Saturday's news in less than five minutes.

Sean Abbott.




1. Sean Abbott to sit out this weekend.

Sean Abbott, the 22-year-old bowler from Sydney, will sit out this weekend as he continues to weigh up his future. The young cricket player is understood to have undergone counselling since bowling the ball that resulted in the death of batsman Phillip Hughes.

Sean has receieved a flood of support from Australian teammates, the local and international cricketing community and the public not to give up the sport. For the time being, the bowler will sit out of the Sydney University club side which resumes this weekend.


Former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce.

2. Quentin Bryce: domestic violence is “the most grave human rights issue in the world”.

The former governor-general is taking a strong public stance against domestic violence, an issue she says she feels very strongly about.

“I cannot believe that in 2014, in our society, we are seeing this horrific, abhorrent behaviour increasing,” she said.

“I just feel very, very deeply about the responsibility I have as a woman to make any contribution I can to addressing this issue.”

Ms Bryce is the chair of a new Queensland Government taskforce on domestic violence which is due to report to Premier Campbell Newman in February. She said she has been inundated with stories from women since taking up the position, making this an issue for the whole community to solve.


“We all have a responsibility here … nothing will happen without the community driving it,” she said. It is time for Australians to “get real”.

3. Pulling kids out of school early for holidays is impacting on their education.

The Department of Education has expressed concerns over the number of parents who are pulling their kids out of school early at the end of the year. The concern comes after a study by the University of Western Australia found that, of the 400,000 students whose records were compared, those with more absence showed a decline in performance.

“A 10-day period of unauthorised absence in a year is sufficient to drop a child about a band in the NAPLAN testing.”

“A 10-day period of unauthorised absence in a year is sufficient to drop a child about a band in the NAPLAN testing,” said Professor Stephen Zubrick.

Some states and individual schools are now demanding medical certificates for absences as the Department of Education reported 46,599 students who listed “holiday” as their reason for absence in the last week of semester one this year.

4. Student teachers have the maths ability of a 12-year-old.

A senior university mathematics lecturer has warned that typical student teachers have the maths ability of a 12-year-old, making them ill-equipped to pass the year 9 numeracy test even after four years of tertiary study.

“Every year I test my students and they’ve got the understanding of a Year 7 or Year 8 kid,’’ Griffith University’s Stephen Norton told The Weekend Australian.

The lecturer listed the key areas of struggle as being fractions, proportional reasoning and algebra.


5. Coronial inquest ordered into teenage deaths after mental health facility closure.

There is to be a coronial inquest into the deaths of three teenagers after Queensland’s only long-term mental health facility for adolescents was closed. The news comes after parents of the three deceased teens have long argued that the Barrett Centre was closed without enough warning or appropriate transition procedures.

Justine Wilkinson, mother of Catilin Wilkinson-Whiticker, said her daughter, like many of the youths at the facility, began thinking of suicide at the age of 13.

“That’s why they were at Barrett – because the community options were not sufficient to keep them alive,” she said. For more, read here.

Australian model and singer Iggy Azalea.

6. Australians nominated for Grammy awards.

Australian female artists Sia and Iggy Azalea have both been nominated for Grammy Awards, in a year when female vocalists appear to be dominating the charts.

The first nominations, which were revealed yesterday on television in the US, showed female singers of the R&B-influenced pop persuasion are set to leave their mark on the music scene.

Australian model and rapper Iggy Azalea’s breakthrough single “Fancy” has been nominated for Record of the Year. While Adelaide-born Sia’s song “Chandelier” received a nomination.

Notoriously shy singer-songwriter Sia tweeted to fans, ““I don’t know what to say so thank you”.

Iggy Azalea, the northern NSW rapper tweeted her best wishes to her Record of the Year rival: “Sia congrats to you too!!”.


Queensland-born Keith Urban is also in the running for a gong. He is nominated for Best Solo Country Performance for “Cop Car” and Country Duo/Group Performance (“Raise ‘Em Up” with Eric Church).

Other artists that look set to clean up are Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Meghan Trainor.

7. Is this the world’s biggest baby?

Pregnant mums may feel enormous as they approach their due date, but spare a thought for this mum who just gave birth to a baby that weighed a whopping 6.3kgs.

Mia Yasmin Garcia was born by caesarean section (thank jeebus) at the San Luis Valley Hospital in Colorado, USA, on Monday. Mia was 59cm long.

Mum, Alisha Hernandez of Alamosa, was told to expect a baby weighing 3kgs, so when her newborn tipped the scales at over 6kgs, she was more than a little surprised.

Dad, Francisco Garcia, told reporters, “They’re all shocked that they’re seeing a baby like that. They opened their eyes like they’ve never seen a baby like that.”

After the birth, Mia was flown to a hospital in Denver, where she is being treated for low glucose levels and breathing problems. Doctos hope that she will be able to join her family, including her four older sisters Britney, Ximena, Yulissa and Yuliana (who were all born at regular weights), by next week.