1. An Afghani woman who had her face brutally mutilated by her husband in 2010 has revealed her new face following extensive reconstructive surgery. Aesha Mohammadzai was just 18 years old when her husband cut off her nose and ears because she had tried to escape their marriage.
2. Japan’s new fisheries minister said the Asian country will never stop eating whale meat. Yoshimasa Hayashi compared the Japanese eating whales to Australians eating kangaroos. “We have never said everybody should eat whale, but we have a long tradition and culture of whaling,” he said. “So why don’t we at least agree to disagree? We have this culture and you don’t have that culture.”
3. The family of a 12-year-old boy who drowned after trying to hold his breath underwater for an extended period of time has urged other children not to make the same mistake. Jack MacMillan’s mother Michelle told the ABC: “He just thought it was great. It was something he had been doing over the Christmas holidays with friends and family in the pool… Such a silly simple thing that so many kids do.”
4. Pope Benedict will formally stand down as Pope and head of the Catholic Church today, after he gave an emotional speech at a general audience at the Vatican last night. Pope Benedict spoke to 150,000 people who had assembled in St Peter’s Square and said he understood the gravity of his decision but that it was for the good of the Church.
5. The accused rapist killer of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher has reportedly been given “VIP” legal representation. He’s been meeting with a solicitor twice a week since his arrest in September. The representation is angering some ‘legal sources’ because other criminals have recently had their aid cut.
6. Police in Victoria are hunting for an ‘underwear bandit’. He’s a man who reportedly wore a pair of women’s underwear on his head when he pulled out a knife and robbed a service station in Deer Park. The underwear bandit is believed to be of African appearance and was wearing a blue jumper when the incident occurred.