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"This is not the girl I raised." Thomas Markle has accused Meghan and Harry of "cheapening" the monarchy, & more in News in 5.

– With AAP.

1. “This is not the girl I raised.” Thomas Markle has accused Meghan and Harry of “cheapening” the monarchy.

Meghan Markle’s father Thomas Markle has accused his daughter and her husband Prince Harry of “cheapening” the monarchy as they work to become financially independent.

Markle, 75, shared his thoughts on the Megxit controversy in an upcoming Channel 5 documentary, Thomas Markle: My Story.

Meghan and Harry decided to step back as senior royals and split their time between Britain and North America.

Former Hollywood lighting director Markle branded the decision to split from the royal family “disappointing” and “embarrassing”.

“It’s disappointing because she actually got every girl’s dream, every young girl wanted to become a princess and she got that,” Markle said, speaking in Mexico for the British television documentary.

“And now she’s tossing that away for… it looks like she’s tossing that away for money.

“Apparently three million dollars and a 26-bedroom home isn’t enough for them. It’s kind of embarrassing to me.”

Markle said Harry and Meghan had tarnished the British monarchy.

“This is like one of the greatest long living institutions ever. They are destroying it, they are cheapening it, making it shabby,” he said.

“They are turning it into a Walmart with a crown on it.”

Meghan’s older brother Tom Junior, 53, said his dad told him “This is not the girl I raised”.

“He cannot believe what has happened. He is very disappointed in her actions.

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“He thinks she’s let down the royal family.

“He’s still got a lot of pics of Meg on one big wall and Archie is up there also. What he wants though is a picture of all three of them or even the four of them up there together. If that happens he would die a happy man. I personally think there should be a picture of all of us on that wall.”

The Queen issued an emotional statement over the weekend, saying she recognised the “challenges” the couple had faced over the past year but assured the public that “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family”.

The couple have dropped their ‘Royal Highness’ titles and will also pay back the public money from their AUD$4.5 million renovation on Frogmore Cottage.

Meghan and Harry have already begun a transition phase of living in Canada and the UK.

The duchess is currently in the Commonwealth country with son Archie, where the Sussexes spent six weeks over the festive period.

2. The NSW bushfire death toll climbs to 21 following the death of an 84-year-old man.

The death toll from NSW’s unprecedented bushfires has climbed to 21 following the death in hospital of an elderly man burned in Cobargo on New Year’s Eve.

The 84-year-old was taken from his home on Tuesday December 31 to South East Regional Hospital before he was transferred to Concord Hospital in Sydney where he died in the early hours of Saturday.

“A report will be prepared for the coroner,” a NSW Police spokeswoman told AAP on Sunday.

The 21 deaths have occurred across NSW since October as a result of the devastating bushfires that have burned through more than five million hectares and destroyed more than 2100 homes.

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3. The Morrison government has announced a relief package to help the tourism industry recover from the bushfires.

Travellers are being urged to visit Australian destinations rather than heading overseas to help the tourism industry recover from the devastating bushfires.

The Morrison government has further dipped into its $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, announcing an initial $76 million tourism recovery package.

Responding to calls from the tourism industry, the package includes $20 million for a nationally coordinated domestic marketing initiative and $25 million for a global marketing campaign to drive international tourism.

There is also money for regional tourism events, an international media program, support for Tourism Australia’s annual trade event and additional funding for Australia’s diplomats to promote that Australia is open for business.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is encouraging Australians spend their next long weekend or school holiday within Australia to support tourism businesses.

He also wants to ensure key international markets understand Australia is still open for business.

“Most Australian tourism attractions are untouched by bushfire, and that people can still come and have the same incredible experience visiting Australia that we’ve always prided ourselves on,” he told ABC television.

Tourism groups applauded the government’s package.

Australian Tourism Industry Council executive director Simon Westaway described it as a “significant response”.

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“The package is arguably unprecedented for our sector because it represents a step-change in the thinking of government around just how important our industry is to the social and economic dynamics of our nation going forward,” he said.

