Good morning, everyone!
Some fog about this morning, then a mostly cloudy day – Horsham 18, Ararat 17, Stawell 17, Warracknabeal 18, Nhill 18, and Edenhope 16.
See what’s making headlines here:
Police use tyre spikes to end frantic car chase
A speeding driver who allegedly evaded police for about 250 kilometres was arrested after his tyres were spiked during a major police operation. A police officer who tracked the vehicle from Great Western said the male driver of a blue Holden Commodore was allegedly detected speeding near Nhill after 1pm. More here.
Fed Uni funding fears
Federation University is among Victorian universities with low completion rates who could be subject to “catastrophic” funding cuts under a new federal government policy linking funding to performance. More here.
Meditation sessions to ease final year stress for VCE students
A town resident is providing Stawell Secondary VCE students with stress release strategies by offering Falun Dafa meditation sessions at the school. More here.
Stawell man’s seven-year battle with Ross River
From the moment Stawell’s Terry Dunn wakes up, he “staggers” to the door and battles through 15 minutes of muscle pain, before his body finally “limbers up”. This has been Mr Dunn’s regular morning routine since he was diagnosed with Ross River virus in 2011 and then diagnosed with a re-infection in 2014. More here.
Commissioner steps in after yet another man absconds from sex offenders facility
Victoria’s Victims of Crime Commissioner has questioned whether something is wrong with the justice system after yet another man went missing from a notorious sex offenders facility in Ararat. More here.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.
► BALLARAT, VIC: A former Ballarat man who killed and dismembered his Indonesian partner before taking his own life in 2014 had seen a doctor for anxiety, depression and a sleep disorder in the weeks before their deaths, an inquest has heard.
► PORT MACQUARIE, NSW: The decision to include Port Macquarie Base Hospital in a trial of medicinal cannabis has met with a strongly favourable response. Crescent Head resident Tony Bower is an advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis. He operates Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd. One of his patients is 12 year old Jai Whitelaw from Queensland who was diagnosed with three rare forms of epilepsy as a five year old in 2010.
► TASMANIA: A petition has been started to ban child sex offender Nicolaas Bester from the University of Tasmania Hobart campus and terminate his PhD scholarship. National Union of Students women’s officer and University of Tasmania student, Heidi La Paglia, started the petition which demands that the university take this action in the interests of student safety.
► BENDIGO, VIC: Beccky Johns was a passionate supporter of Kidney Health Australia and its work with kids, so no doubt her dad Paul will be channelling her enthusiasm when he embarks on the 4000-kilometre Kidney Kar Rally in a few months’ time.
► HUNTER, NSW: The Hunter has contributed more than $20 billion to the state’s coffers through the sale of publicly-owned entities over almost three decades, a new analysis reveals.
► TASMANIA: Tasmania Police officers will soon have extra protection with the introduction of body cameras. Police Minister Rene Hidding announced the $3.4 million state budget commitment to police safety on Monday. The funds will allow the roll out of Body Worn Cameras for all frontline officers in the state over the next four years.
► WESTERN VICTORIA: A speeding driver who allegedly evaded police for about 250 kilometres was arrested after his tyres were spiked during a major police operation.
► NOWRA, NSW: Rubbish dumped at the Salvation Army’s South Nowra store is costing the organisation more than $20,000 a year.
► Papua New Guinea police have conceded multiple gunshots were fired into Australia's refugee compound on Manus Island during an Easter rampage that has been shrouded in mystery and conjecture. It followed a report by charity Amnesty International claiming to have established "with a degree of certainty" that bullets were fired into the regional processing centre, despite initial police denials.
► Former prime ministers Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, whose famous clashes were some of the most hostile in Australian political history, will both be presented with honorary doctorates by Israeli universities this week.
► The tweets started just after 9pm on Friday and kept coming relentlessly, in alphabetical order, for the next 48 hours. Over 2000 tweets in total – all aimed at Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young – listing how much each public school in NSW would lose unless the Turnbull government funds the six-year Gonski agreements in full.
► Marine scientists heading out on a month-long voyage to explore for the first time the deep waters off Australia's east coast, estimate that up to half of all animals they encounter will be new species or, at least, ones never seen in Australian waters. Led by Museums Victoria, the international team of researchers will sample and film the cold, dark abyss that begins where Australia's continental shelf ends.
National weather radar
► The jury has been sworn in for the trial of Australian entertainer Rolf Harris who is accused of four counts of indecent assault against three women, two of whom were teenagers..
► Australian woman Sara Connor has had her jail sentence increased to five years for the fatal group assault of a Bali police officer after the prosecution appealed to the High Court. The increased sentence will come as a bitter blow to the 46-year-old from Byron Bay, who was not in court. She had faced an anxious wait for the ruling from Bali's Kerobokan jail.
► A guard at the Colombian prison where accused drug mule Cassandra Sainsbury is being held has accused the Australian of being an attention seeker and lying about the conditions inside the facility, Channel Nine reports..
On this day
1953: Happy birthday Pierce Brosnan! The Irish-American actor turns 64 today. He is also known by Bond, James Bond, having been the fifth actor to portray the secret agent. But his talents don’t end there. Check out Brosnan in action during the 2008 musical Mamma Mia!:
Faces of Australia: Steve Towle
WELL-KNOWN NSW Ambulance inspector Steve Towle will take to the road for his last shift on Friday, May 19, bringing to a close a tremendous 42 years of dedicated service.
Based at Port Macquarie for the past 30 years, Mr Towle will take with him a sense of pride at the many patients he has treated and assisted along the way.
“I will miss the interaction with patients, making them feel better and reassuring them. A lot of our patients are aged 80 and over and reassurance goes a long way,” he said.
Mr Towle signed up in November 1975 at age 18, inspired by his father Fred who had been an honourary (volunteer paramedic) for about 10 years.
“I started out working in a bank, which didn’t inspire me that much. So I had a think about what I liked to do,” Mr Towle said. Read more.