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News in 5: Bar owner's 'rape joke' slammed; Students pricked by needle; Topshop founder accused.

-With AAP

1. Gold Coast bar owner slammed for “disgusting” comment “joking about rape”.


A Surfers Paradise bar owner is facing backlash after comments he made about a woman who claimed her drink was spiked by a bartender.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports Remi Broadway, owner of Surfers Paradise club Central Lounge and Dining, mocked a patron by implying she was not attractive enough to be spiked.

Broadway wrote on Facebook: “When a girl accuses one of my bartenders of spiking her drink. Sweetheart, have you seen how hot the girls are that visit Central? Why would he waste some good drinks on you?”

Broadway has since deleted his post but a screenshot is making its way around the internet.

The Central Lounge and Dining Facebook page has been flooded with one star reviews citing Broadway’s comment.

“Will never, ever support someone who is meant to be a ‘businessman’ who jokes about rape, and being spiked. Disgusting, putrid and filthy,” one reviewer wrote.

“The owner of this business does not take the safety and concern of women into account. This is not the way a business should be operating and representing itself, especially in 2018. Drugging, assault and potential rape are things that you want to know a bar is taking avid steps to prevent. But apparently it’s okay if women are considered conventionally attractive?” wrote another.

Broadway told the Gold Coast Bulletin he was making light of a false accusation and didn’t mean to upset anybody. He said he knew the allegation was false because he had “complete faith” in his staff and it didn’t make sense for a bartender to drug a girl.

He said when he discovered the complainant was upset, he apologised.

“Sadly she didn’t accept my apology and has started a bullying campaign against me. I urge anyone who believes in freedom of speech and the ability to make jokes to support my business and all the hardworking staff.

“Anyone who knows me and my team is aware we treat women with utmost respect.”

Mamamia has contacted Broadway for further comment.

2. A student has been charged after pricking classmates with a needle found at a bus stop.

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Eight teenagers who were pricked with a hypodermic needle at a Sydney high school in a “prank gone wrong” are facing an anxious wait for blood test results.

The student at the centre of the incident has been charged with five counts of assault. The boy was granted bail and will appear at a children’s court on Tuesday, November 6.

Ambulance and police crews were called to Plumpton High School about midday on Thursday following initial reports multiple people had been stabbed with a syringe.

But emergency services subsequently said a student appeared to be pulling a “prank” and the eight students each received needle pricks to their thighs, limbs and hands.

The victims are all about 14 years old.

“At this stage, we believe it was a prank gone wrong, maybe childish behaviour, but we’ll be looking into if there was malicious intent involved in this incident,” Acting Inspector Shane Rolls told reporters at the school.

“While this is very concerning behaviour, we want to reiterate no students were stabbed as initial inquiries first suggested.”

The students were taken to a nearby medical centre and a hospital for urgent blood tests to find out if the needle was carrying infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis.

Act Insp Rolls said police would soon talk to the perpetrator, who wasn’t at the school.

The puncture wounds sustained by the children were “minimal” and the risks of infection low, NSW Ambulance Acting Inspector Joe Ibrahim said.

But there are unconfirmed reports the needle had been found by the student at a bus stop – meaning it may not be clean.

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“The first test is a baseline blood and you do worry about that for up to three months – it’s quite concerning – then you get your second blood test,” Act Insp Ibrahim said.

The aunty of one student pricked said on Facebook that the student behind the “so-called prank” should be locked up.

Another told the Daily Telegraph it was “an attack”.

The NSW education department says staff and students are being offered counselling and support.

“The school will be taking strong disciplinary action against this student,” a spokesman said.

3. Topshop founder Sir Philip Green has denied sexual harassment claims.

Topshop owner Sir Philip Green has denied unlawful sexual or racist behaviour after a British politician named him as being accused of sexual harassment.

Green, whose Arcadia Group owns fashion chain Topshop and other brands, was named in the British parliament by Labour politician Peter Hain as the businessman accused of sexual harassment who had secured a court order barring the media from revealing his identity.

