news

Wednesday's news in under 5 minutes.

We’ve got a complete round-up of all the latest news from around Australia and across the world.

1. Anti-vaxxers set up fake Church

The newest scam from the anti-vaccination campaigners is the creation of a fake Church which encourages people to join so they can bypass the “no jab, no play” childcare laws.

The Church gives ant0-vaxxers a way to exploit the loophole.

Currently in NSW, and soon to be introduced in Victoria, these laws mean parents must vaccinate their children to attend childcare or preschool – unless they lodge a conscientious objection where parents declare they have a medical reason or personal, philosophical or religious objection to vaccinations.

In order to lodge the conscientious objection, parents must take a Medicare form to a GP to receive counselling about the risks and benefits of immunisation. The doctor can then be asked to sign the form, which must be sent to the federal government’s department of human services.

In order to claim Family Tax benefit A the same form must be lodged.

The Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network Inc recommended in 2013 on its Facebook page for people to join the “Church of Conscious Living” which they say is a religion that is opposed to vaccination in order to exploit the loophole.

Fairfax Media reports that the Church of Conscious Living is not registered as a church or charity with the federal government’s Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, “but rather a business with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission” which has been set up for people to claim exemption from vaccination.

“We have decided to create a ‘religion’, so, amongst other things, we can claim ‘religious exemption’, if the need ever arises, for ourselves and our children, “says an AVN newsletter from December 2007.

For more on this issue, see this post here.

2. Islamic State: Japan vows to work with Jordan to secure release of IS hostage Kenji Goto

by ABC

Japan has vowed to work with Jordan to secure the release of a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State militants after the killing last week of another Japanese captive.

But Tokyo has reiterated it would not give in to terrorism.

A video reportedly released by Islamic State on Tuesday made threats to kill the hostage and a Jordanian pilot within 24 hours.

Senior Japanese officials met early on Wednesday as authorities were attempting to verify the video which purportedly featured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

The hostage crisis has become a test for prime minister Shinzo Abe, who took power in 2012 pledging to bolster Japan’s global security role.

Mr Abe on Sunday condemned the killing of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa as “outrageous” and called for the release of veteran correspondent Kenji Goto, captured by Islamic State militants in Syria.

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“We would like to work together with the Jordanian government to secure the release of Goto,” state minister for foreign affairs Yasuhide Nakayama told reporters in Jordan.

Mr Nakayama was sent to Jordan last week to deal with the crisis.

The militants have dropped a ransom demand.

They now say they will free Mr Goto in exchange for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a convicted Iraqi suicide-bomber, from prison in Jordan.

The militants captured a Jordanian pilot after his plane crashed during US-led coalition bombing in eastern Syria in December and Mr Nakayama said he hoped Japan and Jordan could work together for his release too.

“The release of this pilot as soon a possible is also an issue for us Japanese,” Mr Nakayama said.

“Both our nations have to work together to ensure that both the pilot and the Japanese hostage return to their respective homes with smiles on their faces.”

A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission.

3. Thousands gather to remember Holocaust victims

Thousands of people are gathering at events worldwide to remember the Holocaust – exactly 70 years after the liberation of the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp.

Over 300 Auschwitz survivors attend the commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. ( Getty images)

Almost 300 survivors from 17 countries gathered at Auschwitz to attend a ceremony at the concentration camp.

1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed there between 1940 and 1945.

Ronald S Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, told the commemoration: “Jews are targeted in Europe once again because they are Jews…”

“Once again young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes [skullcaps] on the streets of Paris, Budapest, London and even Berlin.”

Film director Steven Spielberg who attended spoke of the need to always remember the atrocities of Auschwitz.

He was attending the unveiling of a new memorial called the ‘Pillars of Remembrance’ at the site.

4. Bali 9 appeal

As Indonesian President Joko Widodo confirms his tough stance on drugs a lawyer acting for Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan is preceding with a last ditch appeal.

A last ditch appeal

President Widodo told CNN “In one year, it’s 18,000 people who die because of narcotics. We are not going to compromise for drug dealers. No compromise. No compromise.”

