Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Australia’s most senior Catholic George Pell denies sex abuse allegations.

Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal George Pell has denied child abuse allegations that were made public last night.

The ABC revealed that police are investigating multiple child abuse allegations leveled directly against Pell.

The allegations are about incidents which allegedly happened during Cardinal Pell’s time as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

One complaint relates to a man who claims Pell touched him inappropriately while they were playing at a poll in Pell’s home town of Eureka in the late 70’s.

In another complaint, Torquay businessman Les Tyack gave a statement to the royal commission last year relating to an incident at the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club in the summer of 1986-87 reports the ABC.

He claims he saw a naked Pell with three small boys behaving in a manner that caused him concern.

The Cardinal said in a statement he “emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him”.

“The Cardinal does not wish to cause any distress to any victim of abuse. However, claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong.

For help: Bravehearts Counselling and support for survivors of child sexual abuse: 1800 272 831. 1800 Respect National counselling helpline: 1800 737 732

2. Person of interest in William Tyrell disappearance to face court today on charges by sexual crimes detectives.

William Spedding, a person of interest questioned over the disappearance of William Tyrrell is expected to appear at the Ballarat Magistrates Court today after being charged by sexual crimes detectives.

Spedding has been repeatedly questioned over the disappearance of William, 3, from the front yard of his grandmother’s home.


William Tyrell went missing in September 2014.

News Limited reports that the exact nature of the charges against Spedding to be heard in court today are unknown but that his lawyer will seek to have aspects of the case suppressed “to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice”.

Spedding is currently charged with historic child sex offences in NSW dating almost 30 years. He is charged with three counts of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 10 and two counts of common assault.

He has always denied any involvement in the disappearance of William Tyrrell.

3. Babysitter charged with killing policeman’s 4-year-old daughter in crash says police are harassing her.

Elle Underhill was tragically killed. Via Facebook.

A teenager charged over the death of the four-year-old daughter of a policeman has gone to court to try to get her driver’s licence suspension lifted and claimed she is being harassed by police.

Courteney Matthews, is charged with dangerous driving occasioning death and negligent driving occasioning death over the crash which took the life of Elle Underhill, 4 in December last year in Northern NSW.

Ellie’s father, Richmond Local Area Command Police Sergeant Steven Underhill, was called to the scene only to discover his daughter trapped in the wreck.

In court Ms Matthews claimed she was a “fit and proper person” to have her license saying she needed it to attend ballet competitions she competes in.

News Limited reports she also made the complaint that “the police watchful eye has increased”.

Magistrate David Heilpern ruled that Matthews had not demonstrated the “exceptional circumstances” needed to get her licence back.


4. Former PM Julia Gillard is urging Americans to call out sexism against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Former PM Julia Gillard has written an opinion piece in The New York Times asking Americans to call out sexism against Hillary Clinton.

Ms Gillard writes that many young women decided that politics is “too punishing for them,” after seeing how she was treated.

She says she was branded a witch and a bitch in posters during an anti-carbon tax rally and broadcaster Alan Jones called for her to be put in a chaff bag and dumped at sea.

But not even Mrs Clinton was immune to what Ms Gillard called “the curious question of gender”

“She knows what it's like to be the subject of the stereotype that a powerful woman cannot be likeable, that if she is commanding then she must be incapable of empathy.”

“Mrs Clinton should not have to deal with this alone. Every Democrat, every Republican, every person who believes that women and men are equal should call out any sexism,” Ms Gillard writes.

5. Bank wins case to charge late payment fees.

The High Court has dismissed a long-running class action by ANZ customers claiming the bank charged 'excessive' credit card fees.

The two appeals argued the late payment fees charged by ANZ were illegal penalties and unconscionable, unjust or unfair.

A 2014 ruling from Justice Michelle Gordon found the fees were unfair penalties because they easily exceeded the 50¢ to $5.50 cost to the bank of a customer paying late.

The decision was overturned by the Federal Court last year, prompting the proponents of the class action, law firm Maurice Blackburn, to take the matter to the High Court on behalf of 43,500 customers who claimed they'd been overcharged $57 million in fees.


But the high court rejected the appeals – with the outcome likely to have implications for similar cases against other banks, and utility companies.

6. Truck bomb blast kills nearly 50 in Syria.

A large truck bomb blast claimed by Islamic State has killed nearly 50 people and wounded scores more in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli near the Turkish border.

The jihadist group said Wednesday's attack was in response to air strikes on the IS-held city of Manbij in north-west Aleppo province.

Local news showed the aftermath of the bombing in Qamishli, with pictures of destruction over a large area and hundreds trapped in the rubble.

More than 50 are said to have died.

7. Cat survives spin in 60C washing machine cycle.

You have to wonder how many lives there are left for Bobby after he survived a spin on “warm” in her owner’s washing machine?

Bobby, the Bengal crossbreed, climbed into the machine for a sleep when her owner, Lisa Keefe, from Nottingham in the UK decided to do some washing.

Ms Keefe told ITV said she stopped the machine when she heard a loud thudding sound.

She glanced inside and there was a sopping Bobby.

The nine-month-old cat on the verge of collapse and needed IV fluids to treat shock.

Vets said he was "very lucky" to have survived the ordeal.

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