Student dies after suspected cardiac arrest in Gold Coast classroom

A Gold Coast high school student has died after suffering a "serious medical incident" in class.

Paramedics were called to Ormeau Woods State High School around 11.35 this morning, after the Year 10 boy collapsed and fell off his seat, 9NEWS reports.

A teacher performed CPR and the 15-year-old boy was taken to hospital in critical condition but could not be revived.

It's been reported the child was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived, AAP reports.

Acting principal Dan Finn wrote a statement on the school's Facebook page to parents and carers offering support to the school community.

"I know you and your children may be affected by this situation and will have many questions," Mr Finn wrote.

"Guidance or counselling services are being made available for anyone who may require support."

Students will be able to access counselling services at the school from tomorrow, Mr Finn said.

Afternoon tutorials at the schoool were cancelled as staff and students came to terms with the sudden death.

No further information could be immediately provided "out of respect for the family", he said.

Australian ambulance Source: istock.com



'Marching toward extinction' - Ailing orca is declared dead off Northwest US coast

Efforts to find a sick young orca from a critically endangered population of killer whales in the US Pacific Northwest came up empty today, and a scientist who tracks the animals declared her dead.

The grim news left just 74 whales remaining in a group that has failed to reproduce successfully in the past three years.

The orcas have struggled with pollution, boat noise and, most severely, a dearth of their preferred prey, chinook salmon, because of dams, habitat loss and overfishing.

"We're watching a population marching toward extinction," said Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research. "Unless we do something about salmon recovery, we're just not going to have these whales in the future."

The whales are in such bad shape that experts prepared last-ditch efforts to save the emaciated 4-year-old known as J50.

A sharpshooting veterinarian fired an antibiotic-filled dart into her, to no avail, and scientists even mulled capturing her so they could treat her for parasitic worms.

J50 had not been seen since last Friday. As teams scrambled to find her today, she failed to appear with her pod once again, despite favorable sighting conditions.

Mr Balcomb, who tracks the whales for the US government, declared her dead shortly after.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman for NOAA Fisheries, said boats and planes in the US and Canada were on the lookout for J50 and a network of people who respond when marine mammals wash ashore had been alerted.

Whale experts feared the orca was dead earlier this month when J50 lagged behind her family and went missing. But she later turned up and was seen with her family.

The distinctive black-and-white orcas, known as southern resident killer whales, have struggled since they were listed as an endangered species in the US and Canada well over a decade ago.

The orcas' numbers are now at their lowest in more than three decades.

Another whale in the same pod, known as J35, triggered international sympathy this summer when she kept the body of her dead calf afloat in waters for more than two weeks.

In this June 9, 2015, photo provided by the Center for Whale Research, an orca whale designated J2 swims in the Salish Sea near the San Juan Islands, Wash. J2, known as Granny and the oldest member of the small population of endangered Puget Sound orcas, has been missing for months and is now likely dead, bringing the toll of dead or missing whales to seven in 2016, researchers reported. J2 had been spotted thousands of times over 40 years of orca surveys but has not been seen since October, according to the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, a nonprofit group that keeps the federal government's annual census of the whales. (Ken Balcomb/The Center for Whale Research via AP)
Granny, the orca whale can be seen swimming in the Salish Sea last year. She has now been missing for months and is likely dead, bringing the toll of dead or missing whales to seven in 2016, researchers reported. Source: Associated Press


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Elizabeth Smart outraged over planned release of one of her kidnappers - 'Do I believe she's dangerous? Yes'

Elizabeth Smart said today the news that one of her kidnappers will be released from prison next week was "a big shock", and she hopes there is a way the woman can be committed to a treatment facility since there is no legal recourse to keep her behind bars.

Wanda Barzee is expected to be freed next week after 15 years in custody, including time at the state hospital, after Utah authorities said they had miscalculated the amount of time the 64-year-old woman should serve.

Standing on the steps of the Utah state capitol, Ms Smart, now 30, recalled some of the horrors she experienced when she was snatched from her home in 2002.

"She is a woman who had six children yet could co-conspire to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, and not only sit next to her while being raped but encourage her husband to continue to rape me," Ms Smart said. "So do I believe she's dangerous? Yes."

She said Barzee "saw me as her slave. She called me her handmaiden. She never hesitated to let her displeasure with me be known."

Barzee is expected to be freed next week Her attorney questioned at a hearing in June whether her release date took into account time she'd served in a federal prison, and earlier this week the board agreed that she had served her sentence.

Attorney Scott Williams has said Barzee has been diagnosed with several mental illnesses, but he's not concerned about her being a danger to the community. Mr Williams did not immediately return a message seeking comment today.

"I only found out shortly before everybody else," said Ms Smart, who is now a married mother and activist for victims' rights. "And yes, it was a big shock. Only months ago, I was on my way to a parole hearing and was told she would never be let out before 2024."

