Julian Assange's plane most watched globally, WikiLeaks shares emotional embrace: Australia news live

Julian Assange has also been handed a $782,000 bill by the Australian government.

Yahoo's live news blog has concluded for Wednesday, June 26.

The day's big story has been Julian Assange, who is officially a free man after pleading guilty to one charge of conspiracy. He is due to arrive in Australia in a few hours. Below are a series of updates as the story unfolded throughout the day.

There has also been a big update in the case of missing British teenager Jay Slater with police now exploring other possibilities that led to his disappearance. Read more below.

  • Featured

    Julian Assange a free man

    As expected, a US federal judge has sentenced Julian Assange to time already served in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy.

    He had been in a UK jail since 2019 until his release this week.

    Julian Assange is officially a free man and will be heading back to Australia in just hours.

  • Featured

    Julian Assange owes Australian government $782,000

    Julian Assange's hearing is now underway in Saipan.

    It has been a scramble for the world's media to get to the remote island and it was a costly trip for Assange who arrived as a private citizen following his release from prison in the UK.

    That meant his private jet's costs of $782,000 will need to be covered by him, the ABC reports, which the Australian government has covered for the time being. His wife Stella has started a fundraiser to recoup the costs.

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at a United States District Court in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S., June 26, 2024. REUTERS/Issei Kato
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at court in Saipan. Source: Reuters
  • Assange press conference shortly after he lands in Australia

    Julian Assange's plane is due to arrive shortly before 8pm (AEST), and WikiLeaks has announced it will hold a press conference at 9.15pm.

    It is not clear if Assange will front media and he didn't when leaving the Saipan court earlier in the day.

  • Assange embraces lawyer after ending 14-year battle

    In a celebratory photo shared by WikiLeaks this afternoon, Julian Assange is seen hugging his longest serving legal adviser Jennifer Robinson following his landmark hearing.

    Former PM Kevin Rudd, Australia's US ambassador who accompanied Assange to Saipan, can be seen smiling nearby.

  • Julian Assange's plane most tracked in the world

    Julian Assange's flight from Saipan to Canberra is currently the most watched on Flightradar24's website.

    It is expected to land at 7.38pm.

  • Man hit and killed by ute after 'lying in the middle of the road'

    A man has died early this morning after he was fatally struck by a ute.

    NSW Police were told the man was lying in the road shortly after 3am in Cardiff, southwest of Newcastle.

    Paramedics could not save the man, who is yet to be identified. The 45-year-old driver was taken for mandatory testing. Investigations are ongoing

  • Julian Assange en route to Australia

    Next stop Canberra.

    Julian Assange is understood to be on this private jet that has just left Saipan. He is expected to arrive in Australia by 7pm (AEST).

    Julian Assange is understood to be on this jet heading for Australia. Source: Reuters
    Julian Assange is understood to be on this jet heading for Australia. Source: Reuters
  • Assange walks free for first time in 14 years

    This is the moment Julian Assange stepped out of a US court in Saipan a free man.

    Appearing largely emotionless bar a slight grin, he was ushered into a car as press quickly circulated. He did not speak to media however his lawyer Jennifer Robinson thanked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for his roll in helping free Assange.

    Julian Assange walks free for the first time since 2010. Source: Reuters
    Julian Assange walks free for the first time since 2010. Source: Reuters
  • Brutal development for millions of Aussie homeowners

    Well this isn't good news for homeowners.

    The monthly consumer price index, a measure of goods and services cost across the economy, has jumped to 4 per cent in the year to May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, up from 3.6 per cent in April.

    It's higher than the 3.8 per cent economists expected and could now force the RBA to inflict another rate hike on struggling mortgage holders.

    Read more here.

    Michele Bullock on Tuesday. Source: ABC
    Michele Bullock has tried to be as honest as she can with Australians in recent months. Source: ABC
  • To butter or not to butter

    A slight change of pace now. There was a bit of breakfast-time debate earlier in our office about how to correctly apply peanut butter to your toast.

    For one surprised employee, they were surprised to see another spread butter underneath their peanut butter.

    So what's the right way to do it? Have your say below.

