1. Search for Sam
The entire community of Lansdale in Perth has spent the night searching, hoping and praying for the safe return of a missing two-year-old boy Sam Trott.
Sam left his family home yesterday morning at 10.30am when it is thought a tradesman left the front door open.
Overnight more than 130 volunteers from the local community, SES and afar walked the streets searching for the little boy.
Sam is described as fair skinned, and was last seen wearing a blue polo shirt, shorts with a grey stripe and he has blonde hair.
He was last seen in the vicinity of Walbrook Mews, Landsdale just after 10:30am.
Anyone who sees Sam is asked to call Police immediately on 131 444.
2. Royals in US.
Prince William and Duchess Kate visited the September 11 memorial overnight, where they laid flowers on the edge of the reflecting pools as a mark of respect.
3. Kalynda Davis’s family celebrate her return
The family of Kalynda Davis, who was arrested in China for allegedly trying to smuggle up to 75kg of the drug ice to Australia have celebrated her return home.
News Limited report Foreign Minister Julie Bishop negotiated with Chinese authorities for her release.
The deal was kept under wraps to avoid any negative publicity.
Kalynda Davis was arrested along with a Sydney man, Peter Gardner, who she had met on Tinder only weeks earlier. Chinese customs officers allegedly found methamphetamine with a street value of $80 million in their checked in bags.
It is reported that Ms Davis had no knowledge of the drugs.
Mr Gardner remains in jail in China.
4. PM drops GP co-payment
The Federal Government has dropped the $7 GP co-payment instead announcing yesterday that they will cut the Medicare rebate paid to doctors by $5 a visit in a bid to address the “troublesome issue of six-minute medicine” and encourage doctors to spend more time with patients.
5. US Senate report into CIA torture techniques
The US Senate have released their long awaited report into the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.
- Key points: (From The New York Times)
The C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed. This includes a “series of near drownings” and waterboarding
-As well as rectal feeding and rehydration. According to the report one detainees “lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins was ‘pureed and rectally infused’”.
-Stress positions including forcing detainees to stand upright and shackling them to the ceiling for up to three days.
- The C.I.A. misled members of Congress and the White House about extent of its brutal interrogation techniques.
- Interrogators in the field who tried to stop the brutal techniques were repeatedly overruled.
- At least 26 detainees were wrongfully held and did not meet the government’s standard for detention.
6. Schools cheated at NAPLAN
51 incidences of cheating at NAPLAN have been substantiated nationwide, with a further 15 remaining under investigation.
News Limited report that one Victorian school gave their pupils NAPLAN assessments before the test day.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority said that the breaches were rare given more than one million students sat NAPLAN this year and that the incidences were down from previous years.
The ABC reports that the level of withdrawals, where a child was deliberately kept from sitting the tests, were at an all-time high.
The withdrawal rate for Year 3 reading recorded one of the steepest rises, up almost 1 per cent since 2010 to 2.7 percent.
7. NAPLAN results
According to the ABC girls outperformed boys in the areas of reading, writing, punctuation and spelling, achieving higher mean scale scores across the country in this years NAPLAN tests.
Boys performed better than girls in numeracy, especially in Year 3, but by year 7 and 9 the gap had narrowed.
The ABC reports “there was also a statistically significant drop in the reading level of Indigenous students in years 3 and 5” but that “Indigenous students were still improving at a faster rate, overall, than non-Indigenous students.”
8. Reindeer Ears cause cancer
Concerns over those festive reindeer ears have surfaced after The Courier Mail reported that the novelty item may cause cancer, infertility and reproductive harm.
The report states that the $2 reindeer ears popular for Christmas parties and children’s concerts feature warning labels.
The warning says: “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
The Office of Fair Trading told The Courier Mail that there are no laws being broken by businesses selling the made in China items, but that they should not be armed by the warning.
“A Californian proposition 65 warning label is similar to the “may contain trace of nuts” warning label found on many Australian food products.
“In California, the individual businesses are responsible for assessing the risk and deciding whether to carry the label and many businesses place the warning label on their products to ensure compliance with the law, even if there is little to no chance their product contains toxic substances.
9. Newborn baby flushed down toilet by mother
A newborn baby has survived after being flushed down a toilet by his mother.
The Mirror reports that the baby was rescued after a passer-by heard his cries from a sewer.
The awful incident took place in China’s Shaanxi Province.
Suide County fire department squad leader Li Zhi said: “It was really a race against time because somebody could have flushed something down the sewer again at any stage, or the baby might have turned over and ended up face first in the filthy water and drowned.
“But we didn’t want to smash the pipe because we thought that might also hurt or even kill the baby. So we had to use a mixture of tools in order to ease him towards the opening and then pull him out.
“He still had the umbilical cord attached and it had obviously been clumsily cut.”
10. Crushed to death at Christmas carols
A man has been crushed to death in Ipswich after a Carols by Candlelight event. The man was working to disable a ride.
The event was advertised as having school choirs, market stalls and seven rides including a “giant slide, a mega castle and train”.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is believed he was an employee of the ride’s operator.
11. Oscar Pistorius: Appeal ruling delayed until tonight.
A South African judge has delayed ruling on whether to allow an appeal against Oscar Pistorius’ five-year prison sentence.
Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the appeal hearing until Wednesday, saying she wanted more time to consider the arguments.
On Tuesday, prosecutors had appealed against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year prison term imposed on Pistorius for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, saying it was “shockingly inappropriate”.
In South African law, the judge who hands down a verdict decides on whether the judgment can be appealed.
Pistorius, an Olympic and Paralympic track star, maintained throughout his seven-month trial that he shot Ms Steenkamp on February 14, 2013, by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding behind the bathroom door in his house in Pretoria.
The prosecution failed to convince Pretoria High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa of Pistorius’ intent to kill when he fired at his girlfriend, leading to his conviction in October and a five-year jail term.
“Based on all the evidence, perhaps the element of mercy was over-exaggerated,” state prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued before Judge Masipa.
Judge Masipa’s decision to rule out murder was criticised by several legal experts and the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as an erroneous interpretation of the law.
A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission.
12. Man tries to force girls to take drugs
Two teenage girls have reportedly had a man attempt to force them to take the drug acid at a popular water park in Perth.
WA TODAY reports that the girls aged 16 and 17 from Mandurah were approached by a man who threatened to force drugs into their mouths.
“We were so scared; we left right away because we were worried about being followed,” one girl, Tenaya said.
“Imagine if he had gone up to a kid and said it was a lolly?
“Or if he had thrown it into our mouths and we didn’t know what was happening he might have encouraged us to go with him.”
13. Schools ban Christmas candy canes
Christmas Grinch or Common sense?
QLD students at several schools have been banned from bringing candy canes to exchange with other students as principals face growing concerns over excess sugar consumption and obesity.
The trend of students swapping candy canes has been either outright banned or discouraged by several schools including Burpengary State School, Holy Cross Catholic Primary School and Fernvale State School,
One principal Bradley Fox told The Courier Mail “While our school works really hard to positively role model and promote healthy eating, the tradition of children exchanging candy canes at this time of year undermines all of that work,”
Another school has gone even further banning reindeer antlers and elf hats and requesting that Christmas cards only be exchanged in the last week of school.