News in 5: Couple killed on trip of a lifetime; Geoffrey Rush accuser; Third Lombok quake.

cycling-couple

– With AAP

1. This couple was on a trip of a lifetime. On day 369, their lives came to a harrowing end.


Last year Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan quit their office jobs to go on an adventure together. But just over a year in, their trip came to a sudden end when they were caught in a random ISIS attack.

The US couple, both 29, had been cycling around Africa, Europe – blogging their journey on Instagram as they went – but it was when they go to the Middle East that things took a dangerous turn.

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A post shared by Jay Austin (@simplycycling) on

On July 29 – day 369 of their open-ended trip – the pair were cycling with a group of other tourists along a road in Tajikistan – a central Asian nation bordered by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and known for its popular hiking mountains.

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On that road a group of men in a car spotted them and decided to attack. Footage captured by a driver shows the car pass the cyclists then make a U-turn, driving back towards the cyclists, hitting the group, The New York Times reports.

Four of the cyclists were killed: Jay and Lauren, and two cyclists from Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Days later, Islamic State released a video that showed the five alleged attackers vowing to kill “disbelievers”.

A post shared by Jay Austin (@simplycycling) on

Jay and Lauren wrote often of the beauty they saw on their travels and the kindness they encountered on their blog, Simply Cycling.

“You’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” Jay wrote in a post.

“‘People,’ the narrative goes, ‘are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil.’ I don’t buy it.”

2. Actress who accused Geoffrey Rush of sexual misconduct has been named as defamation case progresses.

The actress at the centre of Geoffrey Rush’s defamation case has alleged he traced his hand across the side of her breast and touched her lower back when they starred in a Sydney theatre production, according to court documents.

The Daily Telegraph and its reporter, Jonathon Moran, will attempt to prove a defence of truth when the case goes to trial in October now the actress has provided their lawyers with a statement.

Rush is suing the Telegraph‘s publisher and Moran over articles about allegations he behaved inappropriately towards a female colleague – later revealed to be Eryn Jean Norvill – during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear in 2015.

The 67-year-old actor denies the claims.

The Telegraph published the articles in 2017 without Norvill’s co-operation and Rush’s lawyer claims the STC begged Moran not to publish in an email which stated: “This is her story to tell.”

But the Federal Court on Thursday heard Norvill had agreed to give her account more than seven months after the first article was published, providing a statement to the Telegraph‘s lawyers in July.

Their amended defence – based on her statement – includes allegations Rush’s hand “traced across” the side of Norvill’s breast during a preview performance, according to an outline of submissions filed by Rush’s lawyers.

He’s accused of touching her lower back under her shirt, making lewd gestures in her direction and making groping gestures in the air.

Six months after the production, Rush also allegedly sent Norvill a text message saying he thought of her “more than is socially appropriate”.

Rush’s lawyers in the document argue some of the allegations lack precision and there’s no explanation why they vary starkly from claims previously made by the Telegraph in an earlier defence.

3. Third earthquake in Lombok as death toll reaches 319.

The Indonesian island of Lombok has been shaken by a third big earthquake in little more than a week as the official death toll from the most powerful of the quakes reached 319.

Thursday’s strong aftershock, measured at magnitude 5.9 by the US Geological Survey, caused panic, damage to buildings, landslides and injuries.

It was centred in the northwest of the island and didn’t have the potential to cause a tsunami, said Indonesia’s geological agency, which had earlier put its magnitude at 6.2.

Videos showed rubble strewn across streets and clouds of dust enveloping buildings.

In northern Lombok, some people leapt from their vehicles on a traffic jammed road while an elderly woman standing in the back of a pickup truck wailed “God is Great.”

An Associated Press reporter in the provincial capital Mataram saw people injured by the tremor and a hospital moved patients outside.

The aftershock had caused more “trauma,” said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Wiranto, Indonesia’s top security minister, told reporters the death toll from Sunday’s magnitude 6.9 quake had risen to 319.

Grieving relatives were burying their dead and medics tended to people whose broken limbs hadn’t yet been treated in the days since the quake.

The Red Cross said it was focusing relief efforts on an estimated 20,000 people yet to get any assistance.

4. Calls to raise Queensland’s imprisonment age from 10 to 14 years old.

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Image: iStock

Human rights, medical and legal experts have called on the Queensland government to increase the minimum age children can be locked behind bars for a criminal offence.

Each year around 150 children aged 10 to 13 are imprisoned in Queensland's children's prisons each year, Amnesty International says.

The human rights group says it's the highest incarceration rate of all states and territories and the Palaszczuk government should increase the age of criminal responsibility to 14.

Campaigner Belinda Lowe said too many childhoods are being lost in detention centres.

"We're not only taking away the lives of children now, we're taking away their futures," Ms Lowe said.

Ms Lowe said children arrested under the age of 14 are three times more likely to reoffend later in life than those arrested for the first time after they've turned 14.

Indigenous children account for 70 per cent of youth detainees across the state, with property and theft offences making up a majority of crimes committed by all children, Amnesty International said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service chief executive Shane Duffy said the current approach to youth crime wasn't working.

"We've got a massive number of young people sitting on remand in police cells," he said.

Mr Duffy said families not being able to afford bail meant many children would remain on remand for periods stretching longer than the sentences they are later given.

5. Australian arrested with cocaine in Bali and now could face 20 years jail.

An Australian man faces up to 20 years in prison in Indonesia after being arrested for allegedly possessing cocaine on the resort island of Bali.

The chief of Denpasar district police, Hadi Purnomo, said on Thursday that the 43-year-old man, whom he identified only as Brandon, was arrested with his Indonesian girlfriend at a rented room last Saturday in the tourist hotspot of Kuta.

He said police found 11.6 grams of cocaine packed into 13 plastic bags.

Purnomo told reporters that the man had been living in Bali for four years and was a designer or architect.

He faces between five and 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The man was identified by Indonesian news site Kumparan as Brandon Johnson but the ABC has reported the man is understood to be Brendon Luke Johnsson, who originally lived on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the department was "providing consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Bali".

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