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1. Bali Nine: Australian Catholic University scholarships in honour of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran ‘odd’, Tony Abbott says.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described it as “odd” for an Australian university to announce scholarships in honour of executed drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The Australian Catholic University was involved in the campaign for clemency and has announced it would recognise the two men by introducing scholarships in their memory.

Australian Catholic University has set up scholarships in honour of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, released a statement explaining the reasoning for the university’s decision.

“We did this because ACU is committed to the dignity of the human person, and that applies equally to all human beings: victims as well as to those who have been convicted of crimes,” the statement said.

“As a Catholic university committed to promoting a culture of life, we stand opposed to the death penalty.”

Indonesian students wanting to study in Australia would be eligible, and would have to submit an essay on the sanctity of human life as part of their application.

“In a small but deeply symbolic way, the writing by Indonesian students on the sanctity of life would be an ongoing contribution toward the eventual abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia,” Professor Craven wrote.

Mr Abbott responded to the decision in an interview with radio station 2GB.

“I absolutely deplore what happened this week, it casts a very deep shadow over what is normally a good relationship with Indonesia,” he said.

“By the same token there can be no truck with drug trafficking, absolutely none.”

Mr Abbott said the university was sending a very unusual message.

“It’s, if I may say so, an odd thing for a university to do,” he said.

“Particularly for an institution which is supposed to stand up for the best values.

“I know part of Christian faith is forgiveness, but another part of Christian faith is calling people to be their best selves.”

He said the men were repentant and seemed to have met their fate with a “kind of nobility”.

“All of that is admirable, but whether that justifies what has apparently been done, I think, is open to profound question,” Mr Abbott said.

Ross Taylor from the Perth-based Indonesia Institute said the executions were perceived differently in Indonesia to how they were in Australia.


“I think the concept of going to Indonesia and offering scholarships for what is seen in Indonesia — two convicted drug smugglers who have been executed — just strikes me as very strange indeed,” he said.

A version of this story was originally published on ABC.

2. Queensland weather: Four people killed after two cars swept away by floodwaters; storm moves into northern NSW.

Four people have died after two cars were swept away by floodwaters in south-east Queensland during the torrential downpour that hit the region.

Severe and dangerous storms lashed the region on Friday, with the east coast low moving slowly into northern New South Wales overnight.

A 74-year-old man, a 39-year-old woman and an eight-year-old boy died yesterday afternoon when their car was swept off Dances Road at Caboolture, north of Brisbane.

Flooding in Bundaberg CBD due to east coast low making its way down the Queensland coast.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk offered her condolences to their families in a media briefing on Friday night.

“It is with the upmost sadness and with a heavy heart that I’ve had to advise Queensland of this tragedy,” she said.

A 75-year-old man died after his car was swept off Morayfield Road in nearby Burpengary about 8:30pm last night.

A 68-year-old woman travelling in the same car survived by clinging to a tree before being saved by a swift water rescue crew.

The man’s body was found about 3:00am this morning.

The torrential rain cut roads and caused peak hour traffic chaos and Emergency Services responded to more than 1,400 calls for help and conducted 20 swift water rescues.

More than 2,000 properties are still without power in south-east Queensland, most of them on the Gold Coast.

Bureau spokesman Jonty Hall said the system dumped 277 millimetres of rain in just three hours at Caboolture, while most areas in south-east Queensland received more than 100 millimetres.

But he said the wild weather was over for Queensland and the system had moved south.

“It did pack a punch. Fortunately it did continue to move off to the south and so things have contracted down into New South Wales now,” he said.

“Apart from still some pretty wild surf conditions along the coast, apart from that the event is pretty much over for us in south-east Queensland.”

A version of this story was originally published on ABC.

3. Former Sydney teacher guilty of taking pictures up his student’s skirts.

Former Sydney teacher Robert Emmett has pleaded guilty to filming up student’s skirts and possessing child abuse material.


The 36-year-old mathematics teacher at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in the city was arrested on August 7, 2013.

Police were led to discover the more than 9500 images of child pornography after Emmett was noticed at Town Hall train station on August 6, 2013, pretending to tie his shoe lace as he filmed up the skirt of a young woman.

The police discovery reportedly included three images and seven videos in the worst category, involving “sexual imagery including pain, humiliation and animals”.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Emmett, who comes from an impressive legal family of leading NSW judges, has offered to undergo chemical castration in an attempt to combat his, “serious problem,” if necessary.

