status quo," Mr Costas said.

The polarising British commentator is touring the country and is due to speak in Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

The 33-year-old resigned from conservative website Breitbart News after he seemed to suggest it was acceptable for older men to sleep with teenage boys.

Multiple people were arrested during the event but police could not confirm the exact figure or whether any charges had been laid.

5. Online retail giant Amazon has finally launched in Australia, just in time for Christmas.

online shopping
Image via Getty

Amazon has launched in Australia, ending months of speculation around the timing of when it would finally open its full offering Down Under and setting up a sales frenzy ahead of Christmas.

The e-commerce giant has already been selling Kindle e-reader devices, audio books and content from its Australian website but it has now activated its full-service local offering, featuring its own products and items sold by small local retailers, AAP reports.

The US retailer is known for sacrificing profit for sales through aggressively low prices and its greater presence in Australia is expected to benefit customers but bring more pain for local retailers.

Retail analysts at Citi believe large local electronics retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman will be among the hardest hit by the disruption the global behemoth is expected to create.

Morgan Stanley analysts have previously warned that Kmart and Target's parent company Wesfarmers could lose $400 million in annual earnings to Amazon by the 2026 financial year.

The online retailer has been described as "a giant, online department store" that offers everything from beauty products, clothing and shoes, to kid's toys, sporting goods and electronics.

Read more about the arrival of Amazon in Australia here.

6. The Aussie 'word of the year' has been announced... and it's one literally no one has ever used.

britney spears confused

Barnaby Joyce's dual citizenship debacle has helped inspire the choice of 'Kwaussie' as Australia's official word of the year.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre director Amanda Laugesen says Kwaussie - a blend of Kiwi and Aussie - came to prominence particularly on social media during the constitutional crisis that engulfed several senators and MPs who discovered they were dual citizens this year.

Except, many Australians have never heard of the term, much less used it themselves.

"So now you create a word of the year by announcing it as word of the year when no one has ever used this word until it is announced..." one Twitter user commented.

"This is literally the first time I have seen this word."

"Google says no: "Kwaussie" is not a thing," said another.

Dr Laugesen said the centre believed that Kwaussie was first used in a 2002 New Zealand newspaper in relation to actor Russell Crowe.

"He was described as a Kwaussie - what you get when you cross a Kiwi who can't decide whether they're a Kiwi or an Aussie," she said.

"Subsequent evidence suggests its use is predominantly Australian, found chiefly in social media, and also found with spelling variants including Kwozzie and Kwozzy.

"Thanks to the two Kwaussies identified as ineligible to sit in parliament, Barnaby Joyce and Greens senator Scott Ludlam, the term is now becoming better known."

Kwassie was picked as the winner from a short list of words selected by staff at the Australian National Dictionary Centre, which with Oxford University Press publishes the Australian National Dictionary of words and phrases unique to Australia.

Other words and phrases that made the short list included WAxit, Makarrata, Jumper punch and postal survey.

7. President Donald Trump has officially endorsed a Senate hopeful who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 30 people.

trump flynn tweet
Image via Getty.

President Donald Trump has endorsed US Senate candidate Roy Moore, throwing his weight behind the embattled Alabama Republican ahead of next week's special election in the state that has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct.

Moore has called the allegations against him false, and Trump, in a post on Twitter on Monday, said Republicans needed Moore to win in order to secure votes on key issues such as immigration.

"Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama," Trump wrote.

A number of top Republican senators have called on 70-year-old Moore to step aside following claims he molested or harassed teenage girls as young as 14 while he was in his 30s.

In a Washington Post report, more than 30 people came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore.

Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court judge, flatly denies the claims.

MORE FROM MAMAMIA

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

More articles