‘I love you so much sis’: Selena Gomez reveals best friend gave her a kidney

Pop star Selena Gomez has revealed she underwent a kidney transplant over the summer in an Instagram post that shows her in hospital beside her friend, who donated the organ.

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In the post, shared on Thursday, the Good For You singer said that fans had been wondering why she had been “laying low” over the summer.Selena Gomez, left, attends the Harper’s BAZAAR party on Sept. 8, 2017 in New York and Francia Raisa (right) attends the premier of ’13 Reasons Why’ in 2017.AAP

“I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health,” she said.

The singer also shared images of a post-operative scar on her lower abdomen.

Gomez, who with 126 million Instagram followers is the most-followed person on the social media platform, also revealed that the donor was her longtime friend Francia Raisa, an actress best-known for her role in TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

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“There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend,” she said of Rasia. “She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”

At the time of writing, Gomez’s post had over three million likes on Instagram.In this image posted on Selena Gomez’s Instagram account on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, Gomez, right, holds hands with actress Francia Raisa in a hospital.AAP

Gomez’s representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Gomez has topped the US charts on multiple occasions since the release of her first album in 2013, and was regularly the focus of the celebrity press for her relationship with Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

In 2016, she cancelled her Revival world tour last year and went to therapy because she was depressed, anxious and “my self-esteem was shot”.

North Korea threatens to ‘sink’ Japan, reduce US to ‘ashes and darkness’

The Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles the North’s external ties and propaganda, also called for the breakup of the Security Council, which it called “a tool of evil” made up of “money-bribed” countries that move at the order of the United States.

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“The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” the committee said in a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency.

Juche is the North’s ruling ideology that mixes Marxism and an extreme form of go-it-alone nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un.

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Regional tension has risen markedly since the reclusive North conducted its sixth, and by far its most powerful, nuclear test on Sept. 3, following a series of missile tests, including one that flew over Japan.

The 15-member Security Council voted unanimously on a US-drafted resolution and a new round of sanctions on Monday in response, banning North Korea’s textile exports that are the second largest only to coal and mineral, and capping fuel supplies.

The North reacted to the latest action by the Security Council, which had the backing of veto-holding China and Russia, by reiterating threats to destroy the United States, Japan and South Korea.

“Let’s reduce the US mainland into ashes and darkness. Let’s vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now,” the statement said.

0:00 Tillerson and Johnson on NKorea Share Tillerson and Johnson on NKorea

Japan’s Nikkei stock index and dollar/yen currency pared gains, although traders said that was more because of several Chinese economic indicators released on Thursday rather than a reaction to the North’s latest statement.

South Korea’s won also edged down around the same time over domestic financial concerns.

Despite the North’s threats, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he was against having nuclear weapons in his country, either by developing its own arsenal or bringing back US tactical nuclear weapons that were withdrawn in the early 1990s.

“To respond to North Korea by having our own nuclear weapons will not maintain peace on the Korean peninsula and could lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia,” Moon said in an interview with CNN.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry also said it planned to provide $8 million through the UN World Food Programme and UNICEF to help infants and pregnant women in the North.

The move marks Seoul’s first humanitarian assistance for the North since its fourth nuclear test in January 2016 and is based on a longstanding policy of separating humanitarian aid from politics, the ministry said.

Related reading’Dancing to the tune’

The North’s latest threats also singled out Japan for “dancing to the tune” of the United States, saying it should never be pardoned for not offering a sincere apology for its “never-to-be-condoned crimes against our people”, an apparent reference to Japan’s wartime aggression.

It also referred to South Korea as “traitors and dogs” of the United States.

Japan criticized the North’s statement harshly.

“This announcement is extremely provocative and egregious. It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, visiting India, called for strict enforcement of the UN resolution, saying the world must force a change.

The 15-member Security Council voted unanimously on a US-drafted resolution and a new round of sanctions against North Korea on Monday in response to its latest and most powerful test, banning North Korea’s textile exports that are the second largest only to coal and mineral, and capping fuel supplies.

North Korea had already rejected the Security Council resolution, vowing to press ahead with its nuclear and missile programs.

A tougher initial US draft of Monday’s resolution was weakened to win the support of China, the North’s lone major ally, and Russia. Significantly, it stopped short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.

The latest sanctions also make it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.

US President Donald Trump has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile, but has also asked China to do more to rein in its neighbor. China in turn favors an international response to the problem.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the international community had reached a “high consensus” on trying to realize a peaceful solution.

“We urge the relevant directly involved parties to seize the opportunity and have the political nerve to make the correct political choice as soon as possible,” Hua told a regular press briefing.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

Same-sex marriage: Asian Australian Alliance backs ‘Yes’ vote

“At the heart of the campaign for marriage equality is the inherent dignity of all family members and friends, including family members who are LBGTI,” national convener Erin Chew said.

