Prince Andrew demands "a trial by jury" in sexual assault lawsuit.
Prince Andrew has asked for a US jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre's accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.
Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.
In a filing with the US District Court in Manhattan, Andrew, 61, admitted to meeting Epstein in or around 1999, but denied Giuffre's claim that he "committed sexual assault and battery" upon her.
David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said in a statement on Wednesday that Andrew was trying to "blame the victim."
BREAKING: Prince Andrew says he demands “a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in [Virginia Giuffre’s] Complaint”. pic.twitter.com/u1qQlQAiE8— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) January 26, 2022
"We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse," Boies said.
Andrew's ties to Epstein, who took his own life in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges, have undermined his reputation with the public and standing in the royal family.
Earlier this month, the family removed Andrew's military links and patronages, and said the second son of the Queen would no longer be known as His Royal Highness.
Andrew's filing was an "answer," a common document in US litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs' substantive accusations.
The prince's lawyers had previously called Giuffre's lawsuit "baseless" and accused her of seeking another payday.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December.
If Giuffre won at trial, Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount.
Andrew has not been criminally charged, and no criminal charges can be brought in Giuffre's civil lawsuit.
- With AAP
6 in 10 NSW nurses plan to leave profession.
Six out of 10 NSW intensive care nurses have "no intent of sticking around" once the Omicron outbreak subsides, as nurses prepare to rally outside a western Sydney hospital.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association says there is a feeling of "despair" among ICU nurses in a recent survey they conducted.
"There are members who are telling us that they will get through this crisis, and then that's it," acting assistant general secretary Michael Whaites told AAP.
"There are a lot of them saying, 'Three to five years, tops'. They can't see themselves giving anything more than that."
Mr Whaites said he was not sure how many nurses and midwives at Liverpool Hospital would join Thursday morning's protest.
ICU nurses in NSW exercised their right yesterday to stop work because their workplace is not safe. These are the people Josh Frydenberg is attacking when he attacks "militant unions". Who's side are you on? @nswnma pic.twitter.com/kM6wJ2uvaQ— Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) January 19, 2022
Regardless of how many could protest, nurses "desperately need" the government to commit to improving staff-to-patient ratios, Mr Whaites said.
"At the moment staffing is based on a calculation that goes over the week, and we know it's not working."
Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday that NSW Health modelling showed the state's hospitals had capacity and were still faring better than the envisioned "best-case scenario" based on outbreaks in London and South Africa.
Mr Whaites said that did not match the reality of what staff in the hospitals were enduring.
The state recorded 21,030 new cases on Wednesday, including its millionth case of the pandemic, with more than 90 per cent of those coming in the Omicron outbreak.
There were 29 deaths, hospitalisations dropped to 2794 and intensive care admissions to 175, with 75 people on ventilators.
35 people died in Victoria, 9 died in Queensland, 13 died in South Australia, and one died in Tasmania.
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"Get out now" Federal Government warns Aussies in Ukraine.
The federal government has urged the 1400 Australians in Ukraine at the moment to get out of the country "while they still can" as tensions with Russia escalate.
On Monday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated the travel advice for the country to "do not travel" because of the "increased risk of armed conflict".
As the ABC reports Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne described advice to leave as a "cautious and prudent step".
"Because the security situation is unpredictable and is about protecting Australians on the ground," she explained.
Russia's ambassador in Australia says the country's decision to withdraw diplomatic staff from its embassy in Ukraine "would be funny if it wasn't so sad".
Aleksey Pavlovsky has talked down fears of an invasion of Ukraine, saying there is no intention to go to war as 100,000 troops amass on the border.
"We should use our critical thinking. Isn't it a funny way to prepare an invasion by just gathering troops on the border and let them sit there for months," he told the ABC.
"When you prepare an invasion you just do it promptly. These troops are not a threat, they are a warning to Ukraine's rulers not to attempt any reckless military adventures."
Mr Pavlovsky said large-scale military exercises are conducted regularly because Russia has to maintain its preparedness.
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Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott to play his last final.
After all the accolades and applause, Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott has had to switch his focus fast to savour one "last dance" on the tennis court.
The feted wheelchair tennis star will make his farewell to the sport in Thursday's quad final at the Rod Laver Arena, having almost forgotten about the match amid a whirlwind few days that culminated in him earning the coveted distinction.
