New Zealand police find body they believe is British tourist

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand police said Sunday they found a body they believe to be that of missing 22-year-old British tourist Grace Millane. Police said the body was in a forested area about 10 meters (33 feet) from the side of the road in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland. Tourist Grace Millane has … Continue reading “New Zealand police find body they believe is British tourist”

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand police said Sunday they found a body they believe to be that of missing 22-year-old British tourist Grace Millane.

Police said the body was in a forested area about 10 meters (33 feet) from the side of the road in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland.

Tourist Grace Millane has been missing since Dec. 1, and failed to contact her family on her birthday Dec. 2.

On Saturday, a 26-year-old man was charged with murder in her case after he was detained for questioning. He is due to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Millane was on a planned yearlong trip abroad that began in Peru. She arrived in New Zealand last month and was last seen entering a central Auckland hotel with a man on the evening of Dec. 1.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard told reporters near the crime scene in the Waitakare Ranges that police believe Millane's body was taken to the area in a rental car that was later left in the town of Taupo.

Police spent several hours searching the area, which they cordoned off and where they put up a tent, before making the announcement.

"This area was identified late last night as a location of interest as a result of our investigative work," Beard said. "I can now advise that a short time ago, we located a body, which we believe to be Grace. A formal identification process will now take place, however, based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days, we expect that this is Grace."

Millane's father David Millane traveled from Britain to New Zealand last week.

"It is an unbearable time for the Millane family, and our hearts go out to them," Beard said.

Before she vanished, Millane had been staying at a backpacker hostel in Auckland, and she left some of her belongings there. Beard said she met a man for a couple of hours on the evening of Dec. 1 before surveillance cameras showed them entering the CityLife hotel at about 9:40 p.m.

Her family was surprised and worried when she didn't contact them on her birthday or get in touch over on the days that followed.

After arriving in New Zealand on Friday, David Millane spoke with media.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-oriented daughter," he said, adding that she was usually in touch with her family every day.

"She arrived here on the 20th of November, and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures," Millane said. "We are all extremely upset, and it's very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are going through."

Minister: UK could try Norway model if Brexit deal rejected

LONDON – Britain could consider a so-called "Norway-plus" deal with the European Union if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to win lawmakers' approval for her Brexit deal, a senior British Cabinet minister said Saturday.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd was the first minister to publicly discuss a "Plan B" should May be defeated in a key parliamentary vote scheduled for Tuesday.

Rudd, who backs May's Brexit deal, said "anything could happen" — including a second referendum — if the government is defeated in Parliament, and predicted a chaotic period.

She told the Times on Saturday that while none of the possible alternatives is better than the current Brexit deal, she would prefer a model similar to that of Norway, which is not an EU member but is part of the European Economic Area. That means it is part of the single market.

Such an alternative "seems plausible not just in terms of the country but in terms of where the MPs are," she added, although "nobody knows if it can be done".

The divorce agreement that May struck with the EU is widely opposed by British lawmakers across the spectrum, and her Conservative government must convince skeptical lawmakers that the deal is a good one ahead of Tuesday's vote. A defeat would sink the agreement, leaving the U.K. facing a messy "no-deal" Brexit, and could topple May and her government.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal keeps Britain bound too closely to the EU, while pro-EU politicians say it erects barriers between the U.K. and its biggest trading partner and leaves many details of the future relationship undecided.

An analysis by Britain's Press Association showed that just 27 of the 163 lawmakers who have spoken out indicated they would back the deal, compared with 122 — including 29 from May's own Conservative Party — who say they will vote against it.

Pressure is mounting on May to delay the vote and ask for more concessions from the EU at a Brussels summit at the end of next week. EU officials have insisted that May's Brexit deal is the best and only one on offer.

Missing British backpacker, 22, was murdered; man to be charged, police say

New Zealand police announced Saturday that they believe the British backpacker who has been missing for a week was murdered and they will charge a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning.

Grace Millane, 22, from Essex, was last seen entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, with a 26-year-old man on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. The University of Lincoln graduate was on a yearlong trip that began in Peru. She was traveling alone when visiting New Zealand and had been staying at the Base Backpackers hostel in Auckland.

