news

Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Victorian MP Fiona Richardson dies one day after sharing new battle with cancer.

Victoria’s Minister for Women Fiona Richardson has died a day after revealing her renewed battle with cancer.

The 50-year-old, who was also Australia’s first minister for the prevention of family violence, only announced on Tuesday that she had been diagnosed with multiple tumours. She had also fought breast cancer in 2013.

Her family said on Wednesday evening the wife and mother-of-two had been an “unwavering advocate” for family violence survivors.

“Fiona had unfinished business,” they said in a statement. “She wanted violence in the home to stop and she knew for that to happen it would take dedication and leadership over the course of a generation.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Ms Richardson “knew no fear”, “tolerated no prejudice” and “fought until the very end”.

2. Wrong maths class taught to NSW students ahead of HSC exams.

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Senior students who were taught the wrong maths course at a rural NSW high school have been offered additional tutors to help them prepare for upcoming HSC exams.

The state’s education minister is “furious” at the bungle and has launched an investigation, while parents want staff to be disciplined.

Five Year 11 and two Year 12 students at Coonamble High School were taught Maths General 1 instead of Maths General 2, a spokesman for the education department told AAP in a statement on Wednesday.

Maths General 2 counts towards a student’s ATAR, which allows them to enter university, while Maths General 1 does not.

3. The three-word instant divorce ‘rule’ that’s just been banned.

In a massive win for women’s rights in India, the nation’s top court has ruled the practice of instant divorce in Islam “unconstitutional”.

Before this week, a Muslim man could instantly divorce his wife simply by saying the word ‘talaq’ (which means ‘divorce’) three times in a row. Just like that, men were divorcing their wives during phone calls and via text messages and there was nothing a woman could do to fight it.

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Five Muslim women who’d been divorced in this fashion, alongside two women’s rights groups, filed petitions challenging the system, BBC reports.

Now, in a landmark decision, the ‘triple talaq’ divorce custom has been ruled ‘un-Islamic’ and is no longer a valid way of divorcing a wife.

4. It’s happening: Taylor Swift announces new album.

Taylor Swift announced a new album titled Reputation with a series of Instagram posts on Wednesday, including a possible album cover featuring a black and white illustration of Swift with newspaper-style headlines overlapping part of her face.

The album will be released November 10, and the first single will debut on Thursday.

Swift, 27, ended a six-month absence from the spotlight to deliver unflinching testimony against a radio DJ in a Denver court earlier this month, saying he’d groped her while posing for a photograph.

She was awarded the symbolic $US1 ($A1.30) in damages and, following the verdict, deleted all posts from her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages – a move that sent fans into a frenzy speculating about whether Swift had been hacked or was preparing to launch new music or reinvent herself.

Now we know… And we couldn’t be more excited.

5. Donald Trump in the form of ecstasy, “making partying great again”.

President of the United States Donald Trump has been imitated in almost every way possible. There’ve been miniature Trump dolls. Countless take-offs from comedians. An entire genre of wigs, and perhaps even fake tans, dedicated to the ‘POTUS’.

Now, however, he’s been turned into ecstasy tablets.

Police in Germany have seized about US$46,000 worth of bright orange ecstasy tablets cut into the shape of the president’s head, New York Post reports. Stamped on the back of each pill was the word ‘Trump’ and the stash was marketed with the slogan “Trump makes partying great again”.

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A 51-year-old and his 17-year-old son have been arrested carrying the 5000 ecstasy pills to Germany from the Netherlands, where authorities believe the drugs are being made.

6. Growing levels of substance abuse among Australian baby boomers a “ticking time bomb”.

Drug and alcohol misuse among baby boomers is a rapidly growing problem, experts say. And, unless immediate action is taken, the issue represents a ticking time bomb for the public health system as more older drinkers require treatment, ambulances and hospital beds.

While the rest of the population is showing a decline in risky drinking behaviour, those aged 50 and over are heading in the opposite direction, an editorial published in the British Medical Journal has found.

It’s not only alcohol, either.

“In Australia, the largest percentage increase in drug misuse between 2013 and 2016 was among people aged 60 and over, with this age group mainly misusing prescription drugs,” authors Ann Roche from Flinders University in Adelaide and UK researcher Rahul Rao wrote in BMJ.

“However, people over 50 also have higher rates than younger age groups for both past year and lifetime illicit drug misuse (notably cannabis).”

One particular concern is the “increasing proportion” of women drinking in later life as a result of “life events” such as retirement, change in home situation and social isolation.

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