real life

Wednesday's news in under 5 minutes.

1. Conscience vote on gay marriage

“I would hope that with the number of Liberals who would support same-sex marriage that there would be a majority vote.”

Outgoing Federal Senator Sue Boyce has told The Courier Mail she believes Prime Minister Tony Abbott will likely allow a conscience vote on gay marriage by the end of the year. “I would be reasonably confident that we will get to the situation by the end of the year that the Liberal Party will allow a conscience vote on (gay marriage),” Senator Boyce said. “On that basis, I would expect any legislation would come before Parliament quickly soon after that and it would get voted on. And I would hope that with the number of Liberals who would support same-sex marriage, also with those from Labor and the Greens who support same-sex marriage, that there would be a majority vote.”

2. Rolf Harris trial

The Judge has begun giving directions to the jury in the trial of Rolf Harris has said he will not accept a majority rule but only a unanimous verdict on each of the 12 indictments. Rolf Harris is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault against four separate women. He denies all charges. Judge Nigel Sweeney instructed the jury to find Harris guilty or innocent on all 12 or on some of the 12 but a decision on each had to be agreed to by all 12 jurors. He is expected to give further instructions tonight and then the jury will retire to consider its verdict.

3. Bayden-Clay was “broke”

Allison Bayden-Clay had $20 to her name

Gerard Bayden-Clay told a police officer that he and his wife were “on the bones of their arse” and she had only $20 in her bank account according to evidence before the court yesterday. The 43-year-old QLD real estate agent is accused of murdering his wife Allison Baden-Clay, also 43, on April 19, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty. The jury also heard the he told a police officer the cuts across his cheeks were from a shaving mishap. The officer told the court that he searched for evidence of a shaving accident – such as blood or tissues – but did not find any. The case continues.

4. Baghdad under threat

Islamic militants are targeting a city one hour’s drive away from Baghdad. There have been scores of deaths after militants took control of parts of the central Iraqi city of Baquba before security forces eventually repelled the assault. The city, located just 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, is the closest the fighting has come to the capital.

5. New plan for Foreign Aid

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will today unveil her “new paradigm” for the $5 billion aid budget. The plan will focus upon stronger partnerships with the private sector to encourage companies to devise innovative ways of reducing poverty. AAP reports that gender programs will be made a priority, with the Foreign Minister’s emphasis on the economic empowerment of women and girls in past policy speeches.

6. Report on gender pay gap

The gender pay gap was 9.4 per cent in 2013

A report on the gender pay gap to be released today by Graduate Careers Australia shows the gender pay gap was 9.4 per cent in 2013. Graduate Careers Australia has partly attributed the pay gap to men being over-represented in fields that attract higher starting salaries, such as engineering. The study shows that when fields of education were taken into account, the gap was only 4.7 per cent. Workplace Gender Equality Agency spokeswoman Clare Buttner told News Limited that career choices only explained half of the gender pay gap, which widened as a woman’s career progressed. “That 4.4 per cent could be due to conscious or unconscious discrimination but it can’t be explained by the choices that men and women make,” she said.

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7. Delta’s World Cup gaffe

US Airline Delta has caused a twitter storm by tweeting World Cup Soccer congratulations to the US. The tweet was meant to congratulate the soccer team, but ended up insulting the nation of Ghana. For more read this post here.

8. Gold Coast cat mutilation

Warning: This item contains details of extreme violence.

The community has been shocked by the incident

Residents of a quiet Gold Coast street have been shocked to find a home owner threatened with their car set on fire and their cat mutilated. The residents in Arundel on the Gold Coast woke up in the early hours of Tuesday morning to find a car on fire and a cat that had been decapitated. The cat’s head was left near the front door. Written in blood on the garage of the home the words ”Where’s my money? Tik Tok.” Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

9. Five-year old receives bravery award

A five-year-old boy has been awarded a bravery citation after calling triple 0 when his mum collapsed. Myles Wellham stayed on the line for eight minutes until paramedics arrived telling them “My Mum won’t wake up” . When they arrived he was not tall enough to open the door. The student was honoured with a NSW Ambulance Star Award in front of the school assembly at his Hillsborough Public School in NSW. Myles said he knew what to do after playing with the Triple-Zero app on his mum’s phone. You can listen to Myles brave call here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBYuKZ69ZoM

10. Possible introduction of a two-tiered mail system

Australia Post, which announced 900 job losses last week, will introduce a two-tiered pricing system by the end of the year according to Fairfax Media. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering the introduction of a two-tiered pricing system, similar to the UK’s second-class mail service, for non-urgent letter deliveries, Fairfax reports. Customers wanting speedier letter delivery would pay more than the standard rate.

11. First year of marriage key time for cheating

Many women cheat on their spouse in the first year of marriage according to study.

A study has releaved that a surprising number of women cheat on their spouse in the first year of marriage. The study, by married dating website AshleyMadison.com, found that 8 percent of women have had an affair during their first year of marriage compared with 3.5 percent of men. Two-thirds had cheated around the seven-month mark. The study also showed that 22 percent of men and 17 percent of women under the age of 35 had cheated on their spouse.

12. Student banned from study session for hair colour

A student at a Sydney high school has been barred from attending an HSC study session because her hair was dyed bright pink. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the student at Concord High missed the advanced English Day course. The president of the school’s Parents and Citizens Association, Michelle Schofield told The Sydney Morning Herald that the ban was “ridiculous” and an attempt to “mimic private school standards”. “She said she understood the desire to maintain “high standards” but there had been no consultation with the school community and she had been contacted by concerned and upset students,” the newspaper reports.

