News in 5: Premie mum’s brain damage; Woolies’ plastic bag ban; Sex cruise arrest.

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With AAP.

1. Mum has brain damage after suffering heart attack while visiting her premature baby.


A young New Zealand mum has been left with brain damage after she suffered a heart attack just two weeks after giving birth.

Kate Meldrum, 29, was left fighting for her life after she suffered a ruptured heart valve and underwent emergency open heart surgery on 21 May.

According to a fundraising page set up for Kate and her family, Kate had been visiting her newborn daughter Ruby Turner in the neonatal intensive care unit at Auckland hospital when it happened.

Ruby was born at just 26.7 weeks on May 6, weighing just 530 grams.

“She has been a little fighter so far and is making her family and friends especially her mum and dad so proud,” the creator of the fundraising page, Gabby Simpson, said.

However, things have only gotten worse for the family, when Kate was confirmed to have suffered brain damage, her sister Steph Everest told Stuff.co.nz.

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Steph said that Kate is able to communicate with her family through shakes and nods of her head and asks to see her daughter, who is growing stronger.

“It’s going to be a long journey and we are prepared for that and we’ve had to prepare ourselves for this. It would be nice if she magically wakes up like a fairy tale. Nothing quite works like that unfortunately,” Steph said.

“We just have to hope that they can be the little family they’re meant to be.”

A Givealittle page has been set up to support Kate, her fiance Joe Turner and Ruby.

2. Don’t leave the house unprepared: No more plastic bags at Woolies.


Single-use plastic bags will be banned in all Woolworths stores from Wednesday as the retail giant tries to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic in its stores.

Woolworths and Coles last July joined a push to rid Australia of disposable plastic bags and set a deadline of June 30 this year for their stores to stop offering them to shoppers.

Woolies, which has provided more than 3.2 billion plastic bags a year to shoppers, later brought forward that deadline to June 20.

Shoppers will have to bring along re-usable bags or buy them instore.

The ban will affect customers shopping at the retailer’s supermarkets, BWS, Metro and petrol outlets in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

The bags were already banned under state legislation in Tasmania, South Australia, the ACT and Northern Territory.

Woolworths and Coles have also recently announced plans to slash the amount of plastic wrapping on fresh fruit and vegetables in response to demand from shoppers.

3. Australian man arrested for ‘promoting Thai sex cruises’.

Thai police have arrested an Australian man for allegedly promoting sex cruises with prostitutes on a Facebook page.

Police said 49-year-old Stephen Allan Carpenter was arrested the night before in the central province of Saraburi.

He was brought to the seaside resort town of Pattaya, where he operated his business and an arrest warrant had been issued.

Police said Carpenter’s business, AUSTHAI Tours, advertised online a six-hour cruise with Thai women at a cost of between 38,000 baht and 50,000 baht ($A1,602-$A2,108).

Police sought his arrest after one posed as a customer and made an advance payment.

Carpenter has been charged with procuring women for prostitution, posting pornographic material online, overstaying his visa, and working illegally as a tour guide.

4. Jurors urged to reject Perth man’s self-defence argument after he admitted to stabbing his son to death.

The trial of a Perth pensioner who admitted stabbing his son to death is drawing to a close, with prosecutors urging jurors to reject his self-defence argument, describing the killing as “effectively an execution”.

Ernest Albert Fisher, 67, confessed in late October 2016 to fatally stabbing Matthew Kyle Fisher-Turner, 23, at their Parmelia home four weeks earlier.

He initially told detectives he believed his son was “over east” but came clean after about one-and-a-half hours of questioning, saying he did it because Matthew was a violent and threatening “arsehole” towards his family.

Fisher lifted his shirt to show bruises and also claimed his son “went ballistic” when he mentioned getting a violence restraining order against him.

Prosecutor Laura Christian told the Supreme Court of WA jury during closing addresses on Tuesday that there were no reasonable grounds for Fisher’s belief he had to kill Matthew.

“He wasn’t even prepared to talk to the police, ask them about other options,” she said.

“Killing someone in self-defence should be a last resort. In Ernest’s case, it was a first resort.”

Fisher told police shortly after he confessed he’d done the right thing because Matthew was “like a terrorist”.

But towards the end of the interview, he said he wasn’t sure if he needed a solicitor or not because “I’ve done the wrong thing, I know it”.

“He knew he was guilty of murder and it was his desire to avoid being caught for it,” Ms Christian said.

Matthew’s siblings Joshua Fisher-Turner, 28, and Hannah Fisher-Turner, 21, are accused of being accessories.

Joshua admitted burying Matthew while Hannah confessed to helping him carry the body to the backyard on a ladder, and both said they cleaned up other evidence.

“We all said we should just tell the cops”, Hannah told detectives, but Fisher refused.

He had started digging the hole, but left to watch the AFL grand final at a friend’s house, telling detectives that was his “priority”.

Asked why she didn’t call police after her father left, Hannah replied: “It seemed wrong to turn on him.”

Hannah and Joshua also both told police Matthew was abusive and threatening.

Ms Christian urged jurors to put aside any sympathy they might feel for the siblings, saying “they did what they did willingly”.

5. Falling house prices could delay rate hike, economists warn.


Image: Getty

An expected 10 per cent fall in Sydney and Melbourne house prices could delay the Reserve Bank's next rate hike, economists at ANZ have warned.

ANZ shifted its rates forecast after factoring in a longer than expected decline in house prices, which it expects will wipe around 10 per cent off the peak value of Sydney and Melbourne homes, and smaller amounts in other cities.

ANZ's economists said continued falls in prices could impact the RBA's thinking, and they now expect the cash rate to rise from its current level of 1.5 per cent in August, 2019, three months later than it had previously predicted.

The change was made ahead of the release on Tuesday of minutes from the RBA's June 5 board meeting, which showed little change in the central bank's expectations for a gradual increase in wage growth and inflation.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also released data showing average capital city house prices dropped 0.7 per cent in the first three months of 2018, driven by a 1.2 per cent fall in Sydney.

ANZ's economists said house price falls will not derail the economy, as they reflect tighter lending standards, while wages growth and tax cuts will deliver economic benefits.

"While the RBA does not specifically target house prices, we think it will be reluctant to start tightening policy if house prices are still falling," they said in a note.

The RBA minutes included a relatively positive assessment of the housing market, including a note that Sydney and Melbourne prices are still 40 per cent higher than they were at the beginning of 2014.

Tighter lending standards and softer demand for credit had helped contain the build-up of risk on household balance sheets, the RBA said.

"While there might be some further tightening of lending standards in the period ahead, the average mortgage interest rate on outstanding loans had declined over the previous year," the minutes said.

Commonwealth Bank senior economist Kristina Clifton said the RBA appeared relatively comfortable with the correction in house prices so far, and positive on the Australian and global economy.

"We have rates on hold until February 2019 at the earliest," she said.

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Image: Getty

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