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Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Former boyfriend of British backpacker killed in Queensland frenzied knife attack posts touching online message.

The former Australia boyfriend of slain British backpacker, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, has posted a photo of himself with the 21-year-old on Facebook.

The Northern Beaches photographer Jamison Stead wrote: “Rest in peace Mia. Thank you for the memories”.

The tribute is one of many since her death on Tuesday evening, after being stabbed to death at Shelley’s Backpackers in Home Hill, south of Townsville.

2. Magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes central Italy flattening more than 2000 homes, more than 120 dead.

The death toll from the earthquake in central Italy is expected to climb with a frantic search for survivors underway. Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, has said that they now know of at least 120 people killed with hundreds more stuck beneath the rubble.

Just before 3.30am local time on Wednesday the 6.2- magnitude quake struck 10km southeast of Norcia, a historic tourist town in southeastern Umbria.

Many of the dead were in the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto, but the quake was felt as far away as Rome.

The mayor of Amatrice, one of the worst-hit areas, said “half the town is gone”. He spoke of one family of four including a nine-year old and an eight-month old baby among the dead.

Accumoli Mayor Stefano Petrucci said: “Four people are under the rubble, but they are not showing any sign of life. Two parents and two children.”

Thousands of people are believed to have been left homeless across the region.

A BBC reporter on the scene as a woman is pulled from the rubble…

Mr Renzi said Italy “knows how to cope”, adding “when things don’t go well the whole of Italy demonstrates its most beautiful aspect”.

The last major earthquake to hit Italy struck the central city of L’Aquila in 2009 killing more than 300 people.

3. French knifeman might have had ‘romantic obsession’ with British backpacker he allegedly stabbed to death.

Police in Queensland are investigating whether the Frenchman, Smail Ayad who allegedly stabbed a British backpacker to death while shouting “Allahu akbar” had developed a romantic obsession with her.

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English tourist Mia Ayliffe-Chung was killed in a knife attack at a backpacker hostel in Home Hill in north Queensland, on Tuesday night.

Frenchman Smail Ayad was filmed allegedly screaming in Arabic as he was arrested by police.

Another English tourist, Tom Jackson, 30 was left with stab wounds and is fighting for life and a 46-year-old Home Hill resident received with wounds to his legs. A dog was also stabbed to death.

4. Bob Katter calls for end to Middle East migration.

In the wake of the FNQ stabbing, and despite police saying there is so far no known link to terrorism, Independent MP Bob Katter has told Sky News that the “time has come” to stop people from the Middle East and North Africa coming to Australia.

“The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia – and if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai… they won’t let any of those people in,” he said.

“I think the risk to the Australian people now is so great that that should not occur anymore,” he explained.

Mr Katter said he the Government continues to let “630,000 people into Australia each year in an economy that’s only generating 200,000 jobs.”

5. Parents unhappy with plans for new national Year 1 exams.

Year One students to be tested. Via iStock.

Parents and experts have expressed their unease at forcing children as young as six to undertake exams to assess their literary and numeracy skills.

The Federal Government is looking to introduce a new assessment for six and seven- year-old schoolchildren in year one that will assess their reading and numeracy skills.

News Limited reports that the test, based on the phonics screening check in the United Kingdom will be brought in as a part of a new school-funding deal.

Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Linda Graham told News Limited it was too much pressure.

“Bringing in a literacy and numeracy-type test in Year 1 will just increase the pressure on Prep teachers and further squeeze any time for play-based learning,” she said.

6. Parents who shared video of baby with whooping cough abused by anti-vaxxers.

The parents of a five-week-old baby girl with whooping cough, who shared footage of their daughter choking and having trouble breathing have been targeted by anti-vaxxers.

Sydney mum Sandra Tee posted the footage online on Monday writing:

“This video may distress some people but I'm sharing to show just how scary and dangerous whooping cough is to babies who are too young to be vaccinated “

The video has been trolled by anti-vaxxers who have abused the family and accused them of "spreading propaganda."

But the Tee’s have hit back.

“For those people who don't believe in vaccination, here's the proof. (Refusing to vaccinate) is putting little tiny 2.6kg babies at risk. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.” Mr Tee told Ten News.

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7. Australian support for marriage equality has increased since federal election.

A new poll has shown that support for marriage equality has risen since the federal election with 62% of Australians supporting same-sex marriage.

The Guardian reports the latest Essential poll reveals support for marriage equality is up four percentage points since July,

“Politicians have a responsibility to reflect this strong support and legislate for marriage equality as soon as possible,” NSW MP Alex Greenwich, chair of Australian Marriage Equality, said yesterday.

“This is an issue about people, not politics, and we must remember that this straightforward reform is about families, neighbours, friends and workmates and our shared Australian values of fairness for all.”

7. Police hunt for stolen 4-week-old lamb.

Police are searching for heartless thieves who stole a four-week-old lamb from The Big Goose, a family attraction at Moorooduc in Victoria.

The four-week-old, who is still bottle fed was taken in the night.

Senior Constable Rohan Brock said the lamb, and a goat, named Gangster were taken.

"We are very concerned for Ralph’s welfare due to his age,” Sen-Constable Brock said.

“Ralph has distinctive markings and would be easily recognised. We urge anybody with information about the theft or his whereabouts to let police know as soon as possible.”

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