North America

Beyonce, Tim Tebow or the Norse god Thor for prez? Those were some of Florida's more unusual picks for president this past US election. A report released by state officials showed more than 161,000 Florida voters didn't cast a valid vote.

The "non-valid votes" include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank. The invalid ballots outnumbered Donald Trump's margin of victory over Hillary Clinton of nearly 113,000 votes.

Latin America

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet denied reports she received financial support for her 2013 campaign from a construction conglomerate that is involved in Brazil's huge corruption scandal. Grupo OAS is among dozens of Brazilian companies that are embroiled in a kickback scheme that is the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil's history.

Veja said a former member of Brazil's Workers Party and a former president of OAS had linked Bachelet to the company as part of the corruption probe. Bachelet said she "emphatically discarded" any links to the group.



A female teacher and two students are being treated by paramedics after a stabbing at a western Sydney high school in Bonnyrigg. A woman whose younger sister witnessed the stabbing told AAP: "She just told me that someone in her roll call stabbed another kid and the teacher tried stopping it and (they) injured the teacher too."


Francois Fillon, the French conservative presidential contender, would be knocked out of this year's election in France in the first round, according to a shock poll, as a "fake jobs" scandal involving his wife intensified. The poll came as Fillon claimed the ruling French left was behind the allegations, and said he was the victim of an "institutional coup d'etat".

Previous surveys placed Fillon in pole position to beat far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential run-off on May 7. But the poll by Elabe for Les Echos for the first time placed former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron as most likely to win. Macron would beat Le Pen in the second round with 65 per cent of the vote.

Should Fillon make the second round, he too would beat Le Pen, with 59 per cent of the vote, Elabe said.

Police arrested an asylum seeker from Tunisia on suspicion of plotting an Isis-linked terrorist attack in Germany. The 36-year-old suspect was also wanted by Tunisian authorities in connection with a 2015 attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, which killed more than 20 people.

But Germany's attempts to extradite the suspect to Tunisia were hampered by a lack of cooperation from Tunisian authorities, Frankfurt's general prosecutor said.


The Zimbabwe pastor who fled to the United States after launching the popular #ThisFlag protest movement has been arrested on his return home. Evan Mawarire was picked up at Harare International Airport, lawyer Harrison Nkomo said.

Mawarire has been charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government. Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Mawarire was picked up on an outstanding arrest warrant.

Imagine that

Mechanical masterminds have spawned the Bat Bot, a soaring, sweeping and diving robot that may eventually fly circles around other drones. Because it mimics the unique and more flexible way bats fly, this prototype could do a better and safer job getting into disaster sites and scoping out construction zones than bulky drones with spinning rotors, said the three authors of a study in the journal Science Robotics.

For example, it would have been ideal for going inside the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, said study co-author Seth Hutchinson, an engineering professor at the University of Illinois.

It's a bit odd

After a two-plus day walkabout in the leafy wilds of northwest Washington, an escaped bobcat has returned to the National Zoo and walked right into a trap where some "goodies" had been left for her.

The adventures of the female bobcat known as Ollie lit up social media and transfixed the US capital after she went missing on Tuesday.

Officials weren't optimistic that Ollie would reappear, given that she could easily thrive on a diet of mice, rats, chipmunks and other creatures in the national park.