Vice President Pence used private email as US governor: report

Emails obtained by that state’s daily Indianapolis Star newspaper showed that Pence used the private account – which the paper said was hacked last summer – to at times discuss “sensitive matters” and “homeland security issues.

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The Star, which obtained the emails in a public records request, said that in response to its investigation the vice president’s office confirmed that “Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal account.”

“As Governor, Mr Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention,” his office told the paper.

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“Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.”

As US President Donald Trump’s running mate on the 2016 campaign trail, Pence criticised the Republican’s rival Hillary Clinton for using a private email server for official communications – a scandal that haunted her throughout the race.

The reporter who broke the story, Tony Cook, told CNN that Pence’s spokesman had “downplayed any comparisons to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and email account.”

Indiana law does not bar public officials from using personal email, but generally does require that messages connected to official business be kept for public information purposes.

Pence’s office told the paper that his campaign had taken steps to allow outside counsel to transfer personal emails dealing with public business to the state.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Clinton was dogged throughout her White House campaign by her use of a private email server while secretary of state. 

She has said FBI director James Comey played a part in her campaign loss, claiming that the agency’s re-opening of a probe into her email use broke the momentum towards victory. 

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Artificial embryo offers pregnancy hope

Scientists have created an artificial mouse embryo from stem cells for the first time.

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The breakthrough, which could shed light on why two-thirds of human pregnancies fail in the early stages of embryo development, was made by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Using two types of stem cells – embryonic (ESCs) and trophoblast (TSCs) – with a 3D scaffold, the scientists grew a structure capable of assembling itself.

The artificial structure’s development and architecture closely resembled that of a natural embryo.

When a mammalian egg is fertilised by a sperm, it divides to create a ball of stem cells. The ESCs cluster together at one end of the embryo, while the TSCs form a placenta.

A third type of stem cell – primitive endoderm – form a yolk sac which provides essential nutrients for the foetus’s organs to develop properly.

Early embryo development requires the different cells to co-ordinate closely with each other, and previous attempts to create an artificial structure using only ESCs have been unsuccessful.

But the research, published in the journal Science on Thursday, found that the two types of cell communicate about where in the embryo to place themselves.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, who led the research, said: “We knew that interactions between the different types of stem cell are important for development, but the striking thing that our new work illustrates is that this is a real partnership – these cells truly guide each other.

“Without this partnership, the correct development of shape and form and the timely activity of key biological mechanisms doesn’t take place properly.”

The artificial embryo, while akin to a natural one, is unlikely to grow to a healthy foetus because it would need the third stem cell to create the yolk sac.

However, the study could help scientists understand the developmental events that occur before a human embryo reaches 14 days.

“We are very optimistic that this will allow us to study key events of this critical stage of human development without actually having to work on embryos,” Prof Zernicka-Goetz said.

“Knowing how development normally occurs will allow us to understand why it so often goes wrong.”

Sweden brings back conscription amid Russia fears

“We are in a context where Russia has annexed Crimea,” Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told AFP, adding: “They are doing more exercises in our immediate vicinity.

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Sweden has had a professional army, staffed by volunteers, since 2010.

“We saw that our units could not be filled on a voluntary basis. A decision had to be taken to complement the (volunteer) system which is why we are reactivating conscription,” Hultqvist said.

A non-NATO member, Sweden has not seen armed conflict on its territory in two centuries. It put conscription on hold in 2010 after it was deemed an unsatisfactory way of meeting the needs of a modern army.

In the past two decades the military’s budget has been slashed as its mission was revamped to focus more on peacekeeping operations abroad and less on the country’s defence.

But in recent years, concerns have risen about Russia’s intentions in the region — with alarms bells ringing after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, experts noted.

“The new security situation is also a reality, partly in the form of Russian power politics which has long been underestimated and downplayed,” Wilhelm Agrell, a security expert at Lund University, told AFP.

Since the winter of 2014, “we’ve seen Russia as expansive and prepared to use violence to benefit its own interests,” Agrell said.

But, “today Sweden has neither the possibility nor the political will to stay away from a conflict” in the Baltic Sea region, he added.

In June 2015, US think tank Cepa published a report claiming Russia had held exercises with 33,000 troops aimed at practising an invasion of Sweden’s Baltic Sea island of Gotland, among other sites.

Just three months earlier, the Swedish government had decided to remilitarise Gotland, where the last barracks had been decommissioned in 2005.

