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The moment a Muslim surgeon was brought to tears after the Christchurch attack, & more in News in 5.

Mamamia has chosen not to show the face of the man in custody for the Christchurch terror attack, or to include or link to any distressing material about his acts. Instead, we are dedicated to remembering the names, faces and stories of the victims.

-With AAP.

1. The moment a Muslim surgeon was brought to tears during an operation after the Christchurch attack.

Following the Christchurch terror attack, a four-year-old named Alen Alsati was rushed to Christchurch Hospital with serious injuries from a bullet wound.

She was taken to an operating theatre and Muslim vascular surgeon Adib Khanafer, who was in an elective case, received a call to say he was urgently needed in another theatre.

It was the first time he’d ever had to run to surgery. When he arrived, he was confronted with an image he’ll never forget.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky on the people we should be remembering in the wake of Christchurch. Post continues after audio.


“It was really sad to see a young girl on the table,” Dr Khanafer told media on Monday, breaking down in tears.

Dr Khanafer successfully operated on Alen, who was then transferred to Auckland’s Starship Hospital and remains in a critical condition.

He said he struggled with this emotions throughout the surgery, but described its success as his career highlight.

“I stepped out of theatre and started crying,” he said.

“I have four kids, the youngest is seven and the oldest is 14. I imagine that this is one of my kids. I was able to perform my job, I left my emotion [until] after.

“I managed to repair [the injuries]. It was definitely the highlight of my career as a vascular surgeon.”

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He said he had been in contact with doctors in Auckland and was “extremely optimistic” about Alen’s chances of recovery.

Her father Wasseim Alsati was also injured in Friday’s attack. He was shot three times and underwent several surgeries in Christchurch.

His condition improved and he has been transferred to Auckland to be with his wife and daughter.

Dr Khanafer said he knew two people who died in the attack, including one of his patients, and his wife knew “most of them”.

His colleagues at Christchurch Hospital had been very supportive and he was proud of their amazing efforts, he said.

“I am Lebanese. I am Muslim. I am Arab. My colleagues, Kiwis, have not stopped texting me and emailing me and sending me flowers.

“I trained in England, in Birmingham, one of the big hospitals and what we’ve done in Christchurch, no one could repeat what we’ve done. We’ve done extremely well.”

2. Newborn baby found abandoned in Perth.

A newborn has been found abandoned outside a Perth medical centre and police are concerned for his mother’s welfare.

The baby boy was taken to Perth Children’s Hospital after being found in Booragoon on Wednesday morning and appears to be in good health.

Concerns are held for the infant’s mother as she may require medical attention.

3. Sydney swim teacher on child sex charges released on bail.

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A complaint was made about a 20-year-old Sydney swimming instructor accused of raping young girls some nine months before he was charged, a NSW court has heard.

Kyle James Henk Daniels is accused of sexually assaulting eight girls – aged between five and 10 – during lessons at a Mosman swim school between June 2018 and March 2019.

Daniels was granted bail at Manly Local Court on Wednesday just hours after an additional 28 offences were laid by police, bringing the total number of charges to 31.

The initial three charges laid last week related to two sisters aged six and eight. They include two counts of intentionally sexually touching a child and having sexual intercourse with a child in February.

The additional charges include eight counts of sexual intercourse with a child, six counts of intentionally sexually touching a child and 14 counts of indecent assault of a person under 16.

The court was told a complaint was first made to the swim school by parents in July 2018 citing “unorthodox hands-on instruction” by Daniels during lessons.

“The complaint was about inappropriate touching to the outer parts of (the girl’s) vagina area,” magistrate Daniel Reiss said.

A subsequent memo was sent to all staff in August 2018 instructing them not to “hold children close to the groin and/or chest area”.

It cautioned staff to avoid being “overly playful and unnecessarily hands-on” in the water.

In arguing for Daniels’ release, defence barrister Todd Alexis SC told the court the incidents may have “happened by accident”.

“He strongly denies that any touching of these young girls was sexual in any way whatsoever,” Mr Alexis said.

