RUSH HOUR: The stories you need to know today
That’s it for our live #RUSHHOUR news blog. You can get across the stories you need to know today below or go to news.com.au for the latest headlines.
North Korea warns residents of impending famine
Kim Jong Un has a new message for the Hermit Kingdom’s starving masses: Get ready to eat plant roots.
The dictator — whose weight the South Korean government estimates has ballooned to nearly 300 pounds — signalled through state media that the nation could be headed for another famine like the one that killed an estimated 3.5 million people in the 1990s, reports Fox News.
“The road to revolution is long and arduous,” an editorial in the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper said, according to Britain’s Telegraph.
“We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again.”
“Arduous march” in North Korean is code for famine. It’s how state media described the disaster that struck when Kim was a mere teen, which experts say was brought on by the economic mismanagement of his father, Kim Jong Il, loss of foreign aid and natural disasters.
“Even if we give up our lives, we should continue to show our loyalty to our leader, Kim Jong Un, until the end of our lives,” the editorial said.
Paramedics tending to man attacked in Melbourne.
Two paramedics treating a patient have been bashed and had their ambulance rammed in Melbourne.
Police were left to escort the patient to hospital after the two paramedics were set upon by a man and two women in Reservoir last night, police say.
The male paramedic was taken to hospital with a suspected broken foot and cuts and bruises after he was kicked and punched by the trio, Ambulance Victoria says.
His female colleague was struck on the back of the head when she went to his aid, and the attackers rammed the ambulance with a car before speeding off.
Police were unable to find the attackers.
A Florida mum hired a stripper for her 8-year-old’s birthday party
Police in Florida have said there is nothing they can do about a YouTube video that sparked anger after it showed a stripper performing for a young child at an apparent birthday bash.
Tampa Bay police received calls about the video last week, but cops didn’t act because nothing in the footage conclusively shows when and where the X-rated party happened, a department spokeswoman told The New York Post.
One youngster in the video is seen smacking the dancer’s backside, and another makes it rain dollar bills, during the age-inappropriate celebration.
Critics blasted the twerk-fest as child abuse.
“The mother should be put in jail and the stripper should be fined,” one disgusted video viewer said. “Disgusting.”
Dutch parliament supports motion to outlaw petrol cars by 2025
The Netherlands is really serious when it comes to pursuing an emission free future.
In what could prove to be a historic vote, the Dutch lower house has voted in support of a motion to no longer allow new sales of petrol or diesel cars from 2025.
If passed into law, it would expedite the country’s commitment to full electric transportation by decades.
Opposition politicians in the Netherlands have called the motion “overambitious and unrealistic” but if all goes according to plan, within ten years ever car sold in Holland will be powered either purely by electricity or by hydrogen.
Triple M’s Grill Team terrified by April Fool’s prank
The hosts of Triple M’s Grill Team were on the receiving end of a great April Fool’s Day prank this morning.
Gus Worland, Matty Johns and Mark Geyer were caught off guard before 6am as they were preparing for their Sydney breakfast radio show.
For four years there’s been a bronze statue of Mark Geyer sitting just outside the Grill Team’s studio, but this morning the statue was replaced by a man covered head to toe in bronze body paint.
One by one the hosts walked past the statue and got the fright of their lives when it came to life.
Italian nurse arrested on suspicion of being a serial killer
An Italian nurse has been arrested on suspicion of being a serial killer who administered fatal doses of a blood-thinning drug to 13 intensive care patients in less than two years.
Fausta Bonino, 56, allegedly killed the patients aged between 61 and 88 between January 2014 and September 2015 at a hospital in the Tuscan town of Piombino.
“None of the victims’ lives had been in danger at the time the drugs were administered,” said Erasmo Fontana, one of the detectives involved in the investigation.
Bonino was arrested Wednesday after a review of all the recent abnormal deaths at the hospital identified her as being the only staff member involved in every case.
The review was triggered after the unit’s death rate for admitted patients spiked from 12 per cent to 20 per cent.
