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Tuesday's news in under 5 minutes

1. WA Bushfires

52 homes have been lost

Over 52 houses have been lost and 500 people still await to return to their homes in the Perth Hills after bushfires devastated the area.

Anxious residents have been told they should be allowed to visit their properties this morning.

For more and to find out how you can help go to this post here ” Perth Hills bush fires. How you can help.”

2. Murder charge for Daniel Christie’s killer

Shaun McNeil, a 25-year-old builder, will face court today charged with murder after 18-year-old Daniel Christie’s life support was turned off on Saturday.

Daniel Christie was assaulted by a ‘cowards punch’ in Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve.

McNeil had already been charged with three counts of common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm over a series of alleged assaults on the night.

3. Arrests over Madeline McCann

In what the British media claim is a major breakthrough, detectives are preparing to make the first arrests over the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann.

The Mirror reports that three burglars who were operating in the area where she disappeared more than six years ago in Portugal made an unusual number of phone calls to each other in the hours after her disappearance.

The evidence had been known for some time but was written off by Portuguese detectives as irrelevant. Now Scotland Yard has requested permission to arrest the burglars to compel them to be interviewed.

4. Australian woman ‘martyred’ in Syria

Amira Karroum died in Syria

The first pictures have emerged of the Australian woman, Amira Karroum, who died in Syria over the weekend, and it has been revealed that her family thought she was in Copenhagen meeting her husband.

Her father, who runs a kebab shop on the Gold Coast, collapsed with a heart attack upon hearing of his daughter’s death.

Amira Karroum and her husband were killed inside a house near the city of Aleppo.

5. Heatwave continues

The heatwave continues across the country with Adelaide set for one of its fiercest bouts of temperatures on record, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting five consecutive days above 40C this week, peaking at 43C on Wednesday.

Melbourne is also in the grip of escalating temperatures, with temperatures set to reach 41C on Tuesday, dipping to 39C before ending the week on 40C.

Regional areas of South Australia, Victoria and NSW are experiencing even warmer temperatures. Broken Hill in NSW will bake in temperatures above 40C all week, according to the bureau.

6. Missing Eeva

Have you seen Eeva and her Dad?

Police and SES are preparing to search waterways and dams on the NSW North Coast today to try to locate missing four-year-old Eeva Dorendahl and her father, Greg Hutchings who have not been seen since they set off on a walk at Pottsville to meet the girl’s mother on Saturday. For more see this post.

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7. Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris is due back in court today in London charged with multiple sexual offences dating to the 1960s.

The 83-year-old will appear for a plea hearing ahead of his trial scheduled to begin in April.

Harris faces 16 charges, including 12 counts of sexual assault relating to four alleged victims. He will plead not guilty to all counts.

8. Melbourne Earthquake

A 2.7 magnitude earthquake hit Melbourne’s outer east yesterday rattling buildings and frightening residents.

Just before 4pm the tremor hit and lasted a few seconds. Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepsen told The Age the quake’s epicentre occurred 25km east of Melbourne, and residents within 20km of the tremor could have felt or heard the quake.

9. Billed for wife’s non-existent work

Fairfax Media are reporting that Alex Somlyay, a recently retired Liberal federal MP has defrauded taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars by paying his wife for non-existent work in his electorate office.

According to reports the MP billed taxpayers $69,157.15 for his wife’s employment during 2012-13 alone.

Mr Somlyay’s wife was not seen at work during the past three years nor did she complete any work out of the office during this period.

10. Obama’s marriage

Speculation over marriage troubles

Speculation is mounting in the US about the state of Barack and Michelle Obama’ marriage after the First Lady remained in Hawaii alone while the President returned to Washington with their daughters after the Christmas break.

The often questionable tabloid  The National Enquirer has ‘broken the news’ with a headline: “World exclusive: Obama marriage explodes!”

The Enquirer claims the first couple “are now sleeping in separate White House bedrooms”.

The rumours are threatening to overshadow the First lady’s upcoming 50th birthday party on Saturday.

Guests to the bash at the White House have been advised to EBYC – “eat before you come” – in a sign of the administration’s attempts to guard against any appearance of extravagance in continuing tough economic conditions.

11. Pope encourages breastfeeding in Church.

Pope Francis baptised 32 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday and told their mothers, including one who was married in a civil service rather than in church, to have no qualms about breast-feeding them there.

“If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here.” He said.

In Brief:

Controversy surrounding Liberal senator Cory Bernardi’ book has spurred it into another print run, publishers say they hope the book with reach the 10,000 copies mark.

In the Australian Open Lleyton Hewitt takes on Andreas Seppi today and Bernard Tomic plays Rafael Nadal.

What news are you talking about today?

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