news

Israel Folau stands firm on his beliefs in first interview since anti-gay social media post, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP.

1. Israel Folau has stood firm on his beliefs in first interview since homophobic social media post.

Israel Folau says he will miss rugby but is prepared to walk away from the sport without a fight for the sake of his faith.

In his first interview since posting homophobic messages on social media on Wednesday, Folau wouldn’t back down on his actions and said he would be prepared to accept his fate from rugby authorities.

The Waratahs have stood the star Wallabies fullback down indefinitely while Rugby Australia is likely to rip up his lucrative four-year deal for a breach of contract.

Folau spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald after he and netball star wife Maria attended a church service in suburban Sydney.

The 30-year-old denied reports that he would consider taking legal action if Rugby Australia severed ties.

He said he would regard such a decision as “God’s will”.

israel folau sacked
Israel Folau. Image: Getty.

"First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever he wants me to do, I believe his plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that's not to continue on playing, so be it," Folau said.

"In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I'll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first."

Folau said his beliefs hadn't been swayed by the waves of criticism directed at him.

"Absolutely not. I'll stand on what the Bible says. I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people's reactions are the total opposite to how I'm sharing it."

ADVERTISEMENT

Folau described the days since his posts as "tough" but said he wasn't surprised and took comfort in what the bible says.

He says he feels love towards all the people who had vented a negative reaction.

2. A tenth young girl has come forward, accusing a Sydney swimming coach of sexual assault.

A tenth young girl has come forward, accusing Sydney swim coach Kyle Daniels of sexual assault.

Police will allege the seven-year-old girl was abused by the 20-year-old instructor from Sydney's northern beaches between February 2018 and June 2018, during which time he worked as a swimming coach at Mosman Swim Centre, News.com.au reports.

Daniels is facing 36 charges of sexual abuse and is alleged to have sexually assaulted 10 female students between the ages of six and 10 at the pool where he worked.

These charges include sexual intercourse with a child under 10, intentionally sexually touching a child under 10 and the indecent assault of a person under 16.

Daniels' lawyer said his client has denied all allegations.

kyle-daniels-swim-instructor
Kyle Daniels worked as a swim instructor at Mosman Swim Centre. Image: Instagram

Daniels was first arrested and charged on Tuesday, March 12, with assaulting two sisters, aged six and eight, who he taught at Mosman Swim Centre.

When Daniels appeared in Manly Local Court on March 20, the court heard that parents made complaints seven months ago about him "inappropriately" holding young girls.

Manly Daily reports Daniels was forced to sign an internal memo dated mid-August from the swim school stating that he understood that he was not to unnecessarily touch children in his classes.

ADVERTISEMENT

The school's memo warned that instructors were not to hold children too close to the groin or chest area. The University of Sydney student was also told to keep his hands above water and to position himself beside and not behind children.

"As instructors, it is extremely important that we are aware and using the correct technique to hold and interact with children," the memo read.

The memo also warned against being overly playful or hands-on, or cuddling the children too much.

This memo allegedly came after a parent noticed Daniels' "inappropriate hold", and made a complaint.

However, the complaint was not reported to the ombudsman's office or police.

3. The US police officer who shot Justine Damond-Ruszczyk was told to 'keep his mouth shut'.

A US police officer who told his colleague to "keep your mouth shut" after the fatal shooting of Australian life coach Justine Damond-Ruszczyk says he was merely giving advice.

Justine Damond
Justine Damond. Image: Facebook.

Minneapolis police officer Jesse Lopez was among several officers to testify at Mohamed Noor's trial about the night in July 2017 that Noor, 33, shot Damond after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

Noor is charged with murder and manslaughter in the dual US-Australian citizen's death.

Noor's lawyers have argued he was reacting to a loud noise and feared an ambush when he shot Damond as she approached his squad car.

But prosecutors say there is no evidence of any threat to justify deadly force.