Around 150 men have been stationed there since September last year.

Russian fears also came to the fore in October 2014, when Sweden launched a massive but unsuccessful hunt for a foreign submarine — suspected to be Russian — in the Stockholm archipelago over an eight-day period.

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Sweden first introduced compulsory military service in 1901 but halted it in 2010 and replaced it with a volunteer army.

But a military career had little appeal to generations of Swedes who had never set foot inside barracks.

Thursday’s decision by the minority Social Democratic-led government means all Swedes — male and female — born in 1999 or later will be eligible for conscription as of July 1, 2017.

Mandatory military service, which will last for 11 months, will begin January 1, 2018.

As of July 1, all Swedes born after 1999 will be contacted and asked to answer a questionnaire.  Based on their answers, 13,000 people will be mobilised.

Of those, only 4,000 will be called up each year after January 1, 2018.

For the first time, conscription will apply to women.

“It’s very important to emphasise that military service is for girls and guys,” Hultqvist said.

“It is important for the military to have a gender equal profile,” he added.

The reactivation of conscription is supported by both the government and right-wing opposition.

In 2015, they had already agreed to increase military spending, granting the defence an additional 1.1 billion euros ($1.18 billion) over the period 2016-2020.

On defence issues, Sweden has a close dialogue with neighbouring Finland, which in turn shares a 1,340-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia.

Sweden and Finland — the Nordic and Baltic region’s only non-aligned countries — have recently stepped up their military cooperation with the US.

That followed an increase in Russian military activity in the region, including several airspace violations and war planes allegedly flying without their identifying transponders.

Russia has repeatedly warned Sweden and Finland against joining NATO, an issue regularly debated in both countries.

Cats get midfield boost for Pies AFL clash

Repentant Geelong midfielder Mitch Duncan is keen to repay the Cats for his brain snap moment against Sydney that cost him a week on the sidelines.

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Duncan returns to the line-up to face Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday after serving a one-match ban for striking Tom Papley.

The altercation cost his side a goal at a pivotal moment in the round 20 loss to the Swans and meant he was a frustrated observer as the undermanned Cats posted a gutsy win over Richmond.

“He was pretty disappointed with that,” Geelong midfield coach Matthew Knights told AAP.

“He’s usually a very disciplined player. I think it’s just one of those incidents that he’ll look at learn from pretty quickly.

“He really loves the team environment and he loves the Geelong footy club … there will be an element of him that will be wanting to give back to the group.”

Duncan is a welcome addition to a midfield unit still missing skipper Joel Selwood, who is tentatively slated to return to full training after ankle surgery in the bye round.

Duncan was included in the side along with forward Wylie Buzza, while Rhys Stanley (calf) and Brandan Parfitt (omitted) departed.

Nathan Buckley handed a much-anticipated AFL debut to Josh Daicos, son of Collingwood great Peter, but Jordan De Goey (hip), Tyson Goldsack (soreness) and Alex Fasolo (shoulder) dropped out of the side.

They joined Scott Pendlebury, Levi Greenwood, Daniel Wells and Will Hoskin-Elliott on a lengthy injury list, while star ruckman Brodie Grundy will sit for a second week as he serves a suspension.

The injury-depleted Pies are out of finals contention in 13th spot on the ladder, while the Cats are vying for a top-two finish.

But Buckley’s side has proved a tough nut for the Cats to crack in recent times, Chris Scott’s men losing their past three meetings.

“Even though they’ve had an indifferent season their best is very good,” Knights said.

“They’ve certainly played well against us in previous encounters.”

Peats launches defence of Henry

Gold Coast hooker Nathan Peats has launched a vigorous defence of coach Neil Henry arguing he shouldn’t cop the axe for the side’s underwhelming NRL season.

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A frank and forthright Peats described as “bull****” stories linking young halves Kane Elgey and Ash Taylor to an early exit from the club unless Henry was sacked.

Henry may have coached his last game in charge of the Titans following their 30-8 drubbing at the hands of Parramatta in Sydney on Thursday night.

Henry’s future is under a cloud after he this week was forced into an emergency crisis meeting with the club over his strained relationship with fullback Jarryd Hayne.

However NSW No.9 Peats said it shouldn’t be Henry’s head on the chopping block and reinforced the senior playing group’s support for their coach.

“He’s not on the field missing tackles and giving away fifth tackle penalties,” Peats said.

