Monday's news in under 5 minutes.

We’ve rounded up all the latest stories from Australia and around the world – so you don’t have to go searching.

1. Westfield Malls in terror threat.

westfield FB
Concerns for Westfield Mall visitors.

There are concerns for visitors to Westfield Shopping centers after Islamist terrorists have called for attacks on shopping malls, specifically mentioning the Westfield Mall in the UK.

A video released by the Somalia-based fanatics al-Shabaab called on its followers to “hasten to heaven” by attacking shopping malls targetting the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield mall in Stratford, England.

The video, which lasts more than an hour and was released over the weekend, centered on the fall out from al-Shabaab’s attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya in 2013 that left 62 people dead and more than 100 injured.


“What if such an attack were to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London’s Oxford Street?” the masked man in the video said.

westfield threat
“What if such an attack were to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London’s Oxford Street?”

US homeland security chief Jeh Johnson has urged shoppers to be on their guard.

“I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Mr Johnson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

2. Prime Minister to simplify terror warnings and appoint counter-terrorism coordinator as part of a new anti-extremism strategy.


The Federal Government will develop a new anti-extremism strategy, appoint a national terrorism coordinator and change Australia’s system of terror threat alerts, in response to a review of counter-terrorism measures.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will announce the changes in a speech on national security later today, based on the recommendations of a counter-terrorism review commissioned last August.

“Australia has entered a new, long-term era of heightened terrorism threat, with a much more significant home-grown element,” Mr Abbott will say in his national security address.

The Prime Minister will also quote an increase in the number of Australians returning from conflicts in Syria and Iraq, to back up his argument that “the number of potential terrorists … who may live in our midst, is rising”.

“Over 30 foreign fighters have returned to Australia and at least 140 people in Australia are actively supporting extremist groups,” Mr Abbott will say.

“Thousands of young and vulnerable people in the community are susceptible to radicalisation.”


The Government has previously said there are 90 Australians fighting in Syria and northern Iraq.

Mr Abbott will also accept a recommendation that Australia simplify the current system of terror alert warnings, which classifies threats as low, medium, high or extreme.

Recommendations dealing with the long-term funding for security agencies will be considered separately.

In response to a joint Commonwealth and New South Wales report into last December’s Sydney siege, Mr Abbott yesterday warned that an “era of terror” meant Australia would need to reconsider “where it draws the balance” between personal freedom and community safety.

“Precisely where we draw the line in the era of terrorism will need to be reconsidered,” he said.

“We need to ask ourselves, at what stage do we need to change the tipping point from protection of the individual to the safety of the community?”

That report, released yesterday, found that the decisions of various government agencies which dealt siege gunman Man Haron Monis were “reasonable”.

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

3. Fighter jets ready for Bali 9 transferal.

There are reports that four Indonesian Air Force Sukhoi fighter jets have been situated in Bali to fly in protective support when Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are transferred to the prison island of Nusakambangan.

The transfer to the prison island of Nusakambangan could happen this week. News Limited reports that the transfer will take place within days.

The brother of Myuran Sukumaran has told reporters in Bali that both Myuran and Andrew Chan have a deep love for Indonesia.

Chinthu Sukumaran said “Myu and Andrew love Indonesia, they have a great respect for the Indonesian people and its culture.”

5. Cyclone Marcia clean up.

The clean up after Cyclone Marcia has begun with 100 properties in Yeppoon and Rockhampton deemed “uninhabitable” after rapid damage assessments, 1500 homes have been deemed to have suffered structural damage.

National disaster recovery funding has been activated for the Rockhampton, Livingstone and Banana Shire Regional Council areas.

Some schools and early childhood centres remain closed today.

 6. Cyclone Lam: State of Emergency declared.

The NT Government has last night declared a State of Emergency for parts of the Top End hardest hit by Cyclone Lam. Milingimbi, Ramingining, Galiwinku, Gapuwiyak and Mapuru Outstation have been declared.

Lam 1
Cyclone Lam destruction.

Galiwinku on Elcho Island appears to have been one of the worst affected areas with six houses destroyed, another 10 almost gone, 80 with moderate to major roof damage and 50 with minor roof damage.

Two-thirds of the community’s homes were affected.

Meanwhile many are asking why victims of Cyclone Lam have been largely ignored. For more read this post here.

 7. Vaccinate your child for childcare rebate.

The Productivity Commission’s report into childcare has recommended that access to childcare rebates “must be conditional on the child being fully immunised, unless care occurs in the child’s home”.

what happens if you don't vaccinate your childThe reports, tabled in parliament last week has been backed by Social Services Minister Scott Morrison who told News Limited “The commission makes some very important suggestions in this area. I am open to everything in the report. I am not ruling anything in or out.”