After jetting back from the Australian of the Year ceremony in Canberra, held just a few hours after he'd won his semi in Melbourne, the 31-year-old was back at the tournament on Wednesday, laughing with reporters: "S***, I got to play tennis tomorrow, don't I? Forgot about that."
It’s tennis time. It’s finals time. The last ever dance. Fair lineup on Rod Laver Arena, too 🇦🇺. Ground pass or specific wheelchair tickets get you in for the first two matches. Live on @wwos if you can’t make it— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) January 26, 2022
Let’s get after it team and have some fun xx #ausopen pic.twitter.com/66GO37YL5d
Alcott said he was hardly in the best shape to tackle his old Dutch rival Sam Schroder as he shoots for his eighth Australian Open title, which could also be his 16th grand slam triumph.
"Emotionally, I'm a full ten out of ten; physically, I'm a two out of ten. I am wrecked - but I wouldn't want it any other way. That's how I always live my life.
"No, it's the last dance, baby - win, lose or draw. I mean, I want to win, but I will live if I don't win. I'm still the luckiest guy in the world if I don't win."
This will, he reasserted, be his last match and there'll be no comeback in the style of another past Australian of the Year, singer John Farnham.
"I promise you I'm going to give it a right old crack. 'Dylan, enjoy it because you're never going to get it again'," smiled Alcott.
- With AAP
Boris Johnson refuses to resign over lockdown parties.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected opposition calls to resign for attending lockdown parties but accepted that a rule that ministers should lose their jobs if they had knowingly misled parliament applied to him.
Johnson, who in 2019 won the biggest Conservative majority in more than 30 years, is braced for the publication of an official investigation into claims that there were multiple boozy Downing Street parties during lockdowns.
He told parliament no rules were broken.
It was not immediately clear when the results of that investigation by Cabinet Office official Sue Gray would be published, especially as police have opened their own investigation.
Asked by the opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer leader if the ministerial code, which says that ministers who had knowingly misled parliament should offer to resign, applied to him Johnson said: "Of course."
"If he'd misled parliament, he must resign," Starmer told parliament.
"Will you now resign?"
"No," Johnson replied.
A reminder of when Boris Johnson said he was "furious" to see footage of staff joking about holding parties in Downing Street.— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) January 24, 2022
All the while he knew he had attended multiple such parties himself. pic.twitter.com/kiJw2iBQZw
He said he was "getting on with the job" but acknowledged there were people who "want me out of the way" for a variety of reasons.
Johnson has given a variety of explanations about the parties: first he said no rules had been broken but then he apologised to the British people for the apparent hypocrisy of such gatherings.
He has denied an allegation he was warned that a "bring your own booze" lockdown gathering on May 20, 2020, which he says he thought was a work event, was inappropriate.
ITV reported on Monday that Johnson and his now wife Carrie had attended a surprise party of up to 30 people for his birthday in the Cabinet Room at Downing Street in June 2020 when indoor gatherings were banned.
- With AAP
with reporting from PA
First Black woman will join the US Supreme Court.
Progressive Justice Stephen Breyer - at 83 the oldest member of the US Supreme Court - will retire at the end of the court's current term that runs through the end of June, media reports say, giving US President Joe Biden the opportunity to appoint a successor who could serve for decades.
NBC News and CNN said on Wednesday that Breyer was expected to retire.
Breyer authored important rulings upholding abortion rights and healthcare access, helped advance LGBT rights and questioned the constitutionality of the death penalty but often found himself in dissent on a court that currently has a 6-3 conservative supermajority.
He was appointed to the Supreme Court by Democratic president Bill Clinton in 1994.
BREAKING: Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring from the Supreme Court. The vacancy created by the liberal judge gives Biden the first high court pick of his presidency. https://t.co/E5V51FxU9n— The Associated Press (@AP) January 26, 2022
Biden during the 2020 presidential election campaign pledged to nominate a Black woman to fill any Supreme Court vacancy, which would be a historic first.
Biden's fellow Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the US Senate, which under the US constitution gets to confirm Supreme Court nominees.
Potential Biden nominees include Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer law clerk who was confirmed by the Senate last June to serve on an influential US appellate court, and Leondra Kruger, who serves on the California Supreme Court.
- With AAP
Feature image: Quinn Rooney/Getty/Leon Neal/NSW Nurses and Midwives Association.