“He’s up in box and giving us our game plan and we’re just not executing it, we’re not doing the right stuff. We’re making it too hard for ourselves.

“In the second half (against Parramatta) we were out on our feet because we were giving away s*** penalties all the time. He’s not to blame.”

Peats hit out at rumours there were large sections of the playing group disgruntled with Henry.

“That’s why I don’t believe everything I read,” Peats said.

“I think it would be (unfair to sack Henry). We all respect him as a coach and the leadership group love him and the squad love him.

“There might be two or three blokes who are unhappy with their contract situation or where they’re going next year but that happens at every club.”

He savaged reports Elgey and Taylor were unhappy with Henry and holding the club to ransom unless he was released from the final year of his contract.

“Don’t believe everything you read these days,” Peats said.

“For (them) to come out and say (they’re) not going to sign unless the coach isn’t there, is just rubbish.”

Labor seeks details on senator road links

Labor believes Queensland senator Barry O’Sullivan has serious questions to answer over his possible links to a federal government-funded road projects which could disqualify him from parliament.

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The Liberal-National Party senator owns a portion of a company called Jilbridge Pty Ltd which is listed on his pecuniary interest register.

Jilbridge has a share of O’Sullivan and Sons Pty Ltd, which is a shareholder in Newlands Civil Construction, which is managed by the senator’s son.

Network Ten on Friday night dug out archive footage of Senator O’Sullivan praising the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements agency during a Senate estimates hearing in May.

Months before Newlands had successfully tendered for a $2.2 million contract to repair flooded roads in central Queensland and the commonwealth is the main source of the money, Ten reports.

On Thursday, it emerged Newlands has a four-project contract with Nexus Infrastructure – one of the partners on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, a $1.6 billion road bypass.

The federal government is contributing $1.14 billion, or 80 per cent of the project cost, and the Queensland government’s share is 20 per cent through a public-private partnership.

It is understood Nexus has an agreement with the Queensland government but not the government, however clarification was being sought from the company.

The Nexus website for the road project features not only the Queensland crest but the federal government’s logo and “Building our Future” slogan.

Under section 44 of the constitution, a member or senator can be disqualified from parliament where there is “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the public service of the commonwealth”.

Former Family First senator Bob Day fell foul of the section in the High Court over his interest in an Adelaide electorate office, which he argued was at arm’s length.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday declined to say whether he had spoken to the Liberal-National Party senator.

Attorney-General George Brandis told a Senate committee hearing on Friday he had not sought any advice on the matter from the solicitor-general.

Labor senator Penny Wong said the Day case pointed to why the government should seek legal advice.

“(Senator O’Sullivan) has serious questions to answer and the prime minister cannot simply arrogantly seek to dismiss this and cover this up,” she said.

Senator O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday he did not “either directly or indirectly, hold a pecuniary interest in any agreement with the public service of the commonwealth”.

“Importantly, a review by Newlands Civil Construction has proven that it does not hold any agreement with any company or entity that has an agreement with the public service of the commonwealth.”

Constitutional law expert George Williams said Senator O’Sullivan’s case warranted further examination because the Day case broadened the scope for disqualification for having a financial interest.

‘We owe him a lot’: ALP’s Johno farewelled

Both sides of politics have turned up to farewell John ‘Johno’ Johnson, the man described as “the heart, soul and sinews” of the NSW Labor party, at his state funeral.

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More than 1600 mourners filled St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Friday to farewell the man former NSW premier Bob Carr described as “a character with character”.

Dignitaries at the funeral were led by NSW Governor David Hurley.

Politicians included former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke and other former premiers Barry Unsworth, Nathan Rees and Morris Iemma and Kristina Keneally.

Mr Johnson’s political foes, but personal friends, former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott and former Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell also attended.

Four bishops, including the Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher and more than 20 priest celebrated his Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial.

Mr Johnson, who served as the NSW upper house president from 1978 to 1991, and won respect from all sides of politics, died in Sydney last Wednesday aged 87.

He was a staunch Catholic and made a papal knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great in 2006. Pope Francis promoted him in 2015 to the top echelon of the award.

Mr Carr delivered the eulogy, saying the separation of Church and State was not a fetish for Johno as “he adored the Cross on the Calvary and rallied to the Light on the Hill”.

“‘I owe you a lot’, I said on my first and last visits to Johno on his sick bed,” Mr Carr said.

“We all owe him a lot,” he told the service.

Mr Carr said Mr Johnson was loyal to leaders.

