Monday's news in under 5 minutes

1. Family violence statistics

Divesh Sharma, 5, and his little sister, Divya, 3 were amoung the children killed

The Herald Sun report that 7 young children and babies have been killed as a result of family violence in the past 20 months.

The head of Victoria Police’s family violence unit, Det-Supt Rod Jouning, told the Herald Sun that children were more at risk of being killed by a family member than a stranger.

The distressing figure includes Divesh Sharma, 5, and his little sister, Divya, 3, who were killed by their father Niresh on June 1, 2012.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing or at risk of family violence you can call the 24 hour, National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732

2. Refugee break-out

There are reports today of a mass breakout on Manus Island – and of refugees setting fire to a compound and tearing down fences.

The Age reports that Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said the riot squad was called in before a perimeter fence was breached.

It is not clear how many asylum seekers have escaped or whether there are any injuries.

Australia’s Immigration Department has confirmed there has been a “disturbance” at the centre and referred further questions to Minister Scott Morrison.

3. Scott Miller speaks

Scott Miller on 60 Mins

Olympic swimmer Scott Miller has spoken to 60 Minutes saying that the drug ice had him “by the balls” but he denied that he was a drug dealer.

Just last month Miller was handed a 12-month suspended jail sentence over drugs.

Miller has since admitted that in the interview which was filmed six months ago but could not be aired until now for legal reasons – he was so out of it he could not remember speaking to reporter Tara Brown.

4. PM ahead in poll

The latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll shows that the Government has regained the lead that saw them win the last election.

On a two-party-preferred basis, the Coalition now leads the ALP by four percentage points – 52 per cent to 48.

Support for the Greens has climbed 3 points since the September election to 12 per cent. On primary votes, Labor’s 33 per cent compares with the Coalition’s 44 per cent.

As the incumbent prime minister, Mr Abbott enjoys a 10 point lead over the Opposition Leader as preferred prime minister, 49 per cent to 39 per cent.

5. Fallout from autism scare campaign revealed

The map from The Australian showing outbreaks of preventable disease

The Australian has revealed the legacy of the discredited research by an autism scare campaign which has created spikes in cases of preventable childhood diseases across the globe.

A map in the newspaper today shows areas across the globe where anti-vaccine campaigners are active measles epidemics follow.

The Australian reports that “any academics across Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US believe Mr Wakefield’s widely dismissed claims – that the combined triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) increases the risk of autism – contributed to some outbreaks of preventable disease.”

6. Chemicals linked to brain development

A growing number of chemicals are being linked to a global ”silent epidemic” of brain development disorders such as autism, dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder with experts calling for an overhaul of the way everyday toxins are regulated.


Two leading researchers have identified eleven chemicals they say are causing neurodevelopmental disorders. For more read this post here “ 11 everyday chemicals that affect your child’s brain

7. Should religion be taught in public schools?

The Age has revealed that hundreds of primary school principals in Victoria have stopped offering weekly religious education in schools, despite a legal obligation to offer the classes.

Under the current requirements principals must offer ”special religious instruction” classes in the school timetable when accredited and approved instructors are available.

Figures in The Age from the Victorian Education Department that the number of Victorian state schools delivering SRI programs declined by almost a third in the past two years.

They quote Joe Kelly the principal of Cranbourne South Primary School who stopped special religious instruction in 2012. He has had no reprimand from the

Education Department. He told the Age “”It is not education. It has no value whatsoever. It is rubbish – hollow and empty rhetoric … My school teachers are committed to teaching children, not indoctrinating them.”

8. Neknominate death

Another death in the UK from the social media game Neknominate has seen the man who ‘created’ the game come out saying he wanted nothing more to do with it.

The man, a British rugby player, Ross Samson has told the UK Mirror he wanted “nothing more to do with it” in light of the five deaths linked to it.

It had previously been thought that the online drinking challenge started here in Australia – but it turns out this rugby player and his friends have been doing it for over a year.

After five deaths, he has called for it to be stopped.

9. Drugs affect women and men differently

New research is showing how drugs affect men and woman differently. In the US the Food and Drug administration has cut the recommended dose of a popular sleeping pill, Ambien for women but not for men. Research has shown that men and women metabolize drugs differently.

10. Nigeria ‘cleanses’ gays

Horrifying scenes in Nigeria with a gang of armed men dragging 14 young men from their beds, in an attempt to ‘cleanse’ the neighbourhood of gay people.

A human rights group has said that the men were marched to the police station and police have threatened them they may be imprisoned for 14 years.

11. The country where sex at 13 is the norm

The BBC has reported that Argentina – where the age of consent is 13 has a teenage birth rate double that of the UK, because abortion is illegal.

A Doctor told the news network “Almost everybody begins having sexual relations around 13 or 14.”

12. Gay birthday party invite hoax

Another anti-gay hoax has been exposed. Last week an alleged note from a mother to two gay dads whose daughter was having a birthday party went viral.

This has turned out to be yet another hoaxfamily violence

The mother’s ‘note’ read “Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle.’ I’m sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me.”

It turns out it was hoax from a US radio station, they have issued a statement with their apology.

What news are you talking about today?

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