“For a young man of 20 years who is a university student, doing what is alleged to have occurred in those circumstances, it is glaringly impossible.”

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Mr Alexis said Daniels has already spent a week in jail and during that time he had received death threats after a prison guard read out his charges in front of other inmates.

He said his client would be “devastated” if he was unable to complete his studies at the University of Sydney with his peers.

In granting Daniels’ release, Mr Reiss said strict bail conditions would mitigate any community safety concerns.

Daniels will have to surrender his passport, report daily to police and have no contact with children under the age of 16.

Appearing via video link, Daniels smiled at his parents and identical twin brother who were in court when bail was approved

The 20-year-old’s employment with the swim school has been suspended and investigations are continuing, NSW Police said.

He’s due to face court again in May.

4. Syrian father and son buried in first funeral following Christchurch shooting.

A father and his teenage son, who only arrived in New Zealand months ago after fleeing war-torn Syria, were the first to be buried after last week’s terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch.

Khaled Mustafa, 44, and his 15-year-old son, Hamza were farewelled by hundreds of friends, family, volunteers and community members on Wednesday in the first of a heartbreaking series of funerals for the 50 worshippers killed in the nation’s deadliest shooting last week.

Younger son Zaid Mustafa, 13, tried standing for prayers for his father and brother but couldn’t as a result of gunshot wounds to his leg.

“To hear him say to his father ‘I don’t want to be alone’, that was devastating,” said Australian Jamil el-Biza, who is in the city to support the community.

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“Even when he was given condolences, we tried not shake his hands and lift his hand and not touch his foot because they’re still wounded, but he refused – he wanted to shake everyone’s hand.”

The refugee family moved to New Zealand last year, finally settling in a safe haven, after fleeing Syria and spending time in Jordan.

The first burials were followed within hours by four more.

Among them was Christchurch store owner Junaid Ismail, 36, who came to the city as a child and ran the business to support his family, including his three children all aged under five.

Ashraf Ali Razat, 58, was staying with relatives in Christchurch while on holiday from Fiji.

Aircraft engineer Lilik Abdul Hanis, 50, moved to the city with his wife and two children from Indonesia in 2003.

The community also bid farewell to a 54-year-old man.

Silence fell across the cemetery as the bodies were lifted up by male mourners and carried from shoulder to shoulder.

The traditional funeral prayer echoed out across the cemetery and beyond, as father and son were carried across the site and lowered into the ground.

With handfuls of dirt, the queuing mourners paid their respects as the bodies were buried.

So rapid in succession were the burials, some mourners paying respects to one person had to run from the burial plots to a marquee across the lawn in time to pray for the next.

Others were still throwing dirt into one grave when the procession of family carrying the next body toward them began.

The funerals are the first of many to be held in coming days, including a mass burial.

Christchurch’s Muslim community has become increasingly frustrated in recent days over delays in police releasing the bodies since the attack.

Islamic funerals are traditionally held as soon as possible, usually within a day.

Dozens of volunteers from across New Zealand and Australia have been in Christchurch for days to help wash and shroud the bodies, and prepare the burial site.

By Wednesday 30 of the dead had been identified and could be released to families.

A number of the dead will be expatriated.

5. AFLW star Tayla Harris says trolls on a photo of her kicking a goal were ‘sexual abuse’.

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AFLW star Tayla Harris says she has been “sexually abused” on social media and wants action taken against those who vilified her.

As the federal government joins a chorus of condemnation, Harris says she’s repulsed by some online comments regarding a photo of her kicking at goal.

“The comments I saw were sexual abuse, if you can call it that, because it was repulsive and it made me uncomfortable,” Harris told RSN radio on Wednesday.

tayla-harris-aflw
This photo of AFLW star Tayla Harris attracted hundreds of disgusting comments. Image: Getty.

"That is what I would consider sexual abuse on social media."

Federal Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer said she was "disgusted" by the trolling.

"We need to out these trolls. We need to out these people who would seek to make misogynist comments about women," O'Dwyer told reporters in Melbourne.

