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'Semiconscious and blue.' Jeffrey Epstein found injured in jail cell, & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. ‘Semiconscious and blue.’ Jeffrey Epstein found injured in jail cell.

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls, has been found semiconscious in a Manhattan jail cell with injuries to his neck, according to media reports.

Epstein, 66, was found by guards sprawled on the floor of his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Wednesday, media reported, with some outlets reporting his face appeared blue.

The billionaire financier was taken to hospital, the New York Post reported, but it was unclear where he was taken or what his condition was. He has since been returned to jail.

It was not clear how he suffered his injuries, but sources told the Post law-enforcement was investigating whether he was assaulted.

Fellow inmate Nicholas Tartaglione, a former Briarcliff Manor cop who faces the death penalty in four drug-related killings, was questioned about the incident, sources said.

Neither a representative for the correctional centre nor Epstein’s lawyer returned calls or email inquiries from Reuters.

Epstein was recently denied bail, a move his lawyers plan to appeal according to a court notice made public on Tuesday.

Epstein was expected to ask the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the judge’s July 18 rejection of his request to remain under house arrest in his $US77 million mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges and the appeal for bail was expected.

The charges, concerning alleged misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005, were announced more than a decade after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.

In denying him bail, US District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan said the government had shown by clear and convincing evidence that Epstein would pose a danger to the community if released pending trial.

2. Jarryd Hayne pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges.

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Former rugby league star Jarryd Hayne, who will stand trial next year on charges of raping a woman in NSW’s Hunter Valley, has vowed “justice will be served”.

Hayne, 31, appeared in Newcastle District Court on Thursday after travelling from Perth where he’s spent the past three weeks attending courses at an evangelical Christian centre.

Hayne formally pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault and was ordered to stand trial in early May 2020.

The trial is estimated to take between five to seven days.

Outside court, Hayne told reporters: “I want to make it very clear, I’m innocent of these charges”.

“It’s been a very hard time for my family but… justice will be served,” he said.

Judge Roy Ellis on Thursday agreed to vary Hayne’s bail so that instead of reporting three times a week to East Perth police station he’ll report once a week on Thursdays.

The judge also excused Hayne from attending court again until a final review of the case on April 30 before the trial.

Hayne in early July successfully had his bail changed so he could travel to Perth to attend a six-month missionary course at the Youth With a Mission centre.

The court heard Hayne would be living in a dormitory-style accommodation near the centre’s training campus with other men.

Hayne has been required to attend lectures, not drink alcohol and report three times a week to a nearby police station.

He’s accused of sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman on September 30, 2018, between 8pm and 10pm in Newcastle.

Court documents state Hayne had sex with the woman without her consent and “recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm”.

The aggravated rape charges each carry a maximum 20-year jail term if Hayne is convicted.

3. Victorian MP Will Fowles to take leave of absence following Canberra hotel incident.

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A Victorian state Labor MP has admitted drug and alcohol addiction and will take a leave of absence after smashing a Canberra hotel door to get to his medication.

Police were called to the Abode Hotel in Kingston on Thursday after Will Fowles had an argument with staff about access to his luggage which was in a locked room.

Photos of the damage show only the top half of the door remaining, with the shattered lower part scattered on the floor.

Mr Fowles agreed to accompany police to a station for questioning. He has not been charged.

In a statement, he apologised to staff at the hotel, his colleagues and constituents for his “appalling behaviour”.

“What happened is unacceptable. I am deeply ashamed of my actions,” Mr Fowles said.

“While there are reasons for it, there are no excuses.”

The MP said the outburst occurred because he couldn’t access medication inside his luggage.

“I have, for a long time, been dealing with addiction and other mental health issues,” he said.

“I will take a leave of absence to properly deal with my health issues.”

Hotel guest Kellie Sloane was among those evacuated from the building as temperatures plummeted to -2C in Kingston.

“He told the security guard he couldn’t access his luggage, he needed his luggage because he had a 9am flight, so he bashed the door down,” she told reporters.

Mr Fowler said he would pay for the damage.

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“It’s a solid door and it was broken all the way through from halfway up to down to the bottom so it was serious damage,” Ms Sloane said.

Mr Fowles was elected to the seat of Burwood, once held by Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett, eight months ago as Labor returned to power in a landslide victory.

In his maiden speech Mr Fowles spoke of how parliamentarians should “set the standard”.

“Only through principled behaviour and disciplined debate will this generation of public leaders win back the trust of the citizens we represent,” he said.

