Six In The Morning Saturday 16 September 2023

Russell Brand accused of sexual assault by four women

By Steven McIntosh
BBC News

Comedian and actor Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse during a seven-year period at the height of his fame.

The allegations were made as part of a joint investigation by the Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.

Four women are alleging sexual assaults between 2006 and 2013.

Brand has denied the allegations and said his relationships have been “always consensual”.

At the time of the alleged assaults, Brand was a presenter for BBC Radio 2, Channel 4, and an actor in Hollywood films.

Leading critic of Egyptian state jailed for six months

Free speech advocate Hisham Kassem sentenced for defaming former minister Kamal Abu Eita

A court in Cairo has sentenced a former newspaper publisher, free speech advocate and rights activist to six months in prison in a trial observers say constitutes an attack on a leading critic of the Egyptian state.

Hisham Kassem, the former publisher of Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, received six months in detention and a fine of 20,000 EGP (approximately £523) for slandering and defaming Kamal Abu Eita. Abu Eita is a former minister and current member of Egypt’s presidential pardon committee, tasked with granting clemency towards some of the tens of thousands of detainees in the Egyptian prison system.

The former publisher was also accused of slandering a public official, and required to pay a further fine of 10,000 EGP (£261) to Abu Eita.

Amini family barred from marking anniversary — rights groups

Iranian authorities prevented the family of Jina Mahsa Amini from commemorating the first anniversary of her death while in police custody. Amini’s death last year sparked unprecedented protests against the regime.

The family of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who was killed last year while in police custody, was prevented from holding a ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of her death, rights groups said on Saturday.

Amini’s father, Amjad Amini, was briefly detained in the western town of Saqez, her hometown. Authorities then released him after he was warned against holding a memorial service at her graveside, several human rights groups that focus on Iran said.

Iran’s IRNA state news agency denied the arrest but did not clarify if Amini was briefly detained or warned.

Aid groups sound alarm in Libya as hopes of finding more survivors dwindle

Aid groups have warned of growing risk posed by the spread of disease that could compound the humanitarian crisis in Libya, as hopes of finding more survivors fade days after deadly flooding.

Sunday’s flood submerged the port city of Derna, washing thousands of people and homes out to sea after two upstream dams burst under the pressure of torrential rains triggered by the hurricane-strength storm.

While the Libyan Red Crescent’s secretary-general told AP on Thursday that 11,3000 people had died, conflicting death tolls have been reported, with officials in the eastern part of the divided country giving different estimates.

Aid organisations like Islamic Relief and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have warned that the upcoming period could see the spread of disease as well as grave difficulties in delivering aid to those most in need.

Australia swelters in spring heat ahead of expected record temperatures

Large parts of Australia were in the grips of “uncommon” spring heat on Saturday, the nation’s weather forecaster said, forecasting that record temperatures could be set on Sunday.

In Sydney, capital of Australia’s most populous state New South Wales, temperatures hit 34.2 degrees Celsius at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport – more than 12 degrees above the September mean, according to Bureau of Meteorology data.

The heat burst came after the forecaster said this week that indicators of an El Nino weather event had strengthened and it would likely develop between September and November, bringing hotter, drier conditions to Australia.

Dozens of children were left behind by UN personnel in Haiti. Their mothers want justice
By Caitlin Hu, Etant Dupain and Paula Newton
Video by CNN’s David von Blohn and Ladan Anoushfar

When Pauline Philippe found out she was pregnant with twins, she felt a flash of happiness. Then she burst into tears in front of the ultrasound technician.

“Why are you crying?” she remembers him asking. Trying to cheer her up, he added: “You’re having twins, Preval and Aristide!” — referring to two former Haitian presidents.
Haiti at the time was still badly shaken by a deadly earthquake that struck the capital Port-au-Prince two years prior in 2010, killing hundreds of thousands of people. The disaster spurred a massive influx of relief workers and aid groups, including a contingent of United Nations peacekeepers who brought a deadly cholera epidemic with them to the small Caribbean nation, resulting in another nearly 10,000 deaths.