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Saturday's news in under 5 minutes

What’s making news today?

1. Indonesian President says execution of Chan and Sukumaran will not be delayed. 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo says there will be no further delays in plans to execute the Bali Nine duo, despite this week’s postponement of their removal to the island where they are to be killed.

President Widodo insists that any delays so far have resulted from ‘technical issues’, and bear no relation to pressure from Australia on the matter, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

“This is our legal sovereignty,” Mr Widodo said at a press conference at the presidential palace on Friday. “This is only about technical matters.”

The President also said that he had been convinced by Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, that the Australian Prime Minister’s comments about aid to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami was not intended as a threat.

“She has explained that it wasn’t the intention. Actually we wanted to say something but since it has been explained, we cancelled it,” the President said.

Foreign Minister Bishop has also made a another plea for clemency for the Bali Nine pair, telling the SMH, “I said I hoped we could seek an indefinite stay of execution.”

The president’s comments do not bode well for Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

2. Reports Tony Abbott wanted to send Australian troops to go it alone against Islamic State.

The Weekend Australian is reporting that PM Tony Abbott suggested sending 3500 Australian troops to Iraq without the support of allies, so that Australia could combat Islamic State alone.

The paper reports that he raised it with his key advisers (including his chief of staff, Peta Credlin) and after hearing no objection, he raised it with senior military officials.

According to the Australian, the military officials were “stunned” by the suggestion and told the PM that it would be disastrous if Australian troops went it alone in Iraq, without the backing of NATO or the United States.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott did not confirm the story but said the government continues to monitor the situation in Iraq.

This report comes at an uncomfortable time for the Prime Minister who is seeking to reconnect with his backbench MPs after a series of unfortunate decisions that have been described as Abbott’s “captain’s picks”.

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3. Cyclone Marcia: Small towns are being evacuated as flood waters rise in Queensland.

Cyclone Marcia has been downgraded to a tropical low after cutting a path of destruction along central Queensland.

But heavy rain continues to fall across several regions and authorities are evacuating residents from the small town of Jambin, south of Rockhampton, as the Callide River floods.

The automatic gates at Callide Dam were triggered overnight, releasing water into the river, which has reached nine metres and is continuing to rise.

Several properties in the region have been inundated.

Sunwater says the dam is not built for flood mitigation and the gates are designed to open when the dam is full.

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Source: ABC News

A version of this article originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission.

4. Cyclone Lam: State of Emergency declared for NT communities hit hard by cyclone. 

Northern Arnhem Land communities remain without power, water or sewerage after bearing the brunt of ex-Tropical Cyclone Lam, which has moved inland and decayed to a monsoonal depression.

A state of emergency has been declared in communities worst hit by the cyclone, including Milingimbi, Ramingining, Galiwinku, Gapuwiyak and Mapuru Outstation.

Authorities have also warned of the potential for flooding in the town of Katherine, a regional hub 300 kilometres south of Darwin.

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Source: ABC News

At least six houses in Galiwinku on Elcho Island have been crushed by fallen trees, according to an email report from the island, and there has been widespread destruction in Milingimbi to the south.

There have so far been no reports of major injuries.

A version of this article originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission.

5. Thai Parliament passes law banning commercial surrogacy in wake of Baby Gammy.

The Thai Parliament has passed a law to ban ‘rent-a-womb’ commercial surrogacy in the wake of Baby Gammy and a string of similar recent cases.

The law prohibits the act of hiring women to carry foetuses to term, and aims to stop tourists travelling to Thailand for surrogacy purposes, reports The Guardian.

Wanlop Tangkananurak of the National Legislative Assembly said the new laws are intended to evade incidents such as the Baby Gammy Saga.

“Surrogacy business leaves too much long-term trouble for Thailand, so we are banning foreign couples from seeking surrogacy in our country to avoid being a hub and to prevent what we saw last year,” Tangkananurak said.

The issue of surrogacy was spotlighted last year after a West Australian couple were accused of leaving a twin boy, known as Baby Gammy, with his surrogate mother after they discovered he had Down Syndrome.

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Read more: The most gut-churning moments in the 60 Minutes interview with Gammy’s parents.

6. Islamic State: Perth university student joins terrorist fighters in the Middle East. 

A Perth university student has left Australia to join the Islamic State terrorist group, becoming the first known recruit for the militants from Western Australia.

Muhammed Sheglabo migrated from Libya in 2010 and had been studying economics at Murdoch University.

Last month, the 23-year-old told his parents he was going camping but instead he took a flight overseas.

Family members say they did not even know he had gone overseas until police told them.

Sheglabo is thought to be with IS forces at the Syria-Iraq border.

Earlier this month he used Twitter to say: “Pass my greetings to my family and tell them don’t cry, be happy, ur son is here.”

He has also posted photos of himself wearing combat clothing, and wielding knives and AK-47s.

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Source: ABC News

A version of this article originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission.

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