Wednesday afternoon's news in under 5 minutes.

We’ve rounded up all the major headlines around this afternoon, so you can catch up on the latest news in just a few minutes.

1. New York train crash kills six.

By ABC News

At least six people have been killed after a busy commuter train crashed into a car on the rails outside New York City during evening rush hour, local media is reporting.

The driver of the car was killed when the train slammed into the vehicle about 6:30 pm local time.

NBC New York reported five passengers aboard the train died after flames ripped through a carriage.

Metro-North, the train operator, confirmed a Harlem Line train had struck a vehicle but did not immediately announce fatalities.

Several news media showed images of a car on fire and smoke coming from train cars, and reported that passengers were evacuated from the train.

NBC New York reported five passengers aboard the train died after flames ripped through a carriage. (Photo: Instagram/bizzz235.)

ABC America quoted a passenger saying about 750 people were on the train and that many were trapped and could not get off, while people outside were telling them the train was on fire.

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

1. Jordan executes a captive in retaliation for ISIS’ killing of Jordanian pilot.

By ABC News

Jordan has executed by hanging an Iraqi female militant it had sought to exchange for a Jordanian pilot killed by Islamic State militants.

Related content: ISIS just changed the game again. In the most horrific way.

Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said authorities had also executed another Iraqi prisoner sentenced to death for terrorist plots.

New York train crash
Would-be Iraqi female suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi was named as the first slated to go to the gallows. (Photo: ABC News)

The executions were in response to the murder of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was reportedly burned alive by the Islamic State group.


First Lieutenant Kassasbeh was captured when his plane crashed in Syria in December.

Hours after a 22-minute video emerged online purporting to show the 26-year-old fighter pilot engulfed in flames, a security official said executions would begin at daybreak.

Would-be Iraqi female suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi was named as the first slated to go to the gallows.

Rishawi was sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack that killed 60 people.

Ziyad Karboli, an Iraqi Al Qaeda operative who was convicted in 2008 for killing a Jordanian, was also executed at dawn, Mr Momani said.

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

2. The Liberal leadership saga continues.

Parliament house is still fluttering with rumours of a leadership spill, with reports Malcolm Turnbull is summoning support from fellow MPs.

Malcolm Turnbull’s spokesperson, however, has denied the former Liberal leader is canvassing backbenchers for support ahead of a potential spill, the ABC reports.

The spokesperson said Turnbull has been taking and receiving calls.

New York train crash
Malcolm Turnbull is reportedly summoning support from fellow MPs. (Photo: Getty Images)

Click here to read the full story.

3. Family call for inquest into the death of Ms Dhu in police custody

The family of an Aboriginal woman who died last year in police custody in Western Australia are demanding an urgent inquest into the 22-year-old’s death.

Ms Dhu died in South Hedland in the Pilbara and her family said they had no idea what caused her death.

Two other West Australian families are also desperate for inquests, two years after their family members died in custody.


Ms Dhu’s grandmother Carol Roe can see her granddaughter’s grave from her backyard but said she had no idea why her “baby” died.

“It’s very upsetting,” Ms Roe said.

“My granddaughter, she should be sitting at this table with me. It’s heartbreaking, no truth, no justice, no inquiries.”

The WA coroner has received the relevant police and health department reports into Ms Dhu’s death. A decision on an inquest date is now in the coroner’s hands.

A version of this story originally appeared on the ABC and was published here with full permission. 

3. Colleen McCullough funeral

BY Adrian Raschella for ABC News

Family and friends of Colleen McCullough will pay tribute to the late Australian author at her funeral service on Norfolk Island today.

A funeral procession will pass through the island’s main street this afternoon, where locals will pause to pay their respects to the internationally acclaimed writer.

Friends and family will pay respects to Australian author Colleen McCullough at her funeral today.

The procession will end at the island’s cemetery for a graveside service, culminating in those gathered singing the traditional Pitcairn Anthem.

ACT Senator Zed Seselja will represent the Australian Government at the service.

Former MP Sophie Mirabella has also flown in for the funeral.

McCullough was aged 77 when she died last week in hospital on Norfolk Island, where she had lived for a number of years.

She was best known for her 1974 breakthrough novel Tim and her 1977 worldwide bestseller The Thorn Birds, along with An Indecent Obsession.

For more on Colleen McCullough, see this post.

A version of this story originally appeared on the ABC and was published here with full permission. 

4. ISIS is rebranding stolen UN food rations.

Images have emerged on social media showing men in trucks handing out UN food packages that have been ‘rebranded’ with the Islamic State logo, according to The Mirror.

The militant Islamist group, which controls large parts of Syria and northern Iraq, appears to be distributing the much-needed aid to the desperately hungry as part of their propaganda efforts.

Islamic State militants are rebranding UN food packages. (Photo: Twitter)

Senior UN World Food Programme (WFP) spokeswoman Abeer Etefa told MUNCHIES the organisation was “extremely concerned” by the images.

“WFP is extremely concerned about this as we try to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident. At the moment, we are not sending any more food supplies to these areas because our partners cannot operate independently.”

The agency is still attempting to verify the authenticity of the photographs.

5. Taiwanese plane crashes into river.

A regional TransAsia flight carrying 58 people has crash landed in a river in a river in Taiwan, killing at least two people.

ABC News reports at least 10 people were also injured in the crash.

6. Female directors win big at the Sundance Awards.

The Huffington Post reports thirteen women directors’ films emerged with a prestigious Sundance award this year — a particular great result, commentators have pointed out, given the list of Oscars nominees, which was widely criticised for being disproportionately white and male.

The winning female directors include Crystal Moselle with her truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story, The Wolfpack.

7. Croatia relieving the debt of 60,000 of its poorest nationals

Ever wished for a money fairy to come along and make your money worries disappear? This is the new reality for 60,000 Croatians who will no longer have to repay their debt.

The Prime Minister of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, announced that he would forgive the debt of Croatians whose assets and monthly household income in the last three months total less that 2,500 Croatian Kuna ($466).

“People should pay their bills, but if they find themselves in deep trouble, this measure can help,” Milanovic said.

This is a one-off move which hopes to ease the burden of the nation’s ongoing financial crisis, the Toronto Star reports.

This also marks the first economic direction under the leadership of Croatia’s first female prime minister, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

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