Monday's news in under 5 minutes.

BREAKING: Hostage siege continues to unfold in Martin Place’s Lindt Cafe.

For up-to-date information please read this: Rolling coverage: A timeline of the Sydney siege.

UPDATE: Death toll in Indonesian landslide rises to 39, as President Widodo visits the site.

The death toll from a landslide in the Indonesian province of Central Java has risen to 39 today as rescuers continue to search for bodies.

Officials say the chances of finding anyone alive are slim, however it is believed that 69 people are still unaccounted for. More than 1000 rescuers have been working around the clock to recover bodies since the landslide took place on Friday in Jemblung village. For more information, read this.

1. Melbourne alleged murder/ suicide

Sunil Beniwal and Shikha Godara Beniwal.



Police are investigating the possibility of a murder/ suicide after a woman was found dead when they went to inform her of the death of her partner in a road accident.

Nine News reports that police believe 36-year old Sunil Beniwal deliberately veered into the path of an oncoming truck on Saturday night after allegedly killing his estranged wife Shikha Godara Beniwal.

It is believed that she had an intervention order in place against her former partner which expired only days ago.

For more read this post here.

If you need help please phone the National Domestic Assault Family Violence Counseling Service.

 Lifeline  13 11 14 

2. Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook announcement

By ABC political reporter James Glenday

Treasurer Joe Hockey will slash foreign aid and reveal a massive blowout in this year’s deficit when he hands down his mid-year budget update today.


The ABC’s AM program understands the aid budget will be reduced to Howard-era levels and more than $3 billion will be cut over the next four years.

The cuts in today’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) come on top of a $7.6 billion cut to the aid budget in May.

Some of the money will be redirected to fund new spending decisions, such as a $630 million boost to national security and the deployment of troops to the Middle East.

This year’s budget deficit, which was forecast to be $29.8 billion in May, is now set to exceed $40 billion as “global headwinds” continue to batter the Australian economy.

“We remain on a believable and responsible path to surplus, but we will get there slightly less quickly than we would have liked,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said.

He told AM Senate compromises and delays, as well as falling commodity prices, would hit the budget hard over the next four years.

“There’s been a significant drop in revenue on the back of a sharp fall in terms of trade and also on the back of wages growth being lower than expected,” Senator Cormann said.

“We are not going to chase down the fall in revenue.”

Government sources said the MYEFO contains the steepest fall in the nation’s terms of trade in more than 50 years.

Any hope coalition MPs had of a return to surplus before 2017-18 has now been abandoned.


A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission. Here’s are the top news headlines from late last night.

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3. Toddlers using Ritalin

29,523 schoolchildren aged between seven and 11 are on ADHD drugs

News Limited reports that there has been a startling increase in the numbers of young children aged between two and six using Ritalin with prescriptions surging 320% since 2007.

3527 young children around Australia are prescribed the drugs.

There are also 29,523 schoolchildren aged between seven and 11 on ADHD drugs.

Child psychiatrist Jon Jureidini has told News Limited that doctors are overprescribing the mediation.

“We know these drugs have an impact on growth,” he said

“We know that they have an impact on sleeping and eating patterns, both things that are being developed at that age. We have some concerns about effects on the heart, although that is not clear yet.”

“It is partly the responsibility of the medical profession but also society’s responsibility about whether it wants its kids drugged or not.”

4. $100 GP fees

A lobby group that supports publically funded universal health care has said that by 2016 doctors could be charging $100 for a 15-minute consultation.

The Doctors Reform Society has told Fairfax Media that the Abbott government’s plan to reduce the Medicare rebate for doctors by $5 and freeze it until 2018 is promoting a “return to a failed privatized system of the past” with doctors free to charge what the market will bear.


Society national president and GP Con Costa said given some doctors were already charging $80, it was likely some would be charging at least $100 by 2016.

5. Community mourns little girl’s death

Aurora Luder died on Saturday night.

A community is devastated after the loss of a little girl in a head on collision.

The young family, Amiee and Sam Luder were driving with their children Zachary and Aurora Luder when they had a head on collision on the Gatton Esk Rd, near Esk, west of Brisbane on Saturday night.

Three-year old Aurora died at the scene.

Her mother, father and brother survived but were taken to hospital with broken bones and cuts.

A fundraising page set up to help the family describes Aurora as a “bright spark”

“Aurora was a bright spark that lit up the room wherever she went,”

“Aurora was so excited about starting kindy next year. She was actually more excited to start kindy than she was about Christmas.

“That zest for life certainly rubbed off on anyone she would meet.”

The page hopes to raise money to help the family with medical and funeral costs.

