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2DayFM radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who have faced worldwide fury over the hoax, spoke publicly about the prank for the first time in a televised interview with Australia's "A Current Affair." A separate interview on rival show "Today Tonight" also aired Monday evening.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha answered the phone last week when the pair, impersonating Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, called the hospital where the former Kate Middleton was being treated for acute morning sickness. She transferred the call to a fellow nurse caring for the duchess who gave the DJs confidential information about the Duchess's medical condition, which was broadcast on air.
Three days later, Saldanha died. Police have not yet determined the 46-year-old's cause of death, but many immediately assumed it was related to the stress from the call. Greig and Christian have been taken off the air indefinitely.
The radio hosts apologized on Monday for the hoax and both broke down in tears when asked about the moment they learned Saldanha was dead.
"There's not a minute that goes by that we don't think about her family and what they must be going through," Greig said, voice shaking. "And the thought that we may have played a part in that is gut-wrenching."
The DJs said that when the idea for the call came up in a team meeting, no one expected that they would actually be put through to the duchess' ward.
"We just assumed we'd get cut off at every single point and that'd be it," Christian said.
"The joke 100 percent was on us," he said. "The idea was never, `Let's call up and get through to Kate,' or `Let's speak to a nurse.' The joke was our accents are horrible, they don't sound anything like who they're intended to be."
"The entertainment value was in us," Greig added. "It was meant to be in our silly accents. That's where it was meant to end."
The decision to air the prerecorded call was made by executives higher up the chain, the DJs said.
Rhys Holleran, CEO of 2DayFM's parent company Southern Cross Austereo, has called Saldanha's death a tragedy, but defended the prank as a standard part of radio culture. He has also insisted the station had not broken any laws and had adhered to procedures. On Monday, Holleran said the station had tried at least five times to contact the hospital to discuss the prank before it went to air.
The call has sparked outrage across the globe, with the hosts receiving death threats and calls for them to be fired. Greig said she doesn't even want to think about returning to the airwaves.
"I remember my first question was, `Was she a mother?'" she said on "Today Tonight." Saldanha had two children.
Monday, December 10 2012, 03:44 AM CST
Pipeline work can continue at state natural area
May 24, 2013 11:16 GMT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee environmental officials have given Piedmont Natural Gas permission to resume drilling on a Nashville pipeline project.
Work was halted on May 11 when a mixture of bentonite clay and water spilled from a drill into Otter Creek at the Radnor Lake State Natural Area.
The mud was later scraped out of the creek using buckets and hand tools.
Meredith Benton, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/199LA54 ) that Piedmont agreed to 11 new terms and conditions to prevent a recurrence of the spill.
Those include creating a pit to capture any spilled slurry and daily water quality monitoring.
Benton said the department has not decided whether to issue fines or citations.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com
Asia stocks extend losses after big sell-off
BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stocks continued to retreat today after being routed the day before by unexpectedly weak Chinese manufacturing and fears the Federal Reserve will start withdrawing its monetary stimulus.
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