The man Millane was seen with was taken into the central Auckland police station on Saturday afternoon for questioning. Police later said they planned to charge the man with Millane’s murder and he would be held in custody until his first court appearance on Monday. The body of the 22-year-old woman has not been found. Detective Inspector Scott Beard said authorities were not sure where Millane’s body was located but they’re determined to find it and return it to her family.

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“Grace is no longer alive; this is now a murder investigation,” Beard said.

Beard would also not confirm if Millane used a dating app while visiting Auckland.

Grace Millane’s father, David Millane, spoke to reporters on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.  (AP)

Beard said he spoke to Millane’s father, David Millane, on Saturday and told him that they believed his daughter was killed. The father had traveled from the United Kingdom to New Zealand earlier in the week.

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"I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight," Beard said.

The backpacker’s birthday was on Sunday, but she did not contact her family. David Millane spoke to reporters on Friday calling his daughter a “fun-loving, family-oriented daughter” and urged anyone with information to contact police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

New Zealand police: 22-year-old British tourist was murdered

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand police said Saturday that they believe a 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning.

Grace Millane was on a planned yearlong trip abroad that began in Peru. She arrived in New Zealand last month and was last seen on the night of Dec. 1 entering a central Auckland hotel with a 26-year-old man.

Police said they brought that man into the central Auckland police station on Saturday afternoon for questioning. Later in the day, police said they planned to charge the man with Millane's murder and he would be held in custody until his first court appearance on Monday.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said he told Millane's devastated father, David Millane, on Saturday that they believe Millane was killed. The father had traveled from Britain to New Zealand earlier in the week.

Beard said they don't know where Millane's body is located but they're determined to find it and return it to her family.

"I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight," Beard said.

Police have been conducting a scene examination at a unit in the hotel. Beard said they're also examining a vehicle and want to figure out where it has been driven over the past week.

Millane had been staying at a backpacker hostel in Auckland and left some of her belongings there. Beard said she met a man for a couple of hours on Saturday evening before surveillance cameras showed them entering the CityLife hotel at about 9:40 p.m.

Her birthday was on Sunday but she didn't contact her family.

Five days later, on Friday, David Millane arrived in New Zealand and spoke with media.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-oriented daughter," he said, adding that she was usually in touch with her family every day.

"She arrived here on the 20th of November, and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures," Millane said. "We are all extremely upset, and it's very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are going through."

Ship saves British sailor after storm in Southern Ocean

LONDON – A cargo ship on Friday rescued a British sailor after a violent storm ripped off her mast and flung her yacht end over end in the Southern Ocean as she competed in a solo round-the-world race.

British sailor Susie Goodall tweeted "ON THE SHIP!!!" soon after the Hong Kong-registered MV Tian Fu arrived at her location. The cargo vessel had been traveling from China to Argentina when it diverted to reach her.

Race officials have been in regular radio contact with the 29-year-old Goodall, who lost her mast 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) west of Cape Horn near the southern tip of South America.

Her rescue unfolded early Friday, when the Tian Fu found Goodall an hour before daylight. In a message to race officials at 1115 GMT (5:15 a.m. EST), she confirmed that she had sighted the Tian Fu and that sea swells were up to 4 meters (13 feet) high.

Those conditions make a rescue more difficult, said Paul Owen of the International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations.

"It's not a very hospitable place," said Owen, a former captain.

But that was only the beginning of her troubles Friday. Goodall's engine failed and could not be restarted, limiting her ability to maneuver. Without an engine, her stricken yacht, the DHL Starlight, had to drift with its sea anchor before the master of the MV Tian Fu could maneuver the 40,000 ton cargo ship alongside it.

Goodall was the youngest entrant and the only woman in the Golden Globe competition that began July 1 in Les Sables-d'Olonne, France. Only five of the 18 skippers who began the race still remain. They are trying to sail roughly 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers) alone, nonstop and without outside assistance before returning to the same French port.

Police have ‘grave fears’ about British woman missing in New Zealand

The father of a British woman who was last seen entering a New Zealand hotel Saturday made a tearful plea for help Friday — but police said they have “grave fears” about the case.

Grace Millane, 22, was last seen entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland with a male, The Guardian reported. Scott Beard, the Auckland Police’s detective inspector, said he could not confirm if Millane left the hotel.

Beard said police questioned the man seen with her that night and have named him as a person of interest — but he has not been taken into custody. Beard said there has been no evidence of foul play so far.

