Abbott, Obama in frank climate talks

US President Barack Obama has offered an olive branch to Prime Minister Tony Abbott on climate change, conceding that he won a mandate in 2013 to get rid of the carbon tax.

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But Mr Obama, who discussed climate change with Mr Abbott at the White House on Thursday, urged Australia and other nations to adopt “ambitious domestic climate policies as the basis of a strong international response”.

The two leaders agreed climate change would be an issue for discussion at the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane, under the topic of “energy efficiency” and cleaning up the most polluting power plants.

Mr Obama mentioned the carbon tax, acknowledging that the Abbott government had a clear electoral mandate for a different approach.

Mr Abbott told the president he was committed to delivering Australia’s bipartisan target of cutting emissions by five per cent by 2020 by spending $2.5 billion on his direct action plan.

He later told the Nine Network that by 2020 Australia would have an “overall reduction of some 20 per cent in our emissions off a business-as-usual model”.

Earlier in his trip to Canada and the US, Mr Abbott described climate change as a significant issue but not the most important issue facing the world.

US media have been repeating an old quote in which he says that climate change is “absolute crap”.

Last week, Mr Obama announced a plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30 per cent by 2030, giving the states free rein to choose whether to do it by carbon pricing or other means.

The discussion between the two leaders was described as “straightforward”.

Mr Abbott also mentioned to the president that his government’s reinstatement of fuel excise indexation would also have an effect on emissions.

US officials have described climate change as a “creeping national security crisis” because of its potential to breed conflict, migration and natural disasters.

The G20’s energy sustainability working group, which is looking at issues around environmental impacts, has held two meetings so far and plans another in August before the leaders’ summit.

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Will the World Cup leave a positive legacy in Brazil?

By Jorge Knijnik, University of Western Sydney and Ramon Spaaij, Victoria University

During last year’s Confederations Cup football tournament in Brazil, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the country’s streets to demand change.

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Protests that started with a clear opposition to rising public transport fees quickly shifted focus to the enormous amount of government money being spent to host the 2014 World Cup:

We don’t need the World Cup, we need health and education.

Police used extremely violent measures to stop the protesters, which inflamed the already heated situation.

Similar protests will no doubt re-appear during the World Cup, when the world’s best football players display their talents in brand-new stadiums across Brazil. Millions of tourists are expected to travel to Brazil, but these visitors will also witness political protests and occasionally mix with demonstrators.

Sporting mega-events like the World Cup are accompanied by lofty promises on their lasting legacy for the host country. In Brazil and elsewhere, such legacy planning helps justify the billions spent on organising and hosting the event. So what kind of legacy will the World Cup leave in Brazil?

Economic versus cultural and political legacy

The legacy of sporting mega-events is often perceived in economic terms, with a focus on benefits to employment, tourism, infrastructure and urban renewal. During the World Cup, numbers are clearly an important part of legacy analysis, but they are far from being the only contributing factor to the overall legacy. It is at the sociocultural and political levels that the legacy of the World Cup may be felt the most.

Sporting mega-events do not happen in a social vacuum. They have to account for the past, the present and even the future of the communities involved. The World Cup is hosted by countries with remarkable histories where social changes are constantly occurring, sometimes at a rapid pace.

2014 is an important year for Brazil. It has been 60 years since Getulio Vargas – one of the most remarkable elected presidents in Brazilian history – committed suicide. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the coup d’état that installed the 25-year military dictatorship: another historic “milestone” that continues to bring bad memories for Brazilians.

In 2014, Brazilians also celebrate the 30th birthday of the Diretas Já! (Direct Elections Now) movement, which mobilised millions of protesters to take to the streets for the first time since the 1964 military coup. Despite its ultimate goal of direct elections being initially defeated by the Brazilian parliament, this movement opened the door for the re-democratisation of Brazil after 25 years of dictatorial rule.

Finally, a few months after the World Cup, Brazilian citizens will elect their federal government in what will be the seventh straight democratic presidential election – a record in the country’s history.

Infrastructure changes

The legacy of any World Cup is highly contentious. The event temporarily increases the number of tourists and jobs. In Brazil, it will also bring quality football stadiums to a country where these have long been in a very bad state.

Upgrades to airports and public transport have taken place. However, this has been a slow process. Some upgrades will not be complete in time for the tournament. The promised urban mobility legacy might only come to fruition after the tournament has ended.