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The grass roots and community based network, which is a collective of Australians of Asian descent, began in New South Wales in 2013, currently has a presence in Victoria, ACT, Queensland and Western Australia, with over 800 members.

“I think that things are changing, I know when I was young, families were a little bit different, but we are now in the 21st century and there are families of different natures,” one of the group’s founders, Daphne Lowe Kelley, said.

In calling for support for same-sex marriage, the group has urged for the debate to be respectful.

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“[The AAA] supports freedom of speech as the foundation of robust democratic speech. We condemn speech that incites hate as not just unlawful but also immoral,” Susan Joo, a state convener for NSW, said.

“Australia is a multicultural, multi-faith society. Hate speech undermines the enterprise of building an inclusive and just society.”

The Alliance has the endorsement of the Equality Campaign.

“As we are looking to get everyone on board with us, we decided that the multicultural communities were just as important to involve in this campaign,” said Francis Voon who is liaising with several multicultural groups.

President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association NSW branch Kingsley Liu said the announcement was about supporting equality.

“Today is just like any day because it’s part of a process that’s been going for significant time,” he said.

“It’s recognition about rights and it’s about developing those rights for special people and ordinary people in our community. It’s a community where we value equality.”

0:00 Same-sex marriage around the world Share Same-sex marriage around the world

Mr Liu explained how the same-sex marriage campaign challenges the “traditional” view of family. 

“It’s challenged because there is a need to recognise the growing change in how society views a family unity,” he said.

“It’s changed and has been altering for the past 50 years. You can see this by how people vote in various countries and we’re talking about western countries with a similar make up to Australia.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is aiming to get the survey forms out to 16 million voters by September 25, with the first arriving in mailboxes earlier in the week.

The ‘Rabbit Plan’: Venezuela wants people to breed and eat bunnies to beat the food crisis

The “Rabbit Plan” is an effort by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to boost food availability.

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Authorities have also taught citizens to plant food on roofs and balconies of their homes.

Maduro’s adversaries dismiss such ideas as nonsensical, insisting the real problem is a failed model of oil-financed socialism that was unable to survive after crude markets collapsed.

“There is a cultural problem because we have been taught that rabbits are cute pets,” Urban Agriculture Minister Freddy Bernal said during a televised broadcast with Maduro this week. “A rabbit is not a pet; it’s two and a half kilos  of meat that is high in protein, with no cholesterol.”

Maduro’s critics lampooned the idea.

“Are you serious?” asked Henrique Capriles, a state governor and two-time opposition presidential candidate in a video to response to Bernal. “ … You want people to start raising rabbits to solve the problem of hunger in our country?”

Rabbit consumption is common in Europe and to lesser extent in the United States. The animals are more efficient than pigs and cattle in converting protein into edible meat, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

But raising rabbits in significant quantities in contemporary Venezuela would be difficult.

The country’s constant shortages, resulting from stringent price and currency controls, would probably leave the would-be rabbit industry struggling to find materials ranging from feed to metal and wire for breeding cages.

Maduro says the country is a victim of an “economic war” led by adversaries and fueled by recent sanctions imposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

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Politicians in court over citizenship saga

The citizenship saga which has engulfed Australian politics will return to the High Court in Canberra.

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Chief Justice Susan Kiefel is presiding over a directions hearing on Friday ahead of a full court hearing in October.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and fellow Nationals MPs Matt Canavan and Fiona Nash are among the seven MPs who could face disqualification from parliament.

Former Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters will also have their eligibility tested, although they resigned after learning they were New Zealand and Canadian citizens respectively.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon and One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts round out the seven MPs who will face a full court hearing from October 10.

Senator Xenophon has confirmed he is a British overseas citizen by descent, as his father was born in Cyprus when it was still a colony.

He remains confident he has a very good legal team and a strong case.

“We’re in uncharted waters here,” he told ABC radio.

“I had no idea that I had some obscure form of British citizenship.”

Senator Xenophon joked he was thinking of cooking some octopus and lamb on a spit on the High Court forecourt ahead of the October hearing.

“I’m not sure whether my barristers would appreciate that.”

Queensland senator Roberts faces questions over whether his UK citizenship was renounced before he nominated for election.

Under section 44 of the constitution a person is incapable of being elected to the parliament if they are a “citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”.

While Senator Canavan has stepped aside as Resources Minister after learning he was an Italian citizen, Mr Joyce and Senator Joyce have remained in cabinet.

Labor have attacked the Nationals leader and deputy leader for staying in their roles, arguing any decisions they make as ministers could be challenged in court if they are found to be ineligible.

Mr Joyce is a New Zealand citizen by descent, while Senator Nash has been advised by the UK Home Office she has British citizenship through her Scottish father.