1. Journalist, businesswoman and publishing legend Ita Buttrose has been named Australian of the Year for 2013. Buttrose, 71, is the first woman to be awarded the title since 2005, when it went to burns specialist Fiona Wood. She has been recognised for both her groundbreaking media career – Buttrose was the founding editor of Cleo magazine and the first female appointed to the board of News Ltd – and her commitment to not-for-profit organisations, including Alzheimer’s Australia and Arthritis Australia.
The Young Australian of the Year title has been awarded to Akram Azimi, 25, for his work as a mentor in indigenous communities and for people with disability. The West Australian came to Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan in 1999. At 82 years of age, internationally recognised palliative care specialist Professor Ian Maddocks has been honoured for his work as a specialist and academic, receiving the title of Senior Australian of the Year.
Australia Day honours have also been awarded to Alexander Downer, Angels’ frontman Doc Neeson and land rights activist Bonita Mabo, among others.
2.Emergency flood alerts have been issued for several Queensland towns overnight, including Gladstone and Callide Creek. Residents have been urged to move to higher ground as flood levels are expected to rise, a result of torrential rain from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.
3. Bernard Gaynor plans to fight his suspension from Bob Katter’s Australia Party. The Senate candidate was disendorsed on Thursday, after posting a tweet saying he did not want his children to be taught by gay teachers. The comments drew widespread condemnation from the media and public. Gaynor insists he was stating a position the Australia party supports, and that other candidates have shared their personal opinions without facing suspension.
4. Outgoing Australian of the Year Geoffrey Rush has voiced frustration that high achievers in the performing arts in Australia do not receive the same level of recognition as those in sport. In his valedictory address, delivered ahead of the announcement of this year’s winners, Rush, 61, cited a newspaper article that described Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke as the “undisputed captain” of 2012. “I’m sure he is and I’m genuinely in awe of his historic achievement, but I do hope that one day a graduate from the Newtown High School of Performing Arts or the Empire Theatre youth program will challenge this automatic presumption in our psyche,” the Oscar-winning actor said.
5. Russia’s lower house of parliament has backed a draft law banning so-called “gay propaganda” and the promotion of homosexuality among children. The law, which requires two more readings before facing approval from the upper house and president Vladimir Putin, would ban gay rights events across the country. Opponents believe the legislation is intended to appeal to conservative voters, in an effort to buoy support for Putin.
6. Its global reign seems unshakable, but fading confidence has caused Apple, Inc. to lose its title as the world’s most valuable company. Shares in the company, which has held the top ranking for the past 12 months, have slumped 18 per cent this year. Exxon Mobil, with a market capitalisation of $US417 billion, has claimed the title.
7. Parents of Sydney private school students might have to dig a little deeper into their pockets for their tuition fees this year. Yearly fees at a number of the city’s most expensive schools, including SCEGGS Darlinghurst and The Scots College, have surpassed $30,000 this year for the first time. In some cases this figure does not cover additional costs for sport, excursions and extra subjects. Salary costs have been cited as the main factor driving the increases.