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Foley decides not to re-contest seat as Labor leadership becomes a battle between two

Related Story: Luke Foley resigns as NSW Labor Leader following ABC journalist's statement Rela..

Related Story: Luke Foley resigns as NSW Labor Leader following ABC journalist's statement Related Story: 'Consider your future': NSW Labor deputy tells Foley

Luke Foley has told his Labor colleagues he will not re-contest his seat at the March NSW state election.

Key points:

  • After resigning as NSW Labor leader yesterday but pledging to stay in parliament, Luke Foley today announced he would not re-contest his seat
  • Mr Foley's resignation has opened the door for a new leader, with Chris Minns and deputy Labor leader Michael Daley battling it out
  • A vote will take place at 2pm Saturday, with Mr Daley the strong favourite to take the leadership

The member for Auburn, Mr Foley, wrote to NSW Labor officials and informed them of his decision.

Mr Foley yesterday resigned as NSW Labor leader but denied an incident at a Christmas party in 2016 involving ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper that triggered the decision.

Ms Raper released a statement saying Mr Foley put his hands down her dress and inside her underpants.

Yesterday, Mr Foley said he would remain as the member for Auburn and move to the backbench. He has denied the allegations.

The ABC understands there are still some calls from some within the party to expel Mr Foley.

Battle between two

Mr Foley's announcement comes as the NSW Labor leadership is set be fought between two, with 39-year-old shadow water spokesman Chris Minns this afternoon unexpectedly throwing his hat into the ring.

The member for Kogarah's late bid for the leadership ahead of tomorrow afternoon's vote comes after frontrunner and deputy Labor leader Michael Daley announced his candidacy this morning following Mr Foley's resignation.

Michael Daley and Chris Minns

Mr Minns was contemplating a run at the leadership last night and officially announced his candidacy on Friday afternoon.

However, senior Labor MPs have told the ABC that Mr Minns's support could "be counted on one hand", while another suggested he should do "a decent day's work as a shadow minister before wanting to run for leader".

Party insiders suggest Mr Daley remains the red-hot favourite to lead the Opposition to next year's state election, with shadow environment and tourism minister Penny Sharpe expected to be named his deputy.

Most see Mr Minns's leadership tilt as a long-term play, with the 39-year-old using the opportunity to signal his intentions if Labor were to lose the March election.

Mr Minns admitted he would struggle to gain the numbers tomorrow, but believed he could sway Labor MPs by offering policies focused on young people and families.

Kings Cross Coca-Cola sign

"The only shot the Labor Party has in my opinion is to present a bold optimistic and positive plan for NSW and get people excited about change," Mr Minns said.

He said his main three policy focuses would be:

  • To dump NSW's planning laws
  • To dump Sydney's lockout laws that are "zapping the energy from Sydney"
  • Promote policy to prepare the NSW economy for a weakening of the housing market

Mr Minns was elected in the 2015 NSW State Election, taking the seat of Kogarah after long-term predecessor Cherie Burton retired from politics.

"I didn't expect that this day would come, but it has," he said on his tilt for the leadership.

"Whoever is elected as Labor leader faces a near-insurmountable task, they need to unite the party, present a bold policy platform for this state."

Daley outlines his policies

Speaking on Friday before Mr Minns outlined his intention to run, Mr Daley, who was flagged as Mr Foley's possible replacement when rumours of his demise emerged last month, said if he was elected Labor leader he would "stick up for ordinary people".

"The people who get up and go to work every day, who raise a family," he said.

"They've been insulted, they've been left behind, they've been forgotten by this Government. They need someone to stick up for them and respect them."

Penny Sharpe

He said he wanted to press the reset button on politics in NSW.

"There will be a ballot tomorrow," he said.

"I'll be seeking the support of the colleagues. All I can do is ask for their support. I believe I am more qualified for the job [than Chris Minns] — we'll see what the colleagues vote.

"I'm in their hands."

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What could happen now that prosecutors have tied Trump to a federal crime?

Prosecutors have tied Donald Trump to a federal crime for the first time, accusing him of directing ..

Prosecutors have tied Donald Trump to a federal crime for the first time, accusing him of directing illegal hush-money payments to women during his presidential campaign in 2016.

While the Justice Department stopped short of accusing the US President of directly committing a crime, it said in a court filing that he told his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make the illegal payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claimed to have had affairs with Mr Trump (which he has denied).

Although Mr Trump hasn't been charged with anything, the question of whether a president even can be prosecuted while in office is a matter of legal dispute.

Here's a look at that long-running legal ambiguity and a few of the main issues at play.

Firstly, did the President actually commit a crime?

That isn't clear, and it's important to note that federal prosecutors haven't accused Mr Trump of violating the law.

