Monday's news in under 5 minutes

1. Joan Rivers’ funeral

Barbara Walters at Joan Rivers Funeral.

Family, friends and celebrities galore have gathered to attend the funeral of Brooklyn-born comedian Joan Rivers.

The NY Daily News reports stars at the invitation-only event included Kathy Griffin, Kelly Osbourne, Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Howard Stern, Barbara Walters, Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer, Kathie Lee, Hoda Kotb and Andy Cohen, along with moguls Barry Diller, Donald Trump and Steve Forbes.

Hugh Jackman sang “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage” from his musical The Boy From Oz, and Broadway actress Audra McDonald also performed.

Joan Rivers wrote in her 2012 book “I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me” that she hoped for “a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action” and “Hollywood all the way”. Instead of a rabbi talking, Rivers asked for “Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents” and “a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s”.

2. James Ashby claims

Former Speaker’s aide James Ashby has told 60 Minutes he was told by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne if he went public with the assistance Pyne offered him he would call him a “pathological liar”.

Mr Ashby said he approached MP Wyatt Roy, to ask for advice about how to handle the sexual harassment he had received from Peter Slipper.

Roy put him in touch with Christopher Pyne, who offered then to find him legal assistance and a job in state politics. 60 Minutes reports Mr Pyne says he has ” no specific knowledge of the allegations made by Mr Ashby and the first I knew that he was suing Mr Slipper was when I read it in the newspapers.”

3. Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius has lashed out days before learning his fate.

Just days out from learning his fate, Oscar Pistorius has lost his cool with journalists in his home town of Pretoria, telling a reporter he deserved privacy.

The Sunday Times newspaper reports Pistorius was trembling with anger when asked how he was doing. “How can you ask me that? Do you really have the audacity to ask me how I am doing at this point in my life? What I am going through and feeling… I really cannot deal with this right now.”

The story speculates that recent property sales of his assets are a revenue-raising venture to raise further legal fees in the event he is found guilty when the judge hands down her verdict on either Thursday or Friday evening.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year after shooting her through a closed bathroom door.

He claims he thought she was an intruder.

 4. Faith and Hope’s family home ransacked

The home of the parents of conjoined twins Faith and Hope, who died in May this year, has been ransacked by thieves — causing thousands of dollars of damage and memorials to the twins destroyed.

The Daily Telegraph reports nearly $7000 worth of damage was caused.


“They’ve taken the hard drive off the computer that’s got all the family photos on it,” Faith and Hope’s father Simon Howie said. “I’m disgusted that they went through the girls’ drawers.”

5. Jack the Ripper identified

Jack the Ripper identified.

Amazing DNA technology not available just five years ago has finally uncovered the identity of Jack the Ripper.

DNA on a shawl found near one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, has been matched to one of the chief suspects, Aaron Kosminsky.

Kominsky was a Polish hairdresser, who moved to England with his family in 1881, before being committed to a lunatic asylum in 1891.

6. Waiter’s quest for love goes viral.

A young waiter searching for a dark handsome stranger he served in a café has seen the power of social media as a Facebook post he wrote searching for the mystery man went viral.

For more – and to see if you can identify the mystery man – read this post here.

7. Mother sentenced to prison for giving daughter abortion pills

A mother in the US state of Pennsylvania has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for buying abortion pills online and giving them to her teenage daughter to end her unwanted pregnancy.

Jennifer Ann Whalen pleaded guilty to obtaining the pills from an online site in Europe for her daughter aged 16.

Her daughter suffered stomach pain upon taking the drugs and ended up in hospital. The mother said she bought the pills as there was no local clinic available to perform an abortion and her daughter did not have health insurance to cover a hospital abortion, The Huffington Post reports.

8. Wil Anderson admits to smoking marijuana

Wil Anderson

Wil Anderson has admitted to smoking marijuana every day to deal with the pain he suffers from osteo arthritis.

The Australian comedian now lives in LA, where cannabis is legal for medical use. He  told News Limited medical marijuana should be available in Australia.

“So there is part of me that thinks, wouldn’t it be better if it was regulated and we could warn people and we could sell it and not make people criminals for choosing a drug?” he said.

9. Entire country in quarantine

A countrywide lockdown is in effect in Sierra Leone to try and stop the spread of Ebola.

Sierra Leone has ordered its citizens not to leave the areas around their homes for three days from September 19, in an attempt to prevent new infections and assist health workers track down people suffering from the disease.

Cars will be banned from the streets and health workers will go door-to-door searching for Ebola victims that families may have hidden, reports The Australian.

The deputy information minister of Sierra Leone said that the three-day shutdown would make it easier for medical workers to trace suspected cases.


10. Suicide every 40 seconds

The World Health Organization has launched a report on suicide — saying it’s a major public health problem “too often shrouded in taboo”.

One person dies every 40 seconds from suicide around the world, and the WHO wants to reduce the rate of suicide by 10% by 2020.

The organisation also criticized the reporting of suicide in the media, citing the details revealed about the death of Hollywood actor Robin Williams.

For more on this topic, see this post by Mia Freedman: “For anyone who has ever contemplated suicide.”

If you need help:

Lifeline Australia for crisis support and suicide prevention.

Beyondblue, for depression and anxiety.

11. Teachers want to bring back the cane

1 in 5 teachers want the cane brought back.

The Advertiser reports one in five South Australian teachers want to bring back, or are undecided about, corporal punishment.

Nine percent are in favour of bringing back the cane and 12 percent “neither agree nor disagree” with the idea, according to a UniSA survey.

The study coincides with a campaign by charity Save the Children, calling for a nationwide ban on corporal punishment. Save the Children has challenged all states to follow NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT, who have banned corporal punishment in all schools.

12. New Zealand internet provider crashes due to fake nude photos

The main internet provider in New Zealand, Spark, has crashed after a cyber-attack involving malicious software brought the provider down.

It has been reported a frenzy of customers clicking on what they thought were nude photos of female celebrities including actresses Jennifer Lawrence caused the malware to be installed.

The New Zealand Herald reports that users clicked on links believing they would lead to new illicit images of celebrities, but instead the link installed viruses.

13. Anxious mums linked to crying babies

Crying babies linked to anxious Mums.

A report in the Archives of Disease in Childhood has shown that babies who cry excessively may be linked to anxious mothers.

Researchers found that mums-to-be who experience stress, worry or panic attacks before becoming pregnant are more than twice as likely to report that their child cried ‘excessively’.

The study found a mother’s production of stress hormones during pregnancy may cross the placenta and affect the development of a child’s brain.

The Daily Mail reports, however, that women need to be careful in taking research like this to heart.

Dr Harriet Hiscock warned against increasing “a mother’s day of worry by blaming her for her infant’s crying.”
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