United States: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens initiated a physically aggressive unwanted sexual encounter with his hairdresser and threatened to distribute a partially nude photo of her if she spoke about it, according to testimony from the woman released today by a House investigatory committee. The graphic report details multiple instances in which the woman said Greitens spanked, slapped, grabbed, shoved and called her derogatory names during a series of sexual encounters as he was preparing to run for office in 2015. The testimony contradicts Greitens' previous assertions that "there was no violence" and "no threat of violence" in what he has described as a consensual extramarital affair. The report, signed by all five Republicans and two Democrats on the committee, describes the woman's testimony as credible and notes that Greitens has so far declined to testify or provide documents to the panel. But it outlines some of the Republican governor's public comments that appear to run counter to her allegations. The special committee will make recommendations after the May 18 end of the regular legislative session on whether to pursue impeachment proceedings seeking to remove Greitens from office.

Australia: A search is under way for a fisherman who went missing from a far north Queensland creek inhabited by saltwater crocodiles. The man in his 60s was last seen yesterday when he went to place a crab trap in Chinaman Creek in Cairns, but he did not return home. A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said the land, air and water search started at first light today. It is understood the man finished work nearby and walked to the creek. His car was found locked at his workplace.

United States: The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office is reviewing a 1992 sexual assault accusation against Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that the alleged incident involved an adult male. The department said it began investigating the matter on December 11 and presented its results to the district attorney last week, five months after Spacey was fired from Netflix political drama House of Cards over sexual misconduct accusations.

Africa: A new annual report on the death penalty calls sub-Saharan Africa a "beacon of hope" amid a decline in executions worldwide. Amnesty International says 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa have now abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Just two countries in the region, Somalia and South Sudan, carried out executions last year. The report says executions worldwide dropped again in 2017, with at least 993 recorded in 23 countries. That's down 4 per cent from the year before.


Mexico: Soldiers and police in the troubled southern state of Guerrero have escorted a convoy of 92 people terrorised by drug cartels out of their mountain hamlet. Guerrero state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said that the convoy of mostly the elderly, women and children left Laguna de Huayanalco in the township of Totolapan because they fear the drug gangs that operate in the area. Alvarez said that the residents loaded into 11 private vehicles and were escorted out of town. Photos showed army Humvees leading the convoy. Last month, 13 people were evacuated from Totolapan because they feared for their safety.Alvarez said the convoy went to the town of Atoyac, across the state near the Pacific coast.

Tanzania: Using a new bug spray on bed nets that blocks mosquitoes resistant to current insecticides has almost halved malaria infections among children in Tanzania, a study has found, boosting hopes of protecting more people from the killer disease. A trial by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine involving 15,000 children found using a bed net treated with piperonyl butoxide reduced malaria infections by 44 per cent in the first year compared to nets only treated with pyrethroid. The study comes amid concerns that mosquitoes' ability to resist insecticides is evolving rapidly and spreading across Africa where tools such as insecticide-treated bed nets and insecticide spraying have helped cut malaria cases since 2000.

United States: The mother of a 6-year-old Massachusetts girl found dead told her 9-year-old son not to call emergency services and used super glue to close a wound on his neck, police said. Thirty-seven-year-old Shana Pedroso and 38-year-old Marvin Brito were charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child at Fitchburg District Court. Pedroso was separately charged with assault and battery, while Brito was charged with permitting substantial injury to a child. Both parents have pleaded not guilty. Police responded to a call at a Fitchburg home yesterday and found the injured boy and non-responsive girl. A hearing is set for April 18.

Vatican: Pope Francis admitted he made "grave errors" in judgment in Chile's sex abuse scandal and invited the victims he had discredited to Rome to beg their forgiveness. In an extraordinary public letter, Francis also summoned all of Chile's bishops to the Vatican for an emergency meeting in the coming weeks to discuss repairing the damage from the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.

Niger: Armed men have kidnapped a German man in western Niger near the border with Mali, Niger's attorney general said. Cheibou Samna said the kidnapping was carried out by men riding motorcycles about 25km south of the town of Inates. Samna identified the kidnapped man as Joerg Lange, a humanitarian worker.