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Monday's news in under 5 minutes

Calls for cars to have mandatory reversing cameras

1. Car reversing death

After the death of a 20-month old boy in Sydney on Friday from head injuries after he walked behind a reversing car in the driveway of his family home, doctors have called for reversing cameras to be fitted to all new cars and for driveways to be fenced off.

His mother was reportedly driving the car.

NSW opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald, a paediatrician told the SMH that

“Modern vehicles have astoundingly poor sight lines.”

He said it was not realistic to retrospectively fit cameras to all cars, but he called on the federal government to move towards having cameras in all new cars.

NRMA Insurance research manager Robert McDonald said blind spots on SUVs were no worse than sedans and other vehicles but SUVs were often involved in these accidents because they were a common family car.

2. Mother arrested over toddler death

The mother of a missing three-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the death of her son after his body was found in Scotland.

News of the search for Mikaeel Kular made international headlines over the past week with his mother telling police he had gone missing overnight last Thursday.

For more read this post here. “ Three-year old Mikaeel Kular found dead.”

3. Daniel Morcome trial

Daniel Morcombe

The parents of Daniel Morcombe – and his two brothers Dean and Bradley – will be amoung the first witnesses to take the stand in the trial of Brett Peter Cowan next month according to the Courier Mail.

Daniel was 13 when it is alleged he disappeared from an unofficial bus stop on December 7, 2003.

Cowan, 44, has been charged with his murder. His trial, which begins on February 10, is expected to take six weeks.

4. Mother accused of punching baby

A Townsville mother will appear in court today to face a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.

The mother allegedly punched her five-month old baby after it wouldn’t stop crying in its pram.

The baby girl was in hospital yesterday in a stable condition recovering from facial injuries.

The 29-year-old mother, from the suburb of North Ward, was arrested at the scene and remained in police custody last night.

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5. Child care subsidies

A report by Early Childhood Australia has shown that childcare subsidies are failing to keep up with the rising cost of childcare fees. The analysis reveled by News Limited found that a family with an income of $35,000 had 81 per cent of their childcare costs covered in 2009, with that figure projected to drop to 74 per cent by 2016.

Early Childhood Australia CEO Samantha Page said increasing out-of-pocket costs were making it harder for women to return to work after having children.

6. Asylum seeker cases in limbo

The Nauru government has sacked its only magistrate and denied its Australian chief justice a visa to re-enter the country.

The government moved without warning against the Australian magistrate Peter Law on Sunday, terminating his employment and escorting him in police custody to the airport.

Directions hearings involving about 40 asylum seekers charged with riot and wilful damage at the country’s detention centre last year were to be held this week but are now unlikely to proceed.

7. Putin speaks about gays

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia does not discriminate against gays and that millions of Russians love Sir Elton John “despite his orientation”.

With less than three weeks before the opening of the Sochi Olympics, Mr Putin told the BBC that Russia would welcome all athletes and visitors, regardless of their sexuality.

“People have different sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all guests of the Olympics,” he said.

8. Oscar Pistorius

News out of South Africa that Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s lawyers are negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the parents of Reeva Steenkamp.

The settlement could net them around 2 million rand ($209,000), News 24 reports.

Pistorius was charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, after gunning her down in their Johannesburg home on Valentine’s Day last year. Pistorius maintains his innocence, claiming he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

The sprinter will go on trial on March 3.

9. Beach tragedy

In New Zealand a seven-year old boy has died in a tragic beach incident in which the hole he was digging on the beach collapsed on him, suffocating him.

The accident happened at Pataua South Beach, near Whangarei in Northland, yesterday afternoon.

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The manager for St John Ambulance, Tony Devanney, told the NZ Herald “He was digging a hole and went down head first into the hole to have a look,” he said.

“It collapsed all around him and pinned him in there.

10. Australia’s clothing doesn’t fit

A body measurement and clothing fit expert has told The Age that Australia’s sizing practices are outdated and are leaving many consumers with ill-fitting clothes. US apparel fit expert Ed Gribbin, says the Australian clothing industry ”is very set in its ways” when it comes to dressing Australian men and women.

He says clothing brands here are reluctant to adopt the ”more progressive” fit grading practices being embraced by clothing manufacturers in other countries and as a result many local shoppers are missing out on the opportunity to buy clothes that fit them properly.

11. Do you know ‘Emily’?

A dying Sydney man is searching for his daughter that he never met – after a psychic told him she existed. Jerzy Broda is fighting prostate cancer in hospital and told told News Limited that he wanted to leave her $50,000 and say sorry.

The woman’s name is Emily, and she was born to Linda, in the Villawood area in 1975 or 1976. She is thought to still be in NSW.

He says he had a brief affair with her mother but never knew a daughter was born until he saw the psychic, and had it confirmed by old friends.

12. Stress, smoking linked to child’s outcome

Smoking during pregnancy can raise the chances of having a gay baby

In a new book a leading neuroscientist, Dick Swaab, professor of neurobiology at Amsterdam University, suggests that factors ranging from smoking to leading a stressful life can raise the chance of having a child who turns out to be gay.

Similarly smoking, drinking and taking drugs designed to combat depression during pregnancy can lower a child’s IQ, while living in an area with high levels of traffic pollution can raise the risk of autism.

He also makes a connection between alcohol and pregnancy.

“Even in women who drink just a glass of wine a day we see effects [such as] lower IQ and hyperactivity. There is no safe level.” He told the Sunday Times.

In Brief:

In tennis Australia’s Casey Dellacqua has been knocked out of the Australian open by Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard.

Serena Williams has been beaten by Ana Ivanovic.

What news are you talking about today?