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Thursday's news in 5 minutes.

1. Court told stepmother ordered father to abuse children whenever she got angry.

A father has been found guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault and cruelty to his young children.

The man, who can not be named, was found guilty of six counts of false imprisonment, four counts of aggravated assault causing harm, two counts of aggravated indecent assault and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse against his daughter, now aged 9, and son, now 7.

The girl was forced to sleep in a birdcage. Image via IStock.

The children lived with their father and stepmother on a regional property in South Australia. The court heard the man tied the children to trees, locked them in cages, slammed their fingers in car doors and whipped them, reports The Advertiser.

During the trial the prosecutor claimed that when the children’s stepmother became angry she would tell the man to "do something" to the children saying that between 2011 and 2013 when the children were not on access visits with their biological mother, the children "suffered" due to the stepmother’s "bad influence" on their father.

The court heard an audio recording by the father, of him tormenting and physically assaulting the boy. A female voice in the background was said to be the stepmother.

The young girl gave evidence that she was locked in a birdcage on some nights and often in the garage, that she was tied up and gagged and that her father took photographs of her while she was imprisoned.

The children’s stepmother was found guilty of one count of false imprisonment and also two counts of aggravated assault causing harm.

2. Australians among passengers on Emirates flight that crash landed at Dubai airport.

There were two Australians on board the Emirates plane that made an emergency landing in Dubai overnight.

The flight travelling from India to Dubai made a crash landing at Dubai airport where it burst into flames killing a firefighter.

The passengers and crew included 226 Indians, 24 British people, 2 Australians and 11 Emiratis, the airline says. All passengers and crew survived but the firefighter had died responding to the emergency.

Passengers said the pilot made an announcement that he needed to make an emergency landing minutes before the flight crash-landed.

The airline said the crash-landing was not caused by any security breach.

3. “Evil witch” cast a spell and forced mother to drive kids into lake, killing three of them.

A court has heard that an "evil witch" cast a spell that forced accused Akon Guode to drive her car into a Wyndham Vale lake on April 8 last year.

The witness told the court that Guode, who had been having an affair believed the wife of her lover used witchcraft on her after finding out about the affair with the man who fathered four of Ms Guode’s children.

"She said the wife had something to do with her doing that to the children," the witness said, reports The Herald Sun. "Maybe she made her drive into the water ... Like a spell."

Guode is charged with murdering her one-year-old son, Bol, and twins Hanger and her brother Madit, four after driving her car into the lake and the three children drowned.

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3. PM seeks to assure Australians over census fears.

The Prime Minister has said that there is nothing to fear over next week's census – saying the ABS has always protected people's privacy.

"The security of their personal details is absolute and that is protected by law and by practice," he said yesterday.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics boss David Kalisch has apologised after a 24-hour phone line for those requesting a paper form was inundated with more than 500,000 calls and unable to cope. More staff have now been placed on the line.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told the ABC that those worried about fines for not completing the census should relax saying penalty notices were a last resort for the ABS and were only issued where there was a clear willingness not to participate.

"I'm more than confident that the penalty notices are not going to be issued in the sort of circumstances that people are worried about."

Only 100 fines were issued at the last census.

4. Measles alert in Queensland.

Queensland Health has issued an alert after a man with measles travelled through Brisbane’s international airport.

The New Zealander spent time in the airport's transit lounge on July 24, while en route from Bali to Wellington.

He travelled on a Virgin Airlines flight VA46 from Bali’s Denpasar airport before catching Virgin flight VA104 to Wellington, New Zealand.

Measles symptom include fever, lethargy, a runny nose, and sore red eyes.

These symptoms are followed by a patchy, red rash that develops over the entire body. Measles is easily spread from person-to-person through sneezing and coughing.

5. Woman killed by freak boomgate accident in car park.

A 61-year-old woman has been killed in an accident while trying to leave a car park on the Gold Coast.

It is believed the Gold Coast woman, having trouble with her parking ticket, opened her car door to lean out and  insert it into the boom gate, but instead accidentally accelerated.

She was somehow torn out of the vehicle suffering fatal injuries.

7. Aussies can now ‘cash out’ their annual leave.

Millions of Australian workers now have the ability to take the cash rather than their annual leave.

A decision by the industrial umpire means that clauses have been inserted into almost all of Australia's 122 workplace awards, which allow employees to strike agreements with their bosses to cash out portions of leave, as long as they still have at least four weeks remaining after doing so.

Fairfax Media reports that workers will be able to cash out two weeks of annual leave every 12 months. Employers now have greater powers to force staff who have excessive leave balances to take paid leave.

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