News in 5: Families killed in church shooting; PM's dual citizenship plan; Carb 'addiction' solved.

1. Eight members of the same family are among the 26 dead after a gunman opened fire in a Texas church.

The small town of Sutherland Springs in Texas – with a population of just 400 people – is in mourning after 26 people were killed as they worshipped at church on Sunday morning, local time.

The gunman – who Mamamia has chosen not to name – shot two people outside the church, before walking inside and opening fire, killing 24 more.

The world is now hearing how generations of families have been torn apart by the tragedy, with one family losing eight people in the attack.

Bryan Holcombe was filling in for the church’s lead pastor, Frank Pomeroy, who was out of state, and was shot and killed as he took to the stage to preach, The Washington Post reports.

His wife and high-school sweetheart, Karla Holcombe, was also killed in the attack. Their 36-year-old son, Marc Daniel Holcombe, was also killed, as was his one-year-old daughter Noah.

Another of their sons – John Holcombe – survived the attack, but his wife Crystal, who was pregnant, was killed.

Three of Crystal’s five children – Emily, Megan and Greg – are also among the 26 victims. The two surviving children are believed to be in a critical condition in hospital.

Joe and Claryce Holcombe – the parents of Bryan, who attend a different church in a nearby down – lost three generations of their family, including children, grandchildren and great-grandchild, in a matter of minutes.

Another husband is also facing a future without his wife and two of his children. Chris Ward was not at the church service after working a night shift, but his wife Joann and their four children were in attendance.


Joann, along with daughters five-year-old Brooke Ward and Emily Garza, 7, were all gunned down. Chris and Joann’s five-year-old son, Ryland, was shot four times and is currently in hospital with serious injuries.

US President Donald Trump has labelled the attack an “act of evil”, but told reporters in Japan that guns were not to blame.

“Mental health is your problem here,” Trump said at a news conference on Monday in Tokyo, labelling the shooter a “very deranged individual”.

“This isn’t a guns situation.”

2. Australian MPs must now declare they are not a citizen of another country in an effort to combat the dual citizenship crisis.

Members of parliament will need to declare they are not a citizen of another country under a plan Malcolm Turnbull will put to Labor to head off the dual citizenship crisis.

“I want to say that this is not an audit,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

“The obligation is on each member and each senator to make a full disclosure.”

Within 21 days of the parliament approving the measure, MPs will be required to provide to the registrar of members’ interests a declaration that he or she was not, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, a citizen of any country other than Australia.


They will also be required to declare the birthplace of their parents.

If they had been a dual citizen, MPs would need to provide details and evidence of the time and manner in which their foreign citizenship was renounced or otherwise came to an end.

“Members and senators have been put squarely on notice now,” Mr Turnbull said.

“I think it is important for people to be alert to this and start getting prepared.”

The prime minister said the High Court would remain the sole body that determined whether an MP was ineligible to sit in parliament.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said he was prepared to “engage constructively” with the prime minister at a meeting on Wednesday.

“There can be no arrangement worth striking unless it is fully transparent, unless it’s fair dinkum, unless it satisfies the Australian people that there are no remaining clouds over the eligibility of parliamentarians to sit in parliament,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

However, he said he would not do anything that would stop the High Court from arbitrating on any issues which emerged from the disclosures.

The Australian Greens won’t be supporting the plan.

“This is not the answer. All this does is kick the can down the road,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale told reporters in Canberra.

The Greens are also concerned the disclosure does not cover an MP’s grandparents, which can in some cases make them dual citizens by descent

The High Court will announce on Friday the names of replacements for four dual-citizen senators the High Court booted out of parliament, following a special count by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday.

3. Pregnant woman to give birth behind bars after she killed her friend in a high-speed accident.


A heavily pregnant young Victorian woman will give birth in custody after killing her friend in a high-speed accident.

On New Year’s Eve 2015, 18-year-old learner driver Gemma Sargent drove her four young friends from Ballarat to Geelong, without a licensed driver supervising her.

Police has already warned her twice not to drive unsupervised – including just two days before the accident.

The County Court of Victoria was told on Monday that during the trip, Sargent overtook another car that was driving at 130km/h.

She hit the road’s gravel shoulder, overcorrected twice and lost control at speeds possibly up to 140km/h.

Her Holden sedan skidded before impacting into a “mound of dirt and rocks” and flipping multiple times.

