We’ve rounded up all the latest news from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.
1. Facebook offers new fathers four months paid paternity leave.
Just days after Mark Zuckerberg he would be taking two months off work when his first child is born next year the company has announced it’s employees will be eligible for four months paid paternity leave.
In announcing the policy Facebook’s Head of HR and Recruiting, Lori Goler, said: “In reviewing our parental leave policies, we have decided to make this change because it’s the right thing to do for our people and their families.
“Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.
For too long, paid baby leave has been granted only to a mother who is giving birth. We believe that fathers and mothers alike deserve the same level of support when they are starting and growing a family, regardless of how they define family.”
She said: “All new parents in all of our offices worldwide, including those who had or adopted a baby in 2015 and were Facebook employees at the time, will be eligible. The leave can be taken at any point up to a year after the baby is born.”
Goler said the global reforms, which will be applied to all of Facebook’s 11,000 plus employees — including new mothers, fathers, and same-sex parents — are part of Facebook’s ambition to become one of the top businesses for families.
2.No minutes silence for one year anniversary of Phillip Hughes death.
On today’s one year anniversary of the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes there will not be a minutes silence at Adelaide Oval where Australian plays New Zealand nor at the SCG where NSW and Queensland play the Sheffield Shield.
On the wishes of Hughes’ family there will instead be a low-key remembrance with players wearing black armbands and during the tea break, a tribute package will play on the big screen at exactly 4.08pm – Hughes’ Test playing number.
Steve Smith said “A year on we still have ‘Hughesy’ at the back of our minds every time we walk out onto the field, and that is no different a year on out here this week.” reports The Advertiser.
“We’re going to be doing our best to play with a smile on our face and hopefully play well for ‘Hughesy’. “Obviously it’s a tough time for his family and his friends and we respect that … hopefully we can have a good week for Phillip.”
3. Australia’s terror alert system upgraded.
The government has upgraded our terror alert system, while essentially leaving our terror threat as unchanged.
Yesterday it announced new system with five tiers, instead of four using the terms “not expected, possible, probable, expected and certain.”
The ‘high’ level set in September under the old system translates to ‘probable’ and remains unchanged along with the changed alert system was the first ‘statement of public advice’ on the terrorism threat.
“The most likely form for a terrorist attack in Australia would be an attack by an individual or a small group of like-minded individuals,” the statement said.
“However, a larger, more coordinated attack cannot be ruled out.”
4. South Australian bush fires could see death toll rise to five.
Hundreds of firefighters continue to battle a massive bushfire north of Adelaide and hope to bring it under control today.
With two people already dead there are fears the toll could rise as five as victims fight critical injuries.
Dozens of homes and buildings have also been destroyed, while farming communities have been devastated by the fire that has burnt through around 85,000 hectares of land.
One of the dead has now been named – 69-year-old Pinery farmer Allan Tiller was the secretary of the local congregation of the Church of the Nazarene.
“Allan was well known in the district and will be sadly missed by his family, church and community,” the Church said.
The second person killed was a 56-year-old woman found dead in a car near Hamley Bridge.
5. Students in limbo after college collapse.
Up to 12,000 students across Australia are “in limbo” after the collapse of major private college owner Vocation Ltd.
At least 2000 of those students are located in Victoria, while other students are located in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Vocation Ltd runs colleges Avana, Real Institute, Real Community, Building Brighter Futures, TDA and the Consumer Service Institute of Australia.
Administrators at Ferrier Hodgson launched an emergency review of Vocation and its colleges.
Peter Gothard told Fairfax Media “We are conducting an urgent assessment of the business to see if it has any prospects and we will make a determination in the next day or so,”
Victorian Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert said the Department of Education and Training was in the process of contacting the Victorian students affected.
“We will assist students and provide advice on a suitable TAFE to enable them to finish their training at no additional cost,” Mr Herbert told Fairfax Media. .
SA students will be supported by the government while government the NSW Minister for Skills John Barilaro said that students enrolled in subsidiary companies of education group Vocation Limited will be able to complete training with full support from the NSW government.
Fairfax Media reports that a spokesman for the Queensland department of education and training said the government was unable to advice on the number of students impacted in Queensland.
“If the registered training organisations in Queensland cease to continue trading in Queensland, the Department will work with students to facilitate arrangements to ensure they have their training achievements recognised or transition to an ongoing training pathway”.
6. A Liberal MP has refused to stand with colleagues and applaud Rosie Batty.
A Victorian Liberal MP has remained seated during a standing ovation for Rosie Batty.
