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News in 5: Pipe bombs sent to Clinton, Obama; Slain woman's family speaks; Nauru kids 'suicidal'.

1. Pipe bombs have been to the homes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the CNN office.


Crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama, CNN and others have been intercepted in a rash of attacks two weeks before nationwide elections that could reshape US Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of President Donald Trump’s presidency.

The devices, which officials said shared a similar design, were aimed at prominent Democrats and a cable news network often criticised by political conservatives. A similar device was found Monday at the New York compound of liberal billionaire George Soros, a major contributor to Democratic causes.

The bombs overtook other campaign news in an already-tense political season, which has included pitched fights over immigration, the Supreme Court and sexual violence against women.

The White House quickly condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and perceived foes of the administration.

“Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States,” Trump said.

“This egregious conduct is abhorrent.”

“That’s a very bipartisan statement,” he said.

All the confirmed bombs appeared to come from the same person or persons, said John Miller, the New York Police Department’s head of intelligence and counterterrorism, who briefed reporters in New York.

The US Secret Service intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton at the Chappaqua, New York, home she shares with former President Bill Clinton, and another that was sent to former President Obama at his home with Michelle Obama in Washington. A police bomb squad removed still another from CNN’s New York headquarters, which was evacuated.

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“We will not rest until we stop these hazardous devices from being mailed and bring the individual or individuals to justice,” said Bryan Paarmann, the FBI’s top counterterrorism official in New York.

The FBI also said it was responding to a report of a suspicious package at a Florida office of Representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his office received a similar package, but New York police officials said the office was cleared and no device was found.

Cuomo said at a briefing that “we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives.”

Neither Clinton nor Obama received the packages, and neither was at risk of receiving them because of screening procedures, the Secret Service said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Two law enforcement officials, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the pipe bomb at CNN was crude but operational and was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who regularly appears as a television contributor and who has publicly clashed with Trump. They said it was similar to other explosives discovered in the past few days.

A law enforcement official told the AP that the package discovered at Soros’ home appeared to be a pipe bomb and was in a package placed in a mailbox outside the gates of the compound. A Soros employee opened it just inside the gates, not near Soros’ quarters, the official said.

2. The family of a woman whose body was found in a Sydney park has spoken.

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Relatives of a woman whose battered body was found in a Sydney park say they are still struggling to come to terms with what happened to her.

Nicole Cartwright’s body was found bound and beaten at Buffalo Creek Reserve in Hunters Hill on October 3.

In a statement, her family said the 32-year-old had been a much loved and cherished member of the family, who had brightened their lives with a radiance that “made you happy just being near her”.

She was “kind and sweet, but also bold and fun”, with an infectious smile and contagious laughter, the family said in the statement on Thursday.

“While we are still struggling to comprehend how and why this happened, our family is finding comfort in focusing on what made Nicole special and treasuring her in our memories,” the statement said.

The family expressed gratitude for the support they’ve received since Ms Cartwright’s death and said they were deeply touched by a community vigil held in the Buffalo Creek Reserve on October 11.

Ms Cartwright was farewelled at a funeral at Gledswood on Wednesday.

Police have issued another appeal for information on what happened to the Sydney woman.

They have previously released CCTV footage of the last time she was seen, at Museum Railway Station at 9.30pm on September 30, three days before her body was found in the same clothes.

Detectives have spoken with a large number of people and are able to account for Ms Cartwright’s whereabouts for most of the long weekend of September 28-30, police said in a statement on Thursday.

However, they still need information on what happened to Ms Cartwright after September 30.

An autopsy has been inconclusive, but further tests are being conducted to try to determine how Ms Cartwright die

3. One in four children on Nauru are ‘acutely suicidal’, according to refugee advocates.

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More than half of the children held on Nauru have been flagged for urgent medical attention, refugee advocates say.

About 50 children and 550 adults made up the asylum seeker and refugee population on the Pacific island on Thursday.

They are not detained, are free to move about the 21-square-kilometre island and have 20-year visas, the government says.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says of the children left on the island, seven require urgent transfer to Australia and another 22 require an urgent independent medical review.

ASRC also claims one in four children are acutely suicidal.

