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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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].”