TIME celebrity

‘Changed’ Justin Bieber Attends Church Conference in Sydney

Justin Bieber at 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2015 in Los Angeles on May 9, 2015.
JB Lacroix—WireImage/Getty Images Justin Bieber at 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango 2015 in Los Angeles on May 9, 2015.

The singer joins 20,000 worshipers at Hillsong Conference in the Australian city

(SYDNEY) — Justin Bieber credited a Pentecostal pastor with changing his life as he mingled Tuesday with thousands of Christians at a five-day church conference in Sydney.

The 21-year-old Canadian pop star praised Hillsong Church’s New York City pastor Carl Lentz, who has recruited several American celebrities and sports stars to the Sydney-headquartered church.

“I’m glad to know him. He’s changed my life,” Ten Network television reported Bieber saying as he interrupted an interview with Lentz at the Allphones Arena where 20,000 worshippers are attending the annual conference.

Bieber and friend Hailey Baldwin arrived in Sydney by private jet on Monday for the conference that runs through Friday.

“People come from across the world to Sydney each year to attend Hillsong Conference. Justin is here — like tens of thousands of others — as a delegate who is seeking to build stronger foundations into his life,” Hillsong said in a statement.

Hillsong senior pastor Brian Houston said Bieber had paid his own way to Australia.

“It was a last minute thing. I really admire him for it,” Houston told Ten.

“I think a lot of things got the better of him, like happens with young kids,” Houston told Nine Network television.

“No doubt he’d probably be the first to say he lost his way in a whole lot of ways and, yeah, I think he realizes that it’s now-or-never time to try to build better foundations into his life,” he added.

Bieber’s string of offstage troubles includes reckless driving and a misdemeanor vandalism case for egging a neighbor’s house.

TIME Australia

The Largest Private Tract of Land on Earth Is For Sale in Australia

Workers from the Anna Creek cattle station take a
William West—AFP/Getty Images Workers from the Anna Creek cattle station take a break on the Oodnadatta Track in outback South Australia as they start the mustering of cattle by motorbike and plane on June 20, 2000

The area is nearly the size of New Hampshire

Fancy a backyard so big it takes an entire week flying around in a plane to see the whole thing? Yes, you could be the owner of the largest private tract of land on earth after the Australian Kidman family decided to sell their 11 million hectare (8,800 square mile) cattle kingdom in the Australian outback.

S. Kidman and Co, the eighth-largest landholder in the world, has shortlisted 30 bidders from around Australia, as well as from the U.S., Switzerland, the U.K., China and Indonesia, for the sale, the Independent reports.

The Kidman family, which owns 98% of its namesake company, are the fifth generation descendants of Sidney Kidman, who despite running away from home at a young age managed to start a business that today produces 1.3% of all Australia’s beef. (The family is unrelated to Australian actress Nicole Kidman.)

The value of the various cattle stations that make up the Kidman empire, as well as the property itself, is estimated at $325 million. The sale, which is expected to net more than that, will be finalized after each bidder completes the requisite week-long property inspection.

[Independent]

TIME Australia

A Suspected American Drug Smuggler Who Faked His Death in 1974 Has Died for Real in Australia

"I'm surprised no one ever came looking for him," his widow said

In death, an Australian tour operator’s identity as an alleged cannabis-smuggling Floridian has reportedly been revealed.

Raymond Grady Stansel Jr. was indicted in 1974 on suspicion of bringing 12 tons of cannabis into Florida. Soon after, his lawyer announced that Stansel had disappeared while scuba diving in Honduras, so the case never went to trial.

There were sightings and rumors over the years, but nothing concrete. Then, when a Dennis “Lee” Lafferty of Daintree, Queensland, passed away in a car crash in May, the Tampa Bay Times got a tip-off that Lafferty was Stansel. They approached Stansel’s widow, Janet Wood, who told the paper that it was true.