Passenger Nathaniel Merritt-Price died of severe head injuries at the scene, while another passenger Jolene Bounday had two fractured vertebrae, a head wound, and other injuries.

Sargent was also injured in the crash, suffering a broken back, bruising and multiple lacerations.

Judge James Montgomery said Sargent, now 20, had been “showing off”, attempting a manoeuvre an experienced driver never would have tried.

“You grossly overestimated your abilities as a driver. There was no need for you to pass a car that was itself driving 30km/h over the speed limit,” he said.

During her trial, the court was told Sargent’s passengers thought they were driving too fast and wanted to slow down.

“Stop the car, I want to get out, I don’t want to die tonight,” Mr Merritt-Price had asked her, according to Ms Bounday.

Mr Merritt-Price’s father’s victim impact statement revealed his “family has changed forever”.

“I want to place on record the despair that is part of me every day,” he said in his statement.

Sargent, who had her first child during her mid-teens, is being held in custody in a mothers’ inmate unit, where she will be allowed to care for her new baby for several years.

She was jailed for eight years for culpable driving causing death and negligent driving causing serious injury, and must serve a minimum of five years before being eligible for parole.


4. Younger working generations are rapidly growing their share of Australia’s superannuation pool.

It may not be cool for the younger working generations to talk about their superannuation but they are rapidly growing their share of the multi-trillion dollar funds pool.

New research shows in the past decade those born between 1975 to 1990 have more than doubled their super share from 6.4 per cent to 14.6 per cent.

While baby boomers – born 1946-1960 – still have the biggest proportion of super, that is now in rapid decline as they retire and draw down on their nest eggs.

Roy Morgan research found between 2007 and 2017 boomers’ share super has declined from 51.8 per cent to 39.7 per cent.

Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris says due to the compulsory nature of superannuation, millennials, Generation Z and Generation X are where the greatest growth potential now lies.

“It is a major challenge for superannuation funds to engage the younger generations in a long-term issue such as superannuation when they are most likely to have shorter-term priorities such as housing affordability and lifestyle,” Mr Morris says.

The research released on Monday also found older generations are happier with the performance of their fund than younger ones, although that was put down to the relative size of their average super balances.


The average balance for pre-boomers (the oldest group) is $289,400 compared to $16,600 for Generation Z (the youngest generation).

The average balance held by millennials is $59,500, well up on their average of $17,300 in 2007.

5. Scientists have determined that a seventh ‘taste’ may be responsible for our addiction to carbs.

A world-first study from Deakin University’s Centre of Advanced Sensory Science (CASS) haa discovered that a potential seventh ‘taste’ might be responsible for our carbohydrate cravings.

According to The Herald Sun, in addition to the tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami and fat, some human tongues are able to detect the ‘taste’ of carbohydrates.

This increased sensitivity is also linked to higher consumption of starchy foods – and a wider waistline.

“Our research has shown that there is a perceivable taste quality elicited by other carbohydrates, independent of sweet taste,” lead researcher Professor Russell Keast told The Herald Sun.

Scientists studied 34 adults and found direct correlations between how sensitive someone was to the ‘taste’ of carbohydrates and the amount of carbohydrates they consumed in their diet.

“Those who were most sensitive to the carbohydrate taste ate more of these foods and had a larger waist,” said Dr Julia Low, an academic who worked on the study.

The researchers are currently working to determine why an increased sensitivity to the ‘taste’ of carbs increases consumption – when previous research has suggested the opposite to be true for fatty tastes.


“We need to do much more research to identify the reason why,” Professor Keast said.

6. Donald Trump tried to feed a pool filled with koi fish in Japan. Things went horribly wrong.

A misleading photo of US President Donald Trump appearing to incorrectly feed a pool filled with koi fish in Japan has caused outrage online.

The image was accompanied by news reports that Trump – who is currently on a 12-day trip through Asia – dumped an entire box filled with fish food into a pond of koi carp of Akasaka Palace with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Apparently, the fish are meant to be fed just small amounts of the food at a time, as overfeeding can lead to sickness.

The image of the ‘Trump dump’ quickly went viral, with many criticising the President for his impatience and disrespect for Japanese etiquette and rituals.

But all was not as it seemed.

Another photo – and an accompanying video – shows that Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was actually the first to dump the entire contents of his fish food box into the water first.

Yep, Trump was simply being polite and following suit.

As for the fish, it’s believed a palace employer would be dispatched to clean up the leaders’ mess and ensure the precious koi go unharmed.

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