Brisbane woman stabbed to death at home
A man has been charged with murder after allegedly stabbing a young woman to death at a home north of Brisbane.
Police were called to a disturbance at the Kippa-Ring residence shortly after 10.30pm last night.
When emergency crews arrived, they discovered the body of a woman on the driveway.
“On arrival, a woman in her 20s was located on a driveway with what appeared to be stab wounds,” police said. “She was pronounced deceased at the scene as a result of her injuries.”
The woman reportedly suffered stab wounds to her chest, arms and neck.
Frenchman jailed for sending gun emoji to ex-girlfriend
A 22-year-old Frenchman has reportedly been jailed for sending his ex-girlfriend a gun emoji in a text message.
In the first such ruling of its kind in France, the man received a six month jail term (three months suspended) after a Valence court deemed the gun icon constituted a “death threat in the form of an image”.
Bilal Azougagh, from the town of Pierelatte, admitted to having sent the message in 2015 after the pair split up, reports the UK’s Telegraph.
The girl’s lawyer - who was underage at the time the text was sent - argued that she “no longer dared come into to town and suffered from nightmares” since receiving the pistol emoji and due to his constant harassment.
It’s believed the ruling could set a legal precedent in France where there is no specific legislation on emoticons.
Leigh Sales quizzes Morrison on relationship with PM
ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales last night asked Treasurer Scott Morrison the question everyone has wanted to put to him.
Sales questioned Morrison about his relationship with Malcolm Turnbull saying: “Is it a partnership or is he the CEO and you’re an employee?”
Mr Morrison was quick to reply, saying they have a “very strong relationship”.
“We’re colleagues and he is the first among equals in our Cabinet,” he said.
“That’s the sort of Cabinet, government he’s running. The Prime Minister and I have known each other for a long time and we have a very strong relationship.
Speaking on the 7:30 Report, Scott Morrison considers himself and equal in cabinet to Malcolm Turnbulll. Courtesy: ABC
Sales went on to ask him if he considered himself to be a member of Mr Turnbull’s “inner circle”.
Mr Turnbull recently revealed Mr Morrison was not in the “very small circle” that was made aware by telephone of recent plans to bring the Federal Budget forward from May 10 to May 3.
Mr Morrison was forced to contradict himself last week when he told journalists that the Budget would be on May 10, and then backflip a few hours later after the PM announced it would be handed down a week early. This led to suggestions that Mr Morrison was not close to Mr Turnbull.
University of Sydney to cut 100 degress
The University of Sydney will slash up to 100 degrees as it seeks to simplify and streamline its educational offerings.
It’s not the only significant change taking place at the prestigious university as the school plans to triple its annual research budget to $900 million over six years.
Yesterday, Sydney Uni announced its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to streamline degrees into three “tracks”: professional development, research and a more open track for broader education, reports Fairfax media.
The move is designed to bolster performance in a bid to better compete with Melbourne rivals as well as allay fears of employees over the quality of graduates.
Vice-chancellor Michael Spence said the university will end up with about 20 degrees across streamlined arts and social sciences, business, engineering, science, health, and medicine faculties and the schools of law, architecture and the conservatorium of music, the report said.
“We are concerned about the falling employment rates nationally for three-year graduates and we’ve been listening to employers and the kinds of things they want to see in a 21st century education,” Mr Spence told the ABC.
It will also add skills-focused courses in studies such as digital literacy and cultural competence.
Turnbull to pitch tax overhaul to state and territory leaders today
Frontbencher Wyatt Roy concedes the federal government’s radical income tax plan won’t happen overnight as most state premiers express concern.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will reveal details of the plan to allow states and territories to raise income tax to pay for services like hospitals at a meeting of chief ministers in Canberra today.
Several have rejected the plan while others say they need more details. But Mr Roy, the Assistant Minister for Innovation, said it was time for political bravery.
West Indies claim huge upset over India
India’s dreams of a World Twenty20 title on home soil were shattered in Mumbai after the West Indies stunned the hosts by seven wickets to reach the final.
