Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's sports stars and politicians speaking out against homophobia after an outburst from Israel Folau, the details of how gun laws change from tomorrow, and we see a black hole for the very first time. Hosted by Frances Cook.

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts here, iHeartRadio here, and Spotify here.

Sports stars and politicians are united in their condemnation of homophobia today, after Israel Folau once again used social media to attack the gay community.

Tasmania has just become the first Australian jurisdiction to make gender an option on birth certificates.


After the announcement, the Wallabies star took to Twitter to tell people to repent, and "turn away" from their evil ways.

The tweet has been widely shared and commented on, with most people having a negative view of his comments.

One person asked why Jesus needed more detail in birth records.

Rugby Australia has released a statement saying the post was "unacceptable" and "disrespectful".

They say the Rugby Australia Integrity Unit has been engaged on the matter.

The rugby union star, who is married to Silver Ferns shooter Maria Folau, has previously made headlines for saying gay people will go to hell.

It's believed he has a social media clause in his contract, after that incident.

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The international rugby world has responded, and it seems other sports stars don't share his views.


Retired England prop Joe Marler simply responded with an image of two men kissing.

Meanwhile former Welsh captain Gareth Thomas, who was the victim of a homophobic attack last November in Cardiff, also responded.

He wrote on Twitter: "I don't write this with hate or anger after Israel Folau's comments.I write with sympathy. To everyone who reads it, don't be influenced by his words. Be the better person and be YOU. Whoever YOU is.. Hell doesn't await YOU. Happiness awaits YOU."

Thomas played 103 tests for Wales and the British and Irish Lions prior to announcing he was gay in 2009.

After he was attacked last year, the All Blacks as well as national rugby teams in France, Wales and England, donned rainbow coloured laces during test matches, to show support.

Here in New Zealand, Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith says people should think hard before offering social media opinions.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also says she 'totally disagrees' with Israel Folau and how he's using social media.

Asked if his comments should be regarded as hate speech, Jacinda Ardern said even if they didn't fit a legal definition they nonetheless could be very damaging.

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Gun laws have now passed their third reading, and will come into force tomorrow.

As the final legal hurdles were jumped last night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke out about the moment she decided that gun laws had to change.

Ardern told the House about a briefing she had with Police Commissioner Mike Bush shortly after the terror attack on March 15, when he told her the gunman had obtained his firepower legally.

"I could not fathom how weapons that could cause such destruction and large-scale death could have been obtained legally in this country. I could not fathom that."

The bill passed with the support of all parties except for Act.

Possession of prohibited firearms could see a jail term up to five years.

There are some narrow exemptions including for pest control, collectors, heirlooms and mementos.

The bill also includes a regulatory framework for the buyback scheme.

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And there's a message to gun users - hand in your firearms, even if you don't like the new law.

There's now a six-month window for people to hand in their semi-automatics.

Firearm Safety Council chairman Joe Green made a submission against the ban, but he says gun owners need to hand their semi-automatics over.

Police say they know they face a tough challenge getting firearms surrendered.

Deputy Commissioner, Michael Clement, says it particularly won't be easy getting weapons from people who've acquired them illegally

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One of space's greatest mysteries has been photographed for the very first time: a black hole.

And not just any black hole, it's the first direct image of a supermassive black hole.

The highly anticipated cosmic portrait belongs to the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, the largest galaxy we know of, about 54 million light-years away.

Scientists used the Event Horizon Telescope, which is actually a network of 10 radio telescopes spread across the planet and functioning as if it were a single receiver, one tuned to high-frequency radio waves.

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The black hole is spinning, which proves a theory first set out by a New Zealand academic.

University of Canterbury's distinguished Professor Roy Kerr theorised about spinning black holes 56 years ago.

The picture shows a halo of dust and gas, but the way that halo is shaped shows that the black hole is spinning.

The Royal Society of London has described Kerr's work as of particular importance to general relativistic astrophysics, and all subsequent detailed work on black holes has depended fundamentally on it.

Even though he's retired, Kerr says he set his alarm for 1am this morning to see the photo when it was released.

He came up with his theory back in 1963, before advanced computers existed, using just a pen and paper to solve some of the most difficult equations of physics by hand.

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That's the Front Page for today, Thursday, April 11, making sure you're across the biggest news of the day. For more on these stories, check out the New Zealand Herald, or tune in to Newstalk ZB.

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts here, iHeartRadio here, and Spotify here.

If you like to stay up to date on social media, you can find host Frances Cook on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here.