news

News in 5: Pregnant mum killed by snake; Barnaby Joyce expecting baby; Hot tea warning.

Warning: This article contains information about sexual assault which may be distressing for some readers.

1. A West Australian mum was due to give birth to her second child in just a few weeks, when she died from suspected snake bite.

Sinita Martin snake bite news in 5
Image via 7 News.

West Australian woman Sinita Martin, 27, was 31 weeks pregnant when she and her unborn baby died after a suspected snake bite.

According to The West Australian, Sinita - who also has a three-year-old son - called out for help on Monday night after telling relatives she felt unwell after returning from being outside. She then began having seizures.

St John Ambulance officers arrived at the family's home in the Mid West town of Meekatharra around 8:45pm to find Sinita had gone into cardiac arrest. She was taken to a nearby hospital, but despite the best efforts of doctors, neither she or her unborn baby could be saved.

A family spokeswoman described the young woman as a "lovely mother" who had helped raise her three brothers.

"My heart breaks for my nephew and his partner... a young mum and her baby taken too soon," a relative wrote on Facebook.

It's believed Sinita was bitten by a snake - the most common in West Australia being the deadly king brown and western brown snakes - but a post-mortem will be needed to confirm the exact cause of her and her baby's death.

Speaking to 7 News, Royal Perth Hospital clinical toxicologist David McCoubrie said brown snake bites could cause cardiac arrest.

"They affect your blood stream and the ability for your blood to clot, so we tend to see bleeding complications from brown snake bites," he said.

2. Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Barnaby Joyce is reportedly expecting a baby with one of his former staff members.

Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce. Image via Facebook.
ADVERTISEMENT

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is expecting a baby with a former member of his staff, and has confessed to his closest friends he is "madly in love", The Daily Telegraph reports.

Joyce confirmed he had separated from his wife of 24 years, Natalie Joyce, with whom he shares four children, during debate over same-sex marriage legislation last year.

The Daily Telegraph reports the 50-year-old has found love with his former media adviser Vikki Campion, 33, with the pair having already moved in together and due to welcome their first child in just a matter of months.

Campion, who is a former journalist and deputy chief of staff at The Daily Telegraph, was pictured near her home in Canberra yesterday but declined to comment on her relationship with the Deputy PM.

Mr Joyce's office has so far declined to comment on his personal life, but confirmed that Campion was no longer working for the Turnbull Government.

"Due to ministerial changes at the ­reshuffle last year, the staff member's contract ended," the office said in a statement.

"(She) is subject to the same provisions as all other staff."

Prime Minister Turnbull has also declined to comment.

3. Two-thirds of women who have been targeted by online abuse suffer from anxiety and panic attacks as a result.

woman cyber bully online abuse anxiety
Image via Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

Two-thirds of women who have been the targets of online abuse and harassment report suffering panic attacks and anxiety from the incidents, a survey shows.

Amnesty International Australia commissioned a Ipsos MORI online poll which surveyed 502 women aged 18-55 years.

Thirty per cent had experienced abuse, and at least 37 per cent of those said the experience had made them feel their physical safety was threatened, AAP reports.

"The internet can be a frightening and toxic place for women," Amnesty spokeswoman Azmina Dhrodia said.

"It's no secret that misogyny and abuse are thriving on social media platforms, but this poll shows just how damaging the consequences of online abuse are for the women who are targeted."

The poll also found that 20 per cent of women had been threatened with rape or physical violence online.

Seven per cent had been the victims of revenge porn and had intimate images of themselves posted online without their consent.

54 per cent of respondents said their abuse came from strangers, a third from people the victims knew and 15 per cent from former partners.

62 per cent of women experiencing online abuse reported they couldn't sleep at night as a result.

The survey found the abuse had a "silencing effect" on the social media activity of 56 per cent of victims.

Amnesty called on social media platforms to do more to protect women's right to freedom of expression.

4. Seven people charged with alleged abuse of three young boys, including sexual assault and 'blood rituals', at Sydney circus school.

(Image via Facebook: Arcade Circus.)
ADVERTISEMENT

Seven people connected to a children's performing arts school west of Sydney were allegedly involved in the repeated rape and abuse of three young boys - some of which was filmed - court documents show.

According to AAP, the alleged abuse of the boys, who were all aged under eight at the time, reportedly included sadistic sex acts and "blood rituals".

