Morning briefing: 10 stories from around the world

A US Army repel team with the 82nd Airborne Division over Charlotte Motor Speedway during military appreciation exercises prior to the Nascar Sprint Cup Series auto race. Photo / AP
A US Army repel team with the 82nd Airborne Division over Charlotte Motor Speedway during military appreciation exercises prior to the Nascar Sprint Cup Series auto race. Photo / AP

1 Mum mourns

The mother of a young Sydney boy who drowned in a car that slid into the Hawkesbury River says it's hard to believe he's been taken away so quickly. Four-year-old Bentley Hilton, from Cranebrook in western Sydney, was buckled up in a ute his grandfather had reversed down a boat ramp at Lower Portland. When the man hopped out to unstrap a tinnie in the back, the ute slid into the water and was swept away by the current. Hours later police divers found the vehicle about 20m from the boat ramp. Paramedics were unable to revive the four-year-old. Bentley's mother, Lauren Hilton, told the Daily Telegraph her son was a "bright little boy" who was "always happy to see his mum, see his sister and see his family".

2 Back on trail

Debate, what debate? Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are back on the road as the fallout from their head-to-head debate barely gets off the ground.

Both the Coalition and Labor claimed victory, but most observers thought it a scoreless draw. Turnbull is making a second visit to Penrith in western Sydney. He will pledge A$4.6 million to set up 12 more pilot sites for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School programme, aimed at getting students job-ready. Shorten is heading back to Queensland where the Labor team spent much of the election campaign's first week. He will announce a A$500 million fund to boost research on the Great Barrier Reef, improve water quality and eradicate pests such as the crown of thorns starfish.

3 Agent 'scapegoat'

Child recovery agent Adam Whittington, who remains in a Lebanese jail after a botched kidnapping involving a 60 Minutes crew, says he and his team have been used "as a scapegoat" by the Nine Network. Nine on Sunday night aired an apology segment on "how things went so horribly wrong" with the bungled story. There was scant mention of Whittington, an Australian, who has been moved from a jail in Tripoli to Aley Prison on the outskirts of Beirut.

4 Flooding toll six

Authorities in central Texas found two more bodies along flooded streams, bringing the death toll from flooding the state to six.

5 Toddler dies after shooting

A 2-year-old girl who was shot in the head in Detroit during a dispute between two groups has died. Makanzee Oldham was shot on Thursday while in a car with her father after a fight erupted and someone poured juice on a woman getting ready for a prom.

6 American charged in French attack

A 27-year-old American man has been given preliminary charges of attempted murder in an exceptionally violent attack on French police in their patrol car that drew national attention, the Paris prosecutor's office said. The suspect is among five people given various preliminary charges in the incident, in which masked protesters were caught on video smashing and torching the car while two officers were inside.

7 Force-friending

Tenants at a Salt Lake City apartment complex are not giving "likes" to a Facebook-centric condition to their lease. KSL-TV reports that tenants at City Park Apartments received a notice on their doors late last week about a contractual add-on involving Facebook. According to the document, a new lease agreement mandates that residents "friend" the complex on Facebook within five days of signing or be found in violation.

8 Verdun battle marked

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have marked the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Verdun, laying a wreath at a cemetery in northeastern France for the 300,000 soldiers killed.

9 Church fight ends

For more than 11 years, a core group of about 100 die-hard parishioners of St Frances X Cabrini Church have kept their beloved parish open by maintaining an around-the-clock vigil in a peaceful protest of a decision by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to close it. Today, the parishioners' efforts will end and they will vacate the Scituate church many of them have attended for decades. This month, the US Supreme Court refused to hear their final appeal, leaving them no choice but to end their fight.

10 PM's wife in strife

Israeli police have recommended bringing criminal charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, Israeli media report, on suspicion she misused state funds at their official and private residences. Sara Netanyahu, who has denied any wrongdoing, was questioned by the police fraud squad in December. Any significant political fallout for the Prime Minister would likely depend on whether state prosecutors accept the police recommendation.

- agencies

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