Green obtained a court injunction to stop UK’s Daily Telegraph from running stories about employee allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.

“I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in Parliament today,” Green, 66, said in a statement on Thursday.

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“To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.”

Green said he and Arcadia take accusations from employees seriously, and that he cannot comment on confidential settlements that have been reached.

Peter Hain said he had been contacted by somebody “intimately involved” in the case.

“I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question, given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of a story which is clearly in the public interest,” he said.

4. Australian diplomats are urging for the release of a woman on death row.

Australian diplomats are actively lobbying for the release of a Pakistani woman on death row for blasphemy.

Christian mother Asia Bibi has been sentenced to death in Pakistan for offending the prophet Mohammad.

The case reportedly centres on allegations Bibi drank water from a cup shared by Muslim co-workers in 2009.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court met on October 8 to consider her last legal appeal, but there has been no announcement or confirmation of when a decision will be made.

Foreign Affairs officers have raised the case with high-ranking Pakistani officials twice in the past five weeks.

Senior diplomat Simon Merrifield discussed the matter with Pakistan’s high commissioner earlier this month.

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His approach came after Australia’s ambassador for women and girls, along with the high commissioner to Pakistan, raised the case with the South Asian nation’s new minister for human rights.

“We continue to advocate for her release,” Mr Merrifield told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

Liberal senator Eric Abetz suggested Australia ought reconsider the “relatively generous” aid provided to Pakistan as part of its representations.

“When a country seems to be so recalcitrant, I’m just wondering whether financial matters might assist them to mend their ways,” Senator Abetz said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne was careful to point out the court appeal is still afoot.

“Senator, I think it’s important to note there are certain matters before the Supreme Court of Pakistan at the moment, and we’re very conscious of that,” she said.

5. A smoke alarm that projects a mother’s voice is more likely to wake sleeping children.

The familiar sound of a mother’s voice is more likely to rouse a sleeping child than the high-pitched wailing of a smoke alarm, a new study has shown.

Smoke alarms are crucial in warning families of fires in the night but children are notoriously difficult to wake using sound alone.

So researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the US set out to discover whether a detector that projected the voice of a child’s mother was more effective than a regular alarm.

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The team studied 176 children, aged between five and 12, at a sleep research centre in Columbus, Ohio, and tried three different “voice alarms” on each, as well as a commonly used tone.

Sleeping children were about three times more likely to be woken by one of the voice alarms than by the shrill smoke detector, researchers found.

The study’s co-author, Dr Mark Splaingard, director of the hospital’s sleep disorders centre, said the findings could help save lives in the future.

“Children are remarkably resistant to awakening by sound when asleep,” he said, noting they sleep more deeply than adults.

“We were able to find a smoke alarm sound that reduces the amount of time it takes for many children to wake up and leave the bedroom.”

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that alarms using the mother’s voice roused between 86 and 91 per cent of children, compared with 53 per cent for the tone alarm.

Researchers also looked at how long it took for the youngsters to “escape” from the bedroom in which they slept, and again voice alarms fared better.

Children assisted by their mother’s voice freed themselves in 18 to 28 seconds, while the median escape time for the tone alarm was 282 seconds, or nearly five minutes.

“This study confirmed that a maternal voice alarm is better than a traditional high-pitch tone alarm for waking children and prompting their escape,” said lead author Dr Gary Smith.

Tests also showed that the mother did not have to say the child’s name for the voice alarm to be effective.

Researchers tried including first names in the voice alarm messages, but no significant differences were found between tests with or without them.

“This means one alarm could work for multiple children sleeping near each other in a home,” Dr Smith said.

Children under the age of five were not tested because they are considered too young to rescue themselves in a fire, while teenagers do not have the same difficulty in waking up to smoke alarms.

The research was conducted by the Centre for Injury Research and Policy and the Sleep Disorders Centre at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.