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O'Dwyer denounced the Seven Network's handling of its social media post featuring the Harris photo.

Seven deleted its post, citing "reprehensible" comments, but later reinstated the photo and apologised after being criticised for giving in to trolls.

"I was pretty frankly disgusted by Channel Seven's response in actually taking down her picture rather than dealing with the trolls," O'Dwyer said.

Harris called on the AFL, and possibly, police to take action.

"If these people are saying things like this to someone they don't know on a public platform, what are they saying behind closed doors, and what are they doing?," Harris said.

"These people need to be called out by the AFL, yes, but also taken further - maybe this is the start of domestic violence, maybe this is the start of abuse."

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the problem wasn't just an issue for Seven, a broadcast partner of the AFL, or the football code.

"It's more a challenge with the platform, social media, because this is not an isolated incident," McLachlan told reporters in Sydney.

"But when it's unacceptable commentary, more and more people are calling that out and that is what has happened here."

McLachlan said the photo of Harris was iconic.

"It is, I think, a remarkable photo - it shows a great athlete at her most powerful," he said.

Adelaide's Erin Phillips, considered the AFLW's best player, was among a host of athletes dismayed at some online responses.

"There is a lot of trolls that get away with things that shouldn't be allowed," Phillips told reporters in Adelaide.

"But in saying that, what a fantastic response from the community to get behind Tayla.

"It has empowered her. And it has shown to the community, to Australia, that it's unacceptable to troll and put people down."

6. Prime Minister Scott Morrison hits 'pause' on Australian migrant intake.

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The prime minister has hit "pause" on Australia's annual migration intake as he tries to redirect more new arrivals away from overcrowded capital cities and into struggling regional towns.

Scott Morrison is reducing the number of annually available places from 190,000 to 160,000 for the next four years as he tries to ease pressure on road and rail networks in the country's biggest cities.

Mr Morrison says Australia has thrived from steady population growth but for the past two decades infrastructure and services have struggled to keep pace.

He points out the vast majority of migrants have settled in the major cities - particularly Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth - putting significant pressure on roads and public transport.

New visa categories are now being introduced to force 23,000 skilled migrants to spend three years working in regional towns before applying for permanent residency.

International students will be offered enticements to study outside the capitals an, including an extra year of Australian work rights if they graduate from regional universities.

Mr Morrison says he wants ordinary workers in capital cities to spend less time stuck in traffic, and help struggling rural and regional communities inject life into their towns.

He denied concerns about congestion were driven by racism, insisting migrants were not to blame for failing infrastructure.

"Migration and those who have come to Australia to make a contribution, not take one, has been an enormous boon for Australia. We want to continue to encourage that," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

The prime minister has also defended the timing of his government's migration intake announcement, despite it occurring days after the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

He voiced frustration at those conflating the issues for political gain.

"This is a practical problem that Australians wanted addressed, that migrant communities wanted addressed," he said.

Mr Morrison is certain the plan will have no impact on the federal budget.

"If we were to take the figure below 160,000 that would have had a direct fiscal impact on the budget," he said.

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Immigration Minister David Coleman is confident the 23,000 workers who obtain new regional visas will comply with the requirements.

Mr Coleman said existing state-sponsored regional visas had a 99 per cent compliance rate, and he expects similar figures when the requirements are extended to other applicants.

"Permanent residency is top of the list in terms of the incentives for people. We certainly expect that these will be well subscribed and that there will be a very high level of compliance," he said.

Skilled migrants should not expect "immigration police" to come knocking on their doors, but rather a "strong self-assessment process" involving demonstration of where people have been, he said.

Workers on the three-year regional visas will also be able to shift between various towns.

Labor leader Bill Shorten on Tuesday said he was "fine" with the cap but on Wednesday said his party would look at it.

While Mr Shorten said the government policy was "smoke and mirrors", he agreed with Mr Morrison about infrastructure.

But he said real reform would involve an overhaul of temporary work visas which undermined living conditions and wages.

The number of employer-sponsored skilled migrants allowed into Australia is being bumped up slightly to 39,000, but family visas remain at 48,000.

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