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"I'm waiting for my mum." Ethiopian Airlines plane crash kills all 157 people on board, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. Ethiopian Airlines plane crash kills all 157 people on board.


An Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet bound for Nairobi has crashed minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board and raising questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new model that also crashed in Indonesia in October.

Sunday’s flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38am local time on Sunday, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8.44am.

“The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and that he wanted to return,” Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam told a news conference.

“There are no survivors,” the airline tweeted alongside a picture of Tewolde holding up a piece of debris inside a large crater at the crash site.

Passengers from 35 countries were aboard.

The dead included Kenyan, Ethiopian, American, Canadian, French, Chinese, Egyptian, Swedish, British, Dutch, Indian, Slovakian, Austrian, Swedish, Russian, Moroccan, Spanish, Polish, and Israeli citizens.

There were no Australians among them.

At least four worked for the United Nations, the airline said, and the UN’s World Food Program director confirmed his organisation had lost staff in the accident.

Weeping relatives begged for information at airports in Nairobi and Addis Ababa.

“We’re just waiting for my mum. We’re just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She’s not picking up her phone,” said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.

The aircraft, a 737 MAX 8, is the same model that crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on October 29, killing all 189 people on board the Lion Air flight.

The cause of that crash is still under investigation.

A senior US government official said it was too early to tell if there was any direct connection between the two accidents, but that reviewing the issue would be among the top priorities for investigators.

The 737 is the world’s best selling modern passenger aircraft and is seen as one of the industry’s most reliable.

Ethiopian’s new aircraft had no recorded technical problems and the pilot had an “excellent” flying record, Tewolde said.

“We received the airplane on November 15, 2018. It has flown more than 1200 hours. It had flown from Johannesburg earlier this morning,” he said.

Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62km southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, with 149 passengers and eight crew aboard, the airline said.

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The flight had unstable vertical speed after take off, the flight tracking website Flightradar24 tweeted.

The aircraft had shattered into many pieces and was severely burnt. Clothing and personal effects were scattered widely over the field where the plane came down.

There was no immediate indication of what caused the crash and safety experts said it was too early to speculate, adding most accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors. Boeing said it was ready to help investigate.

At Nairobi airport, many relatives were left waiting at the gate for hours, with no information from airport authorities. Some learned of the crash from journalists.

Under international rules, responsibility for leading the crash investigation lies with Ethiopia but the US National Transportation Safety Board will also participate because the plane was designed and built in the United States.

Representatives of Boeing and Cincinnati-based engine-maker CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and General Electric and France’s Safran, were expected to advise the NTSB.

2. Another alleged R Kelly tape has surfaced.

A tape allegedly showing R&B singer R. Kelly sexually abusing girls has been turned over to law enforcement by one of Gloria Allred’s clients, the lawyer says.

The client, Gary Dennis, said at a news conference in New York on Sunday that he does not know Kelly and does not know where the tape came from.

He said he came across it while cleaning out a collection he had for years.

Dennis said a man who appears to be Kelly was on the recording engaged in sexual acts with young girls.

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Kelly is facing 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse in connection with three girls and one woman.

He has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty after being charged last month.

He was released from jail on Saturday, where he had been held in connection with overdue child support.

He was released after someone paid $US161,000 ($A228,000) that he owed in back child support.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has also said he has turned over two videos to prosecutors that he says shows Kelly sexually abusing girls.

3. Milo Yiannopoulos set to tour Australia after government backflips on ban.

Controversial British right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopolous is set to visit Australia again, with Immigration Minister David Coleman preparing to override Department of Home Affairs advice he should be banned.

The speaking tour will proceed despite Mr Yiannopolous owing Victoria Police $50,000 to cover policing at a Melbourne event in December, 2017, during which up to 500 left-wing protesters clashed with about 50 right-wing activists.

The change in tack by the government follows pressure on Mr Coleman by conservative MPs, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and former human rights commissioner Tim Wilson, arguing that banning the alt-right speaker would be a blow to freedom of speech.

“Milo is a boring, unimaginative, self-absorbed attention-seeker of questionable character,” Mr Wilson told The Australian.

“But free speech is for everyone, hence I was surprised by the news and have raised it with the minister.”

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Mr Yiannopoulos plans to tour before the May federal election.

The Department of Home Affairs had drawn up a list of reasons to deny Mr Yiannopoulos a visa, including the riots sparked by his 2017 tour, and the unpaid $50,000 bill. Several police officers were injured in the Melbourne clash.