“Johno treated Neville (Wran) with awe, Barrie with unstinted affection. He saw me as a co-conspirator and a useful fellow traveller who would protect his interests in his church.

“He was charmed by Kristina but thought she lived in theological error.

“He saw Luke as an altar boy … of great promise.”

Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher also paid tribute to Mr Johnson describing him as a man of integrity, who was a “true believer… a decent man with deep commitments, a man who practised what he preached with energy and compassion.”

He also spoke of Mr Johnson as a champion of Catholic social teaching.

He said his ideals made him a champion for the rights of the unborn and the elderly.

The same ideals “made him campaign for workers from those would exploit them and the needs of the homeless from those who would neglect them”.

And in a lighter vein, referring to his fame for ALP fundraising, Archbishop Fisher said he could see “Johno selling raffle tickets to St Peter or organising a faction in purgatory”.

A poignant moment during Friday’s funeral came when one of Mr Johnson’s young relatives was lifted up to place the politicians’ trademark trilby hat on the pile of white flowers on his coffin.

Second Vic council enters Aust Day debate

A second Melbourne council is set the delve into the Australia Day debacle started by Yarra, holding a vote next week on the future of the national day for its residents.

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Darebin City Council, in Melbourne’s north, added urgent business to its Monday meeting schedule, with councillors to decide how the council will commemorate Australia Day from 2018 onwards.

The council will consider either keeping January 26 unchanged and adding an advocacy campaign, or hold its citizenship ceremonies on the eve of Australia Day.

“Should Council want to take further actions regarding Australia Day events in Darebin, a strong and confirmed position through Council resolution will be required,” it said in its Australia Day briefing for Monday’s meeting.

The move follows action by Yarra City Council on Tuesday, which voted to stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day and ceasing its citizenship ceremonies on that day.

That resulted in the federal government on Wednesday banning them from performing any citizenship ceremonies at any time of year.

Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke was due to speak with Yarra City mayor Amanda Stone about the ban on Friday, but they were yet to have discussions by the end of the working week.

The government has hinted Yarra City Council could reclaim its power to host citizenship ceremonies if it reverses its controversial decision.

The minister has accused the council of politicising Australia Day and was outraged by the vote by councillors, warning such a move would be in breach of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies code.

Darebin Council said it recognised there was a significant risk in adopting its second option to not hold ceremonies on Australia Day in light of Mr Hawkes’ ban for Yarra.

“Option Two in this report presents a serious and significant risk to Council and may be deemed to be an action that is politicising citizenship ceremonies and therefore a breach of the Code,” the briefing said.

Darebin will debate its options at a meeting on Monday night.

Gale force winds cause chaos across NSW

Gale force winds have wreaked havoc across NSW shattering windows, cutting power to tens of thousands of homes and causing commuter chaos, including the cancellation of more than 100 flights at Sydney Airport.

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But conditions are expected to ease overnight, after wind gusts on Friday reached 106 km/h on Sydney Harbour, in Nowra and at Port Kembla.

The SES on Friday received more than 500 calls for help with winds so strong they blew the roof off a business in Wollongong leading to 80 people being evacuated.

In Gosford, a tree fell onto a house trapping a woman in a wheelchair, while at International House Sydney at Barangaroo three windows shattered some five storeys up.

The building was evacuated but there were “no patients”, an ambulance spokeswoman told AAP.

Most of the damage was on the state’s east coast with the SES responding to trees falling on roads, powerlines and properties in the Illawarra, Central Coast, south Sydney and the city’s innerwest.

However, conditions are easing with a SES spokeswoman saying the worst was over for Sydney.

“Sydney has seen the worst of the damaging winds today and we are looking at easing winds to continue until Saturday morning,” she said.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Friday for damaging winds in the Hunter, Central Tablelands, Sydney and the Illawarra.

A warning was also issued for hazardous surf conditions across the state’s entire coastline over the weekend.

“It will still be very windy on Saturday, just not as windy as Friday,” a bureau spokesman told AAP.

Domestic flights in and out of Sydney were affected by the weather with planes only able to use one runway and travellers facing 60 to 90-minute delays on average, airport officials said.

Power was also cut to Sydney, Illawarra and Central Coast homes and businesses.

Emergency crews from Ausgrid had to restore power to more than 50,000 customers.

The distributor says crews are still responding to 400 reports of hazards on the electricity network including trees on powerlines and downed lines.

