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Friday afternoon's news in under 5 minutes.

julie taylor pregnant hostage
PHOTO: Julie Taylor (at rear), pictured fleeing the Lindt Chocolate Cafe with other hostages, has written a heartfelt statement remembering Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.(Getty Images: Joosep Martinson)

We’ve rounded up the biggest news stories the afternoon – and it will only take you a few minutes to catch up on these headlines.

FOR NEWS UPDATES on the Cairns tragedy, please see this post here

1. Sydney siege hostage reveals her unborn baby is unharmed – and pays homage to Katrina Dawson

By ABC NEWS

A survivor of this week’s deadly siege in Martin Place, Sydney, has released a statement remembering her “closest friend, role model and confidant”, Katrina Dawson and the “courageous” Tori Johnson, who both died in the gunfire that ended the siege.

Julie Taylor, a barrister at Eight Selborne Chambers and colleague of Ms Dawson, wrote of her grief at losing her friend.

“Katrina Dawson was the most wonderful person I have ever met. She was my closest friend, a role model and confidant,” Ms Taylor wrote.

“Her bravery and strength was, and continues to be, a comfort and inspiration for me.

“She invested every moment of her life in her friends and family, and will be greatly missed by everyone who has known her.

“My thoughts and sympathy are with her family, whom I have come to know and love.”

julie taylor pregnant hostage

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(PHOTO: Julie Taylor, a hostage in the Sydney siege, has written of her grief at losing friend and fellow hostage Katrina Dawson.)

Ms Taylor also paid tribute to Tori Johnson.

“Although our acquaintance was forged under the worst imaginable circumstances, I feel privileged to have known you and I will always remember you as a kind, considerate, level-headed and courageous person,” she wrote.

“It was clear to me how much you loved your family, and how much compassion you had for everyone you met.

“I am grateful that you were with me throughout our ordeal.”

She went on to thank the other hostages, police, ambulance staff and health professionals at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Unborn baby ‘healthy and unharmed’

Ms Taylor said she was taking comfort in looking forward to her baby’s birth.

“It is difficult to be positive at a time like this, but there are two things which provide comfort to me.

“The first is the overwhelming display of public support for everyone involved in this crisis, including me.

“My own visit to the Memorial at Martin Place gave me a strength for the coming weeks which I thought that I might not have, as have the messages and kindnesses that have been sent to me by everyone I know and many I don’t.

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Katrina Dawson, who died in the siege, was a friend of Julie Taylor’s.

“It is good to know that none of us is alone.

“Finally, my husband and I have been told that our unborn baby is healthy and unharmed by this crisis.

“If all goes well, and there is no reason to think that it won’t, we will give birth to a precious baby in a few months.

“Although it is an emotional time, we are trying to keep ourselves healthy so that can occur.

“I thank members of the media for their respect of our privacy in this difficult time, and ask that you continue to do so.”

A version of this post appeared on ABC News and has been republished with permission.

2. 8 children die in mass stabbing in Queensland.

Eight children have been killed in a mass stabbing in Cairns, Queensland.

A 34-year-old woman, believed to be their mother, is in hospital with stab wounds to the chest following the incident at Manoora. She is assisting police.

Police say they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.

Emergency crews were called to an address in Murray Street in the Cairns suburb of Manoora. (ABC News: Sharnie Kim)

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Emergency crews were called to an address in Murray Street in the Cairns suburb of Manoora. (ABC News: Sharnie Kim)

For more on this tragic story, see this post.

3. Clive Palmer’s media adviser arrested

By ABC NEWS

Clive Palmer’s media adviser and confidant Andrew Crook has been arrested by Queensland Police over the alleged kidnapping of a National Australia Bank executive on an Indonesian island.

julie taylor pregnant hostage

 Andrew Cook (right) with Clive Palmer. (Photo: ABC)

As part of the same operation, police from the state’s anti-bikie taskforce arrested Mick Featherstone, a Gold Coast private investigator and former senior detective at the centre of a year-long probe by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission into money laundering and police corruption.

Police have also issued a warrant for the arrest of multi-millionaire property developer and former Sydney Swans AFL player Tony Smith, who lives in Bali.

A version of this post originally appeared on ABC News and has been republished with permission.

4. Assistant Treasurer resigns

By ABC NEWS

Arthur Sinodinos has told the Prime Minister he is resigning as Assistant Treasurer, paving the way for Tony Abbott to reshuffle his Cabinet.

“The government needs a full-time Assistant Treasurer for the preparation of next year’s budget,” Senator Sinodinos said in a statement.

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Senator Sinodinos stood aside from his ministerial duties in March after being called before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

He was questioned about his former role as a director of Australian Water Holdings (AWH), which ICAC has been investigating over corruption allegations.

At the time, Mr Abbott indicated he expected Senator Sinodinos to resume his duties once the ICAC case had concluded.

A version of this post originally appeared on ABC News and has been republished with permission.

5. Tori Johnson’s partner releases a statement to media.

Tori Johnson‘s partner Thomas Zinn has released a statement to the media expressing his “unimaginable grief” over the loss of the man he loved.

Martin Zinn, Tori Johnson's partner.

Thomas Zinn in a separate interview on the Today show this morning.

Mr Johnson, a Lindt cafe manager, died in the Sydney siege at Martin Place on Monday.

“We are experiencing unimaginable grief,” Mr Zinn said. “But when we look at the sea of flowers with all the heartfelt messages and crowds of supporters in Martin Place, we know that this grief is shared by the whole country and the rest of the world.”

You can read about Mr Zinn’s interview on the Today show here.

Catch up on more news in this 90-second video from the ABC:

 

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