Wednesday afternoon's news in under 5 minutes.

Rod Willie said several families were working through a sensitive and cultural process to ensure the children were farewelled respectfully. (ABC TV News)




We’ve rounded up the most important headlines this afternoon — so it’ll only take you a few minutes to catch up on this news.

1. Cairns stabbing victim children to be buried together


The grandfather to seven of the eight children allegedly murdered in far north Queensland last week has thanked the community for their support and says their bodies will be laid to rest in Cairns early next year.

Rod Willie, who gave the first family statement to media since their deaths in a Manoora home last Friday, described the tragedy as unprecedented.

Mersane Warria, 37, who is the mother of seven of the children and aunt of the eighth, was charged with eight counts of murder at a bedside court hearing in the Cairns Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition under police guard.


 A  memorial of flowers toys and candles in a park next to the home of a multiple stabbing in the suburb of Manoora on December 20, 2014 in Cairns, Australia. (Photo: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Police have said they would not name the children for cultural reasons, or reveal how they died.

Warria was charged under her full name of Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday.


A version of this post originally appeared on the ABC website and has been republished with full permission.

2. New data shows record fall in carbon emissions

New data shows the second year of operation of Australia’s carbon price was more successful at reducing emissions than the first.

The data was quietly published yesterday by Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Fairfax Media reports.

The new data, from Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, shows emissions declined across Australia by 1.4 per cent over the 12 months to June, comparing to  a decline in emissions of 0.8 per cent for the previous 12 months.

The carbon price was introduced by the Gillard government and ended on July 1 this year, after the Abbott government abolished it.

The new data, published on Tuesday, record emissions produced during the final year of operation of the carbon price, from June 2013 to June 2014, Fairfax Media reports.

3. US FDA lifts ban on gay men giving blood


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it will lift a decades-old ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

The ban prevented men who identified as gay or bisexual from ever donating blood. (Photo: ABC News)

Gay men will be able to donate blood one year after their last sexual contact, the FDA said, under a proposal that will be introduced early next year to end a ban that has been in place since 1983.


The ban was first imposed at the height of the AIDS epidemic – a time when little was known about the virus, and testing was unreliable.

The ban prevented men who identified as gay or bisexual from ever donating blood.

Now, the FDA, after “carefully examining and considering the available scientific evidence”, has said it would lift the lifetime ban.

There would still be a restriction on men who have had sex with other men in the previous 12 months, as there is in Australia and European countries.

A version of this post was originally published on the ABC website and has been republished with permission.

4. Sydney ‘terror targets’ identified


Federal and state government “entities” in Sydney have allegedly been named as potential terror targets in documents seized during an AFP investigation which saw two men arrested.


NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn (L) and AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan (R) speak about the arrests. (Photo: AAP via the ABC)

Australian Federal Police said members of the Joint Counter Terrorism Team made the arrests late on Tuesday with New South Wales Police as part of Operation Appleby.


Sulayman Khalid, 20, from Regent’s Park was charged with possession of documents designed to facilitate a terrorist attack, while a 21-year-old man from Marsfield was charged with breaching a control order.

If found guilty, Khalid could face a maximum 15 years in jail.

Security was stepped up outside Parramatta Local Court ahead of court appearances today for both men.

Khalid did not apply for bail, and it was formally refused when he appeared in court via video link.

Federal police claimed they seized documents from his home during raids last week that detailed potential government terror targets.

The 21-year-old Marsfield man, who can not be named for legal reasons, was refused bail.

Both men will face court again in February.

A version of this post originally appeared on the ABC website and has been republished here with permission.

Catch up on more news in this 90-second update by the ABC:

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