Friday's news in under 5 minutes.

1. Cairns nurse tested for Ebola is cleared


56-year old Sue-Ellen Kovack had recently returned to Australia after a month long stay in Sierra Leone.

She had been working with the Red Cross treating Ebola patients.

National guidelines require medical personal to be in quarantine after they return from Ebola hot spots – and she had been monitoring her temperature twice a day.

When she realized she had a low grade fever, measures were put in place to bring her to Cairns hospital and to conduct a blood test.

QLD Chief Health officer Dr Jeanette Young has said the tests came back negative

“I do not think we will have an outbreak in Australia.” QLD Chief Health officer Dr Young told media. 

The Nurse told the ABC in September, before she left for Sierra Leone.

“I believe my past working history has given me the skills to help out in this humanitarian emergency, which is turning into an epidemic of catastrophic proportions,”

“Ebola is absolutely survivable.”

 2. British man dies of Ebola

Meanwhile a British man in Macedonia has died of Ebola. The Telegraph reports that he had travelled from the UK earlier this month.

His body has been sent to Germany for confirmation of the disease.

3. Mother of nine jailed for shaking baby

The mother is eligible for parole in May.

A mother of nine has been jailed for killing her seven-week-old son, one of twins, to stop him crying.


The QLD mother at first denied she harmed the boy but admitted the crime two months later saying she jerked the baby back and forth a few times, saying “Stop it, stop crying”.

Police says she told the officer “You’re not like me. Sometimes you wish you could meet other parents like yourself who get angry and frustrated. It’s like a wave just comes over you.”

The court heard the mother was “ill-equipped” for parenthood and had eight other biological children she was caring for alone.

Her barrister, Joshua Trevino told the court that at the time of the boy’s death she was looking after a two-year-old and the newborn twins alone.

She was sentenced to seven years jail and will be eligible for parole in May next year.

 4. MH17: Did some passengers know their fate?

At least one passenger – an Australian – on board MH17 has been found with an oxygen mask around his neck indicating that passengers may have been aware of their fate.

A preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board said that the aircraft’s wreckage suggested small objects had penetrated the aircraft in both the cockpit and forward sections. Holes were also found on the cockpit floor. Through analysis, the damage to the body of the aircraft is consistent with “high-energy objects” piercing the aircraft from the outside.

BNO News reports that Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has said some of the passengers and crew on board may have remained conscious after the aircraft was shot down.


5. Mother thought to be trapped in Lebanon arrives in court

Mahassen Issa and her new (alleged) husband, Mohammad Awick.

A woman – thought to be trapped in Lebanon facing adultery charges has shown up at a court in Sydney.

29-year-old Mahassen Issa had told media in July that she was stuck in Lebanon after being charged with adultery when she flew there to visit her new partner.

She appeared in court in Sydney yesterday over an AVO she had taken out against her former husband but was unwilling to state how she had fled Lebanon. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that she had signed a deal with a current affairs program to tell her story.

 6. Teens and binge drinking

A study has shown that teenagers who binge drink are more likely to be truants, but that their academic performance is not greatly harmed.

The study in the Journal of School Health showed that there was no evidence alcohol use was harmful to academic performance

Australian Catholic University Professor Sheryl Hemphill told The Herald Sun “It is possible that chronic alcohol use affects academic performance — we didn’t measure that here but it is an important focus for future research.

“The findings suggest that if we’re going to do something to improve school outcomes we need to address a range of factors, not just alcohol.”

7. Teacher who asked 10 y/o boy to have sex is spared jail.

A teacher who asked a 10-year old boy to have sex with her and tattooed his name on her chest has avoided serving a jail term.

County Court judge Mark Taft in Warrnambool told the primary school teacher and mother of eight Diane Brimble that she had breached the trust reposed in you by the boy’s parents who properly expected that a classroom teacher would care for their son in a professional manner,”


The court heard that Brimble hugged the boy when he was at her house and asked him if he wanted to sleep with her.

The boy asked her what that meant and she replied, sex.

As he pushed her away he told her that he was not old enough for sex but Brimble told him, “You are when you are at my house.”

The Age reports that the judge put her on the sex offender’s registry for eight years as well giving her two-year community correction order and 200 hours of unpaid community work.

She also cannot work as a teacher.

8. Royal Commission: Hillsong

Brian Houston before the inquiry

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard that the day Hillsong Church leader Brian Houston found out his father was a pedophile.

He said it was a day he would never forget.

“I cried, went home,”

The inquiry is examining evidence that the Hillsong church ignored the rules when dealing with the abuse allegations against William Francis ‘Frank’ Houston.

For more read this post here.

 9. Child bride case

A man accused of marrying and having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl has pleaded guilty to ongoing child sex abuse.


The 27-year-old man who police allege “married the young girl in an Islamic ceremony in the NSW Hunter Valley” pleaded guilty to one count of persistent sexual abuse of a child.

The Daily Mail reports that the man faces a 25-year maximum jail sentence.

10. Teachers banned from saying “boys and girls.”

Not boys and girls but purple penguins.

Schools in the Nebraska area in the US have banned the use of the word “boys” and “girls” in a bid for gender inclusiveness.

Teachers have been told not to use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention.

Instead they should say “purple penguins” or “hey campers”.

The handout suggests that boys and girls no longer line up as boys or girls but teachers should segregate the children by whether they prefer skateboards or bikes, or whether they like milk or juice.

“Always ask yourself, ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?

Teachers are encouraged to provide an opportunity for every student to identify a preferred name or pronoun,”

“At the beginning of the year or at Back-to-School Night, invite students and parents to let you know if they have a preferred name and/or pronoun by which they wish to be referred.”

11. Muslim mum verbally attacked

A Muslim mother has been verbally attacked in a Melbourne playground, and a Sydney mum wearing a headscarf has had her pram spat on – just two examples of over 30 racially motivated attacks since the terror raids several weeks ago.


The Age reports that Muslim community leaders have compiled the list of abuse.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay has called for the Muslim community to reports such attacks.

“Whilst we’re hearing it anecdotally, without getting the actual data we’re not getting the opportunity to take these people before the court, to charge them, to publicize what they’re doing and thereby increasing the level of reporting,”

“Overwhelmingly it’s covered women who are being insulted, threatened, challenged, about the way they look.  Those sort of assaults they’re cowardly, they’re against vulnerable people.”

 12. Students encouraged to wee in the shower to save costs

An innovative idea?

Students at a University in the UK are being encouraged to urinate in the shower to save water.

The campaign by the University of East Anglia in Norwich has been called #Gowiththeflow.

Students are being asked to declare their participation via social media.

The belief is that by wee-ing in the shower the university will save $230,000 a year reports the BBC.

The student who came up with the idea, Chris Dobson said “We’ve done the maths, and this project stands to have a phenomenal impact.

Imagine how big an impact it could have if we could get everyone in East Anglia, or even the UK, to change their morning habits.

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