At the same time, the World Cup has put the alleged corruption surrounding stadium construction under global scrutiny. In a clear waste of public money, some of the new facilities will become white elephants after the World Cup as there will be no spectators to fill them.

Forced relocations in the past few years have already profoundly affected several disadvantaged communities in the past few years.

 

Some World Cup stadiums, such as Cuiaba’s Arena Pantanal, may end up as ‘white elephants’ after the event. EPA/Jose Medeiros

 

An unanticipated legacy

One of the most notable legacies of the World Cup may yet be its unanticipated political legacy. Even before it starts, the event has magnified and given a global platform to the social movements that had been on Brazilian society’s margins in the last decade; it has accelerated the democratic battle that is underway in Brazil.

On one side, progressive movements push for an expansion of the social agenda; on the other, conservative powers seek to erase the recent social improvements through the use of both their mass media power and state repression.

In addition, Brazilians now want to know the truth about their recent history. The government and civil society have at last started to open the secret files that show the army’s involvement in systematic torture and killing of the opposition during the military government.

Anti-democratic forces that supported the dictatorship are still present within the army and the police. They continue to use torture, illegal detention and physical elimination to silence their opponents, and they infiltrate social movements in order to create chaos in any peaceful civil demonstration.

During the next few weeks, the world will witness a first-class sporting event. Brazilians will be cheering on the Brazilian team, but will also be fighting a political battle on the streets. Most want to increase their social and political rights; others want to block civic progress.

As painful as this process will be, the maturing of Brazil’s democracy is an unplanned legacy of the World Cup whose impact is not to be underestimated.


Editor’s note: Jorge and Ramon will be on hand for an Author Q&A session from noon to 1:30pm AEST tomorrow (June 6). Post any questions about the legacy the World Cup may leave in Brazil below.

Ramon Spaaij receives funding from the Australian Research Council.

Jorge Knijnik does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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NSW firebug gets jail term overturned

A former Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteer who was sentenced to at least one year in prison for lighting a string of blazes has had his jail term overturned.

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He will now serve his sentence by way of an 18-month intensive corrections order (ICO).

Joshua Staples was 18 when he deliberately lit grass and bin fires in the Bringelly area in Sydney’ west in January 2011.

Staples then doubled back and joined his RFS colleagues to help extinguish the blazes.

The now 21-year-old was convicted and sentenced to at least one year in prison last year after his grandmother told the court that he had broken down at her kitchen table and confessed to lighting the fires.

But at his appeal hearing on Friday, Sydney’s District Court heard that after the conviction Staples denied ever making these admissions to his grandmother or that he was responsible for lighting the fires.

He also told the community corrections officer that he was accepting the conviction so his matter could be dealt with swiftly.

On hearing this Judge Anthony Blackmore said: “For him to sit there and now say that he’s innocent and not at all contrite for what he has done is very, very serious.”

“Did you light those fires?” Judge Blackmore asked Staples on Friday.

“Yes, Your Honour,” Staples replied.

“Then what is all this denial about… I want to understand why you would say that to somebody. Don’t you understand that accepting what you have done is a very important part of getting over what you have done?”

“Yes,” Staples replied.

While Judge Blackmore said Staples, who is now a DJ, clearly had “ongoing psychological issues” for which he is being treated, he accepted the 21-year-old was telling the truth.

He overturned the jail term and sentenced him to an ICO of 18 months.

The orders include a variety of strict conditions, including where they live and when they must report.

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Police crack down on anti-World Cup protests

Around 100 activists clad in the black masks and scarves of radical protest movement Black Bloc tore down street signs and traffic lights and set fire to them to block off a central street, prompting police to fire rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse them.

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The protesters were trying to march toward the main avenue leading to Corinthians Arena, the stadium hosting the opening game between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday afternoon before a crowd of more than 60,000 people, including 12 foreign heads of state.

 

The clashes came after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up an earlier, smaller protest near a Sao Paulo subway station.

That group, which had been brandishing a banner reading “If we have no rights, there won’t be a Cup,” had also vowed to march on Corinthians Arena.

But police carrying anti-riot shields forcefully broke them up before they could start.

One officer fired rubber bullets at a shirtless protester who stood in the middle of the street refusing to budge. Police then detained the man.

The demonstrators had also been chanting “There won’t be a Cup” – the rallying cry of the protest movement against over $US11 billion ($A11.9 billion) in government spending laid out for the tournament, which opponents say should instead have been used for education, health, housing and transport.