Lendl Simmons fired an explosive 82 off 51 balls as the Windies broke Indian hearts in the semi-final clash at Wankhede Stadium with just two balls to spare and will now face England in Sunday’s final in Kolkata.
The West Indies went into the last over needing eight to win and Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed the ball to talisman Virat Kohli, who earlier scored an unbeaten 89.
Simmons grabbed a single off the first ball before Andre Russell smashed a four and six as the Windies ended on 3-196 after India made 2-192.
Body of Brisbane man found deemed as suspicious
Queensland police are investigating after the body of a 27-year-old man was last night found in the back yard of a home south of Brisbane.
A triple-0 call was made around 6pm after a visitor to a home in Meadowbrook discovered the body on the back patio.
Police set up a crime scene around the house to investigate the suspicious death, reports The Courier-Mail.
“It appears the man has been deceased for two to three days,” officer Jim Plowman said. A resident of the house will be assisting police with their inquiries this morning.
“The resident of the house was unaware of it as far as we know. The body was located in the back patio area on some furniture,” he said.
US State Department tweet backfires spectacularly
It meant well, but the execution from the US State Department left a little something to be desired.
A government message posted to Twitter warning teenagers who aren’t attractive to beware of scams has been with a biting reaction on social media.
The somewhat strange tweets read: “Not a ‘10’ in the US? Then not a 10 overseas. Beware of being lured into buying expensive drinks or worse — being robbed. #springbreakingbadly.”
The message was sent out to 510,000 followers as part of a campaign to keep students safe on their annual spring break.
But the tweet caused a huge backlash.
Twitter user Jayelle wrote: “If only I’d been born gorgeous so I could travel the world with no cares or caution. Sadly, I must be observant ‘cause I’m ugly.”
Another wrote: “I’m not a 10! I’m not smart enough to refuse free gift! Are u telling me to just stay home in my jemmies? #travelgovspeakingbadly.”
A parody account was set up in response to the Tweet, with users posting fake advice for people who were less than a ‘10’.
The State Department has since apologised for the tweet.
Ronnie Corbett has died aged 85
Beloved entertainer Ronnie Corbett has died aged 85 at home, surrounded by his family.
“Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation’s best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family,” a statement from his publicist said on Thursday.
“They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time.”
The Scottish-born actor, singer and comedian starred in various movies and television shows but was best known for his role in The Two Ronnies, co-starring the late Ronnie Barker.
It featured the famous catchphrase “It’s goodnight from me ... and it’s goodnight from him” which is being used by many comedians and fans to pay tribute to the funnyman online.
Read more here.
Cy Walsh case back in Supreme Court today
The case against Cy Walsh, who is accused of murdering his father, former Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh, is due to return to the Supreme Court.
A directions hearing is scheduled for today when the court is expected to receive two more report’s on the 27-year-old’s mental health.
Prosecutors are yet to accept that Walsh was mentally incompetent at the time of the alleged murder in the family home in Adelaide in July last year.
At his last court appearance in February, Walsh pleaded not guilty to the murder of his 55-year-old father who was in his first year as senior coach of the Crows.
John Kasich mocked for eating pizza with a fork
The cardinal sin in politics is to appear unrelatable to the general public. Even worse is to come off as elitist.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder US Republican presidential candidate John Kasich has vigorously defended his use of a knife and fork while eating a slice of pizza during a recent campaign stop in New York.
His decision to use a fork drew the mock ire of locals and reporters alike.
“Look, look, the pizza came scalding hot, OK? And so I use a little fork,” the defensive candidate told Good Morning America.
“You know what? My wife who is on spring break with my daughters said, ’I’m proud of you. You finally learned how to use a utensil properly.’ But I mean — not only did I eat the pizza, I had the hot sausage. It was fantastic.”
The Governor of Ohio is the only candidate still left in the Republican race believed to have a shot of reining in Donald Trump’s lead.