NEWS: 9 stories to talk about today.

The Brisbane river (image from Twitter)

1. A three-year-old boy has been killed in Queensland after being hit by a falling tree at Gordon Park in northern Brisbane. Elsewhere in Queensland, floodwaters are continuing to rise today, with three other flood-related deaths occurring near Bundaberg, Gympie and Oxley Creek. NSW is also on on high alert, with emergency crews now having conducted 34 rescues across the state. (You can go here to find out how to donate/help.)

2. North Carolina police have so far been unable to determine whether a small human skull, which was discovered in bushland last year belongs to murdered disabled schoolgirl Zahra Baker.

3. The Prime Minister’s partner Tim Mathieson, who is a men’s health ambassador, is in trouble for a joke he made to the West Indian cricket team about prostate examinations. Mr Mathieson reportedly said: “We can get a blood test for it but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that and perhaps look for a small, Asian female doctor, is probably the best way.”

4. Jill Meagher, an ABC journalist and Melbourne woman whose murder late last year sparked nationwide attention, is apparently not ‘notable’ enough to warrant a Wikipedia page. The online encyclopaedia currently houses a description of the media coverage of Meagher’s death and the circumstances leading up to it. Wikipedia has asked for feedback from readers of the site, as to whether the page dedicated to Meagher’s disappearance and death should be taken down.

5. Senator for South Australia and Liberal Party member Cory Bernardi is being asked to stand down as chair of a parliamentary committee that looks into politician’s public declarations. The call has come after Seantor Bernardi failed to mention in his own disclosure that he has links to a right-wing group that is anti-gun control and pro-tobacco.

Miss Pat with Mr Squiggle

6. Australian movie producer and previous (non-puppet) co-host of Mr Squiggle, Patricia Lovell, has died aged 83. Ms Lovell produced some of Australia’s most iconic films, including Picnic at Hanging Rock and Gallipoli. However she was best known as Mr Squiggle’s 1960s and 70s sidekick Miss Pat.

7. The owners of Melbourne’s Raccoon Club have banned children from entering their establishment. The club, in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Preston reportedly offers an extensive beer menu and live music but absolutely no colouring pencils and paper. Anyone aged under 18 is not allowed onto the premises and the owners maintain there will be absolutely no exceptions.

8. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s Defence Minister claims that it has successfully sent a monkey into space. The country says this is its first step towards being able to send a human-controlled shuttle into orbit. Scientists have voiced concern that this same technology could be used to launch ballistic missiles.

9. 230 people are dead after a fire in a nighclub in Santa Maria, Brazil. The majority of the dead were university students and early reports state that the fire was sparked by a pyrotechnics display from the live band.

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