Thursday's news in under 5 minutes.

1. “Little hearts breaking there all over the place.”

The homestead where the deaths took place.




Police will analyse a one-line suicide note found in the car of Geoff Hunt to determine if he wrote it, and why the devastating alleged murder/suicides of him and his family took place.

The body of a man, believed to be Geoff Hunt, was recovered from a dam yesterday – nearly 24 hours after the bodies of Kim Hunt, 41, and children Fletcher, 10, Mia, 8, and Phoebe, 6, were found shot at the Watch Hill homestead Lockhart in NSW.

Superintendent Bob Noble said the effect on the local community was devastating. The tiny primary school the children attended has just 73 students.

“I spent some time at the school early this morning and there are little hearts breaking there all over the place” he said.

Fairfax Media reports that while police are preparing a report for the coroner, detectives have stated that they are not looking at any other persons of interest.

“We have five deceased people [and] we believe they were all members of the same family, there is nothing to lend us to believe that there are any other persons of interest,” he said.

For more on this – and why this should not be about farmers, but about a man taking his life and that of his family – read this post here.

If you need help please contact Lifeline on 131 114.

2. Boy missing in storm water drain

Tragic accident in Victoria.

The search will resume today for the body of a three-year-old boy who was washed away while playing with his family near Dandenong Creek in Melbourne.


Tragically, police have said the operation now becomes a focus on finding his body, as there is no way the toddler could have survived the freezing water.

“Unfortunately one couldn’t expect that a small child would have much hope in such fast flowing water,” Sen-Sgt Phil Hulley said.

3. Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius will learn his fate.

Oscar Pistorius is preparing to learn his fate either tonight or, depending on the length of the judge’s verdict, Friday.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will read her judgment in the trial of the ‘Blade Runner’, who is charged with premeditated murder after he fired four shots through a toilet door on Valentine’s Day 2013, which killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius claims he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Should Pistorius be found guilty, the court will adjourn and reconvene at another date for sentencing. If he is guilty of premeditated murder, the sentence is life with parole after 25 years.

4. Obama’s IS speech.

The US President Barack Obama has made a historic speech outlining exactly what action his administration plans to take against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The speech detailed how the United States will pursue “a comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.

“This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe-haven,” President Obama said. “Our objective is clear: We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive & sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

President Obama asked for Congress to approve money to pay for training Syrian rebels during the speech, but said the US would not be “dragged into another ground war in Iraq.”


“This is American leadership at its best: We stand with people who fight for their own freedom,” President Obama said.

“We will continue to draw on our substantial counter-terrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks… We will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground.”

“American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves.”

President Obama emphasised that “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple”.

“Let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim,” he said.

“And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border.”

5. Morning sickness keeps Duchess from engagements.

The Duchess is still suffering morning sickness.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is suffering from acute morning sickness, was not able to attend the opening ceremony of Invictus Games overnight of which Prince Harry is a patron.

More than 400 injured servicemen and women will take part in the games including a team from Australia.

The Duchess, who is expecting her second child, was also forced to cancel an engagement in Oxford earlier this week.

There is already speculation that the royal couple’s second child could be due in April.


6. Terrorism arrests in Brisbane

Two men will be charged with recruiting terrorists to fight in Syria and funding a terrorist organisation, after an AFP raid on an Islamic book centre south of Brisbane.

The two Brisbane men aged 31 and 21, have been charged with preparing to fight in Syria.

The 31-year-old has also been charged with funding a terrorist organisation. The two men will appear in Brisbane Magistrates court today.

AFP National Manager Counter Terrorism Assistant Commissioner Neil said there was no information or intelligence to suggest the men were planning any terrorism attacks in Australia.

“This has got nothing to do with Islam, this is criminal behaviour by Australians involved in terrorist activity,” he said.

 7. Peter Greste

The Egyptian Ambassador has told Fairfax Media jailed journalist Peter Gretse may be reunited with his family in Brisbane “sooner rather than later”.

As the jailed journalist and his colleagues appeal their sentences Hassan El-Laithy told Fairfax Media he takes Mr Greste’s case “very seriously.”

“I hope when the procedures come to an end, in the courts, everything will be cleared, that’s what I really hope for, I hope that he will be reunited with his family, sooner rather than later,” the ambassador said.

8. NSW introducing “reports cards” for preschoolers

Report cards for pre-schoolers.

The NSW government has announced all four-year olds headed to school the following year will be given an eight-page “transition to school” statement.

The statement allows pre-school teachers parents and four-year-old students to summarise their experience of relationships, independence and communication skills.


The idea is that the report will allow kindergarten teachers to have an idea of the personalities and abilities of the incoming students.

Fairfax Media reports many day care centres say the move will just add to the paperwork, though, and will be a pressure on resources. “It takes time to fill out the forms, so that has to be factored into the cost,” said White Dove early child care teacher, Michelle Hosking to Fairfax Media.

9. Julia Gillard Royal Commission

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told the Royal Commission into Union Corruption that if she had a “time machine,” she would have done things differently in helping set up the slush fund for former boyfriend Bruce Wilson when she was a lawyer and he was a leader of the Australian Workers Union in 1992.

She denied she received money from Bruce Wilson, or from the fund, to pay for renovations on her Melbourne home.

10. British PM “heartbroken”

Independence vote is on September 18

The British PM David Cameron has said he would be “heartbroken” if the Scottish voters say yes to September 18’s referendum reports the BBC.

He urged the people not to rip apart a “family of nations”.

“I would be heartbroken if this family of nations that we’ve put together and that we’ve done such amazing things together, if this family of nations was torn apart,” Cameron said in a speech in Edinburgh, adding that he wanted to speak from the heart about an “extraordinary” united country.

If Scotland’s voters choose independence on September 18, it will mean the breakup of a 307-year-old union between England, Wales and Scotland as Great Britain.


11. Photo of baby rejected by Facebook

A father has expressed his anger at Facebook for rejecting a photo of his sick two-month-old son.

The photo of the baby in desperate need of a heart transplant was deemed offensive by the social media giant.

For more, read this post here.

12. US father kills his 5 children

Timothy Ray Jones was jailed for driving under the influence of over-the-counter Synthetic marijuana, Spice.

He made his confession while in custody.

Jones confessed to killing the youngsters and led police to the scene. The children, who were found buried in individual garbage bags, were reported missing by their mother who was estranged from Jones.

USA Today reports that she told police she had been unable to contact the children’s father.

The New York Times says Timothy Ray Jones Jr. had been investigated for child abuse a month before the children’s disappearance.

13. US Comedian slams Qantas steward for racist remarks

Paul Otaga

A comedian flying from LA to Australia has detailed an encounter on a Qantas plane that he says left him humiliated.

Paul Ogata, from Hawaii, wrote on his blog that when it came time for his meal he was offered beef or chicken.

He says, “That’s when I was greeted with this idiot Qantas steward’s loud response, “You don’t want the Asian chicken? What a disgrace!”…  And when he got the chuckles of the other (white Australian) passengers around me, I glared at him and he moved on.”


“Could I have started an altercation then and there? Yes. But I don’t like to sit in restraints in the lavatory under guard by an Air Marshall for thirteen hours.”

He says he waited thirteen hours before pulling the flight attendant aside and asking him to explain.

News Limited reports he was told by the man that he does this kind of thing all the time. Qantas have said that they find racism deplorable and are investigating the incident.

14. Short-staffed childcare centre asks parents to keep their children at home

A childcare company in Darwin is suffering a chronic staff shortage — so it has asked parents to keep children at home if they can.

Goodstart Early Learning Darwin, which operates 10 centres, sent a letter to parents on Tuesday making the request, Yahoo News reports.

The centres are struggling to fill 17 permanent vacancies, and its advocacy manager John Cherry said the centres were required to meet minimum educator-to-child ratios.

“We just have tried everything to try to get staff, so what we’re asking parents to consider is if they don’t have critical workforce issues, to talk to the centre about whether we might be able to shuffle their child on to another day, when they’ve actually got staff to cover for them,” Mr Cherry said. “We support that quality regulation because it’s important for the learning outcomes for children, but certainly in Darwin at the moment we are having trouble meeting all those ratios all the time.”

What news are you talking about today?

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