Thursday's news in under 2 minutes.

Ayvani Hope Perez






1. Authorities in America are searching for gunmen who kidnapped a 14-year-old Georgia girl from her home this week, during an attempted robbery. Ayvani Hope Perez was taken from her home in the early hours of the morning, after the gunmen shot and killed the family dog. The men have since demanded a $10,000 ransom in return for the teenager.

2. In his first few hours as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott announced the sacking of three senior public service officials. The PM’s office released a statement saying that three departmental secretaries were being sacked, and further announced that the Treasury Secretary would stand down in 2014. Mr Abbott said, “Each of these secretaries has made a substantial contribution to public life in Australia and I wish them well for the future.”

3. Other major government changes include AusAID – the agency responsible for international aid – being amalgamated into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Tony Abbott released a statement saying that this was to make diplomacy and aid “more closely aligned”. The ABC has reported that AusAID’s director-general Peter Baxter has resigned as a result of this.

Meanwhile, a member of Indonesia’s parliament has labelled the new government’s asylum seeker policy as “illegal”. Indonesian MP Tantowi Yahya told the ABC that the policy “clearly … annoys our sovereignty as independent country.”


4. A woman’s body has been found on the Central Coast in NSW, and police believe it may be the body of Allyson McConnell – a woman who was convicted of killing her sons in Canada. Originally from Australia, McConnell had admitted to drowning her sons – 10-month-old Jayden and two-year-old Connor – in 2010. 34-year-old McConnell was deported to Australia this year, after she had finished serving six years in a Canadian psychiatric hospital. The death does not appear to be suspicious.

5. Sophie Mirabella yesterday conceded defeat in the seat of Indi, the electorate that she had held for the past 12 years. Mrs Mirabella said in a statement, “Today I have contacted [independent] Cathy McGowan to congratulate her on her win in Indi and concede defeat… Representing the people of Indi in the federal Parliament has been a high honour and a very special privilege.”

6. A man who did not pay for sex with a sex worker, and in 2010 pleaded guilty to the charge of sexual intercourse without consent, said in court yesterday that he wished to take back his guilt plea. Fifty-year-old Akis Emmanouel Livas allegedly had sex with the sex worker, and then left her an empty envelope as payment.

Miranda Kerr is on BRW’s Rich List

7. The 2013 BRW Young Rich List was released this week, and profiles self-made Australians aged 40 and under. This year the list is topped by software developers Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, who founded a company called Atlassian. Other well known names on the list include Miranda Kerr as a debut entrant, and MotoGP rider Casey Stoner.


8. A rugby star in the UK has apologised to the British Prime Minister, after acting inappropriately while being photographed with him. As the photograph was being taken, rugby player Manu Tuilagi put his hand behind the David Cameron‘s head and gave him ‘bunny ears’. After the incident received news coverage, Tuilagi tweeted, “No offence intended. Great Day at Downing Street. Thanks to Prime Minister for hosting us.” David Cameron clearly wasn’t too put out, and tweeted in reply, “It was great to welcome you and the @lionsofficial team to No10. No need to apologise, I know it was just a bit of fun.”

9. The mother of a US man who allegedly shot dead 12 people at a navy base in Washington DC this week says she has no idea what would have motivated her son to do so. Cathleen Alexis released a statement about her son Aaron’s action. In it she wrote: “Our son, Aaron Alexis, has murdered twelve people and wounded several others. His actions have had a profound and everlasting effect on the families of the victims… I don’t know why he did what he did, and I’ll never be able to ask him why. Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad.”

Aaron was shot dead by police at the scene.

Have you seen anything in the news you want to talk about?