Indonesian lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, acting for the Bali 9 duo has said that he is filing a judicial review – a PK later this week.

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“I will still file a second PK because I do believe (there’s) a misapplication of the law, serious mistakes by previous judges,” he said.

“Then there are changes that have taken place at Kerobokan Prison in the case of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.”

Mr Lubis says the pair have achieved a remarkable rehabilitation, and inspired improvement in the jail and fellow inmates.

 5. Derryn Hinch says Bali 9 duo should be executed

Media personality Derryn Hinch has called a video which pleads for clemency for the Bali 9 “hypocritical”.

“People like Alan Jones, Germaine Greer, Asher Keddie, David Wenham, they’ve all lined up and they’ve all signed up, and I think it’s hypocritical“ he said.

In the ‘I Stand For Mercy’ campaign Australian celebs calls for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to be spared the death penalty.

In his own video Derryn Hinch has said that he has no sympathy for the two young men saying they ran the risk when they attempted to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Hinch says, “ I support the death penalty for some crimes…but in cases of rapists, child murderers, people who kill policemen, people who kill prison guards, and terrorists, the death penalty should stand. “We should have the death penalty in Australia. If we had a referendum, if Tony Abbott had the guts to do it, 75 per cent of Australians would agree with me.”

The I stand for Mercy campaign:

 6. Abbott leadership under pressure

The fallout from the knighting of Prince Phillip may be the Prime Minister’s head with reports around this morning that several backbenchers have lost faith in Mr Abbott’s political judgment and leadership abilities.

The Courier Mail quotes a senior senior Liberal who says “People talk about a prime minister going under a bus, but you don’t expect him to be driving it.’’

7. Robert Allenby responds

Australian golfer Robert Allenby has faced the press in the US and has stuck to his story that he was kidnapped, assaulted and robbed.

“I never lied to anyone”.

He said ” The No. 1 thing that you all should remember is that my story has stayed exactly the same as the way I told it. I told you what i knew and what someone told me. I never lied to anyone. ”

“What has been blown out of proportion is that I was the victim and all of a sudden you’re putting all the blame on me.”

Allenby says he has no memory of the time between 11:06 to 1:27 a.m and that “I think at the end of the day, I was in a place having a nice dinner, having a nice night and then I became a victim and now it’s all being turned around.”

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8. Dog attack

A five-year old girl viscously attacked by a pit-bull cross as been left with permanent scars.

Five-year old Alexis.

Her mother has spoken to the media about how she tried in vain to contact council and police about the attack but for three days no one responded to her calls.

For more read this post here- warning the post contains graphic images.

 9. Historic US Storm

New Yorkers have missed the worst of it as a historic storm, named Juno hits the northeast of the US.

New York received only 30cm of snow dumped – nothing like the 90cm predicted, and the weather service has apologised for getting it wrong.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Szatkowski tweeted “My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public. This is a big forecast miss.”

Long Island received 40cms and Suffolk County, which includes Montauk had blizzards like conditions.

 10. Hyde Park Rape

Warning: This item contains details of a rape and may be distressing for some readers.

A Sydney court has heard that an 18-year old rape victim was told that if she went along with the rape the accused rapist would not kill her.

Joseph Stephen Rosenburg, 51, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of sexual intercourse without consent and three counts of indecent assault.

An 18-year old woman says that after drinking at a popular Sydney bar she got into a taxi with an unknown man late on August 29, 2013.

According to the Crown Prosecutor the taxi stopped and drove away as the woman got out alone and vomited, before she lay down near a building across the road from Hyde Park.

Fairfax Media reports that the accused is said to have assaulted the woman forcing her into oral sex and anal sex, knowing she did not consent.

The woman asked Mr Rosenburg, “Are you going to kill me?” and he replied, “No, I’m not going to kill you if you go with it”, the court heard.

Yesterday in court it was revolved that during the assault the woman sent several text messages to a friend saying “I’m being tapes [sic]. Help.”

The defence barrister Ken Averre said that his client did not dispute DNA found on the young woman was his, but that it was consensual.