Home Affairs chief medical officer Parbodh Gogna told a Senate estimates hearing there had been “an unprecedented jump” in people presenting to medical facilities on Nauru in the last couple of months.

The federal government says 65 medical professionals, including 33 mental health workers, are contracted by the Nauru government to provide services to the 608 transferees.

ASRC detention advocacy manager Natasha Blucher believes Medecins Sans Frontieres’ expulsion from the island two weeks ago was a major factor in the situation worsening.

She said the group had been working closely with scores of Iranians who were told earlier this year their applications to resettle in the US had been rejected.

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“The kids were left with an interminable future of nothing,” Ms Blucher told AAP.

“They don’t have a future to grow up for.”

The Nauru government was scathing of MSF earlier in October, taking particular offence to their “beloved home” being labelled an “open-air prison”.

“It is only when advocates and organisations such as MSF irresponsibly incite false expectations they put the lives of people into trauma, tragedy and a sense of helplessness,” the statement on October 12 read.

National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell says the government should allow comprehensive assessments of all children on Nauru.

Anyone needing support is urged to contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

4. Police are a hunting motorcyclist who hit a five-year-old boy.

Police are on the hunt for a Queensland motorcyclist who mowed down a young boy outside a primary school south of Brisbane before riding off.

The rider, on a red motorbike, ignored a red light and hit the five-year-old boy leaving him with a broken leg and a head injury.

The incident occurred about 4.30pm on Tuesday near Kingston State School, south of Brisbane.

In a post to the Crime Watch Logan Facebook page, the boy’s mother said the motorcycle appeared to have a number plate “made from paper” and called on the rider to hand themselves in.

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“You will be caught and u (sic) will get karma!!!,” the woman wrote.

“He is an innocent little boy and did not deserve to get what you did to him.”

Police are urging anyone with information or dash cam vision of the area at the time of the incident to come forward.

5. Victorian Premier makes election pledge for a mental health royal commission.

Seeing letters from his children’s schools that students had taken their own lives in the past 12 months, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews determined that more needed to be done.

The first-term Labor premier on Wednesday promised a $13.2 million royal commission into mental health if his government is re-elected on November 24.

“It will give us the answers we need, it is going to change lives, it is going to save lives,” Mr Andrews told students, mental health stakeholders and community leaders at the Kyneton Men’s Shed, northwest of Melbourne.

As a former health minister, Mr Andrews has long known mental health needed more attention, but the recent suicide of students at his childrens’ schools, and continued harrowing mental health tales, has prompted action.

“When (wife) Cath showed me the note that came home from school, that’s pretty hard, that’s really tough,” Mr Andrews told reporters. “It’s a real wake-up call.”

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Last year, 621 Victorians committed suicide and more than 170,000 used the state mental health system.

The terms of reference would be established in the first 100 days of the new parliament, with a report delivered within two years.

Mr Andrews made the announcement alongside Bob Grubb, who turned to his local Men’s Shed for support following the death of his 15-year-old grandson in 2001.

“I didn’t realise that fellas got so many tears inside of them, but I can cry now and gallons come out,” Mr Grubb told reporters.

To make changes, the Commonwealth would have to be involved.

Liberal-Nationals opposition mental health spokeswoman Emma Kealy was quick to point out that while Victoria’s population has grown by 500,000 people, the community mental health budget has decreased under Labor “putting enormous pressure on critical services”.

“If Daniel Andrews is serious about doing more for mental health, he will start by reversing his cuts and finding more funding to match the population growth that has occurred on his watch,” she said in a statement.

According to 2018-19 budget papers, cash spent on community mental health has decreased, but it “reflects the phased introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme”.

Industry experts say despite numerous previous inquiries and the absence of federal involvement, a state royal commission is worthwhile.

“Mental health has been the poor cousin of the health system for many years and there are incredible pressure points within the system that need to be addressed,” Mental Health Victoria boss Angus Clelland said.

“In particular the pressure between the hospital emergency departments and general practitioners, and Commonwealth-funded services.”

Victorian Council of Social Service chief Emma King hoped a royal commission would consider how community-based, frontline services could be better supported.

As Victoria marks one month to go until polling day, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Wednesday announced he wanted the state government to have a 50-50 say with the federal government on where new migrants lived in their first few years.

Anyone needing support is urged to contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.