 6. WA Fires

A bushfire in Perth’s north-east that caused an emergency situation yesterday is now under control and poses no threat to lives or houses.


 7. Hackers steal James Bond script

James Bond script stolen

Hackers have stolen an early version of the new James Bond film, SPECTRE which was among material stolen and made public by hackers who infiltrated computers at the Sony studio.

“Eon Productions is concerned that third parties who have received the stolen screenplay may seek to publish it or its contents,” Eon said in a statement, while warning that the script is protected by U.K. copyright laws.

Hackers launched an attack on the Sony Corp. entertainment arm on November 24, disabling the computer network and stealing and leaking a trove of sensitive information in the most severe cyberattack on a company on U.S. soil. The identity of the hackers has yet to be determined.

8. Climate Change agreement


About 190 nations have agreed on the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed to limit rising world temperatures.

Under the Lima deal, governments will submit national plans for reining in greenhouse gas emissions by an informal deadline of March 31, 2015, to form the basis of a global agreement due at a summit in Paris in a year’s time.

The texts, breaking deadlock among weary delegates almost two days into overtime after two weeks of talks, appeased developing countries led by China and India concerned that previous drafts imposed too heavy a burden on emerging economies compared to the rich.

India’s environment minister, Prakash Javedekar, said the text preserved the notion enshrined in a 1992 climate convention that the rich have to lead the way in making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.


“We’ve got what we wanted,” Mr Javedeka said.

The text also satisfied rich nations led by the United States who say it is time for fast-growing emerging economies to rein in fast-rising emissions.

China is now the biggest greenhouse gas emitter ahead of the United States, the EU and India.

“This is a good document to pave the way to Paris,” EU climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told Reuters.

A version of this story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission.

 9. Conjoined Twins

Carter and Conner Mirabal ( Source: Facebook)

A US woman has given birth to conjoined twins, just 11 months after the birth of her son.

Michelle Brantley and her fiance Bryan Mirabal, from Florida had their twins at 34 weeks

Carter and Conner Mirabal are connected at the abdomen and face each other. They had immediate surgery to their stomach, but do not share any organs which gives them a positive prognosis.

At this stage there is no plans to separate them reports The Daily Mail.

 10. Mother and newborn dying due to lack of sanitation

A report published in the scientific journal PLOS One is appealing to governments and agencies to pay greater attention to sanitation in order to save mothers’ and babies’ lives.

The study says that mothers and newborns are dying in low-income countries due to a lack of sanitation, safe water and hygiene while giving birth reports the BBC.


The report by experts from the charity WaterAid, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Health Organization and other global health bodies says that the lack of basic facilities is hindering the success of other interventions to improve the health of newborn babies.

11. Christmas gift

Now this is the spirit of Christmas. A woman in the US has paid off all the lay-by gifts at a Toys R Us.

According to the Milford Daily News, the woman said the move would help her “sleep better at night” as she handed over $20,000.

Toys R Us says the woman is just one of a number of people who have “paid it forward” for fellow customers in the last year.

“With the holidays here, people look for interesting ways to spread some cheer,” a spokesman said.

One mother, who was shocked to learn that the gifts for her two sons had been paid for, said: “I almost wanted to cry.”

“It was only $50, but to me that’s a lot of money, and that someone would go and do that gave me chills,” she said. “What she did was so caring and thoughtful,” Linda added. “I feel like I was part of something special – touched by an angel.”

 12. Sorry kids homework is good for you

Enjoy your Chrissy hols kids cause it seems homework helps.

In news guaranteed to break the hearts of every kid out there it seems that homework IS actually beneficial.

The Times reports that one of the biggest worldwide studies of homework ever carried out proves that homework is important in reinforcing that is learnt in the classroom.


The international study of 15-year-olds in 65 countries revealed a clear link between longer homework hours and higher academic performance.

“These findings should finally silence skeptics who have argued that homework is bad for youngsters, causing stress and division in families,” said Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham.

The difference for pupils attending schools that set no homework and those that set a lot could add up to six months of study over a year, said Marilyn Achiron of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

13. Noodle rage

There has been trouble on a AirAsia flight with Chinese passengers threatening Thai flight attendants that they would blow up the plane and throwing hot water and noodles at them after they became angry over seating arrangements.

China National Tourism Administration said the tourists disrupted the flight, hurt other passengers and “badly damaged the overall image of the Chinese people” reports The Washington Post.

Angry Chinese travellers uploaded photos and videos from inside a Thai AirAsia charter flight bound for Nanjing last Thursday.

They said a Chinese couple berated a crew member of the budget airline before pouring hot water and throwing noodles at her. The flight returned to Bangkok and the pilot asked a group of four Chinese passengers to disembark.