news

News in 5: Child actor reveals abuse; Free vaccines for kids; Swearing is good for you.

1. “Do good or I’ll hit you”: Former child star Macaulay Culkin on the reason he quit Hollywood.

macaulay culkin 2017 child actor home alone
Macaulay Culkin pictured in 2017. Image via Getty.

Home Alone star and breakout child star of the 90s, Macaulay Culkin has spoken for the first time of how he left Hollywood due to his "mentally and physically" abusive father.

Speaking to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, Macaulay - now aged 37 - said his father Kit regularly made threats to him as as young actor that included "do good or I'll hit you" and was jealous of his son's success.

"Everything [my dad] tried to do in life, I excelled at before I was 10 years old," Culkin told the podcast.

His parents divorced after he finished filming Richie Rich in 1994, when the star was just 14 years old. But, the actor-turned-musician said it was one of the "best things that's ever happened" to him, naming it as the reason he was able to leave the film industry.

"I... wanted to take a break for a while and eventually I was like 'I'm done guys, hope you all made your money because there is no more coming from me,'" Culkin said.

Just a year later, aged 15, the actor famously sued his parents over the AU$21.1 million he had earned from his films. He also had their names removed as his legal guardians so they could no longer control his finances.

But over the years, the star hasn't completely said goodbye to his former Hollywood lifestyle: he famously dated actress Mila Kunis for over eight years in the noughties and is even the godfather of Michael Jackson's teenage daughter, Paris.

"I am a very open book when it comes to things but like with her, she is beloved by me," he said of his "very close" relationship with the late pop icon's 19-year-old daughter.

"I'm going to warn you now I am very protective of her so just look out."

He is also set to return to the screen later this year, with a role in movie Changeland, directed by his good friend and fellow star Seth Green.

ADVERTISEMENT

2. Margot Robbie has nabbed her very first Oscar nomination for her role in I, Tonya.

Margot Robbie I Tonya premiere Sydney
Margot Robbie at the Sydney premiere of 'I, Tonya'. Image via Getty.

Australian actress Margot Robbie is Oscars bound.

The 27-year-old Queenslander received a best actress nomination on Tuesday for her acclaimed portrayal of controversial US figure skater Tonya Harding in the dark comedy I, Tonya.

Australian editor Lee Smith also received a nomination for his work on World War II epic Dunkirk.

The Academy Awards nomination ceremony brought mixed news for Australia, with I, Tonya snubbed for a best picture nomination and actors including Hugh Jackman, for The Greatest Showman, missing out.

Robbie, as a producer, would have received a second nomination if I, Tonya was named a best picture nominee.

The big winner was The Shape of Water with 13 nominations, including best picture and director, while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received nine and Dunkirk followed with seven.

The Academy, criticised by the #OscarsSoWhite campaign and a lack of female directing nominees in past years, has increased its minority and female membership.

Greta Gerwig, for Lady Bird, and Jordan Peele, for Get Out, received directing nominations.

Robbie will be a long shot to win the best actress Oscar at the March 4 Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood.

Frances McDormand, for Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, is the favourite while the remaining three nominees include the great Meryl Streep (The Post), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird).

James Franco, a winner of a Golden Globe just weeks ago, was shut out of nominations for best director and lead actor for The Disaster Artist.

ADVERTISEMENT

3. A gunman is on the loose after he shot dead a lawyer in a 'targeted attack' in broad daylight at a Sydney cafe.

lawyer shot at sydney cafe
Image via AAP.

A prominent lawyer described as a good man by his friends was sitting at a table outside a cafe in Sydney's southwest when he was shot dead in broad daylight, AAP reports.

Ho Ledinh, believed to be aged in his 60s, was gunned down in a suspected targeted attack outside the Happy Cup cafe at Bankstown City Plaza on Tuesday afternoon.

Paramedics attempted to treat Mr Ledinh but he died of his injuries at the scene.

His attacker remains on the run after fleeing from the area with police interviewing witnesses, and scouring through CCTV footage as they try and track them down, police say.

Early investigations suggest it was a targeted attack, Acting Superintendent Brad Thorne said.

Mr Ledinh was one of the solicitors who represented Philip Nguyen, the man jailed over the killing of Sydney police officer Constable Bill Crews in 2010.

He was present when the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal increased Nguyen's minimum jail sentence by six years in August 2013.

"The guy, he was sitting at the table there, he said we had a cup of coffee, we talked, another guy walked past and took a gun out - boom boom boom boom," the man who was having coffee with Mr Ledinh at the time of the shooting told the victim's friends.

"No questions asked."

Mr Ledinh reportedly once owned the Happy Cup cafe and is also the author of an English-Vietnamese book Dictionary of Law and studied law and political sciences at the University of New South Wales.

On his Facebook profile, he is pictured with NSW Labor politician Shaoquett Moselmane among many happy family photos.

This is the latest of several attacks in the area, with a man stabbed in the chest in the same plaza in June 2017.

ADVERTISEMENT

In April 2016, gangland kingpin Walid 'Wally' Ahmad' was killed in a spray of bullets outside a cafe on the rooftop of nearby Bankstown Central shopping centre.