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"It has now been six days since Grace was last seen,” he said. “At this point, we hold grave concerns for her safety.”

Beard would also not confirm if Millane used a dating app while visiting Auckland. He said police were working on reviewing hours of surveillance camera footage from around the city, which has proved crucial in tracking Millane’s movements. He also said investigators were looking into her credit card activity to see the last time she made a transaction.

Grace Millane, 22, was last seen on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. (New Zealand Police)

The woman’s father, David Millane, told reporters Friday his daughter was on a yearlong trip abroad that began in Peru.

"She arrived here on the 20th of November, and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures," Millane said. "We are all extremely upset, and it's very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are going through."

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Millane called his daughter a “fun-loving, family-oriented daughter” and urged anyone with information to contact police.

Millane graduated from the University of Lincoln in September before beginning her trip. She was traveling alone when visiting New Zealand. Before she vanished, she was staying at the Base Backpackers hostel in Auckland.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

BBC radio host committed suicide after walking off live show, inquest hears

A 41-year-old BBC radio host who suddenly, without explanation, walked off her live show Aug. 6 was found later that day dead from suicide, a British inquest heard.

Vicki Archer killed herself by hanging in her Shrewsbury home, the BBC reported.

The divorced mother of three was found in her home by Lee Holyoake, her stepfather, the Shropshire Coroner’s Court inquest was told. Holyoake, in a statement, said he tried to revive Archer and that “alarm bells started to ring” after he and Archer’s mother learned the host had left work early.

John Ellery, a coroner, said the radio host suffered from depression and had tried to take her own life twice before.

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"We have heard that Victoria had made two previous attempts to take her own life in the past and she suffered from depression,” Ellery said. "It is not necessary, nor is it appropriate to go further into her personal and private life."

Ellery said Archer “left her radio show mid-air whilst it was thought she was going for a break.”

Archer worked at the BBC Radio Shropshire for more than 20 years and had been the presenter of an afternoon show since 2010. She also was a successful voiceover artist and event host.

Archer’s family said in a statement the host was “a wonderful mother and daughter.”

AFTER 20-YEAR WAIT, REFUGEE SEES ‘BRIGHT FUTURE’ IN UK

"She could light up a room. While we will always miss her we want to remember and celebrate everything that she achieved which is why in the spring we are planning a memorial celebration of her life,” a statement from her family read.

David Jennings, the BBC’s head of regional programs in West Midlands, said in a statement the station was “heartbroken."

“We are heartbroken at Vicki’s death,” Jennings said. “Everyone at Radio Shropshire respected her as a great presenter and journalist, but so much more than that, we loved the sense of fun she brought to her shows and the station. Her loss leaves a huge void. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.”

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Pakistan kicks out 18 charities after rejecting final appeal

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan is kicking out 18 international charities after rejecting their final appeal to stay in the country, a move that an aid group spokesman said Thursday would affect millions of desperately poor Pakistanis and lead to tens of millions of aid dollars lost.

The majority of the shuttered aid groups are U.S.-based, while the rest are from Britain and the European Union, according to a government list seen by The Associated Press.

Another 20 groups are at risk of also being expelled after authorities a few months ago singled out some 38 international aid groups for closure, without any explanation.

The development is the latest in a systematic crackdown on international organizations in Pakistan, with authorities using every bureaucratic excuse, such as discrepancies in visa and registration documentation, to target the organizations.

There is also a perception in Islamabad that the United States and European countries have secretly brought spies into Pakistan under the guise of aid workers.

On Thursday, Pakistan's Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted that the 18 were asked to leave for spreading disinformation. "They must leave. They need to work within their stated intent which these 18 didn't do," she said.

Umair Hasan, spokesman for the Pakistan Humanitarian Foundation — an umbrella representing 15 of the charities — said those charities alone help 11 million poor Pakistanis and contribute more than $130 million in assistance.

"No organization has been given a clear reason for the denial of its registration renewal applications," Hasan said.

Pakistan and its security forces are still stinging from a 2011 covert operation that involved a Pakistani doctor, an aid group and a vaccination scam to identify Osama bin Laden's home, aiding U.S. Navy Seals who tracked and later killed him.

Islamabad says the United States never notified it of the daring nighttime raid in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad — just a few miles from Pakistan's top military academy — in advance and that the mission that nabbed bin Laden invaded its sovereignty.