If you need help please phone the sexual assault hotline on 1800 737 723

11. Facebook Instagram outage

Hackers have tried to claim credit for the 48 minute outage of Facebook and Instagram last night, but Facebook have said it was just a technical fault.

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Online group Lizard Squad said they shut down the two sites with a targeted attack but a spokesperson for Facebook told the BBC it was not a hack.

“Earlier this evening many people had trouble accessing Facebook and Instagram,” a spokeswoman told the BBC.

“This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems.

“We moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone.”


12. A blogger accused of murdering her five-year old son by salt poisoning is on trial in the US.

27-year old Lacey Spears who blogged about her son as he was dying is charged with depraved murder and manslaughter in the death of Garnett-Paul Spears.

Lacey and her son Garnett.

“This mother was intentionally feeding her child salt at toxic levels,” prosecutor Doreen Lloyd said.

Her online following on Facebook, My Space and on her own personal blog followed her journey as a single mother supporting her sick child.

The Journal News reports that Lacey’s blog doted on Garnett to the point of obsession.

Lacey Spears told friends that Garnett had “failure to thrive” — a catch-all term for children who don’t eat enough and had a feeding tube inserted as a baby.

In the first year of his short life Garnett, was in the hospital 23 times, once for five weeks.
 All these incidences chronicled in detail on social media.

Her massive following supported her through each hospitalisation and each life upheaval.

On January 23rd 2009 he died in hospital after his sodium levels rose to a dangerous point leading to a swollen brain, seizures and death.

Prosecutors say that Lacey administered salt through a feeding tube into Garnett’s stomach.

 13. Calm down parents it’s just the school run

With school starting back in many states today and tomorrow there has been a call by the Victorian government for parents on the school run to calm down.

Calm down on the school run.

The Age reports that the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said. “I think far too many parents think the most important thing in the world is their endeavours. They need to be aware what’s going on. They need to be aware that school children are hard to see.

“Parents need to calm down … It’s about abiding by the rules, taking your time, and calmly getting your children to school, so that we don’t have any more fatalities.”

School zones are amongst the most dangerous stretches of road in Victoria according to official figures.

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 14. Andy Murray knocks Nick Kyrgios out of Aussie Open.

Andy Murray has knocked out Nick Kyrgios in the Australian Open with a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 victory.

The Scotsman praised our Aussie star saying, “He’s going to need time to develop and he’s doing a good job.

“He’s got a world-class serve, he has a great serve with an easy motion. He’s an incredible talent.

“He could be a little more intense at times but not many people have done what he’s done at that age.”

15. Indonesian president says he won’t issue a last-minute reprieve for Chan and Sukumaran

By ABC News

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has declared he will not be pressured to issue a last-minute reprieve for two Bali Nine drug traffickers on death row.

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are due to be executed after appeals for clemency were rejected.

Indonesian lawyers were hoping for a judicial review but Mr Widodo has told CNN nothing would change his hardline stance against drug dealers.

“Imagine every day we have 50 people die because of narcotics, in one year it’s 18,000 people because of narcotics,” he said.

“We are not going to compromise for drug dealers. No compromise, no compromise.

“The decision of death penalty is on the court. But they can ask for amnesty to the president but I tell you there will be no amnesty for drug dealers.”

A version of this post originally appeared on the ABC website and has been republished with permission.

16. Prime Minister Abbott promises to consult more in future.

By ABC News

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised to consult more widely before awarding any future knighthoods.

Mr Abbott has responded to the uproar over his decision to award a knighthood to Prince Philip without consulting any of his colleagues.

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, Mr Abbott said he stood by the decision but accepted that some people disagreed with the appointment.

“I accept it’s been a contentious decision, I absolutely accept that. I absolutely respect people’s rights to disagree with my call on this,” he said.

“I respect their right to be critical, that’s what you get in a democracy such as ours and I take it on the chin.”

Mr Abbott said the decision was made for good reasons but he had learnt the lesson that there needed to be wider consultation about the awards in the future.

A version of this post originally appeared on the ABC website and has been republished with permission.

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