Thursday's news in under 5 minutes.

 We’ve rounded up all the latest stories from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.

1. Shorten says he has changed his mind about Labor asylum seeker policy.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says he has changed his mind about boat turnbacks and wants to convince his party to support the policy.

Bill Shorten: “I think, that mistakes were made when Labor was last in government.”

On last night’s 7.30 he said:

“I can no longer escape the conclusion that Labor, if we form a government, needs to have all the options on the table,” Mr Shorten said.

He said he believed the Coalition’s policy of turning back asylum seeker boats, in conjunction with resettling asylum seekers offshore, had worked.

“It’s not easy, though, because it involves the admission, I think, that mistakes were made when Labor was last in government,” he said.

“If I want to be the leader of this nation, I’ve got to be able to face the truth and the truth for me is that if we have policies in place which gives sustenance and support to people smugglers to exploit vulnerable people, where they put these vulnerable people on unsafe boats and then people drown at sea, I can’t support any policies which do that.”

He now faces the task of convincing the ALP’s left faction at its national conference this weekend.

He also told 7.30 that Labor would look to increase Australia’s refugee intake numbers.

Greens Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young tweeted last night “When will Labor learn that capitulating to the Coalition on refugees has never made the issue go away. Libs just find the next cruel thing.”

2. Women tells of the moment her partner choked her.

A 33-year old woman from Sydney has told the Supreme Court of the moment her fiance choked her so hard she could not scream – and how she then plunged a knife into him killing him.

Marcela Castaneda is facing charges over the stabbing of her fiancé Gregory Peck in February 2013 in their western Sydney home.

Earlier this week the judge directed the jury to find Castenada not guilty of murder but consider manslaughter charges reports The Sydney Morning Herald. 

She told the court yesterday that the night she stabbed him she had called off their wedding.

“All of a sudden I could feel his hands around me,” she said.

“I could feel pressure around my neck and I was struggling to breathe, and I could feel him on top of me … I couldn’t scream.”

She fled to the kitchen but she said Mr Peck followed her.

“That scared me, because he’d never come after me before. So then when I saw the knife, I just grabbed it,”


She said she used the knife to “lure” him to the backyard thinking he would take it off her.

Mr Peck lunged at her, she said and she stabbed him in the chest while trying to fend him off.

“I thought he was going to take the knife off me and hurt me,” she said.

“At that point I realised he was hurt. I grabbed my phone and called an ambulance,” she said.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the jury has heard allegations throughout the trial that Mr Peck choked her, hit her, pulled her hair, threw her against walls and verbally abused her several times during their 4½-year relationship.

Finally summaries in the case are expected this afternoon.

If you need help escaping domestic violence, you can call 1800 RESPECT 24 hours a day.

3. Premiers’ retreat finds no resolutions.

Yesterday’s leaders retreat which saw the Prime Minister and the states’ Premiers and Chief Ministers meet to discuss tax reform has had no resolution.

News Limited reports that the leaders did not come to an agreement on proposals to increase the GST or Medicare Levy.

“They’ve broken up, they’re going to work on it tonight and in the morning,” a source close to NSW Premier Mike told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Baird told reporters as he left “Lets wait for tomorrow because we’ll have many things to say tomorrow but I can assure you this has been a time and moment where state leaders and the Prime Minister have put aside all other issues and considerations and come together and said ‘what can we do to help the states and nation’ and that’s what this is about.”

“I’m not going to say where we got to on any of the measures, but it was very constructive, very positive.”

Today the leaders meet in a more formal COAG setting where they will discuss domestic violence, the rise of the drug ice and terrorism.

4. Football player hospitalised ahead of court appearance for domestic violence.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall was due to face court today.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall, a player for the Sydney Roosters, due to appear in court today over allegations he beat and stalked his ex-partner Jessica Peris, the daughter of politician Nova Peris has been admitted to hospital following a “mental health assessment” reports the ABC.

The 28-year-old winger was expected to plead not guilty to 10 charges related to domestic assault and stalkingbut it is now unclear whether he will make an appearance.

5. Toddler killed by maxi taxi.

Tragedy in Cairns with a toddler struck by a taxi.

