Wednesday's news in under 5 minutes

Oscar Pistorius to undertake mental health assessment

Oscar Pistorius‘ application to undertake a mental health assessment has been approved by the court. The order was granted following Pistorius’ diagnosis with anxiety disorder. Such assessments typically last 30 days and take place in in a mental health facility.

Former Paralympian Pistorius is currently on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The court will adjourn until next Tuesday, when a full ruling on the referral will be given.

Over 200 dead in Turkish mine blast

At least 201 people have died following an explosion in a mine shaft in western Turkey. A total of 787 miners became trapped underground in the Menisa mine following the disaster on Tuesday. 80 people have been rescued alive, while hundreds remain underground.

Geoff and Sara Huegill have reportedly pleaded guilty to drug possession charges.

The news was tweeted by 9 News reporter Kelly Fedor just before 10am this morning.

The former Olympic swimmer, 35, and his PR professional wife, 30, appeared in Waverly local court this morning in relation to cocaine found on the pair at the Randwick races earlier this year.

Security guards at the racecourse allegedly found the couple with cocaine in a private suite at the running of the Champagne Stakes.

For more background on the story, see here.

The Treasurer admits the budget will be unpopular.

1. Budget 2014

Treasurer Joe Hockey has delivered what many are calling a horror budget with cuts unlike most Australians have seen before.

His overall aim is to reduce the budget deficit from $29.8 billion in 2014-15 to $2.8 billion in 2017-18.

Key budget measures include:

  • All Australians to pay at least $7 for GP visits, blood tests and X-rays.
  • General patients to pay $5 more and concessional patients 80¢ more for prescription drugs.
  • Family Tax Benefit B will no longer be available when a family’s youngest child turns six and the income threshold will be reduced to $100,000.
  • Low-income single parents will get a new $750 supplement a year for each child aged between six and 12.
  • Childcare Rebate to remain at $7,500 per child.
  • Massive cuts for public hospital funding and states given power to charge for emergency department.
  • A deregulation of uni fees.
  • Pension age will increase to 70 by July 1, 2035.
  • Enforced six-month waiting period for under 30s signing on for the dole.
  • Cutting of 16,500 public service jobs.
  • $525 million for a “green army”, $40 million over four years for the Great Barrier Reef and $2.1 million for solar projects in local communities.
  • Foreign aid to be cut by $8 billion.
  • $43.5million cuts to ABC and SBS and abolition of Australian Network.

For more, see this post.

 2. Search for MH370

The search for missing jet MH370 will cost the government up to $89.9 million, last night’s budget revealed.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which was established to oversee the search, will cost $2 million over two years and the Department of Defence will receive a cash boost of $27.9 million over two years for the cost of its role in the search for the plane.

3. Rolf Harris trial

The first witness in the trial of entertainer Rolf Harris has faced tough cross-examination.

The 84-year-old Australian artist and singer is charged with 12 counts of indecently assaulting the woman and three other girls from 1968 to 1986.

His alleged victims were aged between seven or eight and 19 when the offences are said to have taken place.

He has denied all charges.

The first witness was shown a diary entry she made on one of the occasions when she said Harris abused her, and defence lawyer Sonia Woodley QC asked why the entry failed to mention “anything unpleasant happening” on the day.

“You said the day was great. You didn’t give any clue or hint of unhappiness,” Ms Woodley QC said.

The woman replied: “I wouldn’t put it in a diary… I made it seem better in the diary.”

The trial continues.

4. Oscar Pistorius trial

The Oscar Pistorius trial is in its last few days

The judge in the trial of Oscar Pistorius will today announce whether she will allow the prosecution’s request that the paralympian accused undergo a mental observation.


The prosecution formally requested the evaluation after a defence psychiatrist told the court that Pistorius suffered from an anxiety disorder.

The defence is resisting the move, which it argues is “manifestly absurd”.

5. Teenagers charged with sexual assault

Three 13-year-old boys have been charged with sexual assault over an attack on a 21-year-old woman in Cairns on 1 May.

The three will be dealt with under the Youth Justice Act.

6. Model’s fiancé breaks down in court

Model Samantha Harris and Luke Hunt

The fiancé of model Samantha Harris has broken down in court as he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

Luke William Hunt, 28, and Samantha Harris were driving in their Commodore when it crashed into another vehicle, killing a 78-year-old man in Sydney last year.

