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Saturday's News in 5 minutes.

Here are today’s top stories in under 5 minutes.

1. Germanwings parent company agrees to new rule requiring two crew members in cockpit.


The Lufthansa Group has agreed to adhere to new European Union regulations that require two crew members to be in the cock-pit at all times. The chief executive previously dismissed the regulations as unnecessary.

All EU airlines are being advised to observe the regulations, which are already mandatory standards in the US.

As well as Germanwings, the Lufthansa Group also includes Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings.

It is believed that after locking himself in the cock-pick along, Andreas Lubitz crashed Germanwings flight 9525 into the side of a mountain in the French Alps. All 150 on board were killed.

The ABC reports that in wake of the tragedy, many airlines announced reforms to their procedures to ensure that pilots were never left alone in their cock-pits again.

After stating that he did not “see any need to change our procedures” and that “we shouldn’t lose ourselves in short-term measures,” Lufthansa’s chief executive Carsten Spohr received a great deal of backlash via social media. Passengers said they would refuse to fly with the airline if they did not make the necessary changes.

The companies decision was reversed the following day, Lufthansa issuing the following statement:

“The passenger airlines of the Lufthansa Group will put this new rule into place as soon as possible in agreement with the relevant authorities.”

As well as Germanwings, the Lufthansa Group also includes Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings.

2. NSW Election – Baird, Foley to campaign until the polls close at 6pm tonight.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird says he is not relying on polls showing a favourable outcome in today’s state election and will campaign until the polls close.

Polling booths have opened and will be running until 6:00pm.

Despite the recent experiences of first-term Coalition governments in Queensland and Victoria, polls show Mr Baird is on track to be returned comfortably.

The Premier said yesterday he had no regrets about the way he had run his campaign.

“I feel good, I feel as if I’m ready to go,” Mr Baird said.

“Clearly it’s been a long campaign, but this is probably the most important day I think in the state in a long, long time.

“It’s a critical decision and I ask everyone to carefully consider their vote.

Image- ABC News: Dan Cox and AAP: Paul Miller
“There’s an opportunity to keep NSW moving or there’s an opportunity to see NSW go backwards to what we saw for 16 years.

Opposition leader Luke Foley said Labor was still in with a chance, however.

“I’m in this to win it,” Mr Foley said.

“The people of Queensland stopped the sale of their electricity network by electing a Labor government.

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“I’m presenting the people of NSW with the same opportunity today.”

Labor expected to pick up seats

Labor is hoping to pick up between 10 and 15 seats today, but that would not be enough to unseat the incumbents.

However, Mr Foley said the polls were not a good guide in the Queensland and Victorian elections.

“This has been Labor at its best,” Mr Foley said.

“Don’t listen to those polls, it is a very tight election.”

This article was originally published by ABC online. It has been republished here with full permission.

3. Scott Morrison boycott at Sydney Boys High School: Alumni say he is “an embarrassment”.


One of Sydney’s most prestigious public schools, Sydney Boys High, has invited Federal Cabinet Minister Scott Morrison to attend an ‘Old Boys’ fundraising event as a special guest. But the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that alumni are “disgusted” and “embarrassed” by the notion, due to the fact that Morrison, “so flagrantly disregarded human rights”.

Invitationfeat
Image via SBHS Old Boys website.

On the website for the Sydney Boys High School Old Boys, over 370 alumni have signed an open letter which states:

“As SBHS Old Boys, as well as friends and family of Old Boys, we stand in outrage and disgust at the Old Boys Union’s decision to invite Scott Morrison to speak at the Spilling the Beans function, April 15th 2015. We call on the OBU to immediately rescind the invitation so as to spare the organisation, and the school itself, the embarrassment of being seen to celebrate the achievements of a man who has so flagrantly disregarded human rights.”

Citing Morrison’s “at best complicit” advocation of “offshore immigration detention policies that violate the United Nations Convention against Torture”, as their reason. His actions were condemned by the UNHCR and Australian Human Rights Commission, and the ex-students feel it would be “cruel and insensitive for the Union to laud this man’s connection to the school, its graduates, and their families.”

4. UN orders 30,000 IKEA flat packed refugee shelters for Iraq


Sweden furniture phenomenon IKEA have received an order for 30,000 flat-pack shelters to be used as temporary housing for refugees in Iraq.

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The order is expected to be doubled or triples in coming years as the United Nations Refugee Agency seeks to find better alternatives for refugee housing.

30,00 flat-packs ordered from Swedish furniture giant IKEA.

The shelters have been developed by the IKEA Foundation’s Better Shelter program and the UNRA and can be assembled without the need for additional tools. Each shelter is big enough for five people and costs $1483.

The ABC reports that the initial delivery of approximately 10,000 flat-packs will go to Iraq and possibly Ethiopia.

Better Shelter’s head of business Johan Karlsson has said, “we have around 53.5 million refugees and internal refugees in the world so this of course is just a drop in the ocean.”

5. Woman revisits Regatta Hotel to celebrate the right to drink, 50 years after historic feminist protest.

Fifty years after Merle Thornton and a friend chained themselves to the public bar at Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel, she returned to celebrate winning the right to drink there.

Ms Thornton attended a luncheon at the pub on Friday, where she was recognised for her contribution to women’s rights.

When she walked into the Regatta Hotel with her friend Rosalie Bognor in 1965, women were prohibited from drinking in the public bar.

“We’d been to see the minister the day before to try and get him to change the legislation and we were laughed at, so we decided on a demonstration,” she said.

After the bartender refused to serve them, they chained themself to the bar and refused to leave.

It took hours for police to remove them.

Jack Herbert, the bagman of the Fitzgerald inquiry, was the last man called in to extract them.

“Eventually he said, ‘so long girls, have a good night, don’t drink too much’, so we seemed to have established that police were not prepared to enforce the laws against women in public bars,” Ms Thornton said.

The protest is still considered a pivotal moment in the Australian women’s liberation movement, garnering national attention and bringing forward a change in Queensland laws.

Today, women gathered for a ladies luncheon at the pub to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the protest.

Now when Ms Thornton visits the hotel she can have a drink at Merle’s bar, which is named after her.

“I’m prepared to pay but they rarely ask me,” she said.

This article was originally published by ABC online. It has been republished here with full permission.

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