Roundup: ABC ends fact-check partnership with RMIT, Taylor Swift, “Best Survivor exit ever”


Julian Assange, Warner Music, Beatles get a biopic, The Kid Laroi, Ewen MacIntosh passes away

Business of Media

US government lawyers deny charges against Julian Assange politically motivated

Criminal charges were brought against Julian Assange because he named sources and encouraged theft and hacking, not because of politics, lawyers for the US government have claimed at a critical extradition hearing, reports The Guardian’s Haroon Siddique.

The WikiLeaks founder could be extradited to the US within days to face prosecution on espionage charges relating to the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents concerning the Afghanistan and Iraq wars if the high court in London refuses him permission to appeal against his removal from the UK.

On Wednesday, lawyers for the US government sought to rebut the arguments made by the WikiLeaks founder’s counsel the day before, when they claimed the US was seeking politically motivated retaliation for his exposure of state criminality, including torture, rendition and extrajudicial killings.

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US Supreme Court may dump Warner Music dispute over copyright damages

U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled on Wednesday they may dismiss a legal fight between a Miami music producer and Warner Music over a song by rapper Flo Rida, reports Reuters’ Blake Brittain.

Some of the justices during arguments in the case questioned whether they should decide the monetary damages issue raised in plaintiff Sherman Nealy’s lawsuit against Warner before resolving in separate litigation the proper time limit for filing copyright suits.

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News Brands

ABC ends fact-check partnership with RMIT

The ABC has ended its partnership with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) FactLab, with which it has operated the ABC RMIT Fact Check project for the past seven years, reports Crikey’s Daanyal Saeed.

On Tuesday afternoon ABC news director Justin Stevens notified staff via email that the national broadcaster would replace the partnership with an internal fact-checking team, known as “ABC News Verify”.

Stevens said Verify would be a “team of specialists with the ability to scale up to support our special coverage in times of crisis. It will be part of the Investigative Journalism and Current Affairs team led by Jo Puccini.”

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Taylor Swift arrives at Olympic Park for soundcheck, insane merchandise queues

Taylor Swift fever has well and truly taken over Sydney Olympic Park ahead of the pop star’s weekend shows, with thousands of fans rushing to snap up official concert merchandise, report News Corp’s Zara Powell and Matthew Benns.

Queues lasting several hours formed at Accor Stadium on Wednesday as Eras Tour merch officially went on sale.

Fifteen-year-old sisters Abbey and Lucy Grey, from Waverley, skipped school to snag a hoodie and t-shirt each.

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Beatles get a biopic. A Fab Four of them, actually.

The British director Sam Mendes has signed on to direct not one but four biopics about the Beatles, each telling the story of the Fab Four from a different member’s point of view, reports the New York Times’ Maya Salam.

Apple Corps, the guardian of the Beatles’ musical interests, and Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison have granted full life story and music rights for the scripted films — a first — which will be financed and released by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The films are planned for release in 2027.

“I’m honored to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies,” Mendes said in a statement on Tuesday. The announcement teased that the films would be released in an “innovative and groundbreaking” manner, but did not offer details.

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Aussie sensation Kid Laroi to release new documentary about meteoric rise to stardom

The Kid Laroi’s meteoric rise to fame from the humble suburb of Waterloo to the world stage is as impressive as they come, reports News Corp’s Christine Estera.

It may appear the Aussie singer became a global pop sensation overnight, thanks to his smash hit Stay, which features Justin Bieber and reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. But the kid from the wrong side of town worked hard for his spot on the global stage.

A new Prime Video documentary, titled Kids Are Growing Up: A Story About A Kid Named Laroi, will track Laroi’s beginnings as an unknown musician in his Sydney hometown, where he was inspired by the likes of Tupac, Lil Wayne and Kanye West.

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‘Best Survivor exit ever’ has fans delighting in the chaos

The latest player ousted from Australian Survivor left in chaotic fashion during Tuesday’s tribal council, fumbling some basic customs of the game as she shocked her tribemates with information she’d been holding onto for 25 days, reports News Corp’s Nick Bond.

Contestant Kelli Harris, 55, had been concealing her true profession from her fellow contestants for the entire game. While she revealed in to-camera confessionals that she was a psychologist, she was shown in early chats with the other contestants saying she worked in “mental health support” before quickly moving on.

Shortly after her elimination aired, Kelli used her fledgling TikTok account to release a near-five-minute song about her Survivor experience, set to the tune of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell, titled Rebel Kel and “sung” by the woman herself.

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Actor Ewen MacIntosh, who starred as Keith from The Office, dies aged 50

Actor Ewen MacIntosh, best known for playing Keith Bishop in the British comedy The Office, has died aged 50, reports the ABC.

A statement from his management company Just Right Management confirmed his passing on Wednesday morning (local time).

“With great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved comedy genius Ewen MacIntosh,” it said.

“His family thank all who supported him, especially Willow Green Care Home. There will be a private cremation for family & close friends soon & a celebratory memorial later in the year.”

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