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Woman sexually assaulted and held captive for four days in Victoria, & more in News in 5.

— With AAP.

1. “Do you want to die?” A woman was sexually assaulted and held captive for four days in Victoria.

Robert Wilson continued to run a car-wrecking business from his home and had friends visit while he secretly held a woman captive inside his home.

Wilson allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulted the woman and threatened her with a crossbow while she was held captive for four days after an online hook-up, Victorian police say.

The 39-year-old connected with 32-year-old father-of-two Wilson via dating app “Badoo” around two months ago and they had gone on several dates, court documents show.

Wilson picked up the Vietnamese woman from her job and drove her to his Darley property, northwest of Melbourne last Monday.

As soon as they were inside the house the 32-year-old allegedly began to punch the victim in the head, stomp on her stomach and slam her into the floor.

“The victim was then imprisoned inside the property and threatened with a number of weapons, including a crossbow,” police said in a statement.

Wilson dragged her into the bedroom where he raped her and continued to beat her when she resisted, according to the remand summary.

The court document showed the victim “begged him to stop as it was so painful.”

At one point he allegedly started to strangle her demanding money and asking the victim “do you want to die”.

The woman relented and Wilson allegedly transferred $3000 from her bank account into his own.

Wilson told the woman if she disobeyed he would “turn her into a money-making machine and charge men to sleep with her”, according to the summary.

She was so severely injured she was unable to see out of either eye by the third day of her capture.

The ordeal lasted until the victim’s friends contacted Wilson on March 28, and he allegedly let her go the next day.

The victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries to her head and body.

Those living near Wilson told The Age they were rattled after finding out the woman had allegedly been held captive metres from their homes and that Wilson had been acting normally.

“He … continued doing what he normally does, say hello, shake our hands,” a neighbour told The Age.

“We heard absolutely nothing. He had mates coming around, working on the trucks. Just day to day things. There was nothing strange about it.”

The accused did not front the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday because he did not plan on making a bail application, his lawyer said.

“He is content to stay downstairs,” she told the court.

Wilson has been charged with three counts of rape, one count each of false imprisonment, intentionally cause injury, recklessly cause injury and theft.

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He was remanded to appear at a filing hearing on April.

2. Senate censures Fraser Anning for ‘shameful and pathetic’ Christchurch comments.

Independent senator Fraser Anning has been censured by parliament for “shameful and pathetic” comments linking the Christchurch terror attacks to Muslim immigration.

The Queenslander was rebuked by his colleagues on Wednesday for blaming Muslim migrants for the horrific attack last month in which a white supremacist killed 50 worshippers at mosques.

“Senator Anning’s comments were ugly and divisive. They were dangerous and unacceptable from anyone, let alone a member of this place,” government Senate leader Mathias Cormann told parliament.

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said while scores of injured people were being treated for gunshot wounds, Senator Anning fanned the flames of division.

“How pathetic. How shameful. A shameful and pathetic attempt by a bloke who has never been elected to get attention by exploiting diversity as a fault line for political advantage,” she said, without mentioning Anning’s name.

The censure came as the Australian Electoral Commission official registered “Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party”, giving the senator a better chance of retaining his seat than if he ran as an independent.

Objections from the Australian Conservatives and the Nationals about name confusion were not upheld.

Senator Anning originally stood for One Nation and entered parliament after the party’s Malcolm Roberts was disqualified for being a dual citizen.

He was widely condemned for a series of racist comments including a reference to the “final solution” – a Nazi term – in his first speech to parliament.

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Senator Anning said he had pointed out that New Zealand’s immigration policy allowed radical Muslims into their country, which helped cause the massacres.

“My real crime is that I simply told the truth at a time when the left-wing political and media elites least wanted to hear it,” he said.

Senator Anning was branded a “disgrace” for saying Sudanese and Muslim migrants had a proven track record of causing crime and terrorism in Australia.

“It is an established fact that diversity undermines cohesion, increases alienation and is a key driver of increasing crime,” the senator said.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he wanted to focus on addressing hate speech in society, only making brief mention of Senator Anning.

“He has shown himself to be a pathetic man lacking any empathy,” he said.

But the Greens’ bid to suspend Senator Anning from parliament for the rest of the final sitting day of the year in the upper house failed.

One Nation’s Peter Georgiou read a speech on behalf of party leader Pauline Hanson, saying they would abstain from the “public flogging” of the censure motion.

No senator voted against the part of the motion which censured Senator Anning.

While Senator Anning won just 19 below-the-line votes at the 2016 election, 250,000 Queenslanders supported the One Nation ticket he was on.

After a falling out with Pauline Hanson and later Bob Katter, he split with their parties to sit on the crossbench.

3. May has not moved enough on Brexit: Corbyn.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says Prime Minister Theresa May has not moved far enough in crisis talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Britain’s exit from the European Union.

His comments came as MPs voted to approve the first stage of legislation that would force May to seek a delay to Brexit in order to prevent the risk of leaving without a deal on April 12.

MPs are seeking to pass the legislation through all of its stages in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

They voted by 315 to 310 in favour of the first stage. Further votes on the legislation are expected at 9pm local time (0700 AEDT).

After her EU withdrawal deal was rejected three times by MPs, May invited Corbyn, a veteran socialist, to talks in parliament to try to plot a way out of the crisis.

“There hasn’t been as much change as I expected,” Corbyn, 69, said on Wednesday. “The meeting was useful but inconclusive.”

Asked if May had accepted his preference for a post-Brexit customs union with the EU, he said: “We did have a discussion about all of that.”

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Corbyn is under pressure from some in his party not to agree a Brexit deal without ensuring that it can be confirmed or rejected in a new referendum that also offers the option to stay in the EU.