Some, possibly all, of the accused are related to the victims, although it's unclear how many.

The group is collectively facing 127 charges, including kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault of a child under 10 in company and using a child under 14 to make child abuse material between 2016 and 2016.

Three women - aged 26, 29 and 58 - and a 52-year-old man were arrested on Monday after a long investigation.

According to the court documents, the 29-year-old and 58-year-old woman are accused of each having sexual intercourse with two boys without consent.

The younger woman is also alleged to have incited the boys to have sex with each other.

But the lawyer for the four oldest accused claims there's "another side to this story" and they deny all of the charges.

A 17-year-old girl, an 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were also arrested.

All seven were involved in the school which catered for children with and without disabilities.

Some of the accused have already entered pleas of not guilty following brief mentions at Penrith Local Court on Tuesday.

Four of them are expected to apply for bail next week.

Lawyer Bryan Wrench told the court the alleged offenders said "we did not do this" and added "there is another side to this story".

"They've always been ready to meet with police and we hope to get them bail," Mr Wrench told reporters outside court.

Two of the three accused, who had their matters mentioned in children's courts, didn't apply for bail and it was formally refused.

They're next due back in court on March 20.

The arrests were part of Strikeforce Baillieu which was launched in July to investigate reports of sexual and physical abuse of three boys.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.

ADVERTISEMENT

5. Heavy drinkers and smokers are being warned that consuming hot tea could increase their cancer risk by up to five times.

tea coffee cigarette smoking
Image via Getty.

Hot tea and heavy alcohol consumption can increase the risk of a deadly cancer five-fold, research has shown, according to AAP.

Oesophageal cancer was already known to be linked to drinking alcohol and smoking, but those risks are heightened by the addition of daily cups of "burning hot" tea, scientists discovered.

Oesophageal cancer, which affects the food-pipe or gullet, is notorious for poor survival rates.

In 2014, there were 1457 new cases of oesophageal cancer diagnosed in Australia, and 1329 deaths due to the disease in 2015.

An estimated 15 per cent of patients who develop the cancer are still alive after five years.

The new tea warning emerged from China, where researchers followed the progress of 456,155 participants aged 30 to 79 for around nine years.

High-temperature tea drinking combined with either alcohol consumption or smoking was associated with a greater risk of oesophageal cancer than hot tea alone.

Dr Canqing Yu and colleagues from the National Natural Science Foundation of China wrote in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine: "Compared with participants who drank tea less than weekly and consumed fewer than 15g of alcohol daily, those who drank burning hot tea and 15g or more of alcohol daily had the greatest risk for oesophageal cancer."

Combined with excess alcohol consumption, hot tea raised the relative risk of developing the disease five times, the study found. Current smokers who drank hot tea daily doubled their risk.

Previous research had suggested that "thermal injury" caused by drinking hot liquids could increase the danger from other risk factors, said the researchers.

ADVERTISEMENT

They concluded: "Abstaining from hot tea might be beneficial for preventing oesophageal cancer in persons who drink alcohol excessively or smoke."

6. The 2018 Winter Olympics has already set a world record...for the most condoms given to athletes at a Winter Games.

Image via Getty.

While there's sure to be plenty of world records broken on the ski fields, ice rinks and sled tracks during this year’s Winter Olympics, the 2018 Games have already set a record... for the most condoms given out to athletes.

According to NBC News, more than 110,000 condoms are due to be provided for the athletes competing in the South Korean event, the most ever made available at a Winter Games.

The record for most condoms at an Olympics event, however, belongs to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, where a whopping 450,000 condoms were distributed in the athlete's village.

A traditionally conservative country, many are hoping the record-setting safe sex initiative will spark a sort of 'sexual revolution' for the nation and open up avenues for discussions about birth control and practicing safe sex.

"It is a great time to seize this opportunity to start having open discussion," Hyeouk Chris Hahm, a Boston University professor who has researched sexual attitudes among South Korean adolescents, told NBC News.

There is still a stigma in Korean society about talking openly about safe sex and birth control, he added.

"South Korea has one of the lowest fertility rates, and yet, South Korea has one of the highest abortion rates in the world," he said.

"It is common for them to abort the pregnancy because of shame of being a young single mother, family rejection and very little societal support system for them."

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???