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Saturday's news in under 5 minutes.

Here are today’s top stories.

1. The body of teacher Stephanie Scott found in bushland.

Police investigating the murder of missing New South Wales teacher Stephanie Scott have found a woman’s body in bushland north of Griffith.

The discovery was made around 5:00pm (AEST) on Friday at Cocoparra National Park, north of Griffith in southern New South Wales, about 70 kilometres from her home town, Leeton.

A crime scene has been set up at the location and forensic specialists are processing the scene.

NSW Police will provide an update on developments in the search at 9:30am.

Ms Scott was allegedly murdered on Easter Sunday by Vincent Stanford, a 24-year-old cleaner from her workplace, Leeton High School.

“The 26-year-old English and drama teacher was last seen at the school on Myrtle Street about 11:00am on Sunday, police said.”

Stanford was charged with the murder on Thursday, and has been remanded in custody to reappear in Griffith Local Court via videolink in June.

The 26-year-old English and drama teacher was last seen at the school on Myrtle Street about 11:00am on Sunday, police said.

Earlier police had turned their sights to a canal in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area — near where Ms Scott’s car was found on Thursday — after a witness reported seeing a man throw something into it on Monday.

While searching the canal, police found a laptop in two metres of water.

LaptopABC
(Image via ABC: AAP- David Moir)

Griffith local area commander Superintendent Michael Rowan said police were also still asking the public to come forward with information about the whereabouts of a white Toyota Hilux between Sunday and Wednesday.

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“We have the accused’s car,” he said.

“We are really interested in people who might have sighted it between Sunday lunch time and Wednesday night.”

Community picnic organised for wedding day.

Meanwhile, Ms Scott’s family has invited community members to gather and celebrate her life on what should have been her wedding day.

Ms Scott was supposed to marry her partner of five years, Aaron Leeson-Woolley, in the Central West town of Eugowra today.

Instead, her family has invited everyone to join them at Mountford Park in Leeton at lunchtime to celebrate the 26-year-old’s life.

In a statement on social media, the family encouraged people to pack a picnic, wear yellow and bring their favourite memory of Ms Scott.

“[It] should have been the happiest day of Stephanie and Aaron’s lives,” the statement read.

“To help us all through this difficult time, we invite everyone to join us at Mountford Park, Leeton … for a lunchtime affair to celebrate the life of our ‘Button-Nose’.”

This article was originally published by ABC online

2. Abbott government to announce that parents who fail to vaccinate their children will lose benefits.


The Federal Government has indicated that parents who do not vaccinate their children may lose up to $2100 in benefits. The official announcement is set to be made before the May budget.

According to Fairfax media, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is preparing to get rid of a “conscientious objection” provision that allows parents who do not vaccinate their to still claim benefits such as Family Tax Benefit A, as well as assistance for childcare.

Recent outbreaks of whooping cough are believed to have prompted reform discussions.

Approximately 39,000 parents have signed conscientious objection papers certifying that they are unable to vaccinate their children for “personal, philosophical, religious or medical,” reasons. By scrapping the provision, the government is expected to save $50 million a year.

The health risks associated with declining immunisation rates, are apparent. The government’s change in policy may be in reaction to recent whooping cough outbreaks and a fear that children, particularly those in small communities, may be at risk of contracting serious illnesses.

Despite the absence of an official government announcement thus far, Minister Morrison said this week: “The government is reviewing the current exemptions on vaccinations that apply to family tax benefit payments and child care subsidies as part of the families package to be delivered this year.”

3. Death threat led to Grant Hackett’s addiction


According to the swimmer’s father, Australian swimming champion Grant Hackett developed a prescription drug addiction after receiving a death threat. The Daily Telegraph reports that Hackett was fearing for his life, and become addicted to sleeping aid Stilnox.

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“This happened about two years ago when he was forced to immediately leave Melbourne to live in Sydney. The truth about this has never come out,” father Neville Hackett said.

“That’s what really caused the Stilnox abuse and the addiction. I know he used Stilnox while he was swimming but he wasn’t hooked on it. It was when his life was threatened and he couldn’t sleep at night from all the worry.”

