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News in 5: 13 siblings 'held captive'; Early periods link to heart disease; Kids news to close.

Warning: This article contains information about child abuse which may be distressing for some readers.

1. “Why don’t we ever see the kids?”: Neighbours speak after 13 siblings were found shackled and starving in a California home. 

Turpin family California siblings shackled starving
David and Louise Turpin with their 13 children. Image via Facebook.

The 13 California siblings who police say were starved and chained to beds by their parents rarely left their dishevelled house and, when they did, appeared small and pale and acted strangely, neighbours say.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were arrested on Sunday and each charged with nine counts of torture and 10 counts of child endangerment. It came after a 17-year-old, emaciated girl escaped the house in Perris, east of Los Angeles and called police, said the Riverside County Sheriff's Office on Monday.

Police said they found several of the couple's 13 children, ranging in age from two to 29, "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings".

"The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," it said.

The siblings were, in fact, so malnourished that police didn’t realise seven of the couple’s children were actually adults.

Police originally thought the 17-year-old who called police from a cellphone she found inside the home was just 10 years old.

Kimberly Milligan, who lives across the street from the family, said she only saw the infant in the mother's arms and three other children since she moved in across the street two years ago, describing them as small and pale.

"Why don't we ever see the kids?" Milligan said she asked herself.

"In hindsight, we would have never thought this. But there were red flags. You never don't hear or see nine kids."

Two years ago, while walking around the neighbourhood admiring Christmas lights and decorations, Milligan said she encountered three of the Turpin children and complimented them on the manger with a baby Jesus set up outside the house. She said the children froze, as if by doing so they could become invisible.

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Andrew Santillan, who lives around the corner, heard about the horrific case from a friend.

"I had no idea this was going on," he told reporters. "I didn't even know there were kids in the house."

Nicole Gooding, who has lived in the neighbourhood for three years, said the first time she saw the family was two months ago when the mother and children were cleaning up the yard that was full of weeds and overflowing trash cans.

The parents, who were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, are being held on $US9 million ($A13 million) bail each, police said.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.

2. A new study suggests women who get their periods early have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

woman chest pain heart attack heart disease
Image via Getty.

Women who begin getting their periods early appear to have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke later in life, a new study suggests.

AAP reports researchers have tracked health data for more than 260,000 women in the UK to determine the role reproductive factors have on heart health.

They found women whose periods began before the age of 12 were 10 per cent more likely to have heart problems by their 50s, compared with women who began menstruating at 13 or older.

Researchers also found that women who'd experienced early menopause, had undergone hysterectomies, or suffered miscarriages or stillbirths had higher risks of developing heart disease or having strokes.

The study can't definitely say that the early onset of periods causes heart problems.

But researchers say their findings could help determine which women need more frequent screening.

The study, which involved the University of New South Wales and the University of Oxford, has been published in the journal Heart.

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3. Danish inventor officially charged with the "unusual and extremely brutal" murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall.

kim wall journalist death
Image via Twitter.

Danish prosecutors will seek to have inventor Peter Madsen jailed for life for killing Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his home built submarine in a premeditated murder, possibly by either cutting her throat or strangling her, police say, according to AAP.

Wall, a 30-year-old freelance journalist who was researching a story on the entrepreneur and aerospace engineer, went missing after Madsen took her out to sea in his 17-metre submarine in August last year.

Later that month, police identified a headless female torso washed ashore in Copenhagen as that of Wall, but the cause of death has not yet been established.

Madsen has been charged with the murder and dismembering of Wall along with a charge of sexual assault without intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature, police said on Tuesday.

Police said in October investigators had found 14 interior and exterior stab wounds to the journalist's genitals.

Madsen has admitted to dismembering Wall on board his submarine and dumping her body parts in the sea, but he denies murdering or sexually assaulting her.

A police statement said that, according to the prosecution's indictment, the murder had taken place "with prior planning and preparation".

"This is a very unusual and extremely brutal case which has had tragic consequences for Kim Wall and her relatives," said Special Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen, according to the statement.

Prosecutors would ask for a life sentence to be passed on Madsen, which in Denmark is typically around 15 years without parole. They also called for him to be held in "safe custody", which can imply indefinite imprisonment.

The prosecutor has asked for Madsen to be held in custody until his trial begins on March 8.

