RUSH HOUR: The stories you need to know today

RUSH HOUR: The stories you need to know today

That’s it for our live #RUSHHOUR news blog. You can get across the stories you need to know today below or go to news.com.au for the latest headlines.

9.40am

Dennis Rodman may have played a crucial role in getting imprisoned American Kenneath Bae released from North Korea.

The former NBA basketballer sent a letter to Kim Jong Un in January, pleading for the release of Bae, who landed Saturday night at a Washington state military base with another American captive Matthew Miller.

“I ask for your mercy to prisoner Kenneth Bae and would be eternally grateful for his safe return and make a big step towards bridging the gap between our two nations,” the letter said.

Rodman told TMZ: “No doubt, our trips helped influence Kenneth Bae’s release and I’m happy he is coming home safely.”

Bae was imprisoned for two years in North Korea and expressed his gratitude to the US government for securing his release.

9.25am

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith has defended the meagre pay deal for soldiers, arguing the budget deficit required sacrifice.

The controversial pay deal has prompted Palmer United Party Senator Jacquie Lambie to urge people to turn their backs on Coalition MPs at Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Soldiers will secure a 1.5 per cent increase every year for three years, an effective pay cut while the ADF is deploying to the Middle East.

But the nation’s most decorated soldier said the decision of the Independent Defence Remuneration Tribunal was justified.

9.10am

Frances Abbott has spoken for the first time about the New ­Matilda website hacking her education files, saying it’s “not right to hack into ­anything”.

Ms Abbott told The Australian’s Diary she had accepted a letter of apology from Freya Newman and was trying to move on with life in Melbourne, where she is working as a buying assistant in children’s wear at Myer.

“Yes, I was sent an apology ­letter,’’ she said.

“I wish Freya all the best and moving forward we all make ­mistakes.

“Obviously, she (Freya) acknowledged her mistake so ­moving forward, moving on.”

RELATED: Student who exposed Abbott scholarship to face sentence

8.50am

Two lanes of the Burnley Tunnel in Victoria are closed because of a two-vehicle car accident.

Commuters should expect extensive delays, with traffic reportedly banked up on the Princes and West Gate Freeways.

8.40am

Germany has marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 60, grew up in communist East Germany and said the fall of the wall proved that “dreams can come true”.

Thousands of illuminated balloons sailed in to the night sky as the Berlin State Orchestra played Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. They were released from the former route of the Berlin Wall and marked the climax of a huge open-air party at the Brandenburg Gate.

8.30am

People are believed to be trapped inside the wreckage of their vehicle on the M1 Pacific Motorway near Sydney this morning after a collision between two cars.

The motorway has been closed northbound at Morisset between Mandalong Rd and Cessnock Rd.

8am

A new report has revealed “undeniable evidence” the missile launcher that shot down flight MH17 was supplied by the Russian military.

Published by a crowd-funded investigation team headed by investigative journalist Eliot Higgins, the investigation entitled MH17: Source of the Separatists’ Buk, has been working to uncover the origin of the Buk missile launcher that shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine on July 17 killing 298 people.

Calling themselves the Bellingcat project, the team of researchers analysed photographs, videos, social media documentation and eye witness evidence, making use of “open source material overlooked by other organisations”, to track the movements of the Buk missile launcher.

“It is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetk to Snizhne on a transporter,” the researchers write.

7.40am

So apparently Monster energy drinks are the work of Satan, according to one woman who has analysed the meaning behind the can’s logo.

In a YouTube video, the woman explains her analysis, pointing out that the “M” on the can has gaps, which make it resemble the numeral six in Hebrew, and therefore the Devil’s number 666.

The “o” in Monster, also features a cross.

“What is witchcraft? When the cross goes upside down,” she says.

To illustrate her point she pretends to take a sip: “Bottom’s up and the Devil laughs.”

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So there’s yet another reason not to drink energy drinks: “If God can use people and product then so can Satan.”

7.15am

A stunning display of 888,246 ceramic poppies has filled the moat of the Tower of London to mark Remembrance Sunday in London.

Queen Elizabeth II led Britain in paying silent tribute to troops who have been killed while fighting in wars, on the anniversary of the 1918 signing of the peace that ended fighting in World War I.

Remembrance Sunday is the Sunday nearest to Armistice Day on November 11 but the day has become a time to remember all soldiers who have died in fighting.

6.50am

Tony Abbott will meet with US President Barack Obama today to discuss Islamic State and the conflict in Iraq.

The prime minister will have an hourlong meeting with Mr Obama in Beijing, before the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit officially kicks off.

Mr Abbott and Mr Obama will also discuss the agenda for the G20 and are likely to touch on the MH17 disaster. They will also give a rare joint press conference.

It will be a busy week for the Prime Minister, who will also visit Myanmar for security talks before returning to Australia on Friday to host the G20 in Brisbane.

6.30am

A Sydney family is grieving the loss of their “beautiful and vibrant” young daughter after her death from a suspected drug overdose at a music festival.

Georgina Bartter, 19, had been with friends at the Harbourlife festival on Saturday when she collapsed among partygoers and began having a seizure.

Ms Bartter was the eldest of three children and graduated from Wenona private school last year, where she was a top student.

She was really lovely to everyone at school. She was the life of the party,” one friend told The Daily Telegraph.

6.15am

Angelica Huston has revealed brutal details of her 17-year love affair with ‘scary’ Jack Nicholson in her memoir Watch Me.

The Oscar winning actor hoped for almost two decades to marry and start a family with Nicholson, only to learn that he would instead be having a child with a younger woman.

When actor Gwyneth Paltrow was 12 years old she once commented to Huston of her then boyfriend, “that man scares me”. “With good reason,” Houston replied, “he scares me too”.

Throughout their on-off relationship, Houston said she enjoyed Nicholson’s machismo but he was also very flirtatious and admitted to sleeping with other women, including model Apollonia van Ravenstein. When she confronted Nicholson, he said: “Oh Toots, it was just a mercy f***”.

At the Cannes Film Festival in 1974, “pretty French girls” would ride up on their motorbikes and ask if he wanted to come with them.

“He’d get on the bike and leave me standing on the sidewalk,” Huston writes, “(and) I would just retire to our hotel room in tears”.

Read more at the New York Post.

Source : http://www.news.com.au/national/rush-hour-the-stories-you-need-to-know-today/news-story/f7f67f13edaf4741800ce56ba0f12e2d

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