news

Wednesday's news in under 5 minutes.

1. Christmas tragedy

The boy's family were helping build the Church.
The boy’s family were helping build the Church.

An 8-year old boy has died after being crushed by a concrete slab at a Church building site in Sydney.

News Limited report that the boy’s brother, Alalate Makafana has told of how he was helping his father erect a fence at the site when he heard one of the men “call out that someone was trapped”.

Tragically it was his brother, 8-year old Erwin Makafana.

Police have said that emergency services attended the location in Sydney’s south-west and immediately started treating the unconscious boy.

He was rushed to Liverpool Hospital, however he was pronounced dead a short time later. Police will now prepare a report for the coroner.

Initial inquiries suggest the boy was playing on a pile of concrete slabs, when some of the slabs slipped and fell on top of him.

2. Woman’s arm severed in balcony collapse

A woman’s arm has been severed in a balcony collapse on the NSW South Coast.

NSW Police say that five people fell from the first floor of the home in Manyana, near Mollymook, last night at about 6pm.

Three women, aged 79, 41 and 43 have been airlifted to hospital in a serious condition.

3. Prime Minister’s Christmas Message

The Prime Minister, alongside his wife Margie has urged Australians to think about those who have lost loved ones in his annual Christmas message.

“The last fortnight has been a heartbreaking time for our country. The thoughts and prayers of everyone are with those who are grieving this Christmas.” Mr Abbott said.

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten also put out a Christmas message thanking our soldiers serving overseas.

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4. Terrorism threat

Meanwhile in a press conference yesterday Mr Abbott warned Australians that our terror threat remains high.

He said that intelligence agencies had warned of a high level of chatter among groups being monitored.

“The terror threat remains ‘high’ and, as I’m sure you all understand, at this level an attack is likely,” the Prime Minister said.

“We don’t know when and how an attack may come but we do know that there are people with the intent and the capability to carry out further attacks.”

 The Australian reports that the National Security Committee of cabinet yesterday said the threat was being taken seriously.

Teams of tactical assault police will work throughout the Christmas period, patrolling Sydney’s west.

 5. Petrol prices helping consumers spend.

petrolLower petrol prices – which might just hit a 10-year low –  seems to have spurred consumers to spend more this Christmas according to the latest BDO Australian Retail Index.

The Australian reports that sales revenue for the period from December 1 to December 21 was 16 per cent higher than last year.

 6. Measles alert

By Bonnie Christian

Measles warning.
Measles warning.
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Two people who were infected with measles in Bali have returned to Perth, sparking a warning hundreds of people could have been exposed to the virus on the flight or at various locations around the city.

The two were holidaying with their family at the popular tourist destination when they contracted the disease.

They were contagious when they travelled on Air Asia flight QZ 548 from Denpasar to Perth on December 20.

Passengers who were on the flight may be at risk of developing measles.

Others may also have been exposed if they were at the following locations at the weekend:

Saturday 20:

•                     Perth Airport international terminal arrival area, early afternoon

•                     Dan Murphy’s bottle shop, Bull Creek; Pharmacy 777, and IGA supermarket in Willetton, 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Sunday 21:

•                     Olympic Medical Centre in South Street, Canning Vale, 9:00am to 9:30am

•                     Princess Margaret Hospital emergency department about 10am

WA’s Communicable Disease Control medical coordinator Paul Effler said if anyone thought they were in those areas at the time and developed a fever with other symptoms including a cough, runny nose or sore red eyes within the next two weeks, they should stay at home and consult their doctor.

He said anyone with the symptoms should call ahead and mention their possible contact with measles so they could be isolated when they arrived at the GP surgery or emergency department.

There have now been three cases of measles being contracted by West Australians in Bali in the last few weeks, and there have been a record number of cases this year, with 43 West Australians having been diagnosed with the virus.

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At least seven of those have been directly linked to Bali and one linked to Indonesia.

Dr Effler said measles was the most contagious disease known to humans.

“If you’re susceptible or you’re in the same area as someone as a measles case you will get it,” he said.

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

7. Happy Birthday Gammy

Happy Birthday Gammy
Happy Birthday Gammy

Gammy, the baby with down syndrome who was abandoned in Thailand by his Australian surrogate parents has celebrated his first birthday.

The Daily Mail reports that Gammy now lives in a “comfortable house paid for using part of the $250,000 raised for the family through public donations, which has new furniture, a television set, and plenty of kids’ toys.”

Peter Baines the founder of the charity handling Gammy’s medical and living expenses told The Daily Mail that Gammy was a healthy, happy boy who loves interacting with his brother.

“ He’s got a beautiful personality about him,” he said.

“It’s not right he be defined by health issues, or what happened to him, or the fact that he’s got Down syndrome.

