News in 5: Sophie Delezio's major milestone; Winnie Mandela dies at 81; Flu strikes Comm Games.

1. “It makes me feel free”: 15 years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Sophie Delezio is embarking on a teenage milestone.

Sophie Delezio 2018
Sophie Delezio is now 17 years old. Image via Instagram.

Sophie Delezio was just two years old when a car crashed through the gate of her childcare centre on Sydney's northern beaches. Trapped under the burning vehicle, Sophie suffered burns to 85 per cent of her body, and lost one hand, her right ear and both feet.

Then, just two and a half years later, Sophie was involved in another accident: a car hit her wheelchair as she was being pushed across the road by her nanny and she was thrown 18 metres.

She suffered a heart attack, a broken jaw and shoulder and bleeding on the brain, which took away her sense of smell.

Today is Sophie's 17th birthday and she's celebrating her almost-adulthood the same way as any other teenager: by getting her driver's licence.

Speaking to Woman's Day, Sophie said being in the driver's seat of her own car feels like "heaven".

"I'm in heaven as long as I'm the one in the drier's seat and in control," she told the magazine.

"I just love to drive. I enjoy the way it makes me feel - free!"

Sophie Delezio in 2005
Sophie Delezio in 2005. Image via Getty.

Taking to the road in a specially-modified car, Sophie clocked up the required 120 hours on her learner's permit in just eight months, driving to and from school on weekdays.

She now lives life like any other teenager: on weekends, she competes in single scull rowing, enjoys acting and works several days a week at her local supermarket.

Last November, she even jumped from a plane in Queenstown, New Zealand and hopes to study abroad in England when she finishes school later this year.

"I'm always telling myself I need to crack down and study, but I'm also here to live life," she said.

"The busier I am, the better!"

2. Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Mandela has died at the age of 81.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Image via Getty.

South African anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died peacefully following a long illness, a family spokesman says.


"She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year," Victor Dlamini said in a statement.

"She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones."

Tributes are flowing in on social media:


3. 'Miracle' as woman in her 50s walks away unscathed after a light plane crashed in NSW.

The pilot is lucky to be uninjured. Image via Nine News.

A light plane has nosedived into trees in Sydney's south-west, with paramedics saying it's a "miracle" the pilot walked from the wreckage with only a sore back.

The woman in her 50s was the only person aboard the plane when it crashed at Bankstown Airport at about 11.20am on Monday.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the woman "self extricated" from the plane after it landed among trees in a ditch at the edge of a paddock.

She was walking around outside the wreckage when paramedics arrived.


NSW Ambulance Inspector Andrew Keshwan said his team had "expected the worst" but were relieved to find the woman uninjured.

"Obviously falling from 1000 feet is a harrowing experience and she’s shook up but quite stable," NSW Ambulance Inspector Andrew Keshwan told reporters, The Daily Telegraph reports.

She complained of a sore lower back but did not need to be taken to hospital.

"This is a very happy and lucky outcome for the pilot," Keshwan said.

"It is a miracle she has walked away from the wreckage without any injuries."

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau says it will decide on Tuesday whether to investigate the crash.

4. The flu has struck the Commonwealth Games athlete's village just a day before the Opening Ceremony.

gold coast commonwealth games
The 2018 Commonwealth Games kicks off tomorrow on the Gold Coast. Image via Getty.

On the eve of the 2018 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, The Queensland Times reports three people within the athlete's village are being treated for influenza.

It is not yet known whether the flu patients are athletes, team staff or Games officials, however it is believed they have been placed in isolation ahead of the opening ceremony tomorrow.

The Games' medical centre command confirmed the three cases and said preventative medication has also been given to those in close contact with those infected.

"The patients have been requested to remain in isolation until they no longer have symptoms and are being managed in conjunction with the Gold Coast Public Health Unit," a statement from Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, released to News Corp, said.


When the opening ceremony kicks off tomorrow, hockey captain Mark Knowles will lead the Aussie team as our country's flag bearer.

Knowles, a popular but surprise choice, beat out fellow Queenslander Sally Pearson at the team reception for the role.

