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Bill Cosby retrial begins after topless protester detained

Rochelle, who attempted to approach Cosby as he and his lawyers entered the court, had drawn the phr..

Rochelle, who attempted to approach Cosby as he and his lawyers entered the court, had drawn the phrases "Women's Lives Matter", "Cosby rapist" and "#MeToo" on her body, as well as the names of Cosby's victims.

According to media reports the 39-year-old actress appeared in a number of episodes of Cosby's most successful television series, The Cosby Show.

Actress Nicolle Rochelle, who worked on one of Bill Cosby's shows, was detained.

Photo: AP

Rochelle was detained by police and charged with disorderly conduct.

"The main goal was to make Cosby uncomfortable because that is exactly what he has been doing for decades to women and to show him that the body can be aggressive and empowered," she said later.

A statement from the county later noted that if Rochelle is found guilty she would be given a fine and required to pay court costs.

The particular complexity of this Cosby trial is that much of it pivots on the individual recollections of the parties involved; according to media reports there is no meaningful forensive evidence to be presented.

Constand claims Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004; Cosby claims he and Constand had a consensual sexual relationship.

Constand reported the incident to police a year later but no charges were laid at the time, with the police citing a lack of evidence. Constand then sued Cosby in civil court and the parties settled in 2006.

The terms of that settlement are sealed.

Nicolle Rochelle is taken away after protesting outside Bill Cosby's trial.

Photo: AP

The original Constand civil case is significant in the wider context of the more than 50 women who have come forward in the last decade to claim Cosby had assaulted them.

A portion of Cosby's deposition from that case, unsealed in 2015, included a statement from Cosby in which he acknowledged acquiring drugs to give to women he sought for sex.

Cosby did not admit to any criminal activity in the deposition.

US district judge Eduardo Robreno ordered the records unsealed in 2015 following a request from the Associated Press.

Bill Cosby arrives for the first day of his retrial as police detain a protester nearby.

Photo: Associated Press

Robreno noted at the time that because Cosby had "donned the mantle of public moralist and mounted the proverbial electronic or print soap box to volunteer his views on, among other things, childrearing, family life, education, and crime" he had "voluntarily narrowed the zone of privacy that he is entitled to claim."

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Out of the more than 50 women who have come forward to make claims of sexual harassment and assault against Cosby, the Constand case is the only one which has made it to the trial stage.

Both sides of the case are returning to the courtroom with additional firepower, according to reports.

In the original trial, prosectutors were permitted to seek testimony from a witness who claimed Cosby had drugged and assaulted her; in the retrial they will be allowed to seek testimony from up to five women making those claims.

Cosby, meanwhile, has retained a new legal team led by Tom Mesereau, the high-profile Los Angeles lawyer who defended Michael Jackson against child molestation accusations in a 2005 trial.

That trial ended with Jackson acquitted of all 14 charges against him.

Cosby faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The 80-year-old comedian has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Michael Idato

Michael Idato is a Senior Writer based in Los Angeles for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn

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Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.

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"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.

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Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

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