Endeavour Energy said 11,000 customers lost power and by the evening some 2000 were still without supply.

Friday’s weather warning comes two days after two walls at separate Sydney building sites collapsed in high winds.

A 30-year-old worker was killed and a teenager received critical head injuries on Wednesday.

Police kill 5 after deadly Spain attack

Police have shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a car attack in a seaside resort in Spain’s Catalonia region hours after a van ploughed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade, killing at least 13 people and injuring over 100 others.

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A seven-year-old Australian boy missing and his mother is among four other Australians injured in the Barcelona attack.

Authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks – as well as an explosion earlier this week elsewhere in Catalonia- are connected and the work of a large terrorist group.

Three people have been arrested, but the driver of the van used in the Barcelona attack remains at large

Spain’s security forces have named him as Moussa Oukabir, the teenage brother of one of those arrested.

Authorities were still reeling from Thursday’s Barcelona attack when police in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, about 130 kilometres to the south, fatally shot five people near the town’s boardwalk who had ploughed into a group of tourists and locals. Six people, including a police officer, were injured, though it wasn’t clear how badly.

Catalonia’s interior minister, Joaquim Forn, told Onda Cero radio that the five suspects killed in a subsequent shootout with police were wearing fake bomb belts.

“They were fakes, but very well made, and it wasn’t until the bomb squad carried out the controlled explosion of one that they could determine they were fakes,” he said.

The Cambrils attack came hours after a white van veered onto Barcelona’s picturesque Las Ramblas promenade and mowed down pedestrians, zig-zagging down the strip packed with locals and tourists from around the world.

Forn, told local radio RAC1 the Cambrils attack “follows the same trail. There is a connection.”

He told Onda Cero that the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks were being investigated together, as well as a Wednesday night explosion in the town of Alcanar in which one person was killed.

“We are not talking about a group of one or two people, but rather a numerous group,” he said.

The Barcelona attack at the peak of Spain’s tourist season left victims sprawled across the street, spattered with blood and writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with their guns drawn or fled in panic, screaming and carrying young children in their arms.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility, saying in a statement on its Aamaq news agency that the attack was carried out by “soldiers of the Islamic State” in response to the extremist group’s calls for followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive it from Syria and Iraq.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the killings a “savage terrorist attack” and said Spaniards “are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life.”

By Friday morning, the promenade had reopened to the public, and neighbours and tourist were allowed past police lines to go back to their homes and hotels. The city centre remained under heavy surveillance.

Similar vehicle attacks have been carried out at tourist sites in France, Germany, Sweden and Britain.

The bloodshed was Spain’s deadliest attack since 2004, when al Qaeda-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated assaults on Madrid’s commuter trains.

IS ‘could make use’ of Hanson’s stunt, Iraq ambassador says

Pauline Hanson’s burqa shenanigans in parliament could backfire and give ammunition to the Islamic States’ cause in the Middle East, Iraq’s ambassador to Australia warns.

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The One Nation leader received a stinging rebuke from Attorney-General George Brandis over her stunt in Senate question time on Thursday.

Ambassador Hussain Al-Ameri said such a performance had the potential to negatively influence people at risk of being radicalised both in Australia and the Middle East.

Dr Al-Ameri said the behaviour created a perception that Australians were anti-Muslim and against Islamic principles and traditions.

“Social media makes the world a small village. When anything happens it can be seen anywhere. Accordingly there is no secret thing,” Dr Al-Ameri told AAP.

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“The terrorists are smart. They can make use of this (incident) to motivate their people everywhere, including Australia.”

It’s important to differentiate between extremism and religion as practised by law abiding citizens, he said.

Dr Al-Ameri said he didn’t wish to criticise Senator Hanson directly but merely wished to offer advice that her behaviour may be unhelpful.

He said it was important to create goodwill with Muslim communities and show respect towards customs and traditions.

Dr Al-Ameri praised the leadership of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who last year fasted for the first day of Ramadan and then celebrated an Iftar dinner with Muslim MPs in his party.

Mr Trudeau said at the time that Ramadan reminds people to show appreciation for countless blessings and to put the needs of others before our own.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Canberra it was right to describe Senator Hanson’s behaviour as a “stunt”.

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“Mutual respect is not just the foundation of our success as a multicultural society, it’s the foundation of our national security,” Mr Turnbull said.

Senator Hanson was unrepentant on Friday.

“I’m not embarrassed by what I did. I’ve created debate over it, which needed to be done,” she said.

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Not Greek, but British? Xenophon contacts UK Home Office over possible dual citizenship

The senator said he would publically reveal the documents he receives back from the UK government as soon as possible, predicting he would have an answer by early next week.

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“What can I do? I am making the enquiries,” Senator Xenophon said on Friday. 

“As soon as I get that paperwork I will give it to you all.”

Mr Xenophon, whose Nick Xenophon Team controls three seats in the Senate, has spent the past week denying any dual citizenship concerns despite having a Greek mother and a Cypriot father.

0:00 Xenophon contacts UK Home Office over possible dual citizenship Share Xenophon contacts UK Home Office over possible dual citizenship

He said he wrote letters to renounce any citizenship to the Greek embassy and Cypriot high commission in 2007, before he entered the federal parliament.

“I have never had citizenship of another country, never wanted citizenship of another country,” he said earlier in the week.

But Senator Xenophon’s father Theodoros Xenophou may have left Cyprus for Australia when the country was still a British colony, raising the prospect that Mr Xenophon may have inherited UK citizenship by descent.

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Cyprus was a British colony until 1960. Travel records show the elder Xenophou travelled to Australia in 1951 as a British citizen, the ABC reports.

The inheritance of UK citizenship by descent landed Nationals cabinet minister Fiona Nash in trouble this week, when she revealed she too was a UK citizen.

Parliament will refer her case to the High Court when sitting resumes next month, but Ms Nash has decided to remain in her ministry position until then, following the example set by Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

The dual citizenship fiasco has already seen five parliamentarians referred to the High Court, to determine whether they were validly elected under Section 44 of the Constitution.

There are the two resigned Greens senators, Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters.

The Nationals’ Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce, along with One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, have also been referred but have decided to remain in the parliament, pending the court’s decision. 

0:00 Barnaby Joyce ‘shellshocked’ by NZ citizenship Share Barnaby Joyce ‘shellshocked’ by NZ citizenship

 

Australian leaders react to Barcelona terror attack

Responding to a deadly attack in Barcelona that has claimed at least 16 lives, Mr Turnbull said the love and prayers of Australians were with the victims and their families.

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0:00 Chaos on the street after Barcelona van attacks Share Chaos on the street after Barcelona van attacks

This is a global battle against terrorism,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Resolute with Spain in the fight to defeat terrorism we condemn the terrorist attack in Barcelona. Our love & prayers are with the victims.

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 17, 2017

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said earlier that 16 people were killed in the attack, which took place on Thursday when a van careened into pedestrians in the Spanish city’s tourist hub of Las Ramblas.

Scores of people were injured including three Australians, with one of those a woman hospitalised in a serious but stable condition.

Mr Turnbull said plans for keeping Australians safe domestically, including around public spaces, were constantly being adjusted.

0:00 Malcolm Turnbull speaks about Barcelona terrorist attack Share Malcolm Turnbull speaks about Barcelona terrorist attack

“I can assure you – we are relentless.”

Turnbull says newly constructed shopping centres will have terror “resilience built in”. Details on how to come in the report.

— James Elton-Pym (@JamesEltonPym) August 17, 2017

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) director-general Duncan Lewis, appearing alongside the Prime Minister, said intelligence-gathering was essential to prevent attacks in Australia. 

ASIO chief Duncan Lewis says existing “very good” links with Muslim community are “absolutely critical” in counter-terror efforts @SBSNews

— James Elton-Pym (@JamesEltonPym) August 17, 2017

Working with the Council of Australian Governments would also be important in the future, Mr Turnbull said.

“We will look at the full range of counter-terrorism measures,” he told reporters. 

ASIO deputy director general, Tony Sheehan responded to a question about the vulnerability of Australian airports, particularly following the recent counter-terrorism raids across Sydney.

0:00 AFP continuing airport terror plot investigation Share AFP continuing airport terror plot investigation

“Those matters are always under consideration by our agencies, Office of Transport Security and other relevant agencies,” he said.

Shadow foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, was pressed for comment and said it was an “unfolding” situation.

“I’m going to leave it to the government to respond to details, because obviously they have information to hand as it comes in,” Ms Wong said.  

New counter-terrorism measures were introduced in Melbourne in June, including road bollards along Bourke Street Mall and the northern edge of Federation Square.

A siren system was also introduced as part of the $10 million safety upgrade.

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