Outside of politics, Mr Fowles is best known as the youngest person to be elected to the committee of the Melbourne Cricket Club.

He had been in Canberra at his own expense to watch Victorian Labor senator Raff Ciccone deliver his first speech.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Mr Fowles continued to have his support.

“Will Fowles has behaved inappropriately. He’s apologised for that and I believe he’s sincere,” he said in a statement.

“He’s also indicated he has addiction issues. He has my full support as he gets the treatment and care that he needs.”

Victorian Liberal spokesman Tim Smith described the outburst as “totally unacceptable” and called Mr Fowles a “buffoon”.

“Will Fowles’ behaviour has been so appalling here that Daniel Andrews must take steps to call his behaviour out and must sanction this Labor member,” he told reporters.

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4. Police drop charges against French journalist arrested at Adani protest.

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Queensland Police have dropped the charges against the French journalist they arrested at an anti-Adani protest this week.

French broadcast journalist Hugo Clement has posted on social media saying the French embassy in Australia has told him police have dropped the trespassing charge against him and his crew.

“The French embassy in Australia just informed me that Queensland’s police decided to drop the (unfair) charges against us, after our arrest during an anti-Adani protest,” he said.

“We don’t have to go to court in (S)eptember.”

It follows condemnation by the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, the media union and foreign correspondents condemning the arrests of the journalist and crew who were working at a demonstration near Bowen in north Queensland.

Mr Clement says he and and his crew were held in a cell for seven hours before they were granted bail on the condition that the group not go within 20km of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

The Queensland Police Service has released a statement saying it reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrests.

“The decision to withdraw charges follows careful consideration of the circumstances including QPS policies and procedures,” Queensland Police have said in a statement.

Charges against a 28-year-old Victorian man will also be dropped.

Police said the charges against two Victorian protesters, aged 20 and 22, will still proceed in the Bowen Magistrates Court.

5. ‘I’ll make Britain great again’, says Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson has promised that Brexit would make Britain the greatest place on earth, echoing the patriotic rhetoric of US President Donald Trump in a debut speech as prime minister before parliament.

Johnson, who was hailed by the US president as Britain’s Trump, has promised to strike a new Brexit divorce deal with the European Union and to energise the world’s fifth-largest economy after what he casts as the gloom of Theresa May’s premiership.

On entering Downing Street on Wednesday, Johnson set the United Kingdom up for a showdown with the EU by vowing to negotiate a new divorce deal and threatening that if the bloc refused then he would leave without a deal on October 31.

Johnson appeared in the Commons chamber to cheers from Tory MPs still reeling after his brutal purge of Theresa May’s cabinet, which saw 17 ministers sacked or quit their jobs.

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“Our mission is to deliver Brexit on the 31st of October for the purpose of uniting and re-energising our great United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth,” Johnson told parliament on Thursday in his first speech as prime minister.

He said he was not being hyperbolic as the UK could be most prosperous economy in Europe by 2050, a feat that would mean drawing far ahead of France and then overtaking Germany.

Johnson promised British “children and grandchildren will be living longer, happier, healthier, wealthier lives”.

Johnson’s victory has placed an avowed Brexiteer in charge of the British government for the first time since the 2016 EU referendum which shocked the world and roiled financial markets.

Sterling, which has lost more than 5 per cent of its value since early May and recently touched a 27-month low against the dollar and a six-month low versus the euro, was little changed on Johnson’s first day in office.

Johnson spiced his pitch to the EU on Thursday by bluntly stating that one of the most controversial elements of the Brexit divorce agreement would have to be struck out if there was to be an orderly exit.

His bet is that the threat of a no-deal Brexit will persuade the EU’s biggest powers – Germany and France – to agree to revise the divorce deal that May agreed last November but failed to get ratified.

Johnson told parliament the Irish backstop, an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, must be abolished.

It is the most contentious part of the deal for British MPs who fear it will slice Northern Ireland off from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Johnson’s government does not have a majority in parliament so rules with the help of 10 Northern Irish MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party, who vehemently oppose the backstop.

The EU has so far repeatedly refused to countenance rewriting the Withdrawal Agreement but has said it could change the “Political Declaration” on future ties that is part of the divorce deal.

If EU leaders refuse to play ball with Johnson and he moves towards a no-deal Brexit, some British MPs have threatened to thwart what they cast as a disastrous leap into economic chaos.

In those circumstances, Johnson could call an election in a bid to override MPs.

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