Many believe the sweeping crackdown on aid groups is the fallout from the CIA sting operation in which Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, posing as an international aid worker, used a fake hepatitis vaccination program to try to get DNA samples from bin Laden's family as a means of pinpointing his location.

Afridi was subsequently arrested and remains in jail in northwestern Pakistan. Washington has repeatedly demanded his release.

The crackdown "simply marks the latest chapter in an ongoing effort to push back against foreign NGOs in Pakistan," said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programs at the Washington-based Wilson Center. "It's hard to overstate the significance of the hunt for bin Laden and the impact it had on Pakistani perceptions of foreign NGOs."

Hasan said the 18 expelled groups, with the exception of two that are still in court trying to overturn their ouster, have closed their operations in Pakistan. The groups provided everything from education to health care to sanitary and clean water facilities, he said. Many worked in partnership with provincial governments, often supplementing meager development budgets.

Now local officials are being "told not to work with these" groups, added Hasan. "Government people up front will tell you they see the value of their work, but the decision has been taken."

Military spokesman Gen. Asif Ghafoor denies any link between the closures of aid groups and the bin Laden operation, insisting they simply did not meet the criteria, though many had operated for decades in Pakistan. Among the U.S.-based organizations are World Vision, Plan International and Catholic Relief Services.

Pakistan has cracked down on dissidents in recent months and its numerous television channels and newspapers have faced increasing censorship, which has been criticized by international as well as national media watchdogs.

"Civil society space has shrunk," said Hasan. "Next, they will go after local organizations who receive international funding. It will seriously compromise the independence of organizations, their flexibility of how to operate, where to operate."

"These crackdowns on charities will deliver another blow to Pakistan's image," said Kugelman. "While Pakistan certainly isn't the only country to be curtailing the activities of charitable groups, the reputational impacts could be particularly strong because it has a preexisting image problem."

In Brazil backlands, termites built millions of dirt mounds

PALMEIRAS, Brazil – Roy Funch, an American botanist who has lived and worked in Brazil's hardscrabble northeast for decades, long looked at huge cone-shaped mounds of mud in the distance and wonder.

What built them? How many were there? How long had they been there?

After years of failing to generate interest in the mounds, a chance meeting with an English expert on social insects, Stephen Martin, led to remarkable discoveries: There are over 200 million mounds built by termites that stretch across 88,800 square miles (230,000 square kilometers), about the size of Great Britain.

What's more, some of the dirt heaps are nearly 4,000 years old.

"While the Romans were building their columns, their buildings, these termites were building their mounds," Funch said, adding that the dirt piles represent the largest bioconstruction of any species other than humans.

The mounds, seen in various places in a vast desert-like region called the Caatinga, stand between 6 and 13 feet (2 to 4 meters) high and are spaced roughly equally apart — between 52 and 72 feet (16 to 22 meters).

To landowners who clear brush to plant crops, the mounds are a nuisance. Bulldozing them is difficult because over years of being baked in the hot sun, the already-hard dirt and clay become like stone. Poor people in the area use chunks of the mounds to build adobe houses.

Funch says he wrote two articles about the mounds in Brazilian publications, but they didn't draw any attention. Without expertise in insects or the world of scientific publishing, he wasn't sure how to take his research to the next level.

Asking local people didn't help.

"Some would say they are termites, some would say ants, some would say: 'Well, they have always been there. They are part of nature,'" Funch said.

Enter Martin, an entomologist at the University of Salford in England. A few years ago, Martin was in northeastern Brazil studying honey bees and ants in the state of Bahia. He, too, was curious about the mounds.

"I was intrigued because of their patterns," he said.

By chance, Martin and Funch met next to a river in Lencois, a small town in Bahia about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of the edge of the mound area.

When Martin mentioned seeing the mounds while he was driving around, Funch told him: "You just met the only guy in Brazil who is working on these mounds."

The two teamed up, and their research was published Nov. 19 in Current Biology.

The pair concluded the mounds were built by Syntermes dirus, a large termite species that feeds on leaves and lives underground. While the termites are found in the region, the researchers didn't find them actively working in the larger mounds, but instead along the edges of areas with mounds.

Cutting into several mounds, they found only a small tube-like hole going to the top of each one, not an extensive pattern of tunnels throughout. That suggested the termites were simply finding a place to chuck earth from underground, where they build their tunnels.

