1. Ciara Nelson, 18, is alive and “doing amazing” because of the efforts of one brave Australian brain surgeon.
Eighteen months ago, Ciara Nelson was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. Then just 17 years old, Ciara was told it was inoperable, due to its location on the most inaccessible part of her brain, the brain stem.
Ciara's family spoke with medical experts from around the world, but only one doctor agreed to attempt to remove the tumour: Sydney neurosurgeon Charlie Teo.
Speaking with 9 News, Ciara's mother, Colleen, revealed the Melbourne teenager, now 18, had been given a second chance at life after Dr Teo performed the ground-breaking surgery two weeks ago.
"Ciara's surgery was a success," the single mother-of-three shared on Facebook earlier this month.
"Even though Charlie Teo has said it was the most difficult surgery he has performed, he believes he has removed 100% of the tumour. He is extremely happy with Ciara and himself.
"Ciara has long recovery ahead and some visual disturbance but apart from that she is doing amazing."
Colleen described her daughter's surgery day as "scary" and told 9 News it was "not a day I ever want to repeat in my life".
"[Dr Teo] said most people who have that type of surgery don't ever wake up, so he is beside himself that Ciara is walking and talking and all of that," she said.
"We are through the worst of it."
Ciara spent two days in ICU after her operation, and several more recovering at Randwick's Prince of Wales Hospital She is now recovering at her home in Pakenham, in Melbourne's south-east.
Ciara's tumour was only discovered when she fell while playing netball. When she started vomiting, Colleen took her daughter to the doctor, believing she had a concussion.
But a CT scan revealed the worst possible news: Ciara had a low-grade, indolent glioma which later became aggressive and began growing.
In four weeks, a scan will reveal whether Dr Teo was indeed able to remove 100 per cent of Ciara's tumour. It is then likely the teen will still need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation to prevent the tumour from re-growing.
Colleen has set up a fundraising page to help with the family’s ongoing medical costs. You can donate here.
2. Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old was reported missing. Now, she's been found in Mexico with her best friend's father.
When 16-year-old Amy Yu didn't return home from school on March 5, her mother Miu Luu reported her missing.
The teen, from the US state of Pennsylvania, had met up with her best friend's father, 45-year-old married father of four Kevin Esterly, and fled the country.
Two weeks after they disappeared, Amy and Kevin were found in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and were taken into custody by police. They were flown to Miami, where Kevin remained in police custody. Amy was then flown home to her family.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the duo had been in a secret relationship for months. Allentown Police said Kevin had been listed as Amy's stepfather on school records, and had signed her out of classes 10 times the last few months.
The pair have apparently known each other for about eight years, meeting through church after Amy became friends with Kevin's eldest daughter. Kevin's wife, Stacey, confirmed she had recently confronted her husband about his relationship with the teen.
The teen was found "unharmed and in good health". It's expected Kevin will be charged with child custody interference.
3. Only one in 10 Aussies knows how to apply sunscreen correctly because of the ‘confusion’ around when sun protection is needed.
Australians are unknowingly increasing their risk of skin cancer because they don't know when they need sun protection the most, the findings of a national survey suggests.
The latest National Sun Protection Survey, released by Cancer Council Australia, found fewer than one in 10 adults understood that sun protection is required when UV levels are 3 or above, AAP reports.
Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) is a major cause of melanoma - the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia - and levels can remain high during autumn despite the temperature drop.
The survey also suggests Australians remain confused about weather factors and sunburn.
In summer 2016-17, 24 per cent of those surveyed incorrectly believed that sunburn risk was related to temperature, while 23 per cent incorrectly cited conditions such as cloud cover, wind or humidity.
Heather Walker, chair of Cancer Council Australia's National Skin Cancer Committee, says the knowledge gap is concerning and it is time for the federal government to "step up" and invest in a new national sun protection campaign.
"This new research shows that Australians are still very confused about what causes sunburn, which means people aren't protected when they need to be," said Walker.
Melanoma rates have dropped in the under 40s age group due to the success of past 'slip, slop, slap' campaigns.
But the sun protection message needs to be continually reinforced, says Walker.
If it's not, then younger generations will continue to be affected by the deadly skin cancer because "the sun's not going anywhere, the UV levels in Australia are always going to be high," she warned.
Ms Walker says the last federal government-funded sun protection campaign was nearly a decade ago.
"I think it's a really important time for the federal government to step up and contribute to a national campaign," she told AAP.
4. An inquest has heard Courtney Topic, 22, was likely suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia when she was shot dead by police in 2015.
