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Tuesday's news in under 5 minutes.

Update:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra has been evacuated amid reports of a “suspicious package”.

Fairfax Media reports ACT Police is investigating the suspicious package which was located in the canteen this afternoon.

“About 1.45pm, ACT Policing received the report of the suspicious package at DFAT on John McEwen Crescent,” police said.

“ACT Policing provided a coordinated response and cordoned the area as a standard safety precaution.”

“Evacuations are underway at DFAT and road closures implemented.Members of the AFP Bomb Response Team are in attendance.”

1. Sydney Siege

Three dead. Four injured.

Police have stormed the Sydney Lindt Café where a 19-hour siege came to an end in the early hours of this morning.

A hail of bullet fire and gun grenades were used. Three people have died including the gunman, four have been injured.

The gunman has been named as Man Haron Manis. NSW Police Comm Andrew Scipione  said that police acted after they heard gunshots inside the building just before 2am.

Police have confirmed 17 hostages were inside the Cafe.

The Prime Minister has said that the National Security Committee of cabinet would meet early this morning. 

For more:

  • Injuries: There are three people  confirmed dead in the gunfire. A policeman was shot in the face. For more go here. 
  • NSW Police Comm Andrew Scipione has commended the actions of our police saying “They have saved lives.” For more on this go here.
  • The gunman has been identified as a self-described cleric, Man Haron Monis aged 50 who came to Australia as an Iranian refugee. For more on him go here.
  • For details on the exclusion zone and traveling through the city of Sydney today go here. 
  • The Prime Minister has released a statement saying “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the hostages.” For more go here.
  • For the reaction of Islamic leaders go here.
  • To read of how Australians have fought back against Anti Islamic sentiment go here.
  • For one man’s brief encounter of the gunman before the siege go here.

In other news:

2. Teenager killed by shark attack

18-year old Daniel Smith

An 18-year old from Mossman in far north Queensland has been attacked by a shark and killed in front of friends at the Rudder Reef, north of Port Douglas yesterday.

18-year old Daniel Smith was spearfishing with two of his friends who had used a tinny to get to the reef.

The teenager was not airlifted by QLD Ambulance Service because the chopper was available.

Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Greg Thiedecke told The Cairns Post that Daniel’s injuries were so severe he was unlikely to have survived even if a chopper had been able to reach him.

3. Babies babies everywhere

Data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has shown that for the first time in five years there has been an increase in births.

307,474 women gave birth to 312,153 babies in 2012.

The average age of mothers is up to 30.1 years compared to 29.5 ten years ago.

42 per cent of women giving birth in 2012 had their first child.

The report showed that the rate of teen births is falling, down to 3.6 per cent compared to 4.6 per cent in 2003.

The perinatal death rate was 9.6 per 1000 births, with a devastating 7.2 stillbirths per 1000 births.

4. Dangerous fire conditions

By ABC

Fire warning today.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has forecast dangerous fire conditions for Tuesday as a fire burns out of control near the Victorian-NSW border.

Lightning from a band of storms moving across central and north-eastern Victoria sparked at least 12 fires on Monday.

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There were fears Monday night that the fire in West Wodonga could threaten homes on Tuesday.

The CFA’s Paul King said the blaze was burning in bushland and conditions were too dangerous for air crews to work overnight.

“It was a long drive in there for our firefighters and by the time they got there the fire had spread significantly,” Mr King said.

“Since then it’s been very difficult for us to get to a lot of parts of the fire, it’s very steep country and lots of long grass.”

He said residents needed to remain vigilant, as strong winds of up to 60 kilometres were forecast for Tuesday.

“There’s thunderstorms coming around through this area now, and if we don’t have it contained tomorrow then the west north-westerlies up to 60 kilometres an hour will push the fire right into the western extent of Wodonga, and that’s a pretty serious situation for us,” Mr King said.

A total fire ban has been declared for the northern half of the state, with strong winds and high temperatures forecast for Tuesday.

Dangerous conditions are expected in the Wimmera, Mallee, north-east and north-central districts.

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

 5. Mel B’s husband denies hitting her

The husband of former Spice Girl and UK TV Presenter Mel B has denied allegations he hit his wife after she missed an episode of the UK show The X Factor.

When she returned to the show on Sunday some viewers tweeted about her appearance saying she appeared to have scratches on her body and a bruised cheek.

Others noted that she did not appear to be wearing her wedding ring on the show while others went further by accusing her husband Stephen Belafonte of harming his wife.

Her husband Stephen Belafonte took to Twitter, denying the “disgusting” speculation.

 6. Sydney mother drug charges

Fairfax Media report that a Sydney mother of four  facing the death penalty in Malaysia was leaving  Kuala Lumpur airport when customs officials discovered a bag she was carrying that allegedly contained methamphetamines.

51-year old Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was due to catch a  flight to Melbourne and did not need to leave the airport transit area.

She had arrived in KL from China.

She is due to face court Friday.

7. Rome to bid for 2020 Olympics.

Rome to put up their hand for the 2020 Olympics.

Rome has confirmed it will enter a bid to host the 2024 summer Olympic Games. The BBC reports that the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said overnight “Our country too often seems hesitant. It’s unacceptable not to try… or to renounce playing the game.”

Amid speculation about rival applicants to host the games, Kenya has emerged as a potential bidder.

If successful, Kenya would be the first African nation to host the Olympic Games – however, bids need to be made by cities, and Kenya has not formally announced a prospective host city.

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