Saturday's news in less than 5 minutes.

The latest news headlines from Australia and around the world.

1. Tony Abbott in NZ: Military and cricket to dominate talks with John Key at annual leaders’ meeting.

By Andrew Greene for ABC News

A new joint military deployment to Iraq will dominate today’s annual bi-lateral talks between Tony Abbott and his New Zealand counterpart John Key, with the pair also attending today’s Cricket World Cup clash.

Tony Abbott, centre, with John Key as the Australian and New Zealand cricket teams prepare for battle.

Mr Abbott is this morning sitting down to formal talks with John Key, as he wraps up his first official visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister.

Discussions between the close friends and political allies are expected to be dominated by national security and the economy.

The annual talks between the leaders of Australia and New Zealand have special symbolic significance this year, with both nations preparing to commentate the centenary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.

Read more: ANZAC Day: “I now truly understand what it means to be an Australian.”

This week New Zealand announced it would commit up to 143 soldiers as part of the joint military operation, a decision which has sharply divided public opinion.

Tony Abbott in New Zealand this week.

Asked if he feared this would be his final overseas visit as Prime Minister, Mr Abbott insisted he was getting on with the business of government.

“Obviously I am the subject of the party room and I’m the subject of the electorate,” Mr Abbott said.

“And I’m looking forward to continuing to have the confidence of both.”

Mr Abbott and Mr Key will also attend this afternoon’s Cricket World Cup clash between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park.

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

2. Leonard Nimoy, aka. Star Trek’s Mr Spock, dies age 83.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, better known for his portrayal of Mr Spock in the Star Trek television and film franchise, has died at age 83.

Mr Nimoy, who rose to worldwide fame for his role as the half-human, half-Vulcan character, suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and died in his home in Los Angeles. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his passing.

A string of celebrities and notables have taken to Twitter to express their grief at the loss of the Hollywood icon, including Star Trek co-star William Shatner.

Shatner (left) and Nimoy.

Shatner, who played Captain James T Kirk, said he would miss Nimoy “like a brother”.

Nimoy, who began acting at the age of 18, landed his Star Trek role in 1966 — a role made famous for it’s salute, “live long and prosper”, that has endured in popular culture ever since.

LLAP, Leonard Nimoy.

3. Bali Nine: Myuran Sukumaran awarded a fine art degree days before he is expected to be executed.

Bali Nine ringleader Myuran Sukumaran has been awarded an Associate Degree in Fine Art from Perth’s Curtin University. The award comes just days before he and fellow Bali Nine inmate Andrew Chan are expected to face the firing squad.

Sukumaran, who has been studying via correspondence from Kerobokan prison in Bali, was due to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts by the end of the year.

Myuran Sukumaran loves to paint.

Archibald prize winning artist Ben Quilty, who is also a friend and mentor to Sukumaran, told Fairfax media that he couldn’t believe the degree was being presented to his friend “Myu”.

“It’s just unreal, it’s so unreal,” he said.

“I really do think he’ll be the first of quite a few people who will get qualifications like this through that art room [at Kerobokan jail].”


You can read more of Myuran’s story here: Both sides of politics agree on one thing: mercy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

4. Hairdressing and beauty college, Australasian College Broadway, accused of claiming federal training loans for under-skilled graduates; College rejects allegations.

By Claire Aird and Alison Branley for ABC News

A private Sydney college is accused of claiming federal student training loans for pupils who graduated without appropriate skills, with one former hairdressing student saying she “would have learnt more off YouTube”.

Former staff allege that if students wanted to leave Australasian College Broadway, the college then hampered their attempts to withdraw from a course by either tearing up a letter or ignoring phone calls.

Their concerns have been backed by former students who said they found it difficult to withdraw from courses that attracted VET-FEE-HELP training loans.

Former student Sammantha Saxton (right) and her employer Gloria-Lee Cooke. Ms Saxton says that she “would have learnt more off YouTube” than she did at the college.

It comes as a Senate inquiry prepares to hand down an interim report into the training loans scheme.

The college, which offers hairdressing, beauty therapy and makeup courses, rejected the allegations and said it had rigorous procedures and high training standards.

In a letter from its lawyer it said on one occasion two withdrawal letters were buried under paperwork on a desk.

“The Australasian College does not target any single group and would certainly not contemplate any practice which would breach any moral or ethical codes of conduct,” it said in a statement.

“The Australasian College has always operated in an environment of openness and transparency.”

Police are continuing to investigate allegations raised last year that the college rorted a now defunct State Government scheme.

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

5. Prince Harry to quit armed forces after secondment to Australian units, UK media reports.

By Europe correspondent Barbara Miller for ABC News.

Prince Harry is reportedly considering a short secondment to an army unit in Australia before he ends his military career.

The 30-year-old has been in the Armed Forces for 10 years, and has completed two combat tours of Afghanistan.

He is reported to be considering a change of career to concentrate on his children’s charity in Africa and on projects to help injured service personnel.

Prince Harry has completed two combat tours of Afghanistan.

The Evening Standard newspaper said the Prince would complete a six-week secondment to an Australian military unit before he leaves the army.

Following his secondment, the Prince is expected to join his father Prince Charles at the 100th anniversary Anzac Day dawn service in Gallipoli.

“The Prince thought long and hard about his decision to leave active military service but, having served his country on two tours of duty, he felt the time was right to leave. He has loved his time serving,” a senior source told the Standard.

“Officials are still working on the precise timings but he will leave the military this year after serving Down Under.

“The exact timings have not been finalised yet, but are expected to be announced officially very soon.”

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

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