US star news anchor shamed by sex harassment charges replaced by a woman

In this file photo, television personality Matt Lauer arrives at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California on Jan. 11, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 January 2018
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US star news anchor shamed by sex harassment charges replaced by a woman

WASHINGTON: The US television channel NBC said Tuesday it had appointed a female anchor to replace shamed star Matt Lauer, who was accused of sexual misconduct, on its signature morning show "Today."
The broadcaster named Hoda Kotb, who had been filling in for Lauer since he was sacked in November following a slew of allegations of sexual harassment, as the new anchor of the Today show alongside Savannah Guthrie, who had been Lauer's co-host.
"This has to be the most popular decision that NBC News has ever made," said Guthrie on her Twitter account after the news of Kotb's permanent appointment was announced.
Kotb, a 53-year-old Egyptian-American, is an award-winning journalist who joined NBC in 1998 as a correspondent and went on to become a host of a later slot on the channel's morning program.
The decision to have two women hosts was a break with the typical male-female host line-up popular with morning news shows, and came as a slew of top-level men in media and politics have been sacked or have quit following widespread allegations of sexual misconduct.
Lauer, 59, was one of the biggest media scalps in last year's firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations that engulfed the United States, derailing the careers of Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein, Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, and CBS News anchor Charlie Rose.
Paid $25 million a year, Lauer interviewed four of the last sitting US presidents, anchoring some of the world's biggest news events for more than two decades including numerous Olympic Games, and breaking news of the September 11 attacks.
News of his replacement by a female host came a day before Tina Smith was due to be sworn in as a senator for Minnesota, replacing former comedian Al Franken who quit after a series of women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior.


New Zealand PM Ardern names new-born daughter Neve Te Aroha

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford pose with their baby daugther Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford outside the hospital in Auckland on June 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 24 June 2018
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New Zealand PM Ardern names new-born daughter Neve Te Aroha

  • Ardern said she and her partner Clarke Gayford had settled on the full name of Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford for their first child
  • Ardern, who said the couple kept a short list of names, added that Neve meant “bright and radiant and snow,” while Te Aroha was the name of a rural town some 140 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Auckland where her family is from

AUCKLAND: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed her newborn daughter would be called Neve as she left an Auckland hospital Sunday, and expressed hope that one day a woman giving birth in office would no longer be a “novelty.”
Speaking publicly for the first time since her delivery on Friday — which made waves around the world — Ardern said she and her partner Clarke Gayford had settled on the full name of Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford for their first child.
“We chose Neve because we just liked it, and when we met her we thought she looked like she suited the name,” the 37-year-old told reporters as she cradled her daughter in her arms.
Ardern, who said the couple kept a short list of names, added that Neve meant “bright and radiant and snow,” while Te Aroha was the name of a rural town some 140 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Auckland where her family is from.
The New Zealand leader said she was blown away by well-wishes locally and internationally, including from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.
“We wanted to say thank you (to New Zealanders for their support) and we are all doing really well. Sleep deprived, but super well,” she said.
Ardern is only the second world leader to give birth while in office, after former Pakistan PM Benazir Bhutto, and said she hoped such experiences would not be unusual in the future.
“Hopefully, these things said in these moments now, I guess for want of a better word — novelty, they are still new — that one day they aren’t new anymore,” she said.
“And that it’s generally accepted, not just that women can make choices, but actually that men can too,” Ardern added, referring to Gayford, who was standing beside her.
Her partner, a 40-year-old television fishing personality, will be a stay-at-home dad while the prime minister will return to work after six weeks’ maternity leave.
“Clarke’s been as much of a role model here as I am, and that’s something that I think a lot of people talk about too and it’s true,” Ardern said.
“So I hope for little girls and boys that actually there’s a future where they can make choices about how they raise their family and what kind of career they have that is just based on what they want and it makes them happy.”
Former New Zealand PM Helen Clark had said the couple was sending sent a significant message to the world and were “inspirational” for younger men and women.
The birth capped an eventful year for Ardern, who became prime minister in October just three months after taking charge of the Labour Party as it languished in the polls.
Her deputy Winston Peters is now acting prime minister, although Ardern will continue to be consulted on significant issues.