Scandal leads to calls to reform House of Lords

Nick Miller 12:41 PM   The cocaine-and-prostitutes scandal that led to the resignation on Tuesday of Lord Sewel from the House of Lords has stirred up new calls for reform of the UK's upper house.

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Snowden pardon petition rejected by US

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 31:  NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during a meeting with German Green Party MP Hans-Christian Stroebele (not pictured) regarding being a witness for a possible investigation into NSA spying in Germany, on October 31, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. There has been calls in Germany for an investigation into alledged US spying in Germany, which reportedly could include the tapping of German chancellor Angela Merkel???s phone. (Photo by Sunshinepress/Getty Images)

Gardiner Harris 11:29 AM   Petition called whistleblower a national hero and said he should be immediately issued a full, free and absolute pardon.

Sandra Bland was 'alive and well': new video

FILE - In this undated photo provided by the Bland family, Sandra Bland poses for a photo. Bland, a black 28-year-old from suburban Chicago, was found dead in jail on July 13, 2015. Texas authorities have said Bland hanged herself with a garbage bag, a finding that her family disputes. She was in custody after a traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal escalated into a physical confrontation with a white state trooper. (Courtesy of Bland family, File)

Texas officials have released a new video showing that Sandra Bland was "alive and well" in jail, in an effort to dispel rumours that her death was untoward.

Holmes' father tells of a parent's nightmare

In this image made from Colorado Judicial Department video, Robert Holmes, top right, the father of James Holmes, background second from left, and others stand as the jury enters the courtroom during the sentencing phase of the Colorado theater shooting trial in Centennial, Colo., Tuesday, July 28, 2015. The father of the Colorado theater shooter said he didn't know his son suffered from mental illness until he killed 12 people at a Batman movie. (Colorado Judicial Department via AP, Pool)

He sounded like a proud father leafing through the family album, but the questions and their answers from the Batman shooter's parent reveal more. 

San Francisco tests pee-repellent paint

US economy 060916 AFR PHOTO BY EVELYN BAROTA/ GENERICS: US, California, San Francisco, US economy, Downtown streets, spending, shoppers, US retail , Cable cars, tourism, travel

When it comes to odorous annoyances, San Francisco officials hope a fresh coat of paint will succeed where manners and bladders have failed.

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Rich American tourists kill hundreds of lions each year, and it’s all legal

Hunter Walter James Palmer, left, with another lion he killed.

Christopher Ingraham 2:45 AM   The internet is in an uproar this week over the recent killing of a well-known lion in Zimbabwe. Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, allegedly baited Cecile the lion out of a national park by dragging a dead animal behind a car at night.

Sarah Palin would be welcome in a Trump administration, the billionaire says

'She's tough and smart and just a great woman' ... Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sarah Palin.

Justin Moyer 2:22 AM   Sarah Palin plus Donald Trump? That's a story everyone can get excited about - even when the Donald just offers generic praise of the self-proclaimed maverick on an obscure radio show, and Palin isn't even there.

Taliban leader has been dead for more than two years, Afghanistan says

Mullah Omar has been dead for more than two years, according to the Afghan government.

Rod Nordland 2:02 AM   Taliban's reclusive founder and spiritual leader died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013, intelligence service announces.

Florida man charged in alleged backpack bomb plot: US Department of Justice

A Florida man was charged in an alleged backpack bomb plot he planned to carry out on a public beach in Key West, Florida.

Lindsay Dunsmuir 1:03 AM   A Florida resident has been charged in an alleged backpack bomb plot he planned to carry out in the United States, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

New evidence should free 'Happy Birthday' from copyright: lawyers

<i>Happy Birthday</i>, the song, still earns its owner, Warner Music, a nice income.

Peter Vincent 1:01 AM   Lawyers for a filmmaker in New York said they had discovered "smoking-gun" evidence that the song Happy Birthday to You should no longer be subject to copyright restrictions.

Prison seamstress pleads guilty to helping escapees

Joyce Mitchell in court in Plattsburgh, New York, on Tuesday.

Jesse McKinley 12:20 AM   A former prison employee has pleaded guilty to charges that she helped two convicted killers stage a dramatic escape from a maximum-security prison in June in northern New York, closing one chapter of a case that involved hundreds of law enforcement officers and spread fear across parts of the state.

