1 Planning approval for Packer project
Sydney's second casino is on the way with James Packer's A$2 billion Crown complex getting the final thumbs up from the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission. Crown Resorts' proposed six-star hotel and VIP-only casino at Barangaroo will be built with substantial changes to the original plan, including more public green space at Hickson Park. The western foreshore on the edge of the resort will also be widened to allow for more pedestrian access. The commission heard serious concerns from the community, design professionals and local councils about the project. The Melbourne-based company is 53 per cent owned by Packer. The billionaire's controversial project has been revised several times since it won support from the state government in 2013.
2 Michelle Obama in Liberia
US first lady Michelle Obama visited a leadership camp for girls in Liberia to launch her latest Africa visit, urging the teens in one of the world's poorest countries to keep fighting to stay in school. With her own teenage daughters Malia, 17, and Sasha, 15, joining her, Obama told the girls she was "just so thrilled to be here with you. I'm here to shine a big bright light on you," she said. Education for girls is the central theme of the first lady's trip, which also includes stops in Morocco and Spain. She was welcomed on her arrival in Liberia with a red carpet and traditional dancers. USAID announced up to US$27 million in funding in Liberia programming for Let Girls Learn, an initiative launched by the Obamas last year.
3 Happy day for song users
The Happy Birthday song has finally joined the public domain after a Los Angeles judge signed off on a settlement agreement in a copyright suit against music publisher Warner/Chappell Music. "Sing it loud, sing it proud, and sing it for free," said a statement celebrating the decision from law firm Donahue Fitzgerald, which represented plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Donahue Fitzgerald plaintiffs' lawyer Daniel Schacht called the settlement a "huge victory" for the public and for artists who want to use the song in their work. Music publishers had for decades profited from their claim to the rights to the song, earning as much as US$2 million per year licensing commercial use of the tune.
4 Koala left in pain
A koala was left lying in pain for five hours after being attacked by a dog north of Brisbane before finally being put out of its misery. The koala, a young male coming into his first breeding season, was attacked about 2.30am local time at Petrie, but the dog's owners did not contact the RSPCA until 7.30am. The animal had to be euthanased due to the severity of its injuries.
5 Mexico quake widely felt
A strong earthquake struck in southern Mexico, but there were no reports of injuries or significant damage. Authorities said the quake was felt in five states. Tall buildings swayed in Mexico City 350km from the quake's epicentre. The US Geological Survey said the tremor had a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 and its epicentre was in the southern state of Oaxaca.
6 Aspirin change research help
A truly soluble aspirin has been hailed as a "potential game-changer" for research into brain cancer. Brain tumours are hard to treat with many conventional cancer drugs because they struggle to get across the blood-brain barrier, the charity Brain Tumour Research said. But the new formulation of true liquid aspirin significantly increases the ability of drugs to cross this protective membrane, the charity said. The solution, which combines reformulated aspirin with two additional ingredients, was created by Innovate Pharmaceuticals. And researchers from the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Portsmouth have conducted a series of lab tests on glioblastoma cancer cells using the formula.
7 Tourist shot in Haiti
A Swedish tourist was fatally shot while walking with his girlfriend in a major commercial district amid what authorities are describing as a rise in violent incidents in Haiti's capital. Sweden's honorary consul general in Haiti, Gregoire Fouchard, identified the man as Johan Noren. He was shot in the chest during an apparent robbery on a well-travelled street in Petionville, above downtown Port-au-Prince. Noren's Swedish girlfriend was "beaten badly" by the gun-wielding assailants but is recovering, Fouchard said.
8 Girl in Gympie badly burnt
A Queensland community is rallying around a 12-year-old girl as she fights for her life after being severely burnt in a house fire near Gympie. Alexis Dean is in a critical condition in Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital, where she's receiving specialist care for burns to her upper body. Supporters have already raised more than A$2300 to help Alexis, who was rescued from her burning Monkland home by firefighters, as her family and friends pray she recovers.