A two-year old boy has been killed by a maxi-taxi out the front of his home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora yesterday.


The Cairns Post reports that the little boy and his mother had returned from grocery shopping when he was struck by the taxi suffering extensive injuries.

Witnesses have described screaming as family and neighbours rushed to assist.

Cairns Senior Sergeant Greg Giles described it as a “tragic accident.”

6. Bronwyn Bishop’s Facebook page taken down after backlash over photo.

The Facebook page of beleaguered Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has been taken down after furious posters criticised the choice of cover photo the Speakers had adorning the page.

An image of a golf course in her electorate, taken from a helicopter, angered visitors to the page.

“Taken from a helicopter. How ironic. You’re a disgrace,” one wrote.

Ms Bishop is under fire over her use of travel entitlements for chartered flights included a $5200 flight on a private helicopter between Melbourne and Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.

She has paid back the costs of the flights but continues to face backlash as more expensive claims are unearthed.

7. Alzheimer’s slowdown drugs give hope.

British researchers have unveiled new drugs that could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Announced at the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in Washington DC the results from the trial suggest that if given to patients early enough, the antibody therapies using solanezumab and aducanumab will be able to slow cognitive decline.

British Alzheimer’s Society head of research Dr Doug Brown said: “Today’s findings strongly suggest that targeting people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease with these antibody treatments is the best way to slow or stop Alzheimer’s disease.

“These drugs are able to reduce the sticky plaques of amyloid that build up in the brain, and now we have seen the first hints that doing this early enough may slow disease progression.

“After a decade of no new therapies for dementia, today’s news is an exciting step forward.”

8. Man who can’t speak French wins French Scrabble championship.

Nigel Richards :Ffélicitations!

The French-language Scrabble world championship has been won by a New Zealander who doesn’t actually speak French.

Nigel Richards is said to have memorised an entire French Scrabble dictionary in just nine weeks ahead of the competition.

The New Zealander defeated a player from French-speaking Gabon in the final held in Louvain, Belgium, on Monday.


Richards is three-time world champion, five time US champion and has six UK open titles.

Félicitations Monsieur Richards!

9. Salmonella hotel failed food safety inspections just a year before outbreak.

The Langham Hotel Melbourne.

The Herald Sun reports that the Langham Hotel in Melbourne failed food safety inspections last year when cockroaches were found in the kitchen.

The hotel faced fines and orders to improve hygiene in food preparation area, however improvements were made allowing the kitchens to stay open.

10. Five out of six of us don’t like self-service checkouts.

A marketing expert has told The Daily Mail that self-service checkouts in supermarkets are driving customers away.

Barry Urquhart told The Daily Mail that five out of six people did not like the technology, with the “product removed from the bagging area” feature driving people crazy.

People believe that there is no advantage, benefit or reward in administering their own checkout service,’ Mr Urquhart said.

And when you have more than 12 items he says it gets tricky.

Do you like self service checkouts?

“[When] you have to remove one bag or product and [the checkout] says “product removed from the bagging area” and then you have to get someone to check you’re not taking it and going for a walk.”

The hatred of the machine was driving customers towards Aldi.

“Aldi has no automated checkouts and they are growing very rapidly in Australia,” he said.

11. House prices are soaring in Australian cities.

Sydney houses have hit a median price of more than $1 million, and is now more expensive than London.

According to Domain, the average house price in Australia’s most expensive city has increased by $200,000 over the past year.

The median price of real estate in other Australian cities has also risen considerably.

Melbournians are paying $668,030 on average – a jump of 10 per cent since last year.

Meanwhile Brisbane houses are going for $490,855 and in Adelaide for $479,285.

Canberra experience significant growth of more than 5 per cent over the past year, with the median house price now sitting at $616,313.

The only city in which property has decreased in price is Perth – dropping by more than 1 per cent since last year.

Median House Prices:

Sydney – $1,000,616

Melbourne – $668,030

Brisbane – $490,855

Adelaide – $479,285

Perth – $605,089

Canberra – $616,313

Hobart – $325,972

Darwin – $654,270

National – $701,827

Source: Domain House Price Report – June 2015.

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