Crown prosecutor Nicole Noman, SC, added, “This was an offender who understood that he was committing serious misconduct and acts of sexual deviance.”

Emmett will be sentenced on 15 May 215.

4. ISIS Doctor: The Medical Board takes action over doctor’s decision to join Islamic State.

Earlier this week a young Australian doctor featured in a propaganda video released on YouTube in association with Islamic State. The video urged fellow medial professionals to join him in Syria.

Now, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has released a statement revealing that the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) is investigating the West Australian doctor Tareq Kamleh.

bali nine
West Australian doctor Tareq Kamleh. Image via YouTube.

In the statement, the AHPRA said it would continue to liaise with the Australian Federal Police in relation to the issue.

In an attempt to maintain public confidence AHPRA said, “We protect the health and safety of the public by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practice in a competent and ethical manner are registered, the ABC reports.

Dr Tareq Kamleh is the first known Australian health worker to travel to the Middle East to join IS.

5. Six Baltimore police officers charged over death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

Six Baltimore police officers have been charged over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, whose spine was snapped while in police custody, in a surprise announcement after days of riots and protests in the US city.

State prosecutor Marilyn Mosby said Gray’s death is being treated as a homicide, and set out charges against police officers ranging from second-degree murder and manslaughter to misconduct.

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said five of the six had been taken into custody.

“The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation, coupled with the medical examiners determination that Mr Gray’s death was a homicide which we received today, has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges,” Ms Mosby said.

Ms Mosby said Gray, who died a week after his April 12 arrest, suffered fatal spinal injuries “as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained” inside the moving police van.

She said officers failed to provide medical attention to Gray even though he had asked for it on at least two occasions.

In a dramatic news conference, Ms Mosby said the Maryland chief medical examiner ruled Gray’s death a homicide.

Gray was no longer breathing when he was finally removed from the van, Ms Mosby told a crowd, which broke into applause after she finished speaking.

Cars honked their horns, and youths chanted “justice for Freddie Gray” as they lifted their fists into the air in a gesture of victory.

Ms Mosby also said officers had “illegally arrested” Gray as “no crime had been committed”.

In addition to murder and manslaughter, charges include assault, misconduct and false imprisonment.

Protesters urged to keep peace

Gray’s death sparked mass protests in Baltimore.

Ms Mosby urged protesters to keep the peace in the wake of the charges, and reiterated that the investigation was ongoing.

She vowed to seek justice on behalf of the people.


President Barack Obama said it was “absolutely vital” that the truth come out about the death of Gray.

The death in custody of Freddie Gray has sparked protests across the United States.

“Justice needs to be served. All the evidence needs to be presented,” Mr Obama said, while noting he had not yet seen the specific charges filed and would not comment on the particulars of the case.

“What I think the people of Baltimore want more than anything else is the truth. That’s what people around the country expect.”

In an open letter, Baltimore’s police union called for an independent prosecutor to take over the case from Ms Mosby, who at 34 is America’s youngest big-city chief prosecutor.

The police union condemned what it called “an egregious rush to judgement” as it defended the officers and expressed confidence they would be vindicated.

It cited Ms Mosby’s relationships with Gray’s family lawyer, who contributed $5,000 to her election campaign, and her husband, a city council member who represents the poverty-stricken section of Baltimore where Gray lived and died.

Gray’s death on April 19 is the latest flashpoint in a national outcry over the treatment of African-Americans and other minority groups by US law enforcement.

Baltimore is still under a state of emergency, with the National Guard alongside police in riot gear on the streets, and an overnight curfew in place.

After a night of rioting in Baltimore on Monday, protests spread to other major cities in a reprise of demonstrations last year set off by police killings of unarmed black men in the US.

A version of this story was originally published on ABC.

6. More than 100 teenagers have refurbished old computers for families in need. 

Earlier this week in the United States, more than 100 students put the finishing touches on computers they had refurbished for families in need.

Every Saturday since August of last year the teens of Cumberland County clocked in extra hours at school on Saturday mornings to fix-up the computers, which would otherwise have been recycled.

ABC 11 reports that one student said, “They [the families] were told they were getting a free computer, so it was very emotional, and it was just great to see that we’re doing something in the community.”

Kevin Coleman, executive Director of Technology at the school said, “Basically we take a group of computers – we use half of them for parts to put in the other half, and we put together a good machine that can go into a home”.

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