A knife-wielding mentally-ill young woman was shot dead by police 41 seconds after they saw her outside a Sydney fast-food restaurant, her inquest has heard.
Courtney Topic was brandishing a large kitchen knife when she came at two officers in the Hungry Jack's car park at West Hoxton in February 2015, AAP reports.
Officers tried to subdue the 22-year-old with pepper spray and a defective Taser before shooting her in the chest in broad daylight. Although they carried out CPR she died soon after.
Ms Topic's mother, Leesa, wept in Glebe Coroner's Court on Monday as counsel assisting Gerard Craddock SC described the day she left the family home for the last time on February 10.
The Carnes Hill woman, who was a few weeks shy of her 23rd birthday, was spotted swinging the 30-centimetre knife backwards and forwards and talking to herself in the minutes leading up to her death.
Some bystanders noticed Ms Topic behaving erratically, using the tip of the knife to brush hair away from her face and resting the flat of the blade on her head.
The court heard she held the weapon behind her back as she bought a soft drink, and was also seen pressing the knife into her stomach while sipping from the takeaway cup.
Mr Craddock told the court Ms Topic was taking antidepressants for suicidal thoughts and likely suffered undiagnosed schizophrenia.
An expert medical witness is expected to give evidence stating Ms Topic had probably been experiencing an untreated psychosis for a sustained period of time before she died, he said.
Two of the three officers involved had completed one day of mental health training before the incident, while the third had none at all.
They arrived on the scene after receiving several triple-zero calls before midday, surrounded Ms Topic in a "moving triangle", and 41 seconds later she was dead.
The court heard Ms Topic had once told her father she saw people's facial expressions like a "blank canvas", and that may have contributed to her inability to respond to police orders.
"There seems no realistic possibility that she wanted to harm anyone," Mr Craddock said.
The family's lawyer read out a statement describing Courtney as an "intelligent young woman" who was a central part of her close and loving family.
Ms Topic held a job at Woolworths and was known as a reliable and hardworking person who never drank or took drugs, and her out-of-character actions had shocked the family.
"It was sudden, unexpected and violent," the lawyer said.
Ms Topic's relatives are anxious for something productive to come out of her death.
They want questions answered regarding the adequacy of police mental health training, communication strategies and the use of weapons, the court heard.
Almost 500 people were rescued by lifesavers at beaches across NSW over the weekend as parts of the state sweltered through record autumn temperatures, AAP reports.
Surf Life Saving NSW says it was the busiest weekend of the season, with almost double the number of rescues than there was over the three-day New Year's long weekend.
More than 170 of the rescues were at Sydney's Bondi beaches alone, while another 67 beachgoers were pulled from the water at Bulli, near Wollongong.
Ten people were hospitalised for suspected spinal injuries, while a few others needed treatment for heat-related conditions, SLSNSW said on Monday.
New records were set in a number of places across Sydney and NSW on Sunday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Campbelltown posted its hottest March day on record (39.7C), while Badgery's Creek equalled its highest maximum temperature of 40C in the first month of autumn.
Moruya (38.9C), Ulladulla (38C), Bellambi (37.5C), Merimbula (38.1C) and Albion Park (39.5C) on the NSW south coast also set new maximum temperature records for March.
Lifesavers in the region had more than surf rescues to deal with on Sunday evening, after a firestorm tore through the town of Tathra, near Bega.
Bermagui surf club was turned into a makeshift evacuation centre for more than 300 people, while inflatable rescue boats and jetskis from Tathra and Pambula clubs were sent to Bega River in case people needed rescuing.
6. Happy celebrity baby news: Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and his wife have welcomed their second child into the world.
Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne and his wife Hannah Bagshawe have welcomed a baby boy.
The couple announced in The Times that their son Luke Richard Bagshawe arrived on March 10.
The post said: "On 10th March 2018 to Hannah (Bagshawe) and Edward, a son, Luke Richard Bagshawe, brother to Iris."
— BespokeRedmayne (@bespokeredmayne) March 17, 2018
The pair welcomed their daughter Iris in 2016.
In February, Redmayne, 36, said he was excited for Luke's arrival, despite the fact their lives had just returned to (semi) normal following Iris' birth.
"We’ve just about got to that stage when we’re beginning to get sleep and remember what that word means," he said, People reports.
"Getting prepped to go back into the trenches."
The Theory Of Everything star Redmayne married long-term girlfriend Bagshawe in December 2014.
They confirmed in November they were expecting a second baby.
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