ADVERTISEMENT

Neither Noor nor his partner that night, Matthew Harrity, had activated their body cameras before Damond was shot.

The only body-camera video in the case comes from after they switched on their cameras following Damond's death, and from officers who arrived at the scene.

That included Lopez, who was recorded telling Noor to "keep your mouth shut until you have to say anything to anybody".

Lopez testified on Friday that he had worked alongside Noor in the city's 5th Precinct before.

He said when he talked to Noor in the minutes after the shooting, he wasn't ordering him not to talk but rather speaking officer to officer.

"It's what came to mind to advise him," Lopez said.

Body-camera footage played in court on Thursday showed Lopez shutting off his camera at certain points, including when he was talking to Noor and later when he spoke with Noor's supervisor at the scene.

Prosecutors have sought to draw the jury's attention to the inconsistent use of body cameras after Damond was shot.

Another officer, Mark Ringgenberg, testified earlier this week that he also told Noor at the scene not to say anything.

Noor ultimately refused to speak to state Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents who investigated the shooting. It's not clear whether Noor will testify.

3. Thousands rally around Australia to support refugees.

Thousands of people have joined Palm Sunday rallies around the country calling for an end to offshore detention.

Protesters brandished signs with messages including "Bring Them Here", "Vote Humanity Not Atrocity" and "Say Yes To Refugees" as demonstrations were held in a number of capital cities and regional centres on Sunday.

At Sydney's Belmore Park, football commentator and former Socceroos captain Craig Foster addressed the crowd.

Foster, who successfully fought for the release of refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi from a Bangkok jail earlier this year, said Australia's national conscience was severely damaged by deaths on Manus Island and Nauru.

He said as great as the Save Hakeem campaign was, "it was also an immense challenge: to me, to you and to all other 25 million Australians".

"If we can save him, we can save everyone on Manus, Nauru, we can save every refugee who deserves the right to asylum, and in the end, people, we can save ourselves," Foster said.

Reverend John Barr said saying yes to refugees was not only "the decent, fair or honourable" thing to do, but it was also the right thing to do.

ADVERTISEMENT

"May this gathering be a means of sending a loud message to Canberra that refugees are welcome," he said.

In Melbourne, members of different faiths and beliefs came together shouting "shame - get them off" and "we will prevail" as they marched.

The event attracted marchers of all ages, including grannies dressed in purple and students from St Bernards College and Wesley College.

The Melbourne rally was led by MC former comedian and now lawyer Corrinne Grant.

5. New fines of more than $600 for Queensland animal rights activists.

Animal rights activists who trespass on Queensland farms and abattoirs during protests will be slapped with fines of hundreds of dollars under regulation changes that will take effect in days.

Fines of more than $600 will be issued by police or biosecurity officers as part of a state government crackdown on a spate of protests that began last year.

The government announced on Sunday the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 will be amended to include the penalty for those considered to be a threat to biosecurity and animal and worker welfare.

Activists could also face trespass charges and potentially jail time, but only after farmers and business owners make a complaint to police.

"We take animal welfare very seriously and so does an overwhelming majority of our agricultural businesses," Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said.

The protests began late last year when animal rights activists allegedly entered dairy, pig and poultry farms without permission.

That action has continued along with protests in other states, leading Mr Furner to claim activists might have imported foot-and-mouth disease from Indonesia.

The activists say Australians need to wake up to the horror and cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industries.

A number of people have been charged with trespass as police investigate incidents across the state's southeast.

A joint task force of police and government officials is working on strategies to de-escalate protests safely.

Animal rights charity Aussie Farms published the locations and contact details of Australian farming and animal-related properties in January.

It maps meat processing facilities, horse racing tracks and showground pens, chicken and pig farms, sheep and cattle stations and fisheries.

Privacy laws were changed this month to potentially expose Aussie Farms' website to significant penalties for publishing farmers' addresses and contact details.

00:00 / ???