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Thursday's news in under 5 minutes.

We’ve rounded up all the latest stories from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.

1. Adelaide student says he killed his demanding mother in self-defence after a dispute about piano practice.

An Adelaide student admits he killed his mother, but claims it was in self-defence after the pair fought about him not wanting to practice the piano, a court heard.

Wei “Daniel” Li, 22, told a jury his mother, Emma Mae Tian, 41, yelled and screamed at him and then “came at me out of nowhere” with something in her hand, the ABC reports.

“I think she wanted to kill me, I had to fight back, I had to stop her,” he told the South Australian Supreme Court.

The law student said he was unable to reason with his mother and could not remember anything beyond that point.

The court heard Ms Tian suffered more than 50 injuries and was hit with a metal pole and strangled in the March 2011 attack at the family home.

Li said his mother “meant everything to (him)” and he wrapped her bloodied body in sheets on the lounge room floor “out of respect”.

He said he began playing the piano at age three and his mother wanted him to reach a professional standard. He also said he would get “a beating” if he didn’t get straight As.

The court heard Li had searched topics including stabbing, tying knots, avoiding police and mobile phone tracking on his laptop around the time his mother died.

He was located in China three years after the alleged murder.

2. Man who lost family in horror car smash in India dies.

An Adelaide restaurateur who lost his entire family when a tyre blew out on their hire car on a highway in India has passed away.

Rupen Dutta died in hospital in India’s capital New Delhi, a friend of the family confirmed to Fairfax Media.

His wife, sister-in-law, and three children all died in the accident earlier this month, and his father-in-law died of a heart attack in hospital after learning of the deaths of his daughters and granddaughters.

The family was on their way to the Taj Mahal when a tyre burst on their and they lost control of the vehicle.

“It’s just so sad and feels like complete waste of life … The whole family’s gone now, all five of them,” one friend said.

“RIP dear Rupen and Anamika, and the kids.”

3. Cate McGregor apologises for saying David Morrison was a “weak and conventional” choice for Australian of the Year.

Australian of the Year finalist Cate McGregor has apologised for saying her former colleague and Army chief David Morrison was a “weak and conventional choice” for the top honours.

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Ms McGregor told the Star Observer Mr Morrison had plenty to learn about lesbian, gay and transgender issues.

“I felt really sad that they [the National Australia Day Council] did not have the courage to go with an LGBTI person,” she said.

David Morrison gave a rousing speech while accepting the award on Monday night. Screenshot via ABC.

“I think I’ll die without seeing a trans Australian of the Year and I think that’s terribly sad.”

Ms McGregor said Mr Morrison “dead-named” her (referred to her by former male name), which she believed was not malicious but “shows a lack of skill on trans issues”.

She has since apologised on Twitter for making the comments.

4. Only women turned up to run the US Senate following the weekend’s blizzard.

There were only a few US senators who showed up to work in Washington on Tuesday after the weekend blizzard – and they were all women.

Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski described the all-women session in the Senate, something she says was a coincidence, The Washington Post reports.

“As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber, the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female,” the Senator said.

“Something is genuinely different — and something is genuinely fabulous.

“Perhaps it speaks to the hardiness of women, that put on your boots and put your hat on and get out and slog through the mess that’s out there.”

5. Man charged over one-punch death of Brisbane teen Cole Miller denied bail.

A 21-year-old man facing life in prison over the one-punch death of Brisbane teenager Cole Miller has been denied bail.

Mr Miller, 18, died after he was allegedly punched in the head during the early hours of January 3 after a night out in Brisbane’s Fortitude valley.

Daniel Maxwell and Armstrong Renata were both charged with unlawful striking causing death.

Cole Miller, 18, died in an alleged one-punch attack on January 3.

A lawyer for Mr Maxwell yesterday argued his client did not deliver the fatal blow, but merely punched Mr Miller in the chest, the ABC reports.

The court heard the co-accused then punched Mr Miller from behind, knocking him to ground.

But prosecutors alleged Mr Maxwell instigated the altercation that led to the fatal blow.

His bail application was denied, an application his lawyer said would likely be revisited in the Supreme Court in coming weeks.

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6. Cars inundated and 18 people rescued in freaky flash flooding in Geelong.

Cars were completely submerged, buildings were damaged and 18 people required rescuing after a freak thunderstorm created flash flooding in Geelong, 75km south-west of Melbourne, yesterday afternoon.

News Limited reports the Bureau of Meteorology described the rainfall of more than 62mm in an hour, double the month’s average, as “equivalent to a one in one hundred year event”.

More than 53mm of the rain fell within half an hour.

The State Emergency Services received hundreds of phone calls as floods, hail and damage battered the port city of Geelong.

7. Australia’s human rights record under fire.

Australia’s asylum seeker policy was singled out for harsh criticism in Human Rights Watch’s annual World Report, published overnight.

The report looks at conditions in 90 countries around the world and concluded that Australia had much to do to repair its reputation.

“Australia has a solid record of protecting civil and political rights, with robust institutions and a vibrant press and civil society that act as a check on government power,” the report said.

“However, the government’s failure to respect international standards for asylum seekers and refugees continues to take a heavy human toll.”

It highlighted problems with Operation Sovereign Borders, and criticised the Government’s treatment of Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs.

The report also singled out Australia’s sweeping counter-terrorism laws, the plight of Indigenous Australians, disability rights and the continued denial of equal marriage rights for LGBTI couples.

Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, said Australia needed to lift its game.

“Australia needs to seriously rethink its abusive refugee policies and take steps to restore its international standing as a rights-respecting country,” he said.

8. Royal prank DJ back on air after three-year break.

Mel Greig, One of the two DJ’s at the centre of the “royal prank” phone call scandal three years ago, has returned to the airwaves.

Grieg has taken a new job hosting a regional New South Wales local radio station’s breakfast shift.

Her new position at Wave FM, in Wollongong, south of Sydney, started with a warm welcome from celebrities and other radio hosts.

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Greig began the gig this week, and fielded calls from fellow DJs Kyle and Jackie-O, as well as singer Sophie Monk.

She told listeners she had been thrilled with the support she had received on deciding to take up the position.

“People just won’t give me that chance. The biggest problem is we didn’t want to be aligned with that prank call. You know, if you start somewhere we’re going to get that bad reputation, we’re going to get people talking about it and rehashing it [but] it hasn’t happened with this. The press has been incredibly supportive and positive,” she said.

In 2012 Greig and her then co-host on 2Day FM’s breakfast show, Mike Christian made a prank call to the hospital where Kate Middleton was a patient, pretending to by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

The nurse who put the call through to the ward later suicided, blaming the call and triggering a series of inquiries and reviews.

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