News at 4pm: 17 June 2013

Coming up in the next fifteen minutes:

  • A radio presenter faces backlash over Nigella Lawson comments
  • Parents urged to talk to their kids about drugs
  • A new report urges action on climate change
  • And more heads roll at the Melbourne Football club as the Demon’s year from hell continues

 Good afternoon, I’m CHARLIE BARHAM and welcome to SYN News at 4. The top story on SYN today,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               3AW presenter Dee Dee Dunleavy is facing heavy criticism for a blog post in which she condemned British Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson for not taking a stand against domestic violence.  Photos showing Lawson being physically abused by her husband were published in the Mirror newspaper on Sunday, and Dunlevy further victimized the celebrity chef by suggesting women should boycott her books and TV show if she didn’t speak out against domestic violence. In the post, Dunlevy argued that Lawson should take a stand because he was “a beacon for women from all walks of life.” Dunlevy has since received a backlog of negative feedback, and issued a statement saying that victimising Lawson was not her attention. The Australian Drug Foundation has launched a campaign, encouraging parents to speak to their children about alcohol and other drugs. Statistics show that forty per cent of Australian aged 12 to 17 drink alcohol, whilst twenty per cent of sixteen and seventeen year olds drink dangerous amounts of alcohol each month. The Drug Foundation’s JULIE RAE says its important for parents to teach their kids about drugs.  The consequences of climate change are already becoming visible, according to a new report released today by the Climate Commission. Report author, Professor WILL STEFFEN, says that the extreme weather events predicted by scientists are starting to occur. The report, titled “The Critical Decade”, says urgent action is needed to curb fossil fuel emissions over the next seven years.  Cafes around Australia have offered women a seventeen-point-five (17.5) per cent discount on coffee today, to highlight the ongoing pay gap between men and women. The women-only discount is part of a campaign by Cleo Magazine, after it found that women are paid 17.5 per cent less than men, on average. The pay gap has reportedly increased by around one-point-six (1.6) per cent since 1994. Police are investigating whether a drive-by shooting in Melbourne’s east this morning is linked to bikie groups. Three people were in the Doveton home when shots were fired just after midnight. No one was injured, and police believe the offenders fled in a small vehicle. Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit  And federal Ministers are continuing to support Prime Minister JULIA GILLARD, despite another poll suggesting a landslide defeat for Labor at the September election. Today’s Nielsen poll shows Labor’s primary vote falling three points to twenty-nine per cent.  Meanwhile, moderate Liberal Senator JUDY MOYLAN has farewelled Parliament, and will retire at the election.  You are listening to SYN News. News time, ten past four.Heading overseas now: British Newspaper the Independent has reported that Iran will send 4,000 troops to aid the forces of President Bashar-Al-Assad in the ongoing Syrian civil war. The timing of this major military decision is surprising, coming only a few days after the Iranian presidential election. Unnamed pro-Iranian sources told Independent journalist Robert Fisk that Iran is now fully committed to maintaining the Assad regime.The US had responded with caution to North Korea’s offer of regional peace talks between the two nations.  A US National Security Council spokesperson says the US is open to talks, provided North Korea is willing to comply with UN security council resolutions and uphold its international obligations. The invitation by the hermit state’s National Defence Commission, led by Kim Jong-Un, comes as a surprise, given North Korea’s recent aggressive behaviour on the international stage.  Earlier this year, Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test and threatened to attack US and South Korean targets in the Pacific region. And an American report has found that employees who smoke are costing companies around six thousand dollars each year. Researchers at Ohio State University found that smoking breaks contributed to almost half the cost. The report follows a recent decision by Swinburne University, which will ban its staff and students from smoking on campus.  A 50-year-old Seaford man has spoken of having to save his bacon, after he was confronted by a stray pig yesterday. Robert Dennis was caught by surprise when the unlikely escapee sunk its teeth into one of his legs and lifted him off the ground, leaving him with a 25 centimetre gash in the leg. Mr Dennis told the Herald Sun he was angry at being the victim of such a bizarre attack, as he’ll be out of work and will have to undergo microsurgery on his wounded leg. The pig, apparently, had escaped from an industrial block. Scientists digging in outback Queensland have uncovered fossils nearly 100 million years old. The discovery was the result of a two-week dig by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs initiative near the town of Winton, and unearthed dozens of bones weighing over a tonne collectively. Among the remains were the giant limbs and two metre long ribs of a Wintonnotitan, a fifteen metre long dinosaur which roamed the plains of the supercontinent Gondwana in the Jurassic period.  And now here’s EDDIE WILLIAMS with sport. EDDIE: Thanks CHARLIE Having had his head on the chopping block for most of this year, MARK NEELD was today officially axed as coach of the Melbourne Football ClubStill on footy, and the National Women’s Championships have kicked off in Cairns today. The tournament features players from across Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Division One final will be held on Saturday afternoon. Turning to motor sport, and Volvo will enter the V8 Supercars next year. The Swedish manufacturer will partner with Melbourne’s Garry Rogers Motorsport. It will be Volvo’s first season in the V8s in more than a decade. In cricket, England has moved into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, with a ten run win over New Zealand. The Black Caps could also progress into the semis, unless Australia has a big win over Sri Lanka tonight. And in golf, and England’s JUSTIN ROSE has won the US Open, finishing two shots ahead of Australian JASON DAY. Fellow Australian ADAM SCOTT had a difficult tournament, finishing on fifteen over par. And now back to CHARLIE with the weather. CHARLIE: Thanks EDDIE.To the weather now, Right now in the city, it’s 12 degrees. We’re headed for an overnight low of 8 degrees, before a top of 13 degrees tomorrow with a good chance of rain throughout Melbourne. For those on public transport, metro trains reports that all lines have good service, but patrons of Parliament Station are advised that the escalator from the collins street end is out of service.To recap our top stories this afternoon:

  • Radio presenter criticised for commentary of Nigella Lawson’s physical abuse
  • Cleo magazine launches a campaign to highlight how women are paid less than men on average
  • Iran to begin sending troops to help Assad in Syria
  • And Mark Neeld sacked as Melbourne CoachThat’s all for our bulletin this afternoon. But when we’re off air, you can keep up with the news by following us on twitter @NewsSYN.

 Panorama’s coming up at 4.30 and we’ll be back with an update at 5pm. Photo courtesy 3AW 

June 20th 2013
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