Soldiers from the Australian army’s Special Air Service Regiment allegedly planted the same weapon on the bodies of two Afghan civilians to make them look like Taliban militants, in a practice known as a “throwdown”. The incidents occurred after a 2012 raid on the village of Shina, during which locals claim two unarmed civilians were executed along with one Taliban fighter, reports the ABC. The SAS claim all three killed were insurgents. The same AK-47 assault rifle with teal-coloured tape wrapped around the stock was photographed next to two bodies in separate locations and logged in the special forces database. Several members who served on that 2012 special forces rotation say that so-called "throwdowns", such as assault rifles and radios, were often used to cover up unlawful killings. The killings at Shina and the alleged use of a planted assault rifle are reportedly part of an investigation by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force.
An elderly woman and man in Victoria have died from Covid-19, taking the national death toll to 110. Victoria on Tuesday recorded its ninth day of triple-digit growth in cases, reporting another 270 infections. A Victorian man in his 30s is one of 26 people in the state currently being treated for the virus in intensive care. The Crossroads Hotel Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney has grown to at least 30 cases, with genomic testing conducted by NSW Health revealing a diner at the pub was genomically linked to the Victorian outbreak. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the ABC she was not intending to implement another city-wide lockdown. Cases from the Crossroads outbreak have continued to spread to other businesses in the area, with the Kmart store in Casula Mall forced to close after a worker tested positive, and two further cases linked to the Planet Fitness gym in Casula. NSW Health confirmed 22 new cases on Tuesday. NSW Police branded a Krispy Kreme promotion as “nonsensical” for attracting large queues of people awaiting free doughnuts.
The federal government has refused to commit to repaying more than 200 Centrelink debts raised using a method it says is unlawful. Guardian Australia reports a “historical review” of pre-2015 welfare debts ordered government services minister Stuart Robert found that of the 1000 random cases analysed in 2009 and 2011, 206 were issued using an illegal method known as “income-averaging”. On Tuesday a spokesman for Robert refused to explain why the government refused to locate recipients and repay debts uncovered by the review.
At a video court hearing in Manhattan, Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she recruited girls for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. Epstein’s former girlfriend was denied bail on Tuesday, with prosecutors arguing she was a flight risk because of her “undisclosed wealth” and “extensive international ties”. The judge set a trial date for July, 2021. Meanwhile, a United States federal judge has rejected a $US18.8 million settlement deal that lawyers for Harvey Weinstein and his studio offered to dozens of sexual misconduct accusers. Lawyers for several of the accusers backed the judge's decision to reject what they described as a “one-sided proposal”.