1. Artist Del Kathryn Barton has won the coveted Archibald Prize for the second time, with a portrait of Hugo Weaving. Barton has been a finalist in the portraiture competition four times in the past, winning the award in 2008 for a painting of herself with her two children.
2. The Australian Vaccination Network has been ordered to run a temporary disclaimer on its website, stating that the Department of Fair Trading considers their name misleading. The decision is part of an ongoing legal dispute, with the AVN fighting a December ruling that they should have to change their name.
3. Radio host John Laws, 77, is standing by the line of questioning he took when a woman called in to his program to talk about the sexual abuse she had suffered at the hands of her male relatives when she was 6-years-old. Laws has told his detractors, “You can all go to hell. It doesn’t bother to me.”
4. A former Australian soldier has been freed by his captors – Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to al-Qaida – 15 months after he was initially taken hostage in the Philippines. News.com.au reports that Warren Rodwell was released in Pagadian City at 4.30am yesterday, and was then taken to hospital.
5. Kevin Rudd has offered to tour Queensland electorates with Julia Gillard, as as a sign of solidarity to with Prime Minister. Reports have also emerged that Rudd sent a text message to sacked Minister Simon Crean on Thursday morning, urging caution before instigation a leadership spill. However, Simon Crean has directly contradicted this version of events, and says Kevin Rudd’s camp endorsed the call for a challenge.
6. Tornadoes with wind speeds of 254 kilometers have torn through Victoria’s northeast, with powerful storms wreaking havoc in Rutherglen, Euroa, Yarrawonga, Mulwala, and Bundalong. Houses were destroyed, and 20 people recorded as injured.
7. An Israeli and a Norwegian tourist have been kidnapped in Egypt. News.com.au reports that armed Bedouin tribesman forced the tourists into their truck at gunpoint. Such kidnappings were common in Egypt in early 2011, after president Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power.