A CNN journalist and her producer were “slightly injured” while covering a protest when they were hit with a tear gas canister, the network said in a statement.

 

Brazilian news website G1 said five journalists had been injured in all – the two from CNN, one from the Associated Press, one from a French TV team and a Brazilian from broadcaster SBT.

 

One black-clad protester was also injured.

Gregory Leao, a 27-year-old law student who participated in the first protest, said the demonstrators’ initial goal was to invade the stadium.

“The objective is to put an end to the World Cup. We realise we’re not going to achieve it, but we believe Brazilians should rise up,” he said.

 

“Brazilians love football but they don’t need this (World Cup) right now.”

The sprawling South American country was visibly divided Thursday between excited fans decked out in green and yellow in fervent support of the national team and those fearful of anti-World Cup protests or determined to join them.

Also in Sao Paulo, hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the offices of the subway employees’ union, which had threatened to resume a paralysing strike Thursday but called it off at the last minute.

 

In Rio, striking airport ground staff — the latest to join the wave of strikes ahead of the tournament — invaded the road to the international airport and briefly blocked it off.

Their protest created a long traffic jam, causing some worried travellers to exit their vehicles and run toward the airport to catch their flights.

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You’re wrong, Mr Hockey: class warfare is precisely what we need

Speaking at the Sydney Institute on Wednesday Treasurer Joe Hockey attacked budget opponents by arguing they were drifting into ‘1970s class warfare lines’.

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Hockey took his aim at those who wanted governments to deliver ‘equality of outcomes’, which he said only an ‘old style socialist government’ could achieve. He offered this alternative:

“In our view it is the responsibility of government to provide equality of opportunity with a fair and comprehensive support system for those who are most vulnerable. After that it is up to individuals in the community to accept personal responsibility for their lives and their destiny.”

Let’s ignore whether equality of outcome or opportunity is what our society should be aiming for. Even if we agreed on Mr Hockey’s stated aims of a society with equality of opportunity, then one thing is clear: only a class war will deliver it to us.

Any real class war would not just challenge the authority and power of the wealthiest in the world, but also of our politicians.

Recent decades have seen an increase in the wealth, power and influence of the rich in our society. As ALP MP Andrew Leigh has pointed out for example, “since 1975, real wages for the bottom 10th have risen 15 per cent, while wages for the top 10th have risen 59 per cent.” This is a global problem. A recent Oxfam report has shown that the wealthiest 80 people in our society now have the same wealth as the poorest other half of the world. The divide between rich and poor is growing every day.

It is this very growing disparity in wealth that is halting the very equality of opportunity Joe Hockey is so keen on. Research has shown for example that greater inequality in a society amplifies a number of social problems – including physical and mental illness, violence, low maths and literacy rates, drug and alcohol abuse, imprisonment rates and much more. As Richard Wilkinson explains:

“Greater income inequality seems to amplify and intensify the effects of social status differentiation – bigger material differences creating bigger social distances.”

As we become more unequal materially, so do we in other social measures. Most worryingly, this spreads into our democracy. As the rich gain in wealth, so are they gaining power within our political system. The wealthy are increasingly using their financial power – which is growing by the day – to increase their political power. This has been highlighted by recent scandals coming out of ICAC in New South Wales, and the privileged access politicians such as Mr Hockey now give to their largest donors.

This is where this comes up directly against Mr Hockey’s ‘equality of opportunity’ agenda. Equality of any form is fundamentally unachievable when so few have so much power.  With power concentrated in the hands of so few it has basically become impossible for others to gain any access to it – both materially and politically. This is particularly true when we see the real form of class warfare that is going on – an ongoing war from the wealthy against the poor. This is one designed to ensure the entrenchment of power of those at the top – both for the wealthy and our political class. It is this class war that the budget is part of.

This highlights why Mr Hockey, and even many ALP MPs, are so concerned about class warfare rhetoric. Any real class war would not just challenge the authority and power of the wealthiest in the world, but also of our politicians.

In turn this highlights exactly why a proper class war is exactly what we should be fighting for – whether we’re progressive or conservative. The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of so few has not just undermined our ideals of equality, but our democracy as well. And it is only a class war that will restore those values.

To do so we have to take on the wealth and power of the rich in our society. No one in these power positions will ever give them up, meaning that our only option is take that power from them.