13. Pregnancy tests available in bars

Alaska will provide tests in bars across the state

A US state will provide free pregnancy test in the bathrooms of bars in an attempt to help reduce the rate of fetal alcohol syndrome. The Anchorage Daily News reports that a state funded program will see the tests placed in the bathrooms of bars in Alaska. Alaskan women of childbearing age are 20 percent more likely to engage in binge drinking than in other states across the USA.

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 14. Offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island found to be constitutional

The High Court has found it is constitutional for Australia to declare Papua New Guinea a “regional processing country”. The court — the highest in Australia — made the ruling this morning in Canberra, thereby quashing the potential closure of the detention centre in which 23-year-old asylum seeker Reza Berati died in violent riots in February. Lawyers for an Iranian asylum seeker known as S156, who claims to be a member of a minority religious group and says he fears persecution in his home countryhad launched a legal challenge after the man was transferred to the Manus Island detention centre from Christmas Island, the ABC reports. In their legal challenge, the lawyers accused former immigration minister Chris Bowen of failing to legally designate the island as an asylum seeker processing centre. But the High Court threw out the challenge this morning, saying the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island is valid under the constitution. The High Court ruling was strictly focussed on the legality of the Manus Island detention centre. Asylum seeker advocates have spoken out following the decision, arguing that the legality of processing asylum seekers on Manus Island didn’t mean the move was the right one. Greens Immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young tweeted this morning: “Dumping refugees in unsafe detention on Manus Island may be constitutional but it’s certainly not morally acceptable”.

15. Children can “suffer brain damage” from staying at their fathers, experts say

Child psychologists and parenting experts have warned that young children sleeping over at their father’s place could siffer “brain damage” if their mother is the primary caregiver, News.com.au reports.

Psychologist and author Penelope Leach made the controversial claim that separation from mothers “reduces brain development” and could lead to “unhealthy attachment issues,” the Independent reports.

Fathers’ rights groups have criticised the comments.

However, clinical child psychologist Oliver James told the Independent there was merit to Dr Leach’s claim. “All the evidence suggests that younger children should not be separated from their primary caregiver who, in the vast majority of cases, is the mother,” he said.

“If the child has a really strong attachment to both parents, there might be a case for exploring whether it really matters if they have sleep- overs at the father’s. But in most cases, you should do nothing to disrupt the relationship with the primary caregiver. To do so can affect the child’s brain development,” he said.

16. US Supreme Court to consider whether internet rants are “free speech”

The US Supreme Court has agreed to  consider whether violent images and threatening language posted on Facebook and other social media constitute a true threat to others.

The court on Monday that it would consider the case of a Pennsylvania man who was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for posting the menacing photos and making the violent rants on his Facebook page, the Washington Post reports.

The court will consider whether the rants — which were reportedly directed against his estranged wife, former co-workers and law enforcement officials — were free speech allowed under the US Constitution.

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17. New startling admissions in the child sex abuse royal commission

The former deputy head of a Marist Brothers high school said he had not considered child sexual abuse a crime in the late 1980s. In the startling admission to the child sex abuse royal commission yesterday, Brother Anthony Hunt, 72,  once superior of the Marist Brothers community, was quizzed on allegations against paedophile Brother Gregory Sutton, who once taught at St Carthage’s Primary School.

He said he did not think it had been a sexual ­assault when told Sutton had cuddled and kissed one student, the Daily Telegraph reports.

“At that time I did not ­associate it with the word ‘crime’,” Brother Hunt told the commission.

He added that he had not heard the word “paedophile” at the time.

In another shocking revelation, a former principal of Marist College, Brother Christopher Wade, has told a royal commission that the Catholic Brothers preferred child sexual abuse allegations to be handled quietly and confidentially, the ABC reports.

“The only intimation I ever had that Kostka may have been abusing children was maybe 20, 30 years before,” Brother Wade said, referring to serial paedophile Brother John Kostka Chute, who was convicted of molesting six boys in 1996.

“It was just one of those remarks you hear in passing… something to the effect that Kostka had misbehaved with children,” Brother Wade said.

“The instruction was that if there were any complaints relating to possible child sexual abuse, they were to be immediately referred to the provincial.”

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Canberra is examining the response of the Marist Brothers to allegations of child sexual abuse in schools across the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland.

18. Fifth confirmed case of Meningococcal disease in the Hunter region this year

A child is in a stable condition in a Hunter area hospital with the fifth confirmed case of meningococcal disease in the Hunter New England Health region this year, the NSW Department of Health said in a statement this morning.

Physician Dr Craig Dalton said in the statement that seeking medical attention quickly may prevent the development of serious complications.

“Meningococcal disease may be very severe and the community needs to be on the alert for its symptoms.  If anyone suspects meningococcal disease, they should seek medical attention immediately,” Dr Dalton said.

It is unclear if the latest patient is suffering from the B or C strain of the disease. The B strain of the virus claimed the life of two-year-old Ryder Manulat earlier this month.

Up to 10 per cent of patients with invasive Meningococcal disease in Australia die as a result of the infection, according to the Department. The first symptoms of the disease may include pain in the legs, cold feet and hands and abnormal skin colour.

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Tags: current-affairs , politics , women
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