 8. Car mounts curb hits pedestrians including mother and pram.

A car has mounted a curb in Sydney leaving a mother and child – and two other women seriously injured.

The accident happened yesterday afternoon – a toddler was thrown from her pram and suffered head injuries.

The little girls’ 23-year-old mother is in hospital in a critical condition.

Two other pedestrians – both women are in a stable condition. The 50-year-old male driver of the vehicle is assisting police with their inquiries.

 9. Abuse inquiry at elite school.

An inquiry into child sexual abuse at Knox Grammar School – one of Australia’s most elite boys’ schools – will open today.

Royal Commission to begin today.

The royal commission will examine the response of the Uniting Church and Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga, NSW between 1970 and 2012 to concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students at the school.

It will examine the way that, even after concerns were raised about some teachers, they were allowed to teach for decades after the complaints.

AAP reports that when the hearing was announced current headmaster John Weeks wrote to old boys saying the sex abuse incidents had been widely publicized in 2009 and Knox had “always accepted its responsibility in this matter”.

10. Three British schoolgirls runaway to become “jihadi brides.”

It is believed that three British school girls who have run away to become jihadi brides have crossed the border into Syria.

jihadi brides UK
Concerns over the three girls.

Police in the UK are trying to trace the steps of Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and an un-named 15-year-old, who flew to Istanbul in Turkey from Gatwick Airport in the UK on Tuesday.

The girls, who are all from east London, are pupils at Bethnal Green Academy school and have been described as “straight A students”.

The families issues a plea for the girls to return home. Kadiza’s family saying “In your absence, we, as a family, are feeling completely distressed and cannot make sense of why you left home. Due to the speculation that you may be travelling towards Syria, we are extremely worried about your safety.

“We would like to emphasise that we are not angry with you and you have not done anything wrong. We just want you all to return home, safe and sound.

The Telegraph reports that the girls have crossed from the Turkish town of Sanliurfa, into Tal Abyad an Isil controlled town in Syria. It is believed to be the same route taken by Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of the Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

 11. Most think anxiety is a personality trait.

A study by Beyond Blue has found that most Australian’s do not recognize anxiety as a mental illness, despite the fact that a quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition at some time in their lives.

A quarter of Australians have experienced anxiety.

The study found that half of the people surveyed think anxiety is “just stress”.

According to Beyond Blue, 3 million people currently have the condition.

“Anxiety can rob people of their peace of mind, stop them leaving their homes or holding down a job” The head of beyond Blue Georgie Harman told Fairfax Media.

“No one should have to live with the relentless worrying, panic attacks or compulsive rituals that often characterise anxiety.”

For help call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636

 12. Men wear min-skirts to denounce violence against women.

Men in Turkey and Azerbaijan have taken to social media to post selfies of themselves wearing miniskirts as a protest against a violent attack on a Turkish student.

men in minisjirtsThe student, Ozgecan Aslan was abducted on 11 February. She had used pepper spray to fend off the attacker, before being beaten and stabbed. Her body was discovered days later in a riverbed.

The particularly brutal assault has sparked widespread outrage.

The hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy has become a top trend on social media, with men in Turkey and Azerbaijan wearing a miniskirt to denounce violence against women.

 13. 59-year-old British woman in legal battle to give birth to her grandchild.

A British woman is battling to use her dead daughter’s eggs so she can give birth to her grandchild.

The 59-year-old woman lost her daughter four-year ago to bowel cancer when her daughter was 23 years old.

The woman will now go to the high court.

Before her death the daughter signed a form that gave consent for her eggs to be stored for use after her death, but as The Daily Mail reports she did not fill in a separate from which instructed how she wished the eggs to be used.

Her mother has been fighting to be allowed to use the eggs – having them fertilized with sperm from an anonymous donor.

She has been turned away from all British IVF clinics, but a New York based clinic has agreed to perform the procedure.

The woman faces a high court battle in the UK as the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has denied the couple’s application to export their daughter’s frozen eggs to America, on the grounds that she did not give clear written consent.

The mother claims her daughter and her had a conversation whereby her daughter said she hoped that her mother could “carry her babies… in the context of her not expecting to leave hospital alive.”

14. Rolf Harris has been stripped of his OAM.

By ABC News.

Entertainer Rolf Harris has been stripped of his Order of Australia honours, after being jailed for child sex offences.

Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months jail after being found guilty in a UK court last year of 12 historic sex offences.

Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris has been stripped of his OAM.

Earlier this month there were reports Harris had been questioned by British police over further allegations of sexual offences.

The Governor General has now terminated Harris’ appointments of Officer and Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division.

This article originally appeared on the ABC and was republished here with full permission.

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