Thursday's news in under 5 minutes.

1. Tributes for Sam Trott

A community mourns.



As grieving locals flock to the lake where the body of two-year old Sam Trott was found tragically yesterday to lay flowers and leave notes, his grandfather has paid tribute to the little boy.

“Sam was so dear to us all and his premature passing is a tragedy we are still struggling to deal with,” Geoff Trott said.

“Since his diagnosis of autism, they’ve been unrelenting in their quest to create every opportunity for him to thrive and fulfill his potential.

“He was a happy, affectionate and loving child with an infectious smile, and brought so much sunshine into our lives.”

A candlelit vigil last night attracted over 500 people who paid their respects to the little boy and showed their support for his family.

For more read this post here.

2. Malala Nobel Prize

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize overnight.

Ms Yousafzai was jointly awarded the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner.

She is the youngest ever recipient of the prize.

In her speech overnight she said “I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not.”

She told the BBC shortly before the awards that she wants to pursue a career in politics in the hopes of one day being prime minister of Pakistan.


For more read this post here.

 3. TIME person of the year

TIME Person of the Year

TIME magazine has named its person of the year – and it is ‘the medics’ who have treated Ebola patients.

“Doctors who wouldn’t quit even as their colleagues fell ill and died; nurses comforting patients while standing in slurries of mud, vomit and feces. The Ebola Fighters are the TIME Person of the Year” writes the magazine.

More than 17,800 people have been infected with Ebola virus and more than 6,300 have died but many doctors say the actual numbers are higher.

TIME’s short list included Masoud Barzani, Taylor Swift, Tim Cook, Vladimir Putin, the Ferguson protestors and Jack Ma, an English teacher turned founder and CEO of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

4. Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks heckles Federal Attorney-General George Brandis


Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has heckled Federal Attorney-General George Brandis at an awards ceremony in Sydney.

The drama over shadowed a number of announcements made by Senator Brandis, including releasing all children in detention on Christmas Island.

“Hey, my name is David Hicks,” he shouted, as Senator Brandis wrapped up his address at a Human Rights Awards function on Wednesday.

“I was tortured for five-and-a-half years in Guantanamo Bay in the full knowledge of your party. What do you have to say?”

As Senator Brandis walked off the stage at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Mr Hicks told reporters he was a “coward” for not answering his question.


“He’s run away,” he said.

“It’s too late – he’s gone.”

Mr Hicks was at the event with his lawyer, Stephen Kenny.

Mr Kenny said his client was angry Senator Brandis was talking about human rights.

“I think David was surprised to find Minister Brandis there, talking about human rights, when he was a member of the Howard government who had so completely ignored David’s human rights,” Mr Kenny said.

“The Australian Government should be held to account how they allowed David Hicks to be treated.”

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

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 5. Kalynda Davis’s father reveals details about her imprisonment

Kalynda Davis’s father has spoken of her release.

The father of Kalynda Davis who was freed from a Chinese jail after being accused of allegedly smuggling $80 million worth of ice has opened up about her ordeal.

Ex-policeman Larry Davis told The Western Weekender.

“Her and I are close, as close as any father and daughter could be. I never once thought that she had done anything wrong,”

He said that he flew to China to meet her on her release and he collapsed when he saw her.


“We cried and cried and cried and cried and I don’t think I had more than four hours sleep after that until last night, when she was home safely.”

“When I saw her for the first time, I just collapsed. She didn’t know that I was coming either. She kept saying ‘I’m sorry dad, I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it’,” he said

“When we hit the tarmac in Sydney, we both just cried. 


“She said that she can’t understand how she can thank the people who saved her life but I said to her, ‘no-one saved your life, you saved your life because of your actions, people just helped to get you back home’.”

The Daily Mail reports that Davis, who had to cut off her hair while in detention, was held in a small cell with only an area to sleep.

6. Oscar Pistorius: Court grants prosecutors leave to appeal culpable homicide conviction


A South African court has granted prosecutors leave to appeal the culpable homicide conviction of disgraced athlete Oscar Pistorius.

The decision by judge Thokozile Masipa has opened the door for the prosecution to seek a murder conviction against Pistorius for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“I cannot say the prospect of success at the Supreme Court is remote,” Judge Masipa said in granting the appeal.

Prosecutors appealed against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year prison term imposed on Pistorius, saying it was “shockingly inappropriate”.


The judge refused leave to appeal against the five-year sentence imposed on the sprinter.

Pistorius said he shot Ms Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door on Valentine’s Day last year in the belief she was an intruder.