This requires a mass working class movement – one that has an economic basis at its heart. We saw this through the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the United States – a movement whose purpose was about challenging the power of the 1%. The Indignados Movementin Spain took on a similar vain – and with great success. It has been estimated that at least one fifth of the Spanish population has taken part in those protests, and they’ve had recent success in the European Elections. We can only hope that we’re starting see a similar thing happening here in relation to the budget – as we become more painfully aware of how it is a victory for the Australian 1%. Yet we must ensure we frame this around class and don’t fall into the trap of simply fighting for a slightly better version of the current system.

It is an inconvenient fact for all of our politicians, no matter their stripe, that our class system is holding back any form of equality within our society. But that highlights the even more inconvenient truth for the rest of us in the community. The vast majority of our politicians – in particular in our major parties – have little to no interest in challenging this system. Their authority and their power relies upon it just as much as those who are the wealthiest in our community. Challenging this is essential for all of us in our society. It is the only way to achieve equality Mr Hockey is talking about, and more importantly to take back our democracy.

Simon Copland is a freelance writer and climate campaigner. He is a regular columnist for the Sydney Star Observer and blogs at The Moonbat. 

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Aussie Guns Fizzle

World No.

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1 Adam Scott and No.7 Jason Day failed to live up to their lofty rankings in the opening round of the US Open at Pinehurst No.2, falling eight shots off the pace.

While former No.1 Martin Kaymer was in a class of his own on his way to a five-under par 65 and a three shot lead, Scott and Day struggled to rounds of 73 to be eight shots back and tied 67th.

Germany’s Kaymer, the 2010 PGA Championship winner and recent victor of the Players Championship, cemented a three-shot buffer with three birdies in his final five holes, skipping clear of Americans Kevin Na and Fran Quinn, 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe’s Brendon De Jonge.

“I just didn’t make many mistakes. I hit a lot of good golf shots and finally I could make some putts,” Kaymer said.

A host of big names shot 69 to be tied sixth including world No.2 Henrik Stenson, Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and young guns Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama.

Aaron Baddeley was the pick of the Australians, fighting back from a triple bogey on the opening hole to post an even-par 70, leaving him tied for 16th. But the big pre tournament favourites Scott and Day were far from their usual best.

Day battled his swing for the entire round and could have easily scored much worse if not for his fighting spirit around the greens.

“If I didn’t have my short game I would have been in the 80s somewhere. I am glad I got up and down a lot and there is still three days ahead of us,” Day said.

“I was a little loose throughout the whole round. I just didn’t hit it as good as I needed. I am not too disappointed with how the round went considering how bad I hit it.”

For Scott, his ball-striking was better than his fellow Queenslander, although also shonky on occasions, but his short game wasn’t crisp enough.

“I’m a little disappointed. I think I played a little better than what I ended up shooting,” Scott said. “Around this kind of golf course, I just put it down to my short game not being spot on.”

Both men refused to be discounted despite the hole they find themselves in, vowing to make a move on Friday.

“It would be nice to move the other way tomorrow and get myself in good shape starting out Saturday,” Scott said.

“If the conditions are the same, I’d like the play the course in a similar way I did today and I think I can shoot five or six shots better.”

Oliver Goss, likely playing for the last time as an amateur, produced an impressive round of 71 to be on track for low amateur honours for the second major in a row.

“I am pretty happy with one-over even though I left a couple out there so there is room for improvement,” the 20-year-old Goss said.

Veteran John Senden joined Goss at one-over while Geoff Ogilvy and Rod Pampling joined the marquee Aussies at three-over.

Matt Jones finished with a 74 while Brady Watt (77) and Aron Price (78) found the going tough in their major championship debut.

Veteran Robert Allenby managed two birdies but had his card littered with eight bogeys and a triple bogey on the way to a 79.

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Montara leaves questions across Timor Sea

Empty fishing nets, weeping sores, mysterious deaths and mass dolphin strandings.

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In Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara islands, all these problems and more are being blamed on an oil spill in Australian waters five years ago.

The company responsible for the 2009 Montara disaster, PTTEP Australasia, says there’s no credible evidence that supports the complaints.

Our neighbours across the Timor Sea from us want evidence, too.

Five years after Australia’s worst offshore oil industry disaster, there has been no research into the environmental impacts in Indonesia’s land and waters.

On August 21, 2009, workers were evacuated after a blow out on Montara’s West Atlas rig, 250km off Australia’s coast.

Over more than 10 weeks, at least 30,000 barrels of oil spewed into the Timor Sea, but the actual quantity will never be known.