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On October 5, police said they found images "which we presume to be real" of women being strangled and decapitated on the hard drive on Madsen's computer in a laboratory he ran.

4. Ever heard of a 'milkshake duck'? According to an Australian dictionary, it's the phrase that perfectly sums up 2017.

Milkshake duck, a term that describes an overnight social media sensation whose positive support quickly ends with closer scrutiny, has been chosen as an Australian dictionary's word of 2017, AAP reports.

Macquarie Dictionary, the definitive authority on Australian English, defines a milkshake duck as: "a person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them which causes a sharp decline in their popularity."

Examples of a 'milkshake duck' include Ken Bone, the man in a red sweater who was beloved by social media when he asked a question during a debate between then-presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

He quickly fell from grace after his comments on erotic threads on Reddit and his controversial stance on the killing of Trayvon Martin were made public.

A more recent example is Tennessee boy Keaton Jones, who caught the attention of famous faces after a video of him tearfully denouncing his bullies went viral. Not long afterwards, photos of Keaton's mother holing the Confederate flag were uncovered.

Macquarie's committee said the milkshake duck phenomenon was familiar to Australians, even if the term was not.

"Milkshake duck stood out as being a much needed term to describe something we are seeing more and more of, not just on the internet but now across all types of media," the committee said.

"It plays to the simultaneous desire to bring someone down and the hope that they won't be brought down. In many ways it captures what 2017 has been about," it added.

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While coined in 2016, milkshake duck was not included in the dictionary until last year.

The dictionary's word of the year contest has long been open to constructions of two or more words. The word of 2016 was "fake news."

5. Australia's only newspaper aimed at children, Crinkling News, has been forced to fold after two years.

National paper for children Crinkling News says it's being forced to fold eight months after a crowd-funding campaign to keep it publishing.

The weekly newspaper says it made the $212,303 raised in May "stretch as far as it possibly could" but now doesn't have the resources to continue.

"It was obviously a really, really tough decision and we're obviously devastated," editor Saffron Howden told AAP on Tuesday.

The paper began nearly two years ago. It was written by adults, and children contributed opinion pieces, reviews and acted as junior reporters.

"We've done a new type of journalism at a very high standard where were involving our readers and helping them understand how news and journalism works," Ms Howden said.

"We hope that we have got some momentum going in this space ... are there other people with deeper pockets who can continue it?"

Crinkling News said it would refund readers the remainder of their subscriptions.

6. If you're from Sydney, your plans for January 29 should include staying home: A rail strike is predicted to 'shut down' the city.

sydney train delays public transport commute work
Sydney residents are being urged to stay home during the strike. Image via AAP.
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NSW commuters have been warned of a 24-hour rail strike which will shut the city of Sydney down on the same day thousands of students return to school.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Alex Claassens urged commuters to put pressure on the government and if "worse came to worse" don't go to work and stay home on January 29, AAP reports.

The RTBU announced the strike after lengthy discussions with members who claim they are "fed up" with the NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

The work stoppage will begin at 12.01am on Monday, January 29 - the start of the new school year for many.

"Trains will go to bed on Sunday night and won't come out on Monday morning," Mr Claassens said.

"My members are telling me they are fed up with this guy... we just won't stand here and cop the crap that he's thrown at us."

The strike announcement comes after a horror week for the city's rail network, which left thousands of commuters stranded in peak hour.

In addition to the 24-hour strike, rail workers will wear campaign clothing and badges from Friday before implementing an indefinite ban on overtime that would begin on January 25, the day before the Australia Day long weekend.

Rail workers are unhappy about the current enterprise agreement and have voted to take industrial action as they continue to fight for a six per cent pay rise and improved working conditions including rostering and claiming days off.

While Mr Claassens acknowledges the proposed six per cent rise is "a bit out there," he says members want decent recognition for their work.

Mr Constance labelled the union's behaviour to take strike action "bizarre" and warned it would bring thousands of commuters to a grinding halt.

"They will shut down the city," he told reporters in Sydney.

"This is not putting customers first. This is putting the interest of union bosses first, well ahead of the customers."

He said the government was willing to give a 2.5 per cent pay rise to Sydney and NSW train drivers, in accordance with its wages policy.

He wouldn't rule out taking the matter to court to protect customers.

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