Cecil the lion's killer lands in the middle of online hate storm

Shot dead: Cecil the lion

Catherine Armitage 12:02 AM   Until two days ago, Walter Palmer was a "very private" man living with his family. He practised dentistry and hunted animals with a bow and arrow. Now the dentist's old life has ended.

Uighur tensions hang over Turkish president's visit to China

A Uighur refugee in Turkey earlier this year.

Philip Wen 11:50 PM   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Beijing on Tuesday eager to highlight trade but his visit risks being overshadowed by growing tensions over China's ethnic Uighurs.

Greek PM may have to call early election

"If I don't have a parliamentary majority, we will be forced to go to elections": Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

11:31 PM   Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday he may have to call an early election to bolster a parliamentary majority strained by bailout reforms.

Migrant dies in Channel Tunnel as British security body meets over crisis

A high-speed Eurostar train exits the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, near Calais.

9:05 PM   A migrant died trying to cross to Britain from France early on Wednesday, French police said, adding to a number of recent deaths in the Channel Tunnel as British ministers and security chiefs were to meet over the crisis in Calais.

Australian journalist Peter Greste awaits Egyptian terror-retrial verdict

Peter Greste

2:42 PM   An Egyptian court will decide on Thursday if Australian journalist Peter Greste will again be convicted of terrorism-related charges.

Taliban's small steps toward peace

An Afghanistan National Army soldier stands guard in a trench in district of Baraki Barak in Logar province earlier this month.

Ismail Khan 2:16 PM   Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives are set to meet again for a second round of peace talks on Friday, according to two Pakistani government officials.

Second rare cyclone in the winds

A tropical low over the Solomon Islands may develop into another cyclone.

Peter Hannam 1:56 PM   Weather experts are watching the prospect of another cyclone in the western Pacific, a highly unusual event so early in the season.

The twisted friendship of crime writer Ann Rule and serial killer Ted Bundy

Ann Rule was a police officer turned crime reporter, who befriended a man who would go on to commit dozens of horrific murders.

Justin Moyer 1:53 PM   ​Few journalists are lucky enough to stumble into stories that grab the national consciousness for decades. And when they do, even fewer are lucky enough to know their subjects intimately enough before the news breaks to offer readers not just a scoop, but a kind of dual biography.

Cocaine-and-prostitutes scandal leads to calls to reform House of Lords

Resigned following cocaine-and-prostitutes scandal ... The former deputy speaker of the House of Lords John Sewel.

Nick Miller 12:41 PM   The cocaine-and-prostitutes scandal that led to the resignation on Tuesday of Lord Sewel from the House of Lords has stirred up new calls for reform of the UK's upper house.

Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to be paroled after 30 years in US prison

Jonathan Pollard in 1998.

Michael Shear 12:02 PM   Jonathan J. Pollard, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1985 for passing classified documents to the Israeli government, will be released on parole in November after 30 years in prison, a US government panel has decided.

Grand plans for world's first paediatric double hand transplant recipient

Double-hand transplant recipient Zion Harvey smiles during a news conference.

Marie McCullough 12:01 PM   Sitting on his hospital bed, the first child in the world to receive a double hand transplant talked about his big plans. Zion Harvey wants to climb the monkey bars.

Postman comes to the rescue of a little boy who could not afford books

The original Facebook post by postman Ron Lynch.

11:38 AM   When he couldn't afford a bus fare to the library, Matthew Flores turned to junk mail. But his local postie said that just wasn't good enough.

Mother saves son before being swallowed by escalator

A closed-circuit TV image showing Xiang Liujuan and her son as a panel at the top of the escalator gave way.

Javier C. Hernandez 10:26 AM   A mother in China fell through a trap door at the top of an escalator, pushing her 2-year-old son to safety before the machinery swallowed her. The resulting online furore about safety says a lot about power in China today.

Obama tells Africa's big men to think twice about hanging on

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. Obama told Ethiopia's leaders on Monday that allowing more political freedoms would strengthen the African nation, which had already lifted millions out of a poverty once rooted in recurring famine. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Aislinn Laing 10:24 AM   President Obama has drawn roars of approval from an audience at the African Union when he mocked the continent's leaders who refuse to stand down, telling them "your countries need new blood".

'I don't have 20 minutes': emergency landing as plane runs dangerously low on fuel

Allegiant Air emergency landing.

Mary Schlangenstein 9:36 AM   An Allegiant Air flight ran dangerously low on fuel last week as it circled an airport in North Dakota, USA, that was actually closed so the Navy's Blue Angels could practice for a forthcoming air show.