“I said: ‘Look, this is a policy of our party that we would want to pursue the option of a public vote to prevent crashing out or prevent leaving on a bad deal,'” he said. “There was no agreement reached on that. We just put it there as one of the issues.”

A Downing Street spokesman said the meeting, which lasted an hour and 40 minutes, had been “constructive, with both sides showing flexibility and a commitment to bring the current Brexit uncertainty to a close.

“We have agreed a program of work to ensure we deliver for the British people, protecting jobs and security,” he added.

May’s overture to Corbyn, whose party has 245 out of 650 MPs, offers a possible way for her to secure a majority for an exit deal as she seeks a second short delay to Brexit.

But some in the Labour Party have cast her gambit as a trap aimed at scaring her own MPs into backing her thrice-defeated deal, or as a way to extend responsibility for the difficulties of Brexit to the Labour Party.

May’s last-ditch approach to Corbyn, who is loathed by many of her Conservatives and mocked by May herself as unfit to govern, provoked anger in her febrile party.

Two junior ministers quit on Wednesday, one of them from the Brexit department.

“It now seems that you and your cabinet have decided that a deal – cooked up with a Marxist who has never once in his political life put British interests first – is better than ‘no-deal’,” Nigel Adams said as he resigned as a minister for Wales.

May turned to Labour after a hardcore eurosceptic group of her own Conservatives repeatedly rejected her divorce deal, saying it would leave Britain a ‘vassal state’.

Using a nickname that plays on May’s reputed robotic inflexibility, one Brexit-supporting Conservative MP told Reuters: “The Maybot has gone haywire – we’ve got to find the ‘off’ switch.”

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the government would accept a soft Brexit if parliament voted for it.

May said on Tuesday she would seek “as short as possible” a delay to the current Brexit date of April 12.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he believed EU leaders were open to further delay and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would “fight until the last minute” for an orderly British exit.

4. Child sex abuse victims ‘betrayed’ by national redress scheme.

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Child sexual abuse survivors feel betrayed by a national redress scheme that must be overhauled if it is to deliver them justice, a federal parliamentary committee says.

The cross-party committee says some institutions are “dragging their feet”, stopping survivors obtaining redress, and wants churches and charities penalised if they refuse to participate.

It has demanded significant changes to the $3.8 billion scheme, including increasing the maximum compensation available to people sexually abused as children in Australian institutions.

“The report has found that, as it currently operates, the redress scheme is at serious risk of not delivering on its objective of providing justice to survivors.”

Committee deputy chair Sharon Claydon said the report was a damning assessment of the nine-month-old scheme, which fell short of many of the child abuse royal commission’s key recommendations.

“Each and every time where this parliament has deviated from those recommendations it has been felt to be a betrayal from survivors,” she said on Wednesday.

The substantive legislative and policy changes would require the support of whichever party wins the federal election and agreement from state and territory governments, which the committee deemed significant-but-not-insurmountable barriers.

“The committee has concluded that without legislative change the scheme may never be properly accepted by survivors as a fair scheme and a real alternative to litigation,” the report said.

Institutions that have not yet signed up to the scheme are being named and shamed, but the committee wants the government to look at compelling them to join.

“Institutions that refuse to recognise their role in the abuses that occurred and to accept responsibility for their actions should be subject to clear penalties, which could include the suspension of tax concessions and the withdrawal of their charitable status.”

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Ms Claydon said some organisations had refused to respond to requests to join the scheme.

“If people are simply dragging their feet for no good reason, that is intolerable,” she told parliament.

Backing demands by survivors and victims’ advocates for changes, the committee demanded the federal, state and territory governments agree to lift the maximum redress payment from $150,000 to the royal commission’s $200,000 cap.

It also wants a new framework for assessing redress applications and access to lifelong counselling.

Lawyer and victims’ advocate Dr Judy Courtin said the current assessment framework created a hierarchy of abuse and failed to recognise the impact on victims.

“It traumatises, it is unfair and it is unjust,” she told AAP.

Dr Courtin said changes must be made now to fully implement all of the royal commission’s recommendations.

“It has to happen quickly – too many people are dying,” she said.

The federal government said it will carefully consider the report’s recommendations, noting many of them require the full cooperation of state and territory governments or may have legislative implications.

Labor, which has raised concerns about aspects of the redress system, said it will work with states and territories to improve the scheme if it wins the federal election.

About 60,000 survivors are eligible under the scheme that began last July, which has so far received more than 3300 applications and made 115 redress payments.

5. Despite international outcry, Brunei enacts law to punish gay sex with stoning to death.

A draconian death penalty policy that targets homosexual acts and adultery has been implemented in Brunei as the tiny sultanate’s revised Islamic penal code comes into force despite an international outcry.

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The revision of the South-East Asian country’s penal code expands the crimes that can be punished by death to include rape, extramarital sex for Muslims, robbery, and insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

Under the new code, based on the Islamic religious and legal system of Sharia law, the harshest possible punishment for homosexual acts is death by stoning.

This is reserved for cases where the court believes an especially strict sentence must he handed down.

The threat of the death penalty is apparently chiefly aimed at gay men, although experts are doubtful that executions will actually be carried out.

Gays and lesbians have long faced discrimination in Brunei. The previous maximum punishment for homosexual sex acts was 10 years in prison. Under the new penal code, caning is also a possible punishment.

There has been an international outcry against the revisions championed by Brunei’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Human Rights Watch has called Brunei’s revised penal code “barbaric to the core” for “imposing archaic punishments for acts that shouldn’t even be crimes.”

Hollywood star George Clooney has called for a boycott on luxury hotels owned by the sultan. Stars Elton John and Ellen Degeneres have also called for a boycott.

Currently only Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen have laws in force that punish homosexuality with death, even though it appears that such sentences have not been carried out in recent years, according to UN rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.

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