While the operators kept trying, and failing, to plug the spill, the Rudd federal government approved the use of chemicals to disperse the oil.

Even so, its spread was vast. Satellite pictures showed a sheen over 90,000 square kilometres.

When the oil finally stopped, studies found Australia’s environment escaped long-term damage, and inquiries ended with those remote reefs and coasts.

But fishermen off Rote Island had captured grainy mobile phone footage of muck and dead fish on the water’s surface.

They are still waiting for someone to explain what they saw, and what has happened since.

In one of Indonesia’s most disadvantaged areas, the fish catch has plummeted, the seaweed industry has been crippled and illnesses have plagued people who work on the water.

The men who videoed the oil live in the village of Oesapa, near West Timor’s capital Kupang.

Lasman Ali says they could smell it before they saw it – a “lake” of oil on the sea’s surface.

Since then, Ali says there’s barely anything to catch in the fishing grounds that once sustained hundreds of families.

He now relies on the charity of neighbours and a few cents his wife Rosna makes from selling sweet drinks to survive.

He can’t afford to send his sons to primary school, so they mostly play in the sand outside their rusting tin home.

The only hint that Oesapa was a thriving fishing town is a few boats on the beach, and boys drying small fish in the sun.

Haji Mostafa says they’ve lost about 70 per cent of their income.

He guesses about 20 per cent of children have been pulled out of the local school as their fishing families move to other islands, or like Ali, save every cent until things improve.

Mostafa thinks he knows what killed this industry, and he wants someone to acknowledge it.

“We’ve been here for generations, the only cause we could think of is the oil,” he says.

Another industry experiencing losses since 2009 is seaweed farming.

In the village of Tablolong, production peaked in 2008 when 500 tonnes was harvested for the cosmetic industry.

In 2009, production fell below 400 tonnes. Now they can barely yield 10 tonnes of seaweed that isn’t diseased.

It’s not only the seaweed that’s sick.

Villagers complain of itchy skin and sores that never heal, which doctors can’t explain. Some also report eye irritations and breathing problems from “vapour” on the water.

In nearby Lifuleo, only three seaweed farmers remain, after the sudden death of Philipus Liman in April.

His community fears his death is somehow linked to the rashes, and the dead seaweed, and reports they’ve heard of dolphin and whale strandings.

Widow Maria Liman Mulik says her husband took up the seaweed business in 2002. The rashes appeared in 2010.

“They disappeared then came again. I don’t know why,” she says.

Reluctantly, Maria will now tend what little seaweed will grow. She has little choice.

Here, the difference between poverty and prosperity is a house made from tin or concrete blocks.

Maria’s home is made of blocks, built in better times, and swept spotlessly while her family mourns their breadwinner.

Representing these people is a vocal West Timor businessman, Ferdi Tanoni, who says the isolated region suffers from being out of sight and out of mind to Indonesia and Australia.

He now has Indonesian government backing to lobby Canberra, but it’s not compensation he’s asking for, it’s science.

“We will go to the Australian government to protect our rights,” he says. “This all began in their territorial waters.”

The company behind Montara, PTTEP Australasia, say they are always open to dialogue with the Indonesian government.

PTTEP’s official report on the spill says satellite images showed no impact to the Indonesian coast or inshore waters.

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Phone apps linked to STIs

Gay men who use smartphone apps to hunt for a sex partner run a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease than those meeting online or in bars, researchers say.

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Apps such as Grindr, Scruff and Recon use the smartphone’s geolocation facility to help the user hook up with other men in the vicinity who are also looking for sex.

Researchers in Los Angeles carried out a survey among nearly 7,200 homosexual and bisexual men who visited a sexual health centre between 2011 and 2013.

The volunteers were screened for sexually-transmitted infections (STI) and questioned about their use of drugs and social networking in sexual encounters.

Thirty-four per cent of the men met sexual partners in person only, while 30 per cent used a combination of person-to-person encounters and online dating.

By comparison, 36 per cent used smartphone apps, either alone or in conjunction with other methods.

Men who used the smartphone apps were 23 per cent more likely to be infected with gonorrhoea and 35 per cent more likely to have chlamydia than those who met their partners online or in clubs and bars.

But there was no difference between the three groups in the risk for the AIDS virus or syphilis.

App users tended to be under 40, well-educated, of white or Asian ethnic backgrounds and more likely to use cocaine and ecstasy as “recreational” drugs, the investigation found.

The study, published in the British journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, acknowledged that patterns of sexual behaviour among gay men in southern California may not be the same elsewhere.

