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Australia to cut tax benefit for parents who don't immunise children

© Reuters/Beawiharta
Parents who do not vaccinate their children will miss out on payments of $700 per child under Labor's plan.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has today announced that parents who choose not to have their children vaccinated will miss out on thousands of dollars in government benefits.

Speaking at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Mr Rudd said that those who do not vaccinate their children will not get the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year supplement.

The payment is worth $726 per child, per year and is paid when children are vaccinated at one, two and five years of age.

Since last year, parents who have not immunised their children have not received the benefit; however, those registering as so-called conscientious objectors have.

Under Labor's policy, exemptions would only be made on religious or medical grounds.

Labor says it wants to boost immunisation rates and prevent children who are not vaccinated from getting diseases like whooping cough and measles, and putting others at risk.

Arrow Down

Sioux Falls Police: No Bigfoot sighting in Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls Police have officially gone on record saying Bigfoot was not seen in Sioux Falls Thursday night.

Cpt. Greg VandeKamp addressed the matter at the daily police briefing Friday. A reporter asked VandeKamp if he could explain some of the recent claims of Bigfoot being spotted in downtown Sioux Falls.

Joseph Kucera sent two pictures to KSFY News from the Jazz concert in Downtown Sioux Falls Thursday night, and if you look closely you can see a strange looking creature.


British police are investigating Diana's death again

Princess Diana
© Paul Vicente, epa
Give her a rest.

Just short of the 16th anniversary of her shocking demise, British police announced Saturday they are investigating Princess Diana's death - again.

British media and the Associated Press reported that Scotland Yard is examining the "relevance and credibility" of newly received information relating to the deaths of Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, who also was killed, along with their driver, in a car crash in a Paris traffic tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997.

What information could they have that has not already been examined by the French police, the British police and by a British coroner's inquiry? The Yard is not saying.

Its statement said only that the assessment will be carried out by officers from its specialist crime and operations unit.

Palace press officials representing Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, declined to comment.

The Telegraph reported that the new information alleges that Diana was "murdered" by a member of the British military, and that the allegation came to the Yard from the Royal Military Police, who in turn got it from the in-laws of a former soldier.


Russian boat driven by drunk captain crashes killing 8

© RIA Novosti. Alexei Malgavko
Russian Boat Crash Kills 4, Injures Dozens in Siberia
A passenger ship with at least 56 people on board has collided with a barge in Siberia on Saturday, killing eight people and injuring 47, including eight children, Russian emergency services said.

The accident occurred on the River Irtysh in the Omsk Region in southwestern Siberia just before 11 a.m. Moscow time on Saturday. Russian news agencies cited the regional police as saying that the captain of the passenger ship, the Polesye-8, was drunk.

"Eight people have been killed and 47 injured," the regional police said in a statement.

The ship, which had 52 passengers and four crew members on board, was evacuated after it was holed by the collision, the Emergencies Ministry said. The police statement said there were 56 passengers on board and four crew members.


Over 30 dead, scores missing in Philippines ferry sinking

© REUTERS/ Stringer
A cargo vessel docked at a sea is pictured after colliding with passenger ferry St Thomas of Aquinas, in Talisay, Cebu, central Philippines August 17, 2013.
At least 31 people died and nearly 200 are missing after a Philippines passenger ferry collided with a cargo vessel and sank on Friday evening, local and international media reported.

The MV Saint Thomas Aquinas was heading for a scheduled stop in a port in the Cebu province when it collided with the MV Sulpicio Express Seven. Coast Guard Cebu Station Commander Weniel Azcuna told radio dyHP that the ferry sank some 15 minutes after the collision. The accident took place around 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the shore, the BBC reported.

The Associated Press cited Philippines Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya as saying that of the 831 people on board the ferry, 31 people had died and 629 had been rescued. The news agency cited Azcuna as saying 171 were listed as missing.

Heart - Black

Greek teen's death after argument with bus ticket inspector sparks anti-austerity protests

A 19-year-old Greek student who died after an argument with a bus ticket inspector has come to symbolize the plight of a population ground down by worsening poverty and unemployment.