The Migration Act allows the government to refuse a visa in the event a person would “incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community”.

The department listed “controversial statements” by Mr Yiannopoulos about Muslims, indigenous Australians, African Americans and the LGBTIQ community. He’s also accused of anti-Semitism.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong told reporters on Saturday that the government had changed its mind on Mr Yiannopoulos after being pressured by right-wing commentators.

“I think we can decide who we want to come to Australia.

“This is the bloke who has condoned relationships between younger boys and older men. He’s a bloke who has described feminism as a cancer and Islam as AIDS. Do we really want these ideas given this sort of coverage in Australia?”

Senator Wong said allowing Mr Yiannopolous in was not good for national cohesion.

“Let’s be clear about what has happened. Some right wing commentators have got angry about it so the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party decided to change their mind.”

4. Julie Bishop’s replacement has been selected by the Liberal Party.

Former University of Notre Dame vice-chancellor Celia Hammond has been named the Liberal Party’s candidate in its safest seat in Western Australia.

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Ms Hammond was pre-selected as the candidate for the blue-ribbon seat of Curtin at a meeting in Perth on Sunday, to replace former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Ms Hammond, 50, defeated four other candidates; foreign affairs specialist Erin Watson-Lynn, resources executive Anna Dartnell, and local councillors Karen Caddy and Andres Timmermanis.

“I am humbled and delighted to have been preselected in this preselection meeting for the seat of Curtin, following on from the inestimable Julie Bishop,” she told The Australian in Perth.

Ms Hammond won 51 votes ahead of Ms Dartnell’s 28 votes, and the remaining candidates each scored one vote.

Ms Hammond had earlier been named as one of three front-runner candidates.

The decision will be taken to the State Council meeting on Wednesday to be ratified, a party spokesman told AAP.

Ms Bishop tweeted her congratulations to the conservative Ms Hammond.

“I wish her all the very best in upcoming election. There is no greater calling than representing your community, your state and your country in the national parliament,” Ms Bishop wrote.

Ms Hammond has big shoes to fill as Ms Bishop is more recognisable than Prime Minister Scott Morrison at 82 to 77 per cent respectively, The Australia Institute poll on Sunday reveals.

“For Julie Bishop to still be more recognised than the current Prime Minister of Australia is unprecedented,” the institute’s executive director Ben Oquist said.

Ms Bishop was also the first woman in the seat of Curtin and held it for two decades.

Prior to the result, Senior West Australian Liberal Linda Reynolds had refused to endorse a candidate as it was “purely and simply” for local preselectors.

“I know the preselectors today will choose wisely and whatever the outcome we will have a worthy successor to Julie Bishop,” she told Sky News on Sunday.

Ms Bishop announced her retirement from politics on February 24, saying she would step down at the federal election.

5. Hopes fade for hikers missing for days in Victorian bush.

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Two experienced hikers haven’t been seen in more than 48 hours in Victoria’s alpine region despite authorities searching high and low for the pair.

Essendon couple Trevor Salvado, 60, and Jacinda Bohan, 58, were last seen at a Cherry Lane caravan park in Bright on Friday about 9.30am in their car.

The pair had been expected to return from a bushwalk at Reservoir Track on Mount Buffalo about midday but did not return.

Their fawn-coloured Skoda, registered 1AN 6RT, has since been found.

“They are really fit, strong hikers and well-experienced at hiking in the area,” Inspector Kerrie Hicks told reporters at the national park on Sunday.

The pair had been hiking earlier in the week and may have told someone about areas they wanted to visit, she added.

Dozens of people have been combing the national park to find the couple, aided by the police helicopter and officers on horses, on Sunday.

The retired pilot and teacher had been meant to spend the Labour Day long weekend with friends in their annual getaway.

Friend Mario De Vuono said the nature-loving husband and wife did “like to get out and adventure into the tracks”.

“They are usually very well-prepared when they go out. It is very out-of-character for them not to return,” he told Nine News Melbourne.

“We are hopeful for a good outcome.”

Another friend Barrie More said they had come “every Labour Day weekend” for almost a decade to Mount Buffalo.

Mr Salvado has short grey hair, blue eyes, grey moustache, a fair complexion, stands about 183cm tall and has a medium build.

Ms Bohan is about 170 cm tall, with a thin build, light brown/blonde short hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

The search to find the pair is expected to resume at daybreak.

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