But, they said, geolocation apps have given rise to the possibility of instantly available and anonymous sex, and with it a higher risk of infection.

Previous research had found that app users were less likely to use condoms during sex and more likely to have multiple partners, they noted.

“Technology is redefining sex on demand,” according to the authors, led by Matthew Beymer of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.

Health watchdogs “must learn how to effectively exploit the same technology, and keep pace with changing contemporary risk factors for STI and HIV transmission.”

Grindr reported in 2013 that it had six million users in 192 countries including Australia, with 2.5 million added in 2012.

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Jail for stealing sister’s retirement fund

A New Zealand woman who presented herself as a wealthy successful businesswoman stole $NZ1.

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3 million ($A1.21 million) from her sister over seven years.

Michelle Innes, 59, was sentenced to four years and three months in jail in Auckland District Court on Friday after being found guilty in April of stealing her sister’s retirement fund.

Innes’s older sister Lesley Morresey was based in Alaska, and between 1999 and 2008 sent back money to New Zealand to be banked and managed by Innes.

But Innes used the money to buy property in her own name and invest in businesses which all failed.

The sisters no longer talk and the money hasn’t been paid back.

Judge Claire Ryan said it was one of the highest totals of fraud that she had dealt with.

Innes had stolen her sister’s retirement fund, ruined their once-close relationship and destroyed their wider family, Judge Ryan said.

“The loss of this relationship, a sister and a best friend, has been almost like a death,” Mrs Morresey said in a statement.

Judge Ryan said she saw Jekyll and Hyde aspects in Innes, who had an addiction to presenting herself as generous and successful while stealing from her sister who had trusted her implicitly.

Innes was greedy, selfish, calculating and conniving towards her sister, Justice Ryan said.

Innes’s lawyer David Jones QC argued his client was remorseful and had planned all along to pay the money back after she had earned more from the investments.

Other than this crime, she had been an upstanding member of society, Mr Jones said.

But Innes had pleaded not guilty and had besmirched the victim’s character during trial, Justice Ryan said.

“What remorse is there other than the fact she’s going to jail?” she questioned.

“You mercilessly plundered your sister’s money.”

Innes tearfully called out “love you” and waved to her numerous family members and supporters as she was led out of the court room.

Innes was found guilty of 10 charges included theft, theft by a person in a special relationship and theft by a person required to account.

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US actress Ruby Dee dead at 91

Ruby Dee, an acclaimed actor and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio television and film, has died at age 91.

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Her daughter, Nora Davis Day, told The Associated Press on Thursday that her mother died at home in New Rochelle on Wednesday night of “natural causes”.

Dee, who frequently acted alongside her husband of 56 years, Ossie Davis, was surrounded by family and friends, she added.

Deeply saddened to hear of Ruby Dee’s passing. I’ll never forget seeing her in “Do the Right Thing” on my first date with Barack. -mo

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) June 12, 2014

“We have had her for so long and we loved her so much,” Day said.

“She took her final bow last night at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren.”

Dee’s long career brought her an Oscar nomination at age 83 for best supporting actress for her role in the 2007 film American Gangster.

Among her best-known films was A Raisin in the Sun, in 1961, the classic play that explored racial discrimination and black frustration.

On television, she was a leading cast member on the soap operas such in the 1950s and ’60s, a rare sight for a black actress in that era.

As she aged, her career did not ebb. Dee was the voice of wisdom and reason as Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, alongside her husband, Ossie Davis.

She won an Emmy as supporting actress in a miniseries or special for 1990’s Decoration Day, a National Medal of the Arts in 1995, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000.

She is survived by three children: Nora, Hasna and Guy, and seven grandchildren.

Social media users have paid tribute in online messages.

RIP #RubyDee. 1 of the greats of screen, stage & civil rights. She was truly an inspiration & will be sorely missed. Say hi to Ossie for us.

— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) June 12, 2014

If there was anyone that defined grace, courage, excellence, beauty & activism it was #RubyDee. A true humanitarian. pic.twitter南宁桑拿网,/7UP4agep2b

— Bougie Black Girl (@BougieBlackGurl) June 12, 2014

Teacher, Actor, Activist, Class-Act, Icon… So many reasons to celebrate Ms.Ruby Dee. Her elegance,… 南宁桑拿网,南宁夜生活,/02Gg94Euma

— Lil Mama’s House (@LilMama) June 12, 2014

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