  • UK to throw away $2.6 billion of unused Covid PPE

    While federal and state spending in Australia during the Covid pandemic was heavily scrutinised, we should probably think ourselves lucky we didn't waste as much cash as what the UK appears to have.

    In information obtained by the BBC, the UK will discard 1.57 billion items of PPE, all purchased in one pandemic deal, costing £1.4 billion ($2.6 billion).

    Labour said the deal by the Conservatives was a "staggering waste".

    “We know that billions of pounds were wasted during the pandemic on corruption and incompetence by the Conservatives, but this is the worst example I have ever seen," shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said.

    “That is money that could have been used to pay the salaries of 37,000 NHS nurses."

    Read more here.

    CALMORE, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 19: Boxes of PPE are discarded on an area of land near Testwood Lakes nature reserve on June 19, 2023 in Calmore, England. The stacks of boxes are thought to include unused aprons and face masks procured during the Covid-19 pandemic, and were subsequently discarded on land next to the Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve. The items were produced by a company called Full Support Healthcare, which had a government contract to provide PPE to the National Health Service during the pandemic. The government later sold the stockpile to a third-party company while auctioning off excess PPE, and it's unclear who was responsible for its disposal in Calmore. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
    Discarded PPE in the UK last year. Source: Getty
  • Man scoops big Keno prize exactly 365 days after major win

    It's fair to say June 11 is this NSW man's lucky date.

    Exactly one year on from winning a major Keno prize, he's now scooped $222,000 playing the game at Nelson Bay's Seabreeze Hotel.

    "I had won a smaller major prize when I was away in Queensland on that date last year and I decided to try my luck with the same numbers,' he told Keno officials.

    “I couldn’t believe it when my numbers came up again."

  • Julian Assange set to arrive in Canberra later today

    If everything goes to plan, Julian Assange could be en route to Australia this afternoon.

    Assange has just pleaded guilty to a single felony charge for publishing US military secrets in a deal with the Justice Department, securing his freedom after a 14-year battle.

    Here's the flight path of the plane that will bring him home to Australia from Saipan.

  • Pub landlord fined over pokies move

    A pub landlord in Sydney has copped a $2,250 after he forced patrons to exit through the gaming room.

    Gaming legislation requires that patrons must not be compelled to pass through a gaming room in order to enter or leave a venue, or to gain access to another area, a rule Mortdale Hotel licensee Paul Whitehead failed to implement.

    The pub's main doors were found to be locked during a compliance check last year.

    "These restrictions are in place to reduce the risks of gambling harm,” Ms Lin said.

    "The licensee put patrons at potential risk of harm by compelling them to walk through the gaming room to leave the venue."

  • Police source reveals big Jay Slater shift

    A desperate search for British teenager Jay Slater has entered a second week, with a police source finally admitting they are looking into some of the conspiracies spreading online about his disappearance on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

    “This case is unusual as it's been a week and there has been no sighting or leads on him at all and searches have thrown up no clues," the police source told MailOnline.

    “We have to consider the possibility of something else happening.”

    Jay Slater has been missing for a week now.
    Jay Slater has been missing for over a week now.

    Authorities are reportedly now investigating his background. The 19-year-old was part of a group who attacked another teen leaving him with serious head injuries. The group avoided youth detention, however the judge criticised them for their behaviour inside court.

    "Many of you have found these proceedings amusing throughout the trial and yesterday and today, showing disrespect to the court," Judge Philip Parry said at the time of sentencing, the Daily Record reported.

    "I make it very, very clear that all eight of you have behaved disgracefully, in relation to the violent disorder but also intimidation of witnesses, supply of class A drugs and street robbery."

    Emergency workers near the village of Masca, Tenerife, search for missing British teenager Jay Slater, 19, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, who was last heard from on Monday morning after attempting to walk back to his accommodation when he missed a bus, after staying with people he met at the NRG music festival in Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
    Crews search for Slater in rough terrain. Source: Getty

    Slater's disappearance has gripped the UK and led to a wave of commentary about the case on social media.

    His phone was last detected 40km from where he was staying after reportedly joining two men at a remote Airbnb following a music festival.

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