"These are just waste heaps," said Martin. "Under normal circumstances we wouldn't see them because they wouldn't persist for such a long time."

In more humid areas where the same species lives, such as the Amazon, the mounds are eroded by rain and wind. But the Caatinga ecoregion gets rainfall only a few weeks a year. The desert shrubland vegetation covers and camouflages the mounds in large swaths of the area, one of the reasons they were essentially hiding in plain sight.

Funch said improvements in Google Earth's imaging in recent years helped them understand the extent of the formations via spatial mapping.

"The mounds go on forever in every direction," said Funch, who initially came to Brazil as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1977 and stayed.

The mounds are also very old. Radioactive testing determined they ranged in age from 690 to 3,820 years.

"It could have been a giant termite (that built the mounds)," joked Luciano Oliveira, a local who lives in a house made with earth taken from a mound. "Nobody knows."

While many people view termites as pests because some species eat wood, and thus homes, the social insects are also some of the world's best engineers, building vast networks of underground tunnels and huge heaps of dirt.

An Associated Press journalist who accompanied Funch to watch the nocturnal termites at work saw soldier termites about a half-inch long and with large pincers stand guard while smaller workers gathered dead leaves and cut them in smaller pieces, making "click, click, click" sounds as they worked. When a flashlight was shined on the termites for a few seconds, they scurried down small holes.

Rob Pringle, a Princeton biology professor who has studied termites and their mounds in Kenya, Mozambique and Namibia, said fighting between termite colonies can lead to patterns in the mounds they produce.

The fact that the Brazil study found the termites didn't fight unless they were from colonies several kilometers apart means there is a lot more to discover about how termites create such patterns.

"We keep peeling back different manifestation of these incredible, huge-scale spatial patterns in nature," Pringle said.

Funch and Martin say there is much they still need to investigate.

Among the major questions: Why don't the mounds appear to have active colonies underneath them? What causes the uniform spacing? And how long did it take termites to make the biggest mounds?

"These are Mayan temples that the locals knew were here," said Funch. "But the critical eye of science is just beginning to discover them."

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Associated Press photojournalist Victor Caivano reported this story in Palmeiras and AP writer Peter Prengaman reported from Rio de Janeiro.

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Victor Caivano on Twitter: twitter.com/vcaivano

Peter Prengaman on Twitter: twitter.com/peterprengaman

Pan Am Flight 103 wreckage lays at scrapyard in English village, nearly 30 years after deadly terror attack

Nearly 30 years after Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky over Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew members aboard, the final resting place for some of the wreckage has been revealed in new photos to be at a scrapyard in the English countryside.

In aerial photos obtained by South West News Service, much of the plane's remains can be seen at Windleys Salvage in the village of Tattershall, located about 150 miles north of London.

The classic blue and white Pan Am livery is still clearly visible in the pile of splintered metal, hidden behind a fence and along a wooded area.

Much of the wreckage from Pam Am flight 103 can be seen at Windleys Salvage in Tattershall, England. (SWNS)

Flight 103 was traveling from Frankfurt to Detroit on Dec. 21, 1988, via New York and London when it was downed about a half hour after takeoff by a bomb smuggled aboard.

Of those killed on board, 178 were Americans and 35 were Syracuse University students headed home for Christmas after completing a study aboard program. There were 11 people killed on the ground in the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland by falling debris.

Local resident Robert Love stands by one of the four engines of the ill-fated Pan Am 747 Jumbo jet, 22 December 1988, that exploded and crashed 21 December on the route to New-York, with 259 passengers on board. (ROY LETKEY/AFP/Getty Images)

After the bombing, wreckage from the plane was collected and transported to an army base, while the mid-section where the blast took place was taken to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, according to The Sun.

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Scottish rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 in a farmer’s field east of Lockerbie Scotland after a mid-air bombing killed all 259 passengers and crew, and 11 people on the ground. (Getty Images)

The rest of the metal from the plane was taken to Windley's Salvage, where it must remain until all investigations and appeals into the terror attack are complete, according to The Sun.

Libyan Intelligence Officer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi became the only person convicted for the bombing and was jailed for life in 2001 on 270 counts of murder, but was released on so-called compassionate leave in 2009 after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.

His release drew outrage in the U.S. and Europe — and was celebrated in Libya — until he eventually died in 2012 at the age of 60.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed