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News: Dingo 'probably' took Aazaria, inquest hears

Lindy and Azaria Chamberlain in 1980

‘Dingo probably took Aazaria’

A fourth inquest into the 1980 disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain has wrapped up today with findings yet to be delivered. Rex Wild QC, who is assisting coroner Elizabeth Morris, said he thought the weight of evidence showed a dingo was responsible for the death. Both Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were at the court. As news.com.au reported:

“The court heard from Anne Lade, a former police officer who was hired by the court to investigate the case.

Ms Lade said there had been many attacks by dingoes, which had caused injuries and three deaths.

Counsel for Azaria’s parents, Stuart Tipple, asked whether the figure of 239 attacks was correct.

“I am prepared to accept that,” Ms Lade said.

Mr Wild described various dingo attacks to the court.

“Although it (a dingo killing a child) may have been regarded as unlikely in 1980 or 1986/87 or 1995 it shouldn’t be by 2011/12,” he said.”

Gabe and Tina Watson

‘Honeymoon killer’ acquitted of wife’s murder

Gabe Watson has been acquitted of the murder of his wife Tina in an Alabama court. The couple were on honeymoon in Australia in 2003 when they took a dive tour off the Queensland coast. No one knows quite what happened but Tina’s air supply ran out and she sank to the ocean floor. This despite the fact her oxygen supply appeared functional. Photos showed her sinking away. Gabe Watson left her to, as he says, go and find help. A US judge said prosecutors did not present enough evidence to take the case through to a jury. Mr Watson had already served 18 months for manslaughter in Australia. As News.com.au reported:

Gabe Watson’s father, David, hugged his son in the courtroom after the judge made his ruling.

He said every court that had looked at the case determined Gabe did not intentionally kill his wife.

“I’m just so relieved. Hopefully he can put his life back together,” David Watson said.

“I hope everyone can begin to heal. The rest of his life will determine his legacy. Gabe is a good kid.”

Jennifer Aniston talks love, movies and friendship

The Hollywood star has a new movie out and … a Hollywood Star, on the Walk of Fame. Aniston’s boyfriend Justin Theroux and her father, John Aniston, watched on as the plaque was unveiled next to those of other entertainment legends, Us Magazine reported. So now’s as good a time as any to refresh in our mind’s a little bit of Jen. Aniston said of the Star: “I was born here and it’s sort of something you went and saw as a kid and got excited about just walking and seeing the names. To imagine that you’re going to be there is really special. It’s fun.”

Check out the gallery:

And here she is with co-star Paul Rudd:

JK Rowling

JK Rowling to write another book – for adults

The Harry Potter author has signed a deal with publishers to write a new book that has nothing to do with the Potter series.

“Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world,” Ms Rowling said in a statement released by publisher Little, Brown. “The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry’s success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life.”

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First couples get ‘civilly unioned’ in Queensland

John and John, legally recognised after more than four decades

Just months after passing legislation that allows same sex couples to enter into civil unions Queensland has its first legally recognised couples. The Civil Partnerships Act came into effect yesterday. The ABC reports on one couple, John and John, who finally took the civil plunge after more than four decades together. John Stafford says it is a step in the right direction.

“It’s an equality thing, and it’s nothing but an equality thing. The people who say that we are anti-family, well where do they think we came from?” he said. “To do what we’ve done today doesn’t feel much different – we were always out, totally accepted by all of our friends and relatives,” John Ebert added.

The Liberal National Party has said that if it wins the state election, it will consider revoking civil partnerships. State Labor MP Grace Grace was at the registry office today to lend her support to gay unions. She says she would be sad if the LNP repealed the law.

“For me this is about social justice and equality, and that people who live and are in the gay community are not second-class citizens,” she said.

“I think we need more love in society and there’s nothing wrong with two people making a commitment to each other.”

Are there more alcohol problems than we thought?

The rewrite of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V) might also lead to a spike in people considered to have issues with alcohol. It was noted earlier in the week the redesign would likely also lead to a jump in cases of ADHD and changed autism diagnoses just because the definitions themselves will change. New critera for alcohol intake could see ‘problematic’ alcohol use rise 60 per cent, or half a million people. The changes include meeting two symptom criteria – tolerance and ‘drinking more or for longer than intended’, a measure that was too broad, researchers said.

And the Week in Pics are an eclectic mix this Friday (minor NSFW, depending on your office!)

Leadership showdown is a battle of the numbers

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has the numbers to ‘crush’ Kevin Rudd if a ballot were held today. As Lenore Taylor writes for Fairfax, at least 20 ministers have publicly declared for Ms Gillard and 10 of them have done so in such critical terms they could never serve under Rudd again. “The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, said ”You can’t run … Australia and protect its national security interests and … economic security interests by every day running off what’s on the front page of a newspaper or what you might want to do on TV.” The Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said government under Kevin Rudd ”became chaotic … the micro-management where no one other than the prime minister could make a decision … Kevin as leader became someone who … became increasingly impossible to work with and as a government we simply weren’t delivering the way we should have been able to.”

The Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, dismissed Mr Rudd’s claim he was better able to lead Labor to electoral victory.

”We need to get out of this idea that Kevin is a messiah who will deliver an election back to us,” she said. ”That is just, I think, fanciful.”

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