Thursday's news in under 5 minutes.

1. Woman sets flag alight at war memorial

Australia flag burnt at the War Memorial yesterday.



Police have arrested a woman who allegedly set fire to an Australia flag at the War Memorial in Sydney yesterday.

Security cameras filmed the woman described as being of Caucasian appearance stepping into a roped off room and burning the flag.

Police say they found an Australian flag that had been lowered into the flame of remembrance caused a small fire which was extinguished by emergency services.

She was arrested overnight and taken to hospital for an assessment reports the ABC. 

 2. Arrest over Melbourne attack

Police have also arrested a woman in Melbourne over a racially motivated attack on a woman who was assaulted and then pushed off a Melbourne train last week.

Madeline Luke was charged with two counts of intent to cause injury, two counts of unlawful assault and with using insulting words in a public place.

The Age reports she will appear in court this morning.

 3. Woman who accused Bill Shorten of rape speaks

The woman known only as ‘Katie’.

The woman who accused federal Labor leader Bill Shorten of rape has claimed that the Victoria Police did not properly investigate because of his position of power.

The woman in a video interview with The Herald Sun said that police did not speak to the three main witnesses she gave the details of.

The woman says that her witnesses were scared.

Her allegations – that Mr Shorten raped her when she was 16-years old at a Labor youth conference 1986 – have been investigated by police who told The Herald Sun that they did a full investigation.


When he was cleared in August Bill Shorten said “I fully co-operated to clear my name. And that is what I have done … The police have now concluded the investigation. The decision speaks for itself.”

Earlier this year, authorities decided not to press charges against Mr Shorten because prosecutors felt that “there was no reasonable prospect of conviction”.

 4. Schoolgirl jihadist

15-year old Yusra Hussien

The family of a schoolgirl jihadist in the UK have pleaded with her to come back home.
15-year old Yusra Hussien disappeared from her home in Bristol in the UK last week. British police have said they fear she could be now about to cross the border from Turkey into Syria in order to join Islamic State fighters.

The BBC reports that her parents made an emotional plea for her to come home “Please come back, we miss you very much.

“You’re not in any trouble, we just want you to be safe and come home as soon as possible.”

The Mirror reports that the 15-year old and a 17-year old friend were radicalised on the Internet.

“The family noticed recently she was always on her phone and computer but they didn’t have a clue what was going on.” A family friend said

“The understanding I have is that it was self-radicalisation.

“There are so many forums and chat rooms on the Internet and it is very easy to be led astray.

 5. PM’s burqa ban backing

The Prime Minister yesterday expressed support for a push to ban the burqa from Parliament House on security grounds saying it was a “fairly confronting form of attire and frankly I wish it weren’t worn”.


“We are free country, we are a free society and it’s not the business of government to tell people what they should and shouldn’t wear.”

He said that parliament house was a secure building and “it should be governed by the rules that are appropriate for a secure building and obviously people need to be identifiable in a secure building such as this.”

6. Campaign to support women in headscarves

Jessica Rowe supports women who wear hijibas.

Meanwhile a social media campaign to support women wearing hijabs has taken off. #Wish – Women in solidarity with hijabis has over 17,000 likes in just 8 days.

The campaign launched by Mariam Veuszadeh has seen thousands of women don a hijab to shun Islamophobia.

Channel 10’s Jessica Rowe posted her image to the site saying, “My Muslim sisters and I share the same hopes and dreams for our families- to live in a compassionate, peaceful and multicultural country.”

 7. This politician has just thanked Australians who smoke


Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm

Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm has upset doctors who have said his speech yesterday thanking smokers for their contribution to the national coffers was ridiculous.

“Ladies and gentleman, thank you for smoking…” he said. ‘Your generosity to the nation’s treasury is truly staggering.

“The government collects around $8 billion in tobacco excise each year. That’s a lot of cash.”

“Last year, smokers imposed $318.4 million in net costs on Australia’s healthcare system. Depending on rainfall, smokers also cost the taxpayer about $150 million a year in bushfire control.


“If you do even basic arithmetic, these figures disclose that you wonderful, generous smokers, pay 17 times as much as you cost.”

His speech has been critisised by Dr Steve Parnis, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association.

He told The Daily Mail that it was a ridiculous statement.

“This is a case of ideology before reality,” he said. “The fact remains that smoking kills. It’s the biggest cause of preventable death amongst Australians”.

Meanwhile Fairfax Media has confirmed that the senator accepted donations “in the tens of thousands” from tobacco giant Phillip Morris for his party.

8. Woman sues over wrong sperm

A white woman in the US is suing a sperm clinic for delivering her the wrong vial of sperm after she gave birth to a daughter wihth African-American characteristics.

For more read this post here.

 9. US track children who came into contact with Ebola patient

Officials in the US are closely watching school children who came into contact with the first patient diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the children had contact with the patient and are being monitored at home.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a press conference that it’s “not impossible” that others will contract the disease.

ABC NEWS reports that the ambulance officers who transported the man to hospital have been cleared of Ebola.


 9. Details of the twins who starved to death

Tragic: the twins who died of starvation.

Further details have emerged of the 18-month old QLD twins who starved to death while their mother played the online game, Second Life.

The Courier Mail report that their 11-year old sister had expressed deep concerns about the twins to her paternal grandmother.

The boy and girl died in 2008, they had been dead in their cots for a week, their deaths only know by their mother.

It was the 11-year old girl who crept to their room when her mother went to the shops, she saw their dead bodies emaciated in their cot and told her Mum when she came home “`I know now mum why you’ve been so upset,’’ she said.

“Mum? If you want to know — I don’t hate you.”

 10. Women of Influence

The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence have been announced for the third year in a row showcasing the countries highest achieving women in 2014.

Among the 100 are Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, Maria Deveson Crabbe CEO of Marie Stopes International and our very own Jamila Rizvi, Editor-in-Chief of the Mamamia Network.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly describes the calibre of the nominations for the 100 Women of Influence for 2014 as remarkable.

“It is such a privilege to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions these women are making to Australia.”

 11. Hong Kong protests

As pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong enter their seventh day, organisers say they will launch new civil disobedience plans unless the city’s leader CY Leung stands down.

Student leader Lester Shum told reporters “We will escalate the action if CY Leung doesn’t resign by tonight or tomorrow night.”


“We will occupy more government facilities and offices.”

 12. Royal Twin speculation mounts

As the Duchess of Cambridge suspends yet another royal engagement bookies have suspended betting on twins following surge in bets.

The type of severe morning sickness she is experiencing, Hyperemesis Gravidarum is always worse with twin pregnancies

 14. Rescuers save dog covered in tar

In a move that will renew your faith in humanity animal rescuers in India have gone to amazing lengths to save the life of a puppy who had fallen into a pool of hot tar which completely covered his body and became rock-solid. He was stuck to the ground and couldn’t move.

Animal Aid Unlimited officials came to the rescue. After hours of hard work and rubbing vegetable oil onto the thick layer of tar, the pooch was saved.

15. New Parliament rules following debate on banning the burqa

Following debate this week about whether burqas should be banned, new rules have been introduced to restrict the seating of “persons with facial coverings” within Parliament House.

ABC reporter Simon Cullen tweeted the following screenshot of the new rules, which state: “persons with facial coverings entering the galleries of the House of Representatives and Senate will be seated in the enclosed galleries.”

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