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The Recap

Join the upstart editorial team as they Recap the big news stories of the week.

If you weren’t paying attention this week, we’ve got you sorted.

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Australia to resettle 12,000 Syrian refugees

The Abbott government has decided to double this year’s refugee intake, announcing that it will take in 12,000 Syrian refugees. This is on top of the 13,750 refugees that Australia already planned to take, rising to 18,750. In addition to this, Australia has committed $44 million to providing humanitarian aid for an estimated 240,000 Syrian and Iraqi people forced to flee their homes or seek refuge. Abbott has denied claims that refugees will be denied or accepted based on religion or ethnicity, reiterating that they will go through the normal health, security and character checks. The announcement was welcomed by candlelight vigils around the country.

Australia to bomb IS target sites 

The government has announced that it will go ahead with air strikes on IS terrorist sites in the next few days. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has agreed to the air strikes at the request of U.S. President Barack Obama. The move comes after increasing instability in the Syria/Iraq region under ISIL control. “There can be no stability and no end to the persecution and suffering in the Middle East until the Daesh (IS) death cult is degraded and ultimately destroyed,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

Abbott defends climate change policy to Pacific leaders 

The Prime Minister visited Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea for the Pacific Islands Forum. Most of the 16 leaders urged larger economies, like Australia and New Zealand, to take greater action on climate change, with effects more severe for smaller places like Vanuatu. Pacific Island countries are pushing for a commitment to limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, saying the current 2 degree goal is inadequate.


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One third of older Australians are living in poverty

A new global report claims that elderly Australians are living in poverty. Australia was ranked 17th on an annual global list that identifies the economic and social wellbeing of people over the age of 60. The 2015 Global Age Watch Index places the nation’s old age poverty rate at 33 per cent. In comparison, Switzerland’s rate was 16 per cent and is deemed the best place for elderly people to live. This scale is based on key indicators such as income security and health.

Genetic modification deemed as “essential” in new research

According to a new report, genetic modification of human embryos is “essential”, and should be allowed so scientists can have better knowledge of basic biology. The Hinxton Group, a global network of scientists and ethics experts, say that gene editing at the early stage of embryos would be of “tremendous value” to scientific research and could have practical applications. However, the report also acknowledged that many people may consider the idea of genetically modified babies morally troubling. “Personally, I don’t think it is acceptable to manipulate the human germline for the purpose of changing some genetic traits that will be transmitted over generations,” Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier told BBC.

Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK Day? encourage you to pick up the phone

Every year, 2,500 Australians take their own life. This week, Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK Day? fell on the same day, encouraging Australians to reach out and speak to anyone they are concerned about. Virgin Australia partnered up with R U OK Day? to provide free calls to its customers on any network. Research released by Virgin found that Australians on average are spending two and a half hours a day communicating through social media and text message, but only 20 minutes on phone calls to loved ones.


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Trade talk and speculation has begun between AFL players and teams. Among the moving players, Adam Treloar has requested a trade to Collingwood, and Jake Carlisle has requested a trade from Essendon. Gold Coast Suns player, Harley Bennell, has also been put up for trade after a disorderly behaviour charge outside a Surfer’s Paradise nightclub. The All-Australian squad was also named this week, you can click here to view the detailed list. Sydney player, Lance Buddy Franklin, has been ruled out of the finals series indefinitely due to a mild form of epilepsy and what the club describes as an “ongoing mental health condition”. Sydney coach, John Longmire, said on Tuesday he wasn’t sure when Franklin would play again this season. “It’s something that is serious but is treatable. The first step is putting it out there,” he said.


The Socceroos have won the third World Cup qualifier in Tajikistan, with Tim Cahill sealing a 3-0 victory against Dushanbe. You can view upstart’s explainer of the Socceroos’ road to Russia here. The Matildas went on strike and cancelled their U.S. tour after a pay dispute with Football Federation Australia. The Australian women’s soccer team are vying for better pay and working conditions.


20-year-old troubled tennis player, Nick Kyrgios has been dropped from Australia’s Davis Cup semi-final showdown with Great Britain, and replaced with Bernard Tomic. Kyrgios is focusing on his personal and professional development after a horror string of controversies, including the infamous Wawrinka sledge.


All-rounder Shane Watson announced his retirement from test cricket, along with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Haddin and Watson follow Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers in stepping down, after a disappointing Ashes series for Australia.


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Photo of dead Syrian boy goes viral
(Warning: links may lead to graphic material)

A photo of a dead Syrian child washed up on a Turkish beach has been circulating on social media. The child, identified as Aylan Kurdi, was seeking asylum with his family to Greece on a boat that capsized. The family had hoped to eventually join other family members living in Canada. Despite going viral on social media, there has been a mixed response as to whether or not sharing the images was a moral thing to do. The photo reached a wider audience when it was discussed on Network Ten’s The Project.

Leigh Sales defends ABC to Tony Abbott

Last Wednesday, Tony Abbott told 7:30 host, Leigh Sales, that he hoped the ABC would join him “in looking for the good” when asked why Australia’s economic position has worsened under his leadership. “I wonder what you would have done if I helped Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard look for the good,” Sales replied. When initially asked about the economy, Abbott responded, “the boats have stopped”. Abbott eventually answered Sales’ question, arguing that unemployment figures are dropping.

Gruen returns to ABC

Rebranded as Gruen XL, the popular show formerly known as Gruen Transfer and Gruen Planet, has returned to the ABC following a two year hiatus. Hosted by Wil Anderson, and featuring Todd Sampson and Russell Howcroft, the show analyses, deconstructs and evaluates advertising and its effectiveness. The show returned with huge ratings, coming first in most-watched non-news shows.



Audio produced by: Jack Howard.

Feature image: Jake Stevens.

Joely Mitchell, Tam Kendi, Ewa Staszewska, Tijan Biner, Johanna Brasier and Ethan Miller are the editors of upstart this semester. They are all third-year Bachelor of Journalism students at La Trobe University. You can follow them on Twitter here: @joelymitchell@tamkendi@EwaStaszewska@tijanb, @JohannaBrasier and@ethanmiller1994.

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