1. Boy dies in Santa’s arms.
A Santa Claus impersonator has told the heart-breaking story of a terminally-ill five-year-old boy dying in his arms when he visited him in hospital.
Eric Schmitt-Matzen, from Knoxville, Tennessee, who works as a part-time Santa impersonator, had been called by a nurse to short notice at the boy’s hospital bedside, News.com.au reports.
The boy and the man had been having a conversation about him being Santa’s “number one elf” when he passed away, Mr Schmitt-Matzen said.
“He kinda sat up and gave me a big hug and asked one more question: ‘Santa, can you help me?’”
“I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hugging and holding on to him.
“Everyone outside the room realised what happened. His mother ran in. She was screaming, ‘No, no, not yet!’ I handed her son back and left as fast as I could.”
Mr Schmitt-Matzen said he left the room in floods of tears and considered stopping his Santa gig after the heart-breaking experience.
However, after making another appearance he decided to carry on.
“When I saw all those children laughing, it brought me back into the fold. It made me realise the role I have to play. For them and for me.”
2. Sadistic father jailed for 19 years after torturing children.
A “sadistic” father who tortured and sexually abused four children at a remote South Australian property has been jailed for up to 25 years, according to AAP.
The man sexually assaulted his children, but also locked them in cages, tied them to trees and slammed their fingers in doors, a court has heard.
The abuse was committed over more than a decade at his house north of Port Augusta.
The 43-year-old was found guilty of his crimes, and on Monday sentenced to at least 19 years in prison.
3. SA police force hit with rape claims.
A damning report has rocked South Australia’s police force, with claims of rape and other sex attacks within its ranks.
One in three employees has been sexually harassed, according to the report, prompting SA Police Commission Grant Stephens to apologise and promise radical changes.
The report surveyed 2000 employees, and found that 20 employees said they were victims of sexual assault, including rape, in the past five years.
There were also several reports of sexual harassment.
“A male colleague offered to assist me in getting pregnant again,” one woman reported.
Another reported, “it was common for male officers to “rate” a victim or witnesses and female colleagues”.
4. Makers of ‘flushable’ wipes to face legal action.
Manufacturers of “flushable” wipes will face allegations they made misleading claims in Federal Court.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission brought the legal action against Kimberly-Clark in relation to their Kleenex Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths and Pental for their White King Power Clean Flushable Toilet Wipes, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The ACCC said claims like “flushable”, “able to be flushed in the toilet”, and “designed … [to] disintegrate in the sewage system” made consumers think the products acted like toilet paper, when they did not.
“This is a major matter for us, and the allegations we are making are extremely serious,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
5. How-to-vote card pushers could soon be stopped.
Party volunteers and unions could be banned from handing out how-to-vote cards at polling booths if the Federal Government goes ahead with plans it is considering.
It could mean how-to-vote cards are placed on a stand manned by registered volunteers.
The Herald Sun reports that several Liberal politicians are pushing for the change and that it has initial support from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Federal Member for La Trobe, Victoria, Jason Wood said he believed it was something “that needs to be looked at”.
“I’ve had so many people complain to me about aggressive behaviour at polling booths,” he said.
6. Eleven suspects arrested with links to Bastille Day truck massacre.
French police have arrested 11 people suspected of helping to arm the terrorist who crushed 86 people to death with a truck in Nice, sources close to the investigation said.
Tunisian extremist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd in Nice on Bastille Day earlier this year, injuring more than 400 people.
The ten suspects were arrested in various parts of Nice and another was detained in the western city of Nantes, News.com.au reports.
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