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Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. ‘Hero’ father-of-five allegedly killed after he tried to protect son from bullies.

A 49-year-old father-of-five was allegedly stabbed and killed when he rushed to protect his son from being attacked by bullies, Fox 2 News reports.

Robert Briscoe, from Michigan, died on Sunday night while trying to break up a fight between the alleged bullies and his son, whose age has not been confirmed.

Neighbours claimed the suspects had destroyed property and caused disturbances around the town in the hours before Robert was killed.

Police and residents are shocked at the violent crime, which they say is the first homicide in the township since 2009.

“We are a small rural community; we don’t have a lot of problems like this. It’s an isolated incident that shouldn’t have happened,” Huron Township’s Director of Public Safety, Everette Robbins, told Fox 2 News.

The group of teens fled after Robert – known to his family and friends as Bobby – was allgedly stabbed but police were able to arrest an 18-year-old in relation to the attack.

He remains in police custody and is accused of murdering the father of five and grandfather of three.

“[Robert] was obviously concerned for his kids. He was protecting his kids,” Robbins said.

“Something needless made a lot of people lose a father, a grandfather and husband. It just didn’t have to happen.”

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral expenses.

“You could always count on him for anything,” they said of Robert.

“He was a great and loving husband, father, and grandfather. If you [were] lucky enough to know him then you know what kind of man he was.”

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2. Alleged Sydney terror plot planned to ‘use innocent mule’ to smuggle bomb onboard a plane.

An unsuspecting passenger was reportedly to be used to take a bomb onto a flight out of Sydney in the terror plot police say was foiled on the weekend.

“The person was going to be blown up without knowing they were part of a suicide mission,” a source told News Corp Australia.

The idea was abandoned when it was decided the device, reportedly a meat mincer, would be too heavy to go unnoticed in the carry-on luggage.

Little has been confirmed officially but authorities have said the plot involved plans to “bring down” an aircraft using an “improvised device”.

The alleged plot has led to heightened security at airports across Australia.

Police have searched properties in Lakemba, Wiley Park, Punchbowl and Surry Hills in search of evidence.

Four men were initially arrested in Saturday night’s raids, but Abdul Merhi, 50, was released without charge on Tuesday night.

Three men remain in Australian Federal Police custody after the AFP was granted the power to hold them for up to seven days, which expires on Sunday evening.

Mr Merhi’s solicitor Moustafa Kheir says he’s concerned his client’s identity was revealed and has declared he’ll “review what basis police had to do what they did”.

3. QLD mum who attacked her four-month-old baby while she was ‘possessed’ avoids jail.

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A Queensland mother has dodged immediate jail time after being convicted of assaulting her baby girl by cutting off the infant’s air supply in “an attack on a defenceless victim”.

Brisbane Supreme Court jury on Wednesday found Ashleigh Meagan Watterson not guilty of two counts of attempted murder, as well as an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm, AAP reports.

But the 30-year-old was convicted of assaulting four-month-old Sarah in October 2010.

Justice Martin Burns sentenced Watterson to two years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of five years, on that count.

“This was an attack on a defenceless victim in your sole care and clearly constituted a gross breach of trust,” Justice Burns said in sentencing her for assault occasioning bodily harm.

“This (assault) caused your baby considerable distress and interfered with her health and comfort.”

The trial had heard after being charged Watterson told police she had been “possessed” and tried to stop Sarah’s breathing on three occasions.

But in her testimony, Watterson said she lied about harming Sarah because she wanted to be “locked up” and spare her Christian family the trauma of criminal proceedings.

“Because I did not want to commit suicide, I thought of a way of ending the whole turmoil for my family,” she said.

Watterson did not comment to waiting media as she walked from the court precinct with her legal team.

4. A 58-year-old woman has died after a dog attack at a boarding kennel in Perth.

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A 58-year-old woman has died after a dog attack at a boarding kennel in Perth’s south.