Graham Watt was in a special joint sitting of parliament with his colleagues when he refused to stand to applaud Australian of the Year Rosie Batty.
Ms Batty, whose son Luke was killed by his father Greg Anderson likened the domestic violence to family terrorism in her speech. As she finished, every member of the chamber got to their feet except Mr Watt.
After the event Mr Watt released a statement, saying that: “For very personal and private reasons I chose not to stand”.
“Family violence is an issue of incredible sensitivity to me and my family and at some point I will be making a public contribution about the indiscriminate nature of family violence,” he said.
For domestic violence support 24/7, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
For more read this post here.
7. Underbelly actor Jeremy Kewley pleads guilty to molesting boys.
“Underbelly” and “Neighbours” actor Jeremy Kewley has pleaded guilty to child sex offences involving boys. He pleaded guilty to charges including indecent act with a child under 16, indecent assault and producing child pornography.
The court heard that Kewley allegedly lured young boys to his home under the guise of a screen test. It was believed up to 27 boys applied for the “acting role” where many allegedly molested by the actor.
Prosecutor Luisa Di Pietrantonio told an earlier hearing Kewley allegedly dressed his victims up in tight costumes and simulated sex acts. News Limited reports that police allegedly recovered the “screen tests” from Kewley’s computer along with other child pornographic images.
The 55-year old actor was released on bail and is due to face the County Court of Victoria in March.
For help: Lifeline 13 11 14. Kid’s Helpline: 1800 55 1800. DV and Sexual Abuse hotline 27/4: 1800 737 732
8. Donald Trump makes bizarre comments about disabled journalist.
Donald Trump has mocked a reporter’s physical handicap in a bizarre rally in South Carolina.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reporter Serge Kovaleski has a chronic congenital musculoskeletal condition called arthrogryposis, which limits movement in his arms.
Donald Trump has been citing a Washington Post article written by Kovaleski in 2001 to support his widely disputes claim that thousands of people in parts of New Jersey with large Arab populations celebrated the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
Trump at the rally, while saving his arms around in a gesture mocking Kovaleski said “Now the poor guy [Kovaleski] — you ought to see the guy: ‘Uhh I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.”
Kovaleski said earlier in the week that he couldn’t remember anyone ever claiming to have seen what Trump claims.
“I do not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating. That was not the case.”
A spokesperson for The New York Times said it was outrageous that he would “ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters”.
Trump has now released a statement saying once again he did not know the reporter was disabled.
9. Prince Harry describes the “gaping hole” in his life after his mother’s death.
Prince Harry has described how he was left with a “gaping hole” in his life after losing his mother. Speaking at a children’s centre in the African nation of Lesotho the Prince said he could empathise with the young orphans as he too had lost a parent.
They were far younger than me, and of course, their situation was a great deal more challenging than my own,” he said.
“Nonetheless, we shared a similar feeling of loss, having a loved one, in my case a parent, snatched away so suddenly.
“I, like them, knew there would always be a gaping hole that could never be filled.”
10. NSW Police publicise a domestic violence incident with an unexpectedly good ending. ( Except for the spider).
A man from the Sydney suburb of Wollstonecraft, attempting to kill a spider, has been mistaken for a would be assailant prompting NSW police to attend his home and question him.
Officers from North Sydney police force rushed to an apartment at around 2am on Sunday, when residents claimed to hear a man yelling, “I’m going to kill you, you’re dead. Die! Die!”, accompanied by a woman’s screams and the sound of furniture being tossed around.
A man, “out of breath and rather flushed”, answered the door and the following conversation ensued as reported by police.
Police: “Where’s your wife?”
Man: “Umm, I don’t have one.”
Police: “Where’s your girlfriend?”
Man: “Umm, I don’t have one.”
Police: “We had a report of a domestic and a woman screaming, where is she?”
Man: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I live alone.”
Police: “Come on mate, people clearly heard you yelling. You were going to kill her and there was furniture getting thrown around.”
At this point the officers, who documented the exchange on Facebook, said the man became “very sheepish.”
Police: “Come on mate, what have you done to her?”
Man: “It was a spider.”
Man: “It was a spider, a really big one!”
Police: “What about the woman screaming?”
Man: “Yeah sorry that was me. I really, really hate spiders.”
Officers inspected the property to find the chaos had been caused by the man chasing a “rather large spider” with a can of spray.
Nobody was injured in the incident, police confirmed, “apart from the spider.”
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