Morning briefing: 10 stories from around the world

A US missile defence system aimed at protecting Nato from Iranian rockets is to go live in Romania almost a decade after Washington proposed it. Photo / AP
A US missile defence system aimed at protecting Nato from Iranian rockets is to go live in Romania almost a decade after Washington proposed it. Photo / AP

1 Reef catamaran rescue

All 46 people aboard a tourist catamaran were rescued after the vessel caught fire and sank on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, police said. A police statement said 19 of those rescued were taken to hospitals in Bundaberg and Gladstone for treatment of non-life threatening injuries after the vessel sank late yesterday. Most of those on board were Chinese tourists, Nine Network television reported. The 23m catamaran, Spirit of 1770, was returning to the town of 1770 after a day trip to Lady Musgrave Island when it caught fire and was abandoned 30 minutes later, police said. Passengers and crew took to life rafts, the ABC reported. The fire started in the engine room.

2 Defence shield to go live

The United States' European missile defence shield is to go live almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting Nato from Iranian rockets and despite Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe.

Amid high Russia-West tension, US and Nato officials will tomorrow declare operational the shield at a remote air base in Deveselu, Romania, after years of planning, billions of dollars in investment and failed attempts to assuage Russian concerns that the shield could be used against Moscow.

3 Trump gains support

Support for Donald Trump has surged and he is now nearly neck-and-neck with Democrat Hillary Clinton among likely US voters. As recently as last week, Clinton led Trump by around 13 points in the poll, but the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll released today shows a dramatic turnaround since Trump became the Republican party's presumptive presidential nominee. The results signal a close fight between the two likely White House rivals as Americans make up their minds ahead of the November election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.

4 Turnbull link to Mossack Fonseca

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was once a director of an offshore company set up by Mossack Fonseca, data from the now public Panama Papers reportedly shows. The Australian Financial Review reports that in the 1990s the Pprime Minister and former New South Wales Premier Neville Wran were on the board of Star Mining NL and its subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands, Star Technology Service, which had been incorporated by Mossack Fonseca two years earlier. A spokesman for Mr Turnbull told the paper that the prime minister didn't know the company was administered by Mossack Fonseca. There is no suggestion he acted improperly while a director, the paper reports.

5 Italy approves same-sex civil unions

Italy's Parliament has approved same-sex civil unions and given some rights to unmarried heterosexual couples after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called a confidence vote to force the bill into law. Italy is the last major Western country to legally recognise gay couples and an original draft law had to be heavily diluted due to divisions in Renzi's ruling majority. The bill had faced stiff opposition from Catholic groups who said it went too far, while gay activists said it was too timid. The bill, originally presented in 2013, cleared its final real hurdle earlier with the confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies, which passed it by 369 votes to 193. The bill gives gay couples the right to share a surname, draw on their partner's pension when they die and inherit each other's assets in the same way as married people.

6 Child shoots herself

Police say a young Detroit girl who found a gun under her grandmother's pillow accidentally shot herself and died. Police say the girl was 4 years old, but relatives at the scene said Mariah Davis was 5. The girl's grandparents were elsewhere in the house at the time of the shooting. Two other children weren't injured.

7 Man didn't receive help

The family of a man who fatally stabbed two people and assaulted others inside a Massachusetts shopping centre before he was shot and killed says he had been discharged from a hospital without being treated for his mental illness. Authorities say Arthur DaRosa stabbed two women at a home in Taunton, killing one. They say he then drove to the Silver City Galleria Mall and stabbed two people at a Bertucci's restaurant, killing one. DaRosa's aunt Liz DaRosa said he admitted himself to a hospital on Tuesday and was discharged on Wednesday "without the proper treatment." She says he wanted help but didn't receive it. She says he wasn't a terrorist and was "someone's child."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko looks at the paintings stolen from an Italian museum and seized by Ukrainian border guards. Photo / AP
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko looks at the paintings stolen from an Italian museum and seized by Ukrainian border guards. Photo / AP

8 Paintings recovered

The 17 precious paintings stolen from a museum in Verona, Italy, including works by Tintoretto, Rubens and Mantegna, have been recovered by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. President Petro Poroshenko said the recovery of the stolen art estimated to be worth more than €16 million had demonstrated Ukraine's efficient fight against art smuggling. Ukrainian border guards found the stolen paintings hidden in plastic bags in a cache on a small island on the Dniester River between Ukraine and Moldova. The paintings were stolen from Verona's Castelvecchio museum last November. Three masked armed men entered the museum in a medieval castle after it closed and just before its alarm system was activated. They tied up a security guard and a cashier, quickly took the paintings from the walls and got away in the security guard's car. In March, the Italian authorities announced the arrest of 13 suspects in the case. Investigators had analysed 4000 hours of video and hundreds of phone calls to identify the suspects.

9 Thrown from train

A 27-year-old South African man who was thrown from a moving train after resisting a group of assailants is paralysed from the waist down, prompting a flow of donations for what is expected to be a long, costly rehabilitation. Darryn August hit a tree after suspected robbers tossed him from the train in the Cape Town area last week, and his cousin, Edwin Brooks, said today that doctors believe August will likely not walk again because of spinal damage. "I don't think the full reality has hit yet," said Brooks, who described August as undergoing a "roller coaster ride of emotions." The incident, in which August sought to fend off assailants as other passengers watched, resonated for some South Africans accustomed to a high rate of violent crime. The attackers carried knives and other weapons, according to reports. "He was basically first in line," said Graeme Dale Kuys, a friend who will raise rehabilitation funds with a bicycle ride this weekend.

10 Inquiry into recorded death

French prosecutors have launched an inquiry after a young woman appeared to record her suicide on Periscope, the mobile web application that allows users to broadcast live to their followers. The prosecutor's office in Evry, a southern suburb of Paris, said it had opened the investigation after the teenager threw herself onto the rails at a railway station yesterday and died. "Once the first results from an examination of the victim's mobile telephone and of data from the Periscope application are known, investigators will look to establish the motive behind her act and, if that fails, widen the investigation that has been launched," said a statement from the prosecutor's office. It said the young woman, born in 1997, also appeared to have sent a text to people close to her before she died to tell them of her intentions.

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