However, there was no ambiguity in the court documents that prosecutors believe Cohen's actions were criminal and that Mr Trump (referred to as "Individual-1" in the documents, but clearly identifiable as the US President) was directly involved.

Prosecutors charged that Cohen arranged the secret payments at the height of the 2016 campaign "in coordination with and at the direction of" Mr Trump.

They also alleged Cohen made the payment in order to fend off potential damage to Mr Trump's presidential bid.

Federal law requires that any payments that are made "for the purpose of influencing" an election must be reported in campaign finance disclosures. (more…)

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Clean cut: Dutch hospitals ditch US body-part distributors over ethics, disease

Hospitals in the Netherlands are dropping US body-part distributors on ethical grounds after a decad..

Hospitals in the Netherlands are dropping US body-part distributors on ethical grounds after a decade of unregulated trade in dissected human limbs.

In the United States, everything has its price, and as the large scale dead-body market shows, this doesnt end after death. In a Reuters exclusive, two Dutch hospitals revealed that they would be cutting off their business ties to American companies that have been profiting off the sale of human body parts in light of disturbing revelations.

The scrutiny began after Oregon-based MedCure came under suspicion of selling diseased body parts to customers in America and abroad, drawing attention from the FBI. The company has sold tens of thousands of pounds of human parts all over Europe, including numerous severed heads that were purchased by Amsterdams Academic Medical Center (AMC) for training and research. No evidence of disease was discovered in these particular shipments, but AMC and another Dutch hospital said they would drop the suppliers over their questionable ethics.

The parts the companies sell are often acquired from macabre deals where families are offered discounts on incredibly expensive funeral arrangements (with an average price-tag of $7,000 to $10,000 dollars in the US) in exchange for allowing companies to dismember and sell pieces of their loved ones corpses… yet, most dont even realize that someone is making money from their 'donation'. According to another Reuters article from 2017, many funeral homes have struck mutually beneficial deals with body-parts distributors – tipping them off on potential donors in exchange for referral fees – to take advantage of a product that can easily be obtained for free.

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Whereas Dutch law is fairly strict in regard to the transport, sale and use of human organs, the body-part market is essentially a free-for-all, with the health industry claiming that regulations are not needed as the hospitals themselves are trusted to take precautionary measures.

Freek Dikkers, a nose, ears and throat specialist at AMC whose department had purchased heads from MedCure, called the such morbid business strategies “unacceptable.” Reuters reports that the going rate of a human head on the US market is $500 dollars and an entire body can fetch as much as $10,000, although the hospitals themselves declined to comment on how much they had been paying.

MedCure say they are “an accredited and regulated institution and adhere to the best-in-class industry standards for safety ethics, and transparency,” who sells the parts in order to facilitate scientific and medical research.

MedCure is not the first global medical supply company to draw heavy scrutiny for exploiting an unregulated market. The International Consortium of Independent Journalists published a study just this year about American based Medtronic which made millions selling faulty biometric implants linked to thousands of deaths. (more…)

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Man has hand BLOWN OFF in explosion as Yellow Vest rally descends into chaos (DISTURBING VIDEO)

Gruesome footage distributed by a pro-protest Facebook group appears to show a man cradling the mang..

Gruesome footage distributed by a pro-protest Facebook group appears to show a man cradling the mangled stump of his hand after an explosion at a Yellow Vest rally in Bordeaux. A total of 26 people were injured in the city.

As Yellow Vest protests swept through France on Saturday, some 4,500 people flooded the streets of Bordeaux. The tension began building up around 16:00 when some of the protesters started throwing rocks at police who responded by firing flash-balls.

As the situation gradually descended into chaos, a man was captured on video running towards a group of protesters holding his right hand after a particularly loud bang went off. As the man approaches, it appears that his hand is completely blown off, with only a bloody stump left. The footage was released by Facebook group France en colere (Angry France) that covered the latest mayhem. (WARNING: THE LINKED VIDEO IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC)

In another video, he is shown being rolled into an ambulance on a stretcher.

The deputy public prosecutor in Bordeaux, Olivier Etienne, confirmed that one of the protesters had suffered a serious injury to his hand. His current condition is unknown.

The French Sud Ouest daily reported that the man allegedly tried to recover a crowd-control grenade to throw it back at police when it exploded.

READ MORE: Kneeling protester: A new symbol of the Yellow Vests? (PHOTOS)

During Saturday's tumult, protesters erected barricades, set them on fire and ransacked the offices of several banks, including Societe Generale and BNP, as well as an Apple Store. A post office has also reportedly been looted.

Overall, some 125,000 protesters took to the French streets on Saturday to voice outrage with President Emmanuel Macron's government, high taxes, low wages and general pro-business reforms. Despite some 89,000 police having been deployed to Paris to stave off the violence, 135 people were injured, including 17 police officers. Nearly 1,000 people were arrested in the French capital.

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