One in 13 Australian jobs rely on tourism and hospitality.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive officer Margy Osmond was pleased with the government’s quick response, but concedes there is an enormous international problem in terms of the way people are now viewing Australia.

“We’re going to have to do another big piece of brand work but that will be further down the track,” she told ABC television.

The Australian Tourism Export Council says inbound international tourism has experienced millions of dollars in cancellations and a significant decrease in forward bookings which it estimates will reduce inbound tourism revenue by up to $4.5 billion.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said any support from the government at this stage is welcome.

“We have seen not just an economic catastrophe and obviously the impact on the tourism industry, on agriculture, will be profound and felt for many, many years to come, but there’s also an ecological catastrophe,” he told ABC television.

4. Memorial held in Sydney for the victims of the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by military over Tehran.

Members of Australia’s Iranian community have held a memorial in Sydney for the people who died when a Ukrainian passenger plane was shot down by the military over Tehran.

About 100 people gathered in Artarmon on Sunday afternoon to pay their respects to the victims and condemn the actions of the Iranian government “whether intentional or unintentional”.

Iranian Community Organisation president Siamak Ghahreman fears there won’t be an open and transparent inquiry into the downing of the flight unless the international community puts pressure on Iran.

Mr Ghahreman says Canberra should use its good relationship with Tehran to demand accountability

“They have a good relationship which they can use to force the Islamic government of Iran to tell, at least, the families of the victims what really happened and what they are going to do,” he told AAP on Sunday evening.

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People in the Iranian Australian community have relatives and friends who died in the crash which killed all 176 people on board.

They displayed photographs on Sunday of loved ones who perished when Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 was shot down or were killed by the regime in Iran in recent months.

People at the memorial put up signs stating “Stop killing in Iran” and “Together against dictatorship”.

The Boeing 737-800 was shot down on January 8 as Iran was on high alert for an attack by the United States after it had targeted American bases in Iraq.

5. Sydney CBD mostly without incident during first weekend since the controversial lockout laws were lifted.

Sydney’s CBD has been mostly without incident in the first weekend since lockout laws were lifted, with venues and emergency service workers expecting the nightlife to take some time to bounce back.

The controversial lockout laws were introduced in 2014 after the deaths of one-punch victims Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie and officially repealed on January 14.

They have been lifted everywhere in the CBD except Kings Cross and will be reviewed in 2021.

Emergency service groups had braced for a weekend of increased alcohol-fuelled violence as a result of the NSW government’s decision to end the laws.

But a NSW Police spokeswoman on Sunday confirmed there were no significant incidents reported on Friday or Saturday night.

“Nothing out of the ordinary happened,” she told AAP.

The Australian Hotels Association in NSW said it was a quiet weekend in the CBD which is normally the case for the period between New Year’s Eve and Australia Day.

Liquor and policing director John Green said the lockout laws were a source of conflict and as a result, venues weren’t expecting an increase in patronage straight away.

“Over a period of time we hope to see an increase in people going out to Sydney CBD rather than other areas,” he told AAP on Sunday.

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“We want to see them have a meal, see a show, come and experience what the Sydney CBD is like.”

It will take a while for people to get used to that, he added.

The Independent Bars Association of NSW said the weekend brought a lot of “optimism” with early reports suggesting it was “well received” by the industry and the public.

“I don’t think this was going to be a flick-switch moment and we would see the area worst affected change in one weekend,” president Karl Schlothauer told AAP on Sunday.

“We don’t want to see a return of heavy-handed regulations to the CBD, so we all need to do our bit to create a safe and vibrant nightlife.”

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said emergency services remain vigilant ahead of an expected increase in activity, and are bracing for a rise in alcohol-related hospital visits.

“Over the next three to four weeks I would be very surprised if we don’t see an enhanced level of activity when the weather is expected to heat up a bit,” he told AAP on Sunday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian in November announced the changes which scrap the 1.30am last entry for all venues in Sydney CBD, remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glasses after midnight, and end the 10pm curfew on bottle shops.

The last-drinks curfew has also been extended by 30 minutes to 3.30am – an extension which goes against the 3am curfew recommended by doctors.

Feature images: Channel 5 and Getty.

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