Chef de mission Steve Moneghetti rejected any suggestions his decision was based on Pearson's worrying achilles injury possibly forcing the world hurdles champion and Olympic gold medallist out of her home town Games.

"It has nothing to do with Sally with an injury," Moneghetti said.

He said he chose Knowles because "he's a decent human being who embodies everything that is good about being Australian."

"He's a home grown boy who has made good."

In his fourth and last Commonwealth Games, Knowles said it would be an "extremely, extremely proud moment" to carry the flag into Wednesday night's opening ceremony.

5. Two former prime ministers are embroiled in a very public argument about Prince Charles' thoughts on Australia becoming a republic. Yes, really.

"But what does Prince Charles actually think?" Images via Getty.

Former prime ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott have clashed over what Prince Charles may or may not think about Australia ditching the monarchy, AAP reports.

On the eve of the Commonwealth Games Mr Keating has claimed the heir to the British throne supports Australia becoming a republic and would welcome not having to "pretend" one day to be the country's head of state.

But the former Labor leader's comments have angered monarchist Mr Abbott, who has suggested it's not true.


"Prince Charles would just want to do his duty and he shouldn't be verballed by an ex-PM," the former Liberal prime minister and now right-wing backbencher posted on Twitter.

Another senior right-wing Liberal, Eric Abetz, also rounded on Mr Keating, accusing him of mounting "self-serving and egotistical" arguments for a republic.

"Mr Keating's musings clearly have no basis in fact and are just a sad feature of the latest Republican push," the Tasmanian senator said in a statement.

Mr Keating advocated for a republic when he led the country and used an opinion piece in London's The Sunday Times to again make that argument.

He said he had no doubt that Prince Charles believed Australia "should be free of the British monarchy".

"Why would he or anyone of his family want to visit Australia pretending to be, or representing its aspirations as, its head of state?" he asked.

He praised Prince Charles and said he'd always be welcome in Australia but added: "The pretence of representing this country and all that it stands for is something he and we could well do without."

Australian Republic Movement chair Peter FitzSimons said it would be great if Prince Charles would use his Australian tour to formally support a republic.

"We have heard that (he supports it) for many years and we don't doubt it's true," he told AAP.

"It'd be wonderful if he'd come out and say that outright, not that we have an actual expectation of that."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a former chair of the Republic Advisory Committee prior to an unsuccessful 1999 referendum, has previously said the issue of a republic is unlikely to be publicly debated during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Publicly, both Prince Charles and the Queen have stressed it's up to Australians to decide whether to follow the republic path.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be officially welcomed at a reception in Brisbane on Wednesday, before opening the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in the evening.

6. Aussie doctors are being urged to prescribe their patients 'more exercise'.

Image via Getty.

Doctors don't prescribe enough exercise to patients despite all the evidence showing its benefits in fighting illness, according to experts, including the chief doctor of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, AAP reports.

A doctor's own attitude towards physical activity can also predict their willingness to prescribe exercise for their patients, say a trio of researchers in a scholarly opinion piece in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Just as doctors probe about smoking and drinking, they should be asking patients about how much they exercise in every consultation, according to the comments published on Monday.

Commonwealth Games Chief Medical Officer Dr Anita Green and her colleagues have urged doctors to remember the "considerable evidence" that shows exercise can improve mental health and combat diabetes, the onset of dementia, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers.

"For some chronic conditions, specific exercise prescription is at least as effective as drug therapy, such as for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and the treatment of depression," Dr Green and her colleagues wrote.

"Yet there remains a large evidence-practice gap between physicians' knowledge of the contribution of physical inactivity to chronic disease."

The researchers said a lack of undergraduate and postgraduate training in physical activity prescription was preventing meaningful change.

"(It) must be addressed in order to increase the knowledge, confidence and skills of physicians in prescribing exercise as medicine to their patients," wrote authors Dr Green, Dr Craig Engstrom and Dr Peter Friis.

Doctors should help patients achieve 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week while those with unstable or multiple chronic conditions should be referred to a sports physician, the experts urged.

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