Thanassis Kanaoutis suffered a fatal head injury when he fell or jumped from a moving bus as it passed through a middle-class neighborhood of Athens late on Tuesday.

Prosecutors have not yet established how Kanaoutis died.

Witnesses said they saw him brawl with the ticket inspector. The bus company said he pulled the emergency brake to jump out, but the family's lawyer said Kanaoutis might have been pushed during the altercation.

The incident quickly touched a nerve in Greece, where the government is using increasingly tough methods to collect revenue under pressure from its international lenders to fix its finances.

About 300 people, among them anti-bailout groups, marched to the cemetery where Kanaoutis's funeral was held on Friday evening. After the service, dozens of youths pelted riot police with stones near the spot where he died.

Eye 1

Texas deputy accused of raping mother in front of her children resigns

A deputy in Texas accused of raping a woman in front of her children has resigned, according to KHOU 11 News.

Lisa Rodriguez of of East Harris County told local media outlets earlier this week that the deputy came to her home to question her about harassing phone calls. During the questioning, the deputy allegedly sexually assaulted her in her own home. (Note: Raw Story does not usually publish the name of sex crime victims, but Rodriguez said she wanted her name and story to be public.)

"He hurt me," Rodriguez told KHOU 11 News on Tuesday. "He took something from me without even asking. That's what hurt the most and my children were in the same house I was."

Rodriguez said the deputy, who has not been named, told her they should talk in a bedroom upstairs. She said the deputy then grabbed her hands and put them on his crotch. Rodriguez said the deputy told her if she resisted he would take her to jail.

Rodriguez reported the incident, and the deputy resigned on Wednesday.

"Rather than face answering questions from investigators with the Harris County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Division relating to allegations of sexual misconduct made on Tuesday by a citizen, an HCSO employee has resigned," the Sheriff's Office told KHOU 11 News.

Despite his resignation, the incident is still under investigation.

Eye 2

Texas deputy sues woman for 'mental anguish' after he kills her son-in-law

The lawsuit notes that "defendant [Figueroa] decided to evacuate the children for safety reasons" before calling police.

Pullen claimed that he was violently attacked by Yazar as soon as he went through the door. The deputy said he was bitten and his nose was broken. Officers used their Tasers on Yazar, and then fired multiple shots with their service weapons, killing him.

However, Corina Padilla, who witnessed the incident, said that her brother-in-law never touched the officers and was backing away with his hands up when they shot him.


3 Injured in Georgia Chemical Plant Blast

Authorities in south Georgia say at least three people have been injured in a chemical explosion that rocked an industrial complex.

Valdosta fire officials say more than 40 firefighters responded to the blaze at the Gil Harbin Industrial Park Wednesday afternoon with help from Lowndes County sheriff's officials, Moody Air Force Base, the Georgia State Patrol and the FBI.


Marikana mine massacre: 'My husband died in vain'

© Unknown
The widows of the miners who were killed by the police want the men to be arrested and punished
It is a year since South African police shot dead 34 striking miners at the Marikana mine, shocking the nation and the world. The BBC's Pumza Fihlani looks at how the killing has changed the country.

It is a chilly winter's day and widows Nonkululeko Ngxande, 32 and Zameka Nungu, 40 have returned to the place where their husbands breathed their last and they are shocked by what they see.

The white wooden crosses that had been erected in memorial of the dead miners are now lying neglected in a pile at the bottom of the rocky hill - some have even broken.

"Our husbands were killed like dogs. We are widows today because of the police and yet no-one has been arrested for their deaths," says Ms Nungu, tears gushing down her face.

"No-one cares about the men who died here because they were nobodies," she continues, her eyes red from crying.

The widows believe the desecrated crosses are telling - a reflection of how little the deaths of their beloved husbands have meant to those blamed for them - mine owner Lonmin, the police and the government.

It has been a year since Ms Ngxande's husband died but the pain of losing him is still etched on her face. Her voice shakes when she speaks about him.