Judge Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide, also known as manslaughter, and sentenced him to five years in jail, meaning the 28-year-old could end up spending only 10 months of his jail term at Pretoria’s central prison.

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

 7. Baby born on plane during flight

The baby was born shortly after take off.

A baby has been born unexpected shortly after take off on a flight from San Francisco bound for Phoenix in the US.

KTLA reports that the mother to be sat in a window seat and gave birth with little fuss.

Many passengers did not even notice until they heard the baby’s cry.

A doctor and nurse on board came to the woman’s aid when she told the cabin crew she had had a baby.

The captain announced the birth on the loudspeaker, congratulating the parents and prompting applause.

The 111 passengers (112 on landing) and five crew members made an emergency landing in LA.

 8. Coroner rules out foul play in death of Phoebe Handsjuk.

Phoebe Handsjuk.

A Victorian coroner has ruled out foul play in the death of a woman who fell down a garbage chute in her Melbourne unit complex.


On December 2, 2010 24-year old Phoebe Handsjuk was found dead beneath the garbage chute in the St Kilda Road unit complex where she lived with her partner, Antony Hampel.

Police said she committed suicide, but her family rejected that finding and pushed for an inquest.

Yesterday the coroner ruled that she had climbed part way down the chute in an alcohol and Stilnox sleeping pill stupor, or a “state similar to that of sleepwalking”.

The Coroner said that she had been suffering depression and low self-esteem during her final months and had taken to drinking heavily at times.

He acknowledged difficulties in her relationship but said that she had climbed into the chute after she went to put a bag of rubbish in it.

The Age reports that the Coroner said Ms Handsjuk’s “penchant for climbing” caused her to enter the chute.

The Coroner recommended that the TGA reduce the dosage of stilnox for women.

9. Father who raped daughter gets 13 years

Warning this item contains details of sexual abuse and may be distressing for some readers.

A father who raped his now 7-year old daughter every second day for three years has been jailed by a Brisbane judge for 13 years.

The 39-year old man pleaded guilty to maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with his biological daughter from shortly after her fourth birthday in October 2011 until she turned six in January.


The Courier Mail reports that he also pleaded guilty to raping her twice in his bedroom on January 23.

10. Call for more female representation in politics

A bipartisan forum at Melbourne University, has launched a petition calling for new targets for women to make up at least 40 per cent of party officials, parliamentarians, ministers and shadow ministers by 2020.

The ‘Melbourne Declaration’ was launched by former federal Liberal politician Sophie Mirabella and former leading Labor adviser Nicholas Reece.

The declaration says the existing approach to selection and promotion of women in Australian politics was “flawed” and has “failed to achieve the full participation of women in our democracy” reports The Age.

11. Child dies after drinking ‘cosmetic’ milk

One child has died after drinking raw cow’s milk.

The Herald Sun reports that one child has died and four have fallen ill after drinking contaminated raw cow’s milk.

The milk, sold in health food stores as ‘bath’ milk’ is of unpasteurized.

It is allowed to be sold for cosmetic purposes, but not for human consumption.

The Herald Sun reports that a three-year old died after drinking Mountain View Organic Bath Milk.

The case has been forwarded to the State Coroner.

12. Here’s what happens at the office Christmas party

Here is where you can find love.

A study has shown that far from just embarrassing selfies and boring conversations the office Christmas party is one sure place to find love.

The study by eHarmony found that 75% of Australians thought that being flirtatious or drinking at work events won’t damage their relationships with their peers.


2/3 of those surveyed said the qualities that make for lasting romantic relationships, such as humour and emotional support, are similar to those that make for strong bonds with colleagues – so it seems that workmates could make for ideal partners.

13. Baby hit by forklift dies


A baby boy has died after he was hit by a forklift in Geelong on Saturday night, police have confirmed.

The nine-month-old suffered serious head injuries in the incident, which happened about 6:30pm (AEDT) in the suburb of Moolap.

He was flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital.

This story originally appeared on ABC News and has been republished with permission.

14. School Principal awarded 2014 Human Rights Medal

A school principal has been awarded a Human Rights Medal for her work with asylum seekers and refugees.

Dorothy Hoddinott has spent 19 years as principal of Holroyd High in western Sydney, where she has helped hundreds of aslyum-seeking and refugee children succeed in their schooling.

Ms Hoddinott has openly criticised the lack of education available to children in detention, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Under Ms Hoddinott’s guidance, 40 percent of the students at Holroyd High School enrol for university, compared with 30 percent of HSC leavers nationally.