4. Protecting our kids: Free flu jabs for NSW kids under five, as WA children are offered a free meningococcal vaccine.

free flu vaccinations

Following last year's horror flu season, NSW children between six months and five years old will be eligible for free flu jabs this winter, the state government has announced.

It's part of a $3.5 million influenza vaccination program that was announced by the premier and health minister on Tuesday.

"The program will target more than 400,000 children to ensure better protection for them and the wider community," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Last year's flu season was the most severe in NSW since the 2009 pandemic, with more than 12,000 confirmed cases of the flu in kids under five.

At the same time, a free meningococcal disease vaccine has been announced by the West Australian government for children aged between one and four after the deaths of six people during a spike in infections last year.

A total of 46 WA cases of meningococcal disease were reported in 2017, double the number in 2016 and the most in any year since 2005, with three more cases diagnosed so far this year.

The vaccine, available free from Tuesday, will inoculate children against the A, C, W and Y serogroups of the disease. The state government also funds a vaccination program through schools and universities for teenagers aged between 17 and 19.

Health Minister Roger Cook says vaccination funding is the responsibility of the federal government, but his government couldn't sit back and let the disease "wreak havoc" on the community.

"Meningococcal is not a common disease in our community ... however, we know when there is an outbreak it is virulent and it is a killer," Mr Cook told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

He says the lack of action from the federal government could be because there were fewer cases of the potentially deadly W serogroup strain on the east coast.

"If the federal government will not respond to this crisis in our community then the McGowan government will," he said.

One jab of the vaccine will cover a child for about three to four years.

It will cost the state $5.7 million to fund the vaccine for one year. Without the subsidy, parents can shell out up to $140 for a round of vaccinations.

Australian Medical Association WA President Omar Omar Khorshid says extending the vaccination program would ensure the state stayed one step ahead of the disease while providing protection for the most vulnerable in the community.

"This is a disease that not only kills; it can also result in permanent life-changing disabilities if not treated," Dr Khorshid said.

About 10 per cent of healthy people carry meningococcal bacteria harmlessly in their nose or throat which, in a rare number of people, can develop into a serious, invasive infections of the blood including the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain.

5. Music legend Neil Diamond has cancelled his upcoming Australian tour, announcing he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond in 2017. Image via Getty.

Neil Diamond has cancelled his upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand, and announced his retirement from touring because of his recent Parkinson's disease diagnosis.

Diamond, who was set to perform across the country from March for his 50th anniversary tour, has cancelled all his dates on doctor's advice.

"Legendary singer, songwriter and performer Neil Diamond today announced his retirement from touring due to his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's disease," a statement on Diamond's website said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The singer was set to perform in stadiums, arenas, and wineries in Townsville, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Bendigo, Melbourne, Hunter Valley, Adelaide, Perth, Christchurch and Napier over March and April.

This would have been the third leg of Diamond's massive 50th anniversary tour which he has already played across the US and Europe.

"It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring," Diamond said.

"I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.

"I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come.

"My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you."

Australian promoter Paul Dainty who was working on the upcoming tour said he was "devastated and saddened" at the news of Diamond's illness and retirement, AAP reports.

"I have had the honour of promoting Neil's numerous tours in Australia and New Zealand, he is one of the world's greatest artists and we and his thousands and thousands of fans here will miss seeing him tour down under," Dainty said.

Tickets purchased by credit or debit card will be refunded in full. Ticketek will be in contact with people who bought tickets with cash or EFTPOS to arrange a refund.

6. It turns out swearing is actually really, really good for you. F**k yeah.

woman swearing curse words angry yelling shouting
Image via Getty.

Many of us have spent our lives being told that swearing is simply not a socially acceptable way of handling our anger.

ADVERTISEMENT

But according to new research, everyone that's ever told you not to drop an f-bomb while upset is actually wrong, because cursing, it turns out, is actually very good for you.

Speaking to The New York Post, the author of a new book, Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, which collates a number of studies done over the years, says science proves that swearing can actually help release pain.

"We spend so much time saying, 'Oh, you mustn't swear in front of this person,' or, 'I hope my kids don't swear,' but at the same time, we all do it," author Emma Byrne said.

"We have this odd relationship of trying to cure ourselves of something that's obviously so beneficial."

One study included in the new book, conducted by psychologist Richard Stephens, showed that participants who were allowed to yell a curse word while holding their hand in ice water were able to keep their hands submerged longer, and endure more pain, than those who were only able to utter neutral words like "wooden".

Another study, conducted in 2017, showed that people who swore more regularly were actually perceived to be more honest by others.

According to the theory, swearing actually uses a different part of the brain than the language we use normally, relying on our emotional side rather than our logical.

We think you deserve to treat yourself. So Mamamia are giving you the opportunity to win one of three $100 gift vouchers by completing a survey for us.

Here at Mamamia we are always looking for ways to make Mamamia even better and more sparkly for you. By filling out this quick 15 min survey, you will help us do just that.

MMSurvey
Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???