The threat was never reported to police, but as a former police inspector, Hackett’s father and his family took the situation  seriously.

“He phoned me straight away because I’m an ex copper. I told him to jump straight on a plane back here to the Gold Coast.”

Hackett recently qualified for the Australian men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, and finished fourth in the 200m final at the 2015 FINA World Championships trials, which took place in Sydney earlier this month.

His father said, “to come through what he has is just unbelievable. We’re so proud.”

4. ‘The Voice of Summer’- Richie Benaud remembered across the world.

Australian cricket icon Richie Benaud is being remembered across the United Kingdom as a kind, generous and hugely talented man after his death at the age of 84.

The former Test captain and commentary icon died peacefully in his sleep early on Friday morning.

Richie Benaud was ‘the voice of summer’ for many Australians, but his loss is felt around the world.

Benaud’s death made headline news in the UK, with broadcasters delighting in replaying his famous one-liners.

The flag on the North Clock Tower at Lord’s cricket ground is flying at half mast in tribute to the Australian, and a blazer that Benaud donated to the Club has been put on display.

Marleybone Cricket Club (MCC) president David Morgan, of which Benaud was an honorary member, said as a cricket player he was one of the finest exponents of the art of leg spin the game has ever seen.

He said Benaud was also a charismatic, engaging and informative commentator.

“A wonderful gentleman — warm, humorous,” he said.

“An honorary life member of MCC of course, and I think he was jolly proud of that. And we shall miss him.”

Former Test umpire Dickie Bird also paid tribute, saying there would never be another like him.

Friday saw tributes pouring in from cricketers, sportspeople, broadcasters, journalists, politicians and fans across Australia and the world.

Flags also flew at half mast around the SCG in Australia yesterday, the ground that Benaud called home, and gates were opened for the public to pay its respects.

Benaud’s statue inside the ground was soon surrounded by flowers and messages from the public, while the famous scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval was one of many cricketing landmarks used as a makeshift memorial.

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This article was originally published by ABC online. 

5. Fertility doctors help create a healthy baby with a dead man’s sperm.


In a world-first procedure, fertility doctors have created a baby using sperm taken from a man who had died 48-hours before.

Despite fears that the DNA may have been damaged, the baby is perfectly healthy.

Doctors associated with the case are thrilled, and hope the success of this case will encourage other medical professionals to attempt the previously dismissed procedure.

Steve Robson, Associate professor at the Australian National University medical school said it was the most extraordinary case he had ever been involved with.

“On a professional level this has been, from my perspective, a love story, and it has been incredible to be involved with helping a woman who has so much love and courage…As a group we were impressed with the amount of love this woman had, and her tremendous endurance against all the obstacles she faced.”

For legal reasons, the mother cannot be named. The Sydney Morning Herald reports she elected to attempt the procedure after the sudden death of her husband in a motorcycle accident. The procedure had to took place in Canberra, as it is currently illegal to harvest sperm from a deceased person in South Australia, where the women lives.

Approval took two days, and incredibly, the procedure beat the previous record of posthumous sperm use by 18 hours.

Robson will report details of the procedure at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists world conference next week.

6. Mother of the three who died in a tragic car crash has visited her surviving daughter.


Akon Guode was reunited with her daughter Aluel for the first time since their car crashed into Lake Gladman, killing three of Guode’s children.

Aluel’s father Joseph Manyang said his daughter gave her mum a “big hug”.

“She didn’t believe that her mum was still alive.”

News.com.au reports that Aluel has been surrounded by family since the accident, supporting her in her recovery while her mother was questioned by police and treated at the Royal Melbourne Hospital under police guard.

The car plunged into Lake Gladman on Wednesday. Three of the four children in the car — baby boy Bol, aged one, and Madit and Anger, both aged four– died when the 4WD plunged into the water.

Guode, reportedly told family members she felt “very dizzy” before the incident in Wyndham Vale, in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

Aluel is expected to make a full recovery, and News.com.au reports she is expected to be released from hospital in four days.

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