After arriving in Australia, and assuming the name Lafferty, Stansel opened the Daintree River Cruise Centre in the late 1980s and was known to his community as a respected marine biologist and expert river captain. His past was completely hidden.

Wood told the Times that the pair tried to maintain a low profile over the past few decades.

“I’m surprised no one ever came looking for him,” she told the paper.

Read the full story here.

TIME portfolio

See Life in Australia’s Gold Coast Utopia

Ying Ang’s images of her Australian hometown questions the perception of danger

The gentle and softly toned images of the strips of beach, well-maintained streets, and carefree teenage life in Gold Coast, Australia, seem to suggest that paradise on Earth can exist. But, photographer Ying Ang warns, don’t be mistaken.

A native of Gold Coast, once a small beach town on the eastern coast of Australia and now the country’s prime tourist destination, Ang deliberately photographed the “nice things” to reveal her deeper, troubling experience growing up in the artificial utopia.

At age 18, Ang witnessed a double murder at a friend’s home. The victims’ throats were slashed, and Ang had to run next door to call for help. She remembered driving home through the undisturbed streets after giving affidavits at the police station; the sense of normalcy shocked her.

“I was thinking how is that everything in my world looks exactly the same, and everything has changed,” Ang recalls. “That was really difficult for me to come to terms with.”

Family and friends spoke little about the event afterwards, and Ang felt it was even more difficult to reconcile the horrendous murders and other crimes she saw with the peaceful landscapes she lived in. “I felt like I was delusional. I was seeing all these stuff nobody else was seeing, and I was a witness of all those crimes that nobody [wanted] to talk about.”

Since then, Ang has looked for every excuse to move away, hoping to leave behind the angst she had felt. In 2002, she completed her master’s degree in political science and international relations in Sydney. However, for the love of photography, she landed her first job shooting a friend’s fashion boutique. She then went on to work as a fashion photographer for seven years, before eventually converting to documentary.

In 2010, after Ang graduated as valedictorian from the International Center of Photography’s documentary and photojournalism track, she immediately went back and started photographing the Gold Coast for the next four years, hoping that, by taking pictures, she could confront the unspeakable violence she had encountered. “I made the Gold Coast because it was something that was unresolved in my life,” she says.

But instead of pointing her camera directly at the wrongs and extortions, Ang chose to photograph the almost typical and mundane suburban scenes, what she calls the “icons of safety, success and prosperity,” which she believes are blinding the locals, preventing them from seeing the community’s ongoing crisis of drug-fueled crimes.

“The way that I chose to photograph it was very much akin to the way I felt when I lived there. It’s like this low hum of nothingness,” she says. “It’s supposed to lull you in a sense that it’s all okay.”

The photographs were self-published in her first monograph, Gold Coast, along with a zine with reproduced pages from the local newspaper recounting crimes tucked inside the book. “You can throw [the zine] away, if you don’t want to believe it and if you want to live in your delusion,” she says.

Ying Ang is a documentary photographer based between Singapore, Melbourne and New York. Gold Coast is currently exhibited in a group show at the Sombra Projects in Singapore until June 30.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an associate photo editor at TIME.

Ye Ming is a writer and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

TIME Australia

Indonesian Officials Offer ‘Proof’ That Australia Bribed Human Traffickers

Australian officials have sidestepped the allegations

The Sydney Morning Herald has reportedly obtained photographic evidence that proves Australian officials paid human traffickers to take a group of asylum seekers away from its shores.

Allegations surfaced earlier last week that Australian officials effectively bribed a group of people smugglers, who had 65 asylum seekers in tow, to ditch their original route to New Zealand and return to Indonesia with their human cargo.

The photos appear to show stacks of crisp $100 bills, which Indonesia’s police force say were handed over to six traffickers piloting the vessels that landed on Indonesia’s Rote Island in late May. TIME has not been able to independently verify the photos.

“We believe the payments happened,” General Endang Sunjaya, the police chief of Nusa Tenggara Timur province, told the newspaper. “They all said the same thing. They were paid by Australian officials to return to Indonesia.”

During an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday, Thomas Vargas, an Indonesia representative at the U.N. refugee agency, confirmed that several asylum seekers debriefed by one of the organization’s staffers corroborated the allegations.

“They indicated they had been with Australian authorities for several days,” Vargas told ABC. “At one point, they saw the boat captain receive a thick envelope and return back to two boats that were then turned around to the open sea and several days later they arrived in Indonesia.”

If confirmed, such payments would themselves amount to human trafficking, say human-rights groups. So far, Canberra has not denied the accusations.

“There’s really only one thing to say here, and that is that we’ve stopped the boats,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters on Sunday, according to the Guardian. “That’s good for Australia, it’s good for Indonesia and it’s particularly good for all those who want to see a better world.”

TIME Surfing

Watch Owen Wright Score a Stunning Perfect 20 at the Fiji Pro Surfing Competition

He's the first surfer ever to score two perfect 20s at the same event

Owen Wright beat fellow Australian Julian Wilson to claim the Fiji Pro surfing title Tuesday in Tavarua, Fiji, scoring a perfect 20 in the process.

His performance on the waves dazzled the World Surf League judges who also awarded him two perfect 10s the previous day in round five of the competition against Adam Melling, reports the Australian Associated Press.

Wright becomes the first surfer ever to complete two perfect 20s at the same event, and joins surfing legends Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson in recording the feat twice.

“Something special was happening out there. I was just lovin’ it,” he said. “That’s a dream come true right there.”

[AAP]

TIME celebrities

Rolf Harris Has Written a Derogatory Song About the Victims of His Sexual Assaults

Rolf Harris On Trial  For Alleged Indecent Assault
Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images Artist and television personality Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on May 14, 2014

He appears to show no remorse for repeatedly molesting young girls

Australian-born TV personality and musician Rolf Harris, currently in prison in the U.K. for a string of sexual assaults against underage girls, has written a song accusing his victims of being after his money.

The 85-year-old entertainer penned lyrics to the song in a letter from prison, sending them to a shocked friend who promptly passed them on to British tabloid the Mail on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reports.

In the letter, Harris said his “inner rage has come to the fore,” prompting him to write the song (which he says will have a “country rock sound with a heavy backbeat”) about the “injustice of it all.”

The song includes lyrics like “You’ve festered down there long enough/ time’s right to grab your chance … Clap eyes on a rich celebrity and make the bastard dance.” He also uses offensive terms like “perfumed sultry wench” and “slimy little woodworm” to refer to his victims.

Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail last July after being convicted of repeatedly molesting four girls — including his daughter’s best friend — between 1969 and 1986. The actor and singer-songwriter will soon be eligible to apply for parole, but Liz Dux, the lawyer who represented his victims, argues that the song should be grounds for denying him that right and for making him serve his full sentence.

“I am totally revolted by what he has written,” one victim reportedly told the Mail on Sunday. “He has shown no remorse and continues to think he can treat his victims like dirt. His arrogance is beyond belief. I am devastated by reading this and it will set back my recovery at a time when I am trying to rebuild my shattered life.”

[AFP]

TIME Aviation

Malaysia Airlines Jet Makes Emergency Landing in Melbourne After Reports of Engine Fire

Passengers have disembarked and no injuries have been reported

A Malaysia Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Melbourne on Friday afternoon after reports of an engine fire, the Australian city’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade says.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reported that 300 passengers were on board Flight MH 148 bound for Kuala Lumpur and that the plane first dumped its fuel, then made an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport around 3:00pm.

The BBC noted that route-tracking websites showed the plane circling the airport multiple times.

Melbourne Airport said via Twitter the plane landed safely, although it could not confirm the reason for MH 148’s grounding. After it landed, the plane was towed to a gate and passengers were allowed to disembark. Paramedics at the scene have not yet had to treat anyone.

[ABC]

TIME animals

This Baby Koala Won’t Leave Mom’s Side During Surgery

Because that's what family's all about

When Lizzy the koala was rushed to the Australia Zoo’s wildlife hospital after being hit by a car, she had a very special – very adorable – supporter by her side.

Her 6-month-old joey, Phantom, was taken in alongside his mom after the Queensland accident along the Warrego Highway, although he walked away mostly unmarred from Sunday’s trauma. However, Lizzy had to undergo surgery to treat her collapsed lung, reports Yahoo News.

Not one to leave her side, Phantom cuddled into his mother throughout the operation, because that’s what family’s all about.

Now, Lizzy is recovering with the help of antibiotics – and her joey.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Soccer

U.S. Defeats Australia in Women’s World Cup Opener

The U.S. is seeking its third World Cup title and first since 1999

(WINNIPEG, Man.) — Megan Rapinoe scored twice and the United States overcame early defensive shakiness to beat Australia 3-1 Monday night in the Americans’ opener at the Women’s World Cup.

Christen Press also scored for the second-ranked U.S., which is seeking its third World Cup title and first since 1999.

Lisa De Vanna had tied the score midway through the first half for Australia, beating controversial American goalkeeper Hope Solo.

“Obviously, we were a bit nervous,” Rapinoe said. “Couldn’t play a lot worse at times.”

U.S. star forward Alex Morgan, sidelined by a bone bruise in her left knee, entered in the 79th minute in her first game action with April 11 with her Portland club.

Rapinoe scored in the 12th minute for the Americans, Press put the U.S. ahead for good in the 61st, and Rapinoe added her 31st international goal in the 78th, the first two-goal game at the World Cup for the Americans since Abby Wambach against Norway in 2007.

The U.S., which won the title in 1991 and ’99, improved to 5-0-2 in World Cup openers and 23-0-2 in all matches against Australia. The game was televised in prime time on network television back home, where large numbers of fans tuned in last year for the men’s World Cup in Brazil.

“Couldn’t be prouder to have the women of Team #USA representing us in stars, stripes, and shin guards. Good luck,” Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted.

In the absence of the 25-year-old Morgan, 35-year-old Abby Wambach and Canada-born Sydney Leroux started up top against the No. 10 Matildas, whose best World Cup finish was sixth in 2007

While the American women have won three straight Olympic gold medals, the third World Cup title has eluded them. They lost the 2011 final to Japan on penalty kicks.

The field has expanded from 16 teams to 24 this year, and the Americans’ next match in Group D will be Friday against Sweden and former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage. They finish group play on June 16 against Nigeria, which tied Sweden 3-3 in the opener of Monday’s doubleheader.

The World Cup is being played as FIFA deals with a scandal which U.S. prosecutors allege involves more then $150 million in bribes. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is not at the tournament, announced last week that he plans to resign.

Controversy also hangs over the U.S. team. Solo started a day after an ESPN report revealed new details about her arrest last June in Washington state on domestic violence charges.

The U.S. team has defended Solo in the face of the allegations. The charges were dismissed by a Kirkland, Washington, judge earlier this year, but prosecutors told ESPN there is an appeal scheduled.

“That was a long time ago. I’ll be honest, we’ve moved on,” coach Jill Ellis. “She’s been a fantastic player and teammate. None of that has even resonated with us, and I’m sure many of the players aren’t aware of it.”

Solo was tested in the fifth minutem, when she tipped Emily Van Egmond’s shot off the crossbar and over. She made another save on Michelle Heyman in the 13th.

Rapinoe’s kick from the top of the penalty area deflected off an Australia’s Laura Alleway past goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

But De Vanna tied it when she facing off with Solo and slotted the ball inside the near post for her 36th goal in 100th international appearance appears

Press scored off a cross from Leroux in the 61st minute. When Press was subbed off seven minutes later she was given a hearty ovation from the crowd of 31,148, which overwhelmingly sided with the Americans. It was her first career World Cup goal.

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