Luke Hunt cried as he told the family of the man that he is “truly sorry”.

He could face up to 10 years in jail.

Hunt will be sentenced at a later date.

7. Horror footage of child falling under train

A Melbourne woman has endured the unthinkable as her toddler slipped from her arms while she exited a train and fell through the gap.

The woman was pushing a pram and carrying her toddler when the child, aged about two, fell from her arms.

CCTV footage shows the mother frantically attempting to rescue her child from the gap, while other passengers try to stop the train from exiting the station.

Metro spokeswoman Larissa Tait told The Herald Sun it was a “scary experience” but the girl was unharmed.

8. Judge rules that forcible marital sex is not rape

A Delhi court has ruled that sex between a husband and wife, “even if forcible, is not rape”.

The judge’s decision upheld Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which does not recognise that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age,” could be rape.

The case before the court involved a Delhi woman who had accused a man of drugging her, abducting her and taking her to register their marriage.

Afterward, she told the court, he raped her.

The man said the couple was married in 2011 at the woman’s home in Delhi in the presence of her family and that they had decided to register with the court only last year on the insistence of the woman.

The judge dismissed the case.

9. Bali drug accused ‘wants to go home’

New Zealand-born woman Leeza Ormsby, in jail in Bali awaiting official drugs charges, has told the media in Bali that she “just wants to go home”.

She was taken to the prosecutor’s office for a formal handover of her case yesterday, in a move signalling that her case will go before Denpasar District Court within weeks.

It is not yet known what charges she will face.

10. Ben’s bucket list

A nine-year-old boy who is going blind is racing to see as much of art, nature and the world before his sight is lost completely.


Ben Pierce has created a bucket list of things he wants to see.

For more, read this post.

11. Peaches Geldof home ransacked

Heartache for the family of Peaches Geldof

The home of Peaches Geldof has been ransacked by thieves twice since she died, UK media report.

The first time thieves stole a red ride-on lawnmower, which has been featured in treasured images of Peaches and her sons.

It was reported last month that Peaches’ husband Tom, 23, was planning to sell their home.

 12. Abortions on the rise with over-35s

A report in The Daily Mail claims that women over 35 who think they can’t get pregnant are increasingly seeking out abortions.

Experts have told the paper that increasing numbers of women in their late 30s and 40s are having abortions because they had wrongly assumed they were too old to become pregnant.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service blames repeated warnings by fertility experts that women are “leaving it too late”.

“Fertility does decline as you get older but the drop is not as great as we are sometimes led to believe,” the Service said.

“For women who don’t want to fall pregnant, the message is simple: use contraception until you have passed your menopause.”

In the UK, more women over 40 are becoming pregnant than girls under 18.

13. Four-year-old boy’s weight loss surgery

The boy has now lost over 12 kilos

A four-year-old boy has become one of the youngest person ever to undergo weight loss surgery.

The boy’s father said, “He was so fat he could only sleep lying down for 10 minutes before he’d wake up in the night.”

“He had severe breathing issues and he was always gasping for breath. We feared he wouldn’t be alive for his next birthday.”

The child underwent a two-hour operation where 70 per cent of his stomach was removed.

The boy weighed close to 45 kg at the time of his surgery and has dropped over 12 kg over six months.

14. Russia has banned ‘The Sims’ for players under 18.

Russia has continued their spree of irrational and homophobic legislation, and given kids computer game The Sims 4 an 18+ rating.

Why? Because the characters can be gay.

Homosexuality and the so-called ‘promotion of homosexuality’ is illegal in Russia, and so a Kremlin-appointed body has marked The Sims 4 as ‘harmful’. The country’s strict anti-gay laws forbid children being exposed to same-sex relationships.

An earlier incarnation of the game –The Sims 3 – was deemed to be appropriate for ages six and up, despite also featuring same-sex relationships. Some users in Russia have since called for separate games to be made – those that feature same-sex relationships, and those that don’t.

Electronic Arts spokesman Deborah Coster said, “We have no plans to alter The Sims 4.One of the key tenets of The Sims is that it is up to the player to decide how to play the game.We provide the simulation sandbox and player choice and creativity does the rest.”

What news are you talking about today?

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