“He’s getting fat like a little one-year-old should, now he’s over the worst of his health issues.”

 8. Cyclone Tracy Anniversary

Darwin is remembering the devastating impact that Cyclone Tracy had on the city – 40 years on.

The cyclone flattened Darwin, killed 66 people and injured hundreds more on Christmas Day 1974.

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The city will pause for a moment tomorrow to remember lives lost.

 9. Lemonade stall ban

An 11-year old girl in Bunbury West Australia has had her lemonade stall shut down after a council deemed her products “high risk.”

Chelsea Ruderforth’s mother said all her daughter wanted to do as make a bit of extra pocket money.

For more read this post here.

 10. Your Chrissy forecast

Santa is heading straight to Perth.
Santa is heading straight to Perth.

Perth looks set to have the best Christmas Day with a forecast of fine, sunny and 32 degrees.

Lucky you guys!

If you are in Melbourne you are set for a bit of the usual – some sun, some cloud and 22 degrees.

Sydney is set for a bit of a wet one. Sorry. Unsettled conditions with showers and thunderstorms.

Brissie is looking like having a hot one – 30 degrees, but cloudy.

Adelaide 20 degrees and showers.

Darwin 34 degrees with showers and thunderstorms

Hobart 21 degrees with showers

And Canberra 30 degrees and sunny spells.

Enjoy it Perth. The rest of us are envious.

11. Islamic State: ‘Traumatised’ Yazidi women attempting suicide after being sold as ‘sex slaves’, Amnesty International says.

By ABC

Women and girls from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority forced into sexual slavery by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group are “deeply traumatised”, Amnesty International says, with some attempting to take their own lives.

IS militants have overrun swathes of Iraq since June, declared a cross-border caliphate, also encompassing parts of neighbouring Syria, and carried out a litany of abuses in both countries.

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The group has targeted Yazidis and other minorities in north Iraq in a campaign that Amnesty International said amounted to ethnic cleansing, murdering civilians and enslaving others for a fate that some captives considered even worse than death.

Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera said Yazidi women and children who fled the Sinjar region last August were in “dire conditions”, particularly when it came to their psychological health.

“They have suffered unbelievable atrocities,” Ms Rovera said.

“They have also seen atrocities being committed on others, on their relatives … some of them have seen their relatives being killed.

“The greatest damage has been done to them as women and girls. They have been tortured, including by being raped and sexually abused.

“They have been forced to marry fighters from the Islamic State groups.

“They have been sold as sex slaves essentially.”

Amnesty said that many of the perpetrators were IS fighters, but may also have included supporters of the group.

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

12. Daredevil recreated UP!

Oh how much fun does this look?

A daredevil is the US has been lifted 2.5km into the air with the help of 90 colourful, helium-filled balloons tied to a deckchair in scenes reminiscent of the movie UP.

13. Homeopathy plus! misled consumers

In a win we can all celebrate an online homeopathy business who told consumers the whooping cough vaccine was “unreliable at best” and “largely ineffective” has been found to have breached Australian consumer law.

News Limited report that yesterday the federal court ruled the business, “Homeopathy Plus!”  engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

The company had claimed that the vaccine for Whooping cough was ineffective, trying to connive consumers that homeopathic treatments were an effective alternative.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told News Limited:

“We were worried if people were reading these kind of statement they would choose not to have the vaccine and rely on one of these homeopathic treatments.”

“There are real public safety risks that come from that kind of statement.”

The matter returns to court in February where the company could face up to a $1.1 million fine.

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 14. Santa countdown

Despite a set back for Rudolph Santa is ready.
Despite a set back for Rudolph Santa is ready.

Despite some wintery conditions in the North Pole it seems that all is on track for the big guy with the beard to take off this evening.

The North Pole Post reported that there were concerns Rudolph’s cruciate ligament injury would see hi out for this evening’s festivities but the elves have used an unusual mix of peppermint, chili seeds and elk milk to fix the elderly reindeer’s injury.

A spokesman for Santa Claus said, “The sleigh is nearly packed and the schedule is fixed. We are very excited to attempt to compete tonight’s route in record time.”

You can track Santa’s journey here. 

15. Two arrested as part of joint counter terrorism operation.

Two men have been arrested by police in Sydney as part of an ongoing counter-terrorism operation.

One 20-year old male from Regents Park has been arrested and charged for being in possession of documents designed to facilitiate a terrorist attack, ABC News reports.

“A document that was required to facilitate… an attack. The document talked about potential government targets and so on,” an AFP representative said at a press conference this morning.

A 21-year-old male from Eastwood has also been arrested for breaching a control order.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said members of the Joint Counter Terrorism Team made the arrests with NSW Police as part of Operation Appleby.

The men will face Parramatta Local Court today.

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

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