Her father Ed Smart also questioned why authorities didn't give her more warning about the impending release.

Ms Smart said she is taking unspecified steps to protect her family, but that she refuses to live in a "state of fear."

If Barzee had shown more clear signs of rehabilitation, she would likely feel differently about her release, Ms Smart said.

"I do believe in forgiveness. I am a Christian," she said. She also urged authorities to reconsider release decisions, and take the possibility of further threat into considering rather than simply the time they've served.

Ms Smart was abducted from her Salt Lake City bedroom at knifepoint by street preacher Brian David Mitchell, who came in through an open kitchen window. The kidnapping triggered waves of fear around the country.

Ms Smart was found while walking with Barzee and Mitchell on a street in the suburb of Sandy, Utah, by people who recognised the couple from media reports.

Mitchell is serving a life sentence after being convicted of kidnapping and raping Ms Smart. He and Barzee were married at one point.

Barzee was convicted of both state and federal crimes, and transferred to the Utah state prison in April 2016 after finishing a federal sentence in Texas. She will be under federal supervision for five years after her release from prison.

If she violates the conditions of her release, which will include mental health treatment and an order not to contact Ms Smart's family, she could go back to prison, said Ms Smart's attorney Brett Tolman.

Mr Tolman was previously the US Attorney for Utah who prosecuted Mitchell, and is now in private practice.

Barzee's family could also request a possible civil commitment to a mental-health facility, if that's warranted, he said.

Wanda Barzee helped kidnap Smart from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002. Source: Associated Press

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'I know a lot about dicks' - Australian politician's joke video rejected by Snapchat

Social media platform Snapchat may be known for lewd photo swapping but a risque joke by a Victorian politician has proved too much.

Reason Party Leader Fiona Patten launched a video ad, in which she talks about knowing a lot about "dicks" but although the audio was bleeped out and the subtitle changed to "D!@#S", it was rejected by Snapchat.

Ms Patten said the matter was "laughable" and the uncensored version had been approved for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and even the Victorian parliament.

The ad shows Patten walking towards the camera, saying: "I know a lot about dicks, but not for the reason you would think."

"It's because I deal with politicians acting like them every day."

 Despite being censored, Ms Patten said she was advised by Snapchat the ad would be rejected due to the "usage/allusion to the word 'dicks'".

"This is laughable, particularly given that Snapchat is renowned for nude pictures," Ms Patten said.

"I'm still waiting to hear from anyone that has been offended by it.

"One of the reasons I came to politics was because of a deep frustration with censorship. Ten years on, it looks like I am still fighting it."

The social media platform may be known for lewd photo swapping, but a risqué joke by Victorian politician Fiona Patten has proved too much.


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Gas blasts destroy dozens of homes in US as panicked communities evacuate - 'You can't even see the sky'

A series of gas explosions caused fires at more than 20 homes across three communities north of Boston today, forcing entire neighbourhoods to evacuate as crews scramble to douse the flames and shut off gas and electric lines in an attempt to prevent further damage.

Massachusetts State Police say troopers have been dispatched to Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to secure scenes and help traffic that has snarled roads as panicked residents attempt to flee their neighbourhoods amid the afternoon rush hour.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, firefighters battle a large structure fire in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)
A police chief said there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky". Source: Associated Press

Joseph Solomon, the police chief in nearby Methuen, said 20 to 25 homes were on fire in Lawrence. Solomon, who responded to Lawrence to help, said there are so many fires "you can't even see the sky".

The cause wasn't immediately clear. The Columbia Gas company had announced earlier today that it would be upgrading gas lines in neighbourhoods across the state, including the area where the explosions happened. It was not clear whether work was happening there today, and a spokeswoman did not immediately comment.

Town officials in Andover are advising all residents and businesses to evacuate and to shut off their gas, if they know how to safely. The town of 35,000 residents is about 40 kilometres north of Boston near the New Hampshire border.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames burn through a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)
Flames burn through a home in Lawrence. Source: Associated Press

In neighbouring North Andover, town Selectman Phil Decologero said that his entire neighbourhood had gathered in the street, afraid to enter homes. He warned anyone with concerns to leave their houses and head to North Andover High School, which is being set up as a gathering point.

"It's definitely a scary situation at the moment," he said. "It's pretty severe."

Entire neighbourhoods were being evacuated in Lawrence. City Councilor Marc Laplante said authorities were shutting off electric power and urging residents in the Colonial Heights neighbourhood to head to Parthum elementary and middle schools.

In this image take from video provided by WCVB in Boston, flames consume a home in Lawrence, Mass, a suburb of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities north of Boston. (WCVB via AP)
Emergency crews are responding to what they believe is a series of gas explosions that have damaged homes across three communities. Source: Associated Press

"People need to get out of this area safely, and it's really difficult because the traffic right now is horrendous," he said.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said staff members were heading to Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, along with state fire investigators.

They've left at least four people injured.