Sue Lopicich was pronounced dead by paramedics at her Southern River home, which doubled as Barko’s Boarding Kennels, on Tuesday afternoon.

Ms Lopicich is believed to have been walking several dogs on her property when the attack occurred.

City of Gosnells rangers were called to help contain a dog after police were unable to reach the woman’s body.

Council spokesman Grant Bradbrook said the rangers had been provided counselling, AAP reports.

Rangers seized two adult male dogs, a bull mastiff cross and Staffordshire bull terrier, after her death which are microchipped and registered to Ms Lopicich.

The city of Gosnells told 7 News the bull mastiff, believed to be named Stirling, will be put down today. Up until yesterday, no complaints had ever been made against the dog and he was not believed to be dangerous.

Ms Lopicich’s other dog has been returned home after investigations revealed it wasn’t involved in the attack. Instead, it was used by rangers to lure the bull mastiff away from the 58-year-old’s body after her death.

The woman’s death is not being treated as suspicious and police will prepare a report for the coroner.

5. Prince Philip has farewelled the public at his last official appearance.

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A sea of umbrellas outside Buckingham Palace has farewelled Prince Philip at his last public appearance.

On Wednesday the Duke of Edinburgh attended his last official public engagement with a Captain General’s parade of the Royal Marines, AAP reports.

As the rain set in the 96-year-old, with only a black bowler hat and a long anorak to keep him dry, inspected his marines.

He has been their Captain General since 1953, succeeding his father-in-law King George VI.

British media reported earlier this year that the Duke’s grandson, Prince Harry, will take over the role, but the final decision lies with the Queen.

The marines gave three cheers, while the band played For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow to see off the Duke, who waved and smiled as he closed a 70-year chapter of life in the public eye.

Known for his gaffes – including asking Aboriginal leader Ivan Brim on a 2002 visit to Australia “do you still throw spears at each other?” – the Prince is largely viewed in Britain as a loyal companion to the Queen.

Wednesday’s parade in Buckingham Palace’s forecourt was Prince Philip’s 22,219th solo engagement since 1953.

Buckingham Palace said the 91-year-old Queen’s schedule will continue, and her husband may join her at official events, but “Team Windsor” – Prince William, his wife Catherine and Prince Harry – are increasingly stepping up their royal duties.

6. As ridiculous as it sounds, baby talk can help your child’s language development.

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Goo-goo and gah-gah makes us sound ridiculous, but scientists have figured out baby talk helps our children’s language development.

It happens when we unconsciously shorten our vocal tract to produce the higher pitch in our voice to sound baby-like.

In this effort to connect with and comfort our children, we’re also unconsciously producing speech sounds that are clearer and more easily understood by our babies.

“It’s a very fortunate by-product of what we are naturally doing when we speak to our babies,” Dr Marina Kalashnikova, who led the University of Sydney study, told AAP on Wednesday.

These sounds are essential to our children’s language development.

During the first months of their lives, babies learn to differentiate between the sounds of language by listening to our baby talk. From these all our literacy skills – our alphabet, comprehension, reading and writing – are built.

“This basis is laid very, very early on in development,” she said.

Babies who don’t hear baby talk can have learning difficulties later in life. It also turns out our baby talk is appreciated.

“Babies like listening to that type of high-pitched vocalisation that is similar to what they produce themselves,” Dr Kalashnikova said.

And we’re not the only species doing this. Many other larger animals also raise their pitch to sound less threatening to their offspring.
“Human mums are doing exactly the same thing,” she said

Dr Kalashnikova says the study’s finding will do more than free us from our embarrassment when were caught goo-gooing and gah-gahing – it will further our understanding of the parent and child relationships.

Importantly, it will also assist in situations where parent and offspring interaction isn’t possible or is diminished, like when a mother is suffering post-natal depression.

Dr Kalashnikova said parents should baby talk as much as possible.

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