Death threats for royal prank call presenters

Updated 14 December 2012
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Death threats for royal prank call presenters

SYDNEY: Death threats have been made against the Australian radio hosts involved in the royal prank call tragedy, police said Friday, with station management reportedly moving some staff to safehouses.
The revelations came as a London inquest showed the nurse who fielded the hoax call, Jacintha Saldanha, 46, hanged herself.
The mother-of-two was found dead last Friday, three days after transferring the call to a colleague who divulged details about Prince William’s pregnant wife Catherine who was recovery from severe morning sickness. Saldanha was discovered in nurses’ quarters near the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London where Kate was being treated. She also had wrist injuries and left three notes. Australian police have launched an investigation into the death threats after a letter targeting presenter Michael Christian was seized, warning him there were “bullets out there with your name on it.”




The letter was obtained by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, which said further threats were made involving a shotgun which it said were inappropriate to print.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said staff at 2Day FM’s parent company Southern Cross Austereo have been receiving threats all week.
“Police are conducting an investigation into threats made against two Sydney radio presenters,” a New South Wales police spokesman told AFP.
“Detectives seized a letter which contained a number of threats. Detectives are conducting an investigation into the matter and are attempting to identify the source of the letter.”
The Telegraph said about a dozen staff at the broadcaster have been moved to hotels for their safety and up to 10 executives have been assigned bodyguards.
Southern Cross Austereo would only say that “the safety of our employees is an absolute priority.”
“We have sensible measures in place, as we always do, to ensure our people are safe,” a spokeswoman told AFP.
Christian and fellow host Mel Greig, who have been undergoing counselling, remain off air and have not been seen in public since making tearful apologies in a television interview on Monday.
It follows the pair posing as Queen Elizabeth II and William’s father Prince Charles in a hoax call to the hospital, which sparked an outpouring of global anger against them.
Senior British police officer James Harman told the inquest there were “no suspicious circumstances” surrounding Saldanha’s death.
“Jacintha Saldanha was found by a colleague and a member of security staff. Sadly she was found hanging. There were also injuries to her wrist,” he told Westminster Coroner’s Court.
Two notes were found in her room and another was among her possessions, Harman added, without revealing their contents at this preliminary stage.
Police are also looking at telephone calls and e-mails to see if they shed more light on her death, he said, with Scotland Yard expected to contact Australian police about interviewing people there.
Indian-born Saldanha’s husband Benedict Barboza and two teenage children did not attend the short hearing.
The radio station has pledged at least Aus$500,000 ($523,600) to help the grieving family, although British lawmaker Keith Vaz, who has been acting as their spokesman, said the broadcaster had not done enough.
The royal couple, who are expecting their first child, have said they at no stage complained to the hospital about the hoax call incident. The hospital has also said that it gave Saldanha its full support.
Australia’s media watchdog has opened an investigation into the prank call to determine whether it contravened the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.


UN says Nicaragua protest killings may be 'unlawful'

Updated 24 April 2018
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UN says Nicaragua protest killings may be 'unlawful'

  • Some groups called for "dictator" Ortega and his wife to step down, yelling "Out! Out!"
  • Mass street protests are rare in Nicaragua, where the army maintains a very tight grip on public order.
MANAGUA: The United Nations said Tuesday that many deaths in nearly a week of anti-government protests violently repressed by police in Nicaragua may have been "unlawful" and called for an investigation.
The scrutiny from the Swiss-based UN human rights office adds to international alarm at Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's ordered crackdown against a wave of anti-government demonstrations and clashes.
The European Union, United States and the Vatican have all urged talks to restore calm, while the US embassy in Managua ordered family members of staff out of the country after Ortega deployed the army to the streets and looting broke out.
A toll compiled from the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights and Ortega's wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, puts the number of deaths since last Wednesday at 27. Most were protesters, among which university students and youths figure prominently.
"We are particularly concerned that a number of these deaths may amount to unlawful killings," Liz Throssell of the UN Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights told reporters in Geneva.
"It is essential that all allegations of excessive use of force by police and other security forces are effectively investigated to ensure those responsible are held to account," Throssell said.
The UN office said at least 25 people, including a police officer, had been killed.
The protests were sparked Wednesday by pension reforms aimed at keeping Nicaragua's burdened Social Security Institute afloat by cutting benefits and increasing contributions.
But they rapidly spread and intensified as other grievances over Ortega's rule surged to the fore.
On Monday, tens of thousands of people -- employees, students, pensioners and ordinary citizens -- marched peacefully in the capital Managua and other cities demanding an end to the forceful security crackdown on protests.
Some groups called for "dictator" Ortega and his wife to step down, yelling "Out! Out!"
Ortega, a 72-year-old former Sandinista guerrilla leader who has ruled Nicaragua for 22 of the past 39 years, has been taken aback by the demonstrations against him, the biggest in his last 11-year stretch in power.
He has canceled the pension reforms and called for dialogue, and Murillo has suggested arrested protesters could be released.
But his security forces have not been pulled back, and -- though Managua appeared relatively calm early Tuesday -- widespread anti-government sentiment persisted.
Even Nicaragua's business sector, whose support had shored up Ortega over the past decade, has abandoned him over the violence.
A pro-government rally was being organized for Thursday to show that the president still enjoyed backing from part of the population.
Mass street protests are rare in Nicaragua, where the army maintains a very tight grip on public order.
But dissatisfaction has been bubbling over in recent months.
Frustrations have been voiced over corruption, the distant and autocratic style of Ortega and Murillo, limited options to change the country's politics in elections, and the president's control over the Congress, the courts and the electoral authority.
In rural areas, anger also stemmed from a stalled plan by Ortega to have a Chinese company carve a $50 billion canal across Nicaragua to rival Panama's lucrative Pacific-to-Atlantic shipping canal.
If the project went ahead, it would displace thousands of rural dwellers and indigenous communities, while dealing a negative impact on the environment.
"People are demanding democracy, freedom, free elections, a transparent government, the separation of powers, rule of law. The people want freedom," former Nicaraguan foreign minister Norman Caldera told AFP.
"If the government doesn't yield, it's going to be very difficult to stop this (the protests)," he said, asserting that the "big majority" of the population was showing its frustration with Ortega.
"The repressive apparatus is not able to halt protests on this scale," Caldera said.
Though Ortega has held out the promise of talks with opponents, the lack of any identifiable leader in the protest movement could make dialogue there difficult.
Under his watch, Nicaragua has avoided the rampant crime seen in northern Central American countries where gangs are rife.
It has also put in solid economic growth, yet it remains one of the poorest nations in Latin America.
The sudden upsurge in the streets puts Ortega